Alesha Who Smiles at Death

Visiting with Vorthos: Alesha Who Smiles at Death

One of the interesting things that is emerging with Fate Reforged is the differences between the various clans of the older version of Tarkir as compared to what we currently know and understand about the Clans. One of the most telling pieces is the work posted this week here.

In the current world of Tarkir that we have grown to know and love their khan, Zurgo Helmsmasher, has made the Mardu into a anarchic clan predicated on surviving on the spoils of war.  This hardly seems like a noble cause and in my mind really creates some heavy tension between the White and the R/B color identities of the clan. However, we see that the Mardu under Alesha were far different.

Under Alesha, Who Smiles at Death the Mardu were still fierce warriors and most certainly reveled in the thrill of battle, but you can see very clearly that there is more order, but also that she values the honor and strength shown by the Orc with whom she has an exchange regarding his identity.  He claims that he is not worthy of a name because he has chosen to save and protect his brethren, rather than to kill.  However, you see very clearly that Alesha approves and supports such an approach while you can clearly imagine Zurgo scoffing at this as being nothing more than a weakness.  This difference in the attitudes of the two Khans is very telling and suggests than the Mardu have undergone a significant change in the 1000 years since the events of Fate Reforged.

One reason for such a change is the lack of a common threat in current day Tarkir, like that presented by the dragons on Tarkir, that helped the Mardu to coalesce into a unified group. Without that common threat and the ever present danger that they could be destroyed, the Mardu seem to have become far more chaotic and disjointed. However, I think there is something to be said for the leadership of Alesha, who prides Honour more than some of the other attributes of the Mardu. That sort of approach creates more respect rather than the outright fear that Zurgo fosters.  The differences are telling and quite interesting between the two Khans.

The other thing that is interesting about this article and the background on Alesha is the pretty well documented issue of identity.  Not only the issue of identity of knowing where you fit in a group or clan, but that of what is your identity to yourself.  A big deal will be made of the fact that Alesha is a boy pretending to be a woman, but in my eyes that is really not the issue at heart.  The issue is really that Alesha knows who she is, regardless of what gender she may be, while the Orc whom she is speaking with seems far more confused…except that he knows enough to follow Alesha.  It is an intriguing story and an interesting look at the world of the Mardu as well as the complicated issue of indentity.

Thanks for taking the time to stop in and read. As always keep it fun, keep it safe…and keep it Casual.


By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

@bgray8791 on Twitter