Gathering Forces is a webcomic published by Wizards of the Coast about Elspeth, Ajani, Koth, and Venser. It was originally published in three parts in September and October 2010. It was written by Jenna Helland, illustrated by Dave Dorman and lettered by Bob Jordan. Art direction was done Jeremy Jarvis. The story was created by Jenna Helland, Brady Dommermuth and Doug Beyer, based on characters created by Alexsi Briclot, Volkan Baga, Jason Chan and Brady Dommermuth.
Part 1[edit | edit source]
On Urborg (Dominaria) two gladiators confront each other in a fighting pit before a jeering crowd. One is unwilling to fight, and is distracted when he notices a Leonin planeswalker, Ajani Goldmane, in the crowd. As the other knight strikes a glancing blow, a Phyrexian symbol is revealed on the man's arm. This enrages the attacking knight, but before she can deal a lethal strike she is stopped by Ajani. The attacking knight is revealed to be Elspeth Tirel, who has fled Bant after the Conflux. She has lost hope that she can defend Bant against the incursions of the other Shards. Her friend Ajani has followed her to comfort her with the return of her sword, for which she is thankful. On her way home, Elspeth is confronted once again by the other duelist. He reveals himself as Koth, and asks Elspeth what she knows of Phyrexia. He explains that he is not Phyrexian himself, but that he wears its symbol on his arm as a reminder that his homeplane is overrun by Phyrexians and that he has to stop them.
Part 2[edit | edit source]
Koth and Elspeth visit a ruined Phyrexian structure called The Tomb of Flesh. They speak of their homes and once more Elspeth laments Bant's fate. Koth used his geomancy to create a path to the tomb. Conjuring a light, Elspeth sees a haunting image from her past and flees, ashamed that she left her in people in the time of their greatest need. Koth finds her again in the ruins of a castle, and realizes her actual homeplane was overrun by Phyrexians ,as well. He asks her to come with him to the The Heroes' Memorial, which is proof that the Phyrexians can be overcome. Once there, he gives Elspeth some gems, telling her to trap her fear in them, but she states that the past is not so easily forgotten. In the temple of the Memorial, Koth communes with the stone altar and learns that they must find Venser.
Part 3[edit | edit source]
The artificer is quickly found, as he is a long standing target for the acolytes who tended the memorial. Elspeth and Koth are shocked to find a Phyrexian vessel being rebuilt, improved in fact, to act as a planeshifting ship. When it becomes obvious Venser had no idea of the powers he is meddling with, Koth flies into a rage and encases Venser's head in a stone mask, coercing him to planeswalk to Mirrodin. Elspeth is appalled by the sudden violent act, but Koth doesn't care and states that he has no choice. He appeals to her once more to come and help him, to atone for her mistake. Not waiting for her answer, he leaves her to make her own decision.