Fūlād-zereh was no fairy tale monster. Nor was he a forgotten myth though his origin and true nature had become lost in the labyrinth of ancient history.
The great demon possessed immense physical strength and was massive in stature. Described as grotesque and obsidian black, from his high forehead jutted two dark horns that swept up in a majestic furl. On his massive shoulders, smaller bone spikes pushed through blue-black scales and his heavily muscled arms ended in long onyx-colored talons that were sharp enough to sever a man’s head from his body as easily as a scythe slices through grass.
It is said no man-made armor or sword could withstand Fūlād-zereh’s might for he was driven by blood-hunger and a wrath rooted in stygian madness. Yellow serrated teeth pronged in his maw and when he twisted his lips into a grin, oversized fangs gleamed dully under the blood moon’s glare.
Fūlād-zereh’s feet resembled that of an eagle’s, with three massive front toes and one hind toe, all bladed and sharp and thick enough to crush an ox’s skull. From his wide back jutted two membranous wings, similar in hue to his horns, powerful enough to carry his hulking body over great distances. He found human women irresistible, felt drawn to them by a power beyond himself, and so he entered the land of man every third season and abducted them, tearing his victims away from their earthly plane, these wretched maidens whose beauty and youth had doomed them, to his lair where Fūlād-zereh subjected them to a cruel seduction ritual. Those who did not submit to him or failed to survive the demon’s advances were tossed to his mother who sacrificed them to the gods that fuelled her own dark powers, for she was a witch, known only as the mother of Fūlād-zereh. It was she who turned his scaly hide to iron no sword or spear could penetrate, save for one.
The Sword of Solomon.
A magical blade encrusted with rubies and emeralds and forged by powers supernatural to battle demons and other hellish spawns. Only this sword could cut through Fūlād-zereh’s steel-like skin and for that reason the witch mother protected it with her life for that was her son’s only weakness. King Solomon’s enchanted sword also protected the wearer against magic and that served the witch mother just fine as being a spinner of magic, she found in the sword the perfect protection against her own enemies in Zahr-gīāh.
As the story goes, Fūlād-zereh was not always a demon. He once stood tall as the chief general of Malek Ḵāzen, the fairy king, and ruler of Zahr-gīāh. However, shortly after his master’s death, Fūlād-zereh, who had fallen in love with the queen, usurped the throne, and with his mother’s help, magically turned the rightful heir and many of his attendants to stone in a fortress now called Qalʿa-ye Sang.
But Zahr-gīāh was a land of magic and supernatural forces pulsed like an undercurrent throughout the whole of this world. Through its lush valleys and silver rivers and thick forests with carpets of soft moss, a golden thread of magic tied everyone and everything together. A land teeming with life of every color and hue, good and bad, big and small. The force that flows through every living thing reacted to the great disturbance caused by the chief general’s betrayal.
The once fairy blood that coursed through Fūlād-zereh turned to an inky black and the golden elixir of immortality that laced his veins became corrupted, transforming the egotistical faery general into a demon, hunted by Elves and Faeries, and despised by all of creation. The mother witch’s quick thinking and magic turned his scaly hide into iron, making sure her son became formidable and impossible to kill so that in time many of the greatest of the elven warriors, perished in their attempts to kill Fūlād-zereh, and so he became a bane on the landscape of Zahr-gīāh, driven by a bloodlust he could not deny, hungry for love he could never attain.
And yet every living thing possess a destiny, in this world and the next. Arsalān, the mortal from the world of man was destined to slay Fūlād-zereh. It was written in the Scroll of Cycles and the witch mother saw the prophecy in her visions and thus Fūlād-zereh knew what Fate planned for him and he knew the identity of the man destined for the task. With this information he conspired with his mother to kidnap Farrok, knowing the young warrior would follow her to Zahr-gīāh, the domain where they held the most power.
Without his army of soldiers and with the witch mother’s magic and the demon’s brutal strength and power, Arsalān was as good as dead.