5 Times Critical Role’s Vex and Vax Showed Their Unbreakable Bond
Fantasy narratives are filled with many of the same relationships we ourselves experience on a daily basis — a tight knit group of friends, you and your favorite animal companion, families separated and drawn together, and even enemies. While the bonds you choose to surround yourself with can be among the most powerful of all, the strength of devoted siblings can never be underestimated.
Standing together against frequently devastating odds, Critical Role’s Vex’ahila and Vax’ildan Vessar (played by Laura Bailey and Liam O’Brien) are one of the most oft-cited examples of unwavering love, faith, and protectiveness across the multiple campaigns set in Exandria. More than just siblings, Vex and Vax are twins, and while this may come with its fair share of silly squabbles over who is older, taller, and wiser, it means they are also two of a kind. Vax is a stealthy thief comfortable with urban environments and Vex, an archer, prefers the wilds and the company of beasts, and they perfectly balance one another and understand the other’s heart and mind in almost everything.
Even before they met Vox Machina and added new branches to their found family tree, the Vessar twins made a vow to one another that they would never be apart, even when faced with vampires, slavers, dragons, and gods. Here are five times throughout Critical Role Campaign 1: Vox Machina that Vex and Vax proved how inseparable twins truly can be.
Spoilers to follow for Critical Role: Campaign 1 and associated materials.
Leaving Byroden — Pre-Series
While initially relegated to backstory the fans never fully experienced on screen, the twins’ time in Byroden has been explored more fully as the story of Vox Machina has evolved. Through Critical Role: Vox Machina — Kith & Kin, the first published prose novel in the Critical Role canon, we see more of Vex and Vax’s early days in the humble roadside town. The half-elf twins were born in Byroden to a human woman named Elaina, and they lived there until their father, an elf named Syldor Vessar, discovered their existence and took them to the city of Syngorn at the age of 10.
While Byroden was a quiet and unassuming place where people rarely left, the twins were notable in this respect — and when they eventually returned, they found it very different. Syngorn was unkind to the half-elven children, and so Vex and Vax bonded together to withstand the harshness of their new home. About two years after the duo departed Byroden, the dragon Thordak the Cinder King laid waste to their hometown, killing their mother. After leaving Syngorn because they were never truly accepted, Vex and Vax found themselves without a proper home to return to, starting their journey that would eventually lead them to the group that would become Vox Machina. They also swore vengeance on Thordak, and knew they could only truly rely on one another for survival.
For more on Kith & Kin, check out this exciting interview with the writer, Marieke Nijkamp.
The Tomb of Purvan Suul — The Sunken Tomb (1×44)
Adventuring is dangerous business, and oftentimes wayward travelers and treasure hunters can end up paying with their lives if they aren’t careful. While Vox Machina explored the tomb of a former champion of the Matron of Ravens, a goddess of death, Vex’ahlia was caught in the radius of a trap that instantly kills her. When Vax found his sister lifeless, he and the other members of the adventuring party immediately set to trying to resurrect her, though the process proved difficult. The Matron of Ravens had already been drawn to the energy of death radiating from the tomb of Purvan Suul, coming to claim the archer’s soul.
In a moment of heated anger, brash decision making, and pure selflessness, Vax demanded that the goddess take his life instead, forfeiting her claim on his sister. Wordlessly, the deity agreed and offered the needed power to complete the resurrection ritual, restoring Vex, who awakened with no knowledge of her death and thought she had merely fainted. Well, that is, until Grog Strongjaw (not the smartest member of Vox Machina) told her outright that she had in fact died. Not knowing why Vax had been crying, she carried on with her exploration until the party had what they needed and left the tomb altogether.
This exchange of life was a deeply emotional moment in the series by itself, but the far-reaching impact of its consequences results in even deeper challenges and sadness for the duration of Campaign 1. The Matron of Ravens did not claim Vax’s soul outright in that moment, but there would come a time when she called him to her side. However, this does nothing to diminish the love between the siblings — if anything, it strengthens it beyond even the touch of the grave.
The Truth of Trinket — The Streets of Ank’Harel (1×65)
While Vox Machina traveled in search of the Vestiges of Divergence, powerful artifacts that were left on this plane of existence as a result of the historical Calamity, Vex eventually came into possession of Fenthras, a legendary bow. However, the transfer of power was not an easy one — she slew the previous wielder, a corrupted fey named Saundor, who exchanged ominous words with the young archer before she cleansed the land from his poisonous grip. Unable to sleep, she encountered her brother Vax’ildan early the following morning as he attempted to sneak from teammate Keyleth’s bedchambers.
While their exchange began as siblings teasing one another for their romantic interests, it quickly became an earnest and emotional discussion, as Vex revealed the dark truth behind how she came to meet her bear companion Trinket. Saundor had taunted her about the truth of the incident, and she confessed to her brother that in a time when they had been forcefully separated, she had done dark things to the poachers who captured her bear Trinket, his mother, and herself. She slaughtered them in anger and never told a soul.
Vex’ahlia feared this secret she’d kept would lose the respect of her brother, but more than anything, he reaffirmed the strength of her character in the face of injustice. He said that because this act is what brought her back to him, it couldn’t have been all bad. The twins have an earnest self-reflection here, and while it is not Vax’s place to forgive his sister or absolve her guilt, he understands better than anyone else just what it has taken for the two of them to survive in the years since leaving Byroden.
Saying Goodbye — The Chapter Closes (1×115)
After being physically and totally annihilated by the powerful villain Vecna, Vax’s soul was trapped in limbo, drawn to the Matron of Ravens. When she offered him eternal rest, he requested one last chance to help his friends. The goddess agreed, on the condition that he was only to hunt down and destroy Vecna, after which point his soul would return to her forever. It was a decision spurred in part by the barter the half-elf thief had made to save his sister’s life in the tomb of Purvan Suul, and in part by the pressing need to stop the ascended Vecna from destroying Tal’Dorei. With the deal arranged, Vax’ildan returned to life, but it was not the full life he otherwise might have had.
When Vox Machina finally finished their grueling, ultimate standoff with Vecna, it was time for the Matron of Ravens to collect her champion. While the goodbyes were heartbreaking for every individual member of the team, the parting of twins was undeniably the most painful. Vex simply didn’t accept that her brother had to leave her. She vowed to find him wherever he was taken, and he calmly promised he would never leave her, even if she couldn’t see him. “I never had a greater friend than you,” Vax told her.
Vex said this felt like a part of her was being taken away, and while physically that may have been true, at this point there could be no doubt of the unbreakable tether between the twins. And as fans would get to see in special additions to the story in later broadcasts, death wasn’t truly the end for these two siblings. However, as a part of the epic and emotional finale to the adventures of Vox Machina, nothing packs the same devastating blow as when the twins had to properly bid farewell for the first time in their lives.
The Wedding at Dalen’s Closet — Dalen’s Closet (Sx47)
About a year (in-world) after the conclusion of the main Vox Machina campaign, our beloved adventurers returned for Vex’ahlia and Percival’s official destination wedding, but anyone expecting a quiet ceremony with these heroes would be sorely mistaken. Broadcast as a special one-shot episode outside of the main series, the Dalen’s Closet adventure is full of drama, heartbreak, and eventual triumph.
The guests at the wedding fell unconscious as the wine and dinner were brought to the banquet tables, leading to an attack by vampires and the return of the dreaded Lord Sylas Briarwood. Attempting to avenge the loss of his wife Delilah, Sylas threw the bride and groom over the cliff into the ocean, where Vex actually drowned and was barely brought back to life by Pike’s healing magic. Empowered with the Blessing of the Dawnfather, a radiant Vex drew her bow and destroyed the vampire’s pure mist form, which finally vanquished him.
Once the wedding ceremony resumed, Scanlan used a powerful wishing spell to allow Vax’ildan, who had since been serving the Matron of Ravens, to speak to his sister on her special day. Vax returns, by the grace of his goddess, and told his sister that he is always with her and his love will never dim. Before he disappeared, he tole all of his friends, “Thank you. Live!”
Even in death, even as the sworn champion of an ancient deity, Vax and Vex are inseparable. Though it takes a little divine intervention and mystical influence, the fact that they are able to remind one another of their love on a day as filled with emotion as a wedding (and attempted murder), shows how unbreakable the bond of their kinship is.
Siblings may fight, and many can grow apart over the years. But twins Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan strengthened the bonds of their kinship, lived (and occasionally died) alongside an incredible found family, and became legendary heroes of Tal’Dorei. Not bad for a pair of kids from the sleepy town of Byroden.
For even more incredible moments from throughout their story, be sure to dive into the world of Critical Role and follow the adventures of Vox Machina through the web series, comics, and even the upcoming animated series! If you’re looking to bring the twins to your collection, visit side.show/criticalrole and shop Vox Machina and the Mighty Nein!
What Vex and Vax moments in Campaign 1 are your favorite? Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us in the comments below!