Chih Shih (pronounced: /tʃi ʃi/ chee shee), called the Lord of the Sages, was one of the Nine Immortals who served the Celestial Emperor in the Celestial Empire, the dominant religion of Kara-Tur, particularly Shou Lung. He was the god of history, lore, and tradition and represented the virtues of scholarship and respect for tradition in the Path of Enlightenment. As one of the Nine Immortals, Chih Shih also held an important place in the Faith of the Nine Travelers.
According to the legendary history of Kara-Tur, shortly after the beginning of the world and humankind, the Celestial Emperor sent his great emissaries among the people, with each to teach one aspect of the True Path of Enlightenment. Chih Shih was one of these emissaries, teacher of the virtues of love and fidelity.
In the legend, nine tired travelers stopped at a poor remote inn in the dead of winter, and the innkeeper lamented he had no more food to spare. So, despite their tiredness, four went to hunt for game, four went to forage, and the last cooked a meal for the travelers, the innkeeper, and his family. Afterward, they preserved the remainder of the food to see the folk through the rest of winter. Overjoyed, the innkeeper made a gift, and a revelation—he was no mortal but the last of the old gods of the land, and he gave the land to the nine to rule. Afterward, these Nine Travelers became the Nine Great Sovereigns, and they ruled Shou Lung for thirty cycles of years. They became the first emperors of Shou Lung, and were recorded in legend as the "Nine Immortals".
Finally, the Nine Great Sovereigns, dressed as ordinary travelers, returned to the site of the inn, but found only a simple peasant's hut. The peasant, Nung Fu, welcomed them in and fed them freely, though it was the depths of winter and he had little to spare. Afterward, these Nine Travelers offered a gift in exchange for this hospitality, and presented Nung Fu with the Emblems of Authority. They took him to their courts, investing him as emperor of Shou Lung. This marked the start of the Third Age of Shou Lung, the beginning of the calendar in Shou Year 0 (−1250 DR).
The Nine Great Sovereigns were then the Nine Travelers once more. The tales disagree as to what became of them after that. According to some, they simply faded away. To others, they went with the gods into the heavens. More tell that the Nine Travelers still wander Shou Lung to ensure that rulers respect the memory of Nung Fu, and that innkeepers take good care of their guests.
As one of the Nine Immortals, Chih Shih had two aspects: one as a vast dragon, the other a man who was aged and fat, with a bushy white beard but a bald head. A raven-eyed raven perched upon his shoulder.
Chih Shih bestowed knowledge on those who exhibited great academic skills.
Chih Shih was commonly prayed to by scholars, seers, storytellers, teachers, and everyone who enjoyed history and legend. Scholars regularly petitioned him to settle arguments between them about the details of little-known historical events.
Chih Shih was the great-great-grandfather of was the dragon lord Men Lung, and the great-great-great-grandfather of the dragon lord Mei Lung, the Grand Historian.
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The Nine Immortals
Ai Ch'ing • Chan Cheng • Ch'en Hsiang • Chih Shih • Fa Kuan • Hsing Yong • Kwan Ying • Nung Chiang • Shu Chia
The Lesser Immortals
Jade Ladies • Ladies of Compassion • Lords of Karma • Mad Monkey • Moon Women • Rice Spirits • Spirit Warriors
The Sages • Ancestors • Spirits