|-Valla'drielle, Val'Kyorl'solenurn Judicator and School Headmistress|
The Many Faces of Demonkind
Collected and compiled from various Vloz'ress Clan texts:
The name 'demon' is perhaps a misleading one, for it brings to mind certain preconcieved notions that are untrue or - at the very least - inaccurate. The only defining trait that one can guarantee from the word demon is only that the being referanced comes from a Netherworld; in truth, there are a great many "species" of demon, each one coming from a different Netherrealm. The true limits to the number of Netherrealms that exist is unknown, and could very well be countless, and as a result, no two demons are exactly the same.
Further, demons are - in their natural forms - ethereal creatures that have no presence on this plane. They are purely energy-based creatures that remain so unless they latch onto an aura-bearing being, consume its aura fully and take over that body. Once they gain a material frame, they are attached to that frame until they are killed, whereupon they are freed once again as ethereal creatures unless they are sealed into a gem or sent back through a gate to the Netherrealms.
For the most part, demons are not visible to normal eyes. Like mana, demons are detectable through those trained to perceived them with manavision. Demons, and by turns tainted mana, are recognized by their unmistakeable red glow.
A great deal of research has been poured into the realm of demonology, for only through the study of a subject can information be gleaned about it, and through knowledge can control be gained. However, for sense to be made of this vast and complicated subject, we must start at the beginning.
The Identification and Classification of Demons
Although the individual details of demons are as countless as the number of stones in the Underworld, through study two main trends are noticed. This is the first tier of classification, wherein the whole of demonkind are separated into two major categories. We term these "Ver'aku" and "Vel'akar". Beyond that, demons are often further categorized by their main defining characteristic, usually acquiring a nickname based on that trait. These names, however, often end up being whatever nickname sticks when referring to those demons, sometimes resulting in crude or irreverant names.
Ver'aku is a general term used to describe any demon that has a comparable intelligence level to animals, at best. These demons are the most common, for they are solely instinct driven and do not have very complex motivations. Thus, when a gate is opened between the Netherrealm and our world, the draw of mana on this plane serves as an attractive lure which such simple creatures cannot resist. Yet, for all their simplicity, they are also the most utilitarian, for they are unable to provide much willpower to resist the commands of a Summoner who brings them over.
This is the Ver'aku's greatest strength and weakness, in one fell swoop; easily controlled, but not likely to make clever decisions.
A Vel'akar is a rare treat; intelligent demons are not often come by, and when they are, there is no guarantee that they will even approach a gate. Given enough coaxing, with a suitable host, the creation of a Vel'akar is an accomplishment that few can claim, but all colleagues in the field of demonic studies can respect. It is impossible to further define Vel'akar, because their individual traits vary so greatly that each must be measured by their own merit.
"Shard" is the term used to define a Vel'akar in it's larval or 'child' phase, although it is believed that this is the result of a Vel'akar that has been split or destroyed in some manner. These individual shards have above-animal intelligence, usually, but are always obsessed with - or 'lust' after - something; these shards are completely affixed on this thing at their basic phases, but as they consume more auras, they display the ability to grow, apparently able to reconstruct their original personality.
In this section, we'll cover a few examples of observed Ver'aku.
The first is often dubbed a "Glutton" demon. These demons have no understanding of form, limitations, or even the physical realm enough to sustain a material frame in any sort of logical or feasible configuration. These demons continue to absorb matter into their bodies, consuming any biotic material they come across, and continually growing in size. These demons are incredibly difficult to kill, because they have a tendancy to generate quickly, and they often have a number of the same organ; a redundancy which requires them to be dealt with in drastic matters which many consider 'overkill'. Completely crushed, fully burned or hacked to pieces, this is not a demon that can be finished with half-measures.
The second type of observed Ver'aku is a "Devourer" demon. These demons also hunger, and alter the body they take over in often-horrific ways. The flesh pulls back from the mouth, teeth elongate and grow sharp, claws and spines sprout from the body, all to aid the demon's goal of feeding. Incidentally, these demons resemble their ethereal forms; worms with many-fanged mouths that consume all mana they come across. As they are driven to feed, they tend to be rather brainless - and thus, easy to kill - but it has not been unheard of for a Devourer to retain some of the skills and knowledge of a possessed host, making them even more dangerous; these more fearsome versions of the Devourere are sometimes called "Hunters".
The last are simply called "Horrors". As best as can be construed, these are akin to living Nether Gates, and consume all mana around them; their presence can be detected by darkness, as mana-powered lights are extinguished as it feeds. When view through manavision, a Horror appears as a shapeless black mass with countless demonic eyes. Horrors do not possess their victims; instead, they completely consume the aura they contact, resulting in that being's death. This ability to kill without wounds makes them some of the most feared demonic entities and, although it is one of the strongest known kinds, eventually it will consume all of the surrounding mana and die on its own, as it cannot survive without its food source.