In this new flavor series, Wil takes use through the Shards of Alara starting with a brief overview of the plane and it’s story.
The Shards of Alara
Long ago, Alara was a plane like most; rich in mana and resources and culture. Then a great cataclysm came and sundered the plane into pieces. Rather than being destroyed, it was split into five shards. Each shard coalesced into its own plane containing three colors of Magic. Over time these planes stabilized and grew to forget their origins and became defined not only by what they had, but what they lacked in their missing two colors.
Orderly, idyllic Bant; cold, rational Esper; bitter, hollow Grixis; fiery, unbound Jund; and lush, fertile Naya. These shards cultivated their own identities and cultures for millennia. But it did not last. A plane does not like being without a color, and the Shards began to drift towards one another, eventually destined to reform into one plane again.
This feature was discovered by Nicol Bolas, who then set up agents on the various shards to spread paranoia and xenophobia. He hoped to goad the residents of the shards into war with one another to exploit the war for his own gain.
Eventually the shards did collide with one another and fuse into one Plane again in an event known as the Conflux. Different chunks of different planes jutted out erratically from one another, giving Alara a patchwork appearance as a rolling Bant hillside might have a Grixis necropolis jutting out of it, or a patch of Nayan jungle would have an Esper lighthouse in it.
The people of Alara had been properly ‘trained’ by Nicol Bolas for war and began fighting with their new neighbors. Their magic fueled a variety of monuments, the Obelisks, and at the war’s peak, Nicol Bolas absorbed an enormous amount of this syphoned energy to restore him to his former might in his old age.
All of the Magic generated during the war was gathered into a single point; the Maelstrom, a massive storm of Magic that wildly affected spellcasting ability in the area. Bolas absorbed an enormous amount of mana from the Maelstrom to add to his power, and was ready to lay waste to the armies of Alara that had gathered to oppose him, but was fended off my the avatar magic of Ajani Goldmane who had come to seek revenge for his brother’s death.
In the aftermath of Bolas’ interference, skirmishes still exist among the shards, but they have begun to reintegrate into one another’s cultures. Some borders are defined by trade and commerce and progress, some are defined by war and strife. The lands between the borders are dangerous, filled with wild beasts wandering into environments unprepared for them, and monsters and magic crafted by the Maelstrom.