The Time of Ice

War is the mother of orphans, it is said. In the case of the Brothers’ War which ravished the continent of Terisiare thousands of years ago, it was the mother of much more: the magic unleashed by the war ushered in a new ice age on Dominaria, with disastrous consequences to all the world.

The arrival of an ice age is typically an incredibly slow process; the magical upheaval caused by Urza and Mishra, however, had covered the world in ice and snow in less than a millennium. The results, needless to say, were devastating. Civilizations were destroyed, and countless lives were lost. Worse, perhaps, was the loss of the knowledge those civilizations had gained. Across Dominaria, once-mighty empires and centers of learning were reduced to little more than squabbling tribes of primitives fighting over the meager supply of plants and animals. Some nations retained their knowledge and their power – or at least a useful fraction thereof – but they were in the minority.

One such nation was the “glacier kingdom” of Storgard. It lay on Terisiare itself, once home of the artificer brothers Urza and Mishra and source of Dominaria's troubles. Storgard was ruled by a council of five powerful families, and boasted a number of potent wizards. It was the last surviving outpost of civilization of Terisiare, and calling it a kingdom was perhaps an exaggeration. But the people of Storgard had done their best to hold things together, and they thought they could survive the coming of the glaciers.

There was a serpent in their midst, however. The planeswalker Tevesh Szat – who, as Tev Loneglade, had hastened the downfall of Sarpadia's empires centuries before was manipulating events from behind the scenes. Ultimately, two of the five houses came into conflict and the resulting destruction brought Storgard to collapse. Out of this battle, however, came some good: the warrior-wizard Freyalise died and was reborn as a planeswalker. In times to come, she came to be regarded as a goddess of nature by the peoples of Terisiare and was eventually responsible for turning back the ice age and bringing a new dawn to Dominaria.

There was far to go before that dawn, however. Another planeswalker was pursuing plans of his own. Leshrac, Walker of Night had found a willing thrall in the person of Lim-Dûl. The latter wretch had once been a knight of Kjeldor, the mighty city that had risen from the ice in the five centuries since Storgard fell. But his heart was dark, and he fell in with Leshrac for the sake of power. The two menaced Kjeldor's finest knights, withdrawing only when Leshrac was summoned to the Null Moon for a summit of planeswalkers.

For the effects of the Brothers’ War had not only changed the climate of Dominaria; they had also ripped the fabric of space loose from its tethers. Dominaria and eleven other linked planes were sundered from the rest of the multiverse, trapping within the twelve planes all the planeswalkers present at the time of the disaster. This isolated network of twelve planes was known as the Shard, and the planeswalkers who were trapped for millennia within came to curse it.

One such planeswalker was Faralyn, an enigmatic man about whom little is known. He spent centuries with his apprentice, Ravidel, studying the Shard and trying to learn how to escape from it. Eventually, he succeeded. He summoned several planeswalkers to the Null Moon for a meeting – a meeting that was, in fact, a trap. I was present, as were Kristina of the Woods, the reborn Freyalise, Tevesh Szat, and Leshrac. Faralyn's apprentice Ravidel was there, too, as was Ravidel's companion and friend, a Chromium dragon known as Rhuell.

Faralyn claimed to have found a way to escape the shard, and needed our help. This was true, after a fashion. He had realized that the energies resulting from a battle among planeswalkers – hopefully including the death of one such person – would be enough to open a brief gateway into a plane not part of the shard. Faralyn's plan was simple: gather these planeswalkers together, trick them into conflict, and then escape from the Shard by himself.

His plan succeeded. In the end, Freyalise was almost killed by Tevesh Szat. Leshrac slew Rhuell, and then Ravidel. Faralyn used the energies unleashed to escape and fled. Leshrac followed, seeking vengeance, and invited Tevesh Szat to join him. Szat refused, preferring to remain on Dominaria for a little longer to pursue plans of his own.

Kristina, distraught at the callous murder of the innocent Ravidel, brought him back to life. This proved to be a mistake, as Ravidel had been betrayed by his master and had lost his closest friend. He did not want to return to life, but with the deed done, he swore vengeance on Kristina and sped away.

In the aftermath of the disaster on the Null Moon, it seemed clear that spending our time in battle was futile. So it was that Freyalise, Kristina, and I set out to end the ice age once and for all. Tevesh Szat, unfortunately, had exactly the opposite idea: with the aid of a Phyrexian priest, he sought to remove the countless artifacts that lay beneath the Terisiare ice and use their power to redouble the effects of the ice age, ending all life on Dominaria once and for all.

Ultimately, of course, we succeeded and Szat failed. With the aid of Kolbjern, Elder Druid of Fyndhorn, and his daughter, the ley druid Kaysa, we enacted a powerful worldspell that turned back the glaciers and moved the climate back towards the warming caresses of the sun. The Shard was broken, and the planeswalkers – I among them – left Dominaria to find its own way, as we sought ours in the multiverse. The fight from barbarism to civilization was long and hard-fought, but Dominaria has at last recovered from the terrible age of ice, and stands proud as a shining orphan of the storm.

—Taysir of Rabiah, 117 by the Reckoning of the Sages of Minorad