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Ixalan Story #5

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Wednesdays are something else entirely when Magic Stories are on tap on the Magic: the Gathering page.  Today is the 7th story installment from the Wizards of the Coast MTG R&D Narrative Team.  A very quick recap of the story blurbs so far in this very engaging and entertaining story series so far - 

Episode 1 - Jace, Alone.  A man wakes up alon on an island, his memory as absent as his means of arrival.

Episode 2 - The Third Aspect of the Sun.  Huatli is a Warrior-Poet of the Sun Empire. Her talent in combat and creativity know no bounds, but when faced with a frightening encounter and an even more astounding vision, she must overcome discomfort to live up to expectation.

Episode 3 - The Talented Captain Vraska.  Vraska has never been happier. Finally able to be the leader she always knew she could be, she captains The Belligerent with the skill of the greatest of commanders. She had kept Jace Beleren alive initially to utilize his talents, but soon discovers that they make quite the team.

Episode 4 - The Shapers.  With so many different groups seeking the golden city of Orazca, how will the River Heralds keep the city's power from falling into the wrong hands?

Episdoe 5 - Something Else Entirely.  The Belligerent harbors at High and Dry, and Jace gets the lowdown on Vraska's mission.

In this story we return to the characters of Jace and Vraska, which opens up onboard The Belligerent as they make sail towards the Brazen Coalition base High and Dry.  We learn more about the crew here - Amelia, quartermaster, Kerrigan, the burly ogre (oopps - Wizards had meant 'Orc') who served as ship's cook, and Gavven, the boatswain.  The only unbelivable thing here is that the cook is an Orc - as beleivable as the Orc in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings declaring that "meat is back on the menu", like the fellas hit Olive Garden on the weekends.  We learn that Jace has begun to now fully explore, practice and strengthen his former powers.  

A highlight for us is certainly the visit to High and Dry, where the "planked streets of High and Dry were the remains of thousands of broken Brazen Coalition ships".  Our only criticsm here is that there was not further description of this settlement, other than a few words later describing some re-purposed materials in the construction and furnishings of the watering hole called the Boatswain's Rear.  
The denizens / patrons of this establishment are however described quite well.  Speaking of highlights, we have to point our the incorrigible shipmate Breeches, a goblin who had loudly proclaimed "DEBT AND ALE AND CARDS!", a deep truth that may Magic: the Gathering players know well.  Vorthos Jay had suggested on his Tumblr Blog Achive Trap Mini that Breeches must be a Millennial.  

Sailor of Means, by Ryan Pancoast

We also are treated to additional information on the Immortal Sun, delivered from Malcolm, a Siren and the Ship's navigator, who had the following to say  "The object we're after is in Orazca, and it is known as the Immortal Sun. It used to be kept in the monasteries of Torrezon, in the kingdom that would eventually become the Legion of Dusk. For generations, it remained under the protection of its holy custodians in the mountains of the eastern continent.  "Its presence gave the old rulers incredible power," Malcolm continued. "Jealousies blossomed, and Pedron the Wicked's forces broke into the monastery where the Immortal Sun was kept safe and stole it. As they departed the sanctuary, a winged being descended from the sky. It took the Immortal Sun, carrying the relic across the sea and into the west. No living being knows its exact location, but this compass is meant to help us."  Not certain that the specific details of all this would be known to a Siren, generations after the fact (example - how does Malcolm know that 'jealousies blossomed"?).  The popular theory at the moment is that the "winged being" which had took the Immortal Sun from the followers of Pedron the Wicked is . . . Ugin !  There are a lot of questions surrounding this but we are satisfied to keep this as a theory for now.  

We round out the story's end with Jace learning how the Thaumatic Compass may work - just before the ship is dashed upon the rocks (the continent of Ixalan) and a hard place (a Legion ship).

Great read Wizards of the Coast !  We did enjoy and very much appreciate the growing relation between Jace and Vraska.

The Magic stories would be much improved in our opinion with some art, not from cards, but perhaps concept work - heck, we would love to see just rough sketches of the Ixalan people, places and things.

Contract Killing by Winona Nelson

Sad little oil lamps illuminated a sadder series of crowded tables and half-broken chairs, each stuffed with the most degenerate villains one could imagine.
This line was beautiful and reminiscent of a similar dive in a far away place.


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