Writing Demons: Origins

Because it’s October and Halloween is this month, I wanted to share some worldbuilding posts about my demons.

To start, what do I mean by “demons”. 

As I was reminded at my Writing Critique, everyone has a very distinct idea of what demons are. Especially in a Christian context, demons are associated with corruption, evil, and the more nefarious imaginings of the underworld.

My demons are not hell-spawn (although some are chthonic based, but that’s entirely different imagining). That’s not to say they aren’t vicious, feral, and incredibly deadly compared to humans. But most other animals (and some plants) are deadlier than humans.

Before I proceed any further, I think it’s best to explain all the different types of demons that exist in my writing and mini cultural explanation and the source of their inspiration (if available).

Tree demons

kresvyik “crest-vick”: Their special gift is an ability to detect the blood of every living creature. They are the most prevalent type of demon on the Tree and have recurring bouts of heightened blood lust when they spill blood more indiscriminately and recklessly. On the Tree, these were regulated by family group and are associated with the crescent moon. After the Tree’s destruction, the rampages become a problem because humans and other animals not native to the Tree have much weaker skeletons and bodies; they do not bounce back as easily from being sliced. Inspired partially by Yu Yu Hakusho.

vukor “voo-core”: Their special gift is their nuanced senses, correlating them strongly to animals. They are one of the few types that mate for life and raise their young (they also can have multiple births, which is rare among Tree demons). They have no cohesive society; each individual family or pair handle their own affairs. They are usually ignored by most other Tree demons. Inspired by daimon.

valyys “val-liss”: Their special gift is their ability to decipher the secret desires of individuals. They are prominently female and have the most stable society. They work heavily with plants and, prior to the Tree’s description, would cultivate seeds and saplings off it’s bark. They are skilled in creating illusions and devouring other creatures’ life-force (this occurs more often after the Tree’s destruction and they have to live among humans). Inspired by succubus, Anglophone witches, lilitu (maybe lilin), and lamashtu

iksva “ick-ssva“: Their special gift is an ability to transform their shape and/or are associated strongly with specific substances (stone, ice, fire, bone, wind). They are very free-roaming and can be very territorial (especially stone iksva). They have flexible genetic material that I’m still currently researching. They are the most adaptable type of Tree demon. Inspired partially by shedu/lamassu, lilitu, and jinn.

There are also demons that don’t fit any of these types. They are considered “feral” because they have no concrete gift given by the Moon.

See the Tzitzimitl for a non Tree inspired view of them (at least for some of my fantasy cultures).

Non Tree demons

fire demons: They have a highly stratified culture, with especially attention on lineage, tradition, and law. They can create fire, but it’s not necessary. They are mercurial and can change shape. They can travel through most space easily (except water). Most demon royalty have some familial relation to this type. Outliers live in old wells and buildings. Inspired by jinn and the mention of their kingdoms in 1001 Nights, The Adventures of Sayf ben Dhi Yazan, and Arab and Jewish folktales.

water demons: They are specially adapted to semi-aquatic life and live in small village archipelagos. They have a high tolerance to poisons and can travel through spaces easily (air or ground). They are also, according to my notes, one of the more populous types.

mountain demons: They are the largest of the non Tree demons and transcribe their history on stones. They are very durable and strong. They are adapted to colder climates and do occasionally eat humans. They live in single family units with a large family range. Socially, they place great emphasis on oral traditions and memorization. Inspired by rakshasa (especially Hidimbi from the Mahabharata).

blood demons: They are very ruthless and hematophagous. They live in complex metropolises within a rigid society but have an elective monarchy. They have strongly defined rituals. Inspired partially by vampires and (maybe) tlahuelpuchi.

chthonic demons: My personal favorite demon type. They have underground origins with a strong cultural emphasis on stories and song. They cannot change shape and travel underground easily. They are very strong and have excellent memories. Inspired by yaksha and Lankan rakshasa from the Ramayana 

I’m sure there’s more types than these, but these are the ones I know the most about and are the most prevalent.


One thought on “Writing Demons: Origins

  1. Pingback: Writing Demons: Mythology | The Siren's Sword

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