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Lim-Dûl
Raven Man
Lim-Dul
Details
Race Altered Human
Birthplace Kjeld, Terisiare, Dominaria
Lifetime Born decades before the casting of the World Spell.
Colors
{B}
Sources

Prerevisionist: Ice Age, Shandalar

Postrevisionist: The Eternal Ice, The Shattered Alliance

Lim-Dûl (/lɪm dul/[1] LIHM-dool[2]) was a powerful necromancer who terrorized Terisiare during the Ice Age. The fragment of his essence contained within the Ring of Mairsil is known as The Raven Man. He conducted two major campaigns to take over the mana-rich plane of Shandalar, and orchestrated Liliana Vess's procurement of the Chain Veil.

Description[ | ]

As the Raven Man, Lim-Dûl appears as an older man with precisely trimmed white hair and beard, and an immaculate - if slightly dated - mode of dress. He has shining gold eyes.[3] He can transform into a flock of ravens.[4][5] Although his form of a flock of ravens can be seen by other people (e.g. Araithia Shokta), his humanoid form cannot.[3]

History[ | ]

Eternal Ice[ | ]

Lim-Dûl was once a lowly soldier of Kjeld. When his squadron was sent on a mission by Márton Stromgald to kill some weak goblins, only to discover that these were well-equipped goblins in their prime, Lim-Dûl fled while the others were slaughtered. While on the run, Lim-Dûl was caught in a blizzard. He nearly died, but stumbled upon the remains of the Conclave of Mages where he found the ring of Mairsil.

The ring granted him incredible powers that not only allowed him to survive the blizzard but also to become a powerful necromancer. Constructing the keep of Tresserhorn where he had found the ring, Lim-Dûl became a powerful force in Terisiare's politics, but most Kjeldorans still believed him to be a secondary evil, after the Balduvians; the barbarians believed the same in turn. Lim-Dûl happily let this belief exist, for it allowed his forces to penetrate deep into Kjeldoran territory without much action being taken against him.

Despite his power, there were still people pulling Lim-Dûl's strings. The planeswalker Leshrac gifted him with even more power, hoping that he could use the vast undead army Lim-Dûl was raising during his planned conquests on the plane of Shandalar. The other person manipulating Lim-Dûl was Mairsil himself. Locked inside his ring for nearly 2500 years, Mairsil had not only gifted Lim-Dûl with a facsimile of his magical power but was also taking partial control of Lim-Dûl, looking to punish the last living person who had played a role in his first downfall: the Archmage Eternal Jodah.

Lim-Dûl2

Lim-Dûl after being altered by Leshrac.

As Jodah was going through his emotional ritual, Gerda Äagesdotter, who wanted to take Jodah's place as Archmage of the School of the Unseen, sold out the Archmage to Lim-Dûl. Using Fyndhorn pollen Lim-Dûl muddled Jodah's memory and convinced him that he was but a summoned creature, a slave who would be unsummoned into oblivion if he didn't obey. The necromancer set his old enemy to work on researching the planes, particularly the rogue Shandalar, for Leshrac wanted to know how exactly to reach it. However, Lim-Dûl had Jodah also research ways to kill a planeswalker, for he wanted to be free of Leshrac's control. Leshrac discovered this and mutated his minion, giving him horns to make him remember he was just a working animal for the planeswalker.

Jodah escaped with the aid of his old friend Jaya Ballard, and the two traveled to Krov to convince the people of Kjeldor to ally with the Balduvians against Lim-Dûl. Initially, the merchants, mages, and military factions were more interested in fighting the Balduvians or furthering their own goals inside Kjeld. Many military leaders in Kjeldor thought the king was weak, and that they once again needed strong leaders like Márton Stromgald. Lim-Dûl had reanimated Stromgald as a zombie and used him to create the Knights of Stromgald. These knights plotted a coup, but King Darien was saved by Jodah. Lim-Dûl had given the Knights a poisoned brandy to toast their coup, which resulted in all of them dying and being zombified. These actions made the people of Kjeldor realize how big a threat the necromancer was and allowed Darien to unite them and forge an alliance with the Balduvians.

Still, Lim-Dûl's forces outnumbered those of his opponents. Additionally, they were not as hampered by the winter climate and grew with every casualty they made. Still, the allied forces survived the winter, and come spring they were ready for the decisive battle against Lim-Dûl's forces. Many legendary warriors fought and died in the last battle of the Ice Age.

At the climax of the battle, Lim-Dûl faced Jodah, but now Mairsil was completely in control. The two fought fiercely, but eventually, it was Leshrac who determined the outcome of the battle. During the Summit of the Null Moon the planeswalker had gained access to Shandalar and wanted to bring his armies to conquer the new plane. Furious to find that his ranks had been decimated in the battle, Leshrac cut off Lim-Dûl's hand, robbing Mairsil of a physical body. He then ripped his minion apart but used his powers to keep him alive to feel the pain during the process. Lim-Dûl was turned into a living ball of raw flesh that Leshrac took to Shandalar, vowing to remake him so he could serve the planeswalker once more.[6]

Shandalar[ | ]

Alongside Leshrac and Lim-Dûl, Tevesh Szat and Faralyn arrived in Shandalar.[7][8] The plane's guardian, Kenan Sahrmal, mounted a defense and managed to kill Faralyn with a summoned astral dragon, while routing the others. Lim-Dûl, however, injured Sahrmal. Sahrmal disappeared, but his followers captured and beheaded Lim-Dûl. Both were presumed dead, but Lim-Dûl had survived by transferring his soul into another body.

Lim-Dûl’s War[ | ]

Twelve years later, Lim-Dûl reappeared with an army of undead at his back.[7] His goal was as his master’s before him: to seize control over the mana-rich plane. City after city on the plane was destroyed until, after years of war, only one city remained: Ardestan. Ardestan became the last refuge, the last protection, against the evil necromancer. The city came under siege and it was plain to all that Shandalar would soon fall to this invader.

Since Sahrmal's apparent death, he had been training two adepts. During the siege of Ardestan, Sahrmal counseled patience, telling his students that they were not yet ready to take on the might of Lim-Dûl. But his oldest apprentice, Azar, was unable to witness the suffering and inevitable fall of Ardestan without doing something about it and left their hidden sanctuary to defend the city.

Azar had stolen a spell from Sahrmal designed to target the necromancer’s spirit and imprison it within his body, drawing power from it to erect a Great Barrier around Shandalar. Lim-Dûl was prepared, however, and waited nearby. This time, he planned to transfer his spirit into Azar’s body. When Azar’s spell was complete, Lim-Dûl initiated his counter. The combined spells had the unforeseen effect of trapping both spirits within Azar’s body. The body went limp as the two souls warred for control. Saddened, Sahrmal secretly buried the body, for the Great Barrier had come into existence and it depended upon the confinement of Lim-Dûl.

After some years, Azar fell in his combat against Lim-Dûl. Emerging from the secret burial place, the necromancer took up his campaign to rule Shandalar. This time, however, he found organized resistance in the form of five powerful guilds. During the Wizard’s War, Lim-Dûl was finally defeated. The other apprentice of Sahrmal, now known as The Guardian, removed Lim-Dûl’s soul from Azar’s body and imprisoned it within a magical artifact, thereby keeping the Great Barrier intact.

Years later the planeswalker Arzakon convinced the guild masters that to rule Shandalar, a wizard had to cast the Spell of Dominion, which would grant its caster immortality. This was untrue, however, for the spell was meant to seek out the source of the Great Barrier, the artifact in which Lim-Dûl’s spirit is contained, and destroy it. The wizards succeeded, but Arzakon was defeated after entering the plane. What became of Lim-Dûl's essence was unknown. It was later revealed that this part of his essence became part of the Chain Veil.[9]

Shattered Alliance[ | ]

While Lim-Dûl was on Shandalar, Dominaria was not safe from him either. Mairsil's ring, now possessing a primary imprint of Mairsil as well as a shred of Lim-Dûl, had coerced Jaya Ballard into picking it up. After taking partial possession of her, Lim-Dûl/Mairsil/Jaya led Jodah to Soldev twenty years later, where they stabbed the Archmage and used his blood - Urza's blood - to activate the Phyrexian War Beasts and take control of the Soldevi Steam Beasts. Using these creatures, Lim-Dûl/Mairsil/Jaya destroyed Soldev and the School of the Unseen. Jodah however managed to smash his mirror in their face. Freyalise had enchanted the mirror, giving it the ability to make people with the planeswalker's spark ascend. Jaya ascended and removed the minds of Lim-Dûl and Mairsil from herself.

Haunting Liliana Vess[ | ]

Ravenman

The Raven Man

Mairsil's ring, holding the consciousness of Lim-Dûl, would eventually be discovered by an ancestor of the Vess family, who buried it in the Vess estate to prevent it from being misused. However, a piece of the necromancer's fractured soul reached out to the young Liliana Vess in the form of the "Raven Man", who sought to manipulate Liliana to do his bidding.[10]

The Raven Man first appeared to Liliana offering his assistance after Liliana's brother Josu was poisoned by her father's enemies, though he warned that her family would not want her to use his cure. Liliana returned to the castle and despite the warnings of Lady Ana, she used the cure. Although it cured Josu of his affliction, it came at the cost of turning him into a lich, an event that would ignite Liliana's planeswalker's spark.

A while later, the Raven Man orchestrated Liliana's discovery of the Chain Veil on Shandalar.[11][12]

Although he claims that all he ever wanted was to guide Liliana toward becoming the best, truest, and most powerful version of herself, Liliana believed that he instead wanted her obedience and to use her.[3] When Jace Beleren, under the influence of the cryptoliths on Innistrad, tried to mentally assault Liliana in her mansion, the Raven Man protected her and tried to convince her to kill Jace.[13] Later, he repeatedly tried to contact Liliana to convince her to flee from Emrakul's onslaught.[14] In both cases, she defied him and refused to listen to his arguments, suspecting that nothing good would come from acting on his advice.

Despite this, he later reappeared to her on Amonkhet, revealing that he had been keeping tabs on her and even saved her life again by taking control over the Chain Veil. While he tolerated her affiliation with the Gatewatch to gain useful servants, he warned her to not become too attached to them and focus on what mattered.[15] When she returned to Dominaria, he plagued Liliana again, taunting her but never giving answers. Here she began to suspect that he had tortured her in her youth to ignite her spark.[16]

After the events of the War of the Spark on Ravnica, Liliana fled to Dominaria once more. Here, the Raven Man accosted her again.[3] He was utterly disappointed when Liliana, with the help of Ugin, managed to relieve herself of the Chain Veil.

Because he had appeared on several planes, Liliana had previously suspected he was a planeswalker.[17] Later, because the Raven Man always knew where Liliana had been and what she had been doing there, Liliana began to suspect that he may be incorporeal, an affliction of her mind, a curse, or a mental parasite.[15] Noting that he hadn't aged since she had first met him, Liliana later wondered if he was an illusion or a very precise shapeshifter.[3]

Dominaria United[ | ]

Liliana eventually deduced the Raven Man's identity with the help of a book about Terisiare history she found in Strixhaven, and she returned to the Vess estate on Dominaria to stop the threat he posed. While there, Liliana was attacked by Phyrexians searching for Lim-Dûl's ring on the eve of the new Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria, and the ring promised her power to help fend off her attackers. However, she refused, and successfully defeated the Phyrexians herself.[9]

Ice Age, Prerevisionist[ | ]

In the prerevisionist Ice Age comic, Lim-Dûl was not given his mutations as a punishment but as an improvement.[18] He poisoned the water of the Marked Ones and was defeated by the scouting group of Sir Zaraya, Lord Kailo, the shaman Bolar, and the Knights of Kjeldor Sir Xian, Sir Gregor, and Sir Onala. For his failures, Leshrac imprisoned him in a block of ice.

He was later freed at the time of the Summit of the Null Moon, rallied a large army of zombies, and allied himself with Tevesh Szat. After Szat was defeated by Jaeuhl Carthalion with the Amulet of Quoz he took Dûl with him to Shandalar, where Leshrac attacked him.

Lim-Dûl survived, however, traveling to Shandalar's Catacombs and taking the name Magus. In that guise, he tricked Bani Bakur and Ravash Mog into thinking he was Kenan Sahrmal, Shandalar's protector. He sent the two to attack Tevesh Szat. Lim-Dûl remained in the shadows as Leshrac and later the real Kenan Sahrmal joined the fight, waiting until Szat and Leshrac were banished from the plane. Lim-Dûl killed the weakened Sahrmal and transferred his spirit into the planeswalker's body just before Bani Bakur beheaded his own.

Though he lacked Kenan Sahrmal's planeswalker powers, he used his political clout to his advantage. Lim-Dûl eventually returned to his old tricks, raising an army of undead to attack the city of Ardestan and beginning a new reign of terror on Shandalar. Eventually, his soul was sealed away, and a group of five mages took Sahrmal's place as protectors of Shandalar. However, Lim-Dûl's spirit survived, and slowly corrupted the mages, tricking them into wanting to cast the Spell of Dominion, which they thought would give them ultimate power, but would instead give it to Lim-Dûl himself. However, this plan was later defeated by a new champion, as seen in the MicroProse computer game.

Trivia[ | ]

  • Jaya called Lim-Dûl "Dim-Bulb," and once swore by "Dim-Bulb's stupid horns".[19]
  • The final battle between Lim-Dûl and Gustha Ebbasdotter in Fyndhorn forest at the end of the Ice Age is depicted in the trailer for Ice Age.[20]

Planes visited[ | ]

Though not a planeswalker himself, Lim-Dûl traveled through the Multiverse being transported by the planeswalkers Leshrac and Tevesh Szat.

Additional planes manifested as the Raven Man[ | ]

As the Raven Man entity, he appeared throughout the Multiverse using his connection with Liliana Vess.

Story appearances[ | ]

Title Author Publishing date Set Setting (plane) Featuring
The Raven's Eye, Part 1 Jenna Helland 2010-06-17 Magic 2011 Dominaria Liliana, Arine, Ana, Josu Vess, Raven Man
The Raven's Eye, Part 3 Jenna Helland 2010-07-01 Magic 2011 Shandalar Liliana, Raven Man
Veil of Deceit James Wyatt 2014-07-02 Magic 2015 Shandalar Liliana Vess, Kothophed, Griselbrand, Garruk, Raven Man, Kurkesh
Liliana's Origin: The Fourth Pact James Wyatt 2015-06-17 Magic Origins Dominaria, Innistrad, Kothophed's homeplane Liliana Vess, Josu Vess, Raven Man, Ana, Nicol Bolas, Kothophed
Unkindness of Ravens James Wyatt 2015-07-29 Prologue to Battle for Zendikar Ravnica Liliana Vess, Raven Man
Liliana's Indignation Kelly Digges 2016-04-20 Shadows over Innistrad Innistrad Liliana Vess, Raven Man, Jace Beleren, Gared, Dierk
The Promised End Ken Troop 2016-07-27 Eldritch Moon Innistrad Liliana Vess, the Gatewatch, Tamiyo, Emrakul, Raven Man, Erebos
Servants Kelly Digges 2017-04-19 Amonkhet Amonkhet Liliana Vess, Raven Man, Jace Beleren, Razaketh, Temmet
Feast Alison Luhrs 2017-06-14 Hour of Devastation Amonkhet Razaketh, the Gatewatch, Raven Man
Hour of Devastation Ken Troop 2017-07-26 Hour of Devastation Amonkhet The Gatewatch, Nicol Bolas, Raven Man, Tezzeret
Return to Dominaria: Episode 1 Martha Wells 2018-03-21 Dominaria Dominaria Sadage, Needle, Dakkon Blackblade, Belzenlok, Jhoira, Hadi, Ziva, Gideon, Liliana, Nissa, Chandra, Raven Man, Josu Vess, Ana
Return to Dominaria: Episode 2 Martha Wells 2018-03-22 Dominaria Dominaria Liliana, Raven Man, Belzenlok, Gideon, Josu Vess, Gerrel, Rael, Corin, Thiago
Homecoming Seanan McGuire 2022-08-12 Dominaria United Arcavios, Dominaria Liliana Vess, Lim-Dûl, Elas il-Kor

Gallery[ | ]

In-game references[ | ]

Represented in:
Associated cards:
Quoted or referred to:

References[ | ]

  1. Wizards of the Coast (March 31, 2015). "Here's a pronunciation guide for some of the names that were requested earlier today.". The Official Magic: The Gathering Tumblr. Tumblr.
  2. Matt Cavotta (March 22, 2007). "Speak the Word, the Word is All of Us". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017.
  3. a b c d e Greg Weisman (November 2019). "War of the Spark: Forsaken". Del Rey.
  4. Jenna Helland (2010). "The Raven's Eye, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. James Wyatt (June 17, 2015). "Liliana's Origin: The Fourth Pact". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Jeff Grubb (2005), "The Eternal Ice", Wizards of the Coast
  7. a b Magic: The Gathering (MicroProse)/Backstory
  8. David Quinn (1996), "Shandalar", Armada
  9. a b Seanan McGuire (August 12, 2022). "Homecoming". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Jay Annelli. (2022.) Magic: The Gathering - The Visual Guide, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0744061055.
  11. Jenna Helland (2010). "The Raven's Eye, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. James Wyatt (July 2, 2014). "Veil of Deceit". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Kelly Digges (April 20, 2016). "Liliana's Indignation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Ken Troop (July 27, 2016). "The Promised End". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  15. a b Kelly Digges (April 19, 2017). "Servants". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Martha Wells (March 22, 2018). "Return to Dominaria: Episode 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. James Wyatt (July 29, 2015). "Unkindness of Ravens". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Jeff Gómez (1995), "Ice Age on the World of Magic: The Gathering. Volume 2. The Frozen Dead". Armada
  19. Langley Hyde (August 15, 2022). "A Brutal Blow". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Wizards of the Coast "Ice Age" Promo (Video). Philemon Vanderbeck. YouTube (June 10, 2006).
  21. Brady Dommermuth (November 13, 2006). "The Legends of Time Spiral". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]

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