This entry is part 13 of 23 in the series Savor That Commander Flavor

“But Farmer Hogget knew that little ideas…that tickled and nagged and refused to go away…should never be ignored…for in them, lie the seeds of destiny.”
-Babe (1995)

Warning: Exceptionally long narrative ahead.

Magic cards are funny things. Grab any two and they can cause a spark of the imagination. Fan that spark a little and it grows. Fan that flame enough and it could grow out of control into a full-fledged wild fire. This is what we call, “inspiration and enlightenment”.

While I once shared a story about how Baroness Teysa, Orzhov Scion convinced me to grant her an army of the undead, her power came from a long line of decisions and experiences that almost became its own legacy. Not all such stories start from such a long time ago, and not all stories feature the same trials. They may not even share the same setting. But the more things are different, the more the stay the same.

This is one such story. It’s the story of how a certain wizard inspired me to give a controversial enchantment another look. She wasn’t strong, but she was powerful. Her wisdom and vast wealth of knowledge would lead to one of my greatest endeavors ever…

In the confines of my study, spell books were piled up and pages were scattered everywhere. The bookcases were brimming with graphic novels long since opened.. While I hadn’t been reading the volumes of classic literature that also stocked the shelves, I’ve been pouring over network reports that come in via owl and War Falcon.

If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s the knowledge and stories that great literature provides. I desperately wish to resume my readings, but scholarly affairs and daily duties prevent any leisurely activities as of late. I don’t consider myself a blue mage but I can appreciate the advantages that keeping abreast of current events can provide. As they say, knowledge is power, and I like power.

So as I sat in my study, I began sifting through the records, looking for the rest of those legendary figures who came from seemingly nowhere, and composed of mana combinations that were so very rare to find. Kaalia was one such general, as was Ghave prior to his discharge. The unusual powers and strengths these beings possessed still intrigued me. What could I do with that power?

Ruhan of the Fomori, a powerful warrior with access to Sunforger and a treasure trove of counter magics that could be channeled with the mighty hammer. I made a note to inform Rafiq that Bruna, Light of Alabaster and The Geist of Saint Traft would soon be serving under a new commanding officer.

Riku of Two Reflections, a versatile man who would double anything and everything he got his hands on. But what if he could double cards that were already doubling? What if he could copy the copy spells and be a true mirror mage? I spent a while gathering spells that would serve that purpose. Perhaps we’ll come back to him at a time when his army has been gathered properly. Sufficient to say, support from the Izzet guild has helped tremendously.

Both of them were promising commanders, but I had little interest in The Mimeoplasm. I had heard tales of the gelatinous blob taking over battles and destroying all opposition as easily as Ghave had. I’d already cut one commander from under his feet. I didn’t need to go through that again.

Damia, Sage of Stone didn’t warrant much attention either. I was never a fan of leaders who required such a high amount of mana-bonds before they saw battle. Karrthus was one of the few exceptions due to his extreme ferocity. But as I looked over her profile, I started to feel something tugging at the back of my mind. It was a thought.

If Damia could grant me multiple spells each turn, her power and value would increase exponentially. But to do that, many spells would have to be cast to coax more from her. That would require more mana than I’d ever had access to before. But what if there was a way to cast all of those spells all at once? Something tugged at the back of my mind. Something I’d forgotten about. I ignored it and went along my business.

For days though, it persisted. I kept feeling as though I was overlooking something, something magnificent. Finally, I decided to go through the spells that sat around my library, unused and without anyone who could properly use them. As I looked at each scroll, pieces started to fall into place, until I saw a scroll that was still very new. Something ‘clicked’.

I was out the door and making the jump through the Aether quickly after that, with plans rapidly forming in my head.

Damia’s exact location is unknown, but there were ‘walkers out there who could point me to her general location. Once I found the right plane, Damia’s reputation quickly led me to her. As I walked through the garden leading to her chamber, I saw many statues that littered the domain. Of course they weren’t statues originally.

Before I reached the threshold, her attendants came to stop me. Beautiful women dressed in dark green silks, and their eyes were covered by blindfolds just as brilliant as their gowns.

“We are those who serve the mistress of this realm,” one of them said. “Our lady has been expecting you.”

“How do you know who I am when you have yet to see my face?” I asked, intrigued.

“The mistress employs both seers and agents in order to know all,” they replied. “We are the seers, and mistress has already received word from across the planes of your interest in meeting her, from those who already curry her favor.”

Across the planes? So Damia was using ‘walkers to expand the breadth of her knowledge pool. The seers presented me with a blindfold colored a dark turquoise.

“Wear this when you address the mistress if you do not wish to join her gardens. You must kneel before her to demonstrate your subservience, and do not speak until you have been addressed. ”

I accepted the conditions as I strapped on the blind and allowed myself to be led into the chambers of the gorgon wizard. Although I couldn’t see, the presence she exuded was magnificent. I knelt as told, and waited. I waited…and waited…and waited.

“So…you clearly have the patience necessary to garner my audience,” I heard a soft, velveteen voice say.

“Am I addressed by the renowned mistress and sage, Damia?” I asked tentatively.

“You are, and I know why you are here,” she said. 

“You seek to form ‘the contract’ with me.” Her tone…it was seductive, yet without lustful undertones. “But there have been many others who’ve wanted to make that same contract.”

“And you’ve made that contract,” I replied. “Plenty of times, from what I can see.”

“Yes, I have. I make the contract with those I find worthy, those who can best use the knowledge I share with them. In exchange, they pass along all that they learn onto me.”

“So you will make the contract with me on those same terms?” I asked, hopeful that this business would be over quickly.

“It’s dangerous to make assumptions, my dear,” she said. I could feel the smile on her lips. There would be more than just a wait before things could be done. “Why should I allow myself to serve under you, one whose attention is otherwise occupied by a legion of generals, each vying for attention and power of their own?”

She had me there. We had just started negotiating and she was already questioning our potential partnership. I’m wasn’t sure how she even knew about the others that I was working with, but I could safely guess that her agents were better informed than I thought.

“You would have access to exclusive spells that the rest of my commanders can’t use,” I said. “Power will not be an issue.”

“Oh really?” she said, humored interest in her voice. “And what would your plans for me be, precisely? There are plenty who’ve made the contract with me and cannot handle my power properly.”

“I have a wide array equipment that will protect you from harm,” I said, standing up and taking a step forward. I pulled the Mask of Avacyn from the aether and held it out.

“Your…’protection’…it appears to be lacking,” Damia observed. “Usually planeswalkers offer the protection of Lightning Greaves, or Swiftfoot Boots.”

“Yes…well…” I started as I turned to the side. “Unfortunately, I can only provide some of the more basic protections right now. But can I also provide the protection with Asceticism, which will help extend your life past mortal death. This Shielding Plax enchantment can also protect you.”

“Enchantments? You don’t say?” Her tone continued to humor me. “That’s all well and good, but I demand many mana bonds to power my magic. How are you going to establish all of those bonds before we’re overwhelmed by the enemy?”

“I have allies and tools that can accelerate our bonds,” I said confidently.

“Show me these allies you have.”

I focused on the mana around me. I called forth a Sakura-Tribe Elder. But as soon as I did, I realised what I’d done.

“Perhaps you’d like to summon your friends where they WON’T be looking into my eyes?” Damia asked. “Although I do admit to enjoying the new Kamigawa piece I can add to my garden.”

I turned away, hoping I was facing away from her, and continued to summon a Yavimaya Elder, and Solemn Simulacrum. I focused on specific mana floating around to call forth the Oracle of Mul Daya.

“What about the [card]Coiling Oracle[/cards]s of Ravnica?”

“I can summon those too.”

“And those tools you mentioned?”

Feeling the bonds around the plane, I concentrated the mana into my palms. I produced a Wayfarer’s Bauble, and turned back around to present it.

“Don’t you have anything…bigger?” she asked.

I tossed the bauble a short way and raised my arms in front of me. With some sparks, I was able to bring forth an Armillary Sphere.

“Bigger,” she demanded. “Show me the greatest bond greater you can manage.”

I took a deep breath, and brought forth all of my energy. I could hear shrubs began springing forth as I cast Boundless Realms. My feet started getting soaked as puddles formed while ooze started dripping from the walls, or at least that was what I could guess was happening.

“Somewhat impressive,” Damia admitted. “But most mages use Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach to accelerate their bonds[/card]. Why do you use artifacts and creatures?”

“Honored sage,” I responded, “Are you familiar with an elf by the name of Glissa?”

“Yes…Yes, I’ve heard of her,” I could hear her muse. “‘Glissa, the Traitor’ they call her now. She’s part of why everyone is staying away from Mirrodin these days.”

“Indeed. But she has the power to recur these tools once they’ve been used,” I explained. “With her as your subordinate, we’ll be able to accelerate mana bonds quickly. Furthermore,” I continued, “there are special…items…items called ‘spellbombs’ that Glissa is quite found of.” I conjured one from the aether, and presented the Nihil Spellbomb and Aether Spellbomb. “Both are potent for what they do, and both are re-usable thanks to her.”

“Hmmm…how clever of you. Very clever.” She chuckled. “So I suppose you have a way to reuse the corpses of your fallen allies too?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” I said. “I have been to the plane of Innistrad, where death is of no consequence to those who have mastered it. A creature known as a Havengul Lich is capable of resurrecting our dead so that they may sacrifice themselves for our greater good again, and again as we see fit.”

There was silence. Then, Damia asked slowly, “…are you not a light mage?” There seemed to be genuine surprise in her voice. “Why would one who believes in the sanctity of life abuse its cycle with so little care?”

“There can be no peace in death when a life is given in vain,” I answered. “If I cannot win, then they died for nothing. But if there repeated death brings my victory, then they shall rested as honored heroes.”

More silence.

“…if I were to help you, what sort of power would you hope to unleash?”

“The titanic kind,” I said. Here it was. I would share what I had realised before I left to find her. “If you lend me your power, we will control the greatest creatures to roam the multiverse. Creatures so powerful, that most mages resort to necromancy or other dark arts to call upon them. We will be able to cast them, hard and true. If you already know of Glissa, then you already know of the Praetors. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger and Jin-Gitaxis, Core Augur are both terrible beings capable of wrecking everything in their path. People fear them like no other, and they will power out the rest of our army.”

Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer is an often forgotten being. But with the sheer quantity of mana-bonds we can create, he will destroy anything in his path, and our opponents will still suffer from his blows. The Stormtide Leviathan will isolate us from everyone else while we build our resources while striking our foes from depths that they can’t comprehend.”

“But then, there are those who gain special powers if we can cast them correctly. Myojin of Night’s Reach will ensure that we are the only ones able to cast spells and strengthen our hold on victory. Then…there’s the eldrazi. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and his Artisan of Kozilek are very self-explanatory.”

“The Eldrazi?!” Damia shouted. “You think you can actually control the God-beings of Zendikar?! Ignoring that, you can’t say we’d be able to cast them easily! Not unless…” I wish I could’ve seen her expression as everything fell into place for her.

“So…” she said. “You seek the full potential of Omniscience

“Yes, I do,” I said. “I came here today because the with your help, Omniscience would allow me to control multitudes of the multiverse’s largest beings at one time, allowing me to make short work of the enemy. I would be able to protect us with countermagic at all times.”

I knelt back down on my knees. “Please, become my partner and help me cross bigger horizon’s then either of us have seen before.”

She took a moment, thoughtfully going through the possibilities. “It is still difficult to protect both the enchantment and I,” she said. “There will be plenty of times where you will be unable to draw upon my knowledge to help you. How will you survive then?”

“I have others who will help me,” I assured her. “They may not be as wise as you are, but Arcanis the Omnipotent, and Edric, Spymaster of Trest, are both experts at gathering information. They will serve us very well until you can grace the battlefield yourself.”

“I have also seen spells not just outside our native planes, but outside of this multiverse as well. A wizard by the title of Braids, Conjurer Adept will help us call out our larger creatures, creatures that will probably be larger than anything our opponents have, and when, not if, they die, The Mimeplasm will be ready to devour their bodies and use them for our purposes.”

I gave a deep breath. I had made my case. It seemed solid. Would she go for it?

“Do you give your word to maintain a loyalty to me, and to attend to my regular needs?” she asked. “Do you swear by your planeswalker spark?”

“Yes, I do swear by it,” I said.

“And will you share all knowledge and wisdom that you have and will gather with me, and work to better my understanding of the multiverse?”

“With joy, I will.”

“Then stand, young light mage,” she said. “You may remove your blind.” I stood up and took off my blind to find that she had wrapped one around herself. “I will be blind whenever I am not in a battle myself, she said, so that I may not petrify our allies. Now come, and we shall seal the pact.”

I walked up to her, and gently took her cool hand. Palm to palm, we recited the ancient oath, swearing loyalty to each other. Swearing to be at each other’s side as much as we could possibly be. Just like that, the ritual was done.

“Go now,” she said, smiling. “I still have much to do, and much to learn. We have many battles ahead of us, young ‘walker.”

“Yes we do, my lady,” I said before going towards the door.

I planeswalked away with the thought that the seeds of destiny had finally been sown. When they bloomed, there wouldn’t be a mage alive that didn’t cower in their shadow. It was time to take the first steps towards a future that I could only fathom.

[Pic by MightlyOats]
As always, if you have any comments/questions/ideas for articles/etc, feel free to leave some comments down below, tweet my account @BlueRam1409, or send an email to my inbox at Wiehernandez(at)gmail(dot)com. I’m also “BlueRam” on the MTG Salvation forums, if you want to send me a message there.

Join me next week when I properly take you through my personal process for creating a nice, “flavorful” decklist.

Until then, pay attention to those nagging feelings, ‘least they inspire greater things than you could dream of.

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