Womb Trees

These double-helix shaped organisms sprout in places where divine blood has been spilled. Underneath the tree’s chitinous carapace is a roiling mass of zall (power) and semi-divine flesh. The trees are mostly docile and have little to no awareness of their surroundings. Occasionally however, when a starving devil tree runs low on nutrients, it will lash out and try to devour travelers with tendrils ending in toothy maws.

Demon Spawning

Over time, the primordial soup within a womb tree congeals around a nascent soul formed from ambient zall (power). This nascent soul is essentially a fragment of the original progenitor demon’s soul, containing scraps of memory and emotion. Thus the reason why most demons are born with obsessions and mental illness is because they inherit their progenitor’s trauma and the emotions felt upon dying.

Once the flesh and soul has reached a certain level of maturity, an embryonic sac resembling a colorful fruit containing the unborn demon forms. This sac is gradually pushed to the surface of the tree, sprouting from its branches or from cracks inside the carapace.

A greater demon takes around four to six weeks in order to fully develop while lesser demons can mature within two to three weeks depending on complexity. Once the time comes, the demon thrashes about, bursting from the sac in a (mostly) complete form. The demon will start off somewhat small but will reach full physical maturity within eight to twenty-six weeks depending on its complexity.

Siblings

Demons born from the same tree but with different physical appearances are considered “branch-siblings” (gish-nin). Though different in form, they will often share features like similar facial features and fragments of shattered memory.

Occasionally, demons with identical physical features and powers will be born. Often they are born in large groups of six to twelve individuals. These siblings are known as “form-siblings” (zu-nin).

Since womb trees form where ichor has been spilled, multiple womb trees can be born from the same progenitor. Demons born from these trees are known as “god-siblings” (gir-nin). It is relatively uncommon for gir-nin to recognize one another however unless something stirs the shared memories within them.

Typically, the earliest demons born from a tree are the strongest or most intelligent of the brood as they consumed the most nutrients contained within the tree’s reservoirs, leaving their later siblings with less to use.

Calcification

When the tree has exhausted its reserve of nutrients and divine flesh, it stops spawning demons and calcifies, becoming an iridescent crystalline husk. Fragments of the crystallized husk enrich nearby soil causing great forests to form where once a womb tree stood.

The Cycle Anew

Upon dying, a sufficiently powerful demon's corpse becomes the seed of a new womb tree. Unless devoured or reduced to ash, the corpse's flesh gradually twists into the double helix structure and hardens, forming a new womb tree.

The demon's memories and power will of course be divided amongst the demons born from this tree.

Gloom Resin

The sap that hardens and forms the womb trees's carapace can be harvested and then boiled into a shiny black material known as gloom resin. Gloom resin is a glossy plastic-like material that is surprisingly durable and often used to create clothing by more intelligent demons. The color of such clothing can be changed by adding dyes to the resin before it hardens.

Weaponization

Occasionally a group of demons or a particulary ambitious demon will come upon a copse (group) of womb trees and attempt to cultivate their own personal army. This usually involves deliberately siphoning away nutrients from the trees in order to make sure the spawned demons are weakened and controllable. Enough is given to make sure they can develop into capable of fighters but not enough that they could potentially overthrow their would-be master.

These demonic minions are indoctrinated almost immediately from birth, often with a narrative that paints thier masters as the only capable of making sense of the bizarre memories and hungers that have been inherited.

Armies like these are usually short-lived as demons are innately chaotic creatures and thus an army of them would constantly need a goal or common enemy to fight against in order to prevent them from becoming introspective. Without constant zealous adherence to a common narrative, a demon's impulses will drive it to go rogue.

There are whispers claiming that lasting demon armies exist, though the means by which they remain stable are a mystery.