There are four of them leaned up against the wall, inactive for the moment. Veth hadn’t given a second thought to leaving them out - they’re a work in progress, and storing them for just a day would be a pain. Besides, they look so normal to her, after tinkering away at them for months on end. Just another feature of the house, nothing remarkable. But as soon as the others teleport in, there’s a collective gasp as they take in the sight.
“Ohmygosh,” Jester squeaks. “Who are your friends?”
“Oh,” Caleb says with interest. “This must be the, ah, project you were telling me about.”
Essek narrows his eyes, leaning closer as the recognition crosses his face. “Are these…?”
They are. The wizards’ most recent foray into Aeor had been very productive, and Caleb had turned up on her doorstep the following week with several amber shards full of mechanical parts.
“I, ah…” he had said with a teasing grin. “I remember that you were… fond, perhaps, of our construct friend. These are yours to noodle with, if you would like to see what you can make of them.”
What she could make of them, as it turns out, were these four little… well, creatures doesn’t seem like quite the right word. Four little constructs, each just about a head shorter than Veth herself. They’re switched off, now, until she can find a more stable power source - but turned on, they have just enough consciousness to help with little tasks around the house. The little one can wash the dishes. The one with the round head knows how to work the oven (though, as she and the neighbors had found out a few weeks ago, should not yet be left alone with it). The newest one is good for patching up some of Luc’s cuts and scrapes. The other one mostly just beeps.
“They can do things?” Jester shrieks once Veth has relayed the information. “Oh my gosh, can you wake them up? Please, they’re so cute, I want to meet them!”
With a few switches flipped and wires connected, four sets of wide, blue eyes flicker with light. Jester gasps with delight as they begin to roll about the room, following the round-headed one with wide-eyed glee.
“This is… impressive,” Essek admits. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
Veth waves a hand. “Sure, yeah. They’re coming along pretty well, but I’m pretty sure I can make them do way more than this. Check back in three months, if you want to see something really impressive.”
For one, she’s sure that the Aeorian parts mean that these constructs are capable of just as much consciousness as Devexian was. Already, they can recognize simple commands and remember rudimentary instructions and designations. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to fully access their fancy little robot brains.
“What are their names?” Jester asks. She’s followed her construct of choice into a corner, where it has set about knocking repeatedly into a cabinet. Veth makes a mental note to fiddle with the navigation system.
“I don’t know. One through Four?” She shrugs. “I never thought about it.”
Jester’s eyes go wide as saucers. “But they have to have names! Veth, you have to name them!”
Veth squints at the constructs. They don’t exactly have much personality, yet. Definitely more on the Charlie side of the spectrum than anywhere near Devexian.
“I don’t know,” she says. “Maybe we should wait a while, see what they’re like when they’re properly finished.”
Jester pouts. “But Veth,” she whines. “They’re awake now; you can’t just make them live without names!”
Veth sighs, scanning the room for anything that might make a good name. Kettle? Workbench? Jar of buttons? Her eyes drift to the window. Outside, Yeza is hard at work in the garden. He’s moved on to the flowerbed, by now, but she knows he’s just finished with the lawn by the sharp scent of…
“Fresh cut grass,” she says. When Jester doesn’t object, she points to the newest construct. “That’s you. Fresh Cut Grass.”
The automaton’s eyes flash, the only indication that it understands. Jester claps her hands excitedly. Taking it as a sign of approval, Veth looks to the others.
“Caleb, what’s your favorite smell?”
Caleb’s eyebrows raise in surprise as the metaphorical spotlight turns to him, all eyes watching him expectantly.
“Oh, ah…” He looks from Veth to the others, then to the collection of automatons. “Apple pie?”
Veth levels a finger at the smallest construct. “Apple Pie. That’s you. Got that?” The eyes flash. She turns to the others. “Jester, what about you?”
Jester looks stricken. “Oh my gosh. There are so many, though!”
Caduceus blinks placidly down at her. “You seemed to enjoy the oatmeal, this morning.”
Jester gasps, recalling the breakfast the Clays had treated them to before the Nein had left for Nicodranas. “Definitely.” She nods solemnly. “Totally oatmeal, for now.”
Veth nods to the one with the round head. “Oatmeal. That’s you, buddy.”
“You know, I think my favorite smell is the ocean breeze,” Fjord volunteers, peering wistfully out the window. “There’s so much freedom to it. The salt air, the wood of the ships...”
“The bird shit,” Kingsley supplies helpfully.
Fjord ignores him. “There’s just such a sense of adventure and nature and… just the chance to go wherever you choose, in control of your own destiny.”
Veth folds her hands politely. “That’s lovely, Fjord, but that’s a terrible name,” she chirps, and turns to Yasha as Fjord splutters a wordless, indignant reply. “Yasha, favorite smell?”
Yasha mouths ‘me?’ in surprise, then takes a moment to stare into the middle distance, deep in thought. Then, at last struck by the answer, her face lights up.
"Should we be letting her do this?" Veth overhears Essek murmuring to Caleb later that evening. "They have not fully developed their consciousness yet, it seems. If they are truly like children, that is hardly-" he grimaces uncomfortably- "appropriate."
Caleb shrugs, watching Oatmeal roll in little circles as Jester attempts to straighten its wheel. "If it ever asks, we will say that it was named after my cats."
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tickletober day 26/nope: screech
scampering in under the deadline on this one like Veth Brenatto herself dodging a trap, true character immersion right here
Caleb likes having Nott on his shoulders, maybe even more than he likes having Frumpkin there - she is a little bigger, and a little warmer, and a little more dangerously precious to him in the moments where he is willing to admit such things to himself.
(He will have to leave her eventually, if he is to accomplish his goals. He knows. He knows.)
“Hey,” Nott says. He can feel her sharp chin moving against the top of his head. “You’ve got that look in your eyes, what’s up?”
“You cannot see my eyes,” he responds automatically, just in time for Nott to clamber properly onto his shoulders and lean right into his face. “Ah.”
“Well, now I can!” she chirps, smiling at him through jagged teeth. “Not that I need to, to tell when you’re thinking too much - your head gets warmer.”
Caleb almost laughs. “Nein, it does not, that just happens when you are perched up there.”
“Yes, it does! Your ears go all red, and your neck goes all twitchy-”
“Pssst,” he huffs, but he can’t help smiling back at her, and she cackles in approval as she flops back down and kicks her feet out in front of the both of them.
“There, all better,” she declares, hugging his head as if it is her very own Kätzchen. It's very sweet.
He casts his attention about for anything to focus on aside from his reddening cheeks and finds a loose bandage dangling from Nott’s left foot, brushing lightly against the frayed collar of his coat. Perfect. He can make himself useful, at least.
He hums to himself, tugging lightly at it before pulling it taut and tucking it back under itself against the bottom of her sole-
There's a screech, and then Nott is just. Gone.
It takes him a second, after the lightning-strike of panic. She is not on his shoulders, but he is still holding her bandage, and - and -
Ah. He squats next to the little goblin puddle sprawled next to one of his boots. “Nott the Brave? Are you all right?”
Said brave crusader attaches herself grumpily to his leg, pointedly scrubbing the grime of the road onto him. “Tickling,” she hisses, “is rude.”
Nott definitely cannot see him, and that is the only reason he allows himself to laugh delightedly enough that he can barely stifle it against his hand. “Oh, your feet are ticklish?”
She grumbles louder. “Yes - no, shit - of all the fucking things to keep-”
“Nothing! Nothing.” Nott pries her face up and pokes threateningly at his knee. “I bet you’re ticklish, aren’t you. You’re already so... nervy.”
He knows better than to dignify that with a response, but if he adjusts his scarf defensively before helping her back up, well-
One can only have so much dignity, around friends.
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caleb & veth moments 🔥🏹
here’s a list of some of my favourite caleb and nott/veth moments from campaign 2 of critical role, with linked timestamps. these do not include ones which were already covered in hla rose’s compilation. enjoy!
episode 2 - “down, you beast!”
2 - “let me see your teeth”
3 - caleb squeezes her cheeks
4 - shielding nott
4 - ‘I scoop her up’
6 - distracting thaddeus
8 - checking in with each other
8 - 60 gold
8 - “that’s not exactly what it is”
8 - “you are adorably fucking wrong right now”
9 - transcribing a spell together
10 - thieves’ cant
11 - “so he can save me” until “I need him. I need him to live.”
11 - “come to bed,”
12 - mother’s love
12 - enemy of my enemy “seems extreme” (again)
12 - “we’re either a team, or you’re working for yourselves. decide”
12 - stealing the scrolls
13 - “people find my teeth off-putting sometimes”
13 - nott sleeping against caleb’s thigh
14 - molly is nasty to nott / caleb steps in
15 - nott casts featherfall / caleb is ‘thoroughly impressed’
16 - “take my ring”
19 - “with all due respect, she is smarter than that”
19 - “I will go with you”
19 - cherry wine
19 - “the door is always open for you”
20 - “that means a lot to me”
21 - “bren” (caleb stares at nott for 50 seconds straight) - again - and again!
23 - “yeza was his name”
26 - “well done, nott. well done”
28 - be very quiet
31 - an agreement
46 - buddy system
46 - “I won’t stop thinking about you”
52 - fireline
57 - the group jokes about nott and yeza / caleb zones
65 - do you want my vulture?
65 - flying around the tree (for 1 entire hour)
66 - kiss for frumpkin
71 - pink flowers
76 - celebrate later
76 - invisible conversation
85 - reasons for the crush
85 - “come with me.”
90 - “lucky man” until insight check
91 - stay with us for a while
102 - did you see that spell?
102 - enlarge veth
102 - scalding - caleb gives her the driftglobe
103 - hop hop hop
103 - conversation in the programmed illusion dome
106 - veth amulet
108 - “caleb do you want to come dance?”
108 - ‘I dance veth joyously over to the bar’
108 - “our home” - “I need you” - teleport commute
110 - “one: I need veth” - “maybe on another night”
111 - Veth’s tower suite - “and you are my best friend” - name banter
114 - Hello Birdie - two hot cocoas
115 - cat’s ire sled (“Join me?” “Yes!”)
116 - frumpkin in veth’s hood - “go with veth”
117 - The Magician and The Tinker
119 - veth gets swallowed - liam is Stressed
121 - feeling guilty - “I love you”
125 - I care for him very much
126 - projection
128 - bring it in bubby - shellshocked (cuddling distance) - caleb gives luc some gifts
130 - five hundred if you have it - too steep
131 - “one more time. are you sure?”
132 - crawl space - message - “I don’t want you to go alone” - spider-caleb plays with veth’s hair
133 - arm squeeze
134 - “HEY YOU GET AWAY FROM MY... FRIEND” (true love’s hdywtdt)
135 - “are you being careful?”
139 - sharing a beat - liam mad
141 - caleb’s produce flame
141 - “I’ll take you anywhere you want to go, Veth Brenatto” (as his godfather)
141 - goodbyes
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