Since this is the month of Halloween and it’s a holiday with roots in the dead (ancestors or saints), I keep thinking of demons that have associations with those kinds of themes: death, the supernatural, a taste of horror.
And the two types that come to mind immediately are the valyysk and the kresvyk.
The valyysk because of their association with “vampiric” monsters. I’ve always been leery of referring to them like that, not because they can’t absorb the life force of other creatures, but because of the connotations associated with the term “vampire”, especially with the new supernatural romance genre in Young Adult Literature.
And the kresvyk because of their bloodier tendency toward apparent slaughter. I’ve also been leery of explaining them, not because I mind their nature, but because it easily fits into the theme of “demons-as-ruthless-monster.” And that’s not really how I see my demons.
The catch is that some of their more demonic designated traits are derived from a human point of view, which boils down to biological differences that inform different species’ cultural perspective.
For example, valyysk did not generally devour life-force energy in the Tree, or if they did, the energy would last longer and the life-force devoured would be only a small drop out of the creature’s life energy.
In contrast, the creatures on the earth have a much weaker energy frequency. So if valyysk decided to devour a morsel of a life-force, she would consume a greater quantity out of the creature’s overarching life-force.
So what on the Tree would make someone feel woozy for five to ten minutes, takes a greater toll on the earth creature’s life; their vitality is sucked up much faster. Plus, the weaker frequency means a valyysk would need to feed more constantly, since it couldn’t substain her for as long anymore. To humans, this need would appear excessive and dangerous.
Additionally, valyysk are not really life-devourers at all. Their best skills lay in seeing into other creatures’ innermost heart; they draw out and see what’s inside others. They have strong associations with shadows, illusions, blending the two around the desires of others.
Can you see how this trait, this seeing into human hearts and their ability to weave illusions would only make humans more suspicious and distrustful of them? Even Tree demons wouldn’t like anyone seeing into their innermost heart, but humans could very claim this valyysk trait as some kind of curse. It would not make them dangerous but allegedly deceitful.
The same situation is applicable to kresvyk. They didn’t slaughter other demons the way they do on the earth because of biological differences between Tree creatures and earth creatures. On the Tree, the creature’s and demons are sturdier; those on the earth are less so.
Admittedly, mountain demons and chthonic demons are two of the most durable earth creatures. As a result, kresvyk that survived the destruction of the Tree had high rates of interbreeding and intermingling in their communities
(Iksva interbreed and intermingled best with fire and water demons, and vukor adapted into a new type of demons, but I’ll save that for some later entry.)
In contrast, humans do not have very good skin to protect from claws or teeth. But kresvyk skin and bones and claws and teeth have greater density. So what to another Tree demon would leave a scratch or maybe a deep scar would eviscerate a human’s gut. A kresvyk’s violence hinges on their biological difference from humans.
And this human perspective (along with the fear and distrust they would see in the kresvyk’s blood-cycle) would condemn kresvyk for what, to them, is their special admirable gift.
I’ve always been generally cautious about explaining my demons, especially my Tree demons. Because, yes, they are capable of violence and carnage and bloodshed. But it’s not supposed to make them bad. It’s never been about that.
There’s supposed to be something…admirable in their nature, not because their nature is something humans should emulate (because that’d be horrible) but rather a respect that it’s a nature that works for them. It makes my Tree demons authentic to themselves. And that always been important.