05 October, 2015
#Drawlloween #Inktober 2 - Devil
(I'll push through the first couple of these at double-time [2 per day] to bring the count of the images up to the day of the challenge.)
There are faceless creatures in the depths of the Darkhive.
They have no identity, beyond differences in their mutated forms. Some have antlers like deer, others curled horns like rams; some have leathery wings like bats, others have black feathered wings like ravens; some have tails, others none; it seems that the horns and wings are common among these creatures, but the specifics of these very from creature to creature. Based on the folklore of various races who have come to the hive, these faceless creatures have become known as devils. Though they are rarely seen, rumours swirl around these creatures, their true agenda is unknown.
Some believe the devils may once have been living members of society who fell from the middle layers of the Darkhive into the central abyss within. Others believe that like the Shellbrood, they may be alien creatures gradually evolving into a form defined by the dreams and nightmares of other hive inhabitants. Then tere are those scholars who claim that these "devils" are merely a stable form of mutation that occurs through exposure to something locked away in the heart of the hive.
With great strength, such creatures fly up from the innermost parts of the hive, seeking and destroying artefacts and antiquities. Such items at the focus of their destructive path are typically the very items being used by powerful characters to maintain control over their petty kingdoms and settlements. This gives the creatures a reputation as harbingers of war and destruction, because the absence of items broken often leads to instability in the regions where the have been.
Devils fight with savage ferocity, often a fresh single devil is capable of taking down a half dozen seasoned warriors, but such conflict wears them out. Devils move in small tactical units, where each member seems that have a different pattern of horns, wings, and tail (suggesting that these different types might confer different complimentary abilities). They have been known to attack survivors, Hiveguard, Shellbrood, and mutants indiscriminately. Survivors of such attacks have witnessed that if there is a source of artefact power (or specific types of mutant or psychic), the devils seek it out, perform a quick ritual and either devastate the area with hellfire, spontaneously manifested weapons of horrific countenance, and plagues normally considered mythical and infernal...or they simply retreat back to the shadows.
When devils fight in battle, they protect those who have been injured, and if the conflict turns against them, they retreat. Sometimes flying back down to their homes in the depths of the hive, sometimes lingering on the outskirts of settlements feeding on emotional energies and mystic potential. To those survivors who have mastered the arts of devil exorcism, a common sign of devil presence is a heightening of emotions in the area (this isn't the only thing they look for, but like the smell of sulphur in the air, and an echo of screams in the back of the mind, it adds a degree of evidence to their investigations). If a devil is exorcised, or a tactical unit is prevented from completing their mission, there is a chance they may never come back, but more often than not a larger force of devils returns, or another hive menace (Shellbrood, Hiveguard, Mutant) coincidentally swarms through the area causing devastation and carnage.
Devils in the Darkhive aren't considered evil, but more like forces of nature. Wise individuals often give devils a wide berth when they come wandering through the hive.