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Possibly Xau-Tak's hand.

Xau-Tak is a mysterious entity associated with black stone, undead, the oceans and the phrase "do you really think you can save them?".

It was once active in and around the islands of Gielinor's Eastern Sea, but little has been seen of it since the Second Age. The Fremennik god V described Xau-Tak as an evil god that devastates worlds and creates corpse oceans, while the Mahjarrat Sliske described it as a being that "writhes, twists and beckons".[3]

While Xau-Tak has not yet physically appeared, many references to it can be found scattered throughout the game, although they rarely refer to it by name. It is primarily connected to the Pirate quest series[4] and other pieces of content that Mod Wilson worked on or contributed to.[5]

Deity Info[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

The Great Revision[edit | edit source]

Xau-Tak is an ancient entity that could be as old as the universe and the Elder Gods themselves. Sometime around The Great Revision that destroyed the previous cycle of the universe, Mah's egg had been corrupted with a scar of black stone, which caused her to be born malformed and resulted in only four Elder Gods being active at the start of the new cycle. Although it is never outright stated that this was Xau-Tak's doing, it is implied that the black stone that corrupted Mah's egg is of a similar nature to the black stone associated with the entity.[6]

It is implied that Xau-Tak has some association with Erebus as shown when The Ambassador, who gained power from the entity, summons energy portals from Erebus.[7]

The Raksha and the Dragonkin[edit | edit source]

The Raksha was the source of Kranon's heresy, which led him to believe in the existence of other powerful beings apart from the elder gods.

At an unspecified point in time early in Gielinor's history, a male dinosaur stumbled upon the Codex: an elder artefact that was originally created by the Elder Gods to contain the Shadow Breach on Gielinor. The creature was inadvertently absorbed into the artefact, only to re-emerge as a fundamentally changed being – a Shadow Colossus. Unlike other colossi, its power did not come from the elder gods, but from "somewhere else".[8]

When the dragonkin arrived on Gielinor at some point afterwards and began setting up outposts in the mainland, they encountered the creature and recognized that it was vastly different from other dinosaurs. They noted the dinosaur's high degree of intelligence, exceptionally savage nature, immense size, and its unusual ability to communicate with others through visions. The dragonkin referred to the dinosaur as the "Raksha", and following numerous attacks on their outposts, the dragonkin Varanus managed to trap Raksha, allowing them to transport and contain the beast in Orthen.

Even within his containment, Raksha was still able to influence the dragonkin observing him. The most noteworthy dragonkin was Kranon, a Syrtes cleric who derived religious inspiration from the visions Raksha projected to him.[9] Kranon was always fascinated by a story of a "black pebble" his grandmother told him long ago,[10] and had been intently observing Skeka's cosmic research. When Jas' curse befell the dragonkin, Kranon's beliefs became heretical. He believed everything he had observed and learned had indicated the existence of other beings with similar or greater power to the elder gods, and they would be the ones to free the dragonkin from their curse.[11]

A mural within Ulthven Kreath depicting several dragonkin being attacked by black hands.

Kranon, Taraket and other unnamed dragonkin attempted to perform a ritual to obtain power from the beings Kranon hypothesized, believing that it would allow them to fight back against the Stone's curse. As Kranon detailed, the ritual only consisted of "music" sung in a peculiar harmony.[12] Kerapac and other dragonkin in the remaining council objected to the ritual, but Kranon dismissed their doubts, believing that their losses had been too great to turn back.[13] Unfortunately, something went wrong with the ritual and the temple sunk into the sea, with all attendees presumed dead. However, Kranon met Xau-Tak, who warped him into a new form and cut a line down his chest. Kranon removed his own heart and lungs–deeming them unnecessary–before taking a portion of Xau-Tak's power and inserting it in his own soul, transforming him into The Ambassador.[14]

The event had a profound impact on Kranon, as the entity had given him what the Dactyl could not - freedom from the Stone's curse.[15] He resolved to properly perform the ritual again to unleash Xau-Tak onto Gielinor, where he would "purify" the world. Xau-Tak's power would be used sometime later to revive Taraket.

According to Kalibath, Tarshak has seen people welcome the obsidian hand of death around their throat as they smile.[16]

The Glory of Zaros incident[edit | edit source]

One of the necromantic masked ape-creatures.

Some of Xau-Tak's earliest confirmed activities took place at some point in Gielinor's second age, during the times of the Zarosian empire. Xau-Tak was seemingly active around the volcanic archipelago of islands in the Eastern Sea, which had a reputation for being haunted among sailors. The jungles of the island that would later become known as Mos Le'Harmless allegedly contained a lost city of mask wearing ape-like creatures that practised cannibalism and necromancy.[17]

At some point, many of the islands were reduced to a series of uninhabitable reefs and sandy scree overnight due to an unusual tsunami. The crew of the Glory of Zaros were sent to investigate the region after hearing reports of the tsunami, and many of the crew headed underwater in search of treasure. An insane Gustaf Joannhes was the only member of the crew to return, alongside some treasure he found. Gustaf lost his left leg and right foot to some claws that "wouldn't let go", and the ship was apparently damaged by the same claws.[17]

The treasure that Gustaf brought on board "sung" to the crew at night, causing four members to "become absent" and be killed, leaving only Gustaf and the werewolf Lygrass. The artefact Gustaf found then supposedly "crawled overboard" when it was not being watched.[17] The deaths of the four crewmembers were written off as mutiny, and Gustaf was admitted to the Senntisten Insane Asylum, under the care of the Mahjarrat Nabor. While in the care of the Asylum, Gustaf reportedly refused to be bathed and had an extreme fear of being touched. He was kept apart from the other patients due to the disturbing things he shouted.

Sliske's investigation[edit | edit source]

Praefectus praetorio Sliske.

Two weeks after the incident, the Praefectus praetorio Sliske heard of Gustaf from Nabor, and decided to investigate the incident, looking for inspiration for a play he was writing.[17] Sliske visited Gustaf in the asylum, and found him in a filthy condition. After noticing the Mahjarrat, Gustaf crawled over to Sliske and pulled himself up using the cell bars, and spoke words that disturbed him. Gustaf seemingly spoke to an adventurer, who would not be born until several thousands years later, but would eventually read Sliske's transcription of the words in a book.

Do you really think you can save them, Player? You can't. The spiral of time leads only to the gaping maw of eternity. And this is Xau-Tak.
Gustaf Joannhes Death at Sea

The inmates in the cells around Gustaf then began screaming and banging the bars of their cells, while Gustaf fell to the floor weeping. Nabor and his orderlies took care of the situation, while Sliske returned to his office. Sliske was unable to get the words Gustaf spoke out of his head, and began pondering who the adventurer and Xau-Tak were.[17]

The Senntisten Insane Asylum.

Sliske soon returned to the asylum to speak with Gustaf again, only to find that he was dead. He then looked through Nabor's records for information on Gustaf, and questioned Nabor as to whether or not he had mentioned the adventurer and Xau-Tak previously. After finding out that Xau-Tak was a frequent part of Gustaf's howling, Sliske decided to investigate further, and decided to try and track down the crew of the Glory of Zaros.

Sliske learned from his contacts at the coastline that the Glory had been wrecked, and its crew scattered. Sliske questioned the admiral of the fleet that the Glory belonged to, and learned much of what had happened on the Glory up to the point where Gustaf returned from the ocean. He then tracked down Lygrass, and questioned him in a tavern as to what else happened on the ship. While Lygrass gave evasive and unhelpful answers to most of Sliske's questions, after he asked about Xau-Tak, Lygrass whimpered and began singing a disturbing song about the deity, which eventually degraded into simply repeating the name "Xau-Tak" over and over again.[17]

The other people in the tavern then preceded to accost Sliske and Lygrass, and despite Sliske's rank, he was unable to prevent them from attacking Lygrass to try to get him to be quiet, with the werewolf continuing to cry out Xau-Tak's name even to his dying breath. After Lygrass's death, Sliske proceeded to have the brawlers executed and the owner of the bar arrested. While desiring to investigate the matter further, other more pressing matters called Sliske's attention, and he decided to let the matter rest, although he did take note when a human with the name Gustaf mentioned was born.[17]

Recent activities[edit | edit source]

V, a god who has encountered Xau-Tak on other worlds.

Little is known of Xau-Tak's activities in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Ages. During the Third and Fourth Ages, the Fremennik god V claims to have visited worlds that Xau-Tak had conquered, which he described as being "corpse oceans".

An ancient pillar on Mos Le'Harmless.

Ruins and remnants of a lost civilisation can still be found dotted around the islands of the Eastern Sea, which became a haven for pirates.[18] The necromantic jungle and cave horrors still inhabit Mos Le'Harmless, and are feared by pirates and a popular target for slayers.

At an undetermined point in time, Seiryu the Azure Serpent and the Council of Seven were corrupted by The Ambassador on behalf of Xau-Tak. The higher-ups in the Temple of Aminishi became secretive and refused to allow anyone "unworthy" to enter, eventually rendering the group into a cult for Xau-Tak.

According to the zombie pirate Captain Donnie, Rabid Jack and his crew are using a temple somewhere in the Eastern Sea to resurrect the bodies of the dead, so they can become zombie pirates and serve Jack's crew.[19]

The skeletal horror[edit | edit source]

In year 169 of the Fifth Age, a man known as Archibald Paldock uncovered a giant skull in the caves of Mos Le'Harmless while on an expedition for the Varrock Museum. Archibald noted that the skull resembled the black masks that the horrors wore, and tests indicated it was from a creature alive at the end of the Third Age. While in the possession of the skull, a "great power" began speaking to Archibald in his dreams, and told him to leave the island with the skull and bones.[20]

The reconstructed skeletal horror.

Archibald tried to stow away on a ship with the bones, but was caught by the owners and shackled in the hold. The skull frightened the pirates, and they refused to touch it, causing Archibald to speculate that the "great power" was protecting him. He and his bones were eventually dumped at sea, and Archibald swam to the coast of Morytania after the skull scared some lobsters away. Archibald then placed the bones in a sack on his back, and the "great power" began asking him to collect more bones.[21]

Archibald tasked an adventurer with collecting and cleaning bones for the skull, and was eventually able to reconstruct a Skeletal Horror using the bones he found on Mos Le'Harmless and the ones the adventurer gave to him. The adventurer then defeated the Skeletal Horror, freeing Archibald of the "great power"'s control. Archibald then decided to reconstruct the Horror every week to study it, and tasked the adventurer with killing it again each week.

As the adventurer prepared to confront Rabid Jack, they encountered a mysterious kitten several times, seemingly only visible to them, whose dialogue and examine alluded to Xau-Tak's threats. During the fight against Rabid Jack, a giant black hand, supposedly Xau-Tak's, attacked the adventurer, thus indicating that Xau-Tak breached the Edicts of Guthix before the Assassination of Guthix. Xau-Tak also managed to corrupt Madame Shih after Rabid Jack's defeat.

The Sixth Age[edit | edit source]

With the dawn of the Sixth Age, Xau-Tak is once again becoming more prominent. Shortly after his return, V noted that Xau-Tak's tendrils had already taken root somewhere on Gielinor some time prior to his return.[22]

After the World Guardian saved Zanik and some cave goblins from the Bandosian afterlife, a cave goblin may have spoken words nearly identical to those that Gustaf spoke to Sliske in the Second Age. None of the other people present seemingly noticed these words being spoken, not even the goblin themselves.

Do you really think you can save them, Player? You can't. There is a grinding darkness against which your soul shall be lathed. And this is Xau-Tak.
Cave goblin Nomad's Elegy

While attempting to reform the goddess Seren, the World Guardian may have fallen asleep to a story Coeden the ent was telling, and had a nightmare of an underwater city full of stone hands similar to those that attacked the Glory of Zaros. A hermit crab from the Prifddinas Waterfall also claims to have encountered "giant stone hands", and been locked in an aquarium by a unicorn-man for speaking about it.

Xau-Tak's corruption[edit | edit source]

A group of adventurers were tasked by Bryll Thoksdottir to explore what the Temple of Aminishi cult was hiding. They eventually defeated the corrupted cult, and found Seiryu the Azure Serpent had been corrupted by Xau-Tak's influence. Xau-Tak attempted to intervene by summoning shadow enigmas to restore the blackened crystals, but its attempts ultimately failed, and Seiryu was freed. Seiryu thanked the adventurers and informed them that in his torment, he also sensed another being underneath the obliterated crust of Forinthry in the same state as him, and asked them to free them of the corrupting influence.

After Seiryu was freed from Xau-Tak's influence, Bryll heard rumours of an abandoned laboratory and fixed the lifting mechanism, allowing adventurers to go and explore for her. They would later encounter a black stone dragon, who had seemingly anticipated their arrival much like Seiryu had when he was corrupted. Xau-Tak's influence on the dragon was significantly weaker compared to Seiryu, as while it attempted to intervene in the fight, it could not do much with its black hands. They were later dispelled by the adventurers, which removed even more of its control over the dragon, but Xau-Tak was still able to manipulate it to a slight degree. The dragon would be defeated and purified of its influence.

At an unspecified time, the World Guardian would eventually find a tainted shard and decided to keep it. The shard would be charged while training skills, and when fully charged, the shard would whisper a nearly identical message as what Gustaf Joannhes and a cave goblin said, stating "Do you... ...really think... ...you can save... ...Moia?" The shard emitted such a darkness that even the Doomsayer admitted that he had never felt something like that before.

Til Death Do Us Part[edit | edit source]

A chaotic rift would soon appear near Draynor Manor which was using Moia as a conduit. Death was compelled to help and tasked the World Guardian with assisting, promising to save Moia since it was not her time. Death had set up five pillars to help stabilise the rift, and when the energy from them managed to stabilise the portal, the World Guardian immediately entered the rift.

Upon entering, they would find themselves in one of Daemonheim's floors in a small room containing multiple urns and several black hands that were attempting to grab a huge urn in the middle of the room. The adventurer, with the power of The Horsemen, helped destroy these black hands and quickly looted the room before the power threw them out.

Attempted emergence[edit | edit source]

The Ambassador attempted to bring Xau-Tak into Gielinor so that it could reforge everyone into their true destinies. Bryll, who somehow knew of the impending doom, gathered the World Guardian and some of their allies. The World Guardian also enlisted more allies in their fight against the Ambassador, who had a considerable amount of defences from House Charron, the Acolytes of Seiryu, Crassians, Mwanu, Kal'Gerion and hordes of undead.

The World Guardian and their allies fought their way to the Ambassador while their allies dealt with his defences. The Ambassador used Xau-Tak's many powers to attempt to kill the adventurer so he could start the ritual to bring Xau-Tak in. However, they proved to be much stronger than expected, and an unexpected ally came to their aid; Seiryu, who temporarily cleansed the area of his corruption and ritual attendants. The Ambassador used even more of Xau-Tak's power to summon numerous hands to heal him and subdue Seiryu, but despite this last ditch attempt he was ultimately slain by the World Guardian and their allies. However, he warned them that they had just delayed the inevitable, and that their victory was only achieved because Xau-Tak was unaware of their presence. Xau-Tak lost a significant amount of influence on Gielinor from this defeat, as both Seiryu and Bryll reported that its presence was no longer felt.

Followers[edit | edit source]

Xau-Tak has gathered a number of followers over the ages. Few, if any of them realise the true nature of the god they worship.

Groups and races[edit | edit source]

Notable individuals[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Xau-Tak's "godhood tier" was jokingly said to be √-1.[24]
  • The nightmare of the underwater city is a possible reference to H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu where various characters dream of the underwater city R'lyeh.
  • Xau-Tak is never referred to by that name by any of its followers.
  • Although it was conceived as a genderless entity[25], Xau-Tak has been referred to with both female[26] and male[27] pronouns.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Umbral Diplomacy, written by Yor'Ger the Deceiver, "Shadow Reef", RuneScape. "But so it is. Our plans to summon the hundred-handed one in Daemonheim failed due to the intervention of the guardians of Guthix."
  2. ^ Mod Wilson. "Xau-Tak: God of the Horrors." 4 August 2016. RuneScape Lore Discussion Forums.
  3. ^ Sliske, "Sliske's Endgame", RuneScape. "Xau-Tak writhes, twists, and beckons but never DOES anything!"
  4. ^ This Summer in RuneScape and Special Announcement!. (Archived from the original on 29 May 2021.)
  5. ^ Mod Wilson. "Xau-Tak: God of the Horrors." 20 November 2015. RuneScape Lore Discussion Forums.
  6. ^ Azzanadra, "Azzanadra's Quest", RuneScape. "There is another resonance on this egg, but it is not Wen's. In fact, it reminds me of- remember Zemouregal? He had a black stone he used for necromancy. He said he found it in Karamja and the fool thought it was obsidian. It was cold to the touch. Freezing, in fact, and it shared the same resonance as this corruption... But Mah is dead now, and poses no threat to Gielinor. This is a mystery for another time."
  7. ^ Beasts, RuneScape. "The Ambassador will occasionally conjure unstable energy portals from Erebus."
  8. ^ Zaros, "Raksha, the Shadow Colossus (quest)", RuneScape. "It was not just a colossus, but a shadow colossus. Its power came not from the elder gods but from somewhere... else."
  9. ^ Zaros, "Raksha, the Shadow Colossus (quest)", RuneScape. "To the priest Kranon, it was a religious inspiration, the source of his heresy."
  10. ^ Kranon's Ancient Journal, written by The Ambassador, RuneScape.
  11. ^ Kranon, "Pain! It! Black!", RuneScape. "I will find others to entreat with! I've heard the rumours! The shadow! Skeka's cosmic research! It all links! There are other beings out there. Equals of the roakin. Betters. I will find them and implore for them to free us!"
  12. ^ Kranon, "Umbral Diplomacy", RuneScape. "The ritual is prepared. I have found the words in the old texts and I have pieced together the symbols and the rhythm. It's beautiful, really, the song. Just notes, sung together in a strange harmony. To think how such a beautiful song could pierce the heavens itself and bring us our salvation."
  13. ^ Kranon, "Umbral Diplomacy", RuneScape. "Kerapac objects, of course. As do some of the remaining council. But we've lost too many to fight amongst ourselves. The longer we wait, the more we lose to the great conflict. We simply cannot wait any longer. We must act now."
  14. ^ The Ambassador, "Umbral Diplomacy", RuneScape. "I felt His presence in the shadows. He reached out a hand forged of black stone and He tore the chains from my soul. Then He laid the hand upon my heart and cut a line down my chest. It should have hurt, but there was no pain, only purpose. I reached inside my own chest and I pulled free my heart, for I did not need it. I took out my lungs, because I was no longer bound to the air. I placed inside me a piece of his world, because only then can I truly be free."
  15. ^ The Ambassador, "Umbral Diplomacy", RuneScape. "They will say that the ritual went wrong. But it didn't. I was wrong to assume there would be no sacrifices. All great progress requires sacrifice. How can we forge a new future if we cannot let go of the old? But it worked. I am free. I no longer feel the pull. No longer am I chained to the stone. I can do as I please. I can act as I wish. I am free."
  16. ^ Kalibath's journal, written by Kalibath, RuneScape. "The one thing Tarshak is good for is talking, and everything he has said has sickened me on one level or another. He has chased the V User across worlds without end, always failing due to his incompetence. And always he finds mortals bowing and scraping before 'gods' that would slaughter them all to get access to the Stone for a bare instant. He has seen people worshipping giant pigs, giant plants and giant rocks. He has seen them throw their own children into living flames. He has seen them engage in fights to the death with combatants in the billions. He has seen them welcome the obsidian hand of death around their throat with a smile."
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Death at Sea, written by Sliske, "Kindred Spirits", RuneScape.
  18. ^ Mike, "Mos Le'Harmless", RuneScape. "Dunno. There are a load of islands out this way, and a lot of them have little bits and pieces like this scattered around. The way I see it, there must have been some more people out here at one point, then they went away."
  19. ^ Captain Donnie, "Rum Deal", RuneScape. "Don't ye worry, lad/lass. After we take the island I'll have the boss haul yer body to the temple and... Err, never mind."
  20. ^ Odd Old Man, "Old diary", RuneScape. "I think we’re missing the point. It is all becoming clear in my mind: that skull will bring power to whoever has it – my dreams tell me so. I hear the great power and it tells me to escape. Tonight, I will be going, and the skull and bones shall be going with me."
  21. ^ Odd Old Man, "Old diary", RuneScape. "North coast of Morytania. I left the island over two weeks ago. I tried to stow away on a ship, but was caught by the unfriendly owners. They shackled me and threw me in the ship’s hold, and left me there for a week. They were frightened by the skull and didn’t dare touch it. It might even be why I’m still alive. The great power was with me all along; I have its protection. After a week, my precious bones and I were unceremoniously dumped into the sea, handily not too far from the coast. The white skull scared the lobsters away, letting me swim back. Now, the great power wants more bones."
  22. ^ V, "The Book of V", RuneScape. "I can even feel the tendrils of Xau-Tak have already taken root somewhere on the world. All of these taints will need to be cleansed away!"
  23. ^ RuneScape Winter Reveals (RuneFest 2018). 6 October 2018. (Archived from the original on 29 May 2021.)
  24. ^ Mod Jack. "Lore Corner - Answers!." 17 January 2017. RuneScape Lore Discussion Forums.
  25. ^ Mod Wilson. "Xau-Tak: God of the Horrors." 4 August 2016. RuneScape Lore Discussion Forums.
  26. ^ Himiko's Vision, written by Lady Himiko, RuneScape. "'Come, I will show you' She said as her gentle hands drew me down the depths of the ocean and to an ancient temple, long since forgotten."
  27. ^ Umbral Diplomacy, written by Kranon, The Ambassador, RuneScape. "I felt His presence in the shadows. He reached out a hand forged of black stone and He tore the chains from my soul. Then He laid the hand upon my heart and cut a line down my chest."