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The Devangels

Dreamed 2017/4/27 by Wayan

Talking canines around a sign saying 'Reserved for the Erthedni'. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

THAT MORNING

I start illustrating my dream The Erthedni--a mere 40 years after having it (found it in an old journal.) Eerie dream, really--famine among the creatures in a valley where the mysterious Erthedni monopolize food, water and air. Can't even breathe without their OK!

On a break, I read a New Yorker piece on a Christian blogger who says capitalism's everywhere and inescapable--can't even breathe without their OK!--so believers should withdraw to intentional communities, as in the Dark Ages. Yet he himself seems a perpetual outsider who can't even join groups he's inspired. I know that feeling.

I find it odd he's considered newsworthy for his million hits a month. I mean, I get half that and I'm not trying like he is. Sheesh. I really am a friggin' web troll. Who knew?

Though my trollish withdrawal is due to autism, not our Dark Age. Sensory overload enforces solitude better than monkish vows ever did.

THAT EVENING

Off to Snoring Dog Studio, where the Krelkins lay down instrument tracks for our first album. We get four mixes we can sing to: I Wanna Be, Dawn's Dream, Fight to Win, and Why Do We Choose Hate? Five long hours, but the last is wasted--Mike adds steeldrum, bell & guitar solos when he's too tired to play well: error-free, but dead. I beg him to quit but he plods on--when he gets like this, no stopping him.

I come home exhausted. My housemate Alder comes in to say "I just heard a great talk by Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi at Borderlands." Damn. I like both writers, I'd hoped to go, but our session just ran too late.

THAT NIGHT
My name in an alien language: a tangle, layered glyph. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge

A handful of us shamans are invited to another world to help solve a social problem--mysterious raids along the coast. Natives of that world, or multiversal invaders who found a private portal? Or drilled a hole between worlds.

The local writing isn't alphabetic but glyphs--compact, vaguely Mayan. My written name comes out as a big, squarish, exceedingly complex glyph--a tangle of dark lines. Same with my colleagues. Local names are way simpler ideograms; ours are like several local names layered till they're unreadable. I don't think these are clumsy transcriptions of alien sounds; it's our shamanic powers causing the tangle. Names here are descriptive, so folk with layered histories get layered names. And ours... whew!

One of us, a woman, gets kidnapped by a sea-person; an intelligent squid? This world has several undersea peoples; this group lives on the coast and tends kelp farms. The other shamans assume the seafolk may be the enemy we were pulled here to deal with; I'm not so sure. What if they've taken her to demand help protecting their coastal farms from raids? If I were multiversal pirates or invasion-scouts, I'd raid along a border, so communities on each side would blame their neighbors! Divide and conquer...

We visit some Mad Scientists in techno-caverns who've created a horde of servants. Very powerful servants. Devil/angels, winged humanoids with weird animal features but great physical, mental and magical powers. My aura-sense feels them as powerful presences... yet they seem to have little sense of self. Built in, or culturally instilled? They obey their Creators, speaking of them with that capital C. Or calling them the Gods.

Scientists as Gods! Dr. Frankenstein never had it so good.

So what does that make us? We don't fit either of their categories. Not Creators, nor Creations. Creatures! Wild creatures, feral. Yet people. Unbuilt, free, but mortal--what are we? And we're shamans--rare among all the peoples of this multispecies world. We aren't even typical of interdimensional travelers. Our complex names... do those reflect problems this culture has understanding us, or some universal, inherent complexity in wildness? Ferality.

We tour their dark, huge, echoing cave-labs. I feel a steady subtle menace. One of us (a guy of course) recklessly hares off the tour-path to ask some Devangels in a glaring, overlit lab-lobe about their project...

I feel alarm. Will this transgression provoke them at last? So much power and danger, half-asleep. If they wake, if they decide we're stray animals, or defective gods, or abominations violating all social norms, or villagers who chase devils with torches...what then?

Devangels in a mad-scientist cave on an alien world. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
NOTES IN THE MORNING

LISTS AND LINKS: other worlds - There Are Doors - shamans - language, writing & names - octopian crimes - caves - labs - Frankentech - dream beings: aliens, devils, angels, monsters, animal people: deer, dragons - autism, or a genetic underclass, or slaves? outsiders - fear - portraits - digital dream art - same dreamer, same night: Equestrian Nunavut

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