The Magic Tree


The best of the web – magical, mythical and majestical! Fantasy and Mythic websites and materials/downloads. Roleplaying, Tabletop and Esoteric Games.


Colloquially known as "mind flayers," illithids universally elicit images of horror and fear in the minds of surface dwellers and underworlders alike. Illithids shock and repulse other races due mostly to their practice of cephalophagy, otherwise called brain-eating. This abominable habit has such power to appall that the saying, "The 'flayer hasn't eaten yet!" was coined centuries ago to convey hope in the face of near-impossible situations.
An illithid is comparable to a human in height and general build, but it possesses sickly, violet skin that glistens with ubiquitous mucous. Its hands have only three fingers plus a thumb, and its eyes are dead white, seemingly devoid of pupils. Most ominously, an illithid's bulging head contains four grasping tentacles surrounding a circular mouth ringed with many teeth. Illithids generally live in subterranean colonies, as they hate the sun and all creatures that live in its light. Their mental abilities are formidable, and they feed on the gray matter of all other sentient creatures. These mental powers also grant illithids an innate telepathy. They communicate silently, although illithids often punctuate their mental conversations with lashing tentacles.
Mind flayers dress in flowing, dramatic robes and cloaks, and they often sport high, flaring collars and dark hats. Decorations adorn their clothing, most often interpreted as signs of death and despair by their victims. These accoutrements actually signify individual achievement in the psionic sciences and proclaim an illithid's Creed (faction) within its own community.
A race of bastard children, hidden beneath the world by their progenitors, refused to go gracefully into oblivion. Instead, marshaling their strength—and bound together by their mutual hate for their creators—they mastered mentally latent powers resulting from their mutant heritage. Led by the strongest minds among them, illithid and Lugribossk, the mutants rose unbidden and utterly destroyed their creators. These creatures took the name of one of their heroes and spawned the illithid race. —Excerpted from the Astromundi Chronicles.
Though the text remains an interesting source, sages and other scholars have pointed out "suspect" sections of the Astromundi Chronicles. For instance, other sources plainly list the entity called Lugribossk as a proxy of the illithid god Ilsensine. Also, no other source has ever mentioned an individual with the name Illithid; some fanciful storyteller must have created it from "whole cloth." Finally, the proposition that illithids are merely mutant humans seems a rather simple explanation for a host of contrary lore—the least of which is the fact that illithids are hermaphroditic amphibians, while humans are mammals. All in all, this author looks dismissively upon the Astromundi Chronicles' claim to explain illithid origins.
Next, let us look to standard mythological sources. Several creation myths in alternate lands and worlds mention creatures that are no doubt illithids, and some even go so far as to give illithids a definitive origin.
"... and the union of Father Sky and Mother Earth produced robust issue, numberless in diversity and attributes. Each child founded its own abode in the cosmos according to its nature, temperament, and ability; in later epochs other creatures regarded these beings as gods....
In turn, these gods in their vast realms applied desire to the empty spaces within the celestial firmament, forming worlds each according to its own desire. For the first time, the efforts of one god crossed the purposes of another; thus was strife born.
More so than other beings of its ilk, one entity, called Ilsensine by its siblings, strove always to knock down what was raised up, fill what was hollowed, and break what was lovingly fashioned by others; whenever convention was established, Ilsensine strove always against it.
In time, creatures possessed of mortal frames and self-aware, minds appeared within the firmament—the creation of an unnamed deity or the result of a generative impulse of the firmament itself. As was its nature, Ilsensine soon loosed a counter-creation, designed to subordinate, control, and consume all of these mortal races.
Thus it was that the illithid race appeared as a curse upon—and between—the many worlds. —Elven Creation Myth
Certainly the creation myth reprinted here is more in line with origins ascribed to many other races and peoples. Sages cannot deny the existence of a being named Ilsensine residing in the Outer Planes, as described more fully later in this tome. Reliance upon the Ilsensine creation myth as the utter truth relieves seekers from odious searches, translations, and the cross-referencing of abstruse concepts among dusty texts of questionable value. However, an easy route to knowledge does not always guarantee accuracy. Perhaps some element of truth lies in each of the foregoing texts, from which the logical mind can deduce milestones pointing towards the real story.
In any event, one thing is clear: Illithids existed prior to recorded history. Sometime during this hidden incarnation, the mind flayers founded a multiplanar empire.


Post a Comment