Liliana of the Veil (Part 2)

History & Lore: Liliana of the Veil (Part 1)

Shandalar.

Liliana had been here twice before. The first was when she encountered The Chain Veil and the dangerous hunter Garruk. The second was when she returned shortly thereafter to try to uncover more information about the Veil. The endeavor ultimately ended in failure as she learned very little about the Onakke, was chased by a riot, and an encounter with the Raven Man only made the matters more confusing.

That information was unnecessary now. The Veil had no doubt proved itself powerful by granting Liliana the means to kill both Kothophed and Griselbrand, but had also been a heavy burden to bear. The power that surged through her body and illuminated her scars left her feeling weak and the voices in her head were becoming louder and more frequent. It was time to return it.

“You’ll take me there, won’t you?” she said. The whispers rose just to the edge of her hearing before she quashed them again.

“…where the seed took root…”

She walked, and soon enough—as she had expected—a sort of pressure behind one eye steered her to the right.

The voices guided her and she began to recognize places she had been before. Hoof prints where she had killed the beast that Garruk sought to avenge. The crumbling ruins of the temple that had housed the Veil and the setting for Garruk’s curse.

As she approached the temple an angel intervened, warning her to stay back. The angel seemed to recognize the Veil resting on Liliana’s side.

Liliana wasn’t one to head warnings, especially from angels. She’d killed many angels before, and this one would be no different. With ease she blasted it with dark magic and with her dying words the angel muttered,

“The Onakke…..vessel.”

Liliana was taken aback by the words and the voices grew to a loud roar that sent her to her knees. When she arose, she saw that her surroundings had changed. The land was younger, there were buildings, and there were Onakke ogres walking around a town. The business of the day’s errands supplanted the voices in her head. Suddenly an ogre ran out of the forest and into the town square, clamoring what seemed like warnings to the others citizens. The ogre fell to the ground and melted into a black smear of bones and soot. Chaos ensued as the citizens ran in a panic. A dark purple fog filled the town and meteors fell out of the sky. Any person that came into contact with the smoke met the same fate as the first. Before her eyes, she witnessed the massacre of an entire civilizations in just a few brief moments. A raven landed on a building near her, stared at her, and was the first thing to take notice of her. The Raven Man. She shot a blast of dark magic at it and she was suddenly pulled out of her vision.

cx0a8jdbgh_ur20140705_art5
“Damnation” by Kev Walker

She saw the ancients forest again, the dead angel, and the crumbling temple before her. She was in awe of the destruction she had witness, almost admiring it, but also wanted more than anything to return the Veil. It was bad enough to hear their voices let alone be thrown into visions of them.

She entered the temple and approached the alter, the voices were growing louder.

“Trust me, I’ve tasted its power. It’s really something. Great work… But I seem to have killed two masters and taken on a million more,” she said. “I’m not your damned vessel.”

She let the Veil slide to the edge of her hand and turned away to leave. To her disbelief she looked down and saw the Veil still in hand, thinking she had set it on the altar. She held it out in front of her to drop it but her hand refused to loosen its grip. She tossed it hand to hand but could not let go.

“Stupid hands! Don’t you know who’s in charge here?”

She walked over to an Onakke skeleton and animated it. She demanded it take the Veil from her and it obeyed despite her body’s objection. She then ordered it to take the Veil to the altar but it refused to move. She decided that if it wouldn’t leave her, she would leave it, and quickly took the life that was animating it. As it crumbled to the floor it lunged at her and draped the Veil on her outstretched arm. She fell to her knees defeated.

Another Onakke skeleton approached her without the need for her reanimation magic. Muscles, organs, and skin began to envelope the skeleton until she saw an Onakke ogre as if it were alive and well. She tried to dispatch it but it seemed to ignore her attacks and feel no pain. It spoke to her,

“The root has not yet come to full flower in you, vessel.”

“What root?”

“The root that was planted in you so many years ago, when you killed your brother.”

The mention of her brother angered her and she attacked it once again begging it to take the Veil from her. The ogre refused, further explaining that when the time was right, she would bring forth the destruction she carried within. He scolded her for damming others to the void while cheating death herself. At the mention of her brother again she called upon the Chain Veil to finally quell the spirit. She had to get out of here, anywhere other than Shandalar.

cx0a8jdbgh_ur20140705_art7
“Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient” by Slawomir Maniak

It had been a long time since Liliana had seen Jace, but there weren’t that many people she could go to for help, and she knew she needed it. She tracked down Jace to Ravnica where he had become an important figure among the guilds. Her presence caught him off guard. The last time they had seen each other, Liliana had betrayed Jace at the behest of Bolas. Though he was suspicious, he still let her into his house. She tries to convince him that her visit is to simply repair the relationship they had before; that their was no ulterior selfish motive. After some probing into the whereabouts of Garruk and the effects of the Veil, the two begin to heal old wounds.

Just as they began to enjoy each other’s company their dinner date was interrupted by Gideon. His interruption annoyed the party but quickly caught Jace’s curiosity when he mentioned Zendikar. His news that Zendikar’s defenses were falling to the Eldrazi alerted Jace to the severity of the situation. Gideon urged Jace to come with him and help him defend Zendikar against the titans. Liliana, having been ignored this whole time, pushed them aside and went her way.

Sensing she was hurt, Jace pursued her and tried to inform her of the situation, that he may be partially responsible for the release of the Eldrazi and that it was his responsibility to fix it. He tried to convince her to come and help or at least wait for his return on Ravnica. She couldn’t. She had a mission, a mission she would put before Jace and especially before Gideon, whom she likened to stupid angels. She still had two demons to kill and she wasn’t going to accomplish that by running off to Zendikar. She pressed on and let Jace go with Gideon; she was alone again.

Gideon, Champion of Justice

She roamed the streets of Ravnica, regretting her decision to hold back from asking for help. Perhaps if she had, Jace would not have left and instead would have chosen to stay with her. Did he know what the Veil was doing to her? Her bind to it? Could he hear the voices in her head?

As her walk continued, the amount of ravens amidst the building tops became apparent.

The Raven Man.

“All right, Raven Man,” Liliana said. “Enough of your games.”

At once the Raven Man appeared out of a flurry of feathers and smoke. He mocked her poor condition with a disingenuous offer to help but she ignored him. She poked and prodded, hoping to unveil some new information about who he was and what his mission entailed. Obviously she had been a part of it since her time on Dominaria, before her spark, but to what end? She didn’t enjoy feeling like a pawn in a game she didn’t understand.

He gave her no answers, and only continued to provoke her by pointing out her unfortunate situation: She needed the Veil to finish off the other two demons, but the Veil was killing her with every use. She was trapped.

“You’re accustomed to corpses that are bound to your will. You’re accustomed to using death as a weapon. But death is coming for you, Lili. Death you can’t control. It is growing inside you, and there is nothing you can do.” 

Her annoyance led her to finally attacking the Raven Man with the Veil, sending the ravens back into the abyss. The Raven Man had disappeared, her arms were bleeding, and once again she was alone. Frustrated with Jace and her lack of progress on Ravnica, she planeswalked away.

cardart_D16_Liliana-Interstitial-7
Art by Adame Minguez

While the events on Zendikar were taking place, Liliana returned to Innistrad to see if any of its most accomplished giestmages, specialist in the magic of spirits, could rid the Chain Veil of the Onakke. After the Eldrazi’s defeat on Zendikar, Jace would once again find himself in the presence of Liliana, except this time the roles were reversed. This time Jace was on Innistrad, approaching Liliana for help. He was looking for Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, who had abandoned his responsibilities of guarding the once imprisoned Eldrazi titans. She tried to keep him from finding Sorin and going to Markov Manor, but Jace was annoyingly insistent, and would go whether she helped or not.

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

After much investigating on the plane, Jace returns with an uneasy demeanor. He attempts to use his mind magic on Liliana to test the knowledge he’s accumulated in the investigation against hers. The Raven Man makes himself known to Liliana and shields her mind from Jace’s prying magic. With the Raven Man protecting her mind, Liliana defeats Jace.

Jace seemed to be coming undone and on the edge of insanity, claiming he must find Avacyn and go to Thraben. Again Liliana refuses to help but tries to persuade him not to go, that it would be the end of him. Against her better judgement, he leaves for Thraben anyway.

cardart_SOI_Lilianas-Indignation
“Liliana’s Indignation” by Daarken

Liliana couldn’t follow Jace, she had an important appointment with the Geistmage Dierk who was willing to help with the Veil. She arrived in the laboratory where Dierk had been readying the Witchbane Orb. The goal was to harness the power of the storm outside and blast the Veil with spectral energy while Liliana wore the artifact on her face. The experiment would be incredibly painful but could rid the artifact of the Onakke that were ensnared within it.

Witchbane Orb

The experiment was a failure. Liliana took on as much pain as she could handle before giving in to the powerful spectral blast. The orb was ruined, the lab was a mess, and the Veil remained unchanged.

It was time to return the orb to its owner and she made her way to Olivia‘s manor. There, she learned from the powerful vampire that Avacyn had been destroyed, by Sorin’s hands no less. A fleeting feeling of worry for Jace came and went at the mention of Avacyn.

Olivia admitted she knew that Liliana had opened the Helvault. She told her that while she had freed Avacyn, Griselbrand, and other evil beings, she had also released The Lithomancer, Nahiri. She was one of The Three that also included Sorin and Ugin. Together they helped bring the Eldrazi into physical form so that they could be trapped. Sorin lured them to Zendikar, Ugin used his colorless magic to bind them, and Nahiri forged the hedrons that constructed their prison. When the prison became unstable, Nahiri called for Sorin but her messages were not received. She went to confront him and saw his negligence as an act of betrayal, he saw her contempt as disrespect. As punishment, he trapped her in the Helvault.

More surprises awaited Liliana as Olivia led her down the hall of the manor, to Sorin himself. He was livid with Liliana for releasing Nahiri, who had taken it upon herself to warp the plane that he loved to attract Eldrazi as revenge for her imprisonment.

Sorin’s fangs flared. “I told you when you came here as a pup. Innistrad is mine. You meddle in my affairs, you die.”

“Innistrad may be your domain, Sorin,” she whispered. She patted him on the arm. “But death is mine.”

Their feud was interrupted by Olivia who made Sorin aware of the fact that Nahiri was close and that it was time to go. Olivia had gathered a vampiric army on Sorin’s orders to face the Lithomancer, and it was time to march into that battle. Olivia offered a position within her ranks for Liliana, but she felt a pull in another direction.

Avacyn was gone and now Sorin was pulling his resources to face Nahiri instead of the monstrosities she wrought. A dark shadow of tendrils slithered beneath the clouds towards Thraben, away from Nahiri, towards Jace. Nobody would be there to help Jace or Thraben from the Eldrazi. Nahiri was Sorin’s battle, this was hers.

c4rd4r7_5Hvc6uRj7B
Art by Joseph Meehan

Liliana arrived as the Gatewatch and Tamiyo were in the midst of being overrun. The Gatewatch was a band of planeswalkers that consist of Gideon, Jace, Nissa, and Chandra. They had all taken an oath to team together against enemies that were too large or dangerous for any one planeswalker. While distrustful and suspicious of her motive and dark magic, the group had no choice but to lean on Liliana’s ability to keep the swarms of Eldrazi at bay with her zombies.

Before a plan could be formulated, Emrakul approached the Gatewatch. Her presence was unsettling and made Liliana feel uneasy. A feeling worse than the memories of Josu, Bolas’s gaze, and the Veil’s power.

Emrakul, the Promised End

Emrakul let out a burst of magic towards the Gatewatch that made them feel sick with vertigo and nausea. Her power was incredible and staying to fight seemed like insanity. Even the Veil didn’t want any part of Emrakul.

“Vessel of destruction. Root of evil. Flee.”

Emrakul let out another mental attack that knocked most of the group unconscious. Her assault on their minds was an attempt to enslave them, take them as her own. Just the thought of someone trying to take control of Liliana infuriated her. She’d come so far and achieved so much. She wasn’t going to let someone else take that from her. Her anger and rage drew more power from the Veil than she had ever siphoned before. Her outrage even blinded her from the pain that the Veil had caused previously. Perhaps this is how she’s to overcome the side effects of the Veil, by sheer force of will.

Once her fury and rage subdued the pain of the Veil, she was able to continue to draw more and more from it, to the point where she felt omnipotent as she was before the Great Mending. The Veil and the Raven Man protested in her mind.

“We must leave here. This is madness. I thought you wanted to conquer death. The entity you face here is older than time, and more powerful than you, even if you wielded a hundred Chain Veils! We must leave!”

“Vessel. Vessel of destruction. We must flee the World-Ender. The World-Creator. Vessel!” The Raven Man’s voice choked with panic. “Listen to the Veil, you idiot! Flee!”

“I. AM. NOT. A. VESSEL!”

All that matters is my will. My desire. Nothing can stand before me.

I don’t belong to you. You belong to me.

She blasted the titan with necrotic damage and then again and again and again with relentless fury and determination. The two pushed back and forth on each other while the Raven Man continued his campaign to convince Liliana to leave.

Eventually, Liliana began to tire as the battle had drug on for some time; Emrakul did not. The power that she had been using to fight Emrakul and keep her veins from spilling blood was now being used to shield herself from the titan. Her scars began to bleed and she was backed into a corner against the titan’s tentacles. Liliana’s fate was now in the hands of Jace who was the only other conscious planeswalker. He had been dispelling Emrakul’s magic and protecting the others, but he would need to do much more now.

Jace finally pushed past the mind control magic, and the rest of the group regained consciousness. Emkrakul could not be destroyed, as evidence of Liliana’s defeat and unconscious bleeding body on the ground.  They had to do something else. Their plan was to try to trap it, the way it had been on Zendikar. Just as Avacyn and Griselbrand were ensnared within the Helvault, Tamiyo and the Gatewatch were successful in trapping Emrakul within a silver moon.

cardart_EMN_Imprisoned-in-the-Moon
“Imprisoned in the Moon” by Ryan Alexander Lee

Liliana recovered, as did the rest of the group, and the plane itself.

She had lived, but she hadn’t won. In fact, she hadn’t had a gleam of hope or reason for celebration in a long while now. After killing Griselbrand, failure was all she had known. Failure in returning the Veil, failure in getting help from Jace or the geistmages of Innistrad, and failure in battle; The Veil was unreliable and her zombies were not enough to achieve victory.

She realized she needed more than the Veil or zombies to accomplish what she wanted, she needed planeswalkers. When her powers weren’t enough, they’d be there to step in, fight, and also help her heal afterwards. Their blind loyalty to each other was ridiculous, but perhaps she could exploit it for herself. The next two demons would be even tougher adversaries than the ones previous. Having back-up didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

My very own Gatewatch

“I see that together we’re more powerful than we are alone. If that means I can do what needs to be done without relying on the Chain Veil, then I’ll keep watch. Happy now?”

c24a74b7ca71ba3952c1d8b98a5c1bf3-620x264
“Oath of Liliana” by Wesley Burt

If you’re interested in reading any of Liliana’s stories mentioned in this article feel free to visit her home page here.

Continue Liliana’s story as she fights her two remaining demons with the Gatewatch by her side here.

Liliana of the Veil (Part 1)

Liliana Vess was one of the five original planeswalkers first printed in Lorwyn. Each planeswalker embodied their piece of the color pie and gave us our first look at what planeswalkers, other than ourselves, were really capable of in the multiverse. Liliana did exactly what we’ve come to know and love about black: discard, tutoring, and reanimation. While not as powerful or played as Garruk Wildspeaker and Jace Beleren, many people fell in love the dark necromancer nonetheless. She’s sexy, confident, powerful, and dangerous; get in her way and she’ll spare no time in laying you to waste. It’s no wonder Liliana Vess anagrams to ‘a villainess’ as that’s exactly who she is, an anti-hero who finds herself on both sides of the battlefield. If being driven and focused on her own goals means she’s labeled as a bad guy, she doesn’t want to be good.

Liliana Vess

Before Liliana was Liliana of the Veil, as we know her best today, she was a healer on her home plane of Dominaria. Her father was a ruler and general in the lands of Benalia. He provided a comfortable life for Liliana, with a large estate, wealth, and prestige. She had anything she could ever want or need, and yet she cared very little about any of it. The reputation of her family or their responsibilities didn’t concern her. While those responsibilities consumed her family’s time, she was able to do whatever she pleased in her own. Her rebelling attitude and promiscuous doings frustrated her father and kept those who looked after her constantly irritated, disappointed, and ashamed.

en_mtg_comic10_pt1_ftf3
Art by Dan Brereton

Lady Ana, a mentor and caretaker of Liliana, would do her best in giving Liliana some purpose and focus in her life. She sought to teach her everything there was to know about herbs, remedies, and healing. With Liliana’s father and brother dealing with wars and business, Liliana was left with little oversight and a new understanding of power. In her spare time she dabbled in dark magic and necromancy, innocently, as a means to further her abilities as a healer. The line between life and death was a gray area to her and no one was too far from saving.

Liliana, Heretical Healer

Even while surrounded by war and the enemies of her father’s house, she never really felt the effects of the bloodshed taking place outside the estate, never understood the consequences of war. Until one particular evening, her father’s enemies brought her face to face with the carnage that was taking place in Benalia. Josu, Liliana’s brother, had been poisoned by their adversaries and was dying.

Lady Ana sent Liliana into the woods to collect the ingredients needed for a remedy, a root from the Esis Tree. In the woods, she was met by a man whom she referred to as the “Raven Man” who told her that the tree root she needed had been burned by her father’s enemies. Aware of Liliana’s abilities in dark magic, he persuaded her to use her limited knowledge of necromancy to find another cure. She had never considered using that kind of magic outside of her free time, but Josu was in trouble and running out of time. With the confidence instilled by the Raven Man, Liliana took the burned, dead, root of the Esis Tree and forms her own cure. A cure for life brewed from death, woven with dark magic, with a subtle golden glow. The medicine was powerful, perhaps even more powerful than the cure Lady Ana had originally intended to make.

5e295d96391a3e60772f658c0d8d21f8
“Dark Dabbling” by Bastlen L. Deharme

Upon her return to the mansion, she finds Josu in great pain. Against her mentor’s better judgement, she gave the cure to Josu and his illness subsides for a brief, calm, relieving moment. At first she thought she had cured her brother… but as the calm moment passed, sudden pain and torment came over Josu before he took his last breath. She felt foolish for taking matters into her own hands, being naive, and not listening to Lady Ana. The Raven Man had made her feel confident she knew what she was doing, but it was clear she didn’t.

As she mourned beside his bed, her brother suddenly came to life and seized her with his cold hands and empty gaze. It seemed that not only had she killed him but she had cursed him to eternal torment. Josu, angry at what Liliana had done to him, grappled and fought her, cursing that she would also live in eternal torment with him for what she had done.

“Join me, Lili,” he said. “All the torment of the Void will be ours to share forever.”

en_mtg_comic10_pt1_ftf8
Art by Dan Brereton

The shock, shame, and emotional trauma of the moment ignited Liliana’s spark and, “…in her moment of utter desolation, something inside Liliana caught fire, a spark of infinite darkness, at once colder than the grip of death and hotter than the sun, dark and endless as the Void but eternally alive, an infinity of possibility, the power of creation itself…and annihilation.”

Her spark sent her through the multiverse as she planeswalks away from Dominaria, away from home, to the plane of Innistrad.

cardart_v6eSXtfKVU
Art by Izzy

Liliana put the events of her brother behind her and continued to hone her skills in necromancy and black magic. She learned from the most powerful mages, vampires, and liches from across the multiverse, mastering death and wielding it with brute force. Even while surrounding herself with death, she was never willing to embrace it the way her lich mentors had. Her fear of spending eternity in torment with Josu still follows her.

Her powers are nearly omnipotent within her immortality; being a planeswalker has some nice perks. Her travels brought her into the presence of many powerful entities within the multiverse, including Sorin Markov while on Innistrad. On one particular journey, an envoy of angels sensed her dark magic and confronted her. She overpowered the angels with hordes of zombies and took the angel’s headdress for herself; a souvenir, a trophy, a testament to her abilities.

Unholy Hunger

Her incredible power would not last forever though, as The Mending of Dominaria would weaken planeswalkers across the multiverse. The Great Mending, as it would come to be known, took place as the final rifts in time are healed. The rifts were originally caused by catastrophes, created mostly by the meddling of planeswalkers like Urza. These catastrophes created timeline anomalies and harmful side effects to those who encountered them. We can see the effects of these time rifts on cards that feature mechanics such as Split Second, Vanishing, and Suspend. When the last rift was healed, planeswalkers lost their God-like immortality and power. A mending for the plane, but a disaster for the planeswalkers.

Fraying Omnipotence

Liliana began to age as her powers weakened. After a century of wielding death as a weapon, it seemed she would soon find herself in its grasp, with Josu. Her fear of Josu’s curse and the end of her life drove her to desperation. She wasn’t one to ask for help, but what else could she do? She went to the one being she thought could help, Nicol Bolas. Her fear of death and longing for immortality outweighed her independence and distaste for reliance.

Liliana_Vess_getting_older

Bolas decides to help Liliana recoup a fraction of the power she once had before the Mending.

The cost?

Her soul, paid upon death.

While going into debt to anyone, especially Bolas, was not ideal, her need for youth and power was worth any cost, even her soul. Bolas brokered the deal with four powerful demons: Griselbrand, Razaketh, Belzenlok, and Kothophed. After going into contract with the first three demons, she felt herself become more powerful, as she was before, but she was still without youth.

Kothophed was the last demon she needed to meet with before the pact was complete. The demon toyed with Liliana, testing her, dangling her freedom in front of her face, and putting her in her place. He reminded her that he is more powerful than she will ever be, after-all, she is just a human. He threatened that any disobedience from her would result in her death.

Liliana put up a decent fight through Kothophed’s tests but the demon overwhelmed her in the end. After her defeat, he proceeded to rip her flesh from her body with “[…]one claw from the crown of her head to the toes of one foot, slicing deep, scraping against bone. She screamed. The incision made, the demon peeled back her age-worn skin, pulling it off her like a rabbit’s hide.” What was revealed to Liliana under her skin was not muscle or bone, but a smooth more youthful body lying beneath.

“If you ever get the idea of testing your strength against me,” the demon said, “I will slit you open again. But this time, there will not be a young and beautiful Liliana underneath.”

With his razor-sharp claw, Kothophed engraved the contract into Liliana’s new youthful skin, scarring her. A reminder of her debts to her new masters.

ARC20150728_Demonic-Tutor
“Demonic Tutor” by Scott Chou

Liliana heeded the demon’s words but left feeling more powerful and energized than she had been in a long time. The pact was complete and she could continue her long life with youth, beauty, and the remnants of power she once held before The Great Mending.

In the years that followed, Liliana often found herself in the company of those who worked with Bolas, doing freelance work for Tezzeret’s Infinite Consortium.  The group was a collection of mercenaries and planeswalkers who would travel the multiverse in search of powerful relics that could be hoarded, used, or re-sold. The Infinite Consortium had once belonged to Bolas until Tezzeret’s mutiny took hold of the mercenary group and supplanted himself at the helm. During her time doing work for the group, Liliana met Jace Beleren,  a defector of the mercenary group.

cardart_137427
Art by Dave Kendall

The two had a troublesome affair that wasn’t exactly what we’d call a healthy relationship, though there was certainly a strong attraction. Jace doesn’t quite understand the subtlety of social interaction, being a mind mage that can see past white lies and fake smiles. Liliana on the other hand is 100% deception and never willing to lay all her cards on the table. Combined, the two make quite the duo of powerful misfits that love each other, even through their stark differences.

In the end though, Jace was ultimately betrayed by Liliana, as she put into motion a series of events orchestrated by Bolas that would lead to Jace confronting Tezzeret. Bolas’ promise for Liliana’s betrayal would free her from her Demonic Pact if Bolas could regain control of the Infinite Consortium. She loved Jace, but she hated servitude even more.

In defiance, Jace erased all memories of the group from Tezzeret’s mind and the Infinite Consortium dissolves without his leadership. Liliana and Bolas gain nothing, and Jace returned to Ravnica alone. Multiple times Liliana thought about running away with Jace to Ravnica, but her fear of his judgement for her betrayal and the punishment of the demon master’s she serves kept her at arm’s length.

After her time with Jace, Kothophed sent her on an errand to retrieve an artifact from the ruins of the ancient Onakke civilization on the plane of Shandalar. On her way to the sanctuary where the artifact resides, Liliana encountered some hostile beasts that kill her horse. In self-defense, she killed the beasts and continued into the ruins, unaware that her actions upset the local hunter Garruk.

Garruk found the evidence of her slaughter. Assuming the killer of the beast had no reason to do so, Garruk tracks down the killer of the animal he claims to be his own within his territory. He finally catches up to her and confronts her while she was deciphering the sanctuary, just as she was about to enter the main hall.

hv3_3_pdww96ad2m_en

hv3_5_4hpfonsj9o_en
Art by Jason Shawn Alexander

The two powerful planeswalkers entered the main hall and Garruk engaged Liliana. He summoned his beasts and attacked her with all his rage and bloodthirst. The Chain Veil lying before Liliana tempted her to use it against the brute. It whispered promises of power beyond her imagination.

“This Veil will mask your soul from those who would take it from you.”

“Conceal yourself beneath the Veil and make him come to you.”

“With the veil, you are no longer one in a million.”

“You are a million in one.”

She gave in to its pulsing aura and used it to unequivocally defeat Garruk. The surge of power ignited her scars with a neon purple as the current flowed through her.

hv3_8_r23rqgektr_en

hv3_9_xkdi8akjwb_en
Art by Jason Shawn Alexander
Chain_Veil
“The Chain Veil” by Volkan Baga

The artifact left a feeling of rejuvenation. The power was incredible. She couldn’t resist but take it for a spin. Without mercy, without hesitation, sympathy, forgiveness, pity, or care, she decimated an entire fortress of men and left their bodies in piles.

Why?

Because she could.

en_mtg_comic6_garlill_pt2_07
Art by Steve Prescott

She had only barely been bested by Kothophed during his tests and now with the Chain Veil by her side, she felt confident that she could overthrow the demon. She had gotten what she needed from Kothophed: youth, beauty, and power. She didn’t care to be enslaved to anyone any longer and now she had the tools to rid the demon’s shackles.

As an act of defiance she returned to Kothophed’s lair dawning the Chain Veil, more confident than she’d been in a long while. Before Kothophed could punish the rebellious planeswalker, Liliana unleashed the power of the Veil upon the demon and crushed him with ease. He tried to warn her of the consequences of using the Veil but she quickly shook off the words. What could be worse that being his slave?

en_mtg_comic6_garlill_pt3_07

en_mtg_comic6_garlill_pt3_08
Art by Steve Prescott

Though the author of her scars had been defeated, they still remained. Even more, now they ached and bled. It seemed that the powerful surge from the Veil that illuminated her scars came at some cost after all. It was still nothing compared to the servitude she would have to endure under the thumb of her masters. The contract had not fully been undone while three of the four demons still lived on. With the Veil at her side, her quest to rid herself of her masters came into focus. Griselbrand was on Innistrad, and that’s where she went next.

Liliana of the Veil

It is at this point we are introduced to the powerful Liliana of the Veil. The original Liliana Vess had been printed 4 years prior and she was long over due for a new card. We see Liliana’s personality shine through a little bit more here than on her first card. Of course then, we didn’t really know who Liliana was and the card simply picked out some abilities synonymous with black. Now that we know Liliana a little bit better, we can better understand the flavor of her new card.

She’s no doubt a powerful ally to summon into battle, but don’t let that confuse you with friendship. Liliana has no friends and you are no different. She’ll strip resources from your opponent, but she’ll make sure you do the same without prejudice. There’s a cost for her allegiance in battle, Liliana doesn’t do anything for free. You can have her Cruel Edict your opponent, but this kind of demand will no doubt run her patience thin to the point of abandoning you in battle. She’s not really one to be taking orders and being bossed around. If you’re willing to let her consume resources from both you and your opponent for multiple turns, she’s willing to completely decimate your opponent’s board with her ultimate.

Liliana of the Veil is the most powerful Liliana planeswalker printed to date, which makes sense even from a storytelling perspective. Liliana is at her height of power with the Veil as it whispers promises of even more power with more use. She showed no signs of stopping, and with three demons left to slay, why would she?

nVrr9y3mMB
“Liliana’s Influence” by Winona Nelson

Back on Innistrad, Liliana scoured the plane looking for clues as to Griselbrand’s whereabouts. After much investigating, she was led to the grave of Mikaeus the Lunarch. After recurring Mikaeus the Unhallowed, he informed her that Griselbrand is locked within the Helvault along with many other evil entities.

Image result for helvault mtg

The Helvault was home to many things other than Griselbrand. It was a prison for all of Innistrad’s mischievous creatures and beings. They were imprisoned there by Sorin’s Avacyn, who was a holy creature that kept the balance of good and evil on Innastrad. Sorin wanted to ensure humans could survive on Innistrad, a plane filled with vampires, werewolves, and the undead. Their savior was Avacyn, who banished evil and locked them within the Helvault to protect the human population. Recently, she had gone missing. Unbeknownst to the population, she was injured, trapped within the Helvault with all those she had sent there.

As Liliana approached the Helvault, she crossed the path of a young women named Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. She was sworn to protect the Helvault at all cost. She didn’t fully understand what evil was ensnared there and didn’t know Avacyn had been trapped, but she did know that she took an oath to protect it.

Liliana’s undead army attacked Thalia’s regiments and through the power of the Chain Veil extinguished all hope of victory. Liliana gave Thalia an ultimatum:

“Either this shiny rock will be annihilated,” she says, “or your compatriots. The choice is yours.”

Thalia gave in to save the remnants of her army. She felt there was no point in protecting it anyway, they were already dealing with the horrors of Innistrad without Avacyn, what could be worse?

As the Helvault was destroyed, an explosion of holy light blows Thalia and Liliana back. Shadows and evil slithered out of the vault and disappeared into the darkness while Avacyn, Angel of Hope, rose into the sky. Rallying angels, reigniting the blessings of churches, chaplains, and holy relics, Thalia’s regiments had a renewed hope against the evil of the plane.

Liliana cared little about Avacyn and what her release meant to the people and was more focused on the now escaped Griselbrand. He had retreated from the fiasco to Ashmouth, where he hoped to bide his time and slowly regain his power by collecting the souls of foolish mortals. Little did he know that Liliana had stalked him to Ashmouth to confront him.

She was weak from her fight with Thalia’s army and the demolishing of the Helvault, but Griselbrand was also weak, Garruk was still on her trail, and time was of the essence. She surprised Griselbrand and took him off-guard. He knew she meant business and also knew he was in no position to fight her. He tried to promise her even more power but Liliana saw through his lies and the power of the Veil surged through her once more. The power was even more overwhelming than previous times and though she destroyed the powerful demon handily, it left her feeling more unsettled than relieved. The voices were growing louder and her scars turned a crimson red, filling with blood once again.

She began to wonder if she could control this power if she continued to use it and let it grow.

“Seed…annihilation..”

“Vessel….destruction…”

“….a million in one.”

While the Veil was no doubt the source of incredible power, enough to overthrow two demons, it was difficult to control and was taking its toll on her body and mind. Perhaps it was time to return it, along with all the voices and pain that came with it.

feature190_lihnfakqa9
Art by Nils Hamm

If you’re interested in reading any of Liliana’s stories mentioned in this article feel free to visit her home page here.

Continue Liliana’s story as she tries to rid herself of the powerful Veil in her Part 2 Segment.