Demon Hunting 1: The License

By Manny Nepomuceno


At first glance, the Demon Hunter's License appears to be nothing more than a flat laminated piece of cardboard on which the hunter's name and contact information are printed -- although a number of these licenses have also been made up to look like official ID cards, and a few of them are also working ATM or credit cards. Hidden beneath the plastic laminate, however, is a single glyph in Angelic, visible only to celestials and high-Perception mortals: the mark of the demon hunter.

For the average mundane, participation in the War means serving angels in the field, fulfilling tasks as diverse as teaching a Seraph to work a VCR or backing up an enthusiastic Malakite of the Sword on his way to an infernal Tether. Some mortals are happy with this: they're on the side of right, and while they don't have the requisite number of Forces to take down a demon, what they do allows angels to do the bloody work.

Every so often, however, a mortal girds his loins for war against the forces of Hell. Such mortals don't have long life spans, but a select few survive long enough to remind demons that they are, after all, Symphonic trespassers. They don't necesarily fight for Heaven; some just want revenge on the Shedite who murdered their family.

The Demon Hunter's Program was started in the 1970s as a way of curbing War-related mortal deaths. While some Archangels, notably Michael and David, support mortals getting involved in the War, others such as Novalis find the number of humans dying on the front lines unacceptably high. The solution, of course, was to limit the number of humans out on the field, while making sure that those who are out there got all the support they needed. Bearers of the license are given shelter and support at any angelic Tether; in addition, they are kept up-to-date on the latest developments in the War, provided that they touch base with Heaven every so often.

The process of getting (or renewing) a Demon Hunter's License is quite simple, and involves passing three tests that can be administered at any Tether of War, Stone, or the Sword. None of the tests are designed to be easy -- fighting demons is, after all, hard work, and neither Michael nor Laurence like seeing mortals perish needlessly.

The first test is, by necessity, a fitness test, and requires that the applicant pass a physical exam, administered by a reputable doctor or medical facility. Following the physical, the applicant must then demonstrate his ability to fend for himself in battle. This does not necessarily mean the martial arts; it can also mean faculty with firearms or even explosives.

The second test is a written exam, which checks to see if the would-be hunter knows anything at all about the prey he's after. Applicants unable to name the seven major bands or to identify the major Princes are not granted their licenses; Heaven wants these mortals to stay alive for as long as possible, not rush foolishly into the unknown. Admittedly, it is this test which produces the most failures. To combat this, most would-be demon hunters are given special reviewers, cunningly disguised as role-playing game manuals.

The third test is the most difficult, and involves a full day's work with the first available Elohite, Malakite or Mercurian, who determines the candidate's emotional readiness to become a demon hunter. Rage or fear are understandable and acceptable motivations, but the true test of a demon hunter is his stability -- it would not do to have an accredited hunter go berserk in a crowd. Passing this final test grants the applicant his Demon Hunter's License and Heaven's nod to go forth and fight evil... at least, for the next four years.


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