The Ice Age III: Alliances and Coldsnap


The Vorthos Guide to Magic: The Gathering
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Welcome back to Archive Trap, the unofficial guide to Magic: the Gathering. Today we continue our discussion of the Ice Age, the period of time that began when Urza caused the Sylex Blast at the end of The Brothers' War which led to huge ecological upheaval on Dominaria. It also created the Shard of Twelve Worlds, a magical barrier that prevented travel — by planeswalking or portal — in or out. The Ice Age ended with Freyalise's casting of the World Spell, bringing down the magical barrier. In Part I, we talked about the period known as The Dark, and a very brief overview of the Fallen Empires. In Part II, we talked about the end of the Ice Age, ending with the World Spell and the beginning of the Thaw. Today we take you to the middle of that Thaw, to a time of great upheaval. Soon, Urza's private war with Phyrexia will reignite on Dominaria, but we are not quite there yet.

 


The biggest problem with the Ice Age that it kept going back to Phyrexia.
Phyrexian Etchings by Ron Spears

Setting the Stage

When I mentioned last time how challenging it was to research the lore behind the Ice Age, I was mostly talking about this article in particular. There are two key stories I am talking about here: The Shattered Alliance and Coldsnap. These are absurdly hard to find for someone who was not into the story at the time. Why? Because even used copies of the novel The Shattered Alliance sell for about $40, and the main story of Coldsnap is contained entirely within the booklet that came with the Coldsnap Fatpack. Oh, and did I mention that in early 2016, the Wizards archive — basically everything posted to the official website before 2008 — was taken down? Most of that is back up now, but things like the Coldsnap Mini-site, which had digital copies of the Ice Age comic book issues and short stories set during the time of Coldsnap are now gone. I managed to track down most of these materials elsewhere, or by asking for help from old school Vorthoses, so I finally managed to compile this picture of the end of the Ice Age.

Special thanks to Mike Linnemann (Twitter) of Gathering Magic for his assistance in gathering many of the images for this article. It is not easy finding quality images of older artwork, but he managed to track down a number of images that I wanted to use but could not find at the appropriate size.

Geography & Politics

Things just keep changing in Terisiare. There are a lot of names for this period, but the nickname most appropriate for the geography is the Flood Age. As the world thaws, all that ice and all those glaciers begin to melt, causing sea levels to rise and creep in on civilization. Lat-Nam, Tresserhorn and other settlements feel this encroachment acutely, and what was once one continent begins to divide into islands. Fyndhorn begins to flood, and the elves and druids take refuge in Yavimaya, which itself slowly becomes an island. The valleys controlled by the Balduvians become more valuable than ever as they thaw into arable land.

The thaw does not just affect the geography, either. Because of Balduvia's sudden fortune, they become a much greater political power. While Balduvia is on the rise, Kjeldor is on the decline. The thaw has resulted in previously unknown plagues wracking Krov, which has suddenly found itself met with plagues of all sorts in the warming weather. The Kjeldoran royal family abandons Krov as the capital and take back up in their ancestral home, Kjeld. Soldev weathers the plagues through artifact technology and steam beasts that help to cleanse the city. The Kjeldoran alliance with the elves remains, except that now the elves are in Yavimaya.

 


What happened to Leshrac between the Ice Age and the Mending?
Leshrac Panel from Shandalar #1 by Bo Hampton

Planeswalkers

Leshrac, also known as the Walker of the Night, is a mystery. At some point in the past, he became trapped on the Shard, but otherwise his origin is a complete unknown. In fact, it is unclear how much of Leshrac's pre-revisionist history is still intact. What is certain is that he enlisted the Necromancer Lim-Dûl to create an undead army, but that Lim-Dûl wasted that army on his petty vendetta against Kjeldor. We know he wished to escape from the Shard, and in both versions he escaped to Shandalar shortly before the World Spell. Lim-Dûl is there in both versions as well, but that is where things get messy. In the Shandalar comics, he was run off in a week, while more recent stories set on Shandalar mention a city called Lesh, named for a dark God (heavily implied to be Leshrac). It is possible that Leshrac came back later, long enough to inspire that fear, but given that modern Shandalar does not bear much resemblance to the one presented in the comic, I lean away from the comic's interpretation of events. Regardless, Leshrac was killed just before the Mending after an epic battle with Nicol Bolas, and his essence was used to seal rifts on Dominaria.

Tevesh Szat is a human Planeswalker native to Dominaria. He lived in Sarpadia as Tev Loneglade with his sister until she was murdered. Afterwards he turned to madness and assumed a more draconian form, as well as his new name, the doom of fools. He engineered the fall of the remaining kingdoms, and later Storgard, too. He was trapped in the Shard with all the other planeswalkers, and allied with Leshrac to escape. Like Leshrac, he was also run off Shandalar relatively quickly. He would reappear during the Phyrexian Invasion, where Urza would insist on making him one of the nine Titans. Szat's inevitable betrayal was part of Urza's plan to justifiably kill the Planeswalker and use his power.

Legends

Heidar, Rimewind Master is a human cryomage who is not happy about global warming. He was a prodigy among his people, the Rimewind, who lived far to the north of Kjeldor and Balduvia, but his potential was cut short one summer when the World Spell destroyed the frozen world he and his people revered. When the Rimewind finally began to feel the effects of the warming climate, he set about reversing the damage, and made contact with Phyrexia in the process.

Jaya Ballard is a human pyromancer native to Dominaria. At the battle between Lim-Dûl and the combined forces of Balduvia and Kjeldor, she picked up Mairsil's ring. The ancient wizard's personality slowly affected her over time, taking control. She had yet to ascend as a planeswalker at the beginning of this story, but when she did ascend later on, she left a legacy of awesome flavor text quotes behind. While her ultimate fate is an unknown, an alternate Jodah from the Time Spiral cycle suggests she was killed long before the Mending. Of course, whatever happened to her, she inspired the monks of Keral Keep to found their monastic order in her honor.

Jodah, Archmage Eternal is an ancient wizard who fell into a fountain of youth as a young man. He is the Archmage of the School of the Unseen, the secretive wizarding group founded by the Third Path way back during the Brothers' War. He neglected his duties, abdicating a portion of his power to his second, Gerda. This served as revenge by giving her the position she always wanted, and enjoying her finding that it was not what she expected. Given his longevity, he tends to not think about personal relationships, so it was twenty years ago that he last checked in on the rest of the world or his friends.

Lim-Dûl's Body is... wait. Lim-Dûl's body? Yeah... it is complicated. Leshrac severs Lim-Dûl's hand in The Eternal Ice, the hand containing the ring with the essence of Mairsil the Pretender, from his body. While the hand and ring remain behind, Lim-Dûl's body goes to Shandalar. Since it is unlikely that the Shandalar comics are still canon, given how different the plane is from the Shandalar re-introduced after the Mending, this Lim-Dûl is largely unaccounted for. In the comics, however, he manages to manipulate events to have the plane's protector run off Leshrac and Tevesh Szat, and attempts to take over the plane himself several times. His story continues in the old Microprose Game, but given the city of Lesh mentioned in The Bard and the Biologist, it seems like if we ever address this period again post-revision, it will be different.

Lim-Dûl/Mairsil's Essence is the spirit contained in Mairsil's ring. I will explain later why they still call this entity Lim-Dûl rather than Mairsil, but we know that Jaya Ballard picks up the hand and ring after Leshrac severs it, and Lim-Dûl/Mairsil's Essence begins worming its way into her mind. This particular version of Lim-Dûl is the subject of today's story.

 


Unfortunately, he does not also wear a Tuxedo to fight evil by moonlight.
Darien, King of Kjeldor by Michael Phillippi

Minor Characters

  • Aevar Borg - A famous guide during the Ice Age, featured in Flavor Text.
  • Alexandrite - Daughter of King Darien. Implied to marry Lothar Lovisason and found the kingdom of New Argive.
  • Arcum Dagsson - A master artificer and leader of the city of Soldev.
  • Chaeska - Lim-Dûl's servant, who is desperately trying to convince the outside world his master still lives.
  • Darien, King of Kjeldor - He is the, uh, King of Kjeldor.
  • Garza Zol, Plague Queen - Garza usurped control of Krov following the royal family's abandonment of the city.
  • Gerda Äagesdotter - A mage in the School of the Unseen who staged a coup against Jodah. Jodah rewarded her by giving her all of his responsibility, and she does not find it to her liking.
  • Gustha Ebbasdotter - The former royal mage of Kjeldor who perished in battle against Lim-Dûl's forces. She is also featured in Flavor Text.
  • Haakon, Stromgald Scourge - Leader of the remaining Stromgald Cult
  • Kaysa - Head Druid of the Juniper Order.
  • Lord of Tresserhorn - A dummy created by Chaeska to make Tresserhorn's enemies (and allies) believe Lim-Dûl is still alive.
  • Lothar Lovisason - The son of Lovisa Coldeyes. Implied to marry Princess Alexandrite and found New Argive.
  • Lovisa Coldeyes - The leader of the Balduvian Barbarians, killed in battle against the Rimewind Cult.
  • Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper - An orcish shaman who made a deal with a Void Maw for power over death.
  • Sorine Relicbane - An artificer turned artifact naysayer, who warns Arcum of the dangers of messing with the very thing that nearly destroyed the world the first time around. Featured in a bunch of Flavor Text.
  • Taavati of Kelsinko - An elf of Fyndhorn who often serves as a guide, featured in a bunch of Flavor Text.
  • General Varchild - Former General of Kjeldor, believed to have died some years prior.

The Story of the Thaw
Shandalar

If I am not a fan of the Acclaim comics in general, that goes double for Shandalar. The plot is simple. While Leshrac and Tevesh Szat decide on what to do with the unusual new mana-rich plane they have encountered, Lim-Dûl fakes dying at their hands. He then pretends to be a legendary hero from the world, and convinces some other wizards to run Leshrac and Tevesh Szat off. He proceeds to attempt to conquer the world, which is a plot thread picked up by the Microprose Magic: The Gathering game, where Lim-Dûl's essence is used to power an artifact that protects the plane. It is unclear how much of this is still canon, and it is pretty much irrelevant to anything that happens later in the story, anyway.

As a side note, more recent fiction has indicated that something happens on Shandalar, and it is probably not this. The reason? Shandalar has a city named Lesh, after an ancient evil god (and really super obviously Leshrac). The problem here is that you do not name cities after planeswalkers who hung out on your plane for a week and did not do much. So, obviously there is more to the story that we just do not know.

 


We desperately need Ebook versions of most old novels.
The Shattered Alliance by Gary Ruddell

Alliances

In the twenty years following Freyalise's World Spell, the Age of Storms descends upon Terisiare. Flooding is rampant, and entire cities are slowly lost to the encroaching seas. The Fyndhorn forest is completely lost, and landmasses that were once part of the continent become island chains. Even Lat-Nam, home to the School of the Unseen, is not safe from the encroaching flood waters. Centuries of knowledge are lost to water damage and rot.

It is at this point that Jaya arrives at Lat-Nam to meet with Jodah. She stumbled across something that has her worried: Lim-Dûl's severed hand, missing the finger with Mairsil's ring. Worried that Mairsil/Lim-Dûl has returned, the pair head off to investigate Tresserhorn for themselves.

The whole Mairsil/Lim-Dûl thing is odd in this book, and for anyone who has not read it is incredibly confusing. Besides the questionably canonical Lim-Dûl that terrorizes Shandalar in the comics, there is still the one in the ring. The novel alternates between calling the Mairsil/Lim-Dûl Essence 'Lim-Dûl' and 'Mairsil' pretty frequently, and while it is definitely Mairsil in the ring, the rationale for calling it Lim-Dûl is:

  • The people of the Ice Age do not know who Mairsil the Pretender is, so the name is meaningless for anyone who is not Jodah.
  • When Mairsil takes over a mind, he lurks in the background, influencing the person without taking them over completely. When he does take over, he essentially fuses with the host mind, sharing personality traits and desires.

In any case, on the journey to Tresserhorn, Jodah begins to notice Jaya is acting a little strangely, but chalks it up to age and distance. They meet with refugees fleeing the coast that say that the Lord of Tresserhorn is battling with undead, although it is ambiguous which side is which. When they reach Tresserhorn, they notice it is under siege by the remaining Stromgald loyalists, still seeking vengeance for their deaths at Lim-Dûl's hands. Inside they encounter Chaeska, whom Jaya intimidates into submission with a show of power. Chaeska leads them to the Lord, a simulacrum of Lim-Dûl intended to keep the undead in line and their enemies intimidated. Chaeska has no idea where the real Lim-Dûl is. Left with a dead end, Jodah hopes Lim-Dûl's old library will provide some clues, but it was completely destroyed by water damage as the sea slowly encroached on Tresserhorn. His final thought is the bottomless pit from way back in The Gathering Dark, that Ith was imprisoned over… and even that is gone. Left with no more clues, the pair head to the scene of their last battle with Lim-Dûl.

At Lat-Nam, Gerda is finally in charge without Jodah's constant oversight. Of course, this means there is immediately a crisis. Part of her deal with Lim-Dûl has come back to haunt her… in the form of the bottomless pit, somehow moved from Tresserhorn to the unused dungeons of Lat-Nam. The pit has begun to leak black mana, and nothing she tries seems to be able to ‘plug' it back up again.

 


The Allosaurus and Aesthir all died out following the Thaw.
Into the North by Richard Sardinha

Jodah and Jaya head back to the site of their battle with Lim-Dûl twenty years earlier, and find nothing. The whole landscape has changed and what was a barren ice field is now a lush meadow. Instead, they are set upon by Balduvians, who believe them to be Kjeldoran Soldiers. Jaya tries to throw fire at the approaching barbarians, but Jodah snuffs out her attempts and instead casts a spell to disorient everyone, giving them a chance to talk. The leader of this group is Lovisa Coldeyes' son, Lothar, who takes them back to his mother's encampment. It turns out the Balduvians are on edge because they are under regular siege from Kjeldoran forces. Jodah assumes this must be a mistake, as he heard nothing about the alliance he helped negotiate twenty years earlier being broken.

The political situation got tricky for Kjeldor and Balduvia. The Kjeldorans' cities are all under threat from the encroaching sea waters and disease in this new age of storms. King Darien has moved from the capital, Krov, to Kjeld due to various disease outbreaks - something the snow civilization was ill-prepared for. This has left the two civilizations in reversed roles: the Balduvians control the lush new lands formed after the melting snow, and the Kjeldorans need the food the Balduvians are producing. Some Kjeldorans, still bitter at old Balduvian raids, took to raiding the Balduvians. Those tensions from twenty years before have not gone away, and the same sentiments that swayed people to the Stromgald still exist.

Jodah arrives at Kjeld and is introduced to Darien's daughter, Princess Alexandrite. He asks the king to aid the Balduvians, but the King — now a strong leader — does not believe these rogue Kjeldorans to be a serious threat. Jodah also learns that Varchild died in the intervening years. For Jodah, tracking down Lim-Dûl is the priority, so he asks after Gustha's old equipment. Her property had been moved to Kjeld along with the king, but unfortunately most of it had been picked through already by Gustha's apprentices. He has just enough to make a reliquary to help them track down Lim-Dûl's energy, but he assumes it to not be particularly reliable, given that Jaya seems to set it off. He assumes it is because of her close contact with the hand. He puts the reliquary off due to a new crisis, as just after its completion, Jaya returns from the city having contracted some sort of fatal disease. After discussion with Alexandrite, Jodah returns to the Balduvians and their shamans to get a cure for Jaya. Their Aesthir rider turns out to be Alexandrite in disguise, sneaking along.

I should mention, there is a sub-plot involving Jodah trying to figure out who Lim-Dûl has possessed. They are all red herrings, so I will not go too deep into details.

Back at Lovisa's camp, the shamans agree to cure Jaya… but the camp is under siege by the rogue Kjeldorans, with the largest armed force presented to date. Alexandrite and Lothar fly off on one of the last Aesthir (all the big animals of the ice age are dying out) to seek help from a neighboring clan. The siege goes on for days, and Jodah slowly burns through all of his spells keeping the camp safe. It was a strong siege, and without Jodah's presence it would have succeeded. The siege is broken with the timely arrival of both the neighboring Balduvians retrieved by Lothar and Alexandrite and the true Kjeldorans. Alexandrite's disappearance moved Darien to act to find his wayward daughter, with the army in tow. Jaya is healed, and Jodah suggests that Lovisa and Darien unify their kingdoms, suggesting the name New Argive, given that the territory they occupy was once Argive. The two monarchs look at their young adult children, and it is heavily implied that Lothar and Alexandrite form a political union to cement the new kingdom.

 


Complex characters like Varchild make the Ice Age so iconic.
Omen of Fire by Pete Venters

Oh, and Jodah checks another suspect off his list, as it turns out Varchild had been leading the rogue Kjeldorans, for some reason. It is implied that she faked her death after being spurned by Darien... I guess? Or maybe it was her sense of duty, or lingering resentment at the Balduvians' success while the Kjeldorans were suffering? I do not know; it is not made clear and it is just another red herring for the real Lim-Dûl.

Moving instead to his next suspect, the long-dead Gustha, Jodah and Jaya return to her old tower in Krov. There, they are attacked by a Soldevi Sentry. Jodah and Jaya follow this new clue to Soldev, which has remained plague-free due to some rather brutal tactics by Arcum Dagsson. He introduces Jodah to Sorine Relicbaner who warns against Arcum's use of Steam Beasts to both provide power and scour the city of disease. Sorine is a former student and a naysayer that Arcum keeps around for advice (although he does not listen much). It turns out Soldev is built near many old ruins, and the Soldevi people were uncovering and storing Phyrexian artifacts for years.

That cannot possibly go wrong.

Arcum tells Jodah that the Sentry that attacked him had gone missing not that long ago, and Sorine mentions that a cult calling themselves the Adnates have been stealing parts. Jaya goes off to gather intelligence and track one down, and reports back that Varchild, who had escaped following the earlier battle, is amassing troops to attack Soldev. Arcum leads the Steam Beasts and Kjeldon Soldiers out to battle her, while Jodah follows Jaya underground to meet with the Adnates for clues as to Lim-Dûl's whereabouts.

To his horror, he discovers the Adnates have access to Soldev's vaults and dozens of Phyrexian War Beasts. It's only then that he learns the truth: Jaya had recovered Lim-Dûl's hand all those years ago, and Mairsil/Lim-Dûl had wormed his way into her mind, tweaking her path here and there. He learns this when Jaya slits open his neck, spraying blood everywhere and activating the dormant Phyrexian artifacts. Apparently being the blood of the Brothers gives a lot of access when it comes to Phyrexian stuff, as Mairsil had wanted to use Jodah to open a gate to Phyrexia. Jaya and the Adnates head for the surface, leaving Jodah for dead.

To survive, Jodah does what he dreaded doing: he uses the mirror. With his mind inside, time slows down for him even further. He uses the mirror's magic to rebound healing spell after healing spell to bring his body from the brink of death, but at the cost of activating Freyalise's surprise. She had imbued the mirror with a sliver of her spark, enough raw power to activate the latent spark she sensed when she cast the World Spell. She believed that spark to be Jodah's, but after 2,000 years of hard living Jodah is positive if he was a planeswalker he would have ascended already. He manages to delay the power building in the mirror, and heads off to confront Jaya/Mairsil/Lim-Dûl for the last time.

 


For some reason, the people of Soldev were cool with these monstrosities.
Soldevi Steam Beast by Bill Sienkiewicz

When Jodah emerges, the Steam Beasts and Phyrexian War Beasts have torn the city apart and are rampaging through what is left. He floats above the city, and spots Jaya immediately. Jaya has magically enlarged herself to twenty feet tall and is doing her best King Kong impression atop a building's spire. As he approaches her, he is surrounded by Phyrexian War Beasts. The constructs do not attack him, but instead disappear through portals that suddenly appear. Jaya gestures to the one portal left open, and gives Jodah a choice: save Lat-Nam, the School of the Unseen, or stay and fight. Jaya/Mairsil/Lim-Dûl has sent the War Beasts in search of the copious black mana from the bottomless pit - which was relocated to Lat-Nam as part of Gerda's deal in The Eternal Ice. Without hesitation, Jodah charges Jaya and the last portal to Lat-Nam closes behind him.

Jaya did not expect this outcome, and is unprepared as Jodah smashes his mirror, brimming with Freyalise's power, into her forehead. They are both transported away into the Blind Eternities, but Jaya uses her new powers to protect Jodah. Jodah explains that if he did not have the spark Freyalise sensed, it had to be Jaya - as the only other people present at the World Spell's casting were Freyalise's own followers. Upon her ascension, Jaya freed herself from Lim-Dûl's influence, as his spirit could not follow into the Blind Eternities. They believe this to have killed him. Together, they go to see what has happened to Lat-Nam.

Gerda did her best to defend the school and repulse the Phyrexian War Beasts, but they were too many and too powerful. Jaya's arrival is promptly followed with the incineration of the machines, saving the day. With Jodah's help, Jaya seals off the bottomless pit from whatever dark power it was connected to. In the ruins of Lat-Nam's School of the Unseen, Jodah makes Gerda the true Archmage, as he now believes her to truly have the school's interests, and not her own, at heart. Gerda and the remnants of the school leave for points unknown. Jodah and Jaya have a final farewell. Jaya wants to go off to explore the multiverse and learn about her newfound abilities (at one point visting Regatha, inspiring Keral Keep, and leaving behind her goggles). Jodah, for his part, just wishes to fade from history… for now. With a touch to his forehead, Jaya imparts her farewell gift to Jodah. The weight of years will no longer drive him mad, and he no longer needs the magic mirror he destroyed saving her.

But Jodah is not done; he has one last role to play in a few hundred years, which I shall get to at the end.

 


Before the original Innistrad, Coldsnap had the weakest modern Magic story.
Heidar, Rimewind Master by Ron Spears

Coldsnap

To understand Coldsnap, I have to give you a little bit of background on the Rimewind Cult. The Rimewind are a group of ice mages who settled at Ronom Glacier (where Feldon found his cane long ago). They eventually achieved mastery over the ice, and even discovered that if harnessed properly, the ice of the world could provide a lens through which they could draw even more power. For a long time, they thrived.

And then Freyalise cast the World Spell, ending the Ice Age - and the Rimewind's power. A young prodigy named Heidar recognized this first. As a young man, he was allowed to study in the secret ice caverns where the Rimewind's secrets were scribbled into the ice. He became very in tune with the the Rimewind's winter powers, and sensed the coming Thaw first. As Terisiare moves into the Age of Storms, Heidar is at a loss. Everything he stood for is melting away, including Rimewind's hidden caverns. But deep under Rimewind Keep, under the secret caves of the Rimewind through passages only now being thawed out, he discovers a secret. He translates the etchings he found and ends up murdering his mentor in a fit when the man would not commit to Heidar's chosen path: bringing back the ice.

Heidar heads out to the world in search of allies. His first stop is Tresserhorn, where the Knights of Stromgald have finally defeated Chaeska and his false Lim-Dûl. Heidar and the Stromgald Leader, Haakon combine their power to create new abominations. In exchange for this magic, Heidar gains access to what remains of Lim-Dûl's Vault. He also reaches out to Krov, where the plagues have allowed for the vampire Garza to usurp power. He promises her fresh bodies from Kjeldor in exchange for the use of her elementalists (the mages from the royal academy who stayed in the city), but Garza does not trust Heidar. She agrees to the deal, but she subtly infiltrates his ranks with Assassins.

 


Poor Lovisa has one of the most ignoble deaths in Magic.
Soul Spike by Wayne England

Texts from Lim-Dûl's Vault (apparently he found some where Jodah could not) tell Heidar of a stash of Phyrexian constructs, now uncovered thanks the thaw and ripe for the taking... and right under his home at Ronom Glacier. The Rimewind dig out the beasts, but are unable to animate them without powerstones. With no way to locate real powerstones, Heidar siezes upon the idea of making them from ice, instead. But the Rimewind fail time after time, until the forces of New Argive learn of their plot. Heidar sends Haakon to delay the Balduvians and Kjeldorans, but the Kjeldorans intercept him, allowing the Balduvians through. Lovisa Coldeyes leads her horde against the Rimewind, and at first the warriors overwhelm the weak defenses of Rimewind Keep. In his desperation, Heidar prays to Phyrexia and something — it's not clear what — gives him the inspiration to finish his Icy Power Stones, called Coldsteel Hearts. The new devices work perfectly, and they turn the tide of the battle. Heidar demands Lovisa's surrender, but when she spits at him instead, he impales her. Lothar, however, manages to get away. Heidar has gone fully mad at this point, murdering his love — a woman referred to only as ‘snowflake' — by freezing her and preserving her head. He rants about the honor guard provided him by the Krovikans — and how they'll turn on him at any moment — before preparing to leave with his armies to lay waste to everything between him and Kjeld.

Arcum Dagsson arrives to investigate Ronom Glacier, around Rimewind Keep, and finds the place deserted with only a single Phyrexian left behind. He inserts a Time Bomb into the machine, but when he charges the device, he activates the Phyrexian construct by accident. He and his guide, Aevar Borg, manage to wrangle the beast long enough for the bomb to detonate, destroying it. Arcum presumably reports back to Darien on his investigation, but King Darien's forces are waylayed by Haakon and the Knights of Stromgald.

Nearer to Kjeld, the Knights of Stromgald and the forces of Kjeldor meet. Darien called his Yavimayan allies for aid, but they did not arrive in time. During the fourth day of battle, Darien and Haakon duel for hours. The Kjeldoran soldiers, stunned by their king's bravery, charge when they realize they essentially left their king to die. Their charge kills Haakon (Again.. For real? He is already dead.) and sends the Stromgald remnant running. After Haakon's defeat, however, the rampaging Phyrexian army arrives at Kjeld, and begins to slaughter what is left of the Kjeldoran forces. Garza, realizing what a threat Heidar is with these new machines, orders her hidden assassins to eliminate him.

Only then do Kjeldor's Yavimayan allies come to New Argive's aid. The machines have already begun to fail without Heidar's magic to power them, and both the coldsteel hearts and the Phyrexians are destroyed by Yavimayan shamans, ending the last gasp of the Ice Age and leading us truly into the new age for Dominaria.

 


Populist demagogues just want to make you undead, folks.
Haakon, Stromgald Scourge by Mark Zug

Coming Full Circle

Concurrent with the events of Planeswalker, Jodah takes it upon himself to observe planeswalkers coming to Dominaria, and handle them in his way if necessary. One day, hundreds of years after the end of the Ice Age, he comes across one in particular: Urza. He settles in to watch, and when Xantcha and Ratape leave (some time while they were distributing the ‘spiders' across the continent — more on that another time) he moves in. Urza is shocked to find someone who is obviously a family member at the door, and listens patiently as Jodah explains all that happened in his absence.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this delve into the time of the Ice Age, one of the more obscure time periods. Even the most casual Vorthos knows a bit about the Weatherlight, but I'm hoping people will enjoy the (mostly) non-Phyrexian stories Dominaria has to offer as well. Next time: The Road to New Phyrexia.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments or on the forum, and we will address it in future updates. Have a suggestion for something you want to see? Let us know, and we may address it in a future column. You can also follow me on twitter @Jay13x or Archive Trap Mini on Tumblr.

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