Saturday, May 5, 2018

Dominaria Geography: Terisiare Through the Ages

Welcome to the fifth article on Dominaria Geography!

This article is to help people get an understanding of the geography and places of Terisiare, one of the largest continents on the plane of Dominaria.  There are many sets of Magic: The Gathering that have taken place on Terisiare specifically, and with images and links, we'll go over what is most relevant for the plane's events and sets.

The basic events we know of:

Around 0AR, near the birth of Urza and Mishra.

The Brother's War - A time of conquest, not much changing until the climax of the war and golgothian explosion. The battles between Urza and Mishra can be found in the novel, "The Brother's War, by Jeff Grubb.
Time ~30AR, notice Urza's Tower and Mishra's Fortress on the map. Copyright Wizards of the Coast, 1993-1999.
Around 30-33AR, near the end of the Brother's War
From West to East, on Terisiare, we see Lat-Nam, the island where the school of Wizards began practicing magic (later the School of the Unseen, cut off by glaciers).  Several cities took place of conflicts between Urza and Mishra, such as Terisiare City, Penregon, and Kroog.  The city of Kroog was destroyed by Mishra's forces after a trade conference, when Mishra's forces arrived from the great desert to negotiate talks of excavation of Thran artifacts.

Between them lie Urza's Tower and Mishra's Fortress.  To the north is the Monastery of Gix, and looking at the map far above, we see the Caves of Koilos, where a portal to Phyrexia exists.    The caves of Koilos was where much of the Thran civilization existed, and was destroyed by Yawgmoth's bombs.  The portal to Phyrexia was held closed by the powerstone that became the eyes of Urza, but was split into the Mightstone and the Weakstone.  Combined, they contained Glacian's spark, who was a Thran artificer in the time of Yawgmoth.  


The Dark Age - The Brother's War came to an end when Urza activated the Golgothian Cylex;  Mishra and Urza had arrived in Argoth to fight to exploit the resources the forests.   The plane was shattered, and isolated from the rest of the multiverse along with 11 other worlds (only 2 others were ever mentioned, as Azoria and the Nether Void).  Dominaria began to get colder, and lots of upheaval occurred over Terisiare.  The church of Tal began to form an inquisition, and hunted any magic users while goblins began more raids on human settlements.  The City of Shadows (on Lat Nam) and Conclave of Mages (location unknown) found sanctuary on the West side of the continent. 

We have no recorded map of Terisiare at this time period.  The world grew colder and darker, and many of the cities known in the time of the Brothers were abandoned for new settlements, especially in the goblin raids.  

The Ice Age - The isolation from the rest of the multiverse from the Golgolthian explosion caused an ice age for thousands of years.  New civilizations survived the ice, and old ones fell.  The glaciers came down across Terisiare, and we see them splitting much of the landscape of the continent.  Ronam Glacier is the glacier in the center of the continent.  The entire plane was covered in an ice age, but Terisiare, being more northward than many continents, began to be covered by glaciers and ice continuously.  The necromancer Lim-Dul rose to power in the Ice Age, and threatened the two human civilizations: the Balduvians and Kjeldorans.  The task mage Jaya Ballard and archmage of the School of the Unseen, Jodah, both aided the formation of an alliance between Balduvia and Kjeld, and helped the planeswalker Freyalise end the ice age with the 'World Spell', reuniting the shard of the 12 worlds with the rest of the Multiverse. 

AR 2934

The flood ages- The glaciers of the ice age melted, and caused the people of Terisiare to have to form new alliances to survive the age.  They eventually united the forces of Kjeldor (containing three cities of Krov, Kjeld, and Soldev) with Balduvia (made primarily of barbarian clans) to form the country of New Argive, and watched as the continent was cut into three.  The forest of Fyndhorn and Yavimaya are to the south, with much of the forests together eventually surviving as a single forest of Yavimaya for at least lore.   There were some that disliked the ending of the ice age, and the final battles with Lim Dul were over Soldev, excavating Phyrexian artifacts.  The flooding was also increased by help of northerly moving Homarids, coming north from the continent of Sarpadia. 

An unknown amount of time later, the continent can be seen as three islands, as seen below.

A globe image posted around 2004, Copyright Wizards of the Coast.


 Finallly, we see the full map of Dominaria, with Terisiare to the left.  It has broken up into Gulmany (North Terisiare), Almaaz (South Terisiare), and New Argive.  This map is around 4000AR.  Yavimaya is also now an island off the coast of New Argive, which is a fully forested island. 


After the time of the Ice Age and Flood ages, not much story occured on the continent of Terisiare.  Mirage block was focused on Jamuraa, Tempest and the Weatherlight Saga occured mostly in Aerona, Shiv, and Jamuraa.   And very little of the Time Spiral stories occurred in Terisiare. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dominaria Geography: The Weatherlight Events


Welcome back to the series of articles describing Dominarian history.  This article will describe the path of the Weatherlight's adventures, up to the Phyrexian Invasion.  The Weatherlight saga was a multi-block series across sets to show the story leading up to the invasion by the Phyrexians into the plane of Dominaria from which they were exiled millennia ago.  The Weatherlight is a flying ship able to travel between planes of existence with its crew, and the story follows that crew on their first mission together to save their captain...

The weatherlight crew finds a map of Dominaria.
You can clearly see Terisiare on the left with Aerona on the right. 
The Spice Isles are in the center, with a line leading to them shaped like an "S".


To tell a bit more of the invasion, the Phyrexians had planned for millennia to invade their original homeworld of Dominaria- they had been displaced when building the world of Phyrexia, and cut off through the portal at Koilos by Rebbec.

To accomplish this invasion of a planetary scale, the Phyrexians had a two-fold plan; use planar portals open at specific locations to send initial waves of forces through, and secure important Dominarian sites, and use the artificial plane Rath to overlay on top of Dominaria to bring the main force of their army to the plane.  The first map shows Dominiaria just before the invasion, at 4205AR, with specific countries and lands on the map. The first part of the invasion targeted Aerona, Jamuraa, and Shiv.  There were other plans for Terisiare later.


This map shows the specific color and coalition affiliations for each area of Aerona and Jamuraa. 
The top map shows a more natural drawn map of this part of the world.

The second map, using the same spatial area, shows this part of Dominaria from the Phyrexian perspective.  Notice, that this is part-way through the invasion, as Zhalfir is already missing.  Each location is a primary target for the Phyrexians to invade, usually where a planar portal arrived.




During the invasion, the planeswalker Teferi had become skilled with the magic of phasing, and found a way to phase out entire landmasses.  To protect his land and people, he phased out both Zhalfir and Shiv.  Urza was furious at him for abandoning the plane's defenses, but Teferi had made his choice.  The Coalition and Urza eventually defeated Phyrexia, but there was still much damage to the plane.

Battled with Phyrexians raged in all the continents, even places that weren't mentioned in the story, like Otaria, had their own battles.  To win the Phyrexian Invasion, many Dominarians took creative strategies- Multani the Maro sorcerer found his battles won in Yavimaya forest on Terisiare, but used almost all his power in order to move the entire forest to the edge of Urborg in Aerona.  Many planeswalkers (some of whom were only known in the comics), such as Kristina of the Woods, Taysir, Commodore Guff, or Bo Levar lost their lives battling alongside Urza fighting Phyrexians or altering and Protecting Dominaria. 

The plane survived not only massive plagues released by Phyrexians, but also invasion through the portals noted by the rectangles, and an eventual overlay of an entire plane (Rath), as well as the full body of Yawgmoth entering Dominaria. The two surviving planeswalkers, Freyalise and Lord Windgrace set about protecting their world, and errected the Heroes' Monument, to commemorate the loss of life against the Phyrexians. 

This map shows Jamuraa without Zhalfir,
how it will stay for infinity, as the time rift was closed
without restoring the country, 4500 AR, 300 years after the Invasion
Three hundred years later, Teferi returned to restore both landmasses, finding however, the time rifts were destroying the plane.  Time and space were out of balance, and it was changing the multiverse forever.  He managed to restore Shiv by sacrificing his planeswalker spark, however, when the planeswalker Jeska found a better means to close time rifts through channeling another walker, she closed the rift without returning Zhalfir to its proper place, causing Zhalfir to be phased out forever. 


The time spiral events were a quest to close time rifts above all the major areas of Dominaria where a massive world changing event had occurred.  The goal was to heal the world; the time rifts would not only destroy Dominaria but all magic itself if not fixed.  With the help and sacrifice of multiple planeswalkers (even Nicol Bolas), the world and multiverse was saved, despite many planeswalkers perishing in these events also.  We haven't seen Dominaria since this time, so the world is set to heal, and somewhere between 60-80 years have passed since the time spiral events on Dominaria.


The final article of the set will show us the maps and changes of Terisiare, and how it changed from the Brother's War, the Ice Age, and beyond.  

Friday, April 6, 2018

Dominaria Geography: World Changes through the Ages


Dominaria is one of the few Magic: The Gathering worlds that has actual maps of the plane and continents, and so they can be used for reference for the upcoming 2018 expansion: Dominaria.  See the previous article to check out the locations mentioned today!

This article will help readers see what has changed from the multiple world-changing events throughout Magic: The Gathering sets, rather than just a timeline, it will describe these events as well as give some history to the culture, trying to tie together the maps and locations with the timeline and events. 

The first planeswalker Battle  (Madara Rift)
Nicol Bolas engaged in what is presumed to be the first planeswalker battle, along with his rival, a great leviathan planeswalker.  They battled near Madara, which destroyed much of the continent, and created a time rift.  You can still see the Talon Gates off the coast, which were made from the bones of the levianthan walker.


The Brother's War (Yavimaya Rift, 64 AR)
The brothers Urza and Mishra battled for control of the continent Terisiare, both seeking ancient relics and designing artificial soldiers and beings to fight their war with each other.  While Mishra gained the aid of Phyrexia (corrupting him), Urza found a relic known as the Golgothian Sylex, which, when activated with mana, destroyed both armies, the island of Argoth, plunged Dominaria into an ice age, and split it and 11 other worlds off from the rest of the multiverse. 


Sarpadia's Fall (~170-300 AR) and the Dark Ages (Terisiare ~170-450 AR) - The Ice Age (2934 AR)
With the Brother's War over, the world of Dominaria began to plunge into an ice age.  Terisiare faced a cultural dark age, with suspicion and fear of magic occurring in the cities, while the continent of Sarpadia's civilizations fell to more feral races, one by one.  The Ice Age saw new civilization survive the thousands of years of cold.  Finally, a planeswalker, Freyalise, found use in a magic mirror to cast a ritual to end the ice age, and rejoin the 12 worlds with the multiverse, in conjunction with a traveling world, Shandalar

The Two Tolarian Explosions (Tolarian Rift)
Urza, after returning to Dominaria when he realized the ice age was over, and the world was again vulnerable to Phyrexian invasion, began experiments and building an army on the islands of Tolaria.  When his test with a time machine failed due to Phyrexian sleeper agents, it exploded, causing time bubbles to exist all over the island, and opening a time rift above it.   During the Phyrexian invasion itself, Barrin, the Headmaster of the Tolarian Academy, returned to find the school overrun, and in grief over his daughter Hanna's death, cast his most powerful spell to obliterate the entire island, further worsening the rift.



Zhalfir and Shiv Phasing out (Zhalfirian and Shivan Rift)
During the Invasion, many planeswalkers came together to fight the Phyrexians and protect a world they called home.  One planeswalker, Teferi, decided instead of just fighting, he would also protect two areas of Dominaria, Zhalfir and Shiv, by phasing them out of existence from the plane, instead of defending them. He could then fight off Phyrexians upon their return, many years later.  He was unaware of time rifts however, and one opened above each area. 

The Rathi Overlay  (Urborg Rift, Skyshroud Rift)
In the main campaign plans for the Invasion, the second portion was the use the artificial plane, Rath, to overlay itself on Dominaria, bringing landmarks such as the Evincar's Stronghold and Skyshroud forest with it, to transport the majority of the Phyrexian army to Dominaria.  Two rifts were opened here, over Urborg, and near Keld, where Skyshroud forest appeared.




Yavimaya Moving (4205 AR)
Yavimaya forest, once part of Argoth and Fyndhord forests, was the best equipped to fight Phyrexians.  Where other countries and areas struggled, Yavimaya easily repelled the invaders.  The Maro sorcerer, Multani, realized that to win the war against Phyrexia, the forces of Yavimaya were needed in Urborg, near the stronghold which had recently overlaid on Dominaria.  With all his life force, he teleported the entire forest to the continent of Aerona, near the country of Urborg, to allow Yavimaya to join the fight there.

The Mirari incident and the The coming of Karona (Otarian Rift, 4306 AR)
One hundred and one years after the Invasion was won, and the Phyrexians repelled, on the southern continent of Otaria, a prophesy of three mothers, three sons was fulfilled to birth the false-god incarnation Karona.  With her passive ability to drain all mana from all lands around her (being an incarnation of Magic itself), her death caused another rift to open above the continent, but and still had mana draining from the land into the rift.



The closing of the Time Rifts
Around 300 years after the invasion (4500 AR), Teferi and Jhoira return, and find Dominaria ravaged by the time rifts.  They begin to mend the damage to the plane, and find the help of other powerful mages and planeswalkers, to close all the timerifts, and start the healing of Dominaria.




Wizards storyline team has stated that it has been around 60 years since the mending.  The planeswalker spark has changed, and the story has not returned to Dominaria until now.  What will the world look like?  Which of these countries and continents are still around, or recovered from damage?



Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dominaria Geography: Locations and Continents


Dominaria is one of the largest worlds of the multiverse, and is often known as the hub world of Dominia.  It is home to numerous continents, and many Magic sets have all taken place on it.  Below we will describe the important continents which appeared in a variety of sets, and point out locations on maps that are generally more well known to players of Magic through card names and flavor text.  Dominaria once had two moons orbiting the world, its natural moon, as well as the Null Moon, a Thran artifact for gathering white mana and information, on which all inhabitants died when Phyrexians overthrew the Thran. 

 We will be covering the continents that are circled below.  Not that these maps may have inaccuracies, as well as updates for the new 2018 expansion: Dominaria.  You'll also notice that as maps have been made, there are some new additions, or changes to what appears on them. 



Terisiare

The Continent of Terisiare was the location of early Magic, where the brothers Urza and Mishra fought for dominance of the continent.  It was also location of the Thran empire which spawned Phyrexia, as well as the events of the Ice Age saga with the Archmage Jodah, and many other locations throughout Magic's history.  The main events that occurring on Terisiare are covered in another article.   Terisiare used to be one continent, but now it has broken up into three after the Ice Age and Yavimaya moving to Aerona in the Phyrexian Invasion. 



Sarpadia


Sarpadia (SAR-PA-DIA) is the continent where the Fallen Empires expansion took place.  Five different civilizations all collapsed with the coming ice age, over run by more wild species.  Not much else is known about Sapardia, as we have never truly revisited the continent.

Sapardia is a southern landmass island on Dominaria, and was one of the last areas to succumb to the ice age after the Brother's War.

The Elves and the Order of the Ebon Hand both fell to races they created, the Thallids and Thrulls respectively.  Orc and Goblin hordes overran the dwarf kingdoms, and Icatia fell to conflict between the Farrelites and the Order of the Ebon Hand, but then also Orcs and Thrulls.  The cooling waters gave biological advantages to the Homarids (a lobster based race) over their aquatic adversaries, the Vodalian merfolk. 


Aerona

Also known as the Domains, Aerona is a continent of islands with many well known locations, such as Benelia, the Hurloon mountains, Keld, and Llanowar. Centrally located, Aerona is close to Madara to the south, and Jamuraa to the East.  It was one of the main spots to attack for the Phyrexian invasion.  Some include the Spice isles as part of Aerona, as they are just off the coast of the continent to the west, and also included the island of Tolaria.  The new academy is also built in the Spice Isles, and was named Tolaria West to commemorate the famous school founded by Urza and Barrin.


A black and white map to highlight commonly known areas. 

This map comes courtesy of Phyrexia.com, and was taken originally from a magazine. 



Jamuraa



The continent to the East of Aerona where Teferi originated, the three main countries of Suq'Ata, Zhalfir, and Corondor fought a war over the discovery of phasing magic, near to Teferi's Isle.  The Jamuraan continent is more tropical than most other continents on Dominaria, and has a distinct real world 'Africa' vibe, in human cultures, biology, and climate. Zhalfir no longer exists on Dominaria, having been 'phased out' by Teferi's magic, its time rift was incorrectly sealed, and it simply ceased to exist instead of returning to the world. 




Madara


The island to the South of Jamuraa was once controlled by Emperor Nicol Bolas.  Emperor Bolas ran an Imperial Empire to use as a base of operations for his control over Domnaria.  At the coast are two gigantic pillars shaped like whale ribs- they are all that remains of the defeated Leviathan Planeswalker ages ago, when Nicol Bolas defeated it.  Bolas was defeated by the Imperial Champion, Tetsuo Umezawa, and sealed away in an artificial plane connected to Dominaria- The Meditation Plane.






Otaria

The setting for the Odyssey and Onslaught blocks, Otaria is a continent battled over by two main factions, the Order and the Cabal, with the Cephalid kingdom on the coastline influencing it from the sea.  Otaria had a prophesy to the coming of a god of Magic, and Karona, False God, was born of that prophesy.  Her coming opened a time rift and drained much of magic from the world, and she was eventually killed by her own servants with help from the Mirari.


Shiv
Shiv seen in two different time periods.  On the right, is Shiv at the start of the Phyrexian war, 4205 AR.  To the left is the present day Shiv, at around 4566 AR.  The mending occurred in 4506 AR, 300 years after Teferi and Jhoira phased Shiv out.  Jeska used Radha's spark to safely return Shiv to Dominaria, closing the time rift above it. 

Home to Shivan dragons, Shiv is a volcanic continent of mountains and fire to the Northeast of Jamuraa.  The Thran forge/rig was located here, and the continent is home to Viashino, lizards, and Goblins as well as dragons. 




The next article will cover the large, world-rending changes that occurred on Dominaria, often scarring landscapes and changing the maps as well as civilizations.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dominaria Geography, the Center of All Worlds


Dominaria is the center hub planes of the multiverse- once known as Dominia.  Dominaria was the central stage for a large number of sets and worlds for Magic, showing of a variety of settings and continents, and being filled with multiple races for each color, continent, and culture.

You can see the continent Aerona to the right, with parts of Terisiare in the shadow on the left. Copyright is by Wizards of the coast, image posted originally at phyrexia.com


The world included sets: Antiquities, The Dark, Legends (parts of it), Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Alliances, Coldsnap, Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight, Urza's Saga-Legacy-Destiny (parts of Serra's Realm and Phyrexia are also explored), Prophecy, Invasion, Planshift, Apocalypse, Odyssey, Torment, Judgement, Onslaught, Legions, Scourge, Time Spiral, Planar Chaos, and Future Sight. 

Any novels associated with those sets take place at least partially on Dominaria, including both Legends book trilogies.  

A brief (as possible) quick history of Dominaria: 

Ancient Days: The Thran were a race of ingenious inventors.  Their civilization birthed powerstone artifacts, and wonderous mechanisms.  They were destroyed by Phyrexia, and their founder, Yawgmoth, whom the Thran sought out for help long before any corruption on his part. 

The Dominaria timeline is measured roughly by Argivian reckoning.  It starts at 0 AR for the birth of Urza, and soon after his brother Mishra. 

The brother artificers went to war, which ended in the Golothia sylex exploding in 63 AR. 

Feldon, during the time after the Brother's War, remembers Loran's smile.

The world begins cooling (~2400 AR), and over a few thousand years, freezes into an Ice Age.  Freyalise, with help from Jodah and Jaya Ballard, restore the shard of the 12 worlds to the rest of the multiverse (2934 AR). 

Not everyone is happy about the flood age and the melting.  Heidar, Rimewind master has a plan to continue the Ice Age.  Heider has his stories. 

Throughout all this, Urza is planning his defense of the world against Phrexian invasion (~1800-3250 AR).  He founds the Tolarian Academy in 3285 AR. 

Gerrard, Mirri, and Rofellos join the Weatherlight (4198 AR), The Rath cycle events occur, and subsequently, the Phyrexian invasion.  Dominaria is victorious in 4206 AR with the killing of Yawgmoth by activating the entire Legacy and crashing a moon's worth of white mana into him.

In the continent of Otaria, the Mirari causes massive upheaval (4305 AR) and Karona the False god demands service from all (including magic itself, 4306 AR).

The plane becomes unstable with time rifts from so many world changing events, and the Mending is performed by Teferi and other planeswalkers (4505 AR).  Welcome Home (2006).  Dominaria was left with weak mana sources and somewhat broken after the Apocalypse and Karona. After the mending, Dominaria begins to heal and rebuild its mana. 

Side Story during the time rifts and planar chaos: Time twists and destinies interchange.

In current storyline times, it has been around 60-80 years since the Mending. This is the time of the Gatewatch meeting and forming, and traveling to Amonkhet.  This is estimated to be around 4567 AR.

Isolated Lore:

In the next few articles, we'll be exploring parts of the world and history that may be relevant for the return to the plane in Dominaria (spring 2018), and what a more cohesive world may look like when it comes to Dominaria. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Magi Nation Fan Run Storyline Tournament - Story One



 written by VoyagerOrchid, TheRealQwade, and TheDirtyShame.

The Moonlands are in an uproar. Former friends and allies have turned against one another, and animite rings all over have begun lighting up, releasing the Dream Creatures within for what may soon be all-out war among the regions.

Reports to Jaela in the city of the clouds have been pouring in:
  • Kybarites are blaming Underlings for rock slides that increased in the last few days, and the elders are worried about the stability around Kybar’s Fang, which has also been oddly silent! 
  • Underlings are blaming Kybarites for cave-ins.   Many new tunnels have collapsed, and in the wreckage grow a strange purple mushroom. 
  • A huge patch of grass from the Weave has been ripped from its roots and has managed to take hold in the unyielding sands of d’Resh.  
  • The ongoing war between Bograthians and Paradans has escalated to uncharted levels. Bograthians have taken to building rafts to cross the bay to launch a surprise attack against their rivals, but the poor craftsmanship of the rafts is causing them to sink.  Now the foul magi and their creatures are polluting the once clean waters of Orothe.
  • Several of the great trees of Vash Naroom have been felled by what appears to be a concussive fire blast. Despite being on opposite sides of the continent, Naroom is convinced this is an act of aggression from Cald. The Calders plead ignorance and claim that this was not their doing.
  • An enormous chunk of the Naran glacier has broken off and floated away, and nobody is quite sure why, nor why it’s a distinctly darker shade of blue than a normal glacier iceberg. 


Thanks to their convenient locale, the Arderian landscape is largely unaffected. However, they find themselves being pulled in all directions as each Region calls on their assistance to right all these mysterious wrongs.  Jaela has sent emissaries to Naroom, Underneath, Kybar’s Teeth, and d’Resh to investigate these doings. 

But there is something else going on - something much more subtle and sinister. An ancient evil has awoken in the Core and is pulling all the strings to the carnage. The old master, Agram, has ordered as many of these attacks as can be orchestrated to drive the denizens of the Moonlands into chaos, ignoring the true threat to them, at the five core nodes.  All these petty squabbles are keeping the surface dwellers busy while the Shadow magi can carry out phase two of their master’s plan. There is but one Magi in the Moonlands who knows the secrets of the Core’s plan and how to drive them back.  Hopefully he can hold off the Core’s advance and unite the Moonlands in time...

***

Yaki awoke in the forest, his eyes a dull purple from his recent dream.  He had seen Agram, still locked in the Core.  The outsider, that Tony kid, had managed to do what no one else could, and lock Agram back in there, hopefully for good.  But the Twins were still missing, and all the other shadow magi had run amok.  He would burn them.  Crush their rings.  Eat their drea… No.  Yaki’s thoughts pulled away from that hatred that still burned in his mind since his fight with the Twins in Vash Naroom.  He was camped far outside the city, to avoid the fearful looks the other Naroomi survivors would give him when he checked in with them, and knew his dream hadn’t been illusion. 

In his sleep, Yaki had seen Agram speaking to all the shadow magi. 
“Go, magi of shadows,” Agram had whispered.  “Wherever you are, whatever you’re capable of: cause chaos in the Moonlands.  Destroy.  Ransack.  Burn.  Crumble everything the magi hold as safe.  Once, the shadows on the surface bloomed and erupted.  That is where we will strike again.  For now, let our enemies fight their own fears, their own dream battles.  Let dreams turn to nightmares, and animite shatter with energy lost.  You are my most important lieutenants.  Especially you, Yaki…”

There Yaki had woken with a start.  He was not a shadow magi!  He couldn’t be, could he?  “Brother, that’s a bad sign,” he muttered to himself.  

***

Yaki packed his bag, and headed off to the edge of the forest to the south.  It had taken him several days, but he was moving through the jungles, heading toward areas where Bograth and Paradwyn skirmishes still occurred.  He had left behind the hunting party for the Dark Twins, with a note to Pru.  They should continue to chase the shadow magi toward the Teeth, and be cautious - as the last Warlum from the Sky Watch had told them of the full escape of the captured Shadow magi from the Battle of Naroom.   He would track those escaped magi down.  Only he had that power.  He was sad to leave his friends, but the stakes were higher.  He couldn’t face Pruitt, not after that dream.  He couldn’t, no, mustn’t betray her to Agram …

*Squelch* went his boots in the muddy underbrush, as the trees slowly began to die off more and more, until the wetlands claimed this section of the Moonlands.   After several hours of walking, he found a relatively dry spot on a marshy hill, and took out a small blue animate crystal; a signal stone, to inform the tracker network. He placed it on the end of his staff, and lit it with a spell.  As the purple sky darkened, he sat on a log and waited, chewing on some Rudwot jerky, and hoping to get information from the Sky Watch soon. 

Yaki waited some time.  His jerky supplies were getting rather slim, and the dark purple above had only the faintest light on the horizon still.  He yawned, stretching his arms to the air, and listened to the bog creatures appearing from the dream realm in the evening air.  *Squelch, squelch… *squelch squelch*, a noise was hesitantly coming up the hill, as someone trudged through the muck toward him.  The footsteps stopped, and Yaki peered into the gloom to see who the new arrival was, preparing a ring.  A greasy-haired, squat magi slowly trundled up the hill.  She had dimly glowing green eyes, and her clothes were covered in muck, much like other Bograth magi that Yaki had seen before. 
“Ooh, pretty…” she muttered as she approached, eyes locked on the signal stone.  “Eryss… Eryss likes… hates… loves that light!” 
“Who are you, brother?” Yaki called at her, standing between the stone and the new magi.  “You can’t have this stone!”
“Eryss… Eryss is a Paradan!  Yes, from ugly green muck-free arbor!  Eryss saw a stone in her dreams, a pretty blue stone.  And came here.  The dream told her.  ‘We must…’ No.   ‘We must give the slime fangs to the blue stone!’” 
Yaki could tell this magus was out of her mind.   She seemed like a Bograthian in her manners, but something about her reminded him of Paradwyn also, of the green-skinned jungle folk.  She stumbled forward, holding out a muck covered sack, toward him. 
“Eryss gives this to the great blue stone!” she chanted as she stepped forward, and Yaki was concerned he would have to fight her.  His eyes flared green, and he called a dark creature he had met in his time fighting the twins, a Gla… Nothing happened. 
“What…? I don’t… dig it...”  

Eryss waved her hands in a nonsensical pattern, still holding the dirty bag.  Something inside knocked together with an audible click.  She smiled. “Eryss can’t have discordia here… Tracker… Tracker with the blue stone.  I see you now.  Save the jungles, tracker.  Save the green.  Take it.”  And she placed the bag in his confused hands.  She stumbled away, tripping, into the muck, walking unsteadily.  Yaki opened the bag cautiously.  Insiide was a necklace of yellow teeth, and a very dirty, slime covered stone. 
“Have fun, lightstalker!” Eryss cackled over her shoulder, shuffling down the hill now.  “You can dig it now!  The slime stone and fangs are your party!”
“Hello, Tracker.”  A new voice, behind him.  Yaki reeled around.  An Arderial Sky Watch member floated behind him, wings flapping slowly, hood drawn. 
“Hey, brother.  Got any news from the air?” 
“Lady Jaela sends her regards, Tracker.  And some good news.  Our captain has issued these masks of sight to help our network find shadow and Core magic. Here.” He handed a blue mask to Yaki.  “They amplify tracking magic, and they’ve been tuned specifically for the magic coming from the Core.” 
Yaki put on the mask.  A blue shimmer of light surrounded the Sky Watch.  He looked at his own hands.  There was a slow pulse glow from his hands, a light green of the forests, and as he remarked sadly, a few strands of purple sparking in between the hue. 
“Thanks, brother!  If this works, this will help with the plan your Warlum told me so we can find the escaped shadow magi and calm all the regions!”
“The network is all looking for them, since the Defender saw their escape in the Eye of the Storm.  Thank you for joining the hunt, in these swamps.  But are you sure your friends will be alright without you?”
“Orwin and the others are rebuilding Naroom, brother!  They’ll be fine as long as we can stop these disruptions, oh yeah! And the hunting party will wait for me near the Moga foothills.  We’ll get back to chasing the Warrada soon enough.” 
“I hope you’re right.  Happy Hunting, Tracker.  I’ll be nearby; if you need help, just light your stone.”  With a flap of his guard wings, the Arderian flew off into the night.  The blue stone on his staff still glowed, so Yaki took it down.  Still wearing the mask, Yaki unrolled his sleeping gear, and curled up for the night.  He would start his hunt in the morning.   

***

Yaki dreamed.  He saw a Hinko falling off a tree into a hole in the ground.  A giant foot had made the hole, but now rocks were tumbling down toward it.  He saw matches, falling one by one after being lit; falling into a stream and flowing into a drain in the river.  He saw a magi lighting matches, cutting branches, laughing on her way toward a gigantic banana.  The banana peeled, and turned brown as it did so.  It fell over, and sank into the river, clogging the drain. 

Yaki awoke from the dream, confused by what it might mean. Bananas clogging drains? Falling Hinkos? From his bed, he noticed a faint pulsating glow from his pack. The Slime Stone! Ever since Korg showed up, Bograth had been known to be working with the forces of the Core. He eagerly packed his camp up and ventured back toward the soggy delta to see if he could uncover any sinister plots.  Maybe his dream would guide him to the shadow magi.

As he ventured toward the coastline, he could hear a voice in the distance. “Good! Lash these together and get some more.  We’ll need some better wood like this if our ships will make it across the bay this time! The master doesn’t appreciate failure, so now that I’m in charge, we won’t let him down.” Through the darkness and the overgrowth, Yaki could barely make out what appeared to be a Magi and not just a stack of rags on a tree stump, surrounded by other dirty lumps working on tying bundles of wood together.

Without hesitation, Yaki leaped from cover and shouted at the group of magi working there. “I’m gonna stop you right there, brother. Whatever you’re doing here ends now! Any glory and power you were promised was all a lie!”

“Glory? Power? What do you think we are here?” the mass laughed back at him.  Yaki began to recognize this shriveled mass as Golthub.  “Yog! Take care of this intruder.”
From the corner of his eye, Yaki noticed movement coming from above him. He quickly dodged out of the way of an enormous maul that would have knocked him senseless as Brog had swung a branch he was holding at him.  He instinctively reached into his bag, grabbing a ring, and summoned a … Fog Hyren?  There must have been a ring somewhere in the satchel Eryss had given him. Invigorated by the fog, Yaki had come up with a plan. 

Yog and Golthub quickly summoned a swarm of minions in typical Bograth fashion. Several of the other Bograthians scattered into the trees.  Also familiar to Bograth, Golthub dreamed up a Mist Hyren. Yaki quickly stomped it into submission with his Giant Carillion, and was able to make quick work of the rest of the small creatures using the powers the slime stone allowed him.  He was quickly entering ‘rampage mode,’ and his Carillion ended up leveling three more trees close to the river’s edge, making new ponds of murky water in its wake.

The swarm of creatures, usually so menacing, was in disarray.  A few of the smaller ones winked out
of existence and Golthub undreamed the last few to save his energy in defeat.
Yaki commanded them, “You’re going to stop what you’re doing here.  No more boats!  Also, destroy all of the rafts you have built.” 

Golthub cowered in submission. “Yes! Of course!  Right away, great Tracker! Yog, take care of that while I try to fix the delta!  The Carillion made the water flow too fast!” There was no response. “Yog?” During the fracas, Yog had managed to flee after the other Bograthians without either Yaki or Golthub taking notice.

Bemused, Yaki had his Carillion stomp on the piles of gathered wood, shattering it to splinters.  He turned without another word.  These weren’t shadow magi, but their invasion across the bay had been stopped, finally. 

***

With the Bograthian menace settled, and taking no time to consider just why the Bograthians were helping the Core, Yaki couldn’t help but think of the falling Hinko of his dream.  Hinkos weren’t native to Bograth... He decided to visit the nearby peaks of Kybar’s Teeth to see if any of their Elders could interpret his premonition.

As he climbed the mountains, he came across T’Lok who seemed to be in the middle of important work with a stone lever on the side of a hill.  Yaki called out, “Yo! I’m looking for Groll! Any idea where I can find him?”
T’Lok slowly and carefully responded, “Why, yes. I think he’s right over there...” He pointed toward his left.  Yaki scanned the horizon, knowing that the closest Kybarite settlement was the other way, and considered why Groll might be so far from his comrades.  Before he could think too long, a mass of several enormous boulders began to crash down right at him.  Yaki deftly dodged most of them with a bounding roll, but ended up smashing his shoulder on the last one.  Behind the boulders, he saw T’Lok with his fists clenched.
“What’s your deal, bro?” Yaki called. “I’m not your enemy!”

T’Lok gave a sinister smile. “Oh, but you are.” T’Lok summoned a Baldar, and Yaki quickly responded by summoning his Giant Carillion again. The Carillion did what it did best, and stomped on the Baldar.  This time, however, the stomp was perhaps a little too hard. The stone beneath their feet cracked, then shattered, causing a large cave-in to the tunnels below, and Yaki and T’Lok found themselves tumbling down into an Underneath tunnel.  Purple spores floated up everywhere.  Recovering faster than Yaki from the fall, T’Lok jumped and quickly ascended the rock wall, bolstering his climbing skills with a spell.  As he clambered out of the hole, he looked back and laughed.  “Hah! Guess you did my work for me then! Means I can go find our mistress, eh, Shadow-tracker?  Maybe back among some trees…” Yaki knew that could only mean one thing, and realized that T’lok was aiding Warrada all along.  This had to stop.  He managed to pull himself from the debris and growing spore cloud and climb out of the hole the old fashioned way, by which time, T’lok was nowhere to be found.  Yaki could smell his stench though, and it headed toward the forest.  Yaki put on the mask given to him by the Sky Watch, and immediately saw a trail leading toward Vash Naroom.  He sprinted off, trying to sniff out the traitor. As he neared the forest edge, the corruption appeared to be all around him, but seemed stronger directly in front.  He charged onward. 

As Yaki ran through the trees, he failed to notice a pair of shadows hiding nearby. It was T’Lok and Sperri, who had apparently managed to fool Yaki.  T’Lok turned to Sperri. “Thanks for the assist in hiding from that fool.  That was easier than I thought it would be.”
The fiend of Furoks smiled. “Well, we had some help... I’ve left him a surprise up ahead also.  He won’t realize until it’s too late.”

Yaki, full-on ‘rage mode’ now, charged after T’lok, down the short hills, into the forest.  Familiar ground.  Bad luck for him, oh yeah!
Following corrupted moss where the shadow magi had run, Yaki pulled four, no- eight, no- twelve rings from his bag, and jammed them carelessly on his fingers.  He rushes through familiar trees, seeing corruption slowly crossing their leaves and branches.  He ran past another grove of trees wilting in purple light, and spotted a dark magi-shape in the branches above him, busily working on what looked like a nest of dark brambles.  He grinned; he had that traitor T’lok now- he would stop this sabotage of his forest.  Sending a Leaf Hyren slithering up the branches to knock the shape from behind, Yaki heard a loud smack, and the magi fell from the tree with a yelp.  He started summoning carelessly, purple light streaking at his vision behind the mask.  He magined out two lesser of his Furoks, a Glabit, and a Vrill.  Some of his summoning was coming out wrong; when had he acquired a Vrill? He couldn’t remember.  If he could capture T’lok here, his greatest moment, his chance to stop this new shadow magi once and for all, he would have his revenge on the twins, he would be the greatest tracker of all...

He looked down at his hands.  They were burning up with heat; but in his palms, clutched graspingly, desperately, were the slime stone and the necklace of fangs. When did he take those out?
The shadow magi attacked.  Two furry blurs, quick as lightning, attacked his Furoks, and all the creatures dissipated in a shower of energy and a tinkling of animite. 
His hesitation vanished.  Yaki let loose, using both relics in his hands and his creatures, powering his Vrill and Glabit and Oroks (When did they become Oroks? he wondered).
The magi screamed, his creatures being torn asunder as the battle raged on.  T’lok was fast, leaping from ground to branches and dreaming furry creatures out faster than Yaki could keep track of with his vision behind the mask. 

As more creatures were sent back to the dream plane, suddenly, Yaki realized he recognized the furry creatures.  They were Wasperines.  And that magi was too nimble to be T’lok.  No… He startled back
as a rabid-looking Wasperine smashed his Vrill to oblivion.  Yaki tried to call off his creatures, but they were rushing forward, rich with energy and crackling at the edges with violet light. 

It wasn’t T’lok; he was attacking Woot! It had to be him!  This was a terrible mistake.  Yaki began calling to his creatures to stop, when suddenly a blast of air hit the battlefield, and every creature on both sides vanished in ripples of energy.  Both Yaki and Woot tumbled over in cataclysmic gusts.  

The Sky Watch magi slowly flapped down, exhausted after casting his spell to hold Yaki back. 
“What are you doing, Tracker?” he shouted.  The magi pulled off his helmet, revealing the features of a magi Yaki recognized as Sorreah.   “The shadow magi escaped through a gate closer to the edge of the forest, and you’re attacking your own kin?”
“Sorreah!” Yaki gasped, glad to see a familiar face.  “I didn’t mean it… I thought he was T’lok, who I saw join the shadows!” 

Woot, having spent the last of his energy, lay at Yaki’s feet, unconscious.  Yaki ripped off the mask, and tossed it toward the Sky Watch.  “What’s with this thing … I couldn’t control myself.  I couldn’t stop!”
Sorreah reached down to pick up the mask and examine it.  He shook his head. “I’m sorry Yaki.  I think some of your misdeeds fall on my shoulders.  When I saw you lose control in the Kybar foothills, I suspected something was wrong with the mask.  It was given to me by my captain, who, I’m guessing also has turned to the shadows.  This mask is corrupted with Core magic.”
Yaki let his head fall, his shoulders slumped.  He would summon a Weebo to help heal Woot, but too many ‘gifts’ this day had made him lose control.  Sorreah watched as Yaki used some more unfamiliar magic; he shattered both bagala fangs and stone, which he had still been holding tightly. 

Sorreah looked at Yaki.  “Perhaps you should return to your friends near the Moga foothills, Yaki.  I’m sure they’ve been worried about you.  I know we thought we could capture some of the shadow magi ourselves, but this … This was too much.  Send a report to the tracker network when you’ve rejoined your group, but don’t do anything else stupid.”

Yaki was ashamed that he had let these new relics and goals distract him; he had gone out of control.  Ooh brother, not going to be doing that again.  And what would he tell Pru…
He summoned the Weebo, and had it start healing the unconscious Woot.  He gathered the scattered animite around him to prepare for his journey back to his friends. 

But the shadow magi had only gotten started…