Out of all higher beings, the smartest one is Lolth. Or Leylat, or Lilith, or whatever you want to call her. All the other higher beings are aware of this to some degree. However, this does not mean that she is particularly clever. She's simply, only, intelligent.
Lolth is not conniving or scheming. In fact she is unusually honest as far as higher beings (notorious liars and cheats) go. However, she is extremely meddling. Lolth will not leave anything alone once she knows it exists, because she constantly has ideas about how to improve things and does not see any reason to be "tactful" about making these improvements. Lolth will not make suggestions or teach you anything, she will just Make Your Thing Better, because that's what she likes doing, completely alienating you from it in the process.
Very few of Lolth's improvements actually make sense to anyone. That fact that she never explains what she's doing doesn't help. A lot of her methods vaguely seem correct, but when you look at the result, it just seems wrong and unfamiliar. It's like looking at a cold dead squid. A squid that the universe inexplicably seems to keep rewarding for existing while it callously trods on the things that you're fond of.
This is why everybody hates Lolth.
|Art by Jenő Gyárfás, 1881|
Cults dedicated to Lolth:
- The Mesobarrine Scientivists are the kind of people who think that 'science' has a period to put behind every sentence of life. If you nit-pick and rasterise and shear away nonsense hard enough, they say, there is some kind of perfect existence to be found. An über-life path, completely determined and 'rational' which would immediately substantiate world peace and perfection, if only everyone would follow it.
So far their methods to achieving this goal are comprised of shrieking at old people in nightly alleys like ghasts, and publishing lengthy 'daring critiques' of century-old religious texts.
- The Peregrine Club, an amateur writers' collective, spends its days in a dingy harbour town parlour, members preening themselves as they peer over books from the local store and nitpick like magpies at every piece and phrase. They don't bother to read them through first, or waste time on figuring out where the books actually came from. They just grab their hammers and overturn the box of nails. None of them have finished anything of their own, but it's sure to come soon and when it does it'll be...well it'd have to be perfect, really.
- The Circle for Exceptional and Gifted Children is a self-proclaimed "school-adjacent ensemble ensuring children's full use of their intellectual gifts." What they are, actually, is a gaggle of parents whose children aren't quite what they want them to be: too lazy, too slow, too distracted, too opinionated, and the list goes on. After all, they are the parents, so they'll damn well decide what part of their offspring is intelligence (the part that looks like them) and what part is indolence (the part that doesn't look like them).
Schools regularly hire off-duty factory workers to repel the Circle for Exceptional and Gifted Children from their premises.
|Art by René Magritte, 1952|
Common Lolthic myth claims that after perfecting the surface, Lolth travelled underground to find more flawed things to correct, and that in her absence the upper regions have slouched back into disarray. However, this myth is often contested by the account that the other higher beings told her something really, really bad was down there that she had to see, to get her out of their hair, and that she has been fruitlessly searching for it in the bowels of the earth ever since.
Curiously both agree that Lolth is situated somewhere deep underground. Whether this is a metaphor for the obscurity of absence, or for death, or whether it is meant more literally is anyone's guess.
There is a theory among worshippers of Lolth that she has created a sanctum of perfection far under the earth, and that the Underdark is an imperfect 'spill' outwards from this legendary "Rose of Lolth": a sequence of imitation and bastardisation of Lolth's work by lesser things. Imagine that you copied the genius kid's homework shoddily, and then someone copied yours, and so on and so on until it became unrecognisable and completely broken. That sequence of horrors would be the Underdark.
Others say that the Underdark is Lolth's work. The thought of this theory being true scares most people, because that means either Lolth has gone off her rocker completely, or the shit that crawls around in there is somehow perfect. Come to think of it, the abominations of the Underdark are all frighteningly long-lived and resistant...