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Typical Sub-Demon appearance

Sub-Demons are mortal humans who have voluntarily given up their mortality to become demons.  They are generally viewed as the lowest ranking of demons, though individual Sub-Demons can actually bear substantial power.  Sub-Demons generally do not belong to other demons, but are instead their own property.  Those claimed as property are generally turned into Lesser Demons, regardless of their wishes in that matter.

Unlike all other demons, the essence of a Sub-Demon is bound into their bodies.  This has serious repercussions on their lives; in particular, their immortality is far more limited than other demons.  If killed on the mortal realm. the essence is released from the body, unbound.  If they want to survive their death, they must find another host body quickly before the essence simply dissolves.  They accomplish this through the act of demonic possession, though this is by no means a guaranteed thing and many Sub-Demons fail to survive death on the mortal realm.  In Hell, it is even more risky for them; if they are killed by another demon, it is almost certain their killer will consume their essence as they are killed, destroying them.  Even if killed by a mortal in Hell, regeneration is difficult at best, as there are countless demons who will latch onto such a free essence as free food and there is virtually no political pressure within Hell not to kill and eat Sub-Demons, even by the lowest of the Lesser Demons.

Appearance

Sub-Demons retain their generally human form once they complete their transition to becoming a demon, though they are clearly not human even at the first glance.  All Sub-Demons have a number of distinct mutations from their human form which give away their demonic natures:

  • They walk on cloven hooves
  • They have some form of horns (with the exception of Cambion)
  • They have a long tail with a spade at the end
  • They have unnatural skin coloration, usually in the red area, though green and blue colorations are not unheard of
  • Their eyes are both unnaturally colored and usually slitted or unusual in some way
  • Their teeth are far sharper than a normal human's and fangs may be present

A small fraction of Sub-Demons also bear wings; this is usually granted to them as a reward for some particularly vile act, given to them by a Devil.They generally retain their gender from their time as a human and Sub-Demons, like most demons, generally prefer to remain unclothed.  One of the most common powers Sub-Demons will train is the power of shapeshifting.  In particular, they frequently perfect the ability to take the shape they bore when human, though they are unable to entirely suppress their demonic natures and must retain at least one demonic feature.  For most Sub-Demons when shape-shifting, they choose to allow their tail to remain in place, since this can usually be easily hidden under loose-fitting clothing.  

Becoming a Sub-Demon

Unlike virtually all other paths to becoming a demon, Sub-Demons are self-created.  Mortals who wish to enter the ranks of the demons can become Sub-Demons without the aid or support of any other demons, thus, upon their creation, are often not beholden to any other demon.  Although the lowest of demons in terms of commonly held rankings, they are generally free from enslavement and, in some ways more than any other demon, free to exist as they wish.

The exact rituals to become a Sub-Demon vary from one source to another, but there are a few things in common between the rituals.  In all cases, large-scale human sacrifice is needed to collect the power to circumvent death, since another key aspect of all of the rituals is the suicide of the person transforming themself into a demon.  Once they re-awaken as a demon, they will awaken in Hell in whatever Layer of The Abyss corresponds to the exact ritual they performed.  At this point, their power is generally quite low, only what they were able to maintain from the sacrifices after their death was averted, so they must either establish themself or escape Hell quickly before being found and almost certainly consumed by another demon.  Most sources of the rituals for demonic transformation also include rituals for opening return gates, granting them a quick escape from Hell, though these gates are generally very short-lived, so they must be able to pass through them almost instantly upon their arrival in Hell or they will be trapped in the underworld.

Cambion

In additional to the self-created Sub-Demons, offspring of demons and humans form as a subclass of Sub-Demons known as Cambion.  Cambion are demons upon their birth and are only distinguished from other Sub-Demons by their lack of horns, though upon their first visit to Hell, they will grow horns and, at that point, are generally no longer considered as Cambion, regardless of their birth.  Cambion age just as a human would, until such a visit, and can actually die of old age if they don't make a voyage to Hell before the end of their life.  Cambion who die of old age are condemned to Hell upon their death, their souls treated no differently from any other condemned soul.

Cambion are also the only demon which can survive without feeding upon the souls of mortals, though such meals will slow their aging process.  If a Cambion feeds regularly upon human flesh, they can potentially survive eternally.  Because of the complex and difficult nature of raising offspring between demons and humans, Cambion are rare.

Frequency

Sub-Demons are very common, though their total number is not known, due to the fact that so many never enter Hell once their transition is complete.  It is likely their number is smaller than the total count of Lesser Demons, though this is more speculation than anything anyone (other than perhaps The Demogorgon) knows.  Over half of the Sub-Demons in existence live on the mortal world, rarely if ever making their way to Hell, since it is difficult for them to return to the mortal realm once they have entered Hell without the aid of an Arch-Demon.  They often serve as rulers, business leaders, or other people in power, hiding their true selves from the public via shapeshifting  abilities.

On a world where demons are relatively unknown, it's likely that no more than one in every 10 to 100 million people is actually a shapeshifted Sub-Demon.  For worlds where demons are well-known, that number could potentially be as high as one in every 100,000 people, likely with as much as 10% of those Sub-Demons openly presenting their identity as a demon.  In a world with that high a volume of Sub-Demons is likely on the brink of Apocalypse, especially given the fact that, in any given year, as many as 1 out of every 2500 people would be murdered to keep the demons fed, given that the more powerful of the Sub-Demons are likely frequently murdering humans.

Diet

While in the mortal realm, Sub-Demons must feed their bodies (shapeshifted or demonic) with commonly available food, just as any human would eat, though they do tend toward meats, usually minimally cooked if at all, especially as they age as demons.  In addition to their physical dietary needs, as demons, they must feed on the souls of mortals, and they must routinely kill in order to fill this hunger.  Generally speaking, one kill per month is enough to keep a Sub-Demon alive on the mortal realm with the ability to maintain a human form, though the amount of demonic power they can bring forth is directly related to how many souls they feed upon.  Most powerful Sub-Demons feed at least weekly if not daily, a few killing multiple times a day.

Relationship to Demonic Priests

In some ways, Sub-Demons and Demonic Priests are similar: both are formed from humans who wish to attain some form of a demonic nature and, in doing so, become significantly less human, and both are likely, at some point, to become some other (higher) form of demon.  There are some fundamental differences, however, which make these two paths quite different in their nature:

  • Demonic Priests serve a specific Devil and entirely answer to that Devil's desires, while Sub-Demons don't generally serve anyone other than their own desires.
    • If the Devil a Demonic Priest worships is deposed, generally all of the priests are slaughtered by the Demon who takes over that Devil's title, to place their own priests in power.
  • Demonic Priests are still technically mortal, even though that is more a technicality than anything, especially for high ranking priests, where the Devil they worship routinely returns their souls to the mortal realm in a new body to continue to serve them should they be killed, while the so-called immortal Sub-Demons are actually very much able to be killed, even by a mortal.
  • Sub-Demons don't actually have any particular demand to spread evil, unlike Priests who are specifically charged to spread the evil their Devil promotes.
    • Other than the fact they must routinely commit murder to keep themselves fed, Sub-Demons aren't necessarily "evil" other than in their own hunger for power (which is almost always the driving force behind becoming a Sub-Demon).
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Created by aeto on 2017/06/18 18:22
    
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