Black Hel

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The Black Hel was an Outer Plane of the Void (not the "Outer Void") where the I.C.E. Age version of Eorgina (Orgiana) was banished at the end of the Wars of Dominion. She had ruled her own pantheon in the Black Hel up until that point, with a theocracy on a volcanic isle in southwest Jaiman in homage to her, which was run by Kadaena's daughter V'rama Vair. It was a culture that embedded demons within weapons and other objects, which were unique races of demonic fashioned by their dark gods and could only be summoned with the indigenous language. Whether speaking of Kadaena or Orgiana, the myth was that she wished to return, destroying the world in vengeance for banishment to the Void. Kadaena would have to be ascended or perhaps even demonic for this to happen.

There were demons of the Black Hel on the isle who were ancient, most notably the demonic gate whose wall surrounded the capital, who was 100,000 years old and so was built during the rule of the Empress Kadaena. There was thus an unexplained relationship between Kadaena and Orgiana in Shadow World history, implying the Dark Gods were banished at the end of the First Era. While Kadaena was indisputably dead, she was their "sleeping queen" who "spurns death." The Lords of Essaence would sleep through the eons in sarcophagi, but her actual sarcophagus was at the south pole.

Behind the Scenes

The Black Hel was never explicitly referenced in GemStone III, and few references existed to that isle, however parts of The Graveyard were clearly based on its temple and Bandur Etrevion was contemporary with it. The Crypt is partly based on a hidden chamber in the temple of Orgiana consisting of a scroll room with niches 7 feet above the ground, cursed treasure, a soul threatening flame burst, and a false door leading to the Helm of Kadaena. However, this is also based on the Library of Nomikos, as well as Egyptian mortuary symbolism. The sarcophagus is based on the false tomb of Kadaena in the Royal Estate of V'rama Vair, which guards the portal to the Black Hel. The poetry of the sleeping queen who "spurns death" is reflected in the frieze inscription of "defying Death itself." These two spots correspond to the hiding places of the Helm of Kadaena, separately in the Second and Third Era, with the gate to the Black Hel probably not being locked before Orgiana's banishment. The subtle point of this that is easily missed is that Bandur not only should have had no access, but the conditions he is representing symbolically did not exist until centuries after his own death.

The implication is that Bandur Etrevion was partially possessed in his youth by the Empress Kadaena across the cosmos of deep history. He would then acquire black knowledge subconsciously, and obsessively pursue quests making sense out of all of it. His madness would exacerbate as she became more dominant within him. (It is important to recognize that as a low-born common man in Shadow World, Bandur would not have known of the Lords of Essaence, and his profound insights and acquisition of black magic made no sense.) This would explain why he knew of the crypt in Royal Estate next to the portal leading to Orgiana, and the lack of problem in spite of her being an expressly male-hating deity. This method of immortality across strange aeons comes from "The Shadow out of Time". While the vultite manuscript in his crypt was a Lord of Essaence preservation method, it is also an allusion to the end of this story implying Kadaena had used him to write it in his own language.

The Broken Lands and Shadow Valley also contain trans-temporal anomalies and implicit coexistent spaces. Where Bandur may represent Nyarlathotep in the mythos, Kadaena as guardian of the gate with her forbidden key reflects Yog-Sothoth, who transcends and coexists with all space and time. Azathoth would be Agoth or The Unlife as the heart of Chaos. The specific motif of summoning the awareness and possession by the great demonic can be traced to the inherent dangerousness of reading works like The Necronomicon and studying cryptic artifacts like the Shining Trapezohedron. In the "Demon Queen" storyline of Castle Anwyn, the Vvrael scroll was what caused the obsession of Terate, which he then sealed in a chest locked with rolaren (which blocked mentalism in its original lore.) It began physically transforming Norandar and was the cause of the Queen of Anwyn becoming demonic, and likely alluded to the manuscript of Nycea from the Lovecraft Circle author Clark Ashton Smith.

The blood of the infant V'rama Vair was notably used by the Empress Kadaena to construct her Shadowstone necklace, along with the sacrifice of billions of souls and the fires of six and sixty suns. The Shadowstone should have absorbed the soul of Kadaena when she was killed by her cousin Utha, which would nominally contradict the theology embodied by The Dark Path. This is not necessarily a problem as the Shadowstone had other unknown powers, unique to the wearer, which could explain the trans-temporal telepathy or spirit transference premise for Kadaena. Interestingly, the "Amulet of Charon" (Lornon) was an artifact made by "servants of Kadaena" in the Wars of Dominion, which controlled the minds of women and ripped the souls out of men. The cults of Orgiana murdered males, which is telling. It would give its followers immortality with the energy of slaughtered men, forming the Cult of the Third Moon around itself, which was located in Rhakhaan near the Grey Mountains.