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Monday, January 2, 2012

The Brothers' War - Chapter 21

Urza or Mishra? Loran must decide.

Chapter 21 - Ivory Towers

It took much longer than expected, but Loran, Scholar of Argive, has finally arrived in Terisia City.

It's a city full of scholars, roofs of glass, and towers of ivory . Loran was one of the few that expressed concern about putting all their faith behind Urza for protection, and her doubts were met with indifference and scorn. So when invited by the archimandrite herself to come to Terisia, she accepted.

She's greeted at the gates by a bearded bear of a man who walks with limp. He guesses her identity by her accent and introduces himself as Feldon . He tells her was walking to see the arhimandrite himself anyway and so will be happy to show her the way. He's a scholar himself and spent his time studying the glaciers by Ronom lake. It was the discovery of the cane he uses and the strange glyphs written on them that got him to travel here to explore the Terisia libraries. It was through studying the cane that he found himself becoming an expert in languages as well, because he wanted to understand research written in their original languages.

The two eventually arrive at the archimandrite's chambers, and the graceful woman greets her and introduces her to the others by the table at the far end of the room. There's a rotund man Drafna and his tattooed wife Hurkyl , co-founders of the current incarnation of the School of Lat-Nam.

They all have a seat and Loran hands over what knowledge the Argivians have of Tocasia's work, but she tells them that the one meeting she had with Urza didn't lead to much. He said he couldn't risk giving her notes on any of his works because of the risk of her capture as she traveled through Fallaji territory.

The archimandrite understands, and then asks her opinions of Mishra, Urza, and the war. Loran tells them all she knows of Mishra are the rumors of him being a warlord, and what she saw of the brief meeting with Urza was that he a very detached man. Neither are as they were as children.

The archimandrite leaned forward in her chair. "So you do not think there will be a resolution between the two without further conflict?"

"No," said Loran flatly. "I don't think there will be. In Argive, when I left, they were building a string of towers along the borders, filled with clockwork soldiers of Urza's design. There are new mines across the hinterlands, and most of the streams have been dammed to provide additional power . When I passed through Tomakul and Zegon, portraits of MIshra hung everywhere, and people felt he would lead them to a great powerful future. No, there will be no resolution without war."

Feldon feels vindicated. He's said that very thing many times. Drafnu maintains that the war has nothing to do with them. Mishra's concerns are to the east of him, not the west. Feldon counters that his assistant Ashnod the Uncaring has been making demands of Sarinth. War spreads, and it will come to them eventually.

Loran suggests putting their resources into helping Urza win, and the archimandrite says that while they won't join Mishra, they can't be sure Urza isn't just as bad. They need to find a third path.

She then tells Loran that there are many scholars within their walls, and invitations have been sent out to more. They will gather the brightest minds across the continent and together they will come up with something. Feldon says he's in, and after some not so subtle coughing from Hurkyl when Drafu says they're not interested, he amends his statement to say that they have yet to decide but will of course be happy to share their knowledge and resources. When the archimandrite asks if Loran will join them, she considers her old teacher and what she would think of the manner both the brother's are using their knowledge, and she accepts.

* * *

Third path

Gix is clearly tied to Mishra, and while at first it seemed that Loran would be the mirror character on Urza's side, it looks like that's not to be the case. Instead there is a third power, a gathering of intellect that might not match Urza nd Mishra's intellect on an individual basis, but may/will provide some key to the salvation of Dominaria.

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