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Children of the Nameless

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The secret project is now out, and it's free to read. Children of the Nameless is a novella set on Innistrad, one of the planes featured in Magic the Gathering. It's Brandon's longest novella to date, and does not require any knowledge of the setting to enjoy it.

https://media.wizards.com/2018/downloads/novella/Children_of_the_Nameless.pdf

Feel free to discuss the story to your hearts content in here.

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Just devoured the novella. Geez, does Brandon knows his color philosophy or what! Davriel is so quintessentially black, and Tacenda and the Bog nail green. 

Also he writes like a boss. 

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Never even though of Magic the card game before. Now I'm obsessed with understanding what the heck just happened in this story! I enjoyed this short story but there were so many small things like the angels soul that just left me baffled. Any other work help explain these things? Also what the heck is Tascenda now? Does she have the same basic power set as Davriel plus warding strength? 

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I know absolutely nothing about MTG other than that I'd probably like it a lot & that it would probably turn into a huge time-consuming habit if I ever got into it.

But it's Brandon, so of course I had to read "CotN." What an amazing story!

On his blog, he says you don't have to know anything about the game or the worldbuilding and he's 100% right. He also compares the story's tone to "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell," and "CotN" did indeed remind me of that particular Cosmere piece.

I'm gonna tweet about the story - I've got a bunch of professional connections who are into MTG but have never read Brandon (despite my urging!) - - fantastic opportunity to gain some new Sander-fans!:D

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I haven't played a game of MTG since I was in probably middle school, however that was one damnation good story.

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Davriel reminded me of Lightsong's persona. And Highwater made me think of Blushweaver- not just the sea appeal thing, but also in the tone of her banter.

Edited by Necessary Eagle
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On 12/12/2018 at 8:02 PM, mr.bug said:

Never even though of Magic the card game before. Now I'm obsessed with understanding what the heck just happened in this story! I enjoyed this short story but there were so many small things like the angels soul that just left me baffled. Any other work help explain these things? Also what the heck is Tascenda now? Does she have the same basic power set as Davriel plus warding strength? 

Spoiler

Tacenda, well, ascended to planeswalkerdom upon her acceptance of the Bog Entity.  She has precisely two powers in common with Davriel (the ones he cited mid-Avalanche, the power of the Entity and the power to leave).  Otherwise, she has all the makings of a song-based spell repertoire with the signature spell of her ward, contrasted with Davriel's demon-summoning with his signature spell thief power. Other planeswalker characters, especially in more recent works, have followed a similar model, augmenting a clear area of competence with a signature spell.  (E.g. MtG's poster boy, Jace Beleren, who uses an illusion-heavy style with a telepathic ability)

If you have any other questions I will do my best to provide the context neccessary to clarify them.  However, some questions baffle me as well, e.g. the angel soul.  

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@Landis963, regarding Tacenda's abilities at the end of the novella, 

Spoiler

Doesn't she also have the spell-stealing power?  Didn't she steal back her warding spell from Davriel prior to Planeswalking?  

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3 hours ago, Scion of the Mists said:

@Landis963, regarding Tacenda's abilities at the end of the novella, 

  Hide contents

Doesn't she also have the spell-stealing power?  Didn't she steal back her warding spell from Davriel prior to Planeswalking?  

I don't believe so.  Remember that Davriel's stolen abilities have a shelf-life to begin with, and that they return to their owner after a while (e.g. telling the prioress that her "tap all Geist creatures, they don't untap during their controller's next untap stap" spell would return in a day or two). I would need to reread the scene to get a better understanding of what all happened (I probably need to do that anyway w/r/t the angel), but I suspect that: 

 

Spoiler

The massive amount of mana (magic energy) that the Bog Entity provided Tacenda allowed her to reclaim her ward spell from Davriel quicker than if the spell thief ability was allowed to play out normally.  

 

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1 hour ago, Landis963 said:

I don't believe so.  Remember that Davriel's stolen abilities have a shelf-life to begin with, and that they return to their owner after a while (e.g. telling the prioress that her "tap all Geist creatures, they don't untap during their controller's next untap stap" spell would return in a day or two). I would need to reread the scene to get a better understanding of what all happened (I probably need to do that anyway w/r/t the angel), but I suspect that: 

 

Here's the quote from the very end of the book:

Spoiler

She stepped up to Davriel, who was actually looking haggard.  She reached and touched the side of his face.  

"Thank you," she said, her voice overlapping to her own ears as if a thousand people had said it.  Then she stabbed her power into his head and withdrew the small piece of her strength that he had taken from her earlier in the night.  "But never try to reach inside my mind again."

Then - complete for the first time in her life - Tacenda vanished.

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I really liked this, even if I didn't understand a lot of Magic-specific concept (the Entities, the Angels? Are crazy angels a thing in Magic, or is it specific to this story?). Davriel is very Lightsong-y - but that's fine by me, I'd be happy to have more Lightsongs in fantasy (and more accountant demons. Miss Highwater's banter with Davriel was fantastic). The chapter where the villagers get soul-sucked felt kind of hasty, though, as if Brandon was trying to get it out of the way as soon as possible, and the story didn't really click for me until Tacenda assaulted Davriel with the icepick.

Is this going to be a series? The Entity's dialogue at the end certainly implies that, and the label on the epub file says "a Davriel Cane adventure", so this kind of suggests to me there'll be more. I'll certainly read more, if Brandon writes it.

On a related note, can any Magic-playing Sharders recommend some good Magic novels? I'm left wanting more.

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On 12/14/2018 at 2:06 PM, Scion of the Mists said:

 

Here's the quote from the very end of the book:

  Hide contents

She stepped up to Davriel, who was actually looking haggard.  She reached and touched the side of his face.  

"Thank you," she said, her voice overlapping to her own ears as if a thousand people had said it.  Then she stabbed her power into his head and withdrew the small piece of her strength that he had taken from her earlier in the night.  "But never try to reach inside my mind again."

Then - complete for the first time in her life - Tacenda vanished.

Well.  That's... suggestive.  Although it's still slightly ambiguous, given that the only thing she stole was a power that was first stolen from her.  Something else to add to the litany of questions for Brandon, I suppose.  Thank you for posting the quote.  

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On 12/13/2018 at 4:13 AM, Lump-wing said:

He also compares the story's tone to "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell," and "CotN" did indeed remind me of that particular Cosmere piece.

Really? What tipped you off on this one? Was it the deadly forest in which one must never travel at night? Or was it the hungry ghosts roaming around?

No, I know! It was the existence of a murderous girl, trying to take her revenge on the man who killed her family! It's that, right? (just kidding, they are very similar)

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Davriel is more black-blue. Bog is green and tacenda white-green.

 

Angels on Innistrad went crazy after Emrakuls invasion. With some exceptions.

Mtg story is partly aviavable online. Pretty good. No the brandon-like-a-boss-good, but good.

No, she is not spell-stealer. That has nothing to do with etnities, as Davriel had had it before he stole the etnity.

AND THERE WILL BE CARDS WITH MOTIVES OF THE STORY!!!

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it's a much softer fantasy than brandon's usual, and the resolution feels too much like a deus ex machina to me, even though it was foreshadowed.

I mean, "in the darkest hour the hero manifests some power he never had known before and fixes everything by magic" is not my favourite plot twist. and it's not like vin reaching the mist, where it tied with the greater cosmology and vin still had to work hard to reach that point. the protagonists felt too much like spectators.

that said, i still liked the novel, but it's probably my least favourite among sanderson's work. davriel is a great character, though. I'd read any sequel to this as long as it contains davriel in it.

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 One thing that I noticed about the dead angel: if you read the Magic stories The Blight We Were Born For and The Hand That Moves, you'll notice that they also mention angelic characters that were supposed to be dead or otherwise. 

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Hope this gets a physical paper release sometime soon.

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Brandon will get his own planeswalker printed as a card in next MtG series.

See War of the Spark planeswalkers lists.

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Posted (edited)

BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEAD ANGEL'S SOUL???

Also, are Davriel and Highwater actually lovers? They really behave like they are. 

Edited by Vissy
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On 3/12/2019 at 5:51 PM, Vissy said:

BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEAD ANGEL'S SOUL???

Also, are Davriel and Highwater actually lovers? They really behave like they are.

We know they aren't emotionally lovers, because Highwater's contract states that she gets his soul if he ever falls in love with her. It's unlikely they are physically lovers because Davriel probably wants to keep her a little at arms length to prevent that, though it's clear they care quite deeply for one another regardless.

Also, we have his first set of cards :D 

https://scryfall.com/card/war/83/davriel-rogue-shadowmage
https://scryfall.com/card/war/84/davriels-shadowfugue

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9 minutes ago, Wyrmhero said:

We know they aren't emotionally lovers, because Highwater's contract states that she gets his soul if he ever falls in love with her. It's unlikely they are physically lovers because Davriel probably wants to keep her a little at arms length to prevent that, though it's clear they care quite deeply for one another regardless.
 

i understood that "if she seduces him" meant if she actually got into her bed.

As for the cards, I found them really unsatisfying ways to translate the story.

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The explanation is that Davriel's trying to hide his identity and his powers. Supposedly in the actual plot he doesn't call himself "Davriel" (and indeed the planeswalker card is a snapshot of him where he's about to wipe out his name from the card) - the cards only carry that name for rules purposes. 

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