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Friday, March 25, 2011

Ravnica: City of Guilds - Chapter 2


Some good and some bad.  Fifty-Seven years have passed, and this chapter centers around a play of the signing of the Guildpact.

* * *

We open up with the play, and a confrontation between the angel Razia, and the cyclops Cisarzim, equipped with his legendary axe, Skullhammer.  Apparently the play is to conclude with "the fight that changed the plane of Ravnica forever."

The two begin to fight, then the other guild paruns make begin to make their entrances, first by Szadek followed by Azor.  Kos thinks to himself that there aren't actually ten guilds, and how "educated" Ravnicans know Szadek and the Dimir never existed.  His thoughts are that the Selesnya made him and the guild up to set up an opposing force for their religion.

(That's a mighty fine education he has.)

The reason Kos is watching, and his partner, the angel Feather, is undercover as an understudy playing the role of Razia, is because the area the play is performing in is actually designated as market space.  They've been left alone because no one had complained before, but now the decamillennial is approaching, which means more tourists, which means more money.  The playfolk are harming harming the marketfolks' ability to make their living.

(I'm sure all the marketfolk are all upstanding citizens, who just want to provide goods that will make the world a better place.)

But before the rest can make their entrance, the cyclops goes off script, and starts attacking anyone he can in cyclopish fury despite actually being a human in a cyclops costume.

(Thankfully he attacks with only a paper replica of Skullhammer.  Safety first.)

Kos runs in to break up the fight, joined by Feather, and after taking their licks, they stop the actor/playowner Gullmott, after removing the amulet that laid the enchantment on him that kept him in character.

* * *

Then we cut to Wenvel Kolkin.  Your typical  boring man, out with his boring wife, who decided to catch a play.   Except his boring wife, and her boring name, Yertrude, aren't actually with him.  He turns around and his wife is gone.

Like the good husband he is, Wenvel runs around in a panic trying to find any trace of her.  But alas, no one has seen her.  Then he comes across this one stall with an owl looking merchant.

(Who better to ask for information than an owl?)

But information isn't free.  This is a female owl merchant, and she says she doesn't know where his wife is, but maybe she ran away because he doesn't buy her enough gifts.  *wink wink*  Wenvel realizes his honest pleas won't get him the information he wants, so he coughs up the money to buy a trinket.  He asks again and the owl says she hasn't seen his wife pass by.

(What a jerk.  Never trust an owl.  I guess Wenvel never saw what Mr. Owl did to that poor kids' Tootsie-pop.)

Well Wenvel keeps on going.  His wife is all alone in the big city by herself.  After a few more minutes, he finds himself at the entrance of a dark and lonely alley.  Of course, this is where he sees the back of his wife, all the way at the other end.

This is obviously not a trap, so he goes down towards her.  It's perfectly normal that she hasn't moved at all since he's seen her.  And there was nothing unusual about something being odd about her.

Surprisingly, it was a trap, and it was strange that she wasn't moving.  He isn't seeing her.  He sees her ghost.  He approaches even after he realizes it, and screams when she turns round.

* * *

Back with Kos and the aftermath of the fight.  He's taking statements, and the playfolk offer him a "teardrop" made of pure mana, that only wojeks are supposed to have.  It's the miracle cure, which I'm sure we'll be using a lot of.  Kos has thoughts about his actual current partner, who it turns out isnt' Feather, and his name is Bell Borca.  He wasn't around because he had to finish some paperwork.  Feather is concerned that he should tend to his wounds, and shouldn't refuse the offer of aid from the remorseful actors.  Cause it turns out Kos is one-hundred and ten years old.

The play owner is arrested, and one of the actors, Wezescu, is happy to provide any assistance and full cooperation, because he knows with the owner out of the picture, he now has control over the play.

We close with Kos and Feather parting ways, with Kos on his way to a bar to drink away the pain.

* * *

Ok.  I thought the play was a clever way to show us the history of Ravnica in a very natural way.  The denial of the tenth guild was a bit :rollseyes: because we're all in on the joke and get to laugh at the hero, but at least Corey J. Herndon came up with a somewhat plausible reason why he believed it.

Then we get the best quote of the chapter and the worst quote of the chapter in short succession.


Kos had never understood how an axe had gotten the name "Skullhammer, but he was no historian.

"Over my dead body," the cyclops rumbled. - After Razia declares the Guildpact is the future.

Over my dead body.  Seriously.  I'm not a fan of breaking the 4th wall, and this phrase is too earth-like, not to mention cheesy if ever actually said in real life, that reading that just makes me groan.

The three part structure was interesting.  I guess it makes sense chronologically, but it's hard to tell where Herndon is going with Wenvel.  Perhaps the Dimir are building up a zombie legion to unleash when they make their appearance, which is obviously going to take place during the celebration of the decamillennial.

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