|Lifetime||~4480 AR - ~4557 AR|
|Time Spiral, Planar Chaos, Future Sight, Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn|
Appearance and characteristics
He was a brilliant inventor, able to think fast on his feet, and able to build unique and powerful artifacts with an emphasis on teleportation.
Life in Urborg
Venser was born in Urborg after the Phyrexian Invasion and much of his childhood is unknown. His father was a scavenger for much of his life and his mother had died sometime before Venser could remember. While still young, Venser's father was lost to the swamps and the boy had to deal with the first true loss of his life. As an adult, he lived alone in a workshop within the Urborg swamps, salvaging parts from the remains of Phyrexians left from the Invasion. Amongst these salvaged remains were two identical Powerstones. Venser's activities drew the ire of Lord Windgrace and his gladehunters, who guarded Urborg against all artifice and magical machinery. It was a harsh life, one that Venser hated, and as a result, his greatest dream was to escape the fetid swamps of his home. To this end, he began construction of a magical teleportation device he dubbed the Ambulator. He had little success until the planeswalker Teferi found him while researching the rift above Urborg.
Teferi's presence would forever change Venser's life, as the planeswalker's interest in both Venser's latent spark and his ambulator would set off a chain reaction in the Stronghold Rift. Venser was pulled into it along with the rest of Teferi's companions: Jhoira, Radha, and their guards. The entire group was whisked away, bouncing haphazardly through the network of rifts, finally being deposited upon the cliffs overlooking the shores of Madara. There, they confronted the descendants of the nekoru whilst Teferi was lost in the time rifts. Radha battled the prince of the cat-dragons seemingly to a standstill, but it wasn't the elvish barbarian that had scared the dragons. Left alone, they were contacted by the disembodied voice of Sensei Ryu who was immensely interested in Radha and Venser's mutated sparks. Using his immense influence over minds, Ryu took hold of Venser's mind and used his will and spark to re-enter the material world in full dread glory. Bolas was fascinated with the mutated planeswalkers and planned to "reward" them for their role in his release. They were only saved by Jhoira's diplomacy and the sudden return of Teferi, who challenged Bolas to a planeswalker's duel. Venser watched, helpless, as Bolas demolished Teferi's attacks and defenses, then turned his attention once more to their group. It was Radha, surprisingly, that talked the elder dragon from taking more than the life of their guard, Aprem. Teferi warned Bolas of the changes the rifts had created, and with a dire threat against the inhabitants of Kamigawa, Bolas departed.
After Teferi phased Shiv back in, Jhoira turned to Venser's talents hoping his ambulator could provide much-needed transportation to heal the rest of the time rifts. Venser agreed and traveled with her to find her Ghitu tribesman. With their help and masterful artifice, Venser managed to perfect his throne device, now constructed of Thran Metal and ringed with newly created powerstones. Their first stop with the perfected device was back to Urborg, where Venser became the unfortunate target of the attention of the Weaver King and his unholy master. During the Ghitu's assistance, Venser developed a boyish crush on Jhoira, and during their return to Urborg, the sudden appearance of Jodah led the young artificer to become petulant with the group. This would prove to be an error, as Windgrace finally caught up with the young man outside his workshop. Left with little choice, Venser agreed to become one of Windgrace's gladehunters, taking the planeswalker's personal mark upon his skin. He rejoined the group in time for him to witness Jhoira's call to Karn. With his ambulator, Venser agreed to meet Karn in the Blind Eternities, but the being he found there was, in fact, the Weaver King impersonating the silver golem. The Weaver King removed Windgrace's mark and infested the young artificer's mind. It wasn't until Karn answered Jhoira's call that Venser realized the mistake. Venser was able to then kill the Weaver King through the cunning use of his planeswalking ability in conjunction with his original salvaged powerstones. Venser then stepped into the Blind Eternities with Karn and assisted the golem with his task of closing the Tolarian rift. Venser would be the last person Karn spoke to before his disappearance.
With a heavy heart, Venser returned to tell his compatriots of what happened, only to be interrupted by the appearance of Jeska, Karn's apprentice. She then began to study the rifts for herself, believing Venser and Radha to be the key to closing them without sacrificing her life or spark. She chose Radha as her tool and Venser, feeling an odd comradery with the elf, set out to help Teferi and Jhoira stop Jeska. Eventually, they did, but only after grievous damage had been done to Radha's spark and Zhalfir. Left with no options, Jeska had to face the rift of Otaria on her own. Venser and Radha surprised her though, by volunteering to help with the process, to which Jeska agreed. It was a trick though, as she cast Venser and the elf back, ensuring they would not be hurt for her mistake, with that final sacrifice the Mending took place.
At the end of Future Sight, Venser was once again left alone, giving Jhoira the ambulator as thanks for all they had done and decided to planeswalk off to an unknown destination.
Quest for Karn
Long years after his fateful encounter with Karn, Venser began work on a planeshifting vessel. His mind often wandered to his temporary mentor and Karn's perfect geometric plane. Little did Venser know that a native of Mirrodin, who had temporarily joined with Windgrace Acolytes would visit him. Koth, accompanied by Elspeth Tirel sought Venser in his workshop one day. Neither of them was fully aware of what significance he would play, but through eldritch means, they had been told to find the artificer. Convinced of his brilliance and vision, Venser showed his incomplete ship to the pair, thinking they would appreciate it in a way normal beings could not. The fact that it was made from repurposed Phyrexian technology never caused him any worry, but it should have.
When Koth learned of the purpose of the ship, he flew into a rage, clearly recognizing the parts that Venser had salvaged. He grabbed Venser by his throat and threatened him, trapping his head in a stone mask and commanding him to planeswalk to Mirrodin. Venser swore vengeance to himself, but secretly was intrigued, finally gaining a reason to find Karn on his artificial plane.
Venser arrived and immediately began to berate Koth for his lack of tact and sheer audacity. Despite the geomancer's dire warnings, Venser saw nothing particularly threatening and continued his tirade against his host, in some small way disappointed the conflict was not of an especially epic scale. Koth broke off his argument with Venser long enough to tell him and Elspeth of the conflicts raging across the surface, and of the dark threat that threatened the plane itself. Koth gathered the two and sought an old friend to help him tell them of the true enemy better. Venser was unsurprised that Koth knew nothing of Karn, but before he could enlighten them, they found the Mephidross, stretching farther than he or Koth could possibly have expected. Looking for Koth's acquaintance, the group was ambushed by nim. The allies quickly fought off the nim, but before they can plot an expedition deeper into the swamps, Elspeth tells the arguing walkers that she cannot go any further.
Unfortunately, without her warrior's expertise, Venser and Koth quickly fell to a Corrupted Harvester and were dragged back to its lair near Ish Sah. Koth awoke under harsh lights strapped to a table next to his ally. He quickly freed himself, but could not rouse Venser before the Phyrexians arrived. He fought them off but was overpowered as Venser prepared to teleport them both out of the surgical theater. His plans were disrupted by Elspeth's sudden reappearance. With her help, the trio subdued their captors and proceeded to the Black Lacuna. Venser teleported inside for recon and was horrified by the sheer number of the forces within. In a panic, he teleported further within until he encountered a gigantic shrine erected to Karn. At this shrine, he was assaulted by Geth and was forced to flee back to the surface where he and his companions witnessed the emergence of a Phyrexian army that was invading the surface.
After several hours, the army passed, and the three companions entered the Vault, following a Myr secretly sent by Tezzeret to guide them. It led them to Geth, and in secret, they followed him into the interior of the world. They came upon a butchering room in which they engaged massive Phyrexian butchers; Elspeth slew many, but they were outnumbered and managed to escape further into Mirrodin's underground through a meat shaft. When they emerged from the shaft they encountered Ezuri, leader of a band of Mirran rebels. While Venser insisted that they had to continue to find Karn, Ezuri said that he could allow them to go no further. He revealed that the Phyrexian invasion had profited him greatly, catapulting him into a heroic leadership position that he loathed to give up. When Elspeth threatened Ezuri, however, the elf backed down and his followers fled after a display of Venser's meager magics. The companions continued on further towards Mirrodin's core, eventually being met by Tezzeret.
Tezzeret led the companions to a surgery room, where Elspeth, angered by the sight of Phyrexians experimenting on creatures, flew into a rage, slaying all the Phyrexians in the room in a matter of moments. They freed Melira, a Mirran born without any metal on her body, from the cages. Tezzeret said this was his gift to them; she was completely immune to phyresis. During the subsequent travels, Elspeth grew very protective of Melira. They began traveling back towards the surface but were surrounded and attacked by a massive force of Phyrexians. During the battle, Elspeth was the center of the Phyrexians' attention, slaying most of them and creating piles of dead around her so high that the other companions lost sight of her.
The companions eventually reached the furnace layer, where the Phyrexians ignored any Mirran survivors and found Ezuri's rebel camp. There they were welcomed, despite their previous encounter, and Melira's ability to heal phyresis was discovered. She healed all those in the camp that were infected by the glistening oil, healing non-stop for several days while Elspeth sat with her in the tent, speaking to her. Once everyone in the camp was healed, a council was called in which Ezuri, hoping to become more influential, invited Melira to stay with them while subtly telling the companions to leave. Melira said she would leave with the companions, however, and Elspeth and the others prepared to leave for the core to try to find Karn. While they were leaving, the camp was attacked by Tezzeret's Phyrexians, and the companions found a guide to take them further. They escaped the battle and followed the guide, of whom only Elspeth was trusting. They followed the guide deep into Mirrodin's core, encountering many strange rooms and caverns; at one point they did battle with two strange Phyrexian angels. Elspeth killed one with a throwing knife and the other she decapitated while it attacked Venser. During the battle, however, Koth, angry at their lack of progress about the surface war, took Melira and left, leaving Venser and Elspeth alone with the guide. They hurried after Koth but were ambushed by Tezzeret's Phyrexians. Elspeth went into a battle fury, wiping out the massive force, but just as she killed the last of them, an even larger force appeared. The situation was hopeless, but Elspeth continued in her attack, cutting down the Phyrexians until Tezzeret ordered a halt to the battle and captured the two Planeswalkers.
The Phyrexians carried the Planeswalkers away, but while their captors were trying to figure out how to access a doorway, Koth and Melira reappeared and freed the pair. By the time the Phyrexians realized that their captives were gone, the companions were already running. Venser's strength, however, was wearing thin, and they were forced to stop. He was able to concoct an explosive from the metal on the walls and blow up part of the tunnel, sealing it temporarily, but it was only a matter of time before a group of Phyrexians, led by Glissa, broke through. While she was taunting them, however, Tezzeret appeared and his forces did battle with Glissa's, allowing the companions to escape and reach Karn's throne room uninterrupted. There, they found Karn corrupted by the Phyrexian oil. The Sylvok outcast Melira told Venser and his party that the oil only turns a being into a full Phyrexian if the heart is fully corrupted. By the time Venser reached Karn in the core of Mirrodin, it was already too late. Melira cleansed the golem's body of the Phyrexian taint but she couldn't cleanse the golem's heart. Knowing his own life would soon be forfeit due to his increasing phthisis symptoms, Venser made the ultimate sacrifice. With his last remaining mana, he gave his life and spark to Karn. Moments later Karn was released from the Phyrexian tyranny and mourned the loss of his friend briefly before turning to battle the Phyrexians, stating 'he still has a lot of work ahead of him'.
|Title||Author||Publishing date||Set||Setting (plane)||Featuring|
|Gathering Forces, Part 3||Jenna Helland||2010-09-30||Scars of Mirrodin||Dominaria||Venser, Elspeth Tirel, Koth of the Hammer|
|Scarred, Part 1||Doug Beyer||2011-01-06||Mirrodin Besieged||Mirrodin||Koth of the Hammer, Venser, Elspeth Tirel|
|Scarred, Part 2||Doug Beyer||2011-01-13||Mirrodin Besieged||Mirrodin||Koth of the Hammer, Venser, Elspeth Tirel|
|Scarred, Part 3||Doug Beyer||2011-01-20||Mirrodin Besieged||Mirrodin||Koth of the Hammer, Venser, Elspeth Tirel|
|Dark Discoveries, Part 2||Doug Beyer||2011-05-12||New Phyrexia||New Phyrexia||Venser, Geth, Elspeth Tirel, Koth of the Hammer|
Quoted or referred to:
- Rei Nakazawa (April 09, 2007). "Back to the Future Sight". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (April 09, 2007). "Sketches of all things Venser". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.