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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 18

It's time for some recovery and redemption for our favorite planeswalker.

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 18

The pain was too much. Its been days since the punishment yet the long, shallow cuts across his back and arms still weren't properly healed, but it was the pain within that was worse. He couldn't tap into a single drop of mana. With none of the base's healers willing to interfere with Tezzeret's punishment, Jace decided to seek his own help. Of course Kallist knew what was up and he tried to convince Jace to just head back to his room, but the plea from his friend instead convinced the swordsman to trip the magical alarms on the opposite side of the base so Jace could slip out.

Where to go?

...To Emmara's of course...

She takes him in, and gets to work on a job that was no simple task. Jace rants (about exactly what I said) that it clearly wasn't his fault and Tezzeret seems to lay blame on everyone but himself. Jace expresses concern that Tezzeret might being showing signs of the power getting to his head, of believing he's as invincible as the image he presents before others. Emmara asks why Jace stays with the Consortium, and he admits that he's enjoyed the amount of growth he's undergone, and the amount of wealth that he's amassed. Tezzeret's desire for power was something Jace wanted to share in, and he has. Emmara's concerned, but she can't do much about it but patch him and send him back once it appears that all is well and good with him outside as well as in.

...In Paldor's office...

The lieutenant contemplates what to do. On the one hand, everyone knew his punishment was supposed to last longer, that Tezzeret intended him to suffer for a longer timeframe. On the other hand there were never any direct commands given to him to not seek healing, to stay in the base, nor did he miss any missions because none were assigned to him. In the end, Paldor tells him he's free head back to his rooms, and that he should just lay low until his next mission. Oh, and one more thing. Kallist was assigned lashes and extra duties thanks to his invovlement. Beleren better have learned his point.

"That is," Paldor said, his gruff voice suddenly very heavy, "that I know what happens in my building. And that when you decide to take a flying leap into a pool of crap, it splatters on the people near you. You get me?"

(LOL. I get you sir!)

...In a new scene entirely...

The August Questor of the Church of the Incarnate Soul, by name of Talqez, is busy writing tomorrow's sermon. A tough thing to come up with something original when you've done so many. Someone knocks at his door, and he signals for him to come in without even looking who it is, that is... until he hears not only the door close, but the lock latch as well.

...Just moments earlier...

Jace sneaks into the Church of the Incarnate Soul. It's a church that reveres mana itself as holy. As a whole, most people scoff at their beliefs, but the rumors of their skill at manipulating mana, of being able to collect it, reshape it, infuse it into people and objects... those are rumors that most don't deny too loudly.

Tezzeret has always wanted to control them, and so Jace has been sent to see that it is so. His most important mission yet, one that only he can accomplish, and his one chance at redeeming himself in Tezzeret's eyes no matter who was truly at fault for the failure with Nicol Bolas.

Jace locks the door, and the August Questor turns... and to Jace's surprise drops to his knees. Talqez recognizes a planeswalker. Jace tells the man to get up off the floor and denies that he's a god. (He's obviously never watched Ghostbusters, different circumstances... but same thing.) Talqez insists he is, even if doesn't know it himself. Any planeswalker would have been welcomed into the church had they announced themselves, but since Jace has taken the pains to sneak in, he must be there for only one thing. Talqez spreads his arms wide ready to die.

"You misunderstand me, Questor. You're no use to us dead."

Than Talquez understood what he meant, and finally showed signs he may want to resist, but by then it was too late.

* * *

One Chapter... Or Two?

This was one of the shorter chapters in the book, and yet felt like it was actually two chapters. That's an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, I'm glad that Armell decided to not extend the chapter length just to "fill out" the chapter(s)... Although it is possible that he trimmed them down to this length because the book was running too long. On the other hand the dual nature did feel a bit out of place as I read through it. There seemed to be little to no singular identity for this chapter as a whole. The escape to Emmara's and his recovery should have been written in as Jace's thoughts as he snuck in to the church.

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