tagSci-Fi & FantasyTrials of a Planeswalker Ch. 01: Rising

Trials of a Planeswalker Ch. 01: Rising



Blayne jerked and woke up. His breath curled in the brisk air above him and he looked around the cold, dank cell. Chains jingled on his wrists as he sat up. A hard wooden bench creaked beneath him. Three of the walls were blank stone and the wall in front of him was comprised of thick, heavy bars. He stood up stepped forward, the chains suddenly became tight and restricted him from going more than a few feet from the bench. He looked down at himself; he was wearing a worn blue T-shirt and black pants.

"Hello? Hello! Is anyone there? Where am I?!" Blayne cried loudly, pulling fruitlessly at the chains that bound his wrists and feet.

"Ahh...the murderer awakes." A man said as he walked down the hallway outside his cell.

"Where am I? What am I doing in this cell?" Blayne asked desperately.

Blayne stared intently at the man who looked silently at him. He started to realize the strangeness of the man in front of him. He wore heavy brown pants, a large belt and a heavy-looking blue and gold-trimmed chest plate. He carried a hefty silver spear and he watched with vigilant eyes.

"Are you that dense? Did your murderous ways cause your consciousness to finally crumple?" The guard hissed, "You're in New Prahv, the Azorius Senate. You were found amid dozens of burnt corpses in a destroyed portion of the New Prahv trade district. Next month, you will be seen by the Grand Arbiter and your case will be decided, most likely ending in your execution."

"What? I haven't done anything wrong! I don't even know what you're talking about. Where is New Prahv? What is the Azorius Senate? Who or what is a Grand Arbiter?" Blayne cried wildly, yanking on the chains, "I didn't kill anyone!"

"The Grand Arbiter will have the final say in that, but considering the traces of magic around you, the traces of Izzet style magic..." He seemed to say the last few words in total disgust, "You will be put to death and an investigation of that dangerous, foolish guild will be conducted."

"What are you talking about? Magic? Are you crazy? How could I do magic? Magic doesn't exist!" Blayne yelled fearfully.

"You really bashed up your head didn't you? You know, our healers said they had fixed you up in perfect condition, but I don't know..." The guard rubbed his chin as he leaned forward, "Maybe I'll go call for them. Can't have a man out of his head when his execution is coming up."

"Thanks." Blayne grunted, stepping back to slump down on the bench, "So I've got to be in here for a damn month? God, there's not even a bathroom in here!"

"Chamber pot in the corner." The guard grunted, "I'm going to go ask for a healer. Don't try anything. Those chains are magical and you won't be able to break them, they restrict magical powers."


The guard disappeared and Blayne groaned. He put his face in his hands and tried to remember. His memory was a maelstrom of nonsense. A torrent of flashing lights, incomprehensible sounds and strange smells. He could remember his name. Older, more set in memories such as his childhood and even up through his high school were still sensible. He knew who he was, knew that he didn't know or at least didn't remember anything this guard had talked about. He definitely knew magic didn't exist, he knew that because he and his high school friends were fans of video games and morning cartoons that depicted fantastic worlds and amazing realities. The more he thought, the more his distant memories seemed to organize themselves. He slowly pieced things together and found his most recent memories to be of high school and graduation in 2000. His world had entered a new era of space exploration and wonderful changes were happening in the world.

This world was not at all like that. Talk of magic and new worlds, Grand Arbiters and strange men in neomedieval looking armor.

Blayne groaned again and laid back on the bench. His mind was exhausted and his body was sore. He didn't know what he had done, but it had worn him out mind and body. He could do with some sleep.


He awoke to a blinding light piercing through his eyelids. He grumbled angrily and put a hand in front of his eyes. He opened his eyes and moved to sit up. Strong hands pressed on his shoulders and pushed him down. He looked over and saw a man in flowing sky-blue robes standing next to the guard. It was the guard's hands hands on his shoulders. He glanced up at the man in the robes and was shocked to see bright golden light swirling about his fingers and hands. It was that light that had been brought very close to his eyes and had awakened him.

"Get of me!" Blayne groaned, pushing the guard's hands off.

"Not while the healer is in here." The guard grabbed his shoulders tightly, "You need to be restrained for his safety."

"I'm not a murderer! I'm not going to hurt him. Just let me sit up. You can poke me with your spear if I try anything." Blayne grumbled, trying to sit up again.

"It's okay. I can deal with him if he tries anything." The mage said confidently.

The guard let Blayne sit up.

"Thanks. Who're you?"

"I'm Jeddian. I'm an Azorius mage." The man said.

The mage's face was older and he had a bushy black beard. His fingers twisted and encircled Blayne's head, making the golden light swirl like a halo about his forehead.

"What're you doing?" Blayne glanced up.

"I'm checking the neural pathways inside your brain and I'm carefully monitoring your conscious thought. I want to know why you're missing your memory." Jeddian said, his eyes stoic with concentration.

"Uh-huh. Alright." Blayne sighed, "Gotta keep me alive and healthy so you can cut of my head."

"Decapitation? How barbaric!" Jeddian exclaimed, the magic suddenly popping and fizzling away into nothing.

"Oh? You have a better way of killing a man? Actually have a gun to shoot me in the head or just gonna burn me at the stake?" Blayne snapped coldly.

"Execution under the Azorius Senate is defined as a painless separation of body and soul through magical means. The body is left lifeless and it dies in minutes, freeing your soul to go to the great beyond and be judged for your crimes." Jeddian explained, taking a step back.

"So? What's wrong?" The guard asked.

"Oh! Well it's a case of hysterical amnesia. Nothing I can do about it, it's all in his sub-conscious." Jeddian told him, "We can only hope he will regain his memories before the hearing."

"Oh that's wonderful." Blayne scoffed, "Maybe if my head stays jumbled I'll get to keep my soul."

"Unlikely." The guard growled, "Thanks doctor, I was worried he might've had something more serious."

"Of course. Take solace son, if you are innocent as you say, then when your spirit meets the great one, you will receive a place of honor for your continued faith." Jeddian smiled before he left.

"Oh come on! Now you're telling me to believe in fake gods?!" Blayne called, "Just let me go home! I don't even know where I am..."

"I told you boy, you're in an Azorius jail." The guard said as he closed the cell behind him, "That should tell it all."

"That doesn't mean anything to me! Are we in China or Japan or India or Egypt or what?!" Blayne yelled, leaping to his feet amid rattling chains.

"Are you that dense? You're on Ravnica! Where else would you be?" The guard laughed openly at him.

"Ravnica? Where the hell is Ravnica?"

"You really have lost it all. Ravnica is the great world where we all have lived for tens of thousands of years. Where else would you be?"

"I don't know...Earth!!" Blayne screamed, "Fuck..."

He sank back down on the bench with a huff. The cell was looking smaller with every passing minute.

"What's Earth?" The guard asked.

A groan escaped his lips and he hung his head in misery.


A week passed in agonizing slowness, Blayne had gotten to know every guard that traded shifts throughout his cell block. It turned out that the facility they were in was not only strengthened with magic, but it also floated hundreds of feet above the ground. So even if he did escape his chains and race past every guard, he would still be left with two choices, get stabbed by a guard or leap to his death.

As his curiosity left this jail and started to wonder about the rest of Ravnica, he quickly learned that he was definitely on a different world. It turned out that the world of Ravnica was a single great city spreading around the entire planet. It was split into ten major sections, for nine guilds shared control of the world of Ravnica. The Azorius Senate was only one of them. He learned that the guild he was accused of having attacked Azorius for was the Izzet League. Just as the Azorius Senate seemed to be the seat of law and judgement on Ravnica, the Izzet League seemed to be the center of scientific and magical discovery. They upheld the civil systems, including the steam power, cobble streets and many other similar things. The problem, it seemed, was that the Izzet often forgot about this duty and they just spent their time researching and exploring new things. They held no reservations or safeties for what they did, instead they just recklessly and maddeningly did whatever held their fancy.

The Azorius, in Blayne's opinion, had the opposite problem. It seemed that they took their duty as lawmakers and law enforcers entirely too seriously and, from what he heard so far, they arrested anyone who tried to stop them. The guard didn't say this of course, Blayne just inferred it from what he heard the guard talking about and the other prisoners in cells near his own. The man closest to him was put in jail because he and his son had a fight, they arrested his son for assault and he yelled at the law enforcers that were taking him away. They arrested him on the spot because they said he was interfering with judgement.

Other guilds on Ravnica included the Boros Legion: the security force and standing army of Ravnica, the Golgari Swarm: the agricultural and waste management, the Gruul Clans: the wilds keepers and foresters, the Orzhov Syndicate: the business managers and aristocracy, the Cult of Rakdos: the official mining sector, the Selesnya Conclave: the religionists and peacekeepers and the Simic Combine: the live engineers and scientists.

Each of these guilds uses their official duties as a front all the while trying to swipe control of Ravnica out from under each other guilds. It was a constant, maddening power struggle that had been raging for more than ten thousand years. It was a little surprising to Blayne that none of the guilds had teamed up to destroy some of the others yet. Or at the very least, if they had it hadn't worked yet.

"Alright, so Ravnica is a magical world with one great city covering it amid a constant power struggle between nine powerful guilds. While the guilds run pretty much everything, your average citizen is not part of any guild, they just live their lives as they wish. Within each guild there are thousands of people serving to further the cause of their own guild and, while this is a world of magic, a mage, as the one you claim me to be, is rather uncommon. Only one out of a thousand has the aptitude for using mana." Blayne narrated, "And while magic can do almost anything, there are five major colors fueling the magic in this world: red, blue, green, black and white. Each guild represents a combination of two colors of mana. Azorius is blue, which represents the mind and knowledge, and white, which represents order and law. The combination of the two colors makes for blind justice and logical thought above all else. You claim I am Izzet, which is a combination of blue and red, red being reckless, destruction and selfish power hunger. The combination of red and blue makes for a selfish, dangerous hunger for knowledge that is as likely to destroy as it is to create."

"Yea, that's pretty much right." The night guard nodded.

The night guard, after hearing his story, believed that Blayne really didn't know what he was doing. This gave Blayne hope and he had started asking questions about Ravnica and the guilds. It was pleasant conversation, even if it did sound rather mad. It helped pass the time, learning about other guilds and more of the world.

"Alright, so some of the guilds...the Simic Combine. They're a combination of green and blue. Green is a show of nature, life and free existence. So the combining those two and you get the life mages and life scientists of the Simic who work to enhance life, sometimes in terrible ways." Blayne said.

"Exactly. Some say that they aren't as bad because they've helped cure many sicknesses and diseases, but they've also created their fair share." The night guard said.

"They've made diseases? Why would they do that?" Blayne said, resting his chin on his knuckles.

"As I understand it, they create disease and sickness to see it's effect on life, thus furthering their knowledge." The night guard said.

"Interesting. Alright, so the other side of that coin is the Golgari Swarm. They are the green and black, black being the definition of death and decay. This combination makes for necromancy, unholy life and plagues that threaten anything that breathes. You know I thought the Golgari were supposed to be the agricultural sector. Why do something like this?" Blayne wondered, "Why the undead and life-defiling?"

"The Golgari are a swarm as their name suggests. And like a swarm, they spread, infect, consume and repeat. Many of the Golgari no longer live, having become part of the great undead force that they summon." The night guard said, "Honestly, they completely disgust me. As to being the opposite of the Simic, no, they aren't. The opposite of Golgari is more likely the Selesnya."

"Okay, so the Selesnya. Dryads, wilds lovers and protectors of life in general. That's what comes of mixing white and green. This particular guild is as much nature and living creature as it is person. So what's the harm in it per say? Because, the way you describe it, every guild has it's problems, Selesnya doesn't seem that bad." Blayne asked.

"The Selesnya don't just believe in preserving life and keeping nature, they believe man is a blight on nature and they want man gone. It is the belief of the many in Selesnya that they need to help the wilds overgrow Ravnica, end the human 'plague' and give themselves willingly over to nature." The night guard said, "A bit crazy."

"Okay, so we've got the Azorius, Izzet, Simic, Golgari, and Selesnya. That leaves four...how about Boros? What are they like? You described them to be the standing military of Ravnica. What does that mean? Doesn't each guild have it's own army?" Blayne asked.

"In a sense, yes, each guild does have its army of sorts. But Boros is an army, that's all they are. Each person in the Boros guild is a soldier. Their guild leader herself is an angel of war. No one guild has the might to fight Boros on even ground." The night guard said, jabbing with his spear for effect, "They believe in honor and judgement above all else. To betray someone in the Boros Legion is the worst offense you could give them."

"So red and white means unhindering loyalty and honor. That's interesting. Okay, so what of the odd one, the Orzhov Syndicate? I mean, white and black mana? Isn't that self-opposition?" Blayne asked.

"In a sense, it may be. But the Orzhov are the aristocracy, they don't always make sense. They run the banks and they control who they want. The Orzhov are notorious for bringing souls back from the dead to serve them and spy on anyone who oppose them." The night guard said, "The Orzhov is a dark and evil guild in my opinion."

"So a mobster 'control the money, control the people' kind of guild." Blayne nodded, "That's seven. What was another?"

"That leaves the Gruul clans and the Cult of Rakdos." The night guard said, "Both of which are dangerous and out of control. Gruul, red and green. Rakdos, red and black."

"Right right, so the Gruul Clans. They have that brutal instinct of green and the impulsive chaos of red. So they're the foresters and wild runners, kind of described by the fact that they're clans. What else about them should I know?" Blayne wondered.

"Well the Gruul are exactly as you think, brutal and barbaric clans of all manner of creatures. They're wild and dangerous to anyone who enters their territory." The night guard told him.

"That sounds pretty obvious. So what of Rakdos? Why are they called a cult?"

"They worship a demon named Rakdos. They are blood thirsty and brutal, just as you would think when you combine the chaos of red with the amorality and blood lust of black. Few enter Rakdos areas and come out alive. Anyone who enters the Rakdos's part of Ravnica are at mortal risk. Few guilds have the power to hold sway there and the Azorius is not one. We have tried to bring them justice in the past, they only want blood." The night guard hissed angrily.

"Nine guilds...all with dangerous and volatile problems. It astounds me that Ravnica has held together as long as you say. So I'm wondering, you describe guild members as fanatical believers in the guilds. You don't sound like you're fanatically in love with Azorius." Blayne pointed out.

"You're right, I'm not. But the Azorius is the least of the bad. They strive for fair justice and law." The night guard nodded, "And if I'm going ally myself with a guild for my own protection, it's going to be one that I think will provide best for my family."

"And if you happen to die and your child gets caught swiping an apple?" Blayne asked with a smirk, "How does Azorius punish starving thieves? Blind justice is not always right."

"It's right more often than not." The night guard sighed reluctantly.

"And if it's wrong on someone you love?"

Blayne stood up and moved forward, looking through the bars at him.

"Can you really trust 'blind justice' on innocent, starving people?"

"Look, if you're as lost as you say, then you don't know Ravnica! You don't know what it's like to be living in this world!" The night guard's mood changed to anger.

"You're right, I don't know. But I did come from a world where hunger, poverty and war weren't uncommon. Only we didn't have magic to help us." Blayne said, "And I know that absolute justice in anyone's hands is never right. No one man, even your 'Grand Arbiter' should have that power."

"Sit back down and stay quiet." The night guard turned in him, holding his silver spear towards him.

Blayne sighed and sat back down. He had been close, very close. If he could work his way any further into this man's heart or mind, he could get him to help with an escape. There must be some way off this floating rock. He didn't know where he would go, but he was itching to be away from the people who wanted to cut off his head. He had all but completely suspended his common sense after the first day. It was screamingly apparent that he was no longer even on Earth, but instead on some distant, magical world and he was not exactly ecstatic about it.

Whatever, the case, he would have to give his best. He didn't really know what that meant, considering his fragmented memories, but maybe he could outsmart these people and escape. There had to be some way home out there.



Two weeks in that jail cell. Two weeks fruitlessly making friends with the guards only to find out that an enchantment placed on his body prevented him from escaping the island even if he was totally free. If he somehow reached the edge of the prison island, he would be stopped by a grand barrier of white magic that held all the prisoners in should anything happen to the conventional containment and the guards.

Blayne was reclined on his bench, a most interesting drink in his hand. He had become fast pals with a midday guard and he had convinced the guard to start bringing him better food and drink. The thing he started to sneak in were bottles of a drink called 'Azorius Mindbomb'. It was a sapphire-colored drink that glowed in the dark and it's carbonation sent off white sparks into the air. The midday guard had said that these particular bottles of alcohol had been bathed in blue mana by some accident and alcohol was know for absorbing magic with ease. It gave the drink a most interesting sensation and taste.

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byRaistlinMajere© 6 comments/ 7361 views/ 33 favorites

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