History MagicTheGathering / AlaraUnbroken

30th Jul '13 1:22:34 PM StFan
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[[quoteright:170:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Alara_Unbroken_3348.JPG]]

''Alara Unbroken'' is the tie-in novel for ''MagicTheGathering'''s ''Shards of Alara'' block. Some of the events in the book overlap with the webcomics "MagicTheGathering/FlightOfTheWhiteCat" and "MagicTheGathering/HonorBound".

Long ago, the plane of Alara split into five shards, one for each color of mana. Each of the five shards was exceptionally rich in one color of mana, but completely devoid of two others. ''Alara Unbroken'' visits the plane of Alara at the time of the Conflux, when its five shards have started to reconverge, guided by a mysterious, nefarious force. ([[HijackedByGanon Hint: it's Nicol Bolas.]]) The protagonists are a young Ajani Goldmane, who has just discovered his planeswalking abilities and is on the hunt for his brother's killer; Elspeth Tirel, a planeswalker and knight of the shard of Bant, who struggles to come to terms with what she sees as the corruption of a paradise; Rafiq of the Many, a champion of Bant investigating said corruption; and Sarkhan Vol, a dragon-mage planeswalker who discovers in Nicol Bolas a dragon truly worthy of his worship.

[[folder:Plot summary (contains spoilers)]]
The book opens with a scene of [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/120.html Nicol Bolas]] in his lair on [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/grixis.html Grixis]], [[BadBoss getting snappy]] with some of his minions (including the demon-dragon HybridMonster [[http://magiccards.info/cmd/en/208.html Malfegor]]) while brooding over his plan to collide the five shards and harvest the mana from the resulting kaboom to restore his power, which had been drained by the events of ''MagicTheGathering/FutureSight''.

Then we have [[FourLinesAllWaiting a lot of things happening all at once.]]

Cut to [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/154.html Ajani Goldmane]] in [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/naya.html Naya]], just after the events of Part 1 of "MagicTheGathering/FlightOfTheWhiteCat". He's out hunting a massive gargantuan. Some brief exposition reveals that he's been rejected by his peers because of his rare albino fur, but his brother Jazal (the pride's leader, or ''kha'') has always protected him. Anyway, he's fighting the giant monster. He manages to kill it, but unfortunately, he's found by his JerkJock pridemate Tenoch and his gang of hangers-on. Tenoch beats up Ajani and takes the credit for the kill. Ajani gets back to camp and is comforted by his childhood friend Zaliki before the pride's big feast, where a storyteller recounts the legend of Marisi, the nacatl hero. Ajani notices that Zaliki looks worried, but she rebuffs him. That night, the camp is attacked by mysterious hooded nacatls, and Jazal is murdered. Ajani discovers Zaliki with the body and, in his grief, his planeswalker spark ignites and he wakes up on Jund.

Meanwhile on [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/bant.html Bant]], we meet [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/110.html Gwafa Hazid]], smuggling some illicit goods in his caravan. As some knights approach to inspect the wagons, he gives one of his men a dagger and suggests in a whisper to do something ''useful'' with it. Said henchman starts sneaking up on one of the knights, and the cunning Gwafa Hazid shouts a warning; the knight kills the knife guy. But this isn't enough to distract the knight, so Gwafa stabs him himself and moves along. His caravan approaches Giltspire Castle. He sends his mages out to perform a ritual while he meets with some customs agents. His fast talk doesn't convince them, and they try to stop the caravan, so Gwafa has his wagons make a break for it. They make a circle around the castle and the mages finish a ritual that causes the castle to crumble; only [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/212.html a bright white obelisk]] remains. Gwafa is astonished and chagrined--he didn't expect that to happen, and thinks, MyGodWhatHaveIDone

On Jund, we meet [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/71.html Rakka Mar]], another of Bolas's minions. She's out preaching to a warrior tribe (led by [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/178.html Kresh the Bloodbraided]]), riling them up to go hunt a local dragon named Malactoth. After she's done, Kresh follows up with a DareToBeBadass speech, egging them on further. Then they lead an expedition to the dragon's lair, but they're ambushed by some viashino. There's a skirmish. Rakka Mar insists that they continue onward despite losing eight of their men. As they approach Malactoth's volcano, they encounter [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/191.html Sarkhan Vol]] going to meet the dragon as well; he joins their party, expecting the dragon to eat them all anyway. They charge at the dragon (and Sarkhan uses his +1 ability to give them +1/+1 and haste until end of turn), but the battle goes poorly, and Sarkhan is forced to cast [[http://magiccards.info/fvd/en/7.html Form of the Dragon]]. As the ScaledUp Sarkhan battles the hellkite, Rakka reveals that the whole thing was a diversion so that she could raise [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/215.html another obelisk]]. Kresh and Sarkhan finish off the hellkite as the cave collapses, and Sarkhan leaves to investigate the purpose of the obelisk. Instead, he finds Ajani, who's just dropped out of the sky and onto the plane of Jund.

On Bant again, we meet [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/185.html Rafiq of the Many]], who's preparing for a combat. His friend and second, a rhox knight named Mugin, tells him that he'll be inspected by a group of aristocrats from the Order of the Skyward Eye. As Rafiq enters the arena, he notices that his opponents' swords are unusually sharp. Rafiq and Mubin easily win the first match, but in the second round, Rafiq is astonished when his opponents start performing illegal maneuvers: they aim for his head, slash at his armor, and attack him from behind, drawing blood. As Rafiq realizes that they're fighting to kill, they take off their armor, knowing that the honorable Rafiq of the Many would never fight and injure an undefended enemy. Rafiq, ashamed, fights them anyway and wins. After the fight, the inspector congratulates him on showing the ability to fight under the atypical conditions, and sends him on a mission to discover how Giltspire Castle was destroyed. Rafiq investigates the ruins and encounters Gwafa Hazid's trail. Gwafa is still shaken by what he's done when Rafiq catches up to him and places him under arrest.

Back on Jund, Sarkhan chases away [[http://magiccards.info/arb/en/117.html a dragon]] that's about to attack Ajani, and introductions ensue. Sarkhan explains that Ajani is a planeswalker, and brings him to a caldera to show him the power of red mana. Ajani jumps into the volcano, embracing his anger. When he wakes up, he's in Naya again, and he vows to kill everyone responsible for his brother's death. He starts to have hallucinations of his brother talking to him as he returns to his camp in the wake of Jazal's funeral. After speaking with Zaliki, who tries to calm him down, he storms into the forest to look for Tenoch, his first suspect. When he finds Tenoch, he partakes in some HighAltitudeInterrogation, but it backfires, and in the struggle he falls off the cliff himself.

Elsewhere on Naya, we find Nicol Bolas conversing with Marisi, who, it turns out, is very much alive, and working for Bolas. Marisi has been charged with stirring up conflict. He informs Nicol Bolas that the elves rely on the guidance of the mythical world-hydra [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/121.html Progenitus]]; they believe their shaman, [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/179.html Mayael]], can converse with it directly.

Back on Jund, Sarkhan finds and confronts Rakka Mar. She leads him to Nicol Bolas. Sarkhan is in awe and cows in the presence of the most magnificent dragon he's ever seen. He swears fealty to Bolas and tells him about Ajani.

Meanwhile on Bant, we meet [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/9.html Elspeth Tirel]], a planeswalker with no desire to planeswalk. She's happy as a knight of Bant and conceals her abilities from the other Bantians. She's shocked when a wounded Ajani Goldmane appears out of thin air on a nearby hill, but she brings him back to the healers and encourages him to stay on Bant, which she considers a paradise. However, Ajani insists on leaving to seek his revenge and returns to Naya. Before he goes, he warns Elspeth about the coming Conflux.

On Esper, the Seekers of Carmot, under orders from Nicol Bolas delivered via Sarkhan, confront a lighthouse operator and force him to act as a [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/35.html Telemin]]. The mind-controlled lighthouse operator dives into the ocean and activates the [[http://magiccards.info/arc/en/113.html Obelisk of Esper]].

Ajani, after teaching himself to cast [[http://magiccards.info/ddh/en/23.html Lightning Helix]] on an elemental guard, interrogates Tenoch's mother and discovers that she's been in contact with Marisi. He tracks down Marisi, who has been busy at the [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/218.html Relic of Progenitus]] performing a ritual for Bolas. When threatened, Marisi spills his guts about Nicol Bolas's plan to smash the shards together and devour the plane's energy, revealing that Jazal was killed for inadvertently getting in the way of Bolas's plans by trying to forge a peaceful alliance with another nacatl faction. A sudden earthquake allows Marisi to escape just as a party of elves, led by Mayael, arrives at the Relic. Ajani notices a spell vessel that Marisi left behind and cautions the elves to beware. He leaves to look for Bolas.

Mayael attempts to commune with Progenitus, but unbeknownst to her, Marisi's spell has allowed Bolas to hijack her connection to the world hydra. Bolas tricks her into going to war with the other shards.

At this point, the Conflux happens and the five shards start to collide.

At the very center of the convergence, [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/the-maelstrom.html The Maelstrom]] forms. A smug Bolas observes the collision, knowing that the obelisks will funnel mana into the Maelstrom for him to harvest.

We get some brief glimpse of how some of the human refugees from Grixis are holding up. Oh, and the events of the "MagicTheGathering/HonorBound" webcomic correspond roughly to this point in the novel, but that's offscreen.

On Bant, a council of war is held. Rafiq is chosen to lead Bant's forces against the invaders from Esper and Grixis. He and Mubin and their army (including Elspeth) go to meet the forces from Esper. However, accustomed to the honorable CombatByChampion of Bantian warfare, they're unprepared to fight against Esper's magics, and suffer severe casualties. Elspeth, desperate, gives one of her soldiers +3/+3 and flying until end of turn to attack an airborne Esper mage. Mubin is hit by a mind-control spell and attacks Elspeth, and Rafiq is forced to fight his best friend. Both Elspeth and Mubin awake later in a hospital. Mubin's spine was damaged, and he's paralyzed from the waist down.

Bolas congratulates Sarkhan on a job well-done, granting him [[http://magiccards.info/extra/token/shards-of-alara/dragon.html five mind-wiped dragon servants]] for him to control. Sarkhan is conflicted at seeing majestic dragons cowed and defiled by Bolas's magic, and recognizes Karrthus among the five. He accepts the gift nevertheless and flies off to attack Naya. Afterwards, Bolas confers with Malfegor, sending him to attack Bant and finish the job Gwafa Hazid started before being captured.

Ajani returns to Jund and meets Kresh. Kresh and his tribe welcome Ajani as a spirit to guide them; Ajani asks about Bolas. Kresh happily goes with Ajani to find Rakka Mar. They chase her to the Grixis frontier, but she refuses to help them.

Rafiq leads an invasion force to Esper and captures a mage, questioning her about the secrets of etherium. Meanwhile, Elspeth visits Gwafa Hazid in his cell and interrogates him, learning about Bolas's involvement. Mubin makes an important discovery about the Prayer of Asha, the prophecy that advised Bant to go to war, and forces himself out of bed and into a caravan.

Mayael assembles an army of gargantuans as Sarkhan's dragon army invades Naya. They fight. Bant's forces reach Grixis, discover the refugees from a few chapters ago, and rescue them. The refugees warn them about Malfegor's forces approaching the Bant frontier, and Rafiq decides to intercept them. Their forces meet at Giltspire and Malfegor finishes activating the Obelisk of Bant. At the last minute, a messenger arrives, carrying the lost Sword of Asha, which Mubin discovered in the gardens of Valeron. Rafiq wields the sword, and after Elspeth casts her [[http://magiccards.info/10e/en/3.html Angelic Blessing]] spell on him, he's able to slay Malfegor (in two strokes, of course) and Bant stands victorious.

Marisi reveals himself to the Wild Nacatl tribes and unites them to attack the Cloud Nacatl as part of a plan to activate the Nayan obelisk, but Zaliki confronts him, and we learn that she was the one who betrayed Jazal. She realizes she's been duped and attacks Marisi, but it's too late--he's already activated the final obelisk.

Meanwhile, energy is being secretly funneled from all the spells being cast in the wars through the obelisks, feeding the Maelstrom. Ajani arrives at the Maelstrom with Kresh's tribe at the same time as Mayael's army. Zaliki is with them; she tearfully confesses to Ajani that she was the one who killed Jazal. Ajani is shocked, but as he refocuses his rage towards Bolas, Sarkhan appears, and the forces clash. Ajani sees their magic feeding the Maelstrom and uses his ultimate ability to sever all of the mana ties, cutting the vortex off of its energy supply just as Nicol Bolas himself appears.

Bolas swats Ajani aside easily and starts absorbing the Maelstrom's energy, but Ajani dives into it and absorbs some of the energy for himself. Infused with this extra mana, he uses his other ultimate ability to summon an [[http://magiccards.info/extra/token/magic-2011/avatar.html Avatar]] of Nicol Bolas. The two dragons fight. Confronted with the only power that can match his own--himself--Bolas retreats without devouring the rest of the plane.

In the final scenes, Elspeth leaves Bant sadly, no longer the innocent paradise it once was. Rafiq's attempt to heal Mubin's legs with etherium infusions fails, and Mubin dies. Ajani makes his peace with Zaliki and leaves Alara to roam the multiverse.
[[/folder]]


----
!! ''Alara Unbroken'' contains examples of:

* TheAce: Rafiq. The ruggedly handsome, beloved and respected by all, most decorated knight that has ever lived on Alara with a [[AwesomeMcCoolname way cool name.]]
* AdaptationExpansion: This novel expands upon the occurrences of the comics "Flight of the White Cat" and "Honor Bound"
* AntiMagic: Ajani uses this to stop the collective armies of Naya from further fueling the Maelstrom.
* ApocalypseHow: Scope: planar. Severity: societal disruption. The five shards re-collide after millennia, and the inhabitants of each go to war after being spoon-fed propaganda that the other four shards were inhabited by omnicidal sociopaths bent on eating their children.
* BadassBoast: "I've survived more apocalypses than you've had ''chest colds.''"
* BadBoss: Nicol Bolas, who uses his magic to turn one of his minions into a gibbering lunatic in the very first chapter.
* BadLiar: Elspeth thinks as much of herself.
* BigBad: Bolas.
* BrokenAce:
** Elspeth. In her two years on Bant, she has risen ''ridiculously'' fast through the ranks of the sigiled class, outranking men more than twice her age and being [[AFatherToHisMen well-loved and respected by everyone she meets.]] She also suffers from any number of crippling insecurities.
** By the end of the book; [[spoiler: Rafiq. He has become disillusioned by ''real'' war, Bantian Magic was unable to purify the zombified child, and the procedure to give Mubin [[ArtificialLimbs etherium legs]] failed and killed him in the process.]]
* TheChessmaster: Bolas again, who has been orchestrating the destruction of an entire plane from behind the scenes.
* CombatByChampion: How disputes are settled on Bant.
* CosmicPlaything: Discussed by Sarkhan. He wonder what horrible thing goblins did eons ago to justify being made the bottom rung of the food chain on every plane in the multiverse.
* DeathSeeker: [[spoiler: Marisi]]
* [[spoiler: DownerEnding: Bolas recovers his full power, Ajani never gets his revenge, Mubin's etherium surgery fails and he dies on the operating table; leaving Rafiq a husk of his [[TheAce former glory]], and Elspeth is left in despair over the corruption of Bant following the Conflux.]]
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Ajani slays a behemoth, ''by himself'', to try to win over his pride's respect. It fails.
* EvilGloating: Bolas. Duh.
* FantasticRacism: Bolas calls humans (and most everything else) rodents or [[ItIsDehumanizing "It"s]]. He also finds his (literal) TheDragon Malfegor repulsive because he's part demon and the demonic aspects of him make the dragon aspects look shameful.
* TheFatalist: Gwafa Hazid sounds like this, but he mostly uses it as an excuse to act like a huge dick.
* FateWorseThanDeath: An annoyed Bolas casually threatens to kill Malfegor and sell his body and soul to a necromancer to use as a zombie slave.
* FingerPokeOfDoom: Bolas does this to Ajani. ''Without making physical contact.''
* FourLinesAllWaiting
* FurryConfusion: Ajani (a catman) is vexed by Bant's leotau (a species of riding mounts that are lions with horse legs).
* HeKnowsTooMuch: Bolas mind wipes one of his mooks for learning about the Conflux.
* HijackedByGanon: Each of the separate instances of strife on the five shards was secretly instigated by recurring baddy Nicol Bolas.
* HighAltitudeInterrogation: Ajani lifts Tenoch over a cliff by his neck when he questions him about Jazal's death.
* HonorBeforeReason: Zaliki gives Ajani a verbal beating about how his reckless activities of trying to gain the respect of nacatl like Tenoch isn't noble and selfless, but pointless and stupid, and that he's better off living for the approval of people he actually cares about.
* HufflepuffHouse: Esper receives a proportionately miniscule amount of story time compared to the other four shards.
* HybridMonster: Malfegor, half-demon, half-dragon.
* IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten: Rakka Mar promises to lead Ajani to Bolas...if Ajani slaughters Kresh's entire tribe.
* ImmortalitySeeker: The catalyst of the whole novel is Bolas setting the Conflux into motion to avoid his sudden mortality.
* {{Irony}}: Sarkhan Vol traveled to Jund, home of the greatest concentration of dragons of any plane in the multiverse, to find the greatest, mightest dragon of all time, so that he may revere it as the ultimate symbol of life. He finds Nicol Bolas, a dragon planeswalker not from Jund, who is in Sarkhan's own words "An avatar of death".
* ItIsDehumanizing: Consider it a good day if Nicol Bolas refers to you by something other than "it".
* JerkAss: Tenoch, the bully who beats up Ajani and steals the credit for his kill. Though Ajani's empathy powers suggest that Tenoch is more of a JerkassWoobie who suffers from a crippling inferiority complex. Still a huge tool, though.
* JerkJock: Tenoch.
* JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind: Ajani ventures into himself after [[spoiler: absorbing the remnants of the Maelstrom.]]
* KnuckleCracking: Kresh
* LargeHam: By his own admission, Bolas.
-->"I am prone to theatrics."
* LightIsNotGood: [[ManipulativeBastard Gwafa Hazid]] and the [[KnightTemplar Knights of the Skyward Eye]] from Bant and the [[CorruptChurch Seekers of Carmot]] from Esper.
* LivingLieDetector: Orders of monks on Bant specialize in this for the purposes of interrogation.
* MadeOfExplodium: [[spoiler: Rakka]], after practicing Grixis magic, violently explodes upon death.
* TheManBehindTheMan: Bolas, behind the Seekers of Carmot on Esper, Gwafa Hazid and the Order of the Skyward Eye on Bant, Rakka Mar on Jund, Marisi and his followers on Naya, and Malfegor on Grixis.
* ManipulativeBastard: Bolas again, pulling strings all over the five shards to accomplish his ends.
* MindControlEyes: Elspeth noted that [[spoiler: Mubin's]] eyes looked like "haunted sapphires" while under the influence of telemin.
* MoreThanMindControl: Esper's "telemin" magic.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: Gwafa Hazid starts to panic about "being arrested by the most decorated knight on the entire plane. And some Rhox."
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Gwafa Hazid's pangs of regret after he brings down Giltspire Castle.
* MythologyGag: After mind controlling a flight of dragons, Bolas wonders aloud if Serra ever taught her disciples to do similar to angels.
* NeckLift: See HighAltitudeInterrogation.
* NeverMyFault: Gwafa Hazid, par the course for a SmugSnake.
* OneMansTrashIsAnothersTreasure: To the Nacatl, Ajani's albinism is a [[EvilAlbino symbol of bad luck]]. The humans, however, think it's an amazing blessing, and believe that an offering of a white lion's pelt is the only thing capable of satiating the savage behemoths of Naya. Of course they want to kill him for the pelt, so there's that...
* OutsideContextVillain: The armies of Bant are used to honorable CombatByChampion where participants only wear armor for ceremony and it's illegal to draw blood. Black mana doesn't exist on Bant, so there are no spells that can kill, and blue magic is weaker, so mind control is unheard of. When the forces of Bant and Esper clash, the Esper mages rout them with ease.
* RewardedAsATraitorDeserves: Gwafa abandons one of his mooks, Ghedi, in the wilderness bound with a sealing spell for stealing from him.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Ajani.
* ScaledUp: One of Sarkhan's signature abilities.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler: After Mubin is paralyzed from the waist down in combat, Rafiq tries to unlock the secrets of Etherium to give his friend ArtificialLimbs. The procedure backfires terribly and kills Mubin in the process.]]
* SmugSnake: Gwafa Hazid
* TeachHimAnger: Sarkhan helps Ajani to channel his rage and use red mana.
* TechnicallyASmile: When Bolas smiles upon learning of the impending Conflux, some of his human mooks draw back in fear and confusion, unable to discern what emotion he is expressing.
* TheseHandsHaveKilled. Gwafa. See MyGodWhatHaveIDone.
* TraumaCongaLine: See BrokenAce
* TheWatson: An unfortunate minion of Nicol Bolas ends up providing the audience with some exposition before...well, see BadBoss.
* UnhandThemVillain:
-->'''Tenoch:''' Please let me go, I don't know anything else.
-->'''Ajani:''' Oh, I'll let you go, all right.

to:

[[quoteright:170:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Alara_Unbroken_3348.JPG]]

''Alara Unbroken'' is the tie-in novel for ''MagicTheGathering'''s ''Shards of Alara'' block. Some of the events in the book overlap with the webcomics "MagicTheGathering/FlightOfTheWhiteCat" and "MagicTheGathering/HonorBound".

Long ago, the plane of Alara split into five shards, one for each color of mana. Each of the five shards was exceptionally rich in one color of mana, but completely devoid of two others. ''Alara Unbroken'' visits the plane of Alara at the time of the Conflux, when its five shards have started to reconverge, guided by a mysterious, nefarious force. ([[HijackedByGanon Hint: it's Nicol Bolas.]]) The protagonists are a young Ajani Goldmane, who has just discovered his planeswalking abilities and is on the hunt for his brother's killer; Elspeth Tirel, a planeswalker and knight of the shard of Bant, who struggles to come to terms with what she sees as the corruption of a paradise; Rafiq of the Many, a champion of Bant investigating said corruption; and Sarkhan Vol, a dragon-mage planeswalker who discovers in Nicol Bolas a dragon truly worthy of his worship.

[[folder:Plot summary (contains spoilers)]]
The book opens with a scene of [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/120.html Nicol Bolas]] in his lair on [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/grixis.html Grixis]], [[BadBoss getting snappy]] with some of his minions (including the demon-dragon HybridMonster [[http://magiccards.info/cmd/en/208.html Malfegor]]) while brooding over his plan to collide the five shards and harvest the mana from the resulting kaboom to restore his power, which had been drained by the events of ''MagicTheGathering/FutureSight''.

Then we have [[FourLinesAllWaiting a lot of things happening all at once.]]

Cut to [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/154.html Ajani Goldmane]] in [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/naya.html Naya]], just after the events of Part 1 of "MagicTheGathering/FlightOfTheWhiteCat". He's out hunting a massive gargantuan. Some brief exposition reveals that he's been rejected by his peers because of his rare albino fur, but his brother Jazal (the pride's leader, or ''kha'') has always protected him. Anyway, he's fighting the giant monster. He manages to kill it, but unfortunately, he's found by his JerkJock pridemate Tenoch and his gang of hangers-on. Tenoch beats up Ajani and takes the credit for the kill. Ajani gets back to camp and is comforted by his childhood friend Zaliki before the pride's big feast, where a storyteller recounts the legend of Marisi, the nacatl hero. Ajani notices that Zaliki looks worried, but she rebuffs him. That night, the camp is attacked by mysterious hooded nacatls, and Jazal is murdered. Ajani discovers Zaliki with the body and, in his grief, his planeswalker spark ignites and he wakes up on Jund.

Meanwhile on [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/bant.html Bant]], we meet [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/110.html Gwafa Hazid]], smuggling some illicit goods in his caravan. As some knights approach to inspect the wagons, he gives one of his men a dagger and suggests in a whisper to do something ''useful'' with it. Said henchman starts sneaking up on one of the knights, and the cunning Gwafa Hazid shouts a warning; the knight kills the knife guy. But this isn't enough to distract the knight, so Gwafa stabs him himself and moves along. His caravan approaches Giltspire Castle. He sends his mages out to perform a ritual while he meets with some customs agents. His fast talk doesn't convince them, and they try to stop the caravan, so Gwafa has his wagons make a break for it. They make a circle around the castle and the mages finish a ritual that causes the castle to crumble; only [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/212.html a bright white obelisk]] remains. Gwafa is astonished and chagrined--he didn't expect that to happen, and thinks, MyGodWhatHaveIDone

On Jund, we meet [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/71.html Rakka Mar]], another of Bolas's minions. She's out preaching to a warrior tribe (led by [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/178.html Kresh the Bloodbraided]]), riling them up to go hunt a local dragon named Malactoth. After she's done, Kresh follows up with a DareToBeBadass speech, egging them on further. Then they lead an expedition to the dragon's lair, but they're ambushed by some viashino. There's a skirmish. Rakka Mar insists that they continue onward despite losing eight of their men. As they approach Malactoth's volcano, they encounter [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/191.html Sarkhan Vol]] going to meet the dragon as well; he joins their party, expecting the dragon to eat them all anyway. They charge at the dragon (and Sarkhan uses his +1 ability to give them +1/+1 and haste until end of turn), but the battle goes poorly, and Sarkhan is forced to cast [[http://magiccards.info/fvd/en/7.html Form of the Dragon]]. As the ScaledUp Sarkhan battles the hellkite, Rakka reveals that the whole thing was a diversion so that she could raise [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/215.html another obelisk]]. Kresh and Sarkhan finish off the hellkite as the cave collapses, and Sarkhan leaves to investigate the purpose of the obelisk. Instead, he finds Ajani, who's just dropped out of the sky and onto the plane of Jund.

On Bant again, we meet [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/185.html Rafiq of the Many]], who's preparing for a combat. His friend and second, a rhox knight named Mugin, tells him that he'll be inspected by a group of aristocrats from the Order of the Skyward Eye. As Rafiq enters the arena, he notices that his opponents' swords are unusually sharp. Rafiq and Mubin easily win the first match, but in the second round, Rafiq is astonished when his opponents start performing illegal maneuvers: they aim for his head, slash at his armor, and attack him from behind, drawing blood. As Rafiq realizes that they're fighting to kill, they take off their armor, knowing that the honorable Rafiq of the Many would never fight and injure an undefended enemy. Rafiq, ashamed, fights them anyway and wins. After the fight, the inspector congratulates him on showing the ability to fight under the atypical conditions, and sends him on a mission to discover how Giltspire Castle was destroyed. Rafiq investigates the ruins and encounters Gwafa Hazid's trail. Gwafa is still shaken by what he's done when Rafiq catches up to him and places him under arrest.

Back on Jund, Sarkhan chases away [[http://magiccards.info/arb/en/117.html a dragon]] that's about to attack Ajani, and introductions ensue. Sarkhan explains that Ajani is a planeswalker, and brings him to a caldera to show him the power of red mana. Ajani jumps into the volcano, embracing his anger. When he wakes up, he's in Naya again, and he vows to kill everyone responsible for his brother's death. He starts to have hallucinations of his brother talking to him as he returns to his camp in the wake of Jazal's funeral. After speaking with Zaliki, who tries to calm him down, he storms into the forest to look for Tenoch, his first suspect. When he finds Tenoch, he partakes in some HighAltitudeInterrogation, but it backfires, and in the struggle he falls off the cliff himself.

Elsewhere on Naya, we find Nicol Bolas conversing with Marisi, who, it turns out, is very much alive, and working for Bolas. Marisi has been charged with stirring up conflict. He informs Nicol Bolas that the elves rely on the guidance of the mythical world-hydra [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/121.html Progenitus]]; they believe their shaman, [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/179.html Mayael]], can converse with it directly.

Back on Jund, Sarkhan finds and confronts Rakka Mar. She leads him to Nicol Bolas. Sarkhan is in awe and cows in the presence of the most magnificent dragon he's ever seen. He swears fealty to Bolas and tells him about Ajani.

Meanwhile on Bant, we meet [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/9.html Elspeth Tirel]], a planeswalker with no desire to planeswalk. She's happy as a knight of Bant and conceals her abilities from the other Bantians. She's shocked when a wounded Ajani Goldmane appears out of thin air on a nearby hill, but she brings him back to the healers and encourages him to stay on Bant, which she considers a paradise. However, Ajani insists on leaving to seek his revenge and returns to Naya. Before he goes, he warns Elspeth about the coming Conflux.

On Esper, the Seekers of Carmot, under orders from Nicol Bolas delivered via Sarkhan, confront a lighthouse operator and force him to act as a [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/35.html Telemin]]. The mind-controlled lighthouse operator dives into the ocean and activates the [[http://magiccards.info/arc/en/113.html Obelisk of Esper]].

Ajani, after teaching himself to cast [[http://magiccards.info/ddh/en/23.html Lightning Helix]] on an elemental guard, interrogates Tenoch's mother and discovers that she's been in contact with Marisi. He tracks down Marisi, who has been busy at the [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/218.html Relic of Progenitus]] performing a ritual for Bolas. When threatened, Marisi spills his guts about Nicol Bolas's plan to smash the shards together and devour the plane's energy, revealing that Jazal was killed for inadvertently getting in the way of Bolas's plans by trying to forge a peaceful alliance with another nacatl faction. A sudden earthquake allows Marisi to escape just as a party of elves, led by Mayael, arrives at the Relic. Ajani notices a spell vessel that Marisi left behind and cautions the elves to beware. He leaves to look for Bolas.

Mayael attempts to commune with Progenitus, but unbeknownst to her, Marisi's spell has allowed Bolas to hijack her connection to the world hydra. Bolas tricks her into going to war with the other shards.

At this point, the Conflux happens and the five shards start to collide.

At the very center of the convergence, [[http://magiccards.info/extra/plane/planechase/the-maelstrom.html The Maelstrom]] forms. A smug Bolas observes the collision, knowing that the obelisks will funnel mana into the Maelstrom for him to harvest.

We get some brief glimpse of how some of the human refugees from Grixis are holding up. Oh, and the events of the "MagicTheGathering/HonorBound" webcomic correspond roughly to this point in the novel, but that's offscreen.

On Bant, a council of war is held. Rafiq is chosen to lead Bant's forces against the invaders from Esper and Grixis. He and Mubin and their army (including Elspeth) go to meet the forces from Esper. However, accustomed to the honorable CombatByChampion of Bantian warfare, they're unprepared to fight against Esper's magics, and suffer severe casualties. Elspeth, desperate, gives one of her soldiers +3/+3 and flying until end of turn to attack an airborne Esper mage. Mubin is hit by a mind-control spell and attacks Elspeth, and Rafiq is forced to fight his best friend. Both Elspeth and Mubin awake later in a hospital. Mubin's spine was damaged, and he's paralyzed from the waist down.

Bolas congratulates Sarkhan on a job well-done, granting him [[http://magiccards.info/extra/token/shards-of-alara/dragon.html five mind-wiped dragon servants]] for him to control. Sarkhan is conflicted at seeing majestic dragons cowed and defiled by Bolas's magic, and recognizes Karrthus among the five. He accepts the gift nevertheless and flies off to attack Naya. Afterwards, Bolas confers with Malfegor, sending him to attack Bant and finish the job Gwafa Hazid started before being captured.

Ajani returns to Jund and meets Kresh. Kresh and his tribe welcome Ajani as a spirit to guide them; Ajani asks about Bolas. Kresh happily goes with Ajani to find Rakka Mar. They chase her to the Grixis frontier, but she refuses to help them.

Rafiq leads an invasion force to Esper and captures a mage, questioning her about the secrets of etherium. Meanwhile, Elspeth visits Gwafa Hazid in his cell and interrogates him, learning about Bolas's involvement. Mubin makes an important discovery about the Prayer of Asha, the prophecy that advised Bant to go to war, and forces himself out of bed and into a caravan.

Mayael assembles an army of gargantuans as Sarkhan's dragon army invades Naya. They fight. Bant's forces reach Grixis, discover the refugees from a few chapters ago, and rescue them. The refugees warn them about Malfegor's forces approaching the Bant frontier, and Rafiq decides to intercept them. Their forces meet at Giltspire and Malfegor finishes activating the Obelisk of Bant. At the last minute, a messenger arrives, carrying the lost Sword of Asha, which Mubin discovered in the gardens of Valeron. Rafiq wields the sword, and after Elspeth casts her [[http://magiccards.info/10e/en/3.html Angelic Blessing]] spell on him, he's able to slay Malfegor (in two strokes, of course) and Bant stands victorious.

Marisi reveals himself to the Wild Nacatl tribes and unites them to attack the Cloud Nacatl as part of a plan to activate the Nayan obelisk, but Zaliki confronts him, and we learn that she was the one who betrayed Jazal. She realizes she's been duped and attacks Marisi, but it's too late--he's already activated the final obelisk.

Meanwhile, energy is being secretly funneled from all the spells being cast in the wars through the obelisks, feeding the Maelstrom. Ajani arrives at the Maelstrom with Kresh's tribe at the same time as Mayael's army. Zaliki is with them; she tearfully confesses to Ajani that she was the one who killed Jazal. Ajani is shocked, but as he refocuses his rage towards Bolas, Sarkhan appears, and the forces clash. Ajani sees their magic feeding the Maelstrom and uses his ultimate ability to sever all of the mana ties, cutting the vortex off of its energy supply just as Nicol Bolas himself appears.

Bolas swats Ajani aside easily and starts absorbing the Maelstrom's energy, but Ajani dives into it and absorbs some of the energy for himself. Infused with this extra mana, he uses his other ultimate ability to summon an [[http://magiccards.info/extra/token/magic-2011/avatar.html Avatar]] of Nicol Bolas. The two dragons fight. Confronted with the only power that can match his own--himself--Bolas retreats without devouring the rest of the plane.

In the final scenes, Elspeth leaves Bant sadly, no longer the innocent paradise it once was. Rafiq's attempt to heal Mubin's legs with etherium infusions fails, and Mubin dies. Ajani makes his peace with Zaliki and leaves Alara to roam the multiverse.
[[/folder]]


----
!! ''Alara Unbroken'' contains examples of:

* TheAce: Rafiq. The ruggedly handsome, beloved and respected by all, most decorated knight that has ever lived on Alara with a [[AwesomeMcCoolname way cool name.]]
* AdaptationExpansion: This novel expands upon the occurrences of the comics "Flight of the White Cat" and "Honor Bound"
* AntiMagic: Ajani uses this to stop the collective armies of Naya from further fueling the Maelstrom.
* ApocalypseHow: Scope: planar. Severity: societal disruption. The five shards re-collide after millennia, and the inhabitants of each go to war after being spoon-fed propaganda that the other four shards were inhabited by omnicidal sociopaths bent on eating their children.
* BadassBoast: "I've survived more apocalypses than you've had ''chest colds.''"
* BadBoss: Nicol Bolas, who uses his magic to turn one of his minions into a gibbering lunatic in the very first chapter.
* BadLiar: Elspeth thinks as much of herself.
* BigBad: Bolas.
* BrokenAce:
** Elspeth. In her two years on Bant, she has risen ''ridiculously'' fast through the ranks of the sigiled class, outranking men more than twice her age and being [[AFatherToHisMen well-loved and respected by everyone she meets.]] She also suffers from any number of crippling insecurities.
** By the end of the book; [[spoiler: Rafiq. He has become disillusioned by ''real'' war, Bantian Magic was unable to purify the zombified child, and the procedure to give Mubin [[ArtificialLimbs etherium legs]] failed and killed him in the process.]]
* TheChessmaster: Bolas again, who has been orchestrating the destruction of an entire plane from behind the scenes.
* CombatByChampion: How disputes are settled on Bant.
* CosmicPlaything: Discussed by Sarkhan. He wonder what horrible thing goblins did eons ago to justify being made the bottom rung of the food chain on every plane in the multiverse.
* DeathSeeker: [[spoiler: Marisi]]
* [[spoiler: DownerEnding: Bolas recovers his full power, Ajani never gets his revenge, Mubin's etherium surgery fails and he dies on the operating table; leaving Rafiq a husk of his [[TheAce former glory]], and Elspeth is left in despair over the corruption of Bant following the Conflux.]]
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Ajani slays a behemoth, ''by himself'', to try to win over his pride's respect. It fails.
* EvilGloating: Bolas. Duh.
* FantasticRacism: Bolas calls humans (and most everything else) rodents or [[ItIsDehumanizing "It"s]]. He also finds his (literal) TheDragon Malfegor repulsive because he's part demon and the demonic aspects of him make the dragon aspects look shameful.
* TheFatalist: Gwafa Hazid sounds like this, but he mostly uses it as an excuse to act like a huge dick.
* FateWorseThanDeath: An annoyed Bolas casually threatens to kill Malfegor and sell his body and soul to a necromancer to use as a zombie slave.
* FingerPokeOfDoom: Bolas does this to Ajani. ''Without making physical contact.''
* FourLinesAllWaiting
* FurryConfusion: Ajani (a catman) is vexed by Bant's leotau (a species of riding mounts that are lions with horse legs).
* HeKnowsTooMuch: Bolas mind wipes one of his mooks for learning about the Conflux.
* HijackedByGanon: Each of the separate instances of strife on the five shards was secretly instigated by recurring baddy Nicol Bolas.
* HighAltitudeInterrogation: Ajani lifts Tenoch over a cliff by his neck when he questions him about Jazal's death.
* HonorBeforeReason: Zaliki gives Ajani a verbal beating about how his reckless activities of trying to gain the respect of nacatl like Tenoch isn't noble and selfless, but pointless and stupid, and that he's better off living for the approval of people he actually cares about.
* HufflepuffHouse: Esper receives a proportionately miniscule amount of story time compared to the other four shards.
* HybridMonster: Malfegor, half-demon, half-dragon.
* IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten: Rakka Mar promises to lead Ajani to Bolas...if Ajani slaughters Kresh's entire tribe.
* ImmortalitySeeker: The catalyst of the whole novel is Bolas setting the Conflux into motion to avoid his sudden mortality.
* {{Irony}}: Sarkhan Vol traveled to Jund, home of the greatest concentration of dragons of any plane in the multiverse, to find the greatest, mightest dragon of all time, so that he may revere it as the ultimate symbol of life. He finds Nicol Bolas, a dragon planeswalker not from Jund, who is in Sarkhan's own words "An avatar of death".
* ItIsDehumanizing: Consider it a good day if Nicol Bolas refers to you by something other than "it".
* JerkAss: Tenoch, the bully who beats up Ajani and steals the credit for his kill. Though Ajani's empathy powers suggest that Tenoch is more of a JerkassWoobie who suffers from a crippling inferiority complex. Still a huge tool, though.
* JerkJock: Tenoch.
* JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind: Ajani ventures into himself after [[spoiler: absorbing the remnants of the Maelstrom.]]
* KnuckleCracking: Kresh
* LargeHam: By his own admission, Bolas.
-->"I am prone to theatrics."
* LightIsNotGood: [[ManipulativeBastard Gwafa Hazid]] and the [[KnightTemplar Knights of the Skyward Eye]] from Bant and the [[CorruptChurch Seekers of Carmot]] from Esper.
* LivingLieDetector: Orders of monks on Bant specialize in this for the purposes of interrogation.
* MadeOfExplodium: [[spoiler: Rakka]], after practicing Grixis magic, violently explodes upon death.
* TheManBehindTheMan: Bolas, behind the Seekers of Carmot on Esper, Gwafa Hazid and the Order of the Skyward Eye on Bant, Rakka Mar on Jund, Marisi and his followers on Naya, and Malfegor on Grixis.
* ManipulativeBastard: Bolas again, pulling strings all over the five shards to accomplish his ends.
* MindControlEyes: Elspeth noted that [[spoiler: Mubin's]] eyes looked like "haunted sapphires" while under the influence of telemin.
* MoreThanMindControl: Esper's "telemin" magic.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: Gwafa Hazid starts to panic about "being arrested by the most decorated knight on the entire plane. And some Rhox."
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Gwafa Hazid's pangs of regret after he brings down Giltspire Castle.
* MythologyGag: After mind controlling a flight of dragons, Bolas wonders aloud if Serra ever taught her disciples to do similar to angels.
* NeckLift: See HighAltitudeInterrogation.
* NeverMyFault: Gwafa Hazid, par the course for a SmugSnake.
* OneMansTrashIsAnothersTreasure: To the Nacatl, Ajani's albinism is a [[EvilAlbino symbol of bad luck]]. The humans, however, think it's an amazing blessing, and believe that an offering of a white lion's pelt is the only thing capable of satiating the savage behemoths of Naya. Of course they want to kill him for the pelt, so there's that...
* OutsideContextVillain: The armies of Bant are used to honorable CombatByChampion where participants only wear armor for ceremony and it's illegal to draw blood. Black mana doesn't exist on Bant, so there are no spells that can kill, and blue magic is weaker, so mind control is unheard of. When the forces of Bant and Esper clash, the Esper mages rout them with ease.
* RewardedAsATraitorDeserves: Gwafa abandons one of his mooks, Ghedi, in the wilderness bound with a sealing spell for stealing from him.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Ajani.
* ScaledUp: One of Sarkhan's signature abilities.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler: After Mubin is paralyzed from the waist down in combat, Rafiq tries to unlock the secrets of Etherium to give his friend ArtificialLimbs. The procedure backfires terribly and kills Mubin in the process.]]
* SmugSnake: Gwafa Hazid
* TeachHimAnger: Sarkhan helps Ajani to channel his rage and use red mana.
* TechnicallyASmile: When Bolas smiles upon learning of the impending Conflux, some of his human mooks draw back in fear and confusion, unable to discern what emotion he is expressing.
* TheseHandsHaveKilled. Gwafa. See MyGodWhatHaveIDone.
* TraumaCongaLine: See BrokenAce
* TheWatson: An unfortunate minion of Nicol Bolas ends up providing the audience with some exposition before...well, see BadBoss.
* UnhandThemVillain:
-->'''Tenoch:''' Please let me go, I don't know anything else.
-->'''Ajani:''' Oh, I'll let you go, all right.
[[redirect:Literature/AlaraUnbroken]]
6th Jun '13 11:53:37 AM AtmosBlitzer
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Ajani, after teaching himself to cast [[http://magiccards.info/pch/en/90.html Lightning Helix]] on an elemental guard, interrogates Tenoch's mother and discovers that she's been in contact with Marisi. He tracks down Marisi, who has been busy at the [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/218.html Relic of Progenitus]] performing a ritual for Bolas. When threatened, Marisi spills his guts about Nicol Bolas's plan to smash the shards together and devour the plane's energy, revealing that Jazal was killed for inadvertently getting in the way of Bolas's plans by trying to forge a peaceful alliance with another nacatl faction. A sudden earthquake allows Marisi to escape just as a party of elves, led by Mayael, arrives at the Relic. Ajani notices a spell vessel that Marisi left behind and cautions the elves to beware. He leaves to look for Bolas.

to:

Ajani, after teaching himself to cast [[http://magiccards.info/pch/en/90.info/ddh/en/23.html Lightning Helix]] on an elemental guard, interrogates Tenoch's mother and discovers that she's been in contact with Marisi. He tracks down Marisi, who has been busy at the [[http://magiccards.info/ala/en/218.html Relic of Progenitus]] performing a ritual for Bolas. When threatened, Marisi spills his guts about Nicol Bolas's plan to smash the shards together and devour the plane's energy, revealing that Jazal was killed for inadvertently getting in the way of Bolas's plans by trying to forge a peaceful alliance with another nacatl faction. A sudden earthquake allows Marisi to escape just as a party of elves, led by Mayael, arrives at the Relic. Ajani notices a spell vessel that Marisi left behind and cautions the elves to beware. He leaves to look for Bolas.



-->'''Ajani:''' Oh, I'll let you go, all right.

to:

-->'''Ajani:''' Oh, I'll let you go, all right.
10th Jun '12 2:50:25 PM troacctid
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* ApocalypseHow: Scope: planetary. Severity: societal disruption. The five shards re-collide after millennia, and the inhabitants of each go to war after being spoon-fed propaganda that the other four shards were inhabited by omnicidal sociopaths bent on eating their children.

to:

* ApocalypseHow: Scope: planetary.planar. Severity: societal disruption. The five shards re-collide after millennia, and the inhabitants of each go to war after being spoon-fed propaganda that the other four shards were inhabited by omnicidal sociopaths bent on eating their children.
10th Jun '12 6:49:37 AM lu127
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* ApocalypseHow: Scope: planar. Severity: societal disruption. The five shards re-collide after millennia, and the inhabitants of each go to war after being spoon-fed propaganda that the other four shards were inhabited by omnicidal sociopaths bent on eating their children.

to:

* ApocalypseHow: Scope: planar.planetary. Severity: societal disruption. The five shards re-collide after millennia, and the inhabitants of each go to war after being spoon-fed propaganda that the other four shards were inhabited by omnicidal sociopaths bent on eating their children.
2nd Apr '12 9:35:18 AM LouieW
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* CrackingUp: Kresh


Added DiffLines:

* KnuckleCracking: Kresh
17th Dec '11 10:30:22 AM HairlessThoctar
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* FantasticRacism: Bolas calls humans (and most everything else) rodents or "It"s. He also finds his (literal) TheDragon Malfegor repulsive because he's part demon and the demonic aspects of him make the dragon aspects look shameful.

to:

* FantasticRacism: Bolas calls humans (and most everything else) rodents or "It"s.[[ItIsDehumanizing "It"s]]. He also finds his (literal) TheDragon Malfegor repulsive because he's part demon and the demonic aspects of him make the dragon aspects look shameful.


Added DiffLines:

* ItIsDehumanizing: Consider it a good day if Nicol Bolas refers to you by something other than "it".
17th Dec '11 10:23:43 AM HairlessThoctar
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* OneMansTrashIsAnothersTreasure: To the Nacatl, Ajani's albinism is a [[EvilAlbino symbol of bad luck]]. The humans, however, think it's an amazing blessing, and believe that an offering of a white lion's pelt is the only thing of satiating the savage behemoths of Naya. Of course they want to kill him for the pelt, so there's that...

to:

* OneMansTrashIsAnothersTreasure: To the Nacatl, Ajani's albinism is a [[EvilAlbino symbol of bad luck]]. The humans, however, think it's an amazing blessing, and believe that an offering of a white lion's pelt is the only thing capable of satiating the savage behemoths of Naya. Of course they want to kill him for the pelt, so there's that...
12th Dec '11 7:17:46 AM DrMcNinja
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* ImmortalitySeeker: The catalyst of the whole novel is Bolas setting the Conflux into motion to avoid his sudden mortality.



* SoYouWantToLiveForever: The catalyst of the whole novel is Bolas setting the Conflux into motion to avoid his sudden mortality.
17th Nov '11 3:14:29 PM troacctid
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* CosmicPlaything: Discussed by Sarkhan. He wonder what horrible thing goblins did eons ago to justify being made the bottom rung of the food chain on literally '''every''' plane in the multiverse.

to:

* CosmicPlaything: Discussed by Sarkhan. He wonder what horrible thing goblins did eons ago to justify being made the bottom rung of the food chain on literally '''every''' every plane in the multiverse.
17th Nov '11 12:56:38 PM HairlessThoctar
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Added DiffLines:

* CosmicPlaything: Discussed by Sarkhan. He wonder what horrible thing goblins did eons ago to justify being made the bottom rung of the food chain on literally '''every''' plane in the multiverse.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=MagicTheGathering.AlaraUnbroken