For each death another was demanded. Sin grew upon sin, murder outdid murder in atrocity, until sickened by Man’s suffering the earth split and sundered. Mountains rose and fell, rivers turned their course, the oceans raced to new lands. Across the world, great ruptures arose, like sores upon the land. Those left to quiver in the darkness called them gates to Hell.
And Hell, from them, emerged. Had the daemons that spewed forth waited, like buzzards circling some faltering prey, until Man broke his might against himself? Or had they answered a call, heard past the very boundaries of Creation? Were they summoned by the cacophony of a thousand thousand voices crying out in unison? Or, perhaps, had so many died that Hell, glutted, vomited back the spirits of the fallen to torment their killers? In the end, neither the question nor the answer mattered.
Wherever humanity hid, no matter how deep the darkness, remote the wood, high the mountain, Hell’s hunters found them. The daemons took many forms, as nightmares will do, unique but united in their horrific aspect. Those they killed knew more mercy than those they captured and dragged back to the Scars, toys to torment till welcome death took pity.
Those who cowered died. Those who fled died. Those who fought died. Those who prayed to the daemons, they too found death. The emptied riverbeds of the world were gutters for human blood, the open plains sacrificial altars. Mothers keened in the long night; children wept; the hearts of men failed them.
Only when their prey became scarce, when the tattered shreds of humanity became scattered threads, only then did the daemons creep back toward their hellpits, leaving behind bleached bones and unnatural silence. At last, they vanished altogether. Nothing but the scarred earth from which they had come marked their passage.