M is for the Marked. They are the great, scary, dark force in the first Elbion novel.
The Marked were once just tribes of the Wastelands (located in the northeast of the continent). They had always arranged themselves as a sort of chain of villages in order to better survive the harshness of the north. Their common religion always threaded the villages together.
Around thiry years before the start of the first book, a young High Shaman came to power. This shaman began using the common thread of religion to twist the tribes and villages to his will. His corruption slowly spread from him through all of the people of the Wastelands. He turned the religion toward the worship of the Chaos god, deconstructing all of the normal boundaries humanity embraces and erecting invisible walls of control. The people of the Wastelands became not much more than cattle in their High Shaman's herd. They have gone from being peaceful people carving life out of the tundra and forests to being a ravaging horde of violent, raping, even cannibalistic, soulless bodies bent on carrying out one mission...to spread their lifestyle, and envelope the world in their version of Chaos.
I got the idea for these people from a couple of different places, primary among them is fear. The Marked were the worst things I could think of, they are my personal terror. I was inspired by zombies - the spread of apocalypse, cannibalistic, the turn from good people to a horror, etc. Zombies terrify me! I don't watch their movies, and I don't play their video games! Lol. I was also inspired by the show Firefly and their Reavers - they're still alive, they can think and be smart, they add the worse than death features of terror, the self mutilation, they can be directed, etc. Scary scary stuff. I had nightmares for a week after a particular episode of Firefly with Reavers in it lol. Lastly (or more accurately firstly if we're going in chronological order), I was inspired by the movie Silence of the Lambs - well, yeah, I'll just say one thing...suit of human skin.
So there you have it. There's my bad guys, the things that go bump in the night, the things that scare the crap of me to even write about. :)