Tiamut, Mother of Chaos, Womb of Salt

Among the Great Names, none are as dread, nor as venerated, as that of Tiamut, who taught the Earthen-Beings right from wrong that they might rebel against the Giants and taught them writing so that lies would persist as long as truths.

It has been difficult to portray her. Tiamat, from whom I draw inspiration, is described in two ways: the salt water mother whose union with the fresh waters of the rivers birthed the world; and as a terrifying monster described only in glimpses that usually sound like a sphynx with the head of a lion, hands of a human, wings of an eagle, and udders.

Since Labiasam is the Mother of Sea Monsters in the World of Names and I wish to be faithful to the mythological feeling of the setting, I’m being completely unclear about which is what.

That said, here she is in my first decent sketches. I think she will be something like this in the final. I’m making her features just slightly human, but I don’t want her to quite be personable. The character I’m keeping in my mind is that she’s like a 50-year-old woman, who’s had her kids who have grown up and now she, more than anyone, knows how absolutely everything works.

My favorite canonical feature of Tiamat, by the way, is the pomegranate of wisdom growing out of her head, echoing the Forbidden Fruit of Gan Eden (do your research, Christians!) and Persephone’s pomegranate that makes her retreat each year, bringing winter.

What are heroes like in The Fifth World? Absent sedentary, agrarian life, how do their culture heroes demonstrate the values of their society?
I wonder what Fifth Worlders have to say about symbiosis. I bet they think about it a lot.

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