Found the time for another appendix.
This time we’re going to look at the forces of evil within Graylands….
The Black is the primordial darkness that exists between worlds. It is also, in simplest terms, evil as an objective force and even tangible reality.
In the beginning, before time began, there was nothing but the Black and the abominations that existed within—formless, mindless creatures constantly lashing out and consuming themselves. If any emotion was possible, it was only hate.
Then came the Light—antithesis of the Black in every way. Where the Black consumed, the Light preserved. If the Black hated, the Light loved.
When two polar opposite forces collide, chaos results, and it was in this chaos the Realm was forged. As physical reality came into being, the Black was pushed into the boundaries separating one dimension from the other. And it was in this empty void, the Black came to gain will and its hate grew.
The Black is a corrupting force that seeks to consume all it comes into contact with. Its power can be harnessed by mages with dark magic. In certain parts of the world, the barrier between worlds is weak, allowing the Black to seep through and contaminate.
It can also manifest in physical form via creatures of the Black—better known as demons.
Demons come in various forms. Most are forged in the Dark Lands, although some mages can summon them from the Black itself. Demons, regardless of species, are powerful creatures—capable of great strength, deception, and can only be killed by piercing their heart, beheading, or burning.
Orcs are probably the most common form of demons. They are creatures of rage and fury, often utilized as foot-soldiers by the dark forces. They are humanoid in shape and recognizable by their black or gray skin, pointed ears, razor-sharp teeth, and upturned noses. They move in packs, usually with an alpha leading them, and are known for their brutal strength, fighting skills, and violent outbursts.
Though effective killers, they are difficult to control and best used for pillaging and destruction.
Gargoyles are similar to orcs in temperament and use. If the orcs are foot-soldiers, the gargoyles are attack dogs. They appear similar to orcs, except for bat-like wings and their lower limbs are more akin to horses or goats than humans. They too travel in packs, though they are far more savage and brutal than their orc cousins.
Succubi and their male counterparts, incubi, are among the few species of demon capable of taking a human form. Where the orcs and gargoyles are creatures of rage, succubi and incubi are creatures of lust. They survive off the essence of other living things and lure their prey with seduction. Their human forms are beautiful and desirable, but their true demonic forms—rarely seen—are similar in appearance to gargoyles.
Succubi and incubi are solitary creatures that are regarded as poor fighters and cowardly, which is why—despite their human disguises and seductive traits—they’re unreliable for those who would utilize demons in war.
Similar to the succubi and incubi are creatures known as ghouls or reavers. They too survive on the essence of others, and they also can take a human form. They, however, operate in tribes or underground hives—only able to maintain their glamour by pooling their power together. They are able to tap into their victims’ minds and exploit their desires or fears, though nowhere near as effectively as succubi or incubi.
Within the Dark Lands, ghouls are regarded as parasites and little more.
Trolls are less common, but can be found throughout the world—usually dwelling in some cave or underground. They are large, savage brutes of tremendous strength and brutality.
Dragons are creatures of the Black, though they are believed extinct. When they were alive, they were malevolent beasts capable of mass destruction.
Wraiths are creatures of shadow, though few are believed to exist outside the Dark Lands.
In parts of the world where the barriers are weak and the Black seeps through, otherwise common animals can be tainted and mutated into demons. These creatures are labeled corruptions, and they often result in monstrous insects, devilish predators, and even carnivorous plant-life, among others. Sailors steer clear of the Dread Sea due to the corruptions inhabiting those waters.
Within the Dark Lands live what are known as Devil Lords, though no one has seen one and lived. They are believed to be beings of immense power, capable of corruption, necromancy, and other dark magicks. According to legend, the Devil Lords are best remembered for their cruelty and love of torture.
The Dark Lands
In the Realm, there is a place where the barriers are fully breached, known as the Dark Lands. There, evil rules, though no one knows what actually goes on beyond its borders. None have ventured there and returned.
Orcs, gargoyles, succubi, and even dragons—though all dangerous beasts—are all manifestations of the Black in its simplest and most basic form. Past the borders of the Dark Lands are abominations with no name. Formless things beyond comprehension that are said able to drive someone mad just looking at them.
It is these things, evil and horror beyond mortal understanding, that represent what the Black truly is.
Because demons are so erratic—some, such as orcs, being destructive and chaotic, while others, such as the Devil Lords, favor dominance—the Dark Lands are not unified. Though a constant threat, as long as they are not united under a common force, the creatures of the Black remain in relative dormancy in the Dark Lands.
The only time in history the Black threatened the Realm as a whole was with the coming of the Dark Emperor. Although his true identity has been lost to the ages, he did what no one has done before or since: unite the Dark Lands and creatures of the Black. Under his command, the Dark Lands invaded the Realm in what became known as the Great Dark War, which came close to consuming the entire Realm.
With the Emperor’s defeat, the creatures of the Black were driven back to the Dark Lands and the Seraphim Towers were built—powered by the Light—to act as a defense. As long as they stand, the forces of the Dark Lands cannot invade again—not they would without a Dark Emperor to unify them anyway.
However, in the thousands of years since, the power of the Towers has waned. When they were first built, nine Towers stood—now only three remain and demons have been able to escape the Dark Lands more and more.
It is feared that it’s only a matter of time before a new Dark Emperor rises to unify the demons of the Dark Lands, tear down the remaining Seraphim Towers, and trigger a new Dark War.
Links to other appendices:
Land & People
Graylands ©2016 by M. Walsh