The Three-Faced Queen, The Empowerer, The Weaver, The Preserver
Greater Power of the Concordant Domain of the Outlands
Symbol: A mask or a mirror or a grain jar (depends on the aspect of the deity)
Home Plane: Outlands (Court of Light)
Alignment: Neutral, Chaotic evil & Lawful evil
Portfolio: Nagas, Destruction, Wisdom, Knowledge, Protection
Core Worshipers: Naga
Cleric Alignments: Neutral, Lawful evil, Chaotic evil
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Good, Knowledge, Law, Magic, Mind* (CD), Oracle* (CD), Protection.
Favored Weapon: +1 bite, keen
Description: Shekinester is a complex, multi-faceted being. As the Weaver she is the active destructive principle of the multiverse. Chaotic evil in alignment, the Weaver appears as a spirit naga Crone. She destroys to make room for new creations, but is also the manifestation of connections and knowledge, bringing together disparate strands of being to create new understanding.
As the Empowerer she is neutral in alignment and appears as a young water naga Maiden who may be either beautiful or ugly, with pitted skin and greasy hair. In her beautiful form she grants safe passage, while in her ugly form she draws the uninitiated into opportunities for growth. The Empowerer is the bestower of wisdom and guardian of the uninitiated and the young. She can be kind and merciful, but she may force the unwilling into harsh initiations and painful knowledge, regardless of whether they know they need it.
The Preserver manifests as a mature but lovely guardian naga Mother, lawful good in alignment. The Preserver maintains (but does not create) all existence. She is the keeper of the flame within the Court of Light, her divine realm. She is also a guardian of the spirits of the dead (normally the naga dead, but sometimes the souls of other races as allowed by other gods), gifting them with sustenance symbolized as water, fruit, and bread.
History: When the sarrukh created the naga race, Mhairshaulk was a monotheistic society that acknowledged and venerated only the World Serpent. All other claimants to the mantle of divinity were viewed as blasphemous heretics. However, the many facets of the World Serpent—and even other gods—intrigued many nagas, since they were by nature more curious than their creators. Some theologians now claim it was the endless questioning of the World Serpent by the naga race that caused the Great Scaled One to fragment into a host of lesser deities, while others insist that the nagas were simply the first to recognize the World Serpent’s impending fragmentation. Whatever the cause, sages agree that the breakup of the World Serpent enabled the resulting deities to better address the myriad, contradictory demands of its worshipers.
Of all the emergent aspects of the Great Scaled One, two deities in particular attracted the worship of most nagas: Ssharstrune and Shekinester. The former embodied the principles of curiosity, destruction, and possessiveness that had precipitated the World Serpent’s fragmentation. The latter, known as the Naga Queen, became the keeper of the knowledge and wisdom originally held by the World Serpent, preserved within the eternal flame that she guarded.
After the fall of Mhairshaulk, both Ssharstrune and Jazirian, another fragment of the World Serpent, began to court Shekinester. The Naga Queen eventually chose Jazirian and became pregnant by him. Enraged by this decision, Ssharstrune attacked Shekinester, and she was forced to swallow him. In so doing, the Naga Queen took into herself the same destructive element that had fragmented the World Serpent in the first place. As a result, she acquired five guises: the Acquirer, the Empowerer, the Seeker, the Weaver, and the Preserver. This event was accompanied by a fivefold division in the naga race, forming the five major subraces now known as dark nagas, guardian nagas, iridescent nagas, spirit nagas, and water nagas.
The Acquirer: This aspect of the goddess represents the urge to control and possess. She is often represented as a harsh-faced, shrewish female naga clinging desperately to her failing youth. As the Acquirer, the Five-Faced Queen seeks to hoard knowledge and wisdom that is in danger of being lost or forgotten.
The Empowerer: In her role as guardian of the young and uninitiated, the Empowerer is a bestower of wisdom. Represented with the head of a beautiful young maiden, she is generally viewed as kindly and merciful. As the Empowerer, Shekinester actively seeks opportunities to grant wisdom to those who have not even realized they have need of such. This aspect of her nature can also make her an unwelcome messenger who forces followers into initiations that can cause them “growing pains.”
The Seeker: Often represented as a childlike naga, the Seeker is filled with curiosity. This aspect of Shekinester drives the need to explore and study.
The Weaver: This aspect of the Five-Faced Queen is the principle of active destruction—a crone-faced naga who destroys in order to make room for new life. However, she is also the embodiment of connections, bringing together disparate strands of knowledge to create new understanding. As the Weaver, Shekinester seeks to destroy anyone who enters the lost and decaying places she guards.
The Preserver: Seen as a middle-aged female naga, this aspect of the goddess is the keeper of the flame in the Court of Light and the great maintainer of existence. She also has jurisdiction over the spirits of the dead, greeting them with water, fruit, and bread and protecting them from harm. As the Preserver, Shekinester provides sustenance for mortals threatened by extinction, overwhelming force, or some other terrible threat.
Upon giving birth to Parrafaire, the Naga Prince, Shekinester expelled Ssharstrune’s remains and instructed her offspring to hide away the destructive force that the corpse embodied forever, so that her fivefold aspect could not actually divide her into five separate goddesses. Parrafaire complied with her wishes, and now both he and his mother are venerated as guardians of the naga race.
Relationships: Shekinester has a son, Parrafaire, who is usually said to have been sired by Jazirian. Her many aspects may have a puzzling number of interrelationships with other deities and pantheons. She may be allied with a certain god on one world while acting as his enemy on another. Shekinester is a manifestation of the World Serpent archetype, like Jazirian, Merrshaulk, and Io.
Realm: Shekinester calls the Court of Light her realm. It can be found spireward of Plague-mort, a town in the Outlands that hosts the portal to the Abyss. Divided into three parts, the Court is sought out by those planewalkers that wish to purify their souls and test their character. The realm is split into three different sections symbolizing the three natures of the Naga Queen. Outermost is the Loom of the Weaver, a maze of tangled, thorny vegetation, then the Hall of Tests, the Empowerer’s palace, and within the palace is the Arching Flame, a spirit-cleansing fire guarded by the Preserver.
Clergy: An individual naga who worships Shekinester typically embraces one aspect of the goddess wholly but gives homage to all her other guises as well. The Five-Faced Queen does not have an organized church, and she largely eschews clerical support. Embracing the magical heritage that runs in the bloodlines of her followers, Shekinester allows some nagas to access divine powers through arcane spellcasting.