The Demons Among Men
-An inferi native to the Hells, feasting on its newest victim.
[Demon by Zhou He]
Table of Contents:
The Spirits and Hells
Chaotic Tongue, Ilzakarn
Zar'ei, 'Twisted Ones'
Zar'kiel, ‘Twisted Lords’
Ikuras and Ixli
Entering the Hells
Throughout history, every living being was given a superior soul, lesser soul, inferior soul, or soul essence that gave them identity and sometimes capacity for greater feats like spells. Inevitably, discord set upon the mortal planes and would corrupt these souls into something far more destructive.
The soul is malleable like clay when faced with powerful, uncontrollable forces. The vast fallout of aengudaemonic wars, the Void, or even the intrusions of dark magic have been known to metamorphosize the mortal soul.
Rising from this metamorphosis are the Inferis. Any living entity warped into a malignant one by the corruption of its soul essence, becoming a monster both in body and mind due to chaotic energies. The Inferis are all varied because of these discordant sources, relating because they do not often relate. It’s their twisted new forms and feral, destructive personalities that define them as demons, including their souls which have turned into a substance known as ‘maleus’.
There are many methods of chaos to create Inferis, whether it be the Abyss, Stratum Lands of the Void, the flames of Iblees, or even the demonic ritual Nazkuthun. Demons are unified by the aspects of flame and domination, the foundation for all their unholy magics.
The Inferis exist for the sole purpose of creating more chaos and discord. Liches might terrorize for gaining more arcane power, frost witches might eat men to satiate their curse, and tyrants rule with an iron fist because they think it’s the right thing to do. Fiends disregard this, they feel no sympathy or love, they exist only to garner chaos. They are the all-enemy.
The Spirits and Hells [Related Post]:
For ages the Inferis roamed and died, causing despair wherever they went. That is, until Ixli and Ikuras became aware of them and claimed their wandering souls. Now when an Inferi is created, their dormant spirits align with these dark greater spirits, becoming lessers under Ixli and Ikuras. An Inferis is no longer doomed to become a ragegeist on death, but is instead guided into the spirit realm by the hand of their greater masters.
Their home is the Hells, or Fîgûga Uzg (Dishonored Lands), an isle in the Stargûsh’Stroh where all fiends linger. This isle is separated from the mainland by a long landbridge surrounded by the oceans of mist. The majority of Fîgûga Uzg is dominated by the Hells, a horrific landscape of fire and suffering where the dreaded Zentherak (more on demon types later) lord over their armies and revel in the pain of the tormented souls there. There are several layers to the Hells, each ruled by a different Zentherak. The lands warp and change depending on the rise and fall of the various demonic lords at the time.
Sorrow awaits those that enter the Hells as they’ll find nothing but agony by the merciless devils that call this place their home. Any that come here better hope they die quickly, or they’ll face an eternity of despair as a slave to their new fiendish lords.
Chaotic Tongue, Ilzakarn:
Ilzakarn is the language of the Inferis, taking a heavy importance in the usage of demonic magics, allowing for more in-depth control over other souls. The origins of this most foul language is uncertain, but it’s theorized to have come from Ixli or Ikuras. The structure even takes root in a specific dialect of ‘Old Blah’ devised by Ikuras himself known as Al’tahrn-Durngo.
Most intelligent demons have an understanding of this language, usually preferring it over Common (if they know both). Even animalistic Inferis have some capacity to understand it, though they usually cannot speak themselves.
-A mortal Naztherak calling on the power of their grimoire to cast unholy flame.
[Book of Rituals by namesjames on Deviantart]
Demonic Magic [Related Lore]:
Regularly referred to as ‘Naztherak’, meaning “false prince”, this would be a misnomer created by those which stole the power of demons for themselves. Regardless, it consists of ‘Malflame’ which is a chaotic magic resembling iridescent fire able to devour soul essence and convert it to maleus. Able to come with alterations called ‘malices’, Malflame can have a certain variability to it. Secondarily, demonic magic consists of binding and creating lesser fiends into slavery, an art usually reserved for greater Inferis or Naztherak.
Despite not having malefic souls themselves, mortal Naztherak managed to invent ritualistic techniques to harness the power of Infernal magic. Astonishingly, they’ve even learned how to use it to devour the souls of Zentherak and become their own breed of greater Inferis called Zar’akal.
-A newly risen Zar’kiel drinks of its chalice in celebration to its triumphant ascendence.
[Bloodgift Demon by Peter Mohrbacher]
Infernal Climb [Related Lore]:
Inferis are born of chaos, using their unholy might to undo the order of creation. By murdering or willingly given, they’re able to siphon a soul’s energy to patchwork into their own and thus bolster personal power. This is how fiends climb the ranks from lessers into greaters, striving with ambitious greed to fulfill their desires. The strengths of Zentherak are only possible due to the centuries they’ve spent consuming souls using this ability.
Inferis are divided into categories dependent on appearance and power. All ‘lesser’ are named so because of inferior intelligence, and strength. All in this spectrum are incapable of spellcasting beyond Malflame.
[Soot Imp by Jesper Ejsing]
Zevn are the most common of fiends, diminutive in size and no taller than 3 feet. They’re mostly humanoid, but some beastly forms aren’t impossible. They can have wings, allowing brief flight but incapable of going great heights or distances. They have rudimentary Malflame, able to make coin-sized bolts or small gouts of fire. Some can be dextrous enough for simple tools like maces or clubs. Zevn possess some intelligence that allows them to act cruelly and spitefully, wreaking havoc especially in groups.
[Dreadhound by Gimaldinov]
An intermediary of the lesser fiends, Zekul are defined by their beastial appearance. This entails more dim-witted intelligence, but some sapience is still possible. Their size and shape are generally varied depending on the animal from which they’re created, the size not maxing any larger than natural beasts in the mortal realm. They can use Malflame, but are limited to things such as breath attacks or evoking fire around their body.
[Spider Demon by Emortal982]
Zar’ei, ‘Twisted Ones’:
Zar’ei are the greatest of lesser fiends, retaining the most of their former superior souls past transformation. This means they’re the most cunning and capable in combat, allowing for powerful displays of Malflame-casting like throwing bolts and conjuring firestorms. All are humanoid in shape, but can have mutations including but not limited to wings, tails, or extra limbs.
At this point a fiend is smart enough to conduct contracts. These are often unbreakable oaths that must be completed in a demon’s mind. When making a contract, a normal deal will be made with various terms based on the preferences of parties involved. The end-goal is simple: a chance at siphoning soul essence to engorge on [More on this here]. Many prefer to keep the terms vague enough to abuse so they may watch mortals suffer from their own hubris.
The separation mark between lesser and greater Inferis is the capacity for spellcasting. When spells become available, many demons opt to learn demonic magics so they can subjugate lessers beneath them. This doesn’t mean they cannot learn other arts though, and many do, especially the Zentherak.
Zentherak are known to contact Ixli to create pacts with him for magic. The spirit of forbidden knowledge is where many of the greaters gain their power, trading something off for the sake of more influence.
[Demon of the Abyss 1 by Marat Ars]
Zar’kiel, ‘Twisted Lords’:
Zar’kiel are not too unlike their lesser Zar’ei counterparts, mostly humanoid with a proficiency for Malflame, except with a new malice. They can still make contracts to devour souls with the hopes of one day becoming Zentherak, but more than that they gain access to one dark magic slot. The magic cannot include any soul-based transformation such as wraithdom, shadedom, etcetera, as their Infernal soul is incompatible. Nonetheless, this gives them an advantage over their lesser brethren, distinguishing them as greater.
[Sire of Insanity by Peter Mohrbacher]
These are the apex of all fiends, having devoured countless souls over the course of centuries to become massive and with immense strength, both physical and magical. Without exception they can dominate lesser Inferis through demonic magic, gathering hordes under them sometimes in the hundreds. To subdue a Zentherak is no easy task, unlike their lesser kin: they are cunning and capable of great feats of sorcery, both of Malflame and even normally-mortal arts. Unlike Zar’kiel, Zentherak can partake in numerous magics. That being said, even the Zentherak are willing to make contracts, greedily wanting for more power despite their place as apex lords. The terms of these contracts are usually severe, pertaining to precious things such as the soul/freedom, body parts, vision, or even sanity. Some Zentherak watch mortals in the material plane, and summon them into the Hells during their lowest points, offering immortality and a chance at new life. Truthfully, this is a ploy to acquire free souls to nurture and add into their armies as capable servants.
Due to the size of a Zentherak’s horde and their ability to watch the mortal plane, many choose not to leave their layer of the Hells. Instead they opt to manipulate discord through orchestrating their minions, deeming their own lives as too important to risk, especially with the arrival of Zar’akal and Naztherak.
Zentherak fight with unearthly strength and magic with access to legendary hordes, but to conquer one has resplendent rewards. A Naztherak can bind them to a grimoire or consume their head and soul, transforming into a terrible Zar’akal. Zentherak are likely to also possess powerful relics with varying origins, incentive for even non-Naztherak to defeat them. These can be submitted as demonic MArts, but criticism is recommended when reviewing.
Do not be mistaken, defeat by a Zentherak is equally devastating. Should you die in the Hells, your soul is either devoured or enslaved (PK clause). If you're a Naztherak, this also adds your malice to the Zentherak’s repertoire. Secondarily, if you had demons of your own, they will be taken from you, including player Inferis. If you die to one in the mortal realm, you don't have to PK and you only lose your demons if you had your grimoire with you, not including player Inferis (Due to fairness of no PK).
[Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded by Peter Mohrbacher]
Zar’akal are Naztherak that managed to subdue a Zentherak and devour its skull, becoming half Inferi, half mortal. They become weak to holy magic and shamanism, but with self-sustaining maleus, the malice of the Zentherak they devoured, and inherent Malflame-casting similar to full Inferis. No longer physically withered by Naztherak, they become greater Inferis in their own right - if only by technicality due to their half-blooded nature.
-Ikuras, greater immortal spirit of insanity and fear.
[Abandoned Lake by Artem Demura]
Ikuras and Ixli:
All Inferis are actually lesser shamanistic spirits under the ‘daemon’ spirits Ixli and Ikuras. Every Inferis serves to bolster Ixli’s and Ikuras’ powers, and due to how many Inferis there are now, this is a lot. It’s possible Ixli and Ikuras are individually more powerful than every Zentherak combined, and more. Ikuras thrives on the fear and insanity caused by discord, and Ixli revels in the pacts used to the detriment of every foreign party. What these two plan to do with their power is still unknown, but every passing day they become stronger by merit of newly rising fiends.
Inferis may be killed like any other creatures, despite their immortality and status as spirits. They’re made of flesh and bone, or other organic materials. They can bleed, have heartbeats, and must breathe. They’ve no need for drinking or eating, but that serves no benefit in combat. Non-player Inferis that manifest from the Hells will always permanently die, including Zentherak. The reason is because their souls shatter, dissolving into oblivion. This doesn’t include player Inferis bound to grimoires as their souls are attached to it, causing their slavery to ironically be a pseudo-phylactery where they may be resummoned 2 IC years later (2 IRL weeks).
Inferis are susceptible to the holy magics clericism, paladinism, and ascended, deemed corrupt by their respective aengudaemons. Due to being shamanistic spirits, they’re also easily torn apart by shamanism. A lutauman can invoke the power of Kor to consume Inferis in a similar manner to ghosts [refer to shamanic codex]. This is a suggested PK for player Inferis.
-A fissure in one of the Hells’ layers. The unholy flame burns brighter the deeper it goes.
[hell by ponponxu]
Entering the Hells:
There are a couple ways of entering the Hells despite its place in the spirit realm. Lutaumen can walk the landbridge from the main Stargûsh’Stroh, traversing through the oceans of mist to get there.
Mastered Naztherak could discover a unique ritual to enter Fîgûga Uzg and the Hells, necessitating scribing a circle out of rakir and pouring two souls worth of maleus into the runes. Any people inside the circle during this will be shifted to the spirit realm, but must be willing and out of conflict to do so. It’s impossible to enter the rest of Stargûsh’Stroh with this technique, the oceans of mist preventing passage to any unaccepted souls. The same ritual can be used again to leave the spirit realm.
Those that enter the Hells will have a cold welcome, every local they meet being a monster of chaos wanting to rip their souls of their bodies. Being defeated here will mean your soul’s enslavement or consumption. Any that willingly go here have to agree to a PK clause.
Inferis are all-enemy event monsters used as tools for the ET. Players can sacrifice themselves to become one, and play as them during events, but otherwise lose rights to their character. That is, unless they become enslaved by a Naztherak, in which case refer to the magic lore itself. The playability for each type of Inferis is clarified in the next point.
Zevn and Zekul are self-roleplayed by their Naztherak master. Zar'ei are CA applicable with a comment by their Naztherak master. Zar'kiel are achievable by Zar'ei through the Infernal climb, necessitating a new CA. Zentherak are ET/LT played only. Zar'akal are CA applicable as a T5 Naztherak after a successful Zentherak event.
Inferi forms and origins are limitless. Only mass chaotic energies from Stratum Lands, the Abyss, Nazkuthun, or other lifeless magically desolated sources can create them.
They’re all actually lesser ancestral spirits under the service of Ixli and Ikuras, whom are in turn greater immortal spirits.
Ancient Inferis are known to have crumbling flesh akin to ashes falling from them. Due to their attunement with flame, they seemingly share its aging processes. To see an Inferi shrouded by ash as if from a dying flame is to behold a demon of yore.
If devouring a Zentherak, Zar'akal and Zar'kiel only gain a new malice. Zar'ei gain 5 souls toward the Infernal climb if they devour one.
Rewrote main Inferis lore with the intent of standardizing and consolidating it with Naztherak.
Included Nazkuthun as one of the methods to become Inferi.
Clarified that Inferis become spirits immediately on creation to clarify why they always have shamanistic weaknesses even when some have never been to the spirit realm itself.
Defined Inferis as lesser ancestrals under the service of Ixli and Ikuras. Can be used as event tools regarding increasing power to Ixli and Ikuras.
Elaborated more on the Hells as a place that can be used as a tool for risky, potentially enjoyable events.
Mentioned the Chaotic Tongue as something all intelligent demons recognize. Left intentionally vague.
Referenced the Infernal climb as a method for demons to become stronger in the hierarchy via absorbing souls.
Re-organized the Infernal hierarchy into lesser and greater, further divided by separate forms of Inferis.
Spoke some on contracts/pacts used by demons in general.
Divided greater Inferis into Zar'kiel and Zentherak. The difference was alluded to in old lores, but with this the difference from Zar'kiel and Zentherak is more apparent.
Changed Zentherak so they usually stay in the Hells and manipulate the world via their horde similar to other higher beings. This makes it necessary to enter their realm to kill one. This way Zar’akal is only available by earning it with skill rather than overwhelming a single demon with a big group. This is also better than other end-games that determine transformation on arbitrary rolls, while still maintaining risk.
Changed Zentherak events so if you die to one in the Hells, you PK or become its slave, and if you’re a Naztherak user, they gain your demons and malice (Including player Inferis). If you die to one in the mortal realm, you don't have to PK and only lose your demons if you had your grimoire with you (Not including player Inferis).
Added the possibility to loot relics off Zentherak if you defeat them, allowing for demonic MArts to be submitted and incentive for non-Naztherak to enter the Hells for events.
Clarified that Zar'akal are half Inferi. This explains why they're able to learn so many magics and cannot be bound to a grimoire.
Described the weaknesses of Inferis in one location to better clarify them. Inferis are made of flesh and bone, and can die similar to mortals. They’re also weak to holy magics and shamanism.
Made it possible for Naztherak and lutaumen to enter the Hells for the sake of confronting Zentherak lords. PK clause included.
Defined the playability of various Inferis for regular players.
Elaborated that if you're already a Zar'akal or Zar'kiel, you only gain a new malice if you eat a Zentherak skull. As for a Zar'ei, they gain 5 souls toward the Infernal climb.
-Hellfiazz and Cameron, for writing the original Inferis lore.
-Perrin, for writing the main Naztherak lore and its addition.
-Gladuos, author of this lore and the Zar’kiel-Naztherak clarification.
-Hedgehug and Shamanistic, for some basic spirit advice.
-Naztherak community, for advice on this lore (Honorary mentions: Dunstan and Phil).