The Seven Bells, Part 1

Posted in Serious Fun on November 7, 2012

By Jenna Helland

Jenna Helland is a designer and writer for the Magic creative team. She's a member of the story team, a creative liaison with design teams, and the author of the Theros novella, Godsend.

Micas Vay: We're protecting you—for now. But the Azorius are demanding justice.

Bori Andon: Justice for a broken window? I wasn't aware cathedrals had such tender feelings.

Micas Vay: This is no laughing matter.

Bori Andon: I'm pursuing research given to me personally by Niv-Mizzet.

Micas Vay: Look around you. This chamber is filled with the best and brightest of Ravnica. Your pursuits are no grander than any of ours. Just more destructive.

Bori Andon: You're not worried about a few damaged buildings. You're threatened by my success. Such base emotions are bad for our cause, Prime Izmagnus.

Micas Vay: You must stop these dramatic displays. You must stop drawing the eye of the lawmakers.

Bori Andon: I have followed your directives!

Micas Vay: Lower your voice, Andon. By order of this council, your current projects are placed on hold. The Firemind has assigned you a special task. It must be completed before you can resume your personal research.

Bori Andon: What task?

Micas Vay: Solve the Theorem of Simultaneous Discordance.

Various: [Shouting, arguing...]


Bori Andon: You can't derail my research. I am on the brink of—

Micas Vay: Sit down or you will be removed from chambers!

Bori Andon: This is absurd!

Micas Vay: It's the so-called unsolvable theorem. Are you familiar with it, Andon?

Bori Andon: Of course...

Micas Vay: The question is this: Can a single person simultaneously ring all seven bells in the seven great bell towers? Many great minds have tried, but each has failed. They say it's impossible. Are you clever enough to prove them wrong?

Bori Andon: You don't have the authority!

Micas Vay: This comes directly from the Firemind. If you don't like it, you may sever your ties with the Izzet.

Bori Andon: You're a bastard, Vay! This is your doing. Well, I prove you're a—

Micas Vay: Guards! Remove this man from chambers.

Various: [Shouting, arguing...guards escort Andon from the chamber]

Micas Vay (addressing council): Well, he's gone. His ego will get the best of him, and he'll try to solve it. At least it will keep him out of trouble, for now. And what's the worst that could happen? All seven bells will ring.

Various: [Laughing...]

Firemind's Foresight | Art by Dan Scott

The Journal of Bori Andon: Day One

I awoke to the sound of chimes. From my bedroom window, I can see two of the seven great bell towers of the Kalnika Quarter. I grew up here and I've heard the bells every morning since I was born. At dawn, the bells share a harmony, but each rope is pulled by a different bell ringer. How could one man ring all seven at once? This is the council's attempt to humiliate me. They task me with an "unsolvable" problem. Well, I'll show them. Nothing is unsolvable.

Despite the grayness of my outlook, the bells are startlingly beautiful. In my half sleep, I imagined myself in an immense room filled with staircases that lead nowhere. I must have dozed again. In my dreams, I paced blank corridors with no end. I turned a corner and recoiled at the sight of massive sentinel seated on a silver throne. His eyes followed me, no matter what direction I ran.

The dream is an omen. They'll be watching my every move.


Watcher's Report

Subject never left his flat

The Journal of Bori Andon: Day Two

I traveled across two districts to visit an old friend, Zaba, who makes the best maps in all of Ravnica. As I hoped, he had exquisite maps of the Seven Great Bell Towers. His work is so finely detailed that I could practically see the rat holes in the walls. Suddenly, I can make sense of the confusing tangle of elevated walkways, the bridges over nonexistent rivers, and the multi-level streets that I knew by heart but could never have quantified.

Over cups of tea, Zaba entertained me with the legend of Kalnika, a great paladin for whom my quarter is named. I felt like a child at my grandfather's knee as Zaba told a tale of ancient Ravnica, when a lich king tyrannized the people. The paladin taught the peasants a series of codes rung on the bells. When they heard the right sequence, they knew it was time to rise up en masse and kill the tyrant. According to Zaba, the towers have a particular order. There is only one route through the quarter that allows you to visit the towers in proper sequence. He gave me a toothless smile and told me if I could find the right path, my true love would be waiting for me around the corner.

When I told him of my trouble with the council, Zaba gave me the maps at no cost. He said something about the meaning being in the journey itself and we parted ways. On the street, a man with black hair trailed me for three blocks. It doesn't surprise me that Vay sent one of his thugs to follow me. Well, he can watch all he likes. I have nothing to hide.

Watcher's Report

Our interrogation of the mapmaker yielded little more than we already knew. Subject continues to search for solution to the Theorem of Simultaneous Discordance.

The Journal of Bori Andon: Day Three

I wore a hole through my shoe leather, but I've done it. Zaba's silly comment about the "true path" gave me an idea. I discovered the singular route that takes me to each of the bell towers once and only once. It was a fascinating exercise in the geometry of place, and the interconnectedness has left me both weary and hopeful. Ugh, it feels like rats are eating the backs of my eyeballs. I must sleep.


Watcher's Report

Walking. Walking. And more walking. The subject talks to himself. He seems confused and often concerns passersby with his flapping and scurrying about. We really don't think the Theorem is in danger of being solved. I request reassignment.

The Journal of Bori Andon: Day Five

My Hypno-Imager is complete. I've devised a way to transfer the "true path" in three-dimensional space while accommodating natural obstacles and the historical information I received from the mapmaker. This will allow me to find the perfect center where I will be within equidistance to each bell. I have calibrated the imager so I can transmit sonus-ripples, which will strike the bells and cause them to ring simultaneously. I can't wait to see the look on Vay's face.


Watcher's Report

The subject exited his flat carrying a brass box with cords attached to large glass vessels strapped to his back. The vessels contained some bluish liquid and fog. The subject made his way to the center of the Kalnika Open Market. You know that enormous statue of a centaur? Well, he climbed up on top of it and sat down like he was about to ride a horse. Then he fiddled with his contraption for ages. People were staring at him like he'd lost his mind (I think he's lost his mind). At one point, blue light shot out of the device, but nothing else happened.

The Journal of Bori Andon: Day Eight

When will this headache cease? Even the slightest noise feels like an assault. My Hypno-Imager failed, but I know why. In my next attempt, I must use elements already existing in the environment. The air itself is the answer! Wind will be my invisible accomplice. I have successfully recalibrated the imager. My new device, the Hypno-Explusor, will suck a massive volume of air inward and then expulse it in a radial pattern, causing the bells to chime. I'm slightly concerned about the displacement of this volume of air. I anticipate that residents will feel a slight to moderate breeze, and that is all. I can't spare time to run tests. The Firemind is waiting.


Watcher's Report

Suspicions about subject's sanity are confirmed. He's sitting on the centaur again. And he has a new device. It still has the brass box and the glass vessels. But now there's a hat-like component. And by hat, I mean a towering pile of copper wire and pipes. He's fiddling with the box. There's a strange whooshing sound. Huh, the rubbish in the gutters has just started hovering. I have a bad feeling about this.

Just after the clocks struck nine, residents of the Kalnika Quarter reported a strong breeze on an otherwise calm day. The breeze intensified and shattered nearly every window in the quarter. The broken glass and debris coalesced near the Dome of the Black Dove. Abruptly, it transformed into a cylindrical cyclone of glass shards and continued to gather strength. At its peak, the glass-storm was taller than the Dome itself. Residents in a three-block perimeter were evacuated. A joint force of battlemages worked to contain and disperse this massive threat. Their efforts were successful, and there were no deaths reported in the incident. The grounds of the Dome are littered with broken glass, but the structure itself has been saved.

Cyclonic Rift | Art by Chris Rahn

The Journal of Bori Andon: Day Ten

Wrong, wrong, wrong. That approach proved fruitless, and the bells did not chime. To complicate matters, the man with black hair was watching me again. He's probably reporting my failure to the council and they're all having a good laugh at my expense. Also, birds keep flying overhead. I've heard that pigeons can be trained as spies. I see now that wind was too prosaic of a solution. I must convert the energy of people's thoughts and propel it to the Great Bell Towers, thereby ringing the bells. How much is the weight of thought? How much energy does a person's brain emit?

I have recalibrated the imager again. This device—the Hypno-Oblatrix—will collect and condense all thoughts in the vicinity of the bell towers. I'll then transmit the converted energy of those thoughts directly to the bell tower thereby ringing all the bells simultaneously. Those affected will feel a tingling along in the forebrain... oh, scratch that. I have no idea what they'll experience.


Watcher's Report

They haven't even finished cleaning up the glass yet, and he's back. He's carrying another device. I can tell it's new because the hat is even taller. Judging by the faces on the passersby, it's emitting foul-smelling fumes. Request permission to leave post. I'm going down below to watch from a safe distance.

A mass mind attack has just been launched on the Kalnika Quarter. There have been widespread reports of memory loss, disorientation, and bleeding out of ears. Suspect or suspects still at large.

The Journal of Bori Andon: Day Ten, Addendum

The Hypno-Oblatrix failed to ring the bells. But something amazing happened instead. I activated the device, and people fell to the ground like ragdolls. As planned, I transmitted the collected energy toward the bell towers. Unexpectedly, I saw hundreds of glowing lines crisscrossing the air like metaphysical threads. Because of my location, I could see that each line intersected with the great bell towers. What could they be? Borderlines? Conduits? Sensors? What is this madness?

I'm terrified of the implications. I've uncovered some kind of secret Æther channels running throughout the quarter. The bell towers are nexus points. Maybe Niv-Mizzet tasked me the theorem not as a punishment, but to uncover this baffling secret. I was meant to find this, but what did I find?

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