The Demon Child

Now, don't quote me on the following, because I'm not sure. I'm going to try to find out, though, so if for whatever reason you really want to know, just hold on.

A long time ago, before the flood, God sent a group of angels to keep an eye on the growing human population. These angels were called Watchers, and they soon became infatuated with human women. They mated, but the children born to these unions were hideous and malign creatures. These creatures became the lesser demons of Hell.

Well, that's the story.

In the Cairn Hill universe, not all of these creatures were hideous, and not all descended to Hell. They continued to live among humans, and continued to mate with them. They were wiped out with the rest of humanity in the flood, but their seed had spread through most of the population by that time, including the wives of Noah's sons; and so it has passed through them into almost everyone, today.

Now, this isn't a "genetic disorder" in the scientific sense. It is inherited, but there is no "demon gene", or anything lame like that. It is a spiritual blemish, so to speak, and in the vast, vast majority of people, it is never active, and never noticed.

In Harold, however, it is certainly active, and will, eventually, certainly be noticed. Harold is a demon-child; it is in his blood, though it is very diluted.

This has a number of affects.

Demons, in popular conception, are rather crude: often they go about destroying things and eating people and such. In truth, demons are extremely sly, and crafty. They care little if anything for eating people and whatnot: it's souls they're after. Their main advantage, in fact, is knowledge. They often possess an uncanny ability to look into people's hearts, discover their sympathies, and manipulate them. Harold has inherited this, though to a lessened degree, and in a very peculiar way.

He can create a piece of art which, by its presentation to someone, can win them over to his way of thinking. The type of medium, subject, etc., are specific to the occasion and target. Harold is well aware of this talent, though unaware of its origins, and eagerly uses it whenever possible. Zosimus is also aware of this talent, has an inkling of its origins, and prevents it whenever possible; because of his intervention, no resident of the Hearthstone estate can ever fall under Harold's sway through this means. Other characters (particularly non-human characters) may be immune as well.

Though not a true demon, Harold has inherited the ability to impregnate a woman with demonseed, literally the semen of infernal beings. The child, while Harold's in name, is Satan's in body, mind, and spirit.

A demon-child is not born in the standard manner. The pregnancy is unnaturally long (about a year), during which the hapless mother-to-be swells up to quite a prodigious size. When the child is ready, it rips its way out of its mother's womb. If the mother is lucky, the child will have grown claws by this stage, which means death will be relatively quick, although still very painful and very messy. If the mother is unlucky, the child will have only its teeth with which to carve an egress from its native prison. This is, needless to say, an extremely horrible way to die.

Provided it is well fed, the child will grow quickly in size, power, and mental capacity, reaching maturity within a year. If his father is attentive and nurturing, in the peculiar manner in which demons like to be nurtured, the demon-child will be a powerful weapon until his truer, deeper father claims him for his own. If not, the child will be wilful and capricious, impossible to control, and as likely as not an impediment rather than an asset.

The degree to which Harold's dark heritage is responsible for his stunted moral growth is questionable. At any rate, it isn't an issue to be summarily dealt with; all I'll say here is that it's not completely responsible, but it's not completely irrelevant, either.

In-game effects:

Harold § Characters § Home

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