Thursday, December 18, 2014

City of Curses: The Demonwalk

"Imprisoned long each year, a hundred and one demons wait:
All children of Shraxes, they wait for the opening of that Gate;
To take the wicked, the unwanted and cruel-
And grant wishes to the worthy, their just due.
Beware those who walk in red, that night when they tread:
But have great cheer! For-
The Demonwalk but comes just once a year!"

The Demonwalk is an event set during a week of gift giving and cheer, wherein wishes are said to come true: the Wish Festival.  During the wish festival, worshippers of Shraxes the Caged One hide presents and gifts for those who've asked her for them.  They engage in acts of all sorts of charity, encouraging others to follow their example.  To them, each wish granted only helps to break their god's sorrow during her imprisonment.

The Demonwalk is an event the Church of Shraxes frowns upon.  The claim the practice ended centuries ago.  But each year during the Wish Festival, the Demonwalk still occurs.  Fanatics and dissident members of the Church of Shraxes still manage to carry it out year-to-year.

The Demonwalk involves figures dressed in red, often who stalk the streets of Crux during the week of the Wish Festival.  To Demonwalk, ancient demonic spirits are called into the summoner.  They Demonwalk to give those Demons freedom.  Their bodies become possessed by the demons they call.
Stories surround the Demonwalk.  Since most of the Demons are children or at least loyal to Shraxes herself, they are driven to find mortals.  They take the immoral or guilty and put them to work. They seem to delight in kidnapping children as well, forcing them to never sleep and just work, work, work.

For others, these Demons reward, making their newly caught slaves make toys or other gifts for those they call nice.  Often a hundred go missing each night because of the Demonwalk.  Figures in red drag them away while singing or whistling.

Demons of All Stripes
The possessing demon can vary wildly.   For sake of brevity, the Demonwalk calls demons that aren't just their traditional alignment.  Lawful and good demons are rarely part of it, but sometimes they too take part.

The stories about the Demonwalk claim that there are 101 demons that walk each year.  The number is consistent in the stories, although it makes many in Crux wonder about its veracity.  Ask the followers of Shraxes and they always agree on that note: on the night of Demonwalk, 101 demons walk in the bodies of mortals.