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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guildpact - Chapter 12

Teysa's fighting force is developing into a full blown army. Zomaj Hauc beware.

Guildpact - Chapter 12

All over Ravnica, the ledev guardians patrol the roads and keep travelers safe. Everywhere but here. Why? What are they afraid of? Perhaps the rumors are true. Perhaps the Selesnyan Conclave's power is finally fading, and we bold pioneers must step into the void and protect ourselves. For if we don't, who will?
-Editorial, the Utvara Townsman (11 Golgar 1009 Z.C.)

2 CIZARM 10012 Z.C.

Acquiring her army didn't stop with the guildless. Dr. Nebun gladly donated the use of twelve of his viroids, which he claims were made from the very essence of disease itself. The thieves' guild, which rumor claims actually is a part of the Dimir, offered up three of their shadewalkers for 48 hours. Throw in some Golgari zombie ogres, a pair of Haazda, and whichever Gruul she might be able to pick up on the way (if the taj haven't killed them all), as well as any Izzet that might want to turn on their insane master... welll... Teysa nearly had her own personal Guildpact to command.

(I see what he did there.)

(And hold on minute. The mysterious taj were the zombies this whole time? Was I supposed to know that? I was expecting something more. Herndon has strange priorities feeling the need to explain how zombies work, but then not telling us that "taj" is his word for this unique brand of zombie.)

But it was time to make her last stop. Vitar Yescu. Teysa wishes she hadn't messed with him earlier. He waited patiently while she was interviewing all the leaders of the community, but she kept on rescheduling on him for no good reason. Giving Wrizfar Barkfeather the run around just because she didn't like the Selesnyans was petty and would make acquiring his support all the more difficult.

Teysa walks into the church alone, leaving the Devkarin Nayine Shonn in charge, and announces that she finally wishes to have her meeting with Barkfeather. With other Selesnyans in meditation, the priest signals for her to follow to his personal chambers.

Inside Tesya makes her apologies, and then pulls out the Simic cure. The Selesnyans and Simic were usually at odds, and in this situation was no different. What was a Simic cure really? Their cures often came with who knows how many side effects. But Tesya assures him it would work, as long as everyone took it within 24 hours. She takes her time and eventually is able to break down his reservations and turns him around to her side. She closes with insisting that they all must work together. Why? Because three new born dragons are about to burn everything to the ground.

...Out in the Husk...

Things were proceeding quickly. Barkfeather had contributed enough dromads for anyone who could ride, and flying above them in hawk form was Barkfeather himself. They must be on the right trail, as the corpses of a pair of dromads and the two thrulls that had been sent with Pivlic litter the ground.

Teysa collects Bephel's pieces and revives him. The first thing the thrull reports is that it was Melisk that murdered Elbeph while the loyal thrull was just trying to be a good thrull and make it to their meeting point.

On cue, Melisk rises up from behind some rocks above, along with thirty taj. His fighting force has already proved themselves in battle, and he can't see how Teysa can do anything but die.

But not so fast. Teysa makes it clear to him that now she knows his trick, her induced fainting spells are no ineffective. And oh, by the way, they may have gone to the same school for law and magic, but those of the Orzhov blood were placed in advanced classes and given access to special knowledge. What he thinks is a formidable army standing by his side is actually a hostile force. She orders the taj to rip him apart, and that's that.

Now it's time for some real planning.

Teysa calls up Nayine Shonn to her side, and asks about her qualifications. In a way to show how tough she is, she admits she's been jailed more often than not for crimes of:

"Murder, public drunkenness, public drunken murder. And robberies. Group raids on passenger traffic, temples, banks - the usual."

(See anything wrong there? That's right. Murder. One of the very first things we learned in Ravnica from Herdon's own words that murder was often not a crime. It may be obvious to Teysa that it has to be one of those special circumstances of murder, but with that being such an important focus in book one, that contradiction as well as the stereotypical nonchalance takes away from the moment.)

After the brief job interview, Teysa asks for advice on invading the Cauldron. Nayine first renegotiates terms for giving her advice like a proper soon-to-be paying member of the Orzhov should, then suggests she be the one to take out the drake, if Teysa would be so kind to give her a bam-stick. As for getting in... Barkfeather interrupts and tells them a hawk isn't the only thing he can shapeshift into.

* * *

Melisk, the Foolhardy

That was quick. His story parallels Savra's in a lot of ways. He's a villain with secret plans that bites the dust in a rather quick fashion. Yet his death didn't disappoint like Savra's did. Why is that?

  1. Teysa took care of him. - This wasn't an essentially new villain popping out of almost nowhere and turning on him, to become an out-of-the-blue replacement villain our heroes to fight. The cover character is the one that took him down.
  2. Teysa isn't a fighter. - She's a thinker and a leader. She eliminated him the way she's supposed to. She knew more than him and took advantage of his ignorance. That felt very much in character.
  3. Savra had so much potential. - We saw a great build up of her character in acquiring Svogthir's power, yet we never got to see that used. It was such a waste. Here, we've seen the extent of Melisk's manipulations of Teysa, and learned that he's been doing it for such a long time.
  4. It's after a big let down. - Whereas Savra's death was after some great build up, Melisk's death is after the "Crossing the Fingers" incident. His death, regardless of how quick it was, was far less lame than that.
  5. He doesn't have a card. - While he is on the cover, he still doesn't have his own card, he's not one of the known Guildmasters or Guild Champions, and that does make him feel less important and makes it feel like what happens to him isn't as important as a character with a card.
  6. He's clearly not the main villain. While reading Ravnica, I felt like Savra was the main villain of the book, but Szadek was going to be the main villain of the trilogy. After her abrupt departure, I began wondering why Szadek wasn't developed more, and how could they rob me of a satisfying end to the Golgari Queen. Melisk on the other hand, while he does represent the Obzedat, he comes off more as a lackey, and not the main opposition.
  7. It's still the middle of the book. Related to #6, there is plenty of more story ahead of us, so there is more of the path to travel and there is still a number of possibilities before us. The true impact of this event cannot be determined until we get a wider view of things and cross the finish line.

All in all, if this is how Melisk goes, so be it. It's Zomaj Hauc that carries most of the burden to have a great death.

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