Tcaolin, the Queen Soul, is one of the five gods of the setting. Unlike the other four gods, she only chooses a single soul at a time to serve her from each generation. The chosen soul of this generation is Princess Tonbo who wishes to escape her role so that she may be with the man she loves.
In times of war, she acts as protector by merging with her chosen in the Ritual of Bonding and rededicating the stars so that all the people of the land serve her instead of the other four gods. When Tcaolin first chose Arera to fight in the Old War, she fought on the battlefield herself and was nearly killed. Her first Champion, Lin-Mei the Ghost, was a mortal who fought to defend her and was rewarded with a portion of her own power. Ever since then, Tcaolin has summoned Champions to defend her in times of Crisis
Kuroyama, the man who would be the sixth god is using a corrupted imitation of Tcaolin's power to change the stars to turn people to demons and worshippers of him. He seeks Princess Tonbo to bend to worship of him so that when the Ritual of Bonding is complete he can take Tcaolin's power for himself and become a true god. Thanks to the war against Kuroyama, Tcaolin does not have time to choose a replacement vessel for Tonbo and is very keen to recover her.
Tcaolin is not a particularly nice or caring goddess. Though she acts for the good of all, she is has absolutely no qualms about crushing the lives of any one individual, including Princess Tonbo, her lover, and her Champion Kano. The Old Ones tell stories about her to frighten their children and know her as "She-who-sleeps," "The Entombed Usurper," and "the ghost in the leaves." She is also willing to ally with and use Kuroyama's demons to achieve her own ends.
Chapter 45 reveals, obliquely, the origin of Tcaolin. Couched in metaphor and hinted at bits of story, the least we can tell is that Tcaolin was once mortal, like Kuroyama, and that whatever transformed her into a goddess did so at the cost of warping the destinies of men to make then undying corpses. Tree sacrificed herself to swallow the undying and to sever their destinies from her, leaving her vulnerable.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Tcaolin appears as a beautiful, blue-skinned woman with lavender hair and sea-green eyes. She has golden marks on her face similar to the bond-marks that Tonbo used to have, pointed ears (despite originally being a human) and long, painted fingernails. Her style of dress is provocative, with tightly fitted dresses and sleeves that cover her hands in ladylike fashion.
Tcaolin is capable of turning into a dragonfly, using Tonbo's spirit animal. The gown she wore when she attacked Tonbo's protectors in Nishi Garden was designed to resemble the spines of a lion fish.
Plot[edit | edit source]
When Fuuka summoned Kano to be her Champion, it took Tcaolin by surprise since her vessel had never before called a Champion of her own. Once Kano was killed by Dali-Dalai, she chose the The Nick as her own Champion to attempt to place herself at the center of power between her, Tonbo, and the Champion. This plan failed when the Nick followed the pledge of his heart to Tonbo and not to Tcaolin.
Tcaolin later took advantage of the demon's attack on the woods of the Old Ones to slip in, recover Tonbo, and kill Kano, the old Champion. Unfortunately for Tcaolin, her attempt to kiss and drain Kano's soul resulted in him draining away some of the souls she had within herself. Drained of power, Tcaolin was forced to retreat.
When Mindi is sent to the Dreamwalker's world to recuperate, she shows Kano a flashback of her encounter with Tcaolin before the Barrier fell. Tcaolin wants to kill all of the Old Ones as "traitors," to kill all their World Trees, and to open the Underlands before her. Dee interferes and they talk. Apparently, humans were once Tcaolin's people, but were destroyed by the swallowing of the Gray World. Tcaolin seeks revenge.