The following insanity comes to you courtusy of BDC and The Magic Tavern.
Welcome back, Vorthos lovers! We’re three deep into story line for Strixhaven and it’s truly getting deep. We dug into what’s going on with the Kenrith twins in last week’s article. This week, we look into the planeswalker from Ikoria who I had errantly thought had a pretty bad backstory, but, as I dig a bit deeper, seems a bit more classic and intricate than I ever thought.
Last year, we visited Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths; a world of mutated creatures of Godzilla sized proportions. And we even got the cool Godzilla alternate cards. But, with the pandemic in full swing and the cool Kaiju cards getting all of the attention, the story fell a bit on deaf ears. In all of the scrambling to find the ‘new normal’ (did we find it?), the new planeswalker, Lukka, may have gotten a hard pass. That and most of the info was in one of those nifty novels that we should have had plenty of time to catch up on. But we didn’t.
With Lukka back in Strixhaven, I had to go back and revisit the whole Ikoria story and found it to be richer and more classic than first thought. We start with a world besieged by mutated monsters; a people struggling to defend their civilization against the coming onslaught. With Godzilla vs Kong out (a must see for Kaiju fans), imagine that kind of battle action and humans feeling like ants among the gods. Only, on this world, they’re learning to fight back. Imagine more of a Monster Hunter vibe.
Although struggling to stand against these new and ginormous creatures, they have found leaders with the fortitude to lead the charge. Lukka was one of these leaders. Following the lead of his hero, General Kudro, he was determined to rise in the ranks and make his hero and his people proud.
Only problem? It’s the classic ‘hero becomes what they fear’ motif. Lukka discovers he has ‘bonding’ powers. Like other outcasts on this world, he was ostracized and exiled without a thought. He had served them well and they forsook him. First crack in the glass.
Enter a ‘Mysterious Planeswalker known for their meddling’. (WHAT? If there’s one thing a lover of Vorthos hates is a drop like that. Well, it’s more of a love/hate relation). An unnamed Planeswalker has brought the crystalline OZOLITH to Ikoria; the very artifact that seems to be creating the mutations and setting them against the city of Drannith. Between the influence of this dark entity, the Ozolith itself and little help from the Planeswalker, Vivien, Lukka raises an army of monsters. Second Crack.
THEN, he confronts his hero, General Kudro, who doesn’t agree with Lukka’s new plan to protect the city of Drannith with his new army of ‘bonded’ creatures, and turns on his hero; killing him outright. Now the writing seems to want to blame the Ozolith’s ‘effect’ on Lukka, but I think he was a bit unbalanced to begin with and his exile and rejection by Kudro was the final crack in the glass; sending all of his hurt and rage flooding in.
NOTE: Kasmina even told Lukka, “You can’t see beyond your own pain.”
At this point, his journey to the darkside is complete. He turns his army upon his own people. Fortunately for them, they were ready. Their armies led by the General’s daughter and Lukka’s former love (her refusal to follow him was another crack in the glass), Jirina, were able to hold them back. It didn’t hurt that Vivien sided with the humans; bringing an army of bonders to their rescue.
Now, here is where it gets interesting.
Lukka attempts to pull more raw power from the Ozolith. The mysterious planeswalker warns against it. Now, up till this time, I was sure it was OKO ‘meddling’ in a world he had no business in. But this point of warning Lukka from tapping into that much power just didn’t sound like OKO. Oko wouldn’t warn him. He’d let him do it and see what happens. It was a mistake, of course. The Ozolith exploded; igniting Lukka’s spark sending him away from Ikoria.
Where he’s been between Ikoria and Strixhaven is a mystery. He may have dropped into a swamp on Arcavios. But he may have been plane-hopping since. Whichever, he arrived on Arcavios near Strixhaven apparently by mistake. He was immediately accosted by the locals outside the school. They reminded him of how he was treated back home by those he loved and respected. The fear led them. And those in power acted from this fear without listening to reason and did horrendous things.
He’s immediately set against the status quo; just like Ikoria. And decides that “If everyone who doesn’t play by the rules here is an Oriq, maybe I’m one of them after all“. This really sets the story in motion. Lukka seeks out the Oriq, a mysterious clan lead by a rejected student or professor from Strixhaven who want magic power at any cost. Lukka doesn’t really care what Extus wants or how bad it will end up. The ex-coppercoat just can’t stand the powers that be calling the shots without question and instilling fear in all against anything or anyone different.
“I’m done being told how to live,” he growled. “And I’m nobody’s pawn. The mages who run this school think they’re better than anyone else—and the whole damn world just nods and goes along with it. I’m going to show them they’re wrong.”
Later he reinterates this; defining further:
“These dragons,” Lukka said, his voice a growl. “Those Dragonsguard. They’ve held power over these people for too long. They’ve made them fearful of every shadow, every unfamiliar face. What happens when it’s not just the Oriq they’re hunting down—when it’s anyone who practices magic in a way they don’t like?”
Ok, although it seems Lukka has gone off the deep end, he makes a strong point here. There is danger in both Kasmina and Lukka’s position. One follows (possibly blindly) a pack of Elder Dragons that originated the schools and pass on their particular brand of ‘enemy color’ magic to ‘worthy’ students. The other is ranting like a hurt teenager at their parent or other authority figure; standing on their own set of ideals while not understanding or not caring the consequences of their actions.
BUT, is it possible that the Elder Dragons who head the schools are as much to blame for what’s about to happen as Lukka or Extus? Indeed, it is an extreme reaction. Extus, like Lukka, was rejected by those he respected and exiled from the halls he had helped raise and/or protect. Both of them are reactionaries with an ‘end justify the means’ motif with a little ‘I’ll show them’ attitude. But the Elder Dragons of Strixhaven are an authoritarian sect that abide no ‘fudging’ of the rules and THEY make the rules. This kind of strict ‘police state’ also breed contempt and revolution.\
The key is what the Strixhaven Elder Dragons want to accomplish. It seems, on the forefront, that they are merely trying to stop disaster, destruction and pain before it happens. We have to, until told otherwise, assume they have the best interest of everyone at heart. If they are the ‘Secret Order’ that Kasmina is a part of, their end game is to stop the coming apocalypse. They have banded together to stand against an event that ‘dwarfs’ War of the Spark. AND, they lived through the BLOOD AGE and, obviously, don’t want to see a return to this horrific time.
THE BLOOD AGE has not been elaborated on much. All we know is that it was a dark time on the plane. There were great wars which, I assume, included war mages wielding the power of the snarls and the enemy color magic of the plane. We know that the Elder Dragons put an end to the war. It seems that the Blood Age probably came after the Dragons eased off and let humans practice magic, but before they came to the conclusion that there needed to be a institution in place to focus and study of the five ‘mana dichotomies’.
We also know that the Oriq leader, Extus, was around for the Blood Age and had something to do with it all; hence, his exile from the school.
SO, Lukka IS unstable. He’s willing to make a point no matter what happens.
“Frankly? I don’t give a damn what he does after all this is burned to the ground.”
This shortsightedness is irresponsible and dangerous. Obviously, leading an army of Mage Hunters into a school full of fledgling wizards is wrong. No matter how you slice it, Lukka’s an accomplice to Extus’ act of revenge. Hopefully, in the end and before there’s too much bloodshed, Lukka will come to understand the error of his ways. Probably, not. He’s still feeling hurt from loosing the love and adoration of his love and hero. He doesn’t seem interested in healing. No, what happens next is Lukka sharing his pain with whoever gets caught in the crossfire.
Lukka didn’t seem to actually ‘join’ the Oriq; refusing the mask in Kasmina’s Vision. But he’s not against aiding them, obviously. And, for a final note, Extus’ knew his name and plane of origin. How he knows this is not revealed. Is it some type of scrying or other sorcery? has he been watching him? Did Extus lead Lukka to Arcavios? Could Extus be the mysterious planeswalker that infected Lukka’s world with the Ozolith? These are all just questions for now with no answers.
What do you think? What are your theories? We’re all Vorthos deep delvers here. There are no real wrong questions or speculations until the truth is revealed. If you want to share in the comments below or hit us up on our social media, we would be glad to compare notes.