The question that had opened her mind to a world of possibilities was a vivid memory. The family of three had been walking through the weekly market in one of the neutral zones. Places where the guilds came together to trade: information, wares, goods, ideas, stories, even laughs. Orzhov money changers huddled together, talking amongst themselves. Rakdos performers danced on a wooden stage, juggled fire, flipped each other, executed acrobatic feats that earned them cheers and coin.
She walked between her parents, holding their hands. Every few steps she’d jump and they’d swing her. They passed a stand of Simic wares and she noticed vials with a goo-like substance inside. They sat on a table shorter than the rest. Standing on tiptoe, she tried to see what was above her view. Then in dawned on her, those things—up there—weren’t for her. They were adult things. She looked back at the vials, useless baubles, and wondered why that was.
On their way home she asked about it. “Mom, how come there’s a kid table and an adult table?”
“You noticed that?” She smiled, and her daughter nodded. “They do that because they want children like you to see those things, then beg their parents to buy them. The stuff on the taller tables are meant for moms and dads.”
“They plan that?”
“They sure do,” her father said. “It’s a sales trick. You look, next time we’re shopping for food, you’ll see all the goodies and snacks nice and low—right where you can see them.” He winked. “Sneaky, probably something the Dimir figured out ages ago.”
The next time she was with her mother gathering things for dinner she saw what her father said was true. That small thing, noticing where things were placed, opened her mind. Soon she began questioning everything. Why, how, where, when, what?
When she signed the paperwork to become a Boros recruit she wondered, not for the first time, why she was joining them. The thought was, again, answered with the harsh reality of her mother’s illness. The Boros offered a healthy signing bonus, money she hoped would help cure her mother’s condition. But her time with the Boros was to be short-lived. The Boros guildmages, captains, warbosses, and sergeants couldn’t handle her. She was passed from one to another, never lasting more than a week.
“But why do we line up like that?” She asked. “How come our armor has to be so shiny, what does it matter? Does shine keep us safe?” “What’s the point of this drill?” “How come I can’t read that?” After a challenging couple of months she was pulled aside, sat down, and told it was a bad fit: her and the Boros. The Boros Legion needed people that listened, obeyed, and followed orders. She wasn’t soldier material. “Keep the signing bonus, that’s yours, but you’re no longer a member of the Legion.”
“Not a good soldier…Ask too many…” she muttered to herself. All around electricity crackled. Machines, some small as her pinky, others the size of small hills, pounded, cranked, pumped, whirred. She tightened the last screw on the gauntlet. Her face lifted into a massive grin that bordered on wicked. She laughed. “Yes, yes! Finally.” She snatched her guildmage staff and thumped it on the ground. An arc of electric current snapped between the heavy forks. With a flick of her right hand, now wearing the gauntlet, the current jumped to it from the staff. And yet electricity still flickered at the top of the staff. It worked. It worked exactly as intended. The gauntlet copied whatever spell she summoned with the staff.
It’d come about because she’d asked one simple question: can it be done? Unlike the Boros Legion, the Izzet League was happy to hear questions. Indeed, they wanted them. When she’d asked hers they’d told her to find out, and let them know.