Taljjae

From PathfinderWiki
Taljjae
(Creature)
Level 18
Alignment
Adjective Taljjae

Source: Monsters of Myth, pg(s). 100

Taljjae is a mercurial fey that wears many different masks and dances around the Hwanggot countryside.[1]

Appearance

Taljjae's body shape varies from account to account and can be anything from humanoid to myriapodal, but it can always be recognised by its masks and a white-and-red cloak made of an unknown material. Its gait is both aberrant and unsettlingly familiar, a half-step off one's heartbeat. Taljjae wears three masks at any given time, which can easily be switched, and differ from sighting to sighting. They are said to mirror human emotions, and looking deep into their eyes is said to bring forth the most intense, deeply buried memories corresponding to their emotion. Each mask has its own fighting style, making Taljjae an unpredictable, formidable foe. Taljjae's presence is heralded by blue flames which it uses to defend itself.[1]

Each individual mask represents a literary archetype; while every observer can tell of the masks Taljjae was wearing, the exact details vary from account to account, leading to the hypothesis that each individual sees a mask in the face of the person that best embodies it. Throughout history, Taljjae's assortment of masks constantly changes, with no pattern. Sometimes, a new mask appears just before an important figure arrives, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the mask's existence distinguishes said person as important in the future. It is unknown if this represents Taljjae understanding events to come or thrusting a destiny upon this person.[2]

In children's tales, Taljjae makes its masks by choosing small details from people. It rewards kind children by replicating some of their details on its masks, and makes masks that clearly look like cruel people to let others know of their evil. 'Earning' a mask is a common compliment, while 'making' a mask is a warning to troublemakers.[2]

Habitat

Despite being drawn to strong emotions (particularly negative ones), Taljjae is rarely seen in cities, and more often wreaks havoc in rural areas. However, even when their crops are destroyed, villages occupied by Taljjae rarely go hungry, and angry officials who investigate the supply drop rarely return unscathed, forcing rulers to treat peasants better.[1] Taljjae's sacred domain is said to be a mountain where people gather and store offerings, which occasionally attract thieves, though the risk of Taljjae returning to rampage is omnipresent. Those who grow up in Taljjae's Domain are taught to respect it, and often feel an affinity with it. Some build shrines where they offer buckwheat jelly, said to be Taljjae's preferred food. When Taljjae rampages, they are often called to calm it.[2]

Background

Many myths tell of Taljjae's origins. Some stipulate that it has existed since Hwanggot was populated, or that it coalesced from people's emotions. In one story, an old man dedicated his life to carving masks, from the day he came of age until he died. On his deathbed, the masks carried him to heaven, then returned to earth to watch his homeland. Yet another tale tells that Taljjae came from the Moon to learn how people lived on Golarion.[1]

The earliest accounts of Taljjae, which date to the Age of Anguish, describe it with only one single, featureless mask. Later accounts note a mask resembling a laughing child, said to be the first child born in Hwanggot after the Age of Darkness ended. The clearing of the darkness and the child's smile and laughter brought collective joy and relief to people. According to some accounts, Taljjae created this mask to celebrate the new age, while others tell that it only appeared when the child was crowned emperor, to remind of the importance of the people's joy. With this reminder, the emperor brought forth a golden age for Hwanggot.[2]

Associates

In Hwanggot, Taljjae is worshipped as if it were a deity. During celebrations, people offer it rice and gold, and dance when wearing replicas of its masks, which is said to keep its emotions in check and prevent it from rampaging. These replicas are also used as protective charms and symbols of protest against injustice. Many rulers, offended by its masks, have sent troops to hunt it. Most of the time, they were simply crushed; even when they were successful, Taljjae returned as quickly as it was defeated.[1]

In very rare cases, Taljjae can grant a mask, which grants superhuman abilities, to another creature. Taljjae's reasons for doing so are unknown, and those who tried to discern a pattern have always failed. Legend has it that this has only happened 12 times, but it is unknown what happened to these masks; some claim that these tales are no more than fiction. Killing Taljjae might allow one to steal a mask, but such a deed has never been recorded or verified.[2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Joshua Kim and James Case. (2021). Taljjae. Monsters of Myth, p. 97. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-389-8
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Joshua Kim and James Case. (2021). Taljjae. Monsters of Myth, p. 98. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-389-8