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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Zendikar: The Truth is Out There


Deadly Perils, Priceless Treasures.

Amongst those of use who attempt to riddle out he next step of Magic evolution, long before it is intended to be known, it has long been established the role the world's religions often play. Often times the inspiration for the "contrived" words of Magic truly come from relatively obscure religious text. In fact many people attribute the foundations of the five color of magic, and the original color pie to the 5 dominate threads of religious thought.

Since the beginning we have seen minor nods to religion through out Magic's history. These often originate, or point to the Avesta, one of the most ancient religious movement in the history of the world, and the origin of Christianity, Judaism, Hindu, and Buddhism.

For instance, during the Weatherlight Saga, Urza's chosen savior for the world was Gerrard, derived as a slight bastardization of the Zend word for hero, and for borrowed. His love interest, Hanna, daughter of Barrin, is a slight tweak for the Zend word for woman "hana". Tahngarth can be linked to both the words destroyer, ans a phrase meaning the "measure of three men". In other instances Geae is derived from the "gaem" or soul and "gaya" of life. Mishra can be roughly translated as "seed of the unnatural". Jaya can be pronounced the same as "jahi" or fiery, lustful woman. "Urza" is an anagram form of zura or time.

Most recently we have seen a strong return to this point of origin in Magic cannon. Asha for instance is a direct reference to the Zend word for light. Amesha is a direct reference to a Divine class, or "immortals" and the predecessor for the modern day concept of angels. Sharuum ( the Hegemon) draws it's origins from a meddling of the words for library and librarian. Esper and it's related uses (Esperoza) have striking similarities to the word "spereza" best translated as the "stuff" of life. The dragon Karrthos is a syllabic anagram of "khshathro" meaning lord of his kin. "Anima" is the word for victor, or undefeated.

For these reasons, the historians of magic were very excited to have such a well established link to and existing cannon, that seemed to connect well with the block flavor. We were however very disappointed when it become apparent that we had joined the shard story line at it's conclusion. It appeared that all this information may ultimately led no where. That is until recently.

"Zendikar" is best translated simply as "words of origin". While this could be a simple coincidence, or the origin of anything, many believe that the next block may be a look back to the origins of the shards. We may well have the opportunity to hear the story of Asha's battle with Malfegor, Proginitus before his confinement, the original Anima, and Alara before the sundering. Perhaps even even a glimpse at the planeswalker suspected to be behind the sundering, giving some support to the possibilities of the first five color planeswalker. While I don't know for certain what the future will hold, this does cast some interest on it.

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