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Friday, September 30, 2011

Alara Unbroken - Section 18



The war for Alara is here.


Alara Unbroken - Section 18

Bant

The lookout at the Bant gatehouse calls over his captain. There's an aven... on foot. They're a bit cautious about a trap, but as the aven gets closer the lookout realizes it's Kaeda . Sadly, by the time they get a cleric to look at him, there's nothing they can do. Kaeda dies. However they do find a scroll with an important message on him.

"DEMONS AT GILTSPIRE. FOUR DAYS."


Grixis

Up in the sky are several dragons. Not the on that Ajani is searching for, but it is a dragon he knows. Karrthus . And someone is actually riding him. In the distance they hear an extended blast of an elvish clarion. The armies of Naya chase the dragons, and they all head towards the center of the merging planes.


The Maelstrom

The Maelstrom has grown considerably, so much so that it creates a depression in the ground as large as an inverted mountain. Malfegor toys with the idea of taking the mana for himself, it can be he that rules and not Nicol Bolas. It is of course that it is at this moment that Nicol Bolas appears, quite aware of the potential of betrayal from his dragon-demon servant.

Malfegor's a bit bolder in the presence of such power and threatens to send his army against the planeswalker, however Bolas reminds him that it's his influence that keeps the Maelstrom in check. Should that stop for whatever reason, the unchecked power will tear the plane apart. A plane that he can leave any time he wants and a plane that Malfegor is bound to, so he better just move on and activate the obelisk in Bant.


Bant

Rafiq arrives at Giltspire Castle to the welcome sight of siege engines, knights, and thousands of soldiers. Kaeda must have succeeded in his mission. Only the return of Asha herself, as foretold can make this moment any greater. Knight-Captain Elspeth rides up and greets him and says he must be exhausted and in need of food and rest.

"No time for that," said Rafiq. "Tell me, Elspeth, do you know of the word 'demon'?"

(More on this later)


...After preparations...

Rafiq sends Elspeth away to relay orders for the clerics to begin casting. He dons his armor with its new back breastplate and he knows the battle foretold in prophecy will soon begin.


...Maelfegor...

Arrows rain down upon his zombies, skeletons, and kathari , and then enchanted knights follow. Maelfegor sends his fleshwarpers to cast their spells to flay the skin off every knight and then sends his ogres and dreg reavers as the next wave of the attack.


...Rafiq...

Rafiq rides through the battle and sees allies fall and horrible atrocities.

But most of all he saw the realization of prophecy. The Prayer of Asha had been true all along. Mubin's suspicions to the contrary were wrongheaded - it hadn't been manipulated for the sake of sparking a war; it was divine instruction for victory in the time of war. And soon, per the prayer, the archangel Asha herself would appear, push Bant's enemies back, and her blessing would end the war for good.

(More on this later.)

There's some hope as he watches the lesser angels tear through the forces of darkness in the sky above, and Rafiq rallies some knights to him and together they take on one of the dreg reavers. Simple slashes aren't very effective so Rafiq charges it head on, and just as the right moment he vaults from his saddle and jams his sword through the beast's skull and somersaults into the beast's rider. Rafiq becomes distracted as one of the angel's bursts into a mass of a feathers and light, not powerful enough to withstand the assault from the demons. He hopes Asha returns soon.


The Maelstrom

Ajani looks upon the Maelstrom in awe. A ball of pure mana. This must be what this whole thing is all about.

(What? How'd he get here?)

Anima Mayael greets him and says the elves are ready to battle for the sake of Naya and all the worlds. Ajani warns them to leave. He tells them the storm is unstable, and then Zaliki steps out from within the the elven army. She has something important to tell him. She's Jazal's murderer.


...Off to the side...

Zaliki confeses she's the one that planted the strange artifact that night. She was told by Marisi that all that would happen was that the pride would become united through fear of a common enemy.

(Was the pride divided? It sounded like Tenoch had next to no support and essentially everyone loved Jazal.)

She tells Ajani that he should just kill her. The voice of Jazal tells him that what she did was by accident. She was just a tool for someone else's plans at first, but after his anger rises Jazal's voice begins saying that maybe he should just kill her, then he can finally rest. Ajani asks where Marisi is now and she tells him that he was killed by her own hands. Pity, disgust, and grief swirl about him and he decides Zaliki shouldn't be the target of his vengeance. There's someone else who is ultimately the cause of his brother's death.

(Big surprise.)


Bant

Elspeth is the one guarding the obelisk when Malfegor nears. A ball of black mana forms between his hands and soldiers crumble in agony. He must be stopped. He's the priority. Elspeth orders everyone under her command to attack the demon. Just as she charges to join her fellow knights and soldiers Aarsil the Blessed calls out her name. Within her hands is the reforged Sword of Asha, and she says it must get into Rafiq's hands.

(Why must Elspeth do it? She's the commander of an entire contingent of soldiers and knights. Shouldn't someone less essential do it?)


...Malfegor...

The dragon-demon doesn't need to win the battle, all he needs to is destroy the protective spells around Bant's obelisk. Once activated he can be on his way. Tendrils of energy from the black ball within his hands reach out steals the souls of everyone nearby, including those that serve him. As the charging knights approach he expands its area of influence then released all the stored energy at the obelisk.


...Rafiq...

Rafiq gets up, one of the few survivors of the shockwave released by the demon. He watches as dark energy smashes into the obelisk and a bearm of energy shoots out from it. Malfegor turns around and walks away from the battle. All Rafiq can do is wonder where his glorious victory and the fulfillment of Asha's prophecy are.

Elspeth calls out his name and tosses a sword at him. The Sword of Asha. He looks in the direction of the demon and finds himself glowing with light and soaring through the air. He doesn't wonder what's happening and comes to the conclusion that he is the return of Asha.

Rafiq swung once, twice, and the sword cut through the abomination, slicing deep channels of light all teh way through is body. Two fissure in the shape of an "X" tore Malfegor open from his shoulders to his hips, and his body parted at the seams. The demon's arms fell to the sides, his head rolled backward, and his body crumpled to the ground. The abomination collapsed, a mountain of death, destroyed.

* * *

The Little Things

So it does seem like the planes are coming together in a very flat fashion, with the Maelstrom in the center. So Malfegor really didn't have a reason to travel through Esper.

Why would Rafiq ask Elspeth is she knew the word demon. Shouldn't everyone on Bant know the word demon? Everyone knows about Asha, the central figure of their religion, and everyone should know that fought demons long ago, and supposedly killed Malfegor. He doesn't know that Elspeth is a planeswalker.

How does Rafiq know anything about Mubin's suspicions? We've seen one scene where Mubin tried to tell his friend, but Rafiq kept cutting him off before Mubin actually said anything.


Rafiq, Asha Reborn

This did not pay off well for me at all. Partially because he's mostly just a naive idiot, and he doesn't know that it's Elspeth that's imbuing her with power. He's just a big dupe. He would have killed the demon all the same if he didn't come to some big spiritual epiphany, simply through the force of his momentum and the power of the sword in his hands. His faith that he's been holding on to is a joke. And that makes me sad, and it feels unsatisfying.

It might be too cliche, but I would have preferred almost any other outcome. I would have liked if Asha returned, if Rafiq just gave up and it was Elspeth that slays the demon, or if Rafiq realized he doesn't need Asha to win and he can do this on his own.


1 comment:

  1. Malfegor seethed. “You’ll die someday, planeswalker,” he said. “And somehow, some way, I swear I’ll be there to see it.” OHHHHH!!!

    I always liked these conversations villains against villains in the Lord of the Rings always enjoyed the conversations of the orcs, but when they were still arguing with them.

    Now let's see how this battle will be between Grixis Bant vs saw the mechanics of the game Bant could prevail even a certain one off, but I do not think it will be so sadly I do not think Bant waste of time, but do not think writer has aimed to make them come out well.

    Zaliki confessing his crime.Ok, it was expected.

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