Thanks! Liliana is actually one of the two easiest characters to write in my opinion, the other one being Garruk. It helps that they both have the simplest motivations. Garruk just wants to kill Liliana, break the curse, and be left alone, while Liliana just wants as much power as she can accumulate at whatever the cost.
Sorin is ancient and political, which causes problems since he comes with a load of baggage and ties into everything. I also haven't read the Teeth of Akoum, so I don 't know if there is some standardized personality I'm supposed to be working with, or if people would prefer him to be handled some other way entirely. Norin and Thalia have to avoid getting turned into mindless vigilantes with strict black and white moralities. They can start that way (though personally, Thalia is more black and white than Norin in terms of perspective) but they shouldn't end that way. Gisa and Geralf are pretty much just going to be walking, talking plot propellant if only because they need to share villain space with Alwin, the Skirsdag Cult, Liliana, Griselbrand, and Olivia Voldaren, all of whom are much smarter and more important than the twins. Then on top of this, I need to make sure that Agana and Ayla end up as more than female MacGuffins. (If you don't know who Agana and Ayla are, don't worry - they haven't been introduced yet. I'm also not sure which one is going to end up the more polarizing character, but I would lay my money on Agana.)
And worst of all is Ludevic. I intended for him to be a sort of absent minded mad scientist type who really doesn't understand why running around breeding giant monsters is a bad idea. Sure, he builds skaabs and breeds Tymy, but that's more for the curiosity of the thing, seeing how different structures can be integrated, etc. He doesn't build make humanoform skaabs because (in character) they're boring and (storywise) that's Geralf's terrain. But now they've released the full spoilers, and there are a couple of cards that refer to him making Scrapskin Drake and letting it loose. I've got a couple ideas how to explain it, but I'm half tempted top ignore it as well...
I too haven't read Teeth of Akaoum, and frankly I don't intend to any time soon. Sorin's personality supposedly is that of a smartass; if he picks a weakness, he won't stop bothering you about it.
The Dark Ascension block's flavor in general heavily implies that he sees the other vampires as stupid, mindless devourers; this, combined with his smartass behaviour, leads me to think he is prone to "holier than thou" attitudes.
Grand Master Lothar frowned as he looked up from the report he was reading, his concentration interrupted by the squeak of the outer door to his study being opened. When asked he always explained that he fully intended to one day see the hinges oiled properly, while secretly instructing his staff that they were never to do any such thing. He found it to be a useful alarm for when others sought to disturb him at inopportune times, such as now. The Inquisition had recently launched several raids on the Skirsdag cult, a dangerous group of demon worshippers that had been growing bolder with each passing month. They had always posed a threat to the peace, but up until recently they had always lurked in the shadows, relying on kidnapping the homeless and country peasants as sacrifices for their bloody rituals. Now they were stepping out of their shadows, and their kidnappings becoming more brazen. People were being seized from their homes right there in the heart of Thraben, and more than a few cathars had turned up murdered, unholy symbols etched into their foreheads as if to mock those who found them.
The raids had been less than successful, with all but one failing to turn up any cultists. The one time they did find the cultists, it had been an ambush. What supposed to have been a small flock had turned out to be far more numerous than they had anticipated. More than a dozen good men died in the fighting, but at least they took more than three times their number of blood crazed cultists with them. That was only to be expected, however. The Skirsdag cultists never surrendered, always choosing to spend their lives as violently as possible in sick worship of their masters. What truly worried him was that the group had been prepared for the attack – someone had warned the cultists that the cathars had been coming, and that could only mean one thing.
There was a Skirsdag spy in Avacyn’s church.
The thought made him sick to his stomach. That any man could shame the Silver Collar by falsely swearing the holy oaths expected of all who served the church was as unthinkable as a skabaren presiding over the Heron’s Feast. When I find out who it is, I swear to gut the bastard myself, he thought bitterly.
Lothar snapped out of his bitter musings as he remembered his impending company. He looked up from his desk, and his anger softened as he recognized Thalia standing at crisp attention in front of him. If there was any proof that he had done good work in this world, it was her. As fiercely loyal as she was courageous, he would never forget the dark night when they had first met, the way she had thrown herself recklessly into the midst of a pack of howlers, drawing their attention away from the travelers they had been intent on savaging. He had thought it a brave, if stupid, sacrifice at the time, but then he hadn’t known of her skill with a sword. As he watched her carve her way through the monsters, Lothar had known then and there that Thalia would be the one to replace him as the Guardian of Thraben.
“Ah, Thalia, I’m glad that you could stop by this evening,” he said warmly, motioning her for her to take a seat opposite him. “I wanted to congratulate you on your mission the other evening. We’d been looking for Ludevic for a while now, and the fact that you managed to bring him in with only three cathars as assistance is just impressive!”
Thalia shook her head glumly. “But we let the howler get away.”
Lothar frowned. “It is not your fault that Lesit was bit. You had no way of knowing that man was a werewolf, and basic human decency demanded that Lesit free him. If anything, it is just another sin on Ludevic’s head. What sort of madman brings a werewolf into the heart of the city? Never mind that monster of his. We’ve tried to kill it a dozen different ways, but it just shrugs them all off. Swords, fire, nothing works. We’ve had to renew and expand the wards holding it in place more than a dozen times over the past few days since it just kept growing. It finally stopped, even if it is nearly as large as the Cathedral at this point. We’d need an angel to put it down, but…”
Thalia looked grim as she nodded. “They’ve all retreated into the Loft.”
Lother’s frown deepened, and he reached over to pat the back of her hand reassuringly. “There is a reason for everything, Thalia. We might not understand the purpose of our trials, not even after they are over, but they make us who and what we are.”
“I know,” she answered, bowing her head. “I just wish…”
“If wishes were fishes, then there’d be no beggar’s bowls,” Lothar quoted, wishing that he could tell her the truth of why Avacyn’s magic was really failing. Instead he reached over to the side of his desk and grabbed a stack of ancient looking leather tomes. The covers were dirty and cracked with age, the pages yellow and torn. Thalia recoiled in disgust as he placed them reverently in front of her, over come by the thick stench of rot and chemicals.
“What in Avacyn’s name?” she demanded, pinching her nose to try and block the smell.
Lothar laughed at her reaction, though it didn’t stop him from leaning as far back as he could. “These would be the missing six journals of Saint Traft. I have no idea how they came to be in the possession of a criminal such as Ludevic, but they were recovered from his lab. I haven’t the foggiest idea how he, of all people, managed to come into possession of them.”
Thalia gaped in astonishment. The legendary Saint Traft was one of the most highly worshipped figures in the Church’s history. A man so blessed the Angels themselves followed his every step, he had been a fierce fighter in the war on evil, slaying more demons than any other cathar or inquisitor since then. He had also been an accomplished scribe, chronicling his investigations and battles with pain staking detail. After his death at the hands of the demon Withengar, his journals had been turned over to the church by his brother, Thoin. Even a century later they were still considered to the authority on supernatural threats, from demons to vampires, and were still used as the basic primers for those training to be cathars and inquisitors.
It wasn’t until a year after the church had taken possession of the journals that the scribes realized six of them were missing. No one knew where they had gone. Thoin swore that he had turned them all over, which the an angel of Flight Goldnight had confirmed, but at the same time the journals had been stored inside a heavily guarded vault where all the Church’s sacred relics were kept. It would have been impossible for them to be stolen, but that nagging little fact did nothing to make them reappear.
Traft hadn’t written his journals in chronological order, but rather had pieced them together over the years, dedicating each one to a particular topic; one detailed which spells were most effective against particular monsters, another contained recipes for various useful potions and antidotes, and so on. These tomes went on for several volumes each, all carefully indexed and cross referenced to each other. Using these references as clues, the scholars managed to piece together the contents of the missing six books and came to a horrifying realization.
Traft hadn’t just documented how to battle the forces of evil, but had written down the instructions for creating them as well. According to his references those volumes contained details on the rituals to summon particular demons or devils, anatomical notes on skaabs and ghouls, and the means to invoke terrible curses and spells. In the wrong hands those books were guides to unleashing unspeakable horrors, and no one had any idea where on Innistrad they were.
Thalia couldn’t help herself. Giving in to her curiosity, she picked up the top journal and carefully opened it, forcing her mind to ignore the malignant odor that was making her nose crinkle in disgust. The pages were filled with neat, if somewhat cramped, script describing macabre scenes of ritual sacrifice. She turned the pages with horrified fascination, staring at the elegant sketches that perfectly recreated summoning circles with their runes precisely drawn and carefully placed. She paused as she came to a full page sketch of a sacrificial bone dagger that according to the notes had been carved from a demon’s horn. The sketch faithfully recreated everything about the dagger, from the arcane markings down to the scenes of murder and blood letting that had been “artistically” carved into the blade. There was something about it that seemed familiar, but she didn’t quite know why…
Shaking her head in dismay, she closed the book and returned it to the pile. “What are you planning on doing with them?”
“I honestly don’t know,” Lothar answered with a shrug. “A part of me strongly desires to see them burnt, if only to rid the world of their foul knowledge. On the other hand, Traft’s writings have served us all well in the past. I will probably turn them over to the scholars to see what they might learn from them.”
Thalia shuddered at thought of what one might be able to “learn” from those books. “I think I’d rather see them burned as well.”
“Well, we shall see,” Lothar answered as he removed the books from the desk and placed them into a drawer. “Either way, you’ve done more than can be asked of you. Go and get some rest.”
“Of course,” Thalia answered, smiling for the first time that evening. “After all, something tells me something tomorrow will be just as busy as yesterday.”
She left him laughing as she stepped out of the office, her mind racing as she considered everything. Something Lothar said continued to nag at her.
Just where had Ludevic gotten those books?
First, sorry about the long delay between chapters. Work has been running me a bit more ragged than I planned. On the other hand, over time makes for a much better looking paycheck at the end of the week... Anyway, this is actually the first half of Chapter 6, with the second half picking up from Ludevic's point of view. The real question, however, is Saint Traft. I've already decided that Ludevic is related to Traft, being the great-grandson of Traft's brother Thoin. He had actually found them where Traft had hidden them a century ago. (Traft, not being a fool, had kept the books hidden lest they be stolen. Getting killed by Withengar made sure they stayed hidden.) Ludevic has actually been working off some of Traft's anatomy notes for making something like Tymy.
The real question is whether Traft should make an appearance. I semi-planned on him and perhaps an as-yet unnamed angel haunting Ludevic and serving as sort of an external conscience. Ludevic is, after all, a little absent minded and needs to be reminded every once in a while why massive animated construct stitched together from spare body parts is a bad idea. On the other hand, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe it wouldn't be a little too hokey, even if I just reduced it down to one exasperated angel.
Ludevic sagged against the cold stone of his cell, playing over the events of the last few days in his mind. Nothing had gone his way since the cathars had raided his laboratory. After his captive werewolf had savaged one of his persecutors, the other two had men had decided to take it out on him with, at least as far as he was concerned, a rather uncalled for beating. After all, if they had simply asked he would have been more than happy to have told them cutting the wanton down was a bad idea. But that was typical cathar attitude for you – hit first, and ask questions later. Ludeiv was positive the gorgeous blonde would have put a stop to it if she had known, but she had been too busy dealing with Tymy, much to his chagrin.
“What did I ever do to deserve this?” he moaned, burying his head in his hands.
“You never listened to me, that’s what,” came the stern reply. Ludevic snapped upright at the familiar voice, smiling as the first ray of hope came to him in a long while.
“Teana!” Ludevic jumped to his feet in excitement. “You’ve come to get me out of here?”
The angel standing in the opposite corner of his cell frowned at the question, but even that wasn’t enough to mar her unearthly beauty. She glowed with a divine radiance that banished even the darkest shadows from the tiny cell, which only made it more apparent how grimy Ludevic had become since the start of his imprisonment. She sighed as she answered, “You know better than that. I cannot interfere with mortal justice, only act as observer and final arbiter for your fate. You should consider yourself fortunate I can do even that much; if it were anyone else, and I was not bound by the oath I swore to your grand-uncle, then you would surely hang for the crimes you have committed.”
Teana shook her head as she reflected on how it had come to this. She had personally been tasked by Gisella, the leader of Flight Goldnight, to watch over the legendary Saint Traft. She had been at his side for many a battle, and all but a demon’s trickery and Traft’s own honor had kept her from being at his side when he died. She had personally led the flight of angels that had avenged, protecting his body from Withengar and his minions. She had sworn then and there that she would protect his family from any and all harm so long as it did not interfere with the oaths she had sworn to Avacyn and Gisella. She had never had much difficulty in upholding that oath…at least until Ludevic had come along. She had seen much promise in him as a child, and that had led her to showing him where Traft had hidden his journals. She had expected him to learn from the journals, to follow in Traft’s footsteps. Instead Ludevic had devoted himself a darker path, trying to unlock the dark secrets those tomes held.
“But I’m innocent!” Ludevic wailed in protest, sinking onto the bench one more. “I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“You let a werewolf loose in Avacyn’s holy city!”
“That wasn’t me!” Ludevic angrily denied. “What I did was put myself at risk to single handedly capture a dangerous wanton and keep him from preying on any more innocents!”
“You conjured a beast that destroyed an old woman’s home!”
“That was not my fault!” Ludevic snapped. “I had the entire experiment fully under control. Tymy was asleep when they arrived! It wasn’t until those morons started trying to stick him with those swords of theirs that he went on a rampage, and even then he only attacked those who attacked him first!”
“You terrorized an entire village with your curses!”
“Well, it was kind of funny watching them all panic, and it wasn’t like anyone got hurt by being blind for a few minutes,” Ludevic replied, trying to hide a grin. He turned more serious as he added, “And besides, it only served them right for tormenting that poor girl, just for having that birth mark. So what if it looked like a crescent moon? You would think the superstitious bastards would have taken it as some sort of holy sign from you angels.”
“You experimented on the dead, disturbing their rest with foul magics and unholy potions!”
Ludevic’s eyes narrowed as he glared at his guardian angel. “You know better than that, Teana. I have never experimented on human flesh or bodies. All my subjects have been animals I myself captured, and only animated long enough for me to make observations and experiment with structure and forms.”
“What about the mauler that you let loose in Nephalia?”
Ludevic frowned, then shrugged. “Ok, I might be a little bit guilty on that one. But there weren’t any humans involved in that one either, and at least the gangs stopped bothering that shop after it was done.” He frowned, pausing for a moment to count something on his fingers. “Granted, there might not be much of those gangs left after it got done with them…”
Teana nodded, smiling serenely. “Good! As long as you remember all that, and don’t get too outraged with their questions, you should be fine. Now get some sleep. You will need it.”
Think of how Neo couldn't beat the robots, but they kept him around anyways to defeat Agent Smith. Sure, the robots might not like having a Neo running rampant because instead of playing their favorite 4 drop fatty robot, they have to play a bunch of one mana Matrixs to contain him, but at least Neo keeps Agent Smith from reanimating an Iona on turn two.
I really enjoy imagining this from Kevin's perspective. Because in Kevin's world, Rosewater actually reads everything he types. Mark is sitting there right now, reading this, and thinking "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled. . ." Or some such. He chuckles low, then clicks on "The Best Of KEVINSET" and says "Yes, this'll do just fine. A busty lady with banding who deals direct damage to Zones!? Why this will be the star of my next set, and no one will ever believe you Kevin." Then he closes his Macbook, so his servant may move it out of the way, while another servant puts a Fetal Richard Garfield Clone lathered in Steak Sauce in front of him. Then Mark Feasts.
I mean, In KevinWorld, Mark is reading the very words I'm typing as well. Heck, in KevinWorld maybe I am Mark.
[In response to a thread about how hard grading is]
Upon reading this, I've found myself completely unable to operate in the world. I tried to decide what to eat for breakfast, and pondered the vast consequences of my choice. How do I balance my dietary needs against my desire to eat good-tasting food? Should I factor in how long it takes to prepare? Cereal is ready in moments, but bacon takes longer to cook.
Then there is the impact on other industries. Do people in the cereal industry deserve to be employed more than people in the bacon industry? Which industry should I support? I don't even have the data regarding HOW MUCH the cereal industry benefits from me eating a bowl of cereal, or how much the bacon industry benefits from me eating a side of bacon. How can I compare two qualities I can't even quantify?
And let's not forget the milk on the cereal. In addition to determining whether or not milk is healthy for me, how much that benefits the milk industry, and how much the people in the milk industry deserve my support, we have to factor in the fact that cows are put under brutal conditions in order to collect thier milk. Of course, the same goes for the pigs, and then they get killed. Of course, I really like bacon. So I need to come up with a scale that compares the value of cow happiness to pig happiness to my happiness. What trade-offs am I willing to make here? Does the fact that the pig gets put out of its misery count as a plus or a minus? Isn't bacon bad for me anyway?
Deciding what to eat for breakfast (or any meal) is impossible. Help me!
Anyway, you'd be surprised about Time Stop. When I first saw that card as a relatively new player I didn't see its full potential until I read the reminder text. Is it that unintuitive, though? Mine I mean. What is possibility? Is it possible for me to type these words with my tusks? No, because I don't have tusks. Although I am now tempted to go buy some - obviously not from poachers or whatever - and use them as typing apparatus. I could be the best secretary ever. "What's your words per minute sir?" "Well, only six, but I use these tusks to type them." "You're hired!" That was the interview. And is anyone else disappointed that "apparati" is not the plural form of apparatus? I just could strangle a dictionary, because "apparatuses" is a real word. I guess it sounds pretty cool. I'll call them my Apparatusks.
Sorin allowed Olivia’s little minions to lead him to a small sitting room perched in one of the upper corners of the mansion while they cleaned up his prize. A trembling servant entered behind them, her hands shaking as she placed a crystal decanter filled with blood wine on the table by the door. Sorin scowled as he watched her move. Her hands and throat were bare exposing the puckered teeth marks on her pale skin. Her tremors weren’t caused by fear of being in the same room as a lethal predator, but by the same lack of blood that left her looking glassy eyed and moving with a slow, plodding gait. He waited until she had left the room before pouring himself a glass. He managed only a single sip before placing the glass down again, forcing himself not to gag at the overly sweet taste.
They are children, he thought bitterly as he walked back to the window to glare at the party goers mingling in the courtyard below. Spoiled brats who have forsaken their heritage for hedonistic pleasures. They take advantage of Avacyn’s disappearance without even knowing why they suddenly have so much more freedom, nor do they understand the price they will pay when she returns. So be it. They will learn their lessons when the humans come to burn their toys and leave them staked out in the open for the sun to find. Well, at least those that survive will.
Sorin turned as he heard the door open again, smiling as the woodsman was shoved through. They had cleaned him up from his fight, but not before chaining his hands and legs together to hobble him. Sorin smirked at the futility of the gesture, but merely motioned for the guards to depart now that their prisoner had been delivered. When the door was closed and he was sure they had their privacy, he nodded to the other man as he held up a key to the locks and said, “You can go ahead and take those off now.”
The other man grunted as he flexed his muscles. The chains had been forged with the intent of keeping other vampires imprisoned. Now they groaned in protest as he pulled against them, the links stretching and twisting until one finally snapped, pinging off the fireplace mantle as it bounced around the room. He took a moment to twist the rest of the chain free from the manacles. He then reached down and grabbed the chains attached to his ankles. It took a little more effort before they gave up as well, but it wasn’t long before there were four broken lengths of chain littering the carpet. Finally free of his bondage, he looked up at Sorin and said, “You’re dead.”
“Undead, actually,” Sorin acknowledged with a shallow bow. “Though I suppose that could also depend on how you choose to look at it. From my point of view I was never properly dead to begin with, so being undead merely makes me alive with a slight…dietary restriction so to speak. Is that going to be a problem?”
“It is unnatural,” the other man countered.
“So is being a planeswalker,” Sorin retorted as he stepped away from the window and closer to his companion. “Oh, don’t look at me like you don’t know what I’m talking about. I am not nearly as infantile as my so-called cousins down there. I recognize baloth hide when I see it. You’ve been to Zendikar sometime in the past, though if I were you I wouldn’t be making any plans to visit it in the near future.”
“Is that supposed to be a threat?” the big man rumbled. He straightened his shoulders, standing to what even Sorin had to admit was an impressive height.
“More an observation,” Sorin answered soothingly. “Someone decided it was a good idea to unleash some reality annihilating monstrosities on the plane, and unfortunately my attempt to stop it was thwarted by a rather stupid elf.”
“So you’re a planeswalker as well, then?” The big man reached for the bottle of wine, opened the stopper, and took a tentative sniff. His nose curled in disgust and he dropped it back on the table, not even bothering to close it again.
“I am,” the vampire admitted. “My name is Sorin, and yours?”
“Garruk.” It came out as a half grunt, half growl. Sorin watched with great interest as Garruk prowled around the room, examining the windows and walls. He reminded Sorin of a great hunting cat claiming its territory, marking the best way to escape and the most easily defended points.
“And what brings you to Innistrad?” Sorin asked, circling the room opposite Garruk. The burly planeswalker took note of his host’s movements, adjusting his own pace to match Sorin’s smaller stride.
“I’m hunting a witch,” Garruk answered, finally coming to a stop. It was, in his mind, the perfect position. He had his back to the fireplace, where a burning log or metal poker would make for a handy weapon. Opposite where he was standing was a large bay window, with a tree planted close at hand. With a running start he would be able to easily leap into its branches, sparing him the several story fall to the ground. From there it would be an easy run to the wall, though it might get more complicated if he had to stop and fight.
“There are plenty of witches on Innistrad,” Sorin pointed out, fully aware that if Garruk decided to make a break for it that he was standing right in front of the window. Sorin stood completely at ease, assuming the stance of a cocky nobleman in over his head. The pose also made it easy to hide the fact he was grasping the hilt of the knife he wore along his spine. “Are you looking any witch in particular?”
“Aye,” Garruk snorted. He held out his left arm and rolled the sleeve of his coat up to his elbow. From his fingers to roughly the middle of his forearm was healthy pink flesh, but from there it turned a moldering grey, thick muscle turning loose and stringy, as if someone had mixed a healthy man’s arm with that of a corpse. “I seek the one who cursed me. She wears a chain veil and answers to the name Liliana.”
Sorin approached cautiously, examining Garruk’s arm as closely as he could without touching it. Sorin had encountered more than his fair share of curses in his travels, and didn’t want to risk being infected by any malignancy that might have been attached to the spell. Normally the spark protected against such base spells, eventually purging a planeswalker’s body, but whatever curse had been placed on Garruk seemed powerful enough to overcome even that. Sorin could see the tendrils of black mana pulsing through Garruk’s body as the curse slowly spread, and knew that as soon as they reached the man’s vital organs that his fellow planeswalker would be doomed to whatever fell fate awaited him.
“And she is here? On Innistrad?” Sorin demanded.
Garruk nodded. “The Veil she bears has a distinct aura to it, one that allowed me to track her passage through the Blind Eternities.”
Sorin reeled as he tried to process what he was being told. Another planeswalker was loose in his world. One with more than quite a bit of power to her name, if what she had done to Garruk was any indication. How long had she been here? Was she somehow connected to Avacyn’s disappearance? Why? What motive did she have for interfering with his angel? Only two things came to mind. It was possible this was an attack aimed at him, but while he had lost a small amount of his power when Avacyn had vanished it was hardly enough to compromise him. He had been careful to arrange it so that she fed his powers, rather than the other way around. The second option was that this was some sort of play for Innistrad itself. Avacyn might not have been the most powerful resident of Innistrad, but she was definitely up there on the lists as well as being its most public defender. The angels would rally, of course, but without her their powers would be sorely diminished. After that there were a handful of demons that would have given even Sorin pause, but they were few in number and it was doubtful they would put up a united front, if they even bothered to resist at all. More likely they would join whoever rid them of the Archangel. That would leave Sorin as the last obstacle to conquest, but few outside the upper nobility of the vampires was even aware of him and his powers. So get rid of Avacyn, and most of a would-be conqueror’s task would already be accomplished.
“I am going with you,” Sorin announced, much to Garruk’s surprise. “Innistrad is my domain by my own decree, and I will not stand by while some usurper comes waltzing in trying to seize power for herself. You will have your cure when together we take the witch’s head.”
Garruk was stunned by the offer, but his days living in the forest with the pack had taught him to never let an opportunity pass by, especially one as freely offered and beneficial as that one. He nodded in thanks, holding out his hand to Sorin. “Then we have an accord. Where do we begin?”
“We start with the man I came here to see,” Sorin answered. “Time to introduce you to my Grandfather.”
* * *
“Edgar! I demand answers!” Sorin roared as he strode into the study where the guards had told him his Grandfather was ‘resting’. He was only mildly surprised when a mousey looking brown haired girl of about twenty squeaked in fear and ducked around behind the chair Edgar Markov was occupying. More disturbing was how old and frail Edgar appeared. A robust man in his late forties when he had unlocked the secret to “immortality”, Edgar now looked old and frail, as if he were a starving man lost deep in an unforgiving desert.
“Ah, good evening, Sorin,” Edgar replied in a wry voice. He motioned for the girl hiding behind him to step out in front of him. “No need to be afraid, Agana, it’s just my grandson, back from his trips to who knows where doing who knows what.”
Sorin glanced at the girl, then turned to stare at Edgar. “What is the meaning of this? Who is she? Why are you here and not at the family seat?”
“Ah, so many questions!” Edgar sighed. “I suppose I could ask just as many about your hulking company lurking in the shadows over there. But let us deal with yours first, though I shall handle them in my own order, though the answer to all three is honestly the same. In all cases the answer is politics, politics which stem from you and your creation.”
Sorin was across the room in a flash, hoisting his Grandfather from his seat with a single jerk. “You know what happened to her? Tell me!”
“Do I?” Edgar repeated with a sneer. “Perhaps I do, if not the why. Your precious Angel is gone, Sorin. Vanished from her own Cathedral in the very heart of sun touched Thraben itself. I don’t know how, or why. The Church has been very careful about maintaining their little masquerade in her absence, and what few spies I have remaining to me know only that the answer lies with the Lunarch and the Guardian.”
Sorin lowered put Edgar back on his feet and took a deep breath. “What does that have to do you with abandoning the family seat?”
“It has everything to do with me losing the family seat!” Edgar snapped, slamming his fist down on the arm of his chair. Even starved as he was the blow was supernaturally powerful, and the thick wood shattered in a cloud of splinters that made the girl flinch. He whirled on Sorin, his eyes ablaze with hate and anger. “Your pretty little Angel was too good, Sorin. She made a wonderful threat against those who sought to abuse our heritage and good will, but at the same time she kept us to the shadows for too long. When she vanished, I lost all the power of that threat. All that old hatred against you surged to the surface, and Olivia used it as an excuse to seize power for herself. She and the Patricians gathered the council and had me brought here, away from my seat of power. They declared me old, dull witted, and unfit to lead. Only the fact that you are my heir kept them from simply having me executed and done away with entirely. Instead they’ve locked me in this room and left me with the girl, hoping that I will snap and sire her to slake my thirst. Meanwhile, they frolic outside, gorging themselves needlessly and otherwise acting like rabbits in heat.”
He whirled, thrusting a jagged splinter at Sorin’s face. “They will prove you right in the end. Stenisa cannot sustain their lusts indefinitely. When the humans finally have enough, the clouds will be black with the ashes of our funeral pyres.”
“Then for your sake pray that I can undo what has been done to her,” Sorin snarled back. He turned to leave, but before he could Edgar grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Wait!” he demanded. “Take the girl with you. I do not know how much longer I can resist the hunger, and if I take her than there will be no fixing the harm it will cause. Olivia wants her puppet, but I trust you to keep her in her place. Do not let me down.”
Well, the way I see him, Edgar is evil, but smart about it. To him, Avacyn is a necessary evil foisted on him by his errant Grandson, but just because Avacyn would rather see him staked out for the dawn doesn't mean he doesn't know how to turn a bad situation to his advantage. Its public knowledge that Sorin created Avacyn (at least amongst the elder vampires) and while Sorin isn't happy with the choices Edgar has made for the two of them he's still his grandfather and an incredibly smart man. So it wasn't hard for Edgar to leak various rumors that while he might not be able to control Avacyn, he doesn't exactly have to fear her either. That allowed him to keep a lid on some of the more power mad and crazed individuals. Sort of the equivalent of launching a nuke into a knife fight. But now his nuke is gone, and everyone has suddenly realized that not only has Edgar have a little rust on his dagger, there's quite a number more of them and they've been practicing. Honestly, the only reason he isn't dead is because Oilivia, who is leading the charge on taking power, pointed out to enough people that if Edgar dies then Sorin will go genocidal on them, and they don't know the extent of his powers other than, "Made one Archangel, could always do it again." (Remember, they don't know what he did in the first place, nor do they know about 'walkers being depowered in the wake of the mending. As far as they're concerned, he's got Urza level magic at his command.)
Granted, once Edgar gets his nuke back he's going to be a bit more blunt in his dealings. After all, ripping someone's throat out is always so much more permanent - and satisfying.
On a side note, since its been bugging me, what's the rating on stories in these forums supposed to cap at? Pg-13, light R, what?