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Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Brothers' War - Chapter 13

Time for a second round of talks.

Chapter 13 - Peace Talks

The request for peace talks comes one year after on and off fighting along the Sword Marches. Yotia now has six flights of five ornitopters, as well as the more standard foot soldiers, cavalry, and civilian volunteers on patrols making up their defenses, but they are spread thin. Talking peace, even if they didn't expect much to come out if it, can't hurt.


Rather than meeting at Korlis again, they agree to have the talks right in Yotia's capital city of Kroog. Tawnos witnesses Urza put in an amount of dedication to the preparations that he's previously only seen him put towards machines. Urza walks every city wall and speaks to every merchant and learns the city like never before. He speaks to every pilot and transfers those with uneven tempers to serve outside of the city while talks are underway to make sure they don't take matters into their own hands.

When Tawnos asks him why they are having talks even if Urza knows they are not going to give up the Sword Marches even though the Suwwardi made their claim to that land perfectly clear, he responds that if they can have one talk with no incident, it brings hope for future talks.


The Fallaji entered Yotian land with only a small army and the dragon engine as agreed upon, but the engine pulls a large four-story metal wagon armed with catapults and ballista which was not. A flight of ornithopters is ordered to mirror their path until reports of massing Fallaji far to the north require their presence elsewhere. After ten days, the Fallaji make it to Kroog.

Tawnos is quite impressed with dragon engine, and while he is interested in Urza's brother, it's the red-haired apprentice that catches his eye. The two brothers walk forward to greet each other, with apprentices in tow. Mishra makes grand bows that Tawnos realizes are more for the Yotian people watching from the walls than they are for Urza himself, and he explains that he has been given full authority to conduct these talks and that the qadir will not be present.

While the brothers talk, Tawnos tries to keep his face a solemn mask. He knows he's here as decoration while the masters talk. He tries to keep his eyes forward, looking at nothing at all, until he realizes that Ashnod could mistake him for staring at her and so he quickly averts his eyes off to the side. As he does this he thinks he catches her wink at him but when he looks back, her face is just as diplomatic looking as he has tried to keep his own.

Urza asks Mishra to follow him to be presented to the queen and the apprentices follow. Ashnod offers her hand to Tawnos and introduces herself, and jokes that Mishra should have been the one to introduce her but sometimes he has the social graces of an atog . Urza presents Mishra to his wife and Mishra speaks a flowery speech of her beauty.

There were other introductions: Ashnod, Tawnos, the seneschal and the Captain of the Guard, and arrangements were made for the Fallaji to bivouac around their dragon engine. But the part that Tawnos remembered alter, after it was all said and done, was the stoney stare with which Urza favored his younger brother as Mishra flattered Kayla, and Mishra's toothy white smile as he regarded his brother's wife.


The talks had gone surprisingly well, and as a sign of respect towards the other party, Urza agreed to show Mishra around his orniery and Mishra had agreed to allow Urza a look at his dragon engine. But the sounds of shouting that can be heard through the royal chamber doors makes it perfectly clear there is a strong point of contention between Urza and Kayla. Tawnos walks in, knowing this might not be the best of times, but he's sure Urza would want to know that the agreed upon time to examine the orniery has come, and Urza rushes out the door as soon as Tawnos gives him the news.

When Tawnos asks what the argument was about, Kayla tells him that the Fallaji are willing to give up the Sword Marches for guarantees of protection of Fallaji caravans and people within their lands, recognition of the qadir as ruler of the Falliji people... and a small price. The Yotians no longer have to even give a formal apology for acquiring the land.


Kayla asks him what he knows about the stone around Urza's neck, because he's never told her anything about it. Tawnos tells her what it does, and knows that Urza will never give up his mightstone . Kayla doesn't see why they can't just give it. It would benefit her people so much. It is her duty to think about her people first right? Tawnos counters that it could do much harm to Urza himself, which may well in turn do harm to Yotia. Tawnos then suggests that maybe Mishra is just bargaining hard and starting with this, knowing he can't have it but he's willing to settle for something less.

Tawnos then heads down to the orniary and watches the brothers talk back and forth with an exchange of ideas on improvements to the ornithopter design for so long that it's clear the dragon engine tour will have to be postponed. Tawnos also notices Ashod eyeing him in a manner that made him doubt the stories of her being Mishra's lover.

Later that night at the state dinner, eight courses of food were served as was Yotian tradition, but the courses served were Falliji. Ashnod decides have a conversation with a fellow apprentice and she tells Tawnos about the difficulties of being a woman in Fallaji society. She's tolerated only because of Mishra. When he asks her what she thought of the orniary, she tells him that Mishra is jealous of everything that Urza has. Mishra's often talked about having his own workshop, but it's never come to pass. She then asks him if he'd like to see the dragon engine. With the two of them together they could get past both the Yotian and the Fallaji guards. They're apprentices, they're supposed to bend the rules sometimes.

They'll do it tonight, and he should bring some wine.

* * *

Uh Oh!

What's the red-haired vixen up to? Clearly something is going on. Obviously we know this is a reaction to Mishra acquiring some more dragon engines, but it's the details of what's going to happen that is a mystery. Stop being tricked by a pretty face Tawnos!


There really still is an artificer deep down in Mishra. Despite his not having much time to practice his craft, he was still able to talk with his brother for hours about design theory, so clearly that innate talent that they both have is still in there within him.


  1. Hello again, posted in Zendikar: No Teeth of Akoum vs de Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn. As I said I am Brazilian and I found your blog today and has turned fan. Here in Brazil it's hard to find and I downloaded the novels The Brothers' War this month but only read up to chapter five, my first book of magic. But do not read all that first, as I said I read In the Teeth of Akoum and ended up reading The Quest for Karn, like Ravnica and I plan to read the books here, but I think I'll finish reading War Brothers which was translated by a Brazilian fan in pdf format so excellent. I hope you do not give up the blog, is very good and has saved the link, I will try to disseminate among Brazilian Internet here has always had many magic players, and more always wanting to know more of the story, which is almost impossible for us to find in Portuguese. Vlw.

  2. Thank you for the kind comments. It's always great to hear that people are actually finding use and enjoyment out of this site.

    I'd write this this in other languages if I could, but ignoring the time it would take to make new translations, I simply don't know any other languages. I wasn't thinking about an international audience when it comes to Magic when I began this, but knowing that there is one out there is something that I do keep in mind, and I try to keep too much slang from entering my posts.