Unbroken and Unexplained
[Sardragon has been on a journey I'm calling strange as an excuse to not read the journey I'm linking to. Since I didn't, I wouldn't know that the whole time travel thing was something even Sarkhan didn't understand, let alone do, but anyway that flavor article was months ago and no one cares about these things. Since all characters need some motivating force and Sardragon is a dude, he's looking for Narset, despite having no particular interaction with her in any timeline before but only a half-remembered drinking date.] Sardragon stretched his badass, articulated dragon wings tattooed between the vanes with the letters BADASS, three letters each for the folds between the vanes. The reverse tattoo was on the other side so those beneath him could also regard his glorious and totally sweet dragon body that he now did have. Sardragon's dragon mind thought dragon thoughts about dragons so the word dragon could appear more in this paragraph and appeal to teens. Teens, perhaps even a hundred people, who can't get enough of dragons. Other thoughts occurred to Sardragon in the present. By a combination of fantastic cosmological coincidence, low production budgets, and trite writing, all the named persons he had known from the before present were still here and slightly different looking. Sardragon looked over at a yeti that he swore he had seen before, only now with a correct amount of dragons in the background. Sardragon was very chuffed about dragons. Ugin was alive, Sardragon convinced himself, further taking credit for doing all the work himself despite not doing any such thing in any version of events. Disorientation howled at Sardragon's dragon conscience, but he batted it away. Yeah, he had totally gone into the past on purpose and saved Ugin and even made the hedrons and put them all in place with his powerful dragon muscles. The harrowing gnaw of time travel polluted Sardragon's thoughts like the magnified haze of waking up from hundreds of thousands of naps at the same time, so confused and mispossessed of facts was he and his writer. He decided to look for Narset and for Ugin to see if they would like to share a midmorning mixer. He flew straight at his destination, as the dragon flies, as they now say on Tarkir, and he gave himself a mental pat on the dragon back for reintroducing the lingo to the place and for making correct navigational decisions. Sardragon raced noon to get to the canyon where Ugin still slumbered in crystal sleep within the megalithic hedrons that Ugin had requested, Nahiri had crafted, and Sorin had sealed, but that Sardragon nonetheless took full credit for. Supposing they got to Narset later his plans for a midmorning mixer had shifted to midafternoon. A transparent dragon shuttled after Sardragon as he approached the canyon cliff. A familiar feeling of light and heat and colorlessness washed over Sardragon's dragon body and dragon sense of purpose. Ugin's home! "Ugin! It's good to see you. Want to get together for a midmorning-midafternoon mixer?" Sardragon rumbled in the guttural foul-tongue of draconic speech. "I am diet Ugin. You are looking for the All-Manager, Master of the Brand, may I take a message?" the miniature colorless Ugin look-alike stated with aplomb and professional courtesy, also in the guttural foul-tongue of draconic speech. "My mistake. Please let him know that it is good to see him and that I would like to get together for a midmorning-midafternoon mixer and that I'll be off looking for Narset to join us." "Understood." The spirit dragon in miniature half-flew-half-floated off in the manner of a bird who is also a ghost. Before Sardragon could even pivot his pinions, another messenger revealed itself before him, looking much the same as the first. "The All-Manager, Master of the Brand will see you now." Sardragon devolved on the spot into man forme for the convenience of being towered over in the next scene, then walked with his man feet through the hedron-tomb-home of Ugin. "Uh, Ugin?" "I have a zero-calorie alternative for the multiverse," Ugin replied with customary boilerplate. "Did your staffer relay my message?" "Indeed, but rather than doing things, I would prefer to talk about other things at length, so that in case anything we say contradicts anything else, the writer can couch the whole thing in inaccurate narrators and get out free of scot. You were mad once, correct?" "So much so that I became known as 'the mad,' yes." "The perfect cover. Now despite all that, I want you to recite to me with perfect world-building clarity what you did and what brought you to my door." Whereupon Sardragon told the tale of how he became a planeswalker, went looking for dragons, found some, and listened to them, like so: "One night after a rougher than usual bar fight with Zurgo—" "The vaguely standard-playable one?" "No, the self-important but way less constructed-playable one." "Go on." "Anyway I was punch-drunk, regular-drunk, and seeing stars. Also dragon faces, your face, that whispered to me of a cola lost to time. I sparked on the spot and went to meet a lion who walked like a man. I guided him through his grief over losing his brother and put a red mana symbol in his cost, then that amounted to nothing so I kept searching and found someone I mistook for you." "Bolas!" Ugin screeched. "The same." Ugin scoffed and scritched at the floor, irritated to once again face down the problem of his look-alike muddying the brand-recognition that Ugin had toiled for millennia to achieve. Ugin broke the silence. "I'm sorry, I forgot to offer you refreshments while we chat. Care for a crystal ugin with rum?" Ugin floated a gossamer hemisphere full of the mix toward Sardragon using the power of his planeswalker magic. "No thanks. I shouldn't have any before we get Narset in the mix." "Very well. Please go on." "So of course I did what Bolas said, which drove me to madness and action in equal measure. I met Chandra and Jace at your eye on Zendikar." "What were they doing there?" "Arguing, I think. Chandra was there looking for treasure and Jace had been stalking her like a creep job for a long time. She was furious and outraged at his unbroken probing and he was coy and dismissive and kept claiming that he was just trying to have a civil discussion." "How long were you listening to them?" "Several hours. It would have driven me mad if I hadn't been already. Did I mention I was mad?" "The Mad, even." "Oh, okay. I was. Then when they settled down I leaped from the darkness and yelled 'Daddy's home' and attacked them. Eventually Chandra shot ghost fire at me and missed and these floating stones started to resonate. I was pretty charred and tapped out so I don't remember much else from that. Then some other things happened. Anyway, then I went back in time and saved your life and changed the course of history, probably with some cool moves in there somewhere, and now I'm asking if you'd like to join me and Narset for an afternoon drink." "Wait, wait, you got roasted alive by a pyromancer , mind-snatched by a mentalator, freed Eldrazi and the brand of Emrakola with them and then did all this awesome stuff off-camera to get to where we are?" "Well yes. Also did I mention that Narset died to help me out? I'd like to thank her." "You're certain you aren't still mad?" "Is there any way to answer that question?" "I suppose not." Ugin turned back to the security displays on the wall, each prominently featuring a scene depicted on a Magic card. Sardragon started to fidget. "What is it?" "About the mixer. I did want you to come." "I am busy writing a contingency plan to give to my past self so I will have understood what the hell you're talking about. It all hinges on someone taking extra turns in the presence of my grave, so I'm going to need someone who can do that. Ral Zarek should suffice. Send him my way if you meet him. Say, several centuries ago." "And you're calling me mad." "The Mad. That was your best printing, anyway." Sardragon comforted himself with the memory of at one point attacking for four. Dismissed by a dragon, he became one and thought of how he could finally include a girl character in the story because people had complained. Heresies! The Narset he had known had loved heresy like a religion. Sardragon swooped into a lake to gather a glutful of water, then coughed it out with some of his Banefire to make a persistent smoke. He swooped and spewed clouds in the shape of the ancient symbol for heresy. He swooped to the ground and regarded his work as a man to make sure it looked good. Narset came walking up immediately. "Are you the Cloud Writer?" "I am sure that in the ancient Mardu clan I might have just earned that name, however I am now Sardragon." "Do you have any heresies for me?" Narset's eyes brimmed with knowledge of cards no one should ever play. She looked hungry. Hungry for heresy. "I may," Sardragon stated with a man's coyness, "but first I want you to tell me all about my own history." "Not knowing anything about you I can tell you that an ancient Temur seer predicted a future where dragons did not exist and a future where they did, and each one is basically equally valid because they'll be in standard for the same amount of time. You are from the other-ago, the unlived time." "That's...pretty good for someone who has never met me." "I read a lot. Now where's the heresy, buster, why did you call me here?" "To talk. Loudly and at length. I knew another Narset in the other timeline and I thought we could hit it off. She died to save my life or send me back in time. Or forward. Or something. The point is she saved me and I thought there was a real connection there." This Narset merely glared at him, forbidden knowledge brimming from her glowing eyes. "You really don't remember dying, saving me, any of that?" "What a crazy question. Who could remember dying?" "Liliana, probably. Sorin for sure." "You're mad!" "I was, but I got better." The still air between the two in this nondescript part of Tarkir that was nonetheless not Skullsteppe Steep felt stiller still. Narset risked a question. "These people you keep talking about, are they also visitors?" "The word we use is planeswalkers because it was the punkiest fantasy term we could think of back in the day." "I visited a place, but I came back." "See! We have that in common, too." "Planeswalking?" "Yeah." "What is a planeswalker, exactly?" "A fantastically rare and special person whose spark ignites, allowing them to get into and out of troublesome narrative situations with perfect ease." "But you, me, and Ugin over there are all from Tarkir?" "Yes." "So of all the billions of persons and multitude of planes where this phenominally rare occurance takes place, we three are nonetheless all here?" "It's pretty rare. I mean, reasonably rare. Kinda rare." "If," Narset pointed to a nearby fir tree branch, "that wild animal ignited its spark and planeswalked to another place, then popped right back, how would you know?" "I guess I would have to ask him, but I don't speak starling." "You wouldn't! What if planeswalking isn't as rare as you say!" "I suppose it might not be. Anyway, want to take a break somewhere? I'm sure we can find heresies of many places if we look." "What did you have in mind?" "Beer, maybe something harder, sitting overlooking a tespestuous hellscape of dragons roasting and menacing the living." A curious smile alighted Narset's face. "I could go for a brew. And so long as those living are among those who exiled me for reading too much, I could go for the view, too." They each flew off to a chosen spot overlooking a raging war where dragon and humanoid marched against one another, Sardragon gliding on his majestic dragon form and Narset simply willing herself in one direction or the other by pointing. "Just one more thing, Sardragon," Narset said as they clinked their glasses together, "You claim that you were responsible for the event that changed that timeline to this, essentially unmaking that other Narset's existence." "That's more or less how it happened." "Despite that, you expected both that I would remember and that we would somehow hit it off, despite you unmaking me from existence." "I mean, it sounds bad when you put it that way." "Mhm. Good material." Narset set her beer down and wrote some magical glyphs on a parchment scroll. "What are you doing?" "Writing a fanfiction where the unmade me seeks revenge on you for changing the timeline." "Sounds fun. Just make sure to put in how awesome I look flexing my powerful dragon muscles."