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Monday, August 29, 2011

Dissension - Chapter 6

Surprise after surprise after surprise. The story is really picking up, and it begins with the return of an old friend.

Dissension - Chapter 6

Ten years they have been gone. We must face facts, honored colleagues and lawkeepers. Whether they have abandoned us or somehow been destroyed, the angels are not here and we cannot find them. The Boros Legion must make permanent arrangements for the stewardship of our guild without angelic help. It will not be easy, but it is necessary.
-Wojek Commander-General Lannos Nodov,
Acting Guildmaster, Boros Legion
Address to the Azorius Senate, 19 Quaegar 10010 Z.C.

31 CIZARM 10012 Z.C.

Agrus Kos is dead, but Ravnica is not done with him yet.


He spent the vast majority of his one-hundred and ten years of life as a wojek, but he began his career a bit earlier than was legal. He got caught lying about his agent and signed some documents to take advantage of a loophole the few knew about. Those documents made it so he would have to serve fifty years as a spectral guard after his death before being allowed to move on. And that time is now.

This service isn't exactly the most ideal of situations. He knows his name, and the names of all Azorious officials were magically inserted into his memory. He knows he had served as a wojek while he was alive, and he had vague memories through that whole life, but it is hard to put a finger on anything specific. Even at the moment of his death he thinks that maybe... there was someone with wings? A goblin? It is so hard to remember. For four hours a day every spectral guardsman is put in a state of non-existence. This helps maintain memory loss so they remain as steadfast, dutiful guards and don't regain too much of their personality. The Senate can't have guards getting out of line. Everything must be perfect.

Not only is the loss of memory frustrating, but time is slow. It is feels as if it is passes slower as a ghost. It has to be. It doesn't help that his current partner on duty, guard Castell, doesn't care for small talk.

They guard the door to the Senate chambers, and a new session is about to open. Agrus Kos greets each and every one of them as they enter. Most simply ignore the spectral guards, with the exception of one in particular that gets some kind of odd enjoyment in mispronouncing his name as "Argus" each and every time. If it's a joke, he doesn't get it.

Then someone appears who has an all too familiar face. Someone that isn't a part of the Senate. She is foot taller than the paladins who escort her, with hands and wings bound. Kos calls out Feather's name and she looks toward him in surprise. She tries to speak but no words come out, and he tries to follow but an invisible force keeps him in place. His eyes stay on her for as long as possible, but thena minister walks by and he's compelled to face him and provide a proper greeting.

...Above Utvara...

Parhelion, the home of the angels, has returned. The citizens of Utvara are too busy fleeing for their lives from the monstrous nephilim, but Air Marshal Shokol Wenslauv is all but duty-bound to fly in for a closer look.

The glorious golden castle had returned! She's all too ready to send her wing-man Flang back to Centerfort with a message, but she cuts off halfway before the order can be finished. Something's wrong. There are no angels in sight. There always a dozen angels singing in chorus whenever Parhelion was in flight and not docked atop Centerfort. There are clear scorch marks all over, open flames coming out some windows, and some of the floatspheres are caved in and deflated. The Parhelion had been through some kind of war.

The castle isn't standing still either. With half its sails in working order, it appears to be heading toward Ravnica proper. And with so many floatspheres damaged, it's going to crash. She does some mental calculations and it was clear the castle is headed straight for Prahv .

Flang had a new message to relay. Everyone in Prahv is to evacuate. Flang must stop by Centerfort and pick up some backup and then if anyone attempts to hinder the evacuation they're to be arrested on sight.

What's Wenslauv going to do? She's going to go on in and try to keep the castle afloat.

(Good luck with that!)


Capobar isn't quite dead just yet. But he has no clue where the shadewalkers are taking him and what they are going to do with him. He tries to scold them as if they're really still just his employees, and he tells them how stupid it was of them to sell one-third of dragon serum to Lyzolda , the guildmaster of the Rakdos for the past several centuries in all but name. For one thing assisting in Rakdos rebellions is bad for business. For another, his true client that they're headed towards has been promised the full cylinder, and ont just a portion. Dealing with one guildmaster just to piss off another isn't' the wisest of choices.

[Note: In the book it's spelled Izolda. There much have been a last minute change. I'm just going to pretend "Izolda" is her nickname and use Lyzolda from here on out.]

The shadewalkers tell him to keep quiet and they stop at an unfamiliar location, draw some magical seal in the ground, and are teleported... to Novijen, Heart of Progress and brought before his client Progenitor Momir Vig .

That isn't the first thing he notices however. The bright light from the teleporation had been blinding, but there was no ignoring the fact that the shadewalkers are now visible. They are long-limbed and wrapped in mummy-like bandages, with a strange silver collar around their necks that have three blue gemstones set in a triangle which are perhaps the secret to their invisibility. In his addled state, he can't  help but wonder out loud why he's able to see them, and Momir Vig speaks up. Nothing can be hidden within his chambers.

With his eyes adjusting, he gets a better look at the guildmaster. There is hardly a piece of him that hasn't undergone some kind of enhancement, although what is left of his pointy ears makes him look somewhat demonic. It is rumored that he is the last of a race of elves that were all but wiped out in the years before the Guildpact, a race of elves that both the Devkarin and the Silhana agreed were especially cruel.

And Momir Vig is not alone. To his right is  an obviously necromantically enhanced Devkarin elf that is wearing robes that looked religious in nature, and to his left is something cloaked in shadow. He can see his eyes though, and the shadewalkers don't look particularly pleased that he is here with them. In fact, the shadewalkers look like they've been taken by surprise by this whole situation.

Capobar speaks up and says he's ready to drop off the goods and be on his way, but of course Momir Vig knows he's not in charge. The elf addresses the shadewalkers and is thankful that they sold a portion to the Rakdos like instructed, with enough left over for his own use.

The undead elf cackled. "Oh yes, " the broken-necked priestess hissed. "I do hope you brought enough of that stuff to go around. Big plans, you know."

"God-zombie," the shadow said, and the undead Devkarin creature's laughter stopped abruptly. Her lopsided grin didn't.

(Well, well, well. What have we here.)

Capobar isn't going to just give up, there has to be a way out of this. So he brings up the nephilim. The Simic Progenitor surely would be interested in knowing that there were creatures, unique creatures for him to study, that have been feasting upon dragon meat and have been growing at an alarming rate. The nervous shadewalkers chime in and say that they'd be happy to return to retrieve some samples to study. Momir Vig is pleased with this new information but he isn't about to let the shadewalkers leave.

Cytopalstic vines shoot out from the ground and bind the shadewalkers in place. The elf says he's always wanted to study shadewalkers, and he tells Capobar that their agreement is fulfilled.

"When I have need of your services, I shall contact you again. Go, enjoy what remains of your life."

Capobar isn't sure how to take that but he gladly leaves.


Wenslauv makes her way to the closest landing deck and the command floor. There is supposed to be someone directing air traffic but she still can't see any sign of life. All she can see are broken glowspheres and a lot of darkness.

Her roc, Jayn, doesn't have to be here. Wenslauv is going to get this place flying again or die trying. She shoos the bird away, but as intelligent as it is, it looks back at her and taps its claw as if signalling that it's not too late for her to mount up and fly with her. Wenslauv has a job to do though and so Jayn sees she set and takes off. Wenslauv can't help but smile that it keeps pace with the castle ready to be there should she need it.

Wenlauv stumbles her way through the dark, hits a switch and silently prays that not all the glowspheres are shattered. Light springs to life but a shock shoots through her arm from the switch and quickly steps backward only to trip over an unseen object. It takes only a glance to confirm what she has feared.

A dismembered angel lay on the ground missing a wing and a arm, and it's torso had been twisted all the way around so its feet are facing the wrong way. The worms coming out of the angel's mouth is what finally get her to turn and vomit. The body is maybe a week old and if the thing that had done this is still inside, righting Parhelion would be ever more difficult.

(Yeah right, how can worms get up there. Maggots maybe, but not worms.)

...Moments later...

The worms waited until Wenslauv left before leaving the body of the angel and forming up into a Utvaran leaping viper. Then it follows the skyjek keeping its distance.

(Ha! I'm right!)

* * *

Bombs Away!

Herndon dropped bomb after bomb after bomb on us. It felt like Herndon was trying to catch up with my need to have something new presented. Most definitely one of the best chapters in the whole trilogy so far.


Before we get to all this great stuff, I just want to talk about one thing. Utvara. I guess I always imagined it as this far off and isolated place from the city proper, although Herndon did clearly state that it took less than a week for Teysa to travel there by lokopede. When flying atop a roc, I'm sure getting to Prahv within a couple hours makes sense.

What I'm not fond of is how Wenslauv was thinking about how the Parhelion has reappeared above the City of Ravnica, when it has been stated repeatedly that Utvara wasn't considered to be part of the city proper. Not to mention that Fonn's latest chapter, a few miles from the Husk, they saw the prayer-gang and was thinking to herself that prayer-gangs made these pilgrimages to perform rituals outside of the area covered by city ordinances. Gotta be consistent.

Kos, Spectral Guard

There we go! I feel complete. Putting Kos in two of three books would have felt like R&D creating only nine of ten Guilds. You have to complete the cycle. I'm glad I was wrong about that, and glad to see that he's going to be our eyes and ears when it comes to the Azorius Senate.

Here's to Agrus Kos, Guardian of the Guildpact !

Parhelion, Ravaged by War

We've got a meteor (castle) coming to destroy the world, and only one woman can stop it. She's going to need a lot of luck because there is no way she can physically overpower Lupul.

I guess Feather's trial is going to have to be put on hold. Why is it that Feather thinks she may have killed her matriarch? Is it because of the whole Lupul factor? That seems to make sense.

Capobar and Company

This was a craaaazy section! At first I thought Capobar was going to be taken somewhere deep inside Rakdos territory, then I thought maybe Fonn was also captured and in that chamber as well, and then we get hit with the fact that Szadek and Savra (who may or may not be possessed by Svogthir) are working with Momir Vig! Seems like they're going to use the Rakdos to cause confusion with another rebellion, on top of attempting to take out the ruling Senate with the Parhelion comet, and then... what? What exactly are they doing with the dragon serum and the cytopalstic giveaways? Create slaves? Kill off large portions of several Guilds at once?

Is Lyzolda even in on the plan or is it just the Simic, Golgari, and Dimir working together? I have to assume that the Izzet and Orzhov aren't in on the plan, since they were given the augmentations. Savra/Svogthir may be a new addition and the reason why Momir is convinced Jarad is no longer a problem. What will the Golgari do when the real zombie-god returns? I'm sure they'd cast down the pretender that's trying to change them to a kinder and gentler guild. Jarad shouldn't have pissed off the high priest. And the Boros and Azorius are clearly in the dark.

That leaves two guilds. The Selesnya is one, which is an unlikely ally considering they've been purified of Dimir influence. And the Gruul is the other. If Borborygmos has thrown in with them, that'll be an even five Guilds vs. five Guilds, or at least five vs four plus some change since the Gruul aren't really a Guild.

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