Magic Storyline: “The Dragon’s Errand” by Alexander Smith

In honor of Modern Masters 2015, we take a look at a story from Kamigawa Block that stars everybody’s favorite trickster akki, Kiki-Jiki. Check out “The Dragon’s Errand” by Alexander Smith!

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker art by Steven Belledin


Sideways to Tarkir’s Future

If you’re like me, you’re a visual learner and process information much easier when you have access to graphs, charts, maps, and diagrams. Some concepts are just difficult to talk about with words, like time travel. The Creative team did about as well as one could do last week, compiling all the Tarkir-related Uncharted Realms into one place and then taking a few sentences to clarify some timey-wimey story points. I’ve gotten the sense that some people are still confused, however, so I’m taking today to make some charts to help explain what Sarkhan did over the past year of Magic.

Hold on tight; this is a wild ride.

Sarkhan Vol’s Wild Ride

One great thing about time travel fiction is that there are no hard-and-fast rules about how time travel works. Some stories function on a single timeline where the results of time travel have already happened anyway so the protagonist can’t change anything. Others create multiple timelines that have to be carefully navigated. Still others let the time traveler change things in a single timeline and return to an altered present. Tarkir’s story is closest to this last type.

The protagonist of this time traveling adventure is planeswalking Dragon-lover Sarkhan Vol. He goes back in time, saves Ugin from dying, and returns to a drastically altered present. From Sarkhan’s perspective, this is what the timeline looks like:

Sarkhan lives through Khans of Tarkir, goes back in time, and comes out in Dragons of Tarkir.

Mind blown yet? Didn’t think so. So far, this seems pretty standard for a time travel story.

Caveats Apply

Well, we do have a problem. Creative has been bluntly adamant about two things: that the events of Khans of Tarkir never happened, and that the time travel changed nothing outside of Tarkir. So while Sarkhan remembers the Khans of Tarkir version of the plane, here’s what literally every other being in the Multiverse sees:

The Khans is a lie.

Dragons of Tarkir is the only Tarkir. Nothing ever happened differently. There is no timeline where Ugin died. Forget what the cards say, they lie. There are no Siege Rhinos. Surrak never punched a bear. These events weren’t unwritten, they were just never written ever anywhere. If you want to understand the time travel of this block, you have to accept this truth: Dragons of Tarkir is the default timeline. Start thinking this way and what comes next makes more sense.

Produce a Birth Certificate!

Sarkhan Vol was never born. There was never any point in the history of the Multiverse where this planeswalker was born. There is no alternate version of events where Sarkhan was born. He just never was.

So where did Sarkhan come from? We know the events on Alara and Zendikar that involved Sarkhan still happened. In his discussion with Ugin, Sarkhan and the Spirit Dragon hypothesize that Sarkhan was spat out of the dragon tempests as an adult planeswalker. He was created from nothing in order to rectify the paradox of his nonbirth. Sarkhan did things on other planes, but he didn’t exist, so the Multiverse made him exist. Orphan of time indeed.

I think it’s easiest to look at Sarkhan’s timeline in two ways. First, we see it as Sarkhan remembers it, two-Tarkir style. Second, we can view it from anyone else in the Multiverse, as a single timeline.

Sarkhan’s memories, not to scale.

So here’s how Sarkhan’s life plays out to him:

  • Sarkhan is born into the Mardu.
  • Sarkhan’s spark ignites on the battlefield.
  • Sarkhan goes to Jund and pledges his service to Bolas.
  • Sarkhan goes to Zendikar and opens the Eye of Ugin.
  • Sarkhan returns to Tarkir and goes back in time in the Qal Sisma Mountains.
  • Sarkhan heals Ugin in a hedron cocoon.
  • Sarkhan is returned to the present and speaks with Ugin and Narset.

This seems like a perfectly normal series of events for your average time travel story. Sarkhan’s problem is, however, that not all of those events actually happened. As a typical wrap-up of a crime drama might say, “Here’s what happened…”

Sarkhan’s life according to an outside observer, still not to scale.

I think it’s helpful to list out Sarkhan’s life events again, but according to this timeline.

  • Sarkhan is created as an adult planeswalker at the same point he remembers his spark igniting, hypothetically from the dragon tempests.
  • Sarkhan goes to Jund and pledges his service to Bolas.
  • Sarkhan goes to Zendikar and opens the Eye of Ugin.
  • Sarkhan returns to Tarkir and goes back in time in the Qal Sisma Mountains.
  • Sarkhan heals Ugin in a hedron cocoon.
  • Sarkhan is returned to the present and speaks with Ugin and Narset.

Ah, here is where the wonkiness dwells! Ugin never died, so how did Sarkhan hear the Spirit Dragon’s voice or travel back in time through Ugin’s Nexus?


If you went around talking about a world that never existed and followed the beckon of a voice in your head belonging to someone who never died, some might say that you’re mad. Sarkhan the Mad, a mind fractured by the shadows of time. Why was Sarkhan going crazy? Because his mind was filled with things that never happened.

Ugin suggests that the voice Sarkhan heard that drove him back to Tarkir may have just been Sarkhan’s own thoughts. And this makes sense when you consider that the Dragons of Tarkir timeline is the only one that ever existed. Sarkhan’s mind was trying to live in a reality that never existed. Sarkhan was stuck in a dream world where Dragons died and he was a mighty warrior of the Mardu Horde. But we know that’s all baloney; Sarkhan was always a time-traveling dracomancer.

So how did Sarkhan go back in time? Ugin’s Nexus isn’t a thing. There were no bones on Tarkir, just the hedron cocoon. Was Sarkhan’s mind so attached to the non-reality of Khans of Tarkir that he couldn’t even see the healing Ugin beneath him? Had Sarkhan fallen so deeply into his madness that his very senses constructed a false world around him? It seems likely.

People wonder why Sarkhan Unbroken is a partly Blue card. We know Blue is the color that is able to manipulate time, and Sarkhan is a confirmed time traveler. While this is the piece of the puzzle that’s missing, I’d like to suggest that Sarkhan simply has the ability to go back in time. It wasn’t Ugin’s magic that warped him 1280 years into the past, it was his own. Subconsciously, Sarkhan traveled through time in order to reorient his mind with the reality around him. What makes him “Unbroken?” The clarity of understanding that his ranting and raving was about a world that never existed. Sarkhan accepts what everyone in the Multiverse already knew: there is only one Tarkir and it is ruled by Dragons.

Fantasy Logic

Of course, some may argue against even trying to piece together every nook and cranny of Sarkhan’s time-traveling adventure. After all, this is a fantasy story about magic. On a plane where Dragons spontaneously erupt from thunderheads. Conventional, Earthly logic need not apply here. That said, stories still need to be coherent, and I think Creative did an excellent job building Tarkir’s story around the pieces of Sarkhan’s madness that had been established in previous blocks. Storytelling via hooking is a difficult task (which is why so many soap operas fail at it), but this block’s story is an example of how to properly hook together scraps of narrative.

Until next time, planeswalkers, may your minds be congruent with your realities.


Top: USS Barb off Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 29 January 1944.
Bottom: Battle flag of USS Barb.

USS Barb SS-220

USS Barb, a Gato-class fleet submarine, was one of the most outstanding submarines of the war. Between March 1944 and August 1945, she conducted seven war patrols in the Pacific, and was officially credited with sinking 17 Japanese vessels totaling 96,628 tons, including aircraft carrier Unyo.

11th War Patrol

Her eleventh war patrol began on 19 December 1944. On 22-23 January 1945, USS Barb attacked a 30-ship convoy at anchor in Namkwan Harbor, China. In the dangerously shallow waters of the harbor she launched her torpedoes at the convoy, then spent a whole hour retiring at high speed on the surface through uncharted and heavily mined waters full of obstacles in the form of rocks. In recognition of this remarkable war patrol, Commander Eugene B. Fluckey, who was in command of USS Barb from the seventh to the last war patrol,  was awarded the Medal of Honor, and his submarine received the Presidential Unit Citation.

12th War Patrol

After her eleventh war patrol, USS Barb returned to the US for an overhaul. 5-inch rocket launchers were installed upon Commander Fluckey’s request. Her twelve and final war patrol began on 8 June 1945. For the first time ever in US naval history, a submarine successfully employed rockets - USS Barb fired her 5-inch rockets at four Japanese towns. She then bombarded the town of Kaihyo To using her deck gun, destroying roughly 60% of the town.

During the night of 22-23 July 1945, she landed a party of eight of her crew on the shores of Karafuto, Japan. Using an explosive charge they destroyed a train. This was the first and only time a land battle, albeit a small one, was waged on the soil of the Japanese Home Islands.

Request by an anon

My thoughts after having a PS3 for five days
  • I can see why achievements/trophies are such a big deal for people (though I’m still not going to go too far out of my way for them)
  • Uncharted was way more shooting and less platforming than I expected, which was disappointing. Especially since a lot of the shooting sections are padded like a pop warner football helmet. Overall, though, I thought it was a pretty fun adventure, and I was surprised to find some of the characters enjoyable. 
  • I am shocked at how cheap games can be if you’re willing to shop ($5 for Red Dead Redemption and $3 for God of War III? Come on.) I thought my days of getting games for that cheap would be over with the PS3, but I am glad to be proven wrong.
  • The first Modern Warfare game is an incoherent clusterfuck. I think the actual shooting mechanics feel good, when you get to use them, but you as a player are entirely unnecessary. The game just shouts at you to go places and you follow along, but everything you’re shouted at to do gets done automatically by other NPCs, so I don’t really know what purpose the player serves. There’s no context - you jump in and out of different characters and countries, seemingly at random, accomplishing nothing. I don’t get it.
  • Online features like multiplayer and friends and trophies and the like are pretty elegant and seamless, at least to me.
  • Only a few minutes in, God of War III is extremely good-looking, but is otherwise steadfastly (or stubbornly, depending on your perspective) exactly the same as previous installments.

anonymous asked:

how do u think larry will come out?

hmmm there are so many possibilities but this is also uncharted territory because BOTH of them are famous and they will most likely come out at the same time and I don’t think that’s ever happened in such a large scale like this one will be 

1) They could do the People’s exclusive route with their names and faces on the covers and giving an all access interview kind of like how Neil Patrick Harris and Lance Bass did it (I’m thinking this might be the most likely route specially with how much People are covering them lately)

2) They could get papped holding hands first then later confirm it on a TV interview. or vice versa (This is how NPH actually confirmed his relationship with David Burtka on Ellen which I’m hoping they could do too)

3) They could go the social media route since their names was basically built through social media like how Robin Roberts and Raven Symone did it (which I like the best but also least likely to happen) where maybe Harry will instagram both of them holding hands/kissing/hugging/doing some domestic shit IN COLOR 

4) This WON’T happen but humor my AU feels in which they kiss on stage and we all lose our shit

Either way I just really want them to come out the way they want it to happen and in their own time. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. 

Jak fiction: Concerning Crocadog tradition revival

I wrote a thing! Based on THIS post with its adorable-ness that inspired me to actually write.

(plot: Jak and Daxter are on a sorta routine exploration/mapping mission to the unknown wastes and make a very important and adorable discovery.)

Tie-ins: Crocadog headcanons including Royal companions, Battle Dogs, REALLY REALLY BIG Crocadogs……Teensy tiny Jaxter if you squint and want to see it that way. and also Human!Daxter.

Setting: Wastelands, somewhere in Jak 3)

Keep reading


Beat down Boogies video is up! Look out for me and my Sully at 1:31!

She thought a moment, “It’s the cold. Seeps in, almost a liquid, living thing, pouring through the keyhole to puddle on the floor, just waiting to wrap itself around your feet and pull you down to a place you’d thought long buried in your heart…

  “When the weather’s warm you can distract yourself with play and work and travel, but when it’s cold, you disappear into the vast uncharted continent of your own mind, with nothing but the screams of your victims echoing across the plains…”

  Granny smiled suddenly, “Listen to me! Reminiscing! Now, let’s get you some ice cream!”

—  100 Words a Day 25/100

List of things that make me happy:
Courage the cowardly dog
Tarot cards
Essential oils
Atlantis the lost empire
Leelo and stitch
Semi precious rocks
Plants and trees
Any kinda of Water source
Screepy things
Corpse bride
Nightmare before christmas
Once upon a time
Lost girl
Game of thrones
Sporting clay and skeet
Final fantasy
Pretty pieces of art
Wind chimes
Little animals
Big animals
All animals
especially cheesy paranormal romance
Scary movies
Cheesy scary movies
Cute bottles
Stain glass and mosaics
Peaceful music with no lyrics
Nature sounds
Creating things
Soft blankets
Butterflies and moths
Teapots and teacups
Myths and mythical creatures
Sea glass
Soft lighting
Humming birds
Lady bugs
Tall trees
fleur de lis

I plan on adding on to list periodically just to remind myself of the good things just for the days I get bummed out.