Hello, readers mine, and look at that–it’s been a full week of Loremageddon already! Let’s keep things rolling–first, some words about a form of Ulmish music, then our first ever bit of kinky lore (it involves demons. You knew this was coming), and lastly, the most exciting concept of all: food.
Snippet #1: the Ulmish Barrow-Lull (World: Canno)
The Barrow-Lull is a musical form so ancient that its origins cannot be traced by any amount of effort. While it seems reasonable to assume that it was, at least, devised for the purpose of being sung outside a barrow, the Ulmish aren’t even certain about this: some records hint at its use for completely different purposes during the Age of Splendors! The Lull’s exact instrumentation and use were different among each practicing Ulmish culture by the time the Age of Splendors. The Loar ended this diversity in fire.
The contemporary Barrow-Lull lends itself best to a dirge or a hymn. While other instruments may be added by a community if they so desire, the key ones are a specialized array of chimes hung from a frame–the Ulmish term for this instrument has been lost–such that vibrations from one carry into those surrounding it. This produces an eerie mix of pitches and serves to symbolize the echoes of a soul in the souls surrounding it. Next comes accompaniment by a fiddle; whether it’s used to play somber notes or earnest ones depends on context.
Last of all, the Barrow-Lull depends on the human voice. And human is, like it or not, the key element. Canno’s other sapient beings rarely possess the right vocal range–as is the case for most ilbaret–or clarity of voice to sing the Barrow-Lull smoothly and clearly, both of which are mandated by the form’s history. The Barrow-Lull’s performers must avoid any harsh sounds or notes, and some Ulmish communities forbid adding a percussive element on the grounds that it’s bad luck–the whole point of the piece is to sooth the sleeping dead, not wake them!
Aside from retaining its name’s implied purpose–largely in religious festivals, funerals, and other holidays–the Barrow-Lull is often used for the later hours in a party with a great deal of heavy drinking, helping to ease reverie into melancholy.
Snippet #2: Demons as Lovers (Worlds: All)
“One night is one night. Two nights become a week. A week becomes forever. Ask yourself, always: ‘Do I like them enough to risk it?'”
New arrivals drifting through from other parts of the universe to Creation’s Fringe, if told this advice concerns sex and romance between demons and mortals, would likely assume it was given by a mortal. In fact, it’s the opposite: it comes from a certain High Seductress of the Seventh Plane (the Seventh’s naming conventions are infamously self-indulgent.)
She had reason to know: the demoness in question, second in rank only to Planelord Urzen, had famously fallen in love with a demon hunter on the very night he discovered her. Years after the fact when she offered this advice, she and her beloved were preparing for their third anniversary! This story seems preposterous to any unfamiliar with demons, even those native to Canno who have heard little things here and there about its hierarchies. A little consideration is thus in order.
A demon falls into the broader category of “pure spirits”: entities which either have no physical form, or have entirely sublimated that physical form, and manifest whatever form they do have through an exercise of will and power. A mortal body amounts to a vessel, often ill-matched to the soul inhabiting it, steered by a captain who may well value their ship, but who isn’t actually the ship. A pure spirit experiences the universe much more directly, and thus much more intimately.
A flesh-and-blood body also contains chemical bonds which help to anchor the soul’s emotions. While these cause their own problems, they do help mortals to slow down or keep themselves under control–all of which brings us back to the opening quote. A demon not only lacks any of these emotional failsafes, but itself feeds on emotion; it cannot do this without opening itself to and taking in the emotions of the mortals around it.
The High Seductress’s advice, in context, referred explicitly to having platonic sexual relationships with mortals; in the long term, those Demons of the Flesh who choose love and pleasure as their sphere have found that it isn’t possible. If a partner is affectionate and emotionally open enough, a younger demon can fall hopelessly in love the first time–many of the special tricks they use during sex will backfire by their very nature.
Pleasure-sharing is the prime example, with the demon using its power to make a sensory connection through which each partner feels the sensations of the other as well as their own. Even when they don’t do this, the demon’s “feeding” ensures it always feels surging emotions and hints of such pleasure-sharing to a certain extent–pleasing their partners is inherently rewarding and causes them to feel a sense of direct connection which often finds no reflection in their mortal companion for the night.
Demons also have a sort of sixth sense as to which souls they are most romantically compatible with. In theory, this would help ensure steady relationships; in practice, compatibility means nothing if it’s not supported by choice, and most mortals don’t summon a Demon of the Flesh to start a long-term courtship. It’s harder for a demon to close themselves off from a partner when they sense this compatibility; easier to hope, deceive oneself, and fall. Broken hearts are common, especially in a demon’s youth.
Today’s Full Segment: Laprani Adelop (World: Creation’s Fringe)
Latren-Laprani consider adelop the single most unhealthy dish they have ever created, and they categorically refuse to stop eating it. It’s not compatible with every species, but it is compatible with humans–by a happy accident, the Latren-Laprani and humans have nearly the same digestive capabilities, and the few places where they don’t overlap can be negotiated if one decides a little gut-upset is worth something especially delicious.
Adelop’s most traditional ingredients (as with any dish, there’s no “wrong” way to cook it as long as it tastes good!) include one white and one dark meat, each of which receives a different blend of spices. This required some fine-tuning at first; the Latren-Laprani hadn’t much time for salvaging seasonings when their homeworld was destroyed. Over the decades they were able to replicate the original flavors using the Fringe’s spices; the white meat receives a more savory blend while the dark meat is sweetened.
At this point the chef dices up a hearty mix of vegetables and cheeses, seasons as necessary–garlic is popular despite the expense of importing it from Canno–and covers them all in a special form of breading using the Latren-Laprani’s equivalent of flour. This comes from the berlof grain, which they were able to save during their escape across the stars, and is unique for its ability to receive liquid without becoming soggy. Once fried, it prevents most such liquid from reaching anything inside it for as long as a day.
Not, of course, that there’s generally enough adelop left to save. With all the other foods ready, the chef mixes them into a plate of noodles also made from berlof flour which have been pan-seared in a buttery sauce for extra flavor; this actually requires the most finesse, as too much sauce or too long in the pan will cause them to wash out the other ingredients. Lastly, several sauces covering each major flavor profile, as well as a rich gravy derived from preparing the two meats, are offered to drizzle or dip with as desired.
And that’ll take care of us for Day Seven! As always, let me know your thoughts down in the comments, leave a like, and share this post with your friends. You could also follow me on Twitter if you want to see what I have to say while drunk at 3AM in the morning–might not be coherent but it’s probably interesting!