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Friday, June 17, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 28

Alright. All caught up now after that brief hiccup in my entry publishing schedule. Now let's find out what Jace and Liliana discover within Tezzeret's desert base.

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 28

Jace and Liliana safely stroll through Tezzeret's special sanctuary through the aid of illusion and the safety of having the shift leader as their guide (under Jace's control of course.) The two feel much more in control of the situation, in part because they're simply out of the desert heat, and also because the place is filled with blue, black, and red mana, likely used to run these machines. Mana they're happy to tap into just in case.

Speaking of machines, the whole inner workings of this tower is filled with all kinds of moving pulleys, and weights, and platforms. So many in fact that Jace realizes the entire building is itself, an artifact, and not a true building at all.

Irvian doesn't have all the information Jace seeks, however he has never been allowed to set foot at the top of the tower, so it's to the top they go. The group makes their way to large room, to wait for the apparent elevator, but when they get close to the eight foot tall bronze pillar in the center of the room, ten insectoid legs split apart from the shaft, and it closes the distance as it moves like two hands tied together at the wrist.

It takes but a moment's scan for it to realize who they are, and it plows through the shift captain to get to the Consortium's enemies. The battle is fast and furious, and in the end it takes Jace's cerulean sphinx dive-bombing into to robot as its master is attacked, and then Liliana activating the right lever to send one of the many platforms crashing down atop the machine Terminator style. [Note: There's an F-bomb in that link.]

With the battle over, the two clean up the mess just in case it might help keep their presence hidden from any guards that may pass by (who somehow didn't hear the roar of the sphinx), and then Jace goes invisible and tells Liliana he's going to scout around just to be sure. While Liliana silently curses to herself that this is the last place the two of them want to be separated, Baltrice appears.

"Already on edge, Liliana felt the first stirrings of real panic. How much did Baltrice know? What had Tezzeret told her of their meeting? "Get out of here! You'll ruin everything!" she hissed desperately. "Damn it, go check with your boss! He'll tell you whose side I'm on!"

We know full well that Ms. Vess is most certainly working with Nicol Bolas, and her giving the list to Tezzeret was only one more of her manipulation schemes, but Jace was hoping to hear that she wasn't working with anyone at all. That's right. "Baltrice" was actually Jace. (More of a "finally" rather than a "whoa" moment, but I'll take it!)

The betrayal hurts much worse than expected. This was supposed to prove her innocence, but that wasn't the case and he slams her to the wall while his mental prowess pounds at her in an emotional rage. Liliana manages to squeeze out the words that she can explain but this isn't the time or place.

But before this can go any further, there's an interruption. Tezzeret begs to different and thinks is his absolutely the perfect time for an explanation.

* * *

Surprise... or Not

I'm getting bored of these cliffhanger surprise appearance endings by a third party. There must be other ways to end a chapter on a high note.

The battle itself wasn't particularly thrilling either. (Better than The Quest for Karn, but that should go without saying.) The thought of a ten-legged artifact creature is a great image, but we're coming to the end of the book. I'm done with wanting to see environmental dangers, I'm done wanting to explore new locations. I want to see momentum build up for a glorious ending, not hoping from one new location chapter after chapter. The repeated novelty of each place is actually becoming repetitive and stale.

At least we have a confrontation between Jace and Tezzeret up next. Maybe even the confrontation that's pictured in second to last image for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2. Will Liliana use the distraction to run? Will she stay and try to help Jace in the battle? Tezzeret will likely confirm that she was only using Tezzeret and isn't actually working with/for him, so there may be some wiggle room to keep her plan in motion... but I doubt it. I think it's over for the lovely couple.

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