The Hero Discovered
Emil is the first Grackleflint
that Kevin Matchstick
encounters. Kevin happens upon him as Emil is killing a homeless man ( Mirth
later say that this man may have been fated to help Kevin, which is why Emil killed him). Emil and Kevin clash, and Kevin realizes that he has super-powers. Emil tries to get Kevin with one of his poisonous spurs, but misses, and Kevin is able to temporarily knock him out. Emil runs away when Kevin tries to attend to his victim.
The Grackleflints then shadow Kevin on a subway train. They include Emil, Lazlo
, and one unidentified other brother (either Stanis
). They attack him, and he jumps out of the subway car to escape. Emil and Lazlo watch the subway stations on either end of the tracks to watch for when he finally emerges. Emil sees him and reports back to the Umbra Sprite
He comes back to the Styx to find Lazlo and Stanis. Stanis was defeated by Mirth, and his actions led to Mirth banishing the Umbra Sprite's shade as well. Emil is, not for the last time, angry at his brother's incompetence. The Umbra Sprite impresses upon them all the importance of finding the Fisher King
, then summons the Marhault Ogre
to combat Matchstick as they wait.
Lazlo later returns to the Styx after hunting down a false lead about the Fisher King, and discusses the situation with Emil, where it becomes clear that Lazlo, like the rest of his brothers, is incapable of seeing his father's faults. The Umbra Sprite is spending his time searching for Matchstick and Mirth, and Emil is frustrated that they are becoming too focused on them, and not on the Fisher King.
We next see Emil after he finds out about Lazlo's failure to defeat Matchstick and Mirth with a group of Redcaps
. The Umbra Sprite punished Lazlo, putting him out of commission for nine days. Once again Emil feels that the Umbra Sprite is being unstrategic about their goal, since that means that Lazlo will be unable to help find the Fisher King during that time. His father is dismissive about his worries.
Five months pass. Realizing that the Grackleflints are targeting lame homeless people, the heroes set up ambushes, pretending to be lame themselves. Lazlo and Radu, along with a Redcap, happen upon one of these ambushes, and are routed by Matchstick and Edsel
. When Emil finds out, he is once again displeased with his father's focus on the heroes, rather than the Fisher King. He also looks with some disgust at how his father has become dependent on smoking the leaves of a marijuana-like plant. Emil, meanwhile, has spent a lot of time setting up a new homeless mission so that they can more easily check on the homeless population. He wants his father to make an announcement about it at the Styx Casino that night.
The heroes learn that the Umbra Sprite and the Grackleflints
are based in the Styx Casino, and go to visit undercover. They don't know that Piet
can change the Grackleflints' appearance. Lazlo and Radu, in disguise as red-headed humans, see the humans first, and wonder what to do. Emil joins them, and they begin to make a plan. Lazlo touches Sean, to get a sense of who he is, but he doesn't register at all, which has never happened before. They wonder if Sean is really Mirth. Emil goes to speak to their father, who knows Sean must be a ghost. Emil asks if they should attack the heroes, but the Umbra Sprite doesn't think they're strong enough, and decides to summon some other creatures to do it. In order to do this, they will have to put off the party and announcement for Emil's beloved homeless mission--once again proving to Emil that his father's priorities are misplaced.
Radu, Piet, and Lazlo keep an eye on Sean
and Edsel, while Kevin is ensorcelled by some fairies. Then Edsel and Piet manage to catch Piet and he shows them where the Umbra Sprite and Kevin are. Kevin is being held over an endless pit, and the Umbra Sprite, Emil, Radu, and Lazlo are on a plank projecting underneath him. Edsel runs in and knocks down all the Gracs, with Lazlo falling off into the pit. The Umbra Sprite wants to attack her, but Emil makes him save Lazlo, since falling into the pit can affect one's mind, and they still need his powers to find the Fisher King. In the meantime, Kevin frees himself and falls onto the plank, knocking Edsel and Emil off it. Sean catches Edsel, and the Umbra Sprite gets Emil as he flies back up with Lazlo. Kevin punches out Radu again, and the heroes run out. The Umbra Sprite finally gets to the door, and he gets Piet out of the floor (where Sean put him earlier). Emil is in pursuit, however, and using the magic of the hotel, is able to phase through the walls. He catches Kevin by surprise, and spurs him in the chest, wounding him seriously.
Edsel hits Emil directly on the spur with the bat, then knocks him out and they take Kevin away so he can be healed by Mirth. Emil, clutching his disabled spur, alerts the Umbra Sprite, who summons Cromm Cruich
, the dragon, to deal with the heroes. Cruich fails to catch the heroes in time, however, and they escape to the faerie realms with Mirth's help, and Radu is killed.
A year later, Piet and Emil are now the only two conscious remaining Grackleflints. They have purchased a radio station, and are attempting to hook up Lazlo, who is in a vegetative state, up to its broadcasting beam, and thereby search the entire city for the Fisher King. However, the heroes finally return to our plane, and the Grackleflints try to retreat to the Styx. Piet is almost caught by the heroes, but escapes. Emil pushes Lazlo in his wheelchair, but they have a hard time getting through the city since they are not in disguise. As they wait, and as Emil once again despairs over his father's lack of interest in the Fisher King, a cat rubs up against Lazlo's leg, causing him to moan. Emil realizes that the cat is the Fisher King! He picks him up and spurs him, causing a great flash of eldritch energy, which kills Lazlo and horribly scars Emil. Although it is not directly spelled out in the text, there must have been some ritual to use while killing the Fisher King which Emil neglected, and so it did not work. The Fisher King, in fact, does not die, but falls to the ground and transforms into a new shape: a lame homeless person, just like they had been trying to find all along.
Emil works his way back to the casino, where he finds his father in a catatonic state, due to the proximity of the Bat at its full potential. In frustration, Emil picks up the potted plant (which the Umbra Sprite had become addicted to smoking) and bashes in his father's skull, apparently killing him. Not much later, the Styx implodes, and we see no more of Emil in this story arc.
The Hero Defined
In the Hero Defined
, Emil becomes the new main antagonist, and takes on the identity of the Pale Incanter. His face is still scarred. Unlike his previous utilitarian dress, he now he wears long red robes and baroque grey hats. Every time he appears, he has a new hat (which somewhat mirrors Wally Ut
's changing hat). He also has a magic staff, ring, and scrying dome. He is using the dome and ring to siphon off Kevin Matchstick's power. Every time Kevin uses his power, Emil gets some of it, and uses it to charge a golem he is building, the Man-Mountain of Dzoxk
In the same way that his father employed his five sons, the Grackleflints, Emil uses his five sons, the Sprigginflints
, as his main assistants. In fact, Emil seems to be subconsciously mimicking his father in many ways, including his weaknesses. Like his father, he also focuses too much on Kevin and not at all on the Fisher King. He treats his sons even worse than the Umbra Sprite did, constantly berating them and zapping them with magic.
Emil has set up a whole faerie kingdom, Dzoxk, underneath Montreal, and is summoning all the creatures of darkness to him. Kevin and the other heroes realize that the "nasties" are gathering together, but don't know where or why. Once Emil realizes the heroes are near, he sends the Sprigginflints after them, but they lose them once they meet Wally Ut. Ut's power hides the heroes whenever he is with them. Emil continues building the Man-Mountain and eventually finds the heroes again. Meanwhile, the heroes have a mystic dream in which they envision Emil as a giant monster atop a hill. It is clear to them that someone is behind the gathering of evil, but they still don't know his identity. Emil sends the Sprigs out again, and this time they battle the heroes for a short time, at which point they retreat. Emil is not concerned, however, because every time Kevin uses his power, Emil siphons some of it off, and is that much closer to bringing the Man-Mountain to life.
He sends the Sprigginflints out with some hell-hounds, to confuse Kevin and make him think they are the Hounds belonging to the Master of the Hunt
, and absorbs more of his magic as he fights them. In fact, Kevin is really not much of a threat to Emil, as he has to constantly battle and argue with his fellow avatars in an attempt to corral them into working together. Emil sends out some wisp-wraiths to attack them, and finally Kevin sends out enough power to make the Man-Mountain come alive. Emil's plans are all coming together.
Later, when Kevin is fighting some Redcaps, he finds out that their chief is called the Pale Incanter, although he still doesn't know it's Emil. He and the heroes begin to suspect that the evil is centered on the giant cross on a hill in Montreal, however. Emil once again sends the Sprigginflints after the heroes, and gets a Leanhaun Sidhe
to seduce Joe Phat
. The heroes beat the Sprigginflints, killing two. The heroes also realize that the Sprigs are the sons of a Grackleflint...now the only question is, which one. Around this time Emil begins feeling weaker, as a result of creating the Man-Mountain. He also seems somewhat forgetful (as his father was when he was smoking), but it is unclear why, unless it is the impending power of Kevin or Wally.
The heroes now invade Dzoxk and come into and arena and find Emil. They finally know that he is the one behind it all. Emil sets the Man-Mountain, whom Emil has given a shield fueled by Kevin's power, upon them. It keeps Kirby
and Kevin busy fighting. He also sends the remaining Sprigginflints after the heroes. One refuses, and Emil kills him. The other two, more fearful of their father than Kevin, join the battle but are killed by the heroes. Wally, meanwhile, comes up and captures Emil in a purple prison fairly easily. However, Emil sends his consciousness into one of his pet snakes that inhabit the realm, and the snake slithers into one of the dead Sprigginflints' mouths. He animates the Sprig and has him pop Emil's magical cell (which disintegrates the Sprig).
Emil attacks the heroes, who have already defeated the Man-Mountain. He blasts Wally down, but Kevin breaks his rod, so he loses his connection with Kevin's magic. However, before the heroes and Emil can complete their confrontation, the snakes start to slither around Emil, and take shape as the Umbra Sprite. Understandably annoyed at Emil's previous attempt on his life, the Umbra Sprite banishes him to oblivion. It is clear that Emil's power is nothing compared to that of his father. The Umbra Sprite then melts into a flood of black oil, and Kevin escapes. It should be noted that for the second time in a row, Kevin did not defeat the main evil figure. Emil seemed to kill his father in The Hero Discovered
, and his father returned the favor in The Hero Defined
Powers, Abilities, and Weaknesses
Emil has all the standard powers and abilities of a Grackleflint, including somewhat enhanced strength and durability, and highly poisonous spurs on his elbows. Water can cause them pain and even kill them.
Each Grackleflint also has a unique, individual power. Emil's power is initiative. The other Grackleflint brothers all marched in lockstep with their father and never questioned him. Emil, however, was always second-guessing their father's initiatives. According to Mirth, Emil's initiative made him the most dangerous of the brothers.
After Emil spurred the Fisher King, he was severely injured and scarred on the right side of his face and body.
In The Hero Defined
, Emil became known as the Pale Incanter, a sorcerer of some power. He did not display too much magic on his own, instead focusing his power on summoning and creating his minions to do his dirty work, just as the Umbra Sprite did. However, he clearly had magical talent, as he created the objects to siphon off Kevin's power. He was able to be imprisoned by Wally Ut, but was also able to strike Ut down with a spell-bolt. He uses a magic staff called the Arcana Rod, plus a mystic scrying dome and magic ring.