Critical Role: Yasha (2019)
“I feel like I’m either very unlucky or cursed. And I don’t believe in luck.”
It's not very often I get the urge to make a box for a character from a series I've never seen/read/played before, but I clearly have a type, so I decided I needed to make a Yasha box.
I started out getting information about her from various places, including friends who DID watch Critical Role (I thank you all for your service and for answering my ridiculous questions) and then I got to work. I had a specific color scheme and plan in my head - for one, I wanted to use mainly flowers instead of an even mix of flowers and herbs, and I wanted to really lean heavily on the storm imagery.
I struggled finding a focal point for the box for a while, and I'd finally decided on hunting down an Astrophyllite tower when I happened upon something even cooler: a mineral called Arfvedsonite, which is very similar in appearance and composition to Astrophyllite but with a blue sheen instead of a gold one. I found a sphere with the most amazing lightning-like flashes, and I really love the way it looks in the box. It conjures the image of a stormy sky, filled with turmoil and chaos.
I first chose it for looks, obviously, but when I investigated its meaning I was surprised how well it fit Yasha! It’s meant to help soothe deep sadness and emotional turmoil, and assist with moving forward and imagining a future after dealing with emotional pain, grief, and loss. it also helps people who have trouble communicating with others, encouraging them to speak clearly and be able to share their feelings truthfully and accurately. Lastly, it helps make major life changes easier, and can help when your life takes you in new and scary directions.
The sphere also contains almandine garnet and pyrite. Almandine garnet (aka Eudialyte) can help a person let go of the belief that they are unable to avoid suffering or hardship, is used to dispel anger, negativity and guilt, and also assists with processing the difficult end of a relationship and letting go peacefully. Pyrite is a stone for protectors, and helps increase both strength and self-worth, overcome feelings of inadequacy and help reach one's true potential.
Next, I collected some smaller crystals for the box. From the beginning, I knew I wanted some Iolite in the box as it reminded me of Yasha as soon as I read about her. It's a stone that helps wanderers and travelers with navigation, and helps with finding your path when you're lost, literally or figuratively.
There's also a baby blue chunk of celestite, a tumbled piece of gold sheen obsidian, a small purple amethyst tower, and a faceted blood red garnet. Celestite, as its name suggests, is connected to the celestial, which I thought was a good match for Yasha (lol). It represents gentleness, softness, connection with the divine, and helps nerves when talking to others. Gold sheen obsidian is a stone of protection -but also gentleness, which I thought fit well. It's good at shielding from negative energy and evil influences, and lets us shed our negative perceptions and grief slowly while bringing comfort. It also helps to stop us from self-sabotaging.
Garnet, in my practice, represents the heart. It means commitment, devotion, and trust. It helps you to remember things you've forgotten, and helps control self-directed negativity and anger.
Amethyst is traditionally a stone of protection, which does fit, but it also facilitates confidence and calm and banishes anxiety, helping you to form bonds with others and better communicate with them.
The potions are a bit different for Yasha than my normal process, because I really wanted to try as hard as I could to use almost ALL flowers. Normally I use a mix of about 50/50 flowers and herbs, with the occasional other materials, but I wanted to make them full of flowery goodness this time. It took a bit longer and I had to source a ton of flowers from all over the place, but it was totally worth it, in my opinion.
There are 7 potions, labeled on the bottom with their corresponding number. The first potion in the first picture (#1) represents devotion and love. I wanted to make something that really showed Yasha's devotion to Zuala and her love for her wife, because I definitely cried about it and needed everyone else to do it too. The potion contains dogwood, lavender and sunflower for devotion, delphinium for commitment and yarrow for eternal love. It is sealed with silver wax and stamped with a sunflower in black.
The second potion (#2) represents the other end of devotion- faith and duty. I felt like devotion was the best word for both of them, because Yasha is very devoted to the Stormlord, but her sense of duty and faith is a different kind of devotion. This one contains amaranth and rosemary for faith and loyalty, and peach rose petals and bluebell for gratitude to the Stormlord for pulling her out of "hell” and is sealed in silver wax with his symbol.
The third potion, (#3) and last in the first photo, represents the contrast between Yasha's strength and her softness. She's tall and intimidating, but she's compassionate and kind to her friends. This potion includes pink roses for gentleness, pink carnation for sweetness and kindness, vervain for tenderness, chrysanthemum for awkwardness or bluntness, and then also contains hydrangea for coldness and aggressiveness, and marigold for cruelty and rage in combat. It is sealed in black wax with a silver sunflower stamp.
In this next photo, the first potion (#4) represents grief. Yasha has had her fair share of grief, definitely, and I wanted to be sure I touched on that. There's dark red rose petals for mourning, magnolia for grief, purple hyacinth which means "Forgive me," and Zinnia for carrying the memory of an absent friend in your heart. The Zinnia is for Molly, and the hyacinth for Zuala, but the rest of the flowers I think apply to both, and also to Yasha having to leave behind parts of herself with the people (and memories) she has lost. The bottle is sealed with silver wax and a black sunflower stamp.
The second potion in this photo (#5) represents fear and doubt. I really connected with Yasha saying she thought she was cursed, or doomed to suffer. I think the pain she has gone through really affects how she interacts with others. This potion contains chamomile for adversity and rue for obsession over your mistakes (rue and chamomile can also represent feeling cursed or doomed to misfortune), plus purple heather for solitude/wanting to be alone, and agrimony and yarrow for fear, cowardice and self-doubt. Sealed with black wax and a blue eye stamp to match Yasha's blue eye.
The next one (#6) represents growth and the journey that Yasha has made so far, both literally and spiritually. It contains rose quartz for healing and mending a broken heart, yellow rose petals for friendship, and cloves for gaining friends and being made a better person by those around you. There is one clove for each member of the Mighty Nein. Sealed with black wax and a purple eye stamp, to match Yasha's purple eye.
The last potion (#7) was a late addition, but when I looked at all the rest of the potions I felt something was missing from the narrative. This last one represents contrast, but most importantly transformation - in a few ways. Obviously there's the literal: Yasha says she looked different when she woke up on the Stormlord's altar, and then there's the transformation she goes through with the Necrotic Shroud and her wings. But I wanted to draw contrasts between Yasha running from her tribe and leaving the M9 at the behest of the Stormlord; between her struggling with being a coward and being so willing to fight. I wanted to show the transformation from her being helpless to being a protector to so many - from being saved to being someone who saves others - and what had to happen for those changes to occur. It contains bay leaf and moss for strength/power and becoming a protector, cinquefoil for being saved and granted protection, mint for virtue, and labradorite for transformation. This one is also sealed with silver wax and the symbol of the Stormlord.
To tie everything in, I added a small sachet with a hand cast d20 (filled with heather and rosebuds), a small health potion, and a sword charm to represent Yasha’s greatsword. I also included a pink carnation and dogwood flower, along with one of my favorite parts of the box: a miniature leather book that contains a four-leaf clover and other pressed wildflowers. I loved Yasha and her flower collection so much I knew it had to be a part of the box as soon as I heard about it! I hand pressed and added all of the flowers, and there’s room in the second half to add more.
Finally, I painted the inside lid with a lightning storm scene to tie in all my storm references, and the bottom of the inside of the box is painted with a set of black wings and a grey rose.
Inevitably I started watching Critical Role about ¾ of the way into making this box and am a fan now, so I’m blaming my friends for this one :)