Demons The twelve gods are not only opposed by the secretive agents of the Nameless One, but more importantly, by the more numerous and more immediately dangerous demon cultists. For the promise of power, or the fulfilment of their wishes and desires, desperate individuals sometimes decide to reject the twelve gods and to give their souls to one of the Archdemons of the Nether Hells, in exchange for terrible powers. Like the cultists of the Nameless One, they have to operate in secret, as their goals, or at least the goals of their demonic masters, are usually destructive. Some might be driven by revenge, some by greed or the lust for power, some might be desperate, but every cultist has a reason and what makes the Archdemons so dangerous is that they actively tempt mortals with weaknesses known to most of them. In time, no matter how strong the mortal who entered the pact, or how noble their initial goals, the demons corrupt them, as they fall deeper into the pact, losing aspects of themselves but gaining destructive powers among the way. A pact can be broken, however, this goes against the will of the demons and usually cannot be achieved without support from the priests of the Twelve Gods. The Archdemons themselves reside in the Nether Hells, another realm, from which they send forth their demonic minions if summoned. Demons, even lesser ones, cannot be trusted and it takes a strong mind to get them to do their bidding. Higher demons have horns and usually, it can be said that the more horns a demon has, the more dangerous he is. Each demon is also bound to a specific Archdemon. There are twelve Archdemons and each of them is the twisted counterpart of one of the twelve gods. It should also be noted that they each have a second name in Zhayad, the language of mages and demons and these names are sometimes used interchangeably. The first name is the more common one, the Zhayad name is mentioned behind it. Blakharaz/Tyakra’man: Blakharaz is the Lord of Vengeance, the demonic counterpart to Praios and usually seen as one of the most powerful Archdemons. His chief aspect is ruthless and boundless revenge, not caring for moral boundaries or the law, which brings him into conflict with the priests of Praios. Other aspects of his are darkness, torture and domination. Strangely enough though, cultists of Blakharaz are among the more reasonable of the demon cultists, as their worldview values those who either don’t stand in their way or even actively help them achieve their vengeance. They uphold their own codes of honour, but go to extreme length to destroy those who wronged them. Loyal servants of Blakharaz can expect great rewards as long as they stay on the Archdemons good side. However, vengeful to a fault, even small slights are reason for them to target someone with cold revenge. Blakharaz himself is impatient and demanding and slighting him or outright attempting to break off the pact usually results in a painful death for the cultist. Thargunitoth/Tyjakol: Thargunitoth is the Queen of Undeath and the demonic counterpart to Boron. Her aspect is Necromancy, though the art itself can be practiced without a pact or even just any actual ties to the Archdemon. This has, of course, led to a ban of Necromancy in most parts of Aventuria. Thargunitoth abhors all life, but values undeath. Her servants often worship her in order to cheat death itself by prolonging their life to unnatural degrees, or to gain control over the various types of undead that serve the Archdemon. Thargunitoth is patient, but unrelenting. A pact with her is a pact for life and beyond and she can wait. In the end, death always wins and nobody has managed to cheat her out of a soul so far. Belhalar/Xarfai: Belhalar is the Butcher of the Nether Hells and the demonic counterpart to Rondra. He is the most violent and bloodthirsty of the Archdemons, which is saying a lot. His aspects are, as a result, all a dark twist on Rondra’s virtues. Where she values honourable combat, Belhalar sees the world as one big battlefield. His domain is one of endless war and bloodshed and his cultists are feared as the most dangerous fighters imaginable, with all the skills of a priest of Rondra, yet none of their code of honour. His demons are summoned for one purpose only, for war and they know nothing else. If Belhalar has any sort of restraint at all, it is that he never makes a blind move despite all his rage, instead he always tackles the greatest challenge, something he expects from his servants just as well. In fact, they can appreciate a good challenge and would never back out of one. It is said that followers of Belhalar are found particularly in the savage regions of the world, where their master revels in constant war. Tasfarelel/Zholvar: Tasfarelel is the Insatiable Haggler, the demonic counterpart to Phex. His aspects are greed and avarice and he is known to share Phex’ fondness for practical jokes. However, where Phex is often educational and ultimately fair in the pranks he pulls, Tasfarelel selfish to a fault and always only out for his own personal gain. This includes his cultists, who enter a pact with him almost like they would enter a contract and they are yet another resource to him at best. In the end, Tasfarelel always twists the odds to his favour or even outright cheats and many of those who follow him cannot revel in their unnatural riches for long. This does not stop the poor and desperate, or the rich and greedy, from worshipping him and Tasfarelel never has to worry about a lack of cultists willing to sacrifice their souls for the faint promise of worldly riches. Lolgramoth/Tezzphai: Lolgramoth is the Seeder of Strife and the demonic counterpart to Travia. Where Travia preaches a home, honesty and trustworthiness, Lolgramoth is restless and so are his servants, who are often equipped with unnatural speed at the will of their demonic master. He is treacherous and paranoid, traits that appear and only grow worse in each of his followers, who often wish to protect themselves from the betrayal they sense around all corners. He abhors faithfulness and a cultist of Lolgramoth can never be trusted. However, his demons make for excellent workers, due to their tireless efforts. Lolgramoth is also known as a seducer, who revels in people breaking their vows of marriage. Belkelel/Dar-Klajid: Belkelel is the Mistress of Dark Desires and the demonic counterpart to the goddess Rahja. Not necessarily female and capable of assuming any form considered alluring to those she appears to, Belkekel is nonetheless referred to as such. She stands for the darker aspects of lust and selfish pleasures, in stark contrast to Rahja’s teachings of consensual desires. Her followers are often extreme, even for the standards of demon cultists and therefore not particularly numerous, but those who are known appear as masterful seducers, hiding their darker, perverse urges behind superficial charm and fiendishly good looks. It is perhaps because of that that worship of Belkelel is particularly strong in areas where Rahja is worshipped. Wherever people enjoy Rahja’s teachings, Belkelel is not far, tempting them to go the extra mile to satisfy their pleasures. Belshirash/Nagrach: Belshirash, the Winter Beast, is the demonic counterpart to Firun. Standing for merciless hounding and freezing cold, he is the most skilled hunter of the Nether Hells. Like Blakharaz, vengeance is also part of his domain, but whereas followers of Blakharaz often take vengeance even for smaller slights, a cultist of Belshirash only has one goal, a single, extreme vengeance to take. It is said that arrows cursed by Belshirash never miss their mark. Of course, the mark itself is decided upon by the Archdemon himself. He is patient and unrelenting, his followers often becoming cold, physically and emotionally, as their pact progresses, up to the point where they are emotionless shells, there only to follow their masters order. While Belshirash is rarely worshipped, compared to some of the other archdemons, his promise of cold vengeance can be tempting to those unwilling to give themselves in with a master as mercurial as Blakharaz. There are also witch covens in the northern parts of Aventuria that are loyal to him, known as the Daughters of Nagrach. Amazeroth/Iribaar: Amazeroth, the Duke of Dark Wisdom, is the demonic counterpart to Hesinde. It is said that he has once been a god who joined the forces of the Nether Hells out of his own free will. He rules over dark, forbidden knowledge and is master over madness and despair. Tempting mortals with dark secrets, he is an expert in driving dedicated scholars to madness, sometimes slowly, over the course of years. Those who seek him out freely do so out of a desire to uncover Aventuria’s deepest and darkest secrets. However, his knowledge comes at a price, as he is master over things mortal minds are not meant to know. Sooner or later, every cultist of Amazeroth is driven to madness. The Archdemon is a known deceiver, who has tricked even fellow Archdemons before. And yet, he knows fully well that the knowledge he offers will always be tempting. Agrimoth/Widharcal: Agrimoth, also known as the Corrupter of the Elements, is the demonic counterpart to Ingerimm. Like him, Agrimoth stands for the elements and for craft. However, where Ingerimm shaped the elements, Agrimoth corrupts them, with the exception of ice, a domain of Belshirash, and water, a domain of Charyptoroth. He twists fire, earth, stone and air to his desires, corrupting it by unnatural means and his followers often have control over these corrupted elements. Associated with craftsmanship, he and his followers forge terrible and unnatural weapons, capable of bending even the laws of reality to create what they desire. He is a very powerful Archdemon, outfitted with destructive power that can easily go toe to toe with Belhalar’s martial skill. His followers however are almost exclusively craftsmen, seeking to improve their skill beyond what is possible for them. He is also the primary Archdemon fallen druids and witches pray to. Belzhorash/Mishkhara: Belzhorash, the Lady of Plagues, is the demonic counterpart to Peraine. She is associated with all things diseased, with rot and decay, which makes her a natural ally to Thargunitoth. As mistress over every disease known to the mortal races of Aventuria and then some more, she enjoys decay and infertility. This is a stark contrast to the goddess she once used to be, before she was corrupted by the Nether Hells, as she was once the sister to Peraine and a goddess of harvests and birth. Twisted beyond recognition, she now seeks to spread plagues upon the mortals of Aventuria. Her followers often have a rotten mind and are among the most physically and mentally revolting of the demon cultists. However, many start out their service to her with good intentions, as she offers knowledge of diseases that goes way beyond what the church of Peraine teaches. She also offers an end to disease, for a price, therefore tempting and corrupting as she once was tempted and corrupted. Charyptoroth/Galk’zuul: Charyptoroth, the Deep Daughter, is another former goddess who fell to the Nether Hells over the years. She once was the daughter of Efferd and like him associated with the seas, more particularly with the deep sea and the animals that dwell within it. Nowadays, she is his demonic counterpart. As she fell, so did many of the creatures she watched over and it is said that sea serpents and krakens are all still bound to her service. She is associated with the deepest parts of the sea and also with the most unforgiving storms, an aspect she shares with her divine father. While worship of Charyptoroth is rare among humans, she has a bulk of her followers among the Achaz, the lizardfolk of Aventuria, who worship her as a goddess of their pantheon, as well as the maritime races, who are in close contact with her servants. Asfaloth/Calinaar: Asfaloth, the Many-Handed Shaper, is the demonic counterpart to Tsa. Associated with chaos and unpredictability, but also with the creation of chimeras, monsters fused together out of one or several animals. Asfaloth is an enigmatic Archdemon and few things are guaranteed about her, aside form the fact that each of her servants can change their shape at will. She is particularly tempting towards those who wish to change their appearance, but also to those who have lost a limb, as regrowing what was lost is one of Asfaloth’s primary appeals. Unlike the other Archdemons, it is not entirely certain if Asfaloth’s intentions are necessarily bad, but her aspect of eternal chaos is aiming towards complete and constant change of everything that is established. She is also associated with insects and used to be one of their chief deities during the era of insectoids.