Murders at Karlov Manor: What Happens in the Story?

What Happens in the Story of Murders at Karlov Manor?

Jacob LacknerMagic Story

Murders at Karlov Manor releases on February 9th. In this latest set, we take a return visit to Ravnica, but it’s a different kind of Ravnica set. During our previous visits, the stories were quite grand in scale. But this time, the set revolves around a single mystery and its investigation. In this article, I’m going to summarize the events of the Karlov Manor story, with each murder victim serving as the jumping off point.

Party at Karlov Manor

The story kicks off with a huge party at Karlov Manor. Most of Ravnica’s big names are in attendance, and they are celebrating their victory during the Phyrexian invasion. Even Kaya is there, having been invited by Teysa. Kaya has a hard time getting into the festivities because she can’t get her mind off of all the people she lost during the war, and because she knows many in attendance feel that she has neglected her home plane. 

The festivities are interrupted by screams. Kaya heads towards the madness and finds the slain body of Zegana, a former guildmaster and still high-ranking member of the Simic combine.

Murdered: Zegana

It just so happens that Ravnica’s new Agency of Magicological Investigations are in attendance at the party. This group was founded to investigate crimes, and to do so without any guild affiliation.

One of its detectives, Alquist Proft, takes charge of the situation. He quickly realizes that there is someone in attendance disguised as a member of the Simic guild. This individual is revealed to be the assassin Etrata, who attempts to escape. Kaya, Proft, and some other members of the Agency manage to capture her.

Initially, it appears to be an open and shut case. Etrata says she has no memory of actually committing the act. As an assassin, she isn’t exactly the type to shy away from admitting she killed someone. Now, Proft has to discover who manipulated Etrata. Only then can he know who actually committed the murder.

At this point, Kaya is ready to leave the plane and leave things in the hands of the Agency, but her friend Teysa contacts her to tell her she has something important to tell her. By the time Kaya arrives at the manor she discovers the body of her slain friend. With Etrata in custody, there’s no way this murder was connected to her.

Murdered: Teysa Karlov

Adding further fuel to the mystery, near her body there is a note written in her handwriting, but in Phyrexian script. These developments convince Kaya to remain in Ravnica and assist the Agency in their investigation. She teams up with Kellan, a young member of the Agency (who has his origins on the plane of Eldraine, unbeknownst to her).

Kaya’s suspicions turn to Judith, grand dame of the Cult of Rakdos. They go to question her about the murders. Mysteriously, Judith says she’s innocent, but that there’s something they are missing. She directs them towards Vitu-Ghazi, where they can find the Guildpact.

A Visit to Vitu-Ghazi

When they visit Vitu-Ghazi, she meets with Trostani, the three conjoined dryads who are the leaders of the Selesnya Conclave. They direct them towards the book containing all the information about the Guildpact. As they are reading it, they discover that the Cult of Rakdos was originally formed to put an end to the demon Rakdos’s tendency to instill uncontrollable bloodlust in Ravnicans. Clearly, this sounded a lot like what happened to Etrata.

A Mysterious Substance is Discovered

Meanwhile, Proft and Etrata join forces in the investigation, with Etrata eager to clear her own name so that she can be freed from Agency custody. They return to the site of Etrata’s last memory before the murder – the bed she slept in the night before. 

There, they discover a mysterious powder on her nightstand and pillow. This clue supports Etrata’s claim that she wasn’t in control when she murdered Zegana.

As Proft and Etrata continue to look for clues, the Rakdos assassin Massacre Girl appears and tries to assassinate Proft. Etrata protects Proft and defeats her. Now there’s a new question: Who hired Massacre Girl to kill Proft?

Visiting Kylox

Proft and Etrata head to Kylox, an Izzet inventor that Proft thinks might be able to identify the mysterious substance from Etrata’s bed. However, when they arrive at his lab, they find the place has been ransacked. They discover a hatch that leads underneath the lab. They find Kylox, but just as he is about to tell them what he knows about the powder, goblins appear and abduct him.

Etrata and Proft follow the abductors, who it turns out are in the employ of Krenko. It turns out he ordered the abduction of Kylox because he believes his research is the reason for the unexplained murders.

Just as he reveals this, a brainwashed Ravnican attempts to kill Krenko. While the assailant doesn’t succeed in slaying Krenko, Kylox is killed in the chaos. Once the murderer is subdued, he reveals a similar story to Etrata’s. He doesn’t remember anything. More cases like this continue to emerge.

Murdered: Kylox

More Amnesiac Murderers Emerge

Teysa’s murderer is captured and brought into custody and claims he knows nothing of the murder. Massacre Girl made an attempt on Aurelia’s life, killing many of her bodyguards, but ultimately failing to take down her target. When she’s brought in for questioning, she makes the now-familiar claim that she doesn’t remember attacking Aurelia.

Aurelia is understandably infuriated by the attack and she gives the Agency a deadline of 24 hours to solve the murder. If they don’t, the Boros are going to war with the Rakdos.

Proft and Etrata feel that they are very close to cracking the case, but they still need someone to identify the strange substance from Etrata’s bed. They head to the undercity to find Izoni, who analyzes the substance and delivers a shocking conclusion: She has no idea what the powder is, because it’s not from Ravnica.

Proft Cracks the Casse

Armed with this new knowledge from Izoni, Alquist Proft is now convinced he knows who the murderer is. He invites all the various suspects for a meeting at Vitu-Ghazi, where he will present his findings.

Once they have gathered, Proft announces his intention to conduct interviews with each of the subjects. While he’s interviewing Kaya, a strange flower emerges from the wall in the room. Proft quickly covers it with a jar, just as it begins emitting the pollen-like substance that was also found in Etrata’s room. Proft tells Kaya that this was the last bit of evidence he needs and he now knows who the killer is.

They return to the spot where the others are gathered. There, Proft explains that only someone who could control Vitu-Ghazi would be capable of sending this mind control pollen throughout the city. Then, he concludes by accusing Trostani of the murders.

Many of those in attendance can’t believe the accusation, largely because Trostani can’t leave the Vitu-Ghazi. Proft reveals that he isn’t sure about the motive, but he is certain that Trostani is the murderer.

Cim and Ses, two of the Trostani dryads, express their dismay at the accusation and they quickly begin to defend themselves and their sisters. However, the third dryad – Oba – remains silent. Her sisters notice this and slowly come to realize that she was the killer. As they plead with her to explain herself, Oba obliges by going on a self-incriminating rant that explains her motives.

She explains that everyone she murdered or attempted to murder failed Ravnica during the Phyrexian invasion. Oba explains that Trostani is connected to the very plane of Ravnica itself and she experienced pain as a result of the Phyrexian corruption of the plane. 

She murdered Zegana for doing experiments with Phyrexian oil and Kylox for doing experiments with Phyrexian technology. She tried to murder Krenko for profiting off the war. She murdered Teysa because she was in communication with the Phyrexians and she suspected her of allying herself with them. 

Those in attendance point out that Teysa was actually a double agent who was gathering intelligence from Phyrexians, but Oba is having none of it.

Hearing this confession, Aurelia attempts to arrest Oba. But she has no intention of going quietly. She responds by incapacitating her sisters and seizing complete control of the Vitu-Ghazi and she uses the massive tree to capture all of those in attendance.

Kaya makes a plea to the plane of Ravnica itself, since that’s where Oba’s power is coming from. This weakens her enough that Kaya is able to phase through the tree and she manages to subdue Oba. The other two Selesnya dryads agree that she needs to be removed from Trostani, claiming that she has been dead since the Phyrexian invasion.

Guilty: Oba of Trostani

Where’s Judith?

While Proft’s investigation successfully uncovered the identity of the killer, there are a few loose ends that may indicate the direction of the Magic story going forward.

The most notable of these is that no one knows the whereabouts of Judith in the aftermath of Oba’s attack on the assembled subjects. Now that there are pathways that allow non-planeswalkers to travel between planes, it may be foreshadowing her actions in a future set.

There’s a lot of speculation that Rakdos is visible in some of the early art for Outlaws of Thunder Junction, and it could be that she and her patron will make an appearance in that set.

End Step

That’s a summary of the major events in the Murders at Karlov Manor story. We lost some prominent figures from the plane, but now with the murderer discovered, the plane can return to peace. Or…at least as close to peace as Ravnica ever is. If you’d like a deeper dive on the story from its author, you can find Seanan McGuire’s “DVD Commentary” here.