This is part four in our ongoing investigation into what is the mystery behind the Queen of Air and Darkness.
This part, I thought I would take a step back and talk more about the origins. Or, more precisely, who or what was responsible for what happened to the sister of Titania, the Summer Queen of the Seelie Court.
Once again, we return to the ancient tome from 2nd Edition, Monster Mythology.
“Who or what created the Black Diamond is unknown, but some myths whisper that THE Dark God of the Underdark created it, and that his return may be dependent on the Queen’s despoilings.” —Monster Mythology p. 125
To be clear, it was the mysterious Black Diamond that was SO beautiful and wonderous that the neighboring Dwarves offered it to Titania as a gift. Things went south when her unnamed sister accepted it, in her absence. Whether she took it out of jealously or innocently may never be determined. But it WAS the diamond that transformed her into a nightmare version of her sister.
But, although the Dwarves seemed to play an innocent part in all of this, the perfect Black Diamond they pulled out of the mines was all but innocent. It was the magical catalyst. Which begs the question, ‘Did someone or something place that Diamond in the mine to cause all of this?’ And, if so, “Who or what and, more importantly, why?”
As stated above, the most ancient of stories blames it on a ‘Dark God of the Underdark’. This doesn’t give us much to go on. There aren’t many gods whose portfolio consists of the ‘Underdark’. I mean, there are plenty of gods from or effecting this dark realm. But not many have had the bravado to claim it all as theirs.
TOROG, THE KING THAT CRAWLS
The King that Crawls has gotten a spotlight recently thanks to Matthew Mercer and the great folks at Critical Role. But Torog’s story goes back a lot farther.
Not too much farther, but as far back as 4E, Torog has been a deity in D&D; seemingly making his first appearance in the 4E DM’s Guide. He also had a write-up in Dungeon #177 that fleshed out his history, followers and loyal servants.
Torog is touted as the patron of jailers, torturers and the actual Underdark. He is so much so the god of the Underdark that he’s actually stuck there. Story goes that he followed his rival there at the onset of the Dawn War and had a battle. He defeated his opponent, but missed the Dawn War and was literally cursed by said rival to never be able to leave the Underdark. This begs the question: “Did he ever visit the Feywild?” There’s a chance that, thanks to this origin story, he could never have left the Material Plane at all.
But there is still a better suspect.
Centering on the term ‘Dark God’ instead of ‘Underdark’, we begin to focus on one of the more ancient evils of D&D. A god that appeared as early as 1982. A god that has tried to destroy all of reality more than once. A chained god that the other deified powers thought too dangerous to allow to be free. I speak, of course, of the single most dangerous entity in any universe: Tharizdun.
THARIZDUN, THE DARK GOD
Some whisper that Tharizdun came from the far realm or some other distant reality. This is probably because they could not fathom an entity so vile and evil, so bent of absolute destruction coming from our Material Plane. As the Dark God, he planted the seeds in the Elemental Chaos that festered and corrupted; sinking into what is now known as The Abyss.
And, if left unhindered, Tharizdun might well have laid waste to everything. So, the combined power of a cabal of other deities seized him and chained him so that he could never realize his dream. And, yet, from this prison, he continues to scheme and manipulate others into aiding him to do just that: obliterate everything.
Above all, Tharizdun seems to be our best candidate.
Attempting to corrupt the Fey Court seems right up his alley. This is especially true when we consider the words of the myths mentioned in Monster Mythology. The Dark God, Tharizdun, is definitely the kind of being who would attempt to destroy such a powerfully beautiful place like the legendary Landinion. It is especially in his ‘wheelhouse’ to sow seeds of corruption attempting to cause chaos and develop a rift in the Feywild courts.
Once again, taking the simple words from Monster Mythology to hear. “His return may be dependent on the Queen’s despoilings.” leaves an ominous tone to the whole investigation. For, one question we have yet to find an adequate answer to is why. And considering the range of power, intent and evil of this ‘Chained God’, the answer may well be something that could unravel reality itself.
Did Tharizdun plant the Night Diamond in order to corrupt Titania, the Queen of the Seelie Court? Or was his target her sister? Was he hoping to strike closer to the heart by tainting her dear sister thereby causing a painful division between the two resulting in an outright war? Did he succeed? Or was the target missed, spoiling his plans?
We may never truly know. If we’re lucky, we will never truly know. We can just hope that the damage that Tharizdun has done to, not only, the Feywild and Seelie Courts, but to many worlds in the Material Plane can either be undone or stabilized enough to thwart the Dark God’s plans; plans that obviously include him escaping his chains and returning to his apocalyptic blueprint of oblivion.