Ibnesti - Demon Goddess of Honor
Demons came from across the realm to compete for the position of Goddess of Demons. The competition was fierce and bloody. Those who lost did not often walk from the field. After four months of battles and competitions, there were two left. They were both warriors. One lithe and quick, his twin blades were coated in his own blood, poisonous even to other demons. He was called Legravam. The other bore black armor nape to foot, wielding a massive sword against her foe. The strength of Ibnesti was legendary. For the final battle, each was given a handicap. Their strongest feature was hobbled; his feet had weights tied to them, her arms were bound tight allowing only the weakest of blows. Their fight raged for hours. He found himself too slow to dodge properly, but she could not leverage the strength to finish him quickly when she found purchase. Finally the Legravam gained an advantage! Rolling behind his opponent, he lunged for her back. She just barely moved forward enough to avoid the lethal blow, but the blade did find its target… in her bindings. Suddenly her arms were free as she whirled to face him once more. She stretched her muscles ostentatiously, after having been bound for so long. And yet rather than swing, she placed her arms back at her side where they had been when bound and continued as before. The crowd gasped. They had never seen such a display. Even the Legravam seemed shocked. They continued to fight for a bit longer before the armored warrior made a mistake. She overcommitted her blow and stumbled too far when it missed. It would have made no difference had Legravam not had enough. While she stumbled, he used his blades to cut the weights from his ankles. With all of his speed available to him, he quickly pounced on Ibnesti. With her arms still at her side, she could no longer hold back his attack. At last, she had no choice but to yield. Legravam would have finished her then, but all present heard a presence commanding them to stop.
When the demons looked, it was Morax walking toward the two combatants on the field.
“Goddess, I have failed, let me die properly. Fight with Legravam for your power.”
“Stupid demons, neither of you will take my place. I only allowed this competition because it killed so many who might have tried to rival me.”
The demons looked at each other nervously… none had truly though about what would happen when they actually challenged Morax.
“Now, you had the advantage but you did not press it. You hobbled yourself? Why? That was stupid.”
Legravam looked about to say something, but Morax’s withering stare kept him quiet.
“Goddess… I swore to the rules of this battle. To perform otherwise would be to dishonor myself.”
“Honor? What do you care for honor, demon? The dead have no honor.”
“You are wrong. Only in life can your actions lose you honor. In death, no one can take it from you.”
“And what if I told you that your power comes only by giving oath never to betray me?”
“I am willing to give that oath.”
“… then you, I can use.”
Ibnesti was a rarity among demons. Not in that she lived by a code of honor, but in that she held the ideal of that honor above other pursuits. For her, her honor was not a guideline to be bent when outweighed by personal gain. The story’s imply that Morax saw in her a vassal whom she could trust, and raised her to godhood. She gave an oath never to betray Morax and to obey her in all things.
Though Ibnesti lived by a code, it should not be mistaken that her reign was good. Those territories and battles which saw her direct intervention were storied for her cruelty and tyranny. But if she made a deal with you… then her word was a good as any contract. For many centuries, when a demon wished to make a strong oath, they would make it in Ibnesti’s name. She was certainly known to punish those who took such an oath in vain. Ibnesti was an implacable foe and a brilliant tactician. She could be as devious as the lowest demon, but never to the point of breaking her code.
Ibnesti’s requirements were strict for those who would gain her favor. Least of all was to adhere to her code. Sacrifices of gold and wealth were called for. Great feats of strength or conquest were called for to gain her boons. Yet even through all of that, her worshippers grew legion. The Demon Lord Deceipt even went so far as to outlaw her worship in their territory (Too many demons had no skill for adhering to an honorable code whilst still being devious). It was even rumored that spread of her worship had moved to the mortal realm, with worshippers among many of the mortal races. Some tales even claimed adherents among the Death Knights.
It came as a shock to all of them when Ibnesti was murdered. The exact details of her death are sketchy. Some say she was given up as a sacrifice by Morax to sate a power-hungry rival in Legravam. Others say that Legravam tricked her into an unwinnable situation. Given the legacy of the God of Treachery, it is probably a convoluted mixture of the two; intrigue and betrayal being his most trusted tools. Regardless, Ibnesti’s passing was felt in all of her highest lieutenants, and today those who held her power that still live say only the barest lingering trace remains. The effects of a god’s death can take centuries to run their course.
Today, not all of Ibnesti’s code remains in memory. Even those who once followed her remember those tenants that suit them best. From them we can piece together some of the code.
1) Be better than your opponent.
2) If you cannot best your opponent within the confines of their system, then you are not better than your opponent.
3) An Oath is a confinement you take upon yourself.
4) If your opponent goes outside of the confines of the system, best them within the confines of the system. When they are beaten is the time for your vengeance.
5) A system with no confines is no system.
6) There is no mercy for those with no honor.
There are doubtless more rules and clarifications, but these are all that remain today.