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A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Demons

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Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  It’s time to talk Demons.

Demons

Demons figure prominently in the history of Avenoth and the human worlds around it for good reason; they’re murderous and dangerous creatures that eat information.

Scholars and demonologists have debated over their origins, and older gods have provided what information they could. The conculsons reached about them are as follows:

  • They likely were human or a human sub-species. They may be releated to the uncommon human variants of Vampires, Shifters, or the extinct Changelings.
  • They exist due to magic – they are a magical fields constructing a physical body. This is why they can posess others and in a few rare cases, transmit themselves.
  • They are hierarchical, almost insect-like, and have specialized roles. Most of them are ignorant and manipulated by their leaders or humans.
  • They evolve. Demons consume information from living minds or echoes and ghosts. This can lead them to be conscious, and perhaps even evolve a soul.
  • Demons with souls are very controversial – it’s clear the Royalty who lead them have souls, but do not try to die or reincarnate. There is evidence demons do reincarnate as humans and there’s no records of humans doing the reverse. Why do more demons not simply commit suicide?
  • The Demon leader is the Emperor, formally the Emperor of Three Faces. It is clearly thousands of years old.

Demon History

Demons have been with humanity forever, unfortunately so. Arose around the first civilizations, and achieved prominence roughly a thousand years before current times. They were both dangerous and featred, but also useful as they were easily manipulated or summoned, and many older ones retained knowledge they’d eaten.

As civilization grew, demonology became more and more publicly proscribed. Privately, however, experimentation and summoning continued and was used to this days. Gods have not entirely forbidden demonology for reasons that aren’t apparent.

During The War, demons spawned rapidly, feeding on the echoes of dying minds. Their threat could have been even worse, but the use of weapons of mass destruction ensured that many new demons died quickly. It is often said that the South’s genocidal war against itself may have saved the world, as even demons couldn’t survive the poison-choked cities and bioweaponry that walked.

At the end of The War, the Emperor’s underground legions burst forth in the ruins of the old Dragon Kingdoms, and surged westward towards Allanax, the capital of the new alliance. They tore through towns and armies, growing their numbers, while attempts to kill them poisoned the land and the air.

Several gods incarnated to attack them while humans plotted with science and sorcery to defeat them. In the final battle at Pemmelock Vale, the goddess known as the Swordswoman died attacking the emperor while the Deceiver tried to scramble the minds of the demons. Finally, a great experimental weapon, the Vortex Bomb, was detonated above the demons, casting them to the uninhabitable world of Pandemonium.

The demons leadership had been cut off and banished. It was hoped they would die on that world of fire and ice, but they persisted. Though humanity had avoided corrupting vast swaths of land with demon poison or hunting down royalty, demons were still there, with their knowledge, and portals – and curious humans calling on them.

Common Demons

Demons vary with function and, as Royalty, personal choice. All demons appear as black creatures, usually humanoid past a certain size, with colored eyes. The eye color of a demon often denotes creator or personality.

Seekers: Seekers are some of the oldest and most common demons- single-eyed winged creatures created by Royalty or from eggs to find things. Seekers have preternatural senses as good as any diviners, and it’s theorized they’re more a form of living technology.

Hivers: Hivers are brute force creatures, used for labor or simple killing. Like Seekers, they’re thought of as a kind of technology, and are among the most common demons found as eggs and used by humans. Hivers can also hibernate for centuries.

Rippers: Multi-limbed killing machines, rippers are shock troops that tear into their targets and keep moving on. Rippers are more evolved than Hivers, but also harder to control.

Swoopers: Swoopers resemble large Seekers, and are aerial troops. They swarm enemies and function like a hive mind.

Knights: Knights are the highest of the common demons, and are borderline conscious. Huge, armored figured with bladed bodies and living weapons, they’re fearsome combatants.

Royalty

Demon Royalty is variable and individual. There is a complex ranking system that use human titles like King, Duke, etc. Curiously, all titles are male, and all appear humanoid.

Royalty can create other, lesser demons. Those demons always have the eye color of their creator and may have similarities in form.

Royalty are strong, posses various abilities, and can posses others. As Royalty progresses up the ranks, possession becomes harder to maintain, so it is often an activity of low-level Royalty. They scheme among each other in various plots, and enjoy backstabbing each other.

At the top of the Demon Royalty is the Emperor of Three Faces. The Emperor is an unknown, but he is said to be some twenty feet tall and wield power equivalent to an incarnated Gods. He is thousands of years old and has a patchwork soul that is cunning and dangerous. His motivations are unclear, but he takes great pleasure in the mass murder of humans and seems driven to exterminate humanity.

Human Use

Humans still employ demons. Most popularly they are used as assassins or consultants, and powerful Royalty are recorded in tomes and grimoires with summoning instructions. Everyone knows demons will betray them, but the power tempts them – and demons do not always get the best of the deal.

Some humans study low-level demons and hatch them from eggs for the sake of safety but also practicality. Hivers or Rippers are excellent killers. Seekers are simple, but easily impressed upon and can become loyal servants and spy-eyes.

There are also experiments done on demons by various orders, guilds, and scientists. It’s an open secret among people in The Military and The Guard that some weaponry is derived from demons. The most common not-discussed item are acidic weaponry based on demon ichor are disintegration rounds, popularly called Dzers.

This is all supposedly forbidden. It goes on anyway.

The Lost Gods

Demons are sometimes associated with the mad deities known as Lost Gods, those who have lost their focus or become monomaniacal. There has been some interaction, but Demons in general despise the gods, and Lost Gods are insane, unpredictable, and often degenerate. Worse, the Lost Gods often have their own minions, and aren’t interested in demons – this is said to have terribly offended The Emperor.

Demon Royalty works with Lost Gods and their followers rarely, but it does happen. For one side, it will always end poorly – for everyone else it will definitely end poorly.

– Steve