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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Eternal Ice - Chapter 15



The Battle of Kjeldor.


Chapter 15 - The Dead Don't Rest

The last armed conflict of the Ice Age is known by several different names. It was called Lim-Dûl's Battle in a few references of the conflict, mostly from the west where the necromancer was the better known of the combatants. Most of the respectable histories call it the Battle of Kjeldor, for it was on this particular conflict that the future of Kjeldor hinged.

One interesting variant name from a southern report of the battle called it the Battle of the Planeswalker's Proxies. This version puts forth the idea that both armies were little more than the toys for the powerful figures Freyalise and Leshrac, and the loss of life and what followed was nothing except one more game in the great cosmic chess match between these great forces.

This is of course moongathering of the highest order. While
Lim-Dûl did trace a great deal of his power from Leshrac, there was no contemporary account from either the Kjeldorans or Balduvians that put Freyalise at the site of the battle.

Indeed, Freyalise's actions on the day of the battle are probably the second best known in Terisiare, right behind the devastation of Argoth itself.  Why would she concern herself with a mere mortal war when she had more important things to accomplish?

Indeed, argue proponents of this idea, that's exactly the point. The entire battle, indeed the entire war, was to keep Leshrac engaged with other matters through his proxy
Lim-Dûl until it was too late for him to do anything about Freyalise's plan. The entire war in the north was not the result of Lim-Dûl, with Leshrac as his patron, but rather the careful eons-long planning of Freyalise.

As an historian, I see this purely as the inborn desire for individuals to make events, even important events, bigger than they truly were. Putting both planewalkers at his climactic battle would be the icing on the cake, what would be necessary to make this the truly legendary battle that, even without their presence, it was.

It is an interesting fancy that Leshrac or Freyalise would take interest in this particular gathering of mortals at this time. but that is all it is - a fancy.


-Arkol, Argivian Scholar

(So it is Freyalise that is the master pupeteer. More on this later.)

Freyalise floats cross-legged in the air, with a green cloud of power radiating from the planeswalker, dressed in an archaic padded armor of the like he hadn't seen in centuries. By magic or otherwise, no one else approaches as Freyalise, Jodah, and Jaya speak.

They greet one another and Freyalise gets straight to the point. Jodah is better, and no longer out of his mind or dead thanks to her intervention. Intervention provided due to the promise made on his behalf by Jaya. And no, Jodah's giving access to his libraries on Lat-Nam do not qualify as payment.

Freyalise looks to Jaya to reveal the price, and guilt-ridden Jaya replies. She tells him the price is his mirror .

Jaya cries out that she had no choice, and that she should have told him sooner, and that she didn't know what else to do. He was dying.

Jodah suppresses his anger and gently embraces Jaya in his arms.

"It's all right," he said softly. "Never regret. If you regret too much, you go mad."

Jodah turns to Freyalise and tells her that the mirror won't work for her, and the planeswalker only laughs. She isn't going to use it for something so primitive as to see the true nature of herself. Despite Jodah's own pleas to postpone payment on the fact that the mirror could provide a key advantage in deciding the future of an entire nation, Freyalise tells him that she has her own schedule to keep, something far more important than any nation.

When she's finished with it, and if he survives the conflict with Lim-Dûl, then he can have it back. In fact she will contact him one last time after this is all over, and she will show him something he will want to see.

"One more gift before I leave. From me to you, for all the old times. No strings attached. Remeber, Jodah, the dead don't rest. Neither should you."

The planeswalker vanishes, and Jaya promises she'll help him get the mirror back, but the import of Freyalise's words dawn on the archmage and he runs back towards camp.

The dead don't rest .

The skyknights return to give warning before Jodah can. Lim-Dûl's armies will arrive at dawn.


...Dawn...

Lim-Dûl's forces spilled forth like a mass of maggots from a rotting corpse. Kjeldorans and Balduvians clashed with zombies and skeletons alike, with Jodah and half the mages watching over the front lines, Gustha and the other mages watching over the barbarians on the left side, and Jaya with the barbarians on the right flank. Varchild went where she was needed to shore up defenses and boost morale through her presence.

Although tempting to fling spells at the undead targets, Jodah knew what Lim-Dûl's strategy would be. His army vastly outnumbered their own, and these first waves would simply be used to prod at the alliance and wear out the mages if possible. And so Jodah and the others hold their spells back.

The first wave is dealt with hand to hand, and soon a wall of fire feeding upon the corpses of the undead bars the way, but Lim-Dûl compells his army forward, and a second wave commences and in turn, is quickly turned back.

And still, Jodah knows the real assault is to come.

A new assault comes from up above, and the screech of abyssal specters fill the sky. The ghostly mounts swoop in low and mages cave in to the taunt and launch their spells into the sky. And despite the successful kill of one or two, Jodah knows Lim-Dûl would count the attack as a success as many more spells miss their marks.

The specters retreat as the skyknights fly out to meet them, and this too goes in Lim-Dûl's favor. Half the knights ignore the call to return, and as they near a small black hill in the distance, a great fireball lights up the sky and the pursuing skyknights are no more.

Lim-Dûl is here.

The black hill was his mount. He rode a great step-pyramid, a ziggurat crafted of black wood and carried by a hundred undead slaves. It was a constructed mountain, and at its apex rode Lim-Dûl, beneath a great black canopy. Though not in range of any spell the archmage had, Jodah saw the huge armored form of Chaeska the Keeper one step down, all in black save for a reddish sleeve along one arm, the arm that Jodah had severed. Another figure, dressed in Kjeldoran armor, stood one step below the keeper. Avarm Garrison, leader of the traitorous Knights of Stromgald.

The real assault began.

These undead weren't the worn and battered undead of the first assaults. These were more finely formed zombies and more polished skeletons that withstood more than a few blows.

Their lines buckle and Varchild and Jodah ride out to keep the army from breaking. Jodah curses at himself for each minor healing he performs that drains him of precious mana that he knows he will need for later.

Ashen ghouls attack while Jodah is amongst the Order of the Sacred Torch. Their leader used to be a man named Klausson, and is now instead one one of the ghouls with short lengths of chains attached to iron balls implanted where his eyes used to be. Jodah lights him up, and leaves Klazina Jansdotter to lead the Order of the Sacred Torch to finish repelling the assault as he rides on looking for where else he is needed, and as he wonders how Jaya fares.


...Jaya Ballard...

The barbarians weren't as easily cowed by Lim-Dûl's terror tactics. In fact they delighted in the fact that there were Kjeldorans before them, albeit undead, that they could kill with impunity. Taking Jodah's words to heart, she holds back with her spells, and instead charges with the barbarians with runesword drawn.

The latest wave of skeletons is lead by one of Stromgald's cabal . Jaya watches at its great axe cuts down a barbarian and she rushes to meet it, only to stumble as she recognizes the traitor.

"Hello, Jaya," said Belenda Danisdotter, still wearing the skyknight armor that Jaya had last seen her in. Her face was gray, and the flesh had been torn away at both cheeks, hanging like pennants along her jawbone. her eyes were dead things.

Belenda tires to sooth her with words while striking out with her weapon. Jaya is on the wrong side. She will see. Lim-Dûl will care for her, he will care for everyone. That's all he wants. She should join them. She will join them.

Jaya knows pitting former allies against the living is one of Lim-Dûl's most basic tactics, and yet it works on her anyway. She clashes with her former friend in a frenzied melee , yet finds it hard to swing a killing blow at her former friend. But in the end, with tears in her eyes, Jaya slams her sword through her friend's chest and twists it to create a gapping hole.

Belenda glances down as her insides fall out, and with a flash of recognition, she utters, "Thank you," before Jaya cuts off her head.

Jaya ignores the battle around her until Lovisa Coldeyes snaps her out of her daze. Jaya realizes all of Belenda's forces have fallen, and that the barbarians are charging towards the necromancer and not holding the line. Jaya cries out that they're supposed to wait for the signal, but Lovisa only shakes her head.

"You might as well argue with an avalanche as call off a charge by my tribesmen. The best we can do is ride it out."

Lovisa signals the charge, ready to take Lim-Dûl's head and earn her cask of ale.


...Gustha Ebbasdotter...

Gustha screamed. She screamed at the barbarians to hold. She screamed at her mages as they wasted their energy. And she screamed at herself as spells flew from her own fingertips, each one seeming as necessary as the last. A wall of ice to shore of defenses, illusionary forces to distract reinforcements, and searing mist sent amongst her enemies all spring forth from her on instinct.

Then a large boom destroys part of her line nearby, and Gustha watches as the undead march forward in an endless wave. She sees firsthand the endless ranks the necromancer posesses as body after body marches forward simply to fill the crater so more behind and walk upon their undead bodies and resume the attack.

Then a voice calls out her name. Avram Garrisson.

He calls her traitor for siding with the barbarians, and Gustha throws one, two, then three arrows of ice at him. And although the third makes him stagger, the fourth simply bounces off him as the pendant around his chest glows.

Avram scoffs at her attack and tells her that her petty magics cannot stop him. She'll be joining their army soon.

"I'm sure we have a position for you," he said, his smile becoming even wider as he toed the half-shattered skull of one of the zombies at his feet. "As filler if nothing else."

In a rage, Gustha unleashes spell after spell at the undead general that forces him to stagger back. His pendant shatters and still the mage does not relent . As the dust clears, there is nothing left where Avram Garrisson used to be.

Yet despite her victory, Gustha realizes the cost was too high. Her mana is gone.

The lake of corpses begins to ripple as they undead bodies begin to climb out, and Gustha releases one final scream as a wave of undead falls upon her.


...Jodah, Archmage...

Varchild yells at Jodah that they must give the order to advance. Jodah says it's too soon, but Varchild points out that the barbarians have already charged on ahead. They have no choice.

Jodah realizes the truth of it and gives the signal to the mages under his command to finally prepare their spells. Their job is to protect the army from the worst of Lim-Dûl's spells while the central vanguard advances.

Atop a rise, Jodah sees that the barbarians have gotten surrounded, and Varchild has already taken the Hipparion Cavalry to aid the forces by the crater. The help must come from him.

Jodah cursed and reached into his mind, to a new spell recently mastered. He thought of the research he did on Kjeldor's histories. He thought of the legend of the Arctic Fox , a warrior who outshone even Marton Stromgald. He thought of the legendary lost unit , which disappeared into the mists when Stromgald had met his end.

He combined those memories with the power of shining mana withing him, and he brought them all to life .


...Jaya Ballard...

Down to her last spells, all Jaya can think to do is try to reach Lovisa Coldeyes . The battle has devolved to individual skirmishes, and the dead of their allies are already beginning to rise. Hope may soon be lost.

Then Jaya hears horns in the air. Mystical horns.

Mounted ghostly knights appear, and attack Lim-Dûl's forces. Jaya recognizes the banner as those of the Order of Jarkeld and realizes that despite all his warnings, even Jodah is now spending his mana, and he just did so to save her.

Jaya fights her way to Lovisa, and side by side they lead the charge and the barbarians surge forward once more.


...Jodah, Archmage...

The wards of Jodah's mages successfully defend against magical attacks, and the only deaths come from combat. The undead army is thickest here on the ground while abyssal specters and the bat-faced minions of Leshrac attack from above.

They move ever closer to Leshrac, while at the same time Jodah's mages and soldiers slowly fall one by one. There's been no word from Gustha in some time on the left, and he's lost sight of Jaya on the right. Arcum had managed to get one of his golems working, but it would soon fall as well. Lovisa and Varchild's units were the closest to reaching Lim-Dûl's pyramid, but time was running out.

A flash to the right distracts Jodah for but a moment, and the summoned Order of Jarkeld vanishes from the battlefield. The giant fireball that created the explosion landed where Jaya should have been, but there's no time to dwell on that as a group of moor fiends led by a menacing Avram Garisson atop an undead unicorn. Varchild answers his challenge and Jodah watches as she's torn from her saddle as she tries to make her way to the undead knight and watches the chaos that follows amongst her unit.

Then lava bursts from the ground killing friend and foe alike. The lava engulfs both Avaram and Varchild, and Jodah barely manages to erect defenses the following explosion wipes away everything.

As Jodah raises his head, he finds himself in a pocket of barren ground, with one lone figure standing at the base of the black pyramid.

Lim-Dûl.

The necromancer had been fully transformed. Lim-Dûl bore horns the size of a great ram's, and his shoulders were overly muscled to support them. He still wore the robes that Jodah had first met him in, and his right hand was filled with rings. The fingers of his left hand played over the rings, and he nodded at Jodah.

The archmage nodded. It was quiet here, and the noises of death and the battle seemed miles away.

"Hello, Friend Jodah," said Lim-Dûl in an offhanded way.

"Hello, necromancer," replied Jodah, pulling himself up from teh blasted ground. "Or should I call you by your real name? Should I say Hello, 'Friend' Mairsil?"

(I was right!)

* * *


Proxy War

So this whole battle is just a distraction so Freyalise can act first when it comes to the approaching plane? How exactly did she control him? It seems Leshrac, through Lim-Dûl, is just doing what he was going to do anyway.

I can accept she's using this as a part of her plan, but at this point, it's hard to see how she had an active hand in shaping these events, rather than is just taking advantage of what's going on... unless her protecting Jodah and Jaya when she did counts as this whole conflict as being all her master plan.

Well... if that's the case... and the whole thing is a distraction... then Freyalise doesn't really care who wins this battle, and it's not really so much a battle of proxies, because Jodah/Varchild/Lovisa aren't her champions, and Battle of the Planeswalker's Proxies is a misnomer.

Still... despite all I just typed, it's really a small nit-pick. I don't really know the full extent of what's planned, and Freyalise does have something to show Jodah if he survives.


The Pretender!

The Pretender as the Necromancer! Was it really necessary for Mairsil to go under a different name? The soldier Lim-Dûl was pretty much dead all alone in the middle of the snow. Who would have been alive to recognize the name Mairsil other than Jodah. But maybe that's enough considering how powerful Jodah's become in the time between when he originally died, and when he took over Lim-Dûl's body.

Although this is something that I originally expected, it's also somewhat disappointing. As much of a threat they've built Lim-Dûl up to be... I kind of now wish he was his own person, rather than just the pseudonym for someone else.

Oh well. It was necessary I suppose, when trying to shoe horn The Dark with Ice Age and Alliances in creating this trilogy.

Only three more chapters left to go!


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Monday, October 1, 2012

Returning in Two Weeks! October 15th

Setting a hard date for when the updates will return. October 15th. It's an easy date to set, because a couple days ago I was given word that the hospital I'm working at is downsizing it's staff (by a considerable amount in the area that I work at) and I'm one of the ones who's contract isn't being renewed.

So bad news for that, but that free time means I can definitely get back to the updating. Something I've wanted to return to for some time. Until then I'm going to be picking up as many sick calls as I can.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Major Problem

I can't remember the email address that I used to make all the posts here. I only just realized that mtgfiction@gmail.com is not the email address I've been using. This only has permission to create new posts, but I cannot edit any posts by the main account, which means I can't edit any of the main pages.

Need to figure out some way to know where the emails are being forwarded from...

Update: Email recovered!

I wish I could change the way this is all set up, but the main account "Anominal" is tied to several blogs that I tried writing, yet the email address listed on the profile page for that name (anominalblogs@gmail.com) isn't the one I use to sign in, nor is it the straightforward and simple mtgfiction@gmail.com. But the main log in email address forwards to the "blogs" email address (as does the mtgfiction email address which also forwards to my main personal email address)... and through that convoluted setup, I was able to use the Blogger look up feature to send me my log in information. Phew!

The day is gone, but at least I got through that major rough patch that would have killed the site had I not gotten through.

Rereading The Eternal Ice Summaries

Currently rereading my The Eternal Ice summaries so I can refresh myself with what happened, then am going to get to work.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Will Be Updating Again Soon


I'm so sorry for the long absence. It began with a spur of the moment decision to play in the World Series of Poker, something I've wanted to do at least once in my life. (Got to see David Williams at a final table, and played with Daniel Negreanu and took a pic with him if you know who that is... if you don't, he's one of the top 4 most recognizable poker players out there and an all around awesome guy.)

That transitioned into wanting to take a week off and just focus on work, which transitioned into pushing myself hard because three permanent positions opened up at the hospital. I ended up pushing myself past the exhaustion point, often doing 6 or 7 shifts a week, and needing to stop by the side of the road on my way home to take a nap because I knew if I kept going I would fall asleep at the wheel and eventually get into a major accident. (Okay, I did fall asleep at the wheel for fractions of a second at a time, with one instance being in the middle of an intersection and no remembering if I stopped at the stop sign.)

Alternating between 3 hours and 10-16 hours of sleep at time is brutal on the body.

This state of exhaustion was probably a contributing factor into placing the wrong med in one of the machines where the nurses can get easy, yet protected, access to meds for patients, which led to a delay in patient care.

I did not get fired, but could have been, and of course I felt terrible about it. I'm doing much better about not taking my body to that breaking point.

I've also in this time, taking the opportunity to take a vacation from Magic and explore other things that are out there, like finally completing the Uncharted trilogy, and playing the Walking Dead game by TellTale, and now I'm ready to get back to working on this blog.

I know I had bigger plans, but it turns out it's hard keep expand the website when working more than full time. But I do hate leaving things incomplete. At the very least I want to be able to get through the whole Weatherlight saga, up through Apocalypse. At that point I can reevaluate the situation.

Of course in the near future I do want to just finish this Ice Age trilogy! Expect updates to start again this week. The updates will still be daily once they start, up until the end of <i>The Eternal Ice</i>, but I probably won't start the next book immediately.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lateness

I'm so sorry about the lack of updates once more. I just woke up from only 18 hours of sleep this time (as opposed to the 19 hours of sleep I did last week almost exactly a week ago.) I likely can't keep up picking up so many shifts at work. I'm likely going to burn myself out.

Anyway, I have the day off today and tomorrow, and I hope to do a lot of catch up in this time. I'd like the final run of The Eternal Ice chapters be to uninterrupted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Eternal Ice - Chapter 14



War with The Necromancer.


Chapter 14 - Call to Arms

The campaign against Lim-Dul solidified young King Darien's place among the great king of his land, and elevated Varchild's name to the legendary ranks of Jarkeld and Stromgald. It is still regarded, over a thousand years later, as a classic tale of overcoming tremendous obstacles against a more powerful enemy and confronting that enemy, regardless of the personal cost.

The legends tell of the slow, measured buildup of Kjeldoran troops, of the rallies and the stockpiles necessary for battle. They speak of generating all of this for an unprecedented winter campaign, and setting out in the teeth of a blizzard, in order to find and defeat Lim-Dul. They tell of hunting the necromancer's command through the mountains until finally they met him in mortal combat.

This was a glorious time. A young king, a devoted general, and loyal allies in the form of the Balduvians, all coming together to oppose a deadly opponent that threatened everything between the Karplusan mountains and the sea.

And is it any wonder that some supplemental tales of the campaign make mention of a figure named Jodah, hanging at the periphery like a storm crow, waiting for the final battle of the Ice Age?


-Arkol, Argivian Scholar

The war did not begin well. Lim-Dul had been preparing for months, and his armies were spread far and wide and deep into the heart of Kjeld before any defense could be coordinated. What little troops they had were not enough to fight these legions that were popping up in a thousand locations at once, with each fallen soldier being added to their ranks.

The larger towns and villages were now falling. Breway to the north was put to the torch, the population of Jarka disappeared one snowy evening without a trace. A platoon of skyknights was found frozen in a great block of ice near the sacked town of Freyta. And Mikkel, a few days journey from Krov itself, was assaulted on the Feast of Kjeld, and repelled only by the devotion of its priests and some traveling druids.

The icy winds coming down from the glacier and full on winter blizzards kept the aesthirs grounded for the most part, and the homes had to be abandoned while the forces of Kjeldor were forced to let their land be overrun while taking the necessary time to train to fight a force unlike any they had ever found in the nation's thousand years of history.

As for Jodah, he spent most of the time studying both within the royal library and consulting with Gustha, as well as traveling by way of safe havens to seek out any possible information or tools that would win them the day. Although, not to forget the bigger picture, Jodah did take the time to inquire Gerda at the School of the Unseen about the results of Arcum's weather prediction machine, and was satisfied with the prompt response from his former pupil and her plea for him to return to once again lead the school.

Jaya was used as Jodah's eyes and ears to keep watch on the mood of the city, and the mood was not good. Because of the recent power vacuum within the military's ranks, many were trying to jockey for what they felt was their rightful rank and prestige.

Then the coldest part of winter passed, and the army ever so slowly began to gain ground. Jodah had discovered a Fyndhorn pig that was excellent at sniffing out the undead beneath the snow, and soon enough columns of smoke could be seen littering the sky as undead bodies burned. These small victories boosted morale and petty rivalries began to dissolve.

But while spring was approaching, the days only seemed to get colder, and the it was clear that Arcum's machine was correct... then word came from Lovisa's scouts that Lim-Dul was massing his forces for a final assault on one of Kjeld's major cities, and they did not have the numbers to be able to defend Kjeld, Krov, and Soldev all at once, so they had no choice but to mass their forces north of Krov at the base of one of the mountain passes that the undead army would be forced to travel through.

The forces of Kjeldor gathered. Skyknights patrolled the pass, and both foot and horse massed. Soldevi machinists brought with them some golems that they claimed were as deadly as the Yotian Soldiers of old... but the reality was they melted the snow around them and became hopelessly stuck in permafrost.

Jodah was afraid that Lovisa and her forces would not show, but appear they did. While not as well armed as the Kjeldorans, their numbers were vast. Warriors and shamans and even their families arrived, with all their belongings kept on wagons pulled by aurochs . Lovisa Coldeyes appeared upon a metal sled pulled by two pygmy allosaurus .

Almost immediately there was conflict between the two groups. Kjeldoran military protocol demanded that newly arrived leaders always present themselves to the commanding officer. The Balduvians saw themselves as allies, not subordinates, and waited for the Kjeldorans to visit their camp, presenting welcoming gifts. After a day of cajoling, negotiating, and near-threatening, Jodah got Varchild to agree to visit Lovisa Coldeyes' encampment, with Jodah, Jaya, and few hand-chosen captains in tow. No gifts were brought.

Generations of battle between the two peoples couldn't be completely quelled even in the face of a shared enemy, and Jodah sees the glares from the barbarian faces as they make their way to Lovisa's tent. Pale bear rugs and incense fill the tent, and Lovisa greets them from atop a throne of cedar while the lack of any other chair within forces Kjeldorans to sit on the floor.

(Will the alliance shatter simply because of this? Or will there be something more?)

Both Varchild and Lovisa remain silent, waiting for the other to speak, so Jodah opens up the talks. Lovisa pointedly questions why the king could not show up himself, and Varchild professionally explains that he is performing important work of coordinating the war effort back home, which includes ensuring they have sufficient supply lines to sustain them throughout this war.

Back and forth they prod at each other, and in the end Lovisa is satisfied that Varchild has some bite in her. They may have fought against the fallen Jarkeld, the Arctic Fox, but they also admired his faith in his men.

"Jarkeld was a great warrior," agreed Jodah. Varchild said nothing.

"So your king," said Lovisa , "he has been planning for this battle. What does he think we should do?"

Varchild spoke sternly, as if to a child, "As you said, Lim-Dul outnumbers even our combined armies. The plan is to bottle him up and only let him fight with part of that army. That is why we are at the base of the pass. We will stop him here, bringing as many troops as we can in a larger arc around his forces. It will be heavy cutting, but we should be able to break his lines."

Lovisa ignores her tone and focuses on the important part, the plan itself, and nods in agreement.

Varchild remained intense, but her tone softened slightly. "The plan is to put the main body of wizards behind the center of our line, and use them, along with that body, to punch a hole in Lim-Dul's center, both dividing his troops and allowing us to reach Lim-Dul himself."

If they can take out Lim-Dul himself or force him to flee, the mindless army will be easily wiped out.

Lovisa says the plan is worthy of a Balduvian, and then adds that she must have left out that the Balduvians will of course be placed at the center lines protecting the spellcasters, and that's when another argument breaks out. Varchild yells that trained soldiers need to hold the center, not primitive rabble, and they'll instead be assigned to the flanks to contains Lim-Dul's forces. Lovisa defends the Balduvian's battle prowess by citing their effectiveness against Kjeldorans in the past. Jodah interrupts and scolds Varchild for attempting to order her ally so, and appeals to Lovisa by telling her that Balduvian's are more adept at maneuvering through the snow, and she shouldn't allow her pride to topple a plan that she clearly agrees to.

Lovisa tells Jodah that she will hold to her part of the plan, but he'll find that her forces will be the ones to reach Lim-Dul first. Varchild contests that claim, and so Lovisa lays down a wager of a white stallion versus a keg of her people's finest wine when they find out who is right.

The talk soon ends and Jodah, Jaya, and the Kjeldorans make their way back to their camp. Jaya tells Jodah that she wants to stay behind to weigh out Lovisa's mood, but Jodah tells her that style of pomp and bluster is the Balduvian way. It's Varchild he's more concerned about.

Jodah tries to talk to the general, but he's interrupted by Gustha with a message that Arcum Daggson needs to talk with him immediately. Jodah nods for Jaya to follow after Varchild while he takes care of this new matter.

Within Arcum's tent, the machinist tells Jodah that the new data that he provided from his school has only confirmed his readings. The days will only get colder, and even if they win out against the necromancer, they will still lose.

"At least we know of the danger," said Jodah.

"Is it a danger any of us can deal with?" questioned Gustha.

"There may be more at work here than just the ice," replied Jodah. "There are greater forces abroad in the land." He thought of the planeswalkers and wondered if any of them were involved.

Then on cue, a feeling... a need... for Jodah to be elsewhere appears within his inner most being. Freyalise demands an audience with him. Jaya tells the two that he has to leave, and while he knows he cannot completely ignore the call, he looks around for Jaya and hopes he can find her before he finally answers.

(Oh? Why does he need to talk to Jaya first?)


...Outside Varchild's tent...

Jaya hears what sounds like furniture being knocked over and walks inside and asks the general if she can help. Varchild understands that Jaya has been sent by her master her keep her from doing anything stupid, and Jaya doesn't deny it. And so the task mage gets straight to the point and asks the general if she can win without the aid of the Balduvians as allies.

Varchild knows it's not so, but she recognizes the sentiment from Jaya as one coming from city-folk. That all arguments can be solved if everyone just sits down an talks. She then tells Jaya that she grew up in the hinters and lost family to barbarian raids. She's lost people to the undead as well, but out in the hinters they're viewed as a force of nature whereas the barbarians know exactly what they're doing. She became a knight and trained all her life to kill barbarians, and now she has to fight along side them.

When asked why she didn't join with Garrison if she hates the Balduvians as must as she does, Varchild explains that there was more to the words that Garrison was preaching. When she first arrived in Krov, she quickly learned to hide her accent because of the bias against those not from the city. When Garrison spoke of "Kjeld for Kjeldorans," he really meant "Kjeld for the city folks."

She carries on because the king trusts her and put his faith in her and she refuses to let him down. But that doesn't mean that Garrison was wrong about the threat that the barbarians pose to their nation.

Jaya is ready to argue the point when a summoning settles within her. A wind picks up around her as she leaves the tent. A warm wind. Jodah runs up to her and together they move to a hill to the south, and waiting for them is a cross-legged Freyalise floating in the air.

(Wait... what was he going to tell Jaya! He didn't say anything!)

"It's about time you responded," said Freyalise. "I am glad you could make it. It is now time for bargains to be fulfilled."

* * *


The Alliance

Even though Mairsil the Pretender was defeated in Book One, I kind of thought that Lim-Dul would last through the end of the trilogy. Looks like that probably will not be the case. The coming battle is being described as the final battle after all.

After all that hype... all that playing possum and deception and infiltration within the military's ranks... the beginning of his downfall began with some pigs.

And looks like the Balduvians and Kjeldorans will be done with each other the second that the battle is over. It makes sense if it does happen that way, but I was hoping for some big event to trigger it. Some form of dishonor or perceived betrayal. That very well may still happen, but I'm not sure that it will at this point.


The War

This war is already over! And it only just began in this chapter. If this book was longer, I'm sure Grubb would have liked to added in more details about specific skirmishes and battles, but space is limited, and he already wrote his war novel with The Brothers' War. This book is about how humanity has changed to survive the Ice Age and about the planeswalkers and the evolution of Jodah from clueless student to confident Archmage Eternal. The details of war have to take a back seat.


The Call

What an inconvenient time for Freyalise to butt in to events... but of course that's also the best time for things to happen story-wise. Will we get answers as to what's happening with the weather? Will we find out who is pulling Leshrac's strings?


The Phrase

We've finally hit my first instance within this book where I felt like Grubb was breaking the fourth wall.

"The archmage sent you," spat the young general. "To make sure I don't do anything foolish!"

"Pretty much," said Jaya. "But I also came on my own. You saved my proverbial bacon, and the king's by listening to me when I warned you of the assassination attempt. I thought I might be able to help."

"Saved my bacon?" Really? I know that pigs were at least mentioned within this chapter, possibly as a way to help make that phrase feel in place within this world, but it just doesn't work for me, and it easily could have been replaced in any number of ways.


Finally... Update Later Today

How exhausted have I been from working so many shifts on so little sleep? Apparently exhausted to the point that I just slept for 19 hours.

I'm fully rested now, and will work on an update for today, as well as get started on the first Magic anthology that I'm going to cover The Colors of Magic, which will be up on Saturday.

Friend of Blog VoyagerOrchid says:

I'm impressed you found Shattered Alliance. That's a rare book now.

It's been a lot of constant eBay watching and searching through amazon to acquire what I have. In the Teeth of Akoum seems to be the hardest book to find, from my experience. The Shattered Alliance was noticably harder than others, as well as Legends Cycle I and 1st Editions of The Brothers' War. And naturally, the older the books, the harder it is to find in excellent conditions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One More Delay and Spending

Sorry... I thought it was going to be my day off, but I ended up picking up another shift (and only had less than two hours of sleep before going back to work.)

Obviously as soon as I got home I pretty much went straight to bed. In response to mentioning that I've likely spent at least 1k on MTG fiction related products in the past years, Friend of the Blog Jasper Lawrence says:

Huh, that's a lot of money.

I've avoided looking at the actual numbers, knowing that I've been spending tons, but why not try to add some of it up?


Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored Fat Packs: $125
Artifacts Cycle I & II Omnibuses: $21
Dragons: Worlds Afire: $4
Legends Cycle I (Johan, Jedit, Hazezon): $37
In the Teeth of Akoum: $40
The Brothers' War (hardcover): $20
The Brothers' War (1st edition): $20
Lot of 22 MTG books: $58
The Purifying Fire: $9
The Purifying Fire Vol 1 (manga): $31
Rath and Storm: $18
Mirrodin Trilogy: $21
Alaran Unbroken: $37
Test of Metal: $8
Test of Metal (Accidental 2nd copy): $8
Coldsnap Player's Guide: $11
MTG Players Guide lot (x2 lots): $55
Helvault Display (from Pre-reelase): 
34 issues of the Duelist: ~$248 (Ranging from $4-$20 each sealed/opened, with a conservative estimate at 8 each)
Duplicate Issues of the Duelist won through multiple auction lots: ~150 (conservative estimate again)
MTG Comic: $40 (for every cover of issues 1-3 through ebay and the digital versions)
Path of the Planeswalker 1 and 2: $20
Ice Age Trilogy: $55

BAM!

$1,000 right there. That's with conservative estimates, and not including a bunch of comic lots I've bought for the older comics, MTG encyclopedias, the various MTG video games, an assortment of booklets and booster boxes, and much more.

Now that I've added it all up, I've likely spend closer to $2,000 thanks to starting up this site, and I'm still looking to complete my collection of all the duelist magazines (sealed if possible), as well as upgrading the condition of some of the books I have.

And yes, I've spent a  lot on books that I very highly do not recommend that people read, but I can't help it. I activated the collector and completionist in me by starting this. I've also come across things that would only interest collectors like discovering that the 1st edition of Test of Metal comes with a glossy cover, while the 2nd edition is matte, and the 1st edition of The Brothers' War has a blue Magic logo from the cards, while later editions have the orange logo that is Wizards preferred logo color.

So I know updates have been non-existent this past week, but I'm pretty committed to this site.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dropping the Ball and Mother's Day

Sorry for the lack of updates... that's what happens when I exhaust myself with lack of sleep all week, so I pass out at 7pm on Friday night, only to wake up at 4am and end up picking up a double-shift when it was supposed to be my day off.

That's a lot of overtime money that I can't resist. Some of which I'll probably end up spending on this blog. As a rough estimate, I've probably spent at least $1000 this past year buying up all the novels, duelist magazines, and other miscellaneous stuff that I want to put up here.

Also, today is Mother's Day. Gotta spend some time with the woman who brought me into the world.

Good news? Pro Tour Avacyn Restored was awesome. And I have a day off tomorrow where I should be able to get back into the swing of things.