The events leading up to the most recent SCG Invitational have been uncovered in the tattered remains of this captain’s log, kept by Caleb Durward. By now, history has recorded his fateful journey, but this is the first real peek into the lives of Cpt. Durward and the brave men he led into absolution.
While the names of his crew have been left unchanged, the bearings have been stripped, as well as the entries related to the day to day workings of a ship. Be warned that the contents of this log are not for the faint of heart. If danger makes your head spin, this tale is not for you.
6/11/2012, 12:10 PM
Today we made port in Naperville, the last safe harbor before we embark on the treacherous seas of Indiana. As I write this, the crew is stocking our ship, the Camry, and otherwise prepping her for the voyage. I have faith she could take us to the depths of Hell and back, which is not dissimilar to our actual destination.
Our departure time is dependent on filling out the last members of the crew. I set my first mate, Jeremy Stowe, to finding a navigator that knew the waters, and a cabin boy, as our last one perished of scurvy.
Jeremy is a quiet man by custom, and because his mouth doesn’t move, his ears have time to listen. He carries a head of dirty blonde hair, cropped close to his scalp, and he is solid in stature. Jeremy has seen more battles than most. When fighting, his unassuming appearance disarms his opponents. We call this process “getting Stowed.” Due to the dangerous nature of this voyage, he will make a fine first mate.
6/11/2012, 8:00 PM
Before the midday sun had moved, Stowe brought me a navigator by the name of Sam Kuprewitz, pronounced any way you can manage it. Sam has sharp, calculating eyes and a strong measure of precision in his voice. Competence seems to ooze from his pores. He looked down to address me, which is notable as I am not a short man.
“You know the Indiana seas?” I asked.
“Better than I know my own mother,” Sam said.
“And you’re determined enough for the journey?”
And that was good enough for me. At the last possible moment, Stowe found a cabin boy. At first, I wanted to dismiss Joe Bernal (pronounced Be-nal). His clothing was ill-fitting, his hat in tatters, and his hands were soft, like the hands of a pampered nobleman. Still, he had a booming voice, which meant he could man the crow’s nest, and he showed a remarkable level of spunk and tenacity. Even if he didn’t prove to be reliable, he had enough apparent redeemable qualities to be worth the space.
We sail over infested waters. The Sneaky Seas are known for the size of their beasts, notably the [card]Griselbrand[/card] and the [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card]. The Griselbrands are loner types, with bladed hands, webbed batlike wings, and curling horns that frame a demonic visage. An Emrakul is much larger, and from a distance appears to be a flying mountain. Up close, one can make out a giant swarm of tentacles. The devastation one of the things causes is unparalleled, and entire cities have been swallowed up in an Emrakul’s wake. Gluttonous and overfed, these creatures drain so many resources that smaller life forms are almost certain to perish.
Very few have seen either monster and lived, and I consider myself lucky to have speared the first Griselbrand we encountered. To be fair, I got the jump on it in such a way to [card]Stifle[/card] it’s movements before it could cause any real damage to the ship. Here is a sketch of the weapon I used:
3 Polluted Delta
4 Underground Sea
3 Volcanic Island
1 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Forked Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Force of Will
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Thought Scour
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Surgical Extraction
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Pithing Needle
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Nihil Spellbomb[/deck]
I’ve been tinkering with this bit of nastiness for some time, so it was good to test it. The [card]Creeping Tar Pit[/card] and [card]Sower of Temptation[/card] were last minute changes, but I’m confident that both will do work.
Strangely, the weapon has also proved useful in killing the water rats that’ve claimed the ship as their own. Technically, they’re [card nimble mongoose]mongooses[/card], members of the family Herpestidae, but water rats are what the crew calls them. When roasted, they don’t taste half bad, and are at least a change from the usual hard tack.
After my fight with the [card]Griselbrand[/card], I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning and polishing Grixis while looking out over the Sneaky Seas. The whole incident reminded me of advice an old sailor, Adam Cai, gave me.
I first met Adam in a grog-shop in Richmond. Most of the patrons were inexperienced sea bees, green behind the ears, and they made a show of puffing out their chests and singing loudly. Adam stood out in his silence. As a sea dog from the old school of adventuring, he had no airs to put on, nothing to prove. Even though he’d mostly retired, his hands were calloused from long years on the open waters, and he had eyes so wizened he might have sailed with Zheng He himself.
After a few rounds, he pulled me aside. In a raspy, salty whisper, he told me a trick to fighting monsters.
“Always lead with the [card]Bloodstained Mire[/card],” he said, “and they won’t expect a [card]Stifle[/card].”
At the time, I nodded sagely, thinking I was placating the fantasies of an old sailor. It was only after my recent battle that I knew what he meant.
Me and the ship’s cabin boy spent much of the day bedridden with a strange illness. Since no ship can afford the space for a dedicated apothecary, it was up to first mate Stowe to pore through my medical book on seafaring diseases and treatments.
Apparently, we had caught what is known as a rogue bug, discovered by a Dr. Conley Woods. A few symptoms include poor decision making, a congestion of [card]Acidic Slime[/card]s, and an outbreak of [card]Birthing Pod[/card]s in the most awkward of locations.
Bernal’s skin was coated in a strange rash, as I’ve sketched below. I could only imagine how terrible my affliction looked to him.
3 Gavony Township
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Tempered Steel
4 Blade Splicer
3 Restoration Angel
3 Glint Hawk
3 Glint Hawk Idol
4 Signal Pest
4 Vault Skirge
2 Shrine of Loyal Legions
3 Mox Opal[/deck]
According to the medical book, the best fix for the rogue bug is something called the Delver test, which we fortunately have the ingredients for on-board. We took turns spoon feeding each other with Delver, until we’d reached the appropriate dosage, and the symptoms abated.
6/14/2012 10:00 AM
An unnatural sort of glistening mist has settled over us. It doesn’t twist and swirl as water vapor ought, but rather it hangs, like strands of a spider’s web. The ship floats between the strands, as a child being led through a maze, which has an unsettling effect if one watches overlong.
It’s difficult to place the sun in the sky, which hinders navigation, but Sam assures me that we’re on course. More unsettling than that, the wind has stopped, yet the waves still lap and the ship still makes six knots, an impossible speed for no wind. The whole situation is eery, and it wears on the crew. The first break in the sea came up just now, with the appearance of a small island off the starboard side. It isn’t on any of our maps, and Sam has never heard of it.
I shall lead a single rowboat out to investigate. Ordinarily, I would let most of the crew go ashore, as such a venture might be good for morale, but I don’t want to take much time from our main course.
6/14/2012 3:00 PM
The island is small enough that I can see why it isn’t mapped. Most of the area is flat rock, and the trees are sparse and sickly. In the center, we found a crevice large enough for a man to squeeze into, and after throwing a rock down I estimated a drop of about ten yards onto solid stone. After nabbing some rope from the boat, we lowered me down into the hole.
While I’m not a claustrophobic man by nature, the hole was so tight that it scraped at my sides, tearing my clothing and skin. At one point, I needed to suck in my breath to squeeze through, and for a brief moment of panic I thought I was stuck, but after some frenzied squirming I dropped the rest of the way down.
At the bottom was a small chamber, no more than five yards in length, and it took my eyes a moment to adapt to the dark. I found a few rusted tools on the floor, and a frayed bit of rotted cloth. Signs of humanity, while interesting, weren’t nearly as important as what I found next. There, at the end of the chamber, was an iron chest about the length of my arm. I couldn’t inspect it in the darkness. Instead, I dragged the heavy metal a few yards across the ground until it was under the opening. Then, I looped the rope around my waist before tying it off around the chest.
Once I was pulled from the crevice, a somewhat more painful experience than going down, we untied the chest to examine it. Beneath the dirt we found, in faded letters, “MTGO,” written in the old language. I knew not what the letters stood for.
After cracking the case, we found diagrams for a type of weaponry that, while apparently powerful, was alien to us. Here is a sketch of the most promising device:
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Sulfur Falls
2 Drowned Catacomb
3 Darkslick Shores
3 Evolving Wilds
3 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Consecrated Sphinx
2 Lone Revenant
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Karn Liberated
4 Think Twice
2 Pillar of Flame
4 Temporal Mastery
4 Go for the Throat
4 Mana Leak
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Pillar of Flame
1 Wurmcoil Engine
From what I could tell, the chief designer of this went by the name of HiKiKomoRinGo. Neither me nor any of the crew recognized the nationality of his exotic name.
The weapon seems particularly well fitted to fighting all manners of the undead, from Zombies to Spirits, as well as Insectile Aberrations, and I intend to have a model built and at the ready, with a few modifications. Specifically, -1 [card]Evolving Wilds[/card], -2 [card]Go for the Throat[/card], +1 Mountain, +2 [card]Doom Blade[/card], with the idea that we might run into Golems somewhere along the trip.
When we got back to the ship, I fell ill with the rogue bug again, and no measure of the Delver test could cure it.
6/14/2012 8:00 PM
I jumped when I heard a shout of “Land ho!” from the crow’s nest, and I rushed to the bridge to get a better look. Slowly, a stretch of shore came into view. Large, rocky hills rose up from a blanket of tropical foliage. I pulled out the Invitational map and re-checked the coordinates with our ship’s navigator. We had made it to the famed Isle of Indianapolis; there could be no doubt.
We positioned the ship to roll with the waves and dropped anchor. By the time we got to shore, the sun had set, and I charged the men with making camp for the night. We didn’t have time to scavenge for vittles, and resolved ourselves to one more meal of hard tack.
6/15/2012 7:00 AM
Some of the men had intentionally drank an excess of water the night before, and their bladders woke them before dawn. By the time the rest of us had broken camp, they’d returned with a wild boar, which we wasted no time in roasting.
The Isle of Indianapolis, while ventured into by the occasional explorer, is largely unseen by man. As such, there are no paths, and we brought machetes to hack our way through the wilderness. Despite the heat and toil, the men seem to be in good spirits, and have taken to exchanging good-natured jibes.
6/15/2012 3:00 PM
The Isle has more perils than just monsters, and we’ve had to stop multiple times to free a man from a [card]Vapor Snag[/card], slowing our journey.
Starting at around noon, we heard the clicking of giant insects. I loosened my [card]Doom Blade[/card] in its sheath, but it was several hours until we actually saw one of the creatures. The [card insectile aberration]Aberration[/card], larger than a horse, had the stinger of a hornet and the claws of a preying mantis. The sound it made, close up, was ear-splitting, like the grinding of some jagged metal instrument.
It was on us so fast we couldn’t react, and everything became a blur of action and screaming and blood. The men say I killed the creature with a [card]Whipflare[/card] to its chest, but I don’t remember this.
After the skirmish, the reality of what I’d gotten us into sank in. Even with all of our skill and preparation, the chances of getting there were incredibly small. It didn’t help that the creature had a human face. Even now, thinking about it makes gorge rise in my gullet. It had been a man, once, possibly another adventurer. Was that to be my fate, trapped in a foreign body, scuttling about on this forsaken isle with no memory of my true self?
6/15/2012 5:30 PM
The [card]Insectile Aberration[/card]s have continued to plague our journey, though at least our weapons have proven adept at killing them.
Less so against the [card blade splicer]Golems[/card]. The living artifacts come at us in high numbers, moving at a speed you wouldn’t expect. Every time I sink my [card]Doom Blade[/card] into an automaton’s chest, another flashes up to take its place. A simple [card]Slagstorm[/card] might’ve turned the tide, or one of the many [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card]s I’d left back on the ship. How frustrating, to travel all this way and make such a blunder.
We have left the undergrowth, garnering a brief respite, but our new surroundings offer little comfort. Large boulders, scorched with the flames of the underworld, are the only landmarks, and the stony ground is covered with long scrapes. Something big has been here, and it wasn’t gentle.
6/15/2012 9:30 PM
Most of my men are slain. I had to watch, helpless, as an [card]Insectile Aberration[/card] ate through my first mate’s face. My left arm was lost to the hook of a [card]Griselbrand[/card], and the hasty tourniquet is leaking. I fear it is my death-hurt.
Despite everything, I have learned a way to beat the monstrous horde. It was so simple! Hopefully this journal makes it back, so someone else may succeed where we failed. All it takes is
And so ends the journal of Cpt. Durward. Unfortunately, the last few pages have been destroyed, coated in Caleb’s own blood. Still, what we have here is more than we could have ever hoped, and will live on in posterity.
Thanks for reading.