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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 23

Looks like I guessed completely wrong. Chapter 23 begins slightly before Chapter 22 ends, with Liliana Vess walking through the halls of the Consortium right after their attack.

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 23

Liliana stalks the halls of the Consortium, an army unto herself with wraiths, phantoms, and floating eyes that zip around every corner looking the drain the life of anyone left living. She reaches Paldor's office just in time to hear Jace's challenge to Tezzeret, and she couldn't be happier. This is exactly what she wanted. But apparently she's confused. (It seems this attack was a one time deal, and he didn't tell her why.) He reveals the strategy is to keep Tezzeret on guard, and keep him off their backs as find a place to truly hide.

But before Liliana can reply, Jace shows obvious signs of weakness, and then reveals that Paldor was able to get off one shot before Jace seized his mind. Liliana rushes to his aid, but she's no healer. The pain is too much for him to walk so she has to do something, and that something ends up being possession. She tells him not to resist, and she uses a spirit to take over his body, and they make their way to a carriage and ride off to Emarra's. (Not forgetting to loot the manablade from Paldor before leaving.)

...At Emmara's...

The elf opens the door, and Jace and Liliana remain on the steps as she examines Jace. Liliana asks if she can help him, and instead of an immediate, "Yes, of course." She asks with no enthusiasm if she's helping her friend of many years named Berrim, or someone who is actually named Jace. Liliana simply responds that he's whoever will get help soonest.

...One no longer dying but still mending Jace later...

Jace opens his eyes, sees his woman staring down on him. Unfortunately she remains the caring and concerned girlfriend for only a few moments before see dives right in to a topic he prays she won't bring up. At least not while he's still healing. She reminds him that the Consortium will never stop searching for them, and their only choice is remain on the offensive. He tells her that she has no idea how powerful Tezzeret is, and she counters that he's not as powerful as the two of them together. But take him out and then what? The next in command goes after them because they can't have it known that the Consortium is weak.

Liliana has a reply for that too. They might not be weak, but do have a weakness. Even in the Ravnica cell, barely any of them knew about the Consortium's other-worldly nature. She asks him how many of them even knew who Tezzeret was, or even cared? They only need to take out the key people... and then rule the Consortium themselves.

(Whoa. That's ambitious.)

But wait... there's holes in that. They don't have knowledge of all the cells to be able to perform that. And they don't have Tezzeret's artificer knowledge to creating all the necessary communication devices that are important to an interplanar organization.

But Liliana has a response for that as well. A simple one. Jace is a telepath. He needs to just take the information from Tezzeret himself.

(I have no complaints. Her idea could work.)

But no. That's not enough to convince him.

"It's stupid, it's suicide, and it's not happening."

Liliana gets up and walks out on him in a rage. Jace can't get out of bed, let alone go after her, so he wallows in his bed continuing to assure himself that there is no way the plan could work.

Yet as he sleeps, all he dreams of is power.


The man was being stupid. He wasn't supposed to resist her. She didn't want to hurt him but there was no choice. Really, there wasn't. If he'd only just go along with the perfectly sensible plan... She was going to have to really show him her plan was the only course of action.


Baltrice has returned with her report from Ravnica. The details of how thoroughly the cell has been destroyed are now known to him. And he's not happy. The only confusing issue is why Jace tried to show up after all these years. But before the conversation can properly conclude, Tezzeret senses a summons from Kamigawa. So he walks.

The Kamigawa cell wasn't a very strong cell. The nezumi problem still hasn't been solved. The shaman that now leads the tribe successfully killed the previous cell leader, and well... now the cell is only leader number three, by name of Kaori. She knows a summons is to be made only under urgent circumstances, and it turns out someone has appeared with news about Jace Beleren.

Liliana Vess appears and tells him that she doesn't know where he is exactly, but her spirits have relayed information on how to flush him out.

...In a dark and dangerous section of Ravnica...

Tezzeret has a meeting with a couple of fellows. He has a list of people that need to be taken care of, by way of the flashiest and gruesome ways they can accomplish so it is absolutely clear that these people were murdered. None of that secrecy stuff. The list includes: Rulan Barthaneul (the banker), Laphiel Kartz (who?), Eshton Navar (restaurant owner), and Emmara Tandris (the friend).

...Back and Emmara's...

The two ladies sit and have some tea, all the while having a very catty conversation. Emmara refuses to let Liliana see him, not after how much she set back the healing process by trying to push him into doing something he doesn't want to do. She's not very happy with Jace, as it turns out his actual name is, himself. She thought the two of them were close friends but he never could trust her with his name.

Up above Jace eavesdrops on the conversation and tries to think why it is he never told her that. It made sense at the time but now he's not so sure. While lost in thought, someone bangs heavily on Emmara's door. Jace scans the thoughts of the man outside, and then the still wounded mind-reader gets up and desperately steps into the nearest tree-shaped teleportation pillar.

* * *

Why I Got it Wrong

It seemed so clear that Armell was going to unleash Jace's wrath. His best friend was just killed! His best friend that he knows for a fact was coming to save him. But it wasn't enough. And that's ok. It feels very in character, not to mention he physically couldn't continue the fight until he was healed. Maybe he would have felt differently had he gotten away with no injury.

And now we see Emmara's true purpose to the story. Maybe she lives, maybe she dies, maybe she gets away with a serious injury, but whatever the case may be, this attack (and perhaps news of the others) will certainly be enough to tip him over the edge and declare an all out war with Tezzeret.

I expect it to be glorious.

Liliana, Mistress of Manipulation

She's doing a good job manipulating both sides. The only fault in logic is that Tezzeret hasn't figured out that Liliana was part of the attack. There is some leeway because Baltrice was ordered to not go into the Ravnica base herself, and so she sent one of the surviving guards in to do a sweep of the base, and so it's possible his report didn't happen to include rotted corpses. (And perhaps there weren't any. Perhaps the level of decomposition was near complete by the time they went in. I don't truly know how fast her magic works and how thorough it is.)

And my Nicol Bolas theory (Come on. It's more than a theory. It's fact.) still continues to make sense. The idea of taking over the Consortium isn't the end goal. There's still the plan of handing it back over the Nicol Bolas as payment for whatever it is the agreement is between him and Liliana.

1 comment:

  1. “What in Urza’s name …”? For Urza’s sake!

    Interesting to hear the name and Urza so many times in the book of Alara Sierra said Bolas, then it makes sense because it is old, but Lilian?