Kiaransalee

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Kiaransalee / Kiaransali
Game background
Title(s) Lady of the Dead, the Revenancer, the Vengeful Banshee
Home plane Prime Material Plane (Guldor)
Power level Demigod
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Portfolio Slavery, undeath, vengeance
Domains Chaos, Death, Evil, Madness, Pestilence (Chaos, Drow, Evil, Retribution, and Undeath in the Forgotten Realms)
Superior Lolth
Design details
Settings Dungeons & Dragons

Kiaransalee (spelled Kiaransali in Greyhawk since the Drow Civil War) is the fictional drow deity of slavery, undead, and vengeance. She was created for the AD&D Second Edition, first appearing in Monster Mythology, and as such is a general deity not specific to any one game world.

Publication history[edit]

Kiaransalee was first detailed in the book Monster Mythology (1992), including details about her priesthood.[1] Her role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[2] She received a very detailed description for her role in the Forgotten Realms in Demihuman Deities (1998).[3]

Kiaransalee's role in the Forgotten Realms is revisited in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[4]

Appearance[edit]

Kiaransalee manifests as a sinuous female drow, wearing only silver jewelry and silk veils. She wields Coldheart, a dagger that perpetually drips acid, and when it pleases her she dons the Mantle of Nightmares, a cloak of bones that causes magical fear in all who gaze upon its horrors.

Relationships[edit]

Kiaransalee is a servant of Lolth. She is allied with Vhaeraun, the Great Mother, Blibdoolpoolp, Piscaethces, Laogzed, Diinkarazan, Diirinka, Gzemnid, Ilsensine, Maanzecorian (dead), and Psilofyr.

Her foes include Dumathoin and Laduguer. She hates Orcus and seeks to gather her strength and reconquer his layer, as once she did before. She fears that her life may be taken to sate Orcus' own lust for vengeance, however.

Realm[edit]

Kiaransalee dwells in the fortress of Kandelspire on the world of Guldor. Kandelspire was the last bastion of the dwarves on this world, which fell to Lolth's forces some decades before. Now it is haunted by the vengeful ghostly and undead remnants of the proud dwarven warriors who died fighting to the last. The Revenancer has entered this world through a portal in the Demonweb Pits and has made Kandelspire her home. There, she marshals her forces, building her strength in the hope of reconquering Orcus' realm.

Worshipers[edit]

Dogma[edit]

Kiaransalee forbids her worshipers from forgiving debts or slights of any kind. Payment, of some kind, is integral to any interaction. Kiaransalee teaches that life itself is the greatest of all crimes, with enslavement in undeath the most fitting of punishments. Enslavement of the living is also a holy act. Worshipers of Kiaransalee seek to take their wealth and slaves with them into the grave.

Worshipers of Kiaransalee are slavers, morticians, torturers, and executioners. They are misers, meticulous in their record-keeping. They treat their servants as slaves, and treat their slaves without mercy. House Vae of Erelhei-Cinlu worships Kiaransalee as their patron, although they have always believed her to be inferior to Lolth.

Clergy[edit]

Priests of Kiaransalee are known as yathrinshee. They not only work their slaves to death, but they reanimate their corpses so that they continue their labor. To venerate the Lady of the Dead, yathrinshee lie within their personal sarcophagi with their arms clasped together on their breasts. They favor loose black robes with hooded cowls stitched with ivory and bone. They wear gray skullcaps on their heads and thin silver rings on every finger except their thumbs. They spread the ashes of burnt corpses on their uncovered skin. Despite their miserly creeds, they are the first to offer bounties on escaped slaves and prisoners, and always pay in full.

History[edit]

Apotheosis[edit]

Kiaransalee, was the mortal queen of a world called Threnody at least 30,000 years in the past. She was banished by her husband the king, and worked for centuries to raise an undead army to exact vengeance for this. When she was finally done, all life on her world was extinguished. Fleeing with her minions to the Abyss to escape the wrath of the Seldarine, she eventually became a demigoddess. At some point she was slighted by Orcus, though no one but her remembers the details.

In later years the goddess Lolth fell into the Abyss as well, capturing Kiaransalee in her twisted web. For millennia, the Lady of the Dead labored under Lolth's spidery shadow as the goddess of undeath and vengeance, capable of only small acts of rebellion.

World of Greyhawk[edit]

The Death of Orcus[edit]

When the time seemed right, she ambushed Orcus in his own lair. Though Orcus was more powerful, he had grown complacent with the diminishment or imprisonment of his major rivals. The Vengeful Banshee managed to slay him with a blast of negative energy, casting his corpse into the Astral Plane. To ensure he could never return, she cast a spell that erased his name from all mortal records.

This dealt a major blow to the demonic forces in the Blood War, who suddenly lacked for the undead troops Orcus used to provide. Kiaransalee promised to provide similar troops in time, but still many demonic generals sought to return Orcus back to life.

The Priestess Wars[edit]

Centuries later, the Vengeful Banshee took advantage of chaos and civil war in the Vault of the Drow, defying the Queen of Spiders and attempting to establish her priesthood as supreme in the city of Erelhei-Cinlu. After the fall of House Eilservs, its ally House Tormtor was relegated to minor status. When priestesses of the Revenancer offered an alliance, they were eager to listen. In return for this alliance, Erehe, consort of Tormtor's ruler Verdaeth, helped lock the Wand of Orcus away in Agathion. Kiaranasalee drowned Erehe in the River Styx, but allowed Verdaeth to resurrect him, without his former memories. Convinced the other noble houses held the secret of restoring his memories, Verdaeth started a war.

House Tormtor allied with Everhate, Aleval, and a large number of githyanki. The illithids of Dra-Mur-Shou allied themselves with the anti-Tormtor faction (houses Despana, Noquar, Kilsek, and Godeep), fearing the results of an Erelhei-Cinlu friendly to their hated enemies the githyanki. As chaos and savage battles overtook the Vault, hundreds of drow died, as did hundreds of their mercenaries.

The war was finally ended after Eclavdra abased herself before Lolth and underwent a horrible punishment to prove herself. Surviving unmarred, she made a pact with her goddess whose nature remains obscure. In reward, Lolth intervened personally to end the war. Though turning her concentration to this conflict cost the Demon Queen of Spiders her holdings in Geoff and Sterich, the war was ended definitively. House Eilservs was reinstated in power and House Kilsek was banished, replaced with House Vae.

The Return of Orcus[edit]

Recently (around 591 CY), Orcus somehow returned from the dead, retaking Thanatos, the layer Kiaransalee had made her own, and driving the goddess out after a time of conflict. Returning chastened to Lolth's Demonweb, she drank of the Spider Queen's venom, formally binding herself in servitude to the Queen of Spiders in exchange for her forgiveness and sanctuary. As a sign of this, Lolth altered the last glyph of her name, changing the Drow Elvish glyph lee to the homonym li, signifying enslavement. Now she is Kiaransali in all texts and inscriptions in the Greyhawk game world..

Currently, she lairs in the fortress of Kandelspire on the Prime Material Plane world of Guldor, which was conquered by Lolth some decades ago. Her religion no longer claims any authority that does not derive from Lolth, though some of her worshipers still harbor resentments.

Forgotten Realms[edit]

City of the Spider Queen[edit]

The 3rd Edition module City of the Spider Queen recounts that during the events known as "Silence of Lolth" - a period in which the goddess Lolth mysteriously ceased granting spells to her Priestesses - Irae T'sarran, an albino drow priestess of Kiaransalee, took advantage of the chaos to seize control of the Underdark city of Maerimydra. Irae summoned the Undying Temple into the ruined remnants of the city, and prepared a ritual to animate the city's slain population into an undead horde under her command.

Death[edit]

As part of the world restructuring of the Forgotten Realms in preparation for D&D 4th Edition, many deities were removed from the game to simplify the pantheons.[5]

Kiaransalee's worship was destroyed through epic magic by the drow wizard Q'arlynd and his apprentices, erasing all memory of the goddess, effectively eliminating her from the pantheons of Abeir-Toril. There is no explicit reason to believe that this affects the goddess in other game worlds, despite the novel Storm of the Dead which describes the destruction of her true form within the cosmology of the Realms.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sargent, Carl. Monster Mythology (TSR, 1992)
  2. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  3. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  4. ^ Boyd, Eric L, and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002).
  5. ^ Perkins, Chris (December 19, 2007). Forgotten Realms Interview with: Chris Perkins (VIDEO). Interview with GamerZer0. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 

Additional reading[edit]

General sources (in chronological order):