There are different sorts of demons in the world. Some are indistiguishable from normal people. Some are a little different, but pass initial scrutiny. And some are much more monstrous.
It is known that under certain circumstances, mortals can become demons. Somtimes, these circumstances arise by accident, a combination of outside factors that happen to combine in the right way. Sometimes, the actions of others trigger such a change.
Sometimes, certain people try to do it themselves, on purpose.
As knowledge of the Court of a Thousand and Nine Sorrows reached the mortal realm, certain scholars took notice. Intrigued by the abilities and effective immortality of the demons, they wanted to join the ranks of the Sorrows, becoming such creatures themselves. Some of these scholars actually tried to recreate the births of Sorrows, deliberately attempting to ascend to Sorrowhood.
It doesn't work.
For reasons even the Sorrows themselves don't know, no one has ever intentionally become a Sorrow, or even a Thrall. Oh, the people who've tried it become demons, if they don't die in the process, but a totally different sort of demon.
When ignorant peasants are talking about demons, they're usually referring to something not unlike the Despised. They are fairly monstrous, with scales and claws and other features commonly held to be demonic. They bear a passing resemblance to the person they once were, but people usually don't get close enough to them to see it. No illusion in the world is strong enough to hide their appearance for long, and clothes only conceal so much.
Once a Despised is spawned, it usually doesn't take long for hysterical people to set some hero or demon killer on them. The demon might go through several would-be slayers, but usually, it eventually loses.
The Despised have some formidible powers (certain types of offensive magic, natural armor, increased speed, strength, and stamina, etc), but they are not Sorrows. Nor are their abilities of the same caliber as that of the Sorrows. Additionally, they can be (and often are) killed. (An interesting philosophical/theological train of thought is what happens to the souls of such beings when they are killed. If they still have souls.)
Considering that it takes a sick mind to attempt such a thing in the first place, it's no surprise that the Despised often suffer from various forms of dementia. They are not (generally) mindless killing machines, however; they can and do have agendas that they actively pursue, often through agents. Ironically enough, these people who were often demonologists themselves can easily find themselves on the other side of the board, so to speak. Naturally, in such situations, the demon's agents often think they're in charge, unless the demon is fortunate enough to spawn a cult.
While the Court of a Thousand and Nine Sorrows keeps out of the affairs of other demonic entities, content to mind their own business, they make an exception for the Despised. The more overt see the very existance of such creatures as an intolerable insult, while the more passive tend to fear them.
A Despised that comes to the attention of almost any Sorrow will soon find the Court moving against it. Either some will arrange for demon-slayers to find and kill the thing, and provide them the means to do so, or a Sorrow (possibly more than one) will take direct action and go after it themselves. It is worth noting that a Despised cannot win in a direct fight against a Sorrow.
Of course, any such conflict is inevitably going to involve quite a lot of collateral damage. Agents for both sides are going to die, and any innocents caught in the middle will almost certainly be killed.
Alignor, the Pretender
Alignor was once a great magician. His name was known and feared throughout the land, and he could have had almost anything he wanted. But he was not content with his magical and political power, and lusted after more. He had long known of the Court of a Thousand and Nine Sorrows, but he could not control such beings. A chance conversation led to a great insight: if he could not control them, why not become one of them himself? Surely, such a thing would prove to be within the reach of such a great wizard.
Alignor is now a muscular creature eight feet tall, with bronze scales covering his whole body, a long, whip like tail, three inch talons, and smells of ash. This was NOT what he had in mind, but he's made the best of it. His magical prowess was undiminished, and his increased physical abilities make him a dangerous opponent.
After a particularly nasty encounter with agents of the Court of a Thousand and Nine Sorrows, he went into hiding to nurse his wounds and prepare for future battles. Currently, he's building power, consolidated in a small cult that has formed around him. To these misguided fools he represents himself as a dark god of the netherworld, and is gaining quite a following. He has also developed quite a hatred of the Sorrows, convinced that they have denied him what is rightfully his, and means to one day invade their realm.
Saren, the Artist
Saren was an artist and scholar, a gentle man who never would have dreamed of becoming what he did. However, he had been commisioned to compile a work of magical lore, and in so doing, learned of the Sorrows and their Court, and even met the Sorrow of Curiosity, who aided his reasearches immensely. However, the knowledge proved dangerously seductive, and he quickly became obsessed with demons in general and the Sorrows in particular. Eventually, they seemed to him to be perfect beings, and he wished to be like them in every way. With the collected knowledge he had at his fingertips, he could easily find a ritual that even a magically untalented man like him could use.
Saren is now a creature around five feet tall, with a lithe snake-like body. He has small, sharp scales of a nasty bluish color that he tends to shed with alarming frequency. Two small skeletal wings extend from his back, and his face is always twisted into a mad leer that reveals sharp fangs. He doens't have very many magical powers, but there is one documented case of him setting a man alight just by meeting his eyes. Physically, he's not all that much stronger than a normal man, but he's very, very fast and freakishly flexible.
He spends his time wandering from place to place, creating "works of art." (However, his twisted aesthetic sensibilities rarely produce anything besides morbidities and worse.) He thinks he *is* a Sorrow, and is as such a perfect being, and no arguements to the contrary or attempts on his life will convince him otherwise.
Dralire, the Fight-monger
Dralire was a great warrior. He had spent his life training to be the best, and many considered him so. Fighters for hire, mercenaries, great heroes, none could match him in combat. He was the undisputed champion of the gladitorial ring. However, an arguement with an acquaintance of his, a dabbler in the demonic arts, made him aware of one intolerable fact. Dralire was not the best, and could never be so. His acquaintance knew of something called the Sorrows, and according to him, they were the ultimate. Greater than gods, maybe. And there was one, the Sorrow of Battle, who would always be greater than Dralire. That was unacceptable. If this Sorrow of Battle was the greatest warrior, then he would become the Sorrow of Battle. His demonologist acquaintance knew certain rituals, and it was easy to force him to use one.
Dralire became a nine-foot tall hulking beast with blood red scales, wicked horns, claws, and protruding tusks, and unnaturally fast reflexes and strength. Any magical abilities seem to be limited to a fast healing ability. He seldom speaks, preferring to roar and growl much like other large predators. When he does speak, it's rarely at a volume lower than a bellow.
He absolutely refuses to allow humans to even pretend to be his master. That, coupled with his tendency to run amok and slaughter everything that puts up a fight means that he has very few, if any, mortal agents. His one driving goal is to destroy the one who presumes to wear the title of the Sorrow of Battle and take his place as the greatest warrior in heaven or hell. His behavior attracts demon hunters with alarming frequency, but he simply regards them as training runs at best and practice dummies at worst. So far, the Court of a Thousand and Nine Sorrows hasn't moved against him yet, but it's only a matter of time.
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? Responses (7)-7
Looking forward for the Examples!!! :)
Once some examples appear I will vote at that point, but it sure seems interesting.
(You can split the two into separate scrolls, btw.)
I can see them now. Particularly the 'easily found ritual', that even an untalented person could perform, sounded nasty, and definitely like a way to become a demon, but not what you wanted. And I guess Sorrows see this breed just as vampires would see their fashion copies... no wonder they have such little love for them.
0_0 An artist demon who has gone mad. Freaks me out. I wonder if he is anything like the artist from Bioshock. I cant wait to see more of these creatures.
A nice explanation for the 'demons' the world perceives, and another juicy layer in the Sorrows' tiered cake!
Saren is particularly exquisite.
more examples please! :)
A pretty fun way to view the demons. Never thought of a demon leading a demon slayer to another, thought that was a fun idea!
Nice write up, could be a solid entry in the old school contest.