Card Tags: All spoilers; The Ask Wizards (down at the bottom)








The Elder Dragon War

“Can we begin, brother?”
“No, we still wait for Vaevictis, sister.”
“Why?” Palladia-Mors did not hide her disgust. Shifting her massive bulk impatiently as she continued, “He’s late, as always. We shouldn’t have even…”
“I will not explain the plan twice, sister.” Arcades Sabboth cut her off, but spoke with the measured patience that had kept this group together while so many similar alliances had fallen to infighting.

As Arcades spoke Vaevictis Asmadi entered the vast underground chamber on this desolate rock plane the Five had chosen to be their meeting ground; his long body coiling into place across the table from the four siblings. The chamber was immense and had at its center a colossal stone table. That plain stone was the only adornment in the opening, besides a throne carved into one of the wall. No torch or any other form of illumination brightened the absolute dark. The Five had no need of light to see. Immense the chamber might have been, but it now felt cramped with the occupants it held. The massive cavern deep within leagues of rock was now overcrowded with dragons.

Chromium Rhuell crouched as far away from the table as he could manage, his wings close to his sides. His sliver metallic scales that covered his frame would have glittered had there been any light. Chromium had not spoken since entering, and likely would not. He would do what the others decided needed to be done. That is not to say he was timid -none of the Five could be considered timid- but was to say Chromium was a creature of action, not of deliberation.

Nicol Bolas sat near the table, absently craving runes into its surface with a claw. The others of the alliance never understood Nicol’s obsession with writing. They did not deny that because of his literacy he was the most powerful magic user among them, but it seemed like something lower species would engage in. Reading and writing was not a pastime true dragons -like themselves- persuade. Never-the-less it was Nicol’s magic that had given them much of their information, and his ability to traverse the planes with greater ease than other dragons had proved invaluable. So, they never mocked him over his odd hobby.

Palladia-Mors huge bulk rested against most of her side of the table. She was the largest of her siblings. Her scales an angry red. Her face twisted in a permanent sneer. To call her fat would have been incorrect; she was simply as gargantuan. Physically, she was the most powerful of the Five as Nicol was magically. Her great bulk did not even slightly hinder her in battle. She understood how to use her mass to her advantage. Any dragon facing her wrath would soon find itself overwhelmed by her physical might.

Arcades Sabboth sat at the head of the table. His had insisted in carving a great seat out of the rock wall, and it was the only other structure in the room besides the table itself. His long claws drummed against the arm of that chair; his face implacable and unreadable as ever. He was the most even-tempered of the Five -probably of any dragon- and that temperament was the reason he was the leader. His position was not so much one of authority as it was one of mitigation. His job was to prevent them from murdering one another, and -additionally- to also agree. No small task.

Nicol Bolas, Chromium Rhuell, and Arcades Sabboth were brothers. Palladia-Mors was their sister and Vaevictis Asmadi was their cousin. Together they formed the Alliance of Five. The Alliance had been born of necessity when the dragons that roamed Dominia, the multiverse, had declared war on one another. Greater than all other creatures, dragons had reveled in that privilege, doing whatever they pleased for untold eons. However, that had all ended. Almost no dragon living knew the details of what had happened, but they all knew that it was inevitable. Dragons understood their own nature. They knew that the multiverse was simply not big enough to satiate the desires and needs of all them. The only answer was war. And, in that war, the Five had forged their alliance. They were arguably the most powerful beings in Dominia and -do to that alliance- they were winning the Great Dragon War. The war had been long and hard fought, but it was now clear it was ending and the Five would be the victors.

Dragons rarely form allies, even in the most distressful of times. That is why it was so surprising that the Five had remained allied for the entirety of the war. Their alliance had held while so many others had failed not because of the blood ties between them. Dragons cared little about such things. It also had not held because of the even temper of their leader. It held because these five understood the nature of the planes far more than their brethren. They understood the nature of magic, of mana, and using it they had seen the future. They understood that the Age of Dragons would end. Their alliance held out of a certain knowledge that soon their race would drive itself to brink of extinction. All dragons are egotistical creatures and the Five were no exception. Their greater perception had allowed them to work together out of a selfish desire to live. From their srcying into the future they know only five true dragons could survive to the next age. It was that number that had prompted the siblings to invite their cousin, Vaevictis, into the agreement. They needed a fifth so their Alliance of Five could be the five that would survive. Five, it seemed, was an incredibly significant number for the multiverse.

Now that all were present the meeting could begin. Not that the Five ever stood on ceremony, but Arcades -at least- had the sense to start things at their proper time.
“Our brethren have grown desperate, my kin.” Arcades addressed the Five. His brother Bolas -no doubt- had gathered the information Arcades divulged, but Arcades was the one who explained it to the Five. Bolas’ condescending manner often enraged the others whenever he addressed them.
Arcades continued. “They have gathered on a magic rich plane called ‘Dominaria.’ They are conducting a rite that threatens to tear the fabric of Dominia apart.”
Palladia-Mors interrupted, “What do you mean by ‘they?’ Which one of our enemies is attempting this?”
Arcades looked at his brother Bolas at the question, as if confirming what he was about to say was true. Bolas nodded and at that Arcades spoke in his level voice. “All of them.”
Palladia-Mors, Vaevictis and Chromium all sucked air with surprise. As they let it out the cavern become hot with the breath of dragons.
“Cousin,” Vaevictis spoke, “Do you truly mean all of our remaining enemies? Every single one of the last true dragons have gathered on this ‘Dominaria?’”
Again Arcades looked at Bolas and then replied “Yes, Vaevictis. All of the remaining great dragons have gathered on that plane. Our alliance was too successful, it seems. We succeeded in making all of our brethren fear our power. We have backed them into a corner and this is the result.”
Palladia-Mors spoke contemporaneously, “So? Let them have this ‘Dominaria.’ What do we care what rites they carry out? Let them destroy it.”
Bolas spoke at that, his words dripping with condescension. “You misunderstand, dear sister. The ritual they perform on Dominaria, the plane, will rip the fabric of Dominia, the multiverse. I know the words are similar, but do try to keep up.”
At those mocking words, Palladia-Mors tried to lunge her massive form across the table at Bolas. Her eyes filled with what seemed like unfathomable hate. Arcades was quick to act -however- and put his hand on his sister. His touch seemed to calm her.
“Sister,” his voice furthering the job his touch started, “this time -above all others- is when our alliance must hold. The desperation of our enemies proves how close we are to victory. Please, calm yourself.”
The rage in her eyes that seemed insurmountable before drained and she slumped back to her place. “What is the plan, brother?” She asked Arcades, purposefully not looking at Bolas.
Arcades explained. “The ritual they are performing is of two parts. The goal of the first is obvious. They will drain the mana from the plane and summon Bazrath, the infernal kraken. They believe he will be bound by their magic.”
Vaevictis snorted. “No threat. They will set this kraken on each other before any length of time has passed.”
With a sneer Bolas started to say something but Arcades cut him off. “It is uncertain if those of our brethren could control Bazrath. It is likely that he will go berserk soon after the rite to summon him ends, but it is the second part of the ritual that is more dangerous. We are uncertain what it will do -exactly- but it will affect any true dragon anywhere within Dominia. Only those in Bazrath’s proximity will be spared. There will be no hiding from the second rites power. We are not safe even here, my kin. We must act. One way or another, this must be the end of the Dragon War.”

***
-Taylor