Powerful, enigmatic beings hold sway over Kesh. The immortal daemon princes, or Injau in the abyssal tongue, eternally bicker over control of the archipelago. There are one hundred daemon princes, each is a spawn of Kelek and inheritor of his deceitful ways.
Each daemon prince claims a magical beast as its sigil, usually one native to its territory or representative of its powers.
A common Keshian fable.
At the height of its golden age, Kesh was a nation comprised of the eponymous archipelago, including what is now known as the Dream Kingdoms, and much of the coastal mainland. Its banners soared on a thousand towers, its ships ruled the turquoise seas and the deeds of its citizens echoed in every hall.
The Keshians were blessed by the gods, but one among the gods sowed chaos with his seed. Kelek, god of illusions, tricked Sepsiya into drinking a magical sleeping draught. With her charge unguarded, by force or guile Kelek made his way into the beds of one hundred women of the isles and bestowed upon each an ill-omened child. The Fates forbid the union of god and mortal, but Kelek’s deception would promise each half-breed a life.
Each woman gave birth, at the cost of her life, to an abomination; a daemon. Half mortal, half god, the misshapen creatures quickly grew in power and hungered for more. No mortal blade nor arrow could pierce their hide, yet by divine law the gods could not smite them without further angering the Fates. Kesh quickly fell to war as the daemons rallied armies and struggled for control.
To prevent its ruin, the true gods convened. All save Kelek voted to confine the daemons within stone, a vast cavern beneath the earth where they might eternally slumber. The gods moved swiftly and, the daemons sealed away, Kesh returned to peace.
However, Kelek was not yet done meddling in the affairs of gods and mortals. Sepsiya cursed the mischievous god to never again father children. His only offspring were now entombed. He was furious!
Kelek stole upon the nursery of the high priestess of Oyun in the night and cast upon her newborn son a pallor of death. The high priestess, thinking her son dead, raised a haunting dirge to the rising sun, begging Qayit to return him to life. Qayit did not answer, he could not for the child was not yet his dominion, but so beautiful and moving was her song that Qayit weeped. Olum, who could not stand to see the high priestess needlessly suffer for death’s seeming, removed the enchantment from the babe.
Qayit’s tears, carefully captured by Kelek, would help restore the stony flesh of his daemon children, but what is settled among gods may only be unsettled by mortals. With the promise of treasure he lured the bravest into the depths of the earth until, through trials of cunning and strength and fire, one endured. Among the still grotesqueries locked away by the gods the survivor moved, placing a single tear on each statue’s brow, until life returned to all one hundred of Kelek’s misbegotten children. Realizing the error of his deeds, the mortal drank the rest of Qayit’s tears and, overwhelmed by unspeakable sorrow, passed from the world.
The daemons returned and the gods were powerless to stop them. In fear for their worshipers and unable to risk open conflict with the daemons, the gods struck a deal: rule justly and the gods would withdraw. For the folly of Kelek’s deception, the Fates lifted the prohibition on the union of gods and mortals, but ensured that any child born of such would never attain the heights of power enjoyed by the daemons.