Last episode, Vox Machina were separated, having been split by Keyleth’s plane shift spell in episode 7. Vex, Vax, Percy, and Keyleth endured a tense meeting with the twins’ father, Syldor Vessar, before obtaining another vestige, the Fenthras Bow, from a cursed Archfey in the Shademurk. Scanlan and Pike dragged Grog, weakened by his destruction of Craven Edge, to Pike’s great-great-grandfather for help. Wilhand managed to clear the corruption from the goliath, but his muscles will take time to recover. Regardless, the trio decided to head for Westruun, where Grog’s uncle wields the next Vestige of Divergence, the Titanstone Gauntlets. Will they be able to obtain them? Read on for a full recap of episode 9, “A Test of Pride,” to find out!
The Herd of Storms
We open in a tranquil village, but the peace is short-lived. The gnome settlement is raided by a herd of goliaths, and the gnomes are slaughtered. Some fight, sinking arrows into a ferocious young goliath, but they don’t even slow him down. The archers are killed with thrown axes and bare hands. The leader of the herd commends the young goliath’s rage, telling him to make them fear the name Grog Strongjaw.
The Titanstone Knuckles
In the present day, Grog hides in a barn outside Westruun with Pike and Scanlan. They’re observing the city. Scanlan confirms it’s definitely the place from his vision — he’s played hundreds of gigs there.
Grog is keen to get out of there, suggesting they head back to Wilhand, but Pike pulls him back. If Scanlan’s vision was true, the city was overrun by the herd, and the people will need their help.
A gnome is dragged out of the city by two goliaths. He protests that he gave all he had, but it’s useless. If he’s got nothing for the offering, he’s worthless. As he runs, one of the goliaths throws an axe into the back of his head.
Watching from the barn, Pike tries to run for the goliaths. She believes they can take them easily, but Grog grabs her and warns her against it. Kevdak is in there. Grog and his uncle, as Grog puts it, have bad blood. He tells Scanlan and Percy that Kevdak has always worn the Titanstone Knuckles — Grog didn’t know that they were a vestige until now, of course — and they make him “crazy strong.”
Grog doesn’t want the herd to see him so weak and suggests they wait for the rest of Vox Machina. Instead, Scanlan offers to infiltrate the city and bring back the vestige. (He mostly says it to impress Pike, but nonetheless, he volunteers.) Transforming into a dragonfly, he flits off, leaving Pike to have a heart-to-heart with Grog. Grog isn’t nervous of the herd — he’s ashamed. He did terrible things with them. Until one day, he met a gnome who begged Grog to spare him because he had a family. A locket around his neck showed a picture of a small child. That gnome was Wilhand Trickfoot.
In Westruun, Scanlan listens to a trio of goliaths complaining about taking orders from a dragon. One of them, Zanror, believes someone needs to stand up to his father. Scanlan’s spell ends, and he transforms back, dropping to the floor and alerting the goliaths. He manages to find a hole in the wall to squeeze into, tricking them into thinking it was just a rat.
Scanlan isn’t alone in his safe space, though. Within hide a group of survivors who hunkered down when the dragon attacked, only for the marauders to arrive the day after. They’ve been waiting for an opening to escape, a female gnome tells him. Scanlan introduces himself as an adventurer, rebel leader, and musician. The gnome woman recognizes his name but doesn’t elaborate as to why.
Back in the barn, Grog continues his story. He knocked out his cousin Zanror to help Wilhand escape. His betrayal was discovered as he ushered Wilhand out of town, and Kevdak beat Grog with the gauntlets. He was banished from the Herd of Storms. Grog should have died, but Wilhand ran to fetch the young gnome from his family picture — Pike. Praying to the Everlight, she healed him, and they took him in.
Pike tells Grog that she never knew those details. She reassures him that he’s different now, but he still feels guilt over all the people he allowed to die.
Overhead, a dragon roars, shattering Pike and Grog’s quiet moment. It’s Umbrasyl, heading into Westruun. Pike worries about Scanlan.
Inside the city, Scanlan is introduced to Kaylie and her traveling troupe. Kaylie demands Scanlan help them, but he doesn’t even have his lute — he was just scouting. She threatens him a little. As Umbrasyl lands, Scanlan sees a starving child. No way can he abandon them here.
Umbrasyl demands offerings from Kevdak. Ripley is with him, and she wonders why Umbrasyl isn’t relieving Kevdak of his gauntlets. (Scanlan, inside the hideout, swears he’s heard her voice before.) The dragon thinks the herd’s still useful, but if they don’t have Thordak’s when he returns, he will take Kevdak’s arms as payment.
Kevdak tries to send out a search party, but Zanror challenges him. Still wearing his gauntlets, Kevdak beats his son to a pulp.
From the barn window, Pike and Grog watch Umbrasyl fly away. Without Grog’s might to help them, they make a plan to sneak into the city instead — they use the pig blood from the barn to make it look as if Grog is taking Pike as an offering.
Scanlan suggests that he goes to get help. Kaylie is unsurprised, saying that from what she’s heard, it figures that he’d run. Upset by her cryptic comment, Scanlan agrees to take them all with him — as long as she gives him her flute to use. With a tune, the bard creates a giant centipede to distract the goliaths.
The survivors leave the hideout and run into Grog. A bell rings, and Grog explains that Kevdak is summoning the herd. Now’s their chance. The survivors are afraid of Grog, so Kaylie leads them out of the city. Grog doesn’t follow, explaining to Pike and Scanlan that it’s not right that people are afraid. He needs to take down Kevdak. Pike tries to talk him out of it, calling it suicide, but Grog is determined. He won’t be as weak as Kevdak said he was.
The survivors have made it out of the city. As they flee, Kaylie stops and looks back.
Kevdak summoned the goliaths to make an example of Zanror in front of them. He tells them that if anyone else thinks they can lead, they should step forward. The goliaths bow their heads in reluctant submission.
“Kevdak!” Grog roars, approaching the courtyard. “Remember me?”
Don’t forget to check back on Friday, February 10 for a recap of episode 10, “The Killbox.”