The Unaturalness of Demons

What makes a demon, a demon? It is a question that has troubled both Scholars and Communicants in the world of E & D for centuries. Demons, by their very nature, are not the easiest things to study, but during the long wars with the Predation, some records were made by those lucky enough to survive demonic encounters. Much work was done once the wars were over to collect and compile these individual accounts, and a leading player in this endeavour was a Communicant called Sylvei. She dedicated her life to the task, and published many works on the subject, chief among them being the Demonologie of High Masham.

She discovered and recorded much about individual capabilities of demons, but more importantly, she also formulated the following definition of what a demon actually is-

‘A demon is not a being of natural creation. Though it may share similar attributes and physiologies to creatures encountered in everyday life, a demon is not something born of the earth, under Fortak’s sun.’

Her work has been the cause of much debate, and even with a very clear definition of the term, there has still been a considerable amount of disagreement when it comes to deciding which creatures be classified as demons. The sithkall, which appear in the tales ‘A Long Ago Incident at Ryazan’, and ‘Rourke’ were long considered to be demonic in nature for two centuries after the Predation wars had ended, due the creatures’ unnatural appearance. It was only after the discovery of a sithkall hatchery in the Lost Lands that this was proven not to be the case.

Another question that is regularly raised is how the demons were created, if not by a natural method. The question is still unanswered, and will probably remain so unless the physical source of their creation is ever discovered.

It had long been believed that all the demons of the world were destroyed when the Predation were defeated, but it is now understood that this assumption is far from the truth. Though not immortal, some demons can live for centuries, and there are still some around that survived the war. However, the recent re-emergence of certain types of demon (The caust-demon in the story ‘Rourke’ for example) has led some to speculate that old secrets have been discovered, and new demons are being created. Where and how, nobody knows.

There are many types of demon, and in her writings, Communicant Sylvei postulated that each type was created with a specific purpose in mind, and each could be categorised under specific demon classes.

I’ll leave you with three examples of these classes.

TITAN-DEMON – This class includes the largest demons ever created by the Predation. They were the ultimate terror weapon during the wars, capable of devouring entire town populations. They were monstrous, near indestructible beings and appeared in all manner of shapes and sizes. One unifying attribute in all of them was their size. All of them were huge, easily capable of bypassing most city, and some fortress, defences, which has led many to wonder why they were not utilised more frequently during the wars. Communicant Sylvei speculated that there must have been some kind of inherent cost involved in the creation and maintenance of the titan-demons, though what that cost might have involved is still a cause of debate.

SIEGE-DEMON – Demons in this class were designed for the soul purpose of attacking enemy cities and fortresses. The Prowl-demon, found in ‘Siege’s End’ in the Rourke tale, and the Caust-demon, which appears in the chapter ‘Vomit and Fire’, are both classed as Siege-demons. The Prowl-demon was created to be in the first wave of attack once a city’s defences were breached, and the Caust-demon was made to clear a practicable path through fortifications. As is quite evident from what happened to the one in the ‘Rourke’ tale, Caust-demons are particularly vulnerable to attack, and became virtually ineffective against well prepared defences, once the Provincial forces were aware of its weaknesses. The Caust-demon was superseded in the later years of the wars by the Slinger-demon.

CORPUS-DEMON – The existence of Corpus-demons has only been discovered in the last fifty years, long after Communicant Sylvei’s death. Although there were some instances of ‘demonic possession’ during the Predation Wars, the nature of these possessions was understood only by a few people in the Provinces.

It had long been understood that the Predation were capable of transcending death. During the war, there had been many recorded cases of enemy Generals being killed, only to appear on the field of battle again some months later, and it eventually became apparent that the Predation had the ability to somehow create new mortal forms for their fallen commanders. What was not known for some time was that the ‘soul’ of one of these favoured generals could be transferred to a small device, and then transplanted into the mind of another mortal being, and somehow take over, and control, their actions.

Early instances of these ‘possessions’ required the device to be surgically implanted into the subject, which of course first required the capture, and then the release, of the subject. Once these instances of ‘demonic possession’ started to occur, it did not take long for a prominent statistician within the Guild of Engineers to detect the pattern, but it was only after the dissection of some deceased ‘possessed’ subjects, that their exact nature was uncovered. With this knowledge, it was possible to contain the insidious threat, but a means by which the device that contained the demon could be removed from a living being was never discovered. Any attempt to do so always resulted in the subject’s immediate death. Reports on the attempts include accounts of contusions appearing around the neck and head of the subject, and lesions opening in the area of the brain where the device was implanted. Extensive bleeding from the nose and ears was also common before death occurred.

Even though the threat from ‘demonic possessions’ was effectively neutralised, in the closing years of the wars the Predation resurrected the technology and began to install these soul containing devices inside miniature bug-like creations, which could then be deployed to select, sedate, and infiltrate their chosen target. The creation of these mobile devices, recently given the designation ‘Corpus-demon’, came too late to turn the tide of the war, but it is now believed that many were deployed before the Predation’s final defeat. Engineer Drasneval, who appears in the tale ‘A Long Ago Incident at Ryazan’ has been instrumental in discovering, uncovering, and tracking down those that were released.