|Dominion of the Black|
|Goals||Expansion; potentially universal extermination of sentient life|
|Structure||Subjugated races ruled by unknown powers|
|Members||Enslaved and engineered sentient lifeforms|
Source: Valley of the Brain Collectors, pg(s). 64-69
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The Dominion of the Black (also known by many names, including the Dominions of the Black and the Black Truth) is a malevolent, galaxy-spanning conglomerate of aliens. The Dominion of the Black has been described as a "mysterious consortium of emissaries," suggesting that it may in fact act as a lower hierarchical rung that serves the malignant incomprehensible intelligences that rule the aether of the Dark Tapestry, the lightless places between the stars.
The Dominion of the Black first took note of Golarion around -4363 AR, when the Divinity crash-landed in Numeria after fleeing a Dominion attack through a wormhole. Though Dominion forces could not follow the Divinity, they had planted several rhu-chaliks during the battle, which were able to transmit their location to their masters.
References to the Dominion of the Black were first found in the hieroglyphs of ancient Osirion. Some of the earliest inscriptions allude to visitors descending from the stars, "making playthings of men" and offering "gifts of mind quakes when favor [was] found and obliteration when it [was] not." Some paintings surviving from this period depict the victims of flesh-warping plagues and laborers with insectoid limbs.
The Dominion is believed to have had profound influence over the rise of the four Pharaohs of Ascension at the dawn of Osirion's Second Age in -1498 AR. The Pharaohs made unprecedented magical and technological strides during their reign and are known to have received 11 powerful gifts from an otherworldly patron. The Pharaoh of Numbers was also notably obsessed with the planet Aucturn, which itself is believed to be tied to the Dominion.
In 4598 AR a Dominion agent known as the Emissary from Beyond was able to influence the Lirgeni astronomer Gelviel Zorriah to create the spaceship Lirgen's Glory. The ship launched two years later only to be overtaken by the Emissary in 4656 AR. Once the Emissary finished corrupting the crew, it turned the ship around and ultimately crash landed in Isger in 4712 AR, where it briefly attempted to make preparations for a larger invasion force.
A separate Dominion force touched down in the Scar of the Spider in 4709 AR. This force was tasked with investigating the ruins of the Divinity, and quickly set about reverse engineering a recovered AI core and retrofitting two annihilator robots for their purposes.
The Dominion of the Black is a loose collection of alien races with an intergalactic range and no central home or headquarters. A family of genetically engineered species—neh-thalggu, bah-thegga, bah-uurla, deh-nolo, jah-tohl, rhu-chalik, and yah-thelgaad—comprise the front lines of their vaguely expansionist actions. Lunarmas, the neshmaal, and yangethes are also associated with Dominion activity.
Beyond this collection of beings, the most powerful documented entities of the Dominion include:
- The-Five-Who-Speak-As-One, who reportedly lives on a massive organic spaceship
- Infinity-Ceases-Now, an amoeba-like monstrosity inside a rogue planetoid
- Grandchild-of-Eternity's-Despair, an administrator of unknowable appearance who rules the Dominion's fleshfarms
- Tychilarius, They Drown the Gods in Oblivion (sometimes mistranslated as the Drowned God), a tremendous aberration made of thousands of creatures supposedly fused in the heart of a black hole
A symbol used by the Dominion of the Black to represent the Dark Tapestry is a strange tangle of tentacle shapes.
The foundation of most Dominion of the Black activities are its fleshfarms. These facilities are said to be the size of nations, and their operations are overseen by the jah-tohl. The fleshfarms are built to receive entire species as they are conquered by the Dominion, which are used both as slaves and raw materials in the manufacture of new servant races for the Dominion.
Likely the most iconic of all Dominion technologies are their shipmind-driven cyborg spaceships that can range in size up to that of continents or even moons. The larger of these are capable birthing lesser ships for use as shuttles. These ships are often unable to lift off after landing, as the Dominion does not consider pulling back after an invasion has begun. Once on the ground, the organic components of these ships slowly rot, poisoning the land, and the former crew recycles the metal to harvest or corrupt native species.
Beyond the creatures known to work alongside their forces, the Dominion of the Black has several other notable relationships.
Golarion's solar system includes the mysterious living planet Aucturn, and researchers of that distant world suspect its ruler Carsai the King to be connected to the Dominion. Also known as the Stranger, Aucturn may be Golarion's link to the Dark Tapestry.
A small number of cults devoted to the Dominion of the Black operate across the Inner Sea region. Because the Dominion has little interest in engaging humanoids on their own terms, these cults see little support from their patrons and are largely disorganized in their activities.
One especially active cult is lead by Abtaroh Vorenic, whose family has a long history of exposure to Dominion agents. She operates her cult from her family estate in Macridi.. These cultists wear distinctive magical amulets—black discs ringed by white dots, common to other Dominion cultists on Golarion.
The Night Heralds are the most organized cult devoted to the Dominion of the Black. While their practices may seem religious to outsiders, they think of themselves more as diplomats. These fanatics hold that defeat at the hands of the Dominion awaits all, and therefore seek to have their brains harvested by the neh-thalggu—a fate they see as a sort of immortality.
Great Old Ones
Though Dominion texts such as The Last Theorem make seemingly reverent references to the Great Old Ones and their cults, most scholars on the subject are convinced the Dominion is actually in open conflict with both. The Shub-Niggurath-worshiping mi-go are deserving of special note in this category, as they are known to have carried on an eons-long conflict with the Dominion of the Black.
Many who study the Dominion on Golarion go mad from the effort, leading mainstream scholars to deem most sources on the subject unreliable at best. Nonetheless, irrefutable traces of the Dominion's past and present influence on the world are readily found by those who know where to look, and even the texts and scholars most detached from reality still offer truths about this distant group. Libraries in Katheer, Omash, and Sedeq all reportedly contain works about the Dominion in their stacks, as do private libraries across the Inner Sea region, including a collection in Egorian.
Known scholars on subjects related to the Dominion of the Black include:
- Abdullah Aben of Sedeq.
- Anekept of An, whose research led him to believe the ancient countdown clocks of Osirion are counting down to a harvest.
- Co Latimer of the Nightstone Academy in Absalom.
- Fulvia Nostraema, committed to the Darakole Sanitarium in Vyre, author of an essay on her belief that the Dominion uses black holes to perform tremendous ceremonial sacrifices of slaves and Dominion ships alike.
- Gaius Beaulenard, an Opparan aristocrat who arranged for his own death after attempting to directly contact the Dominion.
- Imed Ibn Surhal, a deceased Qadiran sage who went mad after publishing Apocalypse at the Dark Center of the Universe, a treatise suggesting the Dominion seeks complete extermination of all sentient life in the universe.
- Paucol the Gray in Absalom's Grand Lodge.
- Rouolon Ulmer of Manaket.
- Shayla Aaosk, committed to the Havenguard Asylum in Caliphas.
- Teramin Mais, an Aspis Consortium agent in Ostenso.
- Van Jeust, author of Lords of the Night Heralds, a collection of cryptic articles describing the Dominion and its goals.
- Dr. Verid Oscilar of the Sincomakti School of Sciences.
The following texts are of unknown authorship.
- Account of the Hierophant, Predators of Light, and Life Slake are rambling descriptions of Dominion space-faring vessels.
- The Encyclopedia of Vhaeso's Tears, a catalog of the Dominion's subservient races.
- The Entrails of Creation, a mad inscription on ruins outside of Absalom that depicts the horrific Dominion fleshfarms, nation-sized slave processing facilities that convert living beings toward terrible ends.
- The Libram of Absolute Emptiness and Mah-Theneg Codices, purported translations of Dominion writings.
- The Secrets of the Dreaming Dark, which is thought to provide the means of contacting the Dominion.
- The Last Theorem, a translated Dominion text that references the Great Old Ones.
- Nullity, a 13-word riddle that ostensibly grants its solver knowledge of all divinity, though all who have solved it have been murdered.
A major article on the Dominion of the Black is in Valley of the Brain Collectors.
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