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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Eternal Ice - Chapter 10

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Chapter 10 - The Royal Palace

All leaders suffer at the hands of their times. A warrior king bridles under peace, and scholarly lord chafes and exhausts himself when at war. The rulers we truly remember are those fortunate enough to live in times that are matched to their temperaments, or those who manipulate their times to match their moods.

-Arkol, Argivian Scholar

Archmage Eternal Jodah of the School of the Unseen on Lat-Nam has requested an audience with his majesty King Darien . A unit of Kjeldoran guards led by an elite guardsman escorts them as a show of force, one that would have no chance of stopping him if Jodah had any mind to do anything malicious to the king.

Jodah and Jaya make their way through the richly decorated halls, and enter the grand three story tall throne room.

His majesty was young and red-blonde, lean but not thing, his eyes bright and his raiment as opulent as the room's. To one side was a taller, more impressive man in armor, backed up by a female aide dressed in much the same manner as the Elite Guard, though with a flashier helmet. To the other side was Gustha Ebbasdotter, the royal mage, dressed in a waterfall of blue robes. All except the king were scowling. Jaya liked to imagine that the mage wand the two warriors had been suddenly summoned from other, more important, duties to be here. There were other guards all around, but the four figures on the dais dominated their end of the room.

The royal mage glides down the stairs of the dais and goes down on one knee before Jodah and humbly welcomes him to their kingdom. When she requests that he make an appearance at her school later on to impart some of his eternal wisdom, he tells her that her school is already well renowned and it is well deserved. Gustha insists that his is still even more renowned, but they can discuss that later. There's a matter that needs to be discussed now before he can speak with the king.

She tells him that her quarters were broken into a few days ago, and an item of power was taken. Jodah surprises her by bluntly telling her that it was he that requested his assistant go an retrieve said item, because that item was his to begin with. Gustha wipes the shock off her face and insists that whoever the events occurred, she cannot allow a known felon in the presence of the king.

To Jaya's dismay, Jodah turns to her and tells her to peacefully allow herself to be arrested and be taken away.

"Jodah! What the hell do you think you're doing! Jodah, I helped you! Jodah, you son of a..."

...As Jaya's cries fade away...

"I apologize for the disruption," he said, calmly.

"It is nothing," said Gustha. "And I just want you to know its nothing personal."

"It never is," replied Jodah. "Now, shall we meet your king?"

...Jaya's cell...

Despite her cell containing a thick mattress, a bowl of dried fruit, and thick tomes to read, Jaya continually paces her room and curses. She still wears heavy manacles, she's still trapped, and Jodah still gave her up.

A long time passes, and Jaya hears the cell door click, and she prepares to look non-threatening and watch and observe the guard's routine so she can prepare to escape the next time he drops off food. However it isn't a guard that walks through, it's Jodah.

Jaya launches herself at him, but he tells her the guard has only been spelled asleep and her yelling will wake him.

"Do you blame me?" snarled Jaya, holding up her manacled wrists for effect. "I saved you! I put my backside on the line for you! And you then you turn me in! 'Let me do the talking!' you said. You worm! You said you needed me here!"

Jodah explains that he does need her. He needed her to be arrested so Gustha could feel like she was able to exert some of her own power and be more open to accept his ideas, and he's going to still need her now to gather information while everyone thinks she's imprisoned.

Jaya speaks with venom in her voice and tells him how she hate how he talks like he knows everything, like he's done all this before just because he's lived the length of several lifetimes. She liked him better when he wasn't even sure if he was real, when he was actually nice.

Jodah's jaw dropped open, as if he had been punched. "I'm not nice now?"

"You had me thrown in prison!" shouted Jaya.

"But for a reason!" Jodah snapped back rising from his seat, "You can move around better behind the scenes now. I told you that."

Yeah he tells her now, and didn't even think to tell her before he went through with the plan. What does he even think of her? Did he ever stop to think why it is that she came after him, when other more powerful wizards than her didn't give him a second thought!

Jodah pauses, and admits he's been wrong. He tells her that she is right about him living through all this before. These situation pop up over and over again because people make the same mistakes, which is why he's not even that angry about Gustha and Gerda . But he realizes that it also makes it hard for him to let his thoughts linger on people that are important to him, like she is. He's sorry.

Jaya says she actually believes he means it and accepts his apology, and still he goes on to tell her about how she isn't just important to him, but he needs her around because he knows he can trust her, and he needs her as a friend, helper, and a guide.

Jodah removes her manacles, and tells her the situation.

The two other people sharing the dais with the king were Avram Garrisson and Captain Varchild. Garrisson is the leader of the various military factions in all but name, a favorite of the late queen that passed away while allowed for Darien to take the throne. The woman was Varchild, Garrisson's aide. The two do not get along, but he can't figure out why.

(Who wants to bet that Garrison is on board with following Stromgald, and Varchild is not?)

The problem is that Garrison has a lot of influence with the king, and he doesn't believe that Lim-Dul is a threat. It's the barbarians they need to fight. While Gustha does believe that Lim-Dul is a threat, there is a general belief around the city that the wizards are only propping up the necromancer as a threat as a way to maintain their own power. Jodah himself believes that she wants to use the threat of Lim-Dul to help unify the elementalists, machinists , sorcerers, and the followers of Zur behind her. All in all there are too many factions within the military and magical schools that it's hard to get anyone to listen.

With all that said, the plan is for Jodah to meet up with Gustha again, while she wanders the city and uses her skills of stealth to find out what she can about Garrison and how weak people feel the king truly is and whatever else that may be important.

Jodah spells a copy of Jaya into existence, identical down to the pacing and cursing, and they two walk out the cell.

* * *

Speaking of Seeing This Before...

We really didn't learn much new info about the state of things in this chapter. We've been told by Arkol about the fractured state of the military and the fractured state of the various schools of magic, and we've seen Belenda's thoughts on the matter and have been told about the secret rebellion that's going on.

All that we really got was some set up by getting our heroes back into place, and the introduction of Avram Garrisson, Captain Varchild, and a description of King Darien when it comes to the plot, and a heart to heart talk between Jodah and Jaya. Actually... I kind of would have liked the set up and pay off for Jodah's new attitude and Jaya's reaction to him to have been built up a little more. Maybe she believes him, but I don't know that I can say the same.

I do like the issue of his immortality was addressed, and how that might affect someone's view of reality.

Zur the Mad
Why does he keep on getting brought up? Will he be playing a role in all this? Or was it repetition for repetition's sake since that's what half of this chapter was about.


  1. Also before I forget again, are you going to cover the short story in the coldsnap player's guide, covering the basic plot outline for Coldsnap (which immediately follows The Shattered Alliance)? And in your review, will you discuss the connection of Jodah in the ice Age saga to the Jodah in Timespiral?

    1. I will definitely cover the Coldsnap story. Over this past year, I've been buying up anything and everything that could possibly related to story, including the old comics, Duelist Magazines, Player's Guides, video game, etc. Time is my enemy in getting all this content up here. I gotta just do what I can, when I can.

      As for the review, it won't cover the connection to Future Sight. That would be something that I would want to do in an In-Depth article, or whatever I'll eventually call those. Again, something I want to cover, but I have to set some reasonable goals for myself.

      If these next six-months go well with my new plan (As outlined in "The State of MTG Fiction 2012"), I may actually only do my Read Throughs Monday through Friday, and reserve both Saturday and Sunday for other content.