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A Dialogue on the Demi-Spirits

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Tom Noon's Tale


In Chaos

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Ancient Oz


Adventures of the Munch

Lanthil & Beyond

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. ... There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
-- Genesis 6:1-5

We are told that Adam lived to be 130 and begot sons and daughters after his own likeness. From this we learn that, until then, he begot sons and daughters not after his own likeness.
-- Talmud

"What can you tell me of the nephilim and mazzikim?"

I will start with what you must already know and continue as far as I can. They are crossbreeds, of spirit and human. That you know already.

The first generation of nephilim were begotten on human women by spirits. They were huge, one or two heads higher than humans -- huge bodies to fuel brains that anchored potent souls. They had enormous powers and endless days -- or so it seemed.

These were the Elder Gods, or they are remembered so in your old tales. They were restless and quarrelsome, and subjugated most of humanity to themselves, back when your race was young and small. Among themselves, they bred up another generation, the Younger Gods. Soon, the Younger were jealous of the powers of the Elder, and there was war between the generations.

"The Theomachy. Tiamat against Marduk. Ouranos against Cronos, and Cronos against Zeus."

Echoes of that battle. Yes.

"The Younger Gods won."

For the most part. And ruled over humans with the same raw power. And often took human lovers, as had their parents' generation. The children of these unions were the demi-gods.

"Three quarters human by blood, and one quarter spirit by ichor, so to speak."

Yes. And so much less powerful. Still far larger and stronger than normal mortals, but not much more magical than they, as a rule. And not unaging, though it was said their lives were seven times a mortal span, unless they died by violence. Most did die by violence...

Unless their parents' generation took pity on them, or had some use for them, and "recognized" or "awakened" them. Or "kindled" or "quickened" or "initiated." It was called many things. Then they could achieve powers nearly as great as the Younger Gods. You have heard that heroes can become gods.

"Yes. Heracles did. And Orpheus and Asclepius. Castor and Pollux, too. Apotheosis."

But you see what had happened to humanity. Instead of being the third ruling race of Earth, it was now the servant race, and the gods ruled. The Powers would have none of that, and so came the Purging of the Remnants, and the Flood.

"The gods were mortal after all."

As the Theomachy had already shown. But that is just the nephilite side of the story. Just as mortal women bore the nephilim to spirit fathers, so mortal men begot the mazzikim on spirit mothers.

The first generation of mazzikim were strange and wild -- born with spiritual bodies, raised in the Unseen by the Powers or their servants, there was little human to see about them. They had to have some body, but they were great shapeshifters, and took strange, huge, and awful forms.

"'The giants and the genii, Multiplex of wing and eye, Whose strong obedience broke the sky When Solomon was king.'"

Yes, but this was long before Solomon, and they were not yet obedient to anyone. Least of all to their cousins the gods, Elder or Younger. Some of them were Elder or Younger Gods, or so accounted.

"Gods like Loki, perhaps. Is godhood then a matter of social standing more than blood?"

Yes. And if one of these first mazzikim made a habit of human shape, there was little to distinguish it from one of the nephilite gods, who could also transform, though ultimately returning to the humanlike form that was their true one.

"But others did not choose to look so human?"

No, and your tales remember them as primordial monsters, together with your rumors of the Dragons.

"Typhon. Tiamat again. Ourouboros. Apep, the serpent of night. Scylla and Charybdis. The Fenris wolf. The Midgard Worm."

Yes, some of those are memories of Dragons, but others were probably inspired by the first mazzikim. And of course the tales twist and blur. How should god-ravaged, infant humanity distinguish? They were all just Monsters, enemies and kin of the gods. In the Theomachy, both sides included Monsters, and before and after that war, the reigning gods had their monstrous kin to contend with.

"There was no struggle between the generations among the mazzikim? No Elder Monsters and Younger Monsters?"

No. The "Elder Monsters" had no kingdom for the Younger to envy, you see.

But, like the gods, the monsters took human lovers. Strange or unwilling lovers, or perhaps lovers they met while in human guise.

"So once again we have three-quarter humans."

Yes, but starting from an earlier stock with shifty, spiritual bodies, not humanlike ones. The results were the mazzikim as we see them now, shapeshifters and teleporters, remembered as djinn, peris, rakshasas, genii, and so forth.

"What about crosses the other way? Did a spirit ever take an Elder God or Monster for lover? Are there three-quarter spirits with a trace of human blood in them?"

If there are, they have left no trace in the tales. Perhaps they mingled with the Elder Gods. Perhaps they never left the Unseen.

"And what about the latter mazzikim? Do they have any true shape, with all their human blood?"

Oh, yes. They look like handsome young men and women, coal black of skin and hair. Their features are a blend of the various human races -- or, really, the old original from which the current races sprang. And they are wreathed about in a mild, hurtless fire of glamour.

"I have heard their are five orders of djinn, from greatest to least."

The tale has been garbled. There are five divisions or races among the mazzikim, but they are only a matter of color, not power or dignity. Their eyes and flames come in various shades of five colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and violet. There are no orange mazzikim, for instance, or pink or white. Any of them could assume such colors, or course, but they don't have them as part of their true shapes.

"Do they have fire instead of blood, as the tales say?"

No, but their blood burns with their native fire until it clots.

"Let us go back to genealogy. What happens if a nephil or a mazzik marries a human?"

Any child is nephil, mazzik, or human. There are no real half-nephils or half-mazziks, though .

"That seems odd."

Perhaps. But you are not diluting wine with a little more water here, or mixing human races. These creatures spring from mingling human seed with that which is as unlike it as starlight or the tide. These races were created by Powers to be crossbreeds. Their crossbreeding does not easily water down.

There is a little mingling. The human child of a nephil parent is likely a great athlete, and the human child of a mazzik is likely a powerful wizard. Whole races of heroes and wizards have sprung up so.

"What if a nephil or mazzik mates with something else. A fay, or dragon-kin, or one another?"

Strange and exotic things may be born. Afrits are djinn-fay crossbreeds. The lilim and lamiae are blended of dragon, human, and spirit. And there are other things not seen on Earth.

"Neither are nephilim and mazzikim. Where are they now?"

Of the Elder and Younger Gods, most died in the purges before the Flood, and most of the rest died in the Flood, along with the remaining demigods and heroes. A few came as refugees to the fay realms, and Djinnistan was founded then. Now, they are scattered about the arcane worlds. If any tread on any Earth, they do it secretly.

Updated: 7-Oct-06
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.
The Pantope Campaign  |  Stickers On Our Luggage  |  New Blood Logs
Tom Noon's Tale  |  Puck's Tale  |  JT's Tale  |  Adventures in Babysitting
Of the Races of Earth  |  Faerie Geography  |  A Dialogue on the Demi-Spirits
Elves and Dwarves  |  Petty-Fays  |  Nymphs and Elementals