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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 8

Will Jace survive coming to grips with himself as all his true memories come flooding back in? Of course, don't be stupid. But it would be great to know what all these memories actually are wouldn't it? Why the elaborate ruse of switching places with former best friend Kallist? Well, we're in luck! Marmell seems to think the same.

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 8


...three years ago....

Three years ago, Jace wasn't known as Jace. On the plane of Ravnica, in the district of Dravhoc, a district of tall marble building, marble statues, and vast roads, Jace was known by the name Berrim. And on this particular day he was having a business lunch with his banker. A banker that kept his money under assumed names in four different banks, which was a feat that demanded 50% commission. It was a fee that no longer appealed to him but he was getting no where in his attempts at renegotiation. The banker, Rulan had all the leverage here.

Jace wasn't going to give up without sufficient reason however, and unfortunately that reason appeared. There wasn't anything he saw himself, but he sensed the instant the district folk walking by and at the other tables began to panic. Instinct cause him to dive for cover under his table, and a moment later a cat of fire crashed on to the stone table that as his cover. The firecat was after him, because he was closest or because he was targeted he didn't know, but it didn't matter much. All that mattered was that he get away. So Jace created four images of himself and sent them scattering in four directions while simultaneously casting an invisibility spell on himself and running for safety.

...Not too far above...

Two figures watch the commotion below, from the balcony they stand on. The man thinks he's done well escaping her firecat with ease, but she's not yet impressed. She agrees he's powerful enough, but they're not looking for power.

"We'll see how he performs for Gemreth. And then we'll decide if we can make Jace Beleren who, and what, we need him to be."


Jace makes it home, and he falls asleep. The sleep is anything but comfortable, as he dreams of being short on a bribe to keep a giant cat from spitting fire at him. But of course it's not all just a too vivid dream. Jace wakes to find a demon with a scorpion-like tail standing on his chest, and that chest is on fire. That demon comes with a bargain. If Jace... (His true name known by the demon despite never having ever spoken it outloud on Ravnica)... if Jace reads the demon's mind and tells him why he's there, then the demon will ease his pain. It's that or allow the poison to take its course and suffer a torturous death. With the choice between "pain" and "no pain", Jace makes the easy choice, and learns that the demon's master is called Gemreth, and Gemreth's master is Tezzeret, and Tezzeret wishes to see him at dusk the following day. Jace passes his mind-reading test and cries out for the cure, and the demon replies that the poison was never fatal and that his agony will simply clear up with time.


Waking up with a demon on your chest isn't the most pleasant of situations, and Jace wants a better handle on the situation. However he's never paid much attention to politics to the rise and deterioration of the districts of a Ravnica post-Guilds, so there is no better option for him but to take a stroll through the neighborhood of his long time friend, the elf Emmara. (Of course her giant mansion has next to no furniture, and instead is filled with marble columns carved with the texture of bark. Oh those quirky elves.) She's trilled to see him and invites him in for tea time, but eventually she has to prod him to bring up the real reason he's come to visit her after so long. He asks her what she knows of a man named Tezzeret.

Tezzeret is the new big player in town. He leads the criminal organization known as the Infinite Consortium, who specializing in acquiring anything your heart desires regardless of legality. She's not all happy that Jace has gotten the attention of someone so powerful, and Jace puts together the pieces that this Consortium may have one or more people in their ranks that are like him. People who can walk the planes. It very likely is the reason behind the "Infinite" in Infinite Consortium. Emmara offers to stand by him as he goes to the meeting but Jace declines her offer, not for her safety but rather to keep from pissing off an organization of such power. They don't want him dead, they want to use him for something.Yet going in completely on blind faith was foolish, so he summons a faerie to spy for him and makes plans.

* * *

The Trailer!

Look at that. The trailer for the book wasn't just random images thrown together. It's actually the scene with the firecat.


Quite a lot happened this chapter and I'm actually thankful the backstory is being told through more than one chapter. We've certainly hit a transition point where the foundation is being laid for the true story of the book. It has to be told just right because I assume we'll be leaving to other worlds shortly and the story will not simply be contained to just one plane.

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