The servants of the King’s palace unwittingly share a dark secret: a demon named Vermiscerax.
Each night at the Witching Hour (3 a.m.), the demon leaves one body and possesses another random one. The demon wishes nothing more than to experience earthly pleasures and so indulges its host’s vices, whatever they may be. So other than being more indulgent in their particular bad habits, there are two other signs that the individual is possessed:
- The person’s irises, when viewed in a mirror or other reflective surface, are bright, gleaming red.
- The person will exhibit an increased sense of piety. They will be seen, at least three times a day, passionately praying at an altar. However, those keen of eye will notice that there is always something “off” about the religious arrangements: a cross pendant will hang inverted, a few dead flies will lay on a host wafer or a bible will be opened to a page featuring one of the more bloody, violent passages. These are mostly subtle, requiring an inquisitive- and religious- eye to notice.
If confronted or threatened with exposure, Vermiscerax will utter a blasphemous word that will make a bright glowing rune appear in the air. All who witness it are wracked with spiritual and physical pain: they must make a Wisdom saving throw or take their total hit dice in damage and pass out for an hour (providing a chance for the demon’s host to escape).
The demon can be exorcised with the right rituals, but Desdemonia will not permit any harm coming to her staff. She will interfere and have any holy rituals interrupted and any participants apprehended and flung from the palace. She doesn’t believe in demons and can’t be convinced by any evidence.
Vermiscerax will always be able to possess another servant each midnight. The demon is intrinsically tied to the Grey Isles and cannot be banished permanently.