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[Tempest: Into the Storm] [Storybook]

[Gerrard and Volrath] The WeatherlightTM expansion introduced players of Magic: The Gathering® to Gerrard, captain of the airship Weatherlight, as he gathered a crew to rescue his friend Sisay. Volrath, evincar of the dark plane of Rath, kidnapped Sisay to lure Gerrard to his domain. As heir to the Legacy, a mysterious collection of artifacts designed to destroy evincars and their lord, Gerrard is Volrath's worst enemy. In addition to the core crew--the minotaur first mate Tahngarth, ship's navigator Hanna, Samite healer Orim, and goblin cabin hand Squee--Gerrard has tracked down the others he'll need to reach Rath: Mirri, a cat warrior; Ertai, an arrogant wizard adept; Crovax, a cursed nobleman; and Starke, a former servant of Volrath who secretly betrayed Sisay into the evincar's hands. TempestTM begins as the Weatherlight planeshifts to Rath, bringing Gerrard at last to the world of his enemy. . . .

Arrival in Rath

The hum of the Weatherlight's engine drops an octave as the flying ship emerges from the aether between worlds. Dominaria slips past its hull like water running down glass, and in its place the churning sky of Rath appears. Boiling clouds of blue and violet swirl and break, and lightning jumps in jagged arcs behind them. Great gouts of sky periodically plunge to meet the twisted earth below, as if trying violently to reunite. The Weatherlight dives sharply to avoid these masses of destructive energy.

[The Weatherlight] Gerrard, captain of the Weatherlight, calls his core crew to the deck, and together they take in the land of their enemy. Somewhere before them stands Volrath's stronghold and within, Sisay. Gerrard knows he must free her from Volrath at any cost. Mirri, the cat warrior, asks Gerrard if he has a plan for finding and rescuing Sisay and for dealing with Volrath once they reach the stronghold. Gerrard admits that he does not. He suspects that Sisay is the bait to draw him in, but his loyalty to her demands that he continue. Mirri doesn't respond, but secretly wishes that someone felt such loyalty to her.

Starke, a native of Rath and the Weatherlight's guide in Volrath's realm, says they'll be lucky simply to reach the stronghold. Hanna, the ship's navigator, is less cynical about their odds than Starke, but details for Gerrard why navigation will be difficult at best. She points to the barren horizon, which is nearly indistinguishable from the sky, and notes that the ground below is so chaotic that it is nearly void of landmarks. She also observes that Rath's sun is far too weak to provide guidance. Gerrard listens to his crew's doubts and then assures them that they'll find the stronghold; his conviction heartens them. Grinning, he gives the order to set sail.

[The Plains of Rath] The Weatherlight glides over the choppy seacoast, searching for a landmark that Starke might recognize. Trees below thicken into a dense canopy of blackened forest. Tahngarth the minotaur suddenly bellows a warning and points to the skies above just as a massive, claw-like warship dives from the thick cloudbanks overhead. It is the Predator, Volrath's flying ship, commanded by Greven il-Vec, the evincar's magically mutated enforcer. Greven is a hulking mismatch of metal plates, body parts, and protruding spikes. He burns with ambition and with his desire to destroy Volrath, who controls him through a horrific implanted spine. Today, Gerrard and his crew suffer his rage: the Predator opens fire on the unprepared Weatherlight. Bulwarks shudder. Gerrard braces himself at the foredeck railings, his sword drawn, watching Greven il-Vec prepare to storm the Weatherlight. As the Predator nears, the cannons ease in preparation for the raid. The Weatherlight's three dozen crewmembers spread over the deck and prepare for battle.

Along the Predator's bow, a cluster of moggs--an especially nasty and ugly subrace of goblins--wait for the fight; Starke shouts to Gerrard that moggs are drawn to the auras of artifacts. Once aboard the Weatherlight, he says, they will sniff out pieces of the Legacy for their master, Volrath. Gerrard tightens his grip on his sword and readies for battle.

The Predator Attacks

The two ships slam into each other; the screeching of their collision barely precedes the clash of swords and abrupt cries of pain. Everyone is soon freckled with the blood of moggs and humans alike. Tahngarth and Greven serve as towering landmarks for their allies, each clearing away his enemy with wide sweeps. Orim, the Weatherlight's Samite healer, defends herself from attacks while desperately tending the crew's wounds. The Predator's cannons open fire again, this time targeting the Weatherlight's masts and crew.

[The Predator] As the battle rages across decks and railings, the nobleman Crovax finally glimpses Selenia, the angel who once protected his manor, as she dives in and out of the combat. His face freezes as he realizes the truth--Selenia now serves Volrath. The sword that defended his family now slays his allies. Crovax desperately tries to reach her, but they are kept apart by the frenzy of the battle. He does not know that Selenia, whose very creation equipped her with an empathic link to Crovax, sensed his approach and led the Predator to this bloodbath. Selenia despises Greven and Volrath and would choose to be with Crovax if she could, but she cannot question Volrath's commands: destroy his enemies and seize the Legacy.

Terrified of his mogg cousins and certain that he will be dead in moments, Squee, the Weatherlight's goblin cabin hand, flees the battle. He scrambles below deck to hide and to secure the artifact "toy" he scrounged from the cargo hold days ago. He wraps himself around the warm, misshapen ball, listening to the moggs ransack the hold. The moggs grunt and mutter as they tromp through the Weatherlight's bays, sniffing the air in search of elements of the Legacy. The mogg nearest Squee's hiding place suddenly recoils from a terrible smell and turns away--Squee's own stench protects him and his toy from the sensitive sniffing of the moggs. Shaken but relieved, Squee reminds himself to explain the advantages of not bathing to Gerrard.

Karn, the silver golem whose pacifism prevents him from slaying the raiders, is identified as a Legacy artifact by the moggs. When they grab him, he lashes out to protect himself. His fierce blow kills the mogg he sends sprawling, and he is paralyzed with conscience--he offers no further resistance. Dozens of moggs swarm him, tip him over, and heave him back to the Predator. Ertai tries to protect the golem, but the moggs' affinity for the Legacy seems to give them resistance to his magic. They chitter and gesture to each other, snarling at Ertai as they shove past him and return to the Predator with Karn and many other Legacy treasures. They are reluctant to leave the Thran crystal in the ship's engine but cannot knock it loose. In the end, they crack the crystal with hammers but fail to dislodge it.

The Duel

While the moggs loot the Weatherlight, Gerrard and Greven il-Vec hack their way through the battle to reach each other. Gerrard is the more agile fighter, but Greven is brutal and tireless. Greven draws first blood with a gash across Gerrard's lip--a sign of Greven's likely victory. But even as the two circle and exchange blows, back aboard the Predator, Greven's first mate Vhati il-Dal gives the order to fire. He clearly intends to achieve two goals: Greven's goal of conquering the Weatherlight, and his own covert goal--killing Greven. Vhati knows that command of the Predator is within his reach, if only the malformed Greven were to die in the blast. The roar of the mogg cannons is deafening, and the impact rocks both ships. As the Weatherlight suddenly lists, Gerrard tumbles over the railing. Hanna lunges for him but cannot reach him in time. She watches helplessly as Gerrard plummets toward the tangle of forest below.

To be continued in Tempest. . . .

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