Know Your Lore: Demons and the Fel
Where Light and Void clash, chaos is born: the chaos of the Twisting Nether, birthplace of the Fel. This magic was literally birthed by annihilation when Light and Shadow came into terrible contact with one another. Fel magic is of entropy, of destruction, of the utter destruction of that which makes life possible. Void magic is the absence of Light, but Fel is born from its death.
Thus the Twisting Nether itself is not a shadow but a wound, and the first Demons were born from it. At the moment of its creation Fel magic made the Nether what it is. Demons are the creatures native to that place of entropic annihilation, born of the death of life itself. If you’ve ever seen a Soul Engine, you know exactly how this process works — the souls of the Legion’s victims are slowly destroyed over centuries to generate the Fel.
The Demon Kind
Demons are Fel that move, act, sometimes think — and they’re so intertwined with Fel that their souls are linked to the Twisting Nether. If slain elsewhere, their chaotic spirits return to the Nether to be reborn. Only in the Nether can Demons be slain.
Some Demons are natives to the Nether. Others were once noble and proud before the Fel infused them. Still others were once servants of the Titans, who hunted the very monsters they now count as allies. The Ered’ruin were once the hounds of the Titans, hunting down any who used sacrificial magic due to their sensitivity to the artificial creation of Fel magic inherent to the sacrifice of life for power. When Sargeras fell, he broke the Titan’s shackles on the Doomguards, but imposed his own.
There are a multitude of demonic species. Some are barely sapient, such as Infernals (former constructs infused with Fel magic), Fel Hounds, and Felstalkers. Others, like the Shivarra are intelligent but their origins are shrouded in mystery — we don’t know where they originate, if they were born in the Nether or were infused by Fel like the Eredar were.
The Titans and the Demons
Demons as we know them first came to the attention of the Titans when they began slipping into reality to feast upon life to satiate the hunger that burns within them. As Fel is created by the destruction of life, Light, and souls, the Demons are driven to annihilate. The Titans appointed their greatest warrior, Sargeras, to the task of opposing these creatures and he fulfilled that purpose for countless eons. But he soon learned that for all his power, he couldn’t simply strike the Demons down and be done with it. No matter what he did, they would return. At that time, Sargeras couldn’t kill the Demons permanently. He had no idea how to, and so he resorted to trapping them.
Joined by Aggramar, who would become famous as Sargeras’ loyal ally, Sargeras took the war to the Demons and studied them and the Nether they came from. In time, he learned how to solidify the Nether and craft a world from it. Thus was born the prison world of Mardum, a cage for the Demons who would otherwise simply return from the Nether upon death. And it worked. For years beyond counting, Mardum held the enemies Sargeras defeat he as he marched across the countless worlds of the Great Dark, seeking out demons. Along with Aggramar or alone he faced many: the malevolent Nathrezim, the brutal Annihilan, the calculating Sayaad. All fell before him and were imprisoned in the Cage World’s grasp. The cosmos became more peaceful and orderly as a result.
The Defender destroys
It was after Sargeras and Aggramar agreed to part ways in order to patrol more of the cosmos that the Defender and Champion of the Pantheon began his descent into madness. Upon discovering a world seething with Void energies, he captured and brutally interrogated a sect of Nathrezim that had come to bathe in the power as it destroyed all life on the world. It was these Nathrezim who told Sargeras of the Void Lords and their plans to create a Fel Titan from a sleeping World-Soul, a being so dreadful even the Pantheon couldn’t stand against it. Thus Sargeras realized that all his efforts had been for nothing.
When Sargeras discovered the Void Lords and their Old God servants, he decided that the universe was flawed and needed to be unmade. He returned to Mardum and broke his prison world in order to free the Demons. By this time he’d learned much of the Nether and its connection to Demons, and he could finally destroy demons forever. This threat and his awesome power was sufficient to convince the majority of the Demons to join his cause. Some, like Ulthalesh, refused Sargeras and paid the price in one way or another. Thus the Burning Crusade was born, but the Legion as it was then was not a suitable weapon for Sargeras’ plans. The Demons that were native to the Nether were, by and large, unwilling or unable to cooperate effectively. And thus he . began the process of converting others into Demons. He started with the admirable Eredar, a race mighty in magic and curious to learn more about the true nature of the cosmos.
He offered them a deal, and the vast majority took it, not realizing what it truly was. The corruption of the Eredar was a subtle affair, and one we’ve discussed before. It would be repeated again and again. Warlocks would be allowed to grasp the secrets of summoning magics and contact minor demons, who would then impart secrets to summon more powerful servants. These would be bound to the Warlock’s will, and might even be used against the Legion, because either way it served the Legion’s ultimate purpose of spreading more Fel through a world. As Fel is inherently born of destruction of life, as it spreads worlds sicken and die. Those races that can be converted to the Legion’s goals, such as the Mo’arg or Ered’ruin who’d served the Titans, were transformed by infusion with Fel energies until they were tethered to the Twisting Nether.
The vast majority of Demons today serve the Legion. Some rebels exist — the Illidari demons that were broken from the Legion’s control by Illidan, Lothraxion the Nathrezim who is touched by the Light, creatures like Void Terrors that don’t care about it one way or another — but most Demons serve Sargeras, either out of fear or because the Legion provides the most opportunity to slake that infamous demonic hunger for destruction. As long as the Fel demands the consumption of life, the beings most in tune with it will rampage. You can see it on the Broken Shore, in the techno-magical atrocities crafted by the Legion to render souls into usable fuel, the blasted scorched land festering with Demons of every kind and measure, and even in beings like the Feltotem Tauren or Felblood Elves. The Fel scourges and corrupts everything in touches, and so must Demons by their very nature. A Demon tied to the Nether has no choice in the matter. Only those that replace Fel with another power, such as Arcane or Light, can change.
Even if we defeat the Legion and seal the portal above the Tomb, Demons will never cease their assault on our universe unless they are wiped out for good within the bounds of the Nether itself. And even if we do that, the chaos of the Fel will birth new monstrosities to torment us. That’s what Fel does.
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