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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Alara Unbroken - Section 6



PART ONE of Alara Unbroken comes to a close.


Alara Unbroken - Section 6

Bant

Hazid doesn't very much like his new traveling companions. They don't even try to understand that what happened to the castle is not his fault. Mages happened to being his caravan, and they're they ones that cast the spell.

"You'd better start getting used to telling the truth," said Mubin. "The courts have magic that'll pry it out of you, but if it doesn't match your words, your punishment will be much worse."

(It is just me or is that a bit awkward? That "but" should be changed to "and.")

Now what types of flowers will grow best from Mubin's and Rafiq's corpse he wonders. Wait... what's wrong with the leotau ? They're acting quite strange, and not from something as simple as hunger. All three men stand still and silent trying to determine what's going on. Then the sky booms and the ground shkes, and if Bant had ever experienced thunder and earthquakes the three men might have used those words to describe what they're experiencing.

Hazid is afraid that maybe the Archangel Asha has returned and seen his sins. Rafiq on the other hand recalls a simple prayer of the Order of the Skyward Eye. It predicts that world's body will shake and the world's stomach with churn. Maybe the they're right about everything.


Jund

The dragon's wings blow strong enough to fling some goblins off the trail. Ajani has never seen either type of creature by he knows enough to run. He's also not familiar to this type of terrain and he looses his footing and falls off the edge. He manages to catch the ledge with his claws, but now he's a perfect target for the hungry dragon. Before it can strike, a stranger appears. He stabs his staff into the ground and shower of sparks and noise startle the creature.

"Go on, Karrthus ," the man called into the gale of the dragon's wings. "Feast on the blood of some other beast! This is my dinner.

The dragon flies away, and the stranger helps him up and introduces himself as Sarkhan Vol. Almost immediately Sarkhan realizes something that Ajani does not. He tells Ajani that he is no longer on his plane. He is in a place called Jund and informs him that he is something special. He's a planeswalker.


...Further up the trail...

Sarkhan is most helpful and with nowhere else to go, Ajani follows him. Sarkhan is curious about his new friend and is extremely pleased when Ajani comes to the conclusion that what fuels him is revenge. But he lets Ajani know he must be the one in command. He shouldn't feel like everything inside him is so uncontrollable that he's ready to explode, but rather that the world is closing in on him and he is feeling ready to push back. He must believe in himself and in his instincts.

They reach the top of the trail and stand before the mouth of the Sweltering Caldera. Sarkhan often comes here to renew his spirit. The two stand in silence and watch the roiling raw mana all about. After a moment Sarkhan asks Ajani if he wants to know how he pushed Karrthus away.

"The key is this: you don't force away a greater threat. You appeal to its passions, its-" he thumped his chest with his fist- "innermost desires. you give it something that it wants more than killing you."

Ajani asks what that is, and he only says that dragons always wants the same thing. He then turns around lifts his staff and a pillar of lava shoots up into the sky. All dragons in the area draw closer and begin to circle the pillar. Sarkhan says he understands now what someone named Rakka is after. He says there is a great power at work, and power to be taken. For Ajani as well if he wants it.

Sarkhan leaps over the edge and Ajani watches as Sarkhan himself turns into a dragon. The pillar of lava falls and one by one the dragons leave, the Sarkhan dragon with them.

Now Ajani's alone on a strange world, with the only man that would help him now gone. Ajani doesn't know what to do. Maybe Sarkhan is right. Maybe he needs embrace this new situation. He opens his arms wide and falls into the Caldera, fully knowing he may well just die.


Naya

Ajani coughs and his fur is singed but he recognizes the trails and trees of home. He climbs up the mountain with no particular destination in mind just listening to the calls of gargantuans in the distance. A fog appears the higher he climbs and he comes across ancient ruins. He knows of this place. The forbidden ruins of Antari.

An elderly nacatl in a shaman's dress calls out to him. She wonders if he's hear to read the Coil. This is the place where Marisi waged his rebellion when she was just a little girl.

"Marisi was a great man - he freed the minds of the nacatl who lived here. The city was decadent. No one remembers their inner natures here. They had gone soft, because life was too easy up here. Peace and law for generations - it made everyone fat and vile."

The Coil itself is a stone disk with one hundred and twenty-one guiding principles written upon it, and it was pulled down and smashed into rubble. But some of it remains still to be read.

She smells rage in him, just like Marisi's rage. He tells her it's not the same and she prods at him to release it. He tells her that his brother was murdered, and she wants him to say what it is that his inner fire wants. He refuses and she attacks. She's fast for for her age and with strike after strike she demands he speak the words. Ajani manages to grab hold of the woman and throws her against against the Coil.

"Now you know it," she said. "Now you can say it."

Ajani's nostrils flared with his brisk breaths.

"I will kill whoever murdered my brother."

* * *


Bant, Plane of the Ignorant

I'm really enjoying the pure and innocent nature of Bant. I didn't really expect this take on a world filled with knights, but it's wonderful that everything is mostly just for show. Not experiencing earthquakes isn't too strange, but never hearing thunder? That's fantastic. You better watch out little Plane. It's time to grow up.


Mr. Nice Guy

Speaking of growing up. Sarkhan Vol is a really nice guy. Something I wasn't expecting. He's obsessive about dragons but that doesn't prevent him with being quite courteous to everyone he meets. With Kresh and Rakka he was clearly gaining something. For Ajani's sake he actually just stepped in and saved a stranger when he didn't need to. Maybe it's because he recognized a planeswalker, maybe it was because he knew shooing Karrthus wouldn't be a problem.


Nacatl Shaman

It seems strangely suspicious that she was there. I was originally expecting her to be one of the Cloud Nacatl, but she's not. If she's one of the Wild Nacatl why is she in the forbidden city? It seems like she's been planted there to turn on Ajani's rage. Is she the one who summoned the smoke creatures and not Zaliki?


Flight of the White Cat

And here we have the novel version of Flight of the White Cat, Part 3 The art is great, but now that I've noticed the rearranged word bubbles and cut off panels, it's quite clear that the physical copy in Path of the Planeswalker is the superior version. Or you can just read about it in the novel which goes more in depth anyway.


PART ONE Complete!

So where are we now?
  • Rafiq has Hazid and they just witnessed an earthquake and he now wonders if the cries of doom might actually be right.
  • Ajani's discovered planeswalking, his brother is dead, and he wants revenge .
  • Sarkhan Vol is still searching for the perfect dragon to worship and Rakka saved him from Malactoth's cave.
  • The conflux is going to happen within the year and the obelisks of Bant and Jund have been revealed.
  • We have seen next to nothing of Grixis, and Esper not at all.
  • We have yet to see Elspeth, Knight Errant and Tezzeret the Seeker .
I was expecting PART ONE to end with the beginning of the Conflux, but I guess I have to push that off and expect that to happen at the end of PART TWO.


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