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The Layers of Hell

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Lore' started by Kael, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Kael

    Kael Chieftain

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    The vaults of the evil gods are bound together. They are seven hells intertwined for one purpose, the forging of mortal souls into the infernal.



    The vault is dominated by a great mountain. The mountain is larger than any on Erebus, it is steep, rigid and punishing. The pinnacle is called the throne of hell (not an actual throne) and is the main gateway between the hells and Erebus (in the Fane of Lessers) and the portal through which souls are drawn into hell.

    The mountain gets colder the higher you climb, and its base and rocky spires are hunted by the remaining servants of Mulcarn, frost giants, frostlings, aquilan and the nive.

    Below a vast waste slopes away from the mountain. The rough tundra turns into a swamp. Each step through the swamp is a battle and the languid pools pull at anyone trying to get through them. Beneath the surface the largest source of petitioners in hell are trapped, this is the purgatory for the non-committal. They lay here for ages, consuming their own excrement and feeling nothing but slight pain and lethargy. In time they will overcome their passive nature and continue down into hell, but for now they are victims of their own inaction. Tar demons are pulled form these pools, gelatinous blobs with little humanity remaining.

    There are creatures in the swamp, mites and bugs that leaving horrid burning blisters where they bite. They are not deadly, most that travel here are immortal, but the creatures steal the strength of those that pass through the swamp, inviting petitioners to lay beneath the black waters and succumb to mindless eternity that this realm offers.



    There is one great city in hell and it dominates this entire world of Mammon. The wastes of Mulcarn’s realm lead down into it and eventually the souls will be drawn to the city. As they get closer to the city they are transformed from ethereal spirits to a physical manifestation similar to their body in life.

    As each petitioner enters the city he is given a coin, and the only way to progress through the city is to give seven coins to the Balors that guard the gateway at the cities heart. As such the entire plane is a trial to gather the seven coins needed to escape (little do they know that only worse lays beyond). Balors guard the city and maintain some illusion of order. This keeps wars from breaking out and makes for some safe areas where you can’t simply attack people to take their coins.

    The point of this realm isn't to teach the petitioners how to effectively get the coins, but to have them spend years, decades and centuries wanting them. Getting them to the point where they are completely subject to their greed and unbound by any morale constraints in getting them. They will lie, they will steal, but mostly they will become ruled by their desire in a city full of lies, false hope, and degradation.

    Some few never leave this stage of hell and intentionally become permanent citizens of this city. They occasionally rise into powerful positions, slave traders, dream merchants, cult leaders, etc. Mammon may take those that seem stuck and wipe their memories, forcing them to restart their entry into the city, but sometimes he leaves them be. Mammon is quite proud of his city, and one of the few (along with Esus) who views it as something more than just a part of a great machine.

    Oddly the city features a long street full of various temples. There are hundreds of gods represented, and temples are reguarly switched from one religion to another. Most of the "religions" are unique to this city. Some worship various demons that may or may not be in the city, some worship petitioners pretending to be gods. All of the gods of Erebus are represented except one, though most in blatant parody of the real religion. There is a temple to Lugus, for example, that claims that Lugus is dead and they worship hideously disfigured statues of their fallen god.

    The only god without a temple is Mammon. Mammon believes that the entire city is his temple.



    Petitioners who pass through Mammon's trial are dropped into the eternal war of Camulos. There is no order here, there is little logic or reason. Only pain, hatred and battle. The world is as chaotic as those that fill it and volcanoes blast the sky while earthquakes raze and create mountains.

    The point of this hell is to desensitize the petitioner to any form of pain. To go beyond any moral qualms at hurting or killing anyone. To delight in inflicting pain and build a need to torment others. To enjoy feeling pain themselves.

    A petitioner that is born here begins small and weak. Their exact form and abilities vary widely based on the personality of the soul. There is little pattern to them. They are the subject of pain for a long time before they ever have any chance to inflict it. They start as little more than savage beasts, their memories are lost when leaving Mammon's world and they are reduced only to their base nature. In time that nature will grow, but the memories of life will be faint or gone altogether from this point on. In time they become stronger until eventually their conquests will be legendary. If Mammon's hell is the corruption of the mind, this hell is the corruption of the spirit.

    Land is held by the powerful warlords of the plane, who travel in bands that are constantly betrayed by their members. Once a petitioner has grown strong enough they will simply be swallowed by the earth and surrounding warlords will be quick to step in and fill the void of the missing warlord.

    Occasionally powerful demons will come to this vault on hunting expeditions. They hunt the greatest or least of the spirits here and take them as servants (to fight in their own arenas as they aren’t worth much else) or merely for the pleasure of killing them. There are occasional wastelands here, the shallows, where some spirits hide to escape the constant battle. Whatever peace they find doesn't last long, and the hell hounds and demon hunters make regular trips into the shallows to gather new slaves. Sometimes demons pull petitioners directly out of this vault to serve them in Erebus. These are enraged, wild demons. Strong, but without reason.

    The pits and tunnels beneath this vault are filled with vast prisons were the victims of war are kept. Here they suffer the worst physical torments and are forever unable to die. If there is any art in this violent hell it is in the perfection of torture. Trapped within dark holes, blood pouring through the ground like water and with the walls trembling with earthquakes and explosions you find the least fortunate of hells denizens.



    The chaos is ended. The vault of Aeron is formed to train demons in all the skills they will need on Erebus. It could be thought of as a great academy, but its closer to say that it is a great temple. Demons learn to fight, lie, and channel power. They learn the great deceptions, and to subjugate themselves to their superiors. Through this training they become a part of the infernal hierarchy. Priests as well as warriors, commanders and soldiers.

    Many demons are tasked with missions in Erebus as part of this training. Imps are students early in their training. Many of the intelligent demons in Erebus are just in a stage of their training here. Those that have passed beyond this vault are the most rare and powerful of processed souls, demonic lords and princes.

    Occasionally particularly vile petitioners (priests of the veil, etc) will skip all the earlier stages and start here in Aeron’s vault ready for training.



    This is the conclusion. Agares takes little interest in the powerful figures that make their home in the mutable surface of his world. From the runs of Nyx the demon princes raise dark palaces and lay claim to their own small fiefdoms. There is little beyond this, the demons are drawn to it because of their affinity to Agares but few remain here long. Instead they begin their plots on Erebus or join the ranks of a god that appeals to them. In time their fiefdoms vanish and their palaces fade back to dust.

    Bhall lays burning in this realm and her corrupted angels with her. It is at the edge of her influence that the most demonic activity happens. As was never true before her fall the demonic denizens of this realm have begun to act together, impassioned by her presence they now delight in their schemes and have taken a much greater interest in creation. Cabal's have formed and even Hyborem seeks to challenge Erebus itself.



    Ceridwen's vault is the largest and has no size at all. It is what binds all the hells together, and them with Erebus. It is not what’s on either side of the doorway, but the space between, the doorway itself.

    Though there are no physical bounds to her world there are shadowy gaps within it, places between worlds. The laws of nature are not fixed within these worlds, that which is set in the laws of creation is mutable here. By drawing from these places, pulling them into creation these laws can be bent. Fire can be made to move and leap, the dominions that were once subordinate only to the gods can be commanded by men.

    Esus may be the god of deception, but Cerdiwen is the queen of secrets. Even her highest angels are only privy to tiny parts of the vast web of portals and hidden spaces that make up her world. It is known that she has countless passages into Erebus and the hells, but most suspect that she travels between many more worlds. Perhaps even beyond those created by the gods of Erebus.



    Occasionally a petitioner refuses the processing of hell and attempts to escape. A handful of fallen angels have risen, or petitioners have triumphed over hell by manifesting the virtues that each vault attempts to remove from them and going through it backward until they climb the mountain of Mulcarn’s realm and pass by the throne of hell itself back into Erebus. But this is an incredibly rare event.

    Most commonly those wishing to escape hell find their way into the illusionary world of Esus. This world appears as Erebus in every way. It is even populated by simulacrum’s of the people the petitioner knew in life. They can return to their life here, they can believe that they have escaped from hell. But such joy will be short lived.

    The function of this hell is to remove any motivation that is keeping a petitioner from his processing. Those that escape hell for love will find their love again, but it will sour and fade. Those that escape to follow their duty will find their tasks to be eventually flawed and meaningless. Those that are searching for a new faith will find their worship empty and hollow.

    Everything in Esus’s realm is a lie, and it is the most cunning trap of hell.
     
  2. Giga-Gigan

    Giga-Gigan Chieftain

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    Very interesting, it seems that the hells are a well oiled machine. I especially like Esus's realm, though what do the demons do here on their off time, I can't imagine that many get as far as Esus. Incidentally I'm starting to imagine Aeron as Tsun Tzu.
     
  3. Deon

    Deon Lt. of Mordor

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    If I understood you, you ask which demons go as far as Esus to serve in his realm? Maybe none. This world is a simulacrum of the real world, and the power of Esus is enough to maintain it (in my opinon).

    Thank you very much, Kael. This part of Erebus Lore is very interesting and I enjoyed the information.
     
  4. TheJopa

    TheJopa Šumar

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    Very nice info. I wonder what heavens look like?

    Also, in which hell does man you start? Except for really bad men, like AV priests, who start in Aerons, everyone else starts in Mulcarns?

    Also, it turns out it's better to be really vile and start in Aerons hell than mere thug and ten suffer through all layers of hell?
     
  5. cIV_khanh93

    cIV_khanh93 Chieftain

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    TheJopa: the point is that the priests would not need these de-virtue-ilazations because the first three layers ofhell teach what they already preached.
     
  6. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Chieftain

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    @TheJopa: Yeah, seems Hell ain't fair. Remember, Erebus' hell isn't a place of punishment, but training. They aren't inflicting pain on them because they're bad people, but to make sure they're bad people.
    If anything, you could argue your best options in Hell are to either try and climb out (obviously), or settle in Mammon's Hell and hope he takes a liking to you and doesn't mind-wipe you. In the former case, if you end up in Esus' hell... well, we as omniscient outside observers would be able to put two and two together and realize the illusion and escape, but most mortals wouldn't know what hit them. I suppose particularly observant souls might figure it out, though. But if you know you've been too corrupt to go up, sticking with Mammon's hell seems the smart thing. Again, though, this is speaking as an omniscient observer who knows going on isn't worth it.
     
  7. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Chieftain

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    mathematically, I have a problem with either the words "few" or "occasionally", since as described otherwise only 1 in 7 can ever pass beyond, unless the Balors give out coins to keep the system going.
     
  8. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Chieftain

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    Likely, the coins are recycled: given out for winning depraved competitions, doing dirty work for higher-ranking demons, scattered randomly for people to pick up, or rarely gifted to a particularly nasty soul who they particularly want in a lower level sooner rather than later.
     
  9. Kael

    Kael Chieftain

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    I should have said some few never leave this stage intentionally. This is the 2nd most populated (there are more souls in mulcarns wastes) layer of hell. Even through all these ages there are fewer and fewer the deeper you get.
     
  10. Grey Fox

    Grey Fox Master of Points

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    Very interesting read! Great that you posted this Kael.

    Mammon's hell seems really cruel. You take a desperate "man", give him some hope and purpose only to turn him into someone who abuses other people for his own gain.
    I get the feeling that once you pass through Mammon's hell this way, there is no turning back.
     
  11. phnx0221

    phnx0221 Chieftain

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    Wow, fascinating read. The Vault of Esus certainly is something to be feared. To escape hell for love, only to find it and then have it turn sour, To escape for faith only to find it hollow, to find all that you yearned for in life and hell to be not what you thought, and in fact the opposite, is especially cruel.


    Excellent read. Thanks for posting!
     
  12. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Nice. I it is pretty much as I suspected, except that I hadn't really come up wth something for Esus.



    Hmm...I just got tho thinking it could be interesting if it were revealed that the Bannor never really did escape hell, but that everything that has happened since they reemerged actually took place in Esus's hell.





    Are you sure that Mulcarn's vault is the most populated? I'm pretty sure that you had previously said that most souls end up in hell because of their greed, and so more souls head directly to Mammon's vault than anywhere.



    So, when do we get to learn about the vaults of the good and neutral gods?
     
  13. Deon

    Deon Lt. of Mordor

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    Oh, these pretty images.

    Kael, can you put up all the missing vaults' images later please?

    And who is the artist? The images have some inner synergy, I think it's a single man/group of artists who made them. I'd like to see more works like these.

    P.S. I may be wrong and maybe it's your designer skill who made them to look connected, but I'd like to see more images from the source still, because I quite enjoy them.
     
  14. Giga-Gigan

    Giga-Gigan Chieftain

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    So does this means that the very few who ever get to Agares'es realm, the baddest of the bad, graduate only to become Manes? You think that manes would be more capable, is it because flesh is more substantial than corrupted soul?
     
  15. Kael

    Kael Chieftain

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    No, Manes are the least of the demons. The begining of the process. Hyborem is grabbing the souls heading through the Throne of Hell and forcing them into his service. He isnt waiting the centuries it takes for them to become true demons.
     
  16. Giga-Gigan

    Giga-Gigan Chieftain

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    Ah, I see... I always thought that the evil gods sponsored Hyborem, but on the agreement that he would receive aid only when he harvested mortals for the refinement process.

    Also perhaps you mean that he isn't waiting the centuries for them to become true demons? What you said is a valid statement, so I'm not too sure though.

    So doesn't that mean Manes should look more like frostlings? Or is it because they have been thrown into the service of hyborian that they fiery and entropic.
     
  17. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Chieftain

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    Now that right there is a grade-A certified dementedly enigmatic statement. So I'm to assume Ceridwen is responsible for Spiderkins landing in an Erebus that has not seen their like. I suspect this will be left as a minor lore detail for this subforum, a possible convenient explanation of anything truly bizarre, and possibly something for mod-modders to toy with, but if I cast Wonder and find myself staring at an M1-Abrams, I'll know who to blame.
     
  18. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    Well now we know where all the citizens of the neutral civs end up. Or 99% of the population in Erebus for that matter.

    So why do the Angels of Good still think they can win?
     
  19. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Well, before the Compact it was stated that Good was winning, albeit a rather Pyrrhic victory in which that which they were protecting was still being destroyed. After Succelus and Danalin got involved it was enough for Agares to think he would be better off ending the war.


    When was the great machine of hell formed? Did the compact just reaffirm an existing practice of claiming the souls of mortals, or establish a new right? (If the latter, then I think we can see why Agares really wanted it to pass, as that would be essential to making this new demon processor to give himself a huge advantage.)


    So, what separates those destined for Mulcarn's hell from those who end up in Arawn's Netherworld? It would seem odd for people who are just a little indecisive to be destined to hell while Laroth goes to the vault of a neutral god. Don't a majority of souls still make it to the netherworld instead of the vault of a god they (even subconsciously) worshiped?


    Also, how are angels processed? I don't think there has ever been any mention of the good gods linking their heavens together into any such machine. I'm not sure they would be able to without somehow getting Ceridwen to help, and I don't think Sirona and Junil would be willing to work together in this way if they could. May we assume that becoming an angel happens entirely in one vault, and that it is thus a much slower process?
     
  20. Monkeyfinger

    Monkeyfinger Chieftain

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    My impression is, everyone who worshipped a god goes to that god's vault, including people who worshipped neutral gods. If you didn't worship a god for whatever reason, you go to Mulcarn's vault.
     

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