Welcome back to Archive Trap, the unofficial guide to Magic’s lore! It's weird thinking back to the summer of 2015, when I had only intended to do maybe a dozen articles summarizing the story. This one may have gotten a little away from me, as I've written over 50 lore articles now and I've become better known than the series' title. This article (and the Return to Ravnica follow-up in a couple weeks) is the last of the Archive Trap series I intended to write, mostly because I've finally accomplished my goal of writing summaries of everything from Alara to Magic Origins... and then some. Today I'm tackling Ravnica, the last piece on my to-do list before I've covered all of the post-Mending period to date, and most of the pre-Mending period, too.
Maze's End by Cliff Childs
Setting the Stage
Ravnica has a lot of backstory, some of which is covered in Life in the Big City and Ravnica: Then and Now. Originally the site of ancient planeswalker wars, the plane became home to a diverse array of stranded creatures. For unknown reasons, planeswalkers eventually stopped showing up on the plane. It's in this climate that Azor, the Lawbringer (still a planeswalker at the time) brought together the ten factions of order and chaos to create the Guildpact, a magical document that binds them all together as guilds, each with a different role. The existence of the tenth guild, the Dimir, was kept a secret from the common people, their purpose to try to destroy the Guildpact and in so attempting make it stronger (because 'magic', I guess?). The signing of the Guildpact occurred in 0 Z.C. (Zal Concordant, meaning after the Guildpact), and those original signatories were known as Paruns. Below are a list of the guilds and their respective Paruns. If you want more information on each guild, I'm including the original lore articles on them here. The Return to Ravnica article will have the more detailed planeswalker guides.
Tablet of the Guilds by Nic Klein
- Azorius Senate - Azor I, a sphinx planeswalker.
- Izzet League- Niv-Mizzet, a dragon.
- Boros Legion - Razia, an angel.
- House Dimir - Szadek, a vampire.
- Cult of Rakdos - Rakdos, a demon.
- Selesnya Conclave - Mat’Selesnya, an elemental formed from dryads.
- Goglari Swarm - Svogthir, a Lich known as the god-zombie.
- Gruul Clans - Cisarzim, a cyclops.
- Simic Combine - Unknown.
While there are a ton of short stories from Modern Ravnica, the original Ravnica block only had a handful, and even then most of them can only be found by doing some Wayback Machine investigative work. To save you time, I'm including these six here. None of these have any bearing on the overall plot, but the difficulty in finding them for the casual fan is the reason for their inclusion: Wake Up Call, Precious Gold, The Hussar's Last Mission, Life is Beautiful, and The Merrytown Massacre.
Plains by Richard Wright
The plane of Ravnica is more or less one huge cityscape, although the amount of development varies. The central and largest area of the city is just called Ravnica (or just 'the city'), for which the rest of the plane is named. Ravnica itself is divided into ten districts (although we really only ever see the Ninth and Tenth Districts) and is the home base for the various guilds, and where the Guildpact that governs the plane is strongest.
At the city's center lies Centerside, where the most of the white-aligned Guilds are headquartered (the exception being the Orzhov). A complex network of massive caverns and sewers comprise the Undercity beneath the city proper, which was build on top of the ruins of the Undercity. The black-aligned guilds tend to all be focused on the Undercity, although the Orzhov's section is nicer than most topside.
Outside of Ravnica are various regions and zones with their own names, most notably Utvara. These smaller townships are still built on top of the ruins of older cityscape. The overall cityscape is always in flux, with large sections falling into disrepair and being abandoned as new ones are built, creating a constantly evolving sector known as the Rubblebelt where wildlife can thrive. Prior to the Mending, Ravnica had a small pocket plane called Agryem where many souls were trapped after death instead of returning to the aether, leading to Ravnica having a higher percentage of ghosts than most other planes (with the possible exception of Innistrad).
Ravnica: City of Guilds
Savra, Queen of the Golgari vs. Razia, Boros Archangel vs. Szadek, Lord of Secrets vs. Tolsimir Wolfblood
Ravnica: City of Guilds fat pack mural by Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
The story opens with Agrus Kos, a young wojek, working with his partner Myczil Zunich as they investigate a lead on some Rakdos smugglers. When they bust into the Rakdos warehouse, however, they find everyone dead. Agrus manages to capture a ghost using a device called a grounder (think the ghost traps from Ghosbusters). Attempts to interrogate it are less than helpful, with the ghost only repeating a mysterious ‘he’ is coming. Something tragic happens to Kos' partner that day, although exactly what won't be revealed until the end of the story.
Decades later, Kos is a grizzled Lieutenant assigned an angel for a partner. The angel, Pierakor az Vinrenn D'rav (known as Feather), has had her wings bound as some unknown penance. Things are getting tense on his beat in the Tenth District, as the Decimillennial Celebration is only days away, when Ravnica is to celebrate 10,000 years of the Guildpact. They break up a play about the origin of the Guildpact (which set up in a market space they weren't supposed to), and Kos suffers some broken ribs. Thanks to the wojek-issue healing drops, he heals enough to keep going. A man in the audience notices his wife has gone missing, and goes to find her, only to discover her horrific, disfigured ghost. We learn here that Kos has a good heart but is about as burnt out and jaded as they come. The Rakdos uprising ten years prior killed off a huge number of wojeks, many of them Kos’s friends, and he has the tendency to lose himself inside a bottle, picking fights at bars where people don’t know he’s a ‘jek (the slang term for wojek, like cop). Kos goes to do so again while Feather brings the perp in to the station.
Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran by Donato Giancola
An ambitious, portly younger ‘jek named Borca is dispatched to bring Kos before the assembled commanders of the Legion, including his friend and Skyjek Captain Wenslauv (Skyjeks are Wojeks with aerial mounts). Much to Kos’s dismay, they’re there to promote him, as he’s the most experienced wojek in the district, and his Captain is moving up. The ceremony is overseen by a member of the Azorius, but also by a mysterious Selesnyan Quietman. Borca is to become Kos’s Lieutenant, while Kos himself will now be Captain. Kos doesn’t want to leave his beat (promotion means paperwork and less fieldwork), but he takes to training Borca to replace him anyway, a task for which he has a very short window due to the upcoming festivities. In the midst of all this, Kos keeps catching fleeting glimpses of the ghost of his old partner Mycz. Their first day of training is interrupted almost immediately by the man from earlier, who is being chased by his wife’s ghost. Attempts to stop the ghost fail, and Kos is forced to use his pendrek - sort of a combination police baton and magic wand - to disperse and end the ghost. The terrified man is cleared of wrongdoing, but after they let him go he’s killed in an alley by an unseen force.
Elsewhere, Fonn Zunich, the half-silhana elf (the elves aligned with Selesnya) daughter of Kos’s old partner, and her wolf Biracazir are escorting Saint Bayul, a high-ranking Selesnyan Loxodon, to the city for a Selesnyan convocation in honor of the Decimillenial. Fonn is a ledev, a Selesnyan responsible for keeping the roadways of all Ravnica clear for commerce. A trio of Gruul on winged mounts try to make a name for themselves by attacking Bayul. Fonn and Biracazir prove more than a match for the three of them, but a fourth assassin appears out of nowhere and is barely fended off by Fonn. She chases him down an alley, and tricks him into revealing himself. She puts an arrow through his face and discovers the final assassin was a Rakdos cultist. Puzzled as to why a Thrillkiller would be working with a Gruul gang, she and Bayul continue on their journey.
Savra, Queen of the Golgari by Scott M. Fischer
Meanwhile in the Undercity, Jarad vod Savo hunts down and kills a centaur who had gotten lost in Golgari territory. He turns the centaur into a zombie while musing on his disgust that the centaur didn’t fight for his life. Jarad is the huntmaster of the devkarin elves (the Golgari aligned elves), and he’s been tasked with killing a leviathan trampling through the undercity. The centaur is to act as poisoned bait, and together with a pair of archers and some devkarin shaman they take the giant creature down. Not ones to waste a giant corpse, they take it to be butchered for food. In the aftermath, Jarad’s sister Savra appears, congratulating him on his success and offering him another task that he might find worth his while.
Out on patrol with Borca, Kos encounters a young girl who has shoplifted a piece of fruit. He teaches Borca how to show a little compassion, and they pay for the girl’s fruit and give her some extra money. The little girl, Luda, vows to become a wojek herself when she’s older. I should note here that pretty much all the laws in Ravnica are commerce-based, and heavily weighted toward the guilds. Under Ravnican law, you might face harsher penalties for shoplifting a loaf of bread from an Orzhov merchant than you would for murdering someone. Thankfully this shopkeeper is a friendly sort and offers to feed the girl if she ever comes by hungry. With the situation resolved, they continue to walk their beat. They trick an ogre into thinking Borca is a transmogrified ogre himself in order to get him to talk about a murder scene. The ogre pushed two other ogres off a cliff, but they were training for a gladiator ring and the other two pushed first, so they let him go. Heading back past the shop from earlier, they stop a rather pathetic armed robbery.
Tragedy strikes just a short time later when they discover a Rakdos goblin stabbing Luda. They hurridly use almost all of their healing drops on the girl, but it’s too late. In a rage, Kos chases down the goblin and uses his pendrek to blast fireballs until he realizes the goblin is carrying explosives. Chasing him through the streets, they come upon Borca speaking with Fonn and Bayul. Kos has just enough time to shout a warning as the goblin launches himself at Borca. Fonn is tackled by a nearly invisible figure from out of nowhere, and the goblin detonates his explosives right on top of the group.
Sisters of Stone Death by Donato Giancola
Savra makes her move on the Sisters of Stone Death. The Sisters claim to have killed Svogthir, the god-zombie and Golgari parun, a thousand years before. Svogthir had grown lax, uninterested in the affairs of the guild, and they struck, elevating the teratogens (non-humanoid sapient species) of the guild and casting down the Devkarin elves. In truth, they could only imprison him, and Savra’s mysterious patron has given her a key to his prison. Svogthir’s zombie body has decomposed, leaving only his magically preserved head, so Savra rebuilds him using lichen and vines. The god-zombie thanks her by trying to kill her, only to find Savra built safeguards into his new body. He begrudgingly accepts her offer to rule as her puppet guildmaster. The two make their way to the Sisters, through the gorgons' army of Teratogens. Eventually Svogthir slaughters enough that the rest pledge their loyalty to him. The gorgon sisters are allowed a chance to fight in combat with Svogthir, which he wins handily, killing all but Ludmilla, leaving her the last of her race. Savra binds Ludmilla to her, forcing her to become the Golgari’s general. As for Svogthir, Savra has no further use for him and forces him to crush his own head, revealing her ploy about being shadow guildmaster as a ruse.
Kos wakes up in a Boros infirmary and learns Borca is dead. Bayul, he learns, is near death, and there’s no sign of Fonn. The healers won’t allow him more wojek drops because the accelerated healing might kill him after decades of overuse. Frustrated at being stuck in bed, he mouths off to the leadership and gets suspended. Feather is left to guard his room, both to protect him and keep him from leaving. In the night, Borca’s ghost appears to Kos, revealing he signed an Orzhov avenger insurance policy naming Kos. Now his spirit is tied to Kos until his death is avenged. Kos is… not pleased at this development, and causes enough of a commotion that Feather enters the room. It doesn’t take much convincing to get the angel to help him, and Kos manages to survive the healing drops he takes to get himself moving again. Their mission is to meet up with Kos’ Orzhov contact, Pivlichino (Pivlic for short).
Tolsimir Wolfblood by Donato Giancola
In the undercity, Fonn wakes to Jarad guarding her. Their mutual dislike is cut short by harpies sent to kill them both by Savra. Realizing they’re both being played, they set out to meet an information broker contact of Jarad’s. Together they fight off more undead, including a shapeshifting creature made of worms. They only escape thanks to Jarad being able to influence the worm-like creatures that make up the Shapeshifter while in their true form. Eventually, they make it to Pivlichino’s, the restaurant and gladatorial arena owned by Pivlic. Pivlic greets both Kos and Jarad, but insists that they have to earn the information they want. The mismatched pair are sent to the pits, where they’re matched against a brutal half-demon slave master who sold the goblin that nearly blew them all up. Jarad’s command of insects saves them both, as while Kos distracts the brute, Jarad’s insects devour the demon's brains. The half-demon, now helpless, reveals to them that the purchaser of the bomb goblin was a Selesnyan Quietman.
Just as the half-demon reveals this information, Pivlic’s entire restaurant is swarmed by Selesnyan Quietmen, who set about slaughtering the guests. I should note here the Quietmen don't appear on any cards, but they're floating wraith-like creatures that everyone notes seem out-of-place with the Selesnya. Pivlic leads Kos, Jarad, Feather, and Fonn through a secret staircase to the roof, where his personal Zeppelid is anchored. The Quietmen give chase, but it becomes clear that they’re being herded back to the Boros Tenth District Headquarters. Their Zeppelid is downed and they escape on foot and take refuge inside. There, Fonn is hurried to Bayal, who has clung to life this entire time. He passes, leaving her with his green gemstone that allows one to connect to the shared Selesnyan consciousness.
Dimir Doppelganger by Jim Murray
As soon as the gemstone is free, the Quietmen break in and several people in the precinct transform into the worm-like monsters Fonn and Jarad fought earlier. They’re revealed to be Lupul, a hive mind/shapeshifter entity associated with the Dimir thought to be a myth. Feather tells the others that the angels believed the last colony to be wiped out ages ago. Together with the Quietmen, they kidnap Fonn. The others manage to free themselves and head toward the convocation at Vitu-Ghazi. It’s a madhouse, with the city center packed with visitors for the Decimillennial celebration. Savra appears, revealing she intends to use the Selesnyan gemstone to join the Conclave. She cuts off Fonn’s hand to take it from the ledev, and implants it in her forehead. The Golgari continue assaulting the city while Savra attempts to take control of the Selesnyan Conclave and corrupt Vitu-Ghazi.
Kos unbinds Feather’s wings, revealing her true, luminous form. Feather leaves their group to get help while they go to confront Savra. At the Boros headquarters of Centerfort, Feather finds that the angels are missing, along with the angelic skyship Parhelion. Without angelic reinforcements, the Boros are overwhelmed by the Golgari assaulting the city, and she’s forced to stay and aid with the fighting. The people attending the convocation are all enraptured by a mysterious spell, leaving only the Boros, and specifically Kos free to fight. Kos confronts Savra, but Borca’s ghost gets sucked into Vitu-Ghazi and is unable to help. The rest of their allies are tied up fighting the Quietmen.
Szadek, Lord of Secrets by Donato Giancola
Savra’s plot to corrupt the world tree and reveal the elemental inside, Mat'Selesnya, seems to have succeeded when her patron, Szadek, finally appears. He unceremoniously snaps Savra’s neck, killing her, and begins to feed on the newly the corrupted Mat’Selesnya. Biracazir attacks Szadek but is gravely wounded by the vampire. Jarad is engaged with the Lupul when they return to their worm-like form. He commands them to attack Szadek, and the unprepared vampire is eaten alive, leaving him weak, ragged and almost ghoul-like. Kos, not one for over-complicating things, then formally arrests the vampire for his crimes.
In the aftermath, the green gemstone chooses Biracazir as the first member of the new Selesnyan conclave, as it turns out the wolf is more than intelligent enough to be up to the task. Fonn, Jarad, and Kos meet up later, and Kos explains what really happened to Fonn's father: Myczil killed a child by accident, believing he was attacking a Rakdos bloodwitch. In his grief, especially because at the time the child was Fonn’s age, he killed himself. Kos could never get up the nerve to look at the Zunich family again.
Fonn and Jarad go off together, having bonded on their journey. Kos finishes the report on Borca, making the ghost the only Wojek to solve his own murder and giving his spirit peace. Szadek is taken away by the higher ups among the Boros and Azorius, and Kos is simply told he has been ‘taken care of’, which he (rightly) assumes means executed. With the case solved, Kos finally retires.
It's not clear what Szadek's true goal was, yet, or why he was manipulating Savra. With Savra dead, however, Jarad becomes the Golgari guildmaster.
Twelve years after the events of Ravnica: City of Guilds, Teysa Karlov is summoned by the Karlov patriarch, known only as Uncle. She is forced to sell off her lucrative advokist practice and accompany Uncle, along with his attendant Melisk, to the province of Utvara. Utvara was hard hit by a plague centuries before, and so Uncle purchased it inexpensively and hired an Izzet Magelord, Zomaj Hauc, to clear it of life. Hauc’s mana compression bomb did just that, but it mutated the plague in the process. It also created phenomena called the Schism in the sky, which has been sucking in souls, meaning no ghosts exist in Utvara. Settlers moved into the fallow area in the meantime, protected by from the plague by a Selesnyan tree called Vitar Yescu.
Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts by Todd Lockwood
Uncle is heading to Utvara to check on his investment, and intends Teysa, as his heir (due to an affair with his brother’s wife... eww), to accompany him. Their lokopede is attacked by undead Gruul bandits along the way, killing Uncle and stranding a goblin messenger named Crix. Crix is in the Magelord’s service and has been tasked with delivering a message to him. In the wilds of Utvara, she’s picked up by more Gruul, who have managed to adapt to the plague through a lichen they allow to grow on their bodies.
Teysa, Melisk, and their thrull bodyguards (along with Uncle's corpse) make it to the Imp Wing, run by none other than Pivlic. Pivlic hired Kos after his retirement, and Kos now serves as the head bouncer for the establishment. Pivlic is revealed to be in the service of the Karlov family, and acts as their agent in Utvara. Kos came because Utvara was the best place on the plane to observe the sky. He’s looking for his old friend and partner, Feather, who went looking for the Parhelion after the other angels disappeared. He warns a centaur friend that the Gruul might face reprisals for the attack on the Orzhov convoy, who goes to warn his clan.
Teysa uses a magical mirror to communicate with the deceased Uncle Karlov, who has become a member of the Obzedat, the ghost council that leads the Orzhov. Uncle Karlov informs her that it’s paramount to recover Crix, the messenger, and deliver her to the Cauldron, Utvara’s power plant run by the Magelord Zomaj Hauc. To this end, she sends Pivlic and Kos out into the wastes to recover the goblin from the Gruul. Along the way they’re forced to flee from Nephilim, eldritch monsters that live deep under the rubble of Utvara. The pair find the Izzet goblin, but learn that Hauc plans to hatch three dragon eggs he found beneath Utvara (which we learn was once Niv-Mizzet’s old territory). Once hatched, he plans to cast a spell to enslave the dragons to his will, giving him the ability to usurp control of the Izzet and the plane itself. Before they can do anything about the Magelord’s plot, they’re all captured.
In the meantime, Teysa goes about setting up the township in her image. While Kos and Pivlic are gone, she discovers that her Uncle has been manipulating her, mind controlling her and covering his manipulations with a fake medical condition. Against Uncle’s wishes, Teysa enlists the aid of a Simic viromancer to help cure the plague affecting Utvara, and begins administering the cure to the town. Along the way, she picks up a small army to assault the Cauldron. She leads the assault and they manage to destroy the facility and a dragon egg before it can hatch. The other two, however, manage to hatch, and Hauc manages to enthrall one while Teysa claims the other (using Hauc's own spell). The dragons are extremely intelligent, learning language in minutes, and Teysa wonders how long it would be possible to keep them in check.
The two dragons battle through the skies with their masters, and it’s only after Crix (who is revealed to be a heavily enhanced cyborg) and Kos stealing Hauc’s rocket ship (long story) that turns the tide in Teysa’s favor. Kos crashes the Magelord’s ship into Hauc’s dragon, allowing Teysa to finish it and her own wounded dragon. Feather finally returns - through the Schism, no less - with dire news, but Kos dies of his wounds from the crashed ship. A memorial is held in Kos’s honor.
A short time later, a master thief named Capobar steals cerebral fluid from the crushed dragon egg in the Cauldron, but is betrayed by his own henchman, who take his find. Nephilim begin to appear soon after to feast on the dragon egg, growing in size and power, enough to threaten Utvara Township and even the city of Ravnica itself. Capobar’s henchmen bring him before Momir Vig, a reanimated Savra, and Szadek’s ghost, the three of whom are colluding to use the cerebral fluid for some unknown purpose.
Razia, Boros Archangel by Donato Giancola
Back in the city, Fonn Zunich is now spending part of her time working as a Wojek, as the Boros are heavily understaffed. She catches a strange case of a murdered exotic animal merchant. Unknown to her, she’s working alongside a Lupul shapeshifter who has remained hidden since the Decimillenial twelve years before. She clocks out and goes to take custody of her son, Myczil Vod Savo, who splits his time between Fonn and his father Jarad. Fonn and Jarad split years prior.
Meanwhile, Feather turns herself in to the Azorius, who charge her for dereliction of duty after her long absence. Feather requests Teysa defend her in court, and the lawmage is recalled from Utvara. Upon consultation with the angel, Teysa learns the real reason Feather turned herself in: she has critical information that all the guilds need to hear, and a trial is the fastest and most open way to broadcast it. Back in Utvara, Crixizix (who earned more syllables in her name with a promotion after the events of Guildpact) calls in Niv-Mizzet to help with the threat of the Nephilim… but after taking out a few, he soon finds himself overwhelmed by their growing power and departs. Crix is left scrambling for what to do next. Utvara is destroyed, and Crix recruits Pivlic’s help in warning the city, as her rocket legs run out of fuel.
Fonn returns to the road as a Ledev, training her son and a new batch of Ledev recruits. They’re ambushed by Rakdos and drugged, and when Fonn awakes, the recruits are gone. She uses a magic amulet to contact Jarad about the emergency, who drops everything to help rescue his son. Jarad arrives on the back of a giant bat, and together they continue tracking their kidnapped son. The recruits are taken to Rix Maadi, where the blood witch Izolda (not to be confused with Lyzolda, the Blood Witch, who doesn't appear in the story) intends to use them for an unknown ceremony.
To make matters worse, the Parhelion, now heavily damaged, returns through the Schism over Utvara. It’s noticed by Skyjek Captain Wenslauv, who boards the Parhelion to find all the angels slaughtered, save Razia, the Boros Guildleader. The Parhelion is on a collision course with the Azorius Senate, Prahv. Wenslauv sends warning ahead of her that the Parhelion is going to crash, but it’s not clear if it’ll make it in time. Pivlic intecepts Wenslauv's mount, and together they head to the Senate.
Ghost Quarter by Heather Hudson
In Prahv, Feather’s trial begins. She’s escorted past the ghost of Agrus Kos, whose Boros contract required years of service as a semi-conscious ghostly guardian. Feather despairs at her friend’s fate, but things turn even darker when she reveals the truth: all the Boros angels are dead, and she’s the only survivor. In the verity circle, she reveals secrets previously kept only at the highest level, that Ravnica was once visited by beings from other planes, and most of the inhabitants are the descendants of those brought by these otherworldly beings (implied to be planeswalkers). Eventually, the planeswalkers stopped coming and the Guildpact was created to stop the eternal war between the forces of Order and Chaos on the plane. When the angels departed, they did so in pursuit of some of these ancient visitors, but found only nothingness in the outside universe.
Feather reveals that Agyrem is a pocket dimension where Ravnica’s ghosts become trapped after departing the material world. The Parhelion traveled through the Schism to emerge there, where the ghosts of Agyrem went to war with the angels. When Feather discovered where they went, she arrives to find Szadek’s ghost leading a spectral army, and witnesses Razia’s death. Ordered to escape, Feather tirelessly fled from Szadek until she could find a path back, one which was opened during the events in Utvara just prior to Kos’ death.
Dune-Brood Nephilim by Jim Murray
Capobar, having been captured by the Azorius, is brought in to testify to what he’s seen, and confirm that Szadek’s ghost is still around. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, who was overseeing Feather’s tribunal along with a Boros and Selesnya representative, decides action must be taken. Szadek was executed shortly after his capture in secret, but the court decides he must have planned for that all along. These events, they reveal, broke the Guildpact and allowed the current chaos. Agrus Kos’ ghost is brought in and full consciousness is returned to him. He is made an avatar of Azorius and tasked with stopping Szadek. His ghost is tethered to a portly lawmage named Obez, and they’re sent to track down their only lead, Momir Vig.... right around the time the Parhelion finally strikes Prahv, shattering the central dome and sending shockwaves for miles. Oh, and the Nephilim have arrived in the main city, too.
Below, Myc’s blood, as the son of a guildmaster, is used in a ritual to awaken and commune with Rakdos. Myc fights back and accidently links minds with the demon, who violently exits his dungeon palace with the young boy on his shoulder. His parents arrive too late to rescue him, and instead free the remaining recruits. Jarad falls behind and is captured by Izolda, who attempts to use him to perform the ritual again. He wounds her, causing the other cultists to attack and kill (and eat) her, but suffers fatal injuries himself. The second ritual frees Myc, who escapes Rakdos just as the demon challenges one of the Nephilim.
Experiment Kraj by Mark Tedin
Back in the Senate, most of the building is destroyed and most of the people in it are killed. Pivlic arrives at Prahv too late to warn anyone, and Feather is made acting Boros guildmaster, being the only remaining angel. Agrus and Obez leave with Pivlic to investigate their only lead, Momir Vig. Kos jumps from Obez’s body into a virusoid when they reach Novijen. Inside he finds the Simic preparing for something major, and discovers that ‘Savra’ is actually Svogthir, the god-zombie inhabiting her corpse. Kos discovers that Momir Vig’s plan is to activate all the cytoplast implants they’ve been distributing across the plane to create a giant creature. Because of course it is.
Kos accidently gives himself away, and to survive he jumps into Savra’s body with Svogthir. He wins control of the body, and ends up killing Momir Vig as the guildmaster activates Experiment Kraj. Without the guildmaster to guide it, Kraj destroys the lab, destroying Savra’s body as Kos jumps back to Obez’s body. Outside, Rakdos has taken Kraj’s awakening as a challenge, but is subdued by the aimless Simic creation. Kos is reunited with Fonn, and Fonn with her son, but their reunion is cut short by Feather’s arrival, requesting Kos’ return to Prahv.
Back at Prahv, Teysa Karlov and the real Feather have been taken hostage by a Lupul aboard the crashed Parhelion, as well as Szadek’s ghost. In the senate floor, Augustin summons the surviving senators to vote on his appointment as judicial dictator. Kos returns, but has realized the ‘Feather’ with them was a shapeshifter. It’s too late, however, as Augustin reveals that upon Szadek’s execution, he had enslaved the Dimir parun’s ghost. Kos, Fonn, Myc, Obez, Pivlic and the recruits (henceforth ‘the group’) are forced to flee into the Parhelion.
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV by Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Let me take a second to explain what the heck is going on here. Simply put, Szadek created a logic error in the Guildpact's magic by allowing himself to be arrested and executed, which meant he could no longer attempt to destroy the Guildpact. This destroyed the Guildpact, which Augustin realized immediately and has spent the last twelve years attempting to take control of Ravnica before anyone else noticed. He enslaved Szadek's ghost and had his former rival initiate schemes in order to distract and create a crisis in which Augustin could take over and write a new Guildpact with the Azorius (and himself) in control. The kaiju battles between Rakdos, Kraj, and the Nephilim were just orchestrated to be distractions from his real scheme. Kos was sent on a wild goose chase to make the other Guilds think the Azorius weren't involved.
Inside the Parhelion, they’re forced to avoid traps laid by the shapeshifting Lupuls. Kos jumps into Wenslauv’s wounded body, and uses standard issue Grounder (that wojek ghost control device I mentioned waaay back at the start of Ravnica: City of Guilds) to capture the ghostly guildmaster. Fonn and the recruits set a trap for the Lupul, which gets blown to pieces thanks to the Parhelion’s heavy armory. Pivlic rigs the Parhelion's engine to explode, and they escape back into what's left of the Senate. Kos, ever a fan of poetic justice, releases Szadek who is now freed of Azorius control to kill Augustin. The others all escape while the Parhelion explodes, destroying what is left of the Senate, Augustin, and Szadek. Kos' tether to the mortal realm is severed, and he ceases to exist.
In the aftermath, Fonn and Myc discover Jarad has reanimated himself. Fonn is saddened, but Myc believes Jarad to still be his father, undead or not, and decides to take a break from Ledev training to learn the Golgari ways. He's clear that he's not making a choice between them, however, but wants to embrace both sides of his heritage.
Two years later, Feather restores Kos' spirit with the help of the new Azorius leadership. Agyrem has manifested on Ravnica, overlaid but slightly distorted from the physical realm. Kos is imbued with the ability to interact with the physical world, and Feather asks her old friend if he'd be interested in founding the Agyrem Guildhall. Szadek still exists among the ghosts of Agyrem and is attempting to take control. Kos wasn't a fan nonexistence, and agrees.
That's it Guildmages, the insane story of the original Ravnica block. In the aftermath of all this, Teysa devised a new, non-magical Guildpact to keep society together following the public reveal of the fall of the Guildpact. But how long could it last? Find out in a few weeks when I return with the story of Return to Ravnica!
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