Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ma'at, the Raven Queen


Ma'at is good and her worth is lasting.
She has not transgressed since the day of her creation,
whereas he who transgresses her ordinances is punished.
She lies a path in front even of those who know nothing.
Wrongdoing has never yet brought its venture to port.
It is true that evil may gain wealth but the strength of truth is that it lasts;
a man can say: "It was the property of my father."
-- The Book of Fayon, Canto III

Ma'at is the consort of Hades, and the first judge of the dead. When the soul of the deceased arrives at her court, she weighs it against a feather. If its misdeeds weigh it down so that it is heavier than a feather, the soul is sent to Hades. If the soul's deeds are loftier, so that it is lighter than the feather, the soul goes to the moon. It is the light of these souls that makes the moon luminous at night. Her throne is flanked by two kobolds, Andjet Green of Flame who refined the soul before it is weighed, and Xois Owner of Faces, who brings the souls to the left and to the right.

She is known as the Raven Queen due to her cloak of raven feathers. (Contrary to popular belief, the feather with which she weighs the soul of the dead is an ostrich feather). It is often said that when a person dies, if you listen closely, you can hear the flutter of ravens carrying away the soul. Naturally, ravens are also seen as a bad omen. As the judge of the dead, she is the guardian of the right order, and someone who is wise and virtuous is sometimes said to be raven-headed.

The greatest foes of Ma'at are the undead, and others who have cheated death. She is not opposed to resurrection magic for a good cause, but she delights in hunting down those who use it frivolously, particularly rulers. For this reason, most rulers shy from using resurrection magic after their death. She also despises creatures from the realm of nightmares, such as aboleths and beholders, because they do not belong to the natural order of Ardenest.