War of the Dead
Iggwilv is a powerful human wizard in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting, famous for her Demonomicons. Iggwilv is known by various titles, including the Witch Queen of Perrenland and the Mother of Witches. She is known as Louhi on one alternate Prime Material world, and as Ychbilch on another. Those close to her sometimes address her as “Wilva.”
Iggwilv has a range of guises, from hideous to lovely. As a hideous old crone (said to be her true form), she is described as “a parody of every child’s nightmare of a wicked witch.” In her lovely form, she may appear (as she does in Artifact of Evil) as a voluptuous bombshell with flowing golden tresses, or (in Return of the Eight and subsequent publications) with long black hair, golden skin, and black eyes without irises or whites. It is said none who have seen her in her true form still live.
Iggwilv is the adopted daughter of Baba Yaga. She is the mother of the demigod Iuz, sired by the demon lord Graz’zt, and also of the vampiress Drelnza (now destroyed). On the parallel Earth where she used the name Louhi, she bore another child known as the Son of Pohjola. She was at one time the apprentice of Zagig Yragerne, and a member of the Company of Seven.
Iggwilv is a fierce enemy of the Circle of Eight. Occasional allies include her son, Iuz, and the demoness Zuggtmoy. Besides her awesome magical might, Iggwilv is also notoriously known for consorting with (as well as controlling and manipulating) fiends, notably demons from the Abyss and various yugoloths.
Iggwilv is said to have once been named Natasha, and it is under this name that she was “adopted” as a child by the witch Baba Yaga. At the age of ten, Natasha learned the first incantations for summoning demons from her adopted mother (Demonomicon, 18). Under Baba Yaga’s tutelage, the young girl grew into a talented spellcaster, and soon became known as “Natasha the Dark,” perhaps in contrast to another adopted daughter of Baba Yaga, Iggwilv’s “sister,” Elena the Fair.
Iggwilv next appeared in Ket some 300 years ago, in the third century CY, where she was known as Hura. After being driven from Lopolla for plundering the Vault of Daoud (where it is assumed she acquired Daoud’s Wondrous Lanthorn), Hura made her way to the Free City of Greyhawk. Now using the name Tasha, Iggwilv encountered the wizard Zagig Yragerne, who quickly (and scandalously) took her on as an apprentice. Sometime during this period (early fourth century CY), Tasha also served as a member of the Company of Seven, Zagig’s adventuring band. Zagig and Tasha’s relationship culminated in the imprisonment of the demon lord Fraz-Urb’luu. When Zagig was unaware, Tasha spoke to the imprisoned demon lord, and learned many secrets. Shortly thereafter, Iggwilv absconded with many of Zagig’s magical tomes, including the Tome of Zyx, which she would later make additions to and rename The Demonomicon.
Iggwilv traveled to the Yatil Mountains, in the unclaimed wilderness near the Velverdyva River, to a twisted mountain now called Iggwilv’s Horn, said to be the last resting place of the ancient mage Tsojcanth. There, using the lore and power she had stolen from Fraz-Urb’luu and Zagig, she bound Tsojcanth to her service, using him as her slave for generations.
Iggwilv accepts Fiend’s Embrace from Graz’zt. Art by Wayne Reynolds.
Iggwilv next appears in the historical records of Perrenland in 460 CY. Using what she had learned (and stolen) from Zagig, Iggwilv summoned and imprisoned the demon lord Graz’zt. She managed to seduce the demon lord into helping her with her plans of conquest and went on to bear him a son, Iuz. In 480 CY, she assembled an army and attacked Perrenland from her base in the Yatils known as the Lost Caverns. It is thought that at some point during or prior to this period of conquest, Graz’zt gifted Iggwilv with a magical cloak of pit fiend hide known as Fiend’s Embrace. Iggwilv’s conquest of Perrenland was complete by 481 CY, and she held a firm grip on that nation until 491 CY, when Graz’zt escaped her control. Graz’zt had suggested, maliciously, that Iggwilv bind Tsojcanth to use as a living seal against the alarmingly spreading rift to the Abyss beneath Iggwilv’s Horn. Iggwilv was caught off guard when Tsojcanth fought back for the first time of years. Weakened by the battle, she was doubly unable to resist Graz’zt’s subsequent attack of his own. Iggwilv herself was forced to battle Graz’zt, just barely managing to slay his earthly form, banishing him to the Abyss. As a consequence of this battle, Iuz’s beautiful form was wracked by magic and split into two hideous manifestations. Iggwilv was left shattered and powerless, enabling the native Perrenlanders to defeat her forces and regain their nation. After the loss of Perrenland, little was heard from Iggwilv for decades, and for a short while, she was presumed dead.