How the Rubber Tree Got Its Name

Hammers pounded against the skull of Ielroth in multitudes. Hundreds of imps hammered away at his brain as he slowly opened his eyes to the shatteringly bright sunlight. In other words, Ielroth had a massive hangover, but this was explainable as Ielroth was the god of wine and merriment.   All of Ielroth's muscles ached and were stiff. Obviously he had been exerting himself tremendously, but he didn't remember when this had happened. All he remembered was going out with Naraky , god of rogues, the day before. His memory had been drowned in several barrels of alcohol.   He concentrated on his various aches and pains and they flowed from his body swiftly. He set up to survey his surroundings and took note of the fact that he was naked and of the fact that he was in a huge opulent room filled with women dressed as he was. "Oh," he thought to himself, "that's what I've been doing."   A pile of women to his right started shaking and Ielroth smiled as Naraky crawled out from under them and squinted at the sun. Naraky detoxified himself and looked with some surprise at the women, the wine, the tattered clothes, the broken furniture, and the vast array of "toys" lying about. He grinned then he caused his clothes to materialize on his body.   Ielroth stood, willed his clothes on, and walked over to his friend. "It appears as if we've had another successful night.” he said.   "Indeed", replied Naraky, putting his arm around Ielroth's shoulders, "C'mon, let's fly away before these mortals awaken."   Ielroth agreed and soon the two gods floated over the city, surveying the damage they had caused. Surprisingly, only six or seven buildings had been damaged and only three had been totally destroyed.   Ielroth turned and made ready to fly home when Naraky suddenly cried out, "By the Progenitor! Ielroth, switch to god sight and look at the city!"   Curious, Ielroth did so. His breath caught in his throat and his mouth went dry, "I think we're in trouble."   His god sight revealed the twinkling lights of thousands of unborn godlings. "Yes, my friend," said Naraky, "It appears that we've impregnated half the women in the city in one night."
A few hours later found the two gods sitting in Ielroth's kitchen. Naraky watched as Ielroth tried his best to empty his Bottomless Wine Chalice. He had upended it over his face an hour ago and had remained that way ever since.   Naraky, who had been watching his friend with amused contempt, started to chuckle. Ielroth looked out from under the stream of wine balefully. He put his chalice down and said in a low, menacing voice, "What's so (obscene gerund) funny?!"   Naraky smiled widely and said, "I just figured it out! We broke the record! We impregnated 386,422 mortal women yesterday! That's 193,211 in one day! Each! Nobody ever broke one hundred thousand before us! Even old Diben Maraud himself couldn't have done better!"   "And that's reason to celebrate?"   "Sure! We just broke the all-dimensional record! We beat every other god in any dimension! Even the ones with the big . . . "   "My mom is going to kill me!” screamed Ielroth, "You know how she is! She thinks one half-god can disrupt the balance, what will she say about a few hundred thousand!?! I can't argue with her!"   "That's true, you can't argue with Mother Nature." replied Naraky calmly.   "Tell me about it!" yelled Ielroth.   "Would you mind screaming in another direction," said Naraky with a grimace, "you're spitting all over my face and I just had this shirt washed."   "You're the god of rogues, not fops!” bellowed Ielroth to Naraky's right.   "That doesn't mean I can't look good."   "Forget it and get back to the subject.” said Ielroth in a low, controlled voice. This time he didn't spit all over the place.   "Okay, okay. All we can do now is make sure it doesn't happen again." Naraky said, "But look at the bright side, we have a few thousand more guaranteed worshippers. That should enhance our prestige a lot."   "Yeah, but I still don't want it to happen again."   “True, let’s see . . .” he thought for a few seconds, “We could do what Pop does!”   “What’s that?” said Ielroth hesitatingly. Naraky’s “Pop” was Azgorth , the god of destruction, and it was sure to be a nasty solution.   “Well Pop tells me that,” Naraky deepened his voice and put on a scowl, “Once you finish, kill the wench.” Naraky thought again, “That does seem a little harsh, though.” Ielroth nodded his head in agreement. “Okay, forget it. I’m the god of rogues, not murderers.”   “That’s an easier solution when you compare it against what my father does.” Said Ielroth, “He sings the seed to sleep and they never wake up.”   “Understandable,” replied Naraky, “your dad is Tathos , the god of music.”   “Let’s forget about our fathers and figure out how we can do it ourselves.”   “Well, we could get the seed drunk!”   “How?” said Ielroth, “I’m the god of wine, not perversion.”   “You wouldn’t think that if you had been coherent and sober last night.”   “Shut up!” said Ielroth and he started giving Naraky a lecture on the effects of alcohol on a person’s personality.   Naraky ignored him and started thinking. Suddenly a thought entered his mind and seemed to sparkle. Naraky interrupted Ielroth’s monologue, “I have an idea!”   “What idea is this?”   “We could create a device that would prevent the seed from reaching the egg.” He then explained a device that would do this.   Ielroth agreed to try it out and they immediately brought the idea and the plan to Uth Rom , god of the forge, the Master Craftsman of the Gods.   After much cajoling, Uth Rom agreed to crate it. The great hammer lifted and fell. The sounds of the forge filled the heavens and great engines turned. Fires roared and in a few hours, the hiss of steam came out of Uth Rom’s workroom as he cooled his creation.   Uth Rom brought out his new creation and displayed it. It was a perfectly formed shaft of shining blue steel. It was polished mirror bright and possessed the glow of newly forged metal.   “By the Progenitor,” whispered Naraky to Ielroth behind hi hand, “the girl wouldn’t need a guy with that thing.”   “I know,” said Ielroth, “it looks like a weapon.”   “You know what they say about Uth Rom,” replied Naraky, “he thinks his you know what is a deadly weapon. Know what else they say?”   “What?”   “They also say he beats himself to death with it!”   Both of them laughed.  
Later they sat in Ielroth’s kitchen again, the metal thing lay on the table between them. They were staring at it with slight frowns.   “I’m not using it.” Said Naraky.   “Neither am I.” Said Ielroth, “If I did, it would have more fun than I would. I wouldn’t feel a thing!”   “The girl would.” Said Naraky with a grin.   “Shut up,” said Ielroth, “we’ve got to think of another idea. This just isn’t . . .”   Suddenly thunder boomed and rain came down outside in torrents. Lightning cracked across the sky.   “Mother’s coming.” Said Ielroth.   “I guess I’ll be leaving now.” Said Naraky as he started to stand up.   “No you don’t,” said Ielroth, “we got into this together, we’ll face the punishment together. Now sit the hell down.”   The door to the kitchen exploded inward and a seemingly young woman wreathed in lightning and sifting mist stood outlined in the doorway. Her eyes glowed red and she growled, “What have you two done?”   “Ah, milady Mutarin . How have you . . .”   “Shut up and cease the pleasantries!” she screamed.   “Would you mind screaming in some other . . .” started Naraky, but he stopped as an elbow hit his side. “You don’t need to hit . . .” he said as he turned to Ielroth.   “Shut up!” said Ielroth loudly.   “Must run in the family,” muttered Naraky as he wiped his face.   “Now,” said Mutarin, “explain and it had better be good!”   They explained hurriedly and Mutarin’s face grew angrier as they talked about the previous night’s debacle.   “As a punishment, I shall make you live as mortals for a few years. A miserable life like that should curb you for a while.”   “Now,” she continued, “how are we going to make sure that this never happens again?”   “Well, we’ve thought of a few things, but they aren’t working out.” Said Ielroth.   “Hmm,” said Mutarin, “have you considered celibacy?”   The two looked at each other, surprised. They thought for a few seconds, then said together, “Naaah.”   “I thought so.” Said Mutarin, “I guess I’ll have to work with one of your other ideas.”   “What is this thing?” she said, picking up Uth Rom’s creation. They explained and she was amused. “Okay, I see your problem, but I think I have a solution.”   She held out her hand and a substance appeared in it. “If you make your device from this, I think you’ll like the results.”   “What is it?” asked Naraky, as he examined it, noting its pliability.   “It has no name. It comes from a tree that grows far to the south.”   Soon the two gods had recreated their device and were satisfied with the results. They called their creation a rubber and soon the use of the rubber spread to all semi-civilized lands.   The other uses of the material became known and the material and the tree came to be known after their first and foremost product: the rubber.   By Chris Lontok, October 13, 1988
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Cover image: World of Wizard's Peak World Header by Gillian Galang

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