Monday, November 28, 2016

Sam (Short Story)

My name is Sam.  Samael.  Your Uncle Sam.  Y'know, the Devil. You can also call me Satan.  And no, it's not my fault.

If you've got the fear of God, you probably have some harsh words for me.  If you got some issues, you probably think I'm an excuse to be an asshole.  Probably.

But for a few people, I've always tried to help.  Every day I visit the same coffee shop on the corner.  The name has changed so often over the years, I just think of it as that coffee cafe in my head.  The sign still says coffee on it, even a hundred years after it opened.

I like to sit there and think.  I stand and just look out at the people.  The place sits at the intersection of Hecate Avenue and 13th street.  A crossroads.  My kind of place.

That day, I knew I was going to help free someone.  Freedom is what I do.  That's me, Sam.  Freedom guy with coffee staring at people.  Not awkward at all.

The dark man at the crossroads.


I blinked out of reverie.  The cafe feels crowded.   Coffee.  So many people in line.  Lines.  Tired.  Sleepy.  My head drifted away.  Someone or something was calling my attention.

"Hey, excuse me?"

These people work too hard.  Chained.  They all looked like they wanted to break free.

"I can't free them all,"  I told myself.

"Hey?!  Can you hear  dude?"  A woman's voice woke me from my reverie.  Her voice.  No, his voice, I reminded myself.  He had his own chains too.

I then looked up.  A barista offers me a towel.


The young woman's bright blue hair matches that one smile.  That smile trained by months of serving other overworked Americans.  This was their temple, their morning  in service to their corporate gods.  The blue haired woman was a priestess.  A priestess whose libations of coffee made the great chained rack of American corporatism go round.

"Your coffee, sir, don't you want to clean up a bit?  Are you ok?"

I looked down.

"Ah."  The contents of my own beverage steamed hot, up from my dark black slacks I'd chosen to wear that morning.  "Oops. Sorry if I've caused problems...?"

The barista gestured at his name tag.  Julia.  The lock on her chains, not that he saw that.  He felt it.  I could tell.

" just been staring- you always come in here, and this is the first time I've ever seen you spill your cup."


"Oops."  I wiped up hot coffee and creamer.  "Jules is it?"

"Is there anything else I can do for you sir?"

"Do  believe in the devil, Jules?"  I let the old tone enter my voice.  The one that always made them curious.  The question mark hung in the air.  Almost manifest and real.

"My name is Julia.  And..."  The barista tries to look away from my eyes.

She can't.  She sees the black there.  The redness.  My dark hair.  For a moment, I see it  her face.  Then she reverses herself.

Not her.  Him.

"And no, I don't."


"Besides," Julia busies himself helping wipe up my spilled coffee from my table. "There isn't a devil.  Not a single one.  There are at least three different beings mentioned in the bible."

"Religious?"  I ask. I already know the answer.

"No, but I like to know what people try to sell me."

"Ah."  I grasped his hand.  It looked feminine.  "This is a crossroads, Jules.  People meet me here.  Tell me, do you want to be free?"

The makeup and clothes he wore, they were chains.  I could see the green flecks of jealousy he had toward me.  The same look an imprisoned person has for a free one.

I dressed this way on purpose.  I looked like a man.  Everything in my clothes, masculine.  The look in the young woman's eyes was jealousy.  Annoyance to be trapped.  And fear to be free.

"Let go of me."  He said.  His voice growled.

"Do you want to be free?"  I repeated.

"Why?"  Julia asked.

"Say one believes there is an order to the universe.  I can change that.  Don't you want to see your chains broken?"

"Alright.  Do you mind letting go of my hand now...?"

I let go of the woman's hand.  Chains, even pretty ones that look like nail polish and lipstick are still chains.  I felt the chains.  All of them.  They jingled at my power.

"Sam.  I am Sam.  To some folk, you must obey the order. The rules.  That you kneel when they say.  They tell you that anyone who defies the order of the world, why, they are evil.

"One gives knowledge of fire.  And other secrets  some from the cold, knowledge that bends the order of the universe.  Who does that?  A snake.  I am the snake.  And I break chains.

"But what of the reverse, Jules?  What if the one who defies the order of the universe doesn't want personal gain?  What if the devil wants to help?"

"What about souls?"

I cocked an eyebrow.  Always with this flap trap.

"A metaphor.  But why would the devil want that?  What if the devil wants to see what you become if given the chance to be what you want?  What if he breaks the chains that hold you back?  You have so many chains on you right now."

Jules shrugs.  I seemed to have spent the barista's allotted time for bullshit.  I smiled.  He moved to walk away.

"Thank you for listening,"  I say.  "Be free, Jules.  Your chains are broken."

"That isn't my name."  He says.  He pauses, feeling his throat.  It sounds deeper.

Jules stares at me.  The female body melted away as my power flowed.  Each chain shatters as my power  Jules' female body into a male one.  Surprise on his face, his blue hair  that.

Exhausted, I slumped back.


I waved a hand as I stood up.  I walked away.

Too tired to talk.

Uncle Sam, the devil, whatever I was, had freed one person. It exhausted me.  But maybe that would be enough.

One chain at a time.  Jules called after me and I left the Crossroads.  Others had need of me.

"One day, it'll be enough."

Friday, November 25, 2016

Inksketches, Week of November 26th 2016

Oh carp.  This past week I kinda punted on the blog a bit.  Oops.

I didn't mean to do that.  Thanksgiving and trying to recover from some other things kept me from updating this thing like I mean too.  I still managed to get back on the art horse, so, here are the things.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

I'm open to suggestions for these things, though I don't promise to do them.

If you want me to art you something specific, consider commissioning me.  Send an email to and we can work something out.  ;)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Inksketches, November 18th 2016

Demons, Cyberwood and other things.  I took this week off work as part of #DesertBusX.  I needed the time off and tbh, Desert Bus is awesome.  So this is my "vacation" art.  
On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

This was me just riding the demon thing a bit more.  I asked a friend for a subject for something demonic.  Designing seals is one of the funner bits demon stuff lets me do.  I've always liked goetic keys and similar iconography.  They are brilliant abstract pieces of art.

Here is the lines for the piece, which I imagine are just as good as the colored version:

A Desert Bus for Hope submission.  Only one I really felt like doing,  The art challenges are interesting parts of the whole thing.  The target was to present a positive vision of humanity's future.  I think I did, but the winner of the challenge was pretty good too.

"This cyberherb obsesses over human civilization and humanity in general. It is a medicinal herb with some culinary uses. However, autorue also is fairly poisonous in large amounts. Hepatotoxic, it can lead to live failure. Autorue knows this. The cyberplant infests human settlements heavily. It will often fling sprigs of its own flowers into human foods as often as possible.

If one sleeps in the open, there is a risk that autorue will poison the sleeper. Those aware of the danger wear mouth coverings to protect against autorue sprigs being put down their throat. Those unaware often find the claim they must fear the "Rue"ridiculous.

Autorue cannot grow in some colder climes. But most often it can be found around human settlements, and as those numbers decline, so do the number of active autorue to be found around them. The plant seems obsessed with curtailing human numbers."

Something from the ever-growing secret #Cyberwood project.

 Character design.  Someone from a bit of flash fic.  Kinda interesting to see how it turned out.

Oh. I have no idea what this is meant to be. It feels eldritch-ish, but I don't know. Just felt like it had to come out.

As for the phrase "waking mountains"... My best guess on this one. Maybe this is a mountain spirit. Maybe a totem of some kind?

Or just a giant thing? IDK. Just seemed worthy of being my arts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Seals, Juveniles and Names.

After reading through most of your papers, I see our first great filter has past us.

I imagine most of you
noticed how many of your classmates aren't here.  As it always happens in demonic studies, research on Larvae has changed half of this class.  They decided they can't handle further studies in this field.  They found something they can't stomach, a truth that made them unable to keep going.

Is it because you have stronger stomachs?  Or is it because of costs?  I'll be honest with you, these studies have driven many away, regardless of field.  Interactions with demons have forced battlefield medics to commit suicide.  The most hardened emergency room doctors experience mental breakdowns in their situations with them.

I need you to understand.  Only a few can stomach this material.

Now, back to the next stage of the demon life cycle.  You've already dealt with the dark parts of the larval stage.  Now we move onto the phase where demons diversify.  The juvenile stage varies greatly.  Among demonologists, it is referred to as the Imp stage.

What defines demons at this phase is intelligence.  Larva are able to sense and form plans, but are animals in their thinking.  But demons that form groups and work together, they begin to do so as Imps.  A group of such demons is called a Host.

Upon entering a host, the host gives a larva or imp their first name.  A mix of ultrasonic, infrared and noises, a name has a critical importance.  The rest of the host can speak that name.  A demon's biology affixes to that name.  It serves as a call for them.  For demons, this forms the basis of their strategy and tactics as a Host.

But for imps, their names are still somewhat mutable.  Older demons have a harder time resisting their name.

But Imps are able to resist their own names.  Older demons can be bound or commanded through the correct use of their name.  Imps can resist that.  As they age into their adult and later stages, they become more and more controlled by their name.

Remember that by their nature, humans can't pronounce demonic names.  Being able to repeat them can be a useful defense.  But Imps can ignore that.

Imps, like most demons, grow in response to humans doing the evil acts that hatched them.  Imps and later demons are able to feed off more broad emotional stimuli.  But the stimuli must all still share the same root dark act that hatched their spores.

The Imp stage doesn't last long, not if the Imp finds a suitable Host.  When an Imp develops its own seal, that marks their transition to full adulthood.  A seal, unlike a name, is something all Demons have.   A host often will collect their seals together, as they can function like their names.  A seal can summon that demon, command them, as well as empower them.

The downsides to having a Seal is how it constricts a demon.  They all must obey their seal.  A few demons have attempted to erase their seals from existence.  But they failed.  Seals function the same as imagination does for humanity.  It is an inherent part of their psychology and lives.

Now, we will spend the rest of this lecture on how to identify and utilize seals.  With a bit of effort, they can help defend against demons.  But this is the riskier part of this work, as a misused seal can summon the wrong demon...

Monday, November 14, 2016

Inksketches, November 11th 2016

So, I might have had a bit of a hard time last week.  I turned to an old habit to escape a bit.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.


From Tuesday thereafter, I spent my mindspace with demons.  Whenever my life has felt very rough, I turn to arting up demons as an escape.  You can guess why Tuesday's image became so dark.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I spent thinking on demons.  I don't believe in the supernatural.  I'm a materialist.

But in the case of demons, I enjoy their fiction.  AND I love them as a metaphor for the worse parts of human nature.  Demons are something we create.  Imagining a thing that can be slain, confronted, that makes some evils easier in my head.  Especially when it's something I can't change on my own.

I don't believe in Demons.  But I can get behind the metaphor.  To help keep me from drowning.  Art and stories have that benefit.  A way for the mind to go without snapping.

Here's this week's art.  Sorry this was late.  Been busy.

Cyberwood.  An attempt at one of the Great Shiro (mountain-sized, sentient fungi that take shape of animals).  Not sure if that comes across.

Deviantart page for this is here.

Cyberwood.  Grafting.  A magic system of sorts in the Cyberwood, wherein humans put cyberplant matter into their bloodstream and gain powers for a time.  Still working on what that means in the fiction of the Cyberwood, but this is an attempt to show how I think one such graft could look.

Deviantart page for this is here.

Cyberwood.  Even the houseplants became weapons after the CMV came.

Deviantart page for this one is here.

This covers my feelings on the election.

Deviantart page is here for it.

Found a neat pic of a Walrus.  Made a demon.

Not much else to tell.  Just trying to manifest my feelings into a demon.

The Gajasura is an elephant-headed demon from Hindi mythology.  Gibborim is one of the plethora of names for the half-angel giants of the bible.  Ja, two weird sources for a name.

I imagine that this demon represents greed and deception somehow.  This is a demon who flees in the face of something small, tiny and truthful.  But it has three mouths, each spewing lies.

It doesn't care who drowns in its filth.  A parasite that poisons all around it.  It has grown and grown.

So big this worm, it seems impossible to stop.  So large its smokestacks make the sky the color of the apocalypse: red.  This is the bringer of the end, a worm whose filth is left to poison the earth.

Sporelings and Larva.

I glanced down at the hole in the drywall. I felt a sign coming.

"They say they saw it before it burrowed into the wall," Maria told me. "Could it get far?"

The residents of the apartment complex had called for us after the third kid had gone missing. This particular block had an old history with demons. The United States Multiversal Survey only had five people devoted to this sort of thing. Maria and I were the only ones on this side of Rockies able to respond.

"I'm just glad the Deb redirected it to us." I rubbed my face. "The last thing we need is some local law enforcement to get involved."

"Henri, are you sure this is a demon?" Maria's voice shook a bit.

"What do you think?"

"There is plenty that points in that direction. But I've seen too many fake calls. This could just be a raccoon or something."

"It melted the drywall, Maria." I paused. "You trained with the Witch. This is demon larva. It has to be."

"Sporelings don't have to be near humans to grow. The Larva has to take in larger amounts of what they need to grow." Maria recounted. I could sense part of the disgust in her voice.

Maria thought all Demons were monsters. They disgusted her. It meant she wouldn't stop in hunting them if they were dangerous. But it meant I had to always keep some stuff from her. Things she couldn't understand.

"Larva have some intelligence. They can observe and make plans. This place... It has long had a bad contamination of spores in it. Larva appears once every few months."

"Few months?" Maria gagged. "We have to come here that often?"

I rolled my eyes. "Most larva can't survive that long, Maria. Or what they need isn't necessarily something related to humans. Some get away with cats or dogs. Others, find old appliances. I remember one that collected baby toys."

"Baby toys?"

"Mostly the kind that hurt or poisoned the kid." I tapped the wall, looking for more evidence of hollowing. "The essence of the sin, that they feed on."

"So we go and kill this thing then. I've never seen a slaying."

"Maybe," I said.

"Maybe?" Maria sounded confused.

"Well, it depends on how dangerous it is. And whether or not we can kill it. And it could be self-aware. Intelligent. Humanly so. Other locals might already have acclimated to it."

Maria held up a sledgehammer.

"And formed a host?"

I took the sledgehammer from her. My tattooed hands clenched tight to it.

"Yep. Or a local host added it. In which case, I don't want to be around. A pack of demons isn't something we can handle."

"We'd have to call the entire service together." Maria agreed.

"Or have the director bring in a contractor." I sighed.  Cutbacks.  They kept underfunding the USMS.  Things like demon removal seemed like polite fictions to Congress.

A few swings later, we broke through the drywall. Something slimy hung in the crawlspace through it. A small child stuck to an inner wall, shaking. Black slime hung it up. Maria took the child away.

I knelt next to the thing shivering in fear at us. The size of a large dog, the demon looked like a horribly mutated octopus. Its head had four mouths. Five canine eyes poured out tears.

"Scared." I sighed. "You didn't know you did, did you?"

Old memories came back to me. A childhood friend. Old demons I'd had known. Maria would think it crazy, but I didn't like this part of our job. Demons weren't evil. They were a symptom. But ones like this, they had to be put down. They were too dangerous to leave for others.

"Ysssstyki!" It mumbled at me.

"Yep." I shook my head. Then I slew the demon. The sledgehammer ended it quick. After that, I took off my hat. I took a long swing from my flask. It kept me from vomiting.

Then I pulled out my phone to call it in.

"Henrietta Hope calling in a Slaying. Yes." Pause. "Of course, I can wait for the scan."

A few moments later, I ended the call.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Before you ask more, it's one of the basic facts we understand about Demons.  The other is that they must be extraterrestrial in nature, yet the Scientific community has remained silent on investigating or even confirming it.  Of course, that could be due to the same infliction all serious studies of this sort have.

But back to what I had been saying.  Spores.  Write it down, it'll be on the test.

And there you go, you now understand the second step of Demonic development.  No, it isn't writing.  It's getting a subject to do some action they've suggested.

Religious texts have long referred to this as temptation.  But this isn't a theology course.  I've monitored this process a few thousand times, and never have found any particular texts helpful.  Not in precise ways.  Superstition is guesswork.  This is science.

Demonic spores require sentience to form sporelings.  The spores react to any sentience.  Sentience, not intelligence.  Any life that can sense something, the spore reacts to.  They then grow.  And grow and grow.  But first they need a host to act.  To sense something.  Anything.

Demons are parasitic.  Their spores have the most basic facet of their digestive process.  A spore needs little to provide the spark and energy that enables the spore to form a sporeling, a raw collection of cells that implant themselves inside or upon their host.  Demonic cells each work to drip drop by drop material into their hosts.

They spike emotions, or in life without them, find ways to agitate.  They whisper incoherently into the host's subconscious.  The host whispers back.  The demon, is a blank slate.  Even demonic DNA seems to lack speciation as we find it in terrestrial life.  They can alter it.

We still struggle to understand the mechanism of that.  Demonic proteins react to their hosts, becoming whatever horrors their host's subconscious informs them.  But we don't know how they alter their DNA to enable that.  A demonic spore isn't a specific demon.  Its host makes it into whatever demonic species we think we can categorize them in.

In time, the sporeling grows from of the negative wash of the subconscious host's emotions.  Demons grow faster in reaction to negative emotions.  They triple in size.  Eventually a sporeling reaches the larval stage.  By this point, it no longer needs a host.

There are some conditions that can drive demonic spores to remain dormant.  They are not deleterious to their first hosts.  But their first hosts shape what they'll grow into.  This facet means demons often are a reflection of other wrongs, not the cause.  This contradicts classic superstitutions.

Tomorrow's lecture will go over the proper conditions for the spread of demonic spores and their prevention.  Questions?

No?  Then class is dismissed.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Inksketches, Week of November 5th 2016

Inktober ended this week.  And I did an artjam with a friend.  Another week of arts.  Here they are, if'n you are needing that fix.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

One of the things I tried to put in more of my Inktober pieces this year is some sort of storytelling.  As much as one can with undead doing... uh, undead things.  I have no idea why I went with a bear-headed undead.  There isn't one in mythology.  In my notes, I just referred to the thing as "the Bearganger."  But Ursaganger could work too. 

From my caption:
The creature with a bear skull saved her. She stood shocked. The smell of rot made her want to barf when the thing with a bear skull turned to her. 

"Are you alright?" A deep voice asked.

Jen for her part, forgot about her bike. Her mom would berate her for losing in the woods. But Jen just didn't want to have that happen again.

The last prompt was "friend" and as a friend completed Inktober for the first time this year, I asked her if I could use her image for my last undead-inktober piece.  We've been reinforcing the art habit between ourselves.  It turned out great, it's probably my favorite this year.

Innovation-wise, it also is a synthesis of what has changed in my technique over this inktober.  Shading and monochromatic styling

"Some undead are friends of nature, not its defilers."

An artjam with Kyrafairy.  Experimental, really.  She added the cat.  And the yellow is her fault.  I hate yellow.  It shouldn't be a color.

 Based off Crooked River bridge near the Dalles Oregon, this pic starts out a series of #Cyberwood themed pieces.  I don't know how many, but the idea (partly inspired by Inktober, to be honest) is to give me something to have a focus art wise for my daily sketches.  

The Cyberwood is a concept and project I'm still letting boil away in the back.  Core to it is a contagion that causes an ecological shift, creating cybernetic plant life.  

 "A rabbit-headed Shiro, one of the many voices in the wood. The intelligent fungus explores the wood by sound and music, unaware that animal life can even feel pain."

"Long ago the Firewall robots fell trying to keep back the Cyberwood's infestation."

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Before. (A Letter)

Dear Ciara,

The memories of it, they are different for me.  Our kind, our species, we don't remember well.  But for me, I remember.

I bear his memories.  The memories of all those who followed him.  And her.  And them.  A hundred, thousand generations of bipedal apes who walked this earth.

I remember how it happened before.  It always has happened before.  You think this, this is your great disaster.  That those on the other side, they must be your greatest foe.

"Why, they are fools," you tell yourself.  You and those on your side agree with you!  What more do you need to know?

The earliest memories I have are of a young boy lost in a snow-covered wood.  Naked.  Alone.

Cold, the boy shivered.  Lost, he thought himself dead.  Worse, he was come upon by a pack of wolves.  White creatures with hungry eyes.  Sharp teeth.

But the boy survived.  I have his memories, from over a hundred thousand years ago.

Rome had such brutality to it.  But there was an egalitarian air there.  You and your people would've thought it like Boston or New York.  The scheming, the manipulations.  But there was a day where one man took a step forward that some couldn't stand for.  Shakespeare wrote of it.  But there were angry people then too.

I remember them, those people who chanted Caesar's name.  They didn't care about principle.  They weren't rational.  But they weren't fools.  People are never fools, just incapable of wisdom at times.

My ancestor, that boy, survived the wolves.  Not by dominating them.  His fear subsided by a deeper urge.  Where beasts growled, the boy growled back.  Wolves don't have opposing political parties.

He learned what a community was from them.  That one pays a price so that the whole can be better.  And sometimes, you can't see that price.  Sometimes that price is something you can't stand to pay.  Yet one pays it.

The night Andrew Jackson won his election, I have memories of that too.  You think of the trail of tears, and the other countless things Jackson heralded, don't you?  The rise of slavery to something industrial.  A violent man who rose from angry populists.

But, he still won an election.  An election that your people had opened up to more than before.  Many still lacked a voice.  But those with new voices screamed his name that night.  And I remember how dangerous their celebration had been.  Even in getting what they wanted, the people can become monstrous rather than satisfied.

Wolves are a community.  The boy did something that perhaps is what many tales come from.  He learned how to be a wolf.  He fashioned a pack of his own around him.  He mastered politics, magick and more.  He took on a name and a mask.  A mask that would carry the lesson learned that cold winter through the centuries.

Community.  After all the politics and anger and violence and everything else, you still must be part of it.  It isn't forgiveness.  One must still work with those they must, even if they revile them.  Because it is necessary.  Because it is right.

We have done this before.  History repeats itself.  Make sure not to drown in the storm.


C.L. or, as they call me, the Wolf God.