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Category: Mimic (occasionally Afflicted)
Active Psychics: 100%
Common Talents: Realms, Shapeshifting, Shared Subconscious and Lifeforce, Universal Instinct, Dimensional Burst
Status: ~400,000 in Yomi (~102,000 Abyss), ~150,000 Earth (89% Yomi, 11% Nirvana), ~65,000 Nirvana (~23,000 Tartarus)
Location: Primarily live within dimensional shards orbiting within Earth’s cosmology
The first thing to understand about Demons is that their physical form is not quite an affectation, but not quite truth either. Demons appear human, they are born appearing human. They are usually slender and athletic with trim, wiry muscles and warm colorations. Red, yellow, orange, black and white hair colors are all common, while eyes also fall within reds, browns, golds, oranges and so on. Skin colors generally fall within human norms. Their canines are often sharper and thinner than human, not fangs so much as the sort of teeth that would be found in predatory lizards or dinosaurs. However, they are small and generally overlooked, nor are they particularly more effective than human teeth as weaponry.
Demons have an appreciation for physicality and normally appear with scars from old activities ranging from the subtly artful to the blatant and grotesque. These scars are almost entirely an unconscious affectation. They tend toward their own ideals meaning they range from monstrous to Hollywood beauty, but usually stay within what humanity considers normal.
Originally, the Demons appeared as long-bodied creatures similar to what are now recognized as raptors. There were some differences from the traditional image of the raptor, however. Their snouts were flatter and faces wider in order to accommodate eyes built for binocular vision. The hands featured opposable thumbs and rather dexterous. The claws on the fingers had been lost to evolution as manual dexterity became more important. Like normal raptors, their tails were rather stiff and rigid, used almost entirely for balance. They tended to be less heavily scaled than their primitive ancestors and weighed in the neighborhood of one hundred sixty pounds on average. They were capable of approximating human speech, but not completely.
Regardless of what exact form they take, they have red marks across whatever is the most equivalent to their face, neck and shoulders. Despite appearances, the marks are not so much skin tone as they are raw Vitae. As a result they tend to burn away make-up over time and also push themselves over most illusions as well. In general most Demons assume that the longest amount of time someone is able to conceal the marks is an hour.
In both circumstances, the form described is both the truth and a lie simultaneously. The human-seeming form is the truth because that is the form that Demons most frequently identify with and the evolved raptor form is the truth because they really did start out appearing that way hundreds of thousands of years ago. But they are both a lie because Demons, whether they realize it or not, aren’t limited in terms of shape.
The current population of Demons is almost entirely younger than forty-thousand years old, and a large portion are younger than two thousand. All but the oldest handful were born with a human appearance. Demons have mostly forgotten their own culture due to a long eon in which their ancestors were stark raving mad. The result being that much of their history has only been maintained in the form of intellectual knowledge. That said, there are certainly some fragments of their ancient culture that remain.
One of the two greatest virtues to a Demon is determinism. They expect every individual to drive forward their own interests with every amount of will they can produce. It is anathema to them to ignore or suppress their own desires and they tend to be ruthless in pushing forward their agenda. They do not appreciate attempts to dominate them and will vehemently resist any attempt to bend their will. In many ways, they live life as if they are the central figure of their own heroic epic.
From an outside perspective, this attitude is megalomaniacal in the extreme, and some Demons take it that point, however, it is important to note that Demons do not believe that reality revolves around them. In fact, most Demons firmly believe that their perspective reality is simply one little world in a sea of other such worlds, each as valid as the others. The belief is that when you ignore your own interests that you are effectively crippling yourself and thus making yourself less useful to the world and others as a whole.
Inevitably, the interests of two individuals comes into conflict. This is usually seen as a result of one or more sides having interests that are petty or selfish, or else the various individuals being too stubborn or arrogant to find a way for each side to reach their goals without conflicting with each other. The most tragic of situations is when two worthy individuals legitimately have no way to pursue their goals without coming into conflict with each other, but that is a rare occurrence.
As already implied, self-interest does not mean self-centric. It is perfectly valid for a Demon’s interests to revolve around a cause, goal or even another person. There is a fine line between honestly aligning one’s interests with something else and allowing oneself to be dominated, but such selfless ambitions are considered very worthy. However, Demons do not respect someone who allows themselves to be dominated. Demons will accept that someone can be beaten until they can’t fight back, had their own interests manipulated to serve someone else, mind-controlled or the like, but they expect resistance and do not respect anyone who simply accepts defeat.
The second of the two high ideals for a Demon is trust. When a Demon mentions loyalty, one can almost always be safe in assuming that they are discussing trust. From their perspective, without someone or something to trust enough that their interests are your own, then you are living a hollow life. Demonic trust is something unusual in the eyes of outsiders. Especially recently, as their warrior culture has progressively shifted to a culture of manipulators and spies, Demons do not feel that being lied to and deceived is instantly a breach of trust. As long as the motivation and intent are pure, they shrug it off.
For example, it is considered a poor idea to inform a warrior that you are sending them on a suicide mission since doing so would possibly cause the presumption of a suicide mission to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The one commanding trusts the soldier to be able to accomplish the task and the warrior trusts that they will not be needlessly asked to throw away their lives. Of course, if the commander orders a suicide mission that isn’t really needed and doesn’t really accomplish anything, that would be a breach of trust.
The ultimate expression of trust in the eyes of a Demon is the favor. By casting a spell from another member of Yomi, the Demon is essentially giving the other a piece of their own free will. They are trusting that other Demon, or rogue God, to not ask them to do something that is against their own interests. It is, at its most ideal, the most extreme expression of trust a Demon feels is possible. They have little regard for people that casually rack up favors as if there was nothing serious about it. Some Demons consider the Faustian use of the favor as a weapon to border on the blasphemous, even while they admit that it is effective. Faustians, meanwhile, feel they are completely justified in what they are doing.
When Demons get involved with mortals; whether as lovers, friends, mentor or so on; they feel that they can never be on even footing with mortals in a relationship. They can’t cast owe any mortal a favor, which means, in their eyes, that they can never really express the trust they have in someone. This sometimes means that they are never really sure of how much they trust those mortals. Meanwhile the mortals in question are able to indebt themselves by casting spells from the Demon. The obvious fact that the Demon has a lot over the mortals makes them feel as if they are not adding enough to the relationship.
Especially in the case of potential lovers, the Demons still try, frequently asking for help in things that they do not expressly need help with. The intention is that they are trying to rack of owed favors that give the other something to hold over them and thus an expression of trust. However, it can come across to mortals as being manipulative, using the other person or even being needy and high maintenance.
Demons that exist within the Ashvattha network in Nirvana, the Gods’ mindscape, have similar issues dealing with others. Demons that have left Yomi are no longer able to collect favors. They are thus not able to hold anything over others and thus others have little to no way to express their trust in the Demons. However, the sharing of knowledge and awareness that is the price for white magic is an acceptable replacement for most Demons who live in Nirvana.
A segment of Demons feel that the whole favor system as enforced by Orochi is a crutch. They feel that there isn’t much show of trust when someone is forced against their will to carry out a favor. These Demons favor the more common sort of exchanges of favors that any being can perform, the kind that are only bound by the strength of one’s promise and worth.
On the other hand, offers of help are looked at carefully. Others tend to react very heavily to the idea that someone wants to help them, as it can be read as an attempt to indebt the Demon to the person offering help. Most of the time, small every day things; like holding the door open or holding a drink while arranging bags; are overlooked, but once people start offering help on anything significant, they begin to get cautious, even paranoid. For some Demons, an offer of help is both an affront to their sense of independence and a potential abuse of trust.
Demons have subtly different thought process than that of humanity. At the risk of over-simplifying it, the basic difference is between base-two and base-four logic systems. When making a decision and analyzing circumstances, the Demon will tend sort pieces of information as true, false, conflicted or irrelevant. This sounds similar to what a human would do, but there are subtle differences. Deciding whether something is irrelevant for a human is a separate yes/no test, for example. Trying to decide whether a situation is conflicted is often several tests. Demons skip past that and move on to the next overall situation, which is just fine if they’re right, but they can make mistakes just like anyone else and they don’t have the rechecking that comes inherently with retesting.
Again, this is all highly over-simplified, but the summary is that Demons process information quickly, however, they are prone to overlooking details. They come to conclusions quickly and tend to run with those conclusions passionately. They are very good at quickly identifying what needs to be paid attention to and what can be ignored. However, when they make and notice mistakes, or if the situation changes, they often have to do a lot of backtracking and re-analyzing.
Most of the time, Demons and humans seem to be operating along the same lines and paths, but there are occasional times where the different methods of thinking clash. The general result is the Demon finding the human to be too obsessed with things that aren’t a concern while the human considers the Demon to be either reckless or else deliberately fudging things. In the words of certain Gods: human and Demonic thought is similar enough to be overlooked as the same and different enough for the misunderstandings to be exploited.
Lastly, Demons are far from a hive mind, but they still have an absolute physiological need for their mind to be intermixed with other entities. They cannot survive without the constant telepathic contact for very long, at least from their admittedly extended perceptions. As such, other parts of the Demonic (or Divine) Mindscape, aren’t merely neighbors. On some level, the rest of the mindscape is part of the Demon. Sadly, while it seems to be more difficult for a Demon to consider harming another part of the same mindscape, they are still capable of it. In much the same way that a person is capable of stabbing their own hand with a fork or putting a gun to their own head. Unfortunately, when Demons do truly turn against each other, the conflict is usually very ugly, very violent and very brutal.
Yomi-born and raised Demons do not have much concern for blood relations. To a Demon, a family consists of the people you are willing to accept as family. It is bind of trust, loyalty and choice rather than the accident of birth. Which doesn’t mean that blood relations are not respected, just not the center of the Yomi family unit. Nirvana-born Demons tend put more value and worth into blood relations than the average Demon.
The most basic abilities of a Demon are their instinct for understanding the way things work and their inherent connections to other Demons. While individual Demons have other talents beyond that, the abilities consistent to all Demons extend from these first two abilities. The matter is further confused by the variety of artificial tools and equipment that they have developed to further cloud the issue of what exactly their own personal abilities are limited to.
The Demonic instinct for understanding the way things around them work is mostly subconscious or even unconscious. With effort, a Demon is able to push the perceptions into the conscious mind, but this can lead to sensory overload and there is often far too much going on for them to easily narrow it down. However, this instinct operates behind the scene with any skill the Demon picks up. It is of most use with mechanics, such as the way that life force moves or the body shifts about, but it does help with skills of an interpersonal or subjective matter as well. Within the skills that they study, they are often technique perfect though this does not equate to legitimate insight or genius in that particular skill.
The Demonic mindscape, also called the Orochi mindscape, is a shared mental construct created by the combined and interconnected minds of the Demons. It is a massive collection of labyrinths beautiful and terrible that is characterized by a distinctly organic appearance. The network of Demons seems to ramble as the connections are strongest between the apprentice and mentor relationships that spider-web across the entire mindscape. While they have developed so that each Demon’s personal memories, feelings and identity can be protected, Demons share their processing power across the entire mindscape when they need to.
For example, while Demons primarily use their own mind and processing powers to start, if they are overburdened or having difficulty, such as when learning something new, they will sometimes draw on the ability of other minds in the Orochi mindscape (or the Ashvattha for those Demons that live in Nirvana). For the most part, Language skills are spread out across the mindscape, giving the appearance that all Demons know every language. Likewise, spatial awareness is similar and Demons never seem to be lost and always seem to be able to relate their current position to others as far away as the other side of the globe.
The last aspect of the Orochi Mindscape is the sharing of Vitae and sometimes Mana. It is hard to tell the difference between what is the Demon’s personal Vitae and what has been granted to them from Orochi (or Ashvattha). But the majority of Demons are usually using at least some Vitae that did not originate in their own bodies. Of the population of Demons, only a very small handful are able to produce enough life force on their own to make much use of any of their abilities or psychic skills. Denied access to Orochi’s resources, 75% of Demons have barely more than the 12th Ring of Vitae, but the average civilian Demon usually makes casual use of even 10th Ring levels of Vitae. For Demons that are in the recognized military or espionage positions, 9th Ring seems to be the minimum, with 7th Ring being the average. This means that most Demons are getting at least two Rings worth of power from the mindscape and others are getting substantially more.
The combined shared processing power, life-force and the instinct for understanding the universe make both Demonic shapeshifting and Demonic Realms possible. The effects achieved by the use of a Realm usually requires a lot more processing ability than any one Demon can perform. Realms exist as a sort of psychological set of short-cuts that allow for the Demon to make practical and immediate use out of their universal perceptions. Any use of the Realm extends into Orochi (or Ashvattha) itself and sometimes amongst the unconscious parts of other Immortals in the mindscape.
One aspect of Demonic shapeshifting is a similar manifestation of both shared life-force and shared mental processing. They do have a shaman’s rope and are able to shapeshift the normal way if they decide to learn how, but they are also capable of essentially rebuilding their body from scratch. This second method is more complete and how the Demons so thoroughly came to take human form. Likewise, it explains why several Demons have widely different bodies from the others.
Demons can travel by what they call Dimensional Bursting. This is accomplished by piercing the borders between the Earth’s dimensional shell and then bouncing off the shell of one of the orbiting shards in Earth’s cosmology and passing back into Earth’s space at the desired location. Bursting is a swift, but noisy method of teleportation. Also, they are limited in how many people they can carry along with them when they burst. Dimensional bursts produce a side effect in the form of a small cloud of smoke.
Demons are adapted to a sulfur heavy atmosphere, and until they are able to adapt to Earth’s thinner atmosphere, they have a tendency to be light headed and irritable (Yomi’s environment is, by contrast, harsh and irritating to humans and Gods). When at the home of a Demon living on Earth, it is usually normal to find a lot of incense burning. They often tend toward sulfur-heavy diets.
Sulfur-heavy garlic and onions would seem to be a popular choice for Demons, but the sulfur in this case is attached to other chemicals which piggy back past mechanics that normally filter those out. As a result, unless prepared in very specific manners, garlic and onions can be painfully toxic, possibly even lethal, but only if ingested.
In addition, Demons are very psychically open as discussed in other sections. They do not have the same level of natural psychic defenses that most mortals do. Passive defense is almost non-existent, they have to actively defend themselves against invasion. They do have a rather unusual mindscape and that gives them some level of defense as it is hard to find the sensitive areas of the mind and they can easily get help in the form of other connected Immortals, but their sensitivity to invasion is also low.
Their minds are touched so frequently, often by accidental contact from intense daydreams and the like, that they have a tendency to overlook what might be a casual contact. A clever telepath can move around a lot before the Demon catches on to their presence. Their marks provide some level of resistance, but those are already strained by keeping the Demon’s identity and memories secure from the overall Demonic mindscape.
Demons can essentially be used as a beachhead to reach straight into the heart of the Orochi network. Physical contact required the best for this since that connection is not really meant for outside use. It is horrifically painful to the Demon in question. Their distinctive marks will start splitting along the edges and bleeding. Afterwards, they’ll be prone to massive headaches and the rate of life-force decay from using powers increases sharply.
Meanwhile, the attacker has bypassed the near endless collection of networked mindscape labyrinths and is now in a position to draw specific information out of the Demonic collective, attack specific Demons with a curse or, if you had enough power, attack the entirety of the collective. Demons and Gods both try to keep this particular vulnerability under wraps.
Finally, unlike incidental immortals, Demons have a consistent build up of life force corruption throughout their lives. They purge this build up of corruption by periodically “reincarnating”. On the surface, this appears to be simply a physical transformation combined with the sealing away of some memories, but it to completely refresh the vitae as well. Going without these little reincarnations, Demons tend to either become more unreasonably aggressive or to become less and less able to focus for extended periods of time.
Some Demons have mistaken the building insanity for enlightened thinking, that they have advanced beyond mortal thought somehow. However, this is incorrect, it is a result of flawed and limited thought processes. The mind becomes narrower and less flexible as the corruption builds. Skills and logic start to suffer and personal advancement begins to stagnate, they have less capacity for imagining new tactics or ideas. The longer it goes, the more likely they are to rely purely on brute force applications of their skills. Or else become so distracted that they practically do nothing.
Primarily, Demons reproduce in a manner very much like humans do. Much of this is because of how thoroughly they’ve mimicked humans. They do not have normal menstruation cycles, however. For the most part, they only have children when they want to have children and sex is mostly about emotional bonding and pleasure. In the course of physical intercourse, there will be some telepathic contact even with people who would generally be considered not to be telepathic. If the idea of children comes up within the telepathically level, then there is a chance of an accidental pregnancy. Demons generally consider talking about the telepathic connection as being much more private, arousing and potentially embarrassing than the physical connection, especially if any sort of long lasting connection is formed in the process.
In addition Demonic reproduction is made complicated by various facts, as is to be expected with psychic entities on the level of being reality bending. Demons are shapeshifters, including the ability to switch genders, though most generally find that uncomfortable. There are also spells that allow for female-to-female fertilization and rumors of male pregnancy.
There are also several options that Demons have for non-sexual reproduction, though Demons heavily favor sexual relationships with regards to reproduction. There are rituals that can induce pregnancy in a female without sexual interaction and there are what humans would call cloning rituals. These rituals usually involve as much telepathic contact as involved with sexual interaction, but not always. The telepathic interaction is regarded as necessary for the full health of even a half-Demonic child. This is usually an option taken by female Demons who have very intimate non-sexual relationships with other females.
Like with human cloning, Demon practices of artificial reproduction do not result in a complete copy of an already existing being, but rather taking samples from two genetic donors and creating a viable embryo and bringing them to maturation in an artificial womb. There is some level of doubt, though most consider it unfounded, about these individuals and their ability to relate to others, mostly stemming from the idea that the lack of telepathic union between the parents, or even between a mother and child, will have odd effects on the child. These homunculi are not so common and the last one officially created was born around two thousand years ago.
Finally, human beings can become Demons via an artifact that the Demons refer to as the “Throne of Ascendance.” The item mostly works on individuals who are psychically active, a small fraction of the human population, but is a lot spottier outside that and has never been set to work on any currently existing race other than human. Failed transformations cause no harm to the subject and simply seem to fail to engage.
Demons consider themselves a young culture. Even the name is a human word meaning “divine spirit”. Prior to about sixty or seventy thousand years ago, the species mostly referred to itself as the Enki and primarily used the raptor body that the modern Demons now consider ugly and primitive. Some other bodies than that, many of which were truly bizarre. When the Enki first arrived, they did not have the process of reincarnation to help them clear the build up of corruption in their life force and many had been alive for millions of years.
With the exception of younger Demons and she who would be Queen Lilith, they were all insane, creatures of incredible power and seeking the eradication of everything that had stolen “their” world. If the Gods hadn’t arrived back to Earth at nearly the same time, it is likely that they would have wiped out all the newly developing races across the planet and taken it for their own. Even so the renewed conflict between Gods and Demons shattered much of the existing human civilizations.
Younger minds managed to manipulate the more or less blindered Enki into setting things up to infiltrate humanity and use them as a pawn against the Gods, ostensibly eradicating them once they were no longer necessary. The process now know as reincarnation was developed and suddenly the Enki that underwent the process found themselves thinking clearly again and, in growing up among humans as part of learning about them, came to identify more and more with humanity. The amount of disconnection between Enki and the newly growing population calling themselves Demons became so severe that the normal hesitance of committing violence against another part of the mindscape eroded almost completely away. Civil war erupted at almost the exact same time as the Gods were rising against their own predecessors. Lilith and the others calling themselves Demons came out on top and that at least temporarily ended the plan to eradicate every sentient that wasn’t part of their own species. It also severely cut the population of a race that had already dwindled to small numbers.
For a two or three thousand years afterwards, the Demons and Gods were in truce with frequent meetings between Vishnu and Lilith, resulting in the birth of the first half-God, half-Demon child: Urd Jotundottir. Unfortunately, the cultural structures of the Gods and Demons were still inflexible and this first truce ended after several events culminating in perceived betrayal between Lilith and Vishnu.
The next thirty thousand years of warfare was rather cold compared to what the Gods and Demons engaged in before. It was carried out mostly indirectly through demi-Gods, half-Demons, engineered races and monsters. Espionage was more common than warfare which had the Demons at a disadvantage to begin with, though they have been learning quickly. Humanity’s remaining civilization was lost along with its history such that they had to start over, but Demons and Gods, even in these mostly indirect confrontations, found themselves whittled down until all together they had a population of less than a hundred thousand.
Conflict was slowed down roughly fifteen thousand years ago and both humanity and the Immortals began to recover. A new truce was called two thousand years ago and this time enforced by the Compact, a creation similar to both Ashvattha and Orochi. The Compact existed only to enforce the truce. When a resident of Yomi or Nirvana died, so too would a resident of the other side. Since then, there has officially been no hostile actions, though some Demons and Gods continue to go missing as they are sealed by their enemy without actually killing them.
Demons have since recovered in population back to the severe overpopulation that Yomi currently suffers under, much of that in the last two thousand years. Lilith is still queen but the Abyss, the prison for rogue Demons, has been filling and not everyone agrees with the idea that this truce might successfully become a real peace.
Index of Other Divine Blood Stories and Art in my gallery
Divine Blood Index**************************
Divine Blood stories available on DA:
Novel Sample Chapters:
This Looks Like a Safe Neighborhood... : http://fav.me/d42d6br
Just a Girl: http://fav.me/d42dado
Creepy Cute: http://fav.me/d42dbfa
In Motion: http://fav.me/d42ddgt
Center of It: http://fav.me/d42dfjf
Unique Perspective: http://fav.me/d53r3zz
Extracurriculars listed chronologically to the Divine Blood Timeline (focus character in parantheses):
Regarding the Proper Use of Force (Gaetana Trolleti): http://fav.me/d5vpbpa
Following Dernhelm (Eowyn Desai): http://fav.me/d5bh3hn
Can't Go Home (Whelan Connor): http://fav.me/d5nw5qc
Smoke Over Grimsvotn (Lilitu Geisthexe): http://fav.me/d5bh2wj
Serious Matter (Sherissie Minaba): http://fav.me/d5bh3zv
A Day in the Life of a Busy Woman (Mao Semezou): http://fav.me/d5c0o5b
High School Hel (Hel Logesdottir): http://fav.me/d5j1hg7
Pop Quiz (Naiki Semezou): http://fav.me/d62tdla
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