Darkness surrounds you, a silent but ever-present companion along your walk. The moon sleeps among the stars, cloaked and hidden. Even the braziers and torches ahead seem to give little light. Cold air fills your lungs with each breath, reaching inside to hold your chest in an icy grip.
Despite the atmosphere, you press on. You haven’t had a story in weeks, and it’s been too cold to walk in the forest. You also know that a warm room awaits at your destination.
Good evening. It has been a while. Sit. I will finish shortly.
You sit cross-legged on the deep rug. It’s been months since you last sat in this room, and the changes are evident. You no longer have room to stretch out your legs, surrounded by piles of books on all sides. Some are stacked as high as your head, but they sit behind you rather than between you and the old man. Your eyes wander over the other changes in scenery as you wait: additional candles, a shelf filled with scrolls that used to contain leather books, a gigantic volume thicker than your forearm is long standing upright in the far corner.
Another tale, is it? Or have you come seeking shelter from the cold? No matter; an old man must seize the chance at educating young minds no matter how or when it appears.
A dark tale for a dark night would be suitable. I shall bestow the story of Crovax, a powerful foe who stood on both sides of the Phyrexian Conflict, upon your addled mind. Tragedy is almost never sought, but always seems to slip into the famous stories of men.
Crovax Windgrace was born into the noble Windgrace family of Urborg ten years before Gerrard Capashen was born. Both were by-products of Urza’s Bloodline Project and met frequently during their lives, but the two powerful figures took very different paths through life. Gerrard played the role of a child from poverty growing into the hero, while Crovax followed the line of a lonely member of the elite descending into madness.
The Windgrace family was a line of powerful nobles on the isolated island of Urborg for hundreds of years leading up to the Phyrexian Invasion. They held large tracts of land, and influenced many who dwelt there, perhaps even a few of the lesser necromancers. Some have said that they are descended from the famous planeswalker Lord Windgrace, but none has presented a believable explanation as to how a cat warrior could have sired humans.
The old man laughs at the thought his words create—a dry chuckle, like wind chimes without tone.
When Crovax was born, his parents were overjoyed that a male would continue the family’s line, but he was unable to match their expectations. Crovax did not enjoy his noble status, and his desire to avoid it strained relations with his forbearers. I am certain his loneliness was not helped by the fact that he was one of few human children on Urborg, most of whom were hunted or enslaved by liches, necromancers, and other dark entities.
The one entity Crovax learned to trust and rely on was his family’s guardian, Selenia. Though she was unable to show or express feelings toward her ward, her loyalty and companionship was a light in the dark swamp of Urborg for the forlorn Crovax. When the opportunity to leave behind his home arose, Crovax greedily snatched at it, and brought Selenia along with him.
Crovax joined the crew of the Weatherlight as a deck hand and soldier. Though his nature kept him from seeking out friends from among the crew, he managed to form deep relationships with Gerrard and Rofellos, another soldier aboard the ship. Both had troubled lives at an early age and kept their secrets close, much like Crovax. All three could respect one another without impeding upon those unspoken pieces of life.
His years on the Weatherlight were the happiest Crovax had ever enjoyed. He worked hard, was respected for it, and was able to share time with a few close friends. Sadly, those years did not last long.
Because he was unwittingly a product of Urza’s Bloodline Project, Crovax was sought after by Phyrexians. As a member of the Weatherlight, he was able to escape their reach, always moving and surrounded by a formidable fighting force, but his family was not so fortunate. Without their guardian Selenia, they were vulnerable, and the Phyrexians took advantage.
When Crovax heard of the attack on his family, he immediately set about persuading the Weatherlight’s crew to aid him. When they arrived, Crovax found his family dead and their estate in ruins, but the Phyrexians remained. The two forces joined in battle.
Rofellos was the first to fall. Enraged by his friend’s death, Crovax unleashed Selenia. With the aid of the others, she was able to destroy the Phyrexians before another crew member died, but the damage was done.
When the battle was over, Crovax was racked with grief. He remained behind in an attempt to rebuild his family’s lands and estate while the Weatherlight flew off to continue its search for the Legacy pieces. Alone with his guilt and pain, Crovax began to slip into madness.
With Selenia as his only companion, once again he became infatuated with the dark angel. When she didn’t return his feelings or gestures of love, he grew angry. Finally, in a fit of rage, Crovax destroyed the artifact that bound her to him, only to watch helplessly as she flew away.
The old man stops his story. Not another word is spoken as the old man gazes off into the space above your head.
That is enough darkness for today. I will share the rest of Crovax’s tale upon your next visit. Now off with you. And be sure to spend time with the others your age!
Finding the old man’s warning a bit silly, you stand up to leave. You are not the lonely figure he has portrayed Crovax as, and don’t ever aim to be. You step over the ring of books that surround you and make your way to the door. By the time you look back, Issar Roon has already bent over his books once again.