Every world that is built by the Xiinisi (ZEE-nuh-see) produces two expressions of that world. The first expression is of a corporeal natural and is called the Root Dimension. The second expression is of an ethereal or non-corporeal nature and is referred to as the Chthonic Dimension. In the earliest stage of world building, these two dimensions overlap one another for a short while, which allows for a unique yet brief interplay of forces between the two.
One of the byproducts of those interplays involves the intersection of emotion with the physical world. Under normal circumstances, if enough inhabitants of a world fear a specific thing, a vapour pops into existence and embodies that specific fear. That vapour is called a demon.
As the early age of a world comes to an end, the Root Dimension and the Chthonic Dimension begin to drift apart. Demons, though they are born of both dimensions, consistently choose the ethereal side of their existence and naturally gravitate toward the Chthonic Dimension by passing through the world’s Nexus, a cosmic umbilical chord which maintains a connection between these two dimensions.
This may sound unusual but I assure you, this is normal in the Xiinisi (ZEE-nuh-see) universe, at least when it comes to world building. No matter what kind of world they create, each world naturally produces its own bevy of dark torments that get sucked into an attached adjacent realm and can be accessed and summoned by that world’s magic makers. However, this didn’t happen in Elish (el-ISH).
Somehow, for some reason, demons didn’t pass through the Nexus in this world and instead found a way to take corporeal form, to take the physical shape of the fear they embody. Over the span of eons, the demons that survived and lived the longest, evolved beyond even that, having taken those physical fear attributes and pushing them into humanoid forms, which is yet another mystery.
For every fear, a demon exists. Afraid of snakes? There are lots of snake demons, but few have ever evolved far enough along to become bipedal; most still slither along the ground with a humanoid face. What about things with sharp pointy bits like, let’s say, a cactus? It seems unlikely that anyone would be afraid of a cactus. Touching their spines can be painful and irritating, sure, but how do they evoke fear?
If we look at ancient Elishian (el-ISH-eeun) history, we’ll discover that cactuses were much larger in height and girth, their spines long, sturdy, and strong enough to be used to impale Elishians (el-ISH-eeunz) as an all-in-one form of torture, punishment, and execution. The fear of the cactus brought into existence a cactus demon, one of which we meet in The Forgotten Gemstone and goes by the name Istok (EYE-stawk).
Although Istok (EYE-stawk) maintains the ribbed green flesh, spines, and pups of a cactus, he is a fully formed male humanoid with an unexpected ability. He possesses magic. Whatever is pricked by one of the spines along the backs of his forearms and calves de-evolves and usually dies. Oddly, all the demons in Elish (el-ISH) possess some kind of magic power.
Let’s consider Kaleel (KAH-leel) the Rex, a puss in boots with a panache for wearing a belt made of bones. His power is rooted in charm, and he can imbue objects that make those who come into contact with them forgetful and compliant.
And then there’s Mithreel (MITH-reel), one of the oldest demons of them all, whose power is bound inside metal cups engraved with mysterious scripture which are secured to his hands, all six of them. Though his two legs remain unbound, it is obvious that this spider demon’s power is feared the most.
Whether the fear is of cats, dogs, snakes, spiders, trees or cactuses, there is a subclassification of demon that is rarely encountered in any of the worlds the Xiinisi (ZEE-nuh-see) build. Demons that fall under this type are called Abstracts, and they embody the less tangible and primal of our anxieties, like nightmares, vertigo, hunger, and death.
The death demon, Feytleel (FEHT-leel), is still something of a mystery in the story, but what is certain is that her power lives up to the fear she represents, for she can suck the life energy out of a living being with a mere touch, including the Xiinisi (ZEE-nuh-see).
And finally, there is Areel (AH-reel), the Mother of all Demons, at least that’s how the demons of Elish (el-ISH) regarded her. Known for being a chasm, a mouth of energy that spit out demons and swallowed up anything else, she vanished long, long ago and is dearly missed by her children. Yet, of all the demons, she is the only one that isn’t a true demon. Areel (AH-reel) was in fact a tear in the Root Dimension, an error in the world’s design that eventually was fixed.
As to how the demons became corporeal, why they persist in the world, and why they strive to look more humanoid will all be addressed fully in the final volume of this trilogy, The Starry Rise. In the meantime, stayed tuned for the next installment of The Xiinisi Pronunciation Guide, where I will focus on Secondary, Tertiary & Absent Characters in The Forgotten Gemstone.
Coming next: The Xiinisi Pronunciation Guide: Secondary, Tertiary & Absent Characters in The Forgotten Gemstone