In another time, when our world was still young, and magic still existed, when wizards and sorcery were still a reality. In that time the wizards of old had discovered this magical other world, discovered a way to view into it, to see its wonders. Its magic. Its creatures.
But the magik of the wizards, although powerful, could not penetrate the realm between so clearly, as if the magic could not completely align the two worlds, so the wizards viewed this other world as through a curtain of fog or mist, making this new world seemed almost ethereal. And so that’s what it came to be called.
The mystical world of Ethereal.
According to notes found in ancient tomes, Ethereal (e-the-re-al) was a young and wild world with little civilization other than the fantastic and mystical creatures that inhabited the land. Of all the mystical creatures in Ethereal, none garnered the attention of the wizards more than the little Demonites. Named such for their cute and michievous ways as much as their diminutive size, they varied greatly in height, shape, and form, but even the largest of them would barely reach a child's knee.
They were intelligent creatures that were fiercely loyal to their home tribes which ranged throughout the geographical regions of Ethereal. Each tribe had a similar structure, with a tribal leader, usually a more intelligent sort, a shaman or medicine man, a hero warrior, a wizard, and the remaining tribal members making up the remainder of the tribe. Highly territorial, the different Demonites and their tribes were constantly battling each other for stature and reputation, with the highest ranking tribes receiving annual tributes from the lower ranking tribes. The ancient tomes defined dozens of separate tribes, with hundreds of different Demonite species identified, ranging from the truly fierce looking Demonites of the Dark Forest, to the deceptively cute Mountain Pixie Demonites.
As the wizards watched fascinated from their own world, they noticed that the relationship between the separate tribes were more akin to competing rivals than hated enemies, and as such battles were more of a competition or contest of skills and abilities. A Demonite that defeated an opponent with skill and guile was rewarded with more acclaim than one that defeated an opponent with brute force. Battles were almost always non-lethal, as the little Demonites saw it as a tragedy when a loss of life occurred in battle, and gave penance to the grieved tribe as recompense.
The wizards were fascinated by the Demonites and found great sport in watching the crafty Demonites and would often gather together to watch and wager on the outcomes of the many battles. Much gold, and many a magical trinket was won or lost in the wagering, and it wasn’t long before the wizards found a way to increase the stakes even higher.
Using a large slab of darkstone, a rare magical stone of deepest black cut from the bowels of the earth, the wizards enchanted it with the magiks used to view into the world of Ethereal. This had the effect of grounding one end of the magik in our world, with the other end opening into Ethereal.
They had created a one-way portal between the worlds!
The wizards could now send weapons, armor, or magical items through the portal where an unsuspecting Demonite, or a favorite warrior could stumble upon and discover it. All the time watching eagerly to see the effect it made, what ripples were created by introducing that one magical item. As the outcomes of entire battles, or the entire power structure of Ethereal could be affected, the darkstone portal was closely guarded, as the wizards understood what could happen if it was ever misused.
With the portal, they could view and even send items into the world of Ethereal, but it was only in one direction, and one direction only…….. until they created the DemonStones.
DemonStones were created by forging the magical darkstone with adducite crystals, highly sought after crystals that had the remarkable ability to draw magical energy into itself and contain it indefinitely.
A wizard could then send a DemonStone through the portal, and when touched by any magical creature on Ethereal, the DemonStone would draw the creature into it, in the same manner of the genie and his bottle. The wizard could then magically pull the DemonStone back into this world with the Demonite safely inside. It was known that a DemonStone that actually held a Demonite would be warmer to the touch as it held the magical energies, and if you disturbed the stone and woke the Demonite, it was said you could just make out the Demonites eyes just beneath the surface. With a combination of a few spell phrases, the little Demonite could then be called from the stone, materializing with a stream of smoke, as it took shape into our reality. A little disorientating, but with no harm to the little Demonite, and he could stay out of the DemonStone for days before needing to go back in to regenerate his strength.
At first, only the most powerful of wizards held a DemonStone, for while the adducite crystals were commonly found, as wizards have been enchanting jewelry, wands, and staffs with the crystal for as long as magic existed, the darkstone was not as easy to obtain, and the forging and magiks required to actually create the stone took great skill. But it wasn’t long before even the simplest wizard held a DemonStone in his possession.
The more powerful and wealthy of the wizards would create specially designed environments in their castles that were specifically suited for the type of Demonite they held, for it was common for wizards to prefer specific types, or Demonites from certain tribes or geographic regions. As some wizards preferred the tough earth Demonites from the plains, others preferred the quick and nimble winged Demonites, with some even preferring the more exotic types such as water and flame Demonites. While possessing a Demonite gave any wizard a level of status and reputation, the main focus was to battle the Demonites in the arenas. Fame and fortune was to be had. Battles varied in format from one-on-one to arena style matches, with as many as a dozen different types of Demonites on the field battling to be the final victor. Most of the wizards had no wish to see the little creatures harmed, so when a Demonite was determined to be defeated in battle, the DemonStone was enchanted such that it would magically recall the little creature before fatal harm could befall him. It was to sighs of relief in the watching crowd when a razor sharp claw, or sword was quickly descending on a staggering and beaten Demonite, just to have the weapon slice through the smoke outline of the Demonite as he was recalled back into his stone.
It was noted in the tomes that cccasionally a rift or disagreement between wizards would be settled in the arena by battling their Demonites, and when this occurred between powerful wizards it would often entail each wizard placing several of his Demonites on the field in his own personal army, which made for exciting battles as skill and strategic collaboration was more important than force and power. As each Demonite has its own individual strengths and weaknesses in battle, if a wizard understood them and how they could support and enhance each other in battle, he could push the odds of winning in his favor.
Besides the winnings, statute and reputations were at stake, and a Demonite that was victorious in battle was treasured and garnished with attention and gifts. Even those that were not a huge success in the arenas were treasured. As the little creatures were intelligent, small, and very resouceful, it was common to send them on stealthy missions to “acquire” a certain item, or perform a specific task quietly. They even became their wizards familiars, and even friends, and it was not an uncommon site to see one perched on, or hovering above a wizards shoulder. The Demonites themselves grew attached to their wizards as it was often a mutual relationship, and it wasn’t uncommon for wizards to allow them to return to Ethereal for a time, where their reputation and status had evolved such the Demonites of Ethereal treated them as returning soldiers with much fanfare and celebration, as they told stories of their adventures.
The ancient tomes had little beyond this information with the exception of a few early drawings, one of which was a little Demonite looking like a tiny troll, complete with leather jerkin and club. The drawing had him smashing the club down on some poor hapless fellows big toe. Another drawing depicted a squirrel shaped Demonite standing on the shoulders of a wizard, holding on to the wizards ear with one tiny hand, and with the other fiercely brandishing a shiny sword. It too was dressed in leathers, with a tiny ornate silver and leather belt.
But as time waned on, and magic was lost from our world, the portal, it’s magiks, and the little Demonites were lost to us forever.
Or so we thought…..