Fiora, the World of Conspiracy Part II: Take the Crown

The Vorthos Guide to Magic: The Gathering
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Welcome back to Archive Trap, the unofficial story column for all things Magic: the Gathering. Today we return to one of my personal favorite settings, Fiora, the World of Conspiracy. It was a few years since we were last here, and the story ended on a cliffhanger: Brago has achieved immortality, but Selvala has escaped his betrayal. With this new installment, we finally learn what happens next, and meet some interesting new characters along the way. Without further ado, let's get caught up on the intrigue.

Marchesa has won control of the city... but for how long?
Sovereign's Realm by Daniel Ljunggren
Setting the Stage
Conspiracy: Take the Crown is a supplemental Magic set designed specifically for drafting. The first Conspiracy revealed clues to the fans through cryptographic puzzles hidden in the Magic: the Gathering website. Conspiracy: Take the Crown, however, was initially announced as Conspiracy: The Reign of Brago. Throughout the announcement week, a new plot development was teased daily, with the assassination of Brago being followed by the new title, Conspiracy: The Empty Throne. Even that, however, was a hoax, as the real set title was finally revealed showing Marchesa on the throne.

A few months later with the release of Eternal Masters, the set's tokens held hidden messages along their card borders. Lining up all these messages, requiring 100 tokens to do so, revealed a Proclamation from Marchesa claiming her right to the throne and a new character named Adriana, former captain of the guard, making a Proclamation of her own.


The borders of what we know of Fiora expanded since our last visit. Paliano is still divided into the High City and the Lowlands, connected by the Thousand Stairs, unless you can pay for a lift. Of note is a section of the High City called the Thieves' Quarter, where Adriana makes her first plea to the people. The Academy at High Paliano has been closed, and the sewers underneath have been locked.

Outside of Paliano lies a number of unnamed townships and smaller cities, Drakestown, formerly Drakeston but changed for the original Conspiracy, a ghost town, Talon, a port city, and the Hinterlands. Beyond Talon, we now know there is another port city called Trest, a region known as Alberon and the Empire of Kinnesta. Not much else is known about these locations, although because Trest has now become a player in Paliano politics, we will likely learn more when we next return.


The story of Conspiracy: Take the Crown picks up some time after the ending of Blood will have Blood. Brago pulled the Custodi closer than ever, and even instituted them as the church of Paliano. The Custodi themselves seem to have gotten the same treatments they gave Brago, as at least some are now ghosts themselves. In an attempt to destroy his rivals, but secretly orchestrated by Grenzo and Daretti, Brago closed the Academy and scoured cogwork from the city. Brago was not the only one plotting, though. As Brago attempted to secure his eternal rule, Marchesa made bribes, traded favors, and hired an assassin with a very specific skill set. Paliano also made alliances with the elvish city of Trest across the sea, who sent their own emissaries to Paliano to meddle in the political game.

Daretti is back! And completely unplayable in a Daretti EDH Deck. But Breya loves him!
Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast by Victor Adame Minguez

Daretti is a goblin artificer and planeswalker native to Fiora. He was originally the face of one of the Commander 2014 decks after an off-hand mention during the first Conspiracy. He was once the mentor of Muzzio, one step away from the title of Master Artificer, but becmae crippled in the explosion which ignited his spark. Rumors at the Academy circulated that Muzzio had instead killed Daretti, but Muzzio's knowledge of other planes makes it seem more likely that they remained in contact. Returning to Paliano after exploring the multiverse, Daretti set a plan into motion to take vengeance for his mistreatment by the Academy. He told Grenzo about Muzzio's huge cache of cogwork warriors, and it is implied that Grenzo set them loose upon the city. This event led to King Brago disbanding the Academy and banning cogwork devices from the city. With the Academy disbanded, Daretti does whatever it takes to hunt down and take his revenge on the Academy Elite who wronged him.

Kaya is a human planeswalker with the unique ability of being able to interact with the spirit world. She uses this ability to take jobs as an exorcist across the multiverse, where her contributions are both valued and reviled. Not much else is known about her at this point, other than that she is nobility herself wherever she is from, but whatever her purpose, we meet her as she waits for the go-ahead on a major contract. That contract? The assassination of none other than King Brago. Kaya is an intriguing new character, and there's a large list of spirits that need killing. The Obzedat? Ugin? The Onakke? Anafenza? I am sure we will see her soon.

Dack Fayden did not appear in this Conspiracy. The poor guy has been entering Theros' underworld in order to stop Ashiok's plot for years now, and I really hope we get to check in on him soon. If for some reason you missed both articles I wrote on him, the sections I added to every plane he visited, and the first Conspiracy article: Dack is a human native to Fiora. His spark ignited on a night out while attending a magical academy. His friend was killed and he was attacked. He turned to a life of thieving, as his natural gift of psychometry made him an excellent tracker and allowed him to learn the magic behind artifacts. Unfortunately, his hometown of Drakestown, or Drakeston in the comics, was destroyed by a rival planeswalker while he was away. This act drove Dack to become a sometimes reluctant hero, unwilling to see others hurt because of him. We will see the Greatest Thief in the Multiverse again soon.

Leovold is the breakout star of Take the Crown. His smarm levels are off the charts.
Emissary's Ploy by Howard Lyon

Adriana Vallore was Captain of the Guard under King Brago. When Brago was assassinated, she was momentarily lost, until confronted with Marchesa herself, who had no shame from her scheming. Rather than work for Marchesa, she rode off to rouse the people against Marchesa, and even headed off into the hinterlands to bring Selvala back to the city. While Adriana wants to bring about a Republic of Paliano, she finds herself working with the former Guard in an insurgency against Marchesa.

Grenzo was the High City's Dungeon Warden, but has lost his position, and his keys, with Marchesa's rise. He was responsible for freeing Selvala after Brago's betrayal, attempting to coerce her into assassinating Muzzio. Afterwards, he began working with Muzzio and was instrumental in having the Academy disbanded, as he implies he set Muzzio's cogwork soldiers loose on the city after Daretti tipped him off to their location. Now that Marchesa has ascended, he is working with Daretti to get his revenge.

Leovold is a cunning and conniving ambassador from Trest. One of the newest to the city, he uses his position as emissary to conduct clandestine spying operations and has detailed dossiers on many of the Paliano Elite. His assessment of the major players of Paliano is presented in Leovold's Dossiers.

Marchesa d'Amati was once the undisputed queen of Paliano's underworld, but she was not content with a figurative title. After much plotting, bribery and outright murder, she ascended to the Paliano throne following Brago's true death. She made the mistake of allowing Adriana to live, who spread rumors of her illegitimate claim to the throne, and ever since she is attempting to convince the public that she is the true queen.

Selvala of Alberon was one of Brago's closest allies for decades, until his growing tyrannical ways started to separate them. During an attempt at reconciliation while he was still human, he led her to believe that she was putting him out of his misery, but when she killed him he rose again as a spirit to rule Paliano forever. Selvala was locked away in the dungeons, but freed by Grenzo in order to assassinate Muzzio. She refused, and instead escaped the city, one day to return. With the arrival of Adriana at her doorstep, she finally has a purpose again. Although in the end, she chooses not to ally herself with Adriana, Selvala is finally making her move on the city, possibly with the support of allies in Trest.

Trest being on Fiora retroactively adds this commander staple to the plane.
Edric, Spymaster of Trest by Volkan Baga
Minor Characters
  • Alendis - Former Chancellor of the Academy turned member of the Custodi.
  • Brago - The former king of Paliano, assassinated by Kaya
  • Edric - The widely respected spymaster of Trest who was haunted by a secret for centuries.
  • Emilio Revari - A slimy noble who murdered his mother and hired Kaya to kill the resulting ghost.
  • Fimarell - Former Professor of the Academy who stole Daretti's work.
  • Lucia Covi - A Intelligence Officer for Marchesa
  • Mklthd - An ornery homunculus.
  • Muzzio - A former player in Paliano politics, Muzzio remains in exile following his fall from grace.
  • Sydri - An artificer - and apprentice to Muzzio - who dropped out and joined the Custodi.

The Story of Conspiracy: Take the Crown

A Ghostly Prologue
In a tavern called the Wasp's Nest, Kaya awaits her latest contract. She is ushered upstairs by stiff soldier, where she meets with Don Emilio Revari. Note that although mafia films have given it a different connotation,“Don” is an honorific used for nobility and other respected members of society in Fiora. Don Revari is in need of someone with Kaya's special skills. His late mother's palatial country manor is haunted, running off the workers he had assigned to renovations. Kaya takes the job, with half her payment up front. As she leaves the Wasp's Nest, a courier delivers a message. Inside there is only the symbol of a black rose. Kaya takes this to mean that a huge job she is waiting for is about to go forward, which gives her enough time to complete Revari's job before she returns to Paliano. Kaya heads for the Hinterlands estate and quickly finds the ghost is more than she bargained for. Her more subtle approaches fail, until she discovers the reason for this particular poltergeist: it's the spirit of Revari's mother, who he murdered for his inheritance. Kaya lures Revari's back to the manor under the guise of completing the contract. There, she tricks him into the room with his dead mother, leaving him to her tender mercies. She happily forfeits the other half of her payment to Revari's men for a little poetic justice.

Who you gonna call? ... You KNOW I can't help myself. I blame all of you for this.
Regicide by Chris Rallis
Take the Crown
Adriana is a Captain of the Guard guarding a king who cannot die. She is conflicted about her position, as she noticed Brago became cruel after shedding mortality. Following a meeting with his Custodi advisers, Adriana is asked to escort them out. She notices the Custodi spirits are behaving oddly, and elsewhere in the palace Adriana notices other things amiss. A servant makes references to a queen, and new banners begin to unfold everywhere. She breaks into a run and finds the Kaya with the King. Kaya plunges her spectral dagger into Brago's neck, causing a chain reaction that evaporates him. Kaya escapes through the floor, but not before giving Adriana a piece of advice:

"As long as tyrants die, the chance for freedom lives."

Adriana claims Brago's sword, and finds the by the next day total control of the city transferred to Marchesa. Marchesa was clearly planning for this a long time. In an audience with the new queen, Adriana is further distraught by Marchesa's haughty attitude. It is clear she does not care for the people and wishes only to have the power. Adriance begins to think about how these constant succession wars bring only strife to the common people, and makes her decision on what to do. Adriana spits in Marchesa's face, confounding the woman who ordinarily is always in control. Adriana is allowed to leave with her life, but the subtext is that she would be murdered soon. The former captain of the guard gathers her loyalists, and they take to the streets. They rally the people to their side, but Adriana does not believe herself to be a ruler. She instead rides out and finds Selvala, and proposes an alliance to establish a Republic of Paliano. This does not go as well as Adriana had hoped, and Selvala makes her own moves, meeting with Leovold from Trest instead.

More factions than ever are vying for the throne. Who will overcome Marchesa?
Throne of the High City by Titus Lunter
Following her ascension, Marchesa issues a proclamation announcing her legitimacy for the throne. As a counter, Adriana proclaims her illegitimacy, points out all the flaws with the logic of an immortal ghost king naming an heir, and swears to continue to protect the people of Paliano. To combat the rumors swirling against her claim to the throne, Marchesa attempts to sway the people with a party. The Festival of Our Sovereign Lady's Grace raged through the night, masking the schemes of Paliano's two foremost goblins. In an exciting turn of events, Grenzo and Daretti allied themselves together in pursuit of mutual vengeance. Their personalities immediately conflict: Daretti prefers careful planning and preparation, while Grenzo is more of a rough and tumble, smash his way to success type of guy.

On the night of the festival, Grenzo's minions distract a sentry from his post, leaving the home of Professor Fimarell wide open. Grenzo and Daretti bicker over their approaches as they break in. Inside, Grenzo's minions handle the guards and begin to loot the house. Grenzo just stuffs books and papers into bags, but Daretti is more circumspect. He examines one of Fimarell's books grimly, a book of ideas stolen from Daretti himself. He comments on how the Professor was a fraud, and begins to pontificate on a design he finds inside. Grenzo stops him, and reminds him of his purpose, how the Academy made him an outsider and even his prized apprentice Muzzio did nothing to help. The pair move upstairs to exact Daretti's vengeance, but Daretti realizes his carefully prepared speech is not on him. In a moment of panic, he wants to turn back and return later, but Grenzo pushes him forward. Upstairs, they corner Fimarell, but Grenzo interrupts Daretti in the middle of his speech. Unable to regain his place, Daretti, flips Fimarell out the window to his death. The two continue to bicker as they discuss their next destination: Alendis, former Vice Chancellor of the Academy, current member of the Custodi.

Through all of this intrigue, the diplomatic delegation from Trest takes up residence in the city. While Leovold appears to be vain and flamboyant, he is in fact running a large intelligence operation and putting contingencies in place for when the current unrest is finally over. Which way the wind will blow? Only time will tell.

That is it for this week, thanks for reading! The city of Paliano is a powder keg, but much like the first Conspiracy we will not know the true outcome until the next set.

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 would like to see? Let us know, and we could address it in a future column. As always, you can check out our Wiki to learn more.


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