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Theory: Of Gods and Corruption

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Yevgeniya
Apr Gold Premier Club Member 2017

Yevgeniya

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Originally posted on Reddit, reposted here for more widespread visibility. Spoilers for just about everything follows:

With all the talk these past few months—first Pieces of Hate, then the Elite Dungeons, and now this mysterious Tainted Shard that appeared out of nowhere—I've decided to put forth a theory: that all of the corruption on Gielenor (and beyond) can be traced back to Xau-Tak.

First, let's start with what is known to be connected to
Xau-Tak
. Xau-Tak's first confirmed activities took place during the times of the Zarosian empire, within the Eastern Sea. In that area there was an achipelago of islands that had a reputation among sailors for being haunted. This included Mos Le'Harmless, an island native to the cave horrors, a race of ape-like creatures that were corrupted by Xau-Tak. In the Glory of Zaros incident, a ship was sent to investigate reports of a large tsunami that had reduced many islands around Mos Le'Harmless to reefs and sand. Only one crew member survived—said crew member went insane, and, whilst in the Senntisten Insane Asylum, spake words that were directed to the player, who would not be born until thousands of years later.

In more recent years, Xau-Tak's influence has spread further in the Eastern Sea and the continent adjacent to it, including the Temple of Aminishi, where important and powerful figures such as Seiryu and Masuta were corrupted, and the Dragonkin Laboratory, where a gemstone dragon was implanted with fragments of the black stone found throughout Mos Le'Harmless. (1/3)
Remember: there's no such thing as the Universal Standard of Descriptional Qualifications and Metric*

29-Sep-2018 03:10:20

Yevgeniya
Apr Gold Premier Club Member 2017

Yevgeniya

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Moving on, the cave horrors all wear a black mask made from the black stone mentioned above. This mask is an essential component of even the most basic slayer helm, suggesting a connection to the Order of Slayers, and therefore
Amascut
. The most powerful slayer helm also contains a gem of corruption, this one corrupted by Amascut. Amascut herself was corrupted when she and Icthlarin travelled to the Mahjarrat homeworld of Freneskae, and was exposed to their violent nature. Shortly afterwards, she was drawn to the volcanoe where Mah resided, where it is implied she made contact with the Elder God and was further corrupted.

Now let's talk about
Mah
herself. In Fate of the Gods, Zaros tells us that Mah was malformed because "the anima of this plane was not sufficient to nourish them all". However, this was not the first time the Elder Gods had revised the universe, nor the first time they had slept in that manner. Why would they have chosen this planet, knowing that it was insufficient? There were five eggs within the Elder Halls, but only Mah's was spiraled with black corruption, when it ought to have been a perfect sphere. Why was it that only Mah was affected, instead of the lack of anima affecting all five of them equally? The answer: because the anima upon Freneskae was indeed sufficient for five Elder Gods. However, near the end of The Light Within, we learn from Zaros (through Seren) that there were six Elder Gods that were present on Freneskae: "five of form and one of ... something else". We know who the five are, and the facet of Time they embody. From eldest to youngest, Jas (progression), Ful (constancy), Wen (inversion), Bik (alteration), and Mah (potential). But who is the sixth? (2/3)
Remember: there's no such thing as the Universal Standard of Descriptional Qualifications and Metric*

29-Sep-2018 03:10:36

Yevgeniya
Apr Gold Premier Club Member 2017

Yevgeniya

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Original message details are unavailable.
The spiral of time leads only to the gaping maw of eternity. And this is
Xau-Tak
.
When Mah was born, she was "without memory or knowledge, only instinct." This knowledge, and much of the anima that had been needed to sustain her, was stolen away by Xau-Tak. Whether Xau-Tak was a pre-existing being from the previous revision that discovered the slumbering Elder Gods, or whether Mah split as she slumbered due to her fascination with life, the end result was the same: the creation of a powerful, "writhing, twisting and beckoning" Elder God, that could reach across time. Mah was left an empty shell, whose first instinct would be to create beings that would also become corrupted to varying degrees:
Seren
, a god of light and life with a potential to become obsessed with death;
Zaros
, Seren's opposite who, because of his dark nature and early departure from Freneskae, resisted most of the lingering effects of Xau-Tak, but nevertheless gained a desire to create life; and the
Mahjarrat
, who draw on each other's energies in a cycle of death.

At some point, the four surviving Elder Gods realised the presence of the sixth. We know that Guthix released a parasite of corruption from its prison when he accidentally sundered Renmark. Only an Elder God with the power of creation could have constructed such a planetary prison. The only reason that they would have sought to contain, instead of destroy, such a being is that they lacked the power to do so. And the only reason they would lack the power to destroy Xau-Tak is if it was an Elder God like themselves, as powerful, or more.

And now, Xau-Tak reaches out to corrupt us, the
World Guardian
, who ought to be immune to the unwanted influences of the gods. (3/3)
Remember: there's no such thing as the Universal Standard of Descriptional Qualifications and Metric*

29-Sep-2018 03:10:46

Lancer XXI

Lancer XXI

Posts: 13Bronze Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Yevgeniya said:
Moving on, the cave horrors all wear a black mask made from the black stone mentioned above. This mask is an essential component of even the most basic slayer helm, suggesting a connection to the Order of Slayers, and therefore
Amascut
. The most powerful slayer helm also contains a gem of corruption, this one corrupted by Amascut. Amascut herself was corrupted when she and Icthlarin travelled to the Mahjarrat homeworld of Freneskae, and was exposed to their violent nature. Shortly afterwards, she was drawn to the volcanoe where Mah resided, where it is implied she made contact with the Elder God and was further corrupted.


I like this theory quite a lot. The idea of the sixth elder god being an antagonist is very interesting, and in my opinion more exiting than the other five, who really behave more like aliens who are just so absurdly powerful and advanced, other life in the universe doesn't register on their radar (like the anthill analogy). There are a couple issues I think would have to be explained however for this theory to be compelling.

The connection to Amascut seems like a bit of a stretch. We don't really know what the cave horrors Mos Le'Harmless are, where they come from, or why they happen to wear a black mask. They mask itself appears wooden, not crystalline. Furthermore, Amascut isn't necessarily described as "corrupt" - it seems more like her mind was warped after being exposed to the intense, extreme violence of Freneskae. Assuming she lived a relatively peaceful life before traveling there, the effects of being exposed to that environment may have created a post traumatic stress kind of effect in her mind, which would explain her behavior after returning to Gilenor, and why it was a gradual transformation rather than an overnight one.

15-Oct-2018 00:17:53

Lancer XXI

Lancer XXI

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Her exposure to Mah may have had some kind of effect if indeed Mah herself was corrupted in some way, although Zaros, Seren, the World Guardian and possibly Icthlarin have been exposed to her, and we haven't seen any of them manifest behavior very similar to Amascut's.

EDIT: Seren might be the exception to that. She did seem to have had an inexplicable fascination with death which she chose to try and seal through the dark lord.

Regarding the specific nature of the sixth elder god itself, what we know of it doesn't really make it sound like something we would recognize, or even be able to perceive. The five are described as being of 'form'. Physical, tangible, etc. The sixth on the other hand differs in that it isn't of form, but rather something else. That almost makes me think that it's less like a person and more like a place. The void, the abyss, the shadow realm (which according to Kerapac is growing) - perhaps like a living being?

Lastly, just in terms of power, everything we know about the elder gods makes it sound like it isn't possible to oppose them in any way. Guthix comments on this I believe through one of his memories in the hall of memories. When describing the great revision, he says things like 'inevitable', 'delay' and 'only a matter of time'. This coming from a tier 2 god with the power to negate other divine magic doesn't make me feel optimistic that we'd stand any chance against a tier 1 god who decided it didn't like us. A mod at one point (I can't remember who unfortunately) said something along the lines of "you could sleep next to the Stone of Jas for thousands of years and still be nowhere near the power of an elder god".

As much as I do like the idea of the sixth elder god being a direct antagonist to the players, I think if that's the route the writers go, it would probably have to be an opponent of the five, with perhaps the World Guardian having some role to play in the ensuing conflict.

15-Oct-2018 00:32:35 - Last edited on 15-Oct-2018 00:46:09 by Lancer XXI

Gamez X
Sep Gold Premier Club Member 2014

Gamez X

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While i do agree that a vast majority of the corruption in gilenor can be traced back to xau tak, i dont think he's the 6th elder, infact i wouldnt even say there is a 6th at all. There was only 5 eggs there so i'm of the mind at the start there was indeed only 5

I've come to my own theory that xau tak is indeed connected to the corruption of mah but not in the way most people thing. Most would say that xau tak attacked and corrupted mah making him the cause of her madness but i instead think xau tak is infact the result of her madness, Xau tak is horror without form, just a shifting mass of madness which seems to have similar black stone hands to mah. I'm of the mind that xau tak is actually mah's nightmare and madness made real. We know her dreams can become reality so its quite feasible to say xau tak is literally just the pure manifestation of her madness that escaped into the world. This idea plays into the lovecraftian lore xau tak is based from cus in those novels they speak of an elder god that is forever sleeping, and its dreams are made reality

This also plays into zaros saying there was "1 of something else". Being straight from mah herself (maybe carrying more of her essence than zaros and seren) makes xau tak like part elder, or a misformed elder. Zaros checking the chamber would have seen the 5 eggs but he'd of also felt the energy of xau tak there too. Since its not QUITE a full elder and it doesnt have form that explains zaros's line "5 of form and 1 of something else"

As for what corrupted mah in the first place to cause xau tak to appear, who knows. Maybe it was indeed the lack of anima but CoM seems to hint wen might have had something to do with it what with the icy blue crystals in her core

15-Oct-2018 00:57:57

Lancer XXI

Lancer XXI

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Gamez X said:
I'm of the mind that xau tak is actually mah's nightmare and madness made real.


I don't know. Jas kind of makes it clear that there isn't really a grey area when it comes to being an elder god as she's talking to Zaros. I think that's probably the least probably theory regarding Xau-Tak's origin/essence.

"A flame... can never be a star... however bright... it burns. You are of Mah... but you are not Mah".

EDIT: It doesn't even seem like she would have even been capable of creating something that powerful. She was extremely weak when she was born. The first things she created, while at the height of her power were Zaros & Seren, and they're only tier 2 gods. She continued getting weaker and weaker until she couldn't even stay conscious. Her nightmares and the Muspah are frightening, but they're not really that powerful considering we kill them with relative ease.

15-Oct-2018 01:10:49 - Last edited on 15-Oct-2018 01:13:41 by Lancer XXI

Gamez X
Sep Gold Premier Club Member 2014

Gamez X

Posts: 885Gold Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
To jas it wouldnt be an elder, technically it would just be a t2 exactly like zaros. Xau tak being a horror without form makes it sound like a living nightmare and it clearly has the same level of power as zaros in terms of being able to manipulate lifeforms into new forms. Just like how seren and zaros have effects on other beings just by being near them (love and loyalty), xau tak has again a very similar effect but he instills insanity. Then look at the event we have now, first we had the shard of zaros, then a shard of mah and now a shard of xau tak?

When you look at it, there are ALOT of similarities between zaros/seren and xau tak that its quite possible they're the same kind of being. While zaros and seren where toys mah consciously made, xau tak would be a pure nightmare that escaped into the world during one of her fits of madness. Again jas wouldnt recognise it as an elder, but would zaros see that too? He'd just sense 5 distinct signatures of elders, plus traces of 1 more thing different from all the others, again not QUITE an elder much in the same way he himself isnt quite an elder

15-Oct-2018 01:35:46

Lancer XXI

Lancer XXI

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I like that explanation. Xau-Tak being compared to Zaros/Seren seems a better fit than Xau-Tak/Elder Gods. The insanity thing being compared to Zaros' followers being compelled to loyalty or Seren's followers to love makes sense (glory of Zaros incident), it can modify life (corruption), it can reach across time (soft of like Guthix) and it's crystalline (like Mah and her children). I would then be interested to know when it was created - before of after Zaros/Seren, and why Zaros & Seren don't feel a connection to it like they do to each other. I know Mah purposefully made them that way, but surely they would recognize the presence of their sibling on Gilenor. Guthix should also have had knowledge of Xau-Tak, since it would have had to have breached the Eddicts in the 5th age to attack you during Pieces of Hate.

I do still disagree with the comaprison to the elder gods. I don't think that's what Zaros was perceiving when he was in the chamber. Again, there is no similarity between T1 and T2. There's no just shy of elder god status, or not quite an elder. You either are, and it's obvious, or you aren't.

Again, five of form and one of something else, aka not of form. That means that whatever it is, it probably isn't physical or tangible like the other five. It's fundamentally different. Possibly not even a person, but more of an abstract entity (like the expanding shadow-realm).

15-Oct-2018 02:21:50

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