Prologue: A Dream Better Left Forgotten

Taylor silently stepped out of the car and followed her father towards the house. Taylor kept her eyes fixed on the ground as they approached. Looking at the house reminded her of how empty it was, how without her mother it was just the empty shell of a home.

As she stepped inside she felt tears well up in her eyes and she ran to her room without giving her father so much as a word. Lying down on the bed she focused her eyes and the blank white ceiling and tried to clear her funeral had been painful, a seemingly series of mourners telling her that everything would be okay. As if they could understand what it meant to go home and her mother coming with, and knowing that it was her fault.

The thought of the phone call with which she ended her mother's life was too much for her emotions to bear and she began to cry for what felt like countless hours before finally exhaustion took her and she drifted off to sleep.

In her dreams she saw a still world covered what appeared to be a thick metal jungle, but one completely devoid of motion or sound. Before she could explore her form seemed to slip through the floor and she was presented with an impossibly vast wasteland of metal and scrap that seemed to have fallen from the jungle above. Her form continued to descend through more layers and she was made to bear witness to to more impossible landscapes. Great cities gone silent, vast oceans of black oil completely still, great furnaces left cold. Down she went until she reached what she assumed to be the center of this world, a massive temple suspended in the center of a hollow sphere. As she looked at the temple the word 'Sanctuary' came to her mind, unbidden.

No longer being pulled to ever lower levels Taylor entered the great temple and began to explore. The entrance hall was vast and ornate, but once she had gotten deeper into the temple the rooms became smaller and it began to feel more lived in. Further she delved until she reached a locked door, and for the first time since arriving on the metal world heard something behind her.

Taylor turned as saw a what she could only describe as a demon. Its frame was tall and thin, covered in white armor that appeared to be made out of ceramic. Where the armor gave way she could see red pulsating flesh with black veins running through. Out of the creatures back she could see two large protrusions that looked like they were made of vertebrae, where they ended large wings white wings unfolded and she could see veins of red running through them. The demon's arms looked as though the ended in vicious talons and in one of them was grasped a scepter as taller even then the creature. The demon's head was long and curved, at the base there was a large mouth filled with jagged teeth and above that there were four slits for eyes. At its neck two black curved spines protruded, each branching off into short spikes at regular distances. The way the spines framed the creature's head gave off the impression of a crown.

From the monstrosity Taylor heard a deep and resonant voice ask, "What are you doing here, child?"

Taylor responded by screaming and willing herself to wake from this nightmare.

The demon stepped forward and Taylor felt her breath catch, ending the scream. It bent down and looked Taylor in the eye. Too scared to even move Taylor met the creatures stare, as the moments ticked by Taylor felt a dark thought replace the fear, that this was not a demon but an angel delivering her punishment for being the cause her mother's death. Looking deep into the creatures eyes she readied herself for the inevitable only for it to turn away and disappear into the shadows.

As soon as the creature was gone Taylor took a deep breath and collapsed to the ground. She forced the dark thought out of her mind, thinking of what it would do to her father should she die.

Finally Taylor stood back up intent on leaving the temple and returning home, but before she could another form stepped out of the shadows. This time instead of the creature a tall man with jet black hair stood before her. With the same voice as the demon he asked, "Is this form more acceptable?"

Confused, Taylor asked, "Who are you? What was that thing earlier?"

The man smiled, but the expression felt wrong on his features, "I am Yawgmoth, and that thing earlier was myself, just in another form."

Taylor paused, "What do you mean another form, are you a cape? Are you the one who brought me here?"

As Taylor asked the question she swore she felt something skimming across her thoughts, but the feeling passed momentarily and Yawgmoth answered her questions. "No I am not a 'cape', as you say, I am… was the god of this world. I created all you saw on your way down here. I am also not the one who brought you here, that is beyond my power."

Taylor considered for a moment whether or not the man before her was insane calling himself a god, but this entire world was impossible and probably was just a dream so she let it go. Finally she asked, "Do you know how I could leave?"

The man responded, "I expect you will leave when you awaken from your slumber, but until then would you like to join me? It has been a long time since I have had someone to speak with."

Not seeing any other options Taylor acquiesced and followed the man through the hallways. As she followed him she noticed he moved stiffly and clumsily but was gradually growing more confident as they moved through the temple. Eventually he reached the door he was apparently looking for and opened it to a comfortable looking room with an ornate table at the center. Yawgmoth sat at the table and Taylor sat across from him.

"Well, child, considering you are here what would you like to know about this world?"

Taylor responded, only somewhat petulantly, "My name is Taylor, not child."

Yawgmoth smiled at the response, "Well then Taylor, what would you like to know?"

Taylor paused for a moment considering her options before asking, "You said you were the god of this world, what happened to it?"

Yawgmoth's expression grew wistful as he answered, "That is quite the long story, are you certain that is what you want to know?"

Taylor nodded and so Yawgmoth began, "Long ago, before I became a god I was a doctor, one obsessed with rooting out the imperfections of mortal existence and conquering death."

Taylor listened to the story enraptured with how he had wandered his original world researching new medicines and powers to cure disease and how the people feared his knowledge. How he had convinced someone called a planeswalker to bring him to this world in order to try and create his paradise. How once on this world he had succeeded, creating a world where death was never random from accident or disease but always served a greater purpose for the world at large. How he had discovered that his world was doomed to die and that he and his people needed to leave. How the other worlds refused the gifts he offered in exchange for shelter. How in the end they invaded Phyrexia and leaving his people to die on their doomed world.

As the story ended Taylor asked, "If you are dead and your world is destroyed, how are we sitting here and talking?"

"Yawgmoth is dead Taylor, but when a god dies the end is not so clean. What you are talking to now is not Yawgmoth in truth but instead the imprint of his Will left upon the blind eternities. Now I sit here left alone inside a dead Phyrexia, a monument to his failure and how close he came to succeeding. All I get to do is talk to beings with a similar Will every once in a while as they dream."

Taylor felt a pang of empathy for the man's lonely existence, but the man continued, "Do not pity me, Taylor. It is a reasonable punishment for one who failed Phyrexia, and the upside is it allows me to meet interesting people such as yourself."

Taylor preened slightly at the praise before asking her next question, "Why did the other worlds hate Phyrexia so much. You were offering them your knowledge of how to supplant death, why would they refuse?"

Yawgmoth looked thoughtful for a moment before answering, "When you saw my original form why were you afraid?"

Taylor thought back. The demon was terrifying and appeared like it could kill her without a thought, but the fear was more visceral than that. Back home a normal looking person could be strong enough to rip her in half or have the ability to create metal spikes out of nothing and impale her with them, yet she wasn't that scared of strangers. Finally she settled on an answer, "Because it looked unnatural. Like it was something that shouldn't exist."

Yawgmoth smiled at her answer, "Exactly, Taylor. Death is a natural part of life and limiting it as much as I did is unnatural. The other worlds feared the changes I would bring and worried that they would lose part of themselves if they accepted my offer."

Taylor felt confused, death was terrible why would anyone want it to persist, but in the end she decided to accept the explanation for now and move on to her next question, "Why did you stop at limiting death I thought you wanted to conquer it."

"Death is still a necessary part of life, and becoming truly immortal would just lead to stagnation. In Phyrexia death only occured naturally when one was ready to leave the world to their successors, or when it was necessary for the betterment of all of Phyrexia. It wasn't perfect, there was still conflict between various factions in Phyrexia and murder was still a problem. But death to accidents or disease was unheard of. They had achieved a perfection of form to the point that Will was required to end their lives."

A world without pointless death, one where her mother would still be alive. Taylor asked her final question, "Is there any way I could learn how to conquer Death?"

Yawgmoth didn't answer right away this time instead just meeting her gaze. Taylor wanted to avert her eyes but held firm and stared back. Finally he spoke, "That is a long and hard rode Taylor, are you certain that is what you want?"

Keeping her eyes fixed on his she replied, "Yes."

Yawgmoth's voice grew deeper as he continued, "Your people will hate and fear you. If you want to spread your gift they will resist. Once they understand what you have become they will try and kill you. You will most likely have to take lives in order to create the world you want. So I ask again, are you certain that this is the path you desire?"

Again Taylor remained steady, "Yes."

"Once you start there will be no turning back, there is no way to reverse the process. So thrice I ask you, are you certain this is the path you desire?"

Again Taylor answered, a hint of frustration entering her voice, "Yes, this is what I desire." After all if she could conquer death how much harder would it be for her to learn how to reverse it.

Yawgmoth stood his veins turning pitch black on his pale skin, "Then kneel."

Taylor did so, her body almost responding without her input. Looking up she saw his eyes turn as black as his veins and a single drop of pitch black oil drop down his cheek as he spoke, his voice seemingly reverberating across the whole temple making it sound like the world was speaking rather than the man in front of her. "I, Yawgmoth, the Father of the Machines, declare Taylor Anne Hebert a Praetor of Phyrexia. She will carry my Will across the Blind Eternities.

Yawgmoth placed his hand on Taylor's head, "Do you accept this burden Taylor?"

Taylor felt her mouth go dry as she answered, the words coming to her lips almost unbidden, "I accept." As soon as she said it she felt a searing pain across her shoulder. The pain ended when Yawgmoth removed his hand from her head. Pulling up the sleeve she saw a jagged symbol etched into her shoulder of the deepest black color, a circle with a vertical line bisecting it."

Taylor stood up, her legs unsteady

"Follow me, Taylor. I will teach you how to sculpt the world you desire."

Taylor paused, "Will I be able to return, I'm worried a single night's lesson won't be enough."

Yawgmoth turned to her, his eyes returning to normal, "As long as you bear that mark you will be able to return here whenever you slumber.

Taylor awoke in her bed, still dressed in her clothes from the funeral. Pulling up her sleeve she looked at her unblemished shoulder. Taylor smirked at her flight of fancy, the ability to conquer death, of course something so ridiculous would be nothing more than a dream.

Standing from her bed she began to change her clothes only for a familiar pain to emanate from her shoulder. Wide eyed she rushed to the mirror and found the symbol once again scored into her flesh.

Still shocked she held out one unsteady palm and spoke the words of power Yawgmoth had taught her last night. Across the Blind Eternities came a single small vial of pitch black oil, materializing in her open palm.

Taylor quickly removed the cap before pausing, the open vial in her hand. Glancing around the room Taylor saw the photograph of her mother she kept on her bureau. With one final thought of undoing her sin Taylor closed her eyes and swallowed the contents of the vial.

A/N: Well this was a plot bunny that would not leave me alone. Do note that despite the fact that Taylor is the viewpoint character in the prologue she isn't going to continue to be a very common one going forward. This story is far more about the way Earth Bet responds to Phyrexia's encroachment then it is going to be about Taylor minmaxing Phyrexian tech and magic. I plan to post chapter 1 either this weekend or early next week, and that should give you a clearer idea of what direction I plan on taking this story.

As always I invite criticism of the work, I do write with the goal of improvement after all.