Metamorphosis: From Dretch to Demon Lord - Ascension Released!


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BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Another taste of book II

Hi all, I thought I would give you all another little preview of book 2. This time its a piece of art from Erik Nowak, who also did a lot fof the art in book 1. This illustration shows the final resting place of Pyrak. :]

Pyrak.jpg


That's really just the tip of the iceburg for art. Some of the stuff Hunter and Erik are producing for book II is simply breathtaking.

Well, back to writing. I'm halfway done with book III, and I'm still trying to decide which major character to kill off next. Kidding...maybe. :]

BD
 


BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Daemon preview

Hey all, here's another little preview of the second book. This one's a bit meatier, however.

Since daemons are a major part of books two and three, I've had to get a bit creative since yugo..I mean daemons are not OGL. =] So, Ive created a number of daemonic races from whole cloth, and statted them up as brand new monsters. Book one features the bat-like azodaemons, and book two will feature the furtive cryptodaemons and sorcerous cacodaemons. There's even more new daemons for book three.

So, anyway, here a sneak peak at the cryptodaemon. Below is the full write-up for this new fiend. I've only given this one a quick proofreading (it hasn't been through the editor yet), so please forgive any errors you might find.


BD

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Like a strange insectoid centaur, this creature combines a chitinous lower abdomen with a vaguely anthropomorphic upper body. Four multi-jointed arms jut from the segmented torso, each ending in a prehensile claw, and six spindly legs support the beetle-like lower body. The beast’s head vaguely resembles that of a praying mantis, although its mandibles are much longer, serrated, and drip a foul green fluid. A merciless intelligence gleams in each massive, multifaceted eye, and the creature has a decidedly fiendish cast.

Cryptodaemon CR 5
Always NE Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft; Listen +9, Spot +9
Languages Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 100 ft.
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AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 18; uncanny dodge
(+4 Dex, +2 natural, +2 armor)
hp 22 (4 HD); DR 5/good
Immune poison
Resist cold 10, fire 10, electricity 10; SR 13
Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +6
_________________________________________________________
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 20 ft.
Melee cold iron short sword +6 (1d6+1/19-20) and 3 cold iron short swords +6 (1d6/19-20) and bite +3 (1d4 plus poison)
Ranged masterwork light crossbow +9 (1d8/19-20)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +4; Grp +5
Attack Actions expert flanker, sneak attack +2d6
Special Actions hide in plain sight, poison, summon daemon
Combat Gear potion of cat’s grace, potion of sneak
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th)
3/day – invisibility, silence (DC 14)
1/day – greater magic weapon
_________________________________________________________
Abilities Str 13, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 14
SQ daemon traits
Feats Improved Initiative, Multi-Weapon FightingB, Weapon Finesse
Skills Balance +6, Bluff +9, Climb +16, Diplomacy +4, Disguise +2 (+4 acting), Jump +10, Intimidate +4, Hide +15, Listen +9, Move Silently +15, Search +8, Spot +9, Survival +2 (+4 following tracks), Tumble +13
Possessions combat gear plus 4 cold iron short swords, masterwork leather armor, masterwork light crossbow, 20 bolts
Advancement 5-8 (Medium); 9-12 (Large)
_________________________________________________________
Expert Flanker (Ex): Cryptodaemons are quite adept at attacking foes from surprise or from behind. When flanking, a cryptodaemon gains a +3 to hit, and any weapon or natural attack it uses while flanking is considered to have the keen weapon special ability, doubling its critical threat range.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): A cryptodaemon can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as it is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, the daemon can hide itself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 13, initial damage 1d4 Dex, secondary damage 1d4 Dex. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Sneak Attack (Ex): A cryptodaemon can make a sneak attack like a rogue, dealing an extra 2d6 points of damage whenever a foe is denied his or her Dexterity bonus, or when the cryptodaemon is flanking.
Summon Daemon (Sp): Once per day, a cryptodaemon can attempt to summon another cryptodaemon with a 30% chance of success. This is the equivalent of a 2nd-level spell.
Skills: Cryptodaemons have a +4 racial bonus to Hide and Move Silently checks. A cryptodaemon has a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

Cryptodaemons are minor fiends native to the planes of Gehenna and Hades. They often act as scouts and spies in the service of more powerful fiends, or in the eternal conflict between the Abyss and the Nine Hells.

Strategies and Tactics

Cryptodaemons always operate in groups of three or more, using group tactics such as flanking and even grappling to neutralize opponents. They are most often employed as spies and assassins, and most cryptodaemons will avoid a pitched battle if it endangers their mission.

Furtive and underhanded, cryptodaemons prefer to attack with the element of surprise. A cryptodaemon typically opens combat from the safety of an invisibility spell, hoping to catch an opponent unaware. Groups of cryptodaemons flank their foes, making excellent use of their five attacks augmented with sneak attack damage. Against tougher foes, a cryptodaemon uses greater magic weapon to improve its chances of hitting a target, and bite attacks to weaken and erode an enemy’s combat effectiveness.

Moat cryptodaemons carry light crossbows or shortbows in addition to their short swords, and do not hesitate to pepper an enemy with missile fire if the opportunity arises.


Sample Encounter

Cryptodaemons are often encountered in groups of between 3 and 6 individuals. These small squads are employed on assassination missions, especially against weaker mortals that have angered more powerful daemons. Additionally, cryptodaemon squads serve as mercenary scouts and spies in both the Infernal and Abyssal armies.
Cryptodaemon Assassination Squad (EL 8): This assassination squad consists of four cryptodaemons, each well versed in the tactics of ambush and murder. This squad has worked together before and is familiar enough with one another’s tactics that they can operate easily as a single, cohesive enemy.

Ecology

Cryptodaemons are one of the older races of daemon-kind, and are one of the most commonly encountered away from the lower planes. Neutral evil petitioners that have served the cause of true evil in life are sometimes made into cryptodaemons as a reward for their service.

Unlike many daemons, which must be created from the soul stuff of mortal petitioners, cryptodaemons can reproduce naturally. Each cryptodaemon is asexual and once every 7 years can lay a clutch of up to a dozen small, leathery eggs. These eggs are guarded closely by the parent cryptodaemon until they hatch, at which point the newly birthed daemons are left to fend for themselves. The ability to reproduce in this manner allows for huge numbers of the lesser fiends, and they can be found in massive hordes upon the planes of Gehenna and Hades.
Environment: Cryptodaemons are native to both Gehenna and Hades, and like most daemons, can also be found in the Nine Hells and the Abyss serving as mercenaries in the eternal conflict between demon and devil. In addition, cryptodaemons are often sent to the Prime Material Plane to deal with mortals that have offended powerful daemon lords.
Physical Characteristics: An average cryptodaemon stands a bit over 5 feet in height and is roughly 7 feet long. It is light for its size, and weighs just over 100 pounds. Cryptodaemons are a mottled green in color, with black claws and mandibles.

Society

Cryptodaemons are very social daemons and get along well with one another. They share a limited group mind, which allows for instant communication between individuals, and makes them more effective in combat. Cryptodaemons value stealth over brawn, and their leaders are typically individuals with rogue and/or assassin levels.

The most important aspect of cryptodaemon life is the ghoroka, the small squad that every cryptodaemon seeks to be a part of. Each ghoroka consists of between 3 and 6 members, and each focuses on a certain task, usually scouting or assassination. The ghoroka is led by the most skilled member of the group, usually an advanced cryptodaemon or one with rogue or assassin levels.

Cryptodaemons measure their status and worth by the ghoroka they belong to, and there is no greater shame in cryptodaemon society than to be cast out of one’s ghoroka. Individual cryptodaemons will quickly go mad and become suicidal if they are unable to join another ghoroka within a few weeks.

Typical Treasure

Cryptodaemons value magical items that enhance stealth or agility, and most of their individual items will be potions of sneak and cat’s grace, or occasionally, a minor magical item, such as a cloak of elvenkind. Cryptodaemons have standard treasure for the CR, or about 1,200 gp.

For Player Characters

A cryptodaemon can be summoned with a summon monster V or a higher level summon monster spell. Spellcasters summoning cryptodaemons typically cast summon monster VI or summon monster VII to gain two or more of the lesser fiends, as they are more effective in small groups. Treat a cryptodaemon as if it were on the 5th-level list of the Summon Monster table in the PHB.

Cryptodaemons with Class Levels

A cryptodaemon’s favored class is rogue, and more powerful individuals will often take levels in assassin as well. Cryptodaemons occasionally become clerics of whatever daemon lord they serve, strengthening their ghoroka with divine magic. A cryptodaemon cleric has access to the death, darkness, and evil domains.
Spell Resistance: A cryptodaemon has spell resistance equal to 13 + 1 per class level.
Level Adjustment: +4
 
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BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Hey guys,

I just wanted to point out that the deluxe version of the first book, the one with all the stats, art, and extras, is on sale (along with everything else) for 1.99. So, if you were wondering about all the stats and backgrounds for all the characters, but didn't want to shell out the 12.99 for the deluxe book, this is great opportunity for you. I think the 1.99 is well worth the 40 extra pages of material, plus all the art, even if you already own the novel version.

So check it out: Death of a Demon Lord: Deluxe Version

BD
 

Graywolf-ELM

Explorer
BLACKDIRGE said:
Hey guys,

I just wanted to point out that the deluxe version of the first book, the one with all the stats, art, and extras, is on sale (along with everything else) for 1.99. So, if you were wondering about all the stats and backgrounds for all the characters, but didn't want to shell out the 12.99 for the deluxe book, this is great opportunity for you. I think the 1.99 is well worth the 40 extra pages of material, plus all the art, even if you already own the novel version.

So check it out: Death of a Demon Lord: Deluxe Version

BD

Ordered, just need to download it. Thanks, um, you have a lot more stuff out, than I knew about. is there a mailing list or something?

GW
 

BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Graywolf-ELM said:
Ordered, just need to download it. Thanks, um, you have a lot more stuff out, than I knew about. is there a mailing list or something?

GW

Yeah, I've been sending out release announcements and coupons. I'm sorry, I assumed you were on the list. Do you have the "no vendor mail" option checked at RPGNOW? That's how I compile my mailing list, from past customers. Just shoot me an email and I'll add you.

BD
 



BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
The waiting is the hardest part.

Well, I'm in the home stretch of book three. Got about four chapters left to write that will deal with the culmination of the entire story. There'a couple of surprises in the last book that I hope no one will see coming. :)

The thing that kind of sucks now is when I write a chapter I'm satisifed with, I have the overwhelming urge to run out here and post it. I find myself craving that lovely, instant validation that only a message board story hour can provide. I'm just gonna have to start another one once I'm done with Metamorphosis and the upcoming Grummok project. :D

However, I've been given pretty much free reign to post previews of the upcoming books, so with that in mind, what would you guys like to see? More monsters, more art, sample chapters? Let me know, and I'll try my best to accomdate.

Also, I want to point all of you to a thread I started called: Pimp a *New* story hour. Basically, the idea here is to give some props to some of the new or underrated authors here. So if you're reading a newer story hour you like, go out to the this thread and reccomend it, then go and give that stroy hour an "attaboy" bump.

BD
 

Sheyd

First Post
Heya Blackdirge, love to get your book but alas neither Drivethru nor paypal like my prepaid credit card, Musta screwed up something when I loaded it, oh well, hopefully I can figure out a way to get it. I loved the Story Hour and really want to see the conclusion.
 

BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Almost done!

I'm working on the final chapter of book 3, and it's gonna be one wild, gigantic, bitch of a chapter. Imagine the Battle of Pelennor Fields (Return of the King) with daemons vs. demons, instead of orcs vs. humans. ;)

BD
 

BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Big Nasty Preview!

Hi all, book three is done. So, I thought I would give you guys a sneak peak at one of the big bads that will be menacing Hazergal and co. Those of you who are familiar with my old suped-up monster thread might note some similarities between this thing and another super powerful monster i did. ;)

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This mountain of scaly horror stands fifty feet tall, and its head is a nightmarish lump that is all toothy maw and great, lantern-like eyes. Its arms are long, multi-jointed, and tipped with massive three-fingered claws, easily capable of scooping up a giant with little effort. As it moves toward you, its shape wavers, and just for an instant you see something writhe and pulsate beneath its skin, something too horrible to even contemplate.


Abu Hol “The Beast” (CR 60)
NE Colossal Outsider (Abomination, Evil, Extraplanar)
Init +14; Senses blindsight 500 ft., darkvision 500 ft, true seeing; Listen +112, Spot +112
Language Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal, telepathy 1,000 ft.
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AC 82, touch 12, flat-footed 72; Dodge
(-8 size, +10 Dex, +70 natural)
hp 2,900 (100 HD), regeneration 40; DR 30/epic
Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, disease, electricity, energy drain, fire, mind-affecting effects, petrification, poison, polymorphing
Resist cold 20, sonic 20; SR 75
Fort +78, Ref +68, Will +65
Weakness Sigil of Naggath-Orguul
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Speed 60 ft. (12 squares), climb 30 ft.
Melee Bite +141 melee (16d6+30/15–20/x3) and 2 horns +141 melee (8d8+15) and 2 claws +141 melee (8d8+15) and tail slap +141 melee (8d6+15) or
Melee 25 tentacle rakes +141 (3d8+30)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 20 ft. (40 ft. with tentacles)
Base Atk +100; Grp +146
Attack Actions Awesome Blow, Cleave, Combat Expertise, Dire Charge, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Power Attack, augmented critical, frightful presence, improved grab, rotting constriction, swallow whole
Special Actions horrid form
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 60th)
At will – blur, dimension door, shield, unhallow
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Abilities Str 70, Dex 31, Con 50, Int 25, Wis 24, Cha 27
SQ abomination traits, constant insight, nondetection
Feats Alertness, Awesome Blow, Blind Fight, Cleave, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Cleave, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (bite), Improve Initiative, Improved Multiattack, Improved Natural Attack (tentacle rake), Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Power Attack
Epic Feats Devastating Critical (bite), Dire Charge, Epic Fortitude, Epic Reflexes, Epic Toughness (5), Epic Will, Improved Combat Reflexes, Overwhelming Critical (bite)
Skills Bluff +111, Climb +141, Concentration +123, Diplomacy +115, Disguise +8 (+10 acting), Hide +97, Intimidate +113, Knowledge (arcana) +110, Knowledge (the planes) +110, Listen +112, Move Silently +113, Search +110, Sense Motive +110, Spellcraft +112, Spot +112, Survival +7 (+9 following tracks, +9 on other planes), Swim +133
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Augmented Critical (Ex): Abu Hol’s bite threatens a critical hit on a natural attack roll of 18–20, dealing triple damage on a successful critical hit. This has been further enhanced by the Improved Critical feat.
Constant Insight (Su): Abu Hol makes all its attacks with a +15 insight bonus. It is not affected by the miss chance that applies to attacks against a concealed target.
Frightful Presence (Su): Abu Hol can inspire terror by charging or attacking. Affected creatures must succeed on a DC 68 Will save or become shaken, remaining in that condition as long as they remain with 60 feet of the abomination.
Horrid Form (Su): At will, Abu Hol can take the form of a grotesque, tentacled mass, but all its abilities remain unchanged despite the alien appearance. Changing shape is a standard action. Non-outsiders viewing this transformation and Abu Hol’s true form must make a DC 68 Will save or be permanently feebleminded. Nothing short of a wish, miracle, or direct divine intervention can restore a stricken creature to sanity.
Improved Grab (Ex): If Abu Hol hits an opponent smaller than it with a tentacle or bite attack it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can either use rotting constriction (with a tentacle) or try to swallow the foe the following round (with a bite).
Nondetection (Su): Abu Hol resists detection, and is treated as if affected by a nondetection spell (CL 60th).
Regeneration (Ex): No form of attack deals lethal damage to Abu Hol, and it cannot be truly slain by any force known to this reality. However, Abu Hol can be severely weakened by the sigil of Naggath-Orguul, a powerful and obscure spell that summons forth a mighty flaming sigil in the shape of a five-pointed star surrounding a flaming eye. In the presence of the sigil Abu Hol cannot regenerate, loses its spell resistance and damage reduction, and when it is reduced to 0 hit points (no small task in itself) it is banished back to its tomb in Hades.
Rotting Constriction (Ex): Once Abu Hol has hold of an opponent, each successful grapple check it makes during subsequent rounds permanently drains 2d4 points of Constitution. At the same time, Abu Hol regains 10 lost hit points.
Swallow Whole (Ex): Abu Hol can try to swallow a grabbed opponent of Huge or smaller size by making a successful grapple check. Once inside, the opponent must make a DC 80 Fortitude saving throw every round or be destroyed, utterly and irrevocably by the terrible energies contained with the horrid abomination. Creatures destroyed in this manner ore truly gone, and cannot be brought back to life by any means, at least any known to this reality.

A swallowed creature can cut its way out by dealing 100 points of damage to Abu Hol’s innards (AC 45). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

Abu Hol’s gullet can hold 2 Huge, 8 Large, 32 Medium, 128 Small, or 512 Tiny or smaller creatures. However, since victims are often utterly consumed, there is no limit to the amount of creatures Abu Hol can devour.

Abu Hol is a remnant from a time when true madness and chaos ruled the multiverse. It is one of the lesser scions of a race of eldritch fiends that left this multiverse for the realms of outer darkness long ago. It now slumbers in a forgotten tomb on the plane of Hades, awakening only at the whim of powerful daemon lords who know the proper spells and rituals to control it.

Background

In the beginning, the multiverse was a seething void of chaos, a hostile, yet fertile, firmament whereupon anything might take root and germinate. As the reality we now began to take shape, layering itself into the first primal planes of existence, what is now called Hades, and its direct opposite, Elysium, it attracted the attention of vast and alien minds from outside our reality.

These eldritch beings seeped down from ineffable realms of madness and claimed the barren, gloom-haunted wastes of Hades as their own. For eons untold these colossal entities ruled the multiverse uncontested, warring with one another on occasion for reasons mortal minds can only guess at. There is not written history of this primordial era, but later daemonic historians, especially the enigmatic Naggath-Orguul, describe a great cataclysm that drove these ancient beings back into the outer dark. Naggath-Orguul believed that this cataclysm was simply the further spread of the multiverse and the rise of other sentient creatures. As this reality took shape and grew, the elder fiends were forced to withdraw, as the bizarre, alien matter they were composed of became unstable in the growing wake of order, light, and reason.

Eventually, the elder fiends departed our reality en masse, leaving only those few that had become tainted by our reality, and therefore unable to leave. The race of daemons that inherited Hades learned where these few abandoned abomination slept, and found that they could harness their power. It was Naggath-Orguul, the one time advisor to Yaghur Hod, who discovered the secret of controlling these ancient beings, and it was he that designed the sigil that could bind them and render them tractable to the will of another.

Unfortunately, Naggath-Orguul was devoured by one of the slumbering entities, the thing that is now known as Abu Hol, or simply “The Beast,” when he attempted to awaken it However, his master, the powerful Yaghur Hod, perfected his servant’s method, and managed to yoke Abu Hol to his will. He used the great beast to assault Elysium, and later awakened it again when he sought to conquer the Abyss.

Although a lesser member of his terrible race, Abu Hol still ranks among the most powerful entities in the multiverse. So powerful is the slumbering behemoth that it has influenced the minds of mortals for thousands of years, as its terrible dreams of hunger and madness echo through the ether to reach certain receptive minds on the Prime Material Plane. This has allowed cults devoted to the ancient fiend to spring up in a number of cultures; however, those that choose to worship Abu Hol receive no benefit from it, as the Beast cannot grant spells. It was one of these horrid cults that gave the creature the name it is most often called by, Abu Hol, or the Father of Terror.

There are rumors that Abu Hol was awakened between Yaghur Hod’s assault on Elysium and his recent freedom of the Guardinal’s prison. A number of minor deities are reported to have been slain and devoured by a terrible beast fitting Abu Hol’s description, and the terrible monster known as the tarrasque is purported to be a lesser offspring of the mighty fiend. The truth of these rumors is, however, in question, although there is enough circumstantial evidence to lend them some credence.

Strategies and Tactics

Only madness and death awaits anyone unfortunate enough to actually face Abu Hol in direct combat. There is nothing short of a greater god that can check The Beast’s power, and it is truly immortal, proof against all threats this reality has to offer. Only the sigil of Naggath-Orguul can strip Abu Hol of a portion of its power, rendering it vulnerable to banishment back to Hades.

In its material from, that of the great, reptilian monstrosity, Abu Hol begins combat by charging and attempting to bite and swallow as many creatures as possible. If an opponent is simply too large to swallow, the elder fiend will dismember it asunder with tooth and claw for easier devouring. When forced into its true form, a vast tentacular mass that is utterly horrifying to look upon, Abu Hol will snatch up enemies with its tentacles and then drain them of vitality with its rotting constriction ability.

Abu Hol has no use of complex tactics, and will simply attack relentlessly until its opponent is dead and devoured, or it is banished. Only the appearance of the sigil of Naggath-Orguul forces it to pay any attention to a particular target, as it attempts to quickly destroy any creature casting the long and complicated spell.

Sigil of Naggath-Orguul
Necromancy
Level: Clr 9, Sor/Wiz 9
Components: V, S
Cost: 1d8 damage to all ability scores
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: 0 ft.; see text
Effect: One symbol
Duration: One minute/level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This powerful spell summons forth a great blazing symbol in the shape of a five-pointed star surrounding a flaming eye. It can be nearly any size the caster wishes (from 5 to 50 feet in diameter) and hovers in front of him at a distance of 5 feet. The symbol affects only creatures with the abomination subtype, rendering them easier to damage and defeat. Any abomination within long range (400 ft. + 40 ft./caster level) that can see the sigil is affected by its power, and loses all spell resistance and damage reduction, and cannot regenerate or use fast healing.

Sigil of Naggath-Orguul is an exceedingly difficult and dangerous spell to cast. Upon completion of the spell, the caster suffers 1d8 points of ability damage to all ability scores. In addition, if the spell is interrupted during casting for any reason, the caster must make a DC 25 Fortitude save or suffer 2d8 points of ability damage to all ability scores.
 


BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Quartz said:
Nicely nasty! So when do we get to see Hol himself? :)

Thanks. Abu Hol appears in book three. Book two should be released soon, but I'll have to check with Morrus for an exact date.

But fear not, you guys have around 150,000 words of demony goodness to go through in the next two books. If that were broken down into story hour terms, it would be like 50 updates.

I'm now completely done with the writing, and as much as I love this story, I think I have had enough of demons, devils, and daemons for awhile. I'm really looking forward to moving on to my next big writing project. ;)

BD
 



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