Daemons are the human embodiments of demonic spirits from an ancient empire, sent to the material world of Vinramar as agents of Daemoth. Each is born to a human mother by entering the womb, driving out the spirit of the true child and taking its place. When daemons first enter the mortal body, the memory of their former life is lost, and only regained through disciplined meditation. Many forge a new path as they mature, consciously or unconsciously shirking their original purpose.
With practice, daemons can enter a powerful state that hearkens back to their ancient glory. In this elder form their presence becomes commanding, and they glow with an unholy light. Daemons who remain in human guise, on the other hand, avoid the risk of others attempting to discover their true names (and thus control them).
The intent of this charade is to keep a strict eye on world affairs without the daemon’s presence being sensed as a threat. As opposed to the jharethil, who hide out of necessity, the daemons hide in human form because it suits their purpose, evil or otherwise.
A FATEFUL CHOICE
Sometime before a daemon’s fifth birthday, he or she is contacted in secret by a herald of Daemoth, usually a demonic being set to protect and preside over the child. In this first visitation, the dark herald reveals to the child that it is a daemon, and speaks its true name.
If daemons accept the tutelage of their dark herald, they are trained physically and spiritually to serve Daemoth. Many are drawn to religious devotion, becoming leaders within one of the Daemothite religious sects. Others might train for political or academic careers, where their influence will have greatest reach. Whatever their specific mission, daemons who comply with the instruction of the dark herald are prepared for life as an agent of Daemoth.
This decision is life-changing. If a daemon accepts, the herald will return now and then, or routinely take the child away for training. Some parents are distressed by the mysterious coming and going—others are proud to have borne a child of Daemoth.
Many daemons don’t comply with their intended masters, even at such a young age. A refusal to submit to God’s will is taken as rebellion, and daemons that reject their tutelage make bitter enemies of the dark powers. After such a choice, a daemon dissenter might settle down in hopes of being forgotten, or be forced to keep on the move.
THE WEAPON OF ANONYMITY
Daemons live in any human society, hidden among the population as agents of the dark powers. Those that rebel against Daemoth might seek shelter and redemption among religious communities that worship Jharus. In almost all circumstances, daemons manage to operate alone or with a very small group of trusted allies.
The ability to seem human can hide a daemon’s identity, allegiance, and motives. Most leave their true race a closely guarded secret, and keep careful record of who knows it. They will only use the elder form when a situation is desperate. Daemons value their anonymity as one of their greatest advantages, and a means to access resources and connections that might otherwise be unavailable.
HIDDEN DEMONIC GLORY
When in human form, daemons look like their human parents just as any other child would. No sign can distinguish them from humans except an unholy birthmark on the crown of the head, which appears around age three. The birthmark is shaped to form a seal or insignia of the daemon’s dark herald. Many keep this proof of their true race hidden beneath long hair.
All daemons can learn to change their human body into the elder form. While transformed, their bodies closely resemble the human form, but their skin and eyes change to a deathly, glowing white, and their facial features become sharper and more imperious.
DAEMONS AND RELIGION
Daemons give up the right to religious neutrality at birth. The deal is to serve Daemoth or be hunted by him. Those faced with this predicament may hate religion or be steeped in it, but either way they’ll find it difficult to be ambivalent. Zealotry and single-minded devotion to Daemoth are common among his children. Those who rebel gravitate toward spiritual disillusionment and bitter cynicism.
CALCULATING EVERY MOVE
Many daemons have a talent for strategy and analytical thinking, perhaps a byproduct of their eternal war on the jharethil. This almost mathematical ability to anticipate the actions of others manifests at a young age, resulting in a tendency to make complex plans based on such predictions. Daemons value their intelligence above all else.
In addition to their shrewd minds, daemons often have good manners. They’re fond of formality and tradition, using social ceremony to keep others at a distance. The risk of detection causes them to avoid creating strong ties with others.
Depending on their loyalties, daemons might espouse a variety of beliefs or priorities. Those that embrace their heritage find that doors open for them everywhere they turn. The others are hounded until the day they die by servants of their intended master, especially if they join the enemy and aid Jharus’s cause.