Xau-Tak is a mysterious creature associated with undead and the oceans. 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 "writhing, twisting and beckoning".
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 and other pieces of content that Mod Wilson has worked on, or otherwise been a major contributor to.
The Glory of Zaros incident
Xau-Tak's first 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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 shut up, 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.
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".
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. 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 Kranon, 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.
The Skeletal Horror
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 rumors 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.
Sometime after freeing the black stone dragon, the adventurer would find a tainted shard and collected it. The shard would be charged while training skills, and when fully charged, the shard would whisper a nearly identical message as what Gustaf and a cave goblin said, stating "Do you... ...really think... ...you can save... ...Moia?"
- Xau-Tak's "godhood tier" was jokingly said to be √-1.
- 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 may be the entity Guthix discovered at the center of the planet Renmark, as mentioned in the Elder Sword echo, but this has not been confirmed and has been mentioned by Mod Stu to be "an assumption" right now.
- ^ Mod Wilson. "Xau-Tak: God of the Horrors." 4 August 2016. RuneScape Lore Discussion Forums.
- ^ Sliske, "Sliske's Endgame", RuneScape. "Xau-Tak writhes, twists, and beckons but never DOES anything!"
- ^ This Summer in RuneScape and Special Announcement!.*
- ^ Mod Wilson. "Xau-Tak: God of the Horrors." 20 November 2015. RuneScape Lore Discussion Forums.
- ^ a b Sliske, "Death at Sea", RuneScape.
- ^ 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."
- ^ 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."
- ^ 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."
- ^ 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."
- ^ 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!"
- ^ Mod Jack. "Lore Corner - Answers!." 17 January 2017. RuneScape Lore Discussion Forums.
- ^ Jagex. Mod Stu's Twitter account. 21 November 2017. (Archived from the original on 23 November 2017.)
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|Hooded pirate miniquest||