There are two basic types of supernatural beings, further divided into various subcategories by the tireless magicians of Imperial Magic Guild, forever working on making their beloved tables more and more... complete. Which is a sort of divine mission, especially when you consider an effect it has on world as a whole.
I was once asked 'what is magic'. I answered: "Daemons".
Archmagician Boneshaper, Introduction to Magicks.
First – and most widespread – category of supernatural beings are daemons. They can be equalled to fauna and flora of the Dark, an endless ammount of inhabitants of endless dimension, given birth to by human thoughts and emotions. The very moment mortals imagine – or even think about – some sentient being, flora, fauna and so on, a new daemon is born within the Dark. Such is the power of imagination. Of course, overwhelming majority of such entities exist only for a while, too weak to stabilize themselves and quickly collapsing back into aether or being devoured by stronger beings (or simply stepped upon, if one were to use a fitting metaphor). There are, however, those, that are believed into strong enough to become a permanent or semi-permanent entity, capable of influencing the Realities. Of course, such entities are literally countless. When 'thinking' them into existence, mortals rarely specify their numbers, thus creating literally endless ammounts of them, with only some of them becoming more 'defined' and thus being able to enter or 'play' in the Material World. Such is the decree of gods, to avoid it being flooded by untold numbers of creatures that inhabit the various layers of the Dark. Contrary to negative connotations of world 'daemon', the average example of this type of creatures isn't evil. Good and neutral beings make up for majority of them, with evil (and, let's say, very evil – we will come to that in time) being minority. That's why there exists another systems of describing them, for example calling the good entities 'angels', bad 'demons' and neutral 'spirits', as is a custom among Inrithians.
Types of Manifestation
Daemon crosses the borders of Reality with body created out of aether, a building block of the Dark. While immediate and granting a body that's easy to discard or repair, it also means spending a notable part of powers simply to keep themselves exist. a place so thickly covered in Light simply isn't its natural location, which overtimes forces aether from which the body is created to dissolve. This method is also used by various 'combat summoners' to call the daemons they contracted onto the battlefield, summoners' ego serving as a guiding light for daemons to find right place and time to manifest, with magician using his own power to open the rift, but with daemon at least partially self-sustainable.
On the other hand. aether manifested daemon can easily survive being beheaded or quartered, by immediately regrowing the lost parts of the body - sometimes done simultaneously with chopping off the head of the person who was already thinking that the fight ended. However, he has a defined level of vitality, based on the ammount of power he brought with himself from the Dark. After losing, he is no longer capable to sustain itself and is forced to return to Dark, his body quickly dissolving.
Known also as full manifestation. Much harder to achieve, but grants immense benefits... for a price. By physically manifesting, a daemon creates and shapes a body to his pleasing from material objects – for example human bodies (even living), or in much more 'humanitarian' way, from other organic or inorganic matter. The shaping phase is quite long (though it depends on how powerful a daemon is and what sort of material it tries to shape), but when it ends, the daemon is fully adapted to the Light, using only a minuscule ammount of power (when compared to sustaining aether manifestation) to power up various 'shortcuts' it had to use to avoid limits of biology and anatomy. On the other hand, it can now be killed by beheading, not to mention that full manifestation means concentrating majority of its 'being' in their bodies in the Light, meaning that for example imprisoning them somewhere is much easier. And the body being destroying, even without bounding the daemon's existence to some sort of object/imprisoning, the daemon will be severely weakened, and can lose ability to manifest itselves for MANY years.
Shaping bodies and even manifesting itself via aether is much easier in areas in which Light and Dark are more... intertwined, namely magical anomalies. Which doesn't mean they can't suddenly manifest itself en masse for example in the middle of big city, it would simply be harder. And with much bigger chance of being swiftly outnumbered and slain by people. The matter of daemons sentience is much more complicated. There are daemons considered non-sentient, being Dark's equivalent of average animals and plants, that mostly manifest accidentally in magical anomalies (or other places somehow 'synchronized' to themselves) and sometimes called Lower Daemons, and those considered 'sentient', that can speak and making decision of their own, sometimes called Higher Daemons. However, there is also a small category of daemons capable of speaking without real sentence (speaking only predefined words and reacting in a predefined ways). Not to mention the question how sentient can be a being whose entirety was sculpted by humans into showing certain character traits that very rarely can be altered or changed. The daemons (and their subtypes) can be divided into two main categories.
By the time we reached the mansion, it was already over. The cultists summoned a Pentagram-serving daemon that we've identified as Eviscerator. Fools lost control. We managed to confirm thirty seven bodies, but considering the state of them, it's pure guessing. Thank gods for that, if they managed to control it, half of city would be dead before the dawn.
Unnamed Raven Knight's report on Incident IFS1345-F, from archives of Imperial Magic Guild
The first are Servile Daemons, creatures that are created via human beliefs from power of certain deity, rarely also powerful daemons. There are bound to their creator being, serving it and sometimes 'traded' to humans as contracted daemons, summons and so on. They possess both lower and higher daemons, with strenght varying from minuscule to beings that can be an existential threat to Reality itself. All of them naturally reside in Dark, visiting Light at discretion of their overlords. They are internally divided heavily, depending of the type of the gods and religions they hail from. Daemons of dark and evil gods will be naturally much more easy to access - with such gods actually wishing them to be summoned - while beign more dangerous to summon and harder to control, more wishing to turn the tables on their summoners. Which is a sort of natural selection that ensures, that REALLY dark magicians are always powerful - with the less powerful turned into still screaming collage of blood, meat and bones. Those from gods morally positive will be harder to find - with entry selection made to turn away those with disliked faults in character - and requiring sorcerers to be good. However, once the communion is achieved, summoning is easy and safe. There are also neutral, natural divines, that in most cases indulge in complete anarchy, with their daemons still being nominally servile while going around doing variety of things. Their summoning tends to be somewhere between the two main categories in terms of hardships, with finding relatively easy (not as much as servants of the darker gods), and summoning requiring to dominate the summoned daemon, but with the worst that can happen been spontaneous combustion. There are also eldritch, terrible beings, who tend to be similar to 'simple' dark gods' servants... only hard to find, and even worse in terms of side effects of lost control.
Alright. Your child was kidnapped? And whose fault is that? What, was it too hard to read the damn warning signs? You know, the ones just before the road enters the swamps? We all know how the local nymphs react to intruders who forgot to pay the entry tax. Something small and shiny, even polished rock would be ok. That's why we put the warning sign there. Listen, few years ago nymphs that you want us to attack saved this village. Warned us about the bandits. All they want in exchange is the damn tax. Now the boy is gone. They will give him back after they got tired of him. In a year or two. At least next time you will remember to pay.
Unnamed village elder to stingy travellers.
The second are Wild Daemons, creatures practically written into Light, including various natural spirits, nymphs, elementals and so on, that are so 'intertwined' on basic level with Reality that they are beings of Light rather than of Dark. Most of them lives in minuscule pocket dimensions connected to the Light, while existing in outer reaches of the Dark. For example, a nymph inhabiting a local river doesn't have to be there all the time, she has her own 'residence' in a pocket dimension only she can access, with entrance hidden for example beneath particularly large rock on the bottom, where she can safely evacuate in case of problems, simply vanishing. Their biggest disadvantage being the fact, that they can be slain permanently, unlike servile daemons that can at best be made no longer capable of making problems (for example by bounding it into some object that is lated divided and hidden).
Sometimes a third type is added, called Absent Daemons, which contains beings that are not deities, while being describing as 'powerful', 'living in the Dark' and 'without having their own lords'. While it is sure that such beings truly exist (because of Dark's mechanics), they are next to incapable of affecting Light, and thus, are simply absent from it. When they actually achieve it (for example by somehow attaining a sect dedicated to it) they cease being Absent Daemons, moving into Servile Daemons or Deities.
Special Types of Daemons
WHY ARE THEY ATTACKING US?! THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO JUST IGNORE US!
Last words of a member of unnamed adventurer party.
Average spirit – or at least the beings that are called spirits in Imperium of Karadia – can be described as incredibly weak daemons, incapable even of assuming corporal form, existing mainly as orbs varied in colors and abilities, sometimes used en masse to flood their enemies with their numbers. Due to their pathetically weak power, they tend to be used as magicians first contracted daemons, since they are simply unable of backstabing him somehow, their minds too simple to even understand the concept of deceit, perfect to learn basics of magic without risking being changed into still screaming painting of blood, gore and feces (as sometimes happens with... certain creatures). They also sometimes enter Light as a side effect of certain 'incidents' (for example a spirit of hedonism showing up after a particulary debauched orgy) or a more powerful being crossing the border into the Light. In the former case they aren't agressive, while in the latter it depends on the nature of the being, with various weak spirits going berserk being a warning sign of troubles. Thus they are sometimes considered a crossbreed (metaphorical) between servile daemons (as they are dedicated to certaing deities) and wild daemons (as they can manifest themselves very easily and practically accidentally, while true servile daemons require a certain set of requirements to be met for this to happen.
Known also (mistakenly) as Ascendants, Daemon Lords are 'created' when a particular magician achieves Ascendence, becoming a daemon. Their naming comes from two facts, first being their particular knowledge about dealing with other daemon (potent in life, even greater after it ended), while the second a tendency to go berserk, amassing armies of supernatural beings in the Light. The second part was even more often during Preimperial Era (and late Archaic), since there were no powers capable of fielding sufficient military power to take such being down. Not to mention the sad fact of relatively evil being tending to achieve such outcome more often, mainly due to fact that evil deities' help being extremely useful and surprisingly easily gained via various gifts and favours. With even the relatively good natured Ascendants still being particularly ambitious (otherwise they wouldn't achieve it). Such beings are unique in a way that they are very strongly bound to Reality, being able to manifest themselves in a way similar to wild daemons while also being death-resistant like servile daemons. With their power to command daemons, not to mention their own great power and experience, they can be terrible threat, countered by Imperium of Karadia by specialized adventurers kill-teams, its own Ascendants or groups of archmages. Thankfully, only certain ways of Ascendence leads to creation of Daemon Lords.
The magician in question is confirmed to achieve Ascendence. Daemon Lord variant. Drawing of his new form added as attachment. Lack of openly hostile movements, but considering the attempts to hide his transformation and repeated contacts with men identfied as black market suppliers of summoning ritual resources he is declared a potential threat. Reinforcements required for subjugation mission.
Brotherhood of Ravens's operative raport for the local organisation command.
Target confirmed to be eliminated, his body destroyed and soul banished. Assault squad no longer operational, sustained casualties including fourteen dead, six permanently crippled, three insane and twenty four wounded. Requesting a posthumous award for brother-knight Reval Remanyrr for extraordinary bravery and holding the daemon lord long enough for his compatriots to close a Dark Gate he used to summon reinforcements.
Daemons are bad enough, especially those that serve the Black Pantheon. The worst of them? The Damned. The worse parts of daemons and mortals combined into one.
Retired adventurer on his career.
The Damned are a particular (and surprisingly widespread) brand of daemons that are unique in the way of possessing soul, making them partially similar to mortals. Most of them actually are former mortals, that died and passed to their respective afterlifes, for some reason temporarily going back into the Light with partially daemonic form. Rather than being 'soul positive' daemons, they should be considered a soul of the passed mortal, manifesting itself via (in most cases) aether manifestation in the Light. Very rarely looking similar to how they looked in life, with changes in their bodies based mainly in their postmortem fate (with those that went to Gehenna being somehow twisted in form, while those from Heaven tend to have a peaceful, and slightly 'golden' aura surround them. The name comes from the most widespread type of Damned one can meet in Light, the Damned Legions (also known as Accursed Legions), a vast armied of the Dead fielded by gods of Gehenna. During the manifestation most of them is twisted beyond recognision, not to mentioned having their heads partially emptied to avoid any sort of mercy – for example – to their former peers. The manifestations of more typical Dead being extremely rare (even rarer among those from the Heaven), mainly due to Gods preferring worlds of the living and of the dead properly separated. Due to their nature, Damned are naturally more resistant to antidemonic weaponry, and also incapable of being both slain and bound. Which comes from the fact that souls cannot be bound in the Light, while after slaying them they are just banished back into the Dark, with backlash from connection severance forcing them to remain there for quite a long time. On the other hand, their regenerative capabilities are much more limited, since their souls make their thoughts (and concentration level) much slower than of typical daemons. Thus, a beheaded Damned is banished into the Dark, rather than being able to simply grow his head back, which is their main weakness.
In front of him stood... something. Someone. Some. Every single thing he didn't know and never wanted to know. It moved. It hissed. It howled. It spoke. It attacked. It didn't attack. It looked. It didn't look. He screamed, as his last conscious thoughts melted into more of it.
Exerpt from a horror novel published by a retired magician.
Aberrants are terrifying beings, a daemons created from manifested unknowing and unsuredness. Just as daemons are created by imagination, the Aberrants are created when it ends, with their own 'being' being unknown in a more transcending, literal sense. They are Unknown materialized in a physical (or aether) form, capable of destabilizing mortal sanity merely by existing within their view. Always described not as much as what they are as what they aren't. When you see something which can only be described by verbs, with no nouns or adjectives coming to mind, they are almost surrely aberrants. Their biggest strenght is also their biggest weakness. While majority of mortals will come insane in front of them, they are also those mentally strong enough to be able to won in the unspoken contest of minds, able to enforce their own description on them. The moment that happens, aberrant is reduced to merely a strong and terrible servile daemon, unless it manages to slay those that know of its nature, letting the knowledge safely fade from mortals minds. Thus aberrants avoid direct confrontation, prefering indirect approach. Causing hallucinations, using its mortal and immortal pawns, hiding behind books most enigmatic and full of maniacal blabberings, giving next to no knowledge about them... which would be equal to weakening them immensely. Their true power is extremely hard to calculate, ranging from average servile daemons into the realm of archdaemons (when they are called Greater Aberrants, a terrible being capable of causing the fall of entire civilizations).
Gallows Hill lost, no contact with the protective daemon who ruled over nearby mass graves. Scouts report a contact with unknown archdaemon residing atop of it, manifesting as a young woman with a noose around her neck. Also, it seems that dead bodied from the graves are rising, led by servile daemons - looking similarly to her, but with their necks broken - that can use destruction magic. Way through the Gallows Forest blocked, due to rise in terms of casualties.
Report from Akinager, fortress in magical anomaly called Valley of Ashes.
Archdaemons are a terrifying entities, a independent daemons rising in power so much that they are capable of creating their own sattelite servile daemons. They equal a deities in power, being tremendously powerful while relatively unbound to any particular places. Not to mention the fact, that they can't be killed and can only be banished to the Dark for some time or permanently imprisoned in the Light. They exist rarely, and not always are malevolent, with some of the Silver Council (the supreme organisation of karadian magicians) being a non-malevolent archdaemons. However the creation of malevolent archdaemons always causes at the very least regional disturbances, with most of them having a small sects of sorcerers dedicated to it, not to mention their own power and their servile daemons. They are created when a higher daemon (very rarely lower daemon, in fact so rarely they can be considered an exception) gains some great source or power, has grown a strong enough sect, or was elevated that way by some god (extremely rare). They can also be created when a deity wents mad, for example due to its followers being murdered en masse.
Old Gods, despite their name, are now 'merely' a type of powerful archdaemons that retain parts of their old, divine nature. They were the gods of old karadian pantheons, defeated by Imperial Religion during the Dawn War, a period of devastated wars that was waged beyond time itself, with modern civilization unable to even date it properly. After their victory, triumphant imperial gods did something to their defeated enemies. Casted them away from their destroyed realms of the Dark, bounding them into the Light, stolen their names forcing them to forever use various nicknames, that are (somehow) incapable of being a medium of faith transfer, thus making them incapable of regaining their godhood... forever. It is unknown what made gods punish their enemies in such a terrifying way. Old Gods still exist. Many of them bound in the Light, as they can be neither banished to Dark nor slain. They still hate, plotting their eternal vengeance against those that caused their fall from the heavens. Too insane to understand they are merely pawns, used in wars and games of the Imperial Gods at their discretion. Forever hoping to undermine the Imperium in any way possible.
We do not know how things exactly looked before Dawn War. We have some surviving records that gives us some informations about the cults of gods before the ascension of Imperial Pantheons. We know of few daughters of Markh dynasty that were made into virgin-priestesses called vestals who tended to sacred flame of their goddess.... but we do not know her name, and most of details about her cult dissappeared or where purged during the rules of more... devout emperors. Why did the War happened? Who started it? Gehenna, we don't even know WHEN it happened, as the War was waged beyond time itself. Considering the way gods work, it could as well still continue. It could as well be predetermined to occur before the Time begun. We will not learn about that war. I'll left this to priests and theologians. Now, onward to the aftermath of the Dawn War.
Excerpt from Ancient History lesson on Imperial University.
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4. Remember the Satham day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not murder.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet neighbour's house, wife, or anything else.
Ten Commandments of senachian Grand God Yehavei, a basis for inrithian faith.
Gods are supreme beings, that rule the world, eternally waging wars and schemes against each other as a part of their Great Game. A Game in which reward for victory is absolute power over entire reality and unreality, both Light and Dark, and everything that exists, ever existed, or will exist there. Gods are created by a variety of ways that can be summed up to one thing. Human faith. Gods exist because humans believe in them, thus granting them immense power and control over both reality and unreality. Their faith shapes their minds, giving them certain traits, defining the way they look when they manifest themselves to the mortals, deciding what sort of agenda they exist to achieve - exactly as demons, simply because gods are nothing else than an expansive variant of daemons that are differentiated by the faith in their 'godhood'. With daemons being branded daemons and a separate beings wholely to avoid them achieving similar status. The part about Gods being created is unsure. There are often questions of whether simple faith can create being of such power. One that exists before it is created, for it isn't bound by time. Does Gods engineer their own creation? Or maybe they are beings completely otherwordly, that simply pretend to fit the mechanisms of the Dark? Gods - or at least majority of them, and nearly all from the level of gods up, are practically a personification of various ideas and thoughts. God of revolution is revolution personified, existing solely to blow up all sorts of order in favour of permanent revolution, even one against those his previous revolution gave power. God of craftsmen is a perfect craftsmen, that is capable of creating everything out of everything and works solely to make crafts flourish amongst his followers, while keeping it sufficiently hard (so no blessing allowing literally every of his believer make superior crafts, since every god is ultimately a being of balance). Gods' power is sufficient to destroy world at ease, at every second or milisecond. Even manifesting themselves fully would break reality, killing everybody. Their armies are strong enough to annihilate everything that is alive also in seconds... the question is, why should they? Once created gods with afterlifes are no longer dependant on mortal faith, so destroying mortals wouldn't really affected them... but why should they? These mortals are their responsibility, their unknowing creators, their sense of existence. Rather than obliterating them, they should make them all their believers. Such is the genesis of Great Game. Great Game is type of cold war between gods, their pantheons and entire religious systems, fought before the time begun and that will be fought after the time ends. War fought by proxies - mortals, and demons, war fought on a scale that makes mortals (or even demons) completely unable to comprehend it. Fought with prophecies, chosen warriors, demonic incursions and international politics. There are several ways for gods to be created (at least according to magical approach, since religions and philosophy has doubts). The first one, is Anthropogenesis. With certain mortal creating a new god in his head, and then preaching about it, thus spreading the new faith and materializing the god in question. Sometimes simply modifying one already existing, by introducing another view on it. The second one is Apotheosis, with human becoming one by either achieving great deeds and then being postmortem deified by other mortals, or by being elevated by a certain already existing god. Rarely such gods are powerful, as their human origins are remembered and undermine their power in eyes of other mortals. Most of them are demigods (in polytheisms) or saints (in monotheisms). Third one is Daemonogenesis, which happens when a certain daemon rises in power by creating a religion on his own, with human faith slowly changing him into a god. This tends to be done by various moral negative daemons especially, as benevolent beings rarely have such ambitions. Fourth one is Natogenesis, which happens when long-forgotten being (mostly Aberrants, but that's not a rule) engineers its return to Great Game, by returning itself to mortal knowledge. Sometimes also happens subconsciously, when through anthropogenesis a being is created that is somehow similar to some long-forgotten being, and thus while being created it devours remnants of its precedessors. There are various types of gods existing.
What, the captain? Trust me, he will achieve great things. Oceanid of the Native Sea must love him, no matter where he goes, there are no storms, currents are exactly as they should, and no pirate ever encountered his ship. Well, considering the gifts he gives her before every departure, I wouldn't be surprised if she offered him one of her nereids as a bride!
Unnamed mariner on his captain.
Deities are the lowest strata of godhood. They are 'gods' that can be bound and imprisoned permanently by mortals, they are 'gods' that can't see the Fate and can't influence it willingly, they are 'gods' whose knowledge and power is barely above strong daemons. 'Gods' that exist in permanent and unchangeable vassal-sovereign relationship with true gods. Deities are beings worshipped as gods of certain places - cities, rivers, mountains and so on, being practically selfbound in their respective dominions, unable to leave them and with their power (and sanity) heavily dependant on the state of their dominion. Most of them are practically deified wild daemons, that rule over other wild daemons and beasts as their supreme, divine overlords... while still being vassals of much stronger gods of appropriate domains. Deities can't be slain in traditional sense of the word, as that would require destroying their domain (and even then it would made them insane beings haunting ruined cities or riverbeds of rivers that dried up). They are heavily influenced by the state of the local area, and can be made insane in certain ways, although it is rare since they can take necessary countermeasures. In most cases. They can be defeated and banished, their domain inherited by another being and themselves forever banned from Realit, though.
Grimhammer, demigod of Ancient Lomar and servant of Ember who helps us, mortals, face the servants of Pentagram with courage and sacred fury, be with us on this day.
Prayer of unnamed soldier about to fight against Abberant-worshipping sect.
Demigods are beings that stand above the line between daemonhood and godhood, fundamentally being a certain type of servile, sattelite deities, subservient to proper gods. They are either former humans, that received apotheosis as a reward for their deeds, a limited in number and immensely powerful individually named servile daemons, or sons and daughters of 'real' gods. Demigods are all extremely powerful, while still fully capable to at least theoretically manifest in Light with their full power, which more than enough to flatten mountains. If their power wasn't actively supressed by the gods exactly to avoid having the whole knew world ruined. Thus, they can be defeated even by big groups of especially motivated and extremely well armed adventurers or other specialists in combat and magic. Which makes them practically strongest beings that one can possibly meet (and fight) in Real World. They are also completely immortal, as they can be bound and imprisoned, but even then it is more of a divine savoir vivre than a real bound - after having your being bound in the Light, it is considered extremely bad manners to just manifest yourself next to it in next ~second. After all, mortal achievements should be properly rewarded, and thus even most powerful demigods will consider themselves grounded until they will managed to engineer their unbounding. As it can be guessed, they are also completely impossible to slay permanently, with even gods preferring to imprison them for real within the Dark. Similar beings exist also in most monotheistic faiths, where they are however called Saints and are limited only to deified mortals, "purified" by their Gods/human faith in them into most perfect form of being, while still being much more 'human' than their demigod 'cousins'.
Do not touch this. It is filled with hatred. Something is bound inside. Something that was ancient by the times Falon began his march to create the Imperium. May gods have mercy on us if we somehow free it.
Unnamed adventuring mage somewhere in the Labirynth
Daemon God is created when Daemon Lord achieves godhood, in most cases similar in level to deities/demigods. It is an extremely rare case, singular in whole history, but one that can be a source of massive ammounts of casualties, since it is very unlikely for a benevolent Ascendant to search for more power, not to mention godhood. They are a supreme state of human apotheosis, that gives immense power, immortality, resistance to any sort of deaths, while in most cases being boundable only by gods. Thaumaturgy won't help against them, as only theurgy is capable of bounding them for long, with thaumaturgy-based bounds being able of doing as much as on demigods without their savoir vivre. Daemon Gods can command massive forces of their own servile daemons (plus servile daemons of the gods, if they are somehow cooperating with them). Thus they are always a prime target for elimination, which is achievable mainly due to help of the gods. The prime example of Daemon God is Maneater, that nearly conquered Karadia before triggering personal intervention of Inri, Greater God in his Avatar form
Then, when the armies of the Maneater finally breached the walls of holy city of Aktaab, Inri Himself descended upon their terrifying leader in all His greatness. All soldiers dropped on their knees, feeling unworthy to gaze upon their God and shameful for the fact that they failed him and allowed enemies of the Faithful to breach the holiest city. Because of that, noone knows what exactly happened and how the battle looked like. All defenders fell on their knees. All attackers - together with daemon god Maneater - fell in battle again the Crucified One. The holy city of Aktaab was safe again, once again. But this time, not because of the strenght fo its defenders but because their God decreed it that way.
Fragment of a preaching of one of Inri's priests.
Gods are generally rather protective of their worshippers... which sometimes tends to cause great ammounts of bloodshed and deaths. Simply because gods refuse to intervene directly until it is really, really required and there is no other way of fixing the situation - mostly because mortals failed spectacularly despite being given many options and chances of avoiding such outcome. Which tends to happen especially often when there is an important play of Great Game going on. Avatars are created when Gods (or Greater Gods - Grand Gods didn't do that at least until now) decide to intervene directly by manifesting in a daemon-like form. It is always balanced to be the strongest possible without breaking reality, meaning that unlike demigods, they are - in a physical and magical way - the strongest beings possible to exist in the Light. They are immensely rare, manifesting only few times in whole history. The reason for this is simple - it makes them vulnerable to machinations of other Gods. If one of them somehow engineered their defeat in the hands of mortals (even entire armies of them) it would be a killing blow to their public image and could possibly lead to end of their godhood.
Oh, you know, I was kinda bored, so I decided to pay you a visit. Even gods can sometimes feel bored! Ok, maybe not exactly, but you know what I mean. Never heard about a metaphors? Or at least 'jokes'? Ok, let's start this meeting again. How about some tea? I have a particularly AWESOME one here. You can drink it for as long as this meeting will take, after all we are currently inside your brain. Nothing here is real. Beside me, of course.
Shadow during welcome meeting with her new Chosen One. Three years before his newfound love of tea made him encounter - and kill - Chosen One of Shimmer in a teahouse...
...exactly as his patron planned.
Gods are beings that are omniscient (in Light) and omnipotent (in Dark), while being nigh omniscient (in Dark) and nigh omnipotent (in Light). They are beings fully capable of forging universes of their own, in most cases possesing a massive (sometimes practically infinite) afterlifes in Dark, that house their believers after their eventual departure from the Light. Gods exist outside of the time, unbounded by it. They know everything that happened in Light since it was created (including, probably, time before Primordial Chaos), and know everything that will happen in it, having control over Fate. With their knowledge about 'future' (future for us, for not for them, although even them tend to somehow respect it to help humans understand their world without ever changing past) limited only by meddlings of other gods, that keep changing the Fate. Such is the nature of Great Game, with gods permanently intruding on Fate to shape it to their willing, only to be undermined by yet another gods, their war neverending. Gods are gods whose domain isn't bound to certain places, rather than that bound to things like riches, revolutions, honour, power and so on, with a slight inner variants of Enigmas and Elemental Gods. The latter are gods of for example water, mountains etc., that should theoretically be a very strong top level deities, but that are a part of religion with gods, thus elevated to true godhood by association. The first are gods that are associated with - mostly - negative things like pain or horror, while possesing a typical traits associated with Aberrants, which means being unknown in details, with their power based in that unknown.
It is too late. It continuously gains more and more power from the Dark, simply because of the fear and pain it caused to the mortals. As long as there is even a single mortal being that knows of it, it will be made stronger and stronger and will soon escape its bounds. And then, the world we knew will end. There is only one way remaining option.
Supreme Thaumaturgist, a god-king of Menorian Empire, prior to killing all ~120 millions of its inhabitants within a single night.
Dark Ones are terrifying, eldritch entities born from massive ammounts of concentrated negative mental energy. To be created they require not only simple negative thoughts, but almost complete lack of anything even remotely considered good in region where they gestalt. As a comparison, the German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau - with several important underlying laws of reality sewn differently - would be capable of spawning a Dark One of relatively small power, at least compared to truly powerful champions of Darkness, born from worlds that made the greatest achievements of Third Reich and USSR look tame, peaceful and humanitarian. As the Dark One reaches infancy, it begins to influence the Light, causing sudden spike in negative thoughts, further increasing ammount and quality of atrocities commited, which further fuels its growth and improves its 'habitat' to suit its needs more. Such being can't be considered evil, as it transcends the meaning of this word. They aren't evil, they are simply biologically devoid of 'good', simply incapable of even understanding concepts like love or mercy. Prior to their 'birth' they aren't even sentient, changing mortals into murderous lunatics simply by 'being'. In short, they are misery, hatred, terror and pain made material. Material that exists simultaneously in Light and Dark, infecting both physical and mental world with madness. Incapable to be touched by gods, since that would risk them being infected and changed into yet another Dark One. Dark Ones, thankfully, are not natives of Gates of Eternity, and thus are extremely rare sight, with merely two arriving in the span of nearly 20 000 years of history, both times nearly causing the end of the world... after which they were erased to the point that civilization today doesn't even know about them.
What's our opinion on other gods? Ha, there are no other gods. We just give different names to the same, primordial power we don't understand, one whose transcends our feeble mortal minds. We at least aren't afraid to admit it.
Khardic archpriest on nature of the gods.
Greater Gods are either gods of polytheistic pantheons that are said to be the creators of world (thus, due to Dark's mechanics, being creators of world, now waging Great Game to be a sole creator-god remaining) or monotheistic gods of limited power and influence, still bound to this particular timeline (that they are fully capable of influencing as they please). They can be divided into several groups, mainly Absent Creators, Henotheists, Greater Enigmas and Duotheists. Absent Creators are polytheistic central gods that created the Universe, after which they decided to either disappear without a trace (like the Primordial of Imperial Religion) or severely limit their activity, like for example Dagon of verkvenan religion or ceverian Allfather. Henotheists are central gods of religions that are nearly monotheist. By nearly meaning they co-exist with lesser deities, sometimes partially believed to not be gods at all. With great example being visenian Lady, that is opposed by archdaemon/evil deities fusion of Svarov and his progeny. Greater Enigma is a singular exception, a khardic monotheist, benevolent Greater God that has all the traits of Enigmas and Aberrants. The last variant being Duotheists, that are always paired, with good and evil god facing each other in eternal war, with this devision lowering them from the level of Grand Gods into Greater Gods. While considered much stronger that simple gods, they are still essentially similar to them, dividing only with power (which is a small difference among nigh omnipotent beings.
You ask why should you choose our God over one of hezrian? They all exist, we all know that. They all - every single creator god - created the world. In Dark there are no paradoxes. Only conflicting truths. The Great Game isn't like one of feeble mortal wars. Killing people and calling it heroism! Robbing them of their property and calling it victory! Raping and calling it the rights of the victor! For what? To prove you are the greatest warlord around? To fill your pockets with money you robbed from those too weak to defend themselves? No, this is the only war just and respectable. War waged to decide what face will our Creator assume forever, for He gave us a choice even in that matter. Will it be an omnibenevolent and merciful God of Inri, that loves us enough to let us be evil, to say no to Him? That gives us freedom, but also judges us according to our deeds, making no evil deed go unpunished, and no good deed go unrewarded? Or perhaps the God as Hezrian see him, no better than desert warlord, calling his believers to murder all who doesn't believe in him? Or maybe we will let Him split into a hundreds conflicting beings, as polytheists want it? All of them carrying the same defficiencies and weaknesses as us mortals? Do we want God to be a sinner like all of us? Choose wisely, Hegemon.
Excerpt from letter from inrithian pope Zealous IV to Nikopolan Hegemon, prior to Nikopol's conversion.
Grand Gods are omnipotent and omniscient beings that transcend even 'typical' gods, being monotheistic divine beings to which attributed is creation of world, complete omniscience and omnipotence, not to mention having power over everything in the reality. They are also pictured as supreme beings, always benevolent, with all evil coming from their subject beings that are somehow against them (mainly - to give mortals and alternative to follow, also to balance the Dark by having some entity to take over evil thoughts and so on). They not only see what happened, what happens and what will happen... but also every possibility of what could happen, thus being a truly supreme beings, that transcend alternative realities, ruling over all of them. Thus they play in higher league, with most of them having a very venerated 'Sons' (partially a part of them) or prophets, to enforce their will in that reality, with completely separated 'enforcers' in other realities, all of them, however, serving the same, singular entity. Most of them is thus completely unactive (due to simply playing above gods' head, with mortals - and even regular gods - incapable of even understanding what they are doing), with their executives (in power close to greater gods or gods) doing all the work in all alternative realities.