Demons are the darker emotions, the destructive forces of creation. In primeval times the demons awoke alongside the gods and the angels, and were herded by the greater powers, chased into hell, even as the angels were led into heaven. The greater Demons, godlike in power, became the overlords of the prime emotions and depraved instincts, while the lesser demons became the scions and the by-products of their powerful patrons. Thus were rape spawned from lust, murder spawned by hate and treason by jealousy. Contrary to popular belief, there are no demon hordes or the like, only the countless embodiments of sin; including different embodiments of the same sin. In essence a demon horde need consist of no more than a couple of demons and could indeed be different creatures inhabited by the same demon force. For the demons can exist in countless places; yet only physically manifest in its true shape at one place, and should that shape be slain, the demon will be gone for all time, drawn back into the primordial mass that spawned all.
Who can say which shape a demon truly has? According to some murals in ancient caverns, they resemble ordinary humans with sadistic smiles. Yet in the chapels of Aahr, the god of time and death, they are portrayed as wily, red, winged gargoyles pulling and dragging at the lord of the dead, manipulating him for their own ends. In the churches and cathedrals of Fhalgharod, the god of the Sun, they are depicted as warriors of darkness, come to extinguish the daylight and make forever night. And for this very reason some sages theorize that no two are alike, but one thing is thought for certain; according to the Imperial Sages they are 99 in number. Some are known, like hatred, lust and murder, and some are still unknown; hidden terrors which are yet to be discovered. A small number of learned men contradict this fact, but they are generally ridiculed and scoffed at as sensationalists and disciples of hysteria.
There has been gathered a certain amount of information about this subject; hidden within tomes and manuscripts, written on stone tablets and woven into the fabric of the Ketange-robes; ceremonial garb of the Monks of Ketange-Ishatal. The Sages of the Imperial College memorize this information and the Arch Magus of many a Cabal and Circle hoard such secrets; mankind is threatened; some disturbed individuals even say in dire peril, pawns in a game much larger than we have ever known. Even the first human civilizations tell of the demonic terrors and temptations; wall paintings in ancient caverns, like those in the myriad caves of the P’tuah plateau, depict humanity spellbound and suffering. And in some of the paintings, like in most of the recorded texts on the subject, there are demons depicted as puppeteers, controlling fools and prideful kings which believe they are rulers, while in effect they are the opposite.
The recorded shapes of Demonkind:
Small critter and insect incarnations: Butterflies, flies, spiders, bats, even the mice scratching and moving inside the walls of our homes. Demons have been found to possess entire packs and hordes of these critters and insects. The demon’s influence will function as a hive intellect; controlling and coordinating the pack to do its will. While they are technically ordinary creatures, the individual critters will not have a will of their own and will follow the commandments of the demon to the letter. Such incarnations have been found difficult to exorcise, because every last critter needs to be purged and freed in spirit. Luckily the powers of demons seem to be limited when they have taken this shape; only a minor number of supernatural powers can be utilized, and the potency of those powers seem to be dependent on the number of critters or insect present.
Psychological incarnations: The Demons within the mind!
Some places are so horrible, so full of malevolence, that people who enter these places are forever changed. Some sages theorize that demonic presences found in these places can dominate a host, possess it and utilize it. The priesthood of Fhalgharod, the sun God, have long fought such elusive powers, exorcised the demons from the flesh of mortals and their exorcisms are hitherto the only antidote to such possessions.
While demons in this shape seem to have reduced power, some of their vulnerabilities do not apply. Such was the case when the Holy Cardinal Karl Sohlmann of Fhalgharod was possessed and led his entire flock and his priesthood into the Scherlingen Silver Mines in which a dark presence dwelled, which was later believed to be an incarnation of Maulhoor, the high lord Rape and scion of Lust. Their Cathedral became a dark place then, a place of sin, and the ill deeds committed therein are too numerous to be recounted; dark rituals and foul orgies. Today the Clerics of Fhalgharod remember this with the annual re-enacting of the culling of the dark priesthood; in which convicted felons are dressed in Fhalgharite robes, gathered and armed and summarily fought by the Paladins of Fhalgharod in their holy rage. Only by this shedding of sinners blood, can the stain on Fhalgharod’s honour be purged, or so say the Priesthood.
While possessing the believers of Fhalgharod, this demon was able to enter the God’s sanctum and violate its purity. Ordinarily demons are thought, though it has not been proved, to be unable to enter the temples of the greater powers. This tale is counted as proof that psychological possessions circumvents many of the divine restrictions placed upon demonkind.
Physical incarnations: The Demons walk the earth!
Only through summonings and dark rituals can a demon physically manifest within this reality. This shape can only exist in one place at a time, and in this shape it can be truly slain. Unfortunately these shapes are also unbelievably strong and potent; every other demonic presence can be created by the demon in this shape.
While there exists rituals to summon such entities into the world, such things have only been attempted a few times and with grievous results. True, there are the cults of worshippers, but even these are usually sensible enough to realize the folly in summoning their lords to this reality.
When summoned these beings are rarely bound by anything. Their power is absolute and the strength of the magic needed to bind such entities is staggering. Some witches covens do summon “their lords” but those are usually just spiritual incarnations and not the real thing. The wards and protection those witches use to protect against even these weakened incarnations are powerful, yet would be cast aside easily should a dread lord enter our reality.
Spiritual incarnations: Unseen, malevolent presences
Some places are filled with darker spirits. When sinners converge on a location, or when deeds of great sin are committed in one place, the stain will not go away, unless purged by holy men. These are the places people fear. These are places that send a chill up the spine of even the bravest warriors, sending strong men running away. One example is the dark forest of Shallori, in which the Gheoni Cult raped and sacrificed “the ladies of sin”, street whores and promiscuous women, on impromptu altars of blood and flowers; here the shadows deepened and dark spirits haunt, for there are parts of the forest in which the deeds cannot be forgotten.
Some times the deeds committed in these places are so vile, so awful, that people who enter return changed, if they return at all. (See psychological incarnations).
Material incarnations: The demon within the item
There can be found a few items throughout the world, which carry within them strong energies of demonic origin. Some sages claim that these artefacts of power have been placed to tempt the powerful, to lure us all into the embrace of darkness and folly. While certainly being dangerous items, they are also vastly powerful; each item is a legend in itself. Being of demonic origin, these things are also affected by demonic feelings. Thus these things can fall in love, lust to rape, get fits of rage and so on. The items mood swings are of an epic nature and beware those dominated by them; for they shall love intensely one day and slay freely the next, and with time the host shall be broken and all whom he love will be forever estranged, loved, abused, murdered and raped.
While these feelings certainly are present within other incarnations of a demon, those of an item are epically intense; centuries can pass without the item ever feeling the rush of the kill, the thrill of the rape or a loving embrace, and often it will try to consummate all these feelings within a short period of time, akin to how a man ravaged by hunger would eat himself to death. Ironically this behaviour will certainly doom the item to discovery, resulting in yet more decades and centuries hidden away or stored in vaults sealed by arcane sigils.
Parasitical incarnations: The demon within the body!
Except for the physical incarnations of demonkind, this is the most potent presence of demons within this reality. Whether germs spread through a kiss, or a dark, slithering thing entering their host through bodily orifices, the parasitical incarnation totally dominates and ultimately change the appearance and physique of their host, giving it new powers and new motives.
Such incarnations can only manifest when the demon sends a part of his being, a piece of his very essence, through the realities and let it enter our reality through summoning or the uncontrolled rifts created by unfortunate and unskilled mages. And as it contains a bit of the demon’s essence it is also a link to that entity, a liability and a weakness, but also a path to control and power among the lesser mortals.