The Teicna Files 04 - Demons: the Unwanted

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When the Elemental Four had stripped the surface from their world and started anew, they had thought that their discarded efforts were obliterated into nothingness. They were wrong.

Unbeknownst to them, even gods cannot entirely destroy matter. Rather, attempts to do so would banish it into a demiplane - a sort of cosmological storage space - where it would wait for its time to be return to or be reformed into the world. This was the fate of the First World. The world of the Demons.

From the outset, the creatures that would come to be known to the mortal races of Teicna as Demons were flawed. It was intentional, really. What bored deity would want to watch perfect beings go about their lives? And yet, these early attempts were flawed in ways that offended the gods that created them. Beyond their free will and physical imperfections, the demons were driven by magnified aspects of the gods' own negative character traits. Greed, wrath, sloth, and many others were made manifest in these creatures, and the gods couldn't bare to look upon these caricatures of their own failings.

When their world was peeled from the surface of Teicna and discarded like the rind of a fruit, it was became warped and twisted, inverting into a hollow sphere with its core in the center, acting both like the core it was and the sun that its new position in space lacked. What water didn't leak out of the cracks in the inverse crust of this new world rapidly evaporated and suffused the atmosphere with a thick, persistent fog in the heat of this ever-present flaming orb.

And so the demons were left without their gods to survive as best they could in the barren hellscape that their once-beautiful world had become. For millennia they eked out a living and adapted to their new environment. For some species, this meant stooping to the level of mindless monsters, while others harnessed this hardship for the better, steadily bettering themselves despite the predispositions that had made them so undesirable in the first place. By the time they made contact with the world again, the demons were all but unrecognizable as the beings the Four had discarded in ages past.

With the advent of magic amongst the sapient peoples of Teicna, more and more wild, chaotic energies were let loose into the atmosphere, and as these energies built up, they began to have strange effects on the world and its inhabitants. Most relevant to the demons of these effects was the creation of rifts. These extraplanar holes in the fabric of space connected Teicna with its lost predecessor in a way that would allow beings to cross from one side to the other. Undesirable as their current predicament was, it was only natural that the demons, when eventually made aware of what these rifts represented, would make every possible effort to be through to the other side before they closed again. 'Every possible effort' including slaughtering any and all obstacles in the way.

For centuries, these escapees from the Inverse realm - often soaked in blood and half-mad from the efforts of reaching the rift alive - were the only contact the peoples of Teicna had with the Demons, and they could be forgiven for being incredibly fearful of them as a result. Between their incredible fortitude and their enraged status upon exiting a rift, Demons were known to rampage through countrysides and overpower entire militia forces before being taken down. This resulted in fairly standard orders to kill demons on sight in nearly every inhabited region, making it next to impossible for this impression of the creatures to change no matter how rational future entrants might have been.

When Malephesh tore the world in half and the waters of its oceans were banished to ensure the safety of the planet's core, they too found themselves in the world between worlds, pouring from the skies in two gargantuan sheets and wiping out a great many demons along the way. In time, they formed a great sea through the center of the demons' realm and brought liquid water back to them for the first time since their banishment. Now, the demons' bodies had not been nearly as dependent upon water as those of the current mortals of Teicna in the first place, and they had grown steadily less so over the years, but after being used to it only being present in the form of condensation in the air for so long, it felt to them like the nectar of the gods itself was raining from the heavens. With the sheer quantities pooling in the new ocean ring, petty squabbles for the resource rapidly became petty squabbles for the land beside it, which in turn led to the rapid formation of more organized tribes and governments centered around trading filtered water farther out into the wastes. Within only a few decades, all of the land bordering the sea for hundreds of miles out had become claimed territory of one clan or another. A few more after that and they had joined together to form Urba'at, the great megacity of the demon races.

In time, more reliable means of opening rifts between Teicna and the Inverse would be developed as the demons crossing over from the latter to the former became increasingly more likely to be civilized socialites rather than raving monstrosities, and soon enough entire contingents of demons were colonizing what Teicna's natives considered to be uninhabitable wastes, aided by their centuries of expertise with just such environments.

While they have been diligently working to clear away the prejudice that years upon years of violent demonic incursions laid upon their kind, the demons are still not entirely trusted by most Teicnan citizens. As such, they largely keep to themselves outside of the odd trading caravan or other professional travelers. With a few significant exceptions...
Next: The Teicna Files 05 - Beyond the Veil

Previous: The Teicna Files 03 - Out With the Old

Polls were inconclusive, but this seemed like a pretty solid continuation point from the previous story, or at least the one before that.

Demons based on various vices and flaws in humanity are pretty much ubiquitous in any fantasy setting. When I first started writing this one, mine were no different. When I split the afterlife off from the demons, though (not wanting them to just be the things that lived in 'not-Hell'), I ran into the issue of coming up with what exactly they were. If they embodied the flaws seen in humanity taken to 11, it made a certain degree of sense that they must simply have been the Beta run of humanity, discarded for that very reason. And so, here we are.
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