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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Time Spiral - Chapter 20

Teferi vs Nicol Bolas.

Time Spiral - Chapter 20

It has been more than four-hundred years since Teferi's last duel with another planeswalker. Now it's time for another. This place had once been abundant with blue mana, but no more. Teferi has to make do with what he has, and increases his size to match that of the dragon, and Nicol Bolas backs off into the air to create some space between them.

Teferi knows he can't take on the dragon through brute force, but he wants to the dragon to believe he's going to try. Removing his from time will have the same effect and is his true goal.

Blue light streams forth from his eyes and mouth, is channeled through his staff, and is unleashed as a cone of cold aimed at the dragon. It's a cone of cold that masks a stasis field within it. The overconfident dragon waits to absorb it head on, ready to demonstrate his strength. Or so Teferi thinks. The reality is that Nicol Bolas simply planeswalks away and the cone passes through his after-image.

Teferi is overcome with pain the next moment, and Nicol Bolas emerges back in the same spot he left from, trying to mask the pain that must be even worse for him. Teferi lets fly another spell hoping to distract the dragon while he redirects the cone of cold to loop on back towards the dragon. The spell hits Nicol Bolas squarely in the back and he plummets to the ground below. It had worked. Teferi knew his overconfidence would be his downfall.

No. Wait... Actually it is Teferi that is overconfident. Nicol Bolas breaks free of the stasis field and and grows to an incredible size and has Teferi securely in his jaws. Nicol Bolas goes on and on about living an existence of non-existence for untold centuries. A simple stasis field cannot contain him. He tells Teferi that while manipulating time may be his best weapon, he has proven that he has no talent for combat. In the end, it is always will power is all that's needed, and none was greater than his own.

A disembodied Teferi-head falls to the ground, and lands staring up at Jhoira's face. He knows the end is coming, and while he knows it is selfish, his last wish is for the ability to close his eyes so he won't have to witness her death.

...Now what?...

Radha stands before the dragon and declares boldly that this will end. They have no more business with him. She has a directness and boldness about her that doesn't cross over into bragging that amuses him. He says that both her and Venser intrigue him, but Radha claims she doesn't care. She doesn't believe she has anything in common with the artificer.

 Oh? And what if the dragon decides to he doesn't want to examine a living Venser, that examining his remains would be enough to learn what he wanted? Radha remains firm that he means nothing to her.

Aprem thinks otherwise. He won't stand for one of their party to be harmed. Enough with Radha's battle with words. Radha warns the fire-slinger to stand down, but he says that Venser is under their protection and he's ready to fulfill his duty and die if need be.

While Radha has been amusing, Nicol Bolas cannot stand by and let Aprem challenge him like that. The shock on the Ghitu's face shows that he knows his moment of death is at hand. With but a thought, every muscle and bone in his body liquefies and he falls into a puddle of flesh, only held together by his skin. He spreads out across the surface of the ground and Aprem is no more.

Radha tackles the charging Dassene and knocks her out before the same happens to her as well. It's clear they have no chance against him. She reminds him that he's alive again and he should just go and be free and leave them alone. Either that or just kill them all right now. They'll all live or die as one.

Venser steps up beside her in solidarity after a quick glance from her, and he grabs on to one of his tools to use as a weapon and he says the same. She grunts in approval and adds that she'll kill Venser as soon as the fight begins so the dragon will never get him.

Good plan... wait- Hey! The artificer says that he'll do the same to her then.

Teferi's head floats upon a column of light and he calls to the dragon. Then he opens up his mind to him. Nicol Bolas sees the true extent of the changes to the multiverse, and for once is left in a moment of silence and contemplation.

It's time for him to leave this place, and hunt down every member of the clan that had killed him. If Teferi succeeds in his plan, then maybe he will be back someday, otherwise, it is farewell.

Jhoira thanks Radha for standing up for them all, and then they get to work collecting all of Teferi's pieces to speed up his recovery.

* * *


On the whole, the fights within this book have been pretty good. There's quite a lot of emotion and strategy, and a surprising amount of gore. The description of Aprem's death was pretty graphic, but it's a simple way to show off how insignificant mortals are when it comes to fighting planeswalkers. It was stupid of him to fight, but sometimes you can't hold back a Red aligned warrior.

As for the planeswalkers, Teferi did the best he could, but I'm glad Nicol Bolas wasn't defeated so easily. He was trying to use the classic, "I can't beat him but I can turn his strengths against him" type of strategy used so often, but in the end Nicol Bolas is quite adept at dueling, while Teferi is not, and if they dueled a hundred times Teferi might not even win a single match.

Since this trilogy is the end of the near omnipotent-planeswalkers, it's nice to see that McGough stuck in a classic duel.

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