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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time Spiral - Chapter 1

The Time Spiral Trilogy marks the transition from the near-omnipotent planeswalkers of old to the new planeswalkers whose power level was reduced enough for it to make sense to have planeswalker cards within the game.

Before going into this book, it's important to understand where I'm coming from. Much like how the Time Spiral Block is the "nostalgia" block when it comes to the cards, the Time Spiral Trilogy will be tying up loose ends to the old stories, some which I've read long ago and some that I've still yet to read. Books I've read before coming in to this are: The Thran, the Artifacts Cycle, and the Masques, Odyssey, Onslaught, and Mirrodin trilogies. All other books including the Ice Age Trilogy and books about the Invasion, Planeshift, and Apocalypse and everything else are all books that I've missed out on.

I could go back to the beginning and read everything up to this point, however at the moment I'm more curious to find out about the beginning of the new planeswalkers and have decided I'm not too worried about reading some spoilers from the stories of old.

One last important note. Since this likely covers almost everything that's canon to the Magic storyline prior to the publication of this trilogy. Some day I'll have Read Through and posted about every Magic novel so people who want to read through everything in chronological order can do so, but in the mean time... THERE WILL BE SPOILERS of these older books. With that said, on with the Read Through.

Time Spiral - Chapter 1

Jhoira isn't immortal, but she's aged so slowly that in the past thousand years she seems to have hardly aged at all. The artificer whistles, and her beetle-shaped toolbox comes to life and crawls across her concrete table and begins picking up and storing her tools inside its compartments.

Jhoira, my dear. Are you already packing up? It's true, then, we can't put it off any longer. It's time to have that talk we keep starting and never finishing.

The voice was from her friend, Teferi , one of the most powerful beings in existence. He natters on a until Jhoira scolds to get to the point. Maintaining a physical form isn't a necessity for a planeswalker, but it does make it easier for Jhoira and Teferi to communicate if he takes one. She's not sure what to make of his taking on the traditional  robes of a Zhalfir mage though. He hasn't worn those in a very long time. A time when his advice to his king led to posterity for an entire region if it was heeded, and disaster if it wasn't. Jhoira reserves the right to determine if that's what he's implying or he just wants to wear something he was comfortable with.

Despite his appearance, he still keeps on with circling around the topic at hand, so Jhoira helps him along.

"You're ready to go back home," she said. "You've been distracted ever since I said that careless thing I said."

Teferi's face was wide-eyed study in innocent calm. "What careless thing?"

"You know what I mean. When I said that it might have been better if we hadn't done what we did, that I might be happier if we had left things alone."

She has it right, but he adds that she left on important detail. It's all her fault. She responds by sarcastically saying that of course it's her fault. She's the one that lifted the continents of Shiv and Zhalfir and teleported them elsewhere. All by herself.

Teferi amends that of course he did the actual work, but it was her idea. She was the one that insisted it happen.

So fine, it's her fault. But he still needs to tell her what's going on.

In the middle of the room he creates an ice model of their home world of Dominaria. There are some slight changes to how she remembers the place but the strangest part is the crackling shapes that pulse with a green glow scattered across the globe.

They're disruptions... in time and space and magic. And the biggest one is centered around the return of Shiv.

"When we took Shiv out," Teferi said, "we didn't get it all, but we took enough to leave a major hole - a very large, very irregular hole." On the globe, a jagged gap in the ice flared then continued to pulse as Teferi talked about it.

"Now Shiv is coming back, right to the place we took it from, to the hole it left behind. I can't stop it. I can only minimize the impact. If it were a perfectly round hole or perfectly square, we might be able to finesse it back into place - a nudge here, a twist there - but it's not a perfect shape. It's not even the same shape as the hole anymore."

The piece that represents Shiv slides into the hole where it used to be, but it's clear that it won't fit. It forces its way in and the cracks in the planet spread. Jhoira says she gets the idea, but Teferi continues. The cracks reach across the entire planet, and through it. Pieces fall to the ground while the planet separates into a number of fragments that hover about in a roughly spherical shape. The air around the globe glows yellow and a high-pitched whine fills the room as the world collapses in on itself. But that's no the end of it. Yellow tendrils reach beyond the model and reach out across the entire workshop and then the whole workshop disappears. The two stand about in a black nothingness. Teferi finally stops the demonstration and restores things as they were.

He tells her it only gets worse from there. It's what he sees every time he tries to rest. Jhoira wants to see Zhalfir next, and spins the model around to show her the same type of disruption existing there as well. Clearly they have to do something and Teferi is relieved she agrees.

But they have to make a few stops first. She's not going to like it. He babbles on once more and she tells him that time's a'wastin' and he should just tell her already! With a sheepish look to him he rotates the globe to a glowing emerald dot in the northern hemisphere.

Jhoira hopes he's not serious, but he assures her he is.

"Because it is one of the only places I know where someone has done what we want to do. In fact, it was even harder than what we face because there wasn't even a hole for it to fit into. She made it fit anyway, without disturbing so much as a single snowflake, and," he added, "it's the only such place with a planeswalker who pulled it off still living there."

That's just one reason why she thinks it's a bad idea, and there are plenty more. As powerful as he is, she knows Teferi won't do this without her. He wants to do things right but he's also hiding something.

Jhoira things a moment, and agrees. But... they have to take Ghitu and viashino warriors both. Even though he feels he's perfectly capable of protecting them, she insists. It's only smart to have more warriors with them. And secretly she wants to force him to interact with mortals once again as a way to give him some perspective for what's at stake.

So shall they get to it?

"You lead," Jhoira said, "I'll follow." She nodded again but her eyes were back on the ice globe. "For now."

"For now," Teferi echoed, smiling radiantly, "that's all I need."

* * *

No Sample Chapter?

It's a shame that there's no sample chapter for this book that I can find anywhere. Not on Wizards' site for one thing, but since it's not in ebook format I can't link to amazon.com or anywhere else either. Within the first few paragraphs I was already hooked. It's already clear that this is a must buy book if you're any kind of fan of the old Urza/Weatherlight/Invasion storyline. If you just read this Read Through you'll get the gist of what's going on and you'll get my reactions, but if the rest of the trilogy is as good as this first chapter is, this is something you'll want to experience in full for yourself.

Jhoira and Teferi

It's been so long, but if I remember this right both of them had plenty to do with the Tolarian Academy during Urza's Saga Block, written about in the Timestreams and Bloodlines novels. I can't say with certainly, but from what I remember, it seems like McGough has captured the essence of their relationship... matured after a few more centuries of course. It makes perfect sense that since Teferi has had Jhoira to help ground him after all this time, he would still care about what his actions have done. Jhoira herself is one smart cookie and realizes this and so already has a plan to ground him even further. No bailing out for the omnipotent being if things don't go as planned.

Mystery Planeswalker

Which planeswalker are they going to visit? I'm a bit deficient when it comes to remembering who the old planeswalkers are. Urza and Teferi and Karn are the most prominent ones that come to mind and none of those are the answer. This is something that I'm sure other readers will probably figure out, but considering this is just the first chapter and the fact that the answer is likely to be revealed soon enough, it works perfectly fine without that knowledge.

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