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Monday, August 1, 2011

Ravnica: City of Guilds - Chapter 19



For better for worse, this is it, we have our final showdown.


Ravnica: City of Guilds - Chapter 19

If there are only nine guilds, why are there ten sentinel titans? Ten sections of ravnica? And ten points on the badge of a wojek? Surely this is more than mere coincidence.
-"Tenth Guild: Fact or Fallacy?" the Ravnican Guildpact Journal (13 Zuun 9451 Z.C.)

28 ZUUN 9999 Z.C., DAWN

That was really it. Szadek snapped Savra's neck and her limp body falls to ground, and thanks to her new connection to the Conclave all the dryads do the same.

Kos yells at Fonn and Jarad to:

"Snap out of it!" 

(Because that's what actual people would say, and that's not a line that's only used in bad TV shows and movies)

But despite such a powerful phrase they remain entranced.

Szadek knows the power of such words however, and before Kos can yell it again, he commands two of the shapeshifters (one in the guise of his ex, Sulli Valenco, the other in the guise of Forenzed, another member of the wojek Brass) to restrain them. It turns out that fulfilling Szadek's order to take care of them is what actually breaks them out of their trance, but at least the shapeshifters have them restrained so it wasn't a total loss on his part.

The Lord of Whispers then addresses the people of Ravnica despite them not being able to hear him thanks to still being enraptured by the Chorus of the Conclave (still going on depite the Conclave not actually leading it anymore, but it could be the power of the Guildpact enforcing it), and he talks about how they've imprisoned him for too long and it's time for the Guildpact to end. In the middle of the speech Biracazir attacks the vampire and is stopped with ease. As he completes his speech, he turns to the quietmen and gives them a signal.

(More on this later.)


...Fonn...

There's been crushing blow after crushing blow in Fonn's life. Bayul, the Conclave, and now Biracazir. Her wolf was barely breathing, but at least he was alive. But what was Szadek doing?

The quietmen press against Vitu-Ghazi and they flash brighter and brighter and then disappear. Kos asks what was happening, and she says she thinks she's trying to release the Selesnyan Parun, Mat'selesnya.

Mat'selesnya was the elemental that was formed by the sacrifice of twelve dryads when the original Guildpact was formed. She was the Guildpact. Her existence within the great tree is the power that's been enforcing the pact these ten millenia.

The structure in the center of the tree folds in on itself in a very bulb-like shape. The bulb glows, and from within a very fragile looking Mat'selesnya appears.

Szadek commands his shape-shifters to kill off our heroes, and then he begins to feed.

(By command, I mean that he very literally had to say that it appeared that the shapeshifters, who are all named Lupul?, didn't understand his meaning when he said to deal with them, and by "deal", he meant "kill". Incompetent henchmen sure do make a villain even more threatening, am I right? )


...Kos...

The three shapeshifters push the three of them to the ground (instead of kill them), and the three try to come up with a plan. Jarad says that if he can get hold of Savra's staff, he might be able to use his bug powers and defeat them.

(Sounds good.)

Kos then tells Fonn to go check on Biracazir while he holds the three shapeshifters by himself.

(Huh?)

The shapeshifters slowly advance on him, herding him to edge of the dais and are obviously toying with him according to the wojek's veteran eyes.

(I guess they don't understand that "kill" them, means more than just Kos, with a strong implication of "kill them now". Do I have to say it? Good help is so hard to find.)

They shapeshift constantly, seemingly randomly and not as psychological warfare, and take on shapes of some people he knows, and some he doesn't. When one of them takes on the shape of Myczil Zunich, he screams.

(I guess his ex-wife really didn't mean much to him, since her form got no reaction whatsoever.)


...Fonn...

The ledev makes it to her mount in a few seconds (She's that close and one of the shapeshifters can't go for her?), and she does what she can for him. Which isn't much.

Then Jarad yells out to her. I don't know how big this dias is, but Jarad made it to Savra's body, and gets both the staff and the stone from her head, seemingly not too far from where Szadek is, who is apparently too distracted by his feeding on Mat'selesnya to notice. The staff is for himself, but the stone is for Fonn and he throws it to her.

The stone still had a faint glow. Maybe the Conclave wasn't quite dead. With nothing lose, Fonn places it into her forehead.


...Jarad...

The Devkarin steps in between Kos and the Lupuls before Kos is pushed over the edge of the dias. With the power of Savra's staff enhancing his abilities, he's able to communicate with shapeshifters which are really made up of thousands of worms, and which are all actually just one creature despite seemingly being three separate entities.

He tells them that they don't need to be under the thrall of Szadek, they don't have to be slaves to the Dimir... and then proceeds to command them against their will to kill their vampire lord using his abilities, abilities that wouldn't have been sufficient to overpower their free will if he didn't have the staff.

(That's what you get for listening to a Devkarin!)

The worms turn on their master, Szadek, and completely engulf him and begin to feed.

(I bet Szadek feels a little foolish for not giving that command himself a few minutes earlier. Sometimes there are no do-overs.)


...Fonn...

The stone does nothing, and in fact is going cold. All hope seems to be lost as she watches as each breath from Biracazir becomes shallower than the last. She tells Biracazir that she's sorry as she's ready to watch him die, then for some reason the stone turns a bit warmer, and she wonders... what if...

She can't wonder for too long as the stone begins to cool again, and she places the stone into Biracazirs forehead.


...Kos...

Kos feels pretty powerless. What was he to do. He was just human.

Then a light bursts forth from the body of Mat'selesnya. It bursts forth in waves, and each wave seems to blow off the worms that make up Lupul, and all at once they die. Szadek on the other hand wasn't quite dead yet. Sure quite a lot of him was devoured, but he's a big boy and can take a beating.

Mat'selesnya is still alive. If she is alive, the Guildpact still holds. Kos puts on his ten-pointed badge which he had yet to do since Phaskin (The fake Phaskin that was actually Lupul) told him he was reinstated as a wojek. He pulls out his handcuffs and walks up to the vampire.

"Szadeck," Kos said, "I'm placing you under arrest for the murders of Luda, Saint Bayul, and Sergeant Bell Borca of the Tenth Leaguehall. If you try to resist, you will be beaten senseless. I've had a very rough week."

* * *


Well This is Awkward

That certainly didn't go as well as I could have hoped.  The general idea seemed okay. Mat'selenya is the key to the Guildpact, and needs to draw strength from the Conclave. That's the key to victory. Herndon wanted Kos placing Szadek under arrest to be the final "blow" to return the book to its humble police procedural roots.

But wow were the logistics of this final battle a mess. These Ravnicans sure prioritize differently than me. They've fought Lupul before back at the hospital, and for some reason they thought Kos could handle three of him on his own, so Fonn could take care of her mount? They didn't know at the time that Biracazir... for some unknown reason... would be the key to saving the Conclave, how did that order make any sense from a veteran wojek and a trained ledev guardian? And there really isn't much of an answer as to why Lupul let Fonn and Jarad escape so easily and why the waves of energy coming off of a revived Mat'selesnya killed it.

And come on! We had Savra as the villain this whole book, and he comes in and just snaps her neck one chapter, and then does absolutely nothing in this chapter where he's defeated! This is the scary Parun of the Guild that does not exist? All he did was give inept commands and made a speech that no one could hear! Oh, and beat up on a dog.

If you have to fumble on a battle in your book, you don't want that to be the battle. So close Herndon, so close.


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