This is part four in our ongoing investigation into what is the mystery behind the Queen of Air and Darkness.
Part One studied the origins behind her creation in the land of Landinion.
Part Two brought information to light about Auril, the Frostmaiden of Faerun, and her possible connection to the shattered Queen.
Part three introduced us to Ceguline, the Hag Goddess, and the ancient stories of her links to the Queen.
Part four narrowed down the perpetrator of this twisted act.
Now, we are going to look a bit deeper into the motives and devices behind this monumental act of utter depravity primeval.
Just to refresh, there were once two sisters; Titania and her sister whose name has been lost to history. A multi-faced black diamond was brought to the Queen (Titania) but was intercepted by her sister in her absence. The infamous ‘Black Diamond’ corrupted the sister, took her form and now embodies her dangerous, rival power.
We believe the perpetrator of this insidious crime to be none other than Tharizdun, the chained god. After further investigation, it seems that indeed the target of this corruption was the Seelie Queen herself.
Exibit A: “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
The incredible 2E tome, Monster Mythology, seems to insinuate that the Dark God’s goal was to corrupt Titania herself. If he had succeeded, the whole of the Fey Realm would have been in danger. It still is as the actual corrupted one, Titania’s sister, attempts to spoil the serenity of the Feywild with her dark, evil plans.
The entry above also insinuates that the reason for this attempted corruption was part of Tharizdun’s plane to ‘return’. And that the ‘Queen’s despoilings’ was paramount to the plan.
Putting all of this together in one place AND considering the themes of corruption here, it all seems to point back to another story about an evil shard of ultimate corruption!
THE ORIGINS OF THARIZDUN
Tharizdun is the dark god of entropy; a being so depraved and dangerous that the ‘Great Powers’ conspired and chained him away. But this was not always so.
He began as a deity hungry for power. And, as most tragic stories begin, the power that he found was a corrupting force. Seizing a ‘shard of pure evil’, he became influenced by the obyriths who were imprisoned themselves due to their own vile hubris. Hailing from a far off, different universe that they themselves were responsible for destroying, they were looking for a way out and Tharizdun seemed to be the best dupe.
These despicably foul creatures, in the twilight of their reality, pushed a shard of ‘uttermost evil’ into ours. Their only goal is the corruption of all life. Using Tharizdun’s greed for power, they began to manipulate him to plant this shard into the Astral Sea in order to gain control of the ‘celestial realms’ controlled by Tharizdun and ‘his kind’ aka gods.
But, although they had twisted his mind and wet his appetite for power, they found Tharizdun difficult to control. In a twist even their tainted minds didn’t see coming, the soon to be chained god instead planted the shard of evil deep into the Elemental Chaos knowing that his fellow deities would not stand for it. He had plans of his own that included creating a domain that HE would reign in. What grew from the seed of evil was the eternal layers of the Abyss. And the remaining Obyriths were drawn into to this new domain.
A raging vortex of evil erupted from the seed; creating all that is vile and evil in our reality. For eons, Tharizdun and the Obyriths warred for control. Unfortunately, the shard of evil granted the greedy deity way too much power. Their ‘puppet’ became the master and a danger to them all. It took the collected might of the last 12 Obyriths to even create a stalemate. His creation of the Abyss was just the act that brought the gods together in order to chain him and end his rise to planar annihilation.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR YET?
Well, does it? If it doesn’t, you haven’t been following along and you need to go back and do your required reading (see the list and links at the beginning).
But, for those of you who are up to speed, when you read this along side the corruption of the Queen of Air and Darkness, they seem identical.
The ‘Dark God of the Underdark’ which we have deduced is Tharizdun took a ‘multi-faceted Black Diamond’ and used it to try and corrupt the Queen of the Seelie court, Titania, but, by accident, turned her sister into a shadow of pure evil and cunning. A gem that corrupts. Sounds a lot like this shard of ultimate evil that started all of this. Is is possible that Tharizdun took a chip off the ‘shard’ and fashioned it into the mysterious Black Diamond that now embodies the Queen of Air and Darkness?
Could it be that the Black Diamond that corrupted the sister of Titania was a portion of the shard that corrupted Tharizdun? It seems quite obviously so.
THE QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT’S SHATTERED
One of the artifacts of Tharizdun is actually many artifacts. In fact, it is 333 ‘Gems of Tharizdun’. No location is available, but it is most definitely scattered across the multiverse. At first part of the Gary Gygax adventure, The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, the story goes that one by one the gems were taken by greedy acolytes for their own nefarious purposes. Many followers believe that, in order to unchain the chained god, they will have to gather all 333 gems.
Why? Well, one of the Avatars working the will of Tharizdun is Shothragot and, to quote Dragon Magazine #362:
“Of late, Shothragot has become aware of a number of black jewels, 333 to be exact, known as the Gems of Tharizdun. It’s not certain, but it suspects these items are integral to dissolving the wards holding his master in stasis. Thus, while its agents go out and murder his enemies, they are ever watchful for the 333 Gems of Tharizdun, which they bring back to the growing elder evil. Shothragot consumes and destroys each one they return to him, bloating on the released energy while simultaneously sending currents of destructive energies through Tharizdun’s oubliette.”
Thus, the collection of all 333 gems and the subsequent return of them to Shothragot continues to aid the chained god by…unchaining him slowly.
CAN THE SHATTERED GODDESS BE MADE WHOLE?
In some of the other investigative articles, we showcased the most powerful ‘pieces’ of what was once the sister of Titania. It is possible that the Black Diamond aka The Queen of Air and Darkness are only a fraction of the being and power left over. We made our case for Auril, Queen of Winter’s Wrath, and Ceguline, the hag goddess, being the best contenders for being ‘facets’ of the complete goddess.
Can she be put together by collecting the other ‘pieces’? Could it be that the process has already started?
Auril, already pinpointed as a huge part of the ‘shattered goddess’ has been doing just that. The Frostmaiden has gained considerable power by ‘siphoning the faiths of Ulutiu, Aerdrie Faenya and Gruumsh/Talos into her own’. What could this have to do with all of this?
And could the empyrean daughter of Auril and the Frost Giant god, Thyrm, (Nalkara) be a key? And what are some possible ‘facets’ of the Queen that exist in the D&D universe right now?
We will dig through some of these questions and many more in the next installment of the ‘Shattered Goddess’ investigation in the weeks to come.