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Friday, June 17, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 27

We get the heart of Tezzeret's empire in what I hope is the final destination in our scavenger hunt. We're nearing the end. The dominoes are set up, it's time for them to fall.

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 27

Planeswalking isn't a simple feat, nor is it accurate if one is not familiar with the destination. So despite Liliana's specter friend having traveled to this unknown plane, it would have been a rare occurrence indeed had the two actually been able to appear within Tezzeret's compound. Instead they find themselves in the middle of a dessert with sand all around as far at the eye can see. Luckily Zarafim, the traveling merchant, and his caravan were in sight so they could stop and ask for directions. (Not to mention barter for desert appropriate clothing.)

...Four days of desert walking later...

They've finally made it to what Zarafim called the Iron Tower. It's impressive and seemingly impenetrable without even any clear sign of any form of entrance or exit. Was it possible that there was none? Maybe... but no... that couldn't be. Even if Tezzeret and Baltrice could planeswalk in, there were going to be guards, and there were going to be all kinds of supplies that needed regular replenishing. There is no way Tezzeret and Baltrice would waste their time with such menial tasks. That required deliveries, and deliveries required a way to be delivered.

So Liliana sends her "least offensive" phantom (whatever that means) to do some scouting, while they cross their fingers that it won't set off any magical alarms. Luck remains on their side, and not only are no alarms set off, but it's found the exit. There's just one problem, it found the exit but no means of opening it.

Maybe the mining facility wasn't a piece of cake like Jace thought, but answer to this was. Jace just needed to be pointed towards the door.

...Moments later...

The guards are down. Getting into the minds of a guard hidden by a door was the very first lesson that Tezzeret taught Jace. Not only were they all taken out, but Jace got one of them to open up the compound. (With the method turning out the be a mental command from said guard. How fancy.) But they still couldn't just walk in. There was that whole issue with the alarms.

And so with some more mental manipulation, desert elf and shift-leader Irivan is tricked into checking out exit and Jace once again takes control. (Don't mess with a telepath.)

The situation's been solved, but Jace's worst fears are essentially confirmed. This was one of the hire ups within the Consortium. And he had been briefed on the Consortium's many enemies as he expected. This included himself, the now dead Kallist, Nicol Bolas, some thieving fey creature Oberilia Zant... but no Liliana Vess. The very first thing she told him and the basis for their initial relationship had been a lie.

* * *

Let's Talk Alarms

That's the one issue I have with the plan of theirs. The Ravnica cell was calibrated to detect any unauthorized infiltration. It's not as if black mana and ghosts aren't known to the Consortium. You would think that their alarms would be set up to detect something like that as well. Especially if you have important secrets to keep. It is possible I suppose, that since ghosts do also occur naturally, that maybe there are some that the wards just don't detect, and that maybe Liliana knows this and summoned one that would fit the bill. So because of that I'm not completely against the idea, but I would have liked to have had that acknowledged in some way.

In fact, it probably should have been brought up last chapter when they infiltrated the mining facility. That is something Tezzeret would want guarded nearly as well as this Iron Tower of his.

Let's Talk Planeswalking

Once again, I very much like the explanation that planeswalking to a select destination really isn't that simple. In fact, even though Baltrice was familiar with the trip, she wouldn't be able to appear in the exact same spot every time, and here we have Jace and Liliana appearing four days from their destination!

That's just fantastic.

Not only does planeswalking take some time to setup, but it is also pretty inaccurate. Those are some good limitations to work with to create some actual danger for our heroes that won't involve planeswalking/teleportation chase battles between our heroes and villains.

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