The Mystery of Rhinedottir
Rhinedottir is an alchemist from the fallen kingdom of Khaenri’ah. Known by many names throughout her life, such as Gold, she was given the title of the Great Sinner due to the role that she played during the Cataclysm.
While she herself hasn’t appeared in the game, the information available about her is a bit conflicting. This is why we’re going to put all the pieces together and see if we can understand who Rhinedottir was.
Who was Rhinedottir?
Born Khaenri’ah, she started her life with the name Rhinedottir. Ambitious from the beginning, the only thing that mattered to her was her pursuit of knowledge and the perfection of her art.
Much like the people of her nation, Rhinedottir also practised the Art of Khemia. This was a branch of alchemy that focused on the creation of life. Following this, throughout her life, Rhinedottir created many creatures. Among them was the Golden Wolflord as well as the Rifthounds, all brought to life by her unintentionally. This goes to show that as an alchemist, not only was she knowledgeable but also powerful.
Finally, she created the dragon Durin who she referred to as her greatest creation. After this, she started the Primordial Human Project, the object of which was to create an artificial human using alchemy. This is how Albedo came into being. During the Shadows Amidst Snowstorms event, he explains that his creation was similar to the act of glassblowing, giving us insight into Rhinedottir’s actions.
What kind of person was she?
While we haven’t seen Rhinedottir in the game, the information about her is enough to give us some clues about her personality.
From the lore of the Festering Desire we get this clue:
Unborn life, unfulfilled wishes,
Tragic dreams at the edge of the universal darkness that could never come true,
Indwell my body, and descend unto this world.
Then, my lovely children,
Like rainwater flowing into creeks, and plants growing towards the sun,
Go unto a lovely place, and display your own beauty there with pride.
The is Durin’s very first memory after creation in which we can see Rhinedottir referring to him as her child. Later, he goes on to call her his mother, showing that she established a parent-child relationship with her creations.
However, this was not true for everyone. During the Primordial Human Project, there were many failures, that were discarded by Rhinedottir. Subject 2 or the fake Albedo introduced in the Shadows Amidst Snowstorms event was one such discarded experiment.
Then there was Durin. Upon creation, he was simply given the task of seeing the world and letting everyone know how beautiful he was. This can also be seen in the lore of the Festering Desire.
This is a memory, a memory that a child named Durin had of his mother…
“Thank you, Mother, thank you.”
“You gave me wings to soar and a mighty form.”
“Mother, I wish to go to a land of lovely songs,”
“I will tell them about you, Mother, and about everyone else.”
“I shall tell them that the place where I was born is beautiful.”
There was no malice in his first memory, no hate. Yet, later, after the fall of Khaenri’ah, Rhinedottir corrupted her own ‘son’ and made her attack Mondstadt. This goes to show that while she may refer to her creations as her children, she’s not beyond using them for her gain.
The Great Sinner
Rhinedottir received the title of Gold when she reached the pinnacle of knowledge and alchemic abilities. She later came to be known as the Great Sinner due to the role that she played in the downfall of Khaenri’ah or what we know as the Cataclysm.
As stated before, the Art of Khemia focused on the creation of life and this eventually caught the attention of the Gods in Celestia. Finally, the Eclipse Dynasty fell. At the end of Collected Miscellany – Albedo: Kreideprinz, Dainslief states that Albedo practices the same kind of alchemy as Rhinedottir. He even states that while he would never interfere with crisis, if Albedo were to make the wrong move, Dainslief would stop him. Even in Venti’s voice line about Albedo, he states that the alchemy he practices is dangerous.
While the Art of Khemia itself was the reason for the downfall of Khaenri’ah, as its greatest practitioner and someone who had created various beings using it, Rhinedottir came to be known as the Great Sinner.
This was also most likely due to the fact that after Khaenri’ah fell, she sent the creatures she had created out into the world. We know this from the description of Chunk of Aerosiderite.
When Khaenri’ah was destroyed, a great sinner created endless monsters with alien, dark blood flowing through their veins. They rampaged across the land, destroying all in their paths. Their lives were mutations, caused by powers beyond this world. The black serpentine dragon Durin that attacked Mondstadt was such a mutation.
Rhinedottir after the Catacylsm
We know through Albedo that Rhinedottir was alive even after the Cataclysm because it was after Khaenri’ah was destroyed that she succeeded in creating an artificial human. This was Albedo. He was her next greatest creation.
For years, he stayed with her and together the two of them travelled the world. However, during their journey, they came across an artefact known as the Heart of Naberius. Currently, there isn’t any information available on this item but after discovering it, Rhinedottir disappeared. All she left behind was one last mission for Albedo which was to uncover the truth of the world.
As of now, Albedo is currently her last known creation.
Whether Rhinedottir herself is still alive or not, we don’t know. However, considering she is from Khaenri’ah, she may be cursed with the same fate as Dainslief. This means that she is an immortal forced to remember that she was the reason for her nation’s demise. However, we can’t be sure if that actually bothers her.
After all, when speaking of her, Albedo states that Rhinedottir wasn’t someone who ever cared about nationalities or borders. She only ever dedicated herself to her alchemy and knowledge.
Though, with the current trajectory of the game’s story, there is a chance that we may see her in the future.