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Interview With Jared Carthalion, True Heir

Sheldon Menery introduces his latest Commander deck through an interview with its leader: Jared Carthalion, True Heir.

Jared Carthalion, True Heir, illustrated by Lius Lasahido

It’s a story of betrayal, revenge, and above all sacrifice.  From his beginnings in Dominaria to the Dueling Chasm of Golthonor, the tale of Jared Carthalion is epic and storied, and his ends were unknown. Until now, that is.  In a Star City Games exclusive, intrepid reporter Zanzibar Jones tracked down Jared back where it all started, an undisclosed location in the place that was once the Nexus of the Multiverse, Dominaria.  Security was tight, but through friend and confidant (and previous interviewee) Ruhan of the Fomori, our man on the scene made the scene.  Here are his notes:

From a hop into Jamuraa to a freighter bound for the Tolarian Academy to what might have been a pirate ship in Shiv, I finally got to where Jared had founded his new power base.  It was surprisingly well-appointed for a secret hideout, in a style that said its owner knows the value of things and is also aware of what they cost.  The constant music playing at a remarkably reasonable volume level was 90’s heavy metal, with lots of Danzig in the rotation.  “Mother” started just as I was led in by Chief of Security, Marisi, Breaker of the Coil

A section of the lair was dedicated to cobbled-together workout equipment, the bars loaded with significantly heavy weights.  There was a Bowflex that looked like it had been torn apart.  As I shook hands with Jared, the Mark of the Elder Druid on his cheek radiated in the glow of countless candles.  When my host offered me some tea, I wasn’t completely sure that he meant the drink.  We dug right in.

ZJ: What a long, strange trip it’s been for you.  Did you ever imagine you’d end up back on Dominaria?

JC: Well, I’m called the “True Heir.”  I love this place, and I have a right to claim what’s mine.  Moreover, I think I have a responsibility. 

ZJ: Why’s that?

JC: I’ve been through quite a bit, you know.  Beggar on the streets, stealing famous jewelry, loved and lost, all that.  I survived my father nearly sacrificing me trying to become a planeswalker.  The knife was out and everything.  Fortunately, he had a last-minute change of heart. 

Think about what that does to your psyche.  Surviving all that saddles me with the responsibility to bring honor and glory to the Carthalion line, even if dad was a little misguided.  And, you know, myself.  There’s a lot of bling out there that’s mine and I intend to get it all back.

ZJ: Do you want to talk about Kristina?

JC: You’ve seen what there is to see.  You know, some things are personal, some are in the past.  I’m more interested in the future.  One where I reclaim the throne.

ZJ: Then let’s talk about how you intend to do that.

JC: When I was younger, I might have taken on this thing head-on, you know, with just raw power.  I get what Naya is all about, and Naya is dedicated to power and strength.  But that’s not always the best way to get after something.  Scrambling for a living as guttersnipe taught me you have to come about things obliquely sometimes.  Plus, I’ve read a lot of Nietzsche, Plato, and Joseph Campbell since I’ve been back.  I’m some cross between a Platonic ideal and a Campbellian hero.  (chuckles to self) Heh, ideal hero.

So you take all that together, and it makes you think about the battle between the destiny you want to make and the one thrust on you.  It’s action that makes someone great, not some fleeting concept of fate.  Even though I have a lineage that suggests greatness, I hate all those “chosen one” stories.  It’s real people taking real steps that reshape the world.  Like in Lord of the Rings.  Frodo isn’t the hero there; he’s a sack of sugar that gets lugged around by Sam.  Sam’s the ubermensch, and he wasn’t even born to it.  Credit where credit is due.  Also, heroes don’t complain.  All that whining about the weight of The One Ring?  Pick up a Black Lotus, son.  That’s a load. 

ZJ: Returning to your struggles, some of your detractors dismiss you as “True Hair.”

JC: Haters gonna hate, you know?  There’s nothing unmanly about having tremendous flowing locks.  There’s this super all-natural conditioner I get from Corondor, some of my dad’s old territory.  Very pure ingredients, environmentally safe, no animal testing.  And it doesn’t just give me volume, but a great smell, too.  Lotus Petals?  Dusk Rose?  I dunno what it is, but it’s nice.  I just know when I get crown and scepter, it’s going to be a look.  If people are uncomfortable with it, that’s on them, not me.  There’s no body shaming in this dojo.

ZJ: Turning back to your reclamation, I suppose there’s a general plan.

JC: Yeah, like I was saying, you can’t just charge in there anymore.  People are clever.  So here’s what we’re gonna do.  We’ll set up scenarios where it looks like other people are front-runner for the crown.  In fact, we might even let them try out the throne for a bit.  Heavy is the head that wears the crown, though.  That will focus all our adversaries’ resources on dethroning them.  Then, after they’ve battled amongst themselves a bit, we’ll be in the strongest position to come in and take over.  For good.

ZJ: Seems vague.

JC: You think I’m going to just lay out my whole plan for you?  There are ears everywhere, man.  It’ll be lit, though, because there are some big surprises in store for people who think they’re wearing the crown. 

The other important thing here is that it’s important to recognize that although I’ll be at the head of this team, it’s not a solo effort.  I’ve always been a believer that the family you make is even stronger than the family you’re born into.  I’m keeping some of my family with me.

ZJ: Like who?

JC: The Shivan Dragon to start.  Old friends are the best friends.  It’s great to be able to trust that someone who’s been there for you in the past will be there for you in the future.  And when those friends breathe fire, even better. 

I’ve also gotten pretty tight with the You Hurt Me/I Hurt You Brotherhood of Boros Reckoner, Spitemare, Brash Taunter, and Truefire Captain.  Do not go sing karaoke with those four.  I mean, karaoke’s already the worst, right?  Then you get those knuckleheads who think they can sound like Robert Plant, and it gets painful.  Speaking of painful, also don’t drink with them.  I swear you get twice as hammered as they do.  Still, they’re a solid quartet dedicated to making things right here on Dominaria. 

ZJ: That’s a Fellwar Stone over there, right?

JC: Yeah, good eye.  Got me into Castle Melmerith, gonna get me back into the big seat.

ZJ: You talk about old friends, but I see you have new ones, like Marisi over there, as well.

JC: The family’s always growing, right?  In my travels, I’ve met so many great folks, and some of them have agreed to give me a hand. 

ZJ: There was an immediate connection between you and Selvala, from what I understand.

JC: Yeah, she was an explorer, I was a wanderer, so our experiences were pretty similar.  We synched up right away.  We also bonded over metal, although she has a bit too much of a thing for Yngwie Malmsteen if you ask me.  Like I get it, you’re fast.  How about some melody?

ZJ: Speaking of wanderers. . .

JC: I know, right! I didn’t think too many planeswalkers would come to the cause, but having The Wanderer on the team fits right into what we need to do. 

ZJ: One of your signature looks is the two long daggers you used to destroy the Golgothian Sylex.  It seems you’ve updated a little.

JC: I’m a fan of swords in general, but yeah, I’ve changed things up a bit.  The Blackblade is part of my family’s lineage, so the Blackblade Reforged is a no-brainer.  After that, I’ve been rotating around using Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of Fire and Ice, and even occasionally Sword of Light and Shadow in the off-hand.  When you’ve got forearms like these, daggers end up looking too small, so it’s about paying respect to the weapons. 

ZJ: Is there any chance that the enchanted Courts will be part of your plan?

JC: Sure as my pecs are massive, they are.  Court of Bounty, Court of Grace, and Court of Ire all figure into the plan.  It’s once again a part of the misdirection.  We don’t need to continue to rule in those Courts for them to do solid work for us.  However, once the throne is secure and we’re in a position to defend it to the last, they’ll continue to assert our dominance. 

We’ll also enchant the battleground into a Lightmine Field or Powerstone Minefield.  Lesser creatures won’t be able to cross it, and we’ll have a true battle of powerful forces. 

ZJ:  In addition to some of the luminaries we’ve already mentioned, you’ve put together quite a lineup of names people will recognize. 

JC: Like I said, this will be a team effort.  Akiri is taking a break from her voyages for a bit to throw in with us. Did you know she’s hilarious?  She can quote This Is Spinal Tap like she wrote it, accents and all.  You just missed Yasharn, who went on a truffle hunt or something, but he’ll be back.  I’m most excited that Xenagos, God of Revels has deigned to make our battles doubly glorious. I haven’t been to Theros, but they know how to throw a party. 

ZJ: It’s not all about the people, though.  I have to guess that you’re bringing some powerful magic along with you, too.

JC: I’m fortunate that during my travels I’ve learned a lot.  I will indeed be bringing some very surprising things to the battle.  I’m not going to give away too much, but I want to make sure that people really understand who they’re attacking and if it’s worth it.  If you want to challenge the True Heir, your uppance will come

ZJ: I assume there’s some kind of build-up to a decisive strike in there somewhere.

JC: Yeah, there is.  I won’t be called The Shadow Mage anymore, that’s for sure.  You can’t really hide this, can you?  Once I’ve outfitted myself with the right weapons, we’re into the end-game.  After I’m the monarch, I’m pretty impervious to most things.  We’ll suit up, then (makes air guitar gestures) squibbily flabbidy doo!  We rock their world.  Just a few hits will drive all my enemies before me (but unlike some other conquerors, I’m not into lamentations; seems rude).  What was always mine will be mine again, and the good people will know what it’s like to have a benevolent ruler. 

ZJ: I was with you there until the last sentence.  Seems a little tyrannical.

JC: No, not at all.  You’re not talking to Ravidel here.  I know what it means to be there for people, even if a lot of them haven’t been there for me in the past.  It’s the few that have counted, but it’s the many that will benefit.  And this hair will rule them all. 

ZJ: Looks like the forces are marshalling, so I suspect you’ll have to make your move soon.  Any last words for anyone who might be listening?

JC: Yeah, if you know folks who know Chandra, let her know that there’s always room for two seats in the throne room.  Tell her it’s Christmas and my heart is open wide. 

Commander

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