The order of the heavens is a known quantity. Established when the elder gods defeated the entropic chaos that threatened to destroy this nascent universe, the cycle has stood for as long as the stars have shined down upon us and, if dictated, will continue until those very stars burn out.
At the very bottom of the order, non-divine beings such as humans scurry about, living their short lives. They create but the barest blip upon the face of the universe and then they are gone, their energy dissipating until they are reborn to do so again.
Youkai, the least of the divine, walk among these lesser races, sometimes preying upon them, sometimes being preyed upon. They represent balance – order versus the chaos that forever threatens to return – sometimes serving their masters’ whims, sometimes serving their own. Many imagine themselves to be powerful, but then so, too, does a mouse alone in a field of grain until a wolf catches its scent.
The mazoku and oni stand above them in the celestial order, tasked with the upkeep of the heavens, the casting of judgment, and delivering boon and bane alike against mankind whenever such is needed – a flood to punish an arrogant warlord, a tornado as warning against insufficient tribute, a field of flowers for a pious child with an appreciation for beauty.
Strongest among demonkind are the daimao. We are the custodians of the multiverse, serving in the stead of the gods, who now slumber within the confines of the celestial palace, deep within the vast island in the sky upon which it rests.
The gods are cared for meticulously, so their rest remains undisturbed for all of eternity. It has been a necessity since the order of the heavens was established. Their power is such that even the barest of coughs from one is enough to snuff out an entire civilization. Whole worlds have perished from something as seemingly insignificant as an elder god doing little more than the equivalent of stretching their limbs.
It is said their dreams influence the palace, sending it to new worlds as their whims demand.
So it was that we came to Earth, hovering far above this world, yet always a moment out of sync so as to remain unseen. And here we have stayed, for over five thousand of its inhabitants’ years, sometimes interacting, sometimes influencing, but always watching ... eternally wondering why the elder gods have brought us here, what they see in this otherwise unremarkable world.
Though beneath our masters, my people often sleep alongside them. Our power makes us dangerous to lesser beings, such as mankind. My brothers have been known to wipe out cities for the most minor of slights and raze villages for little more than base amusement.
Though lesser demons are openly envious of our power, it is only because of their own ignorance. If they knew better, they would cease their petty jealousy, for we long ago grew bored with this world much as a child quickly tires of watching an anthill.
Those who have seen what we can do call us uncaring, but that is not so. Though we would not wish it known among lesser beings, we are susceptible to the same whims as they are: anger, envy, boredom, happiness, and even love.
It is that latter which caused me to stray from the path of my people, to betray their covenant, and protect my child.
But that very act also opened my eyes. For where once I thought the ability to shape worlds to be the ultimate power, I now know better. Indeed, I once thought the elder gods slept because, like us, they were bored. But I now believe that they do so out of that simplest of emotions – love. They love this universe but realize they also have the power to destroy it. As such, they have locked themselves away in a living death rather than betray that which they love.
It is a lesson I wish I had learned sooner. If so, perhaps I would not have allowed my curiosity to get the better of me. I would not have given in to the base desires that commanded me. And I would not have borne the child whose very existence came to threaten the eternal cycle of the heavens.