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Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Worshippers' Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Clerics' Alignment: Chaotic Evil
(The) Cult of Qinoxitl
By Jentus, Kharakuro Sage (makeshiftwings)
Tonight's entry in my cataloging of the known tanar'ri assemblies is the Cult of Qinoxitl. The origins of Qinoxitl and details of her rise to pseudo-godhood are somewhat shrouded in mystery (due in no small part to the actions of her own cult, some would say). Her history, such as it can be pieced together from various accounts, follows.
Many years ago, the glabrezu Alifanitax maintained a tremendous harem of Adomkuro and Kharakuro women. A lustful and decadent demon, he spawned a host of cambion offspring. Though many of the women of his harem were proud to serve the demon lord even until they were eaten, others found it a wretched existence and sought escape. From most accounts, Qinoxitl's mother fled Alifanitax's harem shortly after becoming impregnated. Details of this woman are vague, but she was most likely a Adomkuro, and most likely quite mad, judging by what little is told of her and madness being a common side effect of prolonged close contact with ta'nari. Her name and family history are unknown, and to most of Qinoxitl's cult, she is referred to only as "The Vessel" and regarded as relatively unimportant.
A common myth of Qinoxitl's origin states that her mother was actually pregnant with quintuplets, and that Qinoxitl herself devoured the other four children in the womb (some go on to say she was then forced to eat her way out of her mother's own belly when the woman died in some deserted tunnel in the Underdark). This belief is shown in her cult's references to Qinoxitl as "The Five-Angled Path", "The Pentagonal Mind", etc. Many of her followers also refer to her as "he/she", denoting an uncertain gender, but most outside the cult regard Qinoxitl as generally female, and for the sake of clarity I shall continue to refer to her as such. Though anything is possible when dealing with demons, I suspect that much of this history is simple exaggeration on the part of her followers. However, reports from those who have spoken with Qinoxitl seem to detail that she does have several distinct personalities, and seems to bear some masculine physical qualities, but this author would assume these are an aftereffect of a madness inherited from her mother and the mutation caused by demonic blood.
The much more verifiable history of Qinoxitl begins as she grows to adulthood in the remote Adomkuro village of Ezdelin. It was here that she became widely known as a powerful diviner and prophet of disaster, as well as acquiring a reputation for being quite mad and prone to sudden chaotic impulses. A marked oddity in the character of Qinoxitl that differentiates her from other ta'nari and cambion, even those that exhibit similar signs of madness, is her fixation with such philosophical quandaries as the meaning of her own existence and the reason for the multiverse. There are tales of Qinoxitl's inviting great minds among the Adomkuro and Kharakuro (some claim she has been visited by the mind flayers as well) to her tower for philosophical debate; some leaving with great riches and rewards, but most being eaten alive if she is unhappy. Philosophies aside though, she still exhibited much of the usual ta'nari traits, such as an inclination to conquer and a desire for power.
The Cult of Qinoxitl grew up around her, and is still a rather small affair based around her tower in Ezdelin. Qinoxitl is regarded by her cult as a deity of Hidden Meanings, Spiritual Enlightenment, Dark Secrets, and ultimately the "One Truth", a sort of philosophical answer to the meaning of everything that her cultists (and presumably Qinoxitl herself) believe, once understood, will allow the immediate sudden understanding of all existence, and by some theories, cause the entirety of the multiverse to cease to exist. By those outside her cult (and some within), Qinoxitl is widely regarded as a deity of Madness, Circular Logic, Unknowable Thoughts, Confusion, and Things Best Left Buried.
In recent years, Qinoxitl has stopped her expansion and conquering of the Underdark and sunken deeper into her madness, spending all of her time seeking the "One Truth" and raving about the meaning of existence. The other demon lords have largely left her alone. Her cultists say this is because Qinoxitl possesses some deadly secret about all the other demon lords that could be their undoing, but it is more likely that they all regard her as mad and harmless for the time being while they fend off larger threats to their power.
The mantra of the Cult of Qinoxitl could best be described as "enlightenment no matter the cost", as shown by some of the more extreme measures taken by some of her cultists, such as dangerously bargaining with the dead and demons for answers, boring holes into their own heads, and mimicking the mind flayers by devouring the brains of others. The Cultists also espouse a desire to experience all of the sensations that life has to offer, particularly the negative ones, under a belief that pain and situations that the body tries to avoid are the multiverse's attempts to hide some secret truth from them. To most outsiders the experiences they seek out seem bizarre and unnecessarily dangerous, and why they seem to focus mostly on negative experiences is left to conjecture. Rumors circulate of people that have been abducted by the Cult and taken to their tower for "answers". Some emerge the next day, confused and reporting being asked nonsensical questions over a pleasant dinner; others are found weeks later, sometimes dead and cut apart, sometimes raving mad in an alley shrieking about what they had seen. Many observers share the opinion that the greatest threat to the Cult is itself, as many cultists have brought themselves to an early grave through ritualistic self-abuse, starvation, unusual surgeries, magical experimentation, and imprudent dealings with dangerous creatures. Stories are told of many cultists found dead in front of some cryptic text or summoning chamber, their faces frozen in an expression of absolute terror or elation, as if they had experienced something so incredible that their mind simply shut down. These people are of course venerated by the other Cultists, and many attempts are made to figure out what exactly it was that the person discovered.
In a radical departure from the progenitor Alifanitax's followers, many of Qinoxitl's cultists take on vows of abstinence, fasting, or poverty in an effort to transcend the shackles of physical comfort and free their mind and spirit for higher pursuits. Some extremists of her cult have even engaged in odd experiments in attempts to understand more alien cultures, like the weak morality of surfacers and the celestials, occasionally taking temporary vows of Honesty or Sacrifice or other such surface virtues, to emulate their behavior and seek a deeper understanding of the multiverse. Some cultists have been known to refuse to speak for months at a time, or speak only in rhyme or even backwards.
The Cult often seeks out and venerates the insane, under the belief that great wisdom and insight can be found in madness. Many of her cultists seem to follow Qinoxitl's descent into madness themselves as they progress through the ranks of her clergy. According to many, this insanity comes from experiencing things no mortal mind should know; but these are the very things her Cult seeks out and glorifies.
To many outsiders, the Cult of Qinoxitl is regarded as a collection of madmen and lost souls. But many also seek out their services, for they have a reputation for being accurate, though cryptic, prophets and diviners. They do not give information freely to members outside the Cult however, often demanding great and bloody sacrifice for Qinoxitl for important information, or accepting a trade of some secret or obscure knowledge for more minor information. Qinoxitl herself and her five high clerics have penned volume upon volume of cryptic, incoherent text, which her cult studies rigorously, trying endlessly to find hidden meaning upon meaning in the chaotic words. To close this passage, I shall transcribe a section from one such volume, entitled "The Interim Blasphemies of the Five Crowned Serpent", as translated from the original Abyssal as far as I am able:
"And on that night, given seventeen and six stars aligned in a broken path as was KNOWN and CHOSEN to be, the circle that is a snake coiled and coiled. Blinking tears of ash and spite it looked upon itself once and then a third time, saying, 'Gnih Tonte Y Sgnih Tllam Ai!' and proceeded to swim into a nightmare stream. Various elite of the maggot kingdom SAW this and bowed LOW enough that the earth trembled in spasms of delight and anguish. This, as all things, is a lie."