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The Brothers' War
Publishing Information
Author(s) Kathy Ice
First printing May 1994
First appeared in The Duelist #1 Supplement, alongside the map titled "A History of Antiquities"
Preceded By
Followed By

The Brothers' War was a presented as a translation by Kathy Ice of an in-multiverse peer-reviewed essay. It appeared in The Duelist #1 supplement in May 1994.[1]

Ildria Caldos presents several theories regarding the veracity of the story of the war between Urza and Mishra, and Farsa Tashiir criticizes many of her points.[1]

"This, then, was the brothers’ struggle. It began in early childhood, was crystallized by their rivalry for a woman, and ended in chaos and destruction. The aftermath of the war was to last for many hundreds of years, eventually plunging much of civilized world into an Age of Darkness." - Ildria Caldos[1]


The following points are presented by Caldos in her essay. Caldos and Tashiir exchanged and reviewed the article several times before it was published with both their comments.[1]

The Videnthian Theory[]

The locations of ancient Argive, Ronom Lake, and Terisia are challenged for the distance from Argive to Terisia. Argoth's size made it unlikely to be completely forested and also unlikely to have been completely destroyed in a single cataclysm.[1]

The Videnthian Theory (which supposes the war took place at Greater Videnth and Little Videnth Island instead of Terisiare and Argoth) provides a more likely premise for the destruction of Argoth, though still improbable on such a large scale. New Argive and the Kher Ridges are therefore likely to have been named for the Videnthian equivalents.[1]


Tashiir held that travel technology was advanced enough for the military journey to be possible from Argive to Terisia. The distance required for migration from Videnth to Terisiare would also have been significantly greater than the distance Caldos had labeled "absurd" for ancient travel. Moreover, there are no Kher Ridges, Sardian Mountains, or Ronom Lake to be found in Greater Videnth. As for the destruction of Argoth, Urza and Mishra certainly possessed great enough power.[1]

Caldos further upheld her theories by explaining foot soldiers were used who could not travel such distances, which were obviously different from a migration. Erosion could explain the disappearance of geographic features in Videnth, but the disappearance of an entire continent the size of Argoth was out of the question regardless of the brothers' power.[1]

Young Urza and Mishra[]

Urza and Mishra were likely born in Argive and orphaned at an early age. They would have to have begun their magic at a very early age in order to become apprentices to Tocasia before Urza was ten. Tocasia brought her two shining students on her pilgrim visit to the Caves of Koilos. The boys were about 16 years old then. The Mightstone and Weakstone they discovered there, as well as other artifacts were probably remnants of the Thran. Their discovery probably inspired the brothers to begin artifice and recognized instinctively that artifacts were safer and more reliable than conventional magic.[1]


Tashiir expressed that virtually nothing is known of Urza and Mishra's origin, save Tocasia's supposedly reputable claim of them being orphaned brothers. It is even conceivable she could have seen their power, killed their loving parents, and kidnapped them. He also thought it unlikely they did not recognize this so late in their lives given their training. Rather, the pilgrimage more likely would have catalyzed their already-existing inspiration.[1]

The brothers' conflict[]

The brothers, who were already natural rivals, began at that time to become more hostile and competitive for Tocasia's attention. They would have guarded their secrets against one another, possibly with secret alliances hoping to defeat one another. Although the text says otherwise, there is sufficient evidence Tocasia lived several years after the brothers went in separate directions. Citing an account from a Zegon merchant, Caldos proposes it describes the story of Urza and Mishra competing for the love of Ashnod, commonly believed to have entered the picture much later. In their feud, they destroyed Tocasia's school and became bent on each other's destruction. A few years later, Tocasia's death meant there was nothing left to hold the brothers from waging war.[1]


Plotting the demise of another with secret allies is something apprentices don't have time for. There is no reason to believe courtship had any part in the brothers' conflict, and especially to say that the brothers forgot almost entirely about their romance after destroying the school over it. More likely, they were jealous of one another's power. It seems unlikely they would have been in Zegon while studying at Tocasia's school.[1]

Caldos indicated these events likely occurred after the mages became journeymen. She explains the dismissal of the courtship by theorizing each brother was only trying to keep the other from courting Ashnod and that neither actually loved her.[1]

Preparation for war[]

Urza first allied with the citizens of Kroog, and his influence spread throughout Yotia, from where Tawnos is believed to have hailed. Mishra focused on the western half of the continent, especially Zegon. Ashnod eventually joined his forces, though her personality had developed significantly since their courtship.[1]


Tashiir believed it unlikely Ashnod's personality would have changed so drastically. Caldos, however, stated that the evidence indicates otherwise.[1]

The war[]

The brothers' battle quickly became a war. Millions of people were slaughtered by one another and war machines. The brothers, constantly trying to outdo the other, depleted the resources of Terisiare for their machines. The quest for artifice resources led the brothers to compete for control of the island of Argoth. The artificers Drafna and Hurkyl in Lat-Nam also conducted research on the machines during this time, though their discoveries that paved the way for modern artifice were not revealed by the College of Lat-Nam until after their deaths.[1]


Tashiir criticized Caldos's neglect in leaving out the discoveries of Jarsyl, who traveled to Phyrexia.[1]


Accounts of the war on Argoth are contradictory, but it seems to have lasted several months, with Urza and Tawnos winning but destroying the island's resources in the process. Mishra and Ashnod are believed to have been killed, though the evidence is lacking. It is unclear what happened to Urza and Tawnos: Perhaps they were killed, went into hiding, or planeswalked away, the latter of which seems most likely. In fact, Urza may have already discovered how and had planned in advance to escape the plane with Tawnos.[1]


Tashiir said that to call a victory in this war was erroneous, as clearly both brothers and their servants would have died in the struggle, with the devastation of Argoth like none known in modern times. The notion that any of the contenders escaped such a catastrophe simply by planeswalking was unthinkable, and if Urza indeed had already learned how to planeswalk, he had no reason to visit Argoth.[1]

Caldos noted that all existing accounts of the war had Urza and Tawnos surviving the war. As for Urza planeswalking away from Mishra before Argoth, it was probable Urza felt the need to destroy Mishra in order to make sure he didn't follow him.[1]

In further criticism, Tashiir remarked that there are no subsequent legends of Urza or Tawnos, so it is unlikely they actually survived.[1]


  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Ice, Kathy. (1994). "The Brothers' War". The Duelist. Issue #1 Supplement, May 1994.