Written by Ademal

A switch of a playlist; a total change of heart. I can press play on rage, stop on fear, and fast-forward on critical thinking. You're lost in the vanilla while I'm remixing entire experiences—the awe of spiritual insight merged with sex on a beach, the hitch of a kick of fear overlaid with the nostalgic feeling of campfire stories of your youth...

I could go on, but why should I?

I can't describe it to you. You have to experience it.

— From the lips of a Grister

Gristing is a mnemonic process of triggering a pre-programmed mental state by way of stimuli cues. This has a range of utility, such as halting panic attacks and inducing focus, but is also used to get high, enter states of of berserk rage, and to torture prisoners of war.

Grists are created by recording lived experiences with a Neuro-Reader, editing them on software to tweak the outcome, and are programmed into the mind with a device called a Pavlovian Bypass. During the programming they are associated with a Mnemonic Key, known as a Grist Drop, which is later used to re-trigger the emotion. When the Grister experiences the drop, they are forced into the mental state with remarkable intensity.

Programming a Grist into someone is a personalized process which must be done on an individual basis.

Due to its ability to alter psychology, Gristing is prohibited to various degrees by the different Banners. The exception to this is House of Sorrows, whose hit squads use it to amp up before a strike. This tradition has earned them a terrifying reputation, and is the basis of most anti-Gristing sentiment.

A Guide To Gristing

The Recording Session

The hard part was getting all the elements.

I needed a wash of peace, a hit of adrenaline, complete and utter focus, and a litany of righteous rage. I didn't want to skimp out either—some Gristers are too fuckin' lazy and just go for the low-hanging experiences to record.

You know what I'm talking about. Goin' for a run doesn't count as an adrenaline hit!

Grist recording sessions consist typically of sensation-seeking exercises which aim to capture and record unique and novel emotions and mindsets.

While experiencing them, Gristers will record the entire scenario using Neural Analyzers—typically jailbroken Sensate implants, full-body suits, or clunky headsets.

I've been dying to test my new hardware—a brand-spanking-new Sensate edition with no throttles. Had to huck halfway across The Hub to get it implanted but it was worth it. The resolution on this thing is amazing. There's so much nuance it captures!

Capturing these experiences are considered a right of passage and part of the adventure of being a Grister. This makes many Grister artists thrill and experience-seeking individuals.

Differing artists will have differing styles; some are more nuanced, some more extreme, and some have mixtures of emotions that are signature to them.

For a wash of peace I lay nude in a salt bath at a Hotel California, off my eyes on Glamour while a Manne-Kyn mezzed me. It was expensive as hell but I basically got so relaxed I wet myself. Okay, not basically, I did, but this is the price I pay for art.

A hit of adrenaline I found while base-jumping on Adrenalol. Easy peazy.

Utter focus I got creative with by mixing Gleam and a few sessions at the shooting range. I recorded it a few times, just in case.

The litany of rage was the hard one. It had to be a cold rage, not a hot one. It had to be displaced anger, otherwise I'd wind up just mixing up something that'd put me in a berserk state. Useless. At first I slammed some Slapjack and watched the news on the Syndicate channels. Not enough.

Turns out the solution was pretty simple—I got a guy to beat the shit out of me in an alley. My anger didn't really aim at him, cause I paid him to do it, it instead turned outwards, to the idea of everything I hated. It also gave me some good adrenaline material.

It was all very fitting, considering what I was mixing this track for.

Mixing the Batter

Once I had all I needed, I went back to the Mill to mix up something nasty.

Once the Grister has gathered all the raw elements of their Grist, they use a program called a Grist Mill to synthesize the raw Grist and combine them into a singular track of layered emotions and thoughts.

Aight, I boiled the hell of the batter, by hand. That took forever. I think it was worth it, though, I've made a God. Damned. Masterpiece.

Seriously I might as well quit and rest on my laurels. Considering what I'm about to do, I may just have to!

Anyway, I've got everything woven together. Now let's take this puppy for a ride...

The Inception

Not all Gristers will make their own Grist—most will buy their Grist Tracks secondhand. All Gristers, however, must take part in the Inception.

During Inception the Grister will listen to the track will hooked up to a Grist Mill and a Mezzer Rig so that they can get mesmerized into the exact mental state blueprinted in the track. Periodically through the process (which take about an hour) a sound cue will be played into their ear—this is the key to their Grist Drop.

They will be escalated to the emotional state, held there for a period, and then brought back down.

Goddamn that felt amazing. I felt like a God. Swear I almost Transcended. I'm happy to report I didn't piss myself—I boiled that bit out correctly.

The Drop


"Not yet," I muttered to myself, though I could feel my blood already turning cold. Even thinking the key got me going a bit. That's why we didn't use simple ones, though. I figured this was a special occasion.

Our hovercraft dipped low towards the palace, a shadow whispering in the night. My family all looked at me, expectant.

"Did you get it working?" One asked. Even over comms his voice had reverence among the apprehension. In his own words, what I did was "fucking dark magic, man."

"You felt it, didn't you?"

They all nodded slowly. I'd made each of them listen to the Grist. I needed them all on their game for the hit.

"What did you call this one?"

I smiled and drew my cowl up. A hologram, skeletal grin drew itself broad over the fabric as I brought my gun to bear and nodded out of the back of the craft. "You'll find out the same time they do. Now let's give these Syndie execs hell!"

Depending on the quality of the Grist itself and all the tools used, the Grister can instantly trigger the mental state achieved by the Grist for up to several days after the inception. They do this by replaying the mimetic key instilled during the inception. This state can last several minutes to half-an hour, and is typically extremely exhausting.

The experience is most often done recreationally, but some professions—such as assassins and mercenaries—use it as a performance enhancer at the time of attack.


The Drop played out over our comms as we repelled in through the windows of the palace. The crackle of gunfire illuminated the room, casting several guards into a white glow as blood blossomed from their chests.

A complementary electric riff kicked it off.


An absolute calm fell over me. I felt likeI was moving in a bath of salt water but unabated. I felt calm, as though her fingers were running through my hair as she stared into my eyes and mezzed me and caressing my cheeks.

Under that, fire, cold fire. The thud thud thud of his fists colliding with my ribs and my hear thundering like gunfire in my chest. It was like falling pumped up on Adrenalol from a great height, but with total certainty of a safe landing.

I marched, without mercy, a machine made for killing, a...

This is my song.


    This is your end.

      This is...

Article Navigation

Children Technologies

Tech Info

For more info, read: Technology in Ethnis  
Meta Property
Tech Clade
Black markets exist but can be difficult to access without compromising your personal information to governments or aggressive parties.
Not all of the science surrounding Grist is well understood. Advancements that are made tend to be selfish in nature and result in catastrophes that end with the progress being wiped out or hidden.

On the Cusp

The Lacuna isolated the worlds, but tech continued to advance. Below are ideas for advancements which might appear up on those worlds, and their ramifications are.

Total Control

Overcome the limitation of potency
Grist allows alteration of neuro-chemical states. If it's understood well enough, it might result in devices or augments that allow total self-control or total control over others.  


Overcome the limitation of personalization
For Grist to be programmed into someone, it must be personalized to them. If anyone ever overcome this limitation they could encode Grists en-masse. Anthem is said to have been capable of this with her Thrum.


Please Login in order to comment!
10 Dec, 2018 08:53

What does audient-class of drug mean?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
10 Dec, 2018 08:57

It's taken primarily through sounds, such as binaurals and aural memetics which force the brain into certain brainwaves and mindsets.

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

10 Dec, 2018 09:03

Ooh! That's fascinating!   I didn't connect the dots in that first sentence, but that's probably me being a derp. I thought audient-class was a broader class, and then the rest was about grist specifically. That's super-cool! :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
18 Dec, 2018 08:28

Know Sorrow! Now to just weaponize the mez-rig so we can grist out an entire city. Have them singing the Dirge before the track even finishes.

Author of Ravare.
18 Dec, 2018 08:30

This ties into Dirge! Anthem's Thrum was pure Grist, and a theory is that the discord of Brood's death made some sort of Grist-entity...

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

28 Feb, 2021 16:55

As cool and unique as the concept of a musical drug is, every time I read this article, I can’t help think of the grist gushers from Homestuck. Homestuck has ruined my life.

9 Mar, 2021 17:47

Just looked it up! Lol, I think I got the word from a book about an old mill, it was bound to turn up somewhere else in the wild!

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

Powered by World Anvil