Demons, also referred to as demonkind or hellspawn, are a race of supernatural beings that exist in a realm completely inaccessible by physical means to those in Engelain. Instead, their interaction with the world is through the use of summoning circles and pentagrams- portals specifically designed to bring demons into the world of Engelain. Demons come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with differing levels of intelligence and scopes of deceitfulness, though they are characterised for their blood lust, hatred of humanity and proficiency in leading astray the unwary.
Some theorise that there are as many different kinds of demon as there are different kinds of species on the planet- that demons come from a dimension that is just as large and plentiful as our own. However the relation between their plane and ours is not so straight-cut as that, or else there would surely be cases in which humans are summoned to the demon plane. The realm from which demons hail is given different names by different cultures- in Engelain, it is most widely referred to as the Demonic Halls.
Though demonology is a branch of magic that has often been resented and deplored, (though it was said there were practitioners of this strand of magic in the West Great Plains Empire, whose name has been lost to history,) there have many things that have been learnt of demonkind and their culture throughout the millennia. First and foremost, they appear to exist under a caste system- some sort of ranking of their power, and that through their superior power is superiority given in their culture. Imps are known to be the lowest form of demon, followed by fiends. Lesser demons and greater demons on the surface appear to be separated by physicality- lesser demons are animalistic and brutish with great-snouts, whilst greater demons are more lithe, winged and humanoid. However it would also seem that lesser demons are unintelligent, or at best dim, whilst greater demons are capable of human-level intellect, and some may even exceed that.
Though these are the basic terms for demons, it is known that there is a lot of variety, though whether that is natural or man-made is uncertain. It is said that the greatest demonologists not only summon demons, but contort their shape, size and purpose to their will, so that the variety in demons is in fact due to magical users from our world. Creatures such as hellhounds are supposedly of such an origin. There are branches of demonology which state that the Demonic Halls aren't even a solid reality such as Engelain, but is in fact a fluid, liquid-like realm of magic, and that demons are inherently magical as we are inherently physical. In this hypothetical scenario, the act of summoning is what creates a demon, as the design of the summoning circle defines the appearance, power and thought-process of the demon summoned.
However, there is as much evidence for the Demonic Halls being solid as well- that being evidence from the highest levels of demon-kind, the Elder Demons and Demon Kings. Elder Demons are supposedly primordial, having been birthed with the creation of their very realm, the eldest and most unnatural, which is why elder demons are known to have distorted and horrific states which hang upon the precipice of human understanding and utter insanity. Meanwhile, the demon kings are just that- kings, demons of such paramount capabilities that they rule over vast swathes of land in the demon halls and command the respect of legions. Should it not be a physical state, then how could the likes of demon kings exist? If demons are defined by the summoner, then why do the elder demons defy all logic?
Although demons can be summoned without being bound to their summoner, this is very rarely done for obvious reasons- demons hate the living, and kill or devour all that is within their power to slaughter. There are demons which can change shape, with magical capabilities of their own, demons that are infused with the elements and therefore gain strength. The act of summoning often binds demons in a magical contract, and it is through magical contracts that most demons interact with mortalkind. Though summoned often to be the servant of the summoner, there is always a high risk with consorting with demons- that the demon, though bound by contract, will always be looking for a way to undermine their master, and thereby free themselves of enslavement.
Demons can be killed, though given the fact that killing a demon merely sends it back to the Demon Halls, it can be said that demons are functionally immortal. Demons are also capable of interbreeding with mortals, most commonly through the demons known as succubus and incubus, though it is an act often taken up by the higher members of demonhood, for unknown purposes. For example, the demon Clolhan fathered the hero Kuro, whilst the exiled King of Acaria, Rovaan du Leon, also has demon parentage.
There is rumour that the demon kings are in fact inferior to a higher power, that there is a so-called Demon Lord who rules over all of Hell, the Forefather of Demons. This being is prevalent in the myths of Kal'sea, but such a thing has never been discussed at length in Engelain. Some give the epithet of Forefather of Demons to Soahc the Deceiver, and believe that the Demonic Halls are the personal realm he fashioned for himself during his millennia of exile.
Examples of demons:
- Azul, an elder demon
- Azulibur, a lesser to Azul
- Thazgar, a greater demon forged into leviathanic shape
- Pnu, a lesser demon