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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - Chapter 20

We've made it. We're at the throne room. The end is nigh!

Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - Chapter 20

The chute branches multiple times and expands to being as wide as toll road. (What does a toll road have to do with anything?) Then Venser thinks that thankfully it actually isn't a toll road because the toll booth would be manned by one scary Phyrexian. ZING!

This is the perfect time for Venser to reflect some more on the fact that his special concoction is no more. In fact, we get a brand new origin as to why he started taking it in the first place. It appears that the story back in Chapter 11 was only when Venser started needing it on a daily basis and was not when he started using it. He didn't start to take it to save his life, he started using it as a study aid.

The teachers warned their students about the drug, which was somehow well known to everyone despite it requiring, among other things, ingredients from the planes of Zendikar and Mirrodin (Which are both not the plane where the school is located.) and hardly anyone is a planeswalker. Not to mention that if someone did happen to be a planeswalker at that time, planeswalkers so much more immensely powerful than the planeswalkers of today and wouldn't ever bother with taking something as primitive as some special concoction. But still, somehow it was well known for aiding in studying and retention (and know for being addictive), and in Venser's words:

And retention was important with the amount of information they had to metabolize on a daily basis.

(That makes sense.  That's why there are all these products, books, and secrets being sold to increase your metabolism. So you can have a better memory. That memory industry makes billions. Wait... is that right?)

Well, after the trip down memory lane the group lands unharmed, being the masters of chute travel. The guide takes them to this massive door that has a wide variety of knobs and other mechanisms that he manipulates effortlessly (despite previously claiming that he was now beyond any location he had been), and takes them into a chamber with a large column and bones fitting with tubing implanted in the walls. He looks up and stops.

Stops moving. Stops breathing.

Elspeth checks for a pulse and finds none, and then Melira speaks up questioning how they didn't know it was a robot. (And she probably thinks how they were all idiots and if they had bothered to ever ask her what her name was, or use her name after they knew what it was, or make any attempts at conversation, or even acknowledging her presence in the slightest, then she would have told them that she didn't ever heal this guy like Venser assumed.) Venser then knocks on his forehead and confirms to himself that Melira's right. The thing's a robot. (And not a Phyrexian.)

The group hears a distant rumble, feels a rumble in their chests, and they wonder what it is.

"That sound is my children running to this place."

Karn has spoken.

The golem sits atop the column, and he tries to latch on to distant memories as Venser talks to his old friend. All Karn can remember is that he sent a guide to lead them here, but not why. Then he commands the small silver creatures that hold up his column to lower him lower him down. They take apart the column, one segment at a time and steadily lower their master. The final descent required Karn taking a ladder, but as he does so, a fit of the shakes takes him and he falls.

* * *

Don't Do Drugs

So Venser's backstory has changed. It was more compelling that Venser had to take the drugs to save his life, but it makes more sense of his comment that he has the shakes because of his foolishness. I'm ok with that. This does expand more on the character that's been presented to us and let's us know more about him. It may not be great, but it's more engaging than Elspeth repeating to us three times about her terrible childhood. The first time was horrifying, the other times spoke of different moments of the same thing and not anything new.

Robotic Life

I didn't expect that. But maybe because it couldn't be expected. We were repeatedly told that he was a Sylvok, and we were told that he was cured by Melira. That's not a genius plot twist if it contradicts everything the reader knew about him without ever giving the readers any clues otherwise. Disappearing at odd times doesn't count. Having a strange accent might if not for the Melira healing thing. Even if Melira practically never speaks, Elspeth should have asked him why he looks cured if she never saw him enter the healing tent. She was by Melira's side the whole time and such an extreme case would certainly be memorable.

The End is Nigh

Geth. I'm guessing Chapter 21 involves Geth. The Reports from the Field and the Planeswalker's Guide to New Phyrexia tell us he guards the throne room. He wasn't given a POV for nothing. He's going to appear, and he's going to die. But who will do the kiling?

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