You are on page 1of 19

Slightly Damned: Theoretical Exposition No.


De Aetherius, Abyssus,
Sonitus et al.
Concerning Heaven, Hell, souls and others
By Liam Beacon, aka Beacon515L (

Well, this will be the first of what I hope to be a fairly long series of reasonably
well-thought out rants about the SD universe. I will mostly write these in a highly
logical, mostly empirical manner, characteristic of my usual a posteriori trains of
thought. So yeah, sit back, relax, and try to keep up.

No small, white, fluffy rabbits were harmed in the making of this exposition. I

Incidentally, I don’t speak Latin, but rely on a dictionary I have on my laptop.

While it probably makes me look like some posh prick, I prefer to think of it as a
shout out to all the great minds over the centuries that have preceded me. Now,
if that ain’t ego, I don’t know what is (shut up, Freud XD).

Also, I think I am legally obliged to state that these are my own theories, and in
no way reflect the views of Chu, members of the Slightly Damned Forums,
readers of SD or anyone else. Slightly Damned is copyright 2004-2009 to Chu.
Thank you to Erroneous for a source on Rhea’s name.

In this exposition, I plan to cover the following:

• The Deities of Slightly Damned

• The respective natures of Heaven and Hell
• How these relate to Medius
• The nature of the afterlife for Medians
• The nature of the afterlife for Angels and Demons
• What this may mean for the future of the webcomic

I have referenced the following:

• Quotations from the webcomic itself

• The info pages written by Chu
• The Bible
• Various encyclopedias, including Wikipedia and Encarta
• And of course, my own divergent thinking.


et al.

Article I. Preface...................................................................................................3
Article II. On The Deities.......................................................................................4
Section 2.01...................................Of which there are three, and they are equal
Section 2.02.................................Who must have existed in another plane once
Section 2.03......................And not necessarily opposed to each other originally
Section 2.04..............................................................They had their own peoples
Section 2.05................................................................And made a race together
(a) Of course, “together” is a relative term.................................................4
Section 2.06..................Death has no need of side-taking – ALGEBRA WARNING
Article III. Medius’s Place in Space.........................................................................6
Section 3.01................................................................................Heaven and Hell
(a) They were probably once able to reach each other...............................6
(b) They can’t now, but can both reach Medius..........................................6
(i) Never Return Home?..............................................................................7
(c) A proposed map of the Afterlife.............................................................8
Article IV................................................................................................................9
Median Eschatology
Article I.Preface
Slightly Damned is a fantasy webcomic by an artist known as Chu, whose scope
purports to run the gamut of “life, death and everything in between.” The
events of the webcomic have (so far) entailed the death of one Rhea Snaketail,
who is a creature known as a Jakkai, her procession into the afterlife, where she
was found to be slightly more sinful than virtuous by Death (who is also a
character and a really nice guy), followed by being sent to a place known as the
Ring of the Slightly Damned (the eponym of the webcomic’s title). There, she
meets the demon Buwaro, who is extremely un-demonlike unless his star
pendant is removed (at one’s own peril), his sister Sakido, who is outwardly very
demonlike but deep down cares for her brother, and their brother Iratu, who
would be more demonlike if he drank less. The comic follows their
misadventures until it takes a turn for the drastically dark, when Sakido sacrifices
herself to take Buwaro and Rhea to the Ascension, and hence give them a
chance at life in the world she had never seen, yet would die to. Shortly after
Sakido’s burial, Rhea and Buwaro find a small snow bunny, whom they call
“Snowy,” but who is in fact a young angel fallen from Heaven known as Kieri
Suizahn. After her introduction, a brief fight against two demons and much
angst, the comic has followed the party’s efforts to reunite Kieri with her brother,
Kazai Suizahn. Their efforts have been fruitless so far, but have served to
strengthen the bonds of camaraderie between them.

Slightly Damned is noted for its gripping storyline, deep character development
and well-planned setting. It can be interpreted on several levels of meaning, and
the sheer eloquence of the fictional world’s structural design means that I
believe firmly that sufficient analysis of the past three hundred and thirty six
pages of the webcomic could lead to revealing the path it has yet to take. That,
or at least, it presents some interesting implications to think about while reading
it. Either way, I like overanalyzing stuff like this to do stuff like that, so I will
have no further hesitation in presenting the rest of this theoretical exposition.
Article I.On The Deities
Section I.1Of which there are three, and they are equal
The info pages and various references from characters state that there are three
deities, Gaia, Syndrel and Death. Of these, it would appear that Gaia and
Syndrel are equal in power, as they were able to wage war on one another on
reasonable even terms.

Section I.2Who must have existed in another plane once

Ya know, the whole well-I-I-made-everything-so-where-the-hell-did-I-come-from
set of paradoxes. Like, where the hell did you live before you made the
universe, man? XD

Section I.3And not necessarily opposed to each other

The first known acts of Gaia and Syndrel were to create Heaven and Hell,
respectively. On Death’s advice, Medius was created by Gaia and Syndrel
together. Medius is Latin for “middle,” and as far as Gaia and Syndrel were
concerned, it was their middle ground. They did not work against each other at
this stage.

Section I.4They had their own peoples

Gaia made angels in her own image, Syndrel made demons in his.

Section I.5And made a race together

Several, actually, but mainly, humans, fairies and Jakkai.

(a) Of course, “together” is a relative term

On page 259, Rhea comments that the blue fairy she rescued looks like Kieri.
When she asks for Buwaro’s opinion, all he can offer is that “the Fairy is a LOT
smaller.” Despite Keiri’s protests that there are “more differences than that,” it
is possible that fairies were also created by Gaia, in a slightly abstracted form of
her image.

Similarly, in the trippy dream sequence on page 105, Rhea became a demon,
and Buwaro a Jakkai, though their respective colourations are unaltered. The
two races look similar enough that on my very first read through, all that I
noticed was that Rhea was taller than Buwaro. On a second, much closer look, I
did notice that they had swapped species, but it had taken that much closer a
look to see it. Hence, I suggest that in the same way that fairies were possibly
made by Gaia, it is possible that Syndrel created the Jakkai in an abstract form of
his image.

This means that humans should be the only race worked on equally by both of
them, and even then I’m not so sure. With some simple cosmetics and clothing,
an angel could easily pass for a human, perhaps minus the ears. Conversely, a
demon has a much harder time passing as a human, as Buwaro found, so as
humans more closely resemble angels than demons, it is probably the case Gaia
put more work into the humans than Syndrel did. Hence, that Gaia got more
credit for creating Medius and Syndrel was largely forgotten might not be so

However, the info pages state that Gaia and Syndrel worked together on Medius,
and Syndrel felt aggrieved that Gaia got all the credit. This would imply that he
has put work in that is unrecognised. This may seem an odd argument, until you
consider that there is much more in Medius than just humans, fairies and Jakkai.
Indeed, they constitute but a fraction of the biodiversity of Medius, leaving the
many and various forms of wildlife, landscapes and suchlike. While it is probable
that Gaia also had a hand in this, I suggest that Syndrel was responsible for
nature. I justify this simply by looking at their respective creations – angels are
given towards order, and goodness, and benevolence – things that allow
civilisation and community to form. By contrast, the demons have no sense of
community, instead simply doing what they must to survive – far closer to
natural instinct. It follows that Gaia and Syndrel created angels and demons in
their respective images, thus, it could be said that Gaia has herself a natural
tendency towards order, goodness and benevolence, whereas Syndrel does what
he feels is necessary to achieve something, like surviving. It hence follows that
their respective creations bear hallmarks of their creators, which can lead you to
their respective creators. QED.

Section I.6Death has no need of side-taking – ALGEBRA

Death is probably just as powerful as either Gaia or Syndrel, but his abilities are
used elsewise. Also, the two deities balance each other out, leaving Death in a
seemingly redundant position. Consider:


∴Gaia= -Syndrel

Any mathematician worth half his salt can see here that Gaia is equal and
opposite to Syndrel. But what if we factor in Death?


Since we know that the world is in balance even with Death factored in, this must
still be:


Solving for the value of Death:



So, this implies that Death is powerless in terms of what Gaia and Syndrel can
do. However, Death’s purpose is quite different to Gaia’s or Syndrel’s, in that he
simply provides an essential service to all sides, yet does not favour either. This
would imply that he cannot have polarity (+ or -) and to preserve his ambiguity,
he must be equal to the only neither positive nor negative number- 0.

Also, this is expressing him in terms of what Gaia and Syndrel can and will do. A
more useful analogy is this:


See Death? He’s the equals sign. XD

Article II.Medius’s Place in Space
I took this article’s heading out of my old Astrophysics and Cosmology text, and
it was referring to how we relate to the universe around us, “we” referring
variously to the planet Earth, the human race, the solar system, the Milky Way
galaxy, and even this universe against the hypothetically infinite number of other
universes. Of course, to better suit the context of Slightly Damned, “space” can
be interpreted as a collective term for all the different worlds in it, such as
Heaven and Hell.

Section II.1Heaven and Hell

Created by Gaia and Syndrel respectively, they are the respective domains of
angels and demons, respectively.

(a) They were probably once able to reach each other

If Heaven and Hell were the only two worlds at one time, it stands to reason that
they may once have been able to reach each other. Of course, this point is
neither provable nor necessary; it is merely an expression of common sense.

A stronger case is built by the following sentence: “Death resides in the middle
land of Purgatory, separated from Heaven and Hell by the Styx River.” From
here, we can infer the following:

• Heaven, Hell and Purgatory all exist in the same physical plane.
• In theory, they are physically accessible from one another either by boat
or by air.
• The Styx River either borders Purgatory on both sides, separating it from
both Heaven and Hell, or just Hell from Purgatory. The exact wording is
ambiguous, but the former seems more likely to be the intended meaning.
I may ask Chu about this.

As a result of this, my habit of preferring the word “world,” borne of my

grounding in science-fiction, may become misleading, as it is (to a modern
audience) more synonymous with “planet” than “realm,” which is synonymously
closer to “land,” the word Chu uses of Heaven, and by abstraction, Hell, on the
info page on the history of the universe of Slightly Damned. Her choice of words
conjures up the pre-scientific conception of the world (I here use that word to
refer to that place where we experience our existence, as opposed the definition
above), as a flat plane upon which mortals walk, overseen by the immortal
deities who created it. This is in stark contrast with the scientific view of the
world, which is inherently agnostic and calculated, without warmth or feeling,
with so many numbers and so few ideals. In short, Slightly Damned is a
webcomic with apparently little time for science, more about the characters and
their interactions and less about the exacting nature of the world around them.
My background concerns this latter, which is partly why I write this exposition –
Chu hasn’t and probably won’t write it, unless I contradict her, it’s not
necessarily wrong, and it’s an interesting angle to look at the webcomic from.
And now, less musings about myself and the whole science-versus-religion
shebang, and more exposition.

(a) They can’t now, but can both reach Medius

On page 280, Darius speaks of having been “deployed to Medius to battle
demons during the Great War,” confirming what Kieri reads on page 242.
Apparently, angels had to travel through “large, scary-looking portals that
swirled with dark energy” to get to Medius (page 243) – portals, it is suggested,
that they once had control over, but evidently no longer (compare pages 148
and 243).

The only known way to reach Medius from Hell so far is the Light of Ascension,
which is how Rhea, Buwaro and Sakido came to be upon Medius. I suspect that
there is another way, or at least had been, as Darius makes no mention of the
Light, Death notes it as unusual and yet there have been cases of demon attacks
in Heaven (the horrific scenes in 287). Of course, there is every chance that
further study of Darius’s journal by Kieri may reveal that Darius had indeed seen
the Light of Ascension, and every chance that he escaped Hell. This is, of
course, completely uncertain, but possible, and a slightly more positive thought
than Darius being dead. After all, who wouldn’t want to see Buwaro and Darius
reunited? I forsee a “DAAAAAW!!!11!” moment. XD

Interestingly, the portals in Heaven could be described as “hell-like,” and the

Light of Ascension could be described as “divine.” Hence, the portals in Heaven
may be the work of dark magic, and in like manner the Light may be of holy
magic. It is possible that the two were created by the opposing sides to drag the
others into Medius to fight, which they would have then taken some control of
and used to wage war on one another. Their natures are not entirely analogous,
however – the Light seems to be more controlled than the rampant portals of
Heaven. Indeed, until the Light and the portals cease to be, the Great War can
never truly end.

(i)Never Return Home?

For Medians, the quickest way to Heaven or Hell is to die, whereupon they will
appear before Death and be taken to either place, or anything in between in the
afterlife. Evidently, Death can freely travel between them (notwithstanding
Cerberus, of course), and take people with them. However, there is no afterlife
for angels and demons, therefore passage between Heaven and Hell becomes a
somewhat more difficult matter.

Evidently, if Heaven, Hell and Purgatory all exist in the same plane, then the
quickest way to Heaven from Hell is through Purgatory. That they must take a
detour using Medius as the middle ground indicates that there is something
preventing them from taking the direct route. That something is fairly simple.

“Death resolved to keep neutral during the fight; his creations Cerberus and
Drazil did the same.”
In maintaining neutrality, it would stand to reason that Death would allow neither
side passage through his realm to the other side; hence the two sides were
forced to pursue other alternatives. This would have led to going through
Medius, and as a result the Medians would be brought into the fight. This would
be the origin of the portals and the Light of Ascension.
(b) A proposed map of the Afterlife
Summarising the above gives this simple, if clumsily draw diagram:
For similar reasons to why
Darius wound up in the Ring
instead of Hell, and also
simply on balance , it would
make sense for someplace
along the lines of the Ring of Hypothetical
the Slightly Blessed to exist . parallel of the Ring

Wow. What a weird name I

just coined . XD
the gate of

e Darius makes mention of
Ri demonic attacks on Heaven
ve on page 287. Something to
rS this effect must be the case
ty to allow this.

Light of
Page 1. Evidently, Purgatory
is also the site of Judgement .

The Purgatory
Ri v

Ring of the Slightly

Note that on page 280,

Darius winds up in the Ring,
not actually in Hell . There’s
probably some military sense
in that.
Cerberus , guarding the
gate of Hell


Hell Page
Light of 280

This line represents the Portals
divide between the divine
plane and the plane Medius
exists in . Note that Heaven,
Hell and Purgatory all exist in
the same plane. Page 91
Article II.Median Eschatology
I’ll save you all the Google search. Eschatology comes from the Greek eskhatos
(last), and is the formal study of life after death and the ultimate destiny of
humankind. Slightly Damned is nothing if not eschatological, even if only in a
fictional sense. While I have already dealt with some points of an eschatological
persuasion, this article will be pure eschatology right here.

Section II.1To die, to sleep, no more

Rhea Snaketail died from a fatal injury to her vital organs produced by a sharp
instrument thrust into her chest. That is, she was stabbed to death. What
happened to her next was a process long followed by Medius’s dead for an
immeasurable period of time, where she was sent to be judged, and then sent on
to her final destination. At least, that was the idea.

The problem with describing the eschatology of Slightly Damned in terms

invented by institutions of a primarily Christian persuasion is that they describe
Christian concepts that are not necessarily compatible with the mythology of
Slightly Damned. They are, however, at least analogous.

I would firstly just like to say that as a Roman Catholic myself, I will approach this
next with a Catholic background. This will probably be palatable for some, but I
apologise to any non-Christians who don’t follow what I’m doing. I’m sorry, but
I’m not experienced enough in your dogma to be able to describe it in your
religion’s terms. I’m afraid that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

So, Catholics versus Medians:

Catholics Medians

Catholics believe, like all Christians, in Exactly what the Medians believe is
one Father, the Almighty, maker of unclear. Evidently, they all worship
Heaven and Earth, of all that is seen Gaia as their creator. They are also
and unseen. They believe in the Lord evidently aware of Syndrel, who serves
Jesus Christ, only son of the Father, a similar theological purpose to the
begotten, not made of one being with Christian concept of Satan. It does not
the Father, through him all things are appear that the Medians acknowledge
made. They believe in the Holy Spirit, Death as a deity, although the Jakkai
(this being the extent to which I can tradition of giving loved ones fare for
unaided recite the Nicene Creed, which the passage across the Styx may tell a
shows how often I rock up to Mass XD) different story.
and they believe that the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit are all one The Medians also believe – or rather,
being. These three beings and their know for certain – that there are twelve
oneness is known as the Trinity. guardians, three beasts each for four
elements, watching over Medius.
Indeed, some have had run-ins with
mortals (Toski being a case in point).

Catholics believe with faith. Medians experience most of their faith

first-hand. Given that angels and
demons visit and exist corporeally, and
that they speak of their respective
deities, this would be evidence enough
for most Medians to believe. Even the
procedures of the afterlife are at least
partly known to at least the Jakkai, who
have a Spirits Day (notably, Chu has
spelt this both with and without an
apostrophe, in adjacent pages! Maybe
she did it to spite grammar Nazis... like
what I can be... XD).

The afterlife is non-corporeal. The afterlife seems to be a corporeal

existence. After all, physics seems to
apply in Hell, as Buwaro and Thaddeus
seem to have a frequent (painful)
experience of.

It is impossible to reach Heaven from It is probably possible to reach Heaven

Hell, and vice versa. from Hell by going through the Styx
and Purgatory, but Death, Cerberus
and Drazil may have something to say
about it
An attempted etymology of character names, as well as my attempt to
transcribe them in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet):

Rhea (‘r eɪ., ɑː): Such a simple name is so deep! Rhea is at once the name of
a Greek goddess, a moon of Saturn (named after the goddess), a
kind of flightless South American bird similar to an emu, an
American astronaut, and a priestess who was the Roman emperor
Romulus’s mother. Most of these can be ruled out reductio ad
absurdum, leaving the priestess and the goddess (and the priestess
can be eliminated by stating that she was probably named after the
goddess anyway). The Greek goddess Rhea was a maternal figure,
much like Rhea was seen as (“Is she their mom or something?” –
Samantha Kailum, pg 259). Also, Rhea is the daughter of Gaea
(correct spelling for classical Greek mythology), I would suggest
that Mother Gaia being analogous to our (in the context of my next
point, the Christian) God, whom we call ourselves children of (this
may just be a Catholic thing, I dunno about other traditions. I am
Roman Catholic, so… yeah XD), Rhea’s name indicates literally that
she is a “daughter of Gaia.” Ironic on some levels, actually, but it
would have made sense while she was still a fairly religious Jakkai.

It is stated on the Jakkai info page that Jakkai are named by the
elders for a defining characteristic at birth, a name which becomes
a surname as soon as the Jakkai is old enough to choose their own
name. In the August 2009 filler on Rhea, Rhea chose her first name
from a scary creature from an old fairytale she read. Unfortunately,
no fairytales have yet appeared in the webcomic, or at least, none
that are useful in making my point. However, several scary
creatures from a number of real-life fairytales do exist, and it so
happens that the name “Rhea” is phonologically similar to the word
“wraith.” Of course, how this relates to SD is questionable at best,
but that’s what I remember thinking when I read that.

Buwaro (b ʊ.’w aːr., oʊ): Possibly from bucardo, common name of the Spanish
Ibex, Capra pyrenaica, whose horns resemble his. Also, the species
has died out, and Rhea once remarked that she hoped Buwaro was
“one of a kind,” and has called him “Goat-face” (pages 89 and 332,
respectively). Poor guy.

Iratu (ir.’ ɑː.,t uː): From English irate, an adjective meaning “full of ire.” Could
also be from ire itself, which is a strong emotion of anger directed
towards some real or supposed grievance. This supposed or real
grievance could be the reason he’s a perpetual drunk, mayhaps…
Sakido (‘s ɑː.k iː.,d oʊ): Could be a truncation of sakidori, which literally means
“to take before.” While it is not the technically correct meaning of
the word, bastardising this translation gives “to come before,”
which I interpret as a reference to the fact that Sakido was the first
of the Elexions to die (whether or not you count Darius is up to you,
given that we don’t know what happened to him. My personal
feeling is that I presume him dead as of Page 1, but that’s just me).

Kieri (‘k iː. ɜr., iː): Japanese word with several meanings, but the most likely is
“executioner.” Geez, if anyone’s looking for evidence of the
Proud Warrior Race trope, it’s all here – her parents obviously
had high-ish hopes for her. Poor girl.

Kazai (,k ɑː.’z aɪ): Kazai is Japanese for wealth and fortune. It would well be
suggested that this would be what he brings to his family. It
can also be interpreted as “treasure,” which is what he is to
his parents, according to Keiri.

Darius (‘d ær. iː .,ʌs): Could only refer to the great king of Persia of the same
name. Probably a reflection of his wisdom, courage and
strength of character.

Lazuli (‘l æz. juːl ., aɪ): From the gemstone, lapis lazuli, whose colour she

Talus (‘t æl .,ʌs): Is an archaic term for rubble.

Toski (‘t ɒs.,k iː): Tosco is Spanish for “crude.”

Gaia (‘g aɪ., ɑː): Also spelt Gaea, is the classical Greek personification of Earth
as a deity. She is the mother of most of the Greek Pantheon.

Syndrel (‘s ɪn.,dr ɨl): Nothing really. The best I can come up with is that the word
“sin” and the first syllable of his name are homophones.

Azurai (‘æz .uː.,r aɪ) or (æz .’ juː.,r aɪ): Not much aside from a weird similarity to
“azure.” Curious that it rhymes with Lazuli, though… (In fact,
the second pronunciation I propose shares exactly the same
vowel sounds!)

Interesting snippits of Angelic:

Once I crack Wordweb, I’ll be able to do pattern searches and suchlike, so this
will be much easier. For now, it’s all guesswork. I’m going to
optimistically believe that Chu has just put symbols to letters of the
Roman alphabet, as did Eoin Colfer, and used English (or at worst,
some other language that uses the Roman alphabet). I will hence
attempt to translate what Chu herself said was untranslatable.
That’s what I do. XD
Appears to be some sort
of interjection. Has been
used four times by Kieri
(pages 163, 193, 212 and
265). I think of when I
use Jesus’s name as an
interjection as an
analogy (I shouldn’t,
but… yeah).
Frequency analysis does
not reveal anything
useful. The word is
probably four letters long
(counting the dot). I was
originally inclined to
think it was “Gaia” she
was saying, but the
second and fourth letters
are dissimilar (choosing
the classical Greek
spelling over Chu’s
spelling makes no
Keiri’s sword. This
picture taken from page
A nine-letter word in
which the second and
last letters are similar. I
originally tried omitting
the dots, and believed it
to read “Suizahn,” but
that probably does not
An incantation of Keiri’s
on page 136.

Another one, page 132.

Angelic swear word?

An incantation of Lazuli’s.
I’m practically certain the
first word is “Ice.”

ICE ---

“My name is Lazuli, and

I’m here for that angel.”
Evidently, this is not word
for word.
----C –GI-

I could have no idea. I

can’t even be certain
(though it is likely) that
this concerns her having
just noticed Lazuli.
I ---- ----?
Keiri’s book on Lingo.
The cover almost
certainly reads “Lingo,”
while the text below
seems to be

Kieri’s report card. The

crossed one cannot read
“Training” literally as it
fails frequency analysis.

Another incantation of
Keiri’s. Page 251.
Keiri’s uncle’s name. Not
much use since we don’t
know who that is.

Darius’s diary. “This

means you! >:(“
This probably proves that
Chu doesn’t make an
effort to make Angelic
actually readable, as
despite being faced with
a direct translation with
the correct number of
letters, the Angelic text
fails frequency analysis
unless there are multiple
characters for S.
Also of interest to me, despite what the FAQ says:

The stitches on Sakido’s clothes, whether or not they are just “random stitches,”
happen to be perfectly consistent in every one of their appearances
(inasmuch as they have always read VXI∏). “VXI” is unlikely to be a
roman numeral, as it defies the ordering conventions. If I was to
attempt to resolve it as a number, it would end up being 6 (-
5+10+1 - the five is negative as it immediately precedes a
denomination greater than it), though of course, the more efficient
way of writing this would be VI. It could simply read five – ten –
one. This still leaves the final symbol, which could be either Pi
(π=3.1412…or 6n=1∞1/n2) or the symbol for the product of a
series. Interestingly, this latter requires three arguments – an
expression and two limits. Notably, using those three digits given,
one could try evaluating n=1510n, which produces 12000000.
Summing the digits produces 3, which seems to be a significant
number throughout the webcomic. So... yeah.
One parting word to confuse you all:

Severe mind rape shall surely abound. XD