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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Planar Chaos - Chapter 4



Time for Venser to do what he does best, build some artifacts!


Planar Chaos - Chapter 4

After reaching safety amongst the Ghitu, the next few weeks are dedicated solely to building, and it is glorious. But first it takes some effort on Jhoira's part to explain what is going on, and to convince the elders that the coming disaster of the rifts is real and the solution is something they should be a part of. And then it takes a bit more effort to open up the reclusive Venser , and get him to collaborate with people he doesn't share a language with, but as the translator between Venser and her people, she eventually wins him over.

Then it's all about designing and building a new ambulator. Jhoira is thrilled to be back in a forge, just like when she was a child working with her father, and she's thrilled to see Venser thrive on the praise he's receiving about his genius, and takes great pride that he admits to her that he feels as if it's undeserved and her people are the true masters.

The mechanism for teleporting naturally stayed purely Venser's work, but the vehicle was modified to be more throne-like in shape. Jhoira herself creates a new control mechanism that's worn about the shoulders and allows him to control the whole device with his fingertips. Venser has the strongest objections to this change, stating that a new control scheme will just add another variable of complication they don't need, but eventually she gets him to give in to her side once more. Feeling the lightweight nature of the Thran metal for himself for the first time helped to change his tune.

With the machine close to completion, it is time to talk to Teferi . There's been no change to his condition. He responds when directly asked questions, but there's no life behind his words. It's just listen and respond for him rather than really engage with whoever is talking with him.

"You mentioned mana surges. Can you still sense them?"

Teferi paused, concentrating. "No," he said. "I remember what they felt like... I sometimes remember what everything felt like. But I don't anymore."

She asks about what he remembers when Venser saw the basilisk , asks if he still has power, and asks what happened with Corus. He says he saw Venser teleport under his own power. Perhaps dedicating his life to building his machines near the rift became so ritualistic that he's able to create a machine within his head and he can manipulate mana without even realizing it. He says that he has no power left. And he admits to her that Corus attacked him and he defended himself, but he admits in a way that makes it clear there's more that he's not saying.

She tells him they're about to test the machine and that he's not coming with them for the fist test run. She'd like him to watch and observe from a safe distance, but it's best they keep him away for now, just in case. If the first test run works smoothly, they'll come back for him right away and go again.

The plan is to gain aid from other planeswalkers, like he said before. Karn , a fellow resident of the Tolarian Academy , is a great choice, but he's too hard to find and hasn't been seen in centuries. So they are going to go to Venser's home in Urborg first and try to recruit Lord Windgrace.

"Teferi's eyes welled up with tears, which he quickly blinked away. "Jhoira," he said, "I want to do more. I still want to make it right."

"Don't" she said. "Do this instead: If you want to help, help Assist me. Follow my lead." She arched her brow. "Unless you want to stay on this hillside and keep wondering why you're not dead. You're alive, Teferi, and your work is far from over. You left it to me, but I can't do it by myself. We need you. I need you."

Teferi stands, and thanks her, and they walk to Venser and his ambulator.

* * *


Beautiful

This was a beautiful chapter. The contrast between Jhoira's experience with Venser and building versus the concern and sadness in Jhoira's experience as she tries to reconnect with Teferi was such a ride.

The Venser half was a great call back to the The Brothers' War. It's been too long since I've read that book but the love of building and design that comes off the page is one of the reasons why I first fell in love with the Magic storyline. For me it wasn't the concept of planeswalkers that drew me in, it was the job/rank/classification of the artificer that made Magic so unique compared to other fantasy worlds.

As for the Teferi half, that was absolutely heart-wrenching. Teferi was a bit over the top at times, but to really see how far he's fallen, and to witness the smallest signs that he's trying to break free and have purpose makes me feel for him.

While some Magic books aren't worth buying, I already had the feeling in Book One that this was a trilogy worth owning, and now four chapters into this book it is quite clear that feeling is right. This Read Through might be useful as a good reminder of what happened, but I strongly recommend that everyone read these books.


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