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Ananassa: Rising Web, Falling Heart

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As the lowest true demons, Ananassa is thrown into the chaos and turmoil of living with humans. Learning more about them teaches her more than she ever knew there was to learn about herself. This piece of writing was a practice exercise that took me seventeen days. I am using it to try to familiarize myself with the interface on Inkitt. I am also seeing if any feedback about my writing style might prove useful on my actual submission. This is a complete Novella, with the origin, body, and conclusion. This is a compressed piece (more telling and less showing) intentionally. Based on feedback, I will be starting on the 3-book non-compressed version on Feb 26. If you like the style where I actually write, when I figure out the interface enough to be able to put Marlena Reborn up, you might enjoy that as well.

Drama / Fantasy
Age Rating:


Inside the pod, the new cluster was huddled tightly. Their bodies pressed firmly against one another, as they would be hatching soon. None knew what to expect of the world outside. There was no existence before the pod for any of them. The voices from beyond spoke to them, telling them what would be expected and how to behave. They shared stories that made examples of those who try to be anything else.

Anan was preparing to retell one of these tales, but it was not the version the voices told. She had a memory, she did not know where it came from. The ending of her tale was very different from the one the voices shared. The colony saw this as a sign that she would lead. Anan was uncertain with leadership, as she feared she would not be able to defend the colony once they were released.

She began the tale.

“The witch-hunter had been searching for the cursed glade for three days. Last night, he had seen blighted birds heading east, and took to that direction, knowing they would be coming from or going to the source of the blight. As nightfall came, he saw the few other blighted animals outbound from the blight, and knew he was on the right track. This morning, he had managed to get behind a blighted wolf and followed it all the way back.

The glade was large, almost nine-hundred feet across. The hunter noted the differences at the abrupt transition. The woods were already dark, and the trees looked ominous to the untrained eye, but he could see that this was simply an impact of nature. At the edge of the glade, this was no longer the case. The trees became twisted from the base, with the faces being clearly seen. A low discolored fog hung close to the ground. Insects and worms crawled over everything. Birds and animals were all but unseen, and those present were twisted excuses of what nature would create.

Determined in his quest, he pressed onward. The ground, once firm, became spongey and uncertain. The off-tone grasses all battled a blight that seemed determined to consume them. Birds, half taken by mange watched him. “Ih-com, ih-com,” they would squawk. The grasses rusted in a non-present breeze, giving an eerie shifting sound. “Eeehre. Eeehre.” The trees creaked and groaned all around him. “Gnnnooah.”

The blighted glade was trying to warn the protector of his coming, but no worries. He had handled many a felbeast in his past. It was not long before he came across the ancient, decaying log. Vines grew into it, looking more like leeches than anything pleasant. Fungus, mold, and mushrooms covered it. Atop all of them was a thick layer of the blight. He held his palm forward, speaking, “begone,” in an ancient tongue. The flash of light burned back the mist, crackled the ground, and caused the log to burst into flames. That is when it rose.

Six feet wide and eight feet tall when fully formed, the demon was a twisted coil of fungus, blight, roots, and vines. It bellowed in both rage and pain as it rushed the hunter, growing a wooden scythe as it did. The hunter’s sword swiftly broke the charge as he dodged to the side, and followed up with another slash across the demon’s midsection.

The fight was pitched, as this demon could regrow its wounded parts, and had a terrible brute strength. The prowess of the hunter was all that saved him. Bruised, battered, and exhausted, he finally struck the heart of the blight, inflicting a wound the beast could not so easily heal.

As the beast slumped, the hunter advanced, reciting a blessing that would help the land heal after this wretched creature were purged. “But for your fel presence, this land would be rich and lush. As I reverse your coming, so do I reverse your effect!”

This is where the two stories diverge. The tale of the voices end with the eternal suffering of the errant fragar. The story from Anan’s memory played out quite differently.

“His sword never descended to complete the spell.

Thorny vines from each of the trees had lashed out, grasping his arms first, and continuing to grow, wrapping him in a near cocoon. The birds, wolves, and vermin had gathered. The trees all turned for their faces to be looking into where the demon lay wounded. Two more blight-walkers also emerged, coming to his side. The mist thickened, as the grasses started leaning in to grasp the giant, pluck themselves, and mend its injury.

The worms, vermin, vines, and blight began to twist together. As they grew, much smaller than the blight walker, they took a form. It was delicate and feminine. The air filled with the scent of flowers and berries as the skin of the creature turned red and green. She looked at the hunter with pity, and then to the fallen blight-walker.

She spoke in three voices, one sweet and caring, one maternal and nurturing, and one angry and resentful. “Oh, my poor sweet Bryopsilid… my caring child. I know he has hurt you. You did well in protecting us. Mother loves you.” She kissed the great beast above its glowing eyes, and their light went out. The mass collapsed into a lifeless heap as the remaining insects swarmed it to feast on the remains.

“Seeder,” the Hunter said, terror in his voice.

The demon-woman looked at him. The smile left her face as she walked closer, returning only moments before she spoke. He voices shifted. One was outraged and angry. One became hateful. The final remained sweet and caring, even for the man who had wronged her. “You came to remove the demon of the glade, and you hurt me. But this was not all of me, just one Bryopsilid. You were mistaken, mortal. I have not tainted this glade. I am the glade.”

The hunter had been struggling against the vines, but was worn from his prior battle, and the thorns cut in deep. The fumes in the air had filled his lunges, denying him breath. For all his experience and might, he was spent. The demoness approached, smiling. With a gesture, she triggered the vines to begin their slow withdrawal, dragging their barbed thorns out of him.

“You came here wanting to destroy the demon, mortal, and I have gained strength by letting you fight my Bryopsilid. Yes, you made me stronger… and your wants have changed. Now, I am guessing you want to live? Talk to me, hunter. I seek to fulfill wants. We can help each other.”

He looked at her in his weakened state. What choice did he have? It was help the demon or die.”

Nassa loved this version, and never slumbered during the tellings. She always worked her way between the other podmates and would sit right beside Anan as it was told. She knew that if she were in charge of the colony, they would leave a story like this behind someday.



The Pitt of the Warlords’ Remorse was an inhospitable place, particularly for the Fragar. The lowest of all demons, even those classified as minor, the Fragar were literally the food for more powerful beings. This was their source and their purpose. Starvation leads to the sin that leads to their growth. The gluttony must stem from eating too soon and with no consideration of others or gorging when the food first comes available. The wrath comes from the hatred of those responsible for the shortage and the vengeance taken on those who do not share. The greed is of those who hoard the resources that do come available, and the envy is of those who become aware of this. Pride stems from the self-thought, even though based on survival. For some, recovery goes far beyond the initial redemption from starvation, leading them into sloth. All of this fuels the existence of Fragar, when it is tied to hunger and starvation.

Fragar are unique amongst demon-kind. They are able to grow based on the sins of other demons. The Pitt of the Warlords’ Remorse is, obviously, tied to the actions of warlords. Their presence in our world has greatly declined since the formation of the Pitt, and the relief of the suffering has been made fast and efficient. The human-fueled power to the Pitt has dropped tremendously, with a few very intense surges. This caused an instability, with more fiends growing than the Pitt could sustain. As a result, the Fragar became incredibly important for sustaining the Pitt. As the demons go hungry, their actions fuel the creation of more Fragar. The demons can then eat these minor demons and their spawn, eventually reaching a balance.

The great ability to feed on other demons has a terrible side effect on Fragar. They derive power from fulfilling a need, and more if the need has an attached want. A Fragar who holds a want leaks power to the rest of their kind. They grow weaker and will eventually die. This makes independent thought and planning all but impossible for them. Fragar have almost never known hope. Their role and purpose is to grow and spread, devour the matter that other demons can not or will not, and seed sub-demon creatures that the others can eat. In this way, they fill a need. If they become a particularly delicious treat, they fuel a want, as well. The most successful Fragar are the fruits and beef of the demon-world. Your kind would call the Fragar nature, and mainly plants and insects. We are also the vermin and herd animals.

I am Anan, the Nurturer. My name did not always include this title, but it stems from my strong ability as a Seeder. Seeder demons create their lessors. Most seeders, far more powerful than Fragar, create demons that are our greater and these children can sustain themselves through consuming sin energy or devouring matter. We are not this powerful, we are the weakest of all true demons. What we seed are quasi-demons, plants, animals, and vermin. They include the Wretched, twisted beings who tend us and keep us from over growing in one aspect; Mures, nearly formless blobs of flesh who’s only purpose is to be devours by carnivorous demons; and the mighty Bryopsilid, our defenders who, in great numbers, can even manage to fend off an Imp.

When our attention is actively on our children, we can give them strength from our core. They become much stronger at what they do, and can immediately bear fruit or flowers, can heal wounds, and can even protect us from other minor demons. This is how the Fragar of the story was able to fend off the hunter. She focused on the children and gave them her strength. We learned early to use this, sacrificing our limited strength, to be able to fill more needs and more wants. This helped our power grow.

Our colony was also unlike any other. By my side has always been Nassa the Devourer. She is a Fragar who is specialized in devouring; eating that which others can not and turning it into something useful, that others can. By sacrificing members of our colony, she has even been able to devour things that Fragar can not, and that would poison us. She is truly mighty, as Fragar go, and has helped us grow much. Not only does she devour to sustain us and give us growth-matter, but she also protects us. The Bryopsilids she grows are the strongest we have seen, and her lean towards the sin of wrath gives her great strength to empower them, and much resistance to the wrathful magics of most of the demons in our home Pitt.

Demonic magic is alien to Fragar. While we can devour matter, we can never actively consume sin energy from souls. This is the essence of demonic magic; to unleash the power of the sin energy. We can empower ourselves and our children to grow and heal, which allows us to do some things humans call magic. We take a member of the colony and turn them into a useful child and then grow them. It seems like we form binding vines from the air or magically regenerate, but it all requires us to sacrifice our bretheren and to use the matter we have devoured. Demon magic simply manifests from pure energy, and has no limit as long as the fueling sin is committed.

This was where our pod opened, the Pitt of the Warlords’ Remorse. The other demons were starved, and Fragar like ourself were hunted and devoured relentlessly. Those who proved highly productive were kept and traded. Particularly useful ones, like my colony, realized that we could sacrifice the cost of growth to advance ourselves. We were few, making us highly valued, but our increased usefulness came with increased pain and torment. The fiends of the Pitt were not supplied human souls to torture, so their hungry gaze fell upon the lower demons who could look like the humans. We discovered this growth.

The hungers that we fed gave us more strength than we thought was possible. Most colonies have about fifty Fragar, but ours regularly grew into the hundreds. We knew we could knew we were capable of much more growth, but never reached our full size within the Pitt. The abuses needed to extract the power took their toll. We fed sadism, carnal lust, and dozens of exploitations we do not have names for. We were a valued commodity and a status symbol. Being owned by a highborn was enough to fulfill a want and extract power. We could fill the sickened wants and still grow ourselves into food. We were useful, and very happy despite our suffering.

Other Fragar wanted to be like us, weakened and killing them. Fragar who escaped this fate were hunted. The cycle of growth and death was not in favor of the populations, however. The suffering in the Pitt grew, and the needs of versatility expanded. As my usefulness and value grew, so did my torment, my exchange, and the expectations placed upon me. Exchange for me was valued at ten Fragar, enough to feed a greater’s legion of 800 demons. This was, of course, beyond my capacity. On my best days, I could feed half that. The other things I could do grew less and less significant as the supply of Fragar constricted. Fields once field with Fragari fruits were now littered with our pods. Demons even began to devour the unhatched pods.

We had fallen under the control of one of the true highborns in the Pitt. Cerux was quite mighty, only two others could challenge him on anything. Physically, he has immune to fire and lightning, thirteen feet tall, and had skin of iron. His claws and spurs were sharp enough to slice the mighty warriors of the Nergali in half in a single stroke. Even without them, his brute force was enough to rend them apart. His magic did not suffer from his energy fueling this physical power. He could call flames intense enough to vaporize human steel in seconds. He could open gates to his garrison on a whim, consume the energy of other demons, and empower any demonic energy he chose. I witnessed when his lightning exploded one of the great fiends of our Pitt in a single stroke.

His control was assured. With him, we were protected from the fiends and wild demons. We did not need worry about being fed on by other Fragar. This safety came with its price. He enjoyed torments and pleasures of the flesh. His legion was large, and we were expected to feed them. We were his property, and did almost everything he commanded. It was both horrible and glorious at the same time. We suffered such exquisite torture and safety, fed insatiable want and hunger. As long as he was happy, we grew in strength. We had fear though. We could not feed his minions if he lost even a single lesser Fragar.

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