Onslaught Cycle

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The Onslaught Cycle comprises the novels Onslaught, Legions and Scourge.

Onslaught.jpg
Legions.jpg
Scourge.jpg

Onslaught[edit | edit source]

Onslaught
{{{name}}}
Author(s) J. Robert King
First printing September 2002
ISBN-13 978-0786928019
preceded by Judgment
followed by Legions

Onslaught is the first novel of the Onslaught Cycle, although it continues from where the Odyssey Cycle left off in Judgment. It was written by J. Robert King and published in September 2002.

The Onslaught Cycle continues in Legions and Scourge.

Blurb[edit | edit source]

The land is in upheaval.

The forest grows out of control. The mountains erupt. The seas boil. The swamps spew acid, and the plains turn to desert. Yet, amidst the turmoil, there is civilization, brutal and unforgiving. Pit fighters battle to the death before tremendous crowds, making some rich, while others lose everything in one stroke of a sword.

The games must continue.

So must the struggle for survival.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Kamahl’s sister Jeska has fallen into the hands of the Cabal and has been transformed into the deadly Phage. Can he save her, and does she even want him to?

And what role will Ixidor play? Left to die in the desert because he couldn’t pay the Cabal, the mage discovers he has tremendous powers and swears he will kill Phage for killing his lover Nivea.

Summary[edit | edit source]

The story picks up where Judgment left it: Kamahl has just slain Laquatus using the Mirari sword. He has unleashed its power, which causes the vegetation around it to grow strong and flourishing; this reflects the former pit fighter's change in mentality, who has gone from a battle loving barbarian to a more contemplative nature druid.

Kamahl makes his way back to Seton's hut, where he had left his sister Jeska to be cured from the wound he inflicted upon her. The centaur was unable to save her, and when Braids showed up promising her that she could, she reluctantly agreed. Seton opposed this, and the dementist killed him. When the druid arrives, the hut has been burned down, his friend is dead and his sister missing. Sensing the Cabal's influence, he leaves to reach Aphetto, where the First resides and has his headquarters.

In Aphetto, the former Order angel Nivea and the street illusionist Ixidor form an unlikely duo in the pits. They love each other very deeply, and fight in tournaments to earn enough money to escape the squalor of the Cabal and create their own society based on values of honour and purity. They have accumulated a fair amount of coins, and Ixidor decides to bet everything they own, plus some forged by himself, on their next match. If they win, they'll finally be able to leave. Little do they know that their opponent is Phage, the Cabal's new weapon. Created out of Jeska, she has a putrefying touch and great battle mastery, and she easily subdues the duo, killing Nivea. Having lost the game, Ixidor's forgery is discovered, and all of his goods are confiscated. The Cabal officers knock him out and leave him naked in the desert, where he swears revenge upon Phage.

Kamahl reaches Aphetto, where he is quickly approached by Braids. The dementist is looking for a great match to light up the arena, and she offers him the chance to meet Phage in the pits. Kamahl accepts, but in the fight his sister does not recognize him: in fact, she greatly resents the name Jeska, and despises the druid for his role in making her what she is. Rejected, Kamahl stops the match and returns to Krosa, where he decides to build an army to defeat the Cabal and rescue his sister.

In the meantime, the First has great plans to expand the Cabal's business: feeling Aphetto is too provincial, he commands the construction of the Grand Coliseum, which will become the new centre of Otaria's commerce and culture. He sends Phage to oversee the works, who picks the mule driver Zagorka has her official spokeperson. Soon, the great arena is finished and envoys leave for the entire continent to entice people to bet and fight in the Cabal pits.

Ixidor, abandoned in the desert, discovers that his illusionist skills are nothing short of miraculous: he creates a verdant oasis by waving his hand, and makes living creatures out of mud. Soon he has built his own kingdom, known as Topos, with his palace, Locus. In his lands, Ixidor, attempts to fulfill Nivea's wishes for a just nation and spends all of his time perfecting it. He creates defenders, works of art and ecosystems. He makes also unmen, silhouettes of himself that are living portals to parts of his kingdom, to be used in need of escape. The envoys from the Cabal reach him, and one night he dreams that Phage has come to hunt him even in Topos; however, an angel with Nivea's face, Akroma, appears to defend him after the cabalist rips off his arm. Ixidor awakes, missing a limb but with the angel at his side. Akroma explains he must have created her during his sleep due to his troubles. He agrees, then sends her to eliminate Phage.

In the Krosan forest, the situation has gotten out of control: the Mirari-induced growth has become very strong and cancer-like, mutating everything in its wake and suffocating anything too weak. The people of the forest are fighting desperately against it, but it is all in vain. Kamahl returns to aid the centaurs, and he promises help in stopping the Mirari's nefarious effect if they follow him in his fight against the Cabal. They agree, and he mutates them in huge, powerful beasts. Their leader Bron is renamed Stonebrow, and becomes Kamahl's general. Soon an army is set up, twisted by the Mirari's power and augmented by Kamahl's magic. They march upon the Grand Coliseum, where the druid is once again contacted by Braids, who proposes another fight between him and his sister. He accepts, but he orders his army to position themselves for battle in case the Cabal betrays them.

Phage and Kamahl meet again in the pits, but not much has changed: she still resents him and wishes nothing more to kill him. The fight, however, is cut short by the arrival of Akroma, who proclaims to be Phage's slayer. The two brothers battle her, as Kamahl's army intervenes. In the ensuing confusion, the druid cuts the angel's legs, and Akroma flees. Cabal and Krosan decide upon a truce, and agree that Ixidor's power has become a serious threat. Kamahl and the First form a new army, led by the druid and Phage. They also forge a new weapon by uniting theirs, and create the Soul Reaper, an axe with enough power to kill Akroma. Despite Phage's resentment towards her brother, they march towards Topos.

Ixidor senses that they have united against him and bolsters his defenses. He cures Akroma by fusing her with a jaguar, then creates more and more sentries to protect himself. When the allied army arrives, they face great challenges such as men made of mud who become copies of them and giant flying jellyfish. The greatest threat, though, is spark that Ixidor sends on the battlefield that causes everyone's worst nightmare come true; while most have relatively mundane nemesi, Phage's unique constitution make so that she regurgitates out a swarm of beetles, which then go on to become enormous wurms. They are the embodiment of each of her murders, and represent her dark soul: once she has expelled them, she is Jeska once again, and she exchanges a few tender words with her brother.

Ixidor realises that the deathwurms are incredibly powerful, and sends Akroma to battle them. Not even the angel, though, is able to stop them, and they ravage the battlefield, scattering the army and devastating the land. One of the wurms, the embodiment of the murder of Nivea, catches the scent of Ixidor and follows it to Locus; the illusionist is forced to use his unmen to escape, but some of them betray him and leave the portal open behind him. The wurm devours him.

On the battefield, Jeska sees that the wurms are wreaking untold havoc, and realises that she must absorb them back in herself, even though that means she will become Phage again. Kamahl opposes the plan, but his sister refuses to let the monsters destroy everything. With the cooperation of Akroma, she returns to being Phage, and resumes her despise for the druid. Cabal and Topos unofficially decide upon a truce to recover from the battle, as the army has fled and deserted.

Phage returns to the Coliseum, as Kamahl swears that he will save his sister and goes to Krosa; Akroma takes control of Topos. Their fight continues in Legions.

Legions[edit | edit source]

Legions
{{{name}}}
Author(s) J. Robert King
First printing January 2003
ISBN-13 978-0786929146
preceded by Onslaught
followed by Scourge

Legions is the second novel of the Onslaught Cycle. It was written by J. Robert King and published in January 2003.

Legions continues from Onslaught and its story is concluded in Scourge.

Blurb[edit | edit source]

In titanic battle, the world stands divided.

On one side stand the followers of Phage, who cry out for new arena combats, new champions, new blood spilled in the sand. On the other side are the supporters of Akroma, the angel, who preaches a terrifying religion hallowing her creator.

In the middle stands the lonely figure of Kamahl. Once a champion of the pits, he must now atone for the terrible wrongs he has wrought. Those wrongs gave birth to Phage and Akroma. They gave birth to the suffering of the world.

Now Kamahl must sweep the land clean of this terrible blight. But his fury may destroy that which he most loves.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Legions begins where Onslaught ended: upon the battlefield of Topos, with the joint Cabal-Krosan army fleeing before Phage's deathwurms. Phage, following the brief moment when she was Jeska, decides to return to the Grand Coliseum to receive orders from the Patriarch. Kamahl is weakened by the fight and frustrated by his lack of progress with his sister, and goes to Krosa to meditate. Akroma takes control of Topos once she has learnt that Ixidor is no longer. Braids, who was gleefully riding a deathwurm when they were reabsorbed, has crashed into the jungle and is in critical conditions. The two unmen who betrayed their creator at the last moment in order to live a life of their own find themselves on the battlefield, and decide to go to the city of Eroshia, hoping that the mages there will help them find corporeal form. The fugitives from the defeated army reach their camp and discover a magnificent, abandoned city nearby. They decide to cut all former allegiances and settle there. Under the leadership of Zagorka and Stonebrow, they rebuild their lives and call it Sanctum.

Akroma still follows Ixidor's last order and attempts to kill Phage. She reorganizes the nation to follow her and builds diplomatic relations against the Cabal. She finds the last unman, who waited patiently for the other two to go through him in a display of devotion for Ixidor, and names him Umbra. She commands him to locate the other two unmen and bring them to her so that she may punish them as deicides. She also locates the deathwurm that devoured her master, but her strength is not enough to overcome it, and decides to seal it in the ground. Finally, she finds a feeble Braids and brainwashes her to be her follower. From her, she learns of several Cabal secrets.

Phage has received the order from the First to go to Sanctum to sway them to their side. She is successfull in establishing a gambling arena, which upsets Stonebrow. He leaves to ask help from Kamahl, but the druid has decided to not interfere any more, and meditate until the time is right. Upon his return, the centaur witnesses the arrival of Akroma to Sanctum, who openly declares war on the Cabal. She then reveals to Phage her true purpose, as told by Braids: to be the mother of the reincarnation of the Cabal god, Kuberr. Akroma leaves for Topos, and Phage for the Coliseum.

The First welcomes her back, having been promised her as a prize to him by Kuberr. After intercourse, he realizes she is the only one able to resist him and plots to murder her, unaware she is already pregnant with his child.

The unmen, nicknamed Mr. Stick and Mr. Puddle first, and then Sash and Waistcoat due to their disguises, have reached Eroshia, but have failed to find corporeal form. Instead, they have greatly angered the populace, and are forced to flee. They are aided by Umbra, who also wants to get a real body. The three travel together, until they are captured by the Cabal. The Patriarch enlists them as assassins with the promise of a true body, and transforms them in giant beetles. He sends them and Phage to murder Akroma, with the understanding that the three must kill Phage before returning.

Stonebrow, frustrated by the lack of progress, leaves Sanctum to kill Akroma on his own. His battle, however, ends almost immediately, overwhelmed by Topos' defences and brainwashed to worship Ixidor. He becomes the angel's obedient servant. During a diplomatic party, she locates the deathwurm again and decides to go after it to rescue her master. When she fails to return, Stonebrow is nominated new leader. He immediately decides to wage war against Sanctum.

Sanctum grows fairly peacefully, trying to remain neutral. However, the mysterious glyphs that cover the city foretell of a period of great strife. Zagorka keeps the population calm, but she knows that soon trouble will reach the city.

Phage and her unmen/beetle companions reach the camp where Stonebrow is stationed. She commands them to rescue Braids, while she makes a run for Locus, hoping to catch Akroma. The three are successful and return to the coliseum, while Phage arrives in the palace just as Akroma reemerges from the wurm. Wandering aimlessly for days in its intestines, she has found Ixidor, who refuses to leave as Nivea's corpse is still in there. He heals his creation, though, and shows her the way out.

Akroma and Phage begin to battle, as Stonebrow returns. He attempts to kill the both, but fails and merely injures them. Phage, wounded and weakened by pregnancy, flees to give birth. The angel resumes control of Topos and Stonebrow goes to Sanctum to defend it from Akroma, having recovered his wits.

The unmen deliver Braids to the Patriarch, who is nevertheless furious for their failure to kill Phage. He strips them of their beetle bodies and banishes them. They too return to Sanctum, only to find that the mysterious glyphs have taken a life of their own and overrun the city, albeit without (much) bloodshed. They claim that the numena are returning, and that soon their master Averru will reincarnate as the city itself. They imprison Zagorka, while the unmen leave to wander. Stonebrow goes to Kamahl to implore his intervention.

Phage barely reaches Aphetto, where she gives birth to Kuberr, the second numen. The Patriarch attempts to assassinate her several times, but the influence of the newly born god protects her. Finally, a few days after he separates her from the baby and tries to kill her, but Braids, who recovered her sanity just in time, summons a dementia moster that devours him. Phage and Braids take control of the cabal in place of Kuberr.

The unmen have stumbled upon Akroma's army, and are arrested. Trying to trick her, Umbra claims that he was faithful the whole time and brought the two traitors to her for punishment. In response to this, the angel uses her magic to give Sash and Waistcoat corporeal form. Umbra seems disappointed, but she reveales that this so that she may kill them. Just as her spear is falling on them, Umbra jumps on them, making them go through him and closing the portal, dying in the process. Sash and Waistcoat are happy to have a body, but sad for the death of their good friend and companion of adventures.

Kuberr reveals that she must battle Akroma with a gigantic army, as every death will make him age by a day. Akroma, likewise, also brings countless troops to fight her. The battlefield is Sanctum, which has turned in a twisted reflection of its former self. The angel and the cabalist fight bitterly and without mercy.

Stonebrow, in the meantime, has convinced Kamahl to intervene, and the two make their way with a few men to Sanctum to end the fight. Kamahl wields Soul Reaper, the weapon forged to kill Akroma. The druid arrives as the two are fighting. Zagorka, imprisoned in a tower right above the field, decides to commit suicide by jumping. She crashes on top of Phage and Akroma, just as Kamahl's weapon falls and kills them all. From the combination of their three souls and bodies and the magic of Soul Reaper, the goddess Karona is born. The story concludes in Scourge.

Scourge[edit | edit source]

Scourge
{{{name}}}
Author(s) J. Robert King
First printing May 2003
ISBN-13 978-0786929566
preceded by Legions
followed by The Moons of Mirrodin

Scourge is the final novel of the Onslaught Cycle. It was written by J. Robert King and published in May 2003.

Scourge finishes the story that ran through Onslaught and Legions.

Blurb[edit | edit source]

The battle rages on!

Amid the titanic clash between Phage and Akroma, all Dominaria shuddered. Now, out of the destruction and chaos a new force arises, and Kamahl must face his greatest foe: Karona. Her arms spread to the very clouds, and her robes trail like rays of sunlight.

She is the destroyer.

She is the answer.

Summary[edit | edit source]

The story begins immediately after the conclusion of Legions. Kamahl's Soul Reaper has cut through Akroma, Phage and Zagorka to fuse them in one being: the goddess Karona. Her appeal is immediately enormous, and all the armies assembled immediately cease fighting to worship her. Overwhelmed by the display, Karona flees, with many, including Kamahl, following her in the desert. Stonebrow, trapped underneath rubble, is stuck and cannot, but once she's gone he regains his wits and realizes how dangerous she is. He enlists in the new guards of the city, mostly glyphs, which will defend it until the return of Averru.

Kamahl follows Karona, and attempts to explain her how much she means to the people of Otaria. However, she doesn't understand and proves to be clueless towards her powers and glory. All around them, a rabid pile of fanatics rapidly accumulates, smothering the weak in the worshipping frenzy. Karona doesn't know what to do with them or the slaughter, and leaves, with her followers rumbling behind. Kamahl sees the carnage and her callousness, and resolves that Otaria needs no goddess. He ventures to Krosa to find the only weapon that will slay her: the Mirari sword.

Sash and Waistcoat, in the meantime, have been granted their wish and have become corporeal; however, they are without food, water, clothes or shoes in the middle of Topos and have little idea on what to do next. They are found by Karona, who takes a liking to them when they seem to act rationally in her presence, possibly due to their peculiar origins that don't make them normal humans. She provides them with everything they need, and nominates them her prophets, to communicate with her fanatical worshippers. Sash and Waistcoat suggest her to go to Eroshia.

In the Krosan forest, the growth around the Mirari has become cancerous and immense, forming a hill of brambles and trees called the Gorgon Mound. Kamahl ventures underneath it to retrieve his sword, where he finds an unlikely guide: the ghost of his mentor Balthor. The dwarf guides him through the perils of the mound, all the way to Laquatus' corpse, which is still pinned down by the sword. In the past years, the former Mer ambassador has grown, like the forest around it, to gigantic proportions, and he promptly attacks the druid once he removes the weapon holding him down. He has no more brains than a simple zombie, but he is still lured by the Mirari and he still tries to grab it. Kamahl has to defeat his old nemesis again, and after that remerges triumphant from the forest.

Meanwhile, Karona and her prophets reach Eroshia, where the population reacts in the same way as everywhere else: by displaying excessive worshipping that endangers the life of everyone around. Sash and Waistcoat bank on their new status to live luxuriously while Karona explores this new world, unaware that all over Otaria people are converging to their city to adore the goddess - and fight for her attention. The Order gets resurrected, the reclusive barbarian tribes descend the mountains and even Kuberr, now a teenager, sends a contingent with Braids at its head to seize Karona, who he calls mother.

When the goddess returns, the assembled armies are whipped in fanatical devotion and start to murderously rampage to reach her. She saves Sash and Waistcoat and flees, unsure on what to do. Following her prophets' suggestion to use her powers to stop them, she creates a vast chasm underneath the armies that swallows them whole and fills it again, burying them, including Braids, alive. Sash and Waistcoat are horrified.

Kamahl has some trouble with the Mirari, as its power is still strong and seductive. Aided by Balthor's ghost, he tries to control it, a feat which is accomplished only when he slays the phantom in a fit of rage. The shock of killing his mentor twice gives him enough sanity to control the sword, and weeping he leaves to find Ixidor in Topos. In the jungle, he encounters the deathwurm that devoured him and ventures inside it, where Ixidor still weeps beside the remains of Nivea. In order to get him out of there, he destroys them and kills the wurm, and leaves with a protesting Ixidor. However, after a quick bath in the river, he remerges as Lowallyn the third numen, who had given Ixidor his powers. Him and Kamahl leave to meet his brothers.

Karona becomes increasingly aware of her powers, and she uses them to talk to various important characters about her purpose and future. In a controversial scene, she summons Fiers, Multani, Teferi, Lowallyn and Yawgmoth himself. The adherence to canon of these encounters is disputed. She decides to embrace her destiny as goddess and builds an army of followers to destroy the few that oppose her.

Lowallyn and Kamahl rush to Aphetto to meet with Kuberr, as Karona turns her worshippers against the city. They arrive and leave through a portal with the other numen just before she annhilates the city in the blink of an eye. They are brought to Averru, formerly Sanctum, where they are revealed that the city itself is the last numen. The three are sons of Karona, mother of magic, and her presence had already once forced them in slumber. Because their three mothers, Zagorka of Averru, Phage of Kuberr and Akroma of Lowallyn, were slain simultaneously, Karona was given new life, and they wish to destroy her. They set a trap with Kamahl, which almost succeeds in sealing the goddess forever, until the druid realizes that he would be just substituting a nefarious god for three more. He stops the plan at the last moment, allowing Karona, with Sash and Waistcoat in tow, to escape the plane. Defeated, the three numen abandon all hope and wait for their inevitable death.

Karona travels the multiverse and visits many planes, including Serra's Sanctum and Phyrexia. Finally, she reaches a world made entirely out of metal which has a single inhabitant: a warden called Lord Macht. He explains to Karona that he watches over the world for his master, waiting for his return. He also reveals the nature of the Mirari: it was a probe sent by the creator of the plane to learn things about life on Dominaria, but he made it too powerful and eager to assimilate that its lure became destructive. Karona is not fooled by his story and realizes that he is in fact the creator, and he feels guilty about the Mirari. She insists that their god status is special, and it is not his fault if humans misbehaved with his creation. Reassured, Lord Macht shows her the way back to Dominaria.

Karona returns, commanding an immense army to crush the last that resist her: the few defenders at Averru. The three numena, Kamahl, Stonebrow and their guards prepare for a desperate fight. However, they are no match the goddess's power and she quickly overcomes them. The numena are killed, and only Kamahl stands with the Mirari sword. Karona manages to take it from him, but just as she prepares to strike down the druid, Sash and Waistcoat recuperate the blade and drive it through her, having been instructed to do so by Lord Macht. He arrives to take the fallen goddess away, leaving the survivors to recover Otaria. Kamahl bids a last farewell to his sister, and unites with Stonebrow, Sash and Waistcoat to build a new life.

Lord Macht brings Karona and the Mirari blade to his metal plane, Argentum, where the goddess regresses to her Jeska stage. When she wakes up, he reveals to be none other than Karn, Urza's golem, who became a planeswalker at the blast of the Weatherlight. He also explains that the reason why Jeska survived the strike of the Mirari sword, why she was merely turned into Phage rather than dying at the touch of the Patriarch and why she mantained her consciousness within Karona is that she is a planeswalker too. He gives life to the Mirari to create a new warden for Argentum, and the two leave to explore the multiverse. What happens on the metal plane is told in The Moons of Mirrodin.