This article is about Cubi in general. To see characters that are Cubi, see the Cubi Category.
Cubi – male individuals are known as Incubi and female individuals are referred to as Succubi – is a term used to describe a race of shape-shifting, emotion-eating Creatures. In spite of its diversity, the race as a whole tends to fall between the Angel and Demon race in a strange sideline, thus creating the embarrassing misconception that reproduction between an Angel and a Demon gave birth to the Cubi race.
Although Cubi bear great resemblances to Angels and Demons, the race is unique in that when a member reaches adulthood, a secondary pair of wings – known as headwings – manifest on his or her head. When Cubi reach a level of extraordinary power, a third set of wings materialize that protrude from his or her hips. Only a few hundred Tri-Wing 'Cubi have existed since the race began. Cubi are fairly rare Creatures, with less than 30,000 individuals in Furrae as of the current strip.
The Cubi race was reportedly created around 100,000 years before the events in DMFA, but the details surrounding their origins are extremely ambiguous. Cubi appeared around the time Beings were developing civilizations, so a popular theory is that the race was a byproduct of this technological advancement.
Abel provided a brief summary of Cubi history in strip #508, describing when the race thrived purely on savagery and brutality. This provoked a war that resulted in the outright extinction of numerous clans; Fa'Lina's was among the casualties. There was also a Dragon and Cubi War between the Dragons and the Cubi, but it has only been mentioned once and it might be a separate conflict from the mass extinction illustrated in strip #508. It is also known that some millennia ago there was a state of open warfare between many clans, apparently started by various Cubi who chose to eat the souls of other Cubi.
Approximately 7,000 years before DMFA, Fa'Lina created SAIA in order to educate and train Cubi so they could be prepared to face the outside world. Siar Clan was obliterated by a Dragon over four hundred years before DMFA (400-846 years before), so in spite of any official conclusion to the war, murderous animosity still remains.
Although Cubi can be highly adept at magic and are attuned to all manner of elements,  the race as a whole possesses unique characteristics that make individuals fearsome opponents in combat. As a Cubi individual matures, he or she gradually transitions from having an ordinary metabolism to an entirely magical-based one. This eliminates necessities that Beings and other Creatures need to function, such as food and sleep. Ultimately they will lose the need to breathe as well, although they tend to do this anyway out of habit and the need to speak. As Amber put it: "Sleep is usually the first to go, followed by food, then water, breathing tends to go out last."
As with many other Creatures, Cubi have an innate, natural tendency to regenerate lost limbs assuming they do not die from their injuries beforehand. It is not known how long this process takes, though it is likely that the process can be speeded up through healing spells and similar magic.
Instead of relying on physical sustenance, full-fledged Cubi feed off of energy, primarily drawn from emotions broadcast from others. Cubi can also feed off of energy produced by dreams, but this has not been seen within the comic. Cubi are attuned to particular emotions; their preferences normally depend on clan affiliation but are sometimes affected by personal inclinations. Some Cubi still eat physical food. When inexperienced Cubi come into power, they gradually become more attuned to emotions and easily become overwhelmed by the overflow of stray thoughts and feelings. Shortly after these symptoms emerge, Cubi must learn to erect a mental filter to block out the surplus of rogue energy and only filter in the desired amount.
As their biological age increases the amount of energy needed to keep them young will increase correspondingly. The natural lifespan of a 'Cubi is probably determined by this, since it will ultimately reach a point where the energy required to sustain their metabolism exceeds the input from passive emotion absorption.
While some Cubi can live as pacifists, safely thriving off of emotions, others prefer to harvest their preferred emotions by attempting to invoke such feelings among people.  This can be relatively innocuous, such as Abel’s example of "a friendly Cubi who dresses as a clown for sick children at the hospital", or an actor feeding upon the emotions their performance induces in the audience. Cubi are more notorious for their more destructive modes of feeding, however, as clans more attracted to negative feelings resort to more unscrupulous methods to incite emotions. The classical Cubi attack is to enter the mind or dreams of lovelorn prey and seduce them by shape-shifting into their dream date, feeding on their passion or their soul.
Cubi are believed to feed on background magical energy, but they require a more immediate source of energy - such as emotions - in order to actually harness it. Because the emotions aren't the actual energy source themselves, it means that Cubi can feed off each other - or even their own emotions - without requiring any further input. A common ability shared between Cubi is something referred to as "emotion jamming," which is the process of taking advantage of a Cubi's natural empathy by force-feeding certain emotions.
Cubi also have a reputation for eating the souls of their prey, and it is most likely for this reason that they are greatly feared by Beings. The consumption of souls is not necessary for a Cubi's survival, although it will greatly increase their powers and lifespan. Unlike their passive emotion feeding (which is a natural trait), Cubi employ active magical processes to feed on souls. Other Creatures can apparently perform similar feats of soul-stealing.
Mind-reading is divided into separate categories used to describe the highly-complex ability. Thought-reading, for example, is an automatic skill that comes naturally to many Cubi. When others with unprotected minds think, Cubi can hear that transmitted thought as though it is being spoken aloud. However, most Cubi regard this as an inconvenience and do not actively attempt to read thoughts on a regular basis – when uninterested in the affairs of others, they filter out all but a few key words. Abel described this in strip #864.
Some Beings believe that if they imagine crude scenarios meant to provoke revulsion, this will scare away Cubi. In actuality, since Cubi are so familiar with such mental images, they are simply unimpressed by such attempts.  Thought-reading can be prevented using magical fortification, but such barriers can be dispelled.
Mind-reading, alternatively, is an extremely dangerous process that puts both participants – the Cubi and the victim – at risk. It is insanely tedious and complex, with high fatality rates. Generally, mind-reading is only used by the desperate when torturing one for important information has failed. Depending on the user’s level of skill and the extent of the mind-reading, the process takes hours to even a couple of days in order to successfully finish and it easily exhausts the user.
An alternate method of feasting on energy is to manipulate the dreams of a sleeping victim. Cubi are able to perform a technique called "dream-surfing." As the dreaming mind is unpredictable and prone to suggestion, Cubi must actively nudge the victim's thoughts into whatever desired direction, bearing witness to the orchestrated dream. Despite the fact this ability is so imperfect, it is one of the more effective ways a Cubi can try garnering information from a sleeping subject.
Nowadays, as such barbaric methods become more obsolete, Cubi tend to use dream-surfing for recreational purposes. However, the process is more complicated than some ambitious Cubi believe. Unexpected pitfalls and traps, as well as predatory creatures capable of entering dreams, can undermine exploring Cubi.
Cubi have highly morphable appearances; their wings, in particular, can easily be manipulated and shaped into weaponry and other forms. Initially these "wing-tentacles" are under unconscious control, and almost seem to have a mind of their own, but with experience Cubi can control them. In combat, the tentacles can be used as lassos to ensnare their prey, but they can also be sharpened into blades.
An experienced Cubi can crush or slice through rocks with their tentacles, and the typical way for a Cubi to dispose of an adventurer is to "use a tentacle wing to wrap around the neck, make it razor-sharp and snap [their] head clean off like a dandelion."
Cubi can also alter their entire appearances, although this is a complicated process that takes years to master (strip #690). A much simpler cosmetic change is the ability to hide one's headwings, which Dan was able to accomplish by simply following Abel's instructions in strip #621. The only aspect of a Cubi's appearance that cannot be changed is his or her clan marking, which exists as a perpetually-present colorful symbol located somewhere on the body. Besides changing one’s appearance, Cubi can also conjure clothing through metamorphosis. Some Cubi use their metamorphosis abilities to assume entirely different identities or to impersonate others.
Cubi are formidable adversaries due to their shapeshifting abilities and the fact their wings can sprout tentacles. Perhaps due to their emotional affinities, they are also skilled at manipulating the emotions of another. Ever since the founding of SAIA and its integration into Cubi lifestyles, most Cubi who attend have become more adept at battle and more prepared to face unexpected threats, depending on the individual’s studies.
Cubi generally tend to be highly inexperienced in the battlefield and equally egotistical, thus leading them to underestimate their opponents or make other fatal miscalculations. Compared to other Creature brethren, the average Cubi is physically inferior to the average Angel or Demon. For example, an older Incubus such as Aniz – although he received no combat training – would easily be defeated by Kria in her early twenties.  However, immensely powerful Cubi can outmatch immensely powerful Angels and Demons. Ordinary Cubi can die from normal means unless they are at a certain level of power.
A Cubi's disposition is often influenced by the traditions and practices of his or her clan. The race is incredibly diverse, as a result, even though the more violent Cubi tend to gain more notoriety. However, it should be noted that according to Abel, most Cubi perpetuate the bloodthirsty stereotypes due to choice and upbringing. This feeling of superiority is mostly prevalent among Cubi who were raised by other Cubi, and is more of a cultural pattern than an inherent trait.
As a rule, Cubi are almost always emotional creatures and possess equally capricious attention spans. Mundane objects or thoughts easily bore a Cubi and cause him or her to lose interest quickly. Anything impressively shiny or colorful, no matter how superficial, can temporarily ensnare a Cubi's attention; hence, they are often prone to following trends and whatever is considered popular. It has been suggested that this is the reason for Dan's liking of DDR and similar pursuits which gives him an excuse to dress up. Cubi are often vain and tend to have a liking for life's comforts, so it is not unusual for a Cubi to work for someone in a position of power.
Relationship with other races
- For more information, see: Category:Cubi Clans
All Cubi belong to a Clan, whether they know it or not. Like clans and castes in human society, Cubi clans all have different lifestyles, normally centering on the emotional energy that they most easily accumulate. In addition, the clan a Cubi belongs to will influence which emotions they are most readily able to absorb. Dan, for instance, is a Cyra Clan Cubi, like Destania. As a result, he has inherited a particular affinity for pain. Some are powerful and respected; others are fragmented to the point of near-extinction, where they can no longer be truly regarded as a clan. Certain clans are allies, others are enemies.
The clans are not simply a family convention, but a physical attribute of a Cubi, inherited from the parent belonging to the more powerful clan. When a young Cubi starts to use magic on a regular basis, a marking in the form of their clan symbol will appear on a random part of their body. This clan marking is the one thing which a Cubi is unable to conceal via their shapeshifting powers - no matter what form they assume, the marking will still appear in roughly the same place on their body. Similarly, amputation will not hide a clan-mark. Because of this, the clan marking is considered a good way to spot a Cubi.
It is implied that only tri-wing 'Cubi can actually found a 'true' clan, although conversely it has also been said that clans can be formed without a tri-wing - this may perhaps refer to a clan branching off, although that is purely guesswork. It has been claimed that a healthy clan would normally consist of somewhere between 20 and 80 individuals, although the primary source for this is unfortunately not public.
Cubi naming conventions tend to follow the name of the individual's clan: the name of the Cubi's clan is used as his or her last name. An example can be found in Abel's Story, Part Two page #074.
It is possible for Cubi to convert to another clan. This is not a trivial process and will usually result in a weakening of the Cubi's powers, even if the clan he or she is joining is more powerful. It can, however, increase the power of any children he or she subsequently has.
Some clan members have small heads at the end of their wing-tentacles. This is believed to happen to the clan founder when they ascend to tri-wing status. A clan with its tri-wing leader still alive will have these heads on all members of the bloodline. If the founder is dead they will simply have basic tentacles. According to Amber, only seven to twelve clans still have existing tri-wing founders.
It is also possible for a highly-skilled Cubi to create their own 'fake' tentacle heads, but this does take a lot of effort. Cubi with living clan founders can naturally control such heads on an almost subconscious, instinctive level; those without have to go through the additional concentration of completely manipulating the head.
As Amber put it: "Either way, head tentacles tend to equal trouble. As any Cubi who has the power to wield them - be it through clan founder or just pure training - is not really a Cubi most want to tangle with."
Unless killed, 'Cubi normally live for approximately 3000 years. It is possible to extend this using an external energy source, typically souls. Tri-winged 'Cubi have an indefinite lifespan, but this is a difficult state to achieve.
For a normal 'Cubi, their age will freeze in their 20s, a state that lasts for approximately one thousand years, according to Amber. After which they will very slowly begin to age until they die naturally somewhere around 3000. It is possible to retain their youth, but this requires an increasing amount of energy to sustain as their true age increases. The extra energy requirements will cause the individual to have a shorter life than they would if they allowed themselves to age naturally, though the energy requirements can be fulfilled by an external source. According to Amber, this is the main reason 'Cubi may turn to soul-stealing.
Facts and Trivia
- Cubi are probably the most popular character type in the DMFA universe and have inspired a number of fan writings. Many members of the DMFA forum, both past and present have created a 'cubi character for writing, roleplaying or in many cases as their avatar in the Clockwork Mansion Forum.
- It is possible to convert Beings into Cubi, although these techniques are rarely used as clans generally find it easier to simply have more children.
- When 'Cubi write books intended for other 'Cubi (e.g. the library in SAIA), the front cover usually contains the clan mark, and the spine has the subject matter.
- Information taken from Demonology 101: The Cubi Race
- Comic time and Conservation of Energy - an in-depth discussion of 'Cubi energy feeding
- 200 was quoted by Amber in 2006 (See 'Comic Time and Conservation of Energy' above), this was later revised to more than 400 deceased Tri-Wings as mentioned by Mink in the 'Clan Leaders' arc.
- A page out of the Nice forums mirrored here.
- Amber's post about 'Cubi not sleeping
- Amber's post about the transition
- An in-depth discussion of 'Cubi energy feeding Regeneration and clanmarks
- An in-depth discussion of 'Cubi energy feeding here
- Fa'Lina uses charts to describe this in strip #488.
- An in-depth discussion of 'Cubi energy feeding here
- Emotion jamming is explained in strip #649, unsuccessfully demonstrated in strip #648, and successfully used in strip #670.
- Soul-stealing as a magical ability.
- What if Jyrras invented a soul-destroying weapon?
- Thought-reading is intimately described in the first page of Cubi 101.
- The lecture on thought-reading continues in the second page of Cubi 101.
- Fa'Lina goes in-depth on mind-reading in the last page of Cubi 101.
- Dream-surfing is explained in in the third page of Cubi 101.
- Dream-surfing’s consequences are shown in the fourth page of Cubi 101.
- A page out of the Nice forums mirrored here (Warning: Thread contains non-PG descriptions of decapitations).
- Aaryanna describes the clan marking of a Cubi in Clan Markings.
- Aaryanna explains this in an entry for her LiveJournal, Clothing for Cubi.
- Amber's post about Kria-vs-Aniz
- q.v. Amber's discussion.
- Amber's description of changing clan
- Amber provided an interesting amount of information regarding clan founders here.
- Aaryanna described wing-tentacles in Wings and Heads and Headwings, one of her LiveJournal entries.
- Amber discusses 'Cubi life extensions
- A page out of the Nice forums mirrored here.
- Amber's expose on Abel's Story 2.42
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