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Monday, September 26, 2011

Alara Unbroken - Section 14



Questions and decisions for the residents of the New Alara.


Alara Unbroken - Section 14

The Blind Eternities

Centuries ago, Alara was shattered into five separate worlds for reasons and by methods unknown to Ajani, and the strange prophecies surrounding a white cat or that speak of the end or the world don't matter much to him. All he needs to know is what's before him. The worlds are becoming one once again.

Jund

After Rakka introduced Sarkhan Vol to her master, she resumes her mission. She travels from clan to clan speaking of visions and great events to come. She speaks of signs, while not knowing what they would actually be, and is quite pleased with the earthquakes and the collapsing of the Eternal Crags which unveiled a whole new world beyond. None will doubt her now.

Seeing Grixis for the first time, she can't help but wonder how her master could choose to live in such a vile place, but the strength of the black mana was unquestionable. She was humbled by his mere presence on Jund, here there is no doubt he's a true god.

(Foreshadowing for a final battle in Grixis?)


Naya

Jund slices through Naya with it's serrated mountain peaks and spills lava into its unprotected forests. While this land may be used to large beasts, but Sakhan knows they have none that fly. He summons his dragons.


Bant

Even though she is not allowed to rejoin the war just yet, Elspeth was able to convince the clerics to allow her to travel to Valeron and take a look at Gwafa Hazid . The merchant tries to protest the illegal questioning, however with a the monk Hollin present, a member of the Sighted caste, everything is legally in order.

Hazid responds to the questioning like he always does. He denies, denies, denies. It's not his fault. None of it is his ever his fault. Elsepth looks to the Hollin and the monk confirms that Hazid really does believe he's not responsible. But there's something he's hiding. She knows it.

When he let's slip that he was given instructions by another, Elspeth asks Hollin to leave the room, which the monk does under protest. She tells the merchant of events he's not yet heard about and he becomes convinced they are signs that someone he greatly fears is coming to kill him.

"Who?"

"The dragon."

(More on this later.)


Bant

Mubin studies the Prayer of Asha and recognizes a strong similarity to something he's read before. Mubin rings a tiny bell to summon the clerics so he can be taken across the country as soon as possible, by the end of the day if it can all be helped, but no one comes. He throws the bell at the window and it does nothing but if he can just open the window he's sure he'll be heard.

(Why doesn't he just yell? It's his legs that don't work not his voice. Is the room soundproofed? Or is he just sure that if no one can hear his tiny bell that they're out of range of yelling as well?)

Mubin flops off the bed and crawls his way to the window. He tries everything he can to try to lift himself up to the window but discovers that it's just too hard to actually lift up his entire body without the use of his legs. He should have just stayed in bed and kept on ringing the bell.

(Why doesn't he just crawl to the bell and then start ringing it again!?)

Tons more effort gets put in to trying to solve this problem of his, and he finally maneuvers the bed just right so he can use the bedpost to prop himself up, he finds there's no latch on the window and so shatters it with his fist. Some clerics finally come running and he immediately orders a wagon to be prepared.


Naya

Mayael has her army of elves and gargantuans assembled. Her attendant Sasha timidly asks to speak to her and says she doesn't think it right that they use their gods in war this way. The Anima snaps at her and says her visions told her this was the way and she shouldn't be questioning her. The girl quickly apologizes.

Mayael's face relaxed. She sighed. "No, I am sorry. Here I ask you to tell me what you're thinking, and then snap at you for telling it. The strange thing is, you're mirroring my very thoughts. I know this war is far away from us, and that we've seen no evidence of it. If it turns out there's nothing behind my fears, then I risk singlehandedly alienating us from the gods. And yet, if it is true that war comes to Naya, then of course I'm hesitant to call the gargantuans to perform such a dangerous task. You see? You're sensing the same problem that I've been wrestling with since the vision at the Relic. If we don't act, all could be lost. If we do, all could be lost. If I seem not myself, it's because these burdens weigh heavily on me."

(More on this later.)

The two hear snorts and then shouts. In the sky coming towards them are flying lizards the size of the gargantuans themselves. Mayeal is frozen in fear and after Sasha tries several time to get the anima to sound the clarion, the attendant finally just put it to her own lips and sounds it herself.

* * *


Mubin, The Crippled

Despite some questionable actions, which can easily be explained away by his clear impatience and anxiety to confirm/follow up on his discover, compounded by his frustration with his paralysis, the scene was actually quite suspenseful. The book is moving along so fast that it feels like we're really not going much in depth into anything. We show up on a plane, we get a report of what's happening, and then we move on. Here the book finally took some time to actually build up a moment that wasn't necessary in the larger scheme of things, yet the struggle was a great read.


Mayael, The Indecisive

I would have loved if this scene has Mayael's speech completely written as her internal doubts, while Sasha's urgings go unheeded. It would felt more natural rather than feeling like obvious exposition. Internal dialogue is a great tool that TV shows and movies can't usually take advantage of and it would have worked nicely here.


Elspeth, Detective

I did not like the ending to this scene at all. "The dragon" should have no meaning to Elspeth as far as Hazid knows, and it doesn't have much impact on the readers since we've already seen Nicol Bolas plenty of times already and knew what he was avoiding through the whole scene. It's not a big reveal nor does it have an emotional punch for any of the characters, and so in the end it feels quite lacking.

I suppose Hazid might not even know the name of his master, but considering how vain he is, I doubt it. In the end it feels like a way to shoe horn in another scene with Hazid because he doesn't have much more to do with the story and/or was a way to bring variety to the close of the scene rather than ending with the worlds "Nicol Bolas" once again. The problem is that variety fails to deliver.


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