Evolution of the Lahessi: Chapter X & XI and set file!

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continued...
Sun, 2017-07-23 23:17
fluffyDeathbringer
Moderator
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The merfolk doesn't have P/T.

Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.

Mon, 2017-07-24 02:47
Korakhos
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@fluffy: yeah, thanks, I realized I'd uploaded the wrong image a bit too late.

Windy wrote:
Hampering Geyser looks a lot like a better version of a card called Rishadin Port.

It was originally inspired as a way to make a "balanced" Rishadan Port.

Cajun wrote:
Geyser etbs tapped and doesn't stop you from using the land like Port can effectively do during upkeep

I was guided by this logic and didn't really see it as that much of a troublesome card. I've edited it to target only nonbasic lands. Is that enough or should I up the activation cost as well?

Tue, 2017-07-25 03:02
WindyDelcarlo
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
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Nonbasic lands makes it a lot better, the same way that the difference between strip mine and wasteland is huge.

Sun, 2017-07-30 03:59
Korakhos
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CHAPTER IX: A THREAT RISES

Sal’Thamek couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt joy, but here he was, enjoying every second of this massacre.

The land around him had been sterilized, all plants and vegetation had been decimated, and craters could be seen all around.

“This shall teach this world not to stand on my way” he said violently as he continued his destructive spree.

At first, he could feel himself grow stronger from each creature he disintegrated and each patch of land he ravaged, but the past few days it seemed as if the pulse that invigorated the creatures he consumed was weakening, and if his victims were weak, he couldn’t drain that much energy from them. That had certainly not been a pleasant surprised.

Another thing he’d noticed in the past few days was the sudden surge of new creatures. They seemed to share his passion for tearing the world apart, as they avoided the barren patches he’d left and went straight to ingest flora and fauna of their own. Even though they were taking his prize away from him, he’d chosen not to confront them, since killing one had demanded an unexpected amount of energy and had yearned no vitality in return, and they were leaving him alone, only caring about every other living being.

“Even this world despises itself enough to be destroying its own creations” he said sadistically.

He’d experimented with these creatures, and they’d yielded some excellent results. He’d used his magic to enhance them but also bond himself to them, meaning that whatever they ingested, some of the energy would be transferred to him. They didn’t seem to mind, besides, they seemed to have been conceived as destructive machines (he wished he could summon minions of such potential), so he was sure that, had they been sentient, they’d be more than willing to thank him. And serve him…

It didn’t matter how much havoc he could wreak, it didn’t matter how much energy he could steal from the plane, nobody seemed to be willing to serve him, and where was the pleasure in that?

He left the mindless drones tear the rest of this place apart, he’d move to another location and see if he could conquer that on his own.

He saw some mountains on the distance, mountains that seemed to be swarmed with lightning all day every day. Thunder was a source of energy, and the dense vegetation he could see meant that whatever lived there was charged with power. Lateria had already been bled dry, it was time for him to search for a better prized, time to head to the Stormy Peaks.

* * * * *

It took him a day and a half to reach that place. Fortunately for him, Lahessi hadn’t yet spread in Lateria in alarming numbers since the fact that growth appeared to be slower there affected even those creatures, so he was able to kill an animal here and there to restore his energy.

But his wish was granted even before he reached the foot of the mountain. As he approached, so did some colorful lights that danced annoyingly in the air. He paid them no heed until they actually manifested into a more tangible form, they were elementals, and they were sentient.

Now that’s a welcome committee thought the vampire maliciously as he stealthily began preparing a spell.

A red light burst into flames and materialized as a flaming humanoid that, to his surprise, was not burning a single leaf or blade of grass it stepped on.

“Gondros spoke to us of an intruder who is harming Medranos” said the elemental with a roaring voice “Leave this place, outsider, you are not welcome here. If you do not obey, we’ll be forced to destroy you.”

“Just the words I was expecting to hear” said the planeswalker with a deranged grin as he shot a ray of pale light at the surprised creature.

The creature’s body turned a bright hue of white, which each time became more opaque until its body completely disappeared. Sal’Thamek could feel a huge rush of power filling his body. Yes! This was the kind of power and energy he was after. These creatures had a lifeforce that could not only fuel his spells, but would also gain him some vitality in the process.

Destroying them would take him each time closer to fulfilling his mission of becoming as powerful as he’d been in Okthuros.

The elementals, enraged by the hostility towards their brethren, immediately shifted to their corporeal forms and assaulted Sal’Thamek. He was ready with a few more disintegrating spells, but they saw it coming and avoided it.

A few flaming creatures turned their arms into swords and began striking at him, but his speed was unmatched, and he could easily avoid and parry all strikes. Soon, the elementals realized that trying to hurt him that way was futile and began to regroup, although the planeswalker did grab one as it fled and absorbed it entirely by contact, his eyes glowing with a pale white hue as he drained the vital force out of it.

He clenched his fist and a radiant orb that seemed to crackle and appeared like it would explode any second began forming around it. He pointed his spell at a conglomeration of elementals and was about to release it when, out of the blue, he felt something strike him.

It wasn’t a weapon or a fist, it didn’t even hurt or annoy him in any way, it was just as if he’d suddenly been drenched with water, even though he remained dry. He shook the uneasy feeling of cold off and proceeded to release his attack when he realized his invocation had disappeared. He tried to pour his energy into a new orb but his body didn’t respond to his command. One of the elementals had suppressed his magic ability!

“You’re going to pay” he said showing his vicious fangs with contempt “Nobody challenges me in this way and gets away with it!”

Sal’Thamek drew out his sword and charged. He hated using his sword, it was below him. Sword fighting forced him to come into contact with his victims, it expended more energy than it gained him and it left him at his most vulnerable, why would he ever do it if he was given an alternative?

But he had no choice; this battle would be won at the tip of his blade.

Three elementals approached him with their own weapons, surrounding him on three flanks. They charged as one and he was just skillful enough to dodge two of them by getting out of the way while parrying the third one and stabbing it from behind.

The creature fell to the ground chest-first and Sal’Thamek finished it off by brutally embedding his sword into its head. The flames that covered its body consumed and it dissolved into ashes. It served it right, that creature would be a fine example of what happened to whoever confronted him. He’d get rid of most of the elementals but leave a few alive to spread the word: a new ruler had come to Medranos, and he would be unrelenting on his quest.

The elementals realized their enemy was powerful in all forms of combat, so they attempted a new strategy.

Returning to their wisp form, they all converged in one point, colliding with each other and releasing a flash of light that seemed to vibrate with every color in the world. When the rays became more bearable, an entirely new creature was standing in front of the vampire.

It was at least as twice as big as him, and it looked humanoid, but its skin was iridescent and had a liquid aspect, constantly rippling throughout its entire body.

Sal’Thamek still felt his magical talent anchored down by the spell, so it would be a tricky battle, but he knew he could defeat this new enemy, and when he did…

He wasted no time. A gigantic fist descended upon him, and he rolled over to avoid it. When he stood up he pulled out a dagger and quickly shot it at the creature, aiming for its head. The elemental instinctively tried to stop it, raising both hands to shield the attack, and the vampire ran towards its legs.

With a quick jump and two swift moves, he cut the creature strategically in the ankles, forcing it to collide under its own weight and hit the ground gracelessly.

The planeswalker immediately jumped over its back, running across it and readying his sword to stab the creature’s heart, but his enemy surprised him by simply inverting its body. Instead of turning around its face simply emerged from the back of his head, its thorax appeared in front of him and its hands and feet pointed upward without the creature displacing. It raised its hand and grabbed him, and stood up while holding him tight.

The creature began squeezing the vampire, who dropped his sword as the pain in his body grew. If this continued he’d burst in just a few seconds but, luckily, he had one more ace up his sleeve.

He grabbed an amulet that hung from his neck and put it into his mouth, cracking it open with his teeth.

A red haze emanated from his mouth, quickly heading towards his opponent and impregnating its skin, advancing rapidly and covering its eyes, rendering it immobile and forcing it to drop him. He collided against its chest and began falling, piercing its skin with his sharp claws and causing it to scream. He fell on his feet and quickly ran for his sword.

Before the creature could even recover the blade was already flying its way. It struck it straight in the heart, creating quite a spectacle. As its most vital organ was destroyed, its skin began trembling and turning paler by the second. It shook violently until it exploded in a symphony of colors that were much less impressive than the ones that had appeared during its creation. About ten elementals fell defeated to the floor.

Sal’Thamek located the one that had stopped him from using his powers and mercilessly stabbed its heart. He then stabbed it once more to be sure… and once more just to make a point. The creature exploded into water that evaporated as soon as it touched the ground.

The vampire looked around him and saw only defeat, he’d won!

But apparently his enemies had not come to the same obvious conclusion, for they stood up and prepared for confrontation once more.

“You need to be taught discipline and servitude, apparently” said Sal’Thamek trying not to let his anger get the best of him “Luckily for you I’m a great teacher…”

As he felt his ethereal shackles lifted, he clapped his hands and separated them, a stream of white light flowing through them. He began rotating his palms to charge his spell as he approached his foes when, just before he struck, they suddenly stared in panic and began running away.

He would’ve laughed out loud right then at their pathetic attempt to confront him but he realized that they hadn’t been looking at him, but past him, at the creatures that approached from behind.

A few dozens of those meddling monstrosities had come his way, probably attracted by the fight, and had, once more, skittered right past him while chasing for Medranians.

It was quite a show: whatever unity and bond he’d seen the elementals display during their battle was gone, it was everyone for themselves. They didn’t care if they left someone behind, all they cared about was getting away from the creatures as fast as possible. Those monsters inspired the fear that Sal’Thamek desired to cause!

He rubbed his temple in resignation and spat with contempt.

“I’ll teach you to fear me, Medranos! That I promise! Once I am done with you everyone here will know my name, and will know to respect it. I am Sal’Thamek of Okthuros, and I am the most powerful being this and any world has ever seen!”

He continued his journey to the Stormy Peaks, his face filled with grudge at this world and all its inhabitants, particularly these weird creatures…

Sun, 2017-07-30 04:44
WindyDelcarlo
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
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Is Portent of Armageddon a cycle or just one card that happens to hate lands?

Mon, 2017-07-31 18:32
Korakhos
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@Windy: don't worry, it's just the one, no Portent of Ancestral Recall or Portent of Eureka in the set.

@everyone: stay tuned, for the set file will be released later today ir early tomorrow.

Thu, 2017-08-03 17:47
Korakhos
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CHAPTER X: A WORLD IN PERIL

The beast stomped on all Lahessi that stood in its way, forming a safe passage that Orriana and her group could traverse.

Ever since Garruk had arrived at Medranos, the one race that had fascinated him had been the Sprareos. These beasts were unique to this world, since not only were they alive, but they also were impregnated with countless of plants and smaller lifeforms that inhabited their hides. Wherever Sprareos treaded, they spread life, and Garruk had made sure to hunt and tame one a few days before the Great Hunt, and it had proved to be an asset.

The group consisted of exactly fifteen people: Orriana, Garruk, Suvia, Arina, the Unfathomable, Arion, Endelya, two more Derrivans, three merfolk and three nantuko. Elegos and Northia had chosen to stay in Derrivos and fight the Lahessi, so they chose to send proxies. Orriana was praying every night that they’d be alright, not knowing that her prayers had lost all meaning a few days ago.

This particular group had one purpose: Ankryss had realized that he couldn’t figure out what Gondros had told him, and the road to Ellanya had become much more dangerous for him to go. Besides, he needed to study the Lahessi to see if he could finally find their weakness.

In the meantime, these fifteen people had to go to Gondros in Ankryss’ name and ask for his permission to enter the Ancestral Caverns. Were that to happen, they’d have to find out how the Lahessi had been defeated when they first appeared one thousand years ago.

It seemed funny how the myth of the Lahessi and the terror they inspired had survived that long but not the tale of how Medranian heroes had dealt with them, but nobody had much time to give that much thought. Their lives were at risk at every waking second.

The journey was taking them triple the time, since they had to be extremely careful. Every day they walked the Eternal Fronds with their hearts violently pounding against their chests, getting startled at every whisper and rustle.

Every night five of them kept watch in a tight perimeter while the other ten slept, meaning that once every three days they’d be sleep deprived. But no precaution was too extreme, the Lahessi had appeared everywhere, and they could be hiding behind every tree or bush…

“Run, run while they’re distracted and don’t look back!” screamed Orriana.

They did as told, hearing the screams of pain behind them as Garruk’s pet was shredded to pieces in mere seconds. The planeswalker silently mourned his companion, for he knew he couldn’t just stop to do so. Every single second was precious right now.

Even though they expected an attack at every moment, they were gladly surprised to see that the Lahessi swarms were far less abundant in the Eternal Fronds, which seemed extremely weird since the Fronds tended to be the most populated place, and everything presented itself in higher quantities there.

The group kept going for an entire hour. When she realized the sun was close to setting, Orriana decided to stop and set camp there.

“It’s finally time to rest. Let’s see who’s on duty-“

An inhuman screech interrupted her, and she immediately placed an arrow in her quiver, turning around just in time to pierce the Lahessi’s head and see it fall dead to the floor, its wide-open maw ready to crush her head in one swift strike.

A swarm emerged from every direction, both on land and falling down from the trees. Soon they were surrounded, and the battle began.

Orriana’s arrows were precise and murderous, emptying her head from every thought and emotion, she managed to pinpoint her every target without distractions. The bodies on her side began piling up with surprising speed.

Garruk had called forth two beastly allies, these ones from other worlds, and they already raced against their enemies, head-butting and stomping them violently. The man then proceeded to swing his ax, tearing Lahessi all around, his movements apparently erratic, yet with the precision of a butcher who’d be sent to execute hundreds of culprits.

Meanwhile, Suvia wrestled rather clumsily with a large, many-limbed Lahessi, pouring all of his concentration into not giving the thing even an inch towards the rest. The beast was distracted by a death cry from one of its fellows, and Suvia instinctively seized the opening; he let go of the thrashing appendages, went for what he assumed to be its neck and wrapped his arms around it, twisting with all his strength. A sickening snap reverberated across the battlefield, but Suvia merely lunged at another Lahessi undeterred; the creatures were devoid of emotion for him to take in, and he was far too flooded by the panicked fervor of his comrades to have been able to feel the Lahessi's final feelings all the same.

Arina, on her part, was finally displaying her true power. Speaking to Orriana, she’d known no Medranian had ever seen snow or even ice, but that was about to change. Drawing a circle in mid-air, she snapped her fingers and some dagger-sized icicles began spinning around her, which she jolted towards the many Lahessi that were stupid enough to try and attack her. The shards embedded in their thick skulls and froze them in place. She then used Mindmelder to shatter their bodies and finish them off.

The Unfathomable was displaying quite some powerful skills as well. Since the gorgons’ greatest power was in their eyes, they’d thought a blinded gorgon wasn’t truly capable of much, but they’d been wrong. Even though her eyes were closed to prevent any accidental petrification of her recent allies, the Unfathomable’s other senses were quite keen. She was more than capable to snatch Lahessi that approached from every angle with the thick, slithery tail and crush them. Her nails were also a powerful weapon, since they could shatter bone easily. As a coup-de-grace, the snakes in her hair could increase in size, becoming predators of their own. Of course, being creatures with their own instinct, they weren’t as adept at fighting Lahessi as their hostess, and more than one got torn straight from her head, but if that hurt her she showed no signs of it.

Arion had been training with his left hand the days before their journey and now he was quite a decent ambidextrous fighter, wielding one sword in each hand. He’d also reanimated the life essence of a few creatures’ corpses he’d encountered nearby and, although he hated using his talent for his own personal profit rather than for the enjoyment of those he helped, he knew the situation was dire, and Medranos would forgive his egotism.

Endelya was mostly there for defensive purposes. Her charms and wards were as strong as ever, and she could shield every single member of the group and increase their potential. She’d also found out that resisting Suvia’s talent was a waste of mental energy, so she’d devised a way to get rid of hindering thoughts, thus empowering her ally while not falling entirely under his implicit influence.

Arina felt a Lahessi that’d fallen from a tree as it hit her back. Before it could eat her she reacted quickly, levitating backwards as quickly as she could and crashing against a tree, smashing the parasite. Her back aching, she decided to take a stronger approach. She raised her staff up high and violently thrust it down. Ice began spreading in the shape of a star, shooting in every direction and impaling many Lahessi.

Soon their numbers were reduced enough and the rest of the group was able to finish them off, so she let go of her spell and collapsed to the floor.

“Arina, are you okay?” asked Arion concerned running towards her.

“Yes” she replied with a weak voice but calmly “That was exhausting, but it is fine. Tonight I do not have guard duty.”

She closed her eyes smiling. The group built the encampment around her as the sun set and the moon rose. Tonight’s guard duty would be up to Arion, Orriana, one of the merfolk and two of the nantuko.

The night was going by without any apparent threat, so Arion decided to approach Orriana. He had something he needed to tell her, and the sooner the better.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked politely.

“Not at all, it’s nice to have someone to speak to, makes the fear go away, if just for a moment” she replied with a warm smile.

“Last night I connected with Medranos. At first I thought it was a dream, but as it kept going I realized it had a deeper meaning, a force greater than myself was guiding me, and it needed to tell me something important.

“Last night I dreamt that I was at the Alluring Ancient” he continued “It was as beautiful as ever, yet it seemed different. Before I could realize what was happening, the Ancient turned into a person. It was still a tree, and it didn’t look like a treefolk, still I could tell it looked like an elf, yet it wasn’t entirely that, and not only that, I couldn’t tell if it was male or female, but it was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen or will ever see.

“Suddenly I realized what had happened. I’d stopped seeing the Alluring Ancient as a tree and I saw it for what it really was: it was Medranos, all of it; every single creature being a part of a bigger one, every single one of us together in perfect unity and harmony.

“The Ancient then spoke to me, it had the sweetest of voices, and it said ‘Arion, I have chosen you. You shall be the next Warden, you are the future of Medranos, may its grace be with you.’”

Orriana was dumbfounded, she fought back the tears of knowing that after all she’d been through, after believing that there was no way she wouldn’t achieve her goal, she’d actually lost.

At least it wasn’t Northia she thought bitterly. She breathed heavily, trying to hide her flushing face and her fluttering heart and mustered a wide and sincere smile.

“Arion, I’m so happy for you! Congratulations! I know that you’ll be an excellent Warden. And I give you my word that I won’t stop until all the Lahessi are gone so you can be our leader for many years to come” she said, her eyes only slightly watery.

“Thank you, it really means a lot to me. But that is not the only thing I was told…” he said, his face suddenly turning pale and grim “Elegos and Northia are dead, and so is Yrathul. Krallyna and Derrivos have fallen.”

Orriana’s jaw dropped, her eyes widened and she started making some guttural noises that revealed her throat was blocked and she couldn’t say a single word, even if she tried as hard as she could.

They decided to tell the rest of the group the next morning, and spent the rest of the night silently staring at the stars, mourning the brave heroes that had been lost. The Lahessi were cancer, and they had to be destroyed. Orriana could only hope that she’d be able to find a way.

* * * * *

This morning they were marching even more slowly. Endelya was heartbroken from hearing about her uncle’s demise, Orriana was in shock both for the destruction of her homeland and for the fact she’d missed her chance to be the Warden, Arina was still recovering from last day’s spell and the rest of the group were silent. The mixture of depression and exhaustion was beginning to take a toll on them.

“Wait, I see something, look!” said Arion pointing in the distance.

It was the foot of a mountain. The Stormy Peaks of Ellanya were just a few kilometers away. The group felt a slight glimmer of hope ignite in their soul, and began running, still attentive to their surroundings but with their guard slightly off.

It took them about half an hour to actually enter Ellanya since when they arrived at the mountain they realized they couldn’t ascend from there and they needed to find a traversable path. Unfortunately, once they set foot in a promising path a nasty surprise took place.

The group heard a violent rumble. Even though it seemed to come from every direction, they knew exactly where the Lahessi swarm was. They were coming from behind them, the rustling trees giving away the location of the stampede.

Soon they saw them: hundreds of Lahessi, more than they’d ever faced at one time, were rushing towards them. The path they were going to take was a bottleneck, so technically they could hide in the narrow passage and fend them off from there, but it was obvious that if they took that route they’d be stuck in a defensive position and they’d never reach Gondros. There seemed to be only one way out, and Arion was the one who dared say it out loud.

“Some of us will have to stay behind…” he said “I will be one of them. I’d like three more volunteers to help me stall the swarm and buy the rest some time.”

Everybody was offering themselves except for the Unfathomable. Orriana had already stood next to Arion when he looked at her.

“No, not you, Orriana. If anything happens to me then you are the only one who can continue as the Warden of Medranos.”

“Then you go and let me cover you. You are far more important than me!”

“Orriana, what kind of leader would I be if I didn’t lead by example? No, I’m staying and you’re going. Arina, I appreciate your offering but you’re still consumed from yesterday’s battle. I’ll take you, you and you” he said pointing at one of the elves, one of the nantuko and one of the merfolk “We’re going to need a varied fighting strategy if we’re to endure as much as possible, and I’d rather fight with those whose side I’ve been fighting by for years…”

Everyone stared at the martyrs with a bitter smile in their faces.

“You’re the true heroes in the story, Arion” said Orriana letting her tears flow “I’ll make sure to stop the Lahessi!”

He nodded his head solemnly and turned around. The swarm was each time closer, there was no time to lose.

As the eleven remaining members of the group kept running, they heard their friends clashing with the monsters behind them. They’d be able to hold them back for hours, maybe even days if they were wise, but they all knew that all they were doing was buying time.

Eventually Arion and the others would die, for no force was enough to stop the Lahessi.

CHAPTER XI: AN ANSWER AWAITS

Of course thought Orriana discouraged Why did I expect this to be any different?

They'd escaped the Lahessi swarm at the foot of the mountain, but at its top, the monstrosities were almost as much. Fortunately for them, they weren't their main priority

The group saw the battle taking place first hand: elementals and giants fought the creatures that were destroying Medranos. As storms shaped into humanoid figures and behemoths began readying their weapons, the Lahessi were spreading as ravenous as ever. Maces fell, lightning stroke, fire burned, and the parasites were slain by the hundred. Nobody in Orriana's party had ever seen those creatures being defeated so easily, and just for the faintest of moments, they let themselves feel hope.

But this was not a moment in which hope was an asset, and soon they were proven wrong. At the end of the day all that mattered were the numbers, and the Lahessi seemed to be infinite. Orriana and the others stared in horror as giants were covered in those monsters and suddenly turned to nothing as they were devoured by the creatures crawling all over them. Even the elementals, who had a more ethereal form seemed to fall victim to the creatures. Whatever they encountered they swallowed, never stopping, never leaving survivors behind. The myths were true: the Lahessi were truly unstoppable. The group ran away from there. Those fighting were their brethren, but they couldn't help them, at least not that way.

They kept running even while hearing the screams of pain and terror. They had to avoid the falling bones and flesh that rained over them like a macabre storm as warrior after warrior was defeated. They even found Lahessi in the way, but were quick enough to slay them before they could call their kin. This was the first true Lahessi massacre they'd witnessed, and they could only imagine the horror Elegos and the others had faced while dying to save their home.

It took them longer than expected to overcome the pandemonium. It was true that the battlefield covered a large area, but deep inside they were trying to fool themselves into thinking that it wasn't as big as it seemed, that soon the nightmares would be over and they'd reach the Ancestral Caverns, where they'd find a way and everything would make sense again...

A swarm eventually caught up to them and they were forced to stop and battle. They were fewer this time, but they were fighting just as fiercely in honor of those they'd left behind (how was Arion doing? Was he even still alive or had he fallen too?). Soon the horde was beaten to a disgusting green pulp and they kept moving.

"You! Quickly, follow me!" they heard a voice calling.

They looked all around them but couldn't find its source, until a small light that was floating right in front of them manifested into a creature. It was a wisp.

"What are you doing here?" asked the elemental with a high-pitched tone "This is not a safe place!"

"Is anywhere a safe place?" asked Arina.

"We're here under Ankryss' orders" said Orriana "We need to speak with Gondros, we seek an audience with him."

"Then you're the ones I'm looking for" he replied "Gondros knew you were coming and I was sent to fetch you. Normally you'd have to pass a trial that's in charge of us so he can judge whether you're worthy of him, but there's no time for that! He knows you're pure of heart, and he wishes to speak to you as well. Quickly, we must hurry, there is a safe haven nearby, a place no Lahessi can enter. If we hasten our pace we'll make it there before they catch up to us!"

None of them could believe what they'd heard. A safe haven? A place that hadn't been polluted by the Lahessi? Was there hope after all? They decided to trust the creature and ran as fast as their legs allowed, not caring for the exhaustion or the pain that implied.

Their road was not peaceful, though, and more than one swarm stood in their way, only to find themselves surprisingly butchered. It seemed that the hope of a break was making them stronger and mightier than any moment of rest they'd had these past days.

Soon they knew they were close, not because they could see this place, but because they could sense it. It seemed like a warm breeze was invigorating them, pushing them to move forward, encouraging them to leave all their fears behind. The safe haven was nearby, and the sooner they got there the sooner they'd-

"Please tell me I'm imagining things, please tell me that's not true!" demanded Orriana when she saw what awaited them.

An unending swarm was skittering in front of them. They could tell exactly where the haven started because the Lahessi were violently writhing in their futile attempts to enter it. It was doing an excellent job of keeping the atrocities out but, unfortunately, the group was on the wrong side of the barrier. If they wanted to get to heaven first they'd have to go through hell...

Orriana dropped to her knees. Garruk saw that and quickly went to her aid.

"Are you fine?" he asked.

"Yes, it's just... Why do we even bother?! You see that? That's bigger than any swarm we've ever seen. Even if we give it our all we're going to need a miracle to defeat them all. Might as well just give in now and surrender..."

To her surprise Garruk slapped her right across the face. The sting spreading through her face hurt so badly she simply stared at her friend in shock.

"That's not the woman I know! You've always been a strong, determined woman, Orriana. You're a survivor, a fighter, and one of the greatest I know! Remember what I told you at the celebration of the Great Hunt?" he said violently.

"'There's always next year'" she replied almost impassively.

"Exactly, there's always next year!" he replied with his greatest attempt at a grin "Now get up and let's make next year happen!"

"You're right!" she declared standing up with a new fire burning in her eyes "We don't need to bring them all down, we just need to make a passage and run for it!"

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but I don't believe we can do that" said Endelya grimly.

"You can't" said Garruk "But I can!"

Everyone stared at him in amazement. What was he talking about?

"I'm going to need all of you to back off. What I'm about to do is dangerous, and you can get hurt, but I believe it's our best shot to reach our destination!"

They all did as told and saw the man start to focus. Garruk closed his eyes and began guiding his thoughts in one particular direction. He knew this was risky, and if he'd been able to avoid this he would've done it, but he saw no other way out. He started remembering, he started bringing back the other Garruk, the dark one, the one that had almost killed him... And as he remembered this monster, as his thoughts began merging with his, he began to lose himself, and to let him loose.

Garruk howled disgustingly. It was the cry of a beast, not that of a man. His body contorted in unnatural ways and he appeared to turn into someone else. The screech and the guttural noises he was making caught the Lahessi's attention, and they turned towards him. That creature was no human, but what was scariest was that, even knowing his true colors, the rest of the group could not believe that he had ever been human.

A considerable part of the swarm skittered his way, while the rest tried to break through the barrier. He only laughed diabolically and charged towards them.

The battle was awful. It was gore and violence in its purest expression. It was a monstrosity fighting another one, and for just a few seconds Orriana wasn't sure who to vote for. Garruk's monstrous form was destroying the Lahessi with disturbing ease. His fists shattered their bones upon contact, he tore others quickly in two halves, and even though their acidic saliva was pouring all over him, either he was impervious to it or the pain it should bring him didn't affect him at all. Soon something they'd never believe they'd live to see happened: the Lahessi retreated! For the first time ever the Lahessi had found a creature that inspired in them the fear they brought upon others!

"What is that thing?" asked Endelya terrorized.

"I don't know, but it's not Garruk" replied Orriana "I just hope he can come back from that..."

The Lahessi were gone, at least for the moment, and Garruk was breathing heavily in a pool of guts and blood.

"Garruk, how are you feeling?" asked Orriana carefully approaching him.

He turned around and stared at her, making her blood freeze in her veins. His eyes were shining bright purple, and his face was that of a maniac. All she could see in it was a sadistic bloodlust. He grabbed the ax he'd dropped and started heading towards her with a murderous look.

"Garruk, what are you doing?!" she said desperately "Please, it's me, Orriana!"

"Liliana?" said the man, his face contorted with grudge and rage "I will kill you, necromancer!"

Orriana tried to back out, but she tripped over a rock and fell. The man was already standing by her side, his ax raised high.

"Garruk, please, don't hurt me!" she pleaded desperately while tears fell down her face.

Maybe the spell had a limited durability, maybe Suvia had exerted some of his influence on him, or maybe Orriana had reached him, but it was then that the purple glow vanished and Garruk dropped his ax, horrified with the situation he finally found himself in.

"I'm sorry!" he said shaking while he helped his friend up "This wasn't supposed to happen! I just lost all control... I don't think I can ever use this resource again!"

"I-i-it's f-f-fine" stammered Orriana, still trembling "At least we got what we wanted."

She pointed at the haven that awaited them just a few meters away, and the group headed there silently, not dare to talk about what had just happened. Once they were inside, however they could feel the magic of the place working on them and easing their weariness.

"Please wait here" said the wisp "I'll search for Gondros so you can speak to him."

As the group dispersed and began setting camp for a well earned rest, Garruk pulled Orriana apart.

"The creature you saw there, that wasn't me" he said grimly.

"I know" she replied bluntly.

"I thought I had greater control over it, but apparently I don't. I hope this never happens, but there may come a time when I need to use it again. If that ever happens, I want you to promise me something."

"What is it?" she asked.

"Promise me that if any of you is in danger and I can't snap out of it, you'll kill me."

"I promise" she replied almost immediately as sorrow began gathering in her chest, making it harder for her to breathe.

* * * * *

Ankryss was truly perplexed. He'd studied countless Lahessi by now, with different bodies and capacities and from different parts of Medranos, yet he still only had vague information on them. What was their origin? What was their purpose? And most important of all, what was their weakness?!

He'd even taken the risk of dissecting a live specimen, hoping to find something he'd missed in dead ones, but it had yielded no results, and he'd almost lost a hand!

He sat down and sighed heavily, frustration and bitterness getting the best of him. Maybe he needed to see things from a different angle, but he'd run out of angles! If these creatures were Medranian then all he'd need to do was contact the Ancient through his staff and he'd had all the information he needed, but for the first time ever his tool was useless.

Without even thinking, he threw his staff at the floor, only to immediately regret it and stand up quickly to grab it. And then, then he realized he'd done just what he needed!

As he grabbed his staff, he focused on the creases and marks that covered it. They were manifestations of every single creature in Medranos. Through them he could feel all living beings at once. He visualized the patterns and then turned to a Lahessi carcass on his table. He looked attentively at its skin, then he grabbed another corpse and studied its hide as well. He did the same thing with every Lahessi he'd dissected, and he finally understood!

"Of course!" he screamed with sheer joy "Of course, clean slate! That's what it means!"

He had no time to lose. He grabbed a quill and some paper and hastily wrote a note he addressed at Orriana, hoping she'd be able to read it eventually. He then left all his belongings (including his beloved staff) in his house and headed out.

He had a long walk ahead of him. He'd probably have to traverse a vast area of the Eternal Fronds before an encounter.

He'd eventually encounter a Lahessi swarm, and probably be devoured to pieces. He didn't care, though. He finally understood.

END OF PART II

Thu, 2017-08-03 06:39
WindyDelcarlo
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
WindyDelcarlo's picture

First, I love your story writing. There's a lot of characters and you're doing a pretty good job of making sure you can stay on top of them.

Oh my god, a playable sorcery-speed Hero's Downfall

As I'm sure you expected from me, a few quick notes about Arina here:
First, I love the sass she uses to reply to the elemental.
Second, there's another instance of Arina contraction when she recovers from smashing the thing against the wall. The "It's" is fine. The don't would be broken into two words.
Third, she probably would've jumped with a Stasis on Garruk the moment he tried to attack Orriana were she present. Unsure if you intended to have her miss that for that specific effect or just forgot she could do that.

Thu, 2017-08-03 17:46
Korakhos
Korakhos's picture

Wind wrote:
First, I love your story writing. There's a lot of characters and you're doing a pretty good job of making sure you can stay on top of them.

Thanks a lot, I'm glad you enjoy it.

Wind wrote:
Third, she probably would've jumped with a Stasis on Garruk the moment he tried to attack Orriana were she present. Unsure if you intended to have her miss that for that specific effect or just forgot she could do that.

I actually needed that moment of tension between Garruk and Orriana so I took the license of resorting to "the rest were too shocked/ too far away to do anything".

Well, set file is finally out and this marks the very first rotation in Korakhos standard! Soon I shall make a thread for a tournament.

Also, in case you were wondering, we've finally reached the fake thing to expect:

Things to expect wrote:
Here's a list of things you can expect from this set, but beware, one of them is fake! Let's see if you can find it:
1- Pirates, Minotaurs and Vampires in all five colors (Changelings)
2- First seen in Antiquities, last seen in Oath of the Gatewatch (Manlands)
3- A Legendary Instant (Heart of Medranos)
4- A reanimator spell that will make Dread Return look like a bad card
5- A card with CMC over 20 (Ellanyan Ravager)
6- Last time it cost 14, now it costs 10 (Tabula Rasa)
7- A new type of counter (Growth counters)
8- A kill spell that you can use as many times as you want as long as you have the mana (The Unfathomable)

Tabula Rasa is an adaptation to Karn's ultimate, which costs 14 loyalty (I never said 14 mana Winking smiley ), not only does the reanimator spell not exist, there is absolutely no graveyard recursion in the entire set, because Medranos is a plane in which death is irreversible, so whatever hits the graveyard stays there.

As always, I hope you enjoy this set and I'm open to suggestions and critiques.

PS: Huge thanks to fluffy for reviewing and editing the set, I've updated the set file with his corrections.

Thu, 2017-08-03 18:32
Neottolemo
Neottolemo's picture

Catching up with the spoilers (from chapter IX onwards):

-Sal'Thamek's powers are interesting for a vampire, since he seems to drain life, instead of simply blood, and to do so mainly with magic instead of fangs.

-Portent of Armageddon's mana cost is meant to be a riff on Armageddon, probably, but it kind of worries me, although I don't really know how to balance this kind of effect, probably because I don't really like land wraths.
-Wow, poor Arion just went through a very odd rollercoaster. I wonder if the Tree told him that he'd have to die, during the dream. That would explain his relative lack of surprise. Perhaps he didn't tell Orriana right away not to hurt her more? Also, Arion seems to like both men, women, and anyone else, from how he describes the tree.

-That slap+short speech in chapter XI seems very Garruk-y for what I know about him, and I wonder if it'd cause controversies like Triumph of Ferocity did. Also, on that note, I liked the Frenzy scene. The card should probably say "destroy that planeswalker" instead of "that permanent", though. It's powerful, and gives you free effects if you discard it or mill it, but it seems narrow enough that I think it could work.

-I don't understand how Tabula Rasa is supposed to work, mechanically. The wording doesn't seem right to me. The implication behind the last few paragraphs written from Ankryss's point of view seems to indicate that the Lahessi are a sort of reset mechanism Medranos has. However, the name 'Tabula Rasa', the fact that it makes you choose some permanents, and the fact that the last heroes to beat the Lahessi and the way they won aren't remembered at all, could also imply that a number of heroes have to erase themselves from the plane's history to beat the Lahessi (and possibly one or more of them would go on to form a new Spirit Tree in the process, considering Arion's dream?) Anyway, all seems to indicate that the Lahessi are a threat Medranos will have to face cyclically.

I'll check out the complete set file later! Big smile

Fri, 2017-08-04 21:50
jacqui-pup
Featured Set Editor - Best Set of 2015 - Community Award
jacqui-pup's picture

So, I think this set is pretty interesting.

Odd Cards:

Ethereal Kotoro scares me although I'm probably just overreacting.

Accursed Gaze seems like a lot of needless complexity for what amounts to

Gaccursed Aze 4 mana symbolBlue mana symbol
Instant Rare
Whenever a creature deals combat damage to you this turn, it doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.

Not sure what the point of adding rules text and counters is.

Refractor Spell uses a lot of words to do very little.
Riptide Scavenger is lit

Gyradian Purger is very cool. I think custom designers tend to shy away from poopy/powerful intro pack rares like this.
Stony Glare is odd: -3/-3 is often better than just outright destroying a creature. This possibly wants to exile?

Countryside Crusher reprint!? Ok.
Invigorating Flames is making warning bells go off.
Wayward Bluffs looks deceptively powerful. Rampant Growth in Red mana symbol, or +6/+0 until end of turn? It makes sense as a mechanical way to represent growth I guess, but...

Derrivan Brawler: Oh no... fight tribal... why...

Lands: Wha? We Zendikar now, or...?

Holistic Verdict:

It's a set. I've come down with PTSD after reviewing Cretio Created and now the words "growth counter" make me want to cry, so I'm harsher than I'd be otherwise. But you've got like, so many mechanics here that represent growth and only appear on like ten cards apiece. And they all... kind of feed into one another, maybe? They do but not very often. The proliferate stuff and changelings both seem more interesting in the context of Khaliz-Dorahn than they do here. And the Lahessi themselves feel like Ashura's dinosaurs but with the flavor of slivers, so they're kind of a miss in terms of cool antagonists.

What does come through instantly is the lack of humans, resulting in a plane that feels much more "natural" than your average Magic set. That's a cool vibe, Magic without the anthrocentrism.

[center]"It's exciting to create something that demonstrates how clever you are, that you pushed in a direction that players didn't anticipate. The problem is that the point of game design isn't to be clever, it's to create a great game." --Mark Rosewater

Fri, 2017-08-04 22:10
Daij_Djan
Moderator Best Set of 2016
Daij_Djan's picture

I really need to take a closer look at this set sometime in the future as I only glossed over it so far. One potential issue I noticed / question came up: Do you know Planeswalker's Stamina does not interact with loyality gaining abilities?

As Photobucket wants me to pay 400$/year to link to my images, I'll relocate all renders.

Sat, 2017-08-05 00:12
WindyDelcarlo
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
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Yeah, I didn't realize until someone pointed it out that Arina is not only the first ice Medranians have ever seen, she's also the first human they've ever seen.
... Unless Garruk counts, actually.

Also, Planeswalker's Stamina does work with loyalty + abilities. Unlike Doubling Season, it doesn't check for an "effect" to put the counters on, it just wants counters on it.

Sat, 2017-08-05 00:21
Daij_Djan
Moderator Best Set of 2016
Daij_Djan's picture

Oh, you're right. Cool!

As Photobucket wants me to pay 400$/year to link to my images, I'll relocate all renders.

Tue, 2017-08-08 01:27
Korakhos
Korakhos's picture

@Neo: Tabula Rasa was worded with Karn's ultimate so it should work.

Quote:
Also, Arion seems to like both men, women, and anyone else, from how he describes the tree.

Regarding that, I actually wanted to express how Medranos is neither male nor female, it's just a living entity made up of all its inhabitants, and it took an elvish-esque form because Arion would identify more with it. The fact that he described it as the most beautiful creature he'd ever seen comes more from an abstract point of view since it represents all the life he's connected to.
As for the Lahessi theories, I don't want to give up too much since their true nature is revealed at the beginning of part III, but you're on the right track Winking smiley

@jacqui: Accursed Gaze uses counter because it gives you the opportunity to proliferate, but I agree it's too wordy, I may scrap the counters.
Technically Refractor Spell works more or less as a counterspell, but not only does it provide you with ETB triggers and potential devour targets, it also discourages your opponents from targetting your creatures for the rest of the turn or forces them to use all their targets at once.
I'm really proud of Riptide Scavenger so thanks for noticing it, especially since it was born from the fact that I wanted to design a crab.
I too am concerned about Invigorating Flames but I'd rather put it out there and be wrong rather than shy away from it. Wayward Bluffs is a card that gave me headaches and made me go back and forth between +2/+0 and +3/+0 a lot, I think I'll leave it at two.

Quote:
Oh no... fight tribal... why...

BECAUSE I CAN! Evil

The lands have two reasons: they help represent how the Lifepulse connects both the creatures and the land by giving lands a higher count... and also because I borrowed the BfZ skeleton to design this set (although I did cut back on lands and colorless cards).

Quote:
The proliferate stuff and changelings both seem more interesting in the context of Khaliz-Dorahn than they do here

Proliferate being in Khaliz-Dorahn would've felt too forced imo and would've kept proliferate as a "disease spreads" mechanic, whereas in Medranos it works to represent growth and plenitude. Changelings would've made Khaliz-Dorahn feel too Lorwynesque in playability and would've made limited picks based more on "I'm picking this white changeling because it works with both white tribes" whereas here they are more like french vanillas that have some repercussion with some cards.

Quote:
the Lahessi themselves feel like Ashura's dinosaurs but with the flavor of slivers, so they're kind of a miss in terms of cool antagonists.

I haven't read about Ashura's dinosaurs so I have no answer for that yet, but Slivers have the hivemind behind them, while the five Lahessi tribal cards are actually more to represent how one Lahessi can be defeated, while an entire swarm makes them a more resilient foe. Even though they're the main antagonists, they're actually not the villains of the story, the Unfathomable is the villain in part I and Sal'Thamek is the villain in parts II and III, the Lahessi will be further explored in the next set and their true origin and purpose will be revealed.

Thanks for this review. The changes will be applied after Pro Tour Medranos, though, since I want to see how the format works right now.

@Daij: You almost gave me a heart attack, for a moment I thought there was no way to make that ability work

@Wind: yeah, Garruk came first, but he's not the first human to arrive at Medranos. He is the first one to appear in the Ancient and become a part of the world though.

Tue, 2017-08-08 01:37
jacqui-pup
Featured Set Editor - Best Set of 2015 - Community Award
jacqui-pup's picture

With Accursed Gaze, I'd make it "Until end of turn, whenever a creature deals damage to you, put that many freeze counters on it" or whatever text you need to make that work, so it locks down larger creatures and makes proliferate more relevant because you can untap before all the counters go away.

And I like the lands well enough but frankly I'd make them all give a growth counter. That's a good place for bleed

[center]"It's exciting to create something that demonstrates how clever you are, that you pushed in a direction that players didn't anticipate. The problem is that the point of game design isn't to be clever, it's to create a great game." --Mark Rosewater