Shedim (the 5th column)

By Hart, Joanna (


It's fairly clear just from looking at the various superiors that Shedim tend to come in two main types (ie. one more than Impudites and several less than Habbalah). I see them as ultimately the most anarchic of all bands (not only do they hate laws, it's also very difficult to tie them down and force them to take responsibility for anything they do) -- so you could probably describe two types of anarchist like this as well.

The first is the intellectual. This kind of demon is very interested in the philosophy of evil and, given half an opportunity, will be more than happy to discuss it over a few drinks. It can appear sly, urbane and highly civilised, but it's still working as hard as it can towards the ultimate downfall of humanity as we know it. They seduce humanity with learning, knowledge, and power. It's easy for a Shedite like this to allow selected hosts to become dependent on the demon's superior intellect and reasoning skills, in preference to whatever the host could have done on its own. Of course, the demon will tell the host to look out for itself first, and it can make itself absolutely the voice of reason. They also enjoy having philosophical discussions with would-be exorcists; and a competent Shedite can turn an uninformed human like this into a new servant or ally very easily. Evil has some very plausible front-men, especially when they speak through the lips of an old friend.

The types of corruption they specialise in involve spreading dangerous ideas and making them attractive to their hosts. Let a subtle, intellectual Shedite loose in a police precinct and it won't take long for every officer to lose their edge, consider taking bribes, and take a more cynical approach to the job -- even the ones the demon never possesses will be influenced by the ones it does. Typically they are very methodical about spreading corruption, and approach each target as an interesting new project. Any type of mortal hierarchy is very susceptible to Shedite infiltration like this. All the demon has to do is possess one of the infuential mortals at the top of the tree, and others will follow its example, if not its direct orders.

The other main Shedite type (mainly younger demons, but not limited to that) is the juvenile delinquent. They like to leave trails of havoc and destruction in their wake, and can run through hosts quite swiftly. I think of these as being like BMX stunt riders -- very concerned with being rad and trying to outdo each other in the bizarre stunts they can get their hosts to do.

To follow this mindset, imagine that you have the ability to become invisible. You can wander through the world and no-one will ever be able to follow you or pin you down for anything that you do. So how long before you try to pick something off someone else's desk, just to see if they'll notice? How long before you sneak a free ride on a bus, or into a theatre? Then, how long before you stop bothered to sneak, because they aren't going to notice you anyway...?

Now, what if you could borrow other people's skins for a while, still un-noticed. How long before you find someone you want to sleep with and 'borrow' their SO? No-one will ever know... How long before you think 'I wonder what it's like to be in a car crash', and make someone crash their car so that you can find out?

Shedim are very irresponsible demons. But why do you need to be responsible when no-one can ever catch you doing anything? Someone else always has to deal with the fallout of what the demon has done; because by that time, it has moved on.

I imagine that even the most austere and intellectual Shedite sometimes gives way to the same euphoria; it's just too tempting. It's particularly tempting to keep pushing the limits -- see how far you can make your host go before it breaks or gets picked up by the mortal authorities. They probably keep a running tally back in Hell of which demons have pulled off the wildest, scariest, most outrageous stunts. (Just like the BMX dudes...)

They don't argue intellectually with hosts, they're more like the voice in your head that says 'I bet you wouldn't dare...', or 'C'mon, this is cool!' They drown out the voice of a hosts conscience through sheer exuberance and enthusiasm. Afterwards, of course, it's already too late... These Shedim don't like it when people stop to think before they do something, they prefer impulse evil, preferably way over the top...

Now the reason Princes need to try to keep their Shedite servitors focussed is that, like Kyriotates, they are easily distracted. Distracted by different types of things, but still not the most linear of thinkers. Like their counterparts, they are also interested in experiencing as much of life as possible, and the host is just a vehicle. It's like having a car with a fairly advanced mapping system that can also drive itself. And most Shedim don't really see humans as anything much more than that. Potential hosts, waiting to be road-tested to destruction. Moving lego people that the demon is allowed to play with.

It can be confusing, always having to share part of your thoughts with a mortal, and it's only with experience that the demon will learn how to firewall those parts off efficiently. Jumping from host to host can give an uncentred demon a case of MPD -- a Kyrio is one mind in multiple bodies, a Shedite has it the other way around. On the other hand, the demon can just choose to lurk in the back of a host's mind, let the mortal deal with mortal things, and only exert itself when it wants to push its own agenda, or gets bored. So it's a nice lazy option, and many Shedim are just lazy if they aren't pushed. Because of the access to mortal minds, they probably have the easiest time of any demon in adjusting to Earth: they just let the host deal with that stuff.

jo Shedim just wanna have fun!


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