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Arazni

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This is a PathfinderWiki Featured Article. This article contains spoilers for the following products: Eulogy for Roslar's Coffer, Gardens of Gallowspire
Arazni
Arazni, the Unyielding.
(Person)
Titles The Red Queen
The Unyielding
The Harlot Queen (formerly)
Lich Queen (formerly)
The Red Crusader (formerly)
Herald of Aroden (formerly)
Alignment Neutral evil
Race/Species Human (Razatlani) lich
Class Wizard 20 / Marshal 8
Gender Female
Homeland Mechitar, Geb
Deity Aroden (formerly)
Died -1491 AR
3823 AR
Images of Arazni

Source: Mythic Realms, pg(s). 50f.
Arazni
(Deity)
Titles The Red Queen
The Unyielding
The Harlot Queen
The Red Crusader (formerly)
Herald of Aroden (formerly)
Adjective Araznian
Home Mechitar, Geb
Alignment Neutral evil
Areas of Concern Command of undeath, lichdom
Cleric Alignments
Domains Evil, Nobility, Protection
Subdomains Defense, Leadership
Favored Weapon Rapier
Symbol Rapier and lotus
An upright winged sword on a red field (formerly)[1]
Sacred Animal Scarab beetle
Sacred Colors Gray, red
Images of Arazni

Source: Mythic Realms, pg(s). 51

The lich Arazni (also known as the Harlot Queen) was once the unwilling de facto ruler of the Garundi nation of Geb, when Geb himself had withdrawn from the day-to-day running of the country.[2] She abandoned both the nation and ruler in 4719 AR.[3]

Background

Origins

Arazni was born in Gujaraldi, capital of the Arcadian nation of Xopatl, during its golden age. She studied the ley lines near Gujaraldi and made great advancements in improving the water quality in nearby aquifers. Thereafter, she came to Jolizpan to expand her research and understanding of the Veins of Creation, where she befriended the Azlanti traveller Aroden, and together they earned limited access to Tumbaja Mountain, heart of the Veins of Creation.[4]

After completing the research she needed, Arazni invited Aroden to travel across Xopatl to apply her research from Gujaraldi to distant communities. For the next several years, they earned a reputation as heroes. In -1505 AR, they returned to Jolizpan to report on their improvements, in the process repelling an invasion by the Razatlani warlord Imictal, who sought to claim the Veins of Creation for his country. Following this exploit, Arazni and Aroden were granted unlimited access to Tumbaja Mountain.[4]

After spending a few years studying the kumaru tree that was the source of the Veins of Creation, Arazni grew content with what she knew and parted ways with Aroden to continue improving Xopatl, while he continued his experiments on the kumaru tree. In -1491 AR, Arazni killed and was killed by the terrible beast Tlochach when taming the plains of western Xopatl. Her soul was judged and sent to Nirvana by Pharasma, where she eventually became an astral deva.[4][5]

In 1121 AR, Arazni met her old friend Aroden again, who asked her to become involved in the affairs of Golarion once more. She became his herald, and later a demigod.[5][6] Very little is known of her from this time, although several sources do mention that she was acquainted with Sunlord Thalachos, the herald of the goddess Sarenrae.[7]

She served as the patron saint of the Knights of Ozem, a religious military order that fought against the Whispering Tyrant during the Shining Crusade in the 39th century AR. The Knights summoned her in 3818 AR to lead them in battle; although she was perfectly willing to take the fight to the Tyrant herself, the Knights decided to bind her to their will, seeing such a thing as necessary in the face of Tar-Baphon and planting seeds of doubt and resentment in her mind. She was ultimately humiliated and slain by the Tyrant in 3823 AR. In an effort to demoralize his opponents, the lich threw her broken body back to her knights during the Battle of Three Sorrows.[6][8]

After the end of the crusade, in 3827 AR,[9] her body was finally interred by the Knights of Ozem in their new citadel in the young nation of Lastwall. Her body did not remain there for very long, however, as it was stolen in 3890 AR at the behest of the ghost-king Geb in retaliation for a failed assault on his kingdom by the Knights of Ozem. Geb himself transformed the assailants into graveknights and sent them to rampage through Vigil and steal her corpse, to be brought to his nation.[10][8]

Geb took a year and a day to drag Arazni's soul back from the Great Beyond. Over a period of years, Geb used his subtle, yet powerful influence on Arazni, fixating on the doubt and resentment that the Knights of Ozem planted, eventually corrupting her into a lich with none of her former personality. He even turned her against her former allies, particularly Iomedae, her successor as Aroden's herald, who herself had been a paladin of Arazni before the death of the demigoddess. Geb propped her up as his Harlot Queen and delegated to her the responsibility of administration, which he saw as beneath him.[11][12][13][8]

Ruler of Geb

Although not nearly as powerful as she once was as a demigod, Arazni is still a potent force in her own right. She rules Geb from the Cinerarium in the centre of Mechitar, allowing Geb to focus on more esoteric matters, without having to trouble himself with matters of state.[12] Arazni has no love for her undead citizens of Geb, and despises the people of Lastwall, who condemned her to undeath, even more.[8] Harnessing her will and dedication to become the tyrannical ruler necessary to rule an undead nation, she continues to keep the scheming and independent-minded undead who help run the country from seizing power for themselves, and strives to be a better leader than Geb could fathom. Her leadership has kept Geb stable for the last 800 years.[11][14][15]

Arazni has a retinue of graveknights dubbed the Council Libertine, re-animated by Geb from the former Knights of Ozem who originally stole her corpse from Vigil: Amaretos Manslayer, Seldeg Bhedlis, Gustari Fallenstag, Tycha Ghuzmaar, Yhalas, Ammar Ilverazto, and Andvard Prollin.[16] Among them, the first five remain, while the latter two have been destroyed by the Knights of Ozem. Rumours in Lastwall and Taldor paint them as her concubines and champions, but their true, little-known role is to watch over her on Geb's behalf, dragging her back to Geb when she tries to flee the nation. Arazni was conditioned to be unable to raise her hand against the Council Libertine, making her helpless against them despite her comparative power over them; she had to manipulate the Knights of Ozem into thinning the ranks of her captors.[17] Arazni's phylactery is kept carefully hidden from her, making her as much Geb's prisoner as ruler of his nation.[2][10][11][15]

Although she embraced the hatred that Geb cultivated, Arazni kept hoping that her old friend Aroden would return to save her. He never did, and when he died, Arazni sank further into despair, and realised that when Tar-Baphon killed her, they had been linked together for some reason; the hateful whispers that she had heard since then were not her own, but Tar-Baphon's.[8] In 4719 AR, through this tenuous connection, Arazni felt that his rage had been replaced with hope, and suspected that he was regaining his freedom soon. For the first time in centuries, she finally escaped her graveknight jailers and moved north, just in time to watch the destruction wrought by the Tyrant's new superweapon Radiant Fire. As her body reformed, she discovered that the Radiant Fire had the power to disrupt the ties between her and her phylactery, and with its help, she could free herself of her bondage.[11][18][8]

Arazni then returned to Roslar's Coffer and noticed a group of adventurers with warped souls triumphing over the Whispering Way. After the Tyrant destroyed Vigil and freed himself from his imprisonment in Gallowspire, she recruited these adventurers to deal with the Council Libertine pursuing her and dissuade the surviving Knights of Ozem from marching to pointless deaths so she could confront the Tyrant by herself and force him to use the Radiant Fire. Her plan worked: Tar-Baphon quickly lost his patience and decided to use the fragment of the Shattered Shield of Arnisant in his hand to activate the Radiant Fire. In this moment, she recognised that both this fragment and the source of her agents' warped souls came from the kumaru tree. Knowing that they can learn more about the kumaru tree in Xopatl, she teleported them to her birthplace before the Radiant Fire destroyed her body and freed her from Geb's clutches. Her whereabouts are unknown, and in the wake of Arazni's disappearance, her erstwhile husband was forced to take a more hands-on approach to ruling his kingdom.[8][19][20]

Arazni's weakness

Many of Arazni's internal organs were removed before her reanimation as a lich and placed in special canopic jars known as the Bloodstones of Arazni. Arazni is concerned that these organs could one day be used against her, and has done her best over the centuries to track them down and destroy them, including using her retinue of former Knights of Ozem to search for them, but with little success. As these jars hold a fraction of Arazni's former divine power, her bodyguard-jailers want them destroyed, while Arazni hopes to recover them.[21][22][10][16]

Relationships

Arazni considers most other deities callous and contemptible, especially Aroden, for having left her to die at Tar-Baphon's hands. Her old acquaintances during her time as Aroden's herald consider her both blasphemous and tragic, and no longer associate with her.[15]

Arazni shares some values with other divinities: Gyronna, for the hatred born from cruel abuse; Lamashtu, for how a weak creature can fight their way to power; and Erecura, for ruling a realm not quite theirs. However, the cooperation is mostly limited to their followers; Arazni keeps to herself and other deities rarely notice her.[15]

Arazni is both resentful of her successor Iomedae for having reached divinity so successfully and easily, and proud of her for having won the Shining Crusade, and recognises that none should be subjected to her ordeals.[15]

Cults

Worship of Arazni takes two different forms, one within Geb's borders and one outside Geb. Most citizens of Geb view Arazni as a secular head of state, and only a few also venerate her as a spiritual figure of undead nobility and leadership. Clerics of Arazni are very rare; most of her priests serve the bureaucratic role of operating state-sponsored temples dedicated to her. Their incapacity in using divine magic is not viewed as a shortcoming, as that expectation usually falls to clerics of Urgathoa.[15]

Outside of Geb, Arazni has no priests, and her faith is silently practiced by solitary devotees, who view her as an exemplar of an abused victim who nonetheless manages to guard herself and project confidence, when all control over her circumstances has been taken away. In this way, she is most often worshipped by Taldan women and commoners, Chelish halflings and tieflings, Mwangi natives in Sargava, and intelligent undead who hate their existence but cannot end it. In Lastwall, Arazni is viewed as a dead goddess, but a few still uphold her teachings of protection. Most Knights of Ozem do not want to dwell on the failure that led to her death, but maintain the shrine where she was once interred in the hope that she could find rest there in the future.[15] Since the fall of Lastwall, some surviving Knights of Ozem in the Gravelands who resented how badly their former leaders failed them have turned to her worship, but most consider her overly harsh and vindictive.[23]

Arazni resents her worshippers for venerating what she has become, but also tolerates them, finding a vicarious fulfillment in having followers. She values her privacy, and any cleric who would try to divine her secrets will find their powers taken away.[15]

Herald's Fall

Ever since the death of Arazni at the hands of Whispering Tyrant, a strange phenomenon has been witnessed at various locations in the vicinity of Ustalav. Dubbed Herald's Fall by the Brevic spiritualist Kalara Atroshka, the event appears as a type of mobile haunt that is directly connected to the emotional trauma experienced by Arazni around the moment of her death. This emotional and psychic trauma seems to have created some sort of powerful resonance on the Ethereal Plane that occasionally manifests on the Material, and seems to follow a predetermined path of local Ustalavic ley lines.[24]

References

  1. Sean K Reynolds. (2008). Gods and Magic, p. 55. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-139-8
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 75–76. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  3. Tanya DePass, James Jacobs, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, Liane Merciel, Erik Mona, Mark Seifter, and James L. Sutter. (2019). Lost Omens World Guide, p. 75. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-172-6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Luis Loza. (2019). Borne by the Sun's Grace. Borne by the Sun's Grace, p. 3. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-140-5
  5. 5.0 5.1 Crystal Frasier. (2019). To Exceed Their Grasp. The Dead Roads, p. 79. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-111-5
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sean K Reynolds. (2008). Gods and Magic, p. 53. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-139-8
  7. Adam Daigle, Tim Hitchcock, Rob McCreary and Sean K Reynolds. (2009). Bestiary. House of the Beast, p. 87. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-160-2
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Crystal Frasier. (2019). Gardens of Gallowspire. Gardens of Gallowspire, p. 3–4. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-134-4
  9. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 90. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Adam Daigle, Dave Gross, Mark Moreland, David N. Ross, Todd Stewart, and Jerome Virnich. (2014). Undead Unleashed, p. 52–53. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-677-5
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Crystal Frasier. (2019). To Exceed Their Grasp. The Dead Roads, p. 76–77. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-111-5
  12. 12.0 12.1 Adam Daigle. (2011). Liches of Golarion. Shadows of Gallowspire, p. 70. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-313-2
  13. Sean K Reynolds et al. (2014). Inner Sea Gods, p. 77. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-597-6
  14. Todd Stewart, Brandon Hodge, and Steve Kenson. (2011). Undead Revisited, p. 26. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-303-3
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 Lyz Liddell. (2019). Arazni, the Red Queen. Eulogy for Roslar's Coffer, p. 69–71. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-119-1
  16. 16.0 16.1 Larry Wilhelm. (2019). Last Watch. Last Watch, p. 28. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-126-9
  17. Brandon Hodge. (2011). Shadows of Gallowspire. Shadows of Gallowspire, p. 23. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-313-2
  18. Ron Lundeen. (2019). The Dead Roads. The Dead Roads, p. 55. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-111-5
  19. Crystal Frasier. (2019). Gardens of Gallowspire. Gardens of Gallowspire, p. 52. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-134-4
  20. Tanya DePass, James Jacobs, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, Liane Merciel, Erik Mona, Mark Seifter, and James L. Sutter. (2019). Lost Omens World Guide, p. 77. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-172-6
  21. James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 77. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  22. F. Wesley Schneider. (2012). Artifacts & Legends, p. 13. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-458-0
  23. Tanya DePass, James Jacobs, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, Liane Merciel, Erik Mona, Mark Seifter, and James L. Sutter. (2019). Lost Omens World Guide, p. 41. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-172-6
  24. Robert Brookes, Thurston Hillman, Brandon Hodge, Thomas M. Reid, and Mark Seifter. (2015). Occult Realms, p. 49. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-794-9