|Feast of Devils|
Akuma no Utage
Various Devil Slayers
Feast of Devils (悪魔の讌, Akuma no Utage) is a heinous and vile ritual that's said to defile the very meaning of utilizing Devil Slayer Magic; it's considered to be the darkest secret of the art and often referred to as the "True Devil Slayer Curse" (真滅悪呪法, Shin Metsuasku Jūhō). Those who partake in such a ceremony are renowned as those who "sold their soul to evil", abandoning their humanity in place of a greater yet sinister power, and can no longer bear the standing of "Exorcist Mage". While normally considered to be a supplementary ability, due to its nature, it's one of the various Magic Phenomenon that's associated with a certain type of magic.
It's said that the power of Devil Slayer Magic is unlike that of any other magic, not because of its power, but the immense burden it puts on the user; with continual use, said Devil Slayer will slowly become corrupted until their heart becomes swallowed by the darkness and they'll become a shell of their former selves — a being who's sole intentions are primal and instinctual, similar to a certain Etherious. Rather fitting for a magic who's origins are marred in malignancy and hypocrisy. However, there have been records of Devil Slayers being corrupted, but not through continual usage of their magic; it's an inhumane and savage ritual that involves the assimilation of Demons slain in battle, the user bathing in their very essence — not unlike a similar ceremony involving Dragons.
Something established during the "Dark Age", Devil Slayers had a strict code they followed when killing Demons to avoid succumbing to the effects of their own power; they had to go through a purification process to expel all external demonic elements that might have come in contact with them during the exorcism and they could only kill a certain amount of Demons within a certain time span. However, even though many Devil Slayers took to this code to their best of their abilities, because of the times they were living in Demons were as common as dirt — something that hasn't happened since the Golden Age of the Gods, thus limits had to be broken in certain instances to momentarily keep the peace and continue surviving through such turbulency. Such overexertion of one's Devil Slayer powers began to drive them mad and become corrupt at a rapid pace; then..... the unthinkable happens, something that no other Exorcist Mage was neither prepared for or expected. Some of their own started to consume and bathe in the essence of those they've slain, acting solely on their primal desires and foregoing all reason!
However, it was in performing such an act that Devil Slayers discovered that their power became greater as they either consumed or bathed in a Demon's essence, their magic assimilating the basic components and a large portion of said being's powers. This ritual, which would later be dubbed as the "Feast of Devils", became a defining moment in Devil Slayer history — as it not only instilled fear into the Demons they've mercilessly hunted, but other Mages and civilians as well, seeing them as nothing but bloodthirsty and power-hungry monsters devoid of all humanity. There were many Devil Slayers who partook in the ritual, either in their insanity — becoming slaves to their own magic which they've "mastered", or out of free will — wanting to become the strongest of their kind and be unopposed by any other power. It easily afforded them a slew of advantages they didn't have before, such as total resistance to Magic Barrier Particles, enhanced resistance to Curses, Black Arts, and other abilities & techniques "stained with evil" — replicating them to a certain degree, and a substantial increase in their overall prowess with their style. For a time, because of the beneficial effects of the ritual, Devil Slayers started hunting Demons as a sport rather than out of duty, thus abandoning the true purposes of the magic.
Like with all good things taken in excess, there's bound to be consequences for those who constantly abuse their bestowed powers. Some of the Devil Slayers who partook in the ritual were in excruciating pain because of the high traces of Magical Barrier Particles in the Demon's corpse; thus, even though they were able to gain a significant power-up, it was costly — as they have to suffer every single time. As such pain wasn't worth the immense power gain, said Devil Slayers discontinued the practice, opting to increase their magic's power through other methods. Point aside, this wasn't the real problem. As mentioned before, Devil Slayers slowly become corrupt the more they employ their style; it's the reason why they limit the number of Demons they slay within a certain span. Due to the ritual causing the Devil Slayer to assimilate various elements of the Demon they've slain, it has a particular reaction with the corrupt forces composing the respective style; in essence, the ritual hastens the corruption process by various degrees. Devil Slayers partaking in the ritual noticed they've either assumed demonic traits, quickly losing their sanity, or in some morbid cases — both. The end result is that Devil Slayers transformed into the very creatures they've hunted down since the magic's discovery, losing their powers and rights as a Devil Slayer while becoming prey for other Demons and Exorcist Mages alike.
It's recorded that many famous and powerful Devil Slayers became Demons or were driven into madness because of their participation in such a heinous ritual, thus were either killed by their fellow man under the guise as a Demon or were destroyed by the very power they've commanded for such a time. As the "Dark Age" came to its climax, knowledge of the ritual was sealed away and all of its remaining practitioners purged to prevent future generations from making the same mistake. Even today, knowledge of the ritual remains unknown, but it's later discovered that certain Exorcist Mages unknowingly gained a massive power boost when they accidentally bathed in the blood of a Demon they've killed on a mission given to them, thus unwillingly rekindled the darkest secret known to their kind.
- The author was given permission by Per to create this article.
- The purpose for the article's creation is to give way for Devil Slayers to get stronger through alternate, yet more dangerous methods. It also gives some form of background for Devil Slayer Magic, even if its a little.
- This article was inspired by one of a similar quality created by one of the author's friends earlier on.