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Friday, October 21, 2011

Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum - Chapter 18

Secrets revealed at last!

Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum - Chapter 18

They stopped only briefly. At Shir’s orders, the nulls seized Nissa and ran with her bound on its shoulders. The nulls ran like they were being chased with Biss and Shir at the front and back.

(Like they're being chased from both ends? Doesn't that means they should be huddling together in one place...)

Nissa isn't given any food or water, and finds herself being kicked by Biss during her interrogations. Any questions about where they're going are left unanswered, but it's clear that Shir and Biss are both fleeing from something as well chasing something down. Nissa notices Shir examining some tracks they come across and there's something about them that forces Nissa to do everything she can from breaking out into a smile.

When Nissa hears Shir call out to one of the nulls to find a seam in the ground, Nissa uses her sharper elven eyes to help them along. She finds it first and points it out to the male vampire. Shir thanks her and tells her that she'll be granted a quick death rather than be given over to Biss when this is over. When asked why she hasn't be killed yet, Shir tells her that her companions all got away and she's being used as bait.

"Who are you?" Nissa said.
"We are charged with fighting the Eldrazi brood lineage. When we came upon your band we saw an opportunity to kill or capture the Mortifier, who is perhaps the greatest Eldrazi sympathizer of all time."

He tells her that the Mortifier sold them into slavery to the Eldrazi to be used as a food source and then later as slave labor. It's his reason that vampires have been in chains all their lives.

(Wait... but the Eldrazi spawn were only just reawakened, and the Eldrazi are still asleep... how could they have been slaves all their lives. Or is he speaking more for vampire-kind as a whole. If this was another author I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, with Wintermute...)

Well... back to the situation at hand. The nulls have managed dig up the hidden trap door in the grass. When they slide open the heavy stone door, the smile is wiped off Biss' face as Sorin and Anowon come bursting out. She's quickly cut down by Sorin's sword and soon enough every single null is dead.

(Wait... what!? What happened to the overwhelming amount of nulls!! How did just the two of them take them all out all of a sudden when it was impossible to win last chapter!?)

Shir addresses the Mortifier, telling him that everything is his fault, and he'll soon be dead. And then out of nowhere he begins to fall apart. Patches of skin, then whole limbs detach from his body. Nissa looks at Sorin and he tells her it isn't her doing. He tells her that Shir unincorporated. That he is of a line of an important Bloodchief, and he has the dementia summoners on staff to dream him back to life.

Smara and Mudheel come out of the hole and Anowon explains that it's one of many hidden barrows across Zendikar, many of which are connected by tunnels, including this very one.

(More on this later.)

Sorin tells her to thank Anowon for insisting they save her, because if it were up to him he would have left her behind. There's a mission to complete. The Teeth of Akoum, and the Eye of Ugin is close enough that Anowon points it out to them from where they stand.

(I thought that Sorin thought he could use her skills!)

Yes, well... she's glad they rescued her, and she has some intel to share real quick. What Shir said about the Mortifier. She tells them that Shir told her that the vampire's main goal was to hunt down and kill the Eldrazi spawn, and they just happened across their path by accident.

"So they were not specifically tracking the Mortifier?" asked Anowon.

"It seemed they stumbled upon us." Nissa said. She watched Anowon’s face for a tell—something that would show her that he was the Mortifier, as she suspected him to be. The Mortifier was a vampire, after all. A vampire.

(Wait... but Anowon already directly called Sorin the Mortifier! *facepalm* At least Wintermute wrong that last sentence of repetition to signal that Nissa is in denial.)

With that shared, they walk on towards the Eye of Ugin. As night comes along, Nissa personally thanks Anowon again for coming to save her, and he tells her that she did the same for him. And she's proven herself to be a capable fighter against the Eldrazi spawn. She might be effective against the true Eldrazi as well.

Nissa's confusion shows. She thought they were rushing to ensure they Eldrazi stay in their hibernation. Why would they have to fight the Eldrazi? Anowon replies that the plan is only what Sorin has told them. He's not so sure if that's Sorin's true plan. He knows Sorin is from another plane. The Eldrazi as well. He wonders why Sorin insists they be kept imprisoned here and not on some other plane.

(I don't follow his logic. They're imprisoned. It would take much more effort to wake them and then imprison them somewhere else, rather than to maintain the status quo.)

Anowon proposes they free the Eldrazi and allow them to leave Zendikar. He tells her that Zendikar used to never have Roils, and that they've only gotten worse since the Eldrazi spawn escaped. Zendikar didn't have any hedrons either. There's something about the hedrons that make them focuses of power that is tied to all of this.

There's something not right with all of this, including the strange inscriptions everywhere, like on the building the brood lineage were building back on the beach of Ondu.

“The inscriptions were made by the brood copying the ancient Eldrazi style of decoration,” Anowon said. “Just as the markings on the hedrons are copies. The only original markings are on the palaces and crypts and various other buildings that once housed the ancients.”

After a moments pause, Nissa asks Anowon if he's ever met the Eldrazi. When Anowon asks how he could possibly ever have met them, she tells him straight out that she knows he's the Mortifier. Anowon is taken aback by the accusation. He tells her that she may think of him as different from other vampires, but he is very much a vampire, and he would never sell out his people in the manner that the Morifier did.

When Mudheel asks why Anowon is storming off like he is, Nissa realizes that if he's not the Mortifier, there's only one other choice. She looks at Sorin with new eyes.

* * *

Mystery Pockets

“Yes,” Sorin said. “A mission.” He took out a comb and began brushing his hair. Has that comb been with Sorin the whole time? Nissa wondered.

I guess this needs to be added to the list of unresolved plot threads. How does Sorin have pockets. (And is that important in any way?)

Secret Barrows

How did they know the vampries would choose that barrow? If it didn't have a tunnel it would make more sense maybe? That's just do coincidental.

Mixed Emotions

On one hand, we're getting an actual plot point that I'm interested in. We've got four chapters left and an epilogue and the true end goal is certainly something that's quite relevant. I'm actually not sure where Anowon and Sorin stand on this whole thing, and here we're finding the extent of how much the two don't trust each other.

On the other hand, the logic doesn't add up. Sorin doesn't care very much who gets left behind, yet he was the one that brought both of them along with him. And while I'm thrilled that Nissa now realizes that Sorin is a vampire, her believing that Anowon was the Mortifier just doesn't work because of Anowon's slip up several chapters ago. And like I mentioned earlier, suspicions of Sorin because they think his plan doesn't make sense? Come on. That's crazy talk.


Quick note. Nissa did try summoning creatures to free her, but she didn't have the energy. That helps to make sense why she wouldn't try planeswalking to save her life. Something that probably should been in her thoughts more often considering how often things have seemed hopeless.

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