Elesh Norn is one of the Praetors of New Phyrexia, and leads the Machine Orthodoxy. The Praetor of Unity, preferring the title of Grand Cenobite, coordinates the war efforts of thousands of Phyrexian beings below her. Elesh Norn belongs to no particular sect of the Orthodoxy, but is recognized as the overseer or at least a respected figure under all faiths. Conniving and wise, Elesh Norn maintains an appearance of Phyrexian grace and respectability at all times, but secretly she manipulates Phyrexian dogma and the interpretations of the Argent Etchings to suit her own ends.
Like many of her faction, Elesh Norn has no skin, but is outfitted with cracked, porcelain-like metal over her raw musculature. Her most recognizable characteristic is the set of broad blades of that bonelike metal that sweep back and away from her face. She often has lower-ranked cenobites and suture priests carrying her train and inscribing her utterances.
Elesh Norn rules over all the sects of the Machine Orthodoxy but abides by the particulars of none. She does believe, however, in the importance of unifying all of Phyrexia under a single banner by indoctrinating all life with Phyrexian beliefs. She sought to help induct Karn as the Father of Machines, but in her heart she believes that the Father of Machines is more of a symbolic figurehead than a true position of power, and she means to install a puppet in that role whom she can influence.
"The Gitaxians whisper among themselves of other worlds. If they exist, we must bring Phyrexia's magnificence to them." (Elesh Norn)
"It is as if this world has been expecting our blessings." -Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
"Did it have this shape upon Mirrodin's creation, or did some inconceivable force shape the unshapable?" -Pontifex, elder researcher (Darksteel Forge)
"They'll soon become accustomed to wearing skin that is not their own." -Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (Liquimetal Coating)
"We are a single entity. Dissenters must be sutured into the Orthodoxy." -Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (Marrow Shards)
"Your creations are effective, Sheoldred, but we must unite the flesh, not merely flay it." -Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (Skinrender)
"May our blessings sever the tongues of the forsaken." -Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (Priests of Norn)
"A display of humility is required of those who still possess such frailties." -Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (Due Respect)
"Our glorious infection has taken hold." -Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (Ichor Wellspring)