Booyah and welcome, fellow Deep Delvers of Dumps of Lore. It is I, the ineffable BDC, pouring over the ancient tomes in the Repository of The Magic Tavern. What starts here will probably continue into a series of articles; laying out an investigation I did when studying the varying courts of the Fey. It was not my intention to get stuck down the rabbit hole of this particular Fey Goddess, but, as it is with most of my obsessive research, it was as inevitable as it was impossibly deep. This is the chronicles of a deep dive that I have not returned fully from yet.
In attempting to understand the lore behind The Queen of Air and Darkness, it is hard to know where to start. But, I find it better if we actually start backwards and begin the dive with the newest material from 5E. This is mainly due to the simplicity in which the new edition approaches things. It helps us get to the root of the information.
The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide reveals no more than a paragraph dealing with this Fey Queen. It simply says she rules the ‘unseelie of the Gloaming Court’. She does not have form all but the ‘hovering Night Diamond’ that floats above the empty onyx throne. Nowhere does it state that she is inherently evil, but this may be due to the Fey’s loose concept of morality.
As I said, 5E errs on the side of simplicity and leaves the details to the DM. It makes the game as simple or as complicated as you want it. But past this small bit of information, you will need to do some research OR just pick from my gleanings of the honored annuls of the past.
Now, instead of slowly moving back through the editions, we are going to dig deep to the original mentions of this great and terrible Fey goddess. This brings us back to one of my favorite tomes, Monster Mythology.
If you like lore and LOVE to deep dive, Monster Mythology, published by TSR in 1992,is the book for you. Touching upon the deities of many of the monsters and beings of the D&D multiverse, you find the juicy tidbits that can bring flavor and lore to any campaign. And it does this powerfully for The Queen of Air and Darkness.
Calling her ‘The Mistress of Dark Illusions’, it states ‘her mythic history is a tale which makes any faerie who hears the least part of it shiver and tremble’. It also calls her out early as a ‘dark presence afflicting’ the people of the Seelie Court. But Titania leaves her be despite the pleas of her Inner Court to open up war against her. But the sad tale that follows goes far to explain this.
Although now Titania, Queen of the Seelie Court’s Nemesis, it was not always this way. In fact, although the history and the name of the dark queen are all but expunged from all records or discussion, there was a time that the two of them were sisters. And the story of this rift between the siblings goes back to a time either before the creation or inhabitation of the FeyWild or an older part of it that has long been abandoned.
The tale begins in a land only known as Ladinion, on the ‘shores of the lake Cwm Glas’. It was here, in ‘a deep sylvan land of prehistory’, that an unspeakable, treacherous act drove the sisters apart. It is also this story that drives my research further. The story goes that the Dwarves took a magnificent black diamond from below the mountain nearby. In an innocent attempt to honor their Queen, they came to present this prize to her personally. But, as she was off swimming, she was not present to accept it. But her sister, whose name is lost to history, was there. And she did accept it. Whether out of innocence or greed, she took it for herself and it corrupted her.
From what we read, there are no indications that Titania’s dear sister was ever insidious before the influence of the Black Diamond. Maybe she was a bit jealous and tired of living under her sister’s very large shadow. We may never know, but the diamond corrupted her soul even farther and drove her from the Seelie Court. Not long after, the mountain where the diamond had come from exploded into clouds of poison; killing much of the dwarves and driving the fey from Ladinion. The text literally says that they ‘were forced to take flight across the planes and abandon the land.’ So, obviously, Ladinion was not a part of the Feywild.
The newly crowned Queen of Air and Darkness did not leave the Seelie Court empty-handed. It states that she not only too the Black Diamond gift, but ‘the precious magical treasures of the Arcana’, There is no indication of what these ‘treasures’ could be, but you can image the power of such items. But her choice prize began to transform her nature; warping her, feeding off her original sin of greed, possibly. But it went much farther than twisting her morals. She lost her form in the transfer; becoming undetectable by natural means. She now presides upon the empty throne and only the sinister Black Diamond remains.
The early tomes state that her and her Unseelie Court reside in Pandemonium, one of the chaotic planes. But knowing the strange alignment defying morals of the Fey, she could still reside in the Feywild somewhere.
But the story refuses to stop here. First of all, there is the business of what created the Black Diamond and for what sinister purposes. Once again, go no further than Monster Mythology for a clue. It states that the original tales makes no mention of the diamond’s origins. It makes it clear that although the incident harmed Elf/Dwarf relations from the beginning that it was not in any way the dwarves’ intention or creation. But, within its pages, it does stat that some ‘myths’ tell of a ‘Dark God of the Underdark’ that created it and that this entity may need the Seelie Queen Titania out of the way in order to return.
This mystery all centers around the mysterious black gem sometimes called The Night Diamond; a 10-faceted artifact of pure evil. But, as investigator myself, I cannot help but wonder who this malevolent power is, what was its intentions and to what end was such a sinister deed done? Was Titania, Queen of the Seelie Court, the target, or did it find its mark in the unwitting sister? And far beyond all of this, a new mystery rises.
What does Cegilune, the hag-goddess, and Auril, goddess of storm and ice, have to do with all of this. As the investigation continues, we will deep dive into all of this and try to get as close to the bottom of all this as possible. As with any investigation, we welcome your input of theories, lore and/or clues to what actually happened to The Queen of Air and Darkness!