After Lord Ao created the universe, the swirling chaos coalesced to form twin deities: Maldi, a being of light and creation, and Jacquith, a power of darkness and destruction. Jacquith existence, paradoxically, is tied to the shrouded nothingness that existed prior to Ao’s act of creation. Jacquith reflects the primal dark, the flawless void erased at the beginning of time by a distant, unconcerned over deity. Her heart longs for a return to the calm of non-existence, and she schemes from the shadows to tear down establishments, destroy order, and undermine all creation. Religious art depicts Jacquith as a black sphere outlined in a magical purple flames or a beautiful human woman with long, raven-black hair dressed in swirling dark garb. In this guise, her haunting purple eyes have coal black pupils that reflect the primeval void.
Since her earliest battles with Maldi (which continue to this day), Jacquith has gained dominion over pain hidden but not forgotten, carefully nurtured bitterness, and quiet revenge for old slights. Deeply twisted, the Lady of Loss favours secrets, underhanded dealings, and subterfuge. She uses her mortal worshippers as pawns in a perverse game against everything that has been, is, and will be. Patron of the Shadow Weave, a corrupting magical force based upon nothingness and mad secrets, the Mistress of the Night bolsters her impressive power with temptation and guile.
Jacquith’s ceaseless battles against her bright sister have caused the creation and destruction of several deities throughout history. Though Maldi strikes openly and forcefully against her twin at every opportunity, Jacquith prefers subversion, using her mortal worshippers to attack Maldi’s clergy and those things Maldi holds dear, rather than at the deity herself. Still, she occasionally moves directly against minor enemies. Jacquith may attempt to consume Melvar, for she nurses a cold anger for his dominion over shadow. Jacquith’s love of dark spaces bring her into frequent conflict with deities of light and fire, and her desire to dominate the concept of revenge sets her against the ancient, dwindling power of Hoar. Her only frequent ally is Velyemor, who may eventually serve Jacquith in return for the Dark Goddess’s aid in murdering her hated enemy Serias.
Reveal secrets only to fellow members of the faithful. Never follow hope or turn to promises of success. Quench the light of the moon (agents and items of Maldi) whenever you find it, and hide from it when you cannot prevail. The dark is a time to act, not wait. It is forbidden to strive to better your lot in life or to plan ahead except when directly overseen by the faithful of the Dark Deity. Consorting with the faithful of good deities is a sin except in business dealings or to corrupt them from their beliefs. Obey ranking clergy unless it would result in your own death.
Clergy and Temples
Jacquith’s love of secrecy serves her clergy well, and most residents of Larsil know very little about her mysterious cult. All regard her as a dark and vengeful deity, but many seek out her servants in times of grief or bereavement. There is a pervasive belief that her clergy aids those who have been wronged or who have suffered a great loss. Instead of offering release from the pangs of grief, though, Jacquith’s clerics reinforce supplicants’ regrets and feelings of betrayal, turning their focus to bitterness and revenge. Good clerics (particularly those of Erlena, Xenthan, and of course, Maldi) warn of the dangers of seeking such solace, but desperation often gets in the way of better judgement, and the ranks of Jacquith’s clergy swell with each passing year.
Clerics of Jacquith pray for their spells at night. Because most of her followers keep their devotion a secret, the religion has but one fixed holiday. During the Festival of the Moon, Jacquithans celebrate the Rising of the Dark, when the directors of local cults outline the dark plots of the coming year over the quivering body of a live sacrifice. Once a week, followers must engage in an act of wickedness, ideally after a nocturnal dancing and feasting ritual known as a Nightfall.
Jacquith’s doctrine of vengeful nihilism appeals to those who have suffered great loss or betrayal. Her dominance over darkness and night makes her popular with the blind (especially those accidentally or intentionally blinded due to the actions of others), nocturnal or subterranean humanoids, and creatures who shun the light, including many types of goblinoids. All who favour the dark or who do their business by night (such as cutthroats and thieves) curry her favour, as do many whose deranged world views might be interpreted as insanity. The insane seem to have a natural affinity for Jacquith’s teachings, which may be why so many of Maldi’s clerics seek out the mad and attempt to cure or imprison them.
The church is made up of independent cells that have strong, authoritarian rulers. Few adherents know the real names of others in the local cult, and almost no one knows the name of the leader of the larger regional organization. In areas where Jacquith’s cult is strong, wars of assassination against Maldites are common. This keeps the church fairly small, since many Jacquithans die in these attacks or are put to death by local magistrates shortly afterwards. Temples of Jacquith vary in description but usually double as a place of business or residence. Most feature at least one room bathed in deeper darkness, which is used in religious ceremonies and ritual killings.
Jacquith’s clergy revel in secrets. In civilized lands, they frequently establish exclusive social clubs or false cults to further corrupt the foundations of mannered society. Cultists work to overthrow governments, promote vengeance, organize cabals, and foment unrest through calumny and sedition. Jacquithans believe that all that matters is the freedom to live by one’s own dictates; the state exists to limit freedoms and is hence an inherently immoral institution that should be crushed. To them everything deserves to perish, and their duty in life is to encourage the process of destruction. The Dark Moon, an elite order of sorcerer-monks, employ the power of the Shadow Weave to further the Dark Goddess’s agenda.