Jace Beleren is a powerful and talented mind mage; capable of projecting his thoughts, crafting illusion, and clairvoyance. But his most powerful gift is the exceptionally rare talent of telepathy. He is able to read the thoughts of others with almost no effort on his part, and that has made him something of an anomaly among mages. The power he wields, and its potential for abuse, have seen Jace walk a fine line between virtue and sin for most of his life, and he often finds himself struggling to choose a path because of it.
Jace had his talent for telepathy from a very young age. His parents, unsure how to deal with his unusual gift, sought the aid of a local mage named Alhammarret. Alhammarret trained and focused Jace’s powers, and gave Jace a structure that made him feel welcome. Unfortunately, it was not to last. During a training session, he ascended without realizing it. Alhammarret, fearing that Jace was not ready to learn the truth, confided in Jace’s father. They agreed to keep it a secret, and when Jace found out, he lashed out at Alhammarret, accidentally destroying his mentor’s mind. Since then, he has lived life on the run.
Curiosity has always gotten the better of Jace Beleren. As a magical prodigy, he delved into lessons of sorcery deeper than the other students in mage academies, and succeeded to the point that even his instructors were suspicious of him. As a specialist in mind magic, he uses his abilities to gaze into the minds of others, discovering even closely guarded secrets. This practice has led him into danger more than once. In fact, his mind magic has helped him discover the existence of planeswalkers and of worlds beyond his own, opening his eyes to an even greater scope of secrets.
The Infinite Consortium
Eventually, Jace came to live upon the plane of Ravnica. It was a comfortable life; he would use his skills to blackmail rich people. This continued for a time until he was scouted by a strange man with a metal arm named Tezzeret, and his massive pyromancer confidant, Baltrice. Tezzeret was the head of an organization called the Infinite Consortium, an interplanar mercantile guild that specialized in the bizarre. Tezzeret saw promise in Jace, and offered him a life where he could live up to his full potential; a great and powerful wizard, respected for his talents, rather than a petty thief. Jace ultimately accepted.
He was put to use, often reading the minds of visitors to detect double agents, and those who double crossed their deals with the Consortium. One of his early tasks was to retrieve a scroll stolen by a pyromancer named Chandra. He tracked her down and defeated her in combat, recovering the scroll, and wiping her mind of all memories of the scroll.
Jace found himself paired with one of the consortium’s swordsmen, a man named Kallist Rhoka, who looked strongly as though he could have been Jace’s brother. The higher ups in the consortium found the resemblance amusing, and decided it would be worth it for the men to become acquainted should a business task ever make use of this resemblance. Though they were different, the men became friends.
Jace did odd jobs for the Consortium, eventually coming to dislike the organization after he realized how desensitized he had become for the horrible things he did in their service. After a series of failures; a failed raid with Baltrice against a tribe of rat people on Kamigawa, severely underestimating the mind magic of Nicol Bolas, and an encounter with a cleric that regarded Jace as divine, he ran away from the consortium. Kallist followed, and they were soon joined by the necromancer Liliana Vess, who had also slighted the Consortium. Jace eventually fell in love with the alluring woman.
In an attempt to save Kallist from a life on the run, Jace accidentally switched bodies with him, trapping one in the other’s body until Kallist was assassinated by a mercenary hired by the Consortium. Recoving from their wounds, Jace and Liliana visited an old friend of Jace’s, Emmara Tandris. Tandris was a former shaman of the Selesnya Conclave that Jace would visit when his wounds from his work were more than he could deal with. While visiting, an attempt on her life was made by a Consortium-hired assassin. This was the final straw for Jace, and Liliana pressured him into waging war against Tezzeret, claiming that they would never be free until Tezzeret was defeated.
Jace and Liliana were able to discern Tezzeret’s hideout, and despite learning that Liliana had been playing the two of them against each other the whole time on the orders of Nicol Bolas, he was able to win. He lured Tezzeret to the village of rat people that the Consortium had ravaged earlier, and the ratfolk helped take Tezzeret down. Jace cut off Tezzeret’s etherium arm and destroyed his mind, and with it, the secrets of controlling the Consortium.
Jace then found Baltrice, ruined and delirious, having been ravaged by Liliana’s minions and mind magic while he had fought Tezzeret. Out of pity, he nursed her to health, but her mind was still in tatters. Not seeing an alternative, he ‘fixed’ her mind, undoing the damage done. This involved removing the memory of the event, and while he was at it, removing any memories of the two of them fighting while she was still loyal to Tezzeret.
This came to backfire on Jace when Tezzeret, rebuilt by Nicol Bolas, discovered these truths and revealed them to her, while on an errand from Bolas. Jace tried to reason with her, about how damaged she was when he found her, but it was too late. Baltrice wasn’t sure who to believe and left the both of them to their own personal war.
Out of boredom and uncertainty with what to do with himself, he did come to take control of the Ravnican cell of the Consortium. At some point, he found himself researching the scroll that Chandra had stolen some three years ago. The Consortium was attacked by a warrior druid, Garruk Wildspeaker. Garruk had been cursed by Liliana and knew that Jace would have some idea of where to find her. Jace ultimately relented, having been burned by her in the past. For his effort, Garruk told Jace that his scroll was from a plane known as Zendikar.
Jace went to Zendikar, and eventually tracked Chandra down. She was in over her head, fighting off a massive dragon, who was actually Sarkhan Vol in disguise. Magic would not work in the Eye of Ugin, but the two of them were able to figure out that the colorless flame described in the stolen scroll would work. Chandra cast the flame, and Jace twincast it, and they were victorious. This came at a cost, as they had broken the first of three seals to the Eldrazi. Curious as to how things had spiraled out of control so badly, he considered tracking down Chandra to learn of where she learned of the scroll in the first place. Jace was tired though, and he needed a break.
When he returned to Ravnica, Jace was seeking a place to forget the Multiverse for a while. Everything he had come into contact with turned into a knot that seemed to only get more tangled with each attempt to unravel it. From Tezzeret and Liliana to the Eye of Ugin and the Eldrazi, Jace had endured more than he could handle and went back to the only semblance of a home he knew: Ravnica. But even lost within the countless faces and alleys of the great city, Jace still felt unsettled—an alien visitor who had seen far too much of the Multiverse to simply forget.
He needed a distraction—something to take his mind off a feeling of walls closing in, of mental spiders climbing up from the depths of his unconscious to remind him of some unknown past or future dread. In Ravnica, he found just such a distraction.
He began studying the guilds, the endless maze of streets, and most especially the movements of the dracogenius Niv-Mizzet. New Izzet labs and workshops openedin a chaotic pattern, but Jace knew there must be some underlying principle to the seemingly random activities of the dragon mastermind's guild.
The resurgence of the Dimir was another concern for the mind mage; in them he saw the Infinite Consortium dressed in different clothing. The Dimir had put on a public face but they still hid the same ominously secretive interior.
With the aid of his research assistant, a Vedalken named Kavin, he uncovered a series of glyphs built into Ravnica’s infrastructure. On one such field trip, he follows back an Izzet guildmage, Ral Zarek, to try to discover what the Izzet knows. Ral meets with his parun, Niv-Mizzet, and Jace scans Niv’s mind to learn more. He learned that the runes form a sort of maze and that Niv believes a great power source or some sort of weapon lies at the end of the maze. Unfortunately for Jace, Niv noticed his mind was being read.
Afraid of what would come of being on the wrong side of Niv-Mizzet, Jace commissioned a Gruul champion, the two-headed ogre Ruric Thar, to destroy his research and wiped his and Kavin’s memories. When Jace came to, he learned that Kavin ran away before the procedure and that Emmara had been kidnapped by Rakdos cultists. He crossed minds with the bloodwitch Exava to learn where Emmara had been taken.
He is able to find Emmara but they are both assaulted by a Dimir agent, the vampire Mirko Vosk. Mirko tries to steal Jace’s secrets about the maze before discovering that someone has destroyed his recollection of them. Jace escorts himself and Emmara back to Selesnya turf to heal their wounds. There they meet Trostani and Emmara’s lover, Calomir. Out of jealousy, Jace tries to scan Calomir’s mind to find some dirt on him, but is surprised when he realizes Calomir is immune to telepathy. Jace tries to warn Emmara, but she is so angry by Jace’s audacity that she does not hear his warning and Jace is asked to leave.
Fearing that events were spiraling out of control, Jace tries to remember what was forgotten, and tracks down Ruric Thar. Ruric agrees to allow Jace to read his memories if he beats him in combat, which he does by telepathically leeching the fighting impulses of Ruric’s war-party. Jace is able to recover some amount of the notes he had from Ruric’s memories. Things continue to spiral out of control when they are attacked by a Rakdos lynch mob. Jace is able to lure them away from Ruric’s clan with an illusion of Lord Rakdos himself and leads them back to Rakdos territory where an army of Selesnya troops were waiting.
Lead by Calomir, the troops assault the Rakdos for the kidnapping of Emmara. The fighting continues for a time until a hologram of Niv-Mizzet announces his discoveries of the maze. It is not something that can be claimed single-handedly, each of the Guilds must participate to claim the prize. In the confusion of the announcement, Jace is abducted by Calomir. Calomir reveals himself to be the Dimir guildmaster, the shapeshifter Lazav, who has been secretly egging the Guilds on against each other. Jace finds himself thrown into a jail cell with Mirko and a newly sired Kavin, another on the list of people who have crossed the Dimir.
Solving the Maze
Jace Beleren solved the Dragon's Maze. Jace has a strange new status now. He has become the living embodiment of the Guildpact, a kind of mystical arbiter whose rulings are binding for the guilds on Ravnica. He is empowered to settle disputes and keep the guilds from destroying each other.
Niv-Mizzet tested the boundaries of this by attempting to declare war on another guild. Jace denies the request, and Niv-Mizzet is compelled to comply with his ruling. From here on out, if a guild wants something that impinges on or impacts one of the other guilds, or has a dispute that involves the jurisdiction of multiple guilds, then it will be a matter for the Living Guildpact to decide.
Jace will need help — it’s a big job, and the guilds will undoubtedly try to curry favor with Jace, bribe him, or outright threaten him. Lazav is still out there somewhere, and wants this power for himself. Niv-Mizzet is not at all happy with the situation. Jace has reached out to Lavinia for help, but she’s still struggling with her belief that Jace is a deceiver and a criminal.
Despite all that difficulty, this is kind of what Emmara wanted all along. Jace had been a self-absorbed loner for the most part, but she saw in him the potential to be able to truly understand multiple perspectives. His mind magic makes him uniquely qualified to see and experience what it’s like to think like a member of any of the ten guilds. He’s a reluctant candidate, but to Emmara, the best candidate.
It’s a strange transition for Jace — he takes the responsibility seriously, as he cares deeply for the world of Ravnica. But it also puts him in a very difficult and dangerous position. As news of the Living Guildpact spreads, there are probably thousands of people who’d now like to kill him, and he’s not sure what happens to Ravnica or the guilds if he dies.
He’s also still a planeswalker. Jace can leave Ravnica and still remain the Living Guildpact, but traveling away from Ravnica pulls him away from his duties, and demands on his time there are constant. Every moment he spends away from Ravnica, he risks some disastrous issue arising between the guilds that only he can settle.