Q: Why Christian backgrounds?
A: Because when it comes to demons, especially when involving sexual and romantic pairings, that's typically avoided either because it's considered the ultimate disturbance or too difficult to think about because Christian demons are set one way and only one way—they're evil. End of story. While I'm aware of that, I decided, "Hey, I need to do something crazy before I die…" then remembered this story idea has been collecting dust for quite a few years. MikomiShizuka's pairing of Thrax/Odette sparked it back and I decided to get it rolling.
Q: Why does it have a religious undertone?
A: Thrax plays a demon of Christian folklore, but religious themes aren't just in Christianity. I made references to stories and novels that I've found intriguing, and, while those stories do have messages about certain Christian branches (mainly Catholicism and Evangelical views) there are elements that depict and/or contain mythological aspects from other parts of the world, namely Roman and Greek tales. (This will be covered further in question eleven.)
Q: Why does Thrax look the way he does?
A: Everyone has their own personal vision of how he might look like human—this is mine; I'm well aware that he's played by Lawrence Fishburne, an African-American, so it's not an act of racism either. I had a specific time period in mind as well, hence, Caucasians are dominant. Though Lucian's only possessed, I personally think he looks like that.
Q: Why did Thrax taunt the other demon with the 'baby' line?
A: While he's a demon in here, Thrax still belongs to Warner Bros. so I inserted his usual wordplay. It's how Thrax typically taunted the characters in Osmosis Jones anyway so I figured, "Hey, demons aren't going to like that either…" so boom, we got his line. It probably took away some of the seriousness for some of you but that line is part of his original character so I felt I was killing his original awesomeness by not putting in that line for, at least, one part of the story.
Q: What did he mean when he told Odette, "You're mine either way."? (In case anyone has this question.)
A: He meant it in both the literal and metaphorical sense: as he's watched over since, really, her birth—because of the assigned demon business (more in question thirteen)—it's been metaphorical until her father asked for help and made a bargain with Thrax (although unknowingly) so her soul is his. But also, as he possesses Lucian's body as well, she's also his through marriage too, in a certain sense.
Q: Is Lucian really Luneda's brother?
A: He's her half-brother. Little background story: both share the same father, Cleavant a nobleman, who kept secret several affairs from Luneda's mother, Padgett, a noblewoman. He met Lucian's mother, Danae, at the docks, who was the daughter of a poor fish merchant. Unlike his relationship with Padgett and other women, he loved Danae genuinely and provided for them with secret 'donations'. Padgett got more suspicious as time went by and after him doing this for three years she confronted him. He killed her, making it seem like an accident. Luneda, who was now seven and stumbled upon the scene, was told by her father not to say a word and, loving and fearing him, agreed. He often would leave for long periods of time to see Danae, causing Luneda's resentment for him, Danae and Lucian. Cleavant noticed this and decided that she was too much of a risk and concluded she had to be done away with. Instead, because he did care for her in some ways, he made her death seem accidental too and made her live with Danae and Lucian. This is also him robbing her of the wealth and nobility she could have been enjoying so the resentment deepens. The end!
Q: How could Lucian talk then if he was possessed?
A: In the Bible when demons possessed people, it caused muteness, deafness, blindness and lameness. In Supernatural though, none of those traits exist so I went with that to also drive the story along. I was at first thinking of having Thrax being able to create a body of his own but demons can't do that—only God can—and thus dropped the idea. Lucian, unlike Luneda, wasn't bought into the Satanism their father practiced though—he was the 'black sheep' of the family by being Christian, but Cleavant, preferred him over Luneda still; despite that, he, too, has a love-hate relationship with their father, mainly because their father had been so good to his mother, grandfather, and him.
Q: Was Thrax the angel in beginning of the story?
A: Yes. Demons are conniving and can play tricks or impose as those people trust—I assumed angels are included; I heard about that as a little girl, like between six and eight years old, and have been wanting to use the idea since then so I finally put it here as Thrax talking to William at the start as an angel. (He's been planning to get Odette for that long…)
Q: Is Thrax still a male as a demon?
A: In Christian demonology and theology, demons are considered sexless as they have no actual physical bodies (that's why they need to posses people) but it's unclear for the most part; for they may be considered variously as male or female, but the general view is that they're masculine and feminine, while not actually being either sex. This is the general view of angels as well, who are usually considered sexless. One possible exception is Grigori who, led by Azazel, descended on Mount Hermon and copulated with earthly women out of lust. I took this 'exception' and expanded it.
For Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Jews, however, there are male and female demons. Jewish demons are mainly considered male but female versions, like Lillith, exist. Gregory of Nyssa (4th century) and Ludovico Maria Sinistrari (17th century) both believed in male and female demons, or at the very least them having male and female characteristics.
John Milton upholds this view in Paradise Lost, specifying that although demons may seem masculine or feminine, spirits "Can either Sex assume, or both; so soft And uncompounded is thir Essence pure". It's also noted that though God is predominantly experienced and self-revealed as male in the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian New Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures and their Greek translation (the Septuagint) contain female allusions of God (e.g. "El Shaddia" referring to breast, hence a nurturing image; "Lady Wisdom", often paralleled to the Word of the Gospel of John chapter one, whose incarnated form is Jesus; the Holy Spirit has female references, etc.); this is due mainly to the Hebrew word of "wisdom" being a feminine word, so a masculine personification would not make sense in literary purposes. The notion that God is gender-transcendent but self-revealed as male for purposes of revelation could also carry over to angels and demons. So that's what I did.
According to Nicholas Remy, by supporting the idea that demons can rape women and sexual relationships with them is painful, there's an assigned sadistic nature to their sexuality.
Q: Can actual demons love?
A: Personally, I don't believe that at all—demons can't feel such an emotion as deep and wonderful as love. I said this is fictitious and I meant it; however, I do think demons are lustful and capable of having the other Seven Deadly Sins. This topic has been met with agreement and opposition: Augustine of Hippo (5th century), Hincmar (early French theologian, archbishop of Rheims, 9th century), Michael Psellus (11th century), William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris, (13th century), Johannes Tauler (14th century) and Ludovico Maria Sinistrari (16th century), and among others, support this idea of demons being lascivious beings.
Plutarch (1st and 2nd century), Thomas Aquinas (13th century), Nicholas Remy (16th century) and Henri Boguet (16th and 17th century), among others including Ambrogio de Vignati, disagreed, saying that demons did not know lust or desire and cannot have good feelings like love; as jealousy would be consequence of love, they could not be jealous.
Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger (15th century) came up with this intermediate position: according to their book, Malleus Maleficarum (Latin: The Hammer of Witches), demons did not feel love for witches and warlocks because sexual relationships with them were part of the compromise these men and women made together with the 'diabolical pact' to honor the demons by humiliating and conceding themselves with what demons could sexually ask of them. Demons acting as incubi (Latin: nightmare; a demon in male form who, according to mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have sex with them) and succubae (female version) with common people were passionate lovers that felt the desire of being with their beloved person and have sexual intercourse with him/her. (This is the element of Thrax wanting Odette and only her.) However, it's been noted that constant intercourse with the incubi/succubae can result in deterioration of health and even death.
Augustine, Hincmar and Psellus thought that lust was what led demons to have sexual relationships with humans. William of Auvergne, conceived the idea that demons felt a particular and morbid attraction by long and beautiful female hair (If only Odette knew, right?) and thus women had to follow the Christian use of covering it in order to avoid enticing them.
Plutarch wrote that demons could not feel sexual desire because they did not need to procreate, his work inspiring later Remy's opinion. Thomas Aquinas asserted that demons could not experience voluptuousness or desire, and they only wanted to seduce humans with the purpose of inducing them to commit "terrible" sexual sins. Remy wrote that "demons do not feel sexual desire inspired by beauty, because they do not need it to procreate, having been created since the beginning in a predetermined number." Boguet said that demons did not know lust or voluptuousness "because they are immortal and donot need to have descendants, and so they also do not need to have sexual organs." so demons could make people imagine that they were having sexual relationships, but that actually did not occur.
Christian demonologists agree in the fact that sexual relationships between demons and humans happen but disagree on the why and how. A common point of view is that demons induce the feelings of lust in men and women and adultery is associated with this sin. Pierre de Rostegny supported the idea that Satan preferred to have sexual intercourse with married women to add adultery to other sins but told nothing of his [Satan] lust or that of his companions. According to Remy, sexual relationships with demons were painful, meanwhile many persons that confessed to have had those relationships told that they were satisfying; Henri Boguet and Johann Meyfarth added and supported the idea that demon produced an imaginary coitus because they did not have actual sexual organs.
Q: If you're a girl of faith, why did you portray the demons as sympathetic?
A: I'm very well-aware demons are not good—this is purely fictitious for the fun of liking a fictitious pairing. Odette ain't gonna care.
I'm not the first one to portray them as such: in the 17th century, English poet, John Milton, created Paradise Lost, an epic poem written in blank verse that portrays a more sympathetic take on Lucifer and a more devious one on God, Adam and Eve; in the hit television show, Supernatural, these elements are used on the portrayal of angels and demons as a homage to the poem: "Lucifer will be portrayed as "gentle, almost sympathetic… He was essentially betrayed, so in some ways he can be viewed sympathetically ... if we can make the angels dicks, Lucifer can be sympathetic." [Eric Kripke, creator of Supernatural] I read a little of the poem when I managed to find it and rather enjoyed it (especially as I do not, normally, like blank verse)—the man's pretty original.
Another book used in here is Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. There's a sentence in the novel that stuck out to me the first time I've read it, "Does the devil ever struggle to be good again or is he just the devil?" This sentence led to the final portrayal of Thrax.
I'm not promoting Satanism or women/men calling forth demons as love interests or any other crazy stuff—it can be read as a story with proverbial themes/messages: the person who's lost in their wrong ways falling in love with someone who's right; the archaic but well-known battle of good vs. evil; the power of forgiveness and redemption. And these are all elements that I've always found beautiful.
Q: Is the depiction of the human souls in ice and the 'nine rings' an actual reference to a novel/book/etc.?
A: Yes, indeed it is. I adore Dante and Robert Frost greatly and paid homage to them both. Dante's Inferno takes place in hell, depicting the protagonist's [Dante] journey through hell and purgatory till finally reaching the end into heaven. On his way, he passes through the seventh ring, if I recall correctly; there he witnesses souls stuck in a lake of ice from the neck down while being licked by flames. (That's where adulterers, I believe, wind up.) Frost, too, honored this passage in Inferno with his famous poem Fire and Ice. (Yup, it really has nothing to do with Edward Cullen and Jacob Black; if you don't know what I'm talking about, Meyer used that poem at the beginning of Eclipse. Poor poem…)
Also, I heard and sort of seen clips of Supernatural where angels/demons take on the forms of mythological beings from other legends and used it in here. Dante did the same in a certain sense—for on several pathways and entrances he had to go past large, ferocious monsters, a few which included a Minotaur and a chimera, beasts from Greek myth.
So, I also decided to intertwine reasons as to why humans may have thought those gods to exist: the demons have been those gods/goddesses since they fell from heaven; because they wanted to drive humans from God, they made new names for themselves and would 'talk' to humans, persuading them to believe in their new aliases or just keep them from God and idols altogether.
Q: What about Thrax being her 'personal' demon?
A: Aside from Thrax being interested in her, mostly for sexual reasons in the beginning, I had done a monologue once for Drama from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and my character, Screwtape, would teach his nephew how to tempt his 'patient' into giving into their more carnal instincts and pulling them away from their belief in God and/or God's teachings. (This book is where the lines, 'Our Father Below' and 'The Enemy' are from.) That's what Thrax was doing at first until he fell in love with her and gave up on it. Oh wait… if that kind of thing IS what demons do… well, they succeeded with this one-shot.
Q: Why do you have a homosexual pairing here if you're Christian? Don't you feel uncomfortable with homosexuals and/or don't you think it takes away from the underlying theme?
A: Oh, it's only a real pairing if it's consensual. Natalie, clearly, is not into women. Luneda is—so I'd say it's more of an obsession, increased by the hate she feels for Natalie because of the latter's silent rejection. Because YES homosexuals existed back then, it's not something that just started out of nowhere.
The title goes into everybody's sin too, from Wrath to Lust to Avarice and so forth. Also, writing about homosexuals isn't disturbing for me at all—I like reading more mature topics that expand beyond the norm so it comes out in what I write sometimes.
That does NOT mean I do it myself—I hate it when people assume that; grates my nerves more than anything. I'm just broad in my subjects at times and it's a good way of bringing certain problems out in the open (ex. pedophilia and incest); 'cause, really, taboo, being taboo, means people don't like to talk about it and want to live in a happy, pure world (that isn't going to happen till we're in the final stage of Revelation in the Bible, folks), hence, nothing gets done about it. (Wow, lots of commas in that one sentence…)
This next part isn't going to make sense but I'm not going to lie and say I don't get uncomfortable when two men or two women make-out right in front of me (it was like this even when I was a strong atheist so it's not a Christian-thing) but I get that way in general with things I consider should only be in the bedroom. Am I a hypocrite, especially 'cause of this story? Oh, yes, I know I am, but name twenty people you've met in your life who has never been slightly hypocritical. At least I admit it.
Q: Why did it focus on the other characters, if it's central on Thrax and Odette?
A: Well, to drive it along, you kind of need other characters. Also, I need to practice creating my own characters and fleshing out individuals for this story idea my friends abandoned and decided to hand—more like force!—to me.
Q: What about Thrax tormenting Luneda at the end?
A: Even though Thrax has a major soft spot for Odette, he pretty much hates everybody else. Also, Luneda was about to kill Odette for the other demons—that's going to piss him off alone so he had 'fun' with her at the end.
Q: Is that really how you're going to let it end?
A: Oh yes. I decided to leave it open for interpretation. I got my own idea of what happened at the very end but felt it best if 'twas open.
Q: Do the names have meaning? Just asking out of curiosity…
A: Let's put the characters of the films, too, just for the heck of it.
Odette (French): a wealthy woman, one who is prosperous
William (German): the determined protector
Derek (English): the ruler of the tribe
Vivian (Latin): one who is full of life; vibrant
Natalie (Latin): born on Christmas Day; refers to Christ's birthday (this was actually not intended—I just always liked the name then looked it up and went, "Oh cool, it works!")
Luneda (Welsh): form of Eiluned, meaning 'an idol worshiper' (wanted a name no one thinks about to fit the character's intentions and, upon finding out what 'Natalie' meant, it just worked; but I think it a pretty name either way.)
Padgett (French): one who strives to better herself
Cleavant (English): from the cliffs
Danae (Greek): In mythology, the mother of Perseus (Note: Perseus is known for his slaying of Medusa; hey, Lucian killed his own 'Medusa'… cool! Didn't plan that either. LOL)
Lucian (Latin): surrounded by light
Thrax (American): an incredibly licentious devil; creature full of sexual appeal (That should be what it means! XD)
All right, then! Yeah, LONG Q&A. Well, I hope I've covered all the (possible) questions and that you've sincerely enjoyed this story! Despite how over-used the plot may be and loads of other stuff, I worked really hard on making sure to cover everything with the little research I did while keeping this as fun as I could. I, honestly, never actually ask this, but do comment—seeing as how this took me a little over a month to write and the one-shot was very close to twenty pages in 10-size font… that's really all I'm asking. Don't want a Pulitzer or anything; I'd just like some thoughts and opinions. LOL This is one of the few projects I had fun throughout it all making (even though my 'action-y' scenes are craaaaap… I had a climax planned but it wound up bein' a fail! XD) and I hope you liked reading it. Thanks so much again for dropping by! And Happy Halloween! 8D