The Shattered Alliance

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The Shattered Alliance
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Author(s) Jeff Grubb
First printing December 2000
ISBN-13 978-0786914036
preceded by The Eternal Ice

The Shattered Alliance is the final novel in Jeff Grubb's Ice Age Cycle. It finishes the story from The Gathering Dark and The Eternal Ice and was published in December 2000.

Blurb

After the ice comes peril.

The Ice Age has come to an abrupt end, but the world's troubles have not. Legions of undead still plague the living. The temporary peace in Kjeldor comes to an end, and an evil far more treacherous than Lim-Dul has been unleashed upon the land.

The ice has gone, but the evil remains.

Plot

Twenty years after the end of the Ice Age the world is plagued by flooding and disease. But can Jodah and Jaya prevent greater danger from threatening the world as Lim-Dûl walks the globe once more?

Summary

The prologue of the book takes place during the last battle against Lim-Dûl, just after Leshrac has cut of the necromancers hand. The ruby ring containing the mind of Mairsil/Dûl seeks out a new host. Someone picks up the cut of hand and Maisil/Dûl places his conciousness deep in that persons brain.

Twenty years later Jodah, the archmage eternal of the School of the Unseen and the nemesis of Mairsil, is wondering what has happened with his mirror. Aparently Freyalise placed some enchantment on it after using it in her World Spell. Jodah is then visited by his old friend Jaya Ballard. She shows him the blackened hand of Dûl which she claims to have found on a market in Soldev. The it is missing one finger: the one that held the ruby ring.

On Jaya's Aesthir they head off to find the ring. Jaya wants to go to Soldev, where she found the hand, but Jodah thinks they should go to Dûl's old keep at Tresserhorn instead. There they find not Lim-Dûl, but his keeper Chaeska. Chaeska has created an undead construct known as the Lord of Tresserhorn, which he uses to keep others from taking over the keep. The zombified Knights of Stromgald are continualy laying siege to the keep though, thinking themselves to be the true heirs of Lim-Dûl. Jodah realises this is a dead end, but does discover that the bottomless pit under Tresserhorn has disappeared.

Jodah has left Gerda Äagesdotter in charge of the School while he is gone. He has her move his study to another room for the changing weather since the casting of the World Spell has made his current study far to moist for the tomes and artifacts it holds. While looking for boxes to put the artifacts in some students find a cloud of black mana in the basement. Gerda realises this comes from the bottomless pit and reminisces on how twenty years ago Lim-Dûl contacted her, offering to take Jodah of her hands if she took care of his bottomless pit.

Jodah and Jaya visit the site where the last battle against Lim-Dûl was fought but are confronted by a group of Balduvians lead by Lothar Lovisason. He takes them top his mother, Lovisa Coldeyes, who fought alongside Jodah and Jaya at the last battle. She tells them that the Kjeldorans have been raiding her people since the changing climate has made their land very fertile while the Kjeldoran lands fall to the sea. Jodah wanted to go see king Darien next anyway and promises to take up the matter with him. Then Jaya sees one of the Balduvian shamans carrying Lim-Dûls finger as a talisman. She takes it and Jodah plans to use it to build a reliquary, a device that can tell them if a person is under Dûl's influence or not.

After arriving in Kjeld and having an audience with the king, Jodah and Jaya gain access to the possessions of Gustha Ebbasdotter, the royal mage who presumably died in the last battle against Dûl. After the royal banquet, when Jodah returns to the artifacts, he is attacked by a phantasmal fiend. He kills it, but not before using the reliquary to discover it was sent by Lim-Dûl. Then Jaya suddenly falls very ill.

Jodah and princess Alexandrite take Jaya to the Balduvians, who might have a cure, but the barbarians attack them on sight. When things calm down Jodah discovers that an army of Kjeldorans is laying siege upon Lovisa's settlement. The shamans promise to heal Jaya and Jodah promises to help the Balduvians. Lothar and Alexandrite are going to fly off on an aesthir to get help for the outnumbered barbarians. Jodah holds the fort for some days until the two return with a group of barbarians of the Blue Storm clan and an army of king Darien. The Kjeldorans that had attacked Lovisa's settlement flee, but not before Jodah confronts their leader. He is not pleased to discover it is his old ally Varchild, but at least he finds out she is not under the influence of Lim-Dûl. While Jaya recovers Jodah meets with Lovisa, Darien, Lother and Alexandrite. They negotiate the peace between Balduvia and Kjeldor once more and during the negotiations Jodah lays the groundwork for New Argive, the nation into which Balduvia and Kjeldor would later merge.

After this Jodah and Jaya head to Krov where they inspect the rest of Gustha's items. After contacting Gerda and ordering her to make a bigger reliquary to notify them if Dûl wants to attack the School (Gerda tells them nothing about the bottomless pit in their basement), the two are attacked by a Soldevi Sentry. While battling it Jodah discovers that his mirror now not only reflects spells but also magnifies their force. After destroying the sentry Jodah and Jaya head out to Soldev to see who sent it after them.

During an official banket with Arcum Dagsson, the leader of Soldev, Jodah learns that the Sentry had gone missing and was probably taken by the Soldevi Adnates. That same night Jaya mingles with the people of Soldev and sets up a meeting with the Adnates. She also reveals to Daggson that she heard that Varchild's army is nearby.

The next day Jodah and Jaya head down into the tunnels under Soldev with their Adnate guide while Daggson takes the Soldevi Steam Beasts out of the city to hunt for Varchild. Jodah discovers that the Adnates have access to the vaults of the Soldevi Machinists when their guide leads them to a large hall that contains 8 Phyrexian War Beasts on which the Steam Beasts are based. There Lim-Dûl reveals himself: all this time he had been Jaya! He stabs Jodah trough the troat and he and the adnates use his blood, which hold power since Jodah is a descendant of Urza or Mishra, to activate the War Beasts. The War Beasts take control of the Steam Beasts and while Jodah is bleeding to death Jaya/Dûl leads the Beasts to destroy Soldev.

In the last moment of his life Jodah transports his consciousness into his mirror, where time slows to a crawl. There he is confronted by a vision of Freyalise who reveals that she will punish Jodah for the undignified way he spoke to her and reward him for his aid in one action: by turning him into a planeswalker as well and making him the figure he always tried to avoid. But while she is talking Jodah realises that if he had the planeswalkers spark he would have ascended ages ago. He quickly gathers the mana for a healing spell and jump back ot his body, healing himself at the last possible moment. His mirror is now filled with a strange glow and he won't be able to use it anymore without getting hit by the energy ball Freyalise has put into it to try to make him ascend.

Jodah heads out of the Soldevi vault and finds Soldev in ruins. Dûl/Jaya has made himself/herself 20 feet tall and the artificial beasts are wrecking havoc all around. Jodah confronts his nemesis who responds by making him choose between his school and his friend when he/she makes the Phyrexian War Beasts seek out the greatest source of black mana on the continent (the Pit beneath the School of the Unseen). Jodah chooses his friend and confronts Dûl in a duel while the Beasts teleport to Lat-Nam. He eventualy realises that Freyalise must have sensed someone with a spark near him and that that someone must have been Jaya. He manages to smash the mirror into Dûl/Mairsil/Jaya face and she indeed ascends, purging Dûl and Mairsil from her mind. After ascending she takes Jodah along to the Isle of Lat-Nam and destroys the artifact beasts that the wizards have not yet destroyed themselves. They are to late to safe the school though, as most of it has been reduced to rubble.

In the aftermath of the battle Gerda decides to travel east with the survivors of the school to found a new institute. Jaya tags along with them but will probably leave the plane shortly afterwards. Jodah himself decides to disappears from the history books.

In the epilogue, 300 years later, Jodah travels trough the Ohran Mountains to find a certain person. This person is Urza, a planeswalker desperately in need of someone who can cure his insanity. The books ends with Jodah entering Urza's cottage to tell him what happened in the 3000 years he was gone.

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