The Conclave[edit | edit source]
From the aftermath of the Brothers' War, came the era of the Dark when the Shard of the Twelve Worlds was forming. Not much is known about the Dark except that Magic was new and it was still being divided into 5 colors. People suffered from the cold that was settling in, and also from plague and the notorious Church of Tal – a society that worked against the use of magic. Opposing them was an organization known as the Conclave of Mages, who wanted to practice magic without persecution. Many figures were known in the Dark ages; most famous of them being Mairsil the Pretender and Jodah. But the times passed and they cruelly forget some of the important characters that made great differences during that age. One of these was the Artificer Barl, second in command of the conclave of mages and Mairsil’s right hand.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Barl was a tidy man, according to the conclave. He was a peacekeeper, a scholar, and an organizer. He seemed to be everywhere in the conclave, omniscient. While Barl invented many things, maybe the most important of all was for his students and himself. It was a machine that consisted of cogs that had to be created from Jade or Nephrite. Barl was a very practical man. Every time he would do something for Mairsil that was practical and downright obvious, Mairsil would say:
“Hammers Barl! You’re using Hammers!”
Imprisonment of Ith[edit | edit source]
Barl, along with Mairsil imprisoned Lord Ith, the original founder, in a cage of watersilver that was suspended above a bottomless pit that seemed to lurk in the clockwork hell of Phyrexia. Not much was known about how Barl and Mairsil imprisoned Ith, but evidence of Ith’s imprisonment was plentiful.
Meeting with Jodah[edit | edit source]
One time came a figure, which would become later famous for the age of Dark, as well as the later Age of Ice and Age of Storms. This figure was Jodah. Jodah came into Barl’s presence when he had blinded one of the guards at the gate of the Conclave. They brought him in and Barl took over to interview him, to see if he had the right to enter the Conclave of Mages. Jodah impressed Barl by mocking Primata Delphine’s appearance. But in his stories, one name cropped up that Barl did not seem to recognize – Jarsyl. When Jodah had finished the interview with Barl, the Conclave mage gave him a sword to use in a challenge while he spoke to Mairsil. Mairsil went over the notes that Barl had taken, and recognized the name Jarsyl, a mage that entered Phyrexia and managed escape its relentless clutches. Immediately, Barl was told that Jodah was to work in the library. Barl made sure that Jodah had a comfortable time in the conclave. He sent one student, Shannon, to ensure Jodah’s safety.
The duel[edit | edit source]
After a while of Jodah’s stay, another mage, one who dabbled in blue mana came to the conclave. Barl felt that she was from the City of Shadows, a city opposed to the workings of the Conclave. After interviewing her, he felt suspicious and went to report to Mairsil. Mairsil was annoyed that Jodah did not give him the results from his experiments. Jodah was a mere boy and already knew more than what Mairsil read in a lifetime. Barl’s report of the blue mage only added more insult to the injury. After a discussion with Mairsil, he recounted the story that Jodah told him when he first joined. It sounded strangely familiar to the story that the blue mage told. Thus, Barl came to a conclusion – the blue mage had lied. “She avoided all questions about her training. She told half-truths when pressed. She lies badly and covers her misstatements even worse. I mentioned the City of Shadows, and she asked me, wide-eyed, what it was. I told her it was a community of goatherds in the mountains. She did not seem pleased by my definition.” They decided that Jodah was a novice mage from the City of Shadows, sent to destroy the Conclave. Since Mairsil needed Jodah, he made a plan with Barl. The idea was to get Jodah to kill this blue mage. This way, Jodah would stay with the conclave. The plan was to do this deceitfully, and indeed make it seem that it was not their fault. Barl made sure Sima was kept busy in a room for three days. He caught Jodah going into Mairsil’s study from the previous experiment. Barl was, again, suspicious of the boy, and Mairsil told Jodah that he was going to duel an opponent for him, a mage he disagreed with. Apparently, it was customary to do this in the form of a proxy and told Jodah that he would need to learn some more spells. Barl oversaw that Jodah gained more spells, and made sure that both of the mages would not recognize each other. While Jodah was kept busy from the other mage, Barl made sure also that Sima was given the necessary items: food, drink and reading material. Three days later, Jodah and Sima clashed. It was quite a quick duel, but a hard one for both mages. When Jodah succeeded in burning her clothes and making Sima fall, Jodah stopped, and Mairsil went to finish them off.
The attack[edit | edit source]
Then the Church of Tal struck. This was no act, and Mairsil started shouting at Barl. Barl organized the counter-attack. Both Barl and Mairsil came to the same conclusion, Sima and Jodah were sent by the City of Shadows, to bring the Church of Tal and destroy them. “You had me fooled, I must admit. I saw you worm your way into the Lord High Mage’s good graces. At the time, I wondered why. And now I know. This confirmed it. You probably brought the church here, didn’t you? Anything to keep your City of Shadows the most powerful group of mages in the land.” Barl took his magic crossbow and went out to fight. After killing one of the members of the Church, the ones who saw this display fled. However, Barl knew that more of them were to be defeated. Then he caught Jodah and Sima together.
Barl's fate[edit | edit source]
Jodah had told Barl that Ith had been released. Threatened by Barl's crossbow, Sima told Jodah to run and help Ith, and literally unraveled the crossbow by a blue spell. Deprived of his weapon, Barl fled. After the fall of Mairsil and destruction of the Conclave (and the soldiers of Tal) by Ith, it was revealed that Ith created a new Rag Man to replace the one that was destroyed during his liberation. The new Rag Man turned out to be created from none other than Barl. The artificer thus received his deserved punishment for his allegiance to Mairsil.
Note on continuity[edit | edit source]
According to some older sources, most notably the card Dark Sphere, Barl is the name of the man titled "Lord Ith". Barl and Lord Ith became two separate persons due to a mixup during the creation of the Ice Age block novels.
In-game references[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]