A demon is an elemental spirit of chaos. They are under the dominion of the Bastard, and through them the Bastard can directly influence events in the world.
A demon who escapes into the world requires a host to lend it strength and intelligence. It will first enter a smaller animal such as a rat or ferret, and can do little damage. However, when the host dies, the demon jumps to the strongest soul in its vicinity, thus gradually increasing in power. When a demon enters a human being, they become a sorcerer.
The simplest way to return a small demon to the gods is to kill the host animal and force the demon to jump to a divine who is dying. The divine looks forward to meeting their god, and brings the demon along automatically. Stronger demons though require special treatment to banish: a saint who allows the Bastard to intervene and separate demon from host.
In so-called death magic, the Bastard sends a death demon to collect two souls: normally those of the asker and the target. However, in the case of Cazaril and Dondo dy Jironal, the Lady of Spring intervened. The demon and Dondo's soul were encapsulated within Cazaril's abdomen until he was later stabbed by Martou dy Jironal. The demon then escaped with Dondo and Martou's souls.
Umegat ponders to Cazaril on the question of whether the Bastard has many death demons or only one for all death magic used in the world.
Behind the scenesEdit
The author has discussed the nature of demons: "They are personifications or blobs of concentrated entropy, without which life, the universe, and everything could not exist."
- ↑ Lois McMaster Bujold, post to the Bujold mailing list, 12 May 2015, http://lists.herald.co.uk/pipermail/lois-bujold/2015-May/170335.html