Critical Role's next novel comes out this week. Penguin Random House is set to release Critical Role: The Mighty Nein—The Nine Eyes of Lucien, a new novel exploring the life of Lucien and his descent into becoming the main villain of The Mighty Nein campaign. Lucien is a fascinating character as three aspects of the character appeared over the course of Critical Role's second campaign. Fans were first introduced to Mollymauk and eventually came to discover that he was a fraction of Lucien's soul who inhabited Lucien's body after a magic ritual gone awry. After Mollymauk's untimely death, Lucien "re-took" his own body and ultimately became the final threat The Mighty Nein faced during their campaign. Written by Madeleine Roux, the new novel not only serves as a prequel of sorts, explaining Lucien's past and his time with the Tombtakers, but also fills the gaps between his appearances during the events of the second campaign.
In an exclusive excerpt provided by Penguin Random House to ComicBook.com, Lucien finally secures the journal that was taken from him by Vess DeRogna, only to encounter an intriguing—and irritating—adventuring party called the Mighty Nein.
Critical Role: The Mighty Nein—The Nine Eyes of Lucien will be released on November 1st and will be available at major book retailers.
Lucien froze. Someone was watching. This time when he looked back, he saw the trespasser clearly through her scrying window—a little blue devilkin with curious violet eyes. One of the Mighty Nein, no doubt, poking around where they didn't belong. He was noticing a worrisome pattern.
"Oh, well, lookie here. A return visitor." He chuckled. "Now, don't get running, you've curiosity to sate, right? I take it you're the one who's been peeking recently. I have to thank you, for without your scent, I wouldn't have been able to follow her." Lucien calmly stuffed the bangle in his pack. "Now, don't be alarmed. I see many things with mine eyes. Been trying to watch this one's path awhile now until you found me. Saw the threads and we made a detour. Shame really, all that knowledge and so little understanding. Ah!"
At last, he took up the journal and folded it all together neatly, tucking it under one arm and smiling down at it before turning back to the devilkin. "But you see now things are set right. Once more, I have what she took from me." Darkness had fallen outside, a thick snowfall obscuring the stars.
These fools will actually try to stop me, he thought. Now the race begins.
He stepped toward the open window, pausing to look back one final time. "To alpha and alpha, we trek till homeward bound we be." He laughed again. "Maybe we'll see you there."
Annoyingly, he saw them there.
Seven little flies, buzz, buzz, buzz. Either the mercenaries calling themselves the Mighty Nein had tracked them or DeRogna had already equipped them with a map for the expedition she would not join. A5 proved fruitful, indeed. They had encountered a number of vultures among the glowing blue corridors of the ruin, adventurers picking a fresh corpse clean. It had angered him at first, seeing a bunch of profiteers scratching at the relics and coffers of the rotunda, eager for whatever scraps they could haul back to the mainland and sell. But his rage turned swiftly to bemusement—they didn't know how close they were to stealing an item of incredible value.
The threshold crest. It was large, larger than Lucien had expected, a polished, flashing gem, two feet across, dangling from a facet in the rotunda ceiling. The hall itself had been the main research facility for one of the Somnovem, Elatis. He could feel her giddiness spreading through his own fingers and toes as soon as they stepped foot in the chamber. In the time when Elatis was alive, it was called the Dawn Crucible, where Aeorian citizens volunteered to have their dreams studied and recorded.
The Dawn Crucible, the Crucible of Dreams . . . Elatis seemed to walk beside him every step of the way. He wondered if the other Tombtakers could sense her, but if they did, none of them commented upon it. Lucien could have spent hours wandering the rotunda, where the philosopher's own writings and research might still dwell. The whole site of A5 was a wonder—a long, plunging corridor down through the ice, the halls suffused with a dreamy blue glow, arcane energy surging through every stone and tile.
But it was not to be a leisurely delve, for the Tombtakers first dispatched the fool adventurers bumbling around in the rotunda and were immediately after interrupted by the Mighty Nein. It became instantly clear to him that DeRogna had left them in the dark about her true purpose in returning to Aeor—everything they knew of Cognouza and the Somnovem had been gleaned from fragments of information, from DeRogna's vague instructions, or from his own lips.
Cree had already informed him, generally, of what to expect from the Mighty Nein. There was a tall, scarred, green-skinned half-orc called Fjord, as silent and standoffish as their own Zoran. An agent of the Cobalt Soul walked among them, too: Beauregard, a grunting human woman with piercing blue eyes, carrying a staff. Even at rest, she exuded a hostile, impatient air. The horned, blue infernal of the group, Jester, a slip of a thing with a gnat's voice and demeanor, was the one who insisted on spying upon them with her magic. The mage of their cohort was a nondescript human man, soft-spoken, bearded, wrapped in a striped scarf and calling himself Caleb. There was also a halfling in a pink, frothy frock and antlered earmuffs—Cree did not know this
one's name—as strange a sight as any Lucien had encountered in the ruins of Aeor. No less strange was the magenta-haired feygiant healer, Caduceus Clay, with pale-gray fur and an elaborately embellished robe. His ears were long and slightly flipped, pierced, his nose elongated and flat like that of a stag. A scruff of coarser pink fur lined his sharp jaw. He carried a crystal-topped staff and shield, his frame as willowy thin as his weapon of choice, his demeanor unnervingly calm, a frustratingly blank page of a fellow.
And finally, a sturdy, silent, beguiling woman called Yasha traveled with them. Something about her, either her eyes or her silhouette, made his brain burn with confusion.
Lucien closed his eyes as the snow continued to fall around him. They had emerged from A5 unscathed, with the unbelievably heavy and unwieldy threshold crest strapped to Zoran's back. He was slow-moving with it, and as soon as they cleared the ruins, they marched to a low rise of hills, settling behind them to make camp. A thin line of gray smoke marked their position. Lucien turned away from it, snowflakes settling on his eyelashes and horns, and in his hair. The cold had ceased to bother him. The wind tugged at his thick leather coat, but he stood firm, eyes fixed on the swirl of snow over the ice fields. Somewhere out there, the Mighty Nein were stalking them.
He tried to take pity. After all, they had seemed stunned at the sight of him. It must be difficult to see their friend's body alive, inhabited by a person they did not know or like. It was that shock, he decided, that had spared them all a confrontation. For the moment, anyway.
Reprinted from Critical Role: The Mighty Nein—The Nine Eyes of Lucien by Madeleine Roux and Critical Role. Copyright © 2022 by Gilmore's Glorious Goods LLC. Published by Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.0comments