Katherine Wynter

author of distinctive literary fiction and fantasy

Fourth-order Demons and their Roots in Mythology

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Each order of demon has its own unique characteristics, but it’s important to remember that while we classify them into orders, they don’t follow the same hierarchy themselves. Still, the classifications are useful in training future generations of Keepers. Understanding how best to defeat these monsters is vital in order to ensure the survival of the human species.

Entirely animal in form, fourth-order demons still possess a great level of cunning. Most fourth order demons manifest in this world as animals with multiples of some extremity. The extra arms, heads, or other appendages grant greater strength or intelligence depending on sub-species. Common third-order demons include the Cerberus, Hydra, and Orthrus.

CERBERUS – The demon known as Cerberus most often appears as a three-headed, giant hound with jaws capable of biting a human leg in two. Although often depicted as having a mane of snakes and a serpent’s tail, the first recorded creature of this form was part of the legend which revolved around the legendary Hunter Heracles and his personal quest to rid the world of demons.

Note for Keepers: Demons of this or similar forms (hounds with multiple heads) are some of the fiercest we have on record. Ware the jaws! Successful hunts have waited until the demon was feeding on someone or something else until distracted to the point that the Hunter could sneak in for the kill.

HYDRA– While representations in popular story and legend differ on some points, most accounts agree that the hydra is a seven headed, land- and water-dwelling, serpent-like creature. Some represent it as having wings. Others make the creature look more dragon than demon. A hydra hasn’t been seen in the Western world in centuries, but there’s no doubt of it’s existence.

Note for Keepers: To successfully kill a hydra, all seven heads must be severed from the main body. Blinding, cutting, or burning aren’t sufficient. Be careful! While attacking one head, one of the other six might try to attack. This creature is best approached as by a team.

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An accomplished master of her craft, Katherine Wynter builds fantasy worlds peopled with believable characters and complex cultures. Her original, dark works are captivating. Think you've read all there is to read about monsters and demons? Think again. Wynter deftly walks the razor's edge between fact and fiction to produce fantastic works that are riveting, compelling, and, above all, believable.

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