Weatherlight Takes Center Stage

Posted in Feature on December 3, 2007

By Michael G. Ryan

As you probably know by now, Magic has a brand-new story called The Weatherlight Saga. Each expansion will continue the epic story until it reaches its conclusion some time from now. Last issue, we introduced you to the planning of the tale, the characters, and the first short story to get the saga rolling. This issue we present you with a summary of the story behind the Weatherlight expansion, plus another short story that serves as a bookend to last issue's fiction.

Enter the flying ship Weatherlight and Sisay, her captain...

Sisay travels all over Dominaria to find the Legacy, a collection of artifacts capable of destroying the evil Lord of the Wastes and his overlord-servants, the Evincars. Long ago, Sisay and her friend Gerrard were shipmates aboard the Weatherlight, seeking the Legacy together, but they parted ways when Gerrard learned that Sisay was secretly maneuvering him into accepting his destiny as heir to the Legacy. He was not prepared to accept this responsibility after his friends began to die trying to help him fulfill his role.

When Sisay learns where she might find a piece of the Legacy, her search leads her to Starke, a self-serving fugitive from the plane of Rath. Starke soon betrays Sisay into the hands of Evincar Volrath, the dread ruler of Rath, to prompt the release of his daughter. Sisay's disappearance will undoubtedly lure Volrath's most hated enemy, Gerrard, to Rath. Gerrard and Volrath were once blood brothers within the same clan before Volrath fell from the grace of his father and turned on Gerrard, holding him responsible. Starke's betrayal fails to free him or his daughter from Volrath's influence, however, and he is forced to flee for his life from Volrath's mercenary, Maraxus of Keld. Maraxus is a force of chaos, a brutal warlord with a taste for bloodshed.

Exit Sisay. Exit Starke.

The Weatherlight crew knows nothing of Starke's involvement in Sisay's kidnapping; they know only that her abductor is an Evincar from Rath. Tahngarth, the Weatherlight's first mate, and Hanna, the ship's navigator, frantically search for Sisay and the missing Starke, but to no avail. And so they set out for Benalia to find Gerrard, for Gerrard is heir to the Legacy and understands its significance better than anyone else.

Now a Master-of-Arms, Gerrard is filled with self-doubt over his decision to abandon the Legacy. Thus, when Tahngarth and Hanna arrive, Gerrard agrees to help them rescue Sisay. Before departing, he leaves with a friend the only part of the Legacy he still owns: an hourglass pendant, an artifact that belonged to his parents and that he believes to be too powerful to risk losing in Rath.

Enter Gerrard.

The Weatherlight's Thran engine can only be manipulated by a skilled wizard to "read" someone who has been to another plane. Once the engine has imprinted the destination, the Weatherlight can plane-shift. Gerrard's limited training in magic is not enough to control the engine, and no one on board has been to the mysterious plane called Rath. So Gerrard suggests they journey to Llanowar in search of Mirri, a cat warrior who was trained in magic with Gerrard and who traveled with him after he left the Weatherlight, years ago. Mirri may be able to manipulate the engine. Secretly, Gerrard would be very glad to have his best friend along for the journey, and whether she can magically power the engine or not, he'll be reunited with an important part of his past.

En route to the great forest of Llanowar, Gerrard discovers Karn, his childhood guardian and actually part of the Legacy, in the ship's hold. Sisay had located the silver golem during her journeys, and Gerrard finds his friend deactivated and covered in dust amongst the other Legacy elements Sisay recovered. After consulting the Thran Tome, another part of the Legacy, Gerrard is able to bring his friend back to life.

Enter Karn.

In Llanowar, Gerrard and the crew find the cat warrior Mirri living among the elves, waging a war against a gigantic root and dirt creature called the aboroth. This monster has killed many elves who were close to Mirri. Mirri is reluctant to leave the elves in their time of crisis, but she very much wants to be with Gerrard again when he explains that his days of running from his destiny are over. So Gerrard agrees to help Mirri conquer the aboroth in exchange for her help in rescuing Sisay. After a frantic battle against the monster, Gerrard and his companions prove victorious.

Enter Mirri.

Mirri joins the crew, but after working with the engine she confesses that, like Gerrard, she is not skilled enough to make it plane-shift. Gerrard is very glad to have his best friend back aboard, but he's not certain how to find a wizard now. Reluctantly, Hanna admits that her father Barrin is skilled enough and that she can guide the ship to him. She and her father have long been estranged, she points out, but the crew's situation is desperate. When Gerrard presses her to explain her estrangement, she refuses to answer.

After seeing the note left at Sisay's abduction, Mirri reminds the crew of Crovax, a nobleman who once traveled aboard the Weatherlight. A sigil on the letter matches one Mirri remembers seeing years ago, before Crovax left the ship. Perhaps, she suggests, the nobleman can shed some light on recent events. She promises to lead the crew to his home in Urborg once they have recruited Hanna's father. The Weatherlight sails out over the open sea, bound for the mystical isle of Tolaria, where Hanna says they'll find Barrin.

Once on Tolaria, Gerrard, Mirri, and Hanna seek out Hanna's father. When at last they find the old wizard, Gerrard realizes that Barrin and Hanna can barely get along, despite their best efforts. So Gerrard suggests instead that Barrin's apprentice, Ertai, seems ready and eager to venture out into the world and should be allowed to come with them. After the arrogant Ertai successfully passes Hanna's "tests," Barrin agrees to let him go.

Enter Ertai.

With a wizard aboard, the crew now needs someone from Rath to provide the Thran engine with an imprint of the plane, and Crovax may hold the answer. Mirri guides the ship deep into the Urborg swamps where they find the nobleman in his deserted mansion. Gerrard shows Crovax the sigil on the kidnapping letter and asks him about Rath, and Crovax says he knows very little about either. But Crovax does know someone else who has been there--Starke!

Long ago, Sisay, Gerrard, and the rest of the Weatherlight crew had brought Crovax home to his family estate to do battle with two of Volrath's evil servants, Gallowbraid and Morinfen, who were bent on the destruction of Crovax's entire household for reasons known only to Volrath. The ship departed once Crovax summoned Selenia--a guardian angel contained within an artifact marked by an ancient sigil--and defeated Volrath's servants.

After Sisay, Gerrard, and the Weatherlight left, Crovax eventually fell in love with Selenia and freed her from magical servitude in the hope that she would stay with him. But Selenia vanished, and in time, Crovax learned that a man named Starke of Rath might know where she could be found. Thus, Crovax had gone out and found Starke, and although Starke knew that Selenia was in Rath, he also knew that Crovax had been tricked by Volrath into leaving his family vulnerable to new attacks. Crovax fled home.

Starke caught up to him shortly thereafter. Starke was now on the run from a Keldon Warlord named Maraxus, who worked for Volrath and obviously intended to kill Starke. Unwilling to hide Starke where other forces of Volrath might find him, Crovax sent Starke to a hiding place in the desert, the home of a friend. Crovax then continued on his journey home.

Now when Gerrard and his crew return to the Urborg swamps, Crovax's family has been destroyed by these forces of evil, which had returned in greater force to lay siege to the estate in Crovax's absence. Crovax joins the crew as they confront Gallowbraid and Morinfen, and they sail to find Starke.

Enter Crovax.

The home of Crovax's friend is in ruins when the Weatherlight arrives. Maraxus and his troops are camped nearby and Gerrard guesses that the small patrol has captured Starke. After Mirri conducts a spying expedition to confirm that Maraxus is holding Starke, Gerrard arranges a rescue. He sends the Weatherlight to safety, then he, Crovax, and Tahngarth sneak into Maraxus's camp to free Starke.

The rescue doesn't go as planned. Although they recover Starke, they are forced to flee into nearby mountains to escape. Maraxus gives chase, sending his ogres and lava hounds to pursue the fugitives. At length, Gerrard and his team are cornered in a box canyon, but the Weatherlight arrives, driving the enemy away and leaving only Maraxus himself to challenge Gerrard. When Starke reveals the secret of Maraxus's strength--that he draws power from the presence of others, a secret that Gerrard cannot help but wonder how Starke knows--Gerrard sends the ship and crew away so that he can face the warlord alone. In the pitched battle that follows, Gerrard is the clear victor, but before he can convince Maraxus to surrender and confess what he's done with Sisay, Starke comes out of hiding. Instead of leaving with the others, he had remained behind, and before Maraxus can expose him for a traitor, he stabs the Keldon warlord in the back. Maraxus dies.

Exit Maraxus. Enter Starke.

As Gerrard and Starke wait for the Weatherlight to return, Starke tells Gerrard that his daughter is a prisoner of Volrath, and that he'll help the ship get to Rath and to Volrath's stronghold if Gerrard will help rescue her. Gerrard agrees, realizing that Starke may be the crew's only hope of finding Sisay. He knows Tahngarth and the others may disagree, as they suspect Starke of being involved in Sisay's abduction, but they have to trust Starke--at least marginally--if they want to reach Rath.

Once the Weatherlight picks up its captain and newfound guide, it plane-shifts to Rath to rescue Sisay.

Exit the Weatherlight.

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