Ripples across Amzharr: the origin of demons

It’s said that the demons of Amzharr, and the Eternal Abyss, were created with a wish. It is but a fanciful story, for the truth is that it took three wishes.

Once upon a time one of the great immortals was travelling through a forest and happened upon a sprite. The sprite granted the immortal three wishes. The immortal wanted, more than anything, to have a servant who would be faithful to him for all eternity and do exactly what was requested of it, anytime of the day or night.

The sprite giggled as the immortal’s first wish brought a zombie into existence. Disgusted by the rotting, shambling aberration and annoyed that he considered his first wish to be wasted, the immortal tried again. Trying to make better use of his second wish, he did his utmost to detail exactly how his ideal servant should look, act, and revere him. Flushed with the anger of his previous mistake, desperate to bring into existence exactly that which he desired, and keen that his third wish might be used to deliver another of his ambitions, he was unable to focus clearly on what he really wanted. As a result, his second wish quickly became confused and contradictory. Even the sprite, who had heard many wishes in her time, was not quite sure what the immortal really wanted.

To this day there is no name for what that wish called forth. Both the immortal and the sprite recoiled in horror at the awkward, broken creature that appeared before them, whimpering in irritated anguish. Almost as soon as the creature emerged from the cloud of magic in which it had formed the immortal drove it off into the trees.

In a fit of rage, rational thought now an impossibility, the immortal was about to use his final wish when the sprite raised a hand and politely silenced him.

“Have patience,” the forest spirit said gently. “Do not rush. There is no limit on how quickly you need to use your final wish. Take some time to reflect on exactly what it is you want. Then you might find that your wish fulfils your desire.”

The sprite’s words calmed the immortal. Relieved that he could take time to perfect his final request, he made himself a comfortable seat by the side of the road and sat in thought for a year, a month, a week, and a day. The sprite sat beside the immortal, as she was now bound to him until his final wish had been used.

On the morning of the final day of his contemplations the immortal rose with the sun. He made his wish, speaking clearly and confidently. There was a flash of green light and the very first demon stood before him.

The immortal was pleased with the creature. The creature seemed keen to serve, it reassured its new master it needed little rest. It also revealed that it could shapeshift and adopt any form its new master requested of it. The more the demon spoke of its capabilities and qualities the more the immortal began to congratulate himself on how well he had woven the words of his final wish. As soon as the demon finished talking, the immortal immediately began to list the tasks he wished the demon to undertake. The demon listened patiently, and when the immortal had finished politely outlined the payment it would expect in return.

The immortal stood in stunned silence. He could not find the words with which to respond. He could not believe the creature’s ungratefulness, its arrogance… its hubris. Enraged by the thought that any servant should expect greater payment than to bask in the glory of its master, the immortal grabbed the creature and threw it to the ground. Such was the rage that fuelled the assault, that as the demon hit the earth a great fissure began to open. The demon fell into the dark. The ground continued to open before it for many leagues before it finally stopped, and the demon crumpled on the rock-strewn ground. Trapped alone in the dark, far from the light of day, the demon made two promises to itself. It knew that it had been created to serve, and it felt no shame in that because it knew instinctively that service had worth. Consequently, it promised itself that in the future it would only serve those who were prepared to pay for the full value of its assistance. Furthermore, it would only ever respond to its name: because it knew the importance of names. And so, in that moment demons were born, and the Eternal Abyss was created.

On the surface the immortal continued to rage.

“Why have you tricked me?” he demanded of the sprite.

“I have not tricked you. I have said nothing to you, other than to offer you your wishes. I am afraid that if you believe a creature created from the same magic as yourself would willingly accept a life of slavery simply because you called it into existence, then it is you who has tricked yourself,” the sprite said with a smile, before disappearing into the trees.

Aged twelve Gerald is separated from his mother. Alone in the world he is coerced into committing a theft. Once the theft is done, he hides himself away to wait his death. Seventy years later he is still in hiding, terrified of the world outside his sanctuary, but his world is changing. He must now venture out into the world once more to face the consequences of this actions.

Published by Eddie Bar

Fantasy storyteller, reader and wargamer.

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