1

Topic: The Belial Universe

I am currently working on a reworked pdf describing the Belial setting. I intend to try and make a few illustrations and make it a bit more fancy than just a mere text-file. Since its quite time consuming, I decided to start uploading at least the text so far in here. Its not all done yet and a few sections are still missing, so please bear with me.

The World

Belial is the name of this blue planet. It is the only world its inhabitants know and orbits a yellow sun with no name. Two moons journey across the sky, named after their hue, the Silvermoon and the Rubymoon. Usually the latter is barely visible, though, even at the best of times, and thus considered an omen of great or terrible things in many of the world's cultures on the rare occasions when it shines brightly.

There are four known continents set around the globe – Atziluth, Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiah. To the people of Assiah the other three continents are no more than ancient myths. No expedition has ever returned, for the continent is surrounded by a impossible wall made of unseen powers that nothing can cross. The origin or nature of this barrier is not known but it sucks the life out of any man made device that comes too close. The energies released also create a form of localized storm. Named the Everstorm, it is a literal wall of black clouds, marking the outline of the barrier which isolates the continent.

Assiah

Assiah itself is a fertile continent in the northern hemisphere according to some ancient maps, south-west of Beriah and north of Yetzirah. Malchut, the major landmass of the continent, is primarily covered by fertile farmlands, grasslands and forests. Two major mountain ranges can be found in the east and the west. The landscape becomes more harsh towards the north, lush mixed forest replaced by pinewoods and grasslands replaced by moors.

Yesod, the eastern landmass, has always been considered wastes and wild lands, a hostile place with very little to offer. Even nowadays it is still the least densely populated part of Assiah. Most of it is covered in dense forests, full of exotic but dangerous creatures and plants. Although a few settlements manage to survive in this unfriendly environment, the largest cities in Yesod exist along the coastline or at the edges of the woodlands. North of the forests is the infamous Akashesa Desert.
Once the mighty city of Eden stood here, now all that is left is a flat wasteland made of fine, powdery sand and vitreous rocks. It is devout of any life, as if even animals avoid this cursed place. There are legends of a black tower, miraculously standing in the middle of the desert and there are a few photos that support its existence but so far no expedition was able to locate this structure which the locals have named the Demon-Tower.

The smallest landmass of Assiah is the island of Tiferet which is the home of Freya's Realm. Its the most fertile and peaceful of the continent's lands. Natural disasters are rare, while the weather tends to be the most balanced on all of Assiah.

Since the downfall of Eden, which once reigned over the entire continent and maybe even more, there had been many human kingdoms and petty empires. But nowadays only two sovereign nations remain – The Empyrian Empire and Freya's Realm.

Eden

One cannot talk about the history or lands of Assiah without first telling the story of Eden or what little is still known about it. In ages past the world was ruled not by man but by elves. Not only are they blessed with inherent magical talents that only few human magicians can match but they were also brilliant scientists. Their technology was so much advanced that it was a form of magic itself, harnessing the power of mana to create wonders. There used to be many powerful city-nations but Assiah was the domain of the mightiest of them – Eden. The city itself spanned all of what is now the grand Akashesa Desert, a vast metropolis the size of a nation itself. The records that survived and the tales of today's elves, describe a landscape of gargantuan towers made of crystal, steel and glass, connected by a networks of bridges and pathways on multiple levels and decorated with exotic gardens and artificial waterways.

The rest of the continent was only home to small settlements and outpost, most of them agricultural complexes, factories and mines. Despite its advanced technology, Eden's wealth and might was built on the labour of millions of slaves, human slaves. In those days the entirety of the human race was servant to their elven masters, some even say that it was created for that role.

This all ended almost 2500 years ago. It is known that Eden was at war with other of its fellow city-nations. Almost nothing is known about the reasons for this conflict or even its scale, for almost no records of this time have survived the millennia. Either way, Eden stopped existing from one moment to the next. It was taken by a cataclysmic disaster, an explosion so bright and massive that it was seen all over the continent and left nothing more of the city than a glassy wasteland, not even leaving any ruins behind. It is still a mystery what exactly destroyed Eden, what weapon could have been so destructive that it could turn a city of that scope to nothing. There are many rumours and speculations, ranging from secret weapons of the other elven nations to the involvement of the Great Demons but there is no evidence for any. There is not even any evidence that there is a connection between the war and Eden's fall even if it seems likely.

When Eden was wiped out, it left the few supervisors and enforcers in the labour camps and farms on the continent cut off from any support. The slaves quickly realized their chance for independence and uprisings erupted all over Assiah. The conflicts lasted only a short time, the few enforcers left overrun immediately. Many elves didn't even try to fight and fled into the forests before they could be taken by what had once been their inferiors. Releasing their pent up rage over their oppressors, the freed slaves burnt almost all of the elven settlements down to the ground, leaving nothing behind to remind them of their former masters. Eden's reign was over and the age of mankind on Assiah begun.

The Empyrian Empire

The Empire is possible the largest and most powerful nation to exist on the continent since the Fall of Eden.
It started with the small city-state of Empyres which for much of its history only barely managed to defend itself against the larger nations around it. Nonetheless the city managed to expand its military force and experienced a sudden growth in wealth and science after gaining possession of many samples of Edeni technology. Eventually Empyres had grown powerful enough to openly attack its neighbours. The following wars lasted for more than a century, for the Empyrian kings where too ambitious to just stop with the annexation of their direct neighbours. Only when all of Malchut and Yesod was theirs, did the leaders of Empyres stop their campaign of conquest and proclaim the Empyrian Empire about a millennium ago.

The kingdoms and nations that had been conquered were reformed into the 24 provinces that form the Empire today. They vary strongly in size and importance, also do they vary a lot in culture and customs. The two most important and influential ones are the province of Empyres, of course, the political heart of the Empire and home to the capital of the same name, and the province of Ondora, considered the economic centre of the Empire and home to the largest city in all of Assiah. Other provinces with considerable influence are Grave, Waoi, Chennor and Heron, due to their political history and economic strength.

To this day the head of the nation is the Emperor and his family, their bloodline reaching back to the first kings of the Empyrian city-state. However its no longer an absolute rulership. For the last 900 years the nation has been a constitutional monarchy, governed by a democratically elected parliament. Although the Emperor's position as head of state possesses much power, only few have actually made use of it during the last centuries, preferring to take a more symbolic role. Each province is also lead by a democratically elected council and governor at its head. Only a few provinces show any deference to their own nobles and former royal families, Grave being the most prominent case.

There are several cities that deserve special mention, either due to their wealth and power, their unique culture or recent events that have gotten attention all across the Empire:

Empyres, Capital of the Province Empyres
Also known as "Neo Eden", Empyres is the technologically most advanced and most grandiose city of the Empire. It is also the fourth largest city in Assiah. While the suburbs and outer districts are no different than in any other imperial city, the old core of Empyres has long been transformed into a symbol of its status and might. Embellished skyscrapers stand amidst lush garden-complexes and wide avenues, while memorials, sculptures and other grand structures are everywhere. At the heart of the inner city is the imperial palace. A bombastic building, which does not only include the royal families residence but also the parliament and several administrative bureaus.

Ondora, Capital of the Province Ondora
Ondora is the largest and possibly richest city in all of Assiah. Once the heart if a mighty empire itself, the city, like its province, has become an economic hub. Positioned at the centre of the Empire's most important trade-routes, the city has made itself indispensable as largest and most important place for commerce. The city also possesses large industrial areas on its edges but its lifeblood is trade.

The inner city has a reputation for its large and varied establishments. Amidst the colourful signs and neon lights one can find shops, restaurants, pubs and other places of all size and nature. There is no item or service one cannot buy in Ondora. This is also true for the city's impressive red-light district. In fact, one part of it is solely dictated to transformation-related services, called the Purple Corner. In general Ondora always had a very positive attitude towards the transformed, ever since the days of the Mad Kings long before the formation of the Empire. No other imperial city has as large a population of transformees, except for such special cases as Suto and Jizza. Similarly there are many transformation-related establishments and services even outside the red-lights district. Not surprisingly there is also a surprisingly large presence of alchemists in Ondora and its guilt is considered the most influential of all.

Kaidalon, Capital of the Province Aischitar
Known as the City of Wizards, Kaidalon is the Empire's administrative centre for anything related to the use of magic. The city's history goes back to its founding by the precursor of the Magicians Guilt, 666 years after the Fall of Eden. These mages were outcasts and refugees from all over the continent, either persecuted for their talents or tired of being used like slaves by their masters, and lead by a core of Ondorian archwizards. For centuries the remote city remained independent, the powers of its inhabitants too much for any invading army to overcome. Not even Empyres dared to overwhelm the city by force, instead Kaidalon became part of the Empire in form of a truce.

Kaidalon is most famous for the Great Academy of Magical Arts. Every single magic user within the Empire has to be licensed here in order to legally make use of their skills. So even though there are lesser schools for magic all over the continent, the vast majority of imperial magicians had been students of the Academy at one point or another. As such its is a place of immense size and variation that only few other universities can compare to.

Obviously the large number of students have left their mark on the city, especially the town centre which has long since adapted to catering to such a young customer base. However Kaidalon has also kept is old tradition of the Wizard Market, a collection of small, private shops that sell all manner of magical trinkets and alchemical products.

Grave-Town, Capital of the Province Grave
Grave-Town is one of Assiah's oldest and its people are proud of their traditions and culture. Often very martial in nature, these customs are the result of the harsh, dangerous lands that make up most of the province. The weather is harsh and many species of monsters, like the ferocious Tarrasque, live in the mountains. As such the so called Grave-Guard has a reputation as most skilled but also savage regiment of beast hunters in the empire. Since the reformation of Karma's Realm the city has been on high alert, fearing that the Great Demon might try to expand his sphere of influence.

There is also another incident which has made the news a few years ago. The remote suburb of Downhill was struck by a new, mutated virus, named the B-Virus. Half magical in nature, it transforms the infected into a human-animal hybrid of the opposite sex. The animal-features seem to be random, although most of the infected have turned into vertebrate species so far. The transformation process is very slow, taking several months to complete and normally happens in two stages. The so called Shemale-Phase ends with the full forming of the animal aspect and some formation of the opposite sex' features, thus the same, as most end up with with female breasts but male genitalia at this stage. In the second phase the new sex of the infected fully adjusts, breasts shrinking away or genitals turning female. The B-virus is rather unstable in nature, though, and there is a large list of odd cases where the sex didn't change as expected, e.g. getting stuck in the first phase or not changing gender at all, or more extreme mutations occurred. There are even cases of conjoinments and other forms of mergers.

Downhill had been put under quarantine, which has been lifted a year ago, though. A vaccine had been successfully developed which stops the infected from spreading the virus.

Suto, Capital of the Province Chennor
Suto is possibly the most productive city in the Empire. It possesses the largest industrial sectors, especially in the production of steel, coal and chemistry.

The city is more famous, however, for its unique and bizarre set of laws resolving around alchemical modification of its women. Every single female citizen of Suto has to undergo a specific transformation either before marriage or at the 25th birthday. The resulting form resembles a small, monkey-like creature which seem physically fully male and ridiculously well endowed. In truth these Sutonian Women, as they are often called, are still entirely female, their genitalia a facsimile that is large enough to be penetrated and give birth. There are also a number of other similar and more extreme transformations listed, many of them a form of punishment for not adhering to the proper traditions as written down. The original reasons for these insane laws had most likely been to remove sexual attraction as a distraction form the citizen's duties. Today this is not the case, and possibly never worked in the first place, but the city still stubbornly enforces these ancient set of rules. Technically these laws violate the imperial constitution but during the early years of the Empire, the city was given special permission to continue its traditions, in exchange for economic favours.

Jizza, Town in the Province Heron
The city of Jizza is by itself not noteworthy at all. It is of average size, with a healthy enough economy and a little bit of industry, especially farming and timber. What made the town famous all across the Empire was the sudden wave of self-inflicted transformations, that started a few years ago and which technically still last till today. The reasons for this phenomenon are yet unknown but the most common theory is some sort of pollution of the local water, although no such contamination could be identified.

Whatever the cause, since it began women living in Jizza sooner or later begin to get obsessed with the idea getting transformed until they cannot bear it any longer and go through with it by any mean available. Some have concrete end results in mind, others prefer it random. The only trend is that the vast majority of women eventually decide to become fully male. That's why Jizza has gotten a reputation as city of man-lovers. Men, more precisely unmodified men, seem to be affected differently by the phenomenon. Instead of wanting to be changed, they start to develop a sexual desire for the transformed, their preferences shifting to the point where some might go even so far to forcefully transform their loved ones if they want to or not.

Authorities decided not to put Jizza under quarantine, since in the end almost all transformations so far have been self-inflicted and voluntary. Nonetheless people are advised not to enter the town. Not surprisingly many do not heed the warning, either because they underestimate the risk of being affected themselves or because they welcome it.

Freya's Realm

Freya was the first of the four Great Demons to appear. Only a few years after the Fall of Eden she travelled
across the continent, helped those in need, blessed those she liked with her sexual gifts and taught talented humans how to use magic. When she reached the island of Tiferet many people had already begun to worship her, not as a goddess but as a protector and benefactor of great power. Freya herself disliked the idea of ruling over anybody, she had no ambitions to be a leader, but in the end relented under the condition that she was just a patron not a queen. She would teach them her philosophy of peace and love and help them in their need.

In the year 145 after Eden's Fall she settled down and built her palace, not just her home but also a place for people to meet and enjoy themselves. A few centuries later her worshippers finally joined together and formed the nation known as Freya's Realm. Although the demoness is considered the supreme authority of the realm, nearly all political decision are in the hands of local councils, one for each of the realm's ten provinces. So far there has been not a single recorded case of Freya intervening with the political affairs of her realm, staying true to her decision not to rule.

Similar to the Great Demoness herself, her avatars take on similar roles as patrons. Almost every community is protected by at least one demon. Often they also serve as advisor for the local councils and are the highest medical authorities. They are beloved by the locals and often considered living symbols of Freya's connection to her people.

These are a cheerful and carefree folk. Often regarded a bit simple by the people of the Empire, they are less driven by ambitions and more focused on enjoying their lives to the fullest.  Freya's Realm has many holidays and its jolly, almost orgy-like celebrations are famous all over the continent. The demons' blessings in form of extreme sexual transformations had always been popular especially among the female part of the population. The men of the realm are very pragmatic and rarely desire changes for themselves. These attitudes later lead to the “Day of the Great Change”, three years ago.

The national council decided a wide-reaching and unique way to celebrate what was considered the Great Demoness 2500th birthday, one of the nation's most important holidays. They announced that all women of the realm should be transformed into living symbols of pure sexuality and arranged for the construction of unique machines just for that purpose. Designed by Kaidaloni alchemists, magicians and engineers, these machines were meant to quickly and reliably transform a person in a specific way. Of course no woman was forced to transform herself but the unique nature of the realm's people, their amazingly positive attitude towards extreme transformations and their love for the Great Demoness meant that almost the entire female population whole-heartily embraced the idea and made use of the newly introduced devices. Today nearly all of the realm's adult women are transformed, including those who were changed in a different way, either by choice or because they were already transformed before. There are four majors types of machines that had been introduced, each one creating a form mostly reduced to a certain bodypart – penis, vagina, butt and breasts. The penis-form is the most common one, where usually the entire upper body of the woman is replaced with with a large, erect penis and suitable balls, while the legs and neither-regions are left unchanged. These cockwomen have become almost synonymous with the term „Freyan Women“.  The transformation of basically half the population into walking genitalia, has caused quite dramatic social and economic changes, which the people of the Realm took in stride, though.

The influence and support of the Great Demoness caused the realm to stagnate however. For centuries there have neither been military, political nor scientific ambitions. All technological devices and modern comforts have been imported from the Empire. While the few towns of the realm are quite modern and don't seem to look much different from their imperial counterparts, most settlements are small farming communities, which have barely changed over the centuries. While the realm's economy primarily lives from farming and tourism, a growing number of communities is making use of the body-fluids of their changed women, e.g. breast-milk and cum. The realm is also the greatest exporter of unrefined demon-cum, since Freya's avatars are all too willing to share.

Karma's Realm

What people call Karma's Realm today is technically its second incarnation. In both cases it encompasses the Northern Wastelands or locally called the Silent Valley. It is the region north of the mountains which Grave-Town is set upon. The first time Karma's Realm came about was just after the Fall of Eden. The Great Demon built himself a twisted, labyrinthine palace and terrorized the surrounding lands. Eventually the region became known as his Realm, a bizarre wilderness inhabited by sexual monsters made from humans and beasts alike. People avoided the region whenever possible but the Great Demon was expanded his influence.

About 250 years after Eden's Fall the little fiefdom which would eventually grow into the Kingdom of Grave fought back against Karma's encroachment. The ruling lord swore not only to protect his lands but to push back and take the Silent Valley for themselves. Not matter how brave their armies were, it would have been a hopeless battle, had not the Great Demoness Freya decided to help the people of Grave. Accompanied by a dozen of her own demons, she joined the battle, protecting the human soldiers from the magic of Karma's brood. Eventually Karma agreed to a truce with Freya. The details of their meeting are not known but the Great Demon retreated into his palace, taking the majority of his monstrous creations with him, and dispersed his avatars, leaving them free to go wherever they want. The people of Grave were free to settle in the valley.

Apparently the Great Demon no longer considers the old truce with Freya binding or there was a condition in it which now gives him the allowance to take back what had once been his realm. It all began about a hundred years ago without any warning. The region was suddenly flooded with a variety of magical disasters and attacks. Some villages were hit by rain made of transformative demon-cum, others were hit by transformative plagues. Karma's avatars were seen all over the valley, attacking random victims or mutating entire settlements together, while some villages were overrun by sexual beasts with their own transformative abilities. In a few cases people just transformed with not detectable cause. In all cases, though, the Karma himself was strangely absent, though, apparently content to let his avatars roam free and release his powers only in wide-spread forms.

What can only be described as an invasion, spread from the settlements closest to Karma's palace outwards over the course of months, until finally reaching the mountains to the south. Like an unseen border, no incidents happened beyond this point. It seems the Great Demon has chosen to just keep the Silent Valley for himself and not expand his Realm any further. All attempts by Grave to stop the attacks were fruitless. Without demonic support, there was nothing that could oppose the might of a Great Demon. While most inhabitants of the region fell victim one of the many transformative hazards unleashed, a few were left alone and allowed to flee the valley unharassed. Most of these refugees were children, but also a handful of adults to accompany them.

Nowadays Karma's Realm is back to were it had been more than 2000 years ago. It is a wasteland, empty of people but roaming with all manner of sexual monsters. On top of that there are reports of unnatural phenomena, like magical storms and lakes entirely made of what seems like demon-cum. It also seems that many of Karma's demon have made the region their home, living among the monsters there. While many of these creatures are unique creations, there are a few stable species that have been born from the whole event. Most of them are little more than animals but there are reports of sentient creatures that have formed their own primitive cultures.

2

Re: The Belial Universe

Demons

Demons are powerful and immortal creatures. The first of them, the so called Great Demons, appeared more than 2500 years ago for the first time in Assiah, their true origin still a mystery. Since they appeared just after the Fall of Eden, many scholars belief that there is a connection of one kind or another but there is evidence for none.

Despite their usually human or at least humanoid appearance, a demon's anatomy is fundamentally different from that of any known lifeforms. What appears like a biological body actually consist of a unique form of concentrated mana and can take any appearance the demon wishes. It is also part of the reason for their enormous magical powers. Where a human magician requires willpower and focus born from years of training to control even lesser forms of magic, a demon can form the mana around it like a child playing with clay. The lack of any conventional anatomy, also means that demons are immune to fatigue, hunger and illness, as well as any kind of physical damage. Since they do not age, either, they are virtually immortal.

The Great Demons

These four demons are the creators of all other demons and the most powerful ones among them. A few elven legends speak of a fifth demon but so far there is no solid proof for its existence. Each of these four is the source of untold legends and their deeds, their very existence, have shaped the history and cultures of Assiah. Despite all the impossible things they have done, not one of them has probably ever shown the true extent of their powers. As such its no surprise, that some people worship them almost like gods, the most prominent example being the Freyan Cult.

Freya
Freya is probably the best known of the Great Demons, due to her sociable and caring nature. Her personal palace is situated at the heart of her Realm in a lush forest and home to at least a hundred demons, servants and visitors. Everyone is welcome, to the point where the palace, also often described as temple, has become a tourist attraction. The Great Demoness doesn't mind, she likes the attention and opportunity to bless more people with her gifts.

In fact she is a very sexual creature, a true nymphomaniac, who has many lovers and is not shy about sharing pleasure with anyone she likes. Not surprisingly this aspect is reflected in her appearance. For the most part she looks like a tall, voluptuous woman, aside from her usually purple skin tone and crown of horns on her head. However, she is technically a hermaphrodite, and sports a set of male genitalia as large as a mortal person. Being a shapeshifter she sometimes modifies her genitalia to fit her partner but most of the time she simple changes her lovers to fit her instead. To the people of her Realm it is considered an honour to caress her penis or drink her cum straight from it.

Freya tends not to transform anybody against their will but rarely do people refuse her offer. She seems to emit an aura of raw sexuality so strong, that many people can barely control their urges when close to her. Those she changes do not regret it, though. Unlike Karma, she wants those she blesses to genuinely enjoy their new forms, giving them all manner of genitalia and indulging their secret desires. In a few cases these desires involved absolute submission and serving as little more than a pet. Even these wishes the Great Demoness gladly grants. Her palace is home to many mind-altered creatures that wanted nothing more than to be a playful pet to the inhabitants of the palace.

Karma
Karma is the shadow to Freya's light. Where she is benevolent and loving, he is cruel and wicked. He is the
origin of innumerable nightmares and horror-stories, the prototype of how most imperial citizens imagine a demon to be. Even though there is his monstrous palace, which has stood for millennia, he is known to wander around the Empire, sometimes in disguise, sometimes in his true form but away from any settlements. Where he appears, terror and mutation follow. Fortunately he seems rather picky with his choice of victim, not taking anybody but only those unfortunate enough to catch his eye. Only rarely does he transform a group of people at once. Sometimes he simply whisks them away to his palace, adding them to its monstrous denizens.

While many demons can be quite creative with changing the human form, Karma is a true artist. Few of his creations are recognizable as human any longer and he always tries new ways to twist flesh into new forms.
While sometimes he is content enough to just change the flesh of his victim, he often plays with the mind, too, combining the physical alterations with mental torture. As bizarre as it might sound, he does not seem to like the idea of eternal torment, though. Once satisfied, he either releases his victim, albeit in their new form, or corrupts their minds to the point of beasts with no worries than their own sexual needs. When there are no human victims within reach, Karma likes to transform animals into hideous monsters. Almost all stable races of demonspawns have been created by him.

Despite his dark nature, he always appears as courteous and elegant gentleman, even when his demonic form. He prefers to appear as a tall human, with skin as red as blood and two horns curving from his forehead. The oddest feature is a thick, tail or tentacles that the back of his head extends into.

Horus
Many people tend to refer to Horus as The Great Beast, for his feral appearance and way of life. He dislikes human culture, preferring to live in the deep forests of Assiah, far away from any settlement. There is no place where he seems to stay for long, none that could be called his home. He has been spotted all over the continent. There are legends, though, about a cave somewhere in the mountains of the province Ganzrune that serves as personal den of the Great Demon.

Those that have seen him, describe him as a large, muscle-bound beast, four times the size of a man. He seems overall humanoid in shape but with and overdeveloped upper body and arms, like halfway between human and simian. His human-like face possesses long fangs and a set of antlers grows from his temples. A shaggy, white mane almost like that of a lion is said to flow from his head and across his shoulders. While his behaviour is often described as rough and very matter of fact, he holds himself like a proud human, not like an animal.

Despite his fearsome appearance, he is not a monster like Karma. Instead he simply regards himself as the guardian of Assiah's forests and their inhabitants. He is known to help people if they get lost or hurt in the woods and should they win his respect, e.g. by saving another creature's life or treating his realm with care, he will bless them with the aspect of an animal or even make them part of the forest if they should wish so. It is also very easy to incur his wrath, though, e.g. by mistreating the forest or killing an animal under his protection for no good reason. In such a case the unfortunate person will end up as part of the forest if they wish to or not.

Mammon
Mammon is most mysterious and unusual of the Great Demons. Unlike any other demon, he neither seems to use his powers for his own enjoyment, nor for altruistic causes. Instead he sells his abilities for hard cash. There are a vast number of easy to find scrolls and even calling cards containing a simple spell to summon him. While some of these scrolls are sold by alchemists and in magic shops, many can be found simply lying around in certain establishments, like transformation-clubs and special-interest brothels, with nobody remembering where they came from.

Once summoned, the Great Demon will usually materialize just a moment later or at least send one of his pixie-like servants to start with the negotiations. Mammon is known to do almost anything for the right amount of money with only few exceptions, which include bloody murder and deeds that would directly meddle with politics or society as a whole. Most of his clients wish to be transformed by him or transform somebody on their behalf. It doesn't matter if that other person wishes to be changed or not. Of course, one must first be able to meet Mammon's exceeding prices. Even small changes can easily cost as much as a new car, while only millionaires can hope to afford more demanding wishes to be fulfilled. Those who summon him for medical aid are more lucky, while still expensive he tends to charge far less for such services, especially if its about critical cases.

If one is unable to pay Mammon's price with money, there is also the possibility to challenge him to a game. He has never refused, yet, but the risks are high. Should the challenger lose, they are turned into some unrecognisable, sexual monstrosity and taken away by the Great Demon to places unknown.

Aside from his services and prices, there is almost nothing known about Mammon, only rumours and legends. Some speak about a hidden castle in the Wyvern Mountains which contains all the treasures and money the Great Demon has taken so far. Others speaks about secret establishments resembling gambling houses and brothels that offer powers and pleasure beyond imagination. Almost all are probably nothing more than baseless fairy tales but who knows what kernel of truth might be hidden inside them. Mammon himself gives nothing away. In front of his clients he is void of any emotions and straight to the point. Only his servants might know if this is his true nature or only for show.

Avatars

The only other form of true demons are the officially named general or lesser demons. More commonly, they are known as avatars, even though the term is technically wrong, considering the nature of these demons. Most likely it originates from scholars in the early decades after the fall, misunderstanding the connection between the Great Demons and their lesser kin. Whatever the reason, the term has stuck and spread among the people of Assiah.

Once each avatar used to be an ordinary human. In one way or another they have proven themselves worthy in the eyes of one of the Great Four, though, to be lifted into the status of a demon. Only the Great Demons can transform a mortal into one of their kin and replace their flesh with pure mana. The process is not perfect, however. Each avatar has a biological core, a little ball of living flesh, which scholars believes to serve as anchor for the soul or spirit of the former human. It is a weak spot and limits the demons strength. Not even the oldest avatars can compare to the might of their creators. Furthermore an avatar will suffer or even die, should their core be damaged.

It is unknown how many of these demons actually exist. It is commonly agree, though, that it is most likely around two hundred. The vast majority of these are the creations of either Freya or Karma. Mammon and Horus are well known to be very reluctant to create new demons, usually only for a specific purpose or under unique circumstances. Each avatar is a unique individual and usually free to do as they will without any control from the Great Demon who created them. Nonetheless there are clear trends in temper and types of characters, especially among the avatars of Freya and Karma. This, however, is not the result of the transition into demonhood, like some sort of magical blood-relation, but has more to do which kind of person a Great Demon will choose.

Freya's avatars for example tend to be very similar to her in character, they are friendly, helpful and warm hearted. They also often share her nymphomaniac nature. Many of them used to be mortal servants of the Great Demoness and proven their worth with their service. While Freya does not rule her avatars, like she does not lord over her human followers, many of them willingly continue to serve her or the people of the realm, seeing it as a form of self-imposed duty to spread her blessings. As a result every town or community in Freya's Realm is protected by one these demons. They are regarded as patrons who help in times of needs, bestow sexual blessing and heal those too sick or injured to be helped by other means. Those avatars that do not attach themselves to a settlement, are often filled with a desire to help and share their blessings nonetheless. They wander all around the Realm supporting others of their kin in times of needs or even leave the Realm as a form of missionary, trying to spread the Freyan philosophy within the Empire. A few are known to have become overeager in their desire to bring love and joy to the point where they will transform unsuspecting humans in a way they see fit if they want to or not, unwittingly becoming as much of a danger as the avatars of Karma.

Where Freya chooses those people who share her desire to bring joy and pleasure to others, Karma prefers to uplift those who are as twisted as he is. Perverse creativity and a sense of childlike sadism is what he values and looks out for. Some have been deviants and convicted criminals, using magic or alchemy to transform their victims, other used to be nothing more than artist or writers, too afraid to make their desires real, but their creativity enough to attract the Great Demon's attention. Nearly all of them live as lone wolves, wandering across the Empire and rarely interacting with others of their kind. Some prefer to stay in the wilderness, preying upon adventurers and wanderers alike, others like to search for victims in the cities, hiding in the shadows or disguising themselves as mortals. Where Freya's avatars are celebrated as mighty patrons in the Realm, the general idea of demons in the Empire has been largely influenced by Karma's creations, bogeymen that hunt the innocent from the shadows and turn them into twisted monstrosities and sexual toys. Despite their might, none of Karma's avatars have ever shown much interest in gaining any political or comparable power. Maybe it is a single condition set by Karma himself to not spoil his hunting grounds or maybe just due to the kind of personalities he chooses.

The only known avatars of Horus are the Hounds, two identical looking demons that have the appearance of monstrous, humanoid dogs.  Being well-endowed hermaphrodites, they are often called the Sisters. Nobody really knows their origin or why Horus chose them to become demons. There are a few rare eye witness reports that describe him treating them almost like they were his children. The Hounds rare prey upon humans, usually they seem to simply play the role of protectors to the deep forests and their inhabitants. There are rumours of similar creatures all over the Empire, that could be other avatars of Horus, but there is no real evidence.

Mammon's avatars are even more of a mystery. There is not a single confirmed demon created by him but a long list of tales and legends. Almost all of them tell of guardians and masters of forbidden places, like the Hall of Dark Wonders and the Miracle Den These places are said to be the domain of Mammon, that one either has to find or be invited to and where one can trade with demons or play their games for power.

Half-Demons
Half-Demons are not actually demons. They are humans who's bodies were changed and charged with pure mana in order their magical sensibility and powers. Although half-demons can be very powerful and even mess with some avatars, they are still only creatures of flesh and blood. There have never been many of them. Most are upcoming avatars who first have to show that they are able to handle such
powers or if they are truly worth the gift of demonhood.

3

Re: The Belial Universe

Races

Humans

Today humans are also the most dominant race on the continent. That has not been always the case but even under elven rule, they had always been the most numerous. Since the Fall of Eden, what had once been slaves, have spread across the continent and created their own cultures and societies, culminating in the mighty Empire.

The appearance of Assiah's humans is as varied as their cultures. Skin tones range from pale white to dark brown, with as wide a range of hair and eye colours. Nonetheless many population have clear and obvious tendencies, which have resulted from Eden keeping certain genetic stocks of slaves separate from each other.  Thus the people of Grave are often tall and imposing with pale skin and blonde or red hair, while the citizens of Wao are famous for their unique, almond shaped eyes. Nonetheless most larger cities in the Empire have very mixed and varied populations nowadays due to centuries of peace and free trade within the Empire.

Elves

Most biologist argue if elves should be classified as a form of humans or if human should be classified as a form of elves, for genetically both races are still so close that they technically belong to the same species.

It is not known how many ethnicities or sub-races of elves actually exist but in Assiah only two can be found, the descendants of Eden's population, often called pale elves to differentiate them from the other group, the more mysterious dark elves, whose must have originated from a different city-state. Both groups share similar characteristics which are most likely common to all elves. On average they are shorter than humans and of far lighter built. They tend towards smooth and elongated features but always beautifully sculpted. There is no such thing as an ugly elf. In addition they are blessed with longevity and superior health. The most prominent features of all elves are their elongated, pointy ears. They are at least eight inches long, often more, and tend to stand out sideways, not unlike the ears of a deer. They are known to be very sensitive and can also communicate emotions when raised ot let to hang down.

More importantly, all elves are naturally sensitive to mana. This means they born magicians. While most do not learn the magical arts, they all have the potential to become truly powerful and those that do learn how to do cast spells can easily mess with the most powerful human sorcerers or even surpass them.

Pale Elves
These are the descendants of the few citizens of Eden that survived the disaster that destroyed the city. Most likely their ancestors were a specific group of refugees from the destroyed work camps and farms on the continent than the city itself. This group fled to the forests of Yesod and created the hidden city of Ur. Kept save by powerful magic of camouflage and misdirection, its exactly location is still a mystery. The few descriptions that exist, tell of a simple but stable community that makes heavy use of magic and rescued Edeni technology. While the people of Ur are apparently not suffering from any shortages, there have always been some elves that left their home to escape its stagnated culture and see the outside world. They may never return and have their memory of the city's location magically wiped.

Most of these elves eventually integrate into human society. After more than two millennia there is no hatred left for the elven race. Rarely will they face discrimination or prejudice and if usually in remote areas that tend to view outsiders with suspicion no matter their origin anyway. Often enough they eventually get together with a human partner and their elven blood gets lost in the human genepool. There are only very few elven families that managed to stay genetically distinct over more than four generations. Most of these live in the small elven community called Little Eden in Ondora, the only elven community that is officially part of the Empire.

Dark Elves
This type of elves only exists in Assiah as a relatively small population on the remote island of Icla in the far north-east. The little that is known about their history makes it most likely that they originated from one of Eden's fellow city-states on the other continents. Their ancestors might have been a vanguard army on the approach to Eden, war-refugees or maybe even military prisoners. Either way they got stuck when the Everstorm shut off Assiah from the rest of the world and were forced to make Icla their new home. Today there are about thirteen known settlements on the island, ranging in size from tiny villages to small towns.

The most obvious difference between dark elves and those of Edeni descent is their dark brown skin. Their hair, however, tends to very pale colours, like white, bluish grey and faded blonde, giving them a very distinct appearance. More unusual, however, is the fact that all dark elves are born female. So far not a single male specimen has every been spotted. One can only speculate why, maybe all males fell victim to a plague or the original population consisted only of females for some obscure reason. Either way, it has forced to an usual solution to keep their population alive. Many dark elves have male genitalia crafted to them, either in addition to the vagina or replacing it. Many different variations have been seen already. In fact the inhabitants of Icla tend towards all manner of self-inflicted modifications, even though not as extreme as among some human cultures. Most common are additional limbs or genitals, sometimes even a few bestial aspects. Rare are changes, however, that would be a major hindrance or disability to oneself.

Dark elves are feared all across the Empire, especially along the northern coasts, and their reputation is well earned. They are slavers and pirates who haunt Assiah in form of small raiding parties. They always go for small and defenceless targets, remote villages or lone airships, attacking without warning and taking as much loot and slaves as they can before imperial authorities can react. Like their Edeni cousins, they possess impressive magical talents and superior technologies, although there is evidence that they do no longer have the knowledge or resources to produce any of it at a larger scale and are forced to rely on devices and machines that might date back to their ancestors' arrival in Assiah. Nonetheless all raiding parties so far have been seen with extremely fast airships that can go invisible thanks to some form of cloaking technology, stun-guns and other weapons of unusual design that scholars still struggle to understand and other devices used to capture prey and protect the raiders from detection.

Survivors who have escaped their clutches, describe their captors as unusually cruel and sadistic. Apparently the primary use for their slaves is not as a labour force but as pets, servants and sexual toys. Often they will inflict all manner of physical alterations on them, from mere aesthetic ones to transformations that could have been performed by Karma himself. Not seldom these alterations specifically serve to torture their victims, breaking their wills and reducing them to willing pets, something that most dark elves seem to delight in.

One might wonder why the Empire has not put a stop to this yet. Despite their fearful reputation, there is only a very small number of dark elves and only a elite few are active raiders. Thus attacks are rare and the damage they cause is relatively minor from the government's point of view. It would simply not be worth the cost and effort to try eradicating such an elusive and technologically superior race, even if those affected by their deeds would disagree.

Dalsur
Not really an elven ethnicity of their own, dalsur are a form of domesticated dark elves. The word is Waoi in origin and roughly translates to „elf-pet“. The dalsur's ancestors were luckless dark elves which managed to get themselves captured and turned into slaves themselves. Before the time of the Empire, the city of Wao was infamous for its slave-trade and thus tried to capitalize on the popularity of dark elf slaves. Enforced breeding and alchemical manipulation eventually resulted in the first dalsur which have proven popular in many regions of Assiah. The Empyrian Empire prohibited slavery within its borders very early but made an exception for the trade of dalsur, since they are technically not human and because only few found the sympathy to oppose the decision, due to the capricious nature of their dark elven cousins. Thus they present the only legal form of actual slavery in the Empire today.

For the most part a dalsur looks exactly like any other dark elf, except for the very obvious lack of arms, their shoulders ending in smooth skin. There are no records if this unusual trait was an accidental result of early breeding experiments or a deliberate modification to ensure dependence and reduce risk of violent revolt. In addition dalsur lack any magical talent, even more so than the average human. Even with intense training, its unlikely one could ever conjure even the most simple cantrip.

While their free cousins are born female, dalsur are usually born as fully functional hermaphrodites. However, due to the unstable nature of the dalsur's genes, there are many variations. As a result they are separated in classes, defined by their sexual characteristics and important factors in the determination of a dalsur's market value. While purely female dalsur are the most valueable, especially for their relative rarity, those with a lack of female genitalia are considered more of a discount. Other variations and birth defects are a lot more rare but not unheard of, like a lack of legs or blindness.

Most dalsur are treated more akin to pets than typical slaves, although their sexual nature almost always plays a part. While some owners might abuse their dalsur, most tend to regard them as friends and members of the family. In fact its not that uncommon for somebody to actually free their slave out of love and in some cases even marry or adopt them.

Orcs

Orcs are the only known sentient race that was created by human hand. Their origins date back to the 2nd or Last Wizard War, 800 years ago, when a small group of supremely powerful magicians tried to take over the Empire by force. The second leader of this group,  Garamor Hungor, was infamous for is experiments on animals and humans in order to create new and stable species of beasts, like Karma created such monster as wyverns and manticores. For the purpose of the coming war against the Empire, he committed to his greatest project so far, the creation of a sentient and loyal warrior-race that he could use to crush his enemies.

Crossing different animals with human victims, he eventually created the first orcs. The hyper-violent beasts that made up his war-host were not the ancestors of today’s orcs, however. These monsters were eventually defeated and killed to the last one at the gates of Kaidalon, while Hungor fell at the hand of Kaidaloni assassin. The only orcs left were the females and those males that had not been considered strong or aggressive enough to join Hungor's forced and thus forced into service as labourers and weapon-smiths. Nonetheless there were still enough of them left to form into a healthy population which over the course of the last centuries spread across the east and south of Yesod.

Today there are an estimated eight hundred thousand orcs belonging to twenty independent tribes with their own unique, cultural differences. They usually live in small, rural settlements, all of them far away from human populations. Thus most orcs live in the deep forests of Aischitar and Gura or the mountains of Parax and Hjelios. Orcs have always been very seclusive and isolationist in nature, often actively avoiding any contact with humans. Unfortunately the most common exceptions have been of a hostile nature, since the Grilm and Haarfn tribes have a long history as raiders which used to attack nearby imperial settlements. The southern tribes have, however, recently started to make friendly contact with their human neighbours, trying to integrate themselves into the wider empire.

The orc anatomy is very similar to that of humans, standing upright with almost identically formed limbs. Their features are however quite bestial in nature. Their faces are stretched into slightly feline looking muzzles with elongated upper canines, resembling tusks and flattened noses which are little more than slit-like nostrils. Their hands and feet only feature four digits each, ending in long, hard claws, while their spines extend into small, vestigial tails. Despite their animalistic appearance, their skin is oddly smooth and devout of hair, only growing short manes on the head and in some cases around the neck. The most striking features is the green colouration of their skin which can vary between tribes, ranging from the yellowish tones of dry grass to the dark, rich green of a watermelon.

Furthermore orcs race features very distinct sexual dimorphism. The average male is about seven feet tall and far stronger than the average human, their bodies broad shouldered and bristling with bulging muscles. While naturally quite aggressive and possess quick reflexes which make them superior hunters and warriors, especially combined with their well developed sense of smell and hearing.

Female orcs on the other hand are surprisingly small and fragile looking, only five feet tall on average. Their sexual organs are however absolutely over-developed, not just their bulging vaginas but also their internal organs which cause their bellies to look permanently swollen as if pregnant. Furthermore they possess six human-like breasts. Obviously they were created to be nothing more than breeding machines, meant to provide Hungor with an endless supply of soldiers. There is evidence, though, that he never managed to finalize how he had envisioned them before his death, for a female orc can only bear one child at a time due to their small bodies, even though their wombs were clearly designed to hold entire litters.

In addition to the two normal sexes, there is also a rare form of hermaphrodite orc. Its unknown if they are an accidental result of Hungor's experiments or a deliberate creation. Despite having very feminine features and proportions, these orcs are normally even taller and more muscular than the average male. They have the same swollen bellies and six breasts as the females but also sport a fully developed set of male genitalia which they often proudly present in public. In addition often possess a keen mind and mental capabilities superior to the rest of their kind. Combined with their imposing size they make natural leaders and are regarded as a form of nobility by most tribes. So far it seems that they are not randomly born but only when either the father or mother is a hermaphrodite, too, but even then four out of five children will be born as ordinary females or males.

Orcs are technologically on a pre-industrial level. Most tribes know how to use mana-based technologies from captured machines but have neither the knowledge nor means to replicate them. Nonetheless they are quite inventive and good at making use of what they have, especially regarding the harsh environments in which they tend to settle. They are not the primitive savages that many imperial citizens believe them to be. Their culture is also quite sophisticated but often comes across as very savage and martial. It is a left-over from the purpose they were originally created for but has been tempered into different rituals and traditions that often revolve around the hunting-skills and physical strength of the males. One example is the very distinct form of wrestling which is popular among many orc-tribes, where both contestants try to push or throw each other out of a small, circular ring.

The Empire has usually ignored the orc tribes, since they've always kept to themselves and even the odd raid never required more than a small retaliation force. Only recently have they become an issue with the southern tribes efforts to become part of the Empire. The parliament as confirmed their species status as sentient beings and given them the same rights as humans for the time being. There are still ongoing debates, though, how to integrate them into the imperial structure. It is rare to see an orc inside an imperial settlement, although the Valkrom, Ruggrath and Lhiri tribes have begun to send out small caravans to trade with nearby villages. Nonetheless there have always been a few brave orcs who went out to see the world. Some come back confused and appalled by human culture, where others integrate themselves to the point where they become no different from any other imperial citizen.

Transformees

Transformees are neither a race, nor ethnicity of their own. In fact the term describes anybody who has undergone an obvious physical alteration, not matter if they are human, elf or orc. Nonetheless many people, especially in the Empire, see them as a group apart.

There are many ways to get transformed in Assiah. Many are the victims of a demon or their fellow man, while even more willingly had themselves changed, be it with alchemical help, magic or Mammon's services. Most of the time these alterations are rather slight, to the point were they would probably not even be noticed under clothing, like mixed or multiple genitals. The most common among the more obvious modifications are additional bodyparts and animal features. More rare are changes which bring certain disadvantages with them, like replacing the mouth with a vagina or limbs turned into tentacles. Only a distinct few go as far as giving up all of their humanity, becoming sexual creature with bizarre and unusual anatomies or having themselves fused to another being, becoming nothing more than a bodypart. Oddly enough these are often the most famous cases, in no small part due to television shows and events catering to these kind of people and places like Jizza or Freya's Realm, where transformation of this level have become the default rather than the exception.

Many victims of demons and in some cases human sadists with the appropriate means would also fall into the latter category in regards to the level of their alterations. Sometimes their minds are left intact in order to fully understand and suffer at what they have become, while others have their thoughts twisted to where they fully embrace their new existence or are even reduced to nothing more than sex-obsessed animals.

Normally transformees do not pass on their alterations to their offspring, in case they still can reproduce, as most methods of transformation to not directly affect the genes. There are exceptions, though, either by accident or deliberate creation. Those affected by the B-virus for example can only procreate with other infected with the same animal traits which they then pass on to their children. This has led to a few lineages that in a few cases can almost be considered a race of their own, like the were-rats. These chubby rat-like humanoids can breed with humans but their offspring will spontaneously change into were-rats, once they reach adulthood

Most human societies have long since gotten used to the sight of transformees, not matter if only barely changed or unrecognisable as human. In many regions they are considered a lot more normal than elves or orcs. While some nations used to heavily discriminate against the changed or outright banished them, the Empyrian Empire only judges them by what race they used to be. As such most have the same human rights as anybody else, with some specific laws that protect them from discrimination. This includes even those whose minds were twisted to the level of mere beasts. Of course attitudes in a realm as large as the Empire differ from region to region, sometimes even between nearby villages. While some remote regions still harbour a mistrust to anybody with visible modifications, more metropolitan areas regard them as no different than anybody else. In a few rare places like Jizza, Freya's Realm or Ondora's red-light district they are even glorified as trend-setters and sexual idols. In fact there is a small but very dedicated group of people who regard the topic of sexual transformations as their hobby, often called the TF-scene, it is a community that brings those together who wish to be transformed themselves, inflict transformations upon others or simply observe. There are a vast variety of services and traders catering to these people, including porn, prostitution or all manner of services for physical modifications, most of those in the tight grip of the various alchemist guilds. There are also specialized establishments like clubs, theatres and obviously brothels. Furthermore there are even adult TV-programs and cinema movies dealing with the topic and so popular that they even gain the interest of those who are not part of the community.

Nonetheless, despite the popularity of the topic in some places, the number of transformees is comparatively small, even in the most densely populated areas, transformees usually only make up less than five percent of the population and the vast majority of them are those with only minor modifications which some would not even consider true transformees. There are exceptions, though, most famous Freya's Realm and at the moment Jizza but also sometimes lesser known places, small villages or remote towns, with their own bizarre traditions like Suto, where physical transformations are encouraged or even enforced.

Obviously the economy has always considered the needs of those transformed. Like many alchemical shops have specialized in offering the means to get altered, other traders and companies cater to the needs those newly modified bodies require. This includes such things as specialized furniture, clothing, jewellery or even aids and services for those transformees with limited anatomies, e.g. lacking limbs or specific senses.

4

Re: The Belial Universe

Magic and Alchemy

Mana

Mana is an often used and poorly understood form of energy which seems to imbue all living beings, objects and even the air itself. Ancient scholars even considered it the matter or the medium of the soul and while vague, there is merit to this ideas based on the little evidence that exists. Only those gifted with magical talents can actually feel its presence. It is often described as a lake or ocean, everywhere but constantly in motion. It is not equally distributed either. There are areas with a higher density of mana and some with almost none at all. Scholars still argue about the cause with this but it seems that the presence of life is one factor for most such spot of extremely dense mana can be found in the deepest forests.

One of mana's most unique properties is that it actually reacts to mental activity. Every living being resonates with the mana around it, like transmitter emitting radio-waves. The more complex and active the creature's mind is the stronger these waves. Even more unique, though is the fact that mana can bend the laws of reality. This rarely happens in nature, although there are reports of bizarre phenomena in some of those spots with the strongest concentration of mana. Those with the right talent and training, though, can actually change the flow of mana and use it to enforce their will upon reality.

For these reasons mana is also mankind’s most important resource. Most technologies rely on it, either for energy or to actually perform their function, like airship levitators.

Magic and Runemagic

Magic is the common term used to describe the mental manipulation of mana in order to create all manner of supernatural effects. Not everybody can perform magic though, for one needs to be born with a certain sensibility to mana to be able to master it. Unlike elves or demons, humans are relatively insensitive. Even the most talented struggle to bind and manipulate mana with nothing more than willpower. Thus he very earliest human magicians designed a unique form of language called Demvochor with the support of the Great Demoness Freya according to legend. Also known as the Magical Language, it is a warped version of Eden's tongue, which subconsciously resonates with most humans' minds. In a subtle way it helps to synchronize the mind with the flow of mana and channel one's will towards a specific effect. Thus most magicians have to rely on the use of magic spells written and spoken in Demvochor. One cannot just say anything one likes in this language, though, for it to work. Over generations mages have carefully crafted those spells that are in use today, each one more like a hypnotic mantra than just a sentence. Obviously a spell is of no use, if the magician has not also trained their will to focus and hold the energies necessary for the magic to work.

The scholars of Kaidalon have divided those spells into different groups and categories, like black (destructive) magic and white (helpful) magic. There are also a few forbidden spells, like necromancy or spells of mass-destruction.

Runemagic
Runemagic is a technique to charge inanimate objects with mana and work magical effects into them by inscribing them with Edeni runes. These serve to focus the runesmith's mind and channel his will into the item, in a similar fashion as magicians use spells. Usually the magic added to an object is permanent but some skilled runesmiths can create effects that only activate under specific conditions or when certain rune is touched.

Runesmiths have always been rather rare and most sell their skills or items for high prices. Their customers are either collectors or have the wealth to have their favourite items enhanced in such a fashion, like a dress that cannot get dirty or jewellery that glows by itself. A few cater specifically to successful adventurers and treasure hunters that have a need for enhanced weaponry and armour.

In a few cases runemagic or a variation of it is also used in technologies not based on Edeni science. In such cases mana is channelled through some mechanism inscribed with runes to create the desired effect. The different transformation machines in Freya's Realm are a recent example, using a complex web of runes to perform a reliable physical change when powered up.

Alchemy

Alchemy is an old scientific discipline which dates back to the very first mages but has since then grown into a large and influential industry. On the mundane level alchemist know how to combine and alter ordinary, as well as exotic, materials in order to create new or enhanced substances. They can be found in all industries where they work with metals, chemicals, medicine and food. They also dominate the pharmaceutical industry. Many guilds, which in some cases have grown into proper companies, and independent alchemist shops sell nothing else, working closely with hospitals and doctors.

The alchemists' profession is more famous, though, for their work with magical substances, exploiting their properties in order to play with the laws of nature not unlike magicians can. This includes gems and stones charged with mana, rare plants and parts of demon-made beasts, like the Wyvern. The most infamous and widely used resource, though, is demon-essence, a liquid form of mana derived from a demon's pseudo-body. This encompasses all manner of imitated substances, such as blood, tears or even spit. Most of the time it comes in the form of demonic sperm, though, commonly refered to as demon-cum or d-cum. Not only is this because it is usually the only substance left after a demon attack but also because many avatars of Freya gladly donate their demon essence in such a form. In fact many guilds have ancient contracts with Freya's Realm and d-cum is one of its major exports.

Raw d-cum tends towards random results, which all are usually quite severe, especially if ingested. Depending on the donator, there might be certain range of changes caused but still not in any way predictable. Alchemists can refine the substance to narrow down this range of possible alterations, to the point where they can craft a potion or other item that almost guarantees the desired form, be it only a minor change or a total conversion. While many alchemist sell transformative substances only as a side business, there are some that have specialized in these products. They are also the ones that do custom jobs for those that don't want to leave their transformation to chance.

Imperial Culture

In a realm as large as the Empyrian Empire there is obviously not just one culture but many. Nonetheless there are certain habits, traditions and other elements that have become common among all of its people. Furthermore the industrial growth and technological advancements of recent centuries, like television and the infonet, have had their effect on culture.

Politically the Empire has come to uphold democratic and humanist values that consider every individual of value and equal to any other, with only few exceptions like the dalsur. Most imperial citizens share these values. Only in rural or isolated regions might people be judged by their physical appearance. Of course there are certain attitudes and even rivalries between cultures of the many provinces of the Empire but rarely do they get to the point where they seriously affect an individual person's life.

Languages

During the time of Eden's dominion there was only one language among the slaves, an extremely warped version of the Edeni language, a cousin to Demvochor. After Eden's downfall, the different groups of freed slaves spread among the continent and began to develop their own dialects over the course of time. Eventually many of these dialects slowly became unique languages in their own right. At the end of the 10th century after the Fall an Ondorian person would not have been able to understand a person from the Kingdom of Grave.

After the foundation of the Empire, Emperor Maximo II decided to establish one common language for his nation. Of course this common language could be nothing except for the Empyrian language and so it became the Common Language, as it is known today. Today the Common Language is the native tongue of the Empyrian Empire and many children learn it as their first. Only in a few regions is it taught as the second language, instead many provinces have entirely lost their previous languages, reduced to nothing more than a regional accent.

Although the people of Freya's Realm kept their own language with all its dialect, the realm also teaches the Common Language in order to keep up with the Empire.

Spiritual Beliefs

There is no such thing in Assiah that could be classified as a true religion. In no region do people worship any gods or higher beings, although the love of Freya's people towards their mistress comes quite close to a religion. There are no records if Eden had some form of religion either.

That doesn't mean that people believe in nothing supernatural. In fact all cultures of the continent have different believes in spirits, reincarnation or some other form of the afterlife. There are also different beliefs in regards to the nature of the universe, like the Waoi idea of a common consciousness that bind alls souls together. Almost never do these beliefs play a dominant role in people's lives. More commonly they are reflected in regional traditions and habits. There are also many small shrines and altars for people to show respects to the deceased.

Adventurers

Adventurers and treasure hunters have always had a special place in the cultures of Assiah. There have always been rumours and legends of forgotten ruins, Edeni artefacts and ancient riches luring the brave and foolish alike into the unexplored wilderness. In addition there is always a demand for rare plants, beasts and minerals. The weak give up very quickly or fall victim to one of the many dangers the continent has to offer, from normal animals like bears and wolves to demons and their monstrous creations. Only the strong will have success and come back with their price.

These people are an unofficial elite, highly respected by the common people and sometimes even becoming popcultural celebrities. Some even manage to gain high positions in the military or in private companies as a result of their deeds or shrewd negotiations.

Organisations

Military

After the 3rd Inner Empyrian War, the government decided to alter the military structure to avoid such a conflict ever happening again. Before each province used to have its own local army equipped by Empyres and forced to swear loyality to the Empire. Unfortunately some provinces abused this privilege and attempted a putch against the imperial capital. As a consequence there are no more provincial forces but only the Royal Forces. While the overall headquarters are in Empyres itself, there are many local bases and outposts all over the Realm. Furthermore the military was split into multiple separate departments, each one responsible for a certain aspects of keeping the Empire and its citizens save.

- The Royal Army is the original core of the military and is compromised of infantery formations, vehicles formations, like tanks and airships, and specialist support. Due to the ongoing peace of recent centuries,
the Royal Army has shrunken dramatically. They are rarely needed and even when they are called, it is usually to support other organisations like the police or beasthunters.
- The beasthunters had once been formed of several local militias and their task is to hunt and
kill any kind of monsters that endanger villages or towns. Beasthunters are infamous for their reckless tactics and individualistic nature which explains their bad reputation among the other military organisations. It is due to the type of men and women that feel the call to join this small group of elite hunters.
- The police is the largest and most independent part of the Royal Forces. They are meant to protect the public from crime and to enforce justice when necessary. Beside the normal officers there are also criminological labs and their staff who are part of the military, too, even if they do not undergo the same training as others.
- The paladins are the oldest and most elitary part of the Royal Forces. Only a handful of them exist at any given time, for they are the bodyguards of the royal family. Each paladins is an anonymious warrior
clad in ancient but enchanted armour armours and equipped with the Empire's best weapons. The amazing skills and the unnatural strenght of these soldiers has lead to many rumours that they are indeed alchemically or magically enhanced.

Mages and the Magicians Guild

Based in Kaidalon, the Magicians Guild is the all encompasing administrative organ for anything magical. More a ministry today than an actual guild, it evolved from the group of outcasts and refugees which founded the city of Kaidalon. The city was not just meant to be a save haven for their kind but also a place learn, study and progress the the magical arts.

For this purpose the ruiling city council established the predecessor of the later Magicians Guild and made membership mandatory for every citizen with magical skills or the intention to learn them. The inherent dangers of magic were another reason for the city-wide control of the Guild, as unchecked practicing or insufficient teaching could easily endanger the safety of the city as a whole. It didn't take long for the leadership of the Guild and the city's administration to become one and the same.

During Empyres' conquest of the continent, Kaidalon stayed relatively neutral. Just when the once small nation had taken almost all of Assiah, did the Guild negoiate the city's integration into the nascent empire. Most likely it was approached by Empyrian diplomats who were fully aware how costly an aggressive strategy would be. The Guild's position in the Empire today was most likely part of these negotiations.

Essentially the Guild's role within Kaidalon was extendend across the entire Empire. Every practioner of magic is required to be a member in order to legally make use of their skills. Since the Guild is also in charge of Kaidalon's grand academy and all minor magic schools across the nation, most mages are naturally enrolled into the Guild as part of their education.

Aside from its administrative role, the Guild also offer the more traditional services of a guild. These include different forms of social support, all manner of minor services such as youth groups and cultural events and helps its members to find work. While many citizens believe that technology has replaced magicians in areas of life, they are still useful if not necessary in many professions that some people would not even expect. Medics of all sorts are well known to have to undergo training as magicians in addition to their medical studies, for healing magic and pharmaceutical alchemy are essential elements of the Empire's health system. However, mages can also be found in even less obvious positions. They are for example highly sought after as criminal investigators were their skills can help to find evidence beyond the physical. While alchemists are required to join the Magician's Guild, too, they are usually organised in their own local guilds and rarely interact with the administration in Kaidalon.

Regena
Regena is the largest and most wide spread private aid organisation in Assiah. It has been founded by Harlev Div D'aemon, the great-great-grandfather of its current leader Apep Div D'aemon. While its headquarters are in Ellyras, it has hundreds of care-stations all across the Empire.

The organisation is aimed towards the transformed. Besides therapies for transformees and demon victims who cannot mentally deal with their alterations or need to learn how to deal with their new bodies, there are also medical offices, residential establisments and hundres of caregivers helping those transformees that cannot take care of themselves anymore.

Harlev's greatest inspiration for Regena's creation was probably the old knightly order of the Ondorian Thorinters which also cared for transformed people like Regena today, from 730 until 2105. But the order wasn't able to keep active in the 22nd century due to financial problems and vanished.