Strictly Vorthos – Jodah, the Archmage Eternal

Howdy folks! It’s Joe again with another fun look into the world and storylines of Magic, with a focus on interesting characters in those worlds.

This week we’re continuing our focus on Dominarian characters by talking about none other than Jodah, the Archmage Eternal! Without skipping a beat, let’s get right into it!

Early Life

Jodah was born several generations after the Sylex Blast that leveled Argoth and ended the war between Mishra and Urza. Jodah’s own family line is actually connected to the two brothers by Kayla bin-Kroog. While Jodah’s family was wealthy, they were forced to abandon their estates when Jodah was a young man due to the shortening of summers and overfarming of the land.

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Jodah apprenticed to a wandering mage named Voska. At this time the Church of Tal hunted magic users, believing that the practice of magic was inherently evil. Voska bestowed upon Jodah a magic mirror, an item that would eventually be incredibly important later in the mage’s life.

The Dark

Jodah and Voska were captured by the Church of Tal and became separated. Jodah managed to escape but was unable to reunite with his master. During his travels, Jodah hid from a group of raiding goblins by submerging himself in an abandoned fountain. As it turned out this fountain was the legendary Fountain of Youth, which slowed Jodah’s aging to a crawl. However, it would take years for even Jodah himself to notice.

Jodah would eventually find out that his master had been executed by the Church of Tal. He began travelling alongside another mage named Sima on their way to the City of Shadows, a training ground in secret for mages like them.

However, Jodah never made it. The group was attacked by merfolk, who captured Jodah and traded him to a shadowy figure known as the Rag Man for an artifact of some power (the Coral Helm). The Rag Man took Jodah with him to the Conclave of Mages, a group ran by the mysterious Mairsil. Jodah passed Mairsil’s test and became part of the Conclave.

The Conclave of Mages

Jodah was happy to become part of a group of mages, but unknowingly had become a key player in the political situation within the Conclave. The Rag Man had been sent by a figure known as Lord Ith, the former ruler of the Conclave. Mairsil had overthrown Ith and imprisoned him in Barl’s Cage above the bottomless pit at the bottom of the citadel. Mairsil knew something of Jodah’s past, and how one of his ancestors had opened a portal to the Dark Lands, a place that Mairsil himself sought to go to in order to gain power.

Mairsil’s plotting was interrupted by an assault from the Church of Tal. During the chaos of the assault Jodah was reunited with Sima. The two mages followed the Rag Man to lowest level of the citadel where they found Ith’s prison. Ith himself had gone insane during his imprisonment, using his power to destroy Mairsil and inadvertently the Rag Man.

The act destroyed the Church’s forces but left the Conclave in shambles. Jodah was forced to use his magical mirror, which in turn brought Ith to his senses. With the mage opting to leave and travel the land, Jodah and Sima led the rest of the survivors of the attack into the City of Shadows.

The Ice Age

Jodah prospered inside the City of Shadows. He became the Archmage in addition to marrying Sima. However, his adventure in his youth with the fountain had caught up to him. His aging halted, those around him died while he stayed the same. This caused Jodah much grief, causing his mind to deteriorate. To maintain his sanity, he used his mirror to cleanse his memories of emotional attachment.

Jodah became the Archmage Eternal, and oversaw the change of the City of Shadows into the School of the Unseen.

During the Ice Age, Jodah was kidnapped by Gerba Äagesdotter, his second in command at the school and her cousin Gustha Ebbasdotter, the Royal Mage of Kjeldor. The two became envious of his power, and turned him over to the necromancer Lim-Dûl. Lim-Dûl drugged Jodah, forcing him to research magic for him, specifically magic related to the plane of Shandalar and how to defeat the beings known as planeswalkers.

Jodah was saved by a former apprentice of his, a fire mage named Jaya Ballard. However the drugs combined with the fact that Jodah had been kidnapped before his normal memory cleansing ritual, resulting in Jodah quickly going insane. Jaya called upon help from Freyalise (then regarded as a Goddess), who was able to help cure him, placing both in the planeswalker’s debt.

Having realized Lim-Dûl was not a good person, Jodah and Jaya traveled to Kjeldor to convince them that the necromancer was truly a threat. Kjeldor refused to listen, even wondering if the necromancer could be useful against the barbarians of Balduvia. During this time, Lim-Dûl attempted to stage a coup of the Kjeldoran government using the Knights of Stromgald. Joda, Jaya, Gustha, and Varchild were instrumental in stopping the coup, which finally convinced King Darien of the danger at hand.

Eventually, the forces of Kjeldor and Balduvia allied together to destroy Lim-Dûl’s forces, resulting in a large battle the following spring. Jodah was face to face with Lim-Dûl, who revealed that he was actually a merger between the Kjeldoran soldier named Lim-Dûl and Mairsil, who had stored his essence in a ring that had been found by Lim-Dûl.

Jodah was unable to take his revenge upon Mairsil, as the planeswalker Leshrac intervened in the battle. Leshrac was displeased with Lim-Dûl, as Lim-Dûl had wasted his magical talent on the forces of Kjeldor when Leshrac had plans for Lim-Dûl on Shandalar. Leshrac cut off Lim-Dûl’s hand, severing his link to Mairsil and then took the necromancer to Shandalar.

After the battle, Jodah received a summon by Freyalise. The planeswalker wanted Jodah to pay up on his debt, asking to borrow his magical mirror. Freyalise used the mirror to cast the World Spell, thus ending the Ice Age. Afterwards, Freyalise returned the mirror, but Jodah had felt the planeswalker had altered its fundamental essence somehow. From that moment on he stopped using the mirror.

The Time of Alliances

Jaya Ballard returned to Jodah years later, showing the Archmage that she had located the severed hand of Lim-Dûl. The hand should have held the ring that contained Mairsil’s essence, but the ring itself was missing. Fearing that Mairsil would impose his will upon another, the two set out to locate the ring.

During their travels, Jodah helped broker a truce and alliance between the forces of Balduvia and Kjeldor once more, allowing for the beginnings of New Argive to take place.

Jodah and Jaya’s journey led the two to Soldev, where they found out that the Soldevi Adnates had unearthed several Phyrexian War Beasts. After this discovery Jaya betrayed Jodah, stabbing him fatally.

Jaya revealed that she had become the new vessel for Mairsil. With the Soldevi Adnates help, they used Jodah’s blood to reactivate the Phyrexian War Beasts (since Jodah was the closest blood-relation to Urza). The War Beasts leveled Soldev, and ended up destroying the School of the Unseen as well.

Having no options left, Jodah decided to use the mirror to heal himself. In doing so, he found out that Freyalise, having detected an individual with a planeswalker spark near her, had added a spell intended to trigger that spark. Freyalise had believed that individual to be Jodah. Jodah realized that Jaya had been present during every meeting with Freyalise. The Archmage knew that Jaya had been the individual Freyalise had sensed.

During an intense duel with Jaya/Mairsil, Jodah found himself in the appropriate position, smashing the mirror into his friend’s face. The act triggered Freyalise’s spell, burning away Mairsil/Lim-Dûl’s essence and causing Jaya’s spark to ignite.

Now a planeswalker, Jaya assisted in defeating the War Beasts. Jodah decided to not rebuild the School of the Unseen, much like Ith had decided before him. With Jaya leaving to travel the planes, Jodah began to spread rumors and conjecture about himself to disappear into myth and legend.

Later in Time

Jodah became a mythical figure, so mythical that it was often decided that Jodah never actually referred to a single individual but rather different people over the course of time. Are you saying Jodah is the Doctor Who of Magic??!! – Editor

The Archmage Eternal would later appear to his distant blood relative, Urza Planeswalker, after Urza’s return to Dominaria. Urza had gone insane, and Jodah’s assistance in understanding what had happened to Dominaria in his absence helped restore Urza to sanity.

Jodah returned during the events of Planar Chaos, where he had sensed through scrying that Jhoira of the Ghitu would arrive in Urborg. The Archmage waited for Jhoira there, where he offered to assist in preventing the deterioration of Dominaria’s space-time continuum. He had even created a new mirror that was a direct copy of the original mirror he had owned, offering it to Freyalise as a potential method to heal the world. Freyalise discarded the mirror, stating it would not stop the rifts.

Jodah became enamored of Jhoira, inviting the artificer to find him after their quest was over. After the Mending, Jhoira sought out the Archmage Eternal. Jodah revealed to her that he was not the same man as the Jodah she had read about in Legend. Whether this meant that he was a completely different Jodah who had arrived from another timeline through one of the rifts or whether Jodah had painted a different image of himself in legend was never explained.

Current Status

Due to his position as a near-immortal, Jodah continues to live on to the current timeline. His current status is master of the Tolarian Academies. It is revealed that he and Jhoira have long been separated.

Jodah is instrumental in assisting Jhoira and the new crew of the Weatherlight, including Gideon and Liliana, in rooting out a Cabal sleeper agent within the Academy at Tolaria West.

Wrapping Up

I hope you folks have enjoyed this little dip into Dominaria’s character history. Next time we’re going to dip into the history of another of Dominaria’s most important heroes – the planeswalker Teferi!

Joseph is an avid player of eternal Magic formats, including Vintage and Legacy.  As a Nic Fit player who will tell anyone who will listen about his deck, Joe spends his time analyzing and playing on Magic Online and various online platforms, while prepping for competitive events.  To follow more Joe, check out his Twitter!

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