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Monday, May 16, 2011

Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - Chapter 21

SPOILER WARNING: Fans of Magic's rich past will have those memories feel dirty and spoiled if you read about this chapter.

Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - Chapter 21

Venser rushes to aid Karn and he notices all the dents in the floor from what must have been previous falls. Before he can help, Karn stands on his own.

Venser is happy to see him, but Karn states that he knows they're here to destroy him. That they want him to become Phyrexian. Venser tells him otherwise while Koth keeps on insisting that he wants Karn to just leave the plane completely.

Venser tries to approach his friend, but it only infuriates the golem, and a shove from Karn flings him across the room where he crashes into the wall. Koth catches the silver Karn by surprise and manages to grab onto his arm and pivot in such a way that allows him to throw the golem over his shoulder. Koth then races to fallen golem ready to plunge a white hot fist into the his chest, but Elspeth manages to stop him to defend the creature that Venser has been saying this whole time is the key to saving this world.

Too bad the corrupted Karn doesn't realize who he is. He takes advantage of the moment and somehow is able to knee Koth in the back, flinging him head first into another wall. He then stands and announces to Elspeth that his children will soon appear.

"When they arrive I will let my children have their way with you," he said. His slit eyes moved to the fleshling, who was standing next to Elspeth. "They like skin you know."

Venser was knocked down, but not out. He's wounded with a broken arm but he ignores it and continues to try to jog Karn's memory. Karn listens and wishes he could remember what Venser was saying, but the Phyrexian oil has too strong a hold on him.

"You are Karn," Venser said.

"...Father of Machines," Karn boomed.

(This is an excellent Karn. I wish he could stay this way. I wish he was going to be compleated rather than liberated.)

Elspeth joins Venser in attempted to help Karn see the light. She tells him they're here to heal him. Karn suggests that they might better serve him by becoming one of the creatures that helps hold up his column. (It would have been more impressive if he said "throne" rather than "column".) Karn then grasps Elspeth's head between both hands in an unlockable grip. He closes his silver eyes and they reopen as a terrible black.

In this critical moment, the ever silent one speaks.

"Tell me what you remember of your childhood," the fleshling said.

The extremely out of place question gets everyone's attention. But Karn doesn't respond, so Venser volunteers. As he answers her questions he eventually he recalls that Melira always spoke to every Mirran before she healed them, and it is these questions that likely begin the special healing of hers.

(Will Venser be restored?)

But Melira doesn't just want to know about Venser's childhood, she specifically wants to know when he first realized "that all flesh dies." So Venser then goes into a sob story about remembering when his father left the house one day and never came back, which eventually led to him running away. All of a sudden he becomes embarrassed and he realizes that everyone is watching him cry. Somehow talking about his father dying (and I assume how his mother wasn't caring or supportive enough to make him feel loved and safe at home after feeling that life had betrayed him), and how that led him to give up on the concept of home, it leads to this conclusion by Melira:

"We are not machines," the fleshling said. "The real secret the Phyrexians are trying to hide by keeping me in captivity is that flesh is stronger than metal. They are obsessed with flesh for this reason. They cannot copy the strength. This is a secret they do not want known."

(Maybe it's just a ritual she goes through, and her response has nothing to do with what Venser actually said.)

Melira gazes upon Karn and the air warps around them. The power emanating from her was undeniable.

Karn yawns.

Melira is confused, and Elspeth asks if he feels any different. (From still within his grasp probably, considering we haven't been told otherwise). Oil beads all over his skin but Karn still looks at them like they're crazy.

The sound of the approaching Phyrexians has become louder and Karn grabs Melira and reminds her that his children are partial to flesh. Melira was Venser's only hope, and she's failed so now he doesn't know what else to do. Just when everything appears hopeless:

"His heart is too far gone to the contagion," the fleshling whispers.

(Oh! That makes sense! Karn has always been powered by a Phyrexian heartstone! Something makes sense!)

Venser latches on to this idea. And asks Melira what would happen if Karn's heart was clean. (No.) She responds that then he would probably be healed because the rest of his body has been purified. (Don't do it Wintermute!) Venser takes to the idea, and reflects on how useless his own body is to him now and considers how many people would be saved if Karn was cured. (Wintermute!!! Stop writing. Stop writing now!)

(In fact, everyone should probably just stop reading. Go away. This isn't the post you're looking for. It'll save you plenty of heartache if you don't confirm your worst fears. You can pretend that one of the stupidest ideas in a book full of stupid ideas wasn't actually written and approved of by Wizards of the Coast.)


(I warned you.)

(This is the point of no return.)


There's some more last questions to Melira and some last words with Elspeth and the original personality of Karn breaks through and he wants to believe there's hope for him yet, and so he lies down when they ask him to. Then ultimately the elitist, quick to bicker, and drug addict of a planeswalker teleports his heart into Karn's chest.


Karn has stopped moving and Venser's body drops to the ground. His limp arm releases his helmet (which he had been holding onto ever since he was knocked out , and I realize now it was specifically mentioned as being dented badly enough that he could no longer wear it so this specific scene could end this way) and it tumbles to a gradual stop as bumps into the Karn's silver leg.

* * *

I'm So Sorry

I'm sorry I had to write that, and I'm sorry you ended up reading it. But I can't leave this tragedy of a review incomplete.


He gives up his heart? Venser gives up his heart. A human heart. In a golem body. A human heart replaces a heartstone. A thing which is not made up of organic matter. And that's going to save the day!?

That doesn't make sense! 

Ok. Ok. It's called Magic for a reason. Melira can survive while missing some organs, so of course a golem can be powered by a human heart. At least it's a planeswalker's heart right?

(That's stupid, but let's play Let's Pretend.)

But did it have to be Venser's! There has been pretty much no redeeming qualities to this guy! This snobby kid that took to drugs just so he could get an advantage in school decides to "sacrifice" himself despite being on the brink of death anyway due to those same drugs... This fool that likes to brag about some book he's read so he can sound smart and is scared of dark empty theaters...

(And especially a heart that is going to replace a very special heartstone selected by Urza himself, a story that I will someday cover on this site.)

This is how Karn is reawakened!? And I must assume, how he becomes a planeswalker once more!? And now I'm supposed to want to see him save not just Mirrodin but the rest of the multiverse. Wintermute and Wizards have just single handedly tainted the last remaining piece of Urza's legacy. Every time I look upon Karn's planeswalker card I will forever remember that Venser's stupid heart is in that big silver chest of his.

There's nothing more to say. Just one more chapter. Just put me out of my misery.

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