Featured Articles

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum - Chapter 12

We've reached Akoum!

Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum - Chapter 12

They've made it to Akoum! Now the question is how to get off the beach. What faces them is a sheer crystal cliff face that's over a league in height that is covered with razor sharp crystal protrusions. It's clear they don't have the equipment to make such an attempt.

So what can they do? Anowon reasons that since the shore is covered with shipwrecked ships, there are likely some enterprising natives that takes advantage of such a common occurrence. All they have to do is wait for the inevitable raid or scavenger party to come to them.

Night falls and Anowon is proved right. A party of an assortment of ten individuals of various races ten rappel down the cliff face. They draw their knives and Nissa cries out the warning and everyone is on their feet. Anowon lights up the night with one of his spell teeth, revealing the newcomers to be scavengers and not warriors. With the element of surprise lost to them, it's clear they're prefer to just flee, but there really isn't a way to climb back up the cliff face quick enough to escape unharmed, so it's time to strike a bargain... or rather, the scavengers must accept whatever demands Sorin makes of them.

"You are now our guides. At least until we get to the top of that cliff. At that point we will decide if you have been helpful. If you have not, we will let our vampire drain your veins. I must say, you do look tasty."

The scavengers are disarmed and several of them give up for their climbing gear. The setup includes loops for each foot, and the process is more like climbing a ladder rather than scaling a mountain, so it requires minimal contact with the razor sharp cliff surface.

It takes all day to get to the top, then Sorin tells the scavengers that they're not done with them yet. Two of them will guide them to the Teeth of Akoum. One will likely be used as food. That or they can all refuse to help, but the consequences of that will be the death of every single one of them, then being turned into nulls by Anowon. Oh, and they better not think about laying any kinds traps along their path, because they will be vigilant against any such thing.

The people are chosen, and the lead the group deeper and deeper into Akoum. When they crest one of the peaks they see a field packed with hedrons of all sizes and razor crystal everywhere. Nissa wonders how they can possibly get through that. Their guides take them atop one of the floating hedrons, and then they use a rope to lasso nearby stones to pull themselves forward, unhook the rope, then repeat. They travel using this method for three days. During that time, one of the goblins disappears, as does the merfolk scavenger that came along with them.

Anowon steps beside Nissa and tells her that their guide says the terrain will be changing soon, and then transitions into telling her that the man is Eldrazi feed. His people were the natural food of the Eldrazi long ago. While the Eldrazi don't have traditional mouths, when a vampire feeds on someone, the vampire blood distills out the mana from their victims, and Eldrazi are able to feed off that mana from their vampire slaves by piercing the vampires with tubes that grow out from their arm pits.

(No idea what's with Wintermute and armpits. Are these tubes actually a part of the style guide? I admit to not reading all of the Planeswalker's Guide to Zendikar.)

As for the Eldrazi spawn, if you recall he was rescued from slaving by Nissa and Sorin, and he explains that while he was with them, it was clear they had forgotten how to feed, it was Anowon himself that was forced to show them how. And how did he know what to teach them? Those memories are kept and passed down from the bloodchiefs.

"My Bloodchief was an original slave. She told me about the hooks. She told me about The Mortifier, the first vampire who sold his own kind to the Eldrazi as slaves.” Anowon looked out at the hedrons. Nissa looked down.

By late afternoon they got through the hedron field and crossed into land full of deep canyons that radiated from where they stand.

* * *


We're 58% into the book and we've finally reached Akoum. We'll be at the Teeth soon enough.

Anything of Relevance?

Sure we're introduced to new characters to our little merry band, but it's hard to care about the new folks when we're told straight away that 50% of them are likely going to be food. They weren't even given names. They're more like just a tool for our heroes to use.

And well... maybe we're not supposed to think of these new folks as people. I haven't really brought up, but our heroes really aren't very heroic in their actions. Sorin and Anowon are Black aligned, and they certainly are acting the part.

Most of the chapter felt like another "Let's get from Point A to Point B" chapter until we got to the very end and Anowon started revealing some backstory about vampires. I have no idea if it has any relevance plot-wise, but at least it helped to fill out his character a bit, personally and culturally.

Nissa, The Simple-Minded

At one point Sorin starts talking about how humans and kor are considered to be of the first blood. They were here first before the merfolk and the vampires. Nissa wonders how Sorin can sounds so confident about his knowledge of the ancient days of Zendikar, like he's talking from personal experience. Nissa begins wondering how old Sorin can be... and still doesn't even consider if Sorin could be a vampire.

1 comment:

  1. Just another random footnote: A league is about 3 miles. That is one big cliff.