The World of Mirrodin II: Darksteel and the Fifth Dawn

Welcome back, fleshlings, to your unofficial guide to Magic: The Gathering! Last time, we acquainted you with the origins of Mirrodin, beginning with Argentum. Glissa's journey took her to the Oxidda Mountain Chain, where she befriended the goblin tinkerer Slobad. Together they traveled to the gates of Taj-Nar where the Kha himself aided them. On their way through the dark swamps of the Mephidross, they repaired the golem Bosh, and later met the Lord of the Vault, Geth. The clues she gathered brought her to the blue lacunae, hidden beneath the vedalken's knowledge pool, where Glissa will finally learn the truth of the world: Mirrodin is hollow, and a god lurks inside. But where is the plane's true god, Karn?

The mystery of the Mycosynth is never quite solved... until Scars of Mirrodin.
Panopticon by John Avon

The Story of Mirrodin, Continued

Escape the Core, Part I

Memnarch, Guardian of Mirrodin, straps himself into his serum tank, hoping for a vision of his creator, Karn. Memnarch is more than a little bit mad, with his metal turned to flesh from a Mycosynth infection. He argues with himself and clearly has a tenuous grip on reality. Malil, a golem servant, appears with news of a development at the blue lacunae. The vedalken are chasing someone, and through his scrying devices he learns it’s the elf he’s after, Glissa, accompanied by a goblin, a wizard, and a golem. He sends Malil (made in Memnarch’s image before modifying himself) to retrieve her.

Malil descends from the tower, stepping out into the harsh glare of the mana core and in the shadows of the Mycosynth columns growing toward it. At the base, he prepares an army of sawtooth threshers and levelers for battle. Glissa, Slobad, Bruenna, and Bosh have little time to take in the core’s scenery as the vedalken close in from behind and Malil approaches with his threshers. Bosh points at another tunnel, one that branches off from the blue lacunae. But the levelers are too fast, and the group must turn to fight or be cut down from behind. The fight goes well at first, Bruenna blasting them from the air, Bosh smashing any that get close, Slobad leaping on the backs and getting them to destroy one another. But the battle turns, and only Glissa is left in fighting shape. In a rage at what appears to be the end, Glissa channels her green fire again into an explosive burst that disables all their pursuers.

Malil rendezvous with Pontifex, and after quick words they send their forces to split up and cut off Glissa and her friends. Pontifex and Malil are summoned to an audience with Memnarch, who berates them for their failure to apprehend Glissa. Memnarch needs her before the mana core ejects again. The vedalken, led by guard Marek, succeed in cutting off Glissa’s group. To get past, Bosh rolls into a ball and barrels through Katamari-style. They're saved by Bruenna’s fellow villagers when they emerge from the Knowledge Pool on the way out. Once they're safely hidden at a neurok village on the coast, they realize Bosh is bleeding, and that the Mycosynth has begun infecting him as well. Back at Menarch’s fortress, the Panopticon, Memnarch raves at Malil. He talks of an infection grown beyond his control, and gives Malil a dose of serum. The golem almost immediately becomes addicted to the substance’s mind expanding effects. Pontifex returns to to Lumengrid and arrives to the wreckage of Glissa’s escape. Realizing he needs to secure his power with the Synod before resuming the chase. With Janus dead, Pontifex has ascended to the leadership of the Synod. His rivals plot to install the younger vedalken Orland in Pontifex’s old seat. The council has only four members, and the positions are lifetime appointments with full control over the Vedalken Empire. Orland is a young liberal who wants to reform the Empire from what they've become.


Despite being omnipresent in the plot, Aerophin rarely appear on art.
Tel-Jilad Justice by Alex Horley-Orlandelli

Allies New and Old

Bruenna bids her new friends farewell and they return to the Tangle, where they're greeted by the new Troll Leader, Drooge. He assures her the trolls are on her side, and gifts her the helm to go with the sword she took. He reveals they are two pieces necessary to summon the Kaldra Guardian, but that the final piece resides in the Mephidross at the Vault of Whispers. They're interrupted by a fresh attack on the Tree of Tales.

In the core, Memnarch tends to the soul traps, the artifacts that drew all the living beings to Mirrodin. He muses about fighting the Mycosynth as he observes one of his constructs accidentally killed. When he returns to the Panopticon, Pontifex is there. He asks why Malil was sent after the fugitive Glissa, worried that his god has lost faith. Memnarch states simply that two forces are better than one. He says he needs Glissa before the green sun dawns to incorporate her into his being. Pontifex misunderstands, offering himself instead. Memnarch declines, slightly mocking that vedalken knows much, but also very little. Pontifex leaves and Memnarch uses his Darksteel Eye, forged with six scrying mirrors - one for each of his eyes. He turns his device to observe the Tangle.

Back in the Tangle, Glissa and crew barely escape the Tree of Tales. Slobad is snagged by a leveler, and they give chase. Deep in the Tangle, Glissa begins to lose track of her quarry and her friends in the dense ‘woods’. She meets one of the Tangle’s wolves, named Al-Hayat. After a wary initial confrontation, he tells her Slobad has been brief nearby (yes, the wolves are sapient). Al-Hayat explains that the wolves’ numbers have dwindled over the years, so they stay separate now. He agrees to join the group, and together they rescue Slobad. The wolf even uses healing magic to heal the goblin’s wounds.

They set off for the Mephidross, but in the Razorgrass Fields they're spotted by vedalken gliders. Pontifex has brought Marek and his rival Orland with a squad of elite soldiers to capture Glissa. Pontifex attempts to kill Orland, and when he orders Glissa’s death Marek’s loyalty is tested. Glissa’s group is outmatched despite some impressive fighting, until Bruenna arrives with some of the Neurok’s most powerful wizards. They run off the remaining vedalken. I should note here that there is one particularly awesome wizard who never gets a name. While the Wizards will be depleted in each subsequent conflict, one lone wizard makes it all the way to the climax. He suffers the indignity of only being referred to as “the other wizard”. Well, here’s to you, other wizard.

Back in the Panopticon, Memnarch infuses himself with more serum and has a delusional conversation with Karn. He tells Karn about his loneliness, how he brought the races of Mirrodin here to be companions but they're really just animals. He begs Karn to return, but his hallucination says nothing. Instead, Memnarch lashes out in a rage, destroying the infusion machine. At the edge of the Mephidross, Glissa’s group stops for the night. She talks to Bosh about having to be careful now that he's flesh, and they all go to sleep They're awoken in the night by hundreds of nim gathered at the shores of the Mephidross. They fight off wave after wave, but the horde is too overwhelming. Then they spot levelers in the distance.


The Mephidross is an ever expanding blight on Mirrodin's surface.
Vault of Whispers by Rob Alexander

Hunt for the Shield

Malil charges toward Glissa and her companions. After he interrogated the trolls, he headed straight for the dross, but Glissa and her companions had come out the other side of the Tangle and ended up on the other side of the dross. It took him a bit to catch up. Just as all hope seems lost, the nim also begin attacking the levelers; much to Malil’s chagrin. This slows their advance enough that Glissa’s group can slip through and escape. Unfortunately, their escape leads them to a dross covered slope, and they realize too late they can't slow their descent into the thick swamp waters below.

Meanwhile, Memnarch contemplates his plan in the Panopticon. We learn a lot during his musings in the core. We learn that Mirrodin is an unstable artificial plane. It's slowly coming undone without Karn, and the ejections of the ‘suns’ from the mana core are part of that. Each ejection brings chaos for a time. He's unsure where blinkmoths go but they disappear. The mycosynth spores worry him, he believes they've been there since Karn left, slowly turning metal to flesh and flesh to metal. The infection is fed by the mana core somehow, all the chrome mycosynth towers grow as if to grab it. He recounts Karn’s ascension (fusing with Urza’s power stone eyes in the last of the Legacy Weapon) and plans to do something similar with Glissa. He has built the Panopticon on the exact spot the green sun willl emerge from to use its power.

Glissa and team are sucked through an underground river, and would have drowned if Bosh didn't break through to a cavern. As they're spit out, a massive creature attacks them, and they barely escape down a side tunnel. Unknown to them, they're being followed by a myr, a myr whose eyes Memnarch is watching through in the Darksteel Eye. At the end of the tunnel, Glissa realizes she’s led them to the Vault of Whispers, specifically Geth’s throne room. They've entered through what must have been his escape tunnel. Once inside, Geth enters and welcomes them menacingly. He reveals Yert died in an ‘accident’ when his new reaper killed him. Glissa pulls her sword and threatens him, demanding the last piece of the Kaldra guardian. He whistles, and a trap is sprung as he slips away. The walls of his throne room collapse to reveal Vedalken soldiers shrouded in mist.

The group is split up almost immediately, and a dense fog hangs in the room obscuring everything from view. Marek takes the fight to Glissa directly, and with a feint stabs her leg. She ducks into the thick fog to heal, but Marek captured her. All but one of Bruenna’s wizards are killed - the aforementioned other wizard being the sole survivor. Glissa is taken captive by Marek, but Malil suddenly arrives with levelers in tow. This causes a stand off between Pontifex, who wants to kills Glissa, and Malil, who wants to bring her back. The distraction allows Glissa to escape, but she falls into a hole beneath Geth’s throne. It turns out to be his secret treasure room, and when Slobad falls in behind her they discover the Shield they'd been looking for. Glissa hands the Kaldra artifacts over and sets about looking for a weapon of her own.

Above, Pontifex and Malil fight, until Memnarch’s voice shakes the vault, demanding the elf. They ally again… temporarily. Bosh, Bruenna, and Al-Hayat all fight valiantly, but as they lose sight of each other they begin to lose the fight. That is, until Glissa emerges from under Geth’s Throne in the arm of the Kaldra Champion, glowing blue and radiating power. It slaughters many of the Vedalken, and those left beat a hasty retreat. Glissa spots her friends - all injured, Al-Hayat dying, and lets loose with her power again in rage and hate. Every leveler and Vedalken weapon is destroyed. Pontifex, Marek, and Malil barely escape with their lives. The rest of the group gather to mourn Al-Hayat. Unsure of how to get at Memnarch now that they have the Kaldra Champion, Bosh mentions the black lacunae, which Geth knows the location of. Glissa uses the Champion to intimidate him into revealing it, and they all head down.


The vedalken were once benign, but became corrupted by blinkmoth serum.
Grand Architect by Steven Belledin

Escape from the Core, Part II

Malil, Pontifex and Marek rest, exhausted, having fled to the border of the Mephidross. Their forces were ruined by the Kaldra Champion and Glissa’s outburst, with only a quarter remaining. Marek secretly hopes they won’t spot Glissa again, as they don’t have the strength to fight them. When they realize Glissa and her followers aren’t coming out, Malil announces that Memnarch has spotted them entering the core. Knowing that the Mycosynth will delay their passage underground, they head to the blue lacunae to cut them off.

When they arrive, however, Pontifex is surprised that the Vedalken shy away from him. Malil suggests that it’s the remaining levelers accompanying them, but Pontifex isn’t sure. He seizes a citizen, who reveals that there’s an assembly. Pontifex arrives and learns Orland has orchestrated a vote to return the Vedalken Empire to a Republic. Pontifex is no longer a lord, or has any power at all. They place him under arrest for his crimes, but he casts a spell to launch the guards at his former Synod council members. Orland dodges, but the other two are killed. Pontifex leaves, swearing vengeance.

Deep underground, Glissa and crew discover the small constructs turned to flesh tending to odd devices buried under the Mycosynth moss. They discover one has died, and that they've become fully flesh, and were once entirely mechanical. They learn Bosh’s face has turned to flesh (he can actually smile now), and realize it's proximity to the mycosynth that is causing the mutations. They move faster, not wanting Bosh’s changes to accelerate or worsen. They're attacked by Threshers, and Bruenna’s artifact-freezing magic fails on them. They realize the threshers have turned partly to flesh, and the threshers are too fast for the Kaldra Champion to take down. Bruenna is swallowed whole by one, and Glissa loses her darksteel sword, taken from Geth’s vault, to another. Other Wizard finally dies in a blaze of glory. In her rage, Glissa channels her magic again, only to find nothing happens. The threshers aren't true artifacts and are no longer affected by her shattering spell. While she recovers from the casting, another thresher devours her whole.

Until the Fifth Dawn, the Tangle existing in eternal gloom.
Beacon of Creation by Mark Tedin

Malil and Memnarch use the Darksteel Eye to find Glissa. All the screens show Glissa being brought in by a thresher, but then Malil spots a vedalken glider zooming in. The figure leaps atop the Thresher, and suddenly Glissa sees a sword emerge inside the Thresher. She kicks her way through the flesh, and grows to enormous size to burst free. Outside, she finds the rogue vedalken is Pontifex, set on destroying her. They battle through the Mycosynth growths but Glissa is exhausted and no match for the mage. She’s saved at the last minute by Marek, who was disgusted by Pontifex’s behavior and doesn’t want him ruining the fledgling vedalken republic. Pontifex and Marek end up killing one another, leaving Glissa free.

Glissa and friends head for the Panopticon after a breather. A final wave of levelers try to stop them, but Kaldra makes short work of them. As they near the Memnarch’s Fortress, both the Guardian and Malil exit to confront them. Glissa charges in, finally confronted with the being who has caused all her misery, and she manages to take out one of his legs. They order Kaldra to attack, but Memnarch casts his trademark spell and assumes control over the avatar. Bosh steps in front of his friends to defend them, but is dispatched in seconds. Slobad and Glissa flee, unable to stand against what was supposed to be their trump card, when Bruenna arrives, having extricated herself from the thresher’s maw.

Bruenna freezes Kaldra, and encompasses Glissa and Slobad in a flight spell to escape. They emerge from the blue lacunae, where Bruenna must return to her people once more (to tell all the wizards’ families they’re dead). The flight spell carries Glissa and Slobad to the edge of the Tangle, where the trolls have gathered to honor their word. They leave the trolls to hold off Kaldra, who follows them on land not far behind. Drooge tells Glissa to head for the Radix. There, Glissa’s magic surges unexpectedly, and she uses it to entrap Kaldra in the copper trees. Kaldra breaks free and slaps Slobad away with ferocity. Glissa, unable to stand that her friends keep dying on her, reaches deep into her power and traps Kaldra on the Radix itself. It’s still not enough, and Kaldra begins to break free when it’s engulfed in a massive green light - the fifth sun is dawning. The massive ball of mana bursts through Mirrodin’s mantle, evaporating the Avatar and devastating the Tangle for miles in every direction.

Glissa awakens after the blast, with partially melted copper trees pinning her. Slobad hobbles up to her, scorched and bruised but otherwise intact. She’s ecstatic that her friends is still alive. Deep below in the core, Memnarch is likewise battered but alive, and stumbles from the wreckage of the Darksteel Eye, where Malil has also survived.


From the Darksteel Eye, Memnarch can see whatever his myr spies see.
Eyes of the Watcher by Ron Spears

Escape from the Core, Part III

Glissa and Slobad make their way through the changed landscape, where green magic has gone haywire. They’re captured by Viridian elves and taken back to Viridia, where it’s revealed that Glissa’s sister, Lyese is still alive. And Lyese blames Glissa for the death of their parents and everything that happened since. Glissa and Slobad are held for days before being brought before a tribunall to stand trial. Weirdly, a Sylvok is among those judging her, and the village seems emptier than before. The council quickly decide that Glissa is not guilty, but Lyese takes her acquittal poorly and attacks. She, Glissa, and Slobad fall off the platform.

Elsewhere (and days earlier), the neurok have allied themselves with the new vedalken Republic, but Bruenna doesn’t quite trust them. They’re on the road to freedom, but the vedalken’s fanatical loyalty to Memnarch gives her pause. Her reveries are interrupted by hundreds of levelers emerging from the quicksilver sea.

As the elves and goblin recover from their fall, they realize aerophin have arrived… again. Bruenna charges into the Tangle on a stolen vedalken glider, desperately escaping aerophins chasing her. The levelers were only the first wave, and her village was completely wiped out. Desperate, she’s turned to Glissa for aid. Glissa has gained a measure of control over her powers, and uses her magic to wipe out the aerophin, but it leaves her too exhausted to dodge the burning hail of destroyed machines. Lyese, having woken up and not willing to lose more family, reluctantly saves her sister’s life. In the wake of the aerophin, thousands of levelers descend on Viridia.

Bruenna uses her flight granting magic again, and Glissa realizes the levelers are following her. She leads them off while the rest go to Taj-Nar for Raksha’s aid, but when Slobad comes back for her, they split and follow him as well. Slobad returns because he realized Glissa intends to go after Memnarch again by herself, and refuses to let her go alone. A helpful slagwurm slows the levelers down as the friends head back to the green lacunae. Inside the lacunae Glissa feels her powers replenish and grow, but in the narrow space Glissa’s shattering magic demolishes her pursuit. At the entrance to the core, Malil blocks their path, and after a quick exchange Glissa realizes Slobad is gone. Malil taunts her, revealing Memnarch has a new plan that involves the goblin tinkerer - before running Glissa through.

Huge vedalken, standing 15-feet-tall with telepathic powers take Slobad to the haphazardly rebuilt Panopticon. Another of these mutated Vedalken - Orland among them - staunches Glissa’s wounds. She kicks it away and makes a break for Memnarch’s fortress. It doesn’t go well for her. Bruenna blinks in and saves an unconscious Glissa from the vedalken, and teleports away. She reappears in Raksha’s camp, and after nearly being killed by overprotective leonin guards (or exactly protective enough, given she just appeared in an armed camp) she gets Glissa to a healer. Bruenna, along with Lyese, convince Raksha that they’re friends. Raksha himself was wounded by a nim, and has reluctantly put his cousin Yshkar in charge of the battlefield. The nim have launched a new assault, more coordinated and aggressive than Geth was, leading them to believe someone new is in charge.


Whoever controls the nim, controls the Mephidross.
Black Sun's Zenith by Daniel Ljunggren

New Enemies and Old Frenemies

After her recovery, Glissa and Lyese have time to reconcile. They’re worried about Slobad, who Bruenna couldn’t recover, and Raksha warns them not to count the goblin out. They also argue over whether the newly emerged ball of green mana is a sun or a moon. The reinvigorated group gets their pick of Raksha’s armory, while Bruenna goes to find Geth, the elves set out on Zauk for the Oxidda Chain. Their goal is to recruit Dwugget and the Krark-clan as allies for the Leonin and for the coming fight with Memnarch. Glissa and Lyese are ambushed by a vulshok who names himself Vektro. Vektro insists he’s there on behalf of Dwugget, who is now leader of all goblins, but neither elf can bring themselves to trust him.

Deep in the core, Slobad is mutilated by Malil (who takes a very un-machinelike perverse joy in it). Memnarch sends Malil to recover Glissa (again), and reveals that he wants Slobad’s canny tinkerer mind to help him construct a new means of taking Glissa’s spark. Then Memnarch takes over Slobad’s torture.

Glissa and Lyese follow Vektro for hours as his pseudo-prisoners, when they spot Leonin darting among the rocks. The Leonin ambush the goblin party, and even Vektro’s battle magic isn’t enough against the elite warriors. All the goblins and Vektro himself are knocked unconscious. They remove Vektro’s Gauntlets, which severely weakens the mage. The lead leonin reveals himself to be Raksha, who flew with a skyhunter patrol posthaste to meet up with the elves. He’s brought along Geth’s severed head, which was left for Raksha shortly after the elves departed. Geth isn’t dead though, and so his animate head delivers a message, from Yert, demanding Glissa in exchange for Bruenna’s life and calling off the Nim horde. Glissa agrees to the exchange, and so Raksha and Lyese go to treat with Dwugget with Glissa (and Geth’s head) set out with the skyhunters for the Vault of Whispers.

The mission quickly goes bad, and most of the skyhunters are slaughtered by nim. Glissa and the sole survivor, Ellasha, vow revenge upon entering the vault. They’re captured by Yert, who has been turned into a vampire. When Glissa left Yert behind, Geth fed him to the wounded vampire. The vampire was too weak to finish the job, however, and so Yert turned into one himself. Together with more vampires he’s created, they’ve overtaken control of the Vault. When he tries to feed on Glissa, though, he’s wracked by a splitting headache. It’s clear he’s working for Memnarch, and Memnarch doesn’t want Glissa killed. Glissa and Ellasha escape in the chaos to find Bruenna. Elassha sacrifices herself to help Glissa escape, with the promise she and Bruenna help the Kha. With the help of Geth’s head, Glissa finds Bruenna surrounded by weird, glowing cables. It’s obviously a trap, but she decides she has no time and springs it, cutting the cables away from Bruenna. She’s surrounded by a bright blue flash, and Bruenna disappears.


It's important to remember Mirrodin is mostly empty.
Glimmervoid Basin by Lars Grant-West

Five Years Later

Glissa reappears in the middle of the Glimmervoid, along with Geth’s head and an older and more battle-scarred Bruenna. Bruenna solemnly informs her that she’s been missing for five years, and that the blue light she saw was a time stop spell that froze Glissa. She and Geth were taken to the interior, but Ellasha had survived her last stand and fought her way through to Bruenna, only to die for real in their escape. She catches Glissa up on current events, that Taj-Nar is lost, now a melted wreck, and the Mephidross has spread aggressively across Mirrodin. The vedalken and Yert’s vampires have an uneasy alliance warring with those who remain. Mysterious silver spires have appeared all over the surface, and they only just learned where Glissa was being kept. Bruenna teleported in and rescued Glissa, bringing her back to the surface and unfreezing her.

Deep beneath them, still trapped in the core, Slobad is putting the finishing touches on a plane-wide network for spark transference. He’s hooked into a machine that gives him control of constructs all across Mirrodin, but he’s been tortured to the point where he only wishes to conduct Memnarch’s will. He’s had all his limbs amputated to avoid infection, and he’s sustained entirely by a steady serum injection. A small part of his mind that is still himself, realizing what he’s about to complete, begins attempting to reassert itself.

For Glissa, it’s as if no time has passed at all, and she struggles to take it all in. They’re attacked by much more powerful aerophins, but Glissa has learned to control her power well at this point and easily dispatches them. Bruenna casts a spell to fly them to safety at Krark-home. There, she’s taken to the leaders of the Mirran alliance: Dwugget, Yshkar, and Lyese. She’s stunned to see her sister on the throne, and learns Lyese is Khanha, wife of the Kha. Raksha was presumed dead (and a traitor) years before, and so Yshkar took the throne. Over dinner, they explain the events of the last few years.

Taj-Nar was later rebuilt after being demolished by a mana bomb.
Ancient Den by Rob Alexander

When the fifth sun dawned, it put a lie to the goblin establishment’s religion. The old shamans were quickly overthrown (and thrown into lava), and Dwugget and the Krark-clan were brought in to lead. But Vektro and his thugs took advantage of the goblins, so when Lyese and Raksha arrived, Dwugget was eager to ally with the leonin to free himself of the vulshok. She also learns that Raksha was exiled three years earlier. They say he believed Taj-Nar was lost, and so detonated a mana bomb to force the leonin to flee the city. He was exiled to the Tangle, where he hasn’t been heard from since. Bruenna had broken into Lumengrid to steal a map of the interior, only to stumble across plans to move previous cargo being transferred from the Vault - Glissa. The vedalken, for their part, have all been transformed into those huge telepathic creatures, and have brought the blinkmoth population down to the edge of extinction. That brings Glissa up to date, and over the course of the dinner, Glissa realizes she’s developing a begrudging respect for Geth’s head - the only other person to be new to this time period.

The topic turns to Yert, who is controlling the nim through the use of a device called the Miracore. He’s no wizard, so if they can just steal it half of their enemy forces - the nim - will suddenly become allies. Memnarch hasn’t been seen since Glissa disappeared. He’s cleansing himself of the Mycosynth infection, and when he’s done he will be pure metal again… and another artifact that Glissa can destroy. He’ll be done in five days. Just as they’re done strategizing, Yert’s army invades Krark-home. Bruenna hands Glissa a magic bracelet she’s devised before the fight. It will give Glissa unlimited powers of flight, and two single use teleports (one to anywhere she wants, another that returns her to Krark-home).

They run through the goblin warrens, dodging nim and vampire alike, tracking down Yert. They find him in the nursery, where he holds children of many species hostage. There’s a tense exchange before Glissa spots the Miracore on Yert’s neck. She uses her ‘teleport anywhere’ spell to teleport into Yert, saving the children and exploding Yert messily. With the Miracore in her possession, she sends all the nim back to the Vault. With a goodbye to her sister and Bruenna, Glissa leaves to take on Memnarch.


The nim and the levelers wouldn't be the last monsters the Mirrans would fight...
Mirrodin Besieged Art

The Leveler War

Despite the nim retreat, the defends of Krark-home are still overwhelmed by vedalken, levelers, and pretty much every construct left on Mirrodin. The goblins fire off their huge cannon, a charbelcher, but giant earthquake machines are threatening to bring down the whole mountain. Glissa uses her magic to destroy the earthquake machines, but once her guard is down Malil swoops in on a vedalken glider and steals the Miracore. Glissa follows him to the green lacunae, but can’t quite catch up. A mysterious figure ambushes the golem in the tunnel - Raksha! Glissa is relieved to see her friend, but he’s so bedraggled that Glissa fears the stories she heard of him going mad are true. They dispatch Malil, now more flesh than metal, and return to Raksha’s hideout in the lacunae.

Raksha warns Glissa that her sister is dead, and all their friends were duped by an imposter. They led Vektro to Krark-home, but the man fell down dead suddenly. Soon after, they were both attacked and knocked unconscious by an ogre. When Raksha awoke, Lyese had already worked out an agreement with Dwugget. He didn’t realize until years later, the day Taj-Nar was destroyed, that Lyese was already dead. During the battle for Taj-Nar, he stumbled upon Lyese planting the mana bomb below the city, and the two fought. Lyese revealed herself to be Vektro, having transferred minds into the elf girl. Lyese/Vektro had initiated a romance with Yshkar, and so when the leonin second-in-command discovers their fight, he believes Lyese over Raksha. Raksha only confirmed the truth from chancing upon a Sylvok during his exile - the same Sylvok on Glissa’s tribunal, the loudest voice for her acquittal. It was Vektro controlling him, wanting to ensure Glissa lived for Memnarch’s plan to come to fruition. Glissa wants to go rescue her sister, but Raksha warns it might not be possible until she is dead. They need to take out Memnarch to succeed at anything. Instead, they wait and marshal their strength for their shot at Memnarch.

Back at the battle for Krark-home, the battle has raged for days, and the defenders are not winning. A blinding white glare cloaks the battlefield as the races of Mirrodin gaze upon all five suns dawning at the same time. They've lost air support, and Bruenna is too exhausted to even fly. She rendezvous with Yshkar and urges him to retreat... but Lyese/Vektro runs him through with a sword. Lyese/Vektro takes a rocket to the chest from Dwugget, who has found his courage. Dwugget knew from the beginning what Lyese was, but had been coerced into helping because Vektro planted a mana bomb in Krark-home. Now he helps Bruenna fight the imposter, and as Lyese is badly wounded, Vektro flees her body. Bruenna taps into healing magic and repairs Lyese’s wounds. Lyese recounts that the mana bomb is set to go off in under an hour, and they set about evacuating the civilians. Some goblin engineers find the bomb, and with Dwugget and Lyese’s help, Bruenna teleports it into the middle of the nim army.

On day five, during the alignment of all five suns, Raksha and Glissa sneak into the core. Inside, they’re surprised that all the Mycosynth has been cleared out, and towers like those on the surface litter the landscape now, with lines running between them and to the Panopticon. A dawn of all five suns is rising. They're noticed, but weirdly, no constructs make any aggressive moves at first.  When it is too late for them to retreat, they're herded into the Panopticon by Malil clones.


The Ascension Web turned the entire plane into a spark transfer machine.
Phyrexia's Core by Franz Vohwinkel

The Vanishing

Inside the Panopticon, a memnite greets Glissa, and indicates it’s being controlled by Slobad. They’re interrupted by a Malil clone, possessed by Vektro, taking the Miracore from Glissa again. He attempts to use it himself, just as Memnarch emerges from the cocoon. With his flesh cleansed he radiates power, but hasn’t regained his sanity. Judging Vektro a failed experiment, he destroys Vektro and takes the Miracore. He reveals that this is exactly his endgame, knowing Glissa would come back made his job easy, and thanks to Slobad he now has his Ascension web: a planet-sized artifact. Glissa is shackled to await Memnarch’s ascension.

Just as the ascension web is powering up, Slobad releases Glissa from where she is shackled. Glissa and Raksha engage Memnarch, but the guardian is too powerful at first. Geth’s head summons flying nim from the black lacunae to distract the guardian, and Raksha takes out a leg while Glissa goes back after the Miracore. In a rage at his plans going awry, Memnarch charges outside, onto a platform that’s part of the ascension web. Glissa knocks out Raksha, not wanting her friend to die for her and instead to tell everyone what happened. She uses her spark-powered magic on Memnarch, but he’s only wounded, and the two tussle until they fall off the platform and into the mana core.

Slobad mourns his lost friend, but the ascension web is still powering up. It has nowhere to channel its power, so instead it's channeled into Slobad. Raksha is killed as the mana core reacts more and more violently. Back at Krark-Home, everyone they know dies one by one. All the souls captured in the soul traps, all the mana collected by the ascension web, and Glissa’s spark all enter Slobad at once, nearly killing him. Slobad ascends, and his body is restored. He wonders that if the Magic restored his body, why it didn't bring back his friend Glissa.


Karn returns... but it's unclear how much he helps.
MTGO 2010 Karn Avatar

Karn appears to Slobad, finally able to enter the plane once more. Memnarch, in his madness, was keeping Karn from manifesting. The two discuss what happened, and how the mana backlash wiped out the soul traps, and that everyone on the surface is dead. Slobad remains because the spark chose him. Karn informs him that he's got millions of souls inside him, and that there might still be time to save his friends. But it would cost both Slobad and Glissa the spark. Slobad surprises him by stating he doesn't care about the multiverse, he just wants his friends back. Karn tells him those that have died will finally die, and those that still live will be returned home. Slobad would only dimly remember anything happened at all. Slobad agrees. In the aftermath Glissa, Slobad, and Geth’s head venture toward the surface, now curiously empty. Slobad doesn't quite remember what happened, but Geth mentions that Karn gave him a message for them. They can go home by breaking their soul traps (which Memnarch hid), or remain and await the golem’s return. Glissa and Slobad decide to wait.

Somewhere else, at the seaside village of Lume, under a golden sun, Bruenna and her apprentice Lyese await Kha Raksha Golden Cub for the formal signing of a peace agreement between all the races of their world. They remember nothing of their lives on Mirrodin.


Scars of Mirrodin

Slobad and Glissa’s bittersweet ending quickly turns tragic. Scars of Mirrodin changes the Vanishing so that only the elders are taken. Slobad is killed shortly after they exit the core by an onslaught of goblins panicked from losing their elders. Glissa finds herself confronted with a hostile people. In her absence, the Viridian Elves have blamed her for all the problems that have struck them recently (remember, she only barely escaped trial for murder, and everyone who remembers her innocence would have Vanished). She leaves them, returning to the core, where she’s abducted by strange constructs. Geth eventually makes his way back to the Vault, and finds himself a new ally to help him reclaim his throne...

Thanks for reading! Next time, we learn Geth's new allies have already won. The Mirrans are far too late to fight back... New Phyrexia rises.

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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