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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ravnica: City of Guilds - Chapter 14



All healed up, it's time to get down to business and do what wojeks do best.


Ravnica: City of Guilds - Chapter 14

Please ask about our daily specials.
                                    -Pivlichinos menu, in its entirety

27 ZUUN 9999 Z.C., EVENING

A plain clothed Kos and Feather enter the second floor of what is both restaurant and entertainment venue. Pivlichinos. The greeter asks what would their pleasure be: just dining, dining and challenging, or challenging and dining. What's the difference you ask? Plenty.

This is an Orzhov run establishment where a crossroads of cultures intersect. All manner of zombies, demons, and other members of both Golgari and Rakdos guilds often have a craving for humanoid flesh. On the flip side, there are plenty of humanoids seeing fame, glory, or vengeance. Within the walls of this fine establishment, and through the use of the fighting pits, both sides can find satisfaction.

Kos was able to send word ahead of their arrival, so the owner, an imp named Pivlic, is ready to accommodate them as they arrive. Wojeks aren't exactly welcome in the place, but Kos was the last surviving squad member of the group that had defended his fine establishment during the Rakdos revolt.

As he greets them, he doesn't miss a step responding to a query by Borca's ghost. A peculiar fact indeed since only Kos was supposed to be able to see or hear him according to the contract. 

But they aren't here to find a friend for Borca, they're here to track down his killers and the whereabouts of Zunich's daughter. And Pivlic had found a lead. The half-demon Iv'g'nork was the one that hired Kos' assailant. (I assume that means the goblin bomber.)

Ozhov magics prevent Pivlic from just turning the demon over to him, but he arranged an opportunity for questioning. In the dining pit. And oh yeah, there is another who had issues with the half-demon. If they wanted to work together to get what they wanted, they'd have to settle that in the pit.

The entertainment would begin within the hour.


...Later, down below...

A goblin helps Kos into his armor, while Borca reports he couldn't range far enough to scout out his opponent or the other combatant. They'll just have to wing it.

The bell rings and the announcer does his thing. Fight!

* * *


Bad News

The Pivlic being able to hear Borca scene was much more annoying than I reported. Apparently the contract prevents people from even understanding that there's a contract that ties Borca to Kos. So while Kos and Pivlic are having their conversation, he keeps on trying to explain to her, and she just keeps on thinking he's being delusional despite a third party right there that can also see the ghost.

I can see that it was put out there to show a new nature to the contract, maybe to put Pivlic in a special light, but I feel like it should have been a one and done line, and not a constant back and forth in an attempt at humor.

Maybe some people will have found that part amusing, but it was a miss for me.


Good News

It's time to point out some humor that actually the right spot. It's Feather's first time here, and she wonders what the pit is for. Entertainment?

"Yeah, you might say, that," Kos said. "You've really never been to a restaurant? Where do you eat?"

"I do not eat," Feather said. "I derive what energy I need to function from the sun."

"Really?" Kos asked. "You never told me that."

"You are especially gullible this evening, Liu- Kos," Feather said. "Of course I eat."


Why did it work so well? The exact opposite reason why I hated the zombie killing line. Angel's don't have as firmly set rules in fantasy as zombies do, but what she said was very believable. It's certainly an option that a writer could take that would fit within expectations. And then Herndon flips it around and plays a trick on both Kos and the readers. I doubt it's an important plot point, but it's great.


Setting

I really love this setting. It is an excellent way to show off the culture and interaction of the Guilds. In fact, this is probably one of the strongest facets of the book. Herndon is constantly filling out the book with all kinds of historical facts and cultural tweaks that really make the Guild concept come to life.


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