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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Brothers' War - PROLOGUE

And so it begins... or... and so it's about to end?

PROLOGUE - Opposites Attract (63 AR)
The Brothers' War - PROLOGUE

It's night on the island of Argoth. The night after an eventful day which included a giant artifact creature facing off against the avatar of the forest itself. Atop the fallen body of the stone giant, the tall but slightly balding Tawnos waits. The red-haired Ashnod had called for a meeting, and so he came. He came at her request, but she is also the enemy, and so he waits with armor beneath his robes and his weapons at his side just in case. Her pet name for him is "Duck," and that's how she calls out to him when she arrives. He wasn't sure if she'd really come, but it turns out that reports of her death are wrong again. She takes note of his weapons and approves of his caution.

Ashnod slung her pack on the ground and knelt next to it. Tawnos hesitated, then joined her. They sat in relative silence for a long moment. Far off, in the distance on either side of the vale, were the hammers of forges preparing for the bloody business of the next day.

"You sent a message," prompted Tawnos.

"This is the last one, you know," said Ashnod, staring out into a night pierced by red fires. "The last battle. The final conflict. One way or another, the resolution of the war between your master and mine."

"Between Urza and Mishra," said Tawnos with a nod.

"They are both here," Ashnod added. "There are no reinforcements. No retreat is possible for either side. One way or another, it all ends here."

They both express regrets for this too long war. Tawnos laments at the lose of lives and Ashod bemoans the loss of so many resources that could have been put to better use. They ask after each other's masters and each say the same thing. Both seem more distant than ever before.

Finally Ashnod asks him the question she's been meaning to ask. She says the war can still end if Urza turns over his half of a certain stone. Tawnos tells her that will never happen. Not one chance. What is going to happen will just have to play out the way it will. Tawnos wonders if the brothers could have stopped long ago if they could have just been made to understand each other, and Ashnod says that there was never such a time. Tawnos and Ashnod leave each other's company with the uncertain future on their minds. All they can do is hope the other survives the coming battle. On his way back to camp, Tawnos makes careful observations about the terrain, knowledge that can be used to benefit Urza's armies.

But another segment of his consciousness meditated on Ashnod's words, repeating them over and over again.

* * *


There is so much gravity, so much weight, to Jeff Grub's writing. It's so easy to feel the weight of the war on the shoulders of these characters, and the long running rivalry and attraction between these two servants/apprentices/agents of Urza and Mishra is so clear despite only just being introduced to them in this short chapter.

I'll repeat this again, but if you haven't read this already, I strong suggest you do so. It's quite easy to get a hold of this book thanks the re-printing in the Artifiacts Cycle Omnibus. No one should experience this story for the first time through this blog.

Go buy it.


1 comment:

  1. So glad you're covering this book. This, and The Gathering Dark, are both Jeff Grubb, and both phenomenal.