Things to expect from this set: 1- A card with an effect I was please asked not to do... but I did it anyways! 2- My first tricolored walker and colorless walker! (? and Amrhotep) 3- Enchantments that can be destroyed by a red card (Colorless enchantments) 4- The completion of a cycle from 2002 5- A snekk lord (Baere Vipertongue) 6- You know my duals, time to show you my trilands!
1- A card with an effect I was please asked not to do... but I did it anyways!
Why do I feel like I was the one who asked you not to do it
Can't wait! I get the feeling I know what the enchantment is going to be -- at least, I think I know why you prefaced it the way you did... time will tell!
Nah, it wasn't you, and actually you inspired me to explore unusual design space with Am'atambi so if people don't like the card you're exclusively to blame! Regarding the enchantments, it's easier to know what the twist is taking into account I showed you said red card XD.
A Brief Recap
I thought to make a brief summary of the story so far, so here goes:
These guys, the Titans, created Korrinayru, but then the people of the world defied them, so they got angry and wiped them out:
In this new, postapocalyptic world, people survive the way they can, but there's Sentinels (emissaries of the Titans) out there, so it's not so easy. This guy called Darios meets a planeswalker named Aylin who defeats one of them, so he thinks "Maybe I can team up with her and go talk to the Titans to see if they're no longer mad at us and let us move on with our lives. Yeah, that sounds like a sensible idea!" So he leaves his friends and family behind to do just that.
In the meantime, the native planeswalker Allagras has come back, and he's cocky enough to try and kill the Titans (because that turned out so well the first time...) so he rallies his people and, after convincing them not to hate him anymore, they go ahead and follow his plan. But they cross paths with a group of mad, religious zealots known as the Scorched, who say "Hey, if we didn't die it's because the Titans love us, so to prove our devotion to them we're gonna immolate the rest of Korrinayru". This obviously doesn't sit well with Allagras, so they fight. But don't worry, Allagras makes it after Khierassa, leader of the Scorched, gets swallowed whole by a wurm...
There's also these b-plots with The Erased, who's a mysterious fellow who just seems to be there to advance the plot. He gives Steelhoof (the centaur leader) a ring with "The Gem of Allure" so he can bring Sentinels to his island because Domri is suddenly here and he's helping the enemies of the centaurs. Also there's this other guy named Ragantiar who got "The Gem of Consumption" and used it to become the leader of he's tribe but now he kind of wants more and is trying to conquer the entire country, but more on that later.
So back to Darios and Aylin! They're finally in Millikas, where the gateway that will take them to the Titan Realm is, but oh noes they get kidnapped by some Sentinels! Is this the work of the Titans? No! It's the work of this guy!
But who's that guy? He's one of the three dudes who thought it was smart to wage war on the Titans thirty years ago. Turns out he too got a visit from the toot fairy The Erased, and he got the best bargain: "The Gem of Obedience". With that, he's gonna use the Sentinels to take over the world and kill the Titans (second time's the charm)!
And that's what you missed on Korrinayru. What will happen to our heroes, antiheroes and villains? Stay tuned for more!
Also, as a reward for sticking through this, here's a card spoiler!
@jacqui-pup: in reality, someone is trying to disassemble one... Also, due to lack of space only Obedience will appear as a card for the time being.
The Mechanics of Creators Versus Creation
The spoiler season starts with mechanics! What's old? What's new? What's borrowed? What's blue? Let's find out, shall we?
Korrinayru's mechanics Scavenge Since we're still in a plane of scavengers, it's clear this mechanic needs to stay here! As in Korrinayru, scavenge will be , and there will be "scavenge lords" here as well:
Wasteland Just like in set one, wasteland will be featured here as well, rewarding you for having lands in your graveyard:
Beckon/Deities Deities are still pivotal in this world, and with beckon you'll be able to animate them:
Outlast and Relinquish will not be appearing in this set.
New mechanics Battle cry Now that it's out in the open that Multhratos is back and he's taking control of the Sentinels, people are starting to side with him once more. War is imminent, and some are already taking sides. Battle cry will be appearing in . Battle cry (Whenever this creature attacks, each other attacking creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.)
Bequest is a keyword ability that enters this set in order to replace Outlast. Inspired by Modular, this mechanic lets you move counters around once your creature dies, and will be mainly , but will appear in other colors. Bequest X (This creature enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it. When it dies, you may put its +1/+1 counters on target creature without bequest.)
Transcendence As the Titans' control over the Sentinels fades, Korrinary are actually being rewarded for harvesting their power. Transcendence is an ability word that will reward you for casting enchantment spells. Transcendence - Whenever you cast an enchantment spell, [effect]/[effect] if you cast an enchantment spell this turn.
A small survey I conducted revealed people want to see the Snekk Lord... well I lied! There is no snake lord in the set! That's because there's a Snake lady!
In some cards of Korrinayru, the name Baere Vipertongue has appeared:
Well, Baere is a young Velkian who's trained in shamanistic ways ever since she discovered she could speak with snakes, earning her the name Baere Parseltongue Vipertongue. She is deeply protective of these creatures: if you mess with them, she'll make sure they mess with you.
Even though she won't take part in the story, I fell in love with the artwork and decided to build a legend around it, here's what came out of it:
I would really appreciate feedback on her, her CMC and stats have been nightmarish. I tried to use Izoni to compare but Izoni's trigger is easier to meet although at the same time Baere is giving you 2/2s rather than 1/1s, so I'm still unsure if I costed this corrected. Any commentaries on her card are both encouraged and appreciated!
I'm allergic to text but the cards have some high highs and low lows. I love discarding land cards as a cost to turn on wasteland, and I'm a big fan of the Scavenge bonuses (though admittedly I have no clue how to properly cost scavenge). Carrion Feaster worries me, but I can't quite put my finger on why. A 2GG 7/6 is obviously excellent in limited but probably never playable outside of limited and you have to really jump some hoops to get there, so maybe it's just fine, but it feels out of place as a common. Baere's Call is a design that I hate -- creating one token is almost never playable, and the second token swings the power level fairly radically (in that it doubles it). I'd up the CMC and make two tokens by default, with a different wasteland bonus (cost reduction, give the tokens a keyword until EOT, etc). That way it'll still be playable for its front half.
The lord is fantastic. I also have no clue how to cost it, but using Izona as a guideline might help? I think six is probably the way to go, but really, heck if I know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I should've probably said something about this earlier for Korrinayru but the 'translated from Velkian' bit doesn't sit right with me because, like, aren't we supposedly hearing things in translation by default if these are set on fantasy worlds?
That said, the snake cards look great, as do most of the other cards posted so far (though I am not sold on Under the Titans' Watch, especially at uncommon). Baere does feel like a six mana card, but I really like the effect.
@canterburyegg: well, taking into account the following card is currently in KStandard, casting Carrion Feaster in constructed is actually a possibility :
I agree on Baere's Call and am currently finding a way to fix it.
Neottolemo: The "translated from Velkian" bit is because Velkian isn't technically an understandable language. Velkians have become savages, and they speak in guttural grunts and such, so even a planeswalker with the google translate magic of the spark would not be able to understand it as a speakable language, hence the clarification. Your commentary on Under the Titans' Watch is funny because I've received both "too pushed" and "not pushed enough" comments on it XD
As Multhratos saw the devastation that surrounded him, all he could think about was how this all had been a drunken mistake. He remembered entering that Lasyvrian tavern a few months ago, how he’d met Erkred and Salagol, and how after the fifth (maybe seventh?) mug of beer he’d began complaining how his life took nowhere, how it was all the Creators’ fault and how someone should do something about them…
And now here he was, facing extinction for trying to do something about the Creators. He’d even seen them emerge from the Gateway. Five disgusting creatures, five… Titans, so almighty and so gigantic only now could he realize the full extent of his insanity. But he couldn’t go back now, he’d brought all these people to their deaths. So he was forced to put his money where his mouth had been. Taking advantage that the Titans were focused elsewhere and he’d already dealt with the wave of Sentinels that had come his way, he sneaked his way to the Gateway, and entered…
He woke up five days later (although he couldn’t tell how much time had passed) in the middle of a bloodbathed Millikas. He could only tell where he was because of the countless bodies that littered the landscape, now a barren waste, but he still had to convince himself this was indeed where he was, since the Gateway to the Titan Realm had disappeared, leaving a huge portion of the country missing where it had once stood…
“I’m sorry, I’m just so sorry…” he whispered to the dead that surrounded him.
All he could do after that was wander aimlessly through the obliterated territory, wondering what had happened inside the Titan Realm and why he was still alive, and hoping he could find a survivor.
As he kept going, something caught his attention: a cloud of smoke was approaching him, so he began screaming at it hoping it would be people from another country. But instead it was a beastlike creature, a Sentinel! He prepared to run away, but he realized that he deserved this death. This was punishment for his greed, he should die the same meaningless death his brothers in arms had suffered! He stood there waiting for the end to come… and the end came and left.
The creature approached him with its vicious jaws wide open, but the second it reached him, it seemed to scoff in disgust. It took a careful whiff at him, then snorted, turned around and went back where it came from.
“So even the creatures that were created specifically to fight us during the war dare not lay a finger on me. I truly am disgusting…” he said bitterly.
Maybe he was wrong, maybe he was actually dead and his spirit was the one roaming. He’d heard Velkian stories of an afterlife, although that would be a direct contradiction to the Blessing of Death, so the mere thought of it was a stupidity. Besides, he was feeling weary, and hunger and thirst were already annoying him. He was definitely alive, but at least he now had a new idea of how to pass away: he’d starve himself to death!
He simply lay there on the desert floor and closed his eyes, waiting for his mortal body to finally succumb to its imperfection, but after a few days of waiting (he couldn’t tell how many, he only knew time was passing because of feeling the shifts in lights from the sun and moon cycles) he realized he may not even be capable of dying that way. He didn’t get it: he could feel the hunger and thirst tearing his body apart and fill him with indescribable pain, yet he knew he could go on with this sensation indefinitely. Was he not a mere mortal? After all, the last time he remembered eating something had been…
And then it struck him. What could be the cause of him surviving, what could be the cause of the Sentinel refusing to attack him, why he could still live even though he was technically dead… what had happened in the Titan Realm!
He had managed to hurt one of the Titans, he had actually done something that, as small and insignificant as it was, it had actually some relevance for his cause. He’d managed to cut off the tip of Luthiel’s finger, and in a moment of perfect clarity and for reasons he could no longer remember, he ate it. Things had been so much more clear back then, but maybe the knowledge contained in that Realm had been so overwhelming he could not return to his own plane of existence carrying all that knowledge with him or his psyche would collapse.
“So I am partially like the Titans now… That means that I am immortal… That means I have some sort of control over this world… That means I can actually finish what I started!” he spoke to the void that surrounded him as ambition filled his spirit once more.
And so, for the next thirty years, he began honing his power. He learned how to channel his Titan part to get small Sentinels to do his bidding, but he couldn’t take it very far, all he could do was get them to hunt something for him, or bring him water so he could keep the hunger and thirst at bay, and even these measly tasks required a ton of mental effort. But then salvation came, and oh how glorious salvation was.
A man who seemed to be dressed in rags yet had glimmering gilded golden ornaments appeared before him out of thin air.
“Who are you?” asked Multhratos scared. It was the first time he’d been approached by a sentient entity in all these years, and this stranger looked unlike anything he’d ever seen, and he’d seen so many things…
The stranger simply stared at him in curiosity.
“Who I am? I don’t know… But my purpose in this place seems to be that of helping those in need, and you look like you are in need of help” he said cryptically in a deep voice.
While Multhratos pondered these words, the stranger simply removed a ring with a blue gem from his ring finger and handed it to the man.
“The Third Gem is Obedience. It is the most powerful and the most dangerous of all three gems. Whatever creature you use it on will be yours to command, but in using it, part of your vital strength will be drained. The stronger the will of the one you are trying to subdue, the greater the toll on your body…”
“What happens if its wielder is immortal, then?” asked Multhratos immediately.
“I’m not sure… I’ve never met an immortal” replied the stranger.
As Multhratos put the ring around his finger, the stranger seemed lost in thought.
What happens if its wielder is immortal? Why does this remind me of something else? No, he wasn’t immortal, he wanted to be, which is why he created the Gems, yes! The gems are dangerous, that’s why I’m here! Not to help people in trouble, but to make sure the Gems are separate and stay separate!
“Are you okay?” asked Multhratos as he saw the concern in the man’s face.
“Yes, I am” replied the stranger “But I’d like to ask you for a favor.”
* * * * *
“I’ve seen your feats... Aylin, is it?” asked Multhratos with a sadistic tone “You’ve been able to battle and kill Sentinels with relative ease. Not only that, you’ve been through different worlds, which means you can actually enter the Titan Realm without being overwhelmed, or at least I hope so…
“Yes, you’re the last component I need to win this war. Once I have you under my control, I’ll send you to the Titans and have you kill them in my behalf!”
Before Aylin could even react, the man had already pressed the ring against her forehead and she could feel its power taking control of her. As she fought this soothing sensation that spread quickly through her mind, the rest of the world seemed to disappear.
She could feel cold tendrils grabbing a hold of her thoughts, and her willpower seemed to be weakening by the second.
Aren’t you tired of fighting? Aren’t you tired of running away? Aren’t you tired of feeling tired and anguished? All you need to do is let go, surrender. Nobody will blame you, you deserve a rest from life, especially after what happened to you… spoke a strange voice in her head.
But that was exactly why she fought, because of what had happened to her. After that day she’d sworn she’d never feel vulnerable to another man ever again. And she wasn’t going to break that vow!
With all the strength she could muster, she fought back the sensation. As the stimulus from her surroundings returned and her perception was restored, she could see Multhratos thrown back after losing the struggle.
“Apparently you’re stronger than I calculated… I’ll need to take some measures before attempting this again” he said gasping heavily “How about you?” he added, turning towards Darios.
“Multhratos” said a deep voice near the two captives “The intruders have defeated the Sentinels and are headed this way. They seem to have left their differences apart and joined forces…”
Aylin and Darios turned towards the source of the voice, only to see a ghastly man who seemed shocked at the image of Multhratos and them.
“Stay here and make sure the captives don’t try anything funny, I have something to do!” replied Multhratos exiting the hideout.
But the man was lost in thought. The image of the man trying to take control over Aylin’s mind had triggered something inside him, and he seemed tormented by memories of his past life.
“Who are you?” asked Darios looking at the stranger and completely unable to discern his origin given his clothings.
For the first time since he’d arrived at Korrinayru, the mysterious stranger had an answer to that question.
On Friday, the identity of the Erased is finally revealed, so stay tuned!
“Amrhotep” said Tyganiep following his friend “I can explain!”
“Tyganiep, the reason I helped you create the Gems was to get rid of the Gods and their army!” exclaimed Amrhotep in anger “I never thought you’d use them on our fellow people!”
“The Basteura are not human!” retorted Tyganiep, talking about the Rammanethi cat-people.
“They helped us fight this war and get rid of the priests that summoned the infernal armies! They have just the same rights as us, and you betrayed them! I knew you had a tendency to get drunk with power, but I thought I could change you. Apparently I was wrong…”
Oh, how stupid he’d been. The three Gems had been a mistake, and he’d allowed himself to create them. Allure would draw in the most powerful of creatures, Consumption would drain their energy and once they were weak, using Obedience on them would be easy and hardly take any physical toll. Whoever controlled the three Gems could conquer the world!
“I’m destroying them” said Amrhotep coldly.
“You can’t! We still haven’t purged this world. What if the Gods return? What will happen then, huh?”
“I think I’d rather take my chances with the Gods than with you…”
He expected Tyganiep to burst in rage and attack him, but instead he began laughing eerily.
“Well, well, well… you’ve finally made a wise choice then.”
“What do you mean?” asked Amrhotep intrigued, it seemed like his lifelong friend had disappeared, replaced instead by a creature that looked like him, but was unlike him at all.
Tyganiep simply raised his hand in Amrhotep’s direction, paralyzing him without speaking a single word. He pointed his hand to the ground and the man was forced to bow.
“Remember when I killed the last God? When I did I saw something I never thought I would: there’s an intriguing set of leylines connected to the sands of this world, leylines that are linked to every last one of us. While you stood by my right side and rallied the people under our government, I took the opportunity to study this power and harvest it right under your nose!
“It turns out that this power is greater than that of the Gems, since I don’t need direct contact with my victims, but I still need them every once in a while when someone steps out of line. I’ve been slowly but certainly exerting my influence over this world, and now everyone belongs to me!
“You want to know the real purpose of the Gems? I convinced you to help me make them with enough power to beat the Gods, but I was already seeing the bigger picture: I wanted the power to overthrow the Gods and take their place, not just get rid of them for the people!”
Amrhotep couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He’d been played even before his friend had become Pharaoh. He’d unwillingly helped create a tyrant even bigger than the Gods themselves!
“Did I ever mean anything to you?” he asked with bitterness.
“You did, back when we began the War, and ironically, the bond we developed made it easier for me to exert this power over you!” he said, clenching his fist.
Amrhotep immediately began contorting in pain, as if a thousand needles were being pressed against his organs and muscles.
“I can defeat you without even laying a finger on you…” said the Pharaoh sadistically, clenching his fist once more.
The pain became unbearable, and Amrhotep began howling in agony. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t even react, just take this punishment impotently, until all of a sudden it stopped.
He turned around expecting Tyganiep to be preparing for something worse, but instead he saw his friend standing in shock, a glimmer of guilt slowly fading within his eyes. He did care about him after all, at least enough to stop for a few seconds, and they were a few seconds Amrhotep had to make the most out of.
With uncanny speed, he rose and began running towards the pedestal were the Gems were kept. He managed to grab them but once again felt himself forced to his knees as Tyganiep regained his composure and once more used his power on him.
“Release the Gems and I will spare you…” he said with a deadly cold voice.
“I thought you didn’t need them anymore…”
“This power is still new to me, and the Gems have proven to help me channel it…”
“All the more reason to get rid of them!” screamed Amrhotep using all his willpower to stand up and place the Gems on his hand.
He felt a series of sensations in slow motion, a piercing scream from the man who had once been his best friend, an excruciating pain that spread throughout his whole organism, a pulling force that seemed to rip his very soul out of his body, and a strange and warm light that bathed him from the inside out, pulling him out of Tyganiep’s grasp and into an abyssal darkness.
* * * * *
As a gush of water splashed on his face, he woke up startled.
“Are you all right?” asked a stranger’s voice, but it all sounded like gibberish to him.
He looked around himself, unable to understand anything. What was this strange place? Why was everything different? Where was he? Who was he?
He looked at the stranger in the face and tried to ask him about this, but realized he couldn’t speak. He had memory of the concept of speech, yet couldn’t form any sounds close to words. He stared around him, knowing everything was wrong, but he couldn’t put his finger on why it was wrong. He stood up, looked at the man one more time, and ran away as far as he could.
He kept running for hours in no particular direction until he was stopped by a group of strangers.
“Well, what have we here?” said one of them placing his hand on the hilt of his sword “You’re a weird man, are you not? You’re wearing nothing but rags, yet seem to have some pretty expensive-looking ornaments. Heh heh heh.”
He drew his sword and pointed it at his Adam’s apple.
“Give us everything you have and we won’t have to hurt you” said the man.
The Erased just stood there, unable to process what was happening, so the other men began removing his headpiece for him. Soon, none of the golden ornaments he’d worn as Tyganiep’s advisor were in his possession, but that didn’t seem to sate the burglars’ greed.
“Look at those rings you have there… Give them to me, now!” he demanded, pressing the sword against his skin and making a few beads of blood appear.
The Erased looked down at his hand and saw the three Gems. Something triggered inside him. It wasn’t a full memory, just a few faint certainties about these strange crystals.
“No” he said, speaking for the first time since his ascension.
“No?” said the thief contemptuously.
It all happened in a flash. The sword was raised, ready to decapitate the Erased, but he was quicker, launching forward and tackling the man. He forced the sword out of his hand and stabbed the man’s chest, killing him instantly.
The other three men charged against me drawing out their own weapons, but even though he didn’t know why, the Erased knew exactly how to disarm and defeat the three of them. As he strangled the last of them, he looked back at his right hand, thinking about the Gems. He didn’t know what they were, but he knew nobody else could have them.
And so the years went by. Little by little, he regained his ability to speak, his hunting skills, even his social skills, being accepted by a small village as one of their own and using his combat expertise to protect them from thieves and wild beasts.
He seemed to had found his purpose in life, until the stranger came to town. A man wearing clothes nobody had ever seen had shown up out of the blue, staying in the village to try the food and drinks before continuing his trip. But upon seeing the Erased and, most importantly, his foreign clothes, he’d said five words that would forever change him.
“So you’re a planeswalker too?” asked the man, sealing the Erased’s fate forever. After seeing his confused response, he explained the man about the Multiverse and the existence of other worlds.
So that was what those dreams had been about? A world covered in sand, with barely any vegetation or water, something that was clearly impossible. It hadn’t been fantasy, it had been home! But as he thought about the world he originated from, the Gems taunted him once more: You can’t go back there, not with the Gems, and nobody can have the three of them at the same time…
He knew he’d find answers back home, yet he couldn’t return yet. What if he gave the Gems away individually? Then he’d be able to go back… But as he studied the people in the village and roamed other places in the world, he realized nobody was worthy of them. If anybody in this world had access to even one of the Gems, it could bring catastrophic consequences to this world. No, he needed to go to a world that was already torn up. A world so far gone beyond any form of restoration that upsetting its balance with the power of the Gems would not alter its already devastated state. And so he spent the next few years roaming the worlds, trying to find this world, if it even existed, until he came accross Korrinayru.
* * * * *
“I am Amrhotep” he said to Darios and Aylin as these memories flowed back to him in an instant, reminding him of his purpose here.
He’d been fooled once more. Unable to remember Tyganiep and their years growing together, he’d found a familiar warmth in Multhratos’s character, and decided to help him get back on his feet, but all he’d done was help another tyrant rise to power. All it took was seeing him try to use Obedience on Aylin, the same way Tyganiep had done once. But this time he was still in time. He’d helped a monster conquer a world. He wasn’t going to let it happen once more.
“I don’t know when he’ll return, but I know how to defeat him” he said to the captives as he released their bonds “Time is of the essence if we are to stop him from taking over this world!”
Next week, we'll see the conclusion of one of the B plots!
NOTE: I have to congratulate WotC for pulling off two great colorless walker, designing Amrhotep was a nightmare and I'm still pretty sure I didn't do a great job, so if any of you has suggestions on how to improve him I'm all ears eyes!
It had been ten days since Steelhoof had activated the Gem of Allure and attracted the Sentinels to Velk, and the results had been disastrous. Whatever protection the Titans had imparted to keep the Sentinels away from the centaurs only worked outside the island. Once they’d been attracted, they had begun decimating centaur and savage territory alike!
Even though he had the full support of his tribe and most of them had claimed he’d made the right choice and that they would have done the same were they in his hooves, he couldn’t help feeling ashamed of his choice.
The only saving grace in the midst of this chaos was that the Sentinels had not yet reached the tribes, being forced into the outskirts of centaur territory thanks to the efforts of Steelhoof and those fighting alongside him.
As he chased a dragon that had been causing struggle in the north, he prayed that they’d be able to contain the threat and be fortunate enough to stop the Sentinels from defiling their tribes.
The dragon had been flying overhead, seemingly going elsewhere, but it took a quick turn and breathed a stream of fire in the direction of Steelhoof, who had just enough time to move out of the way, his troops following suit.
“Arrowhead formation, now!” ordered the centaur chieftain, and the rest obeyed.
The centaur vanguard formed a triangle with Steelhoof at the front, and ran straight towards the dragon once the flames dissipated. The creature opened its maw once more but an expert arrow was shot into its mouth, forcing it to spit it out as a reflex and stopping it from showering them in fire. The chieftain stopped dead on his tracks and the rest of his men inverted the arrow’s direction while surrounding the dragon, each throwing a weighted rope at their corresponding partners. The ropes flew above the beast and, with the aid of the rocks tied to them, the centaurs pulled the creature down from the sky, forcing it to plummet gracelessly to the floor.
Now it was at its most vulnerable, it was not very hard for them to finish it off.
“Good job, everyone” said Steelhoof with a tired smile “Now let’s head to the west, I heard-”
But a sudden tremor stopped him dead on his tracks. As he struggled to keep his balance, the ground next to him split open, and a massive wurm erupted from it.
“Quick! Form a circle and surround it!” he commanded, but as his people did so the creature lunged towards him, emerging completely and thrashing with its tail and scattering the centaurs around.
Steelhoof had only enough time to move out of the way to avoid being swallowed, and before he could even catch his breath he was forced to do it again. He was being cornered by this creature who, unlike the other Sentinels, seemed focused solely on him, and he didn’t have enough time to think, much less elaborate a plan.
But it seemed that a plan would not be necessary, since he’d already lost. As he heard a low bellow behind him, his blood froze in his veins. One Sentinel in front of him and one on his back, he was cornered and completely unable to do anything about him, his end was all but certain…
But as the wurm lunged forward, it completely bypassed him, attacking the Sentinel instead and tearing it to pieces with its vicious maw.
Sentinels never turn on their own kind, even if they’re trying to hunt the same prey… thought Steelhoof completely shocked at this turn of events, finally given a chance to evaluate the situation But then why is it coming after me so intently? Unless… it’s after this!
He looked at his right hand, where the Gem of Allure still shone, its intensity drastically increasing after the arrival of the Sentinels. In a second, the answer was clear to him. This Gem had brought the Sentinels to him, and now he’d use it to get rid of them! As the wurm finished feasting on their common enemy, the rest of the centaurs finally caught up to their leader.
“Thornpelt!” commanded Steelhoof with a strong voice “You are left in charge of this squad, I want you to head to the west and get rid of the Sentinels there! You know how I think, you’ll know what tactics I would employ and I trust you’ll make the best out of them!”
“But sir!” replied the lieutenant concerned “What about you? How are you going to deal with that creature?”
“I’m not, I think I can use it to destroy the Sentinels, but I’m not sure about my theory, so I can’t risk you being near me if it fails, I’ve already failed you once…”
But before Thornpelt could speak the wurm had already finished eating the Sentinel and was already chasing Steelhoof again, so he quickly trotted into the thicket in the opposite direction of his troops.
The fact that he had been running away for almost half an hour and the wurm hadn’t caught up to him was proving his theory right, since he’d muttered an incantation that delayed the trail Allure left behind, forcing the creature following it to slow down. Even though his muscles were cramping and his lungs were burning, he kept running, afraid of what might happen if the creature caught up to him.
He finally reached his destination: the shoreline. A few seconds ago, he’d reached the decimated edge of the forest, the only place of Velk where the Descent had taken its toll, and now he was finally near the sea, where a gigantic Kraken had actually emerged drawn by the inevitable pull of Allure. Steelhoof stopped dead on his tracks.
He stood there awaiting for the Sentinel to come closer and, as the creature raised one of its clawlike appendages to cut him in half, the wurm caught up to them, jumping at the Titans’ creation once more and fighting it.
So it is powerful enough to be drawn to the Gem, yet it seems to be driven by something more than instinct, or it wouldn’t go after the Sentinels the second it found them thought Steelhoof as he finally caught his breath This creature is not natural, it is following someone else’s orders, but then that means-!
Before he could finish the thought he felt bolas wrapping around his legs and the momentum of the impact made him lose his balance and fall violently to the ground. The next thing he felt was a dull hit on the head, and then everything went black.
* * * * *
“So you were trying to take control of Varoth, right?” spoke a rough, yet young voice as Steelhoof recovered from the hit.
“Who’s Varoth…?” was all he could ask, and his ignorance earned him a whippin on his flank.
“Varoth is my gift to the Velkian… I summoned him so he’d get rid of the creatures you brought here” replied the young man.
“I did it as a desperate resource, your people twisted my arm and, for what it’s worth, I deeply regret my decision” was the centaur’s reply, and, once again, he felt the whip beating his flesh.
“You torture these people for years, then call upon monstrosities to hunt them, then try to take away the only protector they have and you blame it upon them?!”
“Are you not from here then?” asked Steelhoof in shock “Who are you?!”
“I am Domri Rade” answered the young man, gesturing to whoever was behind the centaur, probably to stop them from whipping him again “And the Velkian have explained everything to me…”
“Not everything, apparently, they seem to have forgotten to mention how this all happened because they chose to fight the Titans, how they lost their territory to their own stupidity and started raiding ours even though we had nothing to do with it! This is all their fault!” spat the centaur enraged.
Domri gestured once more and the whip descended once more.
“I don’t care who caused them to lose their homes, I care about you bringing these behemoths to Velk and trying to take control of my gift to these people.”
Steelhoof was breathing sharply as the stinging pain dissipated. This man was misguided, but he’d sided with the Velkian savages already, so trying to change his mind was a complete waste of time. Instead, he decided to take a new approach.
“Your wurm, I wasn’t trying to gain control of it, I didn’t even know it belonged to you, but as you can see, the same power I command that brought the Sentinels to us seems to work on this… ‘Varoth’” he began “The Velkian and us have been in turmoil for years, but right now we seem to have a common enemy… I think I can work something that will be beneficial for both our people…”
“What are you proposing?” asked Domri, intrigued.
“I’m proposing permanently ridding Velk of the Sentinels.”
On Friday: alliances, war, drama, and the conclusion to this arc!
A few hours later, Steelhoof was back in his tribe with four savages following him closely. He’d been allowed to keep the Gem of Allure since Varoth was tracking him and, if he dared do anything funny, the wurm would wipe him and his entire people, and that was a risk he would never take.
He’d made a deal with Domri: centaurs and savages would form an alliance to get rid of the Sentinels, and once that was dealt with, part of the centaur territory would be assigned to the savages… but before closing the deal he’d need to consult with the rest of his people. He’d already made a decision for them and the consequences of that decision had landed them in this mess. If he did it once more and it was all for the worst, then he’d never forgive himself, and neither would his tribe.
After gathering the military leaders and the tribe elders, he explained the situation to them.
“I believe we can use this ‘Varoth’ to fight the Sentinels, it is strong enough to deal with them individually, and if we combine military strategy with the savages’ brute force and magic capabilities, we can isolate the Sentinels from each other to weaken them.”
“You realize that by showing our military tactics to the Velkian they’ll know how to defeat us if turmoil ensues later, right?” asked one of the lieutenants “What happens if they’re not content with being given territory and try to take the rest away from us?”
“I thought the same thing” said Steelhoof grimly “But if we do not stop the Sentinels, there will be no territory left for either of us. They’re as desperate as we are, trust me. But then again, this is not my decision to make. I’ve given you my side of the story and my opinion, the choice is ultimately yours.”
He let the council deliberate and waited patiently for hours. When the sun had finished setting, he received the verdict: the vast majority had voted in favor of the alliance.
“It is settled, then” he said, then turned to the people who’d escorted him, and made the corresponding gestures Domri had taught him to let them know they had an agreement. The savages nodded and were escorted back to the edge of the forest.
“Tomorrow the world changes once more” he said grimly, hoping he’d made the right call this time.
* * * * *
After managing to bring down the fifth Sentinel in a day, Steelhoof was content with the alliance. Now that the entirety of Velk was united in cause, they were being efficient and quick. It was true that the humans and giants were still rather unstable and sometimes menial matters would result in internal fights, but with the help of Domri they were able to calm everyone down before something serious occured.
Steelhoof had to admit the planeswalker was quite charming and quite adept. He knew how to lead his people, which was a virtue they shared. But his most important collaboration had been summoning Varoth. With the wurm’s help, the Velkian had access to raw power they had been lacking ever since the Descent, and, thanks to the Gem of Allure, they could guarantee the Sentinels would come to Varoth, thus forcing them to fight under their rules.
The plan had been perfect… until the day the sky turned black.
It happened completely unexpectedly. From one second to the next, the sky simply turned to an almost completely pitch darkness in the entire world. In the north, five pale white silhouettes projected themselves in the skies, creating a dazzling contrast that was both majestic and terrifying. A brutal roar that carried an equal mixture of anger and anguish echoed throughout every corner of Korrinayru, momentarily deafening centaurs, humans, giants and wildlife alike. And then… the swarm.
The sky returned to its normal state, but the world didn’t. In a matter of seconds, the skies and seas swelled with Sentinels, all coming from the same direction: Millikas.
“Is this a new Descent?” asked Steelhoof terrified “The Titans have returned to the mortal realm!”
Everybody panicked internally, for there was no time to let fear take control over them. The newly spawned Sentinels were already rushing towards Velk, driven by the Gem of Allure. It didn’t take long for chaos to ensue.
Velk was immediately swarmed, and the Velkian had to fight tooth and claw just to stay alive. Any form of strategic thinking had to be left behind for instinct to take over (the savages had the upper hand on this). Their strongest weapon had now become a crutch!
As Steelhoof fended off as many threats as he could while barely leaving a scratch on them, he looked down at the now blindingly glowing Gem of Allure. That accursed stone had completely ruined his life! Yes, he had struggled to keep the savages at bay, and getting a common enemy had united them, but still, now all he could see in the future was extinction!
He cursed himself for accepting it in the first place and for casting the spell to draw the Sentinels towards Velk. He couldn’t just undo the spell, the Sentinels already knew they were here! And since they lived in an island, they had no means of driving them anywhere else! Unless…
And then Steelhoof had an idea. He’d learned to mistrust his judgement given what had happened the last few days, but with this, not only could he potentially drive the Sentinels away, he would also be able to atone for his mistakes!
The Sentinels would be driven to the Gem of Allure and have no decision on the matter, so what if the Gem was moved by one of them? They would never turn on their own kind, and if all the attention was focused on one Sentinel, the Velkian could focus all their efforts on that one creature and capture it, driving it as far away from their tribes as possible. It was a long shot, but in the heat of the moment, it made sense.
There was a catch, though. A Sentinel wouldn’t willingly ingest the Gem, and they couldn’t rely on shooting it at one. There was only one way to ensure it would end inside the creature, and that was how Steelhoof would atone…
“Domri, I thank you for helping me unite both our people!” he screamed at the planeswalker “I hope you keep your end of the bargain! And order Varoth not to go after the Gem’s pull…
“Thornpelt!” he screamed at his lieutenant, who momentarily stopped fighting to approach him “I’m leaving you in charge! Just make sure you drive that dragon as far away from Velk as possible! Oh, and tell Purehide I love her…”
Thornpelt looked at his commander in confusion, but when the other centaur extended his arm, they both grabbed each other at the elbows in the traditional salute of friendship and respect.
As soon as the salute was broken, Steelhoof threw a spear at the dragon he’d pointed at earlier. The creature immediately focused its attention on him and started flying in his general direction, its maw wide open.
“Get out of the way!” commanded Steelhoof as he ran towards the Sentinel.
It all happened so fast, those present could barely process it. Steelhoof leaped as the dragon’s mouth descended to swallow him. A bright green light enveloped the centaur and, by the time it dissipated, so had he.
Trying to keep himself together despite the shock, Thornpelt was ready to execute his commander’s orders, but Steelhoof’s plan had worked better than he’d originally expected.
As the creature began writhing in confusion, uncertain of what was happening to its body, it began flying in circles, then fell on the ground and began thrashing and squirming, then it took flight and began flying again, this time away from the Velkian entourage.
Whatever the power of the Gem of Allure was, it was driving the dragon to itself and, unaware of how to make the pull stop, the creature had no orientation or purpose, flying sloppily and haphazardly out into the open sea and then to the mainland, with the rest of the Sentinels following closely. The dragon that swallowed Steelhoof was doomed to spend the rest of its life driven to itself by a power superior to itself, always thirsting to reach its destination, but said destination would always be ever so slightly out of reach, forcing it to aimlessly wander the world.
Domri removed his hand from Varoth’s head, which he’d done to soothe the creature into not falling for Steelhoof’s spell. When he turned around, he saw humans and giants menacingly standing in battle position and the centaurs doing the exact same thing. They still didn’t trust each other, and were waiting for the perfect excuse to go for each other’s throats.
The planeswalker caught a glimpse of Thornpelt and stared at him straight in the eye.
Centaur and man exchanged a silent conversation and nodded at the same time, dropping their weapons to the ground and urging their people to do the same.
Even if it was to be temporary, there was finally peace among the Velkian.
Next time we take a leap to Mauras and check on our good friend Ragantiar!
NOTE: (I'm taking a one-week hiatus because I'm lazy I have an exam I really can't afford to fail, so there will be no updates next week)