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Literature: Odyssey Cycle
aka: Chainers Torment

This cycle of Magic: The Gathering novels corresponds to the Odyssey block in the card game. The Odyssey Cycle (comprised of three novels: Odyssey, Chainer's Torment, and Judgment) takes place in Otaria, a subcontinent of postapocalyptic Dominaria. The plot revolves around a powerful Artifact of Doom called Mirari, a magical orb that can transform the wielder's deepest desires into reality.

Not to be confused with The Odyssey.

The Odyssey Cycle provides examples of the following tropes:

  • After the End: Dominaria has just been ravaged by the Phyrexian invasion, and Otaria is still recovering.
  • Animal Motifs: Chainer has a snake motif. He likes snakes.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Mirari grants immense power, but With Great Power Comes Great Insanity — its power is difficult to control, and those who attempt to use it are quickly consumed and destroyed by it.
  • Artificial Limbs
    • The Cabal replaces severed limbs with new ones, albeit usually involving some level of Body Horror. Chainer, for example, receives a very expensive metal replacement after losing a hand in a fight against Jeska and Balthor.
    • Played for Drama when Chainer, trying to heal his wounded friend, uses the Mirari to give Kamahl scaly, snakelike replacement limbs; Kamahl is horrified when he wakes up, and it ends up driving a wedge between the two.
  • The Caligula: Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor: ruler of the ocean, paranoid lunatic.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Laquatus has a bad case of it, changing sides more often than most people change their underwear.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Chainer.
  • Evil Chancellor: Laquatus, to Aboshan.
  • Familiar: Turg, a giant frog-beast magically bound to do Laquatus's bidding. Later replaced with Burke, one of Chainer's more powerful creations.
  • Feathered Fiend: Kirtar
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight
    • Happens between Kamahl and Chainer at the end of Chainer's Torment.
    • Kamahl and Zombie Balthor in Judgment.
    • Jeska vs. Mirari-obsessed Kamahl in Judgment.
  • Just You and Me and My GUARDS: Laquatus pulls this on Kamahl in the third book.
  • Knight Templar: The Order, with Kirtar in particular being quite self-righteously demented.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: Balthor dying and being reanimated as a zombie is a plot twist in the third book. However, now that the expansion is out, the existence of this card singlehandedly spoils that twist.
  • Light Is Not Good: Kirtar
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played as straight as straight can be. Balthor even has the Scottish accent!
  • Monster Is a Mommy: In the first book, a young forest dragon is killed in a pit fight... and its very angry, much larger mommy shows up for revenge.
  • My God, What Have I Done? / Big "NO!": After Kamahl mortally wounds his sister.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Skellum, who, when things get serious, will lift up his hat to reveal his face...which he doesn't have.
  • Power Born of Madness: The general idea behind the Cabal's dementia magic. Some willingly give in to the madness to attain greater power; only the true masters can maintain their sanity.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Cabal's all about profit, and some types of evil are simply bad for business.
  • Psychic Link: Between Laquatus and his familiar. Empress Llawan manages to exploit this, spying on Laquatus by eavesdropping on his mental conversations.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Balthor, killed by Laquatus, then reanimated by Braids to seek revenge.
  • Sanity Slippage: Chainer's Torment. It's more or less right there in the title.
  • Snake People: Chainer creates some as henchmen.
  • The Starscream
    • Laquatus, to Aboshan.
    • At the height of his madness, Chainer attempts to overthrow the First and become the new ruler of the Cabal.
  • Taken for Granite: Occurs en masse when Kirtar loses control of the Mirari.
  • Taking You with Me: Balthor attempts this on Laquatus. He manages to kill Burke, but Laquatus gets away.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lamar, a barbarian sentry who sees Jeska knocking Balthor unconscious, and, believing she's killed him, rushes to tell Kamahl, who attacks Jeska in a fit of rage, mortally wounding her, inadvertently setting up the events of the Onslaught Cycle.
  • Uriah Gambit: Used by the Cabal Patriarch to get rid of Skellum.
  • Villain Protagonist: Ambassador Laquatus, both a POV character and a villain.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: Subverted. After Kirtar loses control of the Mirari, he and many other members of the Order end up getting transformed into crystal. Later, Laquatus is visiting the Citadel; his tour guide, Treal, shows him a room filled with statues of the Order's leaders. When he sees the statue of Captain Pianna depicting her cowering in fear rather than in a heroic pose like the other statues, he's briefly horrified until Treal explains that it's only a replica.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Laquatus schemes long-term, but he frequently alters his plans on the fly when new opportunities or setbacks arise.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This is the fate of quite a few unlucky underlings throughout the trilogy, as well as Skellum.

The Brothers' WarRecap/Magic: The GatheringKamigawa Cycle

alternative title(s): Odyssey Cycle; Chainers Torment
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