human-skulls

III. I Can See Forever (Emrakul’s Presence)

[Gideon] was squaring off against some kind of celestial being who towered over him. Literally celestial—the figure was made of a starry night sky. The celestial figure had two large black horns framing a blue, non-human face. He wielded an impossibly large whip with a human skull in the handle. 

[Tamiyo’s] ability to see, to speak, to write, these are the essential tools of her magic, her communication. These are what define her. She is being erased.

One of the guards, tall and spindly, stepped forward. His face had a wide smile on it, in cruel contrast to his awful words. “We killed your daddy, renegade. We killed your mommy. And now we’re going to kill you.”

The images Jace sees in his companions’ minds have one common theme: death. Gideon faces the most literal incarnation as Erebos, Lord of the Dead. Chandra sees her own avatars of death in the people who killed her parents and tried to kill her. Tamiyo’s concept of death is more abstract; it’s losing the ability to observe, to interact, to communicate. If she couldn’t see, speak, or write, she would consider herself dead (especially since her magic is heavily based around stories and storytelling). So Gideon, Chandra, and Tamiyo are perceiving and personifying Emrakul as death. That’s probably why Liliana doesn’t show up (that, and Jace wasn’t shielding her). Liliana knows death. She’s mastered death. She already knows Emrakul is something much deeper and more horrible.

And then we’ve got Nissa. Nissa is peculiarly affected by Emrakul because, well…

…they’ve met. And because Nissa is fundamentally a mage of life. Like Liliana, she knows right away that Emrakul is something much worse than death. Unlike Liliana, the very nature of Nissa’s magic makes her easy prey for the life-warping titan.

Nissa was rooted in place, screaming, the words emanating from her mouth gibberish. Green and purple energy pooled around her, clashing, ebbing and flowing.

“I was subsumed by her, far too easily. It was not…pleasant.”

Nissa finds the leylines of Innistrad effectively poisoned, Emrakul’s will overwhelming the plane’s own life-force. Life-force being the key word. Planes are “alive” to some extent, and that means Emrakul can dominate them as well. Innistrad itself is bending to her.

Now for Liliana. What Liliana sees is this:

None of those moments compared to the wrongness she felt in Emrakul’s presence. Liliana Vess had spent her whole life seeking not to die, and for the first time in her long existence she wondered if she had been pursuing the wrong goal. In the shadow of Emrakul’s flowering, death seemed just another of life’s superficial lies, a false hope poorly beating back the true horror awaiting all who existed.

Emrakul isn’t death. Emrakul isn’t an absence, like Kozilek (crowned with shards of void) or a decay like Ulamog (leaving dust in its wake). Emrakul is a flowering, a blooming, a bringing-forth of the new rather than the destruction of the old. Well, we sort of already knew that. Emmy’s last in the cycle of titans because she creates whatever it is the eldrazi are…working to create. I mentioned in the second of these posts that maybe life as we know it is not minimizing of entropy, and another form exists that flowers in Emrakul’s wake. Death is an organic thing. Dead things don’t stop existing, they get reprocessed into more life. What Emrakul represents is another kind of existence outside life and death as we understand it at all, perhaps one that better minimizes entropy, and the titan is busily plowing through the multiverse swallowing up the “wrong” kind of life in order to replace it with the “right” kind. That fits with what “Emeria” says to Jace:

“I cannot talk to you. I do not even really know you exist.”

Living things can’t really comprehend the existence of Emrakul, but in turn that means Emrakul can’t really understand the existence of life-as-we-know-it.

[Liliana] could feel the Eldrazi’s blighted touch, a touch now so powerful it affected even the dead. 

The undead are much less susceptible to Emrakul’s influence, but beneath the titan’s onslaught Liliana’s zombies do eventually begin to succumb. Death is a false hope that seems like it offers protection from Emrakul and the transformation she represents, but it isn’t. Liliana starts to wonder if death isn’t what she should be afraid of - Emrakul, and the new existence she embodies, is the true nightmare. And for everything ever alive, everything that’s ever existed, there is no escape.


I. And Then There’s This Asshole (The Nature of Emrakul)
II. Time’s Arrow (Emrakul & Entropy)
III. I Can See Forever (Emrakul’s Presence)
IV. I’m Really Good At Chess (Emrakul vs. Jace)
V. Accepted, With Revisions (Tamiyo’s Scroll)

8/27/16 - SCP680, “Clockwork Skull”

SCP-680-1 is a slate sculpture in the form of a human skull missing its mandible, with a mass of approximately 7.5 kg.  The sculpture itself does not appear to be hollow, as all orifices have been filled with a presently-unknown black substance that rates 9.6 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness.  Beyond its improbably high durability, the skull itself appears to have no particularly unusual properties.  Resting on top of SCP-680-1, however, is SCP-680-2.

Examples of intricately carved human skulls. They are apparently quite old and from Asia, and with a Buddhist connection, although we can’t be sure. All we can say is that they are incredible in their detail and beauty. The patina of age and the imagery on each one is amazing.