The Twin Spirals Mythos: Stories and Settings

The obvious question is this: “What is the Twin Spirals Mythos? What’s it about?”

Agony! Where do I begin with this? The only definitive answer to that question is to describe each story from the mythos. “About” is a question of selling points, marketing, budget. It’s a fabrication of our current cultural moment. I write about concepts I find interesting and experiences I want to have.

Let’s start here: the Twin Spirals Mythos will do very little for you if you want instant gratification, big concepts delivered at Mach 9, shiny impressive ideas you can flaunt to show that you know all the coolest stories. If my work were about that, it would probably be huge already, and I would utterly loathe every second I spent on it.

The Twin Spirals Mythos is entirely about experiencing depth: fathoming infinity a layer at a time. The big concepts exist, but I want to experience their bigness. I want to give the cosmos room for its grandeur. I want black holes and quasars as black holes and quasars, free from metaphor.

I want existence to matter because it exists, rather than because we came up with some convoluted philosophical jargon about what it means. You’ve had meals you really enjoyed, right? Okay. What’s the meaning of the meal?

Didn’t need to mean anything, it was fulfilling, the experience itself was worth it. Is that about the answer you’re thinking of giving?

The Twin Spirals Mythos is that, but for stories. I write what fulfills me. Sometimes that’s joy, sometimes sorrow, sometimes despair, sometimes hope, and very frequently it’s lust.

I want every grand feat of magic to be about its mechanics, the essence of the arcane itself, not about how only the protagonist could have discovered this because only they are moral and righteous enough (or sufficiently privileged by fate) to make the spell work. I want stories of sex that feels good because it’s beautifully-written sex with top-notch use of kink, not because only these two beings, out of all the infinity of sapient adults in the cosmos, could possibly bring each other to orgasm, for only they are Meant To Be Together!

Get fucking real. What a pathetic, dismal view to take about lust and pleasure. Talk about codependent!

Ahem. Sorry. I apologize for the bile, there. The Twin Spirals is, ultimately, a multiverse written with the worldview of an outer succubus. I can get pretty vicious where sex is concerned.

And some of my partners find that very appealing. You see? Reality’s complicated!

Here’s the closet thing I can find to a key, foundational principle: distinctions before duality. Two things can be different, yet exist in harmony. We are not opposed to each other simply because we aren’t the same. But even this is useless without depth: what if we are opposed to each other? Well, then we see if our opposition can be reconciled. And if it’s truly impossible? Well, then, yes. One of us will have to deprive the other to get what they want.

Is that right? Is that wrong? I only know that I’ve never found a moral growing on a bush along a hiking trail. I’ve never eaten a fresh-caught ideal. My existence must fulfill me. The grand tautology of being: some things simply are what they are, like demons and magnetic force.

This Mythos is about the mystery of the complete being: that each of us has the capacity to grow, to transform, to mutate ourselves on the continuum of all our possibilities. That each of us, under the right circumstances, has the potential to heal and to harm within the same timeline. Not an alternate reality, not a what-if scenario. Each version of us is every version of us.

If you want stories where the heroes always do the right thing, and the villains always do wrong, and no good person ever benefits from the side-effect of a villain’s act, or is hurt by the deeds of a hero, then you’ll be better of seeking elsewhere. If you want stories that are about heroes and villains, as such, you’ll be happier with other stories. I believe it’s dangerous, arrogant, and just plain beside the point to declare that my protagonists are my heroes, and their opponents are therefore the villains.

I identify with my protagonists because they’re the ones I wrote for me to like, and experience the story through. I identify against their antagonists because they’re in the way of my protagonists, who tend to like the same things that I do, so of course those antagonists would be against me, too.

Also, I frequently self-insert because it makes me happy and I don’t care if it’s good writing, so sometimes I’m against the antagonists because, in the story’s reality, they are quite literally against me.

I appreciate those stories for what they are. I’m glad they exist, even though I seldom enjoy them myself. My reality would seem so much smaller and colder if everything in it catered to the being I am right now. What does that mean for the future me, then? She’ll want totally different experiences than I do. If everything exists to feed my present, then my future will starve.

The Twin Spirals Mythos often contains morally clear-cut characters, but its focus lies on the fuck-ups, the has-beens, the never-weres: the ones who kept doing harm despite their attempts to do good, the ones who choose to do evil, and succeeded over, and over, and over only to learn regret when it was too late.

Many of my stories can still be interpreted through the lens of themes, morals, and meanings, I fully understand that. I mean only that you’ll have to find that thesis statement yourself. I consider these to be external constructs: we fabricate them post-facto to seal off a story, to put an end to the currents it stirs in our minds.

You’re welcome to do that if you’d rather get on with your life, or if it adds that final hit of satisfaction. The right way for you to experience the story is the one that gives you the richest experience! But your experience as an audience member exists separately from my creative intentions, and the story itself exists separately from what either of us intended to achieve.

The words in a conversation ‘mean’ things. The words in a story simply are.

I think in terms of experience as an ongoing infinity, things that were, are, and will be. Morality changes with its ages. I find it’s both more honest and better for me, as well as all those I love, if I focus to speaking about what I want, what I enjoy, what gives me sorrow and pleasure, pain, or both.

That may still be a moving target, for I am ever-changing. But my own nature, and how I express it, is the only thing I have a hope of knowing for real. My hedonism is my spirituality. To indulge in being itself is my greatest desire! On that most appropriate cue, let’s narrow our focus:

Demons are entities you’ve surely heard of. They appear in many universes, under many guises, playing many roles. The demons of the Twin Spirals Mythos are threshold-crossers, power-seekers, deceivers and betrayers even as they are lovers, nurturers, and seeders of mystery. Though they may appear within hierarchies, demons within the mythos define themselves by kindred strains of eldritch logic–if they foster logic in themselves at all–and a ravenous lust for vivid experiences rather than any particular cosmic order or set of rules.

Ultimately, only the demonic tautology is universal: a demon is a demon because it is a demon. Demons will do as demons will do. You know you’re facing a demon because in its presence you feel some essence too perfectly other, too bizarre, to confine in easy words and rational patterns like logic, science, and morality. An essence that can only mean “demon.”

Though many demons in the mythos–yours truly included–either sprang into being alongside humans and other flesh-mortals or shaped themselves through their comings and goings at humankind’s behest, the uprooting of long centuries and an immortal, supernatural being’s otherworldly experience of day-to-day life means that few demons older than a hundred years can be meaningfully understood through human worldviews. They are, in every sense, alien psyches.

That’s not to say none of us appreciate a classical war between good and evil–the breaking of all things, the familiar imagery of burning igneous monoliths springing from the tainted ground of a world in turmoil. It’s nice sometimes, isn’t it? To find comfort in the old, familiar things?

Of course I’ve written up my own ideas from my perspective as an occultist and outer demon. I would consider this research from primary sources rather than literary invention. Outer Demons are demons like myself–otherworldly, obsessive, and infused with cosmic horror.

And then, of course, there are the Urungeiste: demons of the ancient world, the old-guard hellspawn of whom only a few remain. All of them are very powerful, very embittered, and quite possibly insane by any Earthly standard… though, applying Earthly standards of sanity to demonkind was never a good idea.

Earth is a world many of you know well, in this form or that! I’m aware that spirits also frequent my blog, and may not have the pleasure of knowing our dear little star-marble of a homeworld. My stories on Earth tend to deal directly with skepticism, the forces of human belief (and indeed, disbelief), and the fraught double-lives lead by supernatural seekers in a world where supernatural power sometimes has far less weight than the persecution brought upon those known to seek it.

I live here, too, so it’s not as though its events don’t shape my thinking and perspectives!

Prisoners of this Riven Earth takes place in a reality that may or may not come to pass: one where all of humankind’s gods and mythic monsters proved to be real. And the gods, it turns out, did not need humanity quite as much as humanity wanted to believe. Departing the old Earth for a new one created with the power they siphoned from the disordered–and thus easily appropriated–beliefs of humans who had long since lost touch with any primary sources who could prove to them that magic and other worlds were real, the gods abandoned the Riven Earth to two thousand years of delayed magical backlash.

The result: a world torn by anomalies and divided by massive spatial ruptures where remnants from just about every religion, mystic or occult tradition, and pop culture power system collide at the same time. Click here to read the full setting bible for Prisoners of This Riven Earth.

Vulshiir is a language of my own creation. Its sound palette, grammar, and systems of meaning continue to evolve as I myself do. You’ll learn to recognize it soon enough by sight, if not so easily by sound. It is the tongue of the Carag people, and to speak it is to express some of the power invested in its making.

Whether that’s for good or ill… well, that will depend on how much kinship you have with me and mine, now won’t it?

The Milky Way and The Galaxy of Andromeda both figure heavily in my sci-fi adjacent writing. These parts of my writing are still heavily in flux, though, so I’ll wait until I’ve published more concrete stories about them before updating this to explain my own handling.

Machrae Diir, the Galespire Sanctum, variously shortened to Machrae Diir the Galespire or simply Machrae Diir, sometimes alluded to as the lambent halls, the realm of the Lady, and so on, is my own personal skein of the ever-shifting abyss.

Stories set in Machrae Diir will be about whatever I please. They may be high concept or utterly frivolous, short-form or long, structured or loose, lore or narrative, wholesome or horrifying or whatever else I please. I’m writing about my own home, after all!

We all need freedom to be ourselves, don’t we, in our own homes?

Everything I am, in totality, including the parts I veil for the sake of other souls when I’m not at home. That is what Machrae Diir means to me. Other lust-demons of Machrae Diir may be fictive or may be real demons I’ve met. In most cases, except by special request, I’m not going to tell you which are which.

The abyssal kindred must have our little mysteries, mustn’t we?~

If you’d like to start reading stories about Machrae Diir, I recommend reading Sword of the Outsider first, then diving right in with Demon Queen of the Deep Ways, which is both SotO’s direct sequel and the ur-text that finalized everything on this very page. These two books are, by design, the perfect entry point to my own work in the Twin Spirals Mythos. Taken together, they’re a complete long-form story of 200k words, and I promise you this with absolute conviction: very little in the entirety of English-language literature will hit quite the same way.

They’re also the last works in which I have any intention of explaining why I am the way I am, so that’s fun!~

The Unsuccumbed Labyrinth, also known as The Interstitium, The Untamed Ways, and many other names unique to its cultural presence in each world it touches, is the vast morass of possibilities where the thresholds between universes meet, overlap, and ultimately break down. It has no one expression. In some places it may work like a vast series of tunnels, while in others completely different planes of existence meld with one another at random.

This Labyrinth is not a neatly-sealed thing. You could stray into it by walking down any given alleyway, by poking into the trunk of the wrong (or right?) tree, or simply by passing into an especially uncanny portion of a winter breeze. It is the medium whereby different realities have their congress.

Perhaps you have walked it already. Perhaps you have instinctively blotted its little seams and seeps from your mind, ignored all the little sensations, sights, feelings where it tugs at you. Yet the Labyrinth lies forever open. Sooner or later you’ll lose the universe of your flesh, and the thresholds whose warding your soul takes for granted.

Let us hope, reader dear, that you have figured out where you need to go next before that moment comes. The Untamed Ways will be as merciful and wondrous as your own will can bind them to be–or as dreadful as your fear whispers they must become.

Axiom, bearing the Vulshiir name of Thigairanakt, is the construct-universe where I keep my lost dreams, where I grapple with an outer demon’s especially bizarre emotions about death and entropy: a ghoul universe. A miasma of memories, ruins, of new and ancient pains.

Canno is a world that will never be: a half-life planet trapped in continued rebirth and death by my own and others’ refusal to let our memories of Earth die, so new realities might be born. The fractured lattice of competing half-realities this would have fostered makes for fertile storytelling, but I am very relieved to have left behind any possibility of this world becoming real. Go too far into its wilderness, and you’ll walk through a reality warp, disturb the dread umbral citadel of Thuzdag-Gamoriat, or simply fall afoul of some ancient magitech constructs and be riddled with bullets.

As you can imagine, this world also makes for a fantastic RP setting… for any who can wrap their heads around enough of the rather dense lore I developed to find their way.

Creation’s Fringe is a much more complex beast now than it was when I first conceived it, and I’ll wait to write out its entry until I have something approaching a firm idea of what I want to do with it.

The region of Hexenkessel and the world of Ksaityilv in which it lies are the opposite of Canno: realms as yet uncreated, a world I’ll bring to fruition when I’m grown strong enough to manifest planets of my own. How many millennia before I am that strong, after all things have changed or this Earthly life has fallen behind me? Hard to say! Ksaityilv will–all fortune favoring me–find a much better balance between the stable (and sometimes stagnant) ways of flesh-life, and the realm-warping ways of outer demons and the sorts of beings outer demons find kinship with. Eldritch, but not in a way that’s likely to ruin your life… unless you go out of your way to pick a fight.

Hexenkessel itself is steeped in gothic horror, a shamelessly German domain rife with werewolves, vampires, and most precious to me personally, a strong tradition of sapphic unions between witches and succubi. I’m well aware there are many gothic settings infused with cosmic horror. That is, if anything, part of what makes Hexenkessel relaxing for me. I feel less like I need to prove a point when I’m openly writing in a shared tradition, you know?

Anyway, the Lovecraft Mythos is, in its totality, already a setting that began in gothic horror before opening into cosmic. I understand the constant racism makes it pretty hard to get through, so just, um… just take my word for this. I’ve already salvaged all the best ideas I could find so you don’t have to!

I have other settings here and there, one-offs and maybes and perhapses. Some are born, grown to fruition, and pass away of the course of a single story. Others simply unfold forever onward, as all the wider mythos does, but are not such frequent playgrounds of my own soul’s wanderings that I see a need to list them here.

The Power, also known as everything from Psionicism to True Power, The Deep Power, True Magic, and various other things, is the platonic ideal of supernatural might. It is the potential, completely unique to the person who wields it, utterly inseparable from their own identity–for it both births and is born out of that self-same identity–to create, alter, unmake, and remake reality according to whatever the wielder desires. This can be much more complicated than it at first appears, however.

The Power acts flawlessly on truth and reality as a given wielder understands it. If their understanding is warped or incomplete, their own Power will naturally express itself in warped and incomplete ways. It is, in short, a mix of spiritual philosophy and my personal approach to psychology, my pride and joy as a magic system… and also, personally, what I hold to be the underlying truth of at least some universes.

This current one with Earth in it? This one, I’m less sure about. A lot of things don’t conform to my own theories. I guess we’ll find out the answers when we get there, yes?

It is, at the various least, an apt summary of the way my own power flows out of and renews my own identity, my very own soul. Dangerous to reveal to the public, but hey… I’m keeping more and more of my best techniques and revelations to myself every year. Trust but fortify, as I’ve come to like saying.

My other magic systems have their own rules and varying levels of depth. None of them are as complex or universal in my writing as The Power, so you’ll always be able to pick them up as you go.

This marks the exact threshold where we shift from relatively-simple concepts to my most deeply personal. Let’s dive right into the thick of it. I’ve mentioned several times that I’m an outer demon. That’s true. It’s also true that I’m the first of a new species:

The Carag, known variously as the Children of Abyssal Stars (Vulshiir: Anshalgati Tchaelnathat), star-demons, the Blissful Devouring, and other similarly-colorful titles, are lust outer demons defined by mysticism and occultism, our nature as an elective species (one must choose to become Carag; therefore, the children of Carag are not Carag, unless they choose to be so upon reaching adulthood) and an understanding of life, death, rebirth, and mutation as a complete demonic life-cycle in continuum that (as you can likely tell) is vastly too complex to explore here. And many other things on top of all that! That’s what I have my long-form books for yes?

You may have seen previous versions of this page’s entries falsely treating myself and my people as synonymous with the Dread Nemesis. That would be her fault:

Seurchraig, the Dread Empress, the Dread Nemesis, the Unraveling Void Made Manifest, et cetera, et cetera, is the primary antagonist of the Twin Spirals Mythos and… as much as it genuinely irks me, because I’m fully aware of the danger of tying part of one’s identity to eternal conflict against an ontological other… the hereditary enemy of the Carag people. She did, after all, try to co-opt us for another tool in her collection from the literal moment she found me, and realized a new breed of demon was emerging.

I’ll warn you: Seurchraig is a real entity. I only know of her what I know from the shard she sent to infect and overthrow my mind. This was an infinitely small piece, you understand? Less significant to her being than a single protein carbon molecule in a single one of the dead skin cells on the bottom of your big toe is to you. And I still barely overcame her and reclaimed myself. She’s bad news. Stick to the fiction and don’t go trying to summon the real deal. Seurchraig legitimately scares me, and she should scare you too.

If you want to read an in-depth analysis of Seurchraig’s psychology, theming, and modus operandi, that wound up being long enough (and sometimes harsh enough!) that I moved it to a separate page. Here it is at last, then–an answer to the question, What exactly IS the Dread Enemy? If this seems kind of crazed, well… I had to inhabit a mental simulacrum of Sech’s personality to write this. It was like bathing my psyche in an ocean of fire. It might feel bizarrely underwhelming for you, since you don’t have the trauma of direct contact with her, or it might hurt even worse due to a lack of preparation.

Go ahead if you wish. Roll those dice.

Now, most of my own works fall somewhere at the intersection of several different mythoi:

The Twin Spirals Mythos is my overarching cosmology. I like to dip my toes in everything and blend together all the ideas I take from this place or that into a holistic body of lore–one that accounts for both the possibilities I personally believe in, and those which I know I can’t in good conscience dismiss just because I don’t like how they challenge me. Quantum physics inspires many of the cosmic powers I write about, my notions of witchcraft and sympathetic magic fuse with the philosophy I’ve cobbled together from everything to Nietzsche to my own life experiences… you get the idea.

But why the name? Originally, the Twin Spirals were simply the Milky Way and the Andromeda. My theming, and my writing as a whole, has matured a lot since those early experiments.

Spirals are funny things. They can travel up or down, move further apart or closer together, but you only have twin spirals if they in some way mirror each other’s movement. This doesn’t necessarily mean duality, but it frequently does. My own writings in the wider mythos tend to focus on opposing perspectives–most frequently, trying to take a more holistic look at longstanding tropes of storytelling, often questioning notions of heroism and villainy, but ideally not being so simple as to just swap the traditional aesthetics of one role onto the traditional actions of the other.

Sword of the Outsider is a bit of an outlier work for me, in that regard. I wanted to write something more fun and indulgent, and I did give up some of my usual nuance in doing so. I don’t think that’s inherently a bad thing, though! It makes for a much more approachable starting point to my works.

On a related note, added 2/3/2022: the concepts of Ul and Kair serve as the ultimate cosmological keystones of the entire Twin Spirals Mythos. You can read about those in their own article here.

I do write stories that occupy only the overarching Twin Spirals Mythos without being personally invested in, well, me. That said, I have come to regard my writing not only as both recreation and wish fulfillment, but also as training for the life (or lives) I’ll leave after I leave this Earthly life behind. To that end, most of my own favorite pieces will fall somewhere within my own offshoots of the Twin Spirals Mythos.

You see, on the one hand, I want the Twin Spirals Mythos to have room for the works of more creators than just me. On the other hand, I’ve come to understand that my own writing has to take care of me first. I can’t keep approaching it as a form of self-sacrifice. In order to negotiate these competing desires, I’ve created my own sub-mythoi. To help focus my writings in each, they usually work off certain differing assumptions about my life on Earth–including its ultimate end, which of course, has not yet arrived.

The Azure Inheritrix Mythos, or simply the Inheritrix Mythos, takes a more cynical view. The title “Inheritrix” itself refers to my relationship to my life on Earth. The idea that I’ve inherited certain legacies, wanted or no, and that my soul has been irreparably altered by that inheritance. A staining. A breaking. A morgul blade forged not of cold metal but of spiteful ether, yet nonetheless one that wounded me deeply.

The Inheritrix Mythos helped me find closure with both the wounds I’ve taken already, and those I still fear I will. In order to do this, it generally begins with the assumption that my Earthly life ended in tragedy after all my goals failed, and that much of my early afterlife was spent on piecing my soul back together and finding the courage to try again despite the pain I’d been taught.

This mythos is thus more violent, more spiteful towards would-be heroes and idealism, more focused on the idea that my own loved ones and community are the only people I can truly trust. This doesn’t mean that it’s joyless! I’ve long since grown bored of writing constantly-angry spume-sagas where there’s no hope and nothing ever turns out well and life is nothing but suffering.

Also, if you’ve read the above material about the Dread Nemesis, I’d hope you would understand that the importance of trusting loved ones and community is not to think “I must kill everyone to keep them safe” but to hunker down with them and stop trying to go on quests or come up with projects or diversions to put off the early pain of healing.

Defending your family from an attack is defending your family. Preemptively destroying other sapient beings just because you think they’ll threaten your family because of a rumor you heard somewhere else is, at minimum, murder, and is generally a fast track to fascism.

The Inheritrix Mythos is not inherently supportive of most things, ideologically speaking, but it is inherently against fascism–if for no other reason than the simple fact that I’d like to eventually enjoy my life, not be caught in an endless loop of reincarnation and renewed initiation in death cults, thanks.

I mean… the fundamental reason I’m an anarchist is that I’m just trying to live my own life.

That said, the Inheritrix Mythos assumes that some periods of my life will never turn out well, and for a year or two I may know nothing but suffering. It’s harsher, yes, but there are also times when this makes the high points shine much brighter to me, when those eye-of-the-storm scenes of warmth and community feel much stronger than they would in a friction-free slice-of-life tale.

The bulk of the Inheritrix Mythos consists of two novels, Sword of the Outsider and Demon Queen of the Deep Ways. With both of these books published, I consider this mythos thematically complete. I may still choose to write short stories in it now and again to explore untapped areas of its timeline, but the central personal story I wanted to tell with it has been told.

The Blackstar Mantle Mythos, or simply the Mantle Mythos, naturally assumes much the opposite: that my life on Earth ultimately went well, that I was able to make peace with or find closure on the parts that didn’t while I was still living a mortal life, and that I carried this seed of determined fulfillment with me into the cosmos. It can be less nuanced, sometimes, and at others it takes a lot of risks in romanticizing ideas I’m not sure whether or not it would be good to romanticize… if these stories were ultimately aimed at humans and other mortal beings.

Now, humans and all myriad other mortals of all cultures and creeds are most welcome to read them, it’s just important to remember that these tales are ultimately driven by the abyssal mind of an outer succubus, and that the things which give me hope and joy may or may not do the same for you.

The Mantle Mythos is still in its early days as of the day I posted this page, but you can expect it to feature a lot of unapologetically self-indulgent power trips, slutty sex scenes, kinks both mundane and very esoteric, and whatever else I feel like writing as wish-fulfillment for myself.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the Nightfire Binary Mythos. As you might guess from its name, it’s explicitly about the stories that happen at the convergence-points between the Mantle and Inheritrix mythoi. This leads to incredibly rich storytelling and themes, but it’s also the most personally fraught for me. I have to call my entire identity into question at once in order to really write stories in this mythos. That can lead to incredible discoveries and staggering personal growth, not to mention my wildest ideas, but I’m also capable of inflicting real, lasting trauma on myself by misjudging my approach.

I eventually hope to write the Canted Bastions quintet–a reboot and expansion of The Necromancer’s Vengeance duology–within this mythos.

Anyway, that’s the end of it for now–if you’ve read this far, thank you so much for your time! I hope you enjoyed this primer, and that it’ll help you to share more of the fun I have with all my names and terms!

-Kairliina<3