A Demon is a denizen of Hell. A predatory creature driven by the need to subvert their own grief and isolation by torturing the souls of the damned, demons are almost universally maligned. Even those few who reject their history are generally of a much darker leaning than humans. Usually confined to their realm of origin, demons rarely appear en masse in the living world. The presence of a demon on Earth is usually the product of an occult ritual; sorcerers or witches conjuring them, usually either to enslave them or to seal a Faustian covenant with them.
Demons are a common occurrence in the Top Cow Universe. They usually serve the roles of secondary antagonists, as only lesser or common demons of at-most moderate power are able to manifest on Earth in any notable number. More powerful demons sometimes serve as major antagonists. Cults that worship demons - from underground book club-level groups all the way up to secret society's of considerable influence or obscure religions representing forgotten gods - are sometimes encountered by such characters as the Magdalena as well as wielders of the Witchblade.
The precise genesis of demons remains unclear. According to Nick - the sovereign of Hell at that time - demons never went to Hell per say, nor were they ever in Heaven. They simply came into awareness in Hell, sometime after humanity's evolution began to deviate from the monkeys. Demons as a concept have been a part of human literature and theology for many centuries and have appeared in various forms in the myths of virtually all cultures. The exact influence that actual demons had on these stories has never been specifically elaborated upon or explored.
As they colonized Hell's regions and became accustomed to the flow of souls, demons came to the conclusion that the universe was created for them; effectively making them the preeminent race within the cosmic hierarchy as they fed upon the dead, completing the evolutionary cycle. One particular demon - who would call himself Nick - capitalized on this knowledge and began to horde souls into his custody, feeding on their energies to empower himself and further his influence in the spiritual economy. His power became such that he was anointed Ruler of Hell.
A demon's power ultimately comes down to their individual status within Hell's economy. Those with the highest accumulation of souls within their reserves - either through torturing in Hell or through Faustian deals - are regarded as the strongest, beholden only to Hell's master. In contrast, most demons or those who've managed to acquire only a handful of souls are regarded as either weak or of moderate power; still subservient to the lords under the Devil. Those without souls are voiceless and virtually impotent in relation to the rest of their species.
- Immortality: As the supposed dominant species within the evolutionary chain, demons are unending in their adult lifespan. While they can still be slain through a precise combination of violence and magic lore, demons are exempt from both disease as well as the infirmities brought on by aging. As per their level of power, demons also possess exceptional regenerative abilities; wounds from most objects, even bullets and blades, heal in seconds without any lasting discomfort. Higher demons can resist arcane weapons such as the Spear of Destiny, while the Devil is immune.
- Supernatural Strength: As predators intended to hunt human souls, all demons possess significantly superior strength in relation to any mortal. This ability most clearly linked to their reservoir of souls; as Hell's lords are endowed with prodigious might while the Devil himself is effectively godlike. On average, even lesser demons - those without souls - can maim and kill any man easily. In large groups, these demons can prove almost unstoppable. Common demons of moderate strength can challenge even beings with similar levels of paranormal muscle, such as Witchblade wielders.
- Spectral Tracking: As human souls are their natural source of energy, a demon's senses are sharply attuned to the ephemeral energies. They can smell certain emotions in the living, particularly fear, as well as being able to see the exact flow of spectral energy and where ghosts have formed haunts. In addition to their sensitivity to spirits, demons can also smell decay and deathlessness - either from corpses or (in the latter case) within undead creatures such as reanimates or vampires. They can also discern how close a person is to death as well as see through possession.
- Devil, Ruler of Hell: The sovereign of all Hell is known as the Devil, the Prince of Darkness. As far as has been shown, this mantle has been held by two distinct beings in a successive order - the first was the demon named Nick, and the second and presumably current Devil is the fallen angel Lucifer. From what little has been revealed of the title as it stands now, demons have not taken kindly to the Fallen One's reign over their empire, as he is not a demon but a disgraced angel. The Devil himself has become both godlike within occult circles as well as a monstrous deceiver.
- Lords, Princes of Hell: The lords are the aristocrats and lieges of Hell - responsible for overseeing individual regions of the netherworld. Also known as dukes or archdemons, lords are those demons who've collected such a vast reservoir of souls that they've become answerable only to the Devil himself.
- Common, Fiends of Hell: These constitute Hell's most numerous inhabitants. Common demons are the foot soldiers of any lord's army. Stronger commons serve as commanders and knights within the courts of their masters, depending on their souls as well as their accomplishments within their respective ranks.
- Lesser, Dregs of Hell: Lesser demons constitute Hell's lowermost regions. Although they possess intelligence similar to that of a human, lesser demons are often regarded as little more than animals in relation to their stronger kinfolk; often used as pets or familiars by common demons as well as lords.
PossessionEditA common demonic occurrence is Possession; a demon physically leaving their home and entering into a human body to use as a vehicle both to protect themselves and grow stronger. This is done through an opening in the victim's mind, such as being comatose or severely mentally ill. While possession does not occur to all peoples who meet these criteria, demons who are perceptive enough to see these holes are usually the ones who inflict possession. Those who've been subjected to bites or scratches by demons are usually the most at-risk, akin to an infection.
While often still conscious, the vessel's autonomy is stripped from them while the demon's personality takes hold. Over time, the victim's soul and personality is consumed entirely and the demon becomes strong enough to physically emerge into their native form through their host. Possession is the most common way for demons to enter the living world, as demonic conjuration is (on average) strictly prohibited within the supernatural community. As it takes time for demons to fully overwhelm their vessel, exorcism is the most reliable means to save a victim.
- The Spear of Destiny - Weaker demons can be slain by the power of the Spear of Destiny.
- Blood of Christ - The blood of The Magdalena, the blood of Jesus, is like acid to demons and can kill them.
- The Thirteen Artifacts - The power of any of the Thirteen Artifacts can easily kill demons.
- Holy Water - Holy water is acidic to demons while they are within a human vessel.