This post contains 2 detailed inked & shaded artworks & 1 black & white sketch for ACOLYTE tier members, a further 2 colored artworks for DISICPLE tier members and 1 FREE artwork for the general public. For more details on membership tiers, ways to support the site and how to purchase comics/collections, click here. The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
Dear members, since this is a highly ambitious post, I've made this ACOLYTE level post to include content exclusive for DISCIPLE members too. This means, ACOLYTES may view some of the restricted content within this post while DISCIPLES & higher tiered members may view all of the content here which I assure you is worth it. I've went back to revisit a pair of my older drawings, ones I've done on physical paper in the past where I used to have a higher detailed level of inked shading. I've touched them up and brought them back here to accompany a story thread I've been think of for a while now and one that I'm rather proud of, as I feel that the writing muse has returned somewhat after a lengthy spell of just drawing and a little burned out from the narrative aspect. But take a read, it may get a little deep and esoteric, but very much adds to the depth of the world I've created for Forbidden Feast and the Tales of the Vanished. I will consider this one of the more important updates that delves into the history and lore of this universe I'm building.
And with that note, late as I usually am, I hope the wait was worth it.
Excerpt from the lectures of [NAME REDACTED] a self described scholar of the Occult and Secret Societies. Lecture titled "Secret Societies: War of Two Evils" with two members of the Doe Patrol in attendance with a small audience.
To understand the permanence of this nameless secret society, one needs to understand the engine of how this society "breathes". It isn't stagnant, for that will almost lead to ruin in all cases. See all the ancient empires, Assyria, Persia, Sumeria, Rome. The fall comes after complacency after one side has assumed total dominance. And I'm sure some of you within the audience here too have started to see that with civilization of today.
No, it is easy to think that within this organization, everything works as fine as a well oiled machine but instead within its occult existence there lies within their own conflicts and stories that keeps them alive, vigilant and thriving. Think of the forest after a wildfire or a nation that mobilizes for war. Or a child who learns to climb trees despite the risk of broken limbs. For what is strife but practice for future dominance? No. This secret organization isn't a monolith. It is a Diarchy.
This is a conflict that is as old as the conflict between Good and Evil itself. Good and evil, black and white is what we can see. Death and life. War and peace. Chaos and order. We see that manifest in the wars we see, to the public at least. In the past it is World War I & II. The Civil War. Recent American history we saw this manifest in the form of the War on Terror. It is a horn's call to war so uniform that an entire country rallied along with many other foreign nations including my own, misguided as we are as we soon found out years later, to pick up their swords - or guns - to wage war against a common enemy. This manifests everywhere else in other countries where each side paints the other as the boogeyman monster who devours the flesh of your kin. A complex, more esoteric villain will be a hard sell for the masses. But I know my audience here isn't present for the simple stories.
It is an easy man's war to fight this simple evil the one taught in the holy books, pick your own religion and denomination, it is all there. Satan, Iblis, The Devil, Prince of Light, the Fallen Angel. Lucifer.
And in my years of research of the concept of good and evil from millennia and epochs past, delving into secret societies and the darkest temptations of human desires, one concept keeps returning to me. The incarnation of that evil which manifests itself as Lucifer isn't the only one that lies in darkness. This Luciferian incarnation is only one half to this darkness. It is the Western incarnation of evil, in the sense of the Judeo-Christian lens of the modern world, though in ancient times it is told that the Luciferian concept began in the Far East but I am jumping a little too far ahead. Lucifer as told through the Bible and if you read between the lines of what is written, you can almost draw about a tragic figure. Sympathetic. Cast down from God's grace. He is almost human, like us. Flawed and with our mortal emotions attached. For what is hate without the ability to love? In a sense, Luciferian evil is almost a worship of the existence of meaning, of the divine, even though through this archetype it is corrupted into an evil that is almost, holy. Think of the rituals of the Vatican, gargoyles at cathedrals, the ghostly chants of Gregorian monks, the beauty of paintings, death masks, the depiction of Danté's inferno. They are considered "beautiful" when viewed through a certain lens but one that can easily be shifted into a darker spectrum, a "Gothic" sort of evil that is manifest as Luciferian.
It is an evil with spirituality. It is an evil where the single sacrifice is deemed holiest of the holy. The sacrifice retains her name. The sacrifice is special, the daughter of Eve, wonderful and spectacular... to be celebrated as a conquered trophy of the highest order.
This is where I will introduce to you, my modest audience who have so generously spared your time for my mad ramblings, the concept of the other lesser known but no less significant type of evil... and one that's commonly misunderstood as it is one that is everywhere now to the point that his incarnation is almost intangible and soulless. Some say this is the darker evil as it is devoid of meaning, individuality or of the divine. It is a mechanistic concept of evil. In pop culture, we see them as the insectoid manifestations in science fiction movies that ravage like locusts, or the artificial robots programmed to exterminate the lesser and more inferior species. Their existence finds meaning through an algorithm, through industry, the strong devouring the meek, through practicality and logic. It is an evil without the dark prayer to an unholy god.
The Anthroposophical allegory to this incarnation, they called him Ahriman.
He is the consuming evil whose concept began in the Zoroastrian theology of Ancient Persia and recalibrated for the 20th century via Rudolph Steiner's Anthroposophical movement. He is one who deals in wanton destruction, which sometimes manifests as selfishness, industry, or excesses through the availability of opportunity. You see this manifest in the Wall Street Hedge Fund who finds every opportunity to grow their portfolio without remorse for the damage to the business ecosystem he shares. Or the third world dictator who strip mines his own country and lines the pocket of his associates.
Sometimes, this evil works its way in a form of massive organizations working as an industry one that is highly damaging to the point of almost revealing itself, but by its immense power and nature of its underground network, manages to rule by fear.
I must admit it is an ill-defined sort of evil as even I am working through the thesis of this concept as we speak. Think of me standing up here right now as a comedian working through his material, so forgive me for my current inaccuracies, and which is why I encourage anyone after my lecture to discuss further, that perhaps I could be further enlightened through debate. But from what I can glean, Ahrimanic evil is an evil without spirituality. One life is almost never enough. It is the thousands of terra-cotta warriors following the practitioner of Ahrimanic evil into the afterlife. It is the 40 vestal virgins promised. And in the dark sense of the secret society I'm researching, it is the sacrifice of not just the one, but many. The more, the merrier. Quantity over quality. It is a death through massacre and genocide whose victims are nameless. And that is the pleasure Ahrimanic acolytes derive from.
There is another difference to this evil. If you scrutinize a little deeper, you'll find that Ahriman indoctrinates his allies through fear and rewards them with hedonism. Lucifer however tempts his allies through hedonism and rewards them with meaning. Luciferian evil makes you feel like you belong, while Ahrimanic evil holds you hostage. And this is why I feel this organization is so powerful as it toys between these two vices depending on the potential recruit. And through these binary motives that's how the secret society indoctrinates, or almost holds hostage both willing and unwilling to grow its ranks.
But of course, it should also be inevitable that with these two opposing approaches to existence there must be accompanied with it, its own civil war. But with this, as it is getting late past the hour, I must leave you hanging and direct you to my book which you can find much much more about this. But let me end this lecture by saying, you and me. We think we are immune. Yes, now that we are outside looking in, of course. But imagine. What if we are caught in its web, faced with our very own demise after knowing their unimaginable secrets, what would we do? Do we partake in their sins and live? Perhaps ultimately enjoy our membership? Our soul may be darkened but our pleasures sated through these horrors after a period of conformity.
Or do we remain virtuous and perish? I assure you, noble as you are today, I doubt that when you are faced with that choice, it would be that easy.
And that is the power of these societies. Thank you very much. Here's where I have 10 minutes to take any questions from the audience.
Bonus Sketch: A new story thread that will possibly be added soon to the PROJECTS page which I call "Cult of the Green Man", of barbecues and traditional Americana which takes places in rural and poor parts of the U.S. in Kentucky, near the strange and mythical Mammoth Caves. One could say this is more old-school Dolcett of old. At the moment, I'll be putting a pin on this while I focus on other commissions and projects, but I thought I'll just add this as the idea of drawing a rack or ribs on the grill is a little too tempting to ignore.