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Xau-Tak: God of the Horrors

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Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Do you really think you can save them, Wahisietel? You can't. The spiral of time leads only to the gaping maw of eternity. And this is Xau-Tak.
- Gustaf Joannhes

For many, Xau-Tak was nothing more than a name briefly alluded to by V back in the Hero's Welcome quest. Not many paid too much attention to the mysterious deity with corpse oceans whose tendrils have already taken root on Gielinor. Even when Mod Wilson stated that Xau-Tak was connected to content that's been in the game since 2005, many just wrote Xau-Tak off as the Karamjan or Abyss god.

But after further investigation (and some hints from Mod Wilson), we began to realise that Xau-Tak was connected to something else entirely, something that myself and others were theorising about separately. The Pirate quest series and the Cave horrors. We theorised that Xau-Tak was responsible for the ruins on Mos Le'Harmless. The force behind the resurrection of Rabid Jack and his crew. The entity responsible for the Skeletal Horror. And perhaps even the Underwater City.

We then began to notice that ever since Hero's Welcome, Xau-Tak had been alluded to in every piece of content produced by the Dukes. When Kindred Spirits was released and introduced the Xau-Tak loredump that was Death at Sea, many of our theories were confirmed, and Xau-Tak gained the public's interest.

So, just what IS Xau-Tak? How strong is it, what does it want? There are references to it all over the game, but just where ARE these references? And what can we expect to see from Xau-Tak in the future? This thread will attempt to answer these questions.

You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:51:53 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 15:41:56 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
--Overview--

Generally speaking, Xau-Tak seems to be mostly connected to death and the oceans. It is a powerful deity with immense power over the undead, and is thought to physically bear the appearance of a sea creature with tentacles. Even with the Edicts active, Xau-Tak is believed to have been responsible for a number of actions on Gielinor, either directly or indirectly. These include the resurrection of Rabid Jack and his army, and the creation of the Skeletal Horror.

Xau-Tak's earliest known activities on Gielinor took place towards the end of the Second Age, in which a number of islands in the Eastern Sea were mysteriously destroyed overnight, either by Xau-Tak itself or something else. After this incident and the subsequent investigation by the crew of the Glory of Zaros, Xau-Tak seemingly vanished until very recently. Despite this, remnants of it still remained, including a number of artefacts infused with its power. Many of these artefacts, such the mysterious black stone found on Mos Le'Harmless, have considerable power over the undead. Most notably, it left behind a massive skull, which seemingly had a great deal of its power stored in it, in a similar fashion to Bandos's pendant.

Xau-Tak influence seems to been concentrated in and around the Eastern Sea, including the Cursed Archipelago, found to the south of Harmony Island. These islands are described as being full of "wicked magicks and evil spirits". Rabid Jack is thought to have made his base here before his "death". Xau-Tak's primary area of influence seems to be the Underwater City, of which little is known.

Xau-Tak seems to have little in the way of followers, with the cannibalistic Horrors of Mos Le'Harmless and the megalomaniac Karamthulhu being the only ones known. Rabid Jack and his crew are also thought to have at least partnered with Xau-Tak, and an Odd Old Man was brainwashed into serving it.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:51:59 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 14:48:30 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Recently, Xau-Tak has started exerting its power over Gielinor once more. Towards the end of the Fifth Age, it was responsible for resurrecting Rabid Jack and his followers, who proceeded to use one of its temples to create an army of Zombie pirates.

A man known as Archibald Paldock also unearthed the Skeletal horror's skull, and Xau-Tak then spoke to and controlled Archibald via the skull, forcing him to collect bones to reform the horror. An adventurer helped Archibald collect these bones, but defeated the Skeletal horror before it was able to cause much damage. Although for some reason they decide to rebuild it every week for easy Elite clue scrolls that probably won't even give a decent reward.

When V returned to Gielinor soon after the beginning of the Sixth Age, he was quick to note that Xau-Tak's tendrils had already taken root on Gielinor. Xau-Tak was also seemingly able to give the World Guardian a nightmare, and influence a cave goblin in the Underworld to threaten the World Guardian.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:03 - Last edited on 13-Apr-2016 16:02:30 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
--Skeletal Horror--

The Skeletal Horror's connection to Xau-Tak is somehwat mysterious, but from what we can gather, it may be an avatar of Xau-Tak, left behind to exert power over Gielinor after its disappearance.



The horror's skull is seemingly similar to the pendant that Bandos used to control Zanik. While supposedly dating back to the Third Age, it was kept in pristine condition while buried in the Mos Le'Harmless caves. The Odd Old Man claims to have started hearing a "greater power" talk to him after collecting the skull, which was presumably Xau-Tak influencing him to collect bones to rebuild his avatar, in a similar fashion to how Bandos influenced Zanik.

Interestingly, the skull is said to have protected Archibald while he was carrying it around, scaring off pirates and lobsters. It also helped him remain consistent with his lies to us during the Odd Old Man and Fur 'n' Seek quests, and let him collect some fur for a new coat (albeit at the expense of pranking him, I guess Xau-Tak has a sense of humour?).

Also of note is that what appears to be a number of brown tendrils can be seen around the Skeletal Horror's arena. These are possibly the tendrils that V referred to, although they could just be weird bones. Kudos to Crondis for spotting these.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:07 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 15:45:58 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
--Rabid Jack--

Xau-Tak is seemingly responsible for bringing Rabid Jack and friends back as zombies. Captain Donnie revealed all the way back in Rum Deal that they're using one of Xau-Tak's temples to bring the dead back to life as zombies. Additionally, Mi-Gor and Mechanical Murphy are using the black rock from Mos Le'Harmless to create the Barrelchests, due to its unique effect on undead tissue.

And then there's the matter of Rabid Jack coming back after jumping into the ocean at the end of the Battle of the Archipelago. Exactly how he managed to come back from that is uncertain, but it's pretty probable Xau-Tak was behind it, due to its connection to the sea. Jack claims shortly before he jumps that the sea would never let him die due to how many deaths he had given it, so he probably made some kind of a deal with Xau-Tak. Maybe Xau-Tak agreed to protect Jack in exchange for Jack giving it lots of lives, it would certainly explain why it let Jack and his crew set up camp in the Cursed Archipelago.

But exactly how Xau-Tak managed to bring Jack back is another matter entirely. The Edicts were still up at the time, so it seems unlikely that he was able to just resurrect Jack out of the blue. Maybe Jack had one of Xau-Tak's artefacts from the Cursed Archipelago in that chest of his that enabled his resurrection, explaining why he jumped off with it. Or maybe there was some artefact under the spot where Jack jumped. Regardless, Xau-Tak managed it, enabling Rabid Jack and friends to become an army of the undead who aim to capture Mos Le'Harmless.

According to Mi-Gor, Rabid Jack and crew are currently based underwater, perhaps in the Underwater City, a location where Xau-Tak is thought to have a great degree of power.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:11 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 14:52:47 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
--The Future--

So what is Xau-Tak going to do next? The Edicts have fallen, allowing it to finally physically return to Gielinor, if it even left in the first place. The Skeletal Horror is still around after its defeat, being rebuilt weekly, but could easily escape. Rabid Jack and an army of Zombie pirates are still at large, plotting. Hundreds of thousands of adventurers are wearing masks imbued with Xau-Tak's power on their slayer tasks. Maybe that's not such a good idea.

So what will Xau-Tak itself do now that it's back? Aid Rabid Jack and his crew in their conquest? Or aim for bigger fish, and attack the other gods? Does it intent to reduce Gielinor to an ocean of undead corpses, like it did to other worlds?

We'll certainly be hearing of Xau-Tak more in the pirate quests, but as for its role in the Sixth Age, I couldn't say. Maybe with Bandos, Tuska and soon Sliske stepping down as villains, Xau-Tak will rise up to take their place. But regardless, we'll probably be seeing more of it soon, whether that be more small references or a full-blown appearance.

Either way, get hype.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:15 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 14:54:16 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
--References & Notes--

A list of all the content that Xau-Tak has been referenced in, to my knowledge. See my old thread here and my notes below for more detail on the references, although note the thread is somewhat outdated as we didn't know they were references to Xau-Tak at the time it was written.

Rum Deal - October 2005 - Rabid Jack's temple, Karamthulhu
Mos Le'Harmless - February 2006 - Pillar on Mos Le'Harmless
Rag and Bone Man - April 2006 - Skeletal Horror pt 1
Mos Le'Harmless Expansion - July 2006 - Jungle/Cave horrors, Black mask, Harmless caves, Stone tablet
Olaf's Quest - April 2007 - Cursed treasure
The Great Brain Robbery - March 2007 - Mi-Gor references "Down Below"
Summoning - January 2008 - Karamthulhu overlord
Rocking Out - June 2008 - Ex-ex parrot
Fur 'n' Seek - August 2009 - Skeletal Horror pt 2
A Clockwork Syringe - March 2011 - Strange black rocks
Lore Livestream - November 2012 - Rabid Jack said to be connected to the Underwater City
Meet the Partner - Again - December 2012 - Flying sea gods
Battle of Lumbridge - July 2013 - Sea gods
Hero's Welcome - June 2015 - Xau-Tak first named
The Light Within - August 2015 - Xau-Tak dream
Prifddinas Waterfall fishing - September 2015 - "Karamthulhu Pete" mentioned, Underwater City referenced
Nomad's Elegy - February 2016 - ***-Tak mentioned by a cave goblin
Kindred Spirits - May 2016 - Death at Sea loredump.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:20 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 14:56:20 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
---Connection to the Underwater City---

Xau-Tak's connection to the Underwater City isn't ever explicitly stated in-game, although it's certainly alluded to, and Rabid Jack's connection to the city was confirmed in a livestream back in 2012. In the Great Brain Robbery, Mi-Gor claims that he is meeting with Rabid Jack "down below", probably referring to the Underwater City.

And of course, in The Light WIthin, it's possible to have a nightmare of an underwater area with buildings made of black rock, with stone hands that grab onto you, almost certainly referring to the city. Underwater hands are spoken of again in relation to Xau-Tak in Death at Sea in Kindred Spirits, so I think it's safe to assume that Gustaf's trip to the city is what left him in the state he ended up in.

---Gender---

While Xau-Tak's gender is unknown, at this point I think it's pretty safe to say it's genderless, since Xau-Tak would have no interest in adopting one to appeal to mortals. Additionally, Mod Wilson implied in this post that the concept would be meaningless to it anyway. The Odd Old Man consistently refers to the Skeletal Horror as an "it", which is probably as close as we can get to in-game confirmation for now.

Nevertheless, in Rocking Out, Rabid Jack refers to the sea as "she". In the context of the quote, he is probably referring to how Xau-Tak would not let him die, and Ex-ex-parrot (who is revived by using a stone slab with a picture of a black mask on it), claims to have a mistress who lives in death. But both of these can just be written off as references.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:24 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 15:05:31 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
---Tier?---

From what the Odd Old Man says, Xau-Tak is capable of tapping into the world's energy (the Anima Mundi) to gain power. Manipulation of the Anima Mundi is usually reserved for Tier 2 gods, but others like Glouphrie are also known have to done so, so this doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Additionally, Xau-Tak was capable of exerting a great deal of power on Gielinor even while the edicts were up, possibly using an avatar and resurrecting a number of pirates. Since it's arguably been more successful at breaking the edicts than even Bandos, it implies that Xau-Tak is somewhat powerful. Taking all this information into account, I would say Xau-Tak could fall anywhere above Tier 4, maybe even has high as Tier 3 or 2.

But ultimately, Xau-Tak's tier doesn't really matter since it's just an arbitrary number & tiers are a very rough guideline. All we need to know is that Xau-Tak is pretty powerful.

---Pirate/Sea god?---

Xau-Tak has been pretty much confirmed to be the "Pirate god" referenced by Mod Osborne a couple of times. Additionally, it is probable that Xau-Tak is the "sea god" mentioned by John Strum (in Meet the Partner - Again) and the Drunken mariner (Battle of Lumbridge). While these references don't reveal much, if Xau-Tak is the sea god, it would mean that at least some knowledge of it has survived to the present day in sailor lore. Also, it means he can fly, if John is to be believed.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:28 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 15:06:11 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
---Olaf's Quest?---

Anyone remember Olaf's quest? That one Fremennik/Pirate quest that wasn't related to any of the others and had a really annoying RNG bridge thing? In the quest, we discover a wrecked ship in a small cove by the Fremennik Province. Inside, we discover some treasure, and a parchment that makes reference to a number of other ships that sunk "with a greater share of that cursed treasure".

This quest is barely a pirate quest, but... We never did find out what that Cursed Treasure was. But Rabid Jack is seen jumping overboard with a treasure chest, and and reference is made to something Gustaf brought onboard after his trip to what may have been the Underwater City driving some of the crew mad by singing to them, before crawling overboard.



---Karamthulhu---

The Karamthulhu seem to have a big connection to Xau-Tak. In addition to being sea dwellers with tentacles, their name is partially derived from that of C*hulhu, Lovecraft's most famous creation, and Xau-Tak is heavily inspired by Cthulhu. Additionally, like the black mask, they are referenced throughout and even outside of the pirate quest series. They're even thought to be one of the first summoning familiars created.

Interestingly enough, the Karamthulhu overlord claims to be a god
Original message details are unavailable.
It is a sad thing indeed when a god as powerful as I cannot gain recognition from the foolish mewling sheep of this 'surface' place.

Maybe Xau-Tak was originally a Karamthulhu before it ascended, and the other Karamthulhu have similar desires to attain godhood? Or maybe Xau-Tak is speaking through the Karamthulhu overlord familiar here. Or maybe Xau-Tak was actually just the Karamthulhu overlord familiar the entire time.

Also, the hermit crab pet refers to a "Karamthulhu Pete" who lives in a fishbowl. Xau-Tak's true name is Pete confirmed.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

30-Oct-2015 20:52:33 - Last edited on 15-Sep-2016 15:44:25 by Wahisietel

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