The Life-Maker's Apostles are a group of warriors under the control of the ominous Mage of the Beginning, who serve as major villains in the manga UQ Holder, the sequel to the manga Negima! Magister Negi Magi. They are the evil archmage's main agents, in a continuation of sort to the secret society Cosmo Entelecheia. In a gloomy twist of fate, they mostly consist in fallen major protagonists of the previous series.
The story unfolds 85 years after Negima! in the second timeline, in which the main heroine Asuna Kagurazaka was sealed for over a century to power the process to save the Mundus Magicus from collapse, by terraforming Mars to sustain it. Negima! ended when Asuna travelled back to her era after awakening, then helped Negi defeat the Mage of the Beginning for good.
In the UQ Holder timeline, without Asuna's power Negi had to sacrifice himself to defeat the Mage of the Beginning, preventing him to avoid troubles rising after magic was revealed. Negi's terraforming of Mars was a success and space towers are now linking Earth, Mars and Reverse Mars. Alas, without Asuna, Negi's comrades could not detect the Mage of the Beginning, vastly postponing her defeat, and preventing them to tackle the many problems that would arise after magic was revealed to the world.
Instead of pacified worlds cooperating for peace, ensuring that magic would be quickly spread to benefit everyone as in the ending of Negima!, it was hoarded by superpowers and elite, leading to dire inequality, and a dramatic worsening of wars, plagues and strife, with many cities reduced to conflict-ridden slums.
Evangeline McDowell has become the founding leader of UQ Holder (Eternity Holder): a group of immortals created upon Negi's impulse, working to protect the population from supernatural threats, and she took care of the main hero, Tōta Konoe, a clone of Negi whom she turned into a vampire to save his life. Magic was revealed ten years before the start of the story and has begun to spread, but only wealthy people could afford the expensive applications enabling non-magic people to spell-cast.
Many flashbacks explain how the former heroes could become the Apostles: Like in the ending of Negima!, Negi and his team found Cosmo Entelecheia on the Asteroid Agartha, assimilated by the Mage of the Beginning into her being. But without Asuna, they could not sever her connection to it, and she was too much even for Negi to handle.
Negi's partners Nodoka Miyazaki and Yue Ayase, as well as his father's comrades Jack Rakan and Albireo Imma sacrificed themselves to save him, being assimilated in the process; but Albireo could destroy Nagi's body, forcing the Life-Maker to appear under her true form and decimate Negi's allies before teleporting Agartha away.
Devastated by grief, Negi spend the following decades solving crises around the world, to ease suffering and weaken the Mage. He also gave Fate DNA samples to clone him and Asuna, hoping to raise a clone that could combine their powers, to stand a chance against the Life-Maker should the worst happen, resulting in the main hero Tōta Konoe.
Twenty years before the start of the story, Agartha is located in the Mundus Vetus' space in the rings of Saturn, but Negi could only sacrifice himself to destroy her temporarily and seal himself, losing many allies. Ten years later, at the cloning facility, Evangeline learns that no clone can survive to adulthood, and Fate grimly states that only cloning Negi's spirit can result in a successful experiment. Four years later, Evangeline and Fate part ways in bad terms, unable to agree on using the clones as child-soldiers, as ordered by wealthy but ruthless businessmen wanting military assets.
Fate now leads the Ala Alba in Negi's place, and he is determined to recruit Tōta, who wields the Life-Maker's power of creation known as the "White of Mars" and the power of destruction known as the "Black of Venus/Magia Erebea", as his abilities could save Negi and the universe.
A mysterious young girl who calls Tōta "brother", whose real name is Tena Vita. She was one of Fate's clone who could survive beyond childhood but could not replicate Negi's immortality, and was sent to war-zones as a child-soldier, surviving atrocious conflicts. While first introduced as acting on her own, it is revealed that she is in fact the Mage of the Beginning's new main agent.
She is ruthless, hateful, vindictive, revengeful, contemptuous and scathing, but apparently hides much resentment and suffering. She seems to revel in violence, gleefully slaughtering hundreds of innocents, but in fact she saw so many horrors that she can no longer empathise with people.
She was broken by all the horrors she had to endure as a child-soldier, and developed a virulent loathing towards the wealthy people who used her as a military asset, and anyone she views as a privileged. She yearns to make them pay for living in luxury at the expense of others, bringing misery to thousands while scorning the less fortunate like her.
She has very short temper, flying in violent rages when she feels patronised (in truth or in her mind). She states that people like the heroes care only about people they know, do not mind how their actions affect others, and would let the others die without second thoughts; failing to consider that they constantly struggle to save everyone targeted by terrorists, herself included.
She strongly loathes Tōta, calling him a "flawed and worthless copy" but her insults hide her strong envy of him being a perfect clone, rubbing the insults she likely suffered to his face as a petty revenge. She displays even stronger loathing towards immortals in general, calling them "monsters" who "look down on normal people", knowing fully well that she was created to replicate immortality but scarcely failed, without having asked for any of it.
To cut a long story short, she lost herself in resentment and violently lashes out in revenge, striving to get back at those she sees as privileged by any means she can, seeing even bystanders minding their own business as guilty. Because of this, no matter how many times Tōta tries to reach out to her, she rejects all his offer of peace and retaliates by trying to make him suffer as much as she can to break his spirit like she was broken.
Cutlass is an extremely powerful warrior with incredible speed, strength, magical might, and skill with both weapons and spells. She can conjure weapons, including a long, black short-sword and a gigantic black sword, with which she can effortlessly shatter stone and steel, and proves able to send powerful shockwaves of ki from her pommel. Even worse, she has access to a copy of Asuna's artefact: a great sword that banishes demons, spirits and constructs, devastating against magical beings, and can wield all with exceptional proficiency.
She can cast normal or delayed spells manifesting as arrays of pentagrams. She can teleport and attacks with powerful fiery deflagrations of variable scale, ranging to destructive to devastating, a barrage of shadow spears, a continuous and incredibly destructive onslaught of lightning, and a violent telekinetic wave able to send people flying far away.
Much worse, she owns a time-controlling hourglass artefact, which she masters perfectly, being able to slow down or fully stop time for thirty seconds and likely more, and trapping people in time-stopped zones. She remains unaffected when someone else stops time, but fortunately it works both ways and people who can also stop time are unaffected as well when she does.
Even worse still, being a clone of Negi, she has access to his "Magia Erebea"/Black of Venus power, which enables to absorb spells into herself to increase her might. Using it, she gradually transforms to gain a significant boost in power and speed at each stage. First, she grows four enormous demonic arms that can obliterate a house in one blow, horns and a long prehensile tail. Second, she grows tentacles and enormous wings and a mix between dragonic and demonic designs.
The Fallen Heroes
The Fallen Heroes consist in Negi, possessed by the Mage of the Beginning, and his four comrades who sacrificed themselves to save him after he failed to defeat but got assimilated. They are now all under her complete control.
They all retain their original caring and quirky personalities, though they have become condescending and scathingly sarcastic, and above all distant and somehow emotionless, similar to the Life-Maker herself, whose personality supplants their own.
This is all the more unnerving when they revert to their normal personality, laughing in earnest in friendly chit-chat with the very people they just beat within an inch of their lives in "Ialda mode" just seconds earlier… Being assimilated by the Mage of the Beginning, they are linked to Negi-Ialda, who is able to use her powers through them, and seem to share perception.
Negi Springfield/Negi Ialda
Negi (called "Negi Ialda" to differentiate the hero he was from the vessel he has become) can go from his normal cheerful, gentle and friendly self, to the Life-Maker's cold and indifferent persona. Like all hosts before him, he was broken by the Life-Maker's limitless empathic powers, plaguing him with the suffering of everyone. (Negi explains that there are windows of time in which he can be his normal self.)
He is as tremendously powerful as he was at the end of Negima! and probably even more since he trained without stop. He has extreme speed, strength, fighting skills, healing factor, and mastery of devastating Wind and Lighting Magic, a basic neutralizing spell cast by him being enough to disrobe thousands all around. Worse, he can turn into lighting to become intangible and vastly boost his speed and power, and he can absorb, reflect or assimilate spells using his Black of Venus power.
Jack Rakan is as boisterous, easy-going, fun-loving and battle-loving as ever, but he has gained a strong scornful streak. What used to be playful teasing is now much more mean-spirited.
He is an incredibly powerful warrior with ludicrous levels of physical strength, speed, spryness, resilience and skill with weapons or hand-to-hand fighting, who can shrug off incredible damage, fire devastating energy blasts, can cause tremendous explosions with a single attack, can come up with attacks on the spot and masters devastating spells. Worse, he can now reattach severed limbs like nothing. His artefact enables him to conjure as many weapons of all sorts and sizes as he wishes, with a preference for downpour of blades or skyscraper-sized swords.
Albireo Imma, who still goes by the nickname of "Ku'Nell Sanders", is polite, reserved, sarcastic, teasing and witty, but has become completely emotionless and ruthless. He is an extremely powerful master of Gravity Magic, who can hurl many devastating spheres of pure pressure and can crush anyone to the ground, even creating black holes of variable size and conjuring atmospheres of other planets or even the sun. Even worse, he can call forth skeleton fighters that can harm intangible beings.
Yue, now known as "Yue the All-Knowing", Negi's former student and magic apprentice, appears completely detached and indifferent to everything, speaking her mind bluntly, while she used to be kind and helpful.
She is an immensely powerful mage who masters highly dangerous Lightning Spells, can conjure Obsidian Blades like Fate's, and is able to create hundreds of arms which she can fuse into a giant one that deals crippling blows. Her artefact is a grimoire that grant her access to any kind of information. She teams up with Nodoka, with whom she shares perception, and specializes in offence.
Nodoka, now known as "Nodoka the All-Perceiving", Yue's best friend and a famed treasure hunter was once sweet, gentle, caring and self-effacing, but she now harbours a cold, stern and bored attitude, disparaging her foes' predictability. She is now has a set of (seemingly artificial) angel-like wings she uses to fly at great speed and to swat away foes like flies, and displays immense grappling skills.
Her artefact is a mind-reading book of which she displays a frightening mastery, being able to read several people's most secret thoughts in a nanosecond, learn about their powers and anticipate their every move even in fast-paced battles, taking out even absurdly powerful foes with martial arts holds. She teams up with Yue, with whom she shares perception, and specializes in defence. Fortunately, she can still be taken by surprise by unpredictable moves.
While not part of the Apostles proper, Ba'al fervently supports of the Mage of the Beginning's goal to end suffering, and has yet unexplained ties with her. The Apostles might be the ones who freed him from the prison in which Evangeline sealed him. He is one of the Vampire Nobles, the primal and mightiest vampires in existence, and Evangeline's nemesis, who tried to destroy UQ Holder but was defeated, and fled to where the Apostles are based.
Role in UQ Holder
Preparing the tournament
Cutlass appears shortly after Tōta runs away from UQ Holder and registers to a tournament in Amano-Mihashira Academy City, the former Mahora Academy. She soundly trounces him, using her magic sword to bypass his immortality and very nearly kills him. She reveals the truth of his origins to crush his spirit. Tōta is saved by his friends, and though Cutlass could crush them, she departs stating that she was just introducing herself.
The following days, as Tōta is being nursed back to health, a projection of Cutlass appears before him and orders him to partake in the tournament in one year and fight her there, otherwise, she would obliterate the entire city. To prove her point, she destroys a crowded mall, but fortunately, Tōta's friends were able to save everyone.
Eight months later, after Tōta and his friends spent months training very hard under Evangeline's own master, the Vampire Noble Dana Ananga Jaganatha. They later learn about Cutlass from Negi's former student, the Demon Princess Zazie Rainyday. Zazie reveals her name, power and loyalties, after Tōta mentioned his plan to use his comrade's own power to stop time in order to defeat the Mage of the Beginning and save Negi.
Cutlass reappears shortly after and attacks Tōta again. Though he fares much better against her, he was divided into three clones of reduced power, and still gets driven into a corner. To make matter worse, Negi and all the Life-Maker's Apostles barge in, prompting Evangeline, Fate and most of UQ Holder to take the matter in hand. Eventually, Albireo drags Tōta into a memory of Negi's time in Mahora to explain him the situation.
But this was a trap, and the memory is revealed to be a Phantasmagoria, a spiritual world under the Mage of the Beginning's complete control, in which she can fully manifest and engage a battle against Tōta and Evangeline. In spite of their best efforts, they are no match for the archmage who easily overwhelms them. They are only saved by the miraculous intervention of Asuna, manifesting through a projection of herself to break the Phantasmagoria and provide intel on how to defeat the Apostles.
Despite Asuna's tips, the Apostles prove far too much for them to handle, and the ensuing battle lays waste on the surroundings. Despite being pummelled into submission, they were able to hold their own long enough for Asuna to manifest in the world and disappear with them, probably running the risk of getting possessed herself.
The protagonists return to UQ Holder's headquarters to heal, have a respite, and devise their plan of action, alas, Cutlass is not bound to Negi-Ialda and has sneaked into their resort. With Evangeline, Tōta and his friends out (Tōta learning from Negi's past and the way to defeat the Mage of the Beginning foe good), she tries infiltrate it but gets spotted and fights back.
However, she sorely underestimated the other immortals, who manage to hold her off long enough for Dana to teleport there with Tōta and his friends and to capture her effortlessly. However, Tōta takes pity on his "sister" and shields her from the finishing blow.
Cutlass is heavily restrained and thrown in an ultra-secured cell blocking all magic and ki, with her food being teleported to her and any contact being made through microphones. Tōta attempts to reach out to her, and she accepts to speak to him, but it seems that something much worse is about to happen.
Cutlass' Terrorist Attacks
It is revealed that Cultass hid her arm, which was severed during the battle in UQ Holder's headquarters, and replaced it with a fake. She tells them about a terrorist attack targeting the spatial station atop the tower, which would kill thousands, forcing UQ Holder to rush there despite it being impossible in such short time, with Tōta insisting that no-one is to die, despite his comrades' insistence that casualties are unavoidable.
Against all odds, they manage to defeat the terrorist and de-activate his missile, but it was but a trap. It is revealed that not only Cutlass used her arm to escape her jail, but she destroyed Tōta's comrade Kirie Sakurame's altar, disabling her power to rewind time to a certain point whenever she is killed, meaning that should the worst happen, UQ Holder would have no second chance.
Cutlass gleefully reveals that she planted other bombs, so that at least one would detonate. She captures Kirie and threatens to kill her, which would send her back a decade earlier when her power first activated, forcing her to relive every event in-between without being sure that things would turn out the same. Enraged by Tōta's steadfast resolve and faith in Kirie, Cutlass goes to kill her since that would hurt him the most, but Kirie is saved by Evangeline, signaling Cutlass' incoming end.
Cutlass refuses to surrender, despite knowing that she is hopelessly outmatched, and attacks Evangeline with all the might of her Black of Venus transformation, only to get pierced from all sides by a barrage of ice arrows, which leaves her frozen solid and shattered into a million fragments, killing her for good.
As Tōta and his "sister" are having an ultimate reunion on the Other Side, she gloats that she left him everlasting scars, and only as she vanishes allows herself a single tear of grief, and possibly remorse. Visibly shaken by her death, Tōta still comes up with a bold plan to neutralize every bomb through intense teamwork with his comrades, proving her nihilistic point of view wrong.