Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Demon Princes of Nightwick: Armadeus

Before I begin my discussion of the Great King of Hell known to mortals as Armadeus, it is important that I establish the nature of such creatures.  As creatures of the Law, Men feel the innate urge to categorize things.  As beings of chaos the demons of the Pit defy categorization.  However, it is part of Armadeus's trickery that he mimics the Law.  He is a divider, but his divisions are false.  He is a shepherd but he places wolves among the sheep.  He is a ruler but he walks unseen among his subjects.  His madness is subtle, but be wary of thinking one can understand him, for false understanding is his purview.  To know him is to be ruled by him.

It is said that Armadeus commands sixty-six legions of Demons commanded by the Twenty-two Dukes.  He sends these on great campaigns of lies and deceit in the World.  Their weapons are promises unfulfilled  and sorrow and ruin.  It is said that he was the first to silence of the Holy Thrum of God within men and spread the languages among them so they could no longer understand the true meaning of the law.  In the Realm of Man it is said he first divided the nations, but the clergy of Karse and the Iron Kingdoms resent this idea for obvious reasons.

It seems that the Emperor of Lies has difficulty manifesting in the World, which might explain his reliance on his lieutenants.  When he is summoned he appears as a shadowy figure in a great cloak wearing a great helm or crown of bronze.  His eyes appear as spots of light in a color that does not normally exist in the spectrum of colors created by light in the World.  Its closest Worldly equivalent is mauve.

His pacts are sealed with the taking of the supplicants eye.  Is crown and helmet are "studded" with these eyes and it is said that he can use them to see anything his supplicants can see.  Texts are divided on whether or not he replaces the eye, covers it with a patch of skin, or leaves only a festering hole that refuses to heal.

Unlike the Horned One who makes his cults among women and the downtrodden, the Master of Hate seeks out individuals of noble bearing and ambition.  He is particularly fond of seducing members of the Church, for he knows they all too often wish to wield the temporal sword more than the spiritual.  Princes too know his whispered promises and he offers them cups full of bile which turn them with spite against their own race.  This is not to say that he ignores paupers, for he knows that they can be turned to his purposes with the same lies and promises of power.  Armadeus knows that in Men's hearts are filled with envy for their fellow man.  He knows because he put it there.

When his supplicants organize themselves into cults they are known to wear hooded robes bearing the symbol of an shining eye.  Often this means that the eye is wreathed in flame, but more commonly it is depicted as being inside a pyramid of light, a hollow mockery of the tetraphim.

Armadeus's promises of power sometimes find their way into the ears of those who study the magical arts.  He is the Lord of Bone and Commander of the Damned, and those who follow him gain power over the corpses of the dead.  Or so they believe.  In truth no man can control the Restless Dead for long and those who are tricked into believing they can usually find themselves among their number.  Though necromancers may have a tenuous hold over the undead, Armadeus and his Dukes control them utterly.  Even among vampires, liches, and other seemingly intelligent forms of undead agency is an illusion.  They are the unliving avatars of his will. It may appear to Men that these creatures often scheme against each other, and this is true.  Armadeus may be a manipulator, but remember he is mad.  He is not the Law and his attempts at empire are undone by his own machinations in the same manner as those of his supplicants.

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