Demons come from the Dark Realm which is the source for almost all Dark Magic. Though they are powerful entities they are vulenrable outside of the Dark Realm where they can be destroyed through vanquishing and wiped from existence. Weak or injured Demons have to return here to recover.
Their strength and power is mainly down to the power they can personally wield and the number of subordinates they have under their command. These are all derived from several sources such as:-
- Negative energies – Created by living beings, it can be converted to become a generalised source of Dark Magic in the Mortal Realm capable of being used by Demons and other Magic Wielders.
- Followers – Similar to above but in this instance the negative energies flow directly to the Demon that is being ‘worshipped’. Mostly followers are obtained through the establishment of quasi-religions dedicated to a particular individual. This type of focussed dark energy is unique to each demon and therefore cannot be used by others. It can also flow to the Dark Realm meaning a Demon does not need to be in the Mortal Realm to receive it.
- Followers of Dark Religions – the negative energies they create are of limited personal use to many Demons. Unlike “normal” negative energies which cannot pass into the Dark Realm, the power of religion and focus enables it to traverse mystical boundaries. However when it arrives it simply transforms into Dark Magic which any Demon can steal. It is for this reason most Demons actively pursue their own personal followers since they are guaranteed to receive the power.
- Soul energies – Mortal souls that pass into the dark realm upon death, can be forced to spend an infinite time of suffering creating an almost inexhaustible supply of Dark Magic. If a Demon has a Contract on a soul it “belongs” to them. If a soul has no Contract then any Demon can claim it although realistically they are claimed by the strongest and most powerful. Souls that belong to a Demon can be changed by Dark Magic to become subordinates and sent back to the Mortal Realm to do their master’s bidding.
To gain initial followers a Demon needs to place its presence in the mortal realm. Crossing through the barrier that separates the Dark Realm from the Spirit and Mortal Realms forces a Demon to take on a physical mortal form which is weaker than their true form and unable to contain all their power. Demons in the mortal realm are therefore at their most vulnerable as they can be vanquished by humans as well as Angels.
When in the presence of mortals, Demons in the physical form present themselves as biped creatures. Almost always their skin colouration is red, although there are exceptions. Almost all have clawed hands and the feet can either be clawed, human, or hoofed. Most have fanged teeth and the majority sport a pair of horns. At one time Demons had a tail and wings. A few still retain the former but most even the ancient Demons chose to magically “remove” wings and a tail. Since Angels were masterful in the air in the mortal realm, the extra appendages only served as a tactical disadvantage.
Confusingly, Demons can appear “human” but that its through the use of dark magic to disguise their true forms and they do not in fact actually change shape. Half-Demons though do have this capability in various degrees.
War with the Angels
Though nobody know for sure how the wars started the reasons why Demons and Angels engaged in battle for so long is known. The Demon’s main source of power came dead souls that came into their possession in the Dark Realm. The Angels objected to how the Demons treated souls after death, believing it was better they should live in peace upon death. Since both sides wanted the opposite ideals and could never agree, the decided to settle it through warfare.
The wars were bitter and nearly resulted in total inhalation of both races as well as mortals who were caught in between. Realising that if mortals all died then their war would have been for nothing, an entity known as the Gatekeeper created the Spirit realm, denying both sides of the Souls of Mortals.
Creating a Truce
The Demons were furious that the Gatekeeper had denied them their souls and the Angels were equally infuriated that the mortal souls were trapped and unable to live in peace. However the fighting had stopped and both sides were finally forced to listen.
The Gatekeeper offered a compromise, stating he would decide which souls went to the Light Realm and which ones went to the Dark Realm. Being part Demon and part Angel meant that he alone was best suited to make the logical choice for each Soul. However the Gatekeeper expressed doubt that the peace would last since both sides had other grievances that needed to be resolved.
To broker that peace, the Demons demanded that Angels should not visit the mortal realm for anything but a short period of time. This was because when they visited the mortal realm, Angels created a “light” by their very appearance denied them their followers. The Angels claimed that Demons had forced Mortals into following them hence they were restoring balance, to which the Demons argued that they had only resorted to that because Angels had altered the balance of power in the first place. The Gatekeeper heard both sides of the argument and realised that in their own ways both were as guilty as each other and concluded the only way to make a fair resolution was by getting both sides to agree to giving mortals free will. Finally the Demons and Angels found common ground and they agreed to a truce.
Despite the Truce on more than one occasion there have been skirmishes but luckily for all the conflict between them has not been ignited. In truth, the Demons came to see the wisdom in the Gatekeeper in his hypothesis that is they carried on fighting the mortals would be dead and they would seal their own fate.
Gatekeeper as the Arbitrator
In serious cases, to avoid a war if the Demons have a grievance about an Angel breaking the rules, they can have their case heard by The Gate Keeper, whose secondary role is that of an arbitrator between both races. The process is known as the “Rite of Blood”, and if the Gatekeeper finds in favour of the Demons then a Angel concerned can receive the “Mark of Blood” which allows Demons to hunt down the individual in the Mortal Realm without any fear of reprisals or starting a war.
Likewise Angels can invoke the Rite of Blood if they feel a Demon has broken the agreement
Dark Realm Punishment
Whilst the Rite of Blood has kept the peace for many aeons, in truth Demons, like Angels prefer to punish their own rather than having an outside party make a decision for them. Though Demons cannot “kill” their own in worst cases High Ranking Demons can elect to banish their kind to the Mortal Realm where they are given truly mortal forms and lose most of their magical power. This makes them vulnerable but and when killed (or vanqished) they are wiped form existence altogether. Banishment means they are unable to return to the Dark Realm and so take far longer to recover from attacks.
Bending the Rules
Since Demon hierarchy is solely based on power with the strongest at the top, lower ranking Demons have often sought ways in which to exploit loop holes in the agreement in order to gain followers without eliciting punishment from the Angels or their own kind for breaking the law.
Consequently the most typical ways a Demon bypasses the law regarding free will of mortals are by the following means:-
- Having offspring with a mortal. The resulting child will be a powerful ally in the mortal realm if he or she chooses to both embrace their demonic side and align themselves with their demonic parent. Half demons do not require followers but can assist in stealing power for a “true” demon and since the treaty with the Angels does not cover half demons they can enforce their will on ordinary people without repercussions.
- Tempting mortals to hand over their souls in exchange for power or other rewards. The original Demonic Contract. As a mortal would have free will in his or her choice the Demon making the offer cannot be punished if the mortal accepts. Such contracts are normally worded so the mortal thinks he or she can escape their fate which is why many are duped into signing over their soul. Some contracts can even transfer to others. Mortals caught by such a contract though have be offered the same “get out clause” as the initial victim in order not to be disputed by the Angels.
- Allying themselves powerful magic wielders attuned to their magic. Similar to above but in this instance they do not claim a soul but work with a human instead for mutual benefits. This does not break the truce with the Angels, if a Demon has proof the alliance was a means to protect itself. Often a Demon may provoke an attack upon itself in order to create the excuse for an alliance
- Using proxies. By bringing creatures from the dark realm and forcing them to do their bidding they avoid direct punishment. Usually such creatures pay the ultimate price for carrying out their master’s work.
- Possession. Inhabiting the body of a mortal prevents Angels and wielders of light magic from harming them since killing the person they are using would be akin to taking an innocent life. Possessing a mortal though is not without risk because a skilled magic wielder can sometime separate a demon from its victim and once exposed it can be vanquished if it cannot escape back to the dark realm. A Demon known for possessing mortals can fall foul of the Mark of Blood, whereby if the Gatekeeper rules in the favour of the Angels then they can be targeted in the mortal realm and be free of reprisals.
Perhaps the most well known example of a Demon using a loophole is Y’Creft, an ancient blood demon who created the Vampire race. All vampires are linked directly to him so each one is considered a “follower” although few actually worship him. Since each vampire is subject to his contract they have to be careful not to forfeit his or her soul as well. Lastly when a vampire consumes blood it creates blood magic which in turn empowers him, thus over time his creation boosted him from the bottom and turned him into a high ranking Demon. The creation of the vampire race though has made Y’Creft many enemies within his own kind, who see the actions of Vampires as bending the rules to breaking. To avoid risking war with the Angels they in turn have tried to eradicate the vampire race with proxies of their own and by making deals with mortals.
Since remaining in the mortal realm comes at great risk many Demons can only be reached by summoning. Using dark magic, summoning opens a portal to the dark realm and allows mortals to converse directly with a Demon without the creature ever needing to leave the relative safety of the realm. Humans skilled in light magic though have found ways to summon demons and then “pull” them into the mortal realm in order to make them comply with their demands or risk being vanquished.
Demons and Elemental Totems
About the one time a Demon might risk everything is to obtain an Elemental Totem. Due to the fact that they are powerful sources of Neutral Magic they can be used by Demons and Angels alike. However Angels have no need for “power” and hence are not attracted to them. If a Demon were to possess an Elemental Totem and become an Avatar, when combined with their own dark magic they would become practically unstoppable.
Such a being would have the means to be able to claim many mortal souls without fear of reprisals from Angels due their power. At the same time they would also upset the balance of power in the dark realm.To complicate the matter further, Avatar Magic in the hands of a skilled Demon could theoretically allow them to transit to the Realm of Light where they could do untold damage. Since so much harm could be done to all three realms, Demons and Angels have an unofficial agreement which allows them venture into the mortal realm to hunt any Demon seeking an Elemental Totem and eliminate them.
In general all Demons have the following capabilities when in the mortal realm:-
- “Blinking” a form of teleportation enabling them to more from one place to another. Technically the travel to the dark realm and back to the mortal realm when doing this.
- Mastery of dark magic.
- Strength, endurance and physical resistance far above that of a normal human.
- Weakness to light magic.
- Coming from the Dark Realm bright light hurts them at a physical level
- Water can burn them.
- Pocket Dimension Creation – A very limited number of powerful Angels and Demons have the means to create “pocket” dimensions which exist in the mortal realm outside the normal time frame (but are not in another reality like a parallel universe). Such creations allow them to hide physical objects/people from the mortal realm for their own purposes. This is useful since pocket dimensions once created exist as long as the host chooses them to remain. Normally a pocket dimension is brought into existence by using the creator’s own magic which makes them weaker whilst they are “fueling” their creation. Collapsing the dimension recovers that energy drain but anything still inside it will be destroyed (apart from magical artefacts which are ejected back into the mortal realm). A pocket dimension can also be collapsed if the original creator is vanquished.
There is an exception to the creation rule and that is a pocket dimension can be built around a magic source in the mortal realm. This makes them self sustaining and does not drain the creator but the creator can collapse them at any time. The disadvantage of such pocket dimension is they have at least one direct connection to a fixed point in the mortal realm. Like any other pocket dimension they can have other access points in the form of magical portals (usually hidden) but having one at a set location makes them vulnerable to the wrong party gaining access.
Any being capable of creating a pocket dimension can enter another one not of their making. For this reason both Angels and Demons rarely enter their own pocket dimensions since their presence can be detected in the mortal realm and used to find the entrance to the dimension. Ones built with the creator’s own magic are harder to find since their access portals can constantly move in the mortal realm. They are also more easily hidden but those having even a single fixed point a far more vulnerable. Though they can be “hidden” once their location is known they can be subjected to attack. To try and stop a pocket dimension being accessed without permission their portals are often protected with enchantmenta. Those with a fixed accwess point employ impentrable barriers or mazes and both types of access often incorporate further traps. A similar system can be created inside the dimension to prevent something leaving.
Strong magic users can often smash through such barriers but mortals are unable to wield this power. Rogue Demons often use this to their advantage when being hunted by Angels. Often called “Demon Cages” these pocket universes are nothing more than bargaining chips. By hiding an innocent life in such a way the Demon ensures its safety because no Angel would destroy them and risk of collapsing the dimension. Should an Angel breach the entry into a Demon Cage and rescue the captive then the Demon resposible can be safely vanquished without repercussions. However some Demons simply make more than one.