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The Black Mass
The Black Mass
The Black Mass is an ancient and unidentified entity that has come to reside within the unfathomable depths of the Book of Eibon. As one of the eight Great Old Ones (旧支配者, Guratto Orrudo Wan), it is confirmed to be a former acquaintance of Shinigami, whose "power" and very existence drives men to madness.
|“||This is 'power'. Free from all reason or restraint, free to recklessly pursue all of your desires.||”|
—Black Mass, Chapter 75, Soul Eater
As its numerous conversations with Black☆Star and Death the Kid insinuates, this entity has become defined by the tremendous power it possesses. However, despite its preoccupation with the concepts of power and the seemingly flippant attitude in which it distributes this quality amongst those that it encounters, the black mass is well aware of the true complexities behind the acquisition of power and the consequences that may arise from its pursuit. Much of this wisdom has been acquired through great adversity, due largely to the part that this entity played in the devolution of Asura into the first Kishin, which ultimately lead to the creature's decision to seek permanent confinement within the Book of Eibon. It is from this prison that it resolved to evaluate those who desire to become new rulers in the absence of the Great Old Ones, determining who amongst these candidates is most worthy to fulfil the role, while making them understand that having power does not automatically equate to being just, no matter how good their intentions may initially appear.
As the initial designation of black mass implies, this entity is comprised solely from a viscous dark liquid of unknown origin, which appears to remain in a constant state of flux. In spite of this perpetual motion, due to the creature's will the substance still retains a largely humanoid form, comprising of two threadlike arms and a definitive face. These defined facial features consist from two eye sockets, created from the absence of the liquid in distinct places, and a mouth formed by a tight formation of numerous tendrils. Due to the considerable quantity of the substance involved, the entity dwarfs the majority of organisms in existence including humans, who don't even equal the creature's head in size.
During the Grim Times, the black mass served directly under Shinigami as one of his Eight Powerful Warriors alongside the other Great Old Ones, where it partook in various confrontations as part of a long lasting battle against the Witches. However, at some point after the events surrounding the devolution of Asura into the first Kishin, the entity decided to imprison itself within the deepest recesses of the Book of Eibon by its own volition, where it has remained since.
Madness (発狂, Hakkyō): As a Great Old One, the black mass is a tremendously powerful entity that presides over one of the pursuits that drives men towards madness, which in its particular case is the quest for "Power" (力, Chikara). Even by just simply coming into direct physical contact with the dark liquid that comprises this creature's body, one can unleash the full potential of the latent abilities residing within them but this comes at a considerable cost to the individual's own sanity. As the old proverb goes, "absolute power corrupts absolutely" and nothing could be more true in this case, with any afflicted person almost immediately succumbing to the enticing prospects of power while neglecting anything else, as they are consumed by their own dormant insanity. While under the effects of this respective madness, absolutely nothing else matters with the exception of the acquisition of more power, an obsession that even the strong bonds of friendship cannot overcome easily.
However, the advantages of this power are not just restricted to external sources, as the black mass itself has demonstrated various abilities which attest to its own tremendous capabilities. For instance, despite not being the current wielder nor creator of the object of its imprisonment, it still manages to exert some authority over the Book of Eibon that even The Index must adhere to. This influence most prominently manifests itself in the deepest chapter of the tome, which can only be entered upon express permission from the black mass and can also be entirely submerged under water if deemed necessary, all in accordance with the entity's will.
Part in the Story
The Great Old One
Relinquished to the blank interior of the Book of Eibon by Noah's decree, for the sake of his own preservation in the face of an infuriated Gopher, a panicked Death the Kid encounters this particular imposing black entity amongst the pages of his prison.
Likened to Asura in regards to the sensation of its wavelength, the strange entity confirms that the similarities are present due to it too belonging to the same category as Shinigami, a "Great Old One" (旧支配者, Guratto Orrudo Wan). Identifying itself towards this "fragment" as one of the remaining five original Eight Powerful Warriors, after the consumption of three at the hands of Asura; the black mass includes itself amongst the likes of Shinigami, Eibon and one other of whom Kid is already aware of. Amused by Kid's mistaken presumption that because of its history, it was also an ally of his, the creature instead explicitly asserts that it shares no such allegiance with anyone. Listing the words "Order, Knowledge, Power, Rage, Terror", the black mass explains that the very existence of the Great Old Ones drives men to madness, before drenching Kid in the dark liquid that comprises it's body.
Observing Kid's resultant transformation, the black mass contemplates upon the child's current thoughts since the discovery of the insanity that lay within him. Repeating the question aloud, the entity discloses that he has provided Kid with a "power" akin to his own runaway desires but one that is not restricted by the fetters of reason, before asking for further details surrounding the strength that has recently been awakened. Provided with a seemingly satisfactory answer, the black mass proposes an examination of this so called "symmetry which exceeds symmetry", in order to see if the power of nothingness can truly contend with the approaching individual.
Granting permission for Black☆Star to enter his personal domain within the book, after comprehending the reasons behind his yearning for power, the black mass sends an invitation to the present location of the infiltrating members of Spartoi in the form of a portal directly connected to the destination of their objective. With the submergence of the surrounding environment signifying the arrival of the destined opposition, the black mass chooses to simply observe the confrontation between the two former companions, to view the extent of the power that has been granted Kid. However, just mere moments into the conflict, the entity intervenes and in a demonstration of its immense capabilities, immediately paralyzes an incensed Kid who demands to know the reason behind this interference. Citing that it is an existence which metes out power equally, the black mass provides Black☆Star an equivalent opportunity to obtain his desires.
Succumbing to the enticing prospect of this proposal, Black☆Star is corrupted by his own dormant madness and in turn, reveals that his temptations demand only the most simplistic aspect of strength, which is just "power" in its purest form. As the fierce engagement continues, Black☆Star eventually comes to the realization that becoming the strongest while losing everything to insanity would have no significance, a concept which manages to free him from his present afflictions and regain his sanity. However, refusing to listen these piddling definitions of power any longer, the black mass once again emerges from the depths.
As the two continue to converse regardless of this sudden interjection, the pair in unison reach a conclusion to "answer" the question of "power" posed by this strange entity, with Black☆Star notifying the "black octopus dude" that they are now fully prepared to respond. Declaring that his objectives haven't altered, Black☆Star asserts that he still seeks the ultimate strength but that when he obtains it, he will instead employ it to create the world that Kid envisions. However, the black mass debates that to utilize power to twist the world so that it follows your "order", is the same as ruling through fear and political terror. Wondering if his expedition through the entirety of the seven deadly sins has taught him nothing, the entity questions the consequences of adding further to these evils, before indicating that such an answer may be found at this intersection. Identified by Kid as the Great Old One who governs "power" and as such, a being who could determine the criteria for what is right and what is just, the black mass replies that "justice" taken too far is evil itself and at times there are those who succumb to such madness, much like when Shinigami and the rest of them gave birth to Asura. In response to this Black☆Star states that they won't be the only two to gain power and that these others, can do things that even they are incapable of. Ascertaining that this statement refers to Maka Albarn and Soul Eater Evans, and the power of "harmony" that the pair possesses, the black mass sees fit to place his faith in this new generation and thus decides to release them from the confines of the book. Shocked by this sudden admission that the entity is imprisoned of its own volition, Kid inquires about its reasons for remaining here, which the black mass answers by saying that this is just the existence of all "former gods". The creature then explains that it seeks out all who would desire to become new rulers and in order to determine who is most worthy; it draws them here to test their power. Concluding their conversation, the black mass exerts its authority and expels all the remaining members of Spartoi from its domain.
- This entity describes the qualities of the five remaining warlords as "Order, Knowledge, Power, Rage, Terror". Due to its tendency to grant power to others and various conversations involving the topic of power, it is confirmed that this creature is the representation of "Power" in this statement.
- The black mass may be a nod to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu, a similar fictional and cosmic entity, with an association to the capability to gain power at the cost of one's sanity. Another connection may be found in the water that surrounds Black☆Star and Death the Kid as they fight, due to Cthulhu also being said to sleep under water.
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 79, pages 6-11
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Soul Eater Chapter 71, pages 18-19
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 72, pages 37-40
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 77, pages 15-16
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 76, page 32
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 72, pages 32-37
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 73, page 5
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 75, pages 32-33
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 76, pages 32-35
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 77, pages 15-17
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 78, pages 1-4
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 78, pages 32-34
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 79, pages 1-11