Extreme Lore Document Going over Celestia, the Great Tree, Khaenri’ah and the Abyss + the Tsaritsa’s Goals
Well. . . this wasn’t what I was planning on writing, but, it seems, after looking further into the lore of Genshin, I can’t help but want to put the pieces of this puzzle together (
let me just say this started with me looking at Kaeya and Tartaglia’s hair
). Before I get started
, I want to give thanks to anyone who is compiling lore and/or translating and also a thanks to whoever manages the wiki! It makes creating these documents so much easier since I’m mostly here just to connect the dots and compile the lore in all one place (though I collect some of my own info). Let me also note
, I do not know every piece of lore in-game so forgive me if there are mistakes. Here are links to all the Reddit posts I referenced:
- Youtube Theory Post
- [Version 1.5] Timeline of Events
- Lore and Theories regarding Khaenri'ah
- The War of Freedom
- Genshin Lore/ Trivia Dump 1.0
put your thinking caps on and strap yourself in because this may just be a doozy
ʕ ·ᴥ·ʔ TLDR:
Word Count: 4861
- There’s a summary right before the section entitled, The Abyss, that goes over the first half of this write-up
- There’s a summary right before the section entitled, Conclusion, that goes over the second half of this write-up
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Basics Of the World
“It is said that there was a great tree whose roots once spread out to every corner of the world, and this branch is said to be part of it” (Description of Ley Line Sprouts
From this quote we know that there was once a tree with roots spread across the world. This is much like the mythical tree, Yggdrasil, in Norse mythology whose job was to connect the nine worlds. This could be interrupted in two ways:
- The nine worlds are represented by the Impact universe (Honkai, Genshin, etc.)
- The nine worlds are represented in-game through the 7 regions of Tevyat (Mondstadt, Liyue, Inazuma, Sumera, Fontaine, Natlan, and Snezhnaya) plus Khaenri’ah and Celestia.
This reddit post
talks about the youtube comment
that expanded on the correlation between Honkai and Genshin. Here’s what you need
. . .when people's technology is more advanced, it will trigger the so-called Honkai. And Honkai will destroy human civilization. In the story of Honkai Impact, it has been confirmed that Genshin Impact is a parallel world with the same rules.
It is important we establish what Celestia is as it played an important role in the downfall of Khaenri’ah.
From the ending note of the prologue, “In truth, every wielder of a Vision is one who can attain godhood and ascend to Celestia. We call such people allogenes.” (In-Game Screenshot of Celestia) (Celestia from Chapter 1 of the Webcomic)
The Tiara of Flame, Tiara of Torrents, Tiara of Thunder
and the Tiara of Frost
tell a story (in that order) about how the beings of celestial once communicated with those bound to Earth (humans) and their eventual fallout. Tiara of Thunder
: “So they questioned the heavens' authority, and schemed to enter the garden of gods. And though they had promised to the people divine love, prosperity and wisdom, the envoys of heaven were angry. For to question eternity was forbidden, for earth to challenge sky, inexpiable.” Tiara of Frost
: “They say that, once upon a time, the people of the land could hear revelations from Celestia directly. The envoys of the gods walked among benighted humanity then. In those days, life was weak, and the earth was blanketed in unending ice.”
The Tree and Branches It’s worth noting
, in all the descriptions of those 4 tiaras a priest is chosen to find unknown knowledge in “deep places of the world” wearing a crown of white branches. The Tiara of Thunder
says that the deep place is the “silver tree in the ancient capital”.
It can be assumed this silver tree is the same one that spread its roots throughout every corner of the world. So then what happened to this great tree?
“They say that, the line of chief priests have always seen this same sight as their days draw to an end: A mountain of crowns in a secret place, beneath a withered tree
— each one hiding a lifetime of secrets kept” (Description of Tiara of Frost
). It seems, from this description, that this great/silver tree has died long ago.
Spoiler alert it’s not dead
“In the distant past, the Night Mother ruled over the faraway Land of Night. Here, no light touched the earth, nor did a single tree grow. . .” (Vol. I of The Pale Princess and the Six Pygmies
Before going any further let’s expand on the color white. What does white symbolize? “In a wide range of cultures, the color white symbolizes purity and innocence
” (Live Science
Now, who carries white branches, leaves and sprouts. You guessed it — The Abyss Mages.
But how can this be? They are from the land of darkness (the Abyss) where, as I quoted above, no tree grows. Well. . . “Though it is far from where it once lay, its leaves still pulsate with energy” and “It is almost if it was never broken off and taken far away. . .” (Description of Ley Line Leaves
and Description of Ley Line Sprouts
). This begs the question, what connection do the Abyss Mages have to the great tree? How did they get their hands on these branches from said tree?
I don’t have an answer, as I would like to say, but I do have some speculation.
The priests from the descriptions of the 4 tiaras were turned into the Abyss mages as punishment. The tiaras are in 4 elements — Pyro, Hydro, Electro and Cryo — and the Abyss mages are 3 out of those 4 elements. It would then make sense for the Abyss mages to carry the branches/leaves/sprouts of that great tree because, as we know, the priests wore white crowns of branches.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Now that we have established what Celestia is, we must talk about Khaenri’ah and the Abyss to establish/learn the Tsaritsa’s goals. What was Khaenri’ah?
- “However, 500 years ago, the collapse of an ancient civilization turned the universe upside down. . .” (Map & 2.)
- “Khaenri'ah, huh? You sure know a lot! The legacy of Khaenri'ah is long gone, the sinners are all that's left, and they're not worth mentioning.” (More about Kaeya - IV)
- “So begins another tale that occurred in the lost Khaenri'ah Kingdom.” (Breeze Amidst the Forest Vol. I & 2.)
These three bullet points state that Khaenri’ah was a Kingdom at one point that is now, at present time, long gone. Before moving on any further
, let's establish three things:
What happened to Khaenri’ah? (Screenshot from Tevyat Chapter Storyline Preview) (Screenshot from Tevyat Chapter Storyline Preview)
- Heaven/Divine Realm = Celestia
- Ancient Ruins/Civilization/Kingdom = Khaenri’ah
- Any Land of Darkness = Abyss
As we know the twins are not from Khaenri’ah, but they simply travel between the worlds. It seems though, as they traveled between the worlds, they got caught up in the mess that was the downfall of Khaenri’ah.
“But as you awoke among the falling stars, you saw the world in turmoil, a cataclysm raging across the land…” (Traveler Story 1
) Okay but who's to say, in those images above, that's Khaenri'ah?
In this first image you see the crimson moon. Dainsleif’s introduction goes on to say, “. . .the eclipse is swallowed by the crimson moon”
Eclipse, in the line above, is in reference to the Eclipse Dynasty in Khaenri’ah and, to this day, the eclipsed sun is still revered by the hillichurls (those who used to be people of Khaenri’ah).
Aside from the Crimson moon, the descriptions behind the artifacts, Defender’s Will
and Heart of Bravery
, tell Rostam and Arundolyn’s story. In the description of Plume of Death
is the same word “cataclysm”, as said before in Traveler story 1, used to describe the two’s expedition to Khaenri’ah. Cataclysm
by google’s definition is: large-scale and violent event in the natural world. The reason war was waged on Khaenri'ah was because of their ever-advancing civilization.
We know that Khaenri’ah was so far advanced
, compared to the other seven nations of Tevyat, that technology that came from Khaenri’ah, 500 years ago, is still not known how to work at present time (when the story begins).
“Sadly, no-one is able to make sense of how it worked.” (Description of Chaos Circuit
It’s even said that “Should you come to understand its workings and reproduce it, you could perhaps change the world” (Description of Chaos Core
: I will give proof that Ruin Guards are devices made from Khaenri’ah later. This goes back to the idea of Honkai
— that when technology advances to a certain point, it will cause the destruction of the world.
At this point we can assume the beings of Celestia stepped in (with the seven archons?), deciding that Khaenri’ah was far too advanced, and decided to lay waste to the civilization. But it wasn’t just laying waste to the civilization. . .
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Before moving on further we must talk about the great tree once more.
As stated at the beginning, the great tree once spread its roots to every corner of the world and, naturally, it’s roots were once spread to Khaenri’ah. It’s also important to note the word choice
— it’s not saying the roots do not reach the world at present moment but that they do not reach the entirety
of the world (every corner of the world) at this moment.
Going back to the Tiara of Thunder
it is said that the chief priests searched for the hidden wisdom of the silver tree in the ancient capital.
We can assume this ancient capital was once part of Khaenri’ah and that the silver tree was the great tree.
I said earlier that, from the description of the Tiara of Frost
, the great tree had died/withered, but what if that was only in Khaenri’ah? That would mean:
- It’s roots do not spread across the entirety of the world, which would be accurate with the description of the ley line sprouts
- It’s roots still rest in the rest of Tevyat (Note two massive trees in Mondstadt and Liyue)
(Screenshot In-Game) (Screenshot In-Game)
You might’ve seen this
little girl and she talks about the usurper. . .blah, blah, blah. The important takeaway is that the great tree is not completely dead
. She goes on to say, “. . . the ley lines of the world will heed its call.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Before talking about the Abyss, here’s a summary what I’ve discussed so far:
- There’s a great tree that had, at one point, spread its roots throughout the entirety of the world, even Khaenri’ah. It is known that no tree grows in the land of darkness.
- The Abyss mages have somehow gotten their hands on the branches/leaves/sprouts of the great tree despite being inhabitants of the abyss. The white branches/leaves/sprouts they carry could also be symbolic of them being innocent despite their hatred towards humanity.
- Those who live in Celestia are the highest beings who dictate order and can (and will if need be) put humans, those bound to Earth, in their rightful places through punishment.
- Khaenri’ah was an ancient civilization that had technology far more advanced than the 7 other regions of Tevyat and, in order to prevent Honkai, Celestia stepped in and waged war against the civilization but punished them far crueler than just obliteration.
- The Traveler happened to jump into the world of Tevyat just as the fall of Khaenri’ah had occurred.
- The great tree still lives, spreading its roots throughout Tevyat even if it does not reach every corner of the world.
Let’s begin with this, The Abyss is the remnants of Khaenri'ah or, at the very least, they are the same entity. Ex I
: Kaeya, the only character other than Dainsleif to be a resident of Khaenri’ah, has a skill titled after the abyss. Tartaglia, the only character known to have been to the abyss, also has skills named after the abyss. We can assume characters that have been to the abyss, may have skills that entail such in their names, but nowhere is it stated Kaeya’s been to the abyss. (Kaeya's Skill, Screenshot In-Game) (Tartaglia's Skills, Screenshot In-Game) Ex II
: The Ruin Guards are specifically stated “to be remnants from a lost ancient nation” (Ruin Guard Description
). We’ve already determined above that the ancient nation is Khaenri’ah.
On the other hand, there’s a throwaway line in Monoceros Caeli: Act I
, right before Tartaglia and the Traveler enter the factory where Tartaglia says, “Dottore is another one of the Fatui harbingers. . . he converted these ruins into a Ruin Guard research lab. . . they (the ruin guards) have much closer connections to the Abyss. . .” Ex III
: The time in both Khaenri’ah and the Abyss are passing differently than in Tevyat.
From this Reddit post
, the user wrote:
Khaenri’ah appears to be a place where time has gone out of control: In the Teyvat Chapter Storyline video, Dainsleif describes Khaenri’ah with "In the perpetual meantime of a sheltered eternity" (Genshin Lore/ Trivia Dump 1.0).
From one of Tartaglia’s stories, it is said:
. . . during these three months, from his mercurial personality, an endlessly combative spirit was born. . . what had been three months in the other world was only three days in real time. *NOTE
: This part from Tartaglia’s stories is translated from leaked information and may be subject to change in game, take it with a grain of salt.
Gold’s Monsters and the Archon’s Power
Now, we established three reasons why the Abyss and Khaenri’ah are the same entity/related, but what does this mean for the objects that lay in the Abyss?
Well. . . almost
nothing from Khaenri’ah seems to lay in the abyss, but that’s not to say nothing lays in the abyss.
“So begins another tale that occurred in the lost Khaenri'ah Kingdom.The Eclipse Dynasty had fallen, and disaster spread across the land. The alchemist known as Gold was corrupted by his own greed and ambition, and created an army of shadowy monsters with his uncanny powers
.” (Breeze Amidst the Forest Vol. I
We know monsters, the same monsters Gold made, still lay in the Abyss.
“I once ventured deep into the abyss and came face to face with an enormous beast.” (Tartaglia’s Voice Lines
In the quote below this, it tells that the gods refused to live under the order of The Seven and they became “evil gods” but that they were different from the all-devouring darkness that we can assume were Gold’s creations.
“The coastal nations of Teyvat refer to the region beyond the protection of The Seven as the Dark Sea. It is said many defeated gods refused to live under the new order of The Seven, so they fled to remote islands and became evil gods
. However, their powers came from the same source as Rex Lapis, separate from this all-devouring darkness.
” (Description of Bit of Aerosiderite
(Chapter 4 of the Webcomic) (Chapter 4 of the Webcomic) This is where things get a bit messy
We established that both Gold’s Monsters lay in the Abyss and the Archons who refused to live under the 7 (under the idea that any land of Darkness = the Abyss), but, as stated above, the Archon’s power is different from Gold’s Monsters, whose power devour everything in site. Somehow, someway the (old) Archon’s power has become mixed with the power of Gold’s monsters. (Translated Chapter 15 of the Webcomic) (Chapter 11 of the Webcomic) Take note from the two images above
: “God’s Power” and “God’s Will”.
From the Webcomic it is stated the Colliel, the green-haired girl in the image above, was subject to the Archon residue experiments
— a power that is mistaken for that of a Delusion. But yet, Colliel has power that devours “life like an avaricious monster”
much like the power of Gold’s monsters. It’s also worth noting
, that Archon in Chinese is 魔神 (demon god) and Tartaglia’s Foul Legacy Transformation is is 魔王武装 (demon king battlesuit) so that means the Foul Legacy Transformation uses the (old) Archon’s Power, right?
Well yes. . . but perhaps no.
“The shard of a weapon that you obtained from defeating ChiIde, who had unleashed the might of his Delusion. It is stained with a profound color that is not of this world
, no doubt due to the land of endless darkness
that the young boy saw with his own two eyes.” (Description of Shard of Foul Legacy
). It’s also worth noting, after using the Foul Legacy Transformation, Tartaglia was subject to a very weak-state.
Okay, it’s high time we divulge from this topic, if you didn’t understand (or maybe I worded poorly or did too much speculating) a thing from this section, then that’s okay. The BIG takeaway is that someone is stirring the pot using the abyss and powers they probably shouldn’t.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Tsaritsa It’s time we discuss the elephant in the room
, but before that we must go over two things:
- The English line in the Tevyat Chapter Storyline Preview is poorly translated.
- The Tsaritsa is not working with the Abyss
“She is a god with no love left for her people, nor do they have any left for her. Her followers only hope to be on her side. . . “ (Tevyat Chapter Storyline Preview)
This is simply not true. I do not know the Chinese/Japanese translation, but the English version states that her people have no love for her, implying that their relationship is only one of mutual interest, which contradicts lines in-game stating otherwise.
In-game there’s a daily quest titled, Tales of Winter
. On this quest you carry out jobs for Viktor and, in return, he will give you information on the Fatui (3 different choices).
Here, he says, “If you need a simple summary, it is that the Tsaritsa is our god
. This is no abstraction, only concrete truth. The Tsaritsa is the Cryo Archon, one of the Seven who hold dominion over the mortal realm, but to us Fatui, Her Majesty has a status beyond even that of a god.
” (Tales of Winter
) The Fatui worship the Tsaritsa much like how the people of Liyue worship Rex Lapis. Point 2:
Once again, from the Tevyat Chapter Storyline Preview, is the line, “Her followers only hope to be on her side when the day of her rebellion against the divine comes at last
” (Tevyat Chapter Storyline Preview
We can assume from the use of the word, divine, the Tsaritsa plans on rebelling against Celestia
, but, at least, not with those (organization) of the Abyss.
The Tsaritsa’s Harbingers should be subject to almost all confidential information, so then they should know what they’re fighting for, right? We see Dotorre in the Webcomic beat up some hilichurls (humans that used to be from the Khaenri’ah) and Tartaglia states that the Abyss is anyone’s enemy. (Chapter 4 of the Webcomic)
“They’re (Ruin Guards) as much as our enemies as anyone else’s.” (Monoceros Caeli: Act I
) It may be that only the Tsaritsa knows her true motivations, outside of usurping the divine, but, at the very least, there are no formal connections between the Tsaritsa and the Abyss (as an organization).
As I stated before, someone’s stirring the pot in the Abyss, obviously the Tsaritsa.
I want to go over the Geography of Tevyat for a minute. *GEOGRAPHY NOTE: As we know, Snezhnaya is a land covered in snow. At one point in time Monstadt was also a land of only snow. "If we look back through history, we learn that Mondstadt is situated on a land that was once frozen, where the living conditions were harsh and brewing would be virtually impossible” (Wiki Timeline and 4.). This is only speculation, but what if Snezhnaya is not too far from Mondstadt? Then reaching the Abyss should be easy for the Tsaritsa. Once again, what I wrote above, is only speculation.
Why and How?
I’ve already stated that the Tsaritsa is not working together with the Abyss, but then why is she going against Celestia? We know she had a falling out with the other archons from Venti’s dialogue, “Five hundred years ago
, I knew her well. But I can't say the same is true now. You see, a certain catastrophe happened five hundred years ago, and after that, she cut off all ties with me” (Ending Note of the Prologue
Five hundred years ago just happened to be the fall of Khaenri’ah. Could the Cryo Archon, the Archon of Love, be going against Celestia because of their over-the-top cruel punishment towards the denizens of Khaenri’ah?
"Sorry… to also have you shoulder the grievances of the world. Since you could endure my bitter cold, you must have the desire to burn? Then, burn away the old world for me." (Description of Shivada Jade Gemstone
). Let’s start by picking apart these lines
The Tsaritsa starts by saying, “sorry. . . to also have you shoulder the grievances of the world.”
The word “also” implies that now both (person who she is speaking to, *Traveler*) and she share the knowledge of some unfair treatment in the world. This could also imply only she knew this information beforehand (info confidential to the Archons). The grievances of the world could imply Celestia’s iron-grip on stagnating the humans ability to learn/advance. “Since you could endure my bitter cold, you must also have the desire to burn?”
Bitter cold could imply many things (cold, cold :P) but this definition of bitter seems to line up the best: angry, hurt, or resentful because of one's bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment. Cold, on the other hand, seems to just be in reference to the Tsaritsa’s power. Burn seems to be symbolic of the Traveler’s unwavering desire (could entail different meanings). “Then, burn away the old world for me.”
This is pretty straightforward — she’s asking the Traveler to destroy Celestia’s hierarchy, the old world, and their system (where humans cannot advance).
I think many people may have the question of why does the country inspired after Russia name their Harbingers after the Commedia dell’arte or Italian Theatre?
“Conventional plot lines were written on themes of sex, jealousy, love
and old age. . . The classic, traditional plot is that the innamorati are in love
and wish to be married, but one elder (vecchio
) or several elders (vecchi
) are preventing this from happening, leading the lovers to ask one or more zanni
(eccentric servants) for help. Typically the story ends happily, with the marriage of the innamorati and forgiveness for any wrongdoings
I doubt that the Tsaritsa will come to a happy end, but I wouldn’t be surprised that by the end of the Tevyat Storyline the Traveler accomplishes the Tsarista’s goal, saves their sibling, and takes down Celestia.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Okay, we established the Tsaritsa plans to go against Celestia but how is she going to do that?
Simple — knowledge and power.
If you want to keep a group of people under your thumb, how do you do that? You surely do not let them think for themselves. If you give people knowledge then they will begin to think for themselves and they may just learn to go against you.
We don’t even need to look into the story to know that. Just look at world history, how people would burn books. This is what Celestia learned thousands of years ago
, “The search for truth is a product of prosperity, and not the seed that plants it” (Description of Tiara of Frost
). Snezhnaya is on the same course as Khaenri’ah.
Let’s start with a list of what is in Snezhnaya’s hands
- Delusions (Powerful objects much like Visions that anyone can use)
We can assume (using dates from the real world) this puts Snezhnaya at about the technology of the late 18th century (Industrial Revolution) while we can assume most of the other countries are still present in Medieval times. Because I don’t know much about boats please take this with a grain of salt and forgive me if I’m wrong. We can assume Liyue is the next most advanced nation, seeing as they’re a business powerhouse. In the harbor we see boats modeled after the real-world Junk ships which would put Liyue around the 13th-15th century (300+ years behind Snezhnaya).
Of course Tevyat is just some magical fantasy and not indicative of the real world, but, just referencing the real world, we can assume Snezhnaya is far more advanced than the six other nations of Tevyat
. It’s also a world where we know there are devices that could potentially change it, should someone figure out how to use said device.
*Drones (Chapter 7 of Webcomic)
- “An oddly-shaped weapon made with superior Snezhnayan technology. . .” (Agent’s Sacrificial Knife).
- Makes one wonder about what the ones joining the Fatui's war machine were thinking.” (Recruit’s Insignia)
At the beginning of this write-up, I talked about the white branches that the Abyss mages hold and the symbolism behind white. As I’ve discussed in this section, Snezhnaya is far ahead of the other nations and yet they call themselves the Fatui, translating to fools in Latin. It seems that there is irony at play, especially knowing that Snezhnaya is the only nation actively advancing their technology (though militaristically speaking). Or could they be called fools for simply attempting to go against the supreme? Before going over Snezhnaya’s power throughout the world,
let’s step back for a moment. Why do the Tsaritsa’s followers revere her very much so? I already established that the Tsaritsa is using both knowledge and power to attempt to overthrow Celestia, but that knowledge is not simply for herself.
By shere work and dedication, those of the Fatui, can rise and have access to power unimaginable, rather than obtaining power from some intangible god and just happening to be chosen. As we know the most loyal of the Tsaritsa’s followers, the Harbingers, are given the access to delusions which are even more powerful than the visions themselves.
“Compared to a nameless grunt like me, the Eleven Harbingers are truly great figures. If you join the Fatui and prove your strength, then perhaps you might be chosen by one of them
. And then you'd be on the up and up.” (Tales of Winter
Why I believe the Tsaritsa’s followers revere her so is because anyone can come to hold power. How much power does the Tsaritsa/ Fatui hold? (Chapter 1 of the Webcomic) (Chapter 4 of the Webcomic)
The images above take place roughly 3 years before
the start of the game, and, by that time, the Fatui already had people stationed in every nation except Mondstadt
, while also trying to “push their agenda” in Mondstadt.
But it’s not just manpower the Fatui have, they also have money.
“Inside the bank, in the back room from the right-hand stairs, a precious chest containing 200,000 Mora can be looted.” (Northland Bank Wiki
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - It’s almost time for me to conclude this, and so, here’s a summary for the second half of this extremely long post:
- The abyss is the remnants of what was once Khaenri’ah or, at the very least, is connected to the ancient Kingdom in some form.
- The alchemist Gold created monsters, which devoured all life, as the fall of Khaenri’ah occurred and these monsters still roam both the Abyss and Tevyat today. The power of those monsters seems to have been mixed with the power of (old) Archons and, using this the Archon residue experiment occurred and Delusions were made.
- The Tsaritsa is revered by the Fatui, because she chooses to give power and knowledge to any of her followers if they prove themselves. Those same followers, the Fatui, plan to be on her side the day she goes against Celestia.
- The same time Khaenri’ah fell, the Tsaritsa cut her ties with the other Archons. Though it was the same time as Khaenri’ah’s downfall, there’s no information suggesting that the Tsaritsa is working with the (organization) Abyss. This is in spite of the most obvious reason for the Cryo Archon’s rebellion — Khaenri’ah, and its harsh punishment.
- Snezhnaya, as a country, is far more advanced than the other nations of Tevyat and, in its advancement, is going down the same path as Khaenri’ah. Aside from this technology, the Fatui holds much power in the world, through both manpower and money.
Conclusion *TLDR IS AT BEGINNING\
Did you think, that after all this writing, the conclusion would be something of substance? Well. . . hmmm. . . not really, I think my brain might be a little fried ( ͡° ͜ ͡°) Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!
This was a really long write-up, not that I didn’t have fun trying to piece everything together, but I still feel I left out things I wanted to say. Right now my brain is just running amok with theories, but I should really keep my fingers away from the keyboard. It will be sometime before I choose to write anything else. Now, I would like to just end it with, sorry if there are any grammar mistakes, inconsistencies, or just things that I lacked explaining.
Let’s be real, this write-up is just a ploy to get you to read the Webcomic.
Go read it!