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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 22



Like I guessed (it was an easy guess), we've returned to the present. Jace returns to himself and major decisions must be made.


Agents of Artifice - Chapter 22

Jace wakes in the alleyway, finally himself after so long. The memories have returned and sorted themselves out, and now he's only filled with regret. Kallist always did right by him, and it was Kallist in his body that came to Favarial District to come save him. If only things could have been different. But they weren't. They... wait...

Liliana!

For all he knew the attack by Semner was still on. Jace picks himself up and takes to the air, back to "his" home. Inside, he's thankful to see Liliana unharmed. He's less thankful to see for himself that what he knew was true. Kallist was dead. There was one attacker left alive, and after confirming that the man knew nothing, Jace turns him a fully functional idiot. Killing still wouldn't come easy to him, especially after what happened in Lurias market, but he wouldn't leave loose ends.

Jace understood now why Liliana left "Jace" for him, and she asks him what it was like. He tells her it was simply like being Kallist. It never occurred to him that he looked different. He knew that it was Jace that lost a toe to frostbite, but whenever he saw the stump of a toe it felt completely natural. Jace doesn't believe in a soul separate from the mind, but Liliana insists that it exists, and it was his soul preserving him from going insane from living with the contradiction.

The question now, was what to do. Jace still wants to run, but Liliana says can't they let the Consortium get away with what they've done. She convinces him that it had to be the Consortium that sent Semner, despite the fact that the Consortium would know that Semner wouldn't be enough to handle him. He was still resisting, but Liliana knew it was a start. She'd be able to push him the rest of the way.


...In Paldor's office...

An alarm went off. Paldor's desk was both map and alarm system and this was the seventh false alarm set off today. All guards were on alert and spread out through the base. After plenty of yelling through their communication devices, Captain Sevrien discovered the answer. Faeries. And after a quick consult with Phanol from records, they were more specifically cloud sprites.

Paldor issues the orders to be on alert and guard all the entrances. They have to gather together in more than just pairs, Jace Beleren in on the attack. But these orders were too late, Jace had already infiltrated the base by the third alarm.

The next communication Paldor receives comes from a panicked voice. Ireena's unit is down. The guard discovered them when he slipped in the rotted corpse. The ones that weren't a decomposed mess were all just sitting on the ground and giggling like "schoolboys" (more on this later). Next swords are drawn, Sevrien orders commands, and his men cry out in battle. Then silence. Silence broken by one familiar giggling voice added after another.

The rustle of the speaking tube being picked up can be heard, and Jace Beleren speaks. He tells Paldor that Tezzeret should have left him alone. That everything happens now is on his head.

Paldor knows there's no hoping in running. He breaks the emergency signal, hoping Tezzeret will arrive in time. He pulls out crossbows and checks for the manablade in his sleeve, but his preparations aren't enough. Jace walks in and Paldor is instantly paralyzed. Paldor yells at him from within his mind, hoping that Jace can hear his final curses of defiance, and then he feels Jaces grip close and squeeze and the Paldor that was, was no more.

There's one thing left for Jace to do before he goes. He implants a message into Paldor's mind, ready to deliver when Tezzeret arrives.

"That's Ravnica, Tezzeret." Jace spoke aloud even as he implanted the challenge in Paldor's mind, his tone deathly calm. "Perhaps Kamigawa next? Or Aranzhur, or Mercadia. There are so many cells to choose from.

"You should have left me alone. You want me, you decrepit, overrated tinkerer? Come find me!"

* * *


Schoolboy

Let's get this out of the way. This is another one of those terms that I feel approach breaking the fourth wall for me. Are there even schools on Ravnica? It's possible I suppose. More possible than some other planes perhaps, it seems so out of place, especially since it's not just "school" that's being mentioned but more specifically "shoolboy".. There certainly could have been a better way to phrase that sentence and come across with the same sentiment.


Retribution

I loved it. It's the same style like they used in Batman Begins where you see Batman from the criminal's point of view. He's terrifying to behold. But from here on out, each chapter can't simply be about showing the destruction of one cell after another. Maybe one more chapter where that's the case, or a chapter where they've successfully destroyed a couple and then something goes wrong or they walk into a trap. Probably with Baltrice present.

Will I even come close with these predictions? Will Marrmell surprise me and take it a different route? We find out tomorrow.


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