Our modern real-world Earth is the setting for stories centered around the interactions of “demons” and mortals (horror tales, thrillers, love stories, etc.)
The demons (who have been illustrated by the artist Eric Belisle; these illustrations inspired me to draft this concept) are shapeshifting creatures who can appear in a limited variety of human-like guises, their “own” shape, and various tentacled and/or manyclawed and manyjawed forms (that have different powers from each other, so that just like humans, individual demons differ in specific skills and powers). They call themselves the Araurra.
The Araurra we real-world humans see have been exiled from their own world, Araunt, because they are either (traditionally, in a trickle in the past) dangerous murderous criminals, or more often (in a great recent flood) because they were on the wrong side of a dynastic struggle.
Murder is the ultimate crime to Araurra, because the violent sudden death of each Araurra (shorn of the right rituals) releases the slain Araurra’s tiny share of the life-energy shared by the entire race—energy that’s not only lost forever, it “burns” part of Araunt as it dissipates, making that dying world less stable and hospitable. (Even if Araunt becomes a hell, it’s the only place they can be reborn if slain, and is therefore vital to them; when an Araurra is killed, its soul reappears in the home world, weak and usually immediately captured and enslaved by the nearest demon, servitude that lasts only a short time before the demon has regained enough strength to break free and resume its own life, which now includes a hatred of the demon that enslaved it, and a drive to “more than get even” when the opportunity comes.)
These exiled Araurra are desperate to find a way back home. They view our world as a vast storehouse ruled by primitive cattle (we humans) who are theirs to be used at will; our lives are like junk food to them, for the life-energy we contain is miniscule and coarse by their standards—yet can be stored by an Araurra who slays humans to get it, causing the Araurra nausea but building power in them so they may eventually, on an individual basis (literally “if they can stomach the discomfort”) gain enough energy to “burn through the barrier” between the worlds and get home. Some places (hidden gates) in our world are part of an ancient network built by an elder race that the Araurra don’t know or understand, and usually scorn —but these desperate exiles will use whatever they can. This network of gates allows travel between several worlds without any power being needed. A rare few of the gates reach the home world of the Araurra, but most of them go to forgotten elsewheres—so for most people, stepping through one is literally a trip into the unknown. Various Araurra watch over various gates, spying on or even capturing those who use them, in hopes of finding someone who knows which gates go where.
Find out more about Hellmaw!
We’ll release some more lore when we’re not busy editing awesome books! The best way to find out about Hellmaw, as always, is to enjoy the wonderful tales available at Onder Emporium.