Ulrakaah, also known as the Queen of Darkness and the Mother of Demons, is the main villainess and final enemy of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook The Gates of Death. Once a corrupted high priestess of the Earth Goddess Throff, who became a sorceress and was banished beyond the titular Gates of Death, she is now a Demon Queen who threatens the world of Titan with a Demon Plague, only to be slain by a healer acolyte carrying the cure.
Ulrakaah is the villainess of a particularly gloomy gamebook, engulfing the continent of Allansia in a demonic Zombie Apocalypse, overwhelming entire cities and horribly mutating innocent people into murderous monstrosities.
Ulrakaah was once the prettiest woman on the world of Titan, said to subjugate everyone with her astonishing beauty. Her looks and features are never described, but upon seeing how she used to be, even the player character who is determined to destroy her is left breathless.
In a huge contrast, she has become an awfully stinky and twisted monstrosity, tall enough to swallow someone in one gulp or cover them with the shadow of her foot. She is over sixty feet tall, with ghoulish, greyish-blue skin, red eyes with black sclerae, yellow rotten fangs, enormous horns looking like gnarled tree branches, and clawed hands.
Worse, her blood is dark and sticky, and when killed she dissolves into purplish goo, showing how deep she sank.
She wears an elaborate suit of armour with shoulder pads shaped like a raven's head and a wolf head (two wolf heads in the interior illustration), a billowing and torn dark blue cape, and a dark green robes. She also wields two evil-looking swords glowing a sicky greenish-yellow hue (two normal sabres in the interior illustration).
|“||Just because I'm beautiful, it does not make me a good person.||„|
|~ Ulrakaah (musing on the irony behind the cliché)|
Having risen to the rank of high priestess of one of the most benevolent deities of Titan, and being chosen to guard the Gates of Death, Ulrakaah most likely used to be a wise and dedicated young woman, striving to protect her domain and make it thrive.
Alas, being both the most beautiful woman alive and the ruler of the most magical city in the continent made her more vain and prideful by each passing day. She fixated herself to become as powerful as she was beautiful, and succeeding only comforted her delusions of grandeur, persuading her that it was her right to rule everything.
She became an extremely conceited, self-centered, self-righteous and arrogant control-freak, to the point of full-blown narcissism and megalomania. She cares only about herself, dismissing anyone else as inferiors only fit to revere her and be her slaves, and killing or enslaving thousands without a qualm.
Becoming a demon worsened Ulrakaah even further, making her one of the most despicable villains of the series. She is not only greedy, power-hungry, cruel, ruthless, hateful, and sadistic, but also vicious, violent, and disturbingly unhinged, eating people like mere snacks, and revelling in the prospect of crushing enemies.
She addresses foes with loud taunts and hateful threats, under a false veneer of welcome, when she deigns speaking instead of destroying them on sight. She does adress her monsters like a mother towards her children, but she dominates them in every way, berates them as soon as they stop doing exactly what she says, and crushes them when bewitched to rebel without bothering to try breaking the spell, despite most likely having the power to.
Her egomania, entitlement and pettiness worsened to the point that she and her troops use her very name as their battle-cry. She now wants to turn every living being to demonic caricatures of their former selves. Not only to have them obey and worship her forever, but now that she lost her beauty, she wants to make everyone ugly as well, for if she can no longer be the most gorgeous she will be the most hideous.
Despite this, Ulrakaah is much smarter than her twisted thirst for blood and power can let appear. She learnt magic and swordsmanship seemingly on her own and reaching exceptional results. She is cunning and devious, being able to devise efficient plans and to adapt to circumstances in seconds. After being sealed, she wasted no time in using the demonic energies in her prison to become more powerful, and knows better than trying in vain to force it open.
She does use the Demon Plague to enslave people, but mostly to have them open her prison from the outside. She sends her demons in the Invisible City to take it over and attack those who can thwart her, but shape-shifts them into normal people so that they can gain their trust, to sabotage their efforts and backstab them at the right moment. When the hero manages in breaking her evil power, she instantly devises a back-up plan to lower their guard.
Powers and Abilities
Ulrakaah was once a priestess, using divine favour from her Patron Goddess and using Priestly Magic, consisting in casting divine spells or normal magic through communion with the gods, but she lost them after reneging Throff. She then learnt Dark Magic, quickly becoming powerful enough to threaten Allansia as a whole. She has learnt to summon and control demons, to create monsters of all shapes and sizes, and to shape-shift people and probably herself, among many others. She did forge two magical khopeshes (sickle-bladed swords from Ancient Egypt) described as the mightiest magic weapons to ever exist, in addition to becoming an excellent swordfighter, expert in dual-wielding.
As a Demon Queen, she has become one of the most powerful villains of the series, mighty enough to gain complete control over her prison dimension, to influence the world outside of her realm, and to command demons, monsters and everything evil. She is implied to have caused the storm that stranded the hero at the start of the story. Worse, she spawned and mutated hordes of demonic beasts, warriors and creatures. She also controls the atrocious Demon Plague, spawning demonic spirits possessing infected, from mortals and animals to supernatural beings, turning them to snarling, twisted and blood-thirsty monsters who in turn infect everyone they harm.
Ulrakaah can open dimensional portals, sending followers to Titan and dragging people to her realm. Even for her size, she is slow but tremendously strong, enough to swat away dozens of foes in a single swipe and crack the ground with a stomp. Only her khopeshes can harm her, and she is invincible without breaking her dark power first. While already formidable in her realm, she and her horde are much weaker there than they would be on Titan.
About three hundred years before the start of the story, the word of Titan was heavily scarred by the nightmarish Chaos Wars, in which the Demon Princes of Titan led the forces of Evil in a large-scale assault on all the three continents, The Old World, Khul and Allansia, devastating the latter two.
In Allansia, the wondrous, wealthy and highly advanced Gleaming City was overrun with demons. So much that the mages living there had no other choice than to destroy the entire city with tremendous Firestorm Spells to take them down, before banishing them in the Realm of the Dead, a desolate lesser dimension set in the Demonic Plane of Obsidian. There, the survivors built the Gates of Death to seal this Realm, and established the highly magical Invisible City to watch over them. The City was cut from the world lived in complete autarky, led by a high priestess of the Earth Goddess Throff, one of the Major Deities.
Some years later, the gorgeous but vain high priestess Ulrakaah grew corrupted by pride and turned to dark sorcery. She forged two powerful magic khopeshes, one of purple steel from the Demonic Planes and the other of black steel from the Dark Elven Kingdom of Tìranduil Kelthas, planning to use them and the might of the Invisible City to take over Titan. Horrified, the priests she once led banished her beyond the Gates of Death that she failed to guard.
This was not that good an idea however, as Ulrakaah was able to absorb the demonic energies infusing her prison, losing all humanity to become a demon, and rising in might until she grew more or less on par with the Demon Princes themselves. She took the titles of Queen of Darkness and Mother of Demons and built herself an enormous demon horde, patiently bidding her time until she could escape and resume her plans of conquest.
Role in the Story
The gamebook begins on the Crucible Islands, home to the best healer mages of Titan, who just brew an antidote to the dire Demon Plague that is spreading like wildfire over Allansia. Alas, they cannot brew enough and start a vast expedition to bring it to the Great Temple of Throff in the Invisible City, where it could be mass produced and end the epidemy. Many ships departs towards Kaynlesh-Ma the City of Learning, but a violent storm sinks them all, save from one diverted towards Port Blacksand, the City of Thieves, the worst wretched hive of Titan.
The hero is a young acolyte carrying the last ten vials of the antidote. Alas, their ageing mentor Brother Tobyn gets wounded by a merchant transformed by the plague. Killing the merchant result in getting jailed by the city guard of Lord Varek Azzur, forcing them to kill Tobyn after he transforms, and ending their life there if they get infected in turn.
Lord Azzur's three mysterious spokespersons explain that evil as he is, he too wants to stop the plague that threatens his rule, but the warriors he sent to the Invisible City failed to reach its source for only the pure of heart can access it. They reveal that the Demon Plague is the work of an evil sorceress, whose power and treasures Azzur covets for himself. They take all but one antidotes, but give the hero priceless indications and a magic khopesh, deadly against demons. (In fact one of the two forged by Ulrakaah, albeit greatly depowered over time.)
If the hero heals the merchant, they are saved from the city guards by the Legendary Mage Arakor Nicodemus, who gives them priceless indications, four very powerful potions, and a magical disguise to leave the city undetected. But even he cannot save Brother Tobyn from the plague and must mercy-kill him when he transforms.
Search For The Invisible City
Once outside the city, the hero meets Lady Webspinn, a young scholar travelling back to the capital of the kingdom of Salamonis with her maidservant Liara. She offers the hero to travel with her, but might get killed by Liara turned to a demon by the Plague, which must be avoided. On their way, the hero finds many settlements where the Plague has taken hold, and must decide whether to kill or heal the transformed victims.
Among them, the friendly dwarf Fossick can give them priceless items if they can heal his daughter Blossom, either with an antidote, or with a potion to expel the demonic spirit spawned by the plague and with a magic weapon like the khopesh to slay it. The most useful items being the Hero's Medallion granting a big power-boost, the Death Stone that can harm foes, and the regenerative Horn of Plenty. They might learn an incantation, needed to remain in the Physical Planes when randomly appearing dimensional gates drags them directly near Ulrakaah, who eats them.
The hero and Lady Webspinn finds Salamonis entirely overrun with demons of the Plague, including King Salamon himself, and must escape from them. In the Halls of Learning, Lady Webspinn's comrades have chained themselves to not harm anyone after their inevitable transformation. The hero must buy a map from the merchant Sandford Swann, one of the last survivors, and learns of another adventurer seeking the Invisible City named Hikaz Mandeera. They must then escape the city with their lives and avoid other big settlements.
The hero can get the help of the monster-hating giant Monstroso, and gain guidance from Vigo Sabulkar, a priest of Sindla, Goddess of Fate and Luck. In the Trolltooth Pass, infamous for the war waged by the dark wizards Balthus Dire and Zharradan Marr, the hero reach a burial ground inhabited by imps, threatened by victims of the Plague. The Imp King tells them that Hikaz Mandeera was killed by an assassin sent by Lord Azzur, who stole the magic khopesh he had just found. The hero must take the Bier Googles from Mandeera's pyre, and use them atop Meerar Mountain, named after the Cat Goddess, to find and reach the Invisible City at last.
Reaching The Gates of Death
The hero finds the fabled city deserted, with Alesstis the high priestess of Throff having transformed its denizens or hid them in pocket dimensions to protect them from the shape-shifted demons sent by Ulrakaah. They must avoid the seemingly friendly priestess Denka Mansell, for she is one of them and risks breaking their antidotes save one. Ulrakaah’s demons are taking control of all the monsters around, preparing to add them to every people and creature turned to demons by the plague to invade the city and pry open the Gates of Death, so time is of the essence.
Alesstis and the Wooden Scribe Ludo Hyperion tell them about Ulrakaah and how to defeat her. The librarian Piscis Austrinius translates the Book of the Dead they need to enter her realm. Then, they must get the powerful seeds of the Fertility Goddess Galana from the Holy Man. Near the Gates of Death, the hero meets a dying Sinna the Sly, the assassin sent after Ulrakaah by Lord Azzur who killed Hikaz Mandeera, who can read the Book of the Dead. Opening the Gates of Death would be phenomenally stupid, as it releases Ulrakaah and her Demon Horde, sealing the doom of Titan. The hero must drink the Weak Water Potion to get "killed" by the Obsidian Guardians of the Gates.
Their soul can now travel beyond the Gates of Death and possess a corpse there. From then on, should they die, even against the Queen of Darkness herself, they would be sent back beyond the Gates, and can repeat the process. If they lack Lord Azzur's khopesh, they can take Sinna's, which is coated with a Pretty as a Picture Potion.
The Final Battle
The hero is "welcomed" by Ulrakaah herself, who orders her Demon Horde to destroy them. The Horde is treated as a single enemy, boasting the obscenely powerful statistics of 400 in skill (power-level, with the normal maximum being 12) and 800 in stamina (life-points, the maximum being 24).
The hero stands no chance without the Seeds of Galana, for each halves the horde's stamina score, before their khopesh divide its stats by ten. But they need the Seed of Change and the Seed of Doubt to halve twice its skill score, for only bringing it down to 10 can make it manageable, yet quite tough.
Ulrakaah stomps her foot on the hero, who needs magic boots of running or jumping to escape being trampled to death. With them, they can engage the formidable Mother of Demons and avoid her sword swipes, each being lethal. If their khopesh is coated with a Pretty as a Picture potion, they scratch her with it and it turns her back to human form, breaking her demonic power. If not, they must win three successive tests of luck to avoid her swords and scratch her thrice.
Now human again, Ulrakaah runs towards the hero, overjoyed and seemingly freed from evil. But this is a ploy to lower their guard and stab them, costing 2 stamina points. Even deprived of her dark powers and weakened by the Realm of the Dead, The Mother of Demons remains a powerful foe, with 10 in skill and 10 in stamina. Though she can be killed without fight, with two charges of the Death Stone.
Ulrakaah dies, dissolving into purple goo for even then her newfound human aspect was only skin deep. The hero must now destroy the khopesh she forged in the magic fires, lest it corrupts them and makes them the new demonic monarch of the Realm of the Dead.
Without the khopesh's power to anchor them in the Realm of the Dead, the hero's soul is sent back to the Invisible City, freed from Ulrakaah's evil. Not only did they destroy the Queen of Darkness, but they deprived Lord Azzur of a way to syphon her power. The grateful denizens cover them with gold and magic presents, naming them a full-fledged Guardian of the Crucible, preparing to brew enough antidote to cure everyone and save Titan from one of the direst threats that ever befall it.