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Literature: Odyssey Cycle
aka: Chainers Torment

This cycle of Magic: The Gathering novels, the first new story after the massive Weatherlight Saga, 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. In many ways, it's a return to the basics, with only small links to previous storylines, so players new to the storyline could jump right in. The story of Otaria is concluded in the Onslaught Cycle.

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.


Invasion CycleRecap/Magic: The GatheringKamigawa Cycle
Invasion CycleFantasy LiteratureKamigawa Cycle

alternative title(s): Odyssey Cycle; Chainers Torment
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