Hordes: Metamorphosis Part 1 – Background
I went into town and got the book today. I could spend this entire post raving on about how amazing it is but instead I’m going to break this down in to a multi-part discussion for the sake of my own sanity and so that I can cover each aspect in more detail. Because I play Legion of Everblight, this series will focus mainly on my faction and its units, although I may give my take on the new stuff at a later date. So, the topic for today is the background – for those who have just joined us, the Legion made pretty significant gains during the storyline in Evolution. Thagrosh has consumed the athanc of another dragon called Pyromalfic and is now undergoing some pretty difficult changes, but now his army is deep within enemy territory and everything Everblight has worked so hard to achieve could still fall apart if things don’t go exactly according to plan.
With that in mind, let’s talk about the new background for Metamorphosis. Because I find it too hard to talk around the text, I would like to warn my readers (all three of you…lol) that from here on in there will be massive spoilers. If you do not yet own the book and wish to find out what happened on your own, close your browser immediately and go do something else. You have been warned.
So the opening section of the book deals mainly with the retreat from the Castle of the Keys and Thagrosh’s difficulties with the transformation. It was a great opportunity for many of the warlocks to get more character development, which Privateer has handled quite well in my opinion. It’s obvious that Thagrosh is going through changes but the other warlocks are forced to adapt and survive a long way out of their home territory. In fact, it seemed like the entire purpose of the Metamorphosis storyline was to put each of the Legion warlocks outside their comfort zone and force them to adapt to new difficulties and hardships. All of them have to deal with life without Everblight’s presence to strengthen them, as he is completely preoccupied with wrestling down Pyromalfic’s personality and his own grand designs. Rhyas and Saeryn have to deal with the pain of separation, and Vayl has to deal with the sensation that she might not be as powerful as she thought without the dragon’s presence. Even Lylyth, who has probably got the most developed story out of all the warlocks, got some time in the spotlight and it was also very interesting to see how she adapted to these changes.
Metamorphosis was particularly good to the Legion in terms of background because none of the other warlocks apart from Lylyth really got any airtime or interesting information about them in Evolution. Sure, Vayl got her own entry in No Quarter’s Gavyn Kyle files but that really just rehashed her backstory and told us stuff we already knew, although it did a good job of making her seem like an absolute monster (which she is). It was great to see the relationship between Vayl and Saeryn expanded upon more, as she plays an important role in the background of the twins. The animosity that runs between them is only heightened by the fact that Rhyas is not around, that they are underground in pitch darkness, and that Everblight is no longer around. No small problem for a race that is accustomed to living in the mountains under the open skies.
It also helped to give some insight into the incredible struggle that Thagrosh is facing without actually delving into his mind, which I thought was a better way of dealing with the issue. I don’t think human languages are supposed to have the words to describe a dragon’s mind in the Iron Kingdoms. On top of this, the desperation of the Legion’s situation becomes very apparent and is mirrored by the feeling of claustrophobia in the mind of each individual Nyss, pushed to the brink of exhaustion and without food or water despite the fact that the blight will sustain their bodies. This struggle and conflict only makes the end rewards so much sweeter and inspiring for us Legion players.
No less interesting was the dynamic that developed between Rhyas and Lylyth as they were forced to operate on their own holding off the Circle’s pursuit forces. Since Rhyas is one of my favorite warlocks to use on the tabletop, I was very happy that she got more of a personality than the generic ninja or assassin. At the height of battle she shows real camaraderie with other members of the Legion and even reaches out to Lylyth making her a much more likeable character despite the fact that she’s evil. I mean sure, she definitely had a crowning moment of awesome in the previous book but it’s good to know that she has more facets to her personality than “badass”. The Metamorphosis story also helps demonstrate that she isn’t completely dependent on her sister for guidance and I think that once the Legion is reunited they will become much stronger for being separated.
As for Lylyth herself, I’ve always found her to be one of the most interesting Legion warlocks and am intrigued by the way her abandonment in Metamorphosis has influenced her character. Normally the saying goes that when the world turns its back on you, you turn your back on the world, but to be honest I’ve gotten tired of that. I don’t care anymore about rebellion or fighting the power, and it would have been really irritating if Lylyth had abandoned the Legion in the same way that the Skorne have essentially abandoned Vinter (a bad example, but the most convenient one at the time) and gone off on her own self-righteous crusade. So many self-righteous hypocrites exist in the RPs I work on these days. The way her story advanced is almost the same as a character I made for a Claymore RPG I’m involved in, who chooses to try and redeem herself for her failure and prove her loyalty instead of casually throwing away bonds of loyalty like so many renegade characters. Now, Mara may have been influenced more than a bit by Lylyth in recent times but I swear that at the time of initial creation, I had not even started playing Hordes. This has only deepened my appreciation for Lylyth in that I feel like the guys at Privateer and I are thinking on the same wavelength in terms of developing similar concepts.
Needless to say, I’ll be borrowing a lot of ideas for the future of my precious Mara.
Background wise, I have no comment on the new warlock as she was just introduced and didn’t really have much of a role in the main story. That’s not to say I don’t like her, in fact she’s one of my favorite things about Metamorphosis. She just doesn’t fall into this part of the series as much and will be discussed more at a later time. Finally the story ends on a very good note in my opinion – we’re not out of hot water just yet!