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Literature / Masquerade Cycle

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After the Artifacts Cycle, the story of the Weatherlight Saga returns to present day. Uniquely among Magic's cycles, the Masquerade Cycle doesn’t follow one continuous story. Instead, it consists of three simultaneous story arcs.

Mercadian Masques by Francis Lebaron follows Gerrard and the rest of the Weatherlight crew. After their escape from Rath they end up on Mercadia. No sooner have they mourned their dead than the Weatheright is captured by the Cho-Arrim, who believe its arrival to be part of an ancient prophecy. To get it back, Gerrard allies himself with Mercadia City.

Nemesis by Paul B. Thompson follows Crovax and Ertai, who have been left behind on Rath. Volrath’s sudden disappearance has left a power vacuum. Belbe, a Phyrexian agent, is sent to Rath to appoint a new evincar, but the candidate will have to earn his throne in blood.

Prophecy by Vance Moore is set on Dominaria and follows Barrin and Rayne as they are sent to Jamuraa to help Teferi defend the continent from an invasion by the Keldons. In all fairness, it has almost nothing to do with the main storyline and is widely considered to be one of the worst Magic novels.

The Weatherlight Saga in concluded in the Invasion Cycle.

Tropes in the Masquerade Cycle:

  • Adaptational Badass: Crovax is, at least physically, an unstoppable force in Nemesis. His representation in the card game, Ascendant Evincar, is thoroughly mediocre and actually boosts the strength of most of the characters he's said to defeat!
  • Adipose Rex: The Mercadian magistrate.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Latulla, Keldon Overseer, the villainess of Prophecy, is a Keldon doyenne with ambitions of conquering the continent of Jamuraa.
  • Ax-Crazy: Crovax completely loses all sense of morality and restraint in Nemesis.
  • Big Bad: Volrath in Mercadian Masques, Crovax in Nemesis, and Latulla in Prophecy.
  • The Cameo: Jolrael (from Mirage and Visions) briefly appears in Prophecy.
  • Character Development: Volrath, who was basically nothing but a stock Evil Overlord archetype in Rath and Storm sees considerable development in this cycle, first in Mercadian Masques which explores his motives and then in Nemesis where he is portrayed as A Lighter Shade of Black to Crovax.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The Mercadian court in Mercadian Masques.
  • Despair Event Horizon: By the end of Nemesis Ertai is completely broken and resigned to being Crovax's underling.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: The vacuum resulting in Rath from Volrath’s sudden disappearance is what drives the plot of Nemesis.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Volrath is subjected to the most humiliating execution Crovax can imagine, yet he faces it "with glacial dignity, his head held high".
  • Fallen Hero: Crovax completes his descent into villainy, and by the novel's end so does Ertai.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Gerrard beats Volrath in Mercadian Masques, as does Crovax in Nemesis with Ertai's help. Neither character is capable of doing this in the card game.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: Latulla in Prophecy. After the other Keldon warlords withdraw their support from her, she marches back to Keld and demands a Trial by Combat. She gets it and is decisively beaten, and because of this loss is permanently exiled from Keld.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The Mercadians ride on jhovalls, six-legged tigers. Rathi soldiers ride kerls.
  • I Die Free: Haddad at the end of Prophecy.
  • Idiot Ball: Ertai in Nemesis intervenes in the fight between Volrath and Crovax to help Crovax despite utterly hating the latter because he reasons that Croxax's Life Drinker power makes him invincible... except that Volrath was literally about to kill Crovax.
  • Made a Slave: Haddad, the protagonist of Prophecy, is a Kipamu soldier forced into slavery by the invading Keldons.
  • Master of Disguise: Volrath spends most of two books pretending to be different characters.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Keldons in Prophecy.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Everything is upside down in Mercadia, with humans ruled by goblins. So naturally, the city is built on an inverted mountain.
  • Series Continuity Error
    • In Mercadian Masques, Gerrard mentions how an ancient Dominarian myth tells about the Thran becoming the Phyrexians. However, this is not common knowledge on Dominaria: a major plot point in Planeswalker is Urza wandering the planes for millennia because he doesn't know where the Phyrexians originated. (though it's possible that Urza's research, taking place thousands of years before Masques, could become "ancient myth" by the time Gerrard arrives)
    • Also in Mercadian Masques, crewman Dabis is briefly referred to as an Icatian. However, at this point in the timeline, Icatia and indeed the whole of Sarpadia has been overrun by thrulls.
    • Rath and Storm implies that Rayne is dead. However, she's quite alive in Prophecy.
  • Slave Collar: Haddad gets one that will kill him when he tries to take it off.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: A very dark and non-romantic case between Ertai and Crovax in Nemesis. Witnessing the latter commit atrocity after atrocity and being completely powerless to stop him, the former decides to throw in him, helping him in his duel with Volrath in a desperate attempt to curry enough favor to ensure his and Belbe's survival.
  • Off with Her Head!: Barrin beheads Latulla after she mistakes him for a slave.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: As an inversion of the standard portrayal of goblins in Magic, Mercadia is ruled by intelligent goblins.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Haddad in Prophecy.
  • Plot Hole: Anything surrounding Ramos. He's a dragon engine supposedly reprogrammed by Urza during the Brothers' War to take refugees away from Argoth. Except at that point in time, Urza wouldn't have known how to alter a dragon engine (which itself would not have known how to planeshift) and wouldn't have had the time or motivation to do it.
  • Villain Episode: Nemesis is this to the rest of the Weatherlight Saga.
  • Your Magic's No Good Here: On Dominaria, Ertai is a formidable wizard. On Rath, he struggles to magically open a faucet because of the plane's weaker mana content.