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Little Lost Lhurgoyf
Adam Chance Hollaway
It was a cold day in Dominaria, the kind of day that felt like a blue mage dropped by your house unexpected and called over his friend "chill," only this time I decided to wear my extra-thick trenchcoat. Not that I needed it. I walked my way through the busy streets to my office building, making careful time to miss the usual busload of characters that rove around in Urza's old stomping grounds. A mean bunch. Like they chose to be cruel from a list of traits their caster presented them with. Without a word I give an acknowledging nod to Vinny the SweAtog, he gives his usual "Hiya, mista Sauce! Shoe shine?" He never listens when I tell him I'll never need one of his "spit-clean" shines. Ever. It only takes a cold stare to change his mind.
I bound up the stairs with a few groans and creaks, fumbling in my coat pocket for my keys. My office, a tattered, old building with most of the windows boarded up and several locks on the front door. It stands out in the neighborhood. Most of the other places nearby are hotels and shady insurance sales, peppered with your usual Argivian Urban street ManaMongers. They promise a little mana of every color, never letting on how much it really costs. "But ya gotta make it somehow." I curse at the locks. "To each their own."
That's my phrase. It keeps me going.
Before I get to turn the key, my secretary opens the door in front of me, "Mornin', Source," she says. I give a few words under my breath about leaving the door unlocked and lumber in. Her response is the usual half-smile she wears every day, running around with a head as empty as the belly of an absolutely graceful Sengir Vampire. Her movement causes her joints to creak loudly. "Zombie Tokens. I don't know why they make em," I say. She keeps on half-smiling.
My name's Generic. Source Generic. Planeswalker Investigator. I'm the best P.I. in the whole Multiverse.
"Hold my calls, Breal, nobody gets in 'ere without my say-so." I clamor as I step into my office. I make my way to the chair meanwhile my secretary says something as the door closes on her face. I turn to holler out a few questions on what she began to say, not taking off my coat in the process. A familiar voice calls from my chair, conspicuously placed with the front facing the wall. My wall. My chair. "My, my," I say, "I ain't heard aboutcha in a long time."
The swivel clicked as she spun around to see me face to face. Though in the dark it's hard to tell. "I suppose you couldn't keep me away for very long, dear Source." she said things so temptingly a War Mammoth would be intoxicated with her speech like a barrel of the most potent ale. I adjusted my eyes to the darkness. The poor lighting always helped me to think. The usual scrolls and parchments, a few tomes and other things I barely need but make for good fire-fuel were strewn about the room. Then there's my collection. I like artifacts, we share a special bond, all of them and I.
The broken-down ceiling fan managed a slow wind against everything in the room, I decided it was time to click on the light and see how much she had changed. The light switched on by itself, or I thought it did, until I noticed she was no longer in front of me. "Better to see with?" She asked innocently. "I'm afraid business is the reason for my visit."
"Really?" I said it in an old mocking tone that she liked. "Ya must be keepin' busy." She would be the kind to deny me another shot at love. It had been a long time since I'd seen those beautiful eyes, or those long legs that went all the way to what I could only guess was her neck. Without a doubt, she was the best-looking Killer Bee I had ever laid my eye-lenses upon. "Fine, Plezk, tell me what's wrong and I'll solve yer problems for ya." She smirked at my impatience, in that way only bees could do.
"Source Generic," she paused as if to let the calling of my name by her sink in, "for an automaton, you are quite the courteous being. Do you really want my case so badly?" She asked it as if she wanted some kind of assurance that I would take it for her.
"I'd do what I could, Plezk."
She laughed at the name I had given her so long ago. She tapped several arms against the hard, brick floor and paced for awhile. I asked awkwardly, "What sort of payment can you manage? I take mana or jewels, I can hock 'bout anythin' you'd give me so I can buy more fer my collection." I gestured to the shelves and stacks of old pieces of machinery and artifacts that dated as far back as Urza himself. She pulled a small package wrapped in an old cloth from her pollen sack. "This is my offering, Source. Please open it. I think you'll like it." She buzzed close enough to the desk to place her payment on it and flow back to her spot on the brick just in front of the door.
Then she hit me like a measurement of Argothian lumber. "I need you to find my husband, his name is Url."
Figures, someone like her would have a husband by now, at this point in her life. I slumped into my chair with little regard for her noticing, disappointed by her revelation. I opened the package to see just what she had presented. As the cloth fell off the enwraveled piece of fine jewelry, I stood up out of my seat to get it into the only ceiling light in my office. "A Null Brooch, Plezk, ya shouldn't have. This comes close t'finishin' my collection. I thank ya," I say in my halted speech.
"You can keep it from now on. Just solve the case, Source. For me?" She scurried up to me and grabbed the Brooch from my hand. She slid it into my trenchcoat pocket.
"Fine," I said. "I'll look at my schedule t'see when I can start." I had tried this for many other "clients" at times before. The usual glance or two then the letdown that I have several other cases that I just have to finish first.
"I looked through your files and the papers on your desk . . . you can start right away."
As she turned her back I noticed a faint smile that she displayed from my blatant avoidance for her. "Oh. One more thing," she began, "my husband's a Lhurgoyf."
Figures. She was the type. "To each their own," I muttered, casually dusting my eye-lenses with artificial digits. I was going to need some information.
Vinny was at his usual spot on the sideways of the street. He grinned like an atog does, more like a maniac when he sees me coming his way. I take out the remnants of my pockets and hide them various places to keep Vinny from finding any of my more precious works. He shows off the extra teeth he's grown since I last asked for some information. Six new ones. On each side. "Hiya, mista Sauce. Shoe shine today?" He asks, gesturing with his thin arms to the odd chair that adorns his place on the 'walk like it was a throne for his customers.
"I need some information, Vinny," I said. "'Bout a Lhurgoyf named 'Url,' ya seen 'im?" I sat down on the throne and placed my feet on the pedestals for him to "shine" them. "And Vinny," I began, "Try t'remember I don't have shoes."
The red SweAtog began to polish my drab-brown and chrome feet. He knew his craft well and was done quickly, "All finished, mista Sauce. No charge. Just what kind of info'mation you needin'? I dunno if I could tell you, I ain't eaten in a while."
I reached down into the inside pockets of my trenchcoat, returning my hand with a small Wasp Token. It writhed between my metallic fingers and Vinny eyed it like it was the last artifact on the continent of Terisiare. He grabbed it by the stinger and popped it into his toothy grin. He gave me my information between crunches. He never really cared what kind of artifact it was, he says they all taste good to him. Like a gourmet meal in every single one.
He told me that there was a group of Lhurgoyf's missing and that a chaos game was going on just inside of town. Apparently a blue wizard was involved, name of T'prib. Before long the Atog was starting to feel hungry again, I asked where the lhurgoyfs could be found, and he told me to try The Mana Battery, a slow little tavern I usually went to when the coin flips weren't in my favor. That place was expecting some of them to show up. He also informed me that because of a necromage, there was little in the graveyards at the time. He told me to expect the lhurgoyf to be small. I handed Vinny the whole Hive. "Wow, mista Sauce!" He exclaimed. "The name's Source."
"What mista Sauce?" He said before crunching down on the entire Hive. He hadn't thought to make the tokens one by one.
"Nothin', Vinny. I gotta prepare for tonight."
"Why, mista Sauce? Whatcha gonna be doin' tonight?"
"The same thing I do every night, Vinny," I got up out of the chair and started my way back to the office. "I'll go to a bar and wait things out."
Breal was doing her usual thing, shining and sharpening her nails. I walked into my office without her notice. She didn't even hear me stomp my way in. "Must be thuh ear she's missin'." I said to myself.
Stepping into my office, I looked into a pane of glass on my side of the wall. The windows on this side were boarded up like the front, making a reflection in the dark background behind the window. I looked myself over in the reflective glass. I was different from when I had started this detective agency all by myself. No longer the little machine who wanted to be a big name. I'm much bigger than the five-foot care-free automation I once was. Now the seven-foot-three reflection was all I could see. I had earned a few scars in my lifetimes. I raised my left hand up to my face to see if everything was working correctly. Built into the digits were Sol and Sisay's rings, Worn Powerstones fused into the tips. All to power my weapons of choice, the three Rings of Aladdin's making. Forget brass and steel, these knuckles made the biggest marks in a bar-room brawl. I had the misfortune of losing my right hand in a battle. I managed to scrape off an interesting substance from a flying ship I had seen in the docks one day and tried replacing with that. Malleable like a primal clay children's toy, I fashioned it into a new hand for me. It was easy to override the original programming, this grainy meal I found out was some kind of liquid mineral called flowstone. It was in all the papers, some kind of a saga was going on at the time. I was always left-handed. I pulled off the trenchcoat and made sure my other adjustments were working properly. Ever since I found my own intelligence I had toiled to make myself work better. My old chestplate was replaced by a remolded Shield of the Ages. Even my left elbow had two Mana Batteries, jutting out like a Bogardan Anvil in a Necromancy convention. My chest cavity held other artifacts that I might have found useful in a duel. Diamonds, Stones and Vaults, even a few unconventional weapons in case things turned out different than expected. I went over all of them thoroughly.
I must have spent hours making certain everything was working. The light from the other side of the room was gone, within moments I heard Breal slam the door as she left for home. I was lucky she had left early, she usually did, and that meant it was not long after usual work hours. Maybe even a few minutes before. Otherwise I might have just missed my chance to find that little lost Lhurgoyf.
The Mana Battery was full to the brim with mages down on their luck, demons who were upset with their jobs, and automatons that just didn't know what they were anymore. I was in with the latter.
The barkeep had greeted me at the door. A new person, they changed often enough. I made way to the stool at one corner of the bar, where he asked me if I wanted the "usual." I told him I didn't know him, and he must have been mistaking me for someone else. "I'm very sorry, Sir, you automatons look alike. . ." I gave him a hard stare. "We . . . uh . . . we h-have a new shipment of some great stuff from some artifice plane. I th-think it's glistening oil."
I gave a nod, "Sounds good t'me. Were you talkin' to me, or someone who looked just like I do?"
"I'll get you a bottle." And the barkeep left for the stockroom. There is a quiet atmosphere in the pub tonight. I look around the room to see if I know anyone. No. It makes me sad to think I'm the only one of my kind. Sure, there are plenty of machines around in Dominaria, but none of them are like me. Makes me wonder who I was originally built by. Makes me wish the bottle would arrive faster.
The barkeep returned with the bottle and immediately opened it for me. I grabbed the bottle as he began to pick a glass out for me. He reluctantly put the glass back under the counter. I set the carafe down, there was a little bit taken out of it. some oil had spilt on the counter when the barkeep opened it. The stuff was viscous, perfect for long-lasting machines. I could feel it still going down my insides to a pit where my tubing and servos would churn and distribute the oil throughout my vessel. I had been drinking the whole time I thought. Setting the bottle back down, I noticed how much I had taken in. Half empty. I usually took enough to put away the stress and creaks of my life. Just enough to keep me running smoothly. Too much and, well, my gears and pulleys would start to slip on me. I would end up in more pain by the next morning if I wasn't careful. I had been drinking again while I thought, setting the bottle down left a hollow thud. I spun my neck just to see if anything popped and caught a glimpse of a lhurgoyf entering the doorway. I remembered why I had come to the bar tonight. Placing a few prism tokens on the counter, I started making my way to a corner of the room where I could see them but they couldn't see me.
A large, insect-looking arm stopped me. It was Prezk. She said nothing, but a mean-looking lhurgoyf came increasingly closer to the two of us. He was big, as big as I was, and he looked me right in the eye-lenses. "I'm Url, you're coming with me to the alleyway where I can thank you for finding me." Plezk urged me to go with him, she lagged behind in the bar. I don't know why.
It hadn't occurred to me that Url was very much bigger than he should have been until we had gotten out of The Mana Battery. He stepped into the shadows. "I really was happy Plezk got you involved," Url said. "My master is interested in the different artifacts you can give him."
"Hm?" I still feel out of things, the oil is disorienting me. "Oh. Well. Ya see, these are kinda personal items and such. I really don't feel like tradin' any of 'em for any price."
T'prib, the blue wizard, stepped out from the back of the alley, he had been obscured by the darkness. "Oh, I wasn't going to trade, Mr. Generic. I am going to take them." The expression on the wizards face grew wicked, like the face of someone who just found out they had a broken combo in their sealed draft. "Attack ,Url!" He ordered.
The lhurgoyf bounded towards me at an alarming rate. I realized why he looked so big to be a lhurgoyf. Vinny had told me earlier that there wasn't enough in the graveyards to feed them all. Url was mutated, a blue mage's enhancement that I had not noticed. Too much of the glistening oil. I fired a shot from one ring towards Url's belly, the mana intensified and rammed into the lhurgoyf's gut. He kept coming. I tried a second one, this one hit him in the head, it knocked him off balance but he quickly overcame it. I made perfect aim, the third shot was going to be my last chance before confrontation. I fired it off and the magic ceased. T'prib merely interdicted, acting like he had done too little to have noticed. Raising my left hand for a fist-to-face punch, I figure I have to fight Url myself regardless of his being Plezk's husband. I thought back to Plezk. I knew I was getting distracted, the oil wasn't helping.
I feel weak as Url plows into me. T'prib, I notice, forces some mana into an odd ring with two green jewels on it. I am unable to raise my hands to stop Url as he picks me up off the never-been-cleaned alley floor and hauls me to a vehicle parked out in front of the bar. I cannot struggle, cannot defend myself. I involuntarily turn off my lenses and my system shuts down.
There's nothing I can do. I'm tapped.
There is nothing worse than losing to a rookie Blue mage. Except being dragged unconsciously by his hench'goyf to some warehouse full of who-knows-what someplace who-knows-where. And worse still when that Hench'goyf is the husband of a certain Killer Bee named Plezk. Url isn't so bad, though. He just has a control problem.
I reactivated hours ago. Right now I need to get a sense of things while in the dark. No restraints. Already confirmed that. T'pribI think that's the mage's nameis either stupid enough to leave me unattended or smart enough to look like he has. With a little effort, I could bring myself off this platform, but that would attract attention. I talk too myself too much.
Nothing better to do but try and figure out what that odd sense is.
Like salt in the air, but something fresh in the back of it that I just can't place. Something out of place. No doubt the salt I'm feeling corrode me is from an Island near Dominaria Prime. Nuisance. All Islands are nuisances.
"Well, Generic, you might notice I took the liberty of placing you in a rather large cage." The lights flickered for a moment and are on. He's right. T'prib looks at me like an admiring collector.
The cage looks to be a, patent pending, Barl-like design. Right now he holds all the information I need. Though T'prib was new to the game, he had already mastered the ruthless art of rule-bending. It was his type that beat up on other mages, using spells that worked only half the way he said they did. All talk. I still don't see why Url was in this, or why Plezk came to me.
I focus in on the background. I pretend to be adjusting my lenses, but it becomes hard to hide the surprises he has encased in this warehouse. Artifice. Long expanses. It rivals my own.
"I can tell by your astonishment, Generic, that you not only notice my collection but also my intentions on your occupancy here." Url lumbered into site. He carried a large desk, filled with blueprints, and noticeably struggled with the gigantic weight. He was getting smaller, the mutation becoming more and more unstable with every cycle. The lhurgoyf set down its package on the floor next to T'prib. "That's a good Lhurgoyf," was T'prib's gesture of thanks. "You see, Generic," he began once Url left the scene, "I knew you would try the Mana Battery. I knew you would be there alone. I even knew you would foolishly step into the alley with a lhurgoyf." His pause was more to show his teeth than to smile. "And I waited for it all to happen. It took some time, though not much, but I finally have you here."
I spoke up. "An' what reason was that for?" Had to keep him talking, all the while making token of every variety. Small things he wouldn't notice. "It looks ta me like ya got a nice collection. Ya plannin' on doin' some tradin' with me?" I knew he would keep speaking. He was the boasting type. Just would keep talking as long as he thought he was in control. Rookie.
"Oh, yes. Trading indeed! I will gladly trade you for your collection, Generic. My price is your life." The blue mage too some satisfaction in his offering. "It seems fair, I steal your collection with these," He knocked the gauntlets from his arms together, making an odd clang. It resonated throughout my body chaotically. "And then, Source Generic . . . then I destroy you."
"Ya seem to have a good amount a confidence, there. It's good ta have some of that stuff. Not too much. Some." I let the tokens travel from my pockets to the inside of my trenchcoat, I need time to get them ready.
"It's yer move, now, T'prib."
"Ah. Very well. In your condition this battle won't be worth much to savor." The scent of salt slowly filled the area, and a mist flowed in to settle into a blue sphere. "My first step is to deny you." As the mana intensified, he drew a scroll off the top of his desk. "Url, come here!" he commanded. The lhurgoyf settled next to the blue mage.
A field encompassed the entire area, containing only a portion of the warehouse, Url, T'prib, the cage and I. It became very hard for any of us to move.
"Static." T'prib stared down to me. I was starting to feel like a Rabid Wombat in a Tranquil Grove. "Your move now, Generic."
The tokens had gained full strength, but most of my resources were depleted. Thinking wasn't hard to do, it was the doing in general that was.
I had kept more than enough of my resources unused to power one of the rings in my hand.
I eyed the Lhurgoyf. Weak.
I glanced at the tokens. Ready.
I stared T'prib straight in the face. Arrogant.
Even though my resources were drained, I knew I could hold out longer than he could. I had been building tokens from every token generator since they were ever built. T'prib had few resources as well. And the scrolls on his desk no doubt included counter-spells. Spells. Not effects or abilities. As I let each of my tokens into sightwasp, snake, hornet, cobra, minionT'prib's face fell from egomaniacal to surprise and then to fear. Url's wincing broke the blue mage's concentration. While he was planning a way out, I managed to untap myself. An in addition, my Aladdin's Ring had hit the lhurgoyf too hard. But that was my plan. Url was abducted.
Not brought under control. Nor had he treacherously left. I knew Abductions of this type get brought back when destroyed.
"No!" was the outcry from T'prib.
Url crumpled for a second as the control was lifted. A bit groggily, he stood and smiled slightly. He made way to my cage and opened it. "Thanks for setting me free," he said. Then uttering something under his breath, it sounded like "you idiot," he bounded towards T'prib.
"Plezk is goin' ta be happy," I said.
As the lhurgoyf came closer to the seemingly mono-blue mage, he extended a single hand. "I was wondering if I could see Plezk right now, Boss. Please?"
T'prib shook his head. "Not right now, Url, your wife is a bit distraught from my orders. I need you here to protect me for now."
None of this was making any sense. Then it was like the whole thing Celestially Dawned on me. Fitting together, T'prib's fascination with my artifacts, Plezk coming to see me for this case, Url not attacking T'prib. There was an odd sense all over the warehouse that I hadn't been able to plant.
Plants! Unlike a normal blue mage, T'prib's hideout was an island in the harbor of Dominaria Prime. But there was another feeling, another source of mana that wasn't right for a blue mage. The pollen, it had been holding under a thumb like one of those condemnable Argothian Pixies that picked a fight with me last week. Plezk and Url were green. This wasn't an Island. It was a Tropical Island.
My mind jumped to the next level. "Url was never under yer control..."
"No, Source, he wasn't." The voice startled me more than the revelation. A voice so sweet it buzzed through my head in an almost numbing way. "I'm so very sorry, Source. There's nothing I could have done!" Plezk spoke her sad story and sobbed/buzzed into Url's arms.
There are worse things than being dragged by a lhurgoyf with a control problem. There's also being double-crossed by a female bee.
"It is still my move," I said.
T'prib had set me up pretty well. I had been played like a stuffed doll on a black vise. Letting Plezk wrap me around her insect digits like she was summoned to do, following her whim and getting trapped. One thing remained constant in all this confusion: My tokens were ready to fight. And they were going to. "Get ready, ya have a fight on yer hands now" I said to T'prib, using my angriest voice.
The tokens swarmed all about the group, darting in and out, the lhurgoyf was no match and the bee could only stave off one. Even then, I had kept enough tokens behind to defend myself, and attacked with only enough to push T'prib into a compliant position.
Pocked with little insect bites, he was on the verge of poisoned to death and being stung. I had figured right, and he had only one choice. "Give up?" I asked sincerely, with a rod of ruin ready to back me up. "Ya have just about had it, an' I really don't like yer company. Give up and I'll take ya to be locked up. You'll get a trial, and yer goin' ta lose, but it's better than dyin' ta a token."
He reached into his blue and gold cloak to pull out a single scroll and a Mox. He read out the spell and I knew what it was. The mana drained form the pearl and he uttered my name. The white mana encased me in a cocoon of raw energy. A disenchant. Harmless to other creatures, but not to automaton. It hurt. Bad.
As the mana began to glide closer to my body, the only thing I could hear was the glorious buzzing from the Killer Bee. A melodious song-like speech she screamed, something like "Use the Brooch, Source! Use the Brooch I gave you or you'll be destroyed!"
I broke free from my own idiocy, trying to find the brooch. My hand instinctively went to the pocket I placed it in earlier. Gone. Funny, I had it before Vinny. He must have taken it when I wasn't looking. Stupid of me, I usually keep things inmy hat! Things are dangerously close now. With little time, I activate a mana ring and counter the spell in hopes I am not too late.
Breal was sitting at her desk when I came in."You missed a whole day's work while you were out Mr. Generic," she said, still doing her half-smile. "How did things go with your little old flaming bee killer?"
"That's my old flame, Plezk tha killer bee, an' thing's're not too good." I slumped into the middle of the room, stopping. "She'll be in trial before long. Find out when it is goin' on. I'm goin' ta be outta town when it goes on."
I gave her a hard look. Zombie tokens. Nothing I can do about it, so I might as well make the best of her company. "Say, Breal, would ya like to go to the Mana Battery?"
"Sure!" she exclaimed, "I haven't been there in a few nights." She began filing her nails again, sharpening them into points. "What's the occasion, Mr. Generic?"
"I'll be closing it down tomorrow for harboring an in-play permanent smuggling ring."
She looked at me funny and said, "Oh. I'll get on the trial thing and then I'll set up a reservation or something." She went back to filing her nails.
I stood around for a few moments and then started into my office. Sometimes I can't handle the stupidity.
"Hey! Source!" She called from behind the desk. I turned around to see her. "You really should smile more. It would probably do you some good. Maybe your life would improve some."
I walked slowly in front of her desk. Could yell, but there wouldn't be any point to it. I'm an automaton and therefore can't smile. If it weren't for Breal being in a kjeldoran union, I have fired her a long time ago. Out a cannon or something. But now that I think of it, I can do something to wipe that half-smile of her face for awhile.
Calmly, "You're right, Breal," I said. And reaching up to one side of my artificial maw, I bent the left corners of my mouth one at a time. Excruciating. They'll stay like this. I don't want to go through the trouble of bending them back again. "Here you go, Breal this is for you." I pointed to the half-smile I had just put on my face.
Again she did her half-smile. "Really?" she asked. She's dumb, but likeable.
I started back to my office, turning around in the doorway to face her. "Yeah," I said. Then, walking into my office, I spoke back to her: "It'll make up for the half of yer mouth that's missin'." She frowned. "I'll make the reservations," she said somewhat in an angry voice. "Depending on the service, you may not want to close it down." She said it all without smiling.
"That sounds good," I said plainly from behind the desk in my office. I leaned back in my chair with my best look of accomplishment. She muttered something about automatons before picking up the phone and making her phone calls. Within moments she was smiling again and filing her nails, only stopping her smiling to push a pencil across paper whenever she thought I was looking.
A few minutes later she came in and tossed some files on my desk. She began to leave my office with a scowl on her face. "Hey, I apologize, Breal. I'm just havin' my fun, ya know?" I said.
"To each their own," she said in a mocking manner.
I just kept smirking. "Yeah," I said, "Somethin' like that."
The story you have just read is not real, it is a work of fiction that I wrote as entertainment for the readers of Phyrexia.com. I really get bothered by having to point out to people that it didn't really happen so read it here and now so I won't have to e-mail you later. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed it. The names for each of the characters were made up to sound creative. T'prib is a very annoying name. Any resemblance characters in this story have to people living, destroyed without regeneration, or removed from the game is purely coincidental.
Case # 17011: The Case of the Little Lost Lhurgoyf
T'prib was tried and convicted for fifteen seperate accounts of artifact fraud, two counts of attempted destruction and one count of being a jerk.
He is currently serving two editions in Rotation.
Url escaped custody and is on the loose. He should be considered harmless because he was not reprinted in Classic.
Plezk was tried and convicted of one account of false pretences and two accounts of trying to seduce armed gaurds. She has since escaped along with Url and is to be considered harmless from not being reprinted as well.
Reports are in that the two have been seen on T'pib's Tropical Island. The two are there to this very day.
Next Episode: "Long Cool Wolfman."
Please send an e-mail to the author at email@example.com with your opinion of this story. If enough E-mails are received, the final part of this story will be placed in next month's Gate to Phyrexia e-zine and "Source Generic" will become a recurring column. Thank you for reading.