Return to Ravnica: The Secretist, Part One

Posted in Feature on November 28, 2012

By Doug Beyer

Senior creative designer on Magic's creative team and lover of writing and worldbuilding. Doug blogs about Magic flavor and story at

Magic fans, fantasy readers, and Internet happeners-by: Hi. I'm a writer and worldbuilder forMagic: The Gathering and, as some of you may know, a former columnist on this very site. I've written an eBook, a novella about the famous Planeswalker named Jace and the famous plane called Ravnica, which has come together as the official story of the Return to Ravnica block. I'm excited to tell you about it and give you a sample of the story at no cost.

The World of The Secretist

Jace Beleren always seems to get in over his information-crammed head. 
He's clever and curious—too clever and too curious for his own good. His 
ability to read thoughts and manipulate minds makes him the perfect 
investigator of deep, dark secrets, but also makes him rather terrible 
at staying out of the danger that always seems to surround 
those secrets.

The city-world of Ravnica is a haven for one particularly 
profound secret, an ancient mystery that ties to all ten guilds 
and to Ravnica's distant history. The Guildpact has crumbled, 
so there's no longer any safeguard to prevent the 
guildmasters from plotting each other's demise. Any one 
guild could seize unbalancing power. An unusual secret 
has been hidden in Ravnica's famed Tenth District for 
centuries, and the first to discover it may use its power 
to rule the plane.


Jace, the mind-reading mage with a penchant for uncovering secrets he shouldn't uncover, is about to find himself mired in this very mystery. He'll run afoul of scheming guilds, reunite with an old friend, use his arsenal of mind magic in clever ways to cheat death, face an ancient and intelligent VIP of Ravnica, and find himself forced into a desperate choice that may threaten everything he's worked for—and that's just the first third of the story.

Get the Story

This novella is called The Secretist, and it's being released in eBook form in three parts. The first part is called Return to Ravnica: The Secretist Part One, and it's available now.

If you'd like to read an introductory sample of Part One, you can read it right here: Free Sample!

If you'd like to read all of Part One, check it out at any of these eBook retailers:


The other two parts of the story will release later in the Return to Ravnica block. Gatecrash: The Secretist Part Two will release a while after the release of the Gatecrash card set. And then the story will conclude in Dragon's Maze: The Secretist Part Three, releasing a while after the Dragon's Mazecard set. Stay tuned in 2013 for release announcements for those.

What If I Don't Have an eReader?

Everyone can enjoy The Secretist, not just those people with a Kindle, Nook, or other dedicated eReader device. If you have a PC or Mac, you can use Amazon's suite of free Kindle applications to read the story right on your computer. If you have a smartphone, iPod touch, or tablet, you can use the free Kindle app for those devices as well. (I happen to have a Kindle, but I read my collection of eBooks across my phone, PC, and Kindle seamlessly.) Basically, if you have any kind of computing device with a screen and an Internet connection, there is a way to read The Secretist eBook, no Kindle required.

Why I Wrote The Secretist

If you've checked out this week's Magic podcast , you know I'm in love with the world of Ravnica. It's the perfect setting for a story of intrigue and danger: it's a historic city-covered plane ruled by ten guilds, each of which has its own values, goals, and magical eccentricities, and each of which craves to impose its own view of the world on the citizens of Ravnica. As we in Magic R&D's Creative Team were building the creative foundations of Return to Ravnica, I was itching to tell stories there.

Then we chose Jace Beleren, the telepathic young Planeswalker who craves all forms of knowledge, to be the primary protagonist of this year's block. The idea for this year's story came together, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's been a while since we've done a published, long-form story forMagic, and we weren't originally going to publish one for the Return to Ravnica block. But I couldn't get this story out of my head—I needed to get it out there in some form. I talked to some people, and there were many long days and nights and weekends to make it happen, but we're making it happen. The eBook-only thing is a bit of a change for us, but in the spirit of the mad dracogenius Niv-Mizzet, we thought it was worth running the experiment.

I think there's a great audience for it: people who love this setting and its inter-guild intrigue as much as I do. I'm thrilled that the first part of this labor of love has released, and I thank you for giving it a shot. If you could read my mind right now, you'd know I dearly hope that you enjoy it.

Doug Beyer 
November, 2012

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