Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Hunter's Guide to Monsters - Chapter Five

We all have a dark side, a vice which we can call our own; for we all have own sins to bear. But there exist those where the dark outweighs the light, there are creatures whose lifeblood is the night and seek only to conquer, corrupt, control & destroy. Allow me to introduce you to tonight's monster . . . the 'DEMON':
Demon /'deemən/ n. 1. An evil spirit; devil. 2. A person of great energy, enthusiasm, etc.: He's a demon for work.
5. Demons
  by Hunter Jeremiah

There's not really such a thing as evil. Everyone does what they do because it's good for them, and if others suffer, it's because they've found that the suffering of others does them good. Perhaps they need education, but they're not evil. However, I can't deny that there are those whose actions cause the greater amount of suffering, and there are certain ideologies which by their nature cause more harm than good. In the case of demons, their outlook on life is one that causes great suffering. It's just important to remember that they don't kill, hurt, deceive or maim us because they are evil - they do so because they believe that what they're doing is right.
There are many kinds of demon, and if you wish to know them in greater detail then there exist grimoires and reference materials which focus exclusively on this creature. I will mention quite a few, but the focus of this chapter will be on Demon Lords, and Lesser Demons.

Simply put, demons are creatures from another plane of existence. Some call this Hell, the Underworld, the Inferno, the Pit & a multitude of dark and mysterious names, most of them related to some kind of religion. I don't hold favour with that kind of blasphemy, so I merely call it the Demon Realm.
No man has ever been to this realm for the same reason no living human has been inside of a black hole, our physical form cannot survive the journey. In fact, the same is true of demons and our realm, leading me to my first point. Demonkind are too alien to survive in our world; the air itself tears them to pieces for they are beings of magic. For this reason, when a demon enters our world, they can do so by three common methods, which we believe to be their only options:
  1. Possessing and control a physical object.
When a demon steps through into this reality, they might step into an object. It can be any object, however if a demon possesses a rock or a boot, they will only have the abilities of that item, unless their magic gives them greater power to either corrupt that item into a malleable form or move objects around them at will. For this reason, lesser demons tend to possess man-made objects with moveable parts.
Once a demon possesses an object, it then becomes their physical body for them to move around in this world. Because of this, there is some confusion amongst uneducated persons who believe that demons are equivalent to ghosts, and that these objects are their "Haunts" and it's why some call demons evil spirits. However, this is not accurate. Demons do not have souls, and for that reason Hunters make a distinction between ghost-possessed objects: Haunted Items; and demon-possessed objects: Cursed Items, sometimes known as Demon-bound.
  2. Possessing and control a living creature.
A common trick is for demons to slip into our reality straight into the body of an animal. The kind of animal they can control is entirely dependent on the abilities of the demon, and in some cases it can be a sign of their power. Small demons don't have the strength to control large creatures, settling for insects, small pets, wild birds or feral vermin; whereas some of the stronger demons, due to their power, they literally cannot fit inside of smaller animals, and so will control wolves, bears, horses, large dogs & - if they are strong enough - humans.
Mankind is the most difficult creature for a demon to possess, as we can think for ourselves and there have been cases of humans self-exorcising demons through thought and willpower alone. But, when a demon is strong enough, man can fall victim to its will and allow them to walk amongst us, perfectly disguised.
However, because of the amount of power it requires to control a human, if an exceptionally powerful demon possesses a human body, then there is a high likelihood that their magic will physically corrupt their human host, revealing their true nature.
  3. Crafting a new, earthly body for themselves.
 This is the vessel of choice for Demon Lords. Because they have such power granted to them, before stepping through to our world Demon Lords will manipulate our reality to create a body themselves. Usually, this requires some form of deception, ritual or sacrifice in order to accomplish, but sadly it is not unknown for these exceptionally powerful demons to coerce persons in our own realm of existence, like pawns on a chessboard, to put the pieces in place so they can step through into our world and in so doing birth themselves, demon incarnate, into a perfectly constructed body.
In the cases of self-made demonkin, a Hunter's first defence is prevention. These demons can sculpt their bodies to their will, but they tend not to disguise themselves for they have no need. They merely wander the landscape, terrorizing unsuspecting innocents and destroying lives. It's a catastrophic event, and I hope never to see it in my lifetime, not ever again.

As I said before, there are many kinds of demon. Whether they curse items, possess people or create their own body, they tend to be at some position on a grand hierarchy. Demon families, politics and rivalries are too chaotic for me to possibly explain, however their hierarchy can be explained in a simple three-tier system.
Demon Lords
At the top of the hierarchy are the demon lords. These are incredibly intelligent and very powerful magic users. Some demon lords are more powerful than others, even to the point of being evil gods and they fight amongst themselves for more power, but a demon lord is the highest authority and answers to no other demon's will. These are terrifying monsters and some of them could devour entire cities in one motion, however there is one fact which saves our world from utter destruction. Demons and their magic have mass. The larger a demon is, the more space it occupies. Because of their size, it is difficult for a demon lord to pass through the veil between their world and ours. They may be able to, if they can construct their own body designed specifically to contain their power, however this requires patience, cunning & time. There are many methods demon lords have found to step through and bring their power with them, but if a Hunter strikes before they rise to power, they will be at our mercy.
Mid-tier Demons
This is an absolute mess. This section covers a wide range of demons, but what brings these all under one heading is that they have two things in common. They have the power to command demons lesser than themselves, and yet they still bow to the will of demon lords. This encompasses almost every other kind of demon there is - all of them in the middle - and there are a lot of them.
There are elemental demons; Afirit are fire demons that control minds, djinn are trickster air demons with great power, ghulan are shape-shifting earth demons & maridun are powerful water demons that create storms. There are incubi, which are hybrid half-demons, which attack women to birth demonized children for a succubus, their demon lord mother. There are devils, imps and gremlins, devious lesser demons given the gift of magic and a small, corrupted body, by their demon masters. There are host demons, which are many lesser demons that combine their power into a single entity in one host body.
Then there are many, many more demons which are classified by the object or animal they possess, or the magic they use, the region from whence they come or the colour of their physical bodies; but there are too many to list in this chapter.
Lesser Demons
These are the pawns. Lesser demons tend to be quite simple and dim-witted and they are lacking in power. However, this does not mean we should underestimate them. Just like a pawn on a chessboard, a lesser demon can still kill a king, if you put them in the right place. Also, although they are simple-minded, lesser demons are servants to mid-tier demons and demon lords, so they might still be quite clever creatures, even if this cleverness is not their own. Lesser demons are small, their magic is often limited or weak, but because they have so little power, they are the most discreet. Their power does not corrupt objects from our world, so they can perfectly disguise themselves amongst us.
But, do not be fooled. Although they may not be the smartest creatures, there's more than one kind of 'intelligence', there is a reason people consider demons to be devious. Lesser demons can lie and cheat, and they can trick people into doing their bidding, just like any human thief or criminal. And although weak, you can still find yourself at their mercy. Do not underestimate these weak critters, or they may just inherit this place.

In the instance that you come across a demon, there are some simple rules to keep in mind to avoid their devilry:
  • If it Talks, you Walk − If an animal can speak to you, there's a possibility that it may be possessed by a demon. If it talks, then turn and walk away.
  • No Deal − Demons make contracts; although bound to these promises, demons will exploit any loophole. Avoid this, by avoiding demon contracts in the first place.
  • Don't Open the Door − Demons are creatures of magic, so they follow the rules of magic. If you do not invite them inside, they cannot cross the boundary.
  • Running to Running Water - Running water tends to create a natural leyline, which disrupts magic. Cross running water, and they can't follow.
  • Hallowed Be Thy Name − Although powerful demons shield their name, you can use a weaker demon's name to control their magic like any other magic word.
  • Exorcise Your Mind − Although difficult, with good mental health you can stop weaker demons from possessing you, by staying calm, confident & remembering who you are.
  • Fear of God − For the lesser demons, threatening them with the will of a god, scripture or religious artefacts can frighten them off. Even if you're not religious, they are. They believe in demons and evil gods.
  • Demons are Deadly − Demons may use deals, tricks & magic; but never forget that they're killers. Stay vigilant and keep your distance.
  • Carry a Big Stick − Demons are physical beings. If you break their physical form, their essence will evaporate. So if all else fails, beat the bugger to death.
All demons are devious creatures. They live their lives with a sense of hierarchy and power. It is their belief that you gain power by defeating others and taking their power and magic, and this raises you up the demon hierarchy. The reason they come to our world is because they see us as weak and easy to control, and they kill, harm and manipulate us to prove this control through fear and brutal force.
They cannot be dissuaded from this cause and they cannot be tamed or otherwise pacified, it's just the way they are. The only way to stop a demon is to kill it or return it to the Demon Realm. For this reason, we do not Capture demons, we merely trap them for the purposes of killing or banishing them.
As soon as a demon is discovered, it is our duty to Hunt it down and remove it from this plane of existence.

Demons are difficult creatures to find, not because they are subtle, but because it can be difficult at times to tell which crimes have a demonic influence. When dealing with an elemental demon, or a possessed animal, you can usually follow the trail of destruction, but demons are not always so easy to detect. Hunters are advised to investigate gruesome murders; crop circles or unusual graffiti; theft of supernatural or unusual items; cults or violent gang activity; 'haunted' locations; aggressive sexual assault or rape; torture and mutilation of persons or animals; suspicious kidnappings; violent animal attacks; isolated house-fires & unusual suicides. However, it can be difficult to distinguish the real monsters from the madmen. The most heartbreaking investigation of my life was when I spoke to a brutalized rape victim, only to learn that her attacker wasn't a monster, just a sick human being. But, we must keep a vigilant eye over our towns and cities; it is our duty to keep the innocent safe.
In the case of kidnappings and unusual cases, you may have to resort to using research and cunning investigation skills to find information; but as is often the case, investigate your victim. If they are a survivor, especially of sexual assault, it is prudent to talk to their doctor about their wounds; but a description of their attacker provides vital information, you must ask the victim specific questions so that you can isolate the kind of demon which you are Hunting. If the demon attack was fatal, the body of the victim should provide an abundance of clues as to the method of attack, the strength of their attacker and ways you can protect yourself when you confront them. If you're very lucky, you might even learn the demon's name.
After seeing your victim, if you don't know it already, you should try to discover their motivation, and this is often evident from the crime scene location. In the interests of safety, you should always assume that your demon is involved in summoning rituals. If there's any evidence of collecting sacrifices; sigils or messages written in blood; grave-robbing; patterns or schedules to the certain crimes or evidence of a greater power at play, you must act immediately, so as to prevent the completion of any demon lord summoning. If and when you've eliminated demon summoning rituals, you should look for evidence around the crime scene to determine the purpose of their crimes. Keep in mind that more than anything, demons want Power. Check for any leylines, see if the demon is attempting to source natural magic to empower itself; check for stolen artefacts as well as stolen money, valuable objects or weapons. Occasionally, a demon may commit an attack on the spur of the moment, don't discount the capacity for a demon to kill for fun or commit a crime of opportunity.
So, knowing what kind of demon you're looking for, and knowing their motivation, that should narrow down the list of suspects. Based on the victim and crimes committed, you should be able to gauge the power level of your demon. Blunt force trauma, cuts & evidence of a weapon usually means you're dealing with a small, lesser demon, most likely inhabiting an object or small animal; be on the lookout where these animals or objects usually appear, as they may be hiding there, but this depends on the crimes they're committing, they might be masquerading as someone's pet, toy or property, make sure any major suspects are actually possessed, and not just in the possession of a cursed pet or object.
Harsher attacks involving broken bones, dismemberment, sexual assault, brain damage & burns often are the case of stronger demons, and you may be dealing with large, possessed animals or a demon-bound human; humans will be hiding amongst people, try to get a good description, and keep an eye out for suspicious looking people. Demonic corruption can cause all manner of disfigurement, from horns, red eyes and teeth to cracked, cut or bleeding skin; scales, claws and hair are also known, as well as charred flesh, skin blemishes and warped features.
Large-scale massacres, explosions, plagues & terrorism tend to be the work of demon lords - in these cases, call for backup. The lack of subtlety will most likely streamline your search to following the path of horror in its wake.

Something to keep in mind is that demons, although collectively they seek power and have a tendency to attack and kill shamelessly, they are still individuals. Some are more deadly than others, some more prone to bargain and some seek power more viciously. Like a wild dog, although you may know about them as a species, each creature is an individual and may respond differently to different situations; even demons of the same ilk or kin may have differing degrees of aggression, magic or intelligence.

Demons, by their very nature, are too dangerous for civilized society. For the safety of all humankind, demons should be killed on sight. However, when they possess the bodies of living persons, you cannot kill them for this will also kill the cursed host. The only option that remains is to Banish them. To accomplish this, You will Need:
"Ring" - Your ring is a basic, magic sigil. A ring on the ground or ceiling (drawn parallel to the floor) with a pentagram or star of david drawn within it. With stronger demons, more symbols can be added, as well as more pentagrams and a more complicated shape or mystical words. If you know the demons name, you should add another ring, and write the demon'ss name, evenly spaced within this circle. I highly recommend that Hunters keep a notebook of powerful sigil patterns, for reference. In practice, this can be drawn with spray paint, carved into a wooden floor or drawn in pen. One trick I prefer is a rolled-up beach towel or tarp with a complex sigil drawn upon it, to quickly and easily lay down a powerful trap.
"Rope" - You should bind your demon, for safety. I prefer to use chain, especially silver chain, as it resists demonic influence, but a mere rope binding the hands can come in useful for a lesser demon. This prevents the demon from attempting to escape from their trap; as even a weak demon given enough time can escape the bonds of a sigil. However, simple bondage can prevent demons from magically escaping their sigil trap.
"Rod" - Admittedly, demons are dark and mystical creatures, and so the best way to exorcise them is with magic, as it directly affects them and that serves this purpose well, I'm afraid. However, there are other ways of banishing a demon. For the non-magical man, such as myself, the method is to scare and torture the demon until they have no option but to leave. I prefer a large ritual dagger, for intimidation; for actual pain, a taser is useful, or fire in extreme cases.

After Hunting down your demon, you should attempt to bind them. This isn't always possible, but you should bind them in rope or chain before stepping them into the sigil ring. The key thing to remember is that you're still dealing with a human being. So, you should attempt to spare the rod. But, other equipment you can use to scare them out include a Bible, hymn book or some kind of religious text, especially for the weak and gullible demons. Your weapon of choice, if you are skilled with it, you should know how to attack without cutting, or ways to use it with flair; in extreme cases you may need to use it, but it can be a useful intimidation tactic. Music can disturb certain demons of discord, which find harmony distasteful. Chalk can come in useful, if you threaten to summon the demon lord of your captured demon.
The greatest tool for scaring demons is your own Confidence. A stern voice and commanding presence is the first step towards a succesful exorcism. However, if you have access to some form of arcane power, or Magic, then it can stop these beasts, but if you ask me that seems too much like using fire to kill an arsonist. At that point, you might as well enter into contract with the demon and convince it to go away by sacrificing your firstborn.

When a demon is not possessing the body of a human, or some other precious living thing, I'm afraid your task is to destroy it. It really is the safest option. So as to not put everyone at risk, there are several methods for doing this at your disposal:
Amputate the core of your demon's body; be it heart, motor, head, gem, brain, fireplace or some other central aspect and the demon's essence will naturally bleed out. Eviscerate the demon by cutting it open and exposing its matter to the air, and once again it will evaporate. Incinerate A demon's form and it will burn with its body. Obliterate their form completely with magic, and the demon within will be annihilated. Undertake the body of your demon, by burying it in the soil underground; the soil will bleed out their magic slowly killing them, and if they attempt to escape, they will disintegrate. Just ensure that you don't bury them near a vessel which they can possess, and that you bury them deeper than they are capable of excavating.

Final Notes
Under NO circumstances should you ever make a deal with a demon. They are sneaky devils and their ultimate goal is the domination of this reality. Do not afford them that opportunity. It is true that demons are not truly evil, and to them our way of living together peaceably is horrifying, corrupt and backward. This is why they kill us so easily, we seem as evil to them as they seem to us.
But because of their demon culture, we cannot make peace, we cannot ceasefire & we cannot surrender. Until every single demon in this reality is destroyed and the portals which allow passage between our worlds are closed, they are the closest thing to evil which we will ever encounter.

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