By Jonathan Wojcik and Rev Storm
ENTRY 24: ORACLE ENVOYS"Monstrous band of musicians who employ sacred arts. It is said that when Oracle Envoys appear playing their pipes, they do so to herald the arrival of a new god, or age."
...Well, now, that's a pretty dignified, even ominous description for the closest a Souls game has gotten to the spirit of Dr. Seuss.
Not too terribly preposterous at first glance, per se; it's funny that this cloth-wrapped figure is shaped like just a perfect sphere on top of another perfect sphere, with really long and skinny blueish arms in the middle, and it's funny that it blows on a golden horn with multiple flaring ends to toot from, but the real delight comes when they start moving around, because no they do not have any hidden legs or feet that we know of; they bounce everywhere. They bounce in slow motion and when they're fighting they're just wibble-wobbling around like one of those inflatable punching bags.
And you know what's even better? Whats FANTASTICALLY better? Those horns blow bubbles.
On close inspection, these mysterious beings also have human heads on what must be very long necks, but their cloth wrappings hide their eye sockets, which are just a little too concave to have eyeballs in them, if you ask me!
And maybe you're thinking, hey, they don't have legs, so maybe they're albinaurics? But albinaurics also have a trademark silvery-white blood when struck, and these just spurt a little bit of yellowish goo. They don't drop any of the materials associated with albinaurics, either, but they do drop the "strip of white flesh," which is interesting because the only other creatures in the game who drop this item are all crustaceans, mollusks, the land squirts, or turtles.
And then there are the bizarre giant-size specimens, with even longer arms, longer necks and bigger, more impressive horns that can really bash your head in, because oh yeah, the Envoys also use their horns as clubs. I also love the feather fringe hanging off the sleeves of these large ones, making their arms look wing-like. In fact, there's an unmistakably birdlike quality to the Envoys, their silhouettes kind of like legless, beakless cartoon ducks.
...And then there's the GIANT-size giant-size envoys, their faces absurdly tiny in proportion to their elephantine craniums and even larger bodies. Apparently so large they didn't bother finding any sphere-pants that could fit because these giga-envoys totally let all their booty hang out, reassuring us that, yes, the giant bouncy ball part is part of their actual physiology. They really have a massive, rubbery orb of flesh for a lower body, and I think we can safely assume the same of their heads, and I am SO glad to know this. I am glad about everything about them. They are giraffe-necked big-butt bouncy-ball bubble-blowing horn-tooting dumbbell people. They are one of the zaniest and most whimsical things you could imagine in a Fromsoft game, and I know I say this about a lot of creature designs but the comedy is also the horror.
We know next to nothing about these beings, except what their cryptic behavior is "rumored" to signify. They can be found either wobbling around the abandoned fringes of the war-ravaged city of Leyndell, or bumbling about the boughs of the Haligtree, a giant rotten tree with a whole lot of lore of its own. Why only these two places? The code indicates they were going to appear in a couple of other locales, and also that there was going to be a fourth "baby" sized variety that they never modeled, but I hope we might get a chance to see someday, and I hope is just one little ball, that would be great.
Everything I just called hilariously silly about Envoys is simultaneously what makes them cool, haunting and monstrous. Do they find any of those things cute or funny themselves? Do they have a sense of humor? Or is the absurdity of them just part of how alien their sensibilities are? They don't speak or make any other sounds of their own, they exhibit no cultural behaviors other than their traditional garb or their horn-playing, and we don't even know why exactly they react to us with hostility.
Even the crudeness of their melee attack feels bizarre in context; there's something just plain wrong about an unflinchingly serene, cherubic figure casually breaking from its tranquil melody just to club someone to death like some troll or ogre, and with the same gilded trumpet that blows pretty bubbles. Phantasmagorical is the only word that feels right for these creatures. They're weird in that senseless way you can only compare to authentic dream imagery, and frightening in a way you can't quite place.
But, in that first moment I ever saw them, they still brought to mind only one thing: