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The Lore of Core 2021

Howdy folks! It's your friendly Vorthos, Joe Dyer, and we're here to do another dive into the Lore of some of the returning characters in Core Set 2021! It is no surprise that the major theme of this particular core set is the planeswalker Teferi, but this set also brought back many of the characters that were directly linked to or involved with Teferi in some fashion.

So without further ado, let's dive right into the lore behind Core Set 2021!

Teferi, the Master of Time Magic

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As the face of the set overall, it is no surprise that Teferi is the first character we should talk about. Teferi is from the Dominarian land of Zhalfir, which was located on the western side of Jamuraa. A prodigy from a very early age, Teferi attended the Tolarian Academy on Tolaria, which was then ran by Barrin as well as Master Malzra (who Teferi would later learn was Urza in disguise). Teferi was a typical know-it-all student, smart and cocky, and quite often a joker and prankster. However, he had considerable magical talent, which led to Barrin's interests in him. Teferi was responsible for Karn's original joking name in Arty Shovelhead. He would also be a constant thorn in the side of Jhoira of the Ghitu, whom he had a romantic interest in.

During the Phyrexian invasion of the Academy, Teferi was saved by Karn's interference, but the destruction of the time machine caused ripples of time across the island, and Teferi became stuck inside a slow-time bubble. Eventually he would be rescued by Jhoira and Karn after the return of Urza and Barrin to the island. This experience irrevocably changed Teferi's outlook on life and he used that experience to grow into a better person, eventually becoming a close friend with Jhoira as a result. Teferi was involved in helping to defend the island from K'rrik and his Phyrexians, but later decided it was time for him to return to his homeland and help them prepare. Teferi had become jaded by Urza's war, believing that Urza's judgment involving Phyrexia was clouded.

Teferi's return to Zhalfir saw him become a royal mage and a protector of the region. Teferi also began experimenting with time magic and the concept of phasing, one of these experiments being incredibly risky. This experiment would have gone wrong, and Teferi's life would have been claimed if not for his spark igniting. Teferi returned as a Planeswalker. Due to his newfound power, he sought to wander the planes, using his considerable pull in the nation of Zhalfir to create a guild system to aid the country while he was gone. He then left to wander the planes.

When Teferi returned to Zhalfir, he found chaos. Numerous factions within Zhalfir had the continent on the brink of war. Teferi attempted to help the nation, placing a young girl of royal descent on the throne, but the act ultimately failed. Tired of the pettiness of his people, Teferi took a band of trusted advisors, sages, artificers, and sorcerers to a hidden isle in the Chaza Isles to work on a project on the manipulation of time. While these experiments began with limited success, eventually Teferi would realize that the entire process was inherently unstable. However, the damage done by the experiments had already taken effect on the temporal balance, and when Teferi attempted to fix it, the entire island and everything on it phased out of existence.

Teferi's Isle would eventually return several years later; the energy surge of it phasing out having attracted three powerful mages who investigated the situation: Kaervek, Mangara, and Jolrael. By the time Teferi's Isle returned, the nations of Jamuraa were in the middle of a great war.

Teferi was unable to directly interfere with the war, due to the need to monitor and reconstruct the timeline damage that had occurred from his experiments. However, Teferi would aid the defenders by sending them visions and would lend magical strength to their spells. Teferi felt tremendous guilt over his role in the conflict, and even after the Mirage Wars had concluded, he remained a recluse in the Chaza Isles.

Prior to the Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria, the Keldons began to invade Jamuraa. Teferi would stay out of the conflict until the last moment, realizing that the Invasion was coming. Teferi had decided that he would find an alternative to Urza's war, which he no longer wanted to be a part of.

During the Invasion itself, Teferi tricked Urza into helping him generate a massive amount of energy which he would use in a massive spell to phase northwestern Jamuraa and a large part of Shiv from the time stream in order to save them from Phyrexia. Urza was quite angry with Teferi for this action, but the damage had been done.

Teferi would return to Dominaria three hundred years after the Apocalypse in order to determine if it was appropriate to return Zhalfir and Shiv to the world. However, Dominaria's mana was barren, due to the time rifts across the plane. He would later ally with both Radha and Venser in this effort as well as with Jhoira. This would see the return of the Planeswalker Nicol Bolas, who Teferi lost a battle to. Utilizing his own Planeswalker spark, Teferi would seal the rift over Shiv, allowing Shiv to phase back in normally. However, he was unable to save Zhalfir, as Jeska used Radha's nascent spark to close the rift over Zhalfir forcefully. Without the precise timing needed to bring back the continent, Zhalfir was seemingly lost forever. This would haunt Teferi, and would force him to search for a new purpose in life.

He wandered the world in search of that purpose, finding it in the woman who would become his wife, Subira. Subira was a caravan driver, and after many days together they settled down to raise their daughter Niambi. Subira would later leave on the caravan once more, but visited often as Teferi raised Niambi.

Teferi's story would pick back up sixty years after the Mending took place, seeking to solve various puzzles that Urza had left behind in order to find a way to repair the Zhalfirin time rift. He did this along with his daughter, Niambi, who was now an adult. He was assisted by the crew of the Weatherlight, now headed by his old friend Jhoira, and Gideon and Liliana of the Gatewatch. He then left with Jhoira and the crew to take on Belzenok and the Cabal.

Jhoira had crafted a Powerstone amulet that contained Teferi's Planeswalker spark inside of it, a stone she made at the Thran Mana Rig in Shiv. She offered this to him, and Teferi regained his spark, becoming a Planeswalker once more.

Teferi would later join the Gatewatch officially, assisting them during the confrontation on Ravnica with Nicol Bolas, and was present by the end during the celebration. His current status is working with Karn and Ajani Goldmane on strategy for assisting the Mirran Resistance on New Phyrexia to return Mirrodin to its former glory.

Barrin, Master of Tolaria

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Barrin's tale is among the most tragic of all. He was a legendary master of wizardry at the Tolarian Academy and former teacher of the Planeswalker Teferi. Barrin was also heavily involved in aiding Urza Planeswalker in the defense of Dominaria from the forces of Phyrexia.

Barrin worked with Urza on many projects, from time travel to the defense of the Tolarian Academy from the forces of K'rrik. He also assisted Urza in the battle for Serra's Realm, which charged the powerstone battery on the Weatherlight. Barrin was also involved in working on the Bloodlines Project, at which point Barrin would meet his wife Rayne. Barrin later realized that meeting Rayne and marrying her was actually all part of Urza's careful selection process of the Bloodlines, and that their unborn child was to have a part in that. That child would be Hanna, the navigator for the Weatherlight.

Barrin over time had become increasingly wary of artifice and of Urza's war, even attempting to forbid Hanna from studying the subject which led to a falling out between the two.

Barrin and Rayne would eventually aid Teferi once more in the defense of Jamuraa from the nation of Keld. Rayne was tragically killed by Greel, a Keldon mutation. Barrin in his rage and grief decimated the Keldons and their overlord Latulla.

Barrin would become a major part of the Phyrexian Invasion, helping Urza to defend the plane in various locations. All throughout, Barrin had wondered about his daughter and eventually found out through Urza that Hanna had died of a Phyrexian plague. Barrin could not take any more of Urza and his war, as it had cost him his wife and his daughter. Delirious with grief, he exhumed the body of Hanna from the sands of Koilos and fled to Tolaria.

It was on Tolaria that Barrin found that the Phyrexians has finally discovered the Academy. Barrin utilized a spell that he had never vowed to cast ever, the Obliterate spell, to destroy himself, the Academy, and the Phyrexians in the process.

Mangara of Corondor

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Mangara was a diplomat from the island of Corondor, which was north of Jamuraa. Mangara's involvement in the Mirage Wars was brought about after Mangara arrived to investigate the events on Teferi's Isle. After finding nothing but barren rock there, he traveled back to Zhalfir with Kaervek and Jolrael.

Mangara found himself embroiled in the politics of Zhalfir, and helped to broker peace and resolve tensions between Zhalfir, Femeref, and Suq'Ata. Mangara brought Zhalfir into a new age of unity and equity, known as Mangara's Harmony. However, he became the target of a jealous Kaervek, who imprisoned him in an Amber Prison and started the Mirage Wars.

Mangar was not completely helpless while in his prison, utilizing his scrying abilities to determine Kaervek's deeds and whereabouts. He was eventually freed and with the aid of others was able to trap Kaervek in the prison as well. He left Jamuraa soon after the Mirage Wars ended.

Kaervek of Urborg

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Kaervek was a human warlock from the nation of Urborg. He was ambitious, talented, and cruel, but could find no way of ruling within his homeland. Thus, when an energy surge appeared from the Chaza Isles, Kaervek immediately set sail to discover what it was and whether he could use it to his advantage. This was caused by the phasing out of Teferi's Isle, and when Kaervek arrived he found nothing but barren rock. He did meet Mangara and Jolrael.

After traveling back to Zhalfir with the two, Kaervek allied himself with Jolrael and was able to convince the xenophobic woman that Mangara was plotting to take over the entire continent of Jamuraa. Kaervek trapped Mangara in an Amber Prison, and maninpulated Jolrael to continue the war.

Bringing in allies from his homeland of Urborg, Kaervek raged a long and bloody conflict against Zhalfir, Femeref, and Suq'Ata. However, he would be defeated by Mangara upon his release and then was locked in the amber prison as well.

It is unknown what fate had befallen Kaervek. It is possible that the prison, which was located in the prison-city of Aku, was removed from the timeline at the same time Zhalfir was phased out of existence, thus meaning Kaervek is no longer on Dominaria after Zhalfir was lost to time after being unable to phase back in.

Jolrael of Mwonvuli

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Jolrael is a Zhalfiran who used to be a court mage, however after enduring taunts and imposed isolation of her peers, Jolrael took an oath to forsake humanity and she left for the Mwonvuli jungles. Thought dead by many, Jolrael survived in harmony with nature, utilizing her magic to live amongst the beasts of the jungle. She grew xenophobic by nature of those entering her domain, and only left on a few occasions. She was a friend of the Planeswalker Teferi.

Jolrael would later travel to the Chaza Isles as well, having felt the energy surge left by Teferi's spell. She was looking to see where her friend had gone and instead met both Mangara and Kaervek.

Upon returning to Jamuraa, she became allies with Kaervek, the latter using her natural distrust of humanity to manipulate her into declaring war on Zhalfir. She would later turn against Kaervek during the war, but was defeated by the warlock. However, as Kaervek lost the war, Jolrael would return to the Mwonvuli, with only occasional visits by her old friend Teferi.

During the Keldon Invasion of Jamuraa, Jolrael used her magic and jungle might to defend the continent from the Keldons, assisting the Zhalfirans in defense of their home.

Radha of Keld

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During the events of the Apocalypse and the Planeshift, the Skyshroud Forest was deposited into the frosty wasteland of Keld. Over time, the Keldons and the elves of Skyshroud intermingled. Radha is a product of that, the great granddaughter of the Keldon warlord Astor and an unnamed Skyshroud Elf.

Radha was also the first of a newly discovered breed of potential Planeswalkers by Teferi, and had a connection with the time rift over Skyshroud.

Radha would later aid Teferi during the events of Time Spiral, until she was approached by the Planeswalker Jeska. Jeska used Radha's latent spark and channeled her mana to close the rift to Zhalfir, which left Radha weakened. She would later create a bond with Yavimaya with the help of the nature spirit Multani. Radha was present at the sealing of the Otarian Rift, lending her powers along with Venser to Jeska in order to close the rift, This created the Mending.

Radha returned to Keld changed. She was more rational and caring, and less of a hothead. She climbed the mountains of Keld and retrieved Astor's daggers, claiming her heritage of Keld. She was able to broker peace amongst the Keldon elves and humans and was able to defeat the last of the Gathans, becoming the Grand Warlord of Keld. In her time she was revolutionizing the state of the Keldon Empire and leading it into the future.

Radha would later become captured by the Cabal and forced to fight in the Stronghold's pits. However, thanks to Gideon Jura and Chandra Nalaar she was able to escape and assist in the attack on the Cabal.

Wrapping Up

This is just a a bit of the lore on these returning characters, all of which are incredibly interesting characters in the stories making up Magic: The Gathering. As we continue to move forward into sets bringing back older characters, rest assured that I will continue working on these sorts of lore refreshers!

As always, you can locate me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon!

Until next time, Vorthoses!

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