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Eladamri of Rath
While Dominaria’s elves have no shortage of their heroes, it often seems as if their aspirations as placed upon inhuman beings or gods. In most of Dominaria’s forests, elves worship Gaea as an all-knowing, all-powerful goddess. The reality, however, is that Gaea simply has never shown any signs of her existence on Dominaria or any other plane. In the forest of Llanowar, the planeswalker Freyalise is regarded as a goddess and a chief protector of elves under her care. Still, Freyalise has done far more damage to Dominaria than good, and her immortality is based on her ability to stay under the notice of more powerful planeswalkers. It is extremely rare to find an elven hero worthy of the tales that are told in his or her honor. It is ironic that Dominaria’s greatest elven legend would come from a world dedicated to the destruction of all Dominaria holds dear.
Eladamri was born on Rath, the Phyrexian-controlled plane ruled by the ever-present evincar. Little is known of Eladamri’s early childhood, but it was doubtlessly filled with perils beyond imagination. Eladamri’s homeland, the forest Skyshroud, was the greatest refuge of the evincar’s piercing gaze and ruthless ambitions. In time, Eladamri proved himself as a master strategist and capable warrior, eventually rising through Skyshroud’s ranks to lead the elves in all their endeavors. Eladamri used constant hit-and-run tactics against the evincar’s forces, always hoping to convince the Phyrexian lord that there was much easier prey to be found than the elves of Skyshroud. Despite Eladamri’s constant vigil, the forest was not a free land under any means. Along with the Vec, Dal, and Kor tribes, Eladamri’s people lived in constant fear of the evincar and his Phyrexian masters. It was about halfway through Eladamri’s life that Rath witnessed the arrival of its most calculating evincar, Volrath called the Fallen.
“It is our duty to endure. We were not made for war. Like flowstone, Volrath shaped us to it.”
Volrath’s violence knew no bounds. Eladamri’s people were routinely slaughtered, and the evincar’s massive flagship, Predator, routinely patrolled the Skyshroud for any signs of its master. Still, Eladamri succeeded in offering his people life in relative safety, away from the horrors that were rumored to occur daily in the Stronghold. Eladamri constantly felt the need to overthrow the evincar and liberate Rath, but knew that his elven forces were sorely overmatched. Finally, a day came that would draw Eladamri out of his silent vigil and place him firmly upon the battlefield.
“We have been patient. We have planned our attack. We are ready . . . now.”
This day came with the arrival of a strange flying ship, which had crash-landed in Skyshroud after a brief skirmish with the evincar’s flagship. Eladamri’s forces immediately labeled this new wonder as a direct threat to elvish freedom. It was not until the captain of this strange vessel contacted Eladamri that his fears were put aside. This man, Gerrard Capashen, would become instrumental in the liberation of all the free peoples of Rath. Accompanied by the wise Oracle of the Vec tribe, Gerrard assured Eladamri that his people were in no danger from the strange vessel or her crew. Instead, Gerrard informed Eladamri that his ship was merely in Rath to rescue the former ship’s captain, a woman who had been imprisoned in the Stronghold by Volrath himself. Eladamri was extremely cautious, but believed that Gerrard’s words were truth. What’s more, the Oracle informed Eladamri that Gerrard was the Korvecdal, the mythical Uniter of Rath that would serve to rally the Vec, Dal, and Kor tribes in battle alongside the Skyshroud elves against the Stronghold. Eladamri placed little faith in the prophecies, but could not deny that Gerrard was a force to be reckoned with.
“We have already surrounded your ship. But with a fire such as yours on our side ready to attack the evincar, I think it is time that the Skyshroud elves do more than just endure.”
Eladamri aided Gerrard in recovering and repairing his strange ship, which Gerrard called Weatherlight. The ship was a wonder to behold, but severely under matched by the dreaded Predator. Gerrard informed Eladamri that the Thran Crystal that served as the power source for Weatherlight was severely damaged by Volrath’s moggs. Without this powerful tool, Weatherlight’s crew would be forever trapped in a world not their own. Eladamri spoke to Gerrard of an ancient tale of a mysterious portal that was rumored to provide passage to another world. Although the true destination of this portal was anyone’s guess, it would almost certainly allow Gerrard to escape Rath once his mission was complete. Gerrard agreed to Eladamri’s plan, and set out days later to examine the portal before entering the Stronghold.
“We can win. We will win. We must win. There will be no discussion on this point.”
The next few days were spent in preparation for the impending war. Eladamri’s forces, united with the Vec and Dal tribes, marched toward the Stronghold. Most of the humans and elves feared they would never again return to their homes. This risky defiant stance against the evincar had been tried before against Volrath’s predecessors, never with success and always with grave consequences. However, Eladamri proved himself a constant source of inspiration, boosting the morale of his soldiers tenfold with every word he uttered.
“There are times when destiny calls forth a people and demands an action. Now is the time. We are the people. This is our action. Charge! If we cannot live proudly, we die so!”
At last, the dreaded battle took place. Volrath’s mogg soldiers descended from the Stronghold volcano like a wave of ants. Eladamri’s forces battled for days, all the while losing ground to the overwhelming numbers of the enemy. Just before calling a retreat, Eladamri witnessed Weatherlight fleeing from the Stronghold, with Predator in close pursuit. With this grim sight before him, Eladamri had no choice but to flee with the remainder of his forces to the forest of Skyshroud.
Suffering massive losses for his defeat at the Stronghold mountain, Eladamri returned home to a terrible sight. His daughter Avila’s room had been ransacked during his absence, and signs pointed to the death of Eladamri’s only child. What’s worse, it appeared as though Avila’s fiancée Tenesi had killer her himself. Months ago, Tenesi had been lost in a raid against one of Volrath’s many outposts, and Eladamri was now certain that Tenesi had been corrupted into becoming one of the evincar’s slaves. These horrible revelations only ignited the flames of Eladamri’s wrath and the elf immediately made plans for a counsel to decide Volrath’s fate.
“Volrath thinks he can frighten me into inaction by taking my child. This will never happen. From this moment, I count Avila among the dead. Let her name be added to the roll of warriors who’ve died to make our land free.”
Eladamri’s forces met with the leaders of the human tribes that once fought under his command. The Lord of Leaves was desperate for any information that could give him an edge on the evincar. He found that edge in the most unlikely of places. Furah, a human of the Kor tribe and a longtime spy for the evincar, had apparently defected to the side of the rebels. Furah brought news that made the crowds erupt in uproar. Volrath had left his post as evincar as a stowaway aboard Weatherlight. What’s more, the deadly Predator had been crippled, perhaps destroyed, by Gerrard’s ship. With this news, all skepticism for Eladamri’s battle plans was put aside. The entirety of the Skyshroud, Dal, and Vec forces now rallied under Eladamri’s banner.
Before Eladamri could mount his attack, however, a new threat appeared before the rebels. Crovax, a nobleman that had accompanied Gerrard to Rath, was now apparently in the service of the Rathi overlords. The nobleman had led an entire army into Skyshroud with the intent of bringing Eladamri’s rebellions to a swift end. However, it soon became apparent to Eladamri that Crovax was little more than a barbarian. Though furious in battle, Crovax was possessed of a bloodlust that drove almost all rational thought from his brain. Eladamri’s forces hid in wait, making preparations from the eventual conflict. However, Eladamri’s plans were laid the waste when Crovax was somehow made aware of his presence. Eladamri’s forces enjoyed the advantage of home territory and swiftly put an end to Crovax’s pitiful soldiers. During the battle, Crovax had someone escaped, and Eladamri was made aware of just exactly how his plans had gone awry. A rescue operation for several captured Skyshroud elves was undertaken, completely outside of Eladamri’s notice or supervision. Because of this, Crovax was given the upper hand, and although the Stronghold forces were slaughtered, their leader had managed to escape. Furious, Eladamri relocated his forces to Korai at the Vec leader’s request.
At Korai, Eladamri was again contacted by the Oracle en-Vec, who had an entirely new message for the Lord of Leaves. The Oracle told Eladamri that a door would soon be opened to him, and though he would not wish to enter he must do so to save his world and become the Korvecdal. Eladamri’s armies were overjoyed. The otherworlder Gerrard Capashen was not the Korvecdal after all, it seemed, and their hero was now in possession of that glorious title. However, with this joyous revelation came a much darker omen. Word reached Eladamri at Korai that Predator was once again airborne. Eladamri knew that as long as the airship was intact his forces could stand no chance against the Stronghold. Resigned to his fate, Eladamri decided to destroy Predator in the only way he knew how: from inside the Stronghold.
Eladamri made preparations for his attack. He would surrender to Greven il-Vec, who had long scoured the Skyshroud for the rebel leader. Accompanying Eladamri would be several humans loyal to him, who would pose as Rathi guards and give Eladamri an edge once inside the Stronghold. Chief among these brave soldiers was Sivvi, a Vec warrior whose prowess with the ancient toten-vec was legendary.
Eladamri’s party marched day and night and finally arrived at Portcullis, the main gate of the Stronghold. Along the way, they had to pass through inspection by many Rathi commanders, but their disguises along with the pride and wonder of finally capturing the elf leader were enough to give them the entry they sought. Before entering the Stronghold, Eladamri made a frightening discovery: Furah, the Kor that had told Eladamri of Volrath’s departure, had apparently died.
Suddenly, Eladamri’s band was confronted by the closest inspection yet: that of Greven il-Vec. Greven paid little heed to the disguised rebel warriors, so intent was he on Eladamri’s capture. After taunting Eladamri for a time, Greven allowed the weary rebels inside the Stronghold.
Greven accompanied Eladamri and his “captors” to the Phyrexian emissary who was currently serving as Volrath’s temporary replacement. This being, Belbe, was long rumored as a monster of unparalleled hatred. However, once Eladamri laid eyes upon her, he at once realized the horrible truth: Belbe was Avila. Evidently, Avila’s body had not been slain, but had been taken to Phyrexia, corrupted, and sent back to Rath to serve as the Phyrexians’ emissary. Only the dark Rathi overlords could hatch such a terrible plot, using Eladamri’s beloved daughter to goad the Lord of Leaves into acting rashly and dooming the rebellion. Eladamri at once lashed out and struck at Belbe before being savagely beaten by the true Stronghold guards. Belbe was intrigued by Eladamri’s anger, not fully comprehending what manner of creature she once had been. Greven escorted Eladamri to the prison tower, separating him from his loyal rebels.
Greven’s tortures were horrible. It seemed the Rathi commander took great pleasure in tormenting his oldest of foes. However, Eladamri gave up no information of the rebels’ plans, never once crying out despite the horrible torment. Just as Greven’s patience was beginning to falter, an unforeseen player entered the game. Furah, apparently alive after all, commanded Greven to halt his tortures. To Eladamri’s surprise, Greven immediately obeyed the Kor’s orders. Just before Furah could examine Eladamri further, word of an incursion into the Stronghold reached the prison tower. Apparently, Eladamri’s forces had been discovered. Furah and Greven left the tower, giving Eladamri precious time to recover from his ordeal.
Eladamri managed to escape from his cell and immediately set about looking into the other cells for possible allies. He found one such ally in Takara en-Dal, daughter of the assassin Starke that had accompanied Gerrard into Rath. Takara’s mind had been forever warped by her many years under Greven’s tortures, but she was more than willing to accompany the elf, if only to break the tedium of her imprisonment. Before the two departed the prison tower, several of Eladamri’s allies rushed into the room and told the Lord of Leaves of the battles raging inside the Stronghold. Some of the false Rathi soldiers had succeeded in almost destroying Predator, but were even now fleeing from Greven’s guards through the Stronghold’s lower flowstone ducts.
Takara led Eladamri and his forces into the Map Room, a place that would serve as a temporary sanctuary from Greven’s soldiers. There, Takara displayed a holographic image of Rath that left Eladamri and his friends in awe. Takara also told Eladamri what little she knew of Volrath’s masters’ plans. Apparently Rath’s entirely purpose was to serve as a weapon to attack another world, Dominaria. This world seemed to Eladamri a veritable paradise, full of wondrous new colors, vast seas, and sprawling forests. Eladamri at once realized the Oracle’s words. The Oracle must have been referring to Dominaria as the world Eladamri must enter and unite.
Suddenly, several more of Eladamri’s allies burst into the room. Led by Lin Sivvi, these brave rebels had managed to elude Greven’s men and were prepared to mount a last-ditch effort to escape.
“Our strength lies in staying together and going as quietly as we can. I’ve never run from a fight in my life, but there are some odds a wise warrior doesn’t test. Seven of us against the entire Stronghold is not a battle, it’s a prolonged execution.”
Eladamri’s party trekked through the maze of corridors until they were attacked by the Stronghold guards. Although Eladamri’s men defeated the soldiers, Sivvi had stayed behind to cover their escape and was now believed dead. Takara led Eladamri to a temporary refuge, although one that provided no other route to escape. Eladamri, Takara, and the battered rebels took up residence in Volrath’s Dream Halls.
The rebels’ respite was all-too short. Outside, Crovax and Greven led their soldiers in a direct assault on the Dream Halls’ barred doors. Although the strong flowstone managed to hold, Eladamri knew they would only do so for so long. Just as all hope was beginning to fail, Belbe called for a parlay with the elf lord. What’s more, the Phyrexian abomination also promised to release Sivvi, whole and healthy, to Eladamri if only he would speak with her. Fearing for Sivvi’s life, Eladamri agreed.
Belbe swore to Eladamri that she was now opposed to the Phyrexian rule of Rath, and wanted greatly to help the elf leader escape this world. Eladamri was reluctant to trust a Phyrexian, especially one who wore the form of his only daughter. But as Crovax’s forces battered down the door, Eladamri saw little choice but to agree. Unfortunately, the portal could transport only four hundred pounds, enough for Eladamri and perhaps a few others. Once the portal was activated, Eladamri’s men saw that Belbe’s words were true. Through the portal lay a site more wonderful to behold than anything Eladamri or his followers had ever dreamed of. A green field, white clouds, and a strange blue sky awaited any who would step through the portal.
Filled with overwhelming joy at this strange new world, Takara leapt into the portal without Eladamri’s permission. As Crovax’s men drew ever closer, Eladamri shoved Sivvi through the portal before turning to Belbe. Eladamri thanked Belbe in the only way left to him. With a savage thrust, the Lord of Leaves jammed a poison dagger through Belbe’s chest, at last laying Avila to rest once and for all. With mere seconds to spare, Eladamri leapt through the portal, leaving behind his brave defenders and stepping foot on a strange new world.
“For the peace of my soul, and for yours, this had to be. Farewell, Avila.”
Dominaria was a strange new world, completely different from anything Eladamri had ever witnessed. Strange blue skies hung above his head. Green grass grew underneath his feet. Water, entire oceans, lay in the horizon. As strange and wondrous as this new world was, Eladamri felt great sorrow for the companions he had left behind in Rath. The elf lord vowed their sacrifice would not be in vain, and set out with Sivvi and Takara for the forest nation of Verdura. Eladamri brought news to the elves of that land of the coming Phyrexian horrors. Gathering a large band of followers, Eladamri marched to Dominaria’s most powerful elven nation, the forest of Llanowar. The Lord of Leaves persistently pleaded with the elven king Fhedusil to make preparations for the coming invasion. However, Fhedusil felt that Eladamri was a warmonger, possibly an usurper that would make a grasp for power as soon as the opportunity presented itself. But even as Eladamri was declared an enemy of Llanowar, a strange ally presented himself. Seeming to grow from the very trees that surrounded the elfhame of Staprion, this creature, calling itself Multani, vowed that Eladamri’s words were true and that all of Dominaria must prepare for war. Unfortunately, that war had come sooner than expected. Llanowar was even now under attack from the Phyrexians.
Phyrexian plague bombs, designed to destroy elves in mere seconds, began to fall all around them. Within the first opening attacks, Fhedusil was killed, crushed under the walls of his own throne room. Eladamri urged the survivors to flee down a secret passage, usually reserved only for Staprion royalty. As Eladamri led the frightened elves to possible safety, Sivvi and Takara remained behind to find any possible survivors in the village below.
After a deadly descent through the inside of the massive tree that held Staprion, Eladamri’s weary followers found themselves in the Dreaming Caves. These magical caves, long the source of elvish legend, were said to bring thoughts and beliefs to life. Just now, the Llanowar elves’ thoughts were anything but happy; a terror began to seize Eladamri’s followers. Eladamri attempted to calm the elves by singing a song he had always found comforting during his time on Rath. The song apparently calmed the elves down enough for Eladamri to deliver a courageous speech, boosting the morale of the elves and preventing their nightmares from taking a more deadly turn. As Eladamri finished, however, Sivvi delivered unto him grave news. Takara had given her life to save a young elf infant. Eladamri had mere seconds to digest this information before an elven survivor from the village contacted him. The elves now looked to Eladamri as a savior, the very Seed of Freyalise. Feeling himself undeserving of this role, Eladamri reluctantly agreed to lead the elves of Llanowar in this, their most dangerous hour.
“I have chosen my path. Who will walk it with me?”
Multani of Yavimaya again contacted Eladamri, this time bearing graver news. The Phyrexian bombs had thankfully stopped, but even now the smell of Phyrexia was beginning to infest the tree of Staprion. Eladamri took with him a host of warriors to meet this new threat, but found something entirely different in its place. Gerrard Capashen, apparently successful in his mission on Rath, had arrived in Llanowar offering his aid from the Phyrexian plague. What’s more, it seemed Gerrard’s ship Weatherlight was responsible for the halt of the dreaded Phyrexian plague bombs. Eladamri gratefully accepted any help the Benalish could offer to his battered allies.
“You helped save my people from a Phyrexian fate, Gerrard. Did you think I wouldn’t return the favor?”
Gerrard Capashen had practically single-handedly saved the whole of Llanowar from certain death. The Benalish apparently expected this debt to be repaid as soon as possible. Gerrard explained that his deepest love, the artificer Hanna, had succumbed to the Phyrexian plague and showed no signs of recovery, despite the curative prowess of Weatherlight’s healer Orim. Gerrard begged Eladamri and Multani to use the dreaming caves to save his love. Eladamri readily agreed, trusting that Gerrard’s beliefs would be enough to revive Hanna. However, the attempt soon proved futile. Eladamri informed Gerrard that Hanna’s belief in herself was the only thing that could heal her, and at the moment the artificer lay in a deep coma. Eladamri noticed that from that day forward, the once-cocky Gerrard Capashen died a little more each day.
Eladamri’s forces joined Gerrard Capashen on the wondrous flying ship Weatherlight as it flew to the most critical battle in the first stage of the Phyrexian War, the Battle of Koilos. There, Eladamri witnessed a most peculiar sight. Tens of thousands of strange blue-skinned men stood in battle against the Phyrexian horrors. The captain of these metathran forces, Agante, challenged Eladamri to meet him in open combat. Agnate told Eladamri that a god had foreseen that the Lord of Leaves must do battle to prove his worth. Eladamri battled Agnate, eventually drawing first blood and seizing one half of Agnate’s armies to lead for himself. Strange as these events were, Eladamri felt himself glad to once again be in command of an immense fighting force arrayed against his lifelong foes.
At last, the true war had begun. Eladamri’s forces joined with Agnate’s in a pincer attack to regain the Caves of the Damned. Despite both leaders’ amazing military strategy, the victory would be long and arduous to say the least. The Phyrexians that stood against them were countless, and more seemed to pour from the Caves of Koilos every moment. Weatherlight and the remnants of Benalia’s air force gave what aid they could, but Eladamri knew that for this battle to be won, the ground forces under his command must win it. To Eladamri’s surprise, nine titans out of legend suddenly appeared, hurling flame and power against the Phyrexians. Eladamri’s forces at last managed to push the Phyrexians back to the Caves of Koilos and began the long trek inside the maze.
Although his forces were nearly halved, Eladamri managed to join the immense battle even now taking place at the heart of Koilos. There, the Phyrexian general Tsabo Tavoc had apparently ensnared Gerrard Capashen’s mind, and would soon deliver Dominaria’s greatest hero into the hands of the Phyrexians’ master. Making a last-ditch push, the heroes of Weatherlight succeeded in severely wounding Tavoc, who had no recourse but the flee to Phyrexia to save her life. The heroes of Dominaria fought on and on for what seemed like days, but at last their efforts were successful. Every last Phyrexian in the deserts of Koilos was slain.
Eladamri joined every last Dominarian in a mighty roar of victory before a new threat arrived. Striding into the room with a calm demeanor of a madman, a figure surrounded in light announced victory at Koilos. This figure was a monster out of Dominarian legend, the one man responsible for the Phyrexian invasion and in that sense even responsible for the creation of Rath itself. That figure was Urza Planeswalker. Urza explained to Gerrard Capashen that he had plotted his destiny for millennia, breeding Gerrard’s ancestors to produce a hero worthy of the title of savior of Dominaria. Gerrard was furious, declaring his eternal hatred for the planeswalker for deciding every aspect of his life. Gerrard reluctantly agreed to fight for Urza’s Coalition, but vowed that he would hate Urza Planeswalker with every breath he took. Together, Urza and Gerrard shut down the portal to Phyrexia, destroying the artifact that had linked the two worlds together for more than nine thousand years. In the aftermath of the war, the Coalition forces enjoyed an all-too brief respite. Urza Planeswalker, Gerrard Capashen, Eladamri the Lord of Leaves, and Agnate the Metathran Commander joined in plotting the coming second wave of the invasion. Little did they know it would arrive sooner than anyone could predict.
Days later, the unthinkable happened. In one instant, the desert sands of Koilos were replaced by the all-too-familiar flowstone of Rath. Eladamri’s home plane had overlain Dominaria, bringing with it billions of Phyrexian demons. The Coalition forces, exhausted from the long and hard Battle of Koilos, were little match for these horrors. As Eladamri rallied his Steel Leaf forces, he felt sure that this would be his last battle. Urza Planeswalker, however, had other plans.
Again the landscape changed, this time to an icy wasteland. Eladamri, Sivvi, and the Llanowar soldiers stood in the middle of hostile tundra that would soon prove to be their deaths. Stranger still was the sight which Eladamri beheld next. Skyshroud, his longtime home, lay in a valley in this horrid wilderness. Eladamri rushed to his home, finding the Skyshroud elves once under his command both bewildered at their current predicament and overjoyed upon finding Eladamri alive. Just when it seemed no answers would present themselves, the planeswalker Freyalise, deity of the Llanowar elves, appeared unto Eladamri. Freyalise, following Urza’s master plan, had transported Eladamri’s forces to this new land, which Freyalise called Keld. Eladamri convinced Freyalise to use her unlimited magic to prevent the Skyshroud from dieing in the freezing climate. In return, Freyalise ordered Eladamri to become the Uniter of the people of Keld, aiding them in any way he could.
Days later, Eladamri met with a trio of Keldon warlords. Doyen Olvresk, Doyenne Tajamin, and Warlord Astor wearily agreed to accept Eladamri’s aid. Together, the combined Keldon, Skyshroud, and Llanowar forces set out for the center of Keldon rule, the massive Necropolis of legend. There, Tajamin explained the Keldon prophecy of Twilight, how the true heroes of Keld would rise from the dead and do battle against the invaders from another world. While Eladamri had grown increasingly weary of prophecies of late, he agreed that the Phyrexian threat must be stopped. In the distance, two hundred thousand Phyrexian monsters approached, dwarfing the size of the Keldon and elven armies.
The war for the Necropolis raged on for days. The Keldons and elves suffered horrible casualties, but continued a desperate push to reach the Necropolis. At last, a host of elven and Keldon forces succeeded in reaching their goal, but it was apparent the Phyrexians would soon claim these lives as well. As their time grew increasingly short, it seemed all hope for a Keldon victory was gone. However, a strange sight soon greeted Eladamri’s eyes. Twilight had come true. The host of Keldon warlords, long entombed in the Necropolis, was pouring from their tombs by the thousands. Unfortunately, the prophecy of Twilight had neglected to mention on whose side the warlords would battle. Tajamin uttered words of blasphemy as her beloved warlords slew her own people, siding with the Phyrexian demons.
In desperation, Tajamin threw her ancestral cudgel to the ground, abandoning her lifelong dedication to the prophecies of her people. However, something even stranger happened in that moment. As soon as the cudgel landed on the frozen ground, it caused a volcanic eruption rivaling the explosive Stronghold mountain of Rath. In the resulting explosion, the Necropolis was toppled, and thousands of Keldon, elven, and Phyrexian lives were ended in an instant. Eladamri and Sivvi urged Tajamin to flee, but the Keldon had once again found the courage to fight for her land. Knowing the battle was over, Eladamri and Sivvi gathered what elf forces they could and made a desperate attempt to flee the rapid-melting tundra. That goal proved sadly unattainable, however, as Eladamri and Sivvi were soon thrown from their colos into the frigid waters of Keld.
As Eladamri and Sivvi were slowly frozen, yet another peculiar sight presented itself. The Golden Argosy, the Keldon ship built as a tomb for the first warlord Kradak, was even now drifting down the newly formed river. Eladamri felt his eyes must be playing tricks on him, or else the ship had at last come to take him into the afterlife. Eladamri lost hold of Sivvi and passed out into oblivion.
When Eladamri at last opened his eyes, he was aboard the Golden Argosy in the company of Sivvi, Olvresk, Tajamin, and Astor. Tajamin informed Eladamri that Twilight had at last come true. The dead had risen, the cudgel had fulfilled its part, and the true warriors of Keld would survive to fight in the final battle of Twilight. What the prophecies had not mentioned was that the true warriors of Keld were not the long-buried dead, but the living Keldon warriors and their newly acquired allies, the elves that now called Keld their home. Tajamin, Olvresk, and Astor departed the Golden Argosy, swimming for shore and leaving Eladamri, Sivvi, and a host of Skyshroud and Keldon warriors to journey to the final battle of Twilight, wherever it may be.
The Golden Argosy at last reached its goal, in the fetid swampland of Urborg. Here, the staging ground for the final wave of the Phyrexian invasion would begin, and the entire world must fight or risk the enslavement of Dominaria. In the distance, a most horrible vision lingered: the Stronghold. Long a sight of oppression and woe to the people of Rath, the Stronghold had appeared on Urborg during the Rathi overlay. However, the sight did not have the same effect on Eladamri as it had always had. Gathering his forces, Eladamri courageously charged the mountain, intent on ending its tyranny forever.
“The Stronghold. We will capture the land and plumb the fiery depths and destroy the Stronghold once and for all.”
Eladamri’s forces fought on and on, finding peculiar allies along the way. Metathran soldiers were present on the island, but their commander Agnate was nowhere to be found. In his stead the minotaur Grizzlegom commanded Urza’s creations, a host of his own people fighting beside them. Eladamri and Grizzlegom sealed an alliance, just as more strange allies appeared. Kavu, strange six-legged lizards from Yavimaya, pounced and ripped at the Phyrexians as though they were nothing more than a meal. Eladamri felt the absurdity of the coming war, but knew there was no battle he would rather fight.
Elves and Keldons, metathran and minotaur joined together on the field in the defense of a putrid wasteland. Strange as these alliances were, another alliance was being formed. In the skies, the Coalition dragon armies were gathering, but not in retaliation against the Phyrexians. The dragon legion’s commander, Rhammidarigaaz had apparently joined with four other ancient dragons in forming an invincible force. Unfortunately, Darigaaz for some reason now led his people in open war against Weatherlight. Along with the treefolk of Yavimaya, Weatherlight managed to destroy the godlike Primevals, but only at the cost of the Coalition’s greatest weapon. Weatherlight now lay motionless on the Stronghold volcano, a thousand Phyrexians rushing to its corpse.
Eladamri’s and Grizzlegom’s forces led a valiant charge in defense of Weatherlight, managing to push the Phyrexians away from their greatest defender. While the ship underwent repairs, the Coalition forces continued successfully forcing the Phyrexians back to the gate of the Stronghold. However, it soon became apparent that they could push no further. Apparently, Crovax’s tactic was to keep Eladamri’s forces at arms length, allowing them control of the mountain but giving them no further access to the Stronghold itself.
Strange reverberations shook the Stronghold volcano, leading Eladamri to believe the mountain would soon erupt. Still, the Stronghold must be taken for Dominaria to be free of its dark influence. While the Coalition forces held the gate, Eladamri, Sivvi, and Grizzlegom sought another path through the many fissures in the volcano. They found one such path, along with the source of the small earthquakes. Dozens of strange dwarves gathered in defense of Dominaria, using their considerable power to blast a hole through the volcano. Eladamri immediately sought an alliance with these strange defenders, promising to protect the dwarves as they concentrated their efforts on opening a new gateway into the Stronghold.
“You know your orders. I know your hearts. Now the Stronghold will know defeat.”
Eladamri fulfilled his end of the bargain, and soon the Coalition forces were given entry to the volcano. Eladamri’s and Grizzlegom’s forces pressed hard into their foes; a legion of Phyrexians, moggs, and Crovax’s personal vampire hounds slowed their assault to a crawl. Eventually, the Coalition forces succeeded in gaining a foothold inside the mountain and immediately began pressing for the gate.
At last, Portcullis was in sight. Earlier that year, Eladamri had attempted to storm this gate with Skyshroud, Vec, and Dal forces. Now he had nearly succeeded in toppling the gate with his Skyshroud, metathran, minotaur, Keldon, and Benalish armies. Using a rather ingenious plot on the part of Lin Sivvi, Eladamri began pilling up the bodies of the Phyrexian monsters near the gate. Knowing that the glistening oil the Phyrexians used as blood was extremely volatile, Eladamri used his foes to destroy Crovax’s front door. With Portcullis no longer standing between Eladamri and the majority of his forces, the Stronghold would soon be in the hands of Urza’s Coalition.
The Stronghold was theirs. Eladamri had done what he had only dreamed of years earlier. Eladamri led his men to the Map Room, the same room in which Eladamri, Sivvi, and Takara had been united during their infiltration months earlier. There, Eladamri turned on the hateful machine, gazing in wonder at the changes Dominaria had undergone since last Eladamri gazed at the globe. Zhalfir, a huge portion of a supercontinent named Jamuraa, was now gone off the map. Shiv, a volcanic wasteland long in the control of Urza Planeswalker, was also gone. Even worse than these strange tidings, a horrible blackness now covered the entire globe. The Stronghold was theirs, but Dominaria was most certainly in the talons of Yawgmoth. With a hateful cry, Grizzlegom led the Coalition in destroying this awful machine.
Eladamri led a fervent charge to take Crovax’s throne room, but little did he know that it was well under the control of the Coalition. Waiting for Eladamri’s forces was Gerrard Capashen, holding the severed head of Urza Planeswalker. Eladamri could only guess at the meaning behind this grim sight was, but apparently Urza was alive even with no body to sustain him. Captain Sisay and her band of skyfarers also stood waiting, along with hundreds of poor wretches imprisoned in the Stronghold for untold years. Despite these strange visions that lay before him, Eladamri witnessed something grander than he could ever imagine. Crovax’s corpse lay bisected near his own throne, his blood dripping slowly from Gerrard’s sword.
Gerrard led his friends in an escape attempt, against insurmountable odds. The Coalition forces were prevented from making further progress in one room, hewed in on all sides by il-Vec, il-Dal, and mogg forces. But as they fought on, a new and unprecedented horror entered the room. Yawgmoth had come to Dominaria. Slowly, a black cloud rolled into the room, slaying everything it touched and reanimating the corpses of the fallen to fight with renewed vigor. Just as it seemed Yawgmoth would extinguish Dominaria’s greatest warriors, Weatherlight suddenly appeared through a nearby window. Gerrard urged his friends aboard.
Weatherlight flew straight up, out of the Stronghold calderas, and into the grim sky. Gerrard ordered Weatherlight to attack a nearby Phyrexian plague cruiser, a massive vessel easily large enough to plug the volcano. Weatherlight rammed the cruiser, plugging the volcano and hopefully preventing Yawgmoth from escaping. Unfortunately, it was to absolutely no effect. Below Weatherlight, the corpses of the fallen on both sides of the war rose again. Indeed, the very detritus, the dead matter that made up the soil of Dominaria, began to rise and scream Yawgmoth’s glories. Grizzlegom urged Gerrard to allow the ground forces to land and do what little good they could. Gerrard hesitantly agreed, first dropping Grizzlegom’s forces off in the center of the melee, and then allowed Eladamri’s men to defend the Yavimayan treefolk.
Eladamri led his forces in defense of the treefolk, protecting nature’s green lands as he had done his entire long life. However, it soon became apparent that this would be Eladamri’s last fight. Yawgmoth’s new horrors enclosed from every direction. The treefolk upon which Eladamri and Sivvi stood were even now burning. And Yawgmoth was approaching, a black cloud of death that was beginning to encompass all Dominaria. Gripping Sivvi’s hand, Eladamri and his love leapt from the treefolk, refusing to die by Yawgmoth’s hand. In this way, Eladamri died in the way that he had lived: swordstroke by swordstroke, defying Yawgmoth every step of the way.