Faltering like a blind prophet stumbling through the streets
Wandering in darkness and fear. The cobblestone cold against my feet.
Where am I now?
I awoke to a room thick with night. "Blair? Will? Is anybody there?" It took me a few seconds to realize just where I had ended up waking dazed while lying on a chair in the pitch-black room covered in a comforter that smelled foreign. Alone. Hazy. Trying to piece together this puzzle but some of the parts were missing. The taste of alcohol still strong on my breath the creeping stench of morning close behind. Was this it? Was this what I had chosen for myself? My words echoed back and I could only think of you.
For some time now some friends and I had planned a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth. With Magic on my mind and a dream in my pocket we headed out Thursday afternoon for the 10-plus-hour drive. It really wasn't that bad of a trip but we got a late start. Blair Will Cruse and myself headed to Tuscaloosa to pick up another passenger in Brian Guess but for some reason he thought we would be able to have him back to work by 7 am on Monday. This small predicament meant he wasn't able to come along for the ride since he wasn't able to get anyone to pick up his shift.
After exchanging some lamentations about the situation I noticed a Super Nintendo with Killer Instinct sitting in the console. I quickly exclaimed that we should do battle but the chords for the system were nowhere to be found so these hopes were quickly dashed. Directly afterward I was much more interested in leaving as soon as possible because of the long drive ahead. Without cruise control my knee was sure to get cramped a few times but it had to be done. To Dallas we went.
Alongside playful insults and curmudgeonry stories and jokes flew around the car. Hours of entertainment later and we were stopped by bright lights and flashing signs. Was this the end of the journey? To an extent yes. We were through for the night but the lights flashed "Horseshoe" and promises of free rooms caught my attention. William thought he would be able to finagle a free room due to his consistent living in sin but they were having none of it. We did however get a discount to the normal room price but what followed was not worth the paltry discount granted to us.
About two hours later William was down $500 and I had broken the trust of my wife by gambling at all. You don't take an alcoholic to a bar and you don't take someone with a gambling addiction to a casino. I called her the next day and told her what I had done. I was at a loss for words because I honestly could not control myself. It wasn't about the money; it was about the promises I had made and I had not lived up to them yet again. I just hoped that somewhere in the back of my mind there was someone good enough for her inside me. She deserved better and I was going to be better.
The remainder of the drive was mostly quiet with small outbursts by the two passengers trying to cheer me up. It didn't work.
Once we arrived in Dallas we headed up to the event hall to meet up with friends. After grabbing Ari Lax for some dinner at Ojos Locos aka Hooters with Mexican Food and a few pints later I headed back to the site to find some trouble to get into. Unfortunately (or fortunately) Patrick Chapin had other plans and asked me to battle some games against him. His Jund Standard deck had been performing well but he still wasn't sold on it. He politely asked me to beat him so he could figure out what deck to play because few others had been able to. I agreed but informed him that my play might not be satisfactory considering the slight inebriation.
After six games and five victories later with Caw-Blade Patrick finally decided to call it quits and pick up a real deck (his words). I told him that Stoneforge Mystic was just too good not to play and he begrudgingly agreed. I knew that deep down Patrick loved his concoction but it just wasn't good enough to beat a field of competent players presenting him with a Sword of Feast and Famine to deal with. I felt like I had smothered a dream but an important lesson had been learned: If you can't beat 'em join 'em.
Tears flooded the room two different faucets streaming together endless.
What had I done? This angel so gracious this saint so forgiving
Had given up.
The sinner's serenade promises of remorse and change went unheeded.
Together we sit sinner and saint waiting for the other one to break.
The next morning we woke for battle Jaces in tow and Swords in hand. Through the forest of the unprepared we left our marks cutting them down like the scoundrels they were. The stories will be told in the Hall of Heroes hymns of victory and cheer.
The morning air rich with blood
Byes fuel the hunger.
Round 3 against Valakut
Hello and Good Luck.
Snakes in the grass beneath us
Titans rise and fall.
Round 4 against Goblins
The Chieftain bellows
Hordes awake from the warrens
Furious quick death.
Round 5 against Mono Red
Across the fires we will walk
For your victory!
Round 6 against Aggro Valakut
Hero leads the charge
Harrow finishes the rest.
Our revenge most foul.
Round 7 against Big Red
The Hammer crushes
But the Phoenix changes sides.
On his back we live.
Round 8 against U/W Caw Blade
With Feast and Famine
Gideon clutches death. Wait
For the hawks to fly.
Round 9 against Aggro Valakut
A quest for revenge
For a comrade fallen. Weep.
For your blood is next.
With bloody hands and swollen fingers I still grasped my Sword surveying the landscape of fallen foes. The day had been won but not without sacrifice. William had fallen and Blair had been judged. Deemed worthy by the Gods he was chosen to watch over us our protector. Our brethren weary and weathered went off in search of sustenance and mead.
That night I tried to cheer up Will who had fallen victim to some incredibly rough "bad beat" stories. His first match of the day against a young opponent did not go as planned. After stating that he wasn't able to play the next day due to the fact that he had Debate Club to attend the small child promptly mulliganed to five didn't play a land for the first two turns of the game but caught up with a pair of Ornithopters and multiple Signal Pests once he drew some lands. William could only watch as he drew Eye of Ugin and Ulamogs unable to cast his Titans. With him on full-blown life tilt we attempted to salve the wounds with Grey Goose. To a degree we "succeeded."
He knew that the following day would be another chance at redemption for him but I had another shot at glory. With my deck in hand and Red Bull flowing through my veins we headed to the event site the next morning. The air was thick with tension my nerves racked and my heartbeat fast. Was this it?
Round 10 against JWay with U/B Poison
Sixty-six card deck?
The sly smile exposed his whim.
Hawks bring a swift death.
Round 11 against RUG
The Titan rages
Infernos fly overhead
The squadron lies still.
Round 12 against Brad Nelson with U/W Caw Blade
In war we learn much
Even the greatest can falter.
With death comes respect.
Round 13 against Mono-Green Elves
The trees come alive
Vines overgrown malicious.
Our Swords cannot cut.
Round 14 against Esper Caw-Blade
We live by the edge
We fight by our God's right hand.
We die by the blade.
Round 15 against Valakut
Our victory close
We seal his fate. Quiet now.
This battle is won.
16th Place. $500. Qualified for Philadelphia. On top of the world.
I call Kali and tell her the good news. She wants to be happy for me but she's still furious for what I've done. I can sense it under her breath and in her tone. Was this it? Everything I had worked for coming to culmination and the person who I cared for most couldn't celebrate with me. I dreaded the trip home but it had to be done.
We left our hotel around 10 pm looking to stop and sleep sometime in the late night. With my mind clouded by victory thoughts of dread had been temporarily supplanted. That night I slept uneasy waking to a cold room and a frantic television. Would I even have someone to come home to?
Storm clouds gathered on the horizon flaunting the ominous.
The lightning danced constant leaving streaks in the sky
The power out the room pitch black would you come back?
Won't you come back for me?