Shaping an Army
At Coralhelm, floating in a Tazeem canyon, Noyan Dar is surrounded by his incompetent, irritating roil-mage initiates. Their discordant practice rituals are interrupted as a kitesailer arrives, dropping of its passenger hundreds of feet from the ground.
Gideon meteor-drops into Coralhelm in a blaze of golden light.
The Commander-General of the Allies asks for the help of Noyan Dar as his elementalists; he is direct, genuine, and earnest. This irritates the Merfolk to no end and it's fantastic. Noyan explains that they are not elementalists and relates to Gideon a Cosi story (see Home Waters) wherein the trickster god convinces Ula to take a pearl from the heart of the ocean. Ula's arm makes the heart sneeze, which traps him in snot (ew). The point is, the Roil is Zendikar's sneeze to the Eldrazi's irritation. The Roilmages encourage and control the roil so that it destroys the Eldrazi and not themselves. They evoke the irritation by being uncontrolled, chaotic, and dissonant.
"Maybe . . . maybe this was not a good idea," croaked Gideon.
This annoys Noyan even more, so he insists on a practical demonstration. The roilmages and the Commander-General find the biggest swarm of Eldrazi they can spot nearby and start irritating Zendikar, much to the protest of Gideon.
Gideon balked, asking many annoying questions regarding contingencies Noyan assured him would not come into play. Eventually Gideon was reduced to communicating through raising eyebrows. He displayed a remarkable facility at raising both his left and right eyebrows. He was a man of many talents, this Gideon Jura.
Noyan and the roilmage initiates begin working their magic as Gideon fights the endless swarm of Eldrazi. They irritate the land, but refuse to let it release the tension, building up massive power. Finally, just before they are overrun, Noyan Dar releases the roil, and the entire host (and Gideon) are swallowed in a chasm.
Gideon, of course, is fine. He agrees that their power is great, and can't wait for them to join him at Sea Gate.
"I am sorry, Noyan, for any doubt. That display was amazing." Gideon smiled, and Noyan stood there, silent and stunned at how proud he felt, just because an idiot warrior had praised him.
Before he leaves, Gideon asks who ended up with the pearl in the story. Cosi did, of course; in many of the stories, Cosi tricks Ula into doing something foolish, and Cosi benefits.
Let me restate that for anyone wondering what Oath of the Gatewatch will bring: Kozilek tricks Ulamog into doing something stupid, and then Kozilek sweeps in and benefits.
Why is this story SOOOOOOOO GOOD (/teen girl squad!)? Noyan is the voice of us, the players, pointing out everything we find annoying about Gideon: he's simple, he's earnest, he's obnoxiously Lawful Stupid. That'd be ok, a funny story so we could laugh at Chad. But then, it flips it and shows that Gideon knew exactly what he was doing the entire time! Gideon is simple and earnest and good, but he's also incredibly competent and a powerful leader.
And then the dreadful hint of things to come is just icing on the cake.
Seriously, y'all should go read this one. There's a reason I used a bunch of quotes here - anything snarky that I'd usually say in these articles has already been done, three times snarkier, in the story. Good job, Ken Troop!