Amonkhet Plane Study
“Death has seeped into every part of this plane. I can feel it on my skin and taste it like sand in my mouth” - Nissa
The color pie is the one constant across the multiverse, and yet, each Plane has its own way of expressing each of the five colors. In this article we will be inspecting one such Plane, Amonkhet, a Plane where death and purpose permeate every motivation, in turn aligning each member of the color pie into this way of conveying itself. This concept is a fascinating one, in that we can learn more about this Egyptian inspired Plane through the color pie as well as learn more about the color pie through this Plane. For this discussion we will be focusing our attention on Amonkhet pre-hour of devastation as the return of the god pharaoh turns everything upside down and by destroying this oasis among the endless sands we lose what it once was. Now, to begin let us discuss white and its role on a Plane where even death is allowed to flourish.
On a Plane like Amonkhet where death is an integral part of life it can have an odd effect on White, a color who usually resists death whenever possible. The core difference here is that on this Plane death holds purpose and is dictated by self-sacrifice. Which is in service of a greater goal, and to White nothing is more noble than self-sacrifice for a greater cause, and so in this way death is treated with reverence and ritual. I believe that part of this lies in the idea that death is not the end, it is instead an inevitable step into a new chapter, and when each person lives to die then death is not something to fear, it is something to embrace. The idea of eternally serving your people is a noble goal to strive for and the evidence is in the structure of Amonkhet society. The undead or anointed work at every aspect of society so that each person can focus entirely on the purpose laid out to them by the god-pharaoh. This is stated plainly on the card Those who serve.
“The dead perform all the work here – farming, building, teaching, even embalming their fellow mummies. The living need do nothing but train. What system could be more perfect.”
It’s interesting to view the undead as not an agent of chaos but and agent of order. This is the curious perspective which Amonkhet grants to death, when it is a part of everything White provides a new perspective; it is then servitude rather than suffering.
Now don’t sit there and think that White simply brings nothing but servitude and order. There inevitably is a darker side when you are asking people to give up their lives no matter the cause, and White, being the color of resolve, law, and order, is indifferent or outright hostile to those who wish to step against this way of life. As we see on cards like Compulsory Rest and Time to reflect. Cards which show White keeping the status quo no matter what. With that said those individuals are but a minority, White is the color of resolve and the idea that we must all stand as one, and in that way White holds everything together by making each person accountable to one another. As we see with the card In Oketra’s Name and Djeru’s Resolve, the latter stating
“When I wish to be strong, I train. When I wish to be wise, I study. When I wish to rest, I start again.”
Powerful words of man who has accepted what is to come and is resolute to see the next chapter begin. Amonkhet is home to gods, the purest reflection of the colors they represent and so to understand whites place on Amonkhet it is fundamental to touch on who these gods are, specifically the god of White. For white we have Oketra the true, goddess of Solidarity. Her trials are meant to test your ability to work as one and to not put oneself above the purpose. To this end she says plainly for all to hear
“You will succeed as one or fall as many”
This short phrase is the underpinning of what White represents for this Plane. You must not falter; you must not question, and you must serve one another, or everything falls apart. And as the second sun inches ever forward it reminds the people of Amonkhet of their purpose. It is the glaring White hot sun which burns resolve into its people, they can feel the heat of the god pharos watchful eye and do not wish to disappoint him. White is relentless, it watches and reminds its people to be better at everything they do, to show resolve and to sacrifice yourself for the cause.
It takes more than strength and resolve to succeed the trials and become the one amongst many who is worthy, it also takes a clever, logical, and devoted mind to truly succeed as we see on the card Illusionary Wrappings
“No amount of strength can help you overcome my trial. You must be ready to forgo your body in favor of your mind.”
It’s a simple statement which is all too common in the Blue aligned person, as they see their mind and all they have learned as their greatest tool. What is interesting here is that it’s not just something that some should have it is a requirement to succeed, as those who fail to build up their mental faculties will never succeed and in turn, they will not be granted the death they strived for, but a death granted to them by failure. It creates an interesting world, one where logic and critical thinking is important and yet it must not think too hard on the purpose or ask questions about the process as those who do are either cast out of confined to sarcophagi. It’s fascinating to me that Blue must forgo this aspect of itself all while strengthening its abilities. It takes a lot of conditioning to rely on your brain in the ways it is required here but not to dare question your faith along the way.
Once again let’s look to the gods who resides on this Plane and of the one who is the pure representation of Blue, Kefnet the mindful, god of knowledge. Kefnet is no fool, this god has set up their trials to test every bit of your mental prowess. In turn creating a maze so difficult that it requires logic and puzzle solving to complete. The last thing Kefnet would allow was for someone to pass through by the skin of their teeth, by throw sheer luck. Which is laid out clearly on the card Essence Scatter
“Dependence on luck is anathema to Kefnet’s rigorous studies. Those who hope to escape his maze by chance never succeed”
This is a concept very true to Blue as it doesn’t leave anything to chance, such foolishness it reserved for colors like Red. There is always an answer and path to be found.
One of the key attributes and guiding principles of Blue is the idea of seeking perfection and I believe this is the side of Blue that really shines through here. Amonkhet is unlike any other Plane really, even the gatewatch was taken aback upon their arrival.
“The one thing the gatewatch didn’t expect to find on a plane ruled by Nicol Bolas was perfection”
With our perspective we are aware of why its so perfect and of its purpose, that of it being a Plane turned factory for creating eternals, and yet everything on this Plane works perfectly to that design. Every person lives and works towards this objective without even realizing it, giving every part of themselves to this divine goal. Everything has its place and function, and each person only need worry about perfecting themselves as every small need is taken care of. I believe if this were the case and the end goal wasn’t death and instead a constant building up from what came before it could potentially be a paradise for Blue, and yet it’s hampered by blind faith and of death being the only true goal, meaning true progress is never made. It’s kind of a sick joke really, but what else can you do on a Plane such as Amonkhet.
The beating heart of any competition is Ambition. You must hold on to the desire to be the best which will push you forward to achieving your goals. It is a clarity which pushes aside any doubt, or any qualms with doing what needs to be done. The people of Amonkhet understand the path they are taking, and it will require more than resolve to get there, it will take ambition. I believe the card unburden states this best.
“Ambition requires clarity. If you have any doubts, they must be abandoned.”
This mindset is a requirement to succeed, as in the end you will face those you have called family and must cast them aside to reach your goal and be chosen. Its not just ambition that Black provides either it is also a ruthless resolve to see the goal to its finality. That means there can be no pity in your heart and the weak must be cast out to the endless sands and made an example of. As we tragically see on the card Cursed Minitaur
“Look! That is why we must never waver. That is what awaits us if we fail.”
The cruel realities of Amonkhet are all around and you can’t ignore them, you must look it in the eye and accept that this is the way things are and only those willing to take their fate will succeed.
All of this is represented by the God Bontu the glorified, god of ambition. His tests are focused on weeding out those whose ambitions are weak and ones who would falter in what must come next. It takes a level of cunning, self-preservation, and pride to place yourself above those you once called family to prove your worth. Black is no stranger to these concepts and accepts this side of themselves whole heartedly. In this way you must be certain that it is only you who deserves the ultimate goal. As stated in the card supernatural stamina
“All are not equal – neither in life nor after death. Bontu’s favorites will stand highest in eternity.”
This is another side of it as well there is a celebration of ambition of falling with your head held high. Though your reward is death it is a death faced head on.
If White is the ever watching and counting sun, then Black is the restless and endless sands of Amonkhet. Beyond the Hekma there is nothing but death, from sandworms lying in wait, demons left to fester and the curse of wandering ensuring nothing stays dead long, it is a horrid place of dust and blood. If we want to find a source for the curse, I believe we look no further than to Black and its effect on the Plane. There is a unique relationship Black has with death, it is the one color who does not feel any shame in twisting it to its own design.
Nothing really stays dead if it can be of use. In the case of Amonkhet it has been taken a step further and now there is no true death, as once you fall you will soon rise. There is also an honesty here as well, Black does not lie if it has no benefit to them and in that way the sands and horrors beyond are the true side of Amonkhet while within the walls a lie holds it all together. It is everything wrong with Black refined and given a space to fester and solidify like a corpse left in the sun to rot. Stated simply on the card Lord of the Accursed
“The Curse of Wandering leaves only Hatred”
Whatever it took to bring you to this place, whether you were clever, resolute, strong, or ambitious, it all won’t matter if you don’t have the rage and zeal to see it to the end. There can only be one victor in all these trials who will be granted the final reward and that comes down to combat against your fellow crop mates. On a Plane like Amonkhet you must shed every bit of compassion for violence and allow yourself to be overcome by rage. There is no hesitation when it comes to the kill, as those that hesitate die. We have seen these representations come alive on many Planes, what sets this one apart is that it’s used against those you once called kin, your brothers, and sisters you were raised with. It’s a tragic reality but all know that this is the ultimate outcome. As it is stated on the card Limits of Solidarity.
“When the time comes, only one of you will be honored by my spear”
The goddess who resides in Red is Hazoret the Fervent, goddess of Zeal and it is her who hands out the final reward and on a Plane such as this only one reward will satisfy, and that is death. A death handed out not by trial but by a god. This is seen as the highest reward one could receive. As I have said death permeates every aspect of Amonkhet and this is what every member of the Plane strives for. Keep in mind that by this point they have shed everything, given all of themselves and I do believe that this is exudes Red energy in many ways. It is the giving all of yourself, never looking back never thinking of the future, just being in the moment. This is the true glory as it reads on the card Bloodlust Inciter.
“To victory! To Glory! To Eternity.”
On the Plane of Amonkhet Red takes on a special role, one that is entirely necessary. The people have spent their entire life training, fighting, killing. There is nothing to fear from combat when death is a reward. You must instead have the passion to see it through. In this way it almost takes on a religious twist, in that it consumes rational thought and those within are swept up in the fervor. I love the statement on the card Pursue Glory as a representation of this idea.
“Combat is a form of worship, the clash of steel a solemn prayer.”
You see it is a fire in the belly that cannot be quenched, it must be seen to the end no matter the result.
With White the sun, Black the sand, Green is then oasis that of Naktamun. It is the growth that happens despite the blood which seeps into everything. While there is a constant loss of life here there is also a perfect ecosystem of growth. Almost like a fertilizer the blood and death has made a land that is pure, cultivated by the undead. The card Harvest season reflects this odd dichotomy quite well.
“The true reflection of nature: death fostering life”
With all of this said and what we know of Amonkhet so far, we know that even the land holds its own deadly secrets. Poisons are yet another tool extracted from the land, used to whither the uninitiated, as stated on the card Hapatra’s Mark.
“If you fear poisons, it is because you are ignorant of them.”
Poison is yet another tool here granted to the people of Amonkhet by the land itself.
The God who resides in Green is Rhonas the indomitable god of strength, and he values one thing above all else in his trials and that is strength. You must be able to trust the body you are given before you can hope to master any coming trial, as this is the first one handed down. You must in turn overcome the beasts before you can prove yourself worthy. This concept is at the heart of Green, when talking about it in this context, as nature values strength. As those who are fit prosper and are able to breed, in turn cultivating a stronger species over time and those that cannot prove themselves are cast out from the pack.
You must hone your body to its perfect design to overcome what lies ahead. This means keen instincts, a rigid constitution, and an indomitable willpower. “Instincts to guide. Strength to overcome.” Of course no one is born worthy, you must cultivate your body just as you would cultivate the land. Sow the seeds of strength and shed all weakness. This process will take time and require every bit of what you have been granted. It’s a sort of trust in oneself through a confidence granted by instinct. It’s pulling yourself back to the heart of who you are to see what needs to be done, to achieve your destiny. For this I look to Shed Weakness which says.
“To prepare for the Trial of Strength, naga shed their old skin - and with it their scars, their doubts, and their fears.”
Green has an interesting perspective on Amonkhet, as death has a unique relationship with Green. While White might resist, or Black utilize, Green accepts. Both death and life are but the same thing. If one of the crop were to fall they would be raised again and used to cultivate the next. In a perverse way there is a perfect balance and harmony here with Death in the eyes of Green. Though the circle rotates quickly all have accepted their position and wish naught to disrupt it. In an odd way its beautiful and if it weren’t for the destruction of Amonkhet at Nicol Bolis’ hands it might very well have turned for an eternity.
“Like fruits in the field, we will be harvested when the season is right.”
Well I hope that gave you a better perspective on the Plane of Amonkhet, a place I hope we return to one day to help heal, if it can even be healed. If you enjoyed this article then consider becoming a site member that way you will get notified when the next article goes live. With that friend I will catch you in the multiverse, bye!
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