Jace Beleren held a sheet of parchment up to the window・ Huddled between much taller
towers of Ravnica^s Tenth District, the building only reached a few floors up from street level,
but a cold, evening light reflected off brick and stone through the glass ・ Smudged with ink
and magically marked with his own unique mage seal, the parchment was covered in notes
about the code he'd found・ His handwriting had gotten progressively less sane-looking lately.
The walls of the sanctum were papered with pages like this・ Jace wondered when he had last
washed his hair or had a full night's sleep・ He hoped the other researcher, a vedalken man
named Kavin, hadn't noticed that he had been staying at the sanctum building, sleeping only
when unable to keep his eyes open any longer, not even walking outside to the marketplaces
or street vendors in the surrounding district・ His bed was a stacked pile of notes, his furniture
was odd pieces of broken architecture collected from around the Tenth, and his main
nourishment was the gnawed end of his ink pen.
  The discovery—JaceJs current obsession—had come gradually・ He hadn't recognized it as a
code when he saw it initially, and in fact had not even recognized any connection at all until
he saw it manifest itself a few times around the district・
  He had almost tripped over it, the first time・ It was not out of the ordinary to see a group of
Izzet guildmages unearthing a layer of cobblestone from the street・ Their guild was tasked
with the maintenance of much of the city's magical infrastructure, and when he happened
past them working along a road in the Tenth, Jace had all but ignored their work. But Jace
saw that the Izzet mages had dismantled an ancient chunk of stone from the curb, and as
they toiled away at a length of exposed steam pipes and elemental conduits, Jace noticed that
the discarded piece of stone had a pattern carved into its underside. It had been worn from
age and half-covered with cobwebs, but Jace could see a series of curved impressions running
along its length, like a procession of geometrically perfect parentheses.
  It struck Jace as curious that such care had been taken to carve a pattern on the underside
of the stonework, the side that wouldn't even be visible from the street・ But he didn't think of
辻 again until the code returned in a new form.
  An old and battered neighborhood of the Tenth was being excavated・ Jace stopped and
watched one day as a burly cyclops in crackling mizzium gauntlets demolished the remains of
a textile factory. The cyclops lifted great slabs of stone and hurled them onto a rubble heap,
presumably making room for some new Izzet experiment・ Jace saw that the discarded stone
was carved with a sequence of triangles.
  Recognizing it as the code, Jace had kept the details from Kavin, his confidant and fellow
scholar who had been of great help in tracking down other instances of the geometric
patterns, taking rubbings, mapping the locations of their sightings, and occasionally covering
for Jace as he snuck into guild-restricted territories to fetch more pieces of the code・ But
Kavin was a logical, practical man—not given to obsessive impulses. If Jace let on how much  this code had seeped into every moment of his waking consciousness, Kavin would abandon
the project.
  Jace's eyes stung・ He squeezed them shut for a moment and rubbed his eyelids. They had
plenty of samples, but no answers. The pieces didn't fit. There were regularities and patterns
within the sinuous shapes set in stone, but no sequence, no message・ Something was missing.
  There was a knock at the door downstairs ・

In a forgotten chamber of the undercity, several hours, journey below street level, an ancient
brick wall began to glow・ Blue lightning danced along the edges of the bricks・ The old mortar
smoked and sizzled・ The wall exploded into the chamber, bricks tumbling into a heap, leaving
a rough, oval・shaped hole.
  The planeswalker Rai Zarek stepped through the hole he had just made・ Dust curled in the
sodden, rotting air as the instruments on his gauntlet twittered and spun, the remaining
mana from his spell flickering out.
  Rai winced and put a hand over his nose・ He kicked a brick with his boot and snorted.
“Ugh. Skreeg, tell me this isn't the place.”
  A goblin in Izzet armor hopped into the chamber, looking around with his hands clasped.
The goblin rummaged through his pack and produced a newly-constructed Izzet mana・
sensing device that he waved around the chamber.
  “Yes!” replied Skreeg・ “The concentrations are higher in here! This must be it.”
  A group of Izzet mages followed Rai and Skreeg into the chamber, where they began
scrutinizing their surroundings with analytical spells and alchemical devices, lighting the
chamber as magical energies shone through the damp haze・
  Rai moved through the chamber, pushing aside curtains of hanging mosses and stepping
over ancient, fallen columns・ He knelt down to investigate something covered over with
sickly roots・ He pried a mossy tendril away from the lump and started backward. The gray
face of a skull smiled through the foliage with a smattering of jagged teeth・ Rai took a breath
and let the fight・or・flight impulse fade.
  He turned back to the others・"Are we ready?” he asked•“Skreeg, the mana coil. Charge it
up, already/⁵
  Skreeg placed a sculpture of spiraling bronze on the floor. The other Izzet wizard
researchers surrounded the alchemical device and fussed over its operation. Gems of crimson
and turquoise lit up along the artifact's edge, and it began to hum quietly.
  “Ready soon, si「” said the goblin.
  “Soon? Do you think the Great Firemind would be satisfied with soon?”
  “I'm sorry, my colleague, but it takes some time for the coils to—”
  “Connect it to a richer source/⁵ Rai snapped・ “If this chamber has one of the ley lines 

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