Scourge (novel)

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Scourge
Scourge.jpg
Publishing Information
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.

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