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Cult of Tiamat

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Azure's picture

The Cult of Tiamat is perhaps the most despised, save for the Reconciliation, by the other githyanki power blocs. Ironically, their material aid and alliance are, save for that of the Silver Eyes, the most sought after by the other power blocs. The Cult has worked hard to cultivate relations with the other blocs, and they have resources for which there are no counterparts; priestly magic, a friendly church, and greatest of all, The Dragon Alliance. So, while the vast majority of rank-and-file githwarriors see Cultists as heretics, their leaders cannot afford to totally alienate Tiamat's new found faithful.

With the fall of Vlaakith CLVII, so too was the Staff of Ephemeron destroyed. The ancient Red Dragon Pact between the children of Gith and the strongest of Tiamat’s brood was broken. Still, a great deal of mutual respect between the red dragons and the githyanki had developed over the centuries. A new Dragon Alliance has formed between the wyrms of flame and those githyanki who would willingly pay homage to The Dark Queen of dragonkind. The majority of converts were of course duthka’gith, half-dragon githyanki bred by Vlaakith and Tiamat for the great Incursion. Some full-blooded githyanki have also joined the Cult, and some duthka’gith joined other power blocs (mostly the Apocalytes), but these have thus far been the exceptions.

One of the first cohesive power blocs to form post-Vlaakith, the Cult of Tiamat galvanized other githyanki into forming opposing blocs. One of the main issues of contention, aside from the fact that githyanki society has long viewed the worship of Powers as heresy and treason, was the ascension of The Singer of Fire as a princess of the Ascendancy and potential heir to the throne of Vlaaakith. Many githyanki commanders, governors, and generals opposed the very idea of another tyrant who would once again be consuming the live forces of the best and brightest of the people (themselves included). Though they probably would have opposed any heir to Vlaakith, the fact that the potential new queen was a half-breed made their opposition more politically expedient. These leaders banded together as the Heartforce, and made both theworship of Tiamat and support for a new Vlaakith acts of sedition in their enclaves, punishable by beatings, imprisonment, or death, depending on their individual whims.

That the Singer of Fire is a true heir of Vlaakith is unquestionable, for it has been confirmed by researchers from the Silver Eyes. Their word is considered good, for if they were to lie about her heritage it would be to deny her claim, not support it. The Silver Eyes are perhaps the Cult’s greatest foes among the power blocs, in fact. The githyanki intelligence community represented by the Eyes largely considers Cultists not only heretics, but dangerously deluded fools to swear fealty to a Power, even a long time githyanki ally such as Tiamat. The Eyes give very little if any aid to the Cult. This might put the Cult at a disadvantage, save that through the church of Tiamat they have their own intelligence network. They even have some access to the Baatorian intelligence services as well. The Cult of Tiamat has the greatest presence on the outer planes in general

Though still considered heretics by the vast majority of githyanki, the Cult is more accepted by some power blocs than others. The True are their closest allies. True dogma states that the githyankis’ longtime alliance with Tiamat was Gith’s doing, not Vlaakith’s, though the Lich Queen would have had it believed otherwise. Therefore the followers of Tiamat and of Ar-Gish are still very close. The True would rather that Cultists abandon worship of a non-githyanki Power, especially those full-blooded githyanki among them, but since that Power is Tiamat, they are mostly willing to work with the Cult.

The Cult of Tiamat has a good foothold on the primes. They have kept significant forces on the Incursion worlds where possible. They are able to call on aid from their red dragon allies and from Tiamat’s church. This makes their material aid extremely valuable to the Apocalytes. The two blocs often work together very closely, though the Apocalytes, like the Heartforce, reject the Ascendancy of a new Vlaakith. Therefore the Singer of Fire’s status as a princess of the Ascendancy continues to be an issue of contention between the two blocs, who might otherwise be much closer.

Nearly all of the duthka’gith who did not join the Cult of Tiamat are either Apocalytes or members of the Ascendancy. The later are those duthka’gith whose loyalty to Vlaakith CLVII transcended their draconic heritage. Of course, even then, most of these are firmly behind the Singer of Fire’s candidacy. Still, if they do not actively worship Tiamat, they are considered part of the Ascendancy bloc, and have more in common politically with the backers of the other princesses than with the Cult, really. The distinction can be rather blurry, though, especially in the eyes of other blocs and the other sub-blocs of the Ascendancy.

The Unifist cause cannot be said to have a single coherent viewpoint on Tiamat worshipers. Most Unifists hold up the Cult as an example of everything that is wrong about the fracturing of githyanki society into power blocs. Unifist rhetoric often decries the heretics and half-breeds. Some Unifists, however, have accepted Cultists as being the same as members of any other power bloc, githyanki who may disagree politically but who will work together against the illithids and the githzerai. Their acceptance has done as much to give some social legitimacy to the Cult than anything the Cultists themselves have done.

The Cult of Tiamat’s relationship to the Reconciliation remains a great mystery. In fact there is no real relationship, neither friendly nor hostile. The Cult is actually far more concerned with their own grab for power than with continuation of the War of Two Skies. Cult leaders sometimes give lip service to the Two Skies, since their closest allies, The True and the Ascendancy, are the most fanatic zerth-haters among the power blocs. However, they rarely, if ever, commit to raids against the githzerai. It is suspected that the Cult is waiting to see if the Reconciliation movement will yet gain momentum. If so, they would rather not alienate a group which may, in the long term, prove to be uniquely useful.

Most githyanki assume that the Singer of Fire is the head of the Cult of Tiamat, but whether that is truly the case is unclear. The Singer of Fire, like Vlaakith before her, is a sorceress, not a priestess, and so it can be argued that she does not have the influence that others who have been granted access to divine magic might in fact enjoy. The truth lies somewhere in between, but exactly where is unknown to all but the highest members of the Cult. There is no doubt that the Singer is a major Cult leader, but there are several high priests, and even then they may in fact take orders from non-githyanki high priests of Tiamat. Cultists deny this, of course, claiming that only worship of the Dark Queen unites them and their counterparts among the barbarian races, constituting an alliance with Tiamat’s temples, nothing more.

Zimrazim's picture
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Factol
Joined: 2007-01-14
Could you increase the font

Could you increase the font size, please?  Laughing  Otherwise, great article.

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Azure's picture
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Factol
Joined: 2006-05-17
Gah!  I don't know what's

Gah!  I don't know what's up with that.  I tried to tell it to do 12-point.  I also tried to fix the wacky line breaks. (sigh)

Clueless's picture
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Webmonkey
Joined: 2008-06-30
I fixed! I would suggest

I fixed! I would suggest very very very very very strongly not to copy and paste from Word. Word adds all sorts of fun tags that I then need to go back in and rip out to avoid exactly what you just saw. Copy and paste from notepad - it's much much safer for formatting.

Azure's picture
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Factol
Joined: 2006-05-17
OK thanks Clueless

OK thanks Clueless

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