Story of a Pack – Join the Crusade

I’m trying something a little zany today. I’m going to open a pack of Avacyn Restored, then starting with the rare, I’ll tell a story based solely on the cards. While I am allowing myself to create any type of story I wish, I have to follow the cards in order, keep them as the focal point, and keep the actual story within the plane of Innistrad (no telling a story about playing/drafting Magic). Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments, in the forums, or on Twitter (@bweisko) what you think and whether you’d like to see more. Enjoy!

This is solely a story by the author, and it is not canon or supported by Wizards of the Coast in any way.

Cathars' Crusade
52nd of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

I’m off to join the crusade. I know you will disapprove, thus my decision to leave at dusk. I hope you will at least understand that and not hate me for failing to say goodbye.

Thanks to Avacyn’s return, the monsters are running, and I wish to aid those pursuing at their hindquarters. I have spent the past year cowering in your rooms, refusing to face the danger. No more!

I know some may say there is no danger left, that I am only riding on the coattails of these cathars for false glory, but those who damn me refuse to fight at all! At the very least, I will uplift the spirits of those in the outlying reaches of Kessig.

Angelic Armaments
55th of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

It is the second day of training for new recruits. My body hurts in places I didn’t know could feel pain. How can the body ache in so many places at once?

I am happy to say that there will only be two more days of this. I know it may help me if we encounter more foes than the front guard can handle, but I do not envy the cathars their training. I am happy to have given up that childish dream many moons ago.

While we train, the cathars prepare for our trek. Carts and wagons were coming and going all of yesterday, and I have no doubt today will provide the same.

Oh, but you should see some of the incredible things the cathars have, Mother! There was a wagon full of finer weapons than anything I have ever seen. I saw a few cathars inspecting one particular piece—a shield with angel’s wings that one straps to his back. I witnessed with my own eyes a man flying like an angel above our camp.

Blessings of Nature
64th of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

We had our first encounter today!

As I was marching on the right flank, I saw silver forms prowling amid the timber. A scout called out, and almost immediately, a ring of cathars had the two surrounded. It was astonishing how fast they reacted to the threat. I cannot imagine a beast able to defeat such warriors, though I know it has been done.

Please forgive me for digging up what’s been put under.

I learned later that the forms were wolfir, a new kind of werewolf. It seems that Avacyn has given those cursed with lycanthropy redemption, and they will join us upon our crusade! They have abilities no human possess and will be extremely beneficial in the days ahead. (That is what my Captain Erac said to me. I do not profess to understand these greater matters myself.)

Latch Seeker
71st of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

I hope you have forgiven me for leaving without your consent. I still feel guilty for that despicable act, but I believe I did the right thing. It has been an eye-opening experience, traveling with these men and women, and for the first time in my life, I feel as though I can call myself a man.

We continue to find very little in the way of resistance, but we have had a few abnormal happenings. After I wrote you last, we came upon an abandoned village. There, in a square no larger than our own village’s, was a spirit covered it what looked to be ivy or some other vine. It did not react to our presence, and in fact, we allowed our imaginations responsibility for such a vision.

When a man drew near it, it lashed out at him, and before any of us could react, he fell to the ground dead. Others went to rescue him, and they too fell dead. A cathar came to end the spirit, but she was killed as quick as the others.

In the end, the other cathars chose to let the spirit be, and they ordered us to give it a wide berth. The spirit did not trouble us after that.

Malicious Intent
73rd of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

Our calm was shattered yesterday, like a stone being thrown into a placid pond.

One of the elder cathars went mad after we set up camp. He slew three junior cathars and a dozen men before he was subdued. The entire camp was in chaos, everyone thinking a vampire lord had snuck in to feed.

I overheard a few of the cathars today, and they believe it was the work of devils or demons. The elder cathar must have let down his guard and the devils cast some spell of bloodlust upon him. It is the only explanation they can divine, as he had acted as usual until last night.

I can only hope the rest of us do not succumb to similar maladies should this monotony continue.

Moonlight Geist
78th of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

I am lost!

Two nights ago, I woke to an unearthly sound. No others in my tent seemed to have heard the wail, for they slept. Fearing danger, I crept out to investigate. No sooner had I drawn back the door flap than a small geist darted at my head.

I am pleased to say that my training served me well, and I ducked before rolling out of the tent. When I rose and searched for the spirit, I found it many strides away. It floated at head height, with chains and a lantern hanging from where I know not. It almost seemed to be calling me.

Knowing in my heart that I should not, I followed the spirit. It led the way, its lantern illuminating everything so that I did not notice when we left camp. Soon, we were deep within a wood, and I held no knowledge of how we had arrived. As I stood befuddled, the geist dove upon me and everything went dark.

When I awoke, it was day. Luckily, I still have my sword.

Peel from Reality
79th of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

No sooner had I gotten myself lost than I almost got myself killed!

I resolved to find the nearest village this morn, and I set off on my quest. Shortly after noon, I heard a voice. “Surely, anyone dangerous would keep quiet so that they may sneak behind their prey.” I thought.

Soon enough, I came upon a man, seemingly a cathar by his dress, though I cannot be sure, but he was not alone. A devil was dancing around him. As soon as the fiend sensed my presence, it charged me, and I froze.

I am ashamed, but if it were not for the cathar, I would have died. For his part, the man did not hesitate, and before the devil could reach me, both disappeared. All that remained were two fine smoke clouds that quickly scattered on the breeze.

Flowering Lumberknot
81st of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

I continue to stumble blindly through the forests of Kessig. I am unsure of exact distances, but I must have traveled ten leagues without finding a single dwelling.

Do not worry about my health. Berries and other foods are easy to find, and I am occasionally able to trap a hare or fowl for supper. I have been following a creek for the past two days in hopes of finding a settlement, but it also provides a wonderful source of cool water. It is pleasant to douse my head in the heat of the day.

Today, I came upon yet another queer sight: a tree that moved. It was harmless. At least, I hope it is, for it is still with me.

It moves, Mother! I walked past an odd tree—thinking nothing of it—and when I turned to check my tracks farther along, I found it behind me. I keep telling myself I am going mad, lost in the wood as I am, but it stands not three strides away as I write this.

Timberland Guide
84th of New Moon, Ava. 719

Dearest Mother,

Another human soul!

A woodland guide found me today. He said he had been tracking the flora following me. I am not quite sure why one would track such a thing, but I do not understand the hidden ways of Kessig anymore than I do Nephalia’s.

The man cautioned that the tree was not as docile as I thought. He said it would turn on me the instant someone wishing me harm came close. I appreciated his warning, and I repaid it by allowing him to sway the thing to stay with him.

I am alone once again, but the guide left me with a parting gift. He said that if I remained on this creek for another day, I would find a village. It will be good to sleep inside once again!

And that’s where we’ll end it for today. Fifteen cards—yes, I was hoping to include the land—is just too long. I’m looking to entertain and intrigue you, not bore you. I stuck to my rule of going in order, so the commons were not chosen for convenience despite some great synergy. The last two worked out incredibly well, though I wasn’t happy with them going into it. I was pretty worried how I would make the two work together in any meaningful way. Then, I read Timberland Guide’s flavor text, and all became clear.

Just to satisfy my compulsive side, the final six cards were: Wildwood Geist, Borderland Ranger, Wandering Wolf, Essence Harvest, Natural End, Swamp.

If I end up doing this again, I think I will keep things to ten cards or fewer. I’m not sure if I’ll allow a choice of commons or not. I really enjoyed having to work with what was given to me for this particular pack, so I might keep that restriction in. As MaRo loves to say, “Restrictions breed creativity!”