by J. Reed
This story grew out of an odd conversation I had.
| Celestial Hermit Crab.
The patron deity of seashell-wearing crustaceans.
Back when the universe was still young, and gods were still plentiful and all-a-vying for dominion over the life of the world, the pantheon of sea gods was particularly extensive... and violent. The god of mollusks, mockingly referred to as “the Spineless Tyrant” by his peers, was the predominant entity on the ethereal plane in the realm of oceanic deities. He was hated by all. His physical form varied, as do those of all gods, but since he held sway over the octopi and both giant and colossal squids, he was able to maintain a constant and domineering grip on numerous elements of the god-world, which translated into increased power for his ephemeral subjects, allowing them to flourish, and occasionally, choke other creatures out of existence on the earthly plane.
This didn’t sit well with the rest of his godly brothers and sisters. A splinter sect of the mollusks rejecting the tenets of the Spineless Tyrant, the deep sea jellyfish, whose patron goddess is commonly called “the Bioluminescent Queen,” formed a deific coalition with the twin gods of the morays, the god of the penguins, called Lord Bëk, the goddess of porpoises, by the name of grand duchess fin-fin Marine, and last of all, the hermit crab god.
The coalition quickly rallied and moved against the areas under the control of the Tyrant’s many arms. Eons of martial conflict and upheaval raged, but slowly the coalition gained ground on the Tyrant. He was eventually cornered in his celestial estate, and the coalition prepared to make the kill stroke. The forces of Lord Bëk and the Bioluminescent Queen stormed the walls before fin-fin, the twin morays, and the hermit crab god had fully marshaled their armies, hoping to gain the greater of glories.
Spies in the attackers ranks sent word to the tyrant, and vicious traps were lain. The grand portcullis of the Tyrant’s estate was left open, and in their blood fervor, neither the Queen nor Lord Bëk took notice of such a peculiarity. Once the attackers had funneled fully three-quarters of the soldiers into the courtyard, the grand portcullis was closed on them. The tyrant then produced a blinding fog of black ink, and unleashed his very best warriors, a large contingent of lesser colossal and giant squid gods; their existence had not previously been made known to the coalition forces. In the darkness and ensuing confusion, the attack halted utterly. It was a failure and a massacre. Both attackers and defenders were decimated, the Tyrant personally making an appearance on the field of battle to hew through the coalition ranks, and wound and capture Lord Bëk. The Queen escaped when her forces captured the gate mechanisms and reopened the grand portcullis. Though it was retaken soon after and closed.
The god of hermit crabs, the twin morays, and fin-fin Marine were left to finish off the Tyrant. They scaled the walls and met the Tyrant’s forces. The final battle progressed slowly. There was little headway made, so the tyrant called on a sympathetic god of man, Lucifer, for aid. The human god sent one of his mightiest lieutenants, a lesser god of man known as an angel, to help. The angel began to slay the coalition forces in great numbers with an enchanted sword of obsidian. The battle would soon be lost, so the god of hermit crabs began to fight with the angel, a true god against lesser. The angel was slain, rent apart by the god’s claws, but the angel was endowed with Lucifer’s favor, granting him a sliver of Lucifer’s own power, making him unusually potent. Before he was slain, the angel clove a deep wound into the hermit crab god, gravely wounding him.
The heavenly hermit crab, injured and near to death, cast the angel’s black sword into the back of the embattled Tyrant, pinning him to the ground. The black blade, its master newly slain, began to die also. No longer sustained by the power of the angel, the evil sword attempted to save itself by drawing in the life of the Tyrant. But it was to no avail. With every bit of life the blade absorbed, it grew heavier, until it was completely dead. An immovable stake securing a fallen god. The wound to the Tyrant was not fatal, but the life drained by the sword made him weak, and unable to separate himself from the blade.
The Tyrant’s forces were defeated, and the Tyrant himself was left to live, as to exist in eternal punishment for the oppression and murder of his brother and sister gods and goddesses. The god of hermit crabs was celebrated for his deeds, and sympathetic gods of the sky even saw fit to honor him.
In the ages since the victory and fall of the hermit crab god, he can be seen in effigy in the clouds, depicting his slaying of the angel. Annual sacrifices must be made to the hermit crab god, so as to replace the life leaching from his wound. And because the angel was a lesser god of man, humans serve as the sacrificed. They are quartered, and fed to a multitude of earthly hermit crabs, who channel the soul of the sacrificed to their wounded god and sustain his life, while celebrating the hermit crab god‘s single-handed slaying of the angel and ousting of the Spineless Tyrant.