A Rizalach is a type of elemental, created by magic users to serve them. But to understand their creation, we have to talk a bit about the Wizards.
It is said all Wizards of the times after the Cataclysm are blasphemers and destroyers of the natural order. Where once the minds of men pierced the Veil, the secrets and whimsy of demons now corrupts hearts away from truth, and to damnation. This is to be expected. The very same Cataclysm that destroyed the Old Kingdom and resulted in the destruction of all but one magical university (at Minas Mallembrog) in the North tore through three of the seven Empyrean Seals. Those same Seals prevent the armies of demons from flooding the plane humans inhabit, and if all were to break, the human race would certainly be doomed to fates worse than death.
This, of course, was not a good thing, especially for the large portions of the world so overrun with demonkind that they are referred to only as Cataclysm, in reference to the event that brought them to their present state. However, for the school of Conjuration, particularly those of the school who seek quick paths to power, this was also a great boon.
In the decades and centuries following the Cataclysm, the Conjurers grew noticeably more powerful. The reasoning for this is evident when seeing what a wizard’s panoply requires:
To cast higher level spells, the Wizard must possess at least as many of the following panoply items as the level of the spell, including their grimoire.
Talisman: A small magical trinket like an amulet, usually protective in nature.
Focus: A larger magical tool such as a staff or rod.
Familiar: A minor demon bound in the form of a small magical creature.
Raiment: Fine magical robes and garments, which proclaim power to realms seen and Unseen.
Servant: A more powerful demonic creature that has agreed to serve you.
Pact: An agreement with one of the Demon Princes of Cataclysm, or one of their lieutenants.
Sanctum: A fortified place of magical power.
A Wizard may possess multiple copies of any of these things, but ONLY multiple Pacts are efficacious at unlocking new spell levels.
Pacts, familiars, and servants are easiest to acquire for a Conjurer, more so since the walls between our world and theirs have been weakened. Theoretically, a wizard can certainly have 8 pacts be able to cast the most powerful spells in existence.
While every sort of wizard save Transmuters can cast Conjuration spells (and even Transmuters have ways to access the demonic panoply items), the gulf in the power of Conjurers and the rest of the schools at Minas Mallembrog was visible for much of Post Catclysmic history. Many hackneyed attempts were hatched by wizards of other schools to even this balance over the years. The Rizalach is one such attempt.
The Rizalach is, in essence, a fire elemental with a human soul, with the purpose of serving in the Wizard’s panoply. They were conceived some hundred years ago (few know when exactly, for reasons that will become apparent) by an Animator known as Fast Femboric and an Evoker named Courlazh the Pyrurge. Femboric’s apprentice (later colleague) Hedwes the Gilded and Courlazh’s brother Gray Hithec. Animators and Evoker of the University oppose each other vehemently, and this feud (whatever its source) likely predates this cooperative effort. However, the group was purportedly held together by Femborin and Courlazh’s love for each other.
And so these for wizards sought out to make their names and balance the inequity of power caused by the Cataclysm. It is said that when they discovered the method to create a Rizalach, each of them completed the ritual as soon as possible.
This was a very bad idea.
As has been said, a Rizalach is simply a (weak) fire elemental made to hold a human soul. Theoretically, any of the four base elements can be used, but fire was chosen since it is the element closest to the human soul. The fire itself can be created easily, so long as access to a Fire Gem is readily available. The human soul, however, is the trickier part. The Rizalach Cabal (as they were termed) quickly found that acquiring such a human soul, while certainly possible, was costly and dangerous. Furthermore, such a creation may not even be able to maintain the pretense of being loyal, and often did lash out at their creators. So they devised a method to shear a piece of their own souls off to inhabit their new creations. This required the creation to be given new “life” since it was not a whole being, but acquiring a single Life Gem, especially in those times, may well be more convenient than hunting down a suitable sacrifice. All the steps of this process can be seen in the magical gems it requires: One Fire Gem, for a new being made of such, one Death to sunder the soul in twain, and one Life to make Fire and Death whole again. Once the ritual is complete, the wizard coughs up a bit of soot and smoke, and then the new Rizalach follows out your throat, at which point they will ask for a name*.
The Rizalach in their base state (6hp) are not terribly impressive. They’re so small that you probably won’t even have to cup your hands to hold one, though they’ll insist you do if you absolutely *must* hold them. This is not recommended unless you are the wizard that created the Rizalach or otherwise have the appropriate protections, because they will singe you, but not even set you on fire unless you’re covered in oil or something. They can’t be summoned at your convenience unlike most other Familiars, and you have to carry them everywhere you want them to be, though their service as a panoply item functions regardless of distance between you. Personality-wise, they tend to be more petulant and cranky versions of their owners, and are overly concerned with their own safety, complaining about getting roughed up or jostled even if they’re not in any actual danger. They’re pretty much useless for doing things most Familiars excel at, such as finding things out or enhancing your casting. In fact ,they won’t even have any memories, so really they know nothing at all. Yes, you do have to feed them. They only have 6hp in their basic form, and they lose one every 8 hours you don’t feed them a bit of suitable fuel, and even worse is that they make ash when you do. If they’re in your body, then you either need to eat double rations or a bit of charcoal on the side to keep them fed. Worst of all, they’ll complain incessantly if you haven’t fed them yet, and often will complain about other things if you have. They’ll say they want to be in a hearth (they prefer hearths to any other receptacle), and this bronze plate is far to small for them, and ask what’s that spell you’re scribing, and say that this Saracoran fir is far to smoky for their taste- they much prefer the Stonewood oak. Basically, they’re about five times as annoying as a cat, and about a tenth as useful (at least at first). But they have a few benefits, enumerated below:
- They can be held within your own body concurrently with your own soul (sort of like two yolks in one egg) since your body is technically also their body anyway. They can also be vomited back up basically at will, though it’ll take a round. This has the added benefit of shutting them up for the people around you, though you’ll have no respite. You will detect as evil (the soul seeks to become one with itself, and the Rizalach is antithetical to existence) for as long as the Rizalach is held within you. While you won’t detect as evil without the Rizalach within, people using similar effects who stare upon you will definitely see something, though it won’t be evil. You’ll seem somehow fainter in their eyes, though exactly how so they won’t be able to tell, and most of the time they won’t know the reason. Protection from Evil and other such temporary protections won’t actually shunt them out, since your body is technically their body. Exorcism and similar spells can pull out a Rizalach, but it’ll be difficult.
- The Rizalach can be fed enough fuel to grow to the size of a hearthfire, at which point it will have 20 hp. This, combined with the above fact, essentially makes it a portable source of fire, along with all that entails, i.e. light, heat, painful burning death, etc. You could even use them in a forge, if you wanted. However, as its hp goes down, so does its size. Physical weapons won’t hurt it, but magical and smothering effects do normal damage, and water does 4d4 damage if coming out of a bucket or possessing of some similar volume. If it gets to 8hp or below, just stamping on it with your boot will do 1d4 damage to it per round.
- They’re actually surprisingly hard to kill. If one is reduced to 0hp, it becomes essentially immune to most forms of damage, and even some spells. In this form, it looks like an anemic candle flame, and doesn’t serve its purpose in a Wizards Panoply any longer (it needs at least 4hp for that). Certain spells will destroy it, but otherwise it just sits there, not even burning oxygen, not even able to talk. Even in the case of your death, the 0hp flame will burn in your corpse, or in whatever is left of it. In this state, it could even survive at the bottom of the ocean. For every year left in this state, it has a 10% chance of going out forever. For every decade that passes in this state, the chance of permanently extinguishing goes up by 5%. Feeding the flame revives it.
- The wizard who committed this act can not age past the point where they created the Rizalach, whether naturally or artificially (but more on this later), but it is unknown if their actual total lifespan is expanded indefinitely or by some unspecified non-infinite amount, simply because no wizard possessing a Rizalach
- Certain long-term benefits also exist. At 9th level, the Rizalach gains the ability to convert other magic gems to Fire Gems without a chance to fail, though each time they need to be fed up to full strength, and even doing one such conversion brings them back down to 6hp. At 11th level, they can attempt to create Fire Gems from mundane gems of value at least 14000sp, whether that be one or many. They have a 30% base chance of doing so, 40% if the gems are all warm-colored, and 60% if they’re all red. Add another 10% for every 2000sp of value over the minimum, and another 10% if the gems are all flawless. This again requires feeding the Rizalach up to full strength for each attempt, and if it wasn’t already obvious: they will complain the whole time. With the right equipment (magical kilns/furnaces) either of these processes could be improved.
- At 11th level, the Rizalach can be installed in a specially built construct to carry out your will in the physical realm. The construct has to be specially built because the Rizalach have at least 10 hp to power it, and so either a magical power source or a receptacle to insert fuel will have to be part of the construct. They can power some truly massive constructs (if said constructs are designed with a Rizalach power source in mind), like, say, I don’t know, a moving castle. Whether they complain specifically about being in this construct depends on how their “cockpit” is designed. If it is only as large as it needs to be and closed off/protected, you can bet your ass they’ll complain. If its large and open to the air (read: vulnerable), they might even enjoy it. Regardless, they will find other things to complain about.
- Finally, a Rizalach, despite their constant arguing , will always follow your instructions eventually, and always in the spirit and manner intended.
Some more on that last point. When a Familiar is bound to service, they exhcange said services for favors that you owe them. Digression: the best wizards write the best contracts or get the best familiars by actively subjugating/finding the demons/familiars they want to bind to their service, as opposed to seeking out terms on more even grounds. However, it is not so for a Rizalach. A Rizalach requires no contract, extracts no favors, and is bound to your service from its conception, because the method of its creation sort of has the contract implied. That is to say, the Rizalach can’t run counter to your desires because it is you, just in a fiery form. No matter how poorly you treat them, or what you demand of them, they will follow with your best interests in mind**. This sort of runs into the next point. You see, sundering your soul doesn’t go without consequences. While one could say that the process prevents you from aging, what it really prevents is your growing. You will always be the person you were when you completed the ritual, for better and for worse. You will not wisen with age, nor learn from life, nor mature or change as a person in anyway. If you achieve all your ambitions laid out before the ritual, you will be unable to conceive of new ones that you were willing to commit to with the same fervor as your past pursuits, perhaps even falling into deep depression. Indeed, a few cases of ambitious wizards not actually being ambitious enough has led to their downfall, as they inevitably turn to debauchery, seclusion, obliteration of the self, or all three. Your mental stats can not be raised, permanently or otherwise, by any means whatsoever. All of this applies to the Rizalach, and they are doomed to be a whinier version of you for their entire existence. That isn’t to say they don’t want to exist- they definitely do, but they know subconsciously that their existence is a diminished one. It has been suggested that this is why they fight so hard against their given directives, despite the futility; they simply hope that by doing so, they will become something more than they are, more than a part of the fool that created them, more than a side of a coin cut down the disc. This is the curse one brings upon themselves by creating a Rizalach. The Rizalach and the Wizard are always in concordance, and the Wizard is always in concordance with themselves. He or she can look back on an action they took as a result of the way they are and regret it, but they are doomed to repeat that mistake, over and over. If you love a fool when you complete a ritual, you will always love that fool. If you are a fool, then you will always be one, even as the fool you loved grows into a wise man you barely recognize.
Of course, this is all completely illegal, particularly in the eyes of the University. Technically, any form demon consultation (or demon creation, as the University classifies this particular ritual) is illegal, but most wizards both within and out of the university break such rules all the time, and are merely not stupid enough to get caught (its not even that hard. You can be pretty transparent about you’re otherworldly ties and as long as you never outright state it or give an enemy to much information, you’ll be fine). Femboric and Courlazh were not so lucky as to not get caught. It is said that the head of the College of Evocation was at that time one of those rare wizards at the upper echelons of the college that cared for the lower, and thus promoted these findings, supposedly even having his own Rizalach. Unfortunately, he or she ended up dying, and the new head was not only apathetic to his college’s success, but actively detested Femboric and Courlazh for their inter-collegiate alliance and practice of homosexuality***. As they no longer had any protection, the college of Conjuration and their allies soon hunted down Femboric and Courlazh and their respective Rizalachs and saw to it they were destroyed. Hedwes was killed, but her Rizalach was never found. Gray Hithec actually got away, and that leads to the legend of how he, with the help of his grandson, actually recombined himself and his Rizalach to become whole again****. Knowing any of this is strictly forbidden by the University, so naturally there are at least a few wizards who know about and are willing to share the story (often the ones supposed to be keeping the secret), if not the precise methods in the ritual (though they really aren’t that hard to figure out if you know the magic gem components, call it a month of research for animators and evokers, three for perpendicular branches).
*This is the only thing they won’t complain about
**Of course, the noise they make or time they waste can still fuck you over. They tend to shut up during casting though.
***Technically, all sexual relations are restricted or banned in the colleges, particularly the college of Animators. This rule (except in the case of Animators) is usually ignored, but the bans on homosexuality receive no such neglect.
****Of the whole fiasco, this is the only thing the University absolutely cracked down on destroying any trace of. They failed of course, but the actual process’s details are not known except that it is incredibly dangerous, and can be attempted at anytime, anyplace, if only one knew how.