Ralishaz and the Creator
Date: Thu, May 09, 2013
A Tale of Blasphemy
This is a near-universal myth found in the stories of countless races and
peoples, for all that it is often banned as blasphemous (for example, the
penalty for retelling it in the Pale is ten lashings). The identity of the
Creator varies depending on the faith of the teller - it has been, in various
versions, Lendor, Istus, Rao, Corellon Larethian, Gruumsh, Moradin, Annam, Io,
and Pholtus. Sometimes the Creator is nameless, or referred to by a title such
as the Nameless One, the Maker, or the First Cause. Many in the Flanaess profess
agnosticism on the question of who originally made all things; there are so many
conflicting tales on the subject that this often seems the safest path. The
identity of Ralishaz never varies, though his appearance often does.
On Godsday Ralishaz visited the Creator of the World.
"Hello," said Ralishaz, grinning as usual. He became a beautiful maiden,
dressed to impress in a garbage sack dangling with rat skulls.
Ralishaz," said the Creator, guardedly. He didn't much care for Ralishaz. Few
"May I see what you're doing?" asked Ralishaz sweetly. He became an
emaciated twelve-year-old boy, his face buzzing with flies.
you didn't," said the Creator, trying to use his arm to hide the crystalline
model of the Outer Planes that he had been tinkering with. He overestimated the
distance and accidentally knocked Acheron off its stand. It shattered into
hundreds of tiny cubes. The Creator cursed.
simpathetically. "Perhaps adamantine wiring would hold better," he suggested
helpfully. He aged until he became a wizened old man, his naked body coated in
dust and fallen leaves.
"What do you want, Ralishaz?" the Creator said,
impatiently trying to scoop up cubes. He kept dropping them. One fell on his
foot. He cursed again.
"Oh," said Ralishaz. "Nothing in particular. Just
"What can I do to get rid of you?" asked the Creator,
coming to the point. The model of Limbo squeaked dangerously as it spun toward
"Get rid of me?" Ralishaz acted surprised. "Well, that's not
very sociable." Ralishaz was a crone now, his ragged dress hung with empty
liquor bottles. He paused, thinking. Finally he said, "I wondered if you'd like
to make a bet."
"With you?" The Creator made a face. "I don't think so."
"Oh, but you haven't heard me out," said Ralishaz. "This is a simple
bet. There's no element of chance in it."
"What's your bet, Ralishaz?"
asked the creator wearily. He wondered what had happened to his models of Sheol
and Purgatory. He hoped he hadn't lost them.
"I wondered... well, it's
silly, really, but I wondered if you've ever actually created
"What?" exclaimed the Creator. "I made the world! I made the
oceans, and the mountains! I made the skies, and the far-flung planes of
"Did you?" asked Ralishaz. "Because I've seen your plans, and
the world doesn't look like anything like them. For example, in your initial
drawings the mountains looked like perfectly smooth cones, not those lumpy,
cracked things I saw in the Crystalmists. Why, some of them were even spewing
lava, and I'm sure that wasn't in your plans. That looked positively
"You know perfectly well why the mountains are like that,"
said the Creator darkly. "You tapped me on my shoulder, and I was so surprised
that I dropped them. And then I fell on them. I was sore for
"Yes, that was terribly clumsy of you. But then, wouldn't you say
that the mountains were really created by chance, and not by your
"Chance had nothing to do with it."
shock. "What's that? Surely you're not suggesting that I'm the one who created
"Of course not, I..."
"Supplied the raw material?
Who gets credit for a sculpture, the artist who chooses the shape of the stone
or the quarryman who digs it out of the ground?"
The Creator was silent.
"Well?" said Ralishaz. "Will you take my bet?" He took the form of a
mature male of average height and appearance, his face free of expression,
venomous serpents winding about his body.
"What are the stakes?" asked
"Why, if I lose, I'll go away and leave you alone,"
"I like it," said the Creator. "And if you
"Then I'll stay and be sociable. I said it was simple, didn't
"It's a deal," said the Creator.
"Fine," said Ralishaz.
"Point to something that turned out the way you wanted it."
said the Creator.
"Really? Treacherous, full of storms, monsters, and
ice, with hidden spires of stone to enare ships, tidal waves and tsunamis,
islands unexpectedly sinking in the depths, coastlines rough as a three-day
beard? Because I recall you designing a perfect circle, with deep ports in front
of every city." Ralishaz became a young woman, dark and beautiful except for her
bright red mustache.
"Yes, well... that's a long story," said the
Creator. "One you know already, because you kept showing up throughout the
process. My chisel kept slipping, I spilled a whole pot of spicy chili in the
Solnor, and I don't know where the aboleths came from...'
"Yes, well, I
don't think we can count that one. What else?"
"Living creatures. Elves,
giants, humanity, dwarves. Orcs. Dragons. I'm particularly proud of
"All of those were your creations? Really? Then why do they treat
one another as enemies, and credit a thousand other gods for your works? Why
does each claim to be the only true race, and try to wipe out the others? They
don't seem like the products of a single creator to me."
changing. When I created humans, the sun was shining, so they saw me as a golden
being covered in light. When I created the orcs it was dark, and one of my eyes
was hidden in shadow. When I created dragons I was wearing the new scaled suit
you gave me, and my feet had somehow gotten lodged in my mouth..."
series of unfortunate accidents, then. Didn't you mean to create them all at
once? And weren't they meant to all look the same? Your plans show beings a
hundred cubits tall, with four arms and both kinds of genitalia. I've never seen
anything that looked like that."
"I accidentally cut them in half," the
Creator remembered. "And I ran out of clay after using so much on the giants and
dragons, so I had to scale them down..."
"I see," said Ralishaz. "And
disease and death don't seem to have been part of your original design.
Childbirth wasn't meant to be painful either, wasn't it? "
looked like he had bitten into a sour lemon. "Nerull and Incabulos didn't behave
as I'd meant them to. I wasn't going to make them at all until my animals
outstripped their food supply, and then they were only meant to slow things down
so that I could make more land to match the rate of their reproduction. As for
childbirth, my design originally called for..." he stopped, and sighed.
"Angels," he said. "Angels are perfect."
"Are they really? Is that why so
many of them fell from grace and became devils? Is that why they serve deities
of wildly varying alignments and make war with one another? Weren't they meant
to be strong enough to kill all the demons? They weren't even originally meant
to have wings."
"They can fly without them. They just have trouble
steering. I added them so they wouldn't constantly be crashing into things..."
the Creator paused again, and he scowled. His face turned red. "No," he said.
"No, I'm not going to lose to you! Not when the authorship of Creation is at
stake. I'm going to get rid of you once and for all, troublemaker. Born from my
first mistake, the first thing I saw that I hadn't looked for! Miscreant,
anarchist, pathetic mad thing! I'll win this bet! I'll be rid of you and
everything will be perfect, just as it was supposed to be!"
raised an eyebrow. He only had one of them at the time, so it took only half the
effort. He concentrated, and separated his monobrow into three parts. The
Creator wasn't paying attention, though. He was busy pulling out his pins. He
used one to skewer a tree, missed, and pricked his finger. He cursed, and blood
fell to the ground and spawned monsters. He tried again, and this time his aim
was accurate. Emboldened, he pinned down an animal (herd) that happened to be
passing by. Then he pinned down a bush, and a stream, and a man. Everything he
pinned became still. He pinned a cloud, and he stuck smaller pins in the
raindrops falling from it. He pinned down cats, dogs, and neo-otyughs (the story
behind the creation of the otyugh was so embarrassing that he usually pretended
it never happened). He pinned down slimes, jellies, and oozes. He pinned down
elves, dwarves, and hobgoblins. He pinned down every wave in the ocean. He
pinned down demiplanes, half-worlds, and Fading Lands. He pinned down
quasielemental planes and paraelemental planes. He pinned down gods and demons.
He pinned down Ralishaz. Finally everything in the multiverse was still.
Ralishaz raised an eyebrow. He had five of them at this point. The
Creator stuck pins in them all.
"If everything is still, nothing can go
wrong!" explained the Creator. He sneezed, and accidentally created smallpox.
"Looks like you'll have to stay still as well," Ralishaz
"I will!" said the Creator. "Nothing will move, and nothing
will change, and everything will be exactly as I intend it!" The Creator held
his breath, closed his eyes, and laid on the ground. He held himself perfectly
Ten million years passed. Nothing moved. Nothing changed. It was
precisely as the Creator had imagined.
There was, however, one problem.
It started out as an undefinable antsiness and grew over the eons until it was
an uncontrollable compulsion to do something. Anything. "Odd," he thought. "I
don't remember creating boredom."
At last the Creator sat up. He sat up
so quickly that he hit his head against the sky. Meteors rained down and
destroyed a civilization.
"Well?" asked Ralishaz. "Have I won the
The Creator sighed. He finally scratched an itch that had bothering
him for the past hundred centuries. Minute skin flakes became the first fleas.
"You win," said the Creator.
"Oh," said Ralishaz. "Oh, good. What shall
we do next?"
The Creator smiled. "I missed you," he admitted.
missed you too, big guy," said Ralishaz.