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Goddess T'au'va

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This page contains spoilers for: Shadowsun: The Patient Hunter (Novel)

Goddess T'au'va is a Warp Entity that has recently been created. She is the personification of the Tau and their guiding principles.[1a]


The Goddess T'au'va is the personification of the Greater Good, who was formed by the T'au Empire's psychically inclined allied species' belief in the T'au's founding principle.[1a][1i]


Her body is shaped like a T'au and a Human, but T'au'va has numerous arms whose hands are shaped differently. These include those of the T'au, Human, Kroot, Nicassar and Charpactin, which hold blades, cornucopias, quills[1i], shells, an amphora, a buckler shield[3h] or patches of flickering light. The Goddess' face however, is nothing but pale flesh, that is devoid of features. T'au'va is still able to communicate psychically though, to those she appears before.[1i]


It is not known when T'au'va came to be, but the Goddess' earliest known appearance was to a young Shadowsun[1h], when the Commander was still training under the legendary Puretide. Shadowsun had been tasked with retrieving a stone Puretide had placed in the underground labyrinth, that lies beneath Dal'yth's Mount Kan'ji. Though she had thought finding the stone would be her test, Shadowsun learned that Puretide had mislead her when a tide of water came down the labyrinth before she could find retrieve it. This was done on Puretide's orders to see if Shadowsun could escape the labyrinth[1c], but it proved too much for her. She was lost and still days from escaping, when Shadowsun began losing consciousness due to the wounds she suffered and being unable to find air in the raging waters that now flooded the labyrinth. However it was then, that T'au'va appeared before her as a translucent apparition and a shocked Shadowsun mentally asked the Goddess what she was. T'au'va gave Shadowsun an amphora filled with air, which she breathed in, before answering the young T'au[1h]:

I am the communality of species. I am destiny.[1h]

Shadowsun refused to believe this though and claimed that the Goddess was nothing but a ghost. This led T'au'va to reply[1h]:

Set against the cosmos, I am nothing, it is true. Though even a seed cast to the wind can flourish. If you will let me, child of hope.[1h]

Moments later the waters surrounding Shadowsun became calm and she was able to see her surroundings once more. Shadowsun then asked what she could do to repay the Goddess and T'au'va replied[1h]:

I simply wish to exist, child.[1h]

Shadowsun's head then broke through the water's surface and as she did so, T'au'va disappeared[1h]. Even after escaping the labyrinth, though, Shadowsun still believed the Goddess had been nothing more but a ghost. The memory of the encounter however, would haunt her for some time to come.[1f]

The Goddess was next seen, when she rescued the T'au Empire's Fourth Sphere of Expansion fleet, after it became trapped within the Warp. The ravaged fleet had been stuck there for some time and was suffering attacks from Daemons, when T'au'va's powers cast them into the Nem'yar Atoll and created the Startide Nexus in the process. The appearance of the Goddess caused the Fleet's Auxiliaries species to begin openly worshiping T'au'va, but filled the Fourth's T'au with disgust and dismay. Believing the Auxiliaries were responsible for the Fourth being attacked by the Daemons and for the creation of T'au'va, which they thought was a corruption of the Greater Good, the Fleet's T'au turned upon their allies[1a]. This began a campaign of extermination, as the T'au believed the death of the Auxiliaries would kill T'au'va as well.[2]

The onslaught was finally ended, when Commander Shadowsun and the Fifth Sphere of Expansion appeared within the Nem'yar Atoll. With the Fourth now under the command of the Fifth[3], the worship of T'au'va was allowed to spread. It reached the Atoll's worlds the T'au Empire held[1e] and temples dedicated to the Goddess would be built[1b]. Though the T'au still did not worship her, some began to see the Goddess in their dreams[1a]. By then Shadowsun's encounter with T'au'va had faded from her mind, but this changed when Lord Oratius Glurtosk's Death Guard forces invaded the Atoll. While fighting on Pekun, she saw one of the Goddess' temples, which bore a statue of T'au'va. The sight caused Shadowsun to flashback to her near drowning death[3b] and in anger, she destroyed the statue. She then ordered the Atoll's Earth Caste to begin tearing down any of T'au'va's temples they found[1d]. However as the Death Guard's invasion wore on and they neared the Startide Nexus, Shadowsun became desperate to stop them. This led her to begin making contact with the Auxiliaries that worshiped the Goddess and asked them to pray to her, for the Death Guard to be defeated. Shadowsun then led an attack on Glurtosk's flagship, the Nephylum, hoping to disable or destroy it before the warship could enter the Nexus. Several Auxiliaries joined her[3e] and during the boarding attack, Shadowsun saw them chanting to T'au'va and calling upon the Goddess' power[1f]:

T'au'va keep us, T'au'va hear our prayer. T'au'va watch over us, T'au'va hear our prayer. T'au'va keep us…[1f]

This had a deadly effect on the Death Guard's forces, though in the end Shadowsun's attack failed[1f]. They then escaped[1h], but the prayers she had T'au'va's believers make ultimately[1e] led to the Death Guard's defeat. The guiding visions of the Sorcerer Diminus Thurglaine had suddenly changed and he now believed that entering the Startide Nexus would result in the Death Guard being trapped within the Warp. Glurtosk refused to listen and this caused a split within his forces[1g]. Most of the Chaos Lord's fleet would follow Thurglaine and depart from the Nexus, while the Nephylum and two other warships entered it[1h]. However Thurglaine was proven right, as Glurtosk's small fleet could not exit the Warp. After sometime had passed, a giant T'au'va appeared before them and the surprised Chaos Lord asked her what she was[1i]:

I am the goddess T'au'va.
- T'au'va[1i]

No! These t'au are godless!
- Glurtosk[1i]

But their allies are not.
- T'au'va[1i]

The Goddess then grabbed hold of the Nephylum and held it in place, which caused Lord Glurtosk to lose his mind.[1i]

Afterwards, a recovering Shadowsun remembered her encounter with T'au'va, beneath Mount Kan'ji on Dal'yth, and how the Goddess had saved her. She then learned of the Death Guard's defeat and that their warships which had entered the Startide Nexus, were now likely trapped within the Warp. All this led Shadowsun to immediately tell the Earth Caste to stop the destruction of T'au'va's temples.[1h]