|Author(s)||Cory J. Herndon|
|First printing||January 2006|
Blurb[edit | edit source]
A Savage Wasteland
But as he watches the guilds nip and tear at each other like snakes ... something clicks.
Now his mind is clear, as are his options. A disaster grows under the city's crowded streets. He knows what he must do.
Summary[edit | edit source]
15 MOKOSH 9965 Z.C. (35 years before the end of Ravnica book 1)
The story starts with an Izzet goblin named Kaluzax. He is flying an observosphere over Utvara, and is supposed to drop a mana bomb over it because its is a Kuga plague area. Kaluzax is attacked by Gruul however and goes down with the ship.
14 PAUJAL 10012 Z.C. (12 years after the end of Ravnica book 1) An Orzhov patriarch only known as Uncle makes his cousin Teysa Karlov the baroness of Utvara and they journey to the valley in a lokopede alongside some thrull servants and Melisk, Uncle’s right hand. Also on the lokopede is Crix, a goblin who has an important message for magelord Zomaj Hauc. Hauc works in the Cauldron, an Izzet laboratory in Utvara, and was responsible for the bomb Kaluzax was going to drop. The lokopede is being watched by Gruul bandit Aun Yom, but Yom gets killed by someone invisible, only for his body to get up again. Uncle reveals that he had Hauc drop the mana bomb to destroy all the beings infected by the Kuga plague in Utvara, thus being allowed to reclaim the valley sooner. Something went awry however and the explosion creates a weird wrinkle in the sky called the Schism and causes the plague to mutate. Aun Yom and his band of thugs, or whoever is in their bodies now, attack the lokopede. Crix manages to scramble away, only to be caught by Vor Golozar, another Gruul, but one who is not as bloodthirsty as Aun Yom’s gang.
In Utvara, Pivlic has built the new bar that was mentioned at the end of last novel. Agrus Kos is now working for him as a bouncer. It's late one night when suddenly Teysa and Melisk come in, carrying the corpse of Uncle, who apparently was killed during the Gruul attack. Kos is excused. On his way home he meets Trijiro, an old Gruul centaur whom he warns about the newcomers: they’ll be after the Gruul for killing their patriarch, but Trijiro tells Kos he saw Melisk and Teysa arrive and that he heard the patriarch still talk.
Teysa hires the half-demon Wageboss Aradoz to build her a mansion in Utvara. It is revealed that within the township the Selesnyan tree Vitar Yescu keeps the plague away. Next Teysa speaks with the Simic vedalken Dr. Nebun. She charges him with making a cure for the Kuga plague since she doesn’t like being in debt to the Selesnyans. Her contract states that she has to clean up Utvara to habitable conditions before a deadline, or it’ll go back to the Selesnyans. Problem is, that there’s also a Yore-Tiller Nephilim there from before the Guildpact (10000 years ago). Uncle is watching her. He now is a ghost and has joined the Obzedat, but is keeping an eye on his niece through a magical mirror.
Kos is in his home looking into the Schism as the sun passes over it. For five minutes he can view the entire aerial of Ravnica, and continues his search for Feather and Parhelion, who are still missing since the end of the Ravnica novel. The Kuga Mot appears, a mysterious glowing sphere or apparition that hangs over the Schism every once in a while.
Trijiro meets Golozar. Trijiro is actually the leader of Golozar’s Gruul tribe and orders the release of Crix in order to improve the relationship between the Gruul and the other guilds in Utvara.
Teysa sends Pivlic, Kos, and the Grugg Brothers, her personal Thrull aids to rescue Crix to improve the relationship between the Orzhov and the Izzet in Utvara, after she realizes the importance of Hauc in the area. Then she goes to see Dr. Nebun for some medicine about her narcolepsy. Nebun reveals that he had a cure for the Kuga all along. Teysa buys his cure for a million zinos.
Crix and Kos' parties end up together. They run from Aun Yon and his party who were after Golozar and Crix, and figure out that they are actually zombies along the way.
Teysa in the meantime swears loyalty to the Obzedat to discover what is going on with her. She discovers that she doesn’t have narcolepsy but that Melisk has been abusing her and erasing her memory and that the Obzedat made a deal with Niv-Mizzet. He also made her kill Uncle in order to get the old man on the Ghost Council (suicide is illegal among the Orzhov). Teysa’s memory is returned. She is furious and immediately swears she’ll kill Melisk and breaks her oath of loyalty to the Obzedat.
Kos, Crix and the others enter the Cauldron and discover Hauc is trying to get three dragon eggs to hatch. His plan is to destroy the Guildpact with the Ghost Council by overthrowing Niv-Mizzet. Meanwhile, the Schism has been absorbing ghosts ever since it was created and Hauc plans to use the ectoplasmic energy to fuel the machines that will awaken the dragons. He has Crix come to him, for the final spell he needs is engraved in her metal arm, and orders the others to be killed.
Teysa goes around the township rallying people against the Cauldron, for Uncle has also revealed that the Obzedat is financing Hauc’s plans which she finds far too dangerous. She also administers the cure to anyone she finds. Along with a small army she marches to the Cauldron but is intercepted by Melisk and thirty Taj, ghost-assassins who were the ones possessing Aun Yom and his tribe. Teysa uses the power of her Orzhov blood to take control of the Taj. They murder Melisk and join Teysa’s army.
In the Cauldron, Hauc has his minions start up the machines to wake the dragons. Kos, Golozar, Pivlic, and Crix are trying to escape, breaking various machines in the process. The chaos is complete when Teysa and her group break down the doors. Teysa reveals to Pivlic that the dragons can’t breathe normal air, only Kuga infected air. So she has him administer the cures to everyone who might still be missing out, since when everyone is cured the Vitar Yescu can filter the rest of the disease out of the air, making it impossible for the dragons to breathe.
One of the dragon eggs is smashed when part of the Cauldron collapses. Another dragon awakens and Hauc uses the spell on Crix’s arm to make it his minion. He then rides him into the sky, to burn down the healing tree. Teysa sees this and reads the spell that Crix had off of memory, making the final dragon hers to command. Kos and Crix enter Hauc’s observosphere and fly after the dragons.
In a dogfight over Utvara, Hauc manages to disable his own observosphere, sending Kos and Crix plummeting towards the ground. Then Hauc dies after being flung face first into a cliff wall. The two dragons kill each other, but Teysa and Golozar get far enough away from them in time.
As the observosphere crashes, Kos is impaled. Crix uses the single drop that Kos had in his pocket to heal his wound. Kos looks up in the air and sees the kuga mot, and from it emerges his long lost friend Feather. He manages one wave of his hand before his arm becomes too heavy to lift, and Agrus Kos passes away.
The prologue describes Kos' funeral in which many characters from the Ravnica novel are present, and ends with a cliffhanger, as Hauc's spirit awakens and hears the voices of other spirits calling him.