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The Brothers' War
The Brother’s War.jpg
Publishing Information
Author(s) Jeff Grubb
First printing May 1998
ISBN-13 978-0786911707
Preceded By
Followed By

The Brothers’ War is the first novel in the Artifacts Cycle. It tells the beginning of Urza's story, which is continued in the novels Planeswalker, Time Streams and Bloodlines.

The Brothers’ War was written by Jeff Grubb and published in May 1998. It was republished in June 2009 as the second part of Artifacts Cycle I.


The Myth. The Magic.

Dominarian legends speak of a mighty conflict, obscured by the mists of history. Of a conflict between the brothers Urza and Mishra for supremacy on the continent of Terisiare. Of titanic engines that scarred and twisted the very planet. Of a final battle that sank continents and shook the skies.

The saga of the Brothers' War.


Urza and Mishra are brothers living and working in the Fallaji desert under the tutelage of their mentor Tocasia, an archaeologist. Born in the same year but on the first and last days, respectively, the brothers frequently clash but are united in their curiosity about the Thran, the ancient race that left behind the artifacts Tocasia studies. In AR 20 the brothers and Tocasia discover Koilos, the secret heart of the Thran civilization. There, they find a Thran machine with a large and powerful powerstone but when Mishra and Urza reach for the stone it explodes, splitting into two halves. Urza demands to see Mishra's half, but the younger brother angrily refuses, and the two have a falling out. They discover that Urza's stone gives machines strength while Mishra's weakens them so Urza names them the Mightstone and the Weakstone. Later on, a drunken Mishra confronts his brother, and the two fight using their powerstones. Tocasia tries to intervene but when she comes between them, the area explodes, killing her. Horrified, Mishra flees and the excavation site is closed.

The brothers rise to power in different civilizations. In Yotia, Urza uses an artifact construct to win the hand of the Warlord's daughter in marriage there. He takes on an apprentice named Tawnos and builds more constructs that help Yotia thrive. Mishra discovers a dragon engine war machine and tames it with his Weakstone. The local Fallaji use Mishra and the dragon engine to unite the Fallaji clans and conquer several cities. Mishra takes on his own apprentice in Ashnod, a female artificer who is as sadistic as she is brilliant. As both civilizations gain power, clashes between the two intensify. The Warlord of Yotia unites with the other coastal nations Argive and Korlis to offer peace to the Fallaji. Urza and Mishra both attend the negotiations and are surprised to see each other but before they can reconcile the Warlord attacks the Fallaji using Urza's machines. Many are killed but Mishra escapes. Desperate for more weapons, Mishra and Ashnod travel to Koilos and find a portal to another world called Phyrexia. Mishra sees more dragon engines and attempts to tame them but is attacked by the demon Gix, an imposing figure with black lizard skin, bones jutting from its body, and razor-sharp teeth. Mishra and Ashnod escape and close the portal.

The war continues and Yotia falls to Mishra's dragon engines. Urza retreats to Argive where he is named Lord Protector and given all the resources he needs to protect the coastal nations from the Fallaji. Mishra becomes the leader of the Fallaji and uses his machines to subdue several other nations. Both brothers constantly create new constructs to fight each other and in their quest for resources strip mine and deforest vast areas of Terisiare. The other nations on the continent are gradually subsumed into the Brother's War; Mishra conquers Sarinth while Urza annexes Korlis and Sardia. When Mishra's forces conquer Terisia City in the West, Ashnod obtains a Thran artifact called the Golgothian Sylex that describes an apocalypse.

In Koilos the demon Gix reopens the portal. He lures and dominates more humans to create the Brotherhood of Gix, which infiltrates both sides of the war to feed information back to him. Gix seeks to kill both brothers for their powerstones and through the Brotherhood becomes Mishra's chief advisor.

The Brothers' War rages for decades with both sides unable to defeat the other as the land is drained. By chance, Urza discovers the untouched island of Argoth to the southeast and Gix feeds this information to Mishra. Both Urza and Mishra invade the island separately with all their forces. The native elves, centaurs, and treefolk fight back, but the brothers' machines slaughter them instead. Tired of war and unaware of Gix, Urza welcomes a final confrontation with his brother. During the final battle, a disillusioned Ashnod meets Tawnos and gives him the Sylex, telling him to give it to Urza and to fill it with memories of the land. Gix appears and attempts to kill them, but Ashnod delays him long enough to let Tawnos escape at the cost of her life. Amid the chaos of the battle, Urza and Mishra fight each other directly. When Mishra is hurt Urza sees that Mishra has replaced his flesh with machinery like the Gixians. The rage and emotions flowing through Urza unlock something inside him and the artificer feels the pain that the war has caused the land. Tawnos arrives with the Sylex and after ordering his apprentice to get to safety Urza remembers all the lands he fought for and focuses the energy into the Sylex. When Mishra attacks again Urza releases the energy and the resulting explosion destroys Argoth. The shock wave can be felt all over Terisiare and both armies are obliterated. Gix escapes to Koilos and barely makes it through the portal before the shockwave reaches it.

Urza survives the Sylex blast and ascends, becoming a planeswalker with his eyes replaced by the Mightstone and Weakstone. He brings Tawnos to the ruins of Yotia and tells him that Mishra is dead but that the demon from Phyrexia had killed his brother years ago. Tawnos asks Urza to stay and help rebuild, but Urza says he needs to leave Terisiare and even Dominaria for a time. As Tawnos makes his way inland, it starts to snow.

The story continues in Planeswalker.

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