*dons reading daggers*
— Horcruxes and Jack English —
So… yesterday’s mega-update (ending here) was certainly filled with developments!  (including a potential reference to me that probably wasn’t)
Under the cut I’ll go over all the theory content we can gather from it, including horcruxes, John/Roxy, protective shades, and what’s likely to happen next.
To make a long story short, as I said a month ago, Lil’ Cal is almost certainly NOT Lord English’s only vessel!  And we have a duty to deduce what the other unassuming vessels may be.
(EDIT 2/21/13: Added information on the Diadem, and quotes about Dirk that elucidate the nature of LE’s immortality, as well as a link to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow post.)

Anyway… on with our long list of information and theories!
First of all, Lord English wasn’t “actually Jack Noir” all along.  Rather, Cal was something of a horcrux, a seemingly mundane item either carrying a shard of his soul, or acting as a channel for his soul through the Void.

ARANEA: I didn’t say you were supposed to kill him. ARANEA: He cannot 8e killed. ARANEA: Long ago he discovered the secret to indestructi8ility. 
TT: There seems to be no end to me. Like, wherever my mind falters, or threatens to retreat into the void in any way, my splinters pick up the slack, ensuring there’ll always be more of myself than I could ever know what to fucking do with. 
TT: I swear to god, I’ll get my own horse running harder in this fuckin’ race than you could ever dream. uu: WHAT. HORSE? TT: Think I’ll blink first, motherfucker? TT: Not happening. TT: I might splinter. TT: But I don’t break. 
uu: I CAN FEEL HIM OUT THERE. uu: IN LATER STAGES OF HIS LIFE. uu: BY WHICH I MEAN. uu: I CAN FEEL *MYSELF*. uu: THROUGH HIM SOMEHOW. uu: AS IF MY ESSENCE WILL ONE DAY BECOME. uu: ENTANGLED WITH THE VOID. uu: AND THEN MYSTERIOUSLY ACCESSIBLE. uu: THROUGH MY SOFT HAPPY PAL.

Now that Jack Noir, has been hypnotized and forced to replace his eyes - eyes being windows to the soul - with Cal’s own, prying them out with the crowbar (much like Caliborn will eventually lose his eyes somehow, needing mechanical cueball ones - “uu: TO PRY YOuR EYES AWAY.”) and placing them in his skull, we can consider him wholly possessed by Lord English.  This occurrence may have been foreshadowed with things like LE’s vault having a spade door in the Intermission, as well as a sprite-flipping incident where both of his eyes were temporarily either gouged out or stitched over; Caliborn was always quite fond of Jack, so paying tribute to him at the same time he’s using him isn’t out of the question.  Hell, the very fact that he is using him may be considered a sign of respect?

uu: NOIR IS THE BEST THERE IS. uu: VERY uSEFuL. uu: VERY STABBY. uu: I MIGHT EVEN CONSIDER HIM. uu: MY BEST FuCKING FRIEND. uu: IF I DIDN’T FIND THE HuMAN EMOTION OF FRIENDSHIP. uu: NEARLY AS SICKENING AS IT BARELY QuALIFIES. uu: AS AN ACTuAL EMOTION.
GT: Ive never been accused of having a photographic memory but i dont recall you typing in green either. GT: Are you ripping me off bro?? uu: NO YOU FUCKING MORON. uu: IF I STOOPED TO YOUR LEVEL. AND DECIDED TO JACK *ANY* PORTION OF YOUR SWAGGER. uu: DON’T YOU THINK. YOU’D NEED TO EARN MY RESPECT FIRST??? 

(This is why Lord English would never have possessed a woman or girl, by the way!)
I’d prefer to call him "Jack English", which is probably the intended pun: it foreshadows both backward and forward with "Jake English", the one who - perhaps more certainly than ever, now that LE has demonstrated this capability - has been hinted to be an eventual victim of possession himself, becoming one of the two final obstacles the kids must face in the alpha session.  (See the link for evidence.)

EB: in my foolishness, i came very close to prototyping your grandpa.  GG: D:  GG: john, try to be more careful! EB: we very nearly had to face our grandfatherly paradox-dad as a last boss.  EB: that would probably be the worst case scenario. 

We also saw Caliborn manipulating his own version of Lil’ Cal, performing some sort of operation on it with his hypnotic cherubic eyes.

TEREZI: OH, 4ND GUYS, JUST FOR TH3 S4K3 OF MULT1CULTUR4L CL4R1TY, W3 TROLLS TR34T D34TH 1TS3LF 4S 4 MYTHOLOG1C4L F1GUR3  TEREZI: H3 1S 4 M4N W1TH 4 FR1GHT3N1NG SKULL FOR 4 H34D 4ND 4 T3RR1BL3 HYPNOT1C GL4R3 

Note that while what Caliborn was doing to Cal was circumstantially and visually simultaneous with what it did to Jack Noir, the events were not necessarily the same.  As we see rotating cueballs in the eyes of Jack’s version of Cal, it’s far more likely that the will of the adult Lord English is hypnotizing and possessing Jack.  However, at least for the instance of Cal victim to Caliborn’s hypnotism - if not all instances, somehow, via his latent Lord of Time abilities - it seems as if a horcrux of some sort is being created, as if early Caliborn is forging a link that was much later cashed in with Jack by his later self.
(And though he seems like he might be be ‘splitting/linking his soul’ for a horcrux, or whatever he’s doing, quite handily as-is… if he ever needs any help, he’ll eventually have his hands on a mechanical Prince of Heart as a servant to further divide his spirit for implantation!)
(EDIT 2/5/2013: Remember how dead!Calliope’s eyes were black, empty sockets, missing - which we assumed simply alluded to Caliborn eventually losing his eyes, necessitating mechanical cueball ones - but for some reason, her teeth were intact?  Why one, and not the other?  Well… perhaps when we cut back to Caliborn, the swirly-eyed soul-transfer he performed on Lil Cal will leave him eyeless?!  I have no clue whether that will be the case, we’ll have to see.  But if true… it could put a limit on his horcruxes (at least the strongest ones that can possess someone with a single object or single look), and it would also mean that Calliope stowed her soul in something tangible after death!)
I’ll get back to horcruxes a little later, here.
We don’t know exactly what qualities these hypnotic eyes of his have, or whether Caliborn retained his ability to imbue objects after said eyes were replaced with mechanized cueballs!  However, it seems that the theories many people had that Dave and Bro’s use of shades (nearly from birth) protected them from Cal’s influence may have been quite right.

TG: oh man i wish lil cal wouldnt look at me like that TG: with those dead eyes jesus TG: sometimes i dream that hes real and hes talking to me and i wake up in a cold sweat and basically flip the fuck out 
TC: YOUR BRO’S DEAD BRO. TC: couldn’t keep my new friend captive no more. TC: RELEASED YOUR NIGHTMARES RIGHT INTO MY WARM FUCKING EMBRACE. TC: and now i listen at what they whisper through my hear ducts. 
TG: my bros idiotic ventriloquist dummy is responsible for this schizophrenic bullshit TG: is that what youre saying TC: motherfuuuuuck yes, bro. TG: what else does he say TC: HE SAYS TC: all in this funny little voice TC: THAT IS SO TC: very TC: VERY TC: very TC: VERY TC: quiet TC: THAT TC: it’s time TC: TO GO TC: mother TC: FUCKING TC: kill TC: THEM TC: all. 


TG: ive never seen or heard these things in my dreams TT: Aren’t you often distracted? TT: By music and puppets? TG: uh yeah TT: Have you ever looked into the sky without your shades? TG: no what a ridiculous question TT: Maybe you should try it some time. 

It seems as if the very shades which obscure one’s soul from others also shield other souls from oneself.  This may have a little to do with Void and Light, too, with Void playing a protective role, but we can’t be certain.
So… what’s Jack English going to do next?
Caliborn wants Jake English, if not Jane Crocker as well, to go God-Tier for his later use.  So if he ends up being the serendipitous occurrence which kills the Prospit kids on their Quest Beds, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise.  However, killing Jane has an additional incentive: the ultimate juju.

uu: THEY ALWAYS HAVE RULES. AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE OWNERS. uu: YOU CAN TAKE SOMEONE’S JUJU. IF THE OWNER WAS KILLED. uu: OR IF HE GIVES IT TO YOU FREELY. LIKE I’M DOING. 

(As oktavia-von-seckendorff notes, these rules are very reminiscent of the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter.)
Jane dying, even on her Quest Crypt, may allow Jack English to take hold of the combined sucker, with its role-overcharging properties we’ve discussed.  (I even edited in a bit about how Jack might be the next to wield it, before the mega-update hit!)  And even if he can’t use it or control it as-is, he happens to be in possession of a juju-breaking crowbar.
In other words, Jack English can use his crowbar to break open the sucker!
Revealing the true artifact contained within it, AURYN, and all the vague strength it entails.  (Not that he’ll be the last to wield said artifact, eventually!)
Jack English will have his crowbar either dropped or beaten out of him eventually, too.  From whitehelm in mspa clubhouse chat last night:
whitehelm:  so Jack English’s crowbar is still the past version of Caliborn’s crowbar right?
whitehelm:  because both of them got it from Gamzee
whitehelm:  so there must be a future event where Gamzee gets it back from Jack
There will almost certainly be some fighting with Jack English; in fact, a god-tier Jake might be the one to undertake it, or the like.  Or as some suggested, the kids might enter the session about now, with Bec Noir and PM interrupted by another superpowered Jack to fight?
While Jack English’s glowing looks similar to the visual effects of )(er Condescension’s curse, it’s probably just evident of the same sort of unnatural power Lord English is capable of granting to his servants, and not of its possible transferability.  (Lord English’s raw Time-based might and power usually manifests as that color-swirling aura, not just the curse necessarily.)  But just in case, I’d be very carefully on the lookout if Jake manages to be the one to strike Jack down.  Jack English might be Jake’s trap of a foe in the same way the Condesce is Jane’s!  (In fact, as a friend pointed out to me, Aranea never said he would fight Lord English’s original form…)

ARANEA: He has had many incarnations in many universes. ARANEA: If you continue on your journey for long enough, you may encounter one of them. ARANEA: And if you have 8ecome strong enough 8y then, you may 8e a8le to defeat him in com8at. ARANEA: And if that comes to pass, it would 8e the first defeat he has ever known. ARANEA: You would 8e providing the first glimmer of hope to others that some day, he could 8e destroyed. 

Speaking of which, )(er Condescension might even be the one to kill Roxy and Dirk upon their Quest Crypts at the same time Jack English does so to Jane and Jake, as opposed to serendipitous troll meteor billiards?  Or perhaps the beam from when Jack English emerged has a delayed hit out on Derse’s moon?  We can only guess.  (Some suggested that the Condesce and Jack might fight, but this is very unlikely; they’re on the same side, and Lord English wouldn’t tolerate such direct and blatant disobedience.)
Anyway, enough random guesses… it’s time to talk about the ring.
First of all, I’ve been advocating notice of the presence of John/Roxy ship foreshadowing for quite some time, now.  And when John received a zero-prototyped Ring of Void that had been mysteriously cast into the dark, I didn’t even need confirmation from later in the next act to tell that Roxy would get the ring and be the one to have cast it out there in the first place!
So when she loses the ring, and we get lines as blatant as this:

TG: want to know something lame? GT: Yes. TG: the moment i first saw that ring TG: i was like in my head TG: thinkin TG: some day i want to give that ring to the person i marry TG: whoever that is GT: Daw.

We can be sure that this ship is going to sail pretty damn strong for a while after John shows up, regardless of whether or not it eventually falls apart.
(Oh, as douchedag points out, I forgot John’s half of the quote:)

JOHN: (i think some day i will use it to propose to *MY* girlfriend. what do you think about THAT, wise guy?) 

However, I still can’t say whether John will end up with Roxy or Vriska when all is said and done; only that Roxy and John will have a healthy fling at the very least.  The eventual outcome is still unclear, and it depends on how far Tavros comes, and when.  (After all, John still has a dramatic rescue waiting to happen, will be the one to remember her… but Tavros has a chance of being involved as well.  I still haven’t edited my notes in response to someone’s reblog of the Vriska-Sun post back into that same post, but I will this week.)  And I hope Roxy wins, or finds love somewhere else if it fails!  Especially because unless Roxy broadens her romantic prospects past John, failure might take the shape of death or sacrifice on her part.
For, well… as strong as this ring’s relationship foreshadowing is, the ring is also incredibly ominous.  You see:

TG: i just really liked that ring TG: kinda spoke to me in a way TG: hehe 

The ring might be another horcrux!
Did you really expect Lil’ Cal to be the only trap of a seemingly-mundane item there is?  Note Aranea’s spiel about Cronus at her exposition stand in one of the intermission walkarounds:

He 8ecame convinced he was hatched to defeat an extraordinarily evil magician, one he swore the angels foretold of. Though when pressed for the name of the man, he would not say it, claiming it was too dangerous to even enunciate. Part of his self-aggrandizing mythos was that this magician once somehow from afar tried to strike him down at a young age, so he would never have to face him. But the evil spell was deflected, sealing the magician’s spirit away in a series of unassuming vessels until he could find some other cunning way to enter our universe.

Cronus’s story is likely not literally completely true, and is mostly a laughable Harry Potter reference.  But given what Cal just did to Jack, we ain’t laughing much at that bolded portion anymore.
Once Cal was confirmed as a horcrux by Caliborn’s statements earlier, we started theorizing about other potential vessels Lord English might be using, especially if many of them are to be gathered around Jake English at the same time (the last one a trophy from the seemingly-fallen LE he’s just defeated), spelling his unfortunate and grotesque possession.  And one of the largest candidates for a secondary horcrux has been the alpha session Black Queen’s ring, especially for its similarities to the One Ring.
This zero-prototyped Ring of Void - in making DD invisible, as well as Roxy - mirrors the ring at the center of the plot of the Lord of the Rings, the “One Ring” being the innocuous vessel into which Sauron poured his soul and power.  (Which made people invisible except to Sauron, even, just like Roxy was only invisible until Jane and Jake used hypnotic, Cherub-like eyes!)  There have been a plethora of Lord of the Rings references throughout homestuck; the “Royal Deringer” used by Liv Tyler to slice the ring off the Black Queen’s finger is a reference to Narsil, the broken(!) sword Isildur used to slice the One Ring off Sauron’s finger, and which was later carried in its broken form - and eventually reforged- by Aragorn, who while a wanderer called himself Strider!
The One Ring was (spoilers) eventually destroyed by throwing it into the volcano in which it was Forged (cough cough). And it was implied that Karkat’s team had to do the same thing with the rings in their own session, when asked to destroy them by the exiled Black Queen.
So it stands to reason that the kids might eventually have to do the same, with some ring at some point in the plot, fulfilling the Lord of the Rings callback completely.
And why would they ever need to do that?
If the ring had part of the soul of an ultimate villain hiding within it! :)
This particular ring even got a Gollum reference, in Tavros.  And as such, we have our potential disaster… there’s a chance that an inverting Tavros might get his hands on the ring, and be compelled by it to send forth bloody Red Miles against the ghost army!
That possibility is a nice reminder… These horcruxes are dangerous proxies of Lord English’s influence via insinuation and temptation, even if they are never sprung to cause possession or LE’s emergence!  The horcruxes from Harry Potter certainly had this effect, didn’t they?  :)
If the ring is another horcrux, then it and Lil’ Cal are probably not the only two.  We need to figure out what the other horcruxes might be, so I expect you to be on the lookout for them from now on.
Perhaps the dualing Pistol / White Wand of Hope used by Calliope (and later Lord English himself) has become such a vessel, for example?  After all, it does fit Jake English’s specibus.  And Andrew’s use of it as if it were LE’s ‘weakness’ would prove to distract unaware readers from its ominous sign, until it was too late.
I didn’t think the Magic Cueball could be one of these horcruxes, but then someone pointed out that it was used for First Guardian sourcing only at the moment of its destruction!  This ‘transfer’ may have preserved the part of Lord English’s soul within the cueball and hid it inside Doc Scratch, all while keeping Lil’ Cal’s horcrux intact… placing the Magic Cueball in keeping with the “there can only be one” rule that makes much sense with a Lord of Time’s inevitable soul involved.  In other words, every instance of the cueball might merely be a renewed horcrux, created sequentially!
(Though keep in mind, the original Magic Cueball has yet to be created.)
I can’t tell you for sure that the cueball or gunwand are horcruxes - they’re almost random, unlikely guesses - and we can’t even be 100% sure about the ring, though that’s a much more likely candidate!  All we know for sure is that the Ultimate Juju, AURYN, is almost certainly not one of the horcruxes entangled with Lord English’s soul, as he never had contact with it in time.  In fact, those stated ‘juju rules’ above - that a juju may only be given freely or taken upon death - might only apply to that ultimate artifact per se, as magic and jujus are normally fake as shit distractions used by Lord English to mask what true power is!  (Although, again, LE’s horcruxes might each still follow a rule of “there can only be one”, a good hint to what the next ones might be.)
And at least one will likely play a role in Jake’s possession, as I’ve linked a thousand times here so far.  Lord English has what may look like a ‘main’ body marching grimly from universe to universe, but with his soul split into horcruxes, Jake defeating even that body would merely be a prelude to his disastrous body-ganking.  Again:

JAKE: I feel like i should know more about him if im supposed to kill him. ARANEA: I didn’t say you were supposed to kill him. ARANEA: He cannot 8e killed. ARANEA: Long ago he discovered the secret to indestructi8ility. JAKE: Oh… ARANEA: Defeating a foe doesn’t always involve killing. ARANEA: He has had many incarnations in many universes. ARANEA: If you continue on your journey for long enough, you may encounter one of them.ARANEA: And if you have 8ecome strong enough 8y then, you may 8e a8le to defeat him in com8at. ARANEA: And if that comes to pass, it would 8e the first defeat he has ever known. ARANEA: You would 8e providing the first glimmer of hope to others that some day, he could 8e destroyed. 

In other words, killing Lord English barely slows him down.  The only way to truly kill him for good is to deplete him of his horcruxes!  He’s a series of parasites looking for hosts… the form that looks like his main body is just a Red Herring!
(In fact, he may not even be ‘destroyed’ per se… what if one of his horcruxes was looped straight back to be folded forcibly and nigh-influencelessly into his origin at the final moment, trapping him obliviously in a loop never to escape the iteration of Paradox Space he destroyed?!  But that’s just one crazy idea, after all, not any sort of sure bet…)
So, good luck my fellow speccers and Homestuck readers!  Keep your eye out for these unassuming vessels of the true enemy, and where their deleterious influence might strike next.
One last note about the format of this fenestrated, 4-combined-panels-able view we’re getting with the double-sided page format Andrew’s switched to using, courtesy again of whitehelm from chat:
whitehelm:  the last double page of A6A5A1x2 combo is going to be the 4th wall, calling it now
EDIT 2/21/13:
A couple more candidate Horcruxes we might have discovered.
First of all, we have the impressive power resident in the Condesce’s mechanical tiara:

vacantvisionary asked: 

Did you notice how the framing of this (p=007734) shot - instead of lining up the faces - lines up Jack’s eyes with the Condesce’s tiara? (cough horcruxes cough)

Nice point!
In a previous IM chat, vacantvisionary argued to me that the Condesce’s golden, psychic-power-imbuing Tiara might be another Horcrux, mirroring Ravenclaw’s Diadem in Harry Potter:

When worn, it’s supposed to bolster the wisdom of its wearer.
If being horcruxes increases the potency of these objects, then the means )(er Condescension is using to unlock these potent psionic abilities may not be that mechanical at all!  And furthermore, there’s thus a small chance that even Jane would be able to access some of these abilities, with the tiara from the fallen Condesce in her possession.
Before, at some point, I floated the idea that Jane might be able to do so by an extension of her Life powers as a source of energy, gaining the tiara’s powers to become even more dangerous; this would be a much more plausible route to its usefulness.

Second, the quotes at the very top of this post about Dirk indicate that there may eventually be a clear route - when I wasn’t sure before - to mirroring the Horcrux-like tie that Voldemort had directly with Harry Potter.

TT: There seems to be no end to me. Like, wherever my mind falters, or threatens to retreat into the void in any way, my splinters pick up the slack, ensuring there’ll always be more of myself than I could ever know what to fucking do with. 
GT: There is something that feels kind of weird about this. You being in my head… its a little messed up! TT: What’s messed up about it? TT: You were the one who put me here, with your intimate understanding of all his mannerisms and predilections. TT: And a splintered existence is pretty much how he rolls. TT: This is how shit is bro. 
TT: I don’t think one of Dirk’s splinters could exist nearly as well in anyone’s mind other than yours. GT: Well thats just spiffy for me but im starting to feel somewhat like im being haunted by you now. 
TT: I pretty much am your brain. GT: Aaah! No dont say that its so weird. 
GT: There are some feelings im not sure how to put into words yet and doing it in front of you whether youre a stunt double or brain puppet or whatever it just makes me feel uncomfortable!
uu: IT IS POSSIBLE THAT YOU JUST HAVE A SPECIAL MIND. uu: LIKE ME.
uu: BUT THE FACT THAT YOU CLEARLY HATE YOUR FRIENDS. AND ARE READY TO SHED THEM LIKE THE DRY SKIN OF A SERPENT. uu: INDICATES THAT WE SHARE A VERY SPECIAL QUALITY AMONG BROTHERLY BROS. WHO MUST WORK HARDER WITH OUR BRAINS THAN EVERYONE ELSE. uu: SO WE MAY ACHIEVE BRUTAL SUPREMACY OVER THEM ALL. 
uu: I WAS A FOOL THOUGH. I DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE SPECIAL BOND WITH HIM THAT I HAD. uu: BECAUSE I DID NOT HAVE A CHANCE. TO GAZE SOULFULLY INTO HIS BEAUTIFUL EYES. uu: AND COMMUNE WITH THE DOLL. IN A PERSONAL AND INTIMATE WAY. 

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here, or if there’s anything substantial. But now that we’ve sussed this out: It’s perhaps possible that Lord English eventually insinuates himself into Jake’s very mind, through his Hope-based ability to internalize splinters of those he knows. And that insinuation could be powerful enough for Lord English to channel himself through the splinter and sieze control of him, perhaps?
The "haunted" line, in particular would line up fairly well with Jake’s disturbing parallels with the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
We’ll see if things get clearer as the story develops. Keep your eyes peeled. 

— Horcruxes and Jack English —

So… yesterday’s mega-update (ending here) was certainly filled with developments!  (including a potential reference to me that probably wasn’t)

Under the cut I’ll go over all the theory content we can gather from it, including horcruxes, John/Roxy, protective shades, and what’s likely to happen next.

To make a long story short, as I said a month ago, Lil’ Cal is almost certainly NOT Lord English’s only vessel!  And we have a duty to deduce what the other unassuming vessels may be.

(EDIT 2/21/13: Added information on the Diadem, and quotes about Dirk that elucidate the nature of LE’s immortality, as well as a link to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow post.)

Anyway… on with our long list of information and theories!

First of all, Lord English wasn’t “actually Jack Noir” all along.  Rather, Cal was something of a horcrux, a seemingly mundane item either carrying a shard of his soul, or acting as a channel for his soul through the Void.

ARANEA: I didn’t say you were supposed to kill him. 
ARANEA: He cannot 8e killed. 
ARANEA: Long ago he discovered the secret to indestructi8ility. 

TT: There seems to be no end to me. Like, wherever my mind falters, or threatens to retreat into the void in any way, my splinters pick up the slack, ensuring there’ll always be more of myself than I could ever know what to fucking do with. 

TT: I swear to god, I’ll get my own horse running harder in this fuckin’ race than you could ever dream. 
uu: WHAT. HORSE? 
TT: Think I’ll blink first, motherfucker? 
TT: Not happening. 
TT: I might splinter. 
TT: But I don’t break. 

uu: I CAN FEEL HIM OUT THERE. 
uu: IN LATER STAGES OF HIS LIFE. 
uu: BY WHICH I MEAN. 
uu: I CAN FEEL *MYSELF*. 
uu: THROUGH HIM SOMEHOW. 
uu: AS IF MY ESSENCE WILL ONE DAY BECOME. 
uu: ENTANGLED WITH THE VOID. 
uu: AND THEN MYSTERIOUSLY ACCESSIBLE. 
uu: THROUGH MY SOFT HAPPY PAL.

Now that Jack Noir, has been hypnotized and forced to replace his eyes - eyes being windows to the soul - with Cal’s own, prying them out with the crowbar (much like Caliborn will eventually lose his eyes somehow, needing mechanical cueball ones - “uu: TO PRY YOuR EYES AWAY.”) and placing them in his skull, we can consider him wholly possessed by Lord English.  This occurrence may have been foreshadowed with things like LE’s vault having a spade door in the Intermission, as well as a sprite-flipping incident where both of his eyes were temporarily either gouged out or stitched over; Caliborn was always quite fond of Jack, so paying tribute to him at the same time he’s using him isn’t out of the question.  Hell, the very fact that he is using him may be considered a sign of respect?

uu: NOIR IS THE BEST THERE IS. 
uu: VERY uSEFuL. 
uu: VERY STABBY. 
uu: I MIGHT EVEN CONSIDER HIM. 
uu: MY BEST FuCKING FRIEND. 
uu: IF I DIDN’T FIND THE HuMAN EMOTION OF FRIENDSHIP. 
uu: NEARLY AS SICKENING AS IT BARELY QuALIFIES. 
uu: AS AN ACTuAL EMOTION.

GT: Ive never been accused of having a photographic memory but i dont recall you typing in green either. 
GT: Are you ripping me off bro?? 
uu: NO YOU FUCKING MORON. 
uu: IF I STOOPED TO YOUR LEVEL. AND DECIDED TO JACK *ANY* PORTION OF YOUR SWAGGER. 
uu: DON’T YOU THINK. YOU’D NEED TO EARN MY RESPECT FIRST??? 

(This is why Lord English would never have possessed a woman or girl, by the way!)

I’d prefer to call him "Jack English", which is probably the intended pun: it foreshadows both backward and forward with "Jake English", the one who - perhaps more certainly than ever, now that LE has demonstrated this capability - has been hinted to be an eventual victim of possession himself, becoming one of the two final obstacles the kids must face in the alpha session.  (See the link for evidence.)

EB: in my foolishness, i came very close to prototyping your grandpa.
GG: D:
GG: john, try to be more careful!
EB: we very nearly had to face our grandfatherly paradox-dad as a last boss.
EB: that would probably be the worst case scenario.

We also saw Caliborn manipulating his own version of Lil’ Cal, performing some sort of operation on it with his hypnotic cherubic eyes.

TEREZI: OH, 4ND GUYS, JUST FOR TH3 S4K3 OF MULT1CULTUR4L CL4R1TY, W3 TROLLS TR34T D34TH 1TS3LF 4S 4 MYTHOLOG1C4L F1GUR3 
TEREZI: H3 1S 4 M4N W1TH 4 FR1GHT3N1NG SKULL FOR 4 H34D 4ND 4 T3RR1BL3 HYPNOT1C GL4R3 

Note that while what Caliborn was doing to Cal was circumstantially and visually simultaneous with what it did to Jack Noir, the events were not necessarily the same.  As we see rotating cueballs in the eyes of Jack’s version of Cal, it’s far more likely that the will of the adult Lord English is hypnotizing and possessing Jack.  However, at least for the instance of Cal victim to Caliborn’s hypnotism - if not all instances, somehow, via his latent Lord of Time abilities - it seems as if a horcrux of some sort is being created, as if early Caliborn is forging a link that was much later cashed in with Jack by his later self.

(And though he seems like he might be be ‘splitting/linking his soul’ for a horcrux, or whatever he’s doing, quite handily as-is… if he ever needs any help, he’ll eventually have his hands on a mechanical Prince of Heart as a servant to further divide his spirit for implantation!)

(EDIT 2/5/2013: Remember how dead!Calliope’s eyes were black, empty sockets, missing - which we assumed simply alluded to Caliborn eventually losing his eyes, necessitating mechanical cueball ones - but for some reason, her teeth were intact?  Why one, and not the other?  Well… perhaps when we cut back to Caliborn, the swirly-eyed soul-transfer he performed on Lil Cal will leave him eyeless?!  I have no clue whether that will be the case, we’ll have to see.  But if true… it could put a limit on his horcruxes (at least the strongest ones that can possess someone with a single object or single look), and it would also mean that Calliope stowed her soul in something tangible after death!)

I’ll get back to horcruxes a little later, here.

We don’t know exactly what qualities these hypnotic eyes of his have, or whether Caliborn retained his ability to imbue objects after said eyes were replaced with mechanized cueballs!  However, it seems that the theories many people had that Dave and Bro’s use of shades (nearly from birth) protected them from Cal’s influence may have been quite right.

TG: oh man i wish lil cal wouldnt look at me like that 
TG: with those dead eyes jesus 
TG: sometimes i dream that hes real and hes talking to me and i wake up in a cold sweat and basically flip the fuck out 

TC: YOUR BRO’S DEAD BRO. 
TC: couldn’t keep my new friend captive no more. 
TC: RELEASED YOUR NIGHTMARES RIGHT INTO MY WARM FUCKING EMBRACE. 
TC: and now i listen at what they whisper through my hear ducts. 

TG: my bros idiotic ventriloquist dummy is responsible for this schizophrenic bullshit 
TG: is that what youre saying 
TC: motherfuuuuuck yes, bro. 
TG: what else does he say 
TC: HE SAYS 
TC: all in this funny little voice 
TC: THAT IS SO 
TC: very 
TC: VERY 
TC: very 
TC: VERY 
TC: quiet 
TC: THAT 
TC: it’s time 
TC: TO GO 
TC: mother 
TC: FUCKING 
TC: kill 
TC: THEM 
TC: all. 

TG: ive never seen or heard these things in my dreams 
TT: Aren’t you often distracted? 
TT: By music and puppets? 
TG: uh yeah 
TT: Have you ever looked into the sky without your shades? 
TG: no what a ridiculous question 
TT: Maybe you should try it some time. 

It seems as if the very shades which obscure one’s soul from others also shield other souls from oneself.  This may have a little to do with Void and Light, too, with Void playing a protective role, but we can’t be certain.

So… what’s Jack English going to do next?

Caliborn wants Jake English, if not Jane Crocker as well, to go God-Tier for his later use.  So if he ends up being the serendipitous occurrence which kills the Prospit kids on their Quest Beds, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise.  However, killing Jane has an additional incentive: the ultimate juju.

uu: THEY ALWAYS HAVE RULES. AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE OWNERS. 
uu: YOU CAN TAKE SOMEONE’S JUJU. IF THE OWNER WAS KILLED. 
uu: OR IF HE GIVES IT TO YOU FREELY. LIKE I’M DOING. 

(As oktavia-von-seckendorff notes, these rules are very reminiscent of the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter.)

Jane dying, even on her Quest Crypt, may allow Jack English to take hold of the combined sucker, with its role-overcharging properties we’ve discussed.  (I even edited in a bit about how Jack might be the next to wield it, before the mega-update hit!)  And even if he can’t use it or control it as-is, he happens to be in possession of a juju-breaking crowbar.

In other words, Jack English can use his crowbar to break open the sucker!

Revealing the true artifact contained within it, AURYN, and all the vague strength it entails.  (Not that he’ll be the last to wield said artifact, eventually!)

Jack English will have his crowbar either dropped or beaten out of him eventually, too.  From whitehelm in mspa clubhouse chat last night:

  • whitehelm:  so Jack English’s crowbar is still the past version of Caliborn’s crowbar right?
  • whitehelm:  because both of them got it from Gamzee
  • whitehelm:  so there must be a future event where Gamzee gets it back from Jack

There will almost certainly be some fighting with Jack English; in fact, a god-tier Jake might be the one to undertake it, or the like.  Or as some suggested, the kids might enter the session about now, with Bec Noir and PM interrupted by another superpowered Jack to fight?

While Jack English’s glowing looks similar to the visual effects of )(er Condescension’s curse, it’s probably just evident of the same sort of unnatural power Lord English is capable of granting to his servants, and not of its possible transferability.  (Lord English’s raw Time-based might and power usually manifests as that color-swirling aura, not just the curse necessarily.)  But just in case, I’d be very carefully on the lookout if Jake manages to be the one to strike Jack down.  Jack English might be Jake’s trap of a foe in the same way the Condesce is Jane’s!  (In fact, as a friend pointed out to me, Aranea never said he would fight Lord English’s original form…)

ARANEA: He has had many incarnations in many universes. 
ARANEA: If you continue on your journey for long enough, you may encounter one of them. 
ARANEA: And if you have 8ecome strong enough 8y then, you may 8e a8le to defeat him in com8at. 
ARANEA: And if that comes to pass, it would 8e the first defeat he has ever known. 
ARANEA: You would 8e providing the first glimmer of hope to others that some day, he could 8e destroyed. 

Speaking of which, )(er Condescension might even be the one to kill Roxy and Dirk upon their Quest Crypts at the same time Jack English does so to Jane and Jake, as opposed to serendipitous troll meteor billiards?  Or perhaps the beam from when Jack English emerged has a delayed hit out on Derse’s moon?  We can only guess.  (Some suggested that the Condesce and Jack might fight, but this is very unlikely; they’re on the same side, and Lord English wouldn’t tolerate such direct and blatant disobedience.)

Anyway, enough random guesses… it’s time to talk about the ring.

First of all, I’ve been advocating notice of the presence of John/Roxy ship foreshadowing for quite some time, now.  And when John received a zero-prototyped Ring of Void that had been mysteriously cast into the dark, I didn’t even need confirmation from later in the next act to tell that Roxy would get the ring and be the one to have cast it out there in the first place!

So when she loses the ring, and we get lines as blatant as this:

TG: want to know something lame? 
GT: Yes. 
TG: the moment i first saw that ring 
TG: i was like in my head 
TG: thinkin 
TG: some day i want to give that ring to the person i marry 
TG: whoever that is 
GT: Daw.

We can be sure that this ship is going to sail pretty damn strong for a while after John shows up, regardless of whether or not it eventually falls apart.

(Oh, as douchedag points out, I forgot John’s half of the quote:)

JOHN: (i think some day i will use it to propose to *MY* girlfriend. what do you think about THAT, wise guy?) 

However, I still can’t say whether John will end up with Roxy or Vriska when all is said and done; only that Roxy and John will have a healthy fling at the very least.  The eventual outcome is still unclear, and it depends on how far Tavros comes, and when.  (After all, John still has a dramatic rescue waiting to happen, will be the one to remember her… but Tavros has a chance of being involved as well.  I still haven’t edited my notes in response to someone’s reblog of the Vriska-Sun post back into that same post, but I will this week.)  And I hope Roxy wins, or finds love somewhere else if it fails!  Especially because unless Roxy broadens her romantic prospects past John, failure might take the shape of death or sacrifice on her part.

For, well… as strong as this ring’s relationship foreshadowing is, the ring is also incredibly ominous.  You see:

TG: i just really liked that ring 
TG: kinda spoke to me in a way 
TG: hehe 

The ring might be another horcrux!

Did you really expect Lil’ Cal to be the only trap of a seemingly-mundane item there is?  Note Aranea’s spiel about Cronus at her exposition stand in one of the intermission walkarounds:

He 8ecame convinced he was hatched to defeat an extraordinarily evil magician, one he swore the angels foretold of. Though when pressed for the name of the man, he would not say it, claiming it was too dangerous to even enunciate. Part of his self-aggrandizing mythos was that this magician once somehow from afar tried to strike him down at a young age, so he would never have to face him. But the evil spell was deflected, sealing the magician’s spirit away in a series of unassuming vessels until he could find some other cunning way to enter our universe.

Cronus’s story is likely not literally completely true, and is mostly a laughable Harry Potter reference.  But given what Cal just did to Jack, we ain’t laughing much at that bolded portion anymore.

Once Cal was confirmed as a horcrux by Caliborn’s statements earlier, we started theorizing about other potential vessels Lord English might be using, especially if many of them are to be gathered around Jake English at the same time (the last one a trophy from the seemingly-fallen LE he’s just defeated), spelling his unfortunate and grotesque possession.  And one of the largest candidates for a secondary horcrux has been the alpha session Black Queen’s ring, especially for its similarities to the One Ring.

This zero-prototyped Ring of Void - in making DD invisible, as well as Roxy - mirrors the ring at the center of the plot of the Lord of the Rings, the “One Ring” being the innocuous vessel into which Sauron poured his soul and power.  (Which made people invisible except to Sauron, even, just like Roxy was only invisible until Jane and Jake used hypnotic, Cherub-like eyes!)  There have been a plethora of Lord of the Rings references throughout homestuck; the “Royal Deringer” used by Liv Tyler to slice the ring off the Black Queen’s finger is a reference to Narsil, the broken(!) sword Isildur used to slice the One Ring off Sauron’s finger, and which was later carried in its broken form - and eventually reforged- by Aragorn, who while a wanderer called himself Strider!

The One Ring was (spoilers) eventually destroyed by throwing it into the volcano in which it was Forged (cough cough). And it was implied that Karkat’s team had to do the same thing with the rings in their own session, when asked to destroy them by the exiled Black Queen.

So it stands to reason that the kids might eventually have to do the same, with some ring at some point in the plot, fulfilling the Lord of the Rings callback completely.

And why would they ever need to do that?

If the ring had part of the soul of an ultimate villain hiding within it! :)

This particular ring even got a Gollum reference, in Tavros.  And as such, we have our potential disaster… there’s a chance that an inverting Tavros might get his hands on the ring, and be compelled by it to send forth bloody Red Miles against the ghost army!

That possibility is a nice reminder… These horcruxes are dangerous proxies of Lord English’s influence via insinuation and temptation, even if they are never sprung to cause possession or LE’s emergence!  The horcruxes from Harry Potter certainly had this effect, didn’t they?  :)

If the ring is another horcrux, then it and Lil’ Cal are probably not the only two.  We need to figure out what the other horcruxes might be, so I expect you to be on the lookout for them from now on.

Perhaps the dualing Pistol / White Wand of Hope used by Calliope (and later Lord English himself) has become such a vessel, for example?  After all, it does fit Jake English’s specibus.  And Andrew’s use of it as if it were LE’s ‘weakness’ would prove to distract unaware readers from its ominous sign, until it was too late.

I didn’t think the Magic Cueball could be one of these horcruxes, but then someone pointed out that it was used for First Guardian sourcing only at the moment of its destruction!  This ‘transfer’ may have preserved the part of Lord English’s soul within the cueball and hid it inside Doc Scratch, all while keeping Lil’ Cal’s horcrux intact… placing the Magic Cueball in keeping with the “there can only be one” rule that makes much sense with a Lord of Time’s inevitable soul involved.  In other words, every instance of the cueball might merely be a renewed horcrux, created sequentially!

(Though keep in mind, the original Magic Cueball has yet to be created.)

I can’t tell you for sure that the cueball or gunwand are horcruxes - they’re almost random, unlikely guesses - and we can’t even be 100% sure about the ring, though that’s a much more likely candidate!  All we know for sure is that the Ultimate Juju, AURYN, is almost certainly not one of the horcruxes entangled with Lord English’s soul, as he never had contact with it in time.  In fact, those stated ‘juju rules’ above - that a juju may only be given freely or taken upon death - might only apply to that ultimate artifact per se, as magic and jujus are normally fake as shit distractions used by Lord English to mask what true power is!  (Although, again, LE’s horcruxes might each still follow a rule of “there can only be one”, a good hint to what the next ones might be.)

And at least one will likely play a role in Jake’s possession, as I’ve linked a thousand times here so far.  Lord English has what may look like a ‘main’ body marching grimly from universe to universe, but with his soul split into horcruxes, Jake defeating even that body would merely be a prelude to his disastrous body-ganking.  Again:

JAKE: I feel like i should know more about him if im supposed to kill him. 
ARANEA: I didn’t say you were supposed to kill him. 
ARANEA: He cannot 8e killed. 
ARANEA: Long ago he discovered the secret to indestructi8ility. 
JAKE: Oh… 
ARANEA: Defeating a foe doesn’t always involve killing. 
ARANEA: He has had many incarnations in many universes. 
ARANEA: If you continue on your journey for long enough, you may encounter one of them.
ARANEA: And if you have 8ecome strong enough 8y then, you may 8e a8le to defeat him in com8at. 
ARANEA: And if that comes to pass, it would 8e the first defeat he has ever known. 
ARANEA: You would 8e providing the first glimmer of hope to others that some day, he could 8e destroyed. 

In other words, killing Lord English barely slows him down.  The only way to truly kill him for good is to deplete him of his horcruxes!  He’s a series of parasites looking for hosts… the form that looks like his main body is just a Red Herring!

(In fact, he may not even be ‘destroyed’ per se… what if one of his horcruxes was looped straight back to be folded forcibly and nigh-influencelessly into his origin at the final moment, trapping him obliviously in a loop never to escape the iteration of Paradox Space he destroyed?!  But that’s just one crazy idea, after all, not any sort of sure bet…)

So, good luck my fellow speccers and Homestuck readers!  Keep your eye out for these unassuming vessels of the true enemy, and where their deleterious influence might strike next.

One last note about the format of this fenestrated, 4-combined-panels-able view we’re getting with the double-sided page format Andrew’s switched to using, courtesy again of whitehelm from chat:

  • whitehelm:  the last double page of A6A5A1x2 combo is going to be the 4th wall, calling it now

EDIT 2/21/13:

A couple more candidate Horcruxes we might have discovered.

First of all, we have the impressive power resident in the Condesce’s mechanical tiara:

vacantvisionary asked: 

Did you notice how the framing of this (p=007734) shot - instead of lining up the faces - lines up Jack’s eyes with the Condesce’s tiara? (cough horcruxes cough)

Nice point!

In a previous IM chat, vacantvisionary argued to me that the Condesce’s golden, psychic-power-imbuing Tiara might be another Horcrux, mirroring Ravenclaw’s Diadem in Harry Potter:

image

When worn, it’s supposed to bolster the wisdom of its wearer.

If being horcruxes increases the potency of these objects, then the means )(er Condescension is using to unlock these potent psionic abilities may not be that mechanical at all!  And furthermore, there’s thus a small chance that even Jane would be able to access some of these abilities, with the tiara from the fallen Condesce in her possession.

Before, at some point, I floated the idea that Jane might be able to do so by an extension of her Life powers as a source of energy, gaining the tiara’s powers to become even more dangerous; this would be a much more plausible route to its usefulness.

Second, the quotes at the very top of this post about Dirk indicate that there may eventually be a clear route - when I wasn’t sure before - to mirroring the Horcrux-like tie that Voldemort had directly with Harry Potter.

TT: There seems to be no end to me. Like, wherever my mind falters, or threatens to retreat into the void in any way, my splinters pick up the slack, ensuring there’ll always be more of myself than I could ever know what to fucking do with. 

GT: There is something that feels kind of weird about this. You being in my head… its a little messed up! 
TT: What’s messed up about it? 
TT: You were the one who put me here, with your intimate understanding of all his mannerisms and predilections. 
TT: And a splintered existence is pretty much how he rolls. 
TT: This is how shit is bro. 

TT: I don’t think one of Dirk’s splinters could exist nearly as well in anyone’s mind other than yours. 
GT: Well thats just spiffy for me but im starting to feel somewhat like im being haunted by you now. 

TT: I pretty much am your brain. 
GT: Aaah! No dont say that its so weird. 

GT: There are some feelings im not sure how to put into words yet and doing it in front of you whether youre a stunt double or brain puppet or whatever it just makes me feel uncomfortable!

uu: IT IS POSSIBLE THAT YOU JUST HAVE A SPECIAL MIND. 
uu: LIKE ME.

uu: BUT THE FACT THAT YOU CLEARLY HATE YOUR FRIENDS. AND ARE READY TO SHED THEM LIKE THE DRY SKIN OF A SERPENT. 
uu: INDICATES THAT WE SHARE A VERY SPECIAL QUALITY AMONG BROTHERLY BROS. WHO MUST WORK HARDER WITH OUR BRAINS THAN EVERYONE ELSE. 
uu: SO WE MAY ACHIEVE BRUTAL SUPREMACY OVER THEM ALL. 

uu: I WAS A FOOL THOUGH. I DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE SPECIAL BOND WITH HIM THAT I HAD. 
uu: BECAUSE I DID NOT HAVE A CHANCE. TO GAZE SOULFULLY INTO HIS BEAUTIFUL EYES. 
uu: AND COMMUNE WITH THE DOLL. IN A PERSONAL AND INTIMATE WAY. 

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here, or if there’s anything substantial. But now that we’ve sussed this out: It’s perhaps possible that Lord English eventually insinuates himself into Jake’s very mind, through his Hope-based ability to internalize splinters of those he knows. And that insinuation could be powerful enough for Lord English to channel himself through the splinter and sieze control of him, perhaps?

The "haunted" line, in particular would line up fairly well with Jake’s disturbing parallels with the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

We’ll see if things get clearer as the story develops. Keep your eyes peeled. 

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