The Celestial Emissary resides in the Lumenflower Garden in the Upper Cathedral Ward.
The Celestial Emissary is possibly the Healing Church's most successful experiment in a long line of failures. In the early days of the Healing Church, the Great Ones were linked to the ocean. In an attempt to make contact with the Great Ones, patients would imbibe great quantities of water. Without even the lofty goal of communicating with the Great Ones, these patients would simply listen with heads bound and eyes covered, listen for the howl of the sea and the unfathomable, unspeakable utterings of the Great Ones. The fluids they ingested writhed inside their heads, the initial makings of internal eyes. These patients would imbibe so much water that it would cause their heads to expand. The process was seemingly agonizing. Patients found in the Research Halls beg to be put out of their misery, believing that they must have done something horribly wrong to be subjected to such a fate. Most of these experiments would end in death, the corpses then cast into the acidic poisonous pool at the foot of the stairs to be dissolved, and the whole process begun again on fresh patients.
The early experiments were overseen by Lady Maria, who was regarded by the patients as a motherly figure. Patients who showed the most potential were given the task of tending the lumenflowers growing in the shadow of the clock tower. Maria believed that the scent of the flowers would bring comfort to them in their agonized state of mind, perhaps allowing them to think and listen more clearly. However, despite all her attempts, Maria’s greatest success was still deemed a failure.
Outside her home in the Astral Clocktower the Living Failures tended to the large lumenflowers. These creatures are clearly the final stage of transformation for the patients. Their sack like heads exactly resemble those of the cerebral patients tending the gardens below, but their bodies have stretched and distorted, their skin taking on a blueish hue. Perhaps it was a combination of the water and the dubious blue elixir that brought these Failures into existence? Blue Elixir which is found in large quantities throughout the Research Hall is known to be used in experimentation, and therefore may account for their blue tinge.
Whatever the case, these creatures appear to be almost mindless. What value they have, if any, is in their ability to make contact with the cosmos. During the boss battle against the Living Failures individual Failures frequently summon a partial and cloudy representation of the stars. When all working together they are able to open up the cosmos for an even longer period of time, raining down meteors upon the player. This behavior indicates that what control they have over the cosmos may be chaotic and dangerous. Or perhaps they are regarded as failures because, despite their ability to bring the cosmos into a palpable plane of existence, their almost vacuous state of mind renders them unable to communicate knowledge of the Great Ones should they ever come across it? Whatever the reasons, they were deemed failures and Maria died without seeing the success she and the members of the Church along with her would seemingly do anything to achieve.
This early technique of imbibing water was unsuccessful. The water, though linked with the Great Ones, did not create inner eyes just the workings of them. Despite all the failures and the death of Maria the Church was not willing to give up on its goal to make contact.
Once, a young girl had an older brother who was determined to become a doctor, and so she willfully became his patient.
In the end, this led to their encounter with the Eldritch Truth, for which they considered themselves blessed.
We fail to realize our own latent potential, until the moment it is lost, and we sense its absence.
This description from the Brain Fluid item indicates four things:
1. That humans are born with the latent potential to make contact with the Eldritch Truth; that is the Great Ones;
2. That this young girl was able to make contact in some form or another successfully;
3. That this experimentation may have been happening around the time of Lady Maria and her experimentation with the Cerebral Patients because the description is on the Brain Fluid item which describes events of that time;
4. That there comes a time when we lose that potential, and once gone, it never comes back. It is strongly indicated that this is during adolescence.
The Orphanage, located in the Upper Cathedral Ward, was founded to investigate and harness the potential of young humans to make contact with the Great Ones. On some level this line of thinking makes sense. As children our imaginations are perhaps more vivid, our minds unformed and our bodies developing. Children are more susceptible to external influences. In order to find patients in which to experiment on the Church targeted the most vulnerable members of Yharnam's society; its orphans. These orphans would not be missed, they had no caregivers to check up on them, or grieve their loss. The Church may have promoted the Orphanage as a refuge for these children, a safe place for them to go to for protection from the dangerous creatures on Yharnam's moonlit nights.
The Orphanage, shadowed by the Grand Cathedral, became a place of scholarship and experimentation, where young orphans became potent unseen thinkers for the Healing Church. Potent indicates their abilities were on a higher plane than any human, and the necessity that they be unseen becomes clear, as the Healing Church would not want the Yharnam public to know what they were turning these orphaned children into. We know that the Celestial Emissaries were once human who have become kin, from the actions of Imposter Iosefka, but what form the children took in these early stages is not clear.
While the Orphanage was being established (we know that the Orphanage was established before the Choir, and that the phantasm experiments created the Choir), the Church carried out an inquiry into an alternative means of making contact; phantasms. Phantasms are the augurs of the Great Ones and these slug-like creatures appear to have a deep connection to them. The body of Kos was completely riddled with phantasms (see Kos Parasite description), and within the Chalice Dungeons many phantasms are found, traces to the presence of the Great Ones.
Long ago before the cerebral patients, Byrgenwerth discovered that looking into a soft eye ‘blessed’ by a phantasm revealed a vast stretch of dark sky that rumbles with an endless meteor storm, in other words, it showed them the cosmos. Though nothing ever became of this discovery, the idea that phantasms may be the key must have taken root in the consciousness of those scholars who would one day make up the Healing Church. The Church began performing rituals and rites, experimenting with phantasms. We can see this use of phantasms in the Pearl Slug ritual material, which are apparently juvenile phantasms and are a material exclusively used in Isz rituals. The Church was eventually able to use phantasms to reach a lofty plane of darkness, like the vast stretch of dark sky seen in the black-sky eye. Despite reaching a new plane, the Church failed to make contact with any Great Ones in the outer reaches of the cosmos, instead the rite produced a small exploding star. The rite would become known as 'A Call Beyond', because that is exactly what it was. But the Church was not done with phantasms. An even more tangible rite was performed and with such success that it managed to bring a Great One into mankind’s plane of existence, from the land of Isz. Phantasms were used to partially summon abandoned Ebrietas. This summoning marked the beginning of an inquiry into the old labyrinth, focused on the land of Isz, and was the reason for the establishment of the Choir.
The Choir was made up of the upper echelons of the Healing Church, and formed a distinct entity separate from the School of Mensis which operated out of Yar’hargul. They saw themselves as a delegation to the Great Ones. The Choir’s base of operations was the Upper Cathedral Ward, where the cerebral patients had been experimented on, where the Astral Clocktower overshadowed the land, where we find the Celestial Emissary and where the Orphanage was founded. The Orphanage is the birthplace of the Choir, created by its members. Since we know the Orphanage was the birthplace of the Choir, it is certain that the Orphanage existed prior to the Choir. We can also surmise that the primary members of the newly established Choir were made up of researchers and scholars from the Orphanage. From its inception, the Choir was made up of those scholars who continued the work that begun at Byrgenwerth, attempting to make contact with the Great Ones of the cosmos. Their exclusive membership indicates that their work was to be done in secret, and a secret among a select number of peers is much more easy to keep.
Partial summoning of Ebrietas created intense interest in discovering the cosmos from within the old labyrinth. According to the Choir, the land of Isz lies in contact with the cosmos, which allowed the Great Ones to function on transcendental planes of thought. We can see this when exploring the Isz chalice dungeons. Hints of space matter, and stars can be seen manifesting seemingly at random in mid-air. When used with certain rituals, Great Chalices unlock deeper reaches of the old labyrinth. By using the Isz Great Chalice the Choir was able to reach the land of Isz, allowing them to have audience with Ebrietas. This Chalice was found within the old labyrinths, and its note that it was the first Great Chalice brought back to the surface since the time of Byrgenwerth indicates that the Church had lost interest in these labyrinths prior to partially summoning Ebrietas. The success of the ritual and the contact with an actual Great One cemented the Great Isz Chalice as the cornerstone of the Choir.
So by this point the Choir had discovered and was in communion with an actual Great One. But the choir garb description indicates that Ebrietas was just as separated and ultimately stranded from contact with her brethren in the outer cosmos as mankind:
Together with the left behind Great One, they look to the
skies, in search of astral signs, that may lead them to the
rediscovery of true greatness.
The fact that the Choir worked alongside and was aided by Ebrietas indicates that they shared a common goal. Ebrietas is called “abandoned”, and this along with the fact that Ebrietas searches for astral signs to rediscover the Great Ones, indicates she is almost as helpless as mankind.
The Choir stumbled upon an epiphany, very suddenly and quite by accident.
Here we stand, feet planted in the earth, but might the cosmos be very near us,
only just above our heads?
The goal of the Orphanage and the Choir was to make contact with the Great Ones of the cosmos. The Choir realized that the cosmos, the stars in the sky above us, were not actually far away, they were on a different plane. One that required the right eyes to see it. The idea that the world of Yharnam is built atop planes is made most apparent in the Hunter's Nightmare, when an enemy found exclusively in the Fishing Hamlet simply drops from the sky into the river of blood. When the player ascends the astral clock tower they enter into the Fishing Hamlet, literally exposing it as a layer of reality placed physically above the Hunter’s Nightmare and its river of blood. In the same way are the cosmos not literally placed right above our heads, closer than we can perceive?
The sky and the cosmos are one.
But despite this convincing hypothesis the scholars had no way to act upon it nor to substantiate contact with the Great Ones that existed in planes within reach but outside of mankind’s perception.
As mentioned, the Choir viewed themselves as a delegation to the Great Ones, but who would go before them, ushering them into their presence? Who would find a way to make contact? The Choir began to look into someone or something that could connect them with the cosmos, the celestial space belonging to the heavens above. Someone or something that could act as an emissary, sent on a special diplomatic mission on their behalf as their representative. No such creature existed, so they were forced to make them. The children of the Orphanage took on new purpose.
With the knowledge gained from extensive experimentation and study, use of the Old Blood possibly given by Ebrietas (an ingredient that Imposter Iosefka mentions to the player) and a belief that insight was key (literally eyes on the inside) the Choir began to create the Celestial Emissaries, continuing the experimentation begun long ago under the leadership of Lady Maria. The dubious blue elixir appears to have been used as an anesthetic that numbs the brain, so that these strange experiments by high ministers of the Healing Church could be carried out. This elixir dilutes the physical presence of whoever ingests it, perhaps indicating that it is partially exposing the user to another plane of existence.
The Emissaries created were a seemingly much greater success story than before. We can see in the attacks of the Emissaries that they are able to connect with the cosmos, using a call beyond with more precise control, affixing the 'stars' in place around their heads. They also emit an eerie, inhuman sound incessantly, reminding of the echoes of language listened for by the cerebral patients that the Great Ones seem to emit without conscious thought. Their heads, like the cerebral patients, have swelled to an inhuman size. But instead of being filled with water, they are filled with eyes. We can see this as the numerous small glowing lights in their heads are the same color and size as the glowing eyes we see on their faces.
What connection the emissaries have to the lumenflowers is unclear. Those in the lumenflower garden appear to be tethered to our plane of existence by the flowers themselves, appearing out of nowhere as if beckoned by some unheard voice. This behavior exactly mimics that of the Living Failures, who will not stop spawning among the flowers until altogether defeated. They also seem to behave as a kind of hive mind. The Celestial Emissary boss likely exerts control over the smaller emissaries, bending them to its will. The inter-connectivity of the Emissaries is reminiscent of the way in which the Living Failures work together to open up the cosmos during their boss battle (mentioned earlier).
It seems then that the primary purpose of the Celestial Emissaries is to act as just that, an emissary on behalf of the Choir to the cosmos. Perhaps their secondary purpose was allowing communication between Ebrietas and the Choir, but it seems first and foremost that they were an attempt at rediscovering the true greatness that left the world of Bloodborne long ago.
Cheers, to the discovery of kinship. Doesn't it make you feel warm inside?