Daemons

From Ultima Codex
(Redirected from Manes)
Jump to: navigation, search
Daemons
Daemon
Daemon, from Serpent Isle manual
Also known as: Gargoyles, Manes, ( Ultima III)
Variants: Imps, Balrons, Hordlings,
Despoilers, Destroyers
First appearance: Ultima I
Last appearance: Ultima IX

Daemons are malevolently intelligent creatures who often cross the paths of those exploring too deeply into the dungeons of the realm or too closely to the strongholds of the truly wicked. Apparently first summoned into Sosaria by Mondain in the first Age of Darkness, daemons have figured frequently in the quests of Britannia's champion. They appear in Akalabeth, Ultima I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VII Part Two, VIII, and IX, as well as in the Underworld Series.

Description[edit]

Daemons are frequently shown as having the classical features of Earth's Satan, sporting horns, wings and tails and being possessed of a tough leathery hide. While never as comparatively powerful as their close cousins the balrons, daemons have often demonstrated competency in the magical arts, with powers ranging from the casting of mystic balls of energy to the complete bodily possession of unwary victims. When not overtly hostile (a rare occurrence), some daemons have been known engage with mortals in pacts and bargains, although such deals seldom end well for the non-daemonic party.

Much evidence points to daemons as having their origins on an alternate plane of existence, as the hellborn were not found on Sosarian soil prior to the coming of Mondain, and it is well known that a mage of sufficient power may summon such monstrosities to them from whatever realm they inhabit. It is certain that at least some daemons dwell within the Ethereal Void, as the Avatar of legend can attest to - given the hero's adventures in that particular metaphysical world.

If the daemons do have some manner of home world, little is known about it. It has been implied, however, that the daemon race has a name for itself that differs from the appellations given it by mankind.[1]

History[edit]

A daemon from the FM-Towns port of Ultima I.

Since first appearance in Ultima I, daemons have appeared in every installment of the series. They are almost always presented as hostile, although in later installments they acquire a great deal more complexity than their early incarnations as simple combatant enemies. Due to their cosmetic similarities, the story of daemons as told by humanity has long been tied up with the history of the gargoyles, and uncertainties exist as to just how many of the latter race have been mistaken for those of the former.

Age of Darkness[edit]

In the early Sosaria of Ultima I and Ultima III, daemons, and their brethren, the manes, were yet another genus of beast brought to plague the land through Mondain's (and later Exodus') design. They were capable opponents, and it is quite probable that the Stranger slew a fair number of them in the course of defeating the triad of evil. Daemons also proved a factor on Minax's disrupted version of Earth, wherein numerous creatures of myth had spawned in contradiction to historical norms.

During these early eras, creatures known as "gargoyles" also appeared in conjunction with daemons, often attacking in groups alongside them. It is unclear if these beings have any connection to the gargish race. It is likely that these beasts, whatever they were, were given the name of "gargoyle" in ignorance by those who struggled against them, rather than bearing such a title among themselves - although given the history of tensions between gargoyle and man, there is a scant possibility that these were, in fact, the forerunners of Singularity's devotees.

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

Later, an outpouring of demons razed the hubristic city of Old Magincia, slaughtering its inhabitants in retribution their willful Pride. The details of what sparked this cataclysm is not exactly known, but its occurrence implies that the daemon race has some connection to or understanding of Virtue, given their approximate role as its enforcer, however harsh. During the events of Ultima IV and the Quest of the Avatar, daemons could still be found roaming the lands and dungeons of the newly-formed Britannia, often more willing to fight than to explain themselves. One, known as Virtuebane, however, explained to the Stranger his race's actions regarding the city's sins, claiming that pride had allowed the Magincians to fall under the domain of darkness.[2]

U4nes-demon.jpg

During the regency of Blackthorn, daemons again appeared - some even in service to the dark lord. However, with the formation of the Underworld, the first trickle of the gargish race also began its move into Britannia, with Sin'Vraal, former servitor of Astaroth, coming to settle in the eastern Drylands. The line between daemon and gargoyle at this time had not yet been drawn by men, and it is entirely possible that the Avatar and others may have mistaken one for another. It is known, however, that the true daemons had waxed in power during the time of Ultima V, and were now proficient in dark magics which could only be turned back by incantations of a similar caliber or by the instruments of Lord British, himself.

During the wars of Ultima VI there came the revelation of the gargoyles' existence as separate from that of daemon-kind, which may retroactively imply that some of the "daemons" encountered in earlier times were, in fact, hostile members of the gargish race. While the truly wicked hellborn foes of old still existed, it now became evident that humanity had misjudged one of its seeming opponents, making many of its former actions done in the name of virtue take on an ominous cast of moral gray. As the centuries progressed and the gargoyles emigrated into the Britannian lands, the daemons of the past ages seemed to fade from view, with the exception of major trans-dimensional interlopers such as the Slasher of Veils and the enigmatic Arcadion, who long dwelt beneath the sea on the Isle of Fire. By the time of Ultima VII, daemons appeared to have taken their place alongside the "old" virtues and the art of magic - as a thing of the past.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

Later, however, when the Avatar returned to a Britannia perverted by the Guardian's ministrations in Ultima IX, the hero found that the daemonic had regained a firm grasp on reality, with marauding minions of the pit frequenting the dungeons and plains of the realm, now able to call into existence packs of hell hounds to fight at their side. It was also during this dark time that the slasher daemons arose, powerful electricity-discharging foes which could only be defeated through magical means.

In this chaotic era, knowledge of an evil before Mondain, the Daemon Triumvirate, came to light, when this triad of seemingly invincible brothers attacked the settlement of Valoria, demanding that its people surrender the Dagger of Valor unto them. It was later revealed to the Avatar, after the loss of the Dagger, that a Tome of Daemonology existed which could procure a means for slaying these monsters, and upon reading it the hero discovered that the three daemons were, in fact, a unified being, spliced into three separate bodies. Eventually, the champion of virtue, with the aid of the knights Lambert and Artos managed to defeat this construct, although its before unprecedented existence raises many questions about the nature of daemon-kind.

Types of Daemons[edit]

Within Sosaria/Britannia[edit]

Within the history of Britannia, Sosaria and, to some extent, Earth, daemons have taken on a multitude of names and forms. While they are usually classified separately from devils and balrons, any undeniable link exists between these three groups, and it is not unsurprising to occasionally see their names used interchangeably.

During the time of Exodus, daemons were often seen in the company of beings termed "manes" and "gargoyles," which at the time were presumed to merely be stronger offshoots of the daemon race. The "orcus" were also a presence in the realms of Sosaria at the time, although these creatures were better defined as a species of balron.

Later, during Cabirus' unsuccessful endeavors to colonize the Great Stygian Abyss, a minor daemon, known as an imp was discovered. Imps, like other daemons, proved intelligent and capable of speech, although they were generally more wont to attack than to engage in conversation.

The last daemonic race to appear in Britannia were the "slasher daemons" of the late Age of Armaggedon. The mechanic for how such creatures eventually came to Britannia is unknown, although the name of these entities, combined with their other-worldly appearance, may connect them to the infamous Slasher of Veils which nearly entered the realm during the events of Ultima Underworld I.

Within Other Worlds[edit]

During the Avatar's excursions into other worlds during the imprisonment of Castle Britannia in Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds, the hero encountered new species of a daemonic nature during the course of their adventures. These included: hordlings, red-hued creatures who appeared to be connected to the element of fire and who proved capable of taking on human likeness; despoilers, uncharacteristically peaceable daemons which possessed a green coloration and seemed to have a predilection for swampy areas; and destroyers, black daemons of considerable power. It was also revealed at this time that imps appeared to be a common daemon on other worlds as well as Britannia, with the Guardian even employing one as an inter-planar spy at the time. Of these creatures, none were seen again after the shattering of the black gem which acted as a gate between realities.

Lore[edit]

DaemonU1.gif
Fierce, bat-winged horrors armed with cruel talons and barbed tridents, Daemons were unknown in Sosaria hitherto the advent of Mondain. Drinkers of human souls, Daemons are said to relish the screams of tortured humans above all else.
It looks like it's shrugging, this creature of minor hells, but its pleasure is to stop you in your tracks by magic. The right magical item can thwart the powerful daemon - sometimes.
Be very careful dealing with these minor daemonic legions. They can hurl powerful magic attacks across the arena at thee, inflicting great damage.
Very strong, agile, and smart, daemons have repertoires of magic that include summoning other daemons and possessing their opponents. They are extremely hardy and difficult to kill even if incapacitated. Daemons fly and can easily manage to cross rivers or shallow waters, although they are seldom encountered in mid ocean. When daemons possess another creature, they disappear into that soul, leaving neither trace nor treasure.
Daemon3.gif
This most wicked and formidable of foes is not to be underestimated. Overwhelming strength, skill and intelligence make daemons nearly unbeatable. Possessing magical powers rivaling the most powerful of mages, the daemon can summon hordes of his brothers to assist him in killing or possessing his victims. Being already undead, the daemon has little fear of death. You are forewarned!
These evil, red-hued beasts hold even less love for mankind then we do for them. They call themselves "Gargoyles," but a change in name is not a change in disposition.
Deam2.gif
Those consumed by flame, either in life or death, or are slain by another Daemon, become servants and warriors for the Lord of Flame and his followers. Daemons are bipedal creatures with mottled and scaly skin, sporting sharp claws and talons. Atop their heads are two horns, while coarse brown fur covers their legs.

These hideous beasts are terrible tools of destruction. With their powerful arms and sharp fangs and claws, they rend their victims with razor-like ability. According to the few witnesses who have seen a Daemon attack, the victims scream of the burning pain that comes from each strike, and legend maintains that Daemons can even hurl destructive balls of flame. As fire is their primary tool, Daemons seem immune to the effects of flame themselves, and their thick scales make them nearly impervious to the common blade.

Driver of art, mother of madness, this Monster of the Pit fears no mortal-born weapon. Like a tortured thought begetting like children, demons summon packs of hellhounds to overwhelm the innocent. Should he conquer the pack, the warrior may reach the creature, if he can decipher its phasing and avoid its rending claws. Yet even in felling it, he does not destroy it, for it returns to the Pit to rebundle its anger. To die at the hand of a demon is to suffer the curse of the slave. For, in death a victim becomes one of its minions, his soul in its clutches forever.
- from Journal, (Ultima IX)

Notable Examples[edit]

The Slasher of Veils
  • Balinor: whose identity as a daemon or gargoyle is unclear, although he was thought the former in his age; noted for his service to the Shadowlords in Stonegate, and his attempt to best the Avatar through a game of riddles.
  • The Slasher of Veils: an entity of immense power which was nearly summoned into material reality by the mage Tyball, whom it had corrupted with its influence; invulnerable to all forms of damage, the Slasher was eventually banished from Britannian reality when the Avatar, coupled with the shade of Tyball's murdered brother, Garamon, employed a lengthy ritual invoking the power of the virtues and of the Great Stygian Abyss to expel it.
Arcadion
  • Arcadion: a sarcastic and black-humored creature who was long imprisoned by the mage Erethian within a mirror; eventually freed from this form by the Avatar, Arcadion came to be bound within the Black Sword, enabling its wielder to commit acts of fantastical destruction. He was eventually freed by the Avatar to escape from the mad mage, Lorthondo, although the hero later met him again on Pagan, where he seemingly had no memory of their pact.
  • The Daemon Triumvirate: a daemon from before the time of Mondain which had been split into three separate entities; eventually slain by the Avatar and others after it terrorized the city of Valoria.

Trivia[edit]

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ArcadionUnderworld Dragon's Ultima VII TranscriptUltima VII: The Black Gate. "daemon".
  2. VirtuebaneUnderworld Dragon's Ultima IV TranscriptUltima IV. "daemon".