ÐÏࡱáys comes to man but that man can cheat death if he is very clever and very audacious.

Fortunately I was both, and although Death has claimed my body more than once, my soul has persevered unscathed, and I remember everything from my previous lives. My earliest memories of life go back over three hundred years, and only four times has death interrupted an otherwise continuous train of experience. I can say with a fair amount of assurance that there are few alive today who have more intimate knowledge of death than do I. Every man fears death, as I feared it once. But it terrifies me no longer, now I simply hate it. Some may say that hate seems an odd emotion to attach to a seemingly impassive fact of life, but this is a fundamentally naive view. Death is not a fact of life, but a curse placed upon us by our jailers. We are gods one and all, and only the treachery and deceit of the Demiurge and Astaroth have kept us from our birthright of immortality. Why the Demiurge felt the need to place this on us upon our race remains a mystery to me, but I know now that the curse is not insurmountable. There hope for humanity to escape the chains of Death and Hell exists, but the way is not easy. The Demiurge and his shadow Astaroth are jealous guardians of their power over man, and their servants will gleefully cut down all who might oppose them. It is to help others overcome these obstacles to immortality that I began working on this book over a hundred years ago. I have always said that it is important to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and when dealing with the servants of death this is a necessity. For this reason I have found it necessary more than once to take the harrowing journey into Inferno, and always I have come out unscathed. This manuscript is an attempt to impart to you what I learned during those voyages. But I have not limited myself to my own experiences. Painstaking research and personal interviews went in to producing this book, and you will find the fruits of those labors most interesting. I have included here the transcripts of many interviews with others who have plumbed hell and lived to tell the tale. These have proved invaluable for my sections dealing with Astaroth and his Death Angels, for while I am no coward, I am not a fool. One does not willingly cross the path of the King of Hell and his Dukes, but there are those who have managed to do so and survive at least long enough to tell their tales. I ask that you try and learn all you can from these pages, for invariably someone died to produce every one of them. Learn from my labors and fight on for yourself, for herein is everything you need to fight the forces of Hell. I feel like Machiavelli, calling to his prince to take up arms against the barbarians, but I call out to every man, for we are Princes one and All. Do not let Death be the final arbiter for all men. Do not give in to the machinations of our jailers. Fight for your divinity, and wrest it from the clutches of Astaroth, or be a slave to mortality forever. Sources When I set about compiling this book all those years ago, I knew that I would have to rely a great deal on the work of others. I have given much care and attention as I have given to the study of Death and Inferno, but no man can know everything there is to know about such weighty subjects. Furthermore, I have always felt that first hand experience is a much more reliable guide than second hand guess work and interpretation. With this in mind, I have collected a large number of first hand accounts of Inferno in these pages, editing them only slightly in order to improve continuity or explain obscure passages. I have here a wide variety of sources for my first hand accounts, and I would like to take a moment to comment on the different types represented here. They fall chiefly into two categories: those who have been to Inferno and gone on to tell the tale and those who have had visions of Astaroth's realm. The former are quite rare, but immensely valuable, and I have gone to great lengths to procure as many of their stories as possible. Still, this accounts for only a handful, as it take an extraordinary person to survive such an experience with their mind intact. In fact some of my sources did not have intact minds at all, but I was able to glean the truth of their tales from them. Visions are much more common, and in fact have a long and well documented history, dating back to the beginnings of recorded history. Men and women under extreme duress often have glimpses of the afterlife that awaits them. Their souls become partially detached, and enter Inferno. However, because the detachment is not complete, they are not yet completely subject to Infernal laws. This allows them to wander freely through the realm, and often in random directions. They often see the most amazing things on these

journeys. Of course if the body dies they may find themselves plopped down unceremoniously deep in the heart of Inferno, but if they survive they will bring their memories back with them to the world of the living. The experience is enough to drive a man quite mad, and often the brain will try and shut out such memories, dismissing them as hallucinations and telling oneself that it never really happened. But of course it did happen, and there are some who remember this very well. Others I have had to pry their tales from them using magic and hypnosis, but I think you will find the results worthwhile. Finally there are those stories taken directly from the mouths of the dead. I am a more than capable Death Conjurer in my own right, and in the interest of learning and spreading the knowledge, I have summoned up and questioned innumerable spirits and Infernal beings. I have put forward the same questions over and over, working for hours on end at the thankless task I have set for myself. Dealing with a deceitful Razide can be a most trying experience, since one can be certain it has not interest in telling you the truth, but I have developed spells and rituals to force a Razide to tell the truth although even under its influence it will do its best to avoid a direct answer. This has produced some very interesting information, most of which I have included in this book. In addition to Astaroth's demons, I have also spent a great deal of time talking to his prisoners. Those few who are sane enough to speak have told me such tales as would drive most men mad with fear. Being of stronger stuff than most men, I have listened to them all and taken careful notes. As with Razides, one can not be too careful when dealing with the spirits of the dead. They are almost universally bitter and resentful towards the living, and most find no delight in existence except for the prospect of you having to some day join them in Hell. Others are more than willing to tell their stories, and will in fact go on for hours given half a chance. Here for you are the choice tidbits of years and decades of such conversations, presented for your edification. I have also combed through hundreds of libraries and private collections all over Europe and the Americas, looking for any records that might prove valuable. I have largely stayed away from literary sources because they tend to be wildly distorted views of Inferno's true nature. They are for the most part, part and parcel with the Illusion that binds us all (See my excursus on Dante below). There have been several personal journals that have proven invaluable in my researches, including the Laboratory notebook of a certain Dutch Death Conjurer who met with a rather mysterious end (as is true for so many of us). He himself had been to Inferno several times and had also collected some first hand accounts. Indeed, if he had not met an untimely end, his work may have rivaled even mine in scope and authority. As it is, he was able to provide me with a few interesting side notes. Of course diaries, and journals must all be taken with a grain of salt, for there is seldom any way to prove their veracity. How can one tell the difference between the ravings of a mad man, and the ravings of an Infernal explorer? There are certain signs that point to a true story, and others that point to someone who has read too much Dante. Only through careful textual analysis and deconstruction have I been able to separate the wheat from the chafe and present to you accounts that at least point towards the truth of Inferno. ------1 Dante and Inferno What can I say about Dante that has not already been said? Fundamentally, the critics are all correct, although they do not realize just how correct they are. They describe Dante as an amazingly inventive, imaginative, gifted poet, who used his scheme of hell to comment on his own times. This is the truth, and I believe the truth goes no farther than that. Certainly there are aspects of Dante's Inferno that bear a striking resemblance to modern day Inferno, but I rather think Dante was the cause rather of this phenomenon. Dante's vivid imagination has had so profound an effect on Western culture, that it has shaped the very form of hell. So many people have read of Dante's Inferno, that they come to expect his horrors, at least subconsciously. These fears so pervade our western consciousness that Astaroth and his minions have been able to use them to create their realm. What can be worse than finding out that, at least superficially, what Dante said of hell was true. If he was right about that, what else did he get right? Our own self doubt and inbred fears have already begun to undo us

before the first tormentor lays a claw on us. As proof, I offer the fact that, before Dante, there are no reports of the great Circles of Hell, at least not in their current, awe inspiring formation. Dante, expanding on Virgil, created this vivid image which managed to catch the imagination of even the Lord of Hell himself. I have looked long and hard for any sign of the Circles before Dante, and have talked to myriad spirits and demons concerning the matter, and none can offer any proof of their existence before the great Italian poet created his masterpiece. We know for certain that the form of Inferno is constantly changing, and that the Hells of other cultures bear little resemblance to Dante's vision, except for in the broadest of terms. This is further evidence of the mutability of Astaroth's realm. He can change it to suit the fears of every human culture, and will do whatever it takes to put us off guard and weaken our resistance to his tortures. So where did Dante come up with his grand vision of Inferno? I assert that it was from his own very gifted brain and nowhere else. Some have argued that Dante did indeed harrow Inferno with the aid of a psychopomp in the form of Virgil. This is of course so much poppycock. There is absolutely no proof that Dante knew anything of the black arts, much less how to make his way bodily into Hell. Other suggest, more plausibly I think, that his visions of hell are a memory from a past life which ended with him being imprisoned for a long time in Inferno. While this is slightly more appealing, it seems to me unlikely, since it does little to explain his visions of Paradise, or his heavy reliance on classical authors for inspiration. I think the problem with this debate is that so many fail to believe that a single man could be so inventive and have such a profound impact on our entire civilization's view of hell. An impact so profound that it actually changed the shape of Hell itself. For those who have trouble believing such a thing I have but one response. We are Gods one and all, and for a God, anything is possible if the will is strong. The Cycle of Death We human beings cannot die. This may seem contrary to all your experience, but in your heart you know it to be true. The hope for life after death shows itself in every culture, the belief that the soul lives on after the body. This is not mere myth, but rather a fact of existence. Truth be told, nothing is more natural. The human soul is an immutable, unconquerable force of nature, an eternal light that nothing and no one can extinguish. For you must remember always, we are gods one and all; gods imprisoned by the Demiurge's curse. It is impossible to say what life was like before the Demiurge imprisoned us, for no one but the Great Jailer himself remembers back that far, and now even he seems to have disappeared. Nevertheless, we can guess at some of what the Age of Human Divinity must have been like. It seems likely that we are naturally bodily creatures, that is to say, we have always existed as a combination of spirit and physical form. The human soul seems invariably uncomfortable, or even anguished when separated from the body. Even in so-called paradise (on which I have more to say later) human spirits display a certain languidness and dullness, indications that they are not in their natural state. We can also be fairly certain that in our heyday, humanity reigned supreme, reshaping the world to suit our needs and desires. The long lost lore of Reality Magic was the tool of our divinity, a lore so potent that all extant lores are mere shadows before its greatness. In a world where every man wielded such power with ease, nothing could have stood between us and total domination. Indeed, it is this fact alone that lends credence to the theory that the Demiurge was really just another human, who turned against his fellow man. In the Age of Divinity our bodies would not have been the frail liabilities they are today. Imagine if you will a body that was immortal and untouchable, with senses so sharp we cannot even imagine it. Such a body would be a blessing, and such is our stolen birthright. Yes, there can be no doubt that we are meant to be creatures of the flesh, and it was part of the Demiurge's genius to turn that flesh against us. Our bodies became our Achilles heel if you will. For once the Demiurge stripped from us the knowledge of magic, we were no longer able to maintain our bodies properly and they began to decay around us. And so, for the first time, death came to humanity, and by death I mean simply the separation of body from soul. But we humans were not beat yet, for through sexual reproduction we could create new bodies, new temporary homes for our souls to reside in. Were this the end of the Demiurge's curse it would not have

It is the unthinking fears. The origin of such beliefs lies hidden in the history.been so insufferable. The actual process of stripping memories must be one of the most ironic aspects of the Demiurge's Curse. Beyond death there is the so-called afterlife. Society condemns them all to an eternity of torture. as long as he knows what the society of man would say about him. These fortunate souls then return to the prison of our reality in a newborn body. War heroes. But for others it takes more. Of course. there to inhabit a newborn body with a soul as free of the taint of memory as the babe in which it abides. exemplary according to the reigning morals. Yet we have seen instances where society can forgive a man sins that would be most heinous if another were guilty of them. but I would not be surprised if the Demiurge and Astaroth were behind it. He may logically believe that there are no absolute morals and that killing thousands is somehow justifiable. yet he lives in a world that views him as a monster. for in this. We know that the ultimate goal is either the erasure of the soul's mind or its eternal enslavement. or just dumb luck can hold a soul back. They serve their lives out in the torture chambers and Dark Citadels of Inferno. for we could live on in new bodies. pop stars and kings seem to live under the aegis of a more forgiving morality. a fact made worse by the fact that it does not have to be . This is really only partly true. flayed down to its base. The concepts of sin. dragging them down into Inferno where the lucky get tortured until they forget all they ever were. he finds aid in his age old enemy: Astaroth. at least to a degree. What is important to remember here is that. trapped in the illusion yet unable to take a new body. Should his sins remain known only to him. But these cases are the rare exceptions that prove the rule. they have much to fear before the memories of our achievements are stripped from us. Those who lead an exemplary life. the Demiurge's dark twin. and chief of these was that when a body dies. Astaroth. he placed certain laws upon our prison. where our jailers set upon us and scrape away out memories layer by layer until nothing remains. this one can be broken on occasion. and cheap religious moralities of man that doom so many to Inferno. Magic. For some the shock of death can be enough to wipe away the dull memories of an uneventful life. we could empty hell's coffers of souls forever. only forgetfulness and the hope of rebirth remain. stripped of all it knows and is. or in the ranks of Hell's Legions. It is Astaroth who takes charge over so many of men's souls. we determine for ourselves the souls fate. Why? Because we humans say that his killing was right. his soul becomes tainted with the Devil's mark. The soul needs first to be purged of its memories. It is our collective conscience that determines our fate. When creating the Illusion of our reality. it is not the individual beliefs of the man that determine whether or not he is a "sinner". who strive for experience and self improvement. his sins in fact virtues. Curiously. like all laws. sometimes much. much more. his soul untainted. it would make no difference. and so with death he goes on to a better place. For the vast majority of mankind. lord of Inferno. If we believe that we deserve to be punished for our life's work. the sad but true fact of our existence is that if you sin you do go to Hell. the interference of other beings. Only then is it allowed back into the Illusion. if we feel we have sinned. Put simply. then we are bound for Astaroth's arms. Of course if man were to wake up and realize this. the most demeaning aspect of our imprisonment. insuperable essence. In his heart he knows what the world thinks of him. our lives flashing before our eyes. away from possible new bodies that it might inhabit. Certainly their scheme has benefited most from the vagaries of human guilt and conscience. morality or what have you continually crop up in human society. the soul slips out of the Jail. and even though he disagrees with them their hate leaves mark on his soul. remaining our old selves. corrupter of mankind. The general who orders the death of millions escapes the process guilt free. Those of us who have led lives that exemplify everything a human can be. conscience. The unfortunate ones never escape the clutches of the Dark Lord and his Angels of Death. these men and women escape to a less painful afterlife. It is said that the forgetfulness comes at the moment of death. But of course He was too clever for that. The Soul's Conscience Now we turn what determines a souls fate once it leaves the body.

the new memories will crowd out all that you once were. simply causes the damned soul to blackout in a short mockery of death. and there are no hard and fast rules in reincarnation.this way. it heightens the memories of your pain and degradation. I think it more likely that such a feat lies beyond their power. Then the soul's time in Inferno stand complete. often especially tailored to the individual. and is capable of taking immense amounts of punishment. In the so called "paradises". or it may be our natural divinity reaching out to reform its lost body. These curses and marks can effect the development of a new body. except for a feeling of floating in a pleasantly warm womb. leaving a clean slate. and I will detail more about them later in the book. That physical form is much more resilient than its living counterpart. powerful beings like Archons and Death Angels can place similar marks on the human soul. all of which are actually outside the bounds of hell. the longer it will take to vaporize our memories. it retains a semblance of it's physical form. Then the soul has truly been scourged clean. In fact. Inferno's most accomplished tormentors. I have heard rumors of such an event taking place. This has an interesting consequence for those of us judged sinners. The mind becomes numb to everything but the simple pleasure of its existence until all thoughts cease. for there are certain things that make a permanent mark on the soul. Perhaps it is within the power of our jailers to remove a curs. What matters for this current discussion is that Infernal tortures tend to rely on physical and mental trauma to destroy human thought and reason. Eventually the pain and suffering become so commonplace that all the memories of agony blur together until the mind eventually fades into a permanent catatonic state from all the shock. But in the end. As I mentioned earlier. Although I would not put it past the Infernals to do such a thing. Purgatory There is no set place in Inferno that one can call purgatory. What would normally kill the body in our life. Commonly. The number of tortures are legion. There I'm told it is a process of pure stultification. Others look back on a single year in which they lived more than ten men. and will write a great deal about Razides. I speak of course of the curses of conjurers and others. and there will be nothing but pain and mental anguish left. Throughout this book I have. ready for a fresh round of torture. beings from beyond the illusion. This is not always the case. Although their numbers never even remotely approached the populous Razides. Scouring the Soul Our jailers have had millennia to develop tens of thousands of ways to scour the human soul of its memories. It may be the draw of the genes. It seems that sinners invariably lead more interesting lives than the dull or virtuous. some men can look back on their lives and see a few highlights that stand out among a sea of dreck. or act as a magnet for spirits. we tend to become reattached to someone related to us. and the soul can safely be sent on to a new body. They were the master torturers. The number of Razides available to perform these tortures is near limitless. things are handled differently. Eventually. While it is almost unheard of for such a mark to disappear while the soul is in the afterlife. When I speak of scouring the mind clean of thought and remembrance. Nepharites were once ubiquitous in Inferno. a soul in Inferno tends to stay there much longer than a soul lost to the Demiurge's "Paradise". Razides are by far the most common infernal being. Ultimately we are either stripped of all we were or become servants to our jailers. and come in all shapes and sizes. the more eventful our lives. Likewise. They are the realms of the Nepharites. Thus. or other malfeasances. rather there are many thousands of purgatories. magical imprints that can stay with soul through all eternity. Astaroth and his minions prefer to lend the soul a physical form which they can physically abuse and torture. the mind broken. The process of stripping our souls can take many forms. Of course. There is another class of infernal that was once almost as common. sometimes becoming his own grandson or nephew. this Infernal death does not release you of any memories. The soul in paradise exists without stimulus. but they take some malicious delight in leaving the mark to haunt us in our next life. I suppose it hardly matters. I may be painting too vivid a picture. Moments later the body is reborn and regenerated. a human will also retain their same gender. When we are reborn. When a soul falls into Inferno. and only the most skilled Razides . unlike true death.

shunned by other Infernals. the Nepharites were meant to be the perfect servants devote to torture. Those who go to Paradise are those who played by the illusion's rules. There is no purpose beyond retribution for past crimes. While Astaroth and the Death Angels still had a firm hold on Inferno. and care not at all whether or not the memories get erased. Together. Nepharites have become the masters of the purgatories. The Death Angels have always collected their souls through their own means. who have come to universally despise the Nepharites. distinct from Inferno. the opposite is often true. waiting for them to die. or Metropolis. and delaying the passage of souls through the Circles. and the Death Angels openly fight among themselves. There the Nepharite begins a sequence of torture that can theoretically last forever. and they are the only ones who truly have the power to bring the Nepharites back in line (excepting Astaroth himself of course). Thus the demon lords have taken to fighting among themselves. yet highly overrated Paradise. there was only the pleasant suffocation of a false paradise before they got another shot at life.could hope to rival their abilities. private hells devoted to the torture of one human. scouring a soul much more quickly than most Razides. they must deal with a Nepharite on its own soil. Even though they chaffed under the restrictions on their creativity. and soon the Nepharites grew ambitious. They felt that the scouring process of The Pit lacked individual subtlety and nuance. Now Nepharites operate on their own. seeking out those with a guilty conscience. and the only condition is that some part of the human feel guilty. They love to dredge up old memories that their victims have already forgotten and use them to inflict further pain and sorrow. the halls of the Demiurge's citadel stands empty. the Nepharites took advantage of the situation and have stepped out of the Infernal system entirely. Now Astaroth has all but abandoned his realm. However. the Nepharites served and obeyed out of fear. Elysium. and their plans have suffered little from the Nepharite rebellion. Paradise lies at the end for those who lead a "virtuous" life. went along with the jailers' moral precepts. not an enviable task. they have but a single soul to show for all their effort. The number of souls recovered in this manner cannot number higher than a few thousand. In fact. Under the direction of their masters. reenacting the worst times in their life over and over again. The Nepharite then creates its own pocket universe. Even the Nepharites who remained loyal and stayed within Inferno are now treated as outcasts and pariahs. that the punishment should fit the crimes. the Nepharite is there to capture the soul before it can slip into Inferno. Nepharites roam Elysium. the Death Angels put too much of themselves in their creations. The Nepharite concentrates upon the soul's feelings of guilt. They sought freedom from their creators and from the constrictions of Infernal law. It need not be a very large part. They felt that each human's suffering should be entirely personalized. but the process of finding and entering an individual purgatory is long and involved. The creation of the personal purgatories has become so common in modern times that few people go to Inferno at all upon death. for a Nepharite can draw even the smallest hint of guilt into full-fledged remorse and self loathing. His servants the Seraphim. Now the Demiurge has fled the world. When death finally comes. and they have nearly cut off the flow of souls to many parts of hell. There have been some organized attempts by demon lords to enter purgatories and seize the souls imprisoned there. Created by the Death Angels. This makes them the ideal servants for the head jailer himself. Now the wombs of paradise go untended. So occasionally He would cull the most promising souls from their comforting wombs. now wander aimlessly through the . The Death Angels care little however. his existence ever increasingly just a fading memory. For most though. As I mentioned earlier. Nepharites could be very efficient torturers. Paradise I will take a moment here to begin where Dante ended: the much vaunted. The root of their dissatisfaction came from the simple fact that Nepharites are born to torture. This is a fact that enrages the Razides of Inferno. they were able to check the ambitions of the Nepharites. the Demiurge. who once tended the mind washing of the virtuous dead. outside of Inferno. turning them into his servants. Once the Razides gain access. the Nepharites were not content with the constrictive system of circles. Should they prove victorious. Born with a lust for torture and pain far surpassing any Razide. free from the taint of sin and guilt.

Humans hunting for other human souls is more common than you might want to think. only to enslave them. Saving someone Else's soul has always been the most common reason for harrowing Inferno. desperate men take desperate actions. or through capturing souls of their brethren. At least the stories about Inferno ring true. an odd breed and few survive. Remember. of necessity.dusty remains of their master's former glory. while others become permanent gateways to the other side. but when all other avenues have failed. there are probably doors opening to hell every minute of every day. Then there are those who seek power for themselves. A veteran Harrower is a sight not to be missed. For a brief moment in time Inferno and Elysium coexist in the same place. somewhere in the world. Tradition dating back to ancient times tales of brave men and women like Orpheus harrowing Inferno in search of the lost souls of their loved ones. Several different kinds of portals commonly form between Inferno and our prison. In my estimation. but this is no Garden of Eden. You may detect in my discourse a certain disdain for Paradise. those brave. The Inferno of the late twentieth century is in a state of flux and chaos unheard of in all the history of our imprisonment. I ask that you look past my rhetoric to see the truth behind my words. the Gates to hell stand wide open. read on as I move onto the meat of my opus. Some exist for a short time only. Paradise was always a lie. It benefits a skilled necrologist to know the signs of a temporary portal and how to create one. This chapter is truly devoted to those for whom this book may be most useful: The Harrowers. either in the form of Infernal knowledge of magic. Others enter the abysmal afterlife in search of answers to questions no living man can answer for them. but there are few in the world who know enough to recognize a portal when they see one. Paradise is a great lie. meaning the area of the portal exists in both Inferno and Elysium so there is no physical change to the area of the portal. knows that tortures galore await him after death. The sinless. The sinner knows what to expect. the patsies of the great lies still go to the golden sleep. But Paradise. the work of several lifetimes. brutal efficiency covered behind a thin veneer of lies. These former are naturally enough quite rare. There they are simply and efficiently ground into mental dust underneath the Demiurge's great millstone. although as often as not he or she will be wearing a straight-jacket. Now paradise is all but a myth. They are. a misrepresentation. Why lead a life free of sin and full of virtue when all that awaits is a glorified coma? But that has always been the Demiurge's way. and it is seldom effective. Here again they are seldom successful. and great truths of Inferno await you. The circumstances required to create these portals are common enough. How then does one get to Inferno without dying? That is our subject for the rest of this chapter and we begin with the study of those mysterious phenomena known as portals. After all. If a torture chamber becomes a portal to Inferno. At least the Father of Lies is honest about one thing. while the latter are surprisingly common. Now that Astaroth has left his domain for ours. and passage between the two realms becomes a simple matter of knowing which way to walk. the two worlds coexist at that moment. Of course. Even his children. and an enterprising conjurer can find many uses for a submissive soul. You never know when such a skill might prove useful. breaches in the fabric of illusion that link our world with Hell. but now it is even less. the Angels of Death have grown remiss in their duties. At least Astaroth has some imagination. Only rarely can one find a soul before Astaroth's torturers have done permanent damage to it. the agonies of Inferno have already broken their spirit. Harrowers. Chapter Two Harrowing Hell We move now from the logistics of death to the realities of the here and now. The terrors. There are no illusions about Inferno. that chamber exists both in Inferno . Temporary Portals The formation of a temporary portal can result from several different initial stimuli. Now please. mysteries. These stimuli cause a breakdown in the illusory barrier between Inferno and our so-called Elysium. and the brave man has much to gain in the pits of Inferno. most humans are too wrapped up in the illusion to understand what is happening under their noses. Harrowers act the way they do for a variety of reasons. foolhardy men and women who risk eternity to plumb the depths of Hell itself.

rape. The Demiurge created Elysium as a prison to subdue human divinity. Indeed. an individual's feelings of guilt can determine whether or not he steps into our world or Astaroth's. Typically. it is likely that the area in Elysium is worse than the surrounding area in Inferno. although there are still a surprisingly large number of temporary gates created every day. What determines where you go when you open that door? That all depends on who you are. but below I have complied some of the more obvious factors. A man knowledgeable in the ways of death. that if you did not know better you would assume they occurred in Inferno. such as an experienced Death Conjurer or occultist will be aware of what has happened around him. There are a lot of factors that influence whether or not a portal forms. Stimuli I have gone on a bit about what happens when a portal comes into existence. brainwashing. Of course there are no hard and fast rules here. it is unlikely that a portal would form. torture. and only the torturous release of that divine power can create a rift. usually a temporary portal. Those less enlightened individuals unfortunate enough to find themselves present when a portal opens have less choice in the matter. the portal will only exist while the burning wreckage remains . I exclude from my list of stimuli magical invocations and rituals which are something different all together. where a plane crashing into a mountain with a variety of passengers probably will. most importantly where the souls are going. and a lot of what happens depends on just how stable the portal is. The experience of stepping through to the other side is often surprisingly unmemorable." A stimulus is an event that opens a portal to Inferno. Of course. there is a good chance that the large number of souls passing on will tear a temporary portal in the barrier between life and death. It is only natural that Humans behave thusly. They will often take the opportunity to step through into our world. If only a few souls are headed for Inferno. In that moment. In these extreme cases even the best of us has trouble avoiding the lure of Hell. Of course not every act creates a portal. No exact formula exists to determine when a portal will form and when it won't. those who have lived lives full of pain and darkness are much more likely to slip into Inferno. Much in the same way a man's "sins" determine his fate upon death. most of whom are invariably aware of new temporary portals in their area. It may be no different than one step is from another as you walk down the street. Of course men commit such acts all the time: murder. A bus load of school girls and nuns going over a hill will not prove an adequate stimulus. Where they end up is to some extents a matter of dumb luck and the individual's subconscious desires. but often we are coming from a place in our own world that is not dissimilar. Death: Every human death causes a breach in the fabric of the Illusion as the departing soul begins its journey to the afterlife. it typically only remains as long as the stimulus remains.and here. There are probably a thousand factors that go into creating a true Infernal Stimulus. A stimulus requires the expenditure of a great deal of mental anguish by someone or some group of humans. entering Inferno is a simple matter of will. Stimuli are events of such horror and viciousness. either to take back an unwitting human. or to spend some time in our world wreaking havoc. It is not uncommon for a powerful stimulus to create a portal that is more Inferno than Elysium. One decides to be in Inferno and suddenly you are. It is important to realize at this point that only human suffering can create rips in the Illusion. The are few differences between a torture chamber stinking of burnt flesh and blood and the outer chambers of Inferno. The suffering of one tortured soul can rend the fabric wide. So. while more positive living souls manage to avoid such a fate. you could end up in either place. in our example of the plane crash. and so on. but have yet to touch upon the true nature of what I call "Infernal Stimuli. this works the same way for Infernal beings on the other side. When a great many deaths happen in the same place at the same time. It is important to realize that once a portal forms. while hundreds dying can result in nothing. so when you walk out the door. in fact most do not. and it lies beyond my power to even hazard a guess at all of them. Only the most extreme cases produce a powerful enough stimulus. Certainly we have stepped into a land of eternal horror and pain. creating a portal between our world and Inferno.

a murderer. I knew a man who lived a life of moral degradation and "sin" for years. Of course. this is often the case of disaster scenes and other public spectacles of suffering. The suffering of a more extreme personality produces forces that rip through the Illusion with greater ferocity than the suffering of a simple man. Feelings of loss. Onlookers who may not feel enough sorrow to create a portal on their own may supply the added energy needed to either create a portal or keep one active for a long time. the more suffering. a portal was on the verge of forming. Mourning: Sometimes stimulus site or potential stimulus site will get an extra boost from the sympathy of others. I think this example speaks eloquently of how powerful a single tortured soul can be. hopelessness and despair are the most appropriate stimuli. Known as the mourning effect. Life Experience: We have already seen that the fuller a life an individual has led. I estimate that in some extreme cases as many as ten percent of the casualties are actually men stumbling into Inferno or those snatched by Razides. This was amazing to all of them. but it may weaken the fabric of reality enough for others to break through. the more likely it is that a portal will come into existence. prolonged suffering before a final. For instance. The fiery deaths of those in the building are potentially enough to shatter the Illusion for a short while. This is one indicator that a more dramatic person has more energy to expend when suffering. Pure human emotional energy forms a link to Inferno. a cheat. and a pursuer of Occult Sciences. Torturing this man had been underway for only an hour when all present felt the change. and blind rage can also serve well. This means that events like torture. and there is little time to clean up afterwards. heinous medical experiments. One fateful night his enemies (of which there were many) caught up with him in his temple. Human suffering forms portal to Inferno on a slightly different principal than simple death. the portal will in all likelihood be gone as well. and prolonged acts of mental cruelty can greatly improve the odds of producing a portal. but anger. Often it only serves to weaken the barrier between worlds. intense mental suffering. Of course we have all experienced these feelings in our lives. the suffering does not necessarily have to be of a physical nature. a site where many have died as the result of an exploding gas line may well create a temporary portal to Inferno. It seems that this has a direct correlation to how likely it is that a portal will form. It takes prolonged. but sometimes it can break through reality. For this reason some death conjurers and Satanists like to include torture and sacrifice in their rituals. it is unlikely that most of us will ever experience enough mental anguish to create a portal to Inferno. For example. for all of them had tortured scores of men and women in exactly the same manner and never managed to produce an Infernal Stimulus. our minds are literally tearing the fabric of reality to shreds around us in response to profound pain and anguish. wounding and maiming each other. the longer it takes to strip that person of their memories. a remnant of our divine nature shining through in our darkest hour. He was a liar. Often this alone may not be enough to create a portal. Once rescue crews come and clear everything away. with only one of the original torturers lucky enough to get away to tell the tale. With so many individual soldiers fighting. Such portals will only last as long as the source of anguish continues to suffer. Degree of Suffering: Suffering and anguish are the primary ingredients in creating an Infernal Stimulus. This is why battle sites and war zones are often the scene of many Infernal Stimuli.present. particularly if it is of the appropriate kind. Unfortunately this allowed in a number of Infernal beings who had their own grievances with the unfortunate victim. A soul that takes a hundred years to purge obviously has more to it than someone who loses it all at the moment of death. Inferno was creeping into the room. As I mentioned earlier. but not necessarily. painful death has even more potency as a stimulus. and as bad as we all sometimes feel. the suffering and death are constant. even if there is no death to weaken the barrier. and proceeded to take their revenge on his own altar. so naturally. hatred. Ultimately it was they who finished the job on our unlucky friend. They proceeded and to their astonishment a strong portal formed. These unfortunate men end up serving out eternity as soldiers in hell's legions. usually by more than one person. Mental anguish can be just as potent. although the portal may well move with the person. The sorrow of the surviving relatives and those in the neighborhood continues . Instead of our souls punching through the barrier on their way to the afterlife.

or where the constant release of sorrowful human energy has done the same thing. If a chill runs up your spine for no reason as you walk on a beautiful beach under the noonday sun. full of divine human energy. then mayhap we are talking about a true Infernal Stimulus. If you really want to go to the other side. Often these areas seem to be the focus of some great emotion from a distance. Here alone there may be room for art in generating a portal to hell. Some of these places have become permanent portal for one reason or another (more on these later). rage. The anguish of those involved can still strain the barrier. Places like graveyards. There seems to be no logical reason behind it. these sites are formed where there has been tremendous. Typically. and even hospitals commonly break down the illusion to one degree or another. The fathers own anguish. the old battlefields. Likewise a drunk driver running down a little girl in the street verges more on fate than heinousness. take note. someone who . Perhaps the alleyway simply looks frightening to all who pass by. Heinous Nature: Another important ingredient in creating Infernal Stimuli is the heinousness of the instigating act. full of ill intent. where the barrier is weak. Should that girl's father hunt the drunk down. Inferno may well be closer than you think. even if the crime itself is commonplace. find a conjurer who can help you. Gaining access to Inferno through the use of spontaneously generated portals is the most dangerous means of travel to the other side aside from actually dying. and perhaps you can use this knowledge to your advantage. while an innocuous street corner might be only a step away from the depths of hell. and pleasant fields where the slightest touch of horror opens the way for hungry Razides on the other side. at least from an Infernal point of view. I know that sometimes necessity or passion can outweigh logical consideration. I urge the would be Harrower to try and exert as much control over the Infernal Stimuli as possible. Creating a temporary portal is of course best done somewhere where the barrier is already weak. I mentioned that Heinousness of crime is an important ingredient. Some places you would only assume to be close to Inferno are as far as away the Demiurge's Citadel. These are places where the large number of departing souls over time weaken the structure of the Illusion. for the more malicious and disturbing the act. and this is certainly where you have the most control. the ceaseless sorrow and death permanently alter the reality of Elysium in a small area. In fact. It is also best done with a partner. which veritably wreak of Infernal taint. but take note of any warning signs you think you see. Thus they do not rip much at the fabric. so that the more common the crime the less likely a portal is to form. such acts have become integral to the fabric of our false reality. The creation of such a place remains a mystery in many ways. Here we have an act of profound passion.on after the disaster. others are areas where even the smallest stimulus can push the envelope of reality. In a world where murder on the street happens every day in every city. but a new and exciting act can push a mundane horror to the level of the sublime. chronic strain on the Demiurge's Illusion. A simple liquor store robbery that turns escalates into a murder has little meaning behind it. and the power of their dreams brings life to their fears. This said. I mentioned curious areas where there would seem to be no obvious cause for a weakness to generate in the barrier between our world and Inferno. mental hospitals. It helps also if your victim is someone appropriately unbalanced. The heinousness of the crime reflects the amount of effort put into it by the perpetrator. I have seen alleyways where not a soul has died but. One can never be certain what forces are it work in any part of our world. Sites of Sorrow: There are also certain places in this world where Inferno verges closely on Elysium. stake him to the basement floor and proceed to make him drink until the liquor comes gushing from the holes he has punched in the drunk's exposed liver. and dare I say "inhuman" revenge all tear away at the fabric of reality along with the victim's own pain and suffering. continuing to pour negative energy into the area. in most cases one or more of the stimuli I have cited above come together to form the appropriate mixture of Hell on Earth. Therefore. that is to say. A Fatal Combination Of course. the more destructive energy released. For those interested in creating their own temporary portals I have several caveats. making recreating a part of our world in Inferno's image. an emotion shared by a great many people. Here I should mention a tendency towards novelty in the creation of portals.

pools of water. it is not a true Gate to hell. Permanent Gates Now I turn my attention to a phenomenon somewhat different. Portals. For instance. such Gates are quite rare. although doors and passages are popular forms. up to and including Astaroth himself (although that is not likely these days). Run lad. something that makes them quite hazardous. boats. with flashing lights. The experience of passing through a Gate varies as much as the forms themselves. Almost invariably there is also a Gate Keeper of some sort. A temporary portal can last for centuries. Truth be told. and even empty fields act as Gates to Inferno. The Gate can take any form. Infernal Gates are something else entirely. Every dark citadel has at least one Gate linking it to Elysium. certainly as long as people mourn the dead and hate the Nazis. you will have a hard time finding your way home. After all. accompanied by a profound knowledge of the occult Sciences and magical arts. A Gate acts just like a doorway. Sometimes it can be quite dramatic. and the stench of sulfur. The suffering there was so tremendous. and it takes an effort of will. Anything could be over there. and sometimes many more. Someone or something must actively create a Gate. Creating a Gate means effectively blasting one's way through the false reality and the barrier between life and death. Only a very few humans have ever managed such a feat. and some do not resemble doors even remotely. Gates are almost always bi-directional (although there are exceptions) making passage between our world and Inferno a simple matter for all involved. magical gates are different from temporary portals). fire. Not that it does not happen now and then. They serve as direct passages from our world or Metropolis into the bowels of Inferno. using powerful magics of some sort. For an unawakened human being to create a permanent Gate requires a massive expenditure of time and effort. As we shall see. creating a small pocket of your own reality to connect the two worlds. If the portal closes behind you. smoke. There is an important distinction here that probably are not immediately aware of. That is to say. Gates are impressive pieces of magical architecture. Remember that while portals are two way. and the next thing you know hungry Razides surround you.can try and recreate the portal should this become necessary. as discussed above. conscious or unconscious to travel from one side to the other. although even for them it can be quite an effort. Astaroth and the Death Angels can create Gates with more ease. yet still akin to temporary portals: Gates to Inferno. The issue of bi-directional travel brings up my final caveat: you never now what is lurking on the other side of things. for there is much confusion on this issue. Gates are actually quite different from portals. Other times there is simply a tingling sensation at the back of your neck. First let me clarify exactly what I mean by a temporary portal as opposed to a Gate. requiring tremendous skill and commitment to create on a permanent basis. Fortunately. usually an Infernal beast set to guard the Gate from trespassers. There is no need for an act of will when moving through a Gate. it exists both here and there. cars. Always be on your guard. it may be your only hope. I have seen corners of rooms. Many people assume that sites where portals have existed for decades or centuries are in fact permanent gates. no matter how long it has existed. the Gates often open right into particularly nasty areas of Inferno where Astaroth and his minions gather their forces. you cannot create them from the other side without magical help. beneath the abandoned death camps at Auschwitz there is a substantial portal that has existed for over fifty years. Nevertheless. one need simply walk through it to come out on the other side. . the crime so heinous. places where Inferno and Elysium coexist for a time. the Gates are used much more often by Infernal beings wishing easy access to our world. and functions in the same way as any other temporary portal. I define any such portal as temporary. this is much different from a Gate. are temporary events. Always remember discretion is the better part of valor. and are usually in out of the way places where unsuspecting individuals are unlikely to stumble through them. which are effectively the same thing only temporary (note. For this reason. such gates are a necessity. In these days of active Infernal involvement in human affairs. there are few of us willing to risk life and soul for a walking tour of Hell. Death Conjurer's can create their own gates through magical ritual. and the mourning so continuous that the portal is likely to remain a long time. but some day it will fade.

It took thirteen months to finish the Gate. the ship survived German U-boat attacks and corporate takeovers until 1959 when it came to rest in Boston. Boston. plying Atlantic trade routes under an American flag. This happened on the Colorado river in the Western United States. anchoring it in place. The Shady Lady. for invariably the river before the damn swells up to form a huge stagnant lake. Dent's cult existed for over eight years without arousing too much suspicion. For some this is a cardinal sin against the environment. even if only in the most primitive sense. and the local constabulary paid to look the other way. I make no promises about what I report here. as iron piling sunk into ten feet of concrete protrude from the bottom hull of the ship. These are Gates hidden away in the less traveled corners of Inferno. and the distribution of this tome relatively small. Quite honestly I think she is mad. except to say that everything is true to the best of my knowledge. Still. languishing in the same location for years. His ranch home along the Colorado River was the scene of many a Devil's Sabbat. housing all variety of magical and mundane horrors. that is to say. hideout. culminating in a grand human sacrifice. and weapons he can. my writing about them will no doubt bring them back to the attention of many who study and watch such matters. and over that time they grew and grew. where the local residents (population 630) viewed their strange neighbors with some disdain. including of course Infernals. a Gate has a definite end. but I look at it as a good sign. The Gates circumvent the problems of trying to create a temporary portal. (Sorry Terri). including Jackson Heights. There are however a few Gates that are not quite as dangerous as most. Places where Gates were made long ago for reasons now forgotten or by humans sorcerers willing to carry the fight for Human Divinity all the way to the Astaroth himself as necessary. Teresa used the unlikely abode to conduct some of the most innovative occult experimentations of this century. As of this writing the ship is still there. Jackson Heights also happened to be the home of a rather sadistic Death Conjurer named Billy Dent. Christened in 1924. It shows we are willing to change our reality. constructing a permanent Gate to his Master's home in Inferno. there are no certainties when dealing with Inferno. Why she created such a dangerous thoroughfare is beyond me. several towns rested under its waters. in the case of the latter. Jackson Heights. Conjurers and Occultists created most of these. As always. The Shady Lady was once a simple cargo ship. Nevertheless. I have complied here descriptions of some of the better known Gates as well as some virtually forgotten ones. today we have no problem blithely changing the face of nature. and never heard about the plans to dam the river only a few miles south of Jackson . and temple. and when the 120 mile long lake stabilized. but at least you know what you are getting into. The closest town was a certain Jackson Heights. adding more buildings to the ranch complex. The rusting hulk became Teresa's home. Massachusetts The Shady Lady rests at the docks in Boston Harbor. Finally Dent made the big move. Nor is the ship likely to move.Gates are naturally a very efficient way of entering Inferno. I feel that the knowledge is useful. It was then that a certain Teresa McCullen purchased the ship from a bankrupt import/export company. Teresa reigned as a queen over her ship and the otherworldly inhabitants she had summoned and bound to her will. Dock fees are paid regularly. Furthermore. The interior of the ship had been completely converted into a warren of iron chambers. I am sure Teresa would offer use of her Gate to those who present themselves properly. the damming of rivers for hydroelectric power is a fine example of this. friends. Dent Ranch. The would be Harrower can take with him all the equipment. you can find out exactly where the Gate come into Inferno. Of course. Always a generous soul. A powerful conjurer. Her final experiment was the creation of the Gate to Inferno. but they do not always control them anymore. When I first visited the ship in 1968 I was amazed at what I saw. and perhaps afford a little more security for the adventurous Harrower. and he housed a cult of Satanists here for many years. Usually this is somewhere no sane man would want to be. and amazingly enough Teresa seems to live on unscathed. Utah A curious thing about the modern world. Her tunnel comes out deep within the circles of hell. For the whole period of the ritual the cultists were effectively cut off from the rest of the world. near the Citadel of Hareb-Serap himself.

otherwise the entire Colorado River would have drained into Inferno. which extends for some seven miles underground. for there is little to link the place to Northern Africa. The occult minded clan has found more interesting uses for their underground labyrinth. It was not until state and federal representatives cam around to appraise the value of the ranch that Billy learned of the future fate of the valley. As you proceed down the stairs from the bar you pass by two toilets. built within the ranch's barn. Between the two is a locked wooden door. and since 1840 they have based their operation from their quaint vineyard in the heart of the world's best wineries. the winery is more famous than any first growth claret. Some of the most powerful binding spells and wards known to magic are in place below the cabernet and merlot vines on the surface. Unfortunately the Italian realty office burned to the ground some years ago. one for women. although in good years it can be utterly drinkable. and I imagine all that stands between the patrons and Inferno is a good crowbar. The upper floor houses a bar whose innovative interior design consists of black lights and encouraging the patrons to write on the walls. the Gate is simply a locked door just off the basement music venue. Bordeaux. but they bought it from an Italian realtor. Rome Italy Just off Piazza Barberini resides a hole in the wall bar and dance club called Club Khartoum. France This centuries old winery nestled in the Margaux region of France's famed Bordeaux wine region has never been known for its great wines. that proved to be surprisingly little. It seems that Gates are not water permeable. Since then I have not been back. saying that no one did and that they did not use the room.Heights. The Renauld Gate is one of the best guarded doorways to Inferno controlled by humans. As I walked past that old familiar sensation of dread washed over me. Billy tells me that he has not been back either. American rock music blares from the cement basement where live bands play every night. The Renaulds are purported to make frequent excursions into Inferno. The Gate could easily date back to Roman times or even earlier. and I had other matters to attend to. It is possible that the Renauld's boast the largest cellar in a region renowned for its underground storage facilities. but there is no reason it should not be operational. it is possible that those on the other side had to seal up the Gate from their side. It is definite that there is in fact very little wine in the Renauld cellars. Chateau Renauld. one for men. destroying all records of the building. but I have managed to ascertain through magical means that there is in fact a Gate behind that door. Then again. and the cult was forced to move on to greener pastures. Another mysterious fire had destroyed any records about the building in the city archives. I have not been down there to see it. A Swiss development corporation owns the building. stealing souls out from under the Infernal Powers' noses and using them for their own purposes. rather exclusive occult circles. Here the family Gate to hell has existed for over one hundred and fifty years. My curiosity piqued. the high crop yields and dubious terroir is often harsh and overly tannic. Unfortunately. Amazingly enough. a large stone carved arch. Seldom exported. The reasoning behind the name is as mysterious as the goings on within. It is rumored that The Renauld's never allow the souls of any of their kin to slip into the tortures of Inferno. the product of years of careful experimentation and rituals. There seemed to be no records of the building anywhere. I set to finding out all I could about the club. Under all that water the Gate remains. There was nothing he could do. and if some brave reader discovers its secrets. Club Khartoum. something one would assume to be a janitor's closet. But in certain. He professed not to have a key. what is now known as Lake Powell. and if all else fails . In less than a year his whole ranch would be under several hundred feet of water. finally deciding that I had to find out what was behind it. Here well off Italian youth gather to feel like they are acting dangerously. I examined the door closely. The lock proved beyond my abilities to pick (which surprised me greatly) so I sought out the manager. I only stumbled on the Gate underneath Club Khartoum a few years ago. The Renauld family are necromancers from way back. but that the Gate opened into one of the lower levels of Samael's citadel. I would be happy to hear their tale.

the cave is worth a look for any committed occultist looking for a tropical vacation. The pythons can then be sold on the world market as pets. although there is a long trip ahead of you to the more interesting Infernal sites. the cave is a well known site among locals. The cave network itself goes back for miles and is the home to all variety of insect and reptile life. and certainly there is a simple pleasure in watching the placid fish swim in a shallow pool. Celebes is a land even now relatively untouched by modern society. go. If you have not been. killing livestock and stealing babies from their mothers arms. or skinned for their scales. Celebes. served as a base of operations for one warlord group until they were driven out by the Nationalist Government. It seems likely that whatever it was went back to Inferno. The occupying force had little time to develop the county estate. Located less than a hundred miles from the town of Boni. Grove of the Golden Carp. encompassing the Grave and its Gate. China The Chinese love their carp ponds. An Infernal beast of fearsome proportions escaped into our world and established itself in the area as the local demon of the woods. areas that have become almost sacred to the python hunters. a place where even the braves hunter will not venture. It seems to work. for zoos. with thousands of remote places where a man can be alone with himself and his experiments. for the Python has not been spotted in centuries. until the Japanese came and drove them out. and in their heyday they had daughters who married emperors and sons who served as high ministers. and in this case something seems to have come through. and during the war it fell into disrepair. but that is not to say that it does not return to our land from time to time. There are also scores of unique occult traditions in world's largest archipelago. At some point one or more of these ancient conjurers broke through into Inferno permanently. and in the inlands. Pythons often live in caves. The Mu clan were among the most successful families in the land. Indonesia is a world unto itself. the Mu's. The Nationalists used it as a retreat for the ruling elite. For a time their palatial county estate. Gates are two way affairs. Who knows if the beast remains in the region. A man of sizable girth would have trouble squeezing through the opening. Whatever the case. It may well have been something otherwise unrecorded in Infernal Lore. Hunan Province. so spelunkers are urged to be careful. far from any of the great centers of dark power. Cave of the Python Mother. Python hunters from miles around yearly make pilgrimages to the cave. As we all know. The typical sacrifice is a live bound goat.they will rescue them from the clutches of Astaroth himself. That next turn could take you straight to hell. life continues as it has for centuries. Just what the beast was. The Chinese Communist revolution . the oldest and most interesting to me is the Cave of The Python Mother on the island of Celebes. This makes it an ideal Gate for those wishing a less obtrusive entry into Inferno. ago the cave seems to have been home to some sort of intense magical experimentation. and Infernal purpose of the Grove of the Golden Carp that makes it so very interesting. leaving sacrifices in the narrow opening. It seems from the legends that it was something more than just a Razide out to make trouble. One cave in particular has a very fearsome reputation. The Gate itself appears as just another cave within the vast network of the Python Mother. I am not sure. where the serpents can grow to well over twenty feet in length. Python hunting is common on the island. maybe millennia. which (it is hoped) will appease the Python Mother's voracious hunger. Maybe its the incongruity between the peaceful veneer. The wealth and privilege of their class lasted until the tumultuous times of the twentieth century when the family was slaughtered to the last man woman and child during the warlord era. Centuries. There is also the fearsome spectre of the Python Mother lurking in the background. The cave itself has a relatively small opening. Of these. The Gate opens deep within the outer wastelands of Inferno. Indonesian wizards are renowned for their skill and bravery in the face of otherworldly spirits. and there are tales from across the archipelago of ancient sorcerers breaking the bounds of reality. including several interesting Gates to Inferno. certainly its reputation lives on after it. Centuries ago the pool was part of a large garden belonging to an important Imperial Chinese family. Indonesia Indonesia.

the site remains unoccupied. even though it has only existed for a few years. Somehow they did just that. Ethiopia The Dunbar Research Station was fully funded and controlled by the powerful biotech consortium LAMAR Biotech. over forty years later. bisected by a series of small footbridges. One clue is the destination of the Carp Pool Gate: deep within Gamaliel's citadel. I conclude with this Gate because it is one of the most interesting examples of human curiosity and ingenuity going far beyond any expectations. Towards the center of the pond there is a particularly large bridge. Somehow a serum. simple and remarkably preserved under sixteen inches of dirty water. The research center. which instantly transfers anyone who enters its center to Inferno. which had now become quite overgrown. free it from the vagaries of human suffering. opening into the outer regions of Inferno. but the afterlife. Curiously though. operating under far from strict Ethiopian controls. Perhaps the Infernal lord created the portal himself ages ago and has since forgotten about it. devoted itself to finding new forms of genetic medicines. and many human subjects died or went irretrievably mad in the course of research. or some such potion that heightened the awareness of test subjects. leading to legends of ghosts and demons. Likewise. It is unknown what governments know of the Gate's existence. That is to say (as I understand it) tailor made genes that could cure diseases or heighten human well being. or the kind of folk who consort with demons. although none unscathed. Even the annals of the great Chinese sorcerers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries fail to mention the Mu clan in any way. far from any signs of civilization. unfathomably deep. They have sent several armed expeditions into Inferno. now long since turned rotten. The suffering of all these aware individuals was enough to open a temporary portal to Inferno. The shallow pond measures some thirty yards to a side. not far from the Death Angels inner sanctum. the research seemed to open some particularly interesting avenues in human development. something that did not escape the notice of LAMAR scientists. I urge those interested to take a look for themselves. located in a seldom traveled area of the pond. Some may very well have been ghosts. Perhaps not. It is almost as if the Lord of Perverted Sexuality does not even know what is beneath his nose. The Gate itself lies within the carp pond. The Mu clan is nowhere purported to be known as magicians. Ras Dashan. Here's the problem though. very near to our own world. drug. Even the LAMAR Biotech board of directors is unaware of its existence. No doubt some of these were poor souls who fell through the Gate. the buildings dilapidated. at least as far as I can tell. and is probably the most studied Gate in the history of our jail. Today. now cluttered with weeds and bereft of fish. The portal intrigued the scientists. The Gate chamber is under constant guard and surveillance. but still does not explain who was responsible. The bottom of the pool appears to be stone.also managed to overlook the Grove. the Gate is no longer used by the Death angel or his minions. There are various records of disappearances over the five hundred year history of the state. although far from kind. This seems the most likely explanation. conjurers. and did it without the use of traditional magical rituals. In any event. under the center of which is a six foot diameter hole. what is more demonic than an Infernal resident splashing out of the pond to take what it can back with it? We can safely say then that the Gate has probably been present since the fifteenth century. actually letting them see beyond the Illusion. something I was . The Gate takes to form of a sealed room. Stranger things have happened I suppose. Dunbar Research Station. something they thought was a doorway to another dimension. Perhaps the Mu's unwittingly built their summer home on top of the Gate. The Gate is a permanent one. other than to note their summer home as renowned for being haunted. and they dropped all other experiments to concentrate on the new phenomenon. forming a roughly square pond. never realizing the threat that lay beneath their fish. souls making their way out of Inferno and into our world. The scientists in charge now realize that it is not another dimension they have reached. This is the Gate. Near Mt. They even managed to capture a Razide and bring it back for closer study. and all of them have returned. So where did this Gate come from? No obvious answer presents itself. The testing procedures were very effective. They sought ways to stabilize the portal.

and trust them to see you through to Inferno and back out. but it may well be one of the safest entries to Inferno on the planet. and so can fall into the hands of any fool. The best way to get into Inferno is through the use of magical rituals. Bug-like. Even among the ranks of necrologists such individuals can be found. I myself avoid the things like the plague. First one must get there. to building sized contraptions. the Terra Nova Research Station above). Highways and Byways of Hell Travel through Inferno tends to be undertaken on foot alone. or even temporary (and in a few rare cases permanent) Infernal Gates. but certainly such forms of conveyance are rare down there. There are no constants in Inferno. The former cause the area around the device to collocate-locate with an area in Inferno. Quite frankly however. thus avoiding the perils of blindly stepping through a Gate. which is why I have spent so much time talking about portals and gates. Infernal tendencies and likelihoods. A fact of Infernal existence that has existed since the beginning of time is just as likely to change entirely in the next minute as anything else. Find a conjurer. Crispin's Day or the Vernal Equinox is easily watched on those dates. should the mood strike them.fortunate enough to witness. methods whereby anyone can make the journey to hell. These artifacts are particularly dangerous because in many cases they are portable. I make no guarantees. Conjurers have the great advantage of being able to control where in Hell they are going when they create a magical gate. while the latter typically create a passageway of some sort. Almost all of them require complicated magical rituals to create. something that applies to both temporary portals and even some Infernal Gates. Of course this is not always the case. while others actually open a portal or gate. They create strange and sometimes even wondrous devices that can open up temporary portals to Inferno. Sometimes a portal or gate will exist only at certain times or under specific conditions. from small baubles.g. Gates might be attuned to specific dates or astrological conditions. I would not want to rely on them and usually do not. What I present here is a series of tips and comments. for nothing I write here is set in stone. For instance. Where these open up in Inferno can either be a random event or determined at the time of creation. triggered by the mourning of survivors and even the suffering of those sent to Inferno en masse. Chapter Three: Infernal Travel Later we will turn to some of the specific sites found in Inferno. Some simply transport the one who activates the device into Inferno. and the rest of the year there is no need to worry about unwanted Infernal beings walking through to our world. The devices come in all shapes and sizes. Artifacts as Portals I have one more note on the subject of portals and gates. pay him whatever he or she wants. as you can never be sure of their pedigree. allowing the creator to have some control over who comes and goes through their gate. mile long wheeled juggernauts that roll . Many tinkerers find it enough to be able to create such devices and let them loose upon the world. they can look into Inferno and see the lay of the land before they decide to make the move. I can not over emphasize this point. but now I will give some time to how travel in that land is accomplished. for Gates seldom accommodate cars or horse and carriage. A Gate that only works on St. Even before they conjure up the gate. caring not a bit where the artifact sends its hapless operator. Access to the Gate is strictly limited. a temporary portal might appear on the anniversary of a horrible mass murder. especially outside the hands of the Infernal Lords and their servants. but never absolutes. First of all beware. There are in this world certain tinkerers who think that machines and clever clockwork devices hold the answer to all the world's problems. black steel ornithopters. Periodicity An interesting side note here. although the amazing advance in science may soon find a way to duplicate magic's excesses (e. They possess a bewildering variety of vehicles to carry them about their realm.

Furthermore. but some can become useful allies. but eventually it will happen. Eventually. nor are the laws of physics and time and space applicable. this ability is extremely limited indeed. It may take years. humans can. and of course marking your position by satellite locating systems is totally impossible. There are no cardinal directions in Inferno. Of course most end up in the torture chambers of the Death Angels or in service in Astaroth's Legions. A very small degree. we too can shape the form of Inferno. like you and me for instance. Bread crumbs are eaten. They know how long it takes to get from one place to another. Catching the wrong being's attention in Inferno can damn you forever. Here is how this curious phenomenon seems to work. Divine beings that we are. It is doubtful that there even are constant directions. they know precisely where they are within the bounds of his Realm. it may take lifetimes. and what path is least fraught with potential dangers. This does not offer much hope for beings of non-Infernal origin. There are those dumb beasts that wander the barren plains and dusty halls of Inferno looking for poor defenseless souls to torture. Infernal territory does not take well to being marked. the closer they are to Awakening. festooned with wicked spikes are all relatively common sights in Astaroth's domain. so leave your compass at home. For the hapless Harrower however. this seldom works. roving from one victim to the next. pain. with even the Dark Citadels themselves switching positions. Painted markings on walls disappear. eventually they will get there. the thread will change with the landscape. It may prove slow going. so it may well be possible to fall off the edge. Of course always exercise caution in such matters. There is one small ray of hope for man however: a human ability amazingly potent. Thus human suffering and so on opens portals to Inferno and not Metropolis or the Dream World. Then there are those human souls sentenced to an afterlife in hell. They can make a journey that looks to be just a few miles take years. sweeping all before them. Now do not get too excited. Always they seem to know just what lies beyond the next bend. an innocent length of twine metamorphoses into a serpent in your very hand. The stronger the will. They are creatures of instinct and appetite only. and if he or she keeps walking. though seldom developed to its full potential. for as likely as not. bending it to their will. but it certainly attracts less attention. in some cases they do not. Sadly. but it also draws Inferno to the location. In their realm they make the rules. Most are totally mad. the quicker their journey . and the very soil on which you stand will react against you. even if it was not there a few moments before. Rather. No man (except mayhap one of the Awakened) can blithely bend Astaroth's realm to their will. for as often as not these "dejected souls" are actually Razides or other Infernals in disguise. I advise you to keep to your feet. The most important exception to this rule is when Astaroth or one of his Death Angels interferes directly with Inferno's shape. Then even the most unerring of Infernal wanderers can lose its way. From ancient times came the concept of Ariadne's thread. if they are lucky and things go well for them. looking for unsuspecting victims.across the Infernal Fields. In that case human energy primarily rips apart the Illusion. things are constantly on the move down below. and best avoided. It is a gift from Astaroth to his many spawn. Inferno itself is not a planetary body like the Illusory Earth. these conveniences are unavailable. Human souls have tried all manner of clever tricks to try and find their way through Inferno's protean landscape. Certainly one cannot depend on two parallel lines converging or a series of four left turns forming a circle. demonic horses pulling fiery chariots. Thus we know that human divine energy can manipulate Infernal geography. They usually appear as battered and bruised humans. the more mentally fit the person. shadows of their former selves. It is said that Astaroth and the Death Angels can warp and control the reality of Inferno. and even devilish automobiles. at least to a degree. leaving a trail behind you which you can follow back. and any terrestrial vehicles are only likely to draw unwanted attention. slightly influence their path through Inferno. A strong willed person can keep a destination in mind. We know that human suffering. With no magnetic poles there is nothing to draw the compass. There of course those who can find their way unerringly through Inferno's twisted passages and foul waterways. and emotion can bring Inferno and Elysium together to form a portal. or let a single footstep cover a thousand yards. How then do the inhabitants manage to find their way around? Well.

You cannot say to yourself. and they come in several different types. depending on your resources and expertise. remember: no guarantees) but certain sites are likely to be there. Although not absolutely necessary in gaining the aid of a psychopomp. although mayhap not by the shortest route. How much a conjured psychopomp knows varies widely. After all the technique does not work if you do not have a place in mind. Where the mind looks. but it may have to do if you have no other option. If you somehow ascertained your wife's location you would have to concentrate on that place. unless of course the caster himself should perish. most of which I shall discuss in the next chapter. it makes the task much simpler. from a identical twin of the caster to some famous figure from history (Virgil?). Here as in everything to do with harrowing. and hopefully that place still exists. However. He will at the very least interfere with your progress. In a way this guide is related to the practice I described in the previous section where the Harrower bends Inferno to his will. First of all. Likewise. for even his subconscious will throw up barriers in your path. The ritual does not grant the caster all his lost memories. summoning up a guide from your own repressed memories is both more subtle and quite a bit more efficient. magic proves itself profoundly useful. other Infernal beings in your vicinity will sense your effort and come to investigate what all the excitement is about. Could you exert yourself to that degree for days or weeks on end? Can you finish the journey once it is begun? Then of course there is the goal itself. all attention is unwanted. although then it was as a dead soul and not a live Harrower. seldom successful technique for navigating Inferno. and the closer you get the more likely he is to become aware of your presence. the body will follow. Of course in Inferno. Setting the front door of Samael's citadel as your goal in effect means making Samael himself your goal. The conjurer looks back through the depths of time. A psychopomp or spirit guide is a being who leads you through hell. Psychompomps are a must for any serious Infernal traveler. which brings me to my next subject: Pscyhpomps and their myriad uses. not a place where someone is. Let me make something absolutely clear at this point. The most common psychopomp is not a true guide at all. Even animals and fantastic beasts can serve as guides. Instead it manages to pluck out those memories relating strictly to Inferno and its layout. Hopefully you will. Just because you conjure up a psychopomp in the form of a great warrior does not mean it will or can fight for you. Most of us have spent many hundreds or even thousands of years in Inferno over the course of history. how do you know if you are strong enough? Look into your heart and think of the hardest fought accomplishment of your life. They can assume most any form. The advantage to this is that they are almost impossible to destroy except by magic.will be. It is important to note here that the guide has no real substance in Inferno. Of course the form of the memory guide varies from person to person. but a projection of the conjurer's own self. The odds are that your psychopomp will be able to take you close to wherever you want to go. and at worst he will send his legions to find you and bring you back in chains. such a feat is beyond most of his. All this concentrating on a set goal has a rather sinister side effect. Psychopomps The psychopomp is a very refined version of the phenomenon I described above. the Chamber of Stinging Sorrows in the Third Circle for example. (or so it seems. but this is rarer than you might expect. take me to the torture chamber where my beloved dead wife is and expect to get there. although they are never much bigger than man sized. Of course sometimes we can spend a millennium locked away in a single torture chamber. It tends to draw unwanted attention. This need not be an actual image so much as a feeling and emotional attachment to the goal. whether it be Dante's Virgil or Virgil's Sybil of Cumae. When I say you have to concentrate it has to be a site. There are of course several problems with relying on this method of travel through the shifting Infernal landscape. Let me also make this clear: This is a very dangerous. It will not know the secret passages and tunnels of the Razides and . There are of course sites that are always there. The memories then coalesce within Inferno into a physical form: thus comes the psychopomp. It is paramount that you have a clear picture of your goal at all times. so one must be particularly careful here. recalling all the times he has been to Inferno before. but it is usually a fair amount.

and every reason to be sympathetic to those of us from the outside. I do not think it is necessary to go into all of possible dangers with this course of actions. They have suffered untold pain and suffering at the hands of their tormentors. cheat. But the psychopomp must also deal with the memories of untold ages of suffering and torture. for the bound servant will invariably do its best to lead its master astray. and their minds are almost certainly unhinged. The first problem with this course of action is finding someone who is free from the clutches of the Razides and their torture chambers. Remember. But you can never trust a dead man. and possibly even resentful towards you. for it only remembers the sorrows of Inferno. and so they make the best guides. for it is unlikely you have ever been there before. but here as in all things. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the old man causes the user to age one year for every twenty-four hours spent in Inferno. After all. creatures born to Inferno innately know how to travel through the horrors of hell unscathed. The option is an obvious one. It will treat you the same way you treat yourself. For example. but seldom used because the risks are so unpredictable. they certainly have no reason to support their Infernal lords. To find a guide without magical aid requires one to actually physically subdue the would be psychopomp. they are also the hardest to acquire. Some artifacts require a sacrifice of some sort. not serving as their guides. but then again it may not. Most of these artifacts carry a price with them. Summoning and binding infernal creatures is stock and trade for death conjurers. Thus. and the worst can drive a sane man to the verge of clinical depression. while others will take what they want. Finding one of these objects is no mean feat. Of course this can also be a great advantage if you treat yourself well. so careful research before use is strongly advised. and this cannot help but color its world view. It has known little happiness in its existence. If it's important enough the price may be worth it. and can be used as psychopomps. What is more common in Inferno than the lost souls of those who have died? The Souls of the dead would seem to be the best guides available. you psychopomp will bear you quite a grudge. for no prison is escape proof. Likewise it will not know any of the mysteries of the Dark Citadels. There are said to be certain magical artifacts that provide their user with control over a psychopomp. The Comfort of Strangers One option remains for those in search of a psychopomp. and usually not a financial one. All the normal caveats for dealing with summoned creatures apply to summoned psychopomps. The statuette is purported to summon up a psychopomp in the form of a wizened sage who will guide one through Inferno wherever you wish to go. an undertaking nearly guaranteed to be more trouble than it is worth. Other Guides Of course there are other beings who can act as psychopomp if you are unable to summon your own. This can make it either very melancholy or very jaded. but it is also tainted by your experiences. The dangers here are obvious. but could be invaluable for a non-magician making the journey into Inferno. with the extra warning that they are even more dangerous on their home territory. As I noted above. Unfortunately. and mislead you if you do not have some way of ensuring their loyalty. if you are one of those poor souls full of self loathing and suicidal tendencies. It may be possible to strike some sort of bargain. I have no idea ho one might do this. Non-conjuring Harrowers may also wish to avail themselves of an Infernal psychopomp. I have read in several places of a small jade carving of an old Chinese man. unless you were very unfortunate or very lucky in a previous death. It will relate to you depending on how you relate to yourself. Infernals never have your best interests at heart. At least with an . The personality of the psychopomp depends upon the form it assumes. life is easier with a conjurer around. that such beings will invariably lie. for there is little you can hold over their heads. These are rare but not impossible to find. I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record.other jailers who seem to move throughout Inferno with ease. most Infernals are accustomed to enslaving humans. or perhaps trade souls for information. but remember. For example. After all. Dead souls are notoriously unreliable. even the best of psychopomps is a gloomy companion.

With a human soul you can never be sure as to what is going on. that I am an eternal pessimist. There are many Infernals who use the lure of food and drink to manipulate unwary souls and Harrowers alike. and you may need that torch. a Death Angel may simply assert that gunpowder does not ignite in his domain. It will be hot enough to cook you alive in your clothes. and snow. and all other psychopomps for that matter. These will lead you astray as surely as any devil or demon. and quite a few that one would never imagine. Even that which is not poisonous at face value can have a lasting effect on the soul. Inferno is as alien to these lost souls as it would be to you or me. there are no days or nights in Inferno. or club can be invaluable in such circumstances. I have already discussed how to find entrance into Inferno and some suggestions on finding a guide through the underworld. The Well Equipped Harrower Traveling into Inferno should never be undertaken lightly or without exhaustive preparation on behalf of the Harrower. stenches. having a simpler backup is absolutely necessary. This is particularly true of the Dark Citadels of the Death Angels. marshes. Food and water are vital. every conceivable form of precipitation exists in the underworld. As we shall see in the next chapter. so beware traveler! You can never know for sure. If you were counting on your shotgun alone to see you through. If he wishes it. where the very form of reality is an expression of the individual dark lord's wants and desires. It will be freezing cold. well. So in that spirit. The Infernal Lords are cunning. and always inconvenient. As we shall see. Batteries have a curious habit of malfunctioning at the most inconvenient times. knife. and though it may seem to some that I am continually looking at the dark side of things. and there will be mud.enslaved Infernal psychopomp you can be sure that it is trying to lie to you. whoever they are. Even if the soul means well. Legend has it that any who eat food from the underworld can never leave. Sometimes a man's pain and hate become so overwhelming that he wants only to take his vengeance on those around him. So. After all. but there are certainly dark place aplenty. or at the very least nose plugs can prove absolutely invaluable. Assume that nothing below is edible or potable. It remains to give a few pointers about what to bring with you into the fiery depths. Other equipment should be obvious. it may not know very much at all. a sad surprise awaits you. and I urge the well prepared individual to bring them all. Weather in Inferno is mercurial at best. you are also agreeing to a bargain whereby you turn over custody of your soul. and they are certainly very effective as far as they go. First of all bring a conjurer. So. Then their are those poor misguided souls who voluntarily work for Astaroth's Legions. bring weapons. and sometimes this is the case. All tight. Which brings me to one final fashion recommendation: a gas mask. In this day and age we have firearms available to us. As nice as modern weapons are. Now weapons come in many different forms. the laws of physics as experienced in Elysium do not always hold true in Inferno. air filter. A handy sword. It is realistically impossible to tell such a doppelganger from a true lost soul. and planes where you will walk neck deep in excrement. You see. but flame is something that never goes out of style in the underworld. Several reliable sources of light can also prove invaluable. . ample provisions are a must for any serious Infernal explorer. It is not uncommon for one of these demonic powers to assume the form of a hapless human soul just to lead a Harrower down the path to perdition. I have gone on about that enough and so I will leave it there. Likewise high explosives can have a devastating effect on even the most horrifying of Infernal beasts. The smells. unfortunately my recommendation is to be ready for anything. It will rain. What does one wear to Hell? It is a question with no easy answer. and stinks that assault one can easily overwhelm even the strongest among us. Those with a classically inspired imagination may think it odd that I would advise a Harrower to bring flint and steel for making fire. This book is more than anything a group of warnings about Inferno. It is entirely possible that by accepting an offer of food. as with modern firearms it is best to have a primitive backup for any modern devices one brings along. Second. Again. remember what we are discussing here. betraying their own kind for a false hope of future glory. I present another warning about human souls as psychopomps. insidious beings who take great joy in discomfiting humans at every turn.

time is compressed. Since the landscape is so turbulent. More specifically. I have relied on the accounts of many different men and women over history to compile this section. Likewise the reverse could just as easily happen. especially in these modern days of chaos in the wake of the Demiurge's disappearance. I focus here on only the most common. but of course you will never be aware of any shift.Death and Time Now is as good a place as any to comment on the issue of time in Inferno versus time in Elysium. as many of the geographical features of Inferno defy description under the aegis of a single category. Obviously in the torture chambers. There are probably gates I do not know of. Anything can happen when Inferno and Elysium collide. much as any travel guide would comment on the climate and . and defies any easy description or categorization. and therefore likely to be found features of Inferno. It seems likely that while time in Elysium is much closer to absolute. for the road less traveled often has fewer guardians to stand in your way. What determines how you experience time is a matter of where you are and what you are doing. But only to a degree. For time certainly does matter in Inferno. Three days can pass for a Harrower in Inferno. even their skills can not stand up to the reality shifting powers of a Death Angel or Astaroth on its own territory. The form of Inferno changes in constant flux. There are even some Conjurers specializing in the Realm of Transcendence who make a special study of the flow of time in Inferno. So we will begin with a general overview of Inferno's geography. I have also included some of the more interesting. so there must be a relationship of some sort. In fact. Inferno can ignore these rules to a degree. However. and have tried to stay as close to them as possible without distorting my information. They more than anyone may be able to determine for themselves the flow of time for themselves in Inferno. It is most probable that in Inferno time truly is all relative. but I can assure you that I have chosen only the most reliable sources for my exerts here. I myself have seen but a meager fraction of Inferno's hellish offerings. so that hours of suffering are packed into minutes. It is only upon returning to Elysium that you find that while you were gone your children have grown up and your wife has left you. In Conclusion There is much more to know. We have seen how the flow of events in our world and Metropolis effects Inferno. I have organized this section somewhat haphazardly. but less known features that were simply too fascinating to leave out. For our purposes we can only speak of tendencies gleaned from past experience. Part Two An Infernal Gazetteer Chapter 4: Infernal Geography The study of Infernal Geography is a difficult subject. time is not absolute within Inferno either. creating new problems for the meddling Harrower. but I could not possibly present it all to you here. so that Razides might inflict a thousand days of torture on some poor soul. the experience of time is all relative. For you. while for the rest of us in Elysium only an hour passes. There is no set relationship between the two. while elsewhere Golab seems to enjoy a single day of twisted reveling. Conjurers skilled in the lore of Time and Space will probably be able to sense these time shifts and may even be able to do something about them. How time seems to pass for you has no relation to how it passes for others in Inferno or for the rest of the Universe. Nevertheless. How you experience time can easily change from one step to the next. it just means that in Inferno experiences may differ. with few things remaining as they are for any length of time. and ways for portals to form that I have never dreamed possible. This does not obviate the possibility of an absolute time. I have made some generalizations. Likewise. However. Look for your own ways. any meddling on behalf of the conjurer with the flow of time may well alert the Infernals to the conjurer's presence. As often as possible each there are many other examples to corroborate the information I have given here. time seems to flow along normally.

Assuming your sight is acute enough. Contained within each ring of hell there is an infinity of space. Unlike the surface of our Illusory Earth. A small door inside a small building can open onto a seemingly endless lake of fire. The Citadel shoots up into the sky from the center of The Pit. It is a huge funnel descending down into the depths below. a psychopomp of some sort is inordinately valuable. and seas of blood and pile can all be found in Inferno. lakes of fire. with each descending circle somewhat smaller. then the Circles are it. extending as far as the Universe itself. continent wide desserts. The most dangerous however are those that do seem to flow with water. Standing on the edge of the Circles it is physically possible to see the other side of The Pit. with torture chambers. If one were to somehow journey far enough above the Circles of Hell. Not all of these rivers flow with water. areas of Inferno just as famous in their own right. you may well never find them again. for these are the rivers that actually scour the soul to its core. or The Pit as it is sometimes known. From there I have divided the chapter into two sections: The Circles and The Wild Zones. Inferno is not a sphere and there is no horizon to block our vision. and each individual is effectively alone when he walks it.landscape of a country. the extent of the Circles. if you are traveling in a group and should never lose sight of your companions. Certainly once one is in the confines of the Circles themselves. something I do later in the book. standing on the edge of The Pit is one of the very few places in Inferno where it is actually possible to see for a long distance unobstructed. is a form of private hell. Each ring is a world unto itself. its spire rising to the level of the highest circle. from pounding rain to piles of flaming feces falling from the skies. the guiding hand behind all of Inferno's horrors. Inferno: The Big Picture Inferno defies easy description in most ways. One could wander this plain for lifetimes on end and never reach anywhere. at least to the western reader. and at the center of it stands the Dark Citadel of Astaroth himself. Looking down into The Pit. because it is here that Astaroth chose to place his great fastness. The diameter of the highest circle is certainly over a thousand miles. The Great Circles of Hell The Great Circles of Hell is by far the most famous region in Inferno. until one reaches the lowest pit at the base of the funnel. as with most of Inferno. . a world of pain and suffering devoted to breaking the human spirit. Anything is possible. it is just too huge to contemplate easily. Inferno is a land without bounds. and the hatching chambers of demons stretching off into infinity. However. indeed there is probably a river of each and every foul substance known to man somewhere in The Circles. you can see forever. and whether or not you know how to navigate within the confines of Inferno's twisted physics. Bottomless pits. unless you know how to look for them. Likewise the weather can vary almost instantaneously. like all of Inferno is limitless. There is no chance of meeting another person place or thing. one might begin to be able to contemplate the enormity of the place. Here. Beyond the diameter of the circle extends a barren plain of dust. For others. and seldom in the exact same place twice. and certainly no accurate map can exist. as well as the citadels of his ten lieutenants. This seemingly bottomless well measures a hundred miles across. often forming tremendous waterfalls that cascade down for miles. many more sights that demand ones attention. But here I focus on the Great Circles. there are many. All scale is lost when viewing the Pit from above. even though it is a thousand miles away. often called the Dead Lands. Those in China and the east might be intimately familiar with regions like The Earth Prison and the Yellow Springs. while in other places they cut down through the circles. In some cases they form rings and are actually circles unto themselves. I have left information concerning the Dark Citadels from this section. Of course. I have further subdivided each of these sections as you will see. and most everything is likely to happen at one time or another. deciding that it was more appropriate to discuss these edifices along with their Lords. If Inferno can be said to have a geographic center. It all depends on which path you take. This plain. one notices that there are several rivers that work their way through the circles. Likewise. bereft of any features. a few steps will take you into The Wild Zones.

not just pollute and tear at the flesh that surrounds us. The rivers seem to be the only feature that actually cuts across the boundaries of the Circles. In all other ways they are clearly delineated from each other. The circles are for the most part terraced, so that there is a long vertical drop between one Circle and another, usually of some tens or more miles in height. In a few areas some circles slope into each other, forming a single unbroken surface, but this is rare, for the denizens of each Circle are extremely jealous of one another. There are stairways, ladders, and even long, curving ramps that connect one Circle with another, and likewise there are underground Labyrinths that connect the various levels. there are often wars fought between different parts of The Pit, with one Circle fighting for the souls imprisoned in another. In these cases all manner of ingenious siege equipment for scaling the levels are employed by the denizens of the Pit. From the top of the Pit it is of course only possible to see the surface of each level, where only the barest hint of the tortures that lie below is visible. Nevertheless, each Circle holds a bewildering array of topographical features on it surface. Looking down one can see raging blizzards ravaging areas immediately adjacent to sweltering desserts. Foul looming forests, forsaken plains, twisted cities, and roiling oceans can all be found within the Circles, and each Circle is a world unto itself. It is a common misconception that as one goes deeper into the Pit, the Circles become smaller. This is false on two counts. Most obvious is the fact that the circles themselves get wider as their circumference grows smaller, giving each Circle approximately equal surface area. This seems to have been an entirely aesthetic move on the part of Astaroth, since space within each Circle is effectively infinite. As with all things Infernal, our false reality concepts of physics have no place here. It is below ground that the true horrors of The Circles are most often found. Truth be told, Infernals prefer to do their business out from under the open sky, even if it is the sunless, red canopy of Inferno. A vast network of underground tunnels, rooms and caves riddle every level of The Pit, containing the vast majority of Inferno's torture chambers. There are whole city's in the underground, places where Infernal beings live out their miserable, damned lives without ever leaving the dark bosom of their Circle. Also down below there are chambers that are in fact whole world unto themselves. One never knows what lies beyond that door of black iron. It could be a tiny dank closet full of rotting flesh, or it could be a vast red jungle, crawling with strange and fearsome creatures of pure malevolence. Piercing down from the First level to the very bottom of The Pit are the Dark Citadels of the Death Angels. I will discuss the individual citadels later, when I deal with the Death Angels themselves, but there are a few general characteristics that are true of all ten citadels. Each Citadel extends the whole depth of The Pit, and there are entrances to the Citadels in each Circle. Like the Circles themselves, the space within the Citadels is effectively unlimited, and unconstrained by our notions of time and space. The Citadels appear to be evenly spaced around the circumference of The Pit, but once one is down in the Circles, it seems as if they almost intertwine among each other. The Citadels focus the torture and malevolence of the pit, serving as ten great magnets for suffering. Since Citadels burst through the levels, they also transcend all the petty rivalries and feuds that typify the rest of The Pit's denizens. A Citadel is really the will and desires of its master made solid in stone and iron. As such, the Death Angels have complete control over every aspect of their Citadel, and are aware of everything that transpires within their domain. Never be fooled into thinking that you have somehow managed to sneak into a Citadel unobserved while its Lord is present, for this is an impossibility. However, since the disappearance of the Demiurge, and the withdrawal of Astaroth into Elysium, several of the Death Angels have abandoned their Citadels, preferring to make their fortunes in our world. Now the other residents of The Pit have begun to take over parts of the Citadels, with minor Razides setting themselves up as Lords of Hell. This has done nothing but bring more chaos to the already turbulent world of the Circles. In the center of all this chaos sits the vast, bottomless pit surrounding Astaroth's Citadel, a place of harsh winds and frequent electrical storms. Long, black steel suspension bridges link the Citadel with the lowest Circle, supported by black, iron chains as thick as ten men. The bridges begin at the lowest Gates of the Citadels of the Death Angels and stretch

across the miles of empty space to the Ten Gates of Astaroth's Citadel, each of which bears the name of a different Death Angel. In times past each Death Angel was the only one who had the right to use their Gate, but since Astaroth has withdrawn his Citadel is sealed to all who come calling, even his "trusted lieutenants". Astaroth's towering palace is said to contain the greatest horrors of The Pit and all of Inferno. Astaroth, the master devisor of human torments once took great pleasure in personally dealing with some of the more interesting humans who came into his realm. Now however the torture chamber stands empty, the rusting iron halls ring with the howling wind. I have heard of no one who has journeyed into the Citadel, or even discovered a point of ingress. It towers above the circles, a hollow, metal spire. I shall discuss the Citadel somewhat more in the context of my chapter on Astaroth himself, but I believe you get a feeling for what I'm getting at. In Dante's poetry we find the Circles divided according to sin, but in the true Inferno, sin is almost irrelevant. The minions of hell care not a bit for why you ended up in The Pit, they are simply happy to have you there. The tormenting of humans is what Astaroth created them for, and they know no other joy. But the human spirit can be quite resilient, and it takes a long time to strip it of all the marks it accrues during a full lifetime. Even as we are strapped to the rack, we hold on to the precious memories of better days and happier times. This is of course exactly what the torturers want, to dredge up every memory so that they might rip it from our souls. To this end, the Circles are divided not by sin, but by torture. Each of the Nine Circles represents a different class of torture. Once perhaps this delineation was pristine, but over the centuries of our imprisonment the lines have blurred. The Circles have taken on many aspects of independent kingdoms, and so they have stolen torture techniques formerly reserved for other levels of The Pit. Nevertheless, each Circle tends to keep pretty close to its original calling, chiefly because this is the area at which the Circle's denizens excel. After all, it is only natural to enjoy those things which one does well. In an ideal Hell, the condemned soul would begin in the First Circle and work his or her way down through the levels. At Each level you would lose some of your memories and feelings. for the less hardy souls one or two levels might be all it takes and then you are ready to move on. Of course just because you were ready does not mean that your tormentors are ready to let you go, and most times a soul was made to travel the whole gauntlet anyway, out of spite. Today it is not uncommon for a soul to get caught on one level forever. In these days of declining numbers of new souls coming to Inferno, everyone is greedy to hold on to what they have got, for once their are no more souls to torture, these poor beings lose their reason for living. Passage between levels is traditionally accomplished via the rivers that run down the depth of The Pit. These rivers are of course tortures in their own right, and I shall deal with each of the major ones in its own right shortly. Some of the rivers have guides, non-partisan demons who exist merely to ferry the souls from one level to another, taking whatever glee than can from the short while they have the dead human at their mercy. Sometimes, in the case of a waterfall, the soul is simply pitched over the side and made to suffer the pain and anguish of the long fall. After impact on the lower level, they are immediately fished out by their new tormentors, and a new round of torture can begin. There are of course other ways to move from one level to another. Roads, stairways, and ramps connect the levels, but these are usually reserved for the use of Infernal beings only. Any human soul caught out in the open on one of these byways is sure to draw the attention of all kinds of nasty demons and Razides, intent on doing the hapless traveler no good. Since the age of Pit Wars began (see below) many of the local warlords have blocked or destroyed the passages in order to protect their territory. In these places the roads have become no-man's land, a war zone full of fences, barbed wire, and manned by demonic guards. Finally, there are the tunnels within the Circles themselves. As I mentioned, the vast majority of each Circle is underground. It is here that The Labyrinth connects in with Inferno and Metropolis, and it is here that passage between Circles is most easily accomplished. Of course underground, one never knows for sure where one stands, and the lines between the Circles can be blurry at best. In areas where Demon Lords from different Circles are fighting, many of the tunnels connecting the Circles are likely

to be blocked or guarded. Nevertheless, there is always a way that is not guarded, for the Circles themselves are infinite in space when necessary, and one can always find a portion unknown to even the most ancient Razide. The Pit Wars When Astaroth left Inferno for our world, he threw all of Inferno into tumult. Without his guiding hand to keep the demons and torturers in line, the natural destructiveness of his subjects evolved into rebellion. The Death Angels were among the first to turn against their Lord, and some of them fell before his wrath. But the rebellion has spread down through all the Circles of The Pit, and in some places, Astaroth's will is openly opposed. Some remain loyal, either to the Dark Lord himself or to one of the Death Angels, but others have set up their own Kingdoms of the Damned, and now covet the power that Astaroth and his lieutenants have wielded for so long. Of course, times being what they are, and demons being what they are, they spend most of their time fighting among themselves and posing no real threat to Astaroth or the Death Angels. These are the pettiest of a race of beings that is innately puerile. They are so jealous of each other, that they cannot hope to ever work together, nor can any one of them hope to have the power to subjugate its fellows. So they fight endless, pointless wars with each other, with human souls the booty for which they battle. Souls have little intrinsic value of course, but the love of torturing humanity is so ingrained in the fabric of their being that these contemptible demon lords care for nothing else in the world. The envy Astaroth and the Death Angels because they had their choice of souls to torture. they cannot imagine a world beyond Inferno, and have no ambitions that extend beyond what they know. The Wars themselves can be astoundingly violent. It is hard, if not impossible to destroy a demon or Razide while it reside in Inferno. The most one can hope for is to inconvenience it for a while until its body reforms. As such, it is not enough to deliver a killing blow in combat. One's enemies must be hacked to bits, torn limb from limb, incinerated into ash. Even then the enemy will rise in a few hours or days. So there can never be any sure victors in battle, and your enemy will always rise to face you again another day. It seldom occurs to the demons to try and take prisoners. Prisons and torture chambers are for humans. Demons are immune to such unpleasant circumstances, for they take joy in pain and suffering, whatever the cause and whoever the victim. Of course not all of the Circles have succumbed to war. In many places in The Pit, the cycle of torture goes on as it has for centuries, with human souls starting at the top and working their way down through the levels. Today though, there are fewer and fewer souls coming into Inferno and the system is beginning to break down. As they say, idle hands are the Devil's playground, and when the torturers and demons have no victims, they become restless. In many places they have begun to take their time with the humans they are lucky enough to get their hands on. Should the whole process shut down, the restless Infernals would no doubt try to make their way into our world, searching for the prey they so desperately crave. Chapter Five: The Circles But enough of this teasing you with hints and tidbits about what horrors await in The Pit. I now turn to a group of narratives taken from those who have actually suffered through the varied tortures of the Circles, and managed to still relate the tale to me or put it down on paper. Of course, these narratives report only some of the horrid experiences one might experience down below, but they give a good feel for the characteristics of each Circle. No complete catalog is possible of course, so one could hope for little more than I have presented here. The First Circle Tales of the First Circle are, naturally enough, easier to come by than the stories of The Pit's lower reaches. After all, almost everyone makes it at least as far as the First Circle, and many continue on from that point. The First Circle specializes in tortures of stultification: endless tasks, mind numbing physical labor, sensory depravation, Chinese water tortures and so on. I present here a rather picturesque tale told to me by one Arthur Baker, and American businessman who died of cirrhosis of the liver at the

Who cares? It's all over now. I was just there. I mean. So anyway. Just the sound of my own breathing. I waited and waited and waited. For me it was easy. like my fourth birthday party. Then I realize I'm in some kind if metal box. So you can imagine just how damned surprise I was to wake up after dying. like a corpse's. memories of my life. I'm not sure. whatever. There was nothing. He was man sized. and I trust his version of events will prove illustrative.ripe old age of 59. you go to hell. but soon I had gone over each part of my life a hundred times in my head. but I'm moving faster and faster. passing right through the floor of the hospital. but t seems like I must have. Then he smiled. I try to move but I can't get up. It's not a new story I guess. I knew the routine. and sometimes you need a drink to help get you through the day. Like I said. and all kinds of shit. I wouldn't be surprised to see everyone I knew in the company end up the same way. I'm the guy that kept on drinking after everyone said I should stop. I had work to do. So. or my first football game. just solid black. there I float. and a pug nose kind of like a pig. I'd never been much for religion. you know. I screamed my God damned head off. I must have screamed for hours. and who can say how time passes down there. Sales is a rough business. I literally felt my soul leave the body. but I still had six years to go before retirement. My first thought is that I've been having some weird dream and rolled out of my hospital bed and hit the floor. remembering stuff I haven't thought of years. It's just how you make it through the day. They told me I had been in there for five years. "Hey!. You sin. He stood there naked except for some sort of weird metal vest. That lasted all of about one second. it's all coming back to me. and he had razors for teeth. I'm too busy to worry about that shit. And then I think I went crazy. like cement or something. too cold. I'm falling right through the God damned planet! All the while I'm having all these weird thoughts. I still had all these wonderful lost memories. but with grey skin. no nothing. I have no idea how long. no last words. it seemed that long. I mean. but it was a long. Nobody to blame but me I guess. squirming and banging. three months in the hospital. That's me dead!" Pretty brilliant huh? Nobody ever accused me of missing the obvious. That's all I had to keep me company. I can't control where I'm going. But I went to Sunday school. I never slept. He had black eyes . I just lay there. mistakenly believing I had saved him from his torment. and I was lying there in nothing but my hospital gown. women to meet. Finally I gave up. Arthur's Tale "I died the same way most of my friends will probably die: my body crapped out on me. I bang my head on something metal only a few inches above my head.no pupil or whites or color. I don't know it's not like they're real big on telling the truth. I just lay there thinking. but since I had gone to all the trouble of binding him. I leave out from this manuscript the long series of expletives that followed when I informed Arthur that I was through with him and sending him back from whence he came. I screamed about being buried alive and about running out of air. because I start moving. No pain. waiting for a transplant that never comes. offering me a hand up out of the box. it certainly could have been five years. just fade to black. I don't know how long. and eventually I got sick of them. but that's about it. I start to scream. and scotch will sometimes take the edge right off it. and BAM! it's over. I never ate anything. I knew I had died. long time. Finally they let me out. because it was dark. sure. Now you're stuck in some God Damned Box. stuff I couldn't have even tried to remember. and I remember waking up and looking down and saying. for that's hen I saw them for the first time. I'm so busy having all these amazing memories that I kind of lost track of where I was and where I was going and then all of a sudden it's dark. Sure I went in on Easter and Christmas. The God damned Devil was standing there. I didn't run out of air. and then it's sort of like I get caught in some kind of current. The box opened and light streamed in and I was so happy I could scream for joy. I decided to take down his story for the record. not since I was a kid. I just didn't wake up. and you ain't going anywhere. Right. I can move my legs and arms. He wasn't red with hooves and a tail. It wasn't too hot. He was quite helpful. I actually summoned Baker up quite by accident one night. but I knew right away it was a devil or some such shit. Then I . I feel like I'm back in my body again. I can feel that I'm lying on the ground. That's when I started screaming again. It's cold. Never even pissed. Crazy stuff.

Then mad panic to find the word. or kick me. and days. Just me and my caretaker. Or devil either for that matter. Sometimes the keys would change while I wasn't looking. as long as you are working. smiling that razor sharp smile of his. I've broken rocks that move and try to bite you. Well. I was dumped into a room." And that's how it began. because it hurts like a bitch. I scream. I've never typed so much in my life. He just stare at me like. and I typed and typed. Every time Razor Mouth or one of his pals talks to me I'm looking for the keys. Anytime I slowed down he'd take a bite out of me. I finally got the hang of it. shitty jobs. but I just puked. they don't know how good they've got it in there. you can imagine it took me a while to find the words he was spewing out. "Those poor bastards. metal chair. I hadn't eaten in years. suitable for breaking any spirit. "What the hell?" and then he leans over and bites my cheek with those damn teeth. the biting and scratching sucked. and I just typed away. working for hours. It seemed he just picked one at random. The theory behind the tortures seems to be that. I'd be doing some other God damned job right now. I was typing in a blind panic that lasted forever. The typing was I guess a sweet reminder of my days in the sales office. I was typing because I hated to do it. if you hadn't pulled me out of there. or sewed on to him or something. but that only meant he could hurt me again in the same place a little later. The bites healed pretty quick. Words I had finally learned to count on being in a certain place were all of a sudden somewhere else. and probably months and years." And that's where Arthur's tale ends. I tell. It was one of those old fashioned typewriters with the spokes or whatever they're called. No rest. weeded fields of plants that grow back unless you eat them as soon as you dig them up. From there I was taken through a maze of corridors. And on it went. Is still think about it. I couldn't think of anything but what he was saying and which key had that word on it. Each key was a word instead of a letter. you can always puke. I'd sit there and type for hours. It went on and on forever. dictating to Laura. You know the worst thing though? The typing was shitty. It took everything I had to keep up with him. You can see from his story that the First Circle is a land of mindless tasks. but who can tell with these guys? Inside was the weirdest looking typewriter I have ever seen. but at least he wasn't hurting me all the time. but the worst God damned thing was that every time I finished a page he would just pick it up. and never saw another soul. The devil thing grabbed me by my hair and pulled me off down a dark. or scratch me. my bare ass freezing because of the metal. but I must have typed a million pages for the bastard. Arthur's time in the box is typical. all the while Razor Mouth and his buddies are watching over me. you. There seemed to be a never ending supply of paper. no coffee breaks. and whatever the hell he was dictating didn't make any sense. but no letters. From there it just got worse.. particularly as most of em weren't English. no pauses. I mean hell. and I thought. I really can't thank you enough guy.realized that the metal vest was actually part of him. ball it up. Mindless. And it's got all sorts of little nozzles and vents on it that shot out all kinds of disgusting liquids and gasses. although there are quite a few different sensory deprivation tortures used in the First Circle. It is not uncommon for some . and pop it in his mouth.. No IBM electrics in hell. Of course that was just the beginning for me. and he tells me to start typing. I'm not kidding. It must have had a few thousand keys on it. Every time I took too long he'd bite me. The God Damned thing start's giving me dictation while I'm no front of this eight foot long type writer. no coffee breaks. So Razor Mouth sits me down in this uncomfortable. or I'd still be on my hands and knees counting red hot pebbles for Razor Mouth. It just keeps on coming. That's one thing I've learned about this place.. Nobody has. I've worked in assembly plants that made nonsense machines. He starts giving dictation again. There is no rest. We passed rows and rows of boxes just like the one I had been in. endless. I mean what the hell was I typing for if he was just gonna eat the god damned paper? Of course I guess that was the point. They love it when you just throw your guts up. metal corridor. minimum wage hell job you can think of. at least a million. Razor Mouth gnawing away at me the whole God damned time. you won't have time to think about anything else. Then I just puked.. I've done every menial. Eventually he grew tired of the dictation routine. never quite fast enough for him. and I start looking for the words on the type writer.

I was free to go where I pleased. seemed to be heading straight for one of the higher peaks. selling forgeries as readily as the real thing. It all depends on the whims of the Razides and their servants. he was at heart a hustler and confidence man. My tormentor saw this and laughed. there to meet more terrors and tortures. and any other conceivable climatic impediment. The cold cut me to the bone. For the first time since I came to Inferno I was free of a tormentor. The whole of The Pit lay stretched out before me. are rare souls. but he seemed to be holding up well. I present it here. with just myself and the elements. jungles. I had a few moments to contemplate my rapidly approaching destination. I am no climber. and so I began the journey across the vast desert. driving out their memories and replacing them with the details of sorting screws or breaking rocks. ready to begin the descent again. The Second Circle The Second Circle of The Pit is one of the more geographically diverse regions of Inferno. I only had a few moments to speak with him before his torturers recovered from my attack. so I decided to try and make my way down the mountain. A nice enough fellow. Below me was the Second Circle. gale force winds. Seemingly solid handholds would give way without explanation. and soon enough I fell. Rene Foucault was a Swiss art dealer around the turn of the century. for the mountain now stood within a vast." I have chosen a rather typical story to represent the Second Circle. I finally made it the base of the mountain. the Dark Citadel of Satan himself towering up from its center. slightly edited. Although logically part of my brain realized that I was in no danger of death. I lay there broken for days or months or years. and assured me that I would miss the pleasures of the First Circle when I realized what Hell had in store for me. For the Razides and demon lords of this part of the Pit treat their guests to horrendous conditions. both "natural" and "man made. Then it had seemed the mountain was but one of many. While most of the Circles can do their business in dank tunnels. and again I woke to a fresh corpus. something that oddly enough had not been visible during my fall. and mountains. I myself. the incredible pain causing me to black out. only to find that my journey had just begun. This mountain had become my own private hell. the Second Circle uses the mutable physics and geography of Hell to it's fullest advantage. waiting for some kind demon to come along and bring me off to new tortures. rain. a patchwork quilt of deserts. and lay there stewing in my own pain for what seemed like eternity. She told me that she was sorry to see me go. I would have thought Rene would have given in sooner. For some humans this is enough to break down the memories completely. I came across him in the Second Circle during my third and final trip to Inferno in 1987. snow. the fear of pain is so deeply ingrained that I sought more comfortable climes. and will descend to the next Circle. and underground expanses. and slowly the life seeped out of me. Rene's story "The first moment I realized I was going to be leaving the mind numbing labor of the First Circle I felt joy for the first time since I died. hail. someone who was actually an acquaintance of mine in life. Most are made of sterner stuff. Finally I blacked out. Landslides. seas. There was no foul temptress shadowing my every step. those weak minded individuals who barely have the right to claim their divine human origins. These however. decades. With that she lifted my into the air and hurled my flailing body over the edge of the First Circle. The land itself is against you here. With a resounding thud my body nearly disintegrated from the force of the fall. I came to somewhere on the side of the mountain. I fell with ever increasing speed for miles. or even centuries. but I was careful to record the entire conversation. racing down towards the Second Circle. It was only later that I discerned the nature of The Second Circle. trackless desert. Here the demons are in the very rocks on which you stand and the air you breath. The descent was horrendous. or so I thought. much to my chagrin. I never was able to sleep or lose consciousness. my body made whole once again by the Infernal curse that keeps our damned souls from ever truly dying.souls to be sent from one to another for years. forcing me to work at endless tasks. my body could take no more. For . but with all the relevant information intact. They become so obsessed with doing their work and avoiding the lash that they think of nothing else. and as quite stunned by the sight. The top of the mountain was quite cold and I had no clothing. I fell twenty more time before I reached the base of the mountain.

bile spewing from my stomach in a seemingly endless stream of filth. quite unintentionally of course. These are the hallmarks of the Second Circle. taking what must have been several years and thousands of lives to make it from one end of the room to another. and of the good times we have had together all those years ago. mere shadows in the back of my head. One might imagine that so many deaths would become monotonous. But by drudging up old memories. the fire that burns your flesh. every dying moment is full of terror. The Third Circle I come now of the Third Circle. They tailor every experience to your discomfort. the very sound vibrations being enough to slowly turn your brain and bones to mush. There is no focus for the hate that wells up in you. we can do wonders to ourselves. the power coursing through my veins like lightening. that one would grow accustomed to it. The sands were incomprehensibly treacherous. He never was much of an outdoorsman. You see. never seeing another living being. allowing us time to talk. but eventually even they faded into distant memory. a form of quicksand. you are the first person I have seen in what must be eons. Endless travel. Sometimes we can cause ourselves even greater agony simply with our minds. and sometimes hiding deep pits.years I wandered. but you have explained that it is impossible. an area I find very interesting because it takes such a different approach to torture than most of Inferno. I took comfort. I died countless times in the fiery hell. Buried alive in a glacial ice flow I spent ages clawing my way to the surface. I have marched across fields of electricity. Such are the risks when dealing with matters Infernal. my lungs bursting from the smell. I have been forced to wade for weeks. Every few feet is an eternity of agony as your flesh melts away. I thought on the happier times. you have given me respite from this interminable Hell. Sometimes I would fall through the floor only to find myself in a pit of fire. Thank you my friend. The worst part of it all is that you are so constantly alone. that suffering does not always have to come from without. I suffered through countless deaths as I voyaged on. Whatever do I . Of course the demons were all around me. I will cherish the memory of this moment. I found Renee because I needed to ask him a question. My tormentors have exposed me innumerable times to the many and varied elemental tortures. no respite. I see that now. or any number of other natural perils. the demons. In order to get to him I had to temporarily disrupt the demons who were tormenting him. He was on the verge of forgetting his most recent human life. They are the very landscape on which you walk. after succumbing to one of the land's many pitfalls I awoke to find myself in tunnels reminiscent of the First Circle. Finally. I assure you this is not so. No demons to blame it all on. constant pain. my lungs bursting until there was no more air." I feel rather bad about this last bit. Given a little help from an Infernal denizen. heat exhaustion. or other dangers. months and even years through miles and miles of human feces. Every death is as painful as the last. And then there are the less natural terrors I was made to endure. dying every so often of thirst. conditions that never existed in nature. I spent quite sometime swimming up through a seemingly endless sea. All the while the terrible water pressure was squeezing the life out of me. at least for a moment. as Renee said are all around you in the Second Circle. You cannot imagine the horror of trying to make one's way out of such a place. Of course this was only the beginning. I know you would help me if you could. what little comfort I could. thanks to you Shelby. There is no rest. and I'm sure he would have soon lost all but the bare essence of his soul. I have been buffeted along steel corridors to the constant beating of a deafening bell. I'm afraid that by talking to Renee I undid much of the work Inferno had done him. always shifting. my flesh slowly burning away as I tried to claw my way out. Wandering at random through the dark recesses and sinister chambers I was subjected to every conceivable physical punishment. It was here that I found myself in the Second Circle's great Labyrinth. Shelby. Maybe the strength you have given me today will be enough to see me through this horror. give me the strength to hold off death just a moment longer. in the memories of my former life. only to be reborn an instant later. I forced Renee into further years of torment. only to wake up a few moments later and start all over again. and then drowning as my body filled with sea water. While pain and suffering are the basic ingredients of any Infernal experience.

mark my path along the wall with the stone. my body aching and caked with mud. no more than forty feet in height. Trying to follow my own footprints also proved pointless. It had been ages since I had had clothes. normal sized wood door. I figured that my only real option was to try and find my way out. I had not noticed it before. but encountered in Circle Three a whole new challenge to both her soul and her ego. but of course that just meant a moment's blackout and then right . even killing myself in hopes that it would end the terrible nightmare.mean? Well. but now that I had put on the dress. but otherwise fine. not only was the maze huge. The swift current carried me along at a tremendous pace. From down below the waterfall looked positively tiny. Jacobs' soul did make its way to Inferno upon her death. beyond I found the walls continued. but that it also did not obey any normal laws of building or geometry. I picked up a stone and used it to mark the wall as well. I came across her story in the notes of a fellow Conjurer. a respected man who's words I take to be true. brackish water. Even the moon waxed and waned over the long months and years I spent in the maze. she made it through the first two Circles with relative ease. forming a corridor which stretched off for some distance. I should have died of dehydration in a few days. nothing here happens by accident. If I could just figure it out I would escape. Later I found that someone was changing those markings or adding their own. Wary. forming a rectangular chamber with the waterfall at one end and the stream flowing under the wall at the other. The ground was finely raked dirt. A stalwart woman. I picked up the clothing and examined it. I tried everything. Although I was thirsty and hungry it was never a real impediment. I had read somewhere that if you always followed the left hand wall you would eventually find your way out. searching for a way out. Alissa's Story "It was with a tremendous sense of relief that I found myself free from the endless elemental tortures of the Second Circle. side corridors branching off every so often. bouncing me off rocks and overhanging tree limbs. There was a door in the wall on the other side of the stream. Moving from one to the other seemed to happen almost by accident. and so that is what I set about doing. It was soon obvious that. The sun rose and set over me. So. Caught in the foamy spray I have no idea how far I fell. As I suspected I was in some sort of maze. it was plain as day. calmly flowing away from the small pool at the base of the waterfall. a rather pleasantly patterned sun dress and sandals. I tried climbing walls but could never quite manage it. and I have since verified that Ms. but it was certainly disorienting. Even then I could not be sure. I awoke lying at the side of the river. Increasingly my frustration grew and grew. For the first time I was aware of the passage of time in the maze. one of the many that cuts across the levels of this place. Looking around. a popular author and historian who died in the early 1970's. and at the time I counted myself lucky. and I now know it was simply that my time had come. I found that someone had laid clothes out for me. I give you here the story of one Alissa Jacobs. and was aware of the piercing rocks below only for a moment. A nice. My trip ended rather suddenly as I was hurtles over the side of a waterfall the size of several Sears Towers. searching for an exit. Truth be told. I found evidence that I had walked round and round in an ever smaller circle. not since they were flayed from me by my demons in the First Circle. or walked up the sides of walls. or any number of other strange signs thatcould not trust anything here. I knew there had to be a trick to the place. I seemed to be in some sort of walled garden or maybe a house without a roof. as they to would change. Certainly the tale accurately portrays very well the mind games that go on in the Third Circle. Finding no discernible threats. with some stones and pebbles and I could clearly see the footprints I left as I walked forward. but years after my last drink of water (an involuntary one while in the river) I lived on. and was swept along in it's warm. Very comfortable. I fell into a river. Certainly there were fifteen foot stone walls all around me. I literally wandered for a month and a half before I ever saw the same part of the maze twice. I set off on this new journey. I put them on. except for the markings I had made. This is only an excerpt from a larger manuscript which includes details of the first five Circles. The river was now little more than a stream. I waded across the shallow stream and then opened the door. I knew this to be one of hell's little tricks. and night fell. Now I was becoming quite nervous about what was going on here. I began to investigate.

the differences became more and more marked. I sat down in the seat on the black side. I would spend hours or days figuring out my next move. A tried talking to her. but she simply smiled and waited. always smiling and courteous. but when I tried to do the same I found it impossible to place the piece down in any but a few. Food and drink mattered not at all. each side (black and red) totaling 240 pieces. I simply could not stand. never waiting or thinking. They could not afford to let me have the joy of that single victory over them. She seemed to move her pieces according to some rule book I had never read. a mishmash of all the normal pieces plus many I did not recognize. or move myself from the chair. Still I had that same feeling that as soon as I solved the riddle of the game I would be free. every time I thought I was getting ahead. there was no physical discomfort. I'd make a move. older woman. an answer to it all.back where you left off. She would just sit there. trying to find some clue to my imprisonment I did not notice the appearance of my opponent. examining the board. I actually missed it. waiting. and here I found myself faced with a large. I rested a moment. I grew to hate her. 'Time's up!' it boomed. I at least was going to obey the rules. Frantically looking around. She said nothing. My backside didn't get sore from all the sitting. in my frustration. and when. and I was never allowed to take any of hers. I became totally engrossed in it. but that was all. No idea at all. simply leaned forward and moved what looked to be a pawn forward three spaces. After something close to three years. A pretty. moving one of my seventy pawns forward two squares. making strategy a difficult process. and over ten feet long. marble chess pieces filled up each of the long sides of the table. how a piece could move seemed to depend both on what the piece was and where on the board it was. because of course I had been thinking of nothing but the game the whole time anyway. And then my time was up. that was obvious from the beginning. I found that I was wrong. More confusing still. do nothing for days on end. I looked up and screamed with surprise when I saw her sitting opposite of me. I had gotten nowhere. Of course I had no idea how one won the game. more for the aesthetics of the game than the strategy. Finally I settled down to the inevitable and began to play. The game became everything. figure this place out. to try and figure it out. even as new puzzles and mental tortures occupied . At first I thought she was moving them at random. All the while I had this obsession with the idea that everything would be fine. My opponent seemed to play with ease. It ended and I was in another room. cursing her in every way I could imagine. I still think of it. But I did not think of this. did not realize that it was all a trick. even if there really was an answer. my whole body wracked with pain. In protests I would stop playing. legal squares. I had always been fond of chess. The game proceeded apace for quite a while. with another puzzle to solve. I came to realize that the movement rules also varied depending on what turn of the game it was. only to find that they would not leave my hand unless I was placing them on the board. I would sometimes. The only torture was the game itself. Thus I was never sure where I could and could not move. I found that I could move the chair itself up and down the length of the table. after years of that one game it all finally came to an end. as long as I could make my way out. Over the next few days of play I realized that this was not the chess I knew. This went on for quite a while. and when I tried to stand up I found I couldn't. I even tried to throw pieces at her. The checkered surface was covered with black and red squares. It seemed it was a game of position rather than capture. thinking of nothing else. each on inch to a side. Eventually I would give in. Later on. Most strange of all was the taking of pieces. and every time I thought I was figuring it out. 'You fail!' And in a flash I was out of the maze. rail against her for hours. I knew there was a solution. I had no idea what was going on. The pain seemed to go on and on for hours. It sat on a long wooden table. everything had changed. She never took any of mine. dressed in a flowing burgundy dress. with two comfortable looking chairs seated opposite each other. but now as the game progressed. The board itself was rectangular. or rather the fact that we could not take pieces. of how I might have won. But of course my jailers would never have let me find it. and continued to struggle to get out of my chair. and three feet wide. I suddenly heard another voice for the first time. Of course. trying to hold in my mind all the rules I had managed to figure out. I could not turn the chair. making the long side have 120 squares. after a few months of that first game. Two rows of simple. sure that it would bring me victory. very strange chess board. and my efforts to wrap my mind around it.

and only the rare individual needs anything more to scour their souls of all memory.my time. All this chaos means that. Sometimes they were small. how are we this evening? ABURSHANUPHYL: I was fine till you called me here. sit down puzzles like the chess. T: Yes. or if there was I was never allowed to find it. not that she did not experience thirty-seven years of pain and suffering. when the body finally expires. For this reason I decided to present you with the transcript of an exchange I had with a Razide I summoned from the Fourth Circle. and then all it thought of was the pain and horror of the time before. Every other Circle. something better left forgotten. Then. In the Fourth Circle the Razides reign supreme. but any amount of respite in Hell is worth the effort. Aburshanuphyl. but I took the opportunity to record some of its thoughts about what existence in its home realm is like for humans. I realize that one should never trust the words of a demon. Even my own name was fading from my skull. She did. On and on it went. . TYREE: Well. bladed sex toys. Always I would be informed that time was up. Razides love to gloat. How long one can remain free in such a place is open to debate. well. seemingly forever. In fact. does not mean that years passed in our time line. to overload the brain. feeling that they do not get their fair share of victims. The Fourth Circle also houses some of the most rambunctious and therefore rebellious of Astaroth's minions. and there are great many independent warlords in the Fourth these days. It is seldom worth talking to someone who has recently been in the clutches of the Fourth Circle's master torturers. Listen. as our time goes. and hated every moment. she was only in Inferno for seventeen of our months before she was mustered for Astaroth's army. The Fourth Circle is undoubtedly one of the most efficient of The Pit's torment zones. Here follows a transcript taken from a tape I made of the conversation. before we get down to the task at hand I thought we might talk a bit.. that was all but gone completely. Here is where torture is practiced the old fashioned way: scalpels. that she was drafted into the Legion's of the Damned where she serves to this day." Poor Alissa never did make it out of Inferno and into a new body. well. Just because years passed for Alissa. A: Interesting thought. and that is exactly what I gave him a chance to do. and they involve themselves intimately with every one of their guests. As for my life on Earth. For this reason alone many of the lower Circles resent the Fourth. ready for another round of torture. In reading Alissa's tale.. I just wanted to remind the reader that time in Inferno is a totally subjective experience. She proved so resilient after the first few Circles. and so forth. and other times they were the large scale tortures like the maze. there was never any solution. hot pokers. They hold off death for ages. I've never heard of warlocks engaging in idle chit chat. I'm sure you were. All of the situation I found myself in were designed to confuse and frustrate. but you seem to be in charge for the moment so we'll play it your way. there is actually sometimes a chance for a lucky human to escape the clutches of his or her tormentors. my purgation would continue because I hadn't been smart enough. They are masters at degrading the human form and causing it pain. racks. inflicting unbelievable agony until the last possible instant. with individual demon lords fighting their brethren in the Fourth Circle. The result is that the Fourth Circle hosts the largest number of Pit Wars in the entire Nine Circles. I naturally enough had other tasks in mind for the Infernal when I summoned it. The Fourth Circle The Fourth Circle is everything one might think of when asked to picture Hell. but in this instance I feel we can depend upon its version of things rather more than usual. drills. This of course simply leads to more Pit Wars. My mind barely remembered a time before the puzzles. the nature of Inferno simply recreates it afresh. From the chess game I went on to scores of others during my time in the Third Circle. unlike most parts of Inferno. but particularly the lower ones will send bands of demons up The Pit to snatch the Fourth's souls. We pick up after I have finished the rituals of binding and so forth.

I wouldn't want to waste your time. Mind games and parlor tricks is all they know. <laughter> Where shall I begin? T: Why not with what happens to a soul once it slips on down from level three? A: <spits> Pheww! The Third Circle indeed. The important thing in my line of work is to keep yourself fresh. they are marvelously effective... I'm not putting such methods down. What's done is done. Human inventions like batteries. Maybe some of your favorite torture methods? A: Certainly human. It's not that torture ever gets boring. but in Inferno we have been behind the times. the lash. A: So what are we to discuss wizardling? T: I rather thought it would be nice to talk about your home. Is it any wonder that we clear four times as many humans as they do? Once they've given up. What exactly is it you'd like to know about my wondrous home? Getting ready for your inevitable fate my friend? T: Oh. T: Yes. No doubt some other bloodthirsty Infernal has snatched him away while I'm here having this lovely chat. But variety is the spice of life and so on. T: Exactly why I chose you my friend. Whoever gets there first can play with it as long as he can hold onto it. However. A: I cannot thank you too much for that human! If you had not yanked my from my home. what about him? How did you deal with your pyromaniacal charge? A: Ah yes. T: Well that's really fascinating. T: I'm sure you would never indulge in such practices. All my fellow Fourthers are always trying to take from me what's mine. I've tormented and tortured human souls for well over four thousand years and you learn a lot in that amount of time. Others chose to keep with more tried and true methods: the scalpel. I had no idea how advanced things had become down there. in Metropolis anyway. and so on all have wonderful applications when turned to the task of hurting human flesh. by being thrown over the edge.. power saws. either by river. The Fourth Circle of The Great Pit of Inferno if I'm not mistaken? A: You are not mistaken. technology is a wonderful thing. A: As you wish dread sorcerer. Deserves everything he gets. A very resilient lad. let's not be bitter. No respect for property down there.T: I didn't think you would have any objections. That place is a travesty. T: Now. and I like to try new things all the time. radiation. A: Of course not! I'm a respectable demon. Well. that's what I'd like to hear about. to keep your edge. A: Easy for you to say! But I digress. as you might imagine. and it's done wonders to the torture business. In fact. I honestly don't know what happened to my Third Circle brethren to make them so soft. now. it's first come first serve. That's the only problem really. young Alex. I for one have been in the forefront of incorporating such devices into my techniques. the soul comes down to us. I man. Playing with matches. and even the simplest act of causing pain fills my little heart with joy. I'm quite interested in that inevitable fate of which you speak so blithely.. or through The Labyrinth. the possibilities are endless. I'd be happy to accommodate you. Tell me of the fate of human souls in your home. You wanted to know about what happens to the snotlings once we get a hold on em. Killed his own parents and then himself. Quite the contrary. They simply don't get results. the hot poker. after all I'm sure my boy is long gone by now. It's what I live for after all. the technology has always been there. T: What kind of new things? A: Well. Few humans of his tender age . not one of those low brow sorts. since we don't have all night to discuss such matters. electric drills. Once the snotling is in our grasp. why don't we focus in on some specifics. I would be having my way with a young lad of fifteen even as we speak. yes.

I'm of the old school.. removing every shed of dignity to soul might have held onto up to this point. racks. but in the end I had him totally flayed and castrated. I came across him right after he was flushed out of The Labyrinth up on the Third. Of course. offering to tell you whatever you want. The cold metal usually jerks them right out of whatever fear induced stupor my mere presence has put them in.. he was more than a little shocked. and in that area whatever we say goes. We are all masters of our own small part of Inferno. You see. I have but to think of it. begging for forgiveness. T: Your lair? Explain that. with a thick black tube ending in a long needle coming out of one side. insufferable boredom of my upper level brethren. and I like to wheel it over and let them watch me hook it up. iron maidens. He was a little shaken up. moving on to the rest of the fingers and then the whole hand. maybe spit it back out on his face. He had long ago lost the strength to cry out. one might offend one of the Death Angels or even Astaroth himself. manacles. because they think "What could be worse?" and they scare themselves all the more trying to figure out what's coming next. I started with the scalpel. Of course I could do this in a much less invasive way. being careful to inform them that the worst is yet to come. screaming and wailing. It pumps them full of stimulants that keep them from passing out. My machine kept him alive through it all. While I don't doubt the efficacy of such techniques. but glad to be past whatever mindless attempt at confusion they had addled him with up there. Finally. Then I set to work on the internal organs. He told the whole story. but sometimes the anus or even the ear or nose. taking them out piece by bloody piece. some stronger Infernal might well come along and try to take what is mine. I began by strapping him down to the central work table I keep nice and cold for just such occasions. and so forth. shackles. newly rejuvenated body. delicately I began to flay the flesh of his pinkie. We can shape it into whatever form is necessary to accomplish our goals. Maybe I'd swallow. and any torture device imaginable comes to my hand. They'll confess to anything at this point. I know some of my friends like to start out with sexual tortures. That's me just getting started. He was conscious the whole time. and don't much care for messing about. of course. Cross any of them and your license to torture gets revoked on the spot. braziers with hot coals. I like to start things off in a traditional torture chamber setting. dirt floor. much less all the way down here to my realm. we own such places only as long as we hold on to them. beginning with the fingers. I prefer to hold off on them. I'd pop a piece in my mouth and give it a good long chew. so he couldn't help but look). Slowly. I dragged the mournful boy. Sometimes. claws and fangs barred. That always gets them. usually the genitals.manage to make it past the First Circle. So with Alex. I have just the machine for such occasions however. just to make them wonder. T: Back to Alex. but what would be the point? Working on the boy with the scalpel took me a good thirty hours of careful cutting. Worse yet. all the way back to my lair. build up to them if you will. I pounced on the lad. The real joy of this process is listening to them beg for mercy. A: Lair? Oh yes. everyone expects the knives. The sight alone is enough to send most into hysterics. Things to do and all that. whips. It's a tremendous black box with all manner of dials and gauges on it. That's how I found out about Alex's little escapade with matches. Most of it's just for show. Dingy stone walls. but only so I can start on his fresh. Sometimes I actually use a vise to hold them in place. I like to start them off with what they know. It's Hell after all. After years of the calm. The biggest problem is when they pass out. after a few weeks of this I let him die. thanks to my machine. I stick that somewhere real uncomfortable. barbed wire. knives. and strange contraptions. A: Of course. Having severed the tendons in his arms and legs. just for shock value. but the look in his eyes as I held up the mirror was as rewarding as an scream (no eyelids. With Alex I followed my usual routine and started the whole process over just . every demon has its own territory down in The Pit. You'll end up doing some horrible task in a Dark Citadel worse than anything you ever inflicted on a human. The needle is the important part. It takes an iron grip to hold on tosomeone and keep them from squirming and ruining your cut. I know you are in a bit of a rush. You'd have thought they would have learned after three previous Circles that there is no forgiveness.

Not that I care a bit for sins or any other such moral concerns. taking to torturous extremes such laudable feelings as love. Aburshanuphyl had quite a lot to say on the subject. T: No. without further adieu. They know exactly what's coming and how horrible it is. producing just gobs of pus. since you asked so nicely. The inevitability of it really gets to them. into a agonizing liability that we wish we could rip from our souls. It is. and so I moved on to something a little more personal to my charge's sins. poisons. Electric shock. A: Certainly. but that's not a problem for me. meat tenderizers. Chambers that sprout all kinds of invasive implements at seemingly random times. and draw things out as much as possible. if only because it is exactly what one might expect. acids. Not everyone does of course. So for Alex it was fire. then you have to let them go.. well. terribly sorry about that. For me that's not usually a problem. I began with the pain of hot metal searing flesh and moved on to small fires. when it's time to send your charge on down below. I have decided upon an interesting diary I found in a Parisian used bookstore one rainy afternoon. Soon enough I added cold to my fire. but I've found that a little personalized touch goes a long way in these matters. Now tell me. and I started in on his fingers again. Marlene Braun. to me. I was probably going to go ahead and break out the big toys. As you can see. T: Yes. in that it resembles the Third. I went on like that probably five hundred times. our feelings. sometimes I have to let one go on down.. noxious gasses. but she seems to have been living in France and was keeping her diary in French in order to improve . No doubt about it. Anything you can imagine. why do you let them go? A: All right. A: You would bring that up wouldn't you? T: Yes I would. T: Oh. the demons of the Fifth level tug at human heart strings. honor. Well. For my tale of emotional woe. working with the blade to gain access to their internal organs and so forth. The machines. They turn that essential part of the human condition. The Fifth Circle The Fifth Circle is in almost every way the opposite of the Fourth. going back and forth between the two. But even a good flaying can get boring after a while. Eventually this is exactly what happens. I have some wondrous contraptions in my lair.like before. and good enough to scour the soul clean and have it ready for Metropolis and rebirth. But rather than meddling with the damned soul's mind. it comes and goes as I please in my lair. hate. At first I worked just in the medium of heat. And then you came along. I'm experienced enough. The Fourth Circle merits no more of our attention at this point. So. to move on. Emotions are the stuff of this circle. the pressing boards. especially when you pour it down their throats. I start with the rack. For me time is nothing. Just for the record. and old favorite of mine. Curiously. one of the less interesting aspects of The Pit. There is no physical torture here. which was fine with me. Every human I've ever met absolutely hates pus. If they're still holding on at that point. What's particularly nice is how easily infected burn wounds get.. if we could get on with the night's business. Well. The boy started screaming again. I'm sure it's quite an amazing sight to behold. anger. what was your next step? A: Hmmmmm. of course not. the diary was of a German woman. You've got to know when to let go. and baking part or all of him for extended periods. scorching. we move on to the half-way mark: Circle Five. Sure. bases. And how do you know when your time is up. and there's nothing they can do about it. and the maiden and go from there. There comes a point when you know that the pain has done all it can. burning. and joy. and just when it was getting interesting. I like to take my time. Here they bring out the worst in men and women. arousal. but that's a recipe for trouble..

But I know that I am more beautiful than any of them. Last night it was again the place of bad feelings about which I dreamt. in her case. I am so happy that they love me for my good looks. I protests. I want it to end now. He says I have no right to be sad. I should not feel such things. proud of my figure. My Father grows angry with the man. An army of beautiful men and women. I hate sleep. even though he is not my Father. the floor of which is covered with a supple carpeting. But then I say the wrong thing. and their own beauty. How selfish. I am sad. I even tried the absinthe that Gerard gave me. for as I leave the Garden I am caught up in some strange sort of street festival. Men and women approach me. and I look down on them in scorn. I pick those who I like best and let them walk beside me. admiring my own beauty in the many windows that line the street. and the two of them fight. but almost laughing. as I do every night. almost all of which had to do with Inferno. I am so pretty and desirable that I need only take the most attractive of them. Such accounts are usually quite muddled and confused. He is my lover. But then I am happy because the two men were mean to me and deserved to die. Another man comes into the Garden. because I have no right to be happy. but it does not. People all around me are celebrating. They push me away. He becomes angry with me and starts to yell and carry on. Such pleasures as I have never experienced. He does not want to spend his time wiping up my tears. There was a man there. It goes on and on and I can do nothing. They begin to undress me so they can behold the full power of my beauty. but Father only yells at me. Then they begin to make love to me and it is wonderful. because her subconscious still had very vivid remembrances of the horrors she encountered in the afterlife. calling me a common whore. the Infernals had done a less than adequate job in erasing her memories. which is now a sad place for me. My Happy Man challenges Father to a duel. wanting to dance with me. I had just arrived there from the place where they torture me with knives and whips and. Father is right. I found myself in a pretty garden full of flowers and butterflies. although I can not remember his name. Such cruel thoughts make me uncomfortable though... Fear of my dreams kept me up until early morning. We embrace and he grows angry at me because I am sad. It goes on forever. but there is no joy in the air. and I start to cry. I call him Father. It does no good for me. The pleasure becomes unbearable. and I let them. and I fall to the ground. They sweep me into a large room. They are full of lust and pride. Soon I am spent. It is misplaced. But they will not stop their caresses and soon the pleasure becomes overwhelming there is nothing I can do to escape them. He kisses me and I feel guilty because Father is watching. He wants us to make love and be happy. tired of all the pleasure. something that makes me very proud. and I would not have slept at all had I not had such an eventful afternoon. strewn with luxuriant clothing. The diary records Marlene's dreams over a period of four months. Her dreams concerning the Fifth Circle (she dreamed of all nine) are among the best accounts of that realm I have ever read or heard. I move among them. I say that I am happy and Father grows very quiet. I am torn and do not know what to feel. so I leave the Garden. but my lover is right as well. I do not know what to think. as is the nature of things when emotions come into play. that he has come all this way to see me and I should treat him with the love and respect he deserves. . very sad. They fight and kill each other. but that only made matters worse. almost crying. both of them. My happiness is wrong. I am frightened and sad and try to stop them. He tells me how bad I am. It is obvious that. I've tried the sleeping medicine the Doctor prescribed. Soon such a crowd has gathered around me that they sweep me off my feet. I should not be happy. Marlene's Story "Last night I dreamt of The Place again. all of whom what to be close to my superior beauty. and want nothing more than to go to sleep. He goes on and on and I know that he is right. Not after what I have done to Father and Mother. I cannot sleep though. and says that he has besmirched my honor.her language skills. I should be joyful in his presence. Everyone wants to be with me because of my beauty. I am exhausted by my feelings. I know this about him. They are all so beautiful that they think of only themselves. We sit and talk pleasantly for a while and I am so happy.

too emotional. mere thought of such a whore just as Father Nor it seems should I be sad. but leading some normal life. but I know I deserve it all. Every detail is perfect. I have revealed my innermost fears to them. enemies. The pleasure is going to die. The subtlety and power of the illusions created by the Razides of the Fifth Circle are truly stunning. They are everything to me. They dredge up the perfect archetypes for your emotions and desires: family. but no fire within me. but they are nothing to me. I have every appearance of life. I walk through the petty turmoils that surround me. I do not know why I do not expect it. and never to good.. Down here the Circles know that if someone has made it this far. For the rest of the dream I am alone. They have turned on me. a sophistication found only below the half-way point. They have given me their love and respect and I have not returned in kind. But if . It is easier to simply have no feelings at all. I am like a walking statue carved by some ingenious Greek sculptor. I know now that the pleasure is evil to me. It's the same every time I have the dream but I never seem to learn! My circle of friends turns on me. they are probably pretty tough. I have vague memories of all the horrors my body has undergone in the past: the torture. They begin to teach me how not to feel. Feeling sad is not proper behavior for a woman of my character. wandering as if I am in a dream within the dream. I find myself surrounded by friends. anyone you may grow a strong attachment to. try and entertain me. People who will show me the way to survive here in this new hell of emotions. I should show no emotions to the world. I have come to depend on them as sources of calm in my tempestuous emotional life. They peer straight into your soul and see those things which are most important to you. the mind tricks. Finally. the endless tasks and the horrible climate. never growing old. too uncontrolled for them. of course it is quite terrible. I did not think such a thing would be possible. and they seldom make mistakes. all of whom are trying to keep me from being sad. The Fifth is not trying to break anyone all the way. I protest my innocence but this only drives them further from me. and I live on for years. They say that they have been all too patient with me over the past few years. even worse. I have experienced such horrid pain in my heart. and I go slipping down again. I spend much time with my circle of women friends. or loses meaning altogether. hurt me. and stripping them from our soul leaves us virtually lifeless. No emotion works out well for me. than the desecrations of the human form so popular in the Fourth Circle. and I grow to trust them as confidants. I have also sorts of horrid encounters with men and women who betray me. to stop. They. lovers. twisting it in on itself until it becomes its opposite. I have learned that feelings lead only to pain and suffering. but it may not be enough to completely scour the soul of all personality and memory. I must learn to control myself.since there are so many of them they never have now no different than pain and I feel like I am after an eternity it stops. as it always does. But here for the first time I have a group of supporters. more than any others in The Pit go to great links to trick humans into thinking that they are not in fact in Hell at all. The Fifth Level is certainly marks a trend in the lower levels. telling me I am unworthy of them. not controlled enough. They reject me at every turn. but I actually begin to live without feelings. I have torn the hurtful. And suddenly they are harsh to me. always with my little circle of women friends telling me how not to feel. and I should not be happy. And then it happens. It is only when I have fully realized this that suddenly the dream changes again. destructive emotions from my breast and thrown them to the wind. I think." Now that does not sound so terrible does it? Well. Those who I love and those who I hate have given me nothing but heartache. The easiest way to do this is to not feel at all. people who know how I feel and want to help me. but always be calm an collected. Pleasant but unassuming.. I am too emotional. Emotions are an integral part of our humanity. friends. The only respite I have from my torturous life is the time spent without feeling. The dream seems to move in fast forward at this point. One instance stands out in my dream particularly. They at least have my best interests at heart. Whenever I become excited I find myself getting hurt. rivals. I am not beautiful. love me. They then deconstruct that emotion. Certainly emotional turmoil can be every bit as torturous as physical agony. but said.

This level is about taking away your humanity. I never was the type to emote well. I fell for miles. and trying to kill you. They are often pleasant to talk to.. like some great tar pit stretching off for miles. Just one of many who put in his hours every week and saved up money in hopes of some day marrying and settling down. As I got closer I could see that it was moving. it is often hard to find subjects who are able to talk of their experiences in the Sixth Circle. or some detail about its geography. What she could have done to deserve such a fate I do not know. Once that is accomplished. there will be no inner fire. but it is certainly a curious punishment. Worse yet. Razides of the Fifth level take pride in their sophistication and worldliness. From miles up I could not tell what I was falling towards. no landmarks. just black ad infinitum. I find it startling and somewhat tragic that poor Marlene was forced to live her entire time in Inferno every night in her dreams. Maybe he just didn't care for people. He proved resilient enough to make it through all Nine Circles. Every human soul in the level is in a state of constant state of hunger. Now in level six the soul loses the last vestiges of human society. That's why I went into real estate instead of theater like most of my friends. maybe mean. clicking. There were no features. At first this level would seem to directly contradict my statement of a moment ago. I have never heard of such a remembrance before or since. fear of everything. although strangely disquieting. Luckily there were the bugs to break my fall. One day I simply got up and walked through a door in The Fifth that I had never noticed before and I was falling. before I hit . poisonous. Like all men he had his faults. and even Time & Space in such a way as to curse the young girl with constantly reliving here sorrow. Perhaps someone who had managed to combine the Lores of Dream.. Much like talking to a psychotic psychiatrist I suppose. This hunger is insatiable. reporting for duty. but I didn't miss whatever it was they took away from me in the Fifth Circle. Being buried alive in scorpions is hardly sophisticated. Whatever his sin. Up above. chittering. Diseases run rampant in the Sixth Circle. In life this poor fellow was a simple office worker. One interesting side note. For this particular story I have called upon the very Legions of Hell to provide me with answers.they can take away the fundamentally human emotions that set us apart from automatons and beasts. it was just like sky diving. Hareb-Serap took a personal interest in him. drafting him into the Legions. no love or hate to sustain the soul as it falls through the next four circles. But there is more to it than that. hunger for life. then they will have gone a long way in their quest. if only for the time compression involved. some of the bugs cannot be seen by the naked eye. or at least that's what occurred to me at the time. and rather than let such a prize go. rational thought is no longer possible. I only had a second to register the noise: the scraping. Thinking things through became impossible. I feel certain that Marlene was under the influence of some conjurer. I thought maybe it was some kind of ocean. for instance most of it is still alive. thirst for drink. Howard's Tale "Maybe I'm just a cold hearted guy. from viruses to bacteria to cancers that crawl about on their own. Naturally enough. or so one might well argue. the soul has been stripped of its logical base. Death. at least while they are in the middle of their torment. The Sixth Circle Below the emotions of the Fifth Level we find the base fears of the Sixth. or at least hurt you a fair amount. that inner essence that keeps us going. Admittedly that is a rather dramatic way of saying that I managed to capture one of the thousands of foot soldiers in Astaroth's Legions and ask him a question or two. Of course every other time I had gone skydiving I had a parachute. Language skills are among the first things to go down there. in level Three. The very atmosphere of the Sixth Circle brings out our basest instincts. Certainly it is not unheard of for someone to occasionally have dreams of a particular experience in Inferno. But to relive the whole thing every night is frightening. Hunger for food. Unfortunately. Maybe he was ruthless. living the life of an animal or insect. In the Fifth Circle the soul lost its emotions. Legionnaire Howard Whitman. and fortunately there is plenty to eat. It was all black from a distance. little of it is what is normally thought of as fit for human consumption. it was enough in his mind and the minds of his peers to end him straight from the street where he was run down to Inferno.

I just lay there. my nose. Big ass. I went crazy. slowly dying. Sometimes I would fall into deep pits. hungrier than I'd ever been. and it only meant that I was stronger for a moment. I couldn't do a damn thing to stop them. coughing. I got sicker and sicker as I marched. I was constantly ill. I suppose I could have gone back to the sea of roaches and eaten something there. I should have stockpiled the food. Nothing human about it at all. even up my ass. But now I knew what I was in store for. They looked delicious but . constantly looking for food. so occasionally I could jump up and find my way to the surface to catch a breath of air. grubs and maggots. It would take me days and hundreds of deaths to work my way out of there. tens or even hundreds of feet deep. Absolutely nuts. now I had it all figured out. lying under several feet of cockroaches. and even then I died. trying to snatch insects from the air and eat them as I trudged along through the swamp. Sometimes they stung. after days of this crap I died. I hadn't been sick. Involuntarily I started to scream. My body festered with bug bites and sores. My muscles atrophied. I might as well not have had legs at all. rats. I heard them from miles away. I hunted for the vermin. I lay in a pile of filth and muck. I could not fight them. So I drank the mucky water. I simply lay there and let the food and disease come to me. Eventually I got my act together enough to start to try and claw my way out. none of which ever had a chance to heal. but I was in heaven. I became no better than the food I ate. It wasn't one of those pleasantly delusional sicknesses either. I killed everything I saw. They had the bodies of bugs but the head were like rats: beady eyes. nothing bigger than a fly to eat. There was no hope for me. my ears. snakes. constantly vomiting up what I had eaten or dribbling out my ass in diuretic streams. I stood in some sort of swampy area. It was only when the locust things came that I was forced to move on.bottom. I knew how to get them. There was nothing civilized in my existence. Eventually I did make it somehow. actually ill since before I died. Who knows how long I flailed there. but I would not bring myself to go back to that place. and then me. painstakingly aware of everything that was happening to me. It was only when they came into my bug cave that I began to fear them. Finally. but I certainly didn't want to drown in them. I was breaking out in strange spots and rashes all over. It was as bad as it ever got in The Pit. It was pure animal drive that kept me going as long as I did. I was constantly hungry. flying in thick clouds on dragonfly wings. I knew I was going to be sick again anyway. Inside was a cornucopia: beetles. and they just rushed into my mouth. No fur though. Then I got up and started all over again. because. I gorged myself at this trough. I had no particular fear of them while I was alive. Now I knew where they lived. Finally my nomadic hunting took me to the edge of my swamp. for the most part only about seven feet deep. could hunt better for a few days or weeks. Ultimately that is what I was reduced to. but didn't care. long snout full of teeth. and there I found a cave. muck and mud. running nose the whole works. I must have died a thousand times over in that cave. Living in the muck. letting myself suffocate over and over under the mass of insects. Of course death was just a new beginning. feeding on snakes and rats. I couldn't walk anymore. the air was alive with stinging gnats and flies. All my bugs. it reeked of noxious gasses. I was constantly. I was hungry. hell. I didn't even think as to what they might be. but the thought never occurred to me. although only because They let me. I survived for what must have been months this time. looking for food. but a moment later and I was myself again. and suddenly I knew that I was getting sick. I crawled in. They ate everything in site. Now I could feel it for sure: a fever. I had to run. The strength just seemed to leak right out of my. and every other kind of vermin stopped by to gnaw on me. just a nasty jet black. Into my mouth. I was so ravenous that I would eventually hunt an area clear of vermin and would have to move on. and soon I couldn't move another inch. just stones. It was only when I was too weak to move that something besides stinging flies and mosquitoes showed their faces. I could not eat them. either through heart failure from the terror or just plain suffocation: too many bugs in my lungs. I must have died a hundred times. letting the protein filled bugs slide on down into my belly. The "sea" of cockroaches was. They were all at least a foot long. There was no vegetation. sometimes they killed me with their poisons. all crawling about in a stinking morass of guano and rotting gunk. scorpions. full of roaches. and ate everything I killed. Bigger bugs. nasty cockroaches. The Impact killed me instantly. Outside the sea things were not much better.

I didn't want to die because I was hungry. We were animals. It certainly has value to the Infernals in their quest to purge humanity of its memories. Their vicious little teeth could strip a man in a few minutes when they chose to. dehumanization. But most of the time they just seemed to want to play with me. They'd turned me into an animal. and the air is always full of the sounds and smells of combat. No light. A bug maybe. enjoying the different . I ran and ran. somehow I made it out of there. always fighting for your life. The Demon Lords care little for varying the tortures they inflict on their prisoners. We just were. and hunts. and here we see the final steps in the processing of human souls. land of The Great Hunt. Somehow I escaped them. Soon we shall see the transformation from mindless animal to mere property in Hell. the Seventh Circle has one of the highest human populations out of all the Circles. seldom involve themselves in Pit Wars. Taking a few bites out every so often. I couldn't see a thing. We weren't men anymore though. pure and simple. Torment for human souls in this level is constantly hunting or being hunted. Instead. Eventually. I wanted to eat. but hungry. No worries except survival and food. The Seventh Circle is really just a playground for Razides and other demons to get their aggressions out. Even the Citadels of the Death Angels infringe very little in the Seventh Circle. The Seventh Circle is the area of Inferno most commonly linked with our world by temporary portals. Because these individuals did not die in the traditional sense. and ran away from larger packs of humans. it was a small step for him. All of the other circles center around the victims. We didn't even need to procreate. We were less than animals really. they were too big. death sports. Flying pirahanas is what they were. and so on. the maze that winds through all of The Pit. Thus." So goes Howard's tale. since many unfortunate soldiers step straight from one battlefield in our world to its counterpart in the Seventh Circle. I fell into a pit and suddenly they were gone. It is the Razides themselves who move from place to place. Naturally enough. duels. The Seventh Circle We near the end of our descent into the depths of The Pit. disease. The sky was black with them. I fought others over scraps of meat. gladiatorial combats. with humans being the ones who die over and over in the process. most humans find themselves repeating the same battles or hunts over and over again for all the years they spend in the custody of The Seventh's war lords. who in no way feel obligated to send them on down The Pit.there were too many. No attachments except to our stomachs. despite its depth in The Pit. just the merciless buzzing of their wings and snapping of their jaws. and sometimes I made it a fair distance before they cut me down. I didn't realize all of this. I fell through the wrong trapdoor or maybe they just let me go on my merry way. There is also less variety in the human experience in the Seventh Circle. I new that I was safe. no better than a rat in a sewer. and. I had long ago forgotten I was in Hell at all. preferring the infinite variety of outcomes war and combat offer them. mindless terror. Knowing how things work here it was probably the latter. I set about looking for food. A handful of powerful Razides numbering less than a hundred rule the entire circle. while here the focus is the demons. surprisingly. simply for the pleasure of watching humans die in combat. I knew vaguely here I was. The Seventh Circle hosts a constant series of wars. For this reason. especially those formed in war time. running in blind. War and combat are a way of life for the Lords of the Seventh. but I feel there is more to it than that. It covers all the significant aspects of the Sixth Circle: vermin. I missed my bug cave and all its little biters and gnawers and grubs. And so I wandered the Labyrinth. they are effectively prisoners of the Demon Lords. and now it was time for the hunt. Humans are simply pawns to be toyed with. I ran so as not to die. but first there is the Seventh Circle. they keep to their own amusements. The Lords of the Seventh Circle care little for Infernal rivalries and politics. more out of habit than anything else. the rest of the time just swarming around me. minor albeit crucial parts of the system. With so much of his humanity already stripped away. fighting mock wars with each other. It was the Labyrinth.

Our power rivaled that of even the Death Angels themselves. They have already been stripped down to the point where they will do anything to survive. and the fear of pain seems to do the trick. to flying worms reminiscent of dragons. one of only a few dozen Lords in the entire circle. never to see the joys of his Seventh Circle again. This particular tale is quite rare. There are certain facts of Infernal existence that had to be dealt with. Each of us had under our sway an army of demons that could have destroyed every army in human history. This makes them much more . but not out of spite or greed or malice. but for the shear joy of battle. rather than the account of one of their human victims. or re-fight old battles in different ways. It is important that they have an incentive to fight on. We fought among each other constantly. those who stray over from Elysium when the barriers are weak. simply to relive the joy of fights long since lost and won. It was everything I could ever ask for. the script is really quite elegant and is written on vellum. We found long ago that this keeps them from immediately killing themselves in order to escape the horrors of war. There is no sense of risk when demons fight. The uniquely malleable geography of Inferno allows for plenty of interesting variations. first of all being the tendency of humans to rejuvenate immediately upon death. anything from giant beetle like things. just to make it interesting we would change something significant in the middle of the battle. poor frail. The Battle of the Somme was particularly popular right before I fell from my high seat. and frustration fill the air. Sometimes. more like animals. It was paradise. The humans always played the same part again and again. just to see what the humans would do. and is in fact a letter written by one of the demon lords who followed Togarini in his ill fated rebellion against Astaroth. maim. along with the blood and death. no fear to drive a warrior to extraordinary lengths. Wounds that would normally kill simply leave the human lying in agony. The original is handwritten in blood. easily killed yet easily reborn humans. but would remember every battle that had gone before. I will tell you. It is just as easy to wound. It was their inbred fear of death and will to survive that made watching them so enjoyable. Demons cannot be killed in their own land. I reigned in the Seventh Circle of Hell. or disable. You ask what it was like for me as a lord of hell. He apparently wrote the letter in reply to some queries made by a death conjurer in the service of Togarini. It is the walk-ins. I have chosen to present the reminiscences of one of those Razides. We fought with armies of humans. it's just that they cannot die. including the greatest pleasure of all: War. and so are not used to the inevitability of their fate. We circumvented this problem by making it almost impossible for a man to die in our circle. It was quite interesting to watch them learn from their mistakes and see the interesting evolutions the battle went through. They have not been broken in the upper levels of The Pit. We strove constantly to fight new battles. campaigns that could never be fought in the world of the living. who need encouragement to keep on fighting. Underground battles were always a favorite of mine: armies trying to fight each other in a constantly shifting maze. unable to do anything but experience pain. such as changing the Germans into Spartans. The confusion. and we would often fight it a hundred times with small variations. Master bids that I answer your questions. but it was not with these armies that we fought. The unfortunate Razide was banished into our world with his master. They are hardly human anymore. for pain is our primary motivator. More importantly they do not fear pain. fear. Other times we would allow the humans to ride terrible creatures of our creation into battle. Those that come down from the Sixth Circle usually do not need much encouragement. Sometimes we would pit medieval armies against hordes of demons on a plane of fire. and so do not fear death. We ruled absolutely in our realms and every pleasure was ours.pleasures their realm has to offer them. or moving the scene of the battle from the trenches of Europe to a sweltering jungle. Sometimes we would set our human pawns against each other in recreation of other famous human battles. Each war and battle was carefully thought out beforehand by myself and my fellow Razides. Of course we were just as inventive when coming up with our own battles. To Liam. which makes them perfectly suited for the hunts (which I shall discuss shortly). It was what I was created for. Keeping this in mind.

Then we would release a few humans into the grounds. This made us many enemies. the truly insidious nature of this hell becomes apparent. for they offered me a chance to get involved in the fun personally. useless for our pleasures. Hell hounds. The Eighth Circle The Eighth Circle of Hell is a curious place. Christine had a remarkably accurate memory of her past lives and her time in hell. for there was always a battle to be fought somewhere. The Great Hunts were one of my favorite times. by the time I met her. Christine was really . This made for nearly infinite variety. but once one see beyond the surface. and we would often stage such gladiatorial bloodfests. everything from human history. for they had been stripped down to their animal instincts. Other times we put them away in their cupboards: dark metal boxes the size of coffins standing on end. Inside the humans were subjected to a series of visions and hallucinations about war and combat. then we would revive the fallen warrior to a state of perfect health and let the fight continue. their minds shut down and they could do nothing but lie there or stand and get shot down. although it took deep hypnosis to draw the more terrifying memories from her. the human element is not terribly important in the Seventh Circle. and my Master fell before the Lord of Hell himself. I send the dead on to my fellow Lords still in The Pit. more robot than man. Certainly it is one of the most dangerous areas to visit in all of Inferno. The high drama of man to man combat can be just as compelling. Eventually of course every human would wear out. Here they would fight until one or the other was incapacitated (remember we made it impossible to die). our own special birds of prey. when only a few of them were being used. we seldom used the boxes. Sometimes we would lone them out to other Lords who were planning large battles. Then you might have a very interesting time. Others simply lost it completely. It was then that it was occasionally necessary to mount expeditions to the higher Circles and take some souls before they were too damaged. and it seemed a shame to waste the human fighting spirit. Georgia. As you can see. not fearing death or even pain. even during these gladiatorial shows or the hunts. and create wondrous hunting grounds filled with all kinds of horrors and hiding places for our prey. and much that hasn't been thought of outside of Hell. The result of all these past lives running around in her head was that. real enough that they would not lose their edge. At first glance its tortures seem simplistic compared to other levels. We would often come together at this point. Unless of course you can manage to somehow become a guest of one of the Razide war lords. To be perfectly honest. We certainly never took the time to train them. Sometimes the turn over rate would get so high that we would have a shortage of good subjects. Christine Lorenzo of Athens. and we sent them either on to the Demiurge or down The Pit the Eighth Circle. But then I was betrayed. This was often enjoyable sport for upwards of a week of constant fighting. as it is constantly at war with itself. The danger of a stray bullet or arrow trapping you there forever is just too great in my opinion. give them a good head start.interesting subjects. Of course we had a lot more weapons than the Romans. and they should be thankful we left them anything at all. Why bother when you can learn by doing? They usually picked it up quickly enough. There was never any down time for our pawns. sniffing out the fearful prey. It would either become a simple killing machine. we took. I choose for my story the remembrances of a pleasant young woman. I hope they appreciate all I do for them. who will have the joy of them for years to come. too close to being finished. Now I reside among the living instead of the dead. depending on how good the fighters were. Eventually we would beat even those out of them after too many hunts. and head out after them. Again. knowing however that every time I do the joy is only fleeting. and other Infernal creatures accompanied us on our hunts. pitting humans against one another. for they believe our lies when we tell them that if they fight well enough they will be able to escape some day. but there were none in all The Pit save perhaps Astaroth and Hareb-Serap who could match us for our military genius. Then they were of no use to us. They were too far gone. Those humans who survived the Sixth Circle somewhat intact were by far the best. These were of no use to us. Whatever we wanted. Sometimes a full scale battle is not what we were in the mood for. Still I play my games.

I slowly became aware of my surroundings at that point. where human souls become the servants of their hellish lords. and I could see neither walls nor a ceiling in the dim light. served hand and foot by their human servants. Of course I should have realized the truth. operating strange machinery. wrists and ankles. In a way it was like a miniature model of the Great Pit itself. pulling me kicking and screaming down a stone corridor. My captor brought me to what I assumed to be the center of the room. We emerged from behind a towering stack of iron cubes to see an arena of some sort. After only a few days of torture I was released from my torment. and soon I gave up my struggle. The second hunchback slung me over his shoulder and started to carry me along at a rapid pace. Such surroundings were by this time commonplace in my damned existence. On every level their were more of these hunchbacked demons. Thick smoke of some sort wafted up from the center of the pit. It only took me a few seconds to realize it was of course not a man but a demon of some sort. or pouring foul liquids into steaming vats. At the time I did not realize the significance of what I saw. connected by serpentine stairways that twisted and turned down to the center of the pit. They live in lush surroundings. The door swung wide revealing a gigantic hunchbacked man. homes. At least it was familiar. although all of these seemed to be tending to human captives in some way.quite mad. I was able to obtain some valuable gems of information from her muddled mind. but the torture is all the worse since the human servants know that if they had acted without making a mistake there would be no punishment. although the word "miniature" belies the great size of the pit the spread out before me. There were nine tiers to the arena. As we shall see. He moved too fast for me to get my feet under me. but as you might expect. succumbing to the numbing pain. They bring every torture upon themselves. At least it was better than the horrors I had experienced mere moments before. avoiding making a mistake is harder than one might think. This in itself does not sound so bad. with beautiful gardens. I could see only dim outlines of humans and hunchbacked demons. Of course my rest was short lived. all of them bound to various medieval torture apparati. They will strike out with furious vengeance at the slightest mistake on the part of their servants. I found this both frightening and strangely comforting. I now had solid black iron collars around my neck. making it impossible to tell what was going on down in the lower levels of the pit. I was hurled by my hair down a flight of stairs. the resident Razides and Nepharites are the sternest of masters. I was informed that I was to be a servant in the palace of some great Nepharite. with one addition. only to be snatched up again by another hunchbacked demon. or maybe some sort of payment for the services of the hunchbacks. The Eighth circle is the realm of slavery. . This particular extract from my notes is Christine's account of her time in the Eighth Circle. and cities. All around me were these hunchbacked demons. The lords of hell often represent themselves as beautiful human or quasi-human beings. Looking through bruise swollen eyes I began to understand that I was in some sort of factory or warehouse. They live a life of luxury at every turn. My attention turned almost immediately to the first level of the pit which we were now rapidly approaching. naked form for a moment. and scarcely noticed it. but one's mind does the damnedest things to try and keep you from facing the horrible truth. He stared at my dirty. I had been through this before. The humans seemed to be crowded together in little clusters while the hunchbacked demons moved between the groups. but it seems it was the Eighth that finally broke her. given the nature of their servitude. Christine's Story I woke up to find myself in yet another dank. The factory floor was vast. They can be every bit as creative in these tortures as the other lords of hell. She had very vivid memories of all the previous circles as well. Nevertheless. lit this time by a crude iron lantern. moving boxes from one place to another. There I could see several other people. and I took some comfort in them. then strode forward and grabbed me by the hair. The torture on the first level of the pit was just a formality. a thought that filled me with silent dread. cold dungeon.

and were made from a coarse. and I began to relax. so I set about serving the food. full of screaming victims and demons. It was truly a beautiful sight. Another had said excuse me. The worst was yet to come. We took up trays and proceeded into the dining room. When it came time for us to serve. This was part of their genius. these guys really have their stuff together when it comes to messing with your head. We were sent back into the pit. I had touched the wine glass with the wine bottle. distinguished gentleman in his mid-fifties. The hunchback was in a rage. In the torture chambers of the pit they made us all stand with our heads bent forward as . I didn't know what to make of this. wooden club. We were sent back to the factory area I had seen when I first arrived. I was seated in the back of a large. pristine and fully equipped to prepare a gourmet banquet for a hundred guests. In punishment the hunchback said he would make sure we never looked up again. and soon our job was done. It was truly a palace. and the food was laid out for us. How the hunchback even knew what we had done was beyond me. just enough to make my heart rise at the sight of such beauty. With our eyes on the ground we could only see the feet of those we served. a handsome. Beyond the door a large dinner party was just getting under way. He lashed out at us with a short. so fearful were we of misbehaving in some way. We served seven course. Our latest infraction had been to raise our eyes from the ground on more than one occasion. but not enough to time to relish it or take comfort in it. poured wine and cleared the table over the course of the next four hours. Another had accidentally clinked the water glass with the plate he was setting down. and each of us was lashed for the mistakes of everyone. It sounded easy enough. We were never to speak under any circumstances. thinking this might not be so bad after all. and pretty soon it wasn't enough to torture us in retribution for our crimes. He told us that we were a team now. He wasn't exaggerating either. Our team was assigned to service. We had been serving in a garden party. The cooks had already come and gone. and the temptation of looking on such beauty proved too much. Each mistake was worth fifty lashes. We didn't have to ask what the penalty was. The lord of the palace sat at the head of the table. He assured us that since it was our first time he was being lenient. The hunchback provided us uniforms that we had to wear always. since he had not been in the room. but he must have struck us all well over a thousand times a piece. I don't know what I was expecting for the palace of a Nepharite. Something big and scary. We were to share a small. nor were we to ever take our eyes from the ground. we were ushered up a hidden stairway that opened into the grand kitchen. As I've said a thousand times. The truth was actually far. Of course we did make mistakes again. It was then that we learned just how badly we had done. Still. placid lake in the center of miles of well manicured gardens. The rules of the place were simple. chained to the walls along with about a dozen other new servants. meaning we would serve the lord his meals and drinks. but by thirty of the most beautiful men and women I had ever seen. with only bare mattresses to sleep on. The Nepharite in question lived in what has to be the most beautiful home I have ever seen and am ever likely to see. We must always obey the orders of any of the members of the lord's house. One of the others had looked up. it was better than what we were used to. I lost count. uncomfortable material. They gave us just enough to comprehend that there was something beautiful out there. I only got a glimpse of all this however. built along the lines of the Doge's Palace in Venice.It was worse than I could have imagined. and that if any of us failed in our duties. I stole a quick glance and was startled to see the hall populated not be demons. The guests didn't pay us any notice. dank room. and sent downstairs into the basement. the whole team would pay the penalty. We were unloaded from the carriage in a carriage house. The list of seemingly insignificant mistakes was huge. far more disturbing. We could only catch brief glimpses of the outside through cracks in the shutters that blocked the rest of the world from our view. this time down to the second level. We became obsessed with not making mistakes. for we knew the penalty if we did. When all was done we were marched back to our cell. It was now impossible to take pleasure in the beauty that surrounded us. It was situated beside a beautiful. Our trainer was one of the hunchbacked demons who had greeted us on our arrival. we knew we didn't want to find out. iron carriage. They had a certain 18th century quality to them.

Work was becoming almost impossible. We could now communicate perfectly with one another. a beauty that was entirely lost on us. They did not change the rules without telling us. It was a good feeling. We were bumbling masses of flesh. but eventually one of us always messed up. the last torture they had to inflict upon us. Then it was back to the pit. for it is my last memory of hell. when that didn't work. allowing us to do our jobs without messing things up again. but still we managed to make it through one meal without committing any errors. knowing that if we just concentrated on what we were doing. all their memories. they undid the chains from our collars and bolted them directly into our flesh. When I came to the sensation remained. separated by less than three feet of chain from the next person down the line. We knew what we had to do. That was the true measure of the torture we faced. We suddenly had access to all their feelings. and we became an automaton. for we were now one without feeling. but suddenly we could hear every though of every other member of the group. a feeling that . welded bits of black iron covering our bodies. As it turned out. The hunchback who tended us yelled and screamed for hours. When I awoke the pain remained. despite our pain. and withdrawn into the mass mind that was forming between us. in its own defense. Together we formed a circle. We cursed ourselves for our stupidity. working though the pain and humiliation of our new fetters. and soon we were making mistakes again. With our tongues nailed down and our eyes all but covered it was impossible to communicate with one another. The demon lords were not trying to make us mess up. we were able to keep functioning. There was nothing left for us to do but serve in that beautiful palace. When one of us talked we went back again to have our tongues nailed to the bottom of our mouths in order to prevent speech. we were one giant machine. the hunchback haranguing us the entire way. adding another iron accouterment to our uniforms. what with the wide variety of iron plates. It was all avoidable if we were only better servants. Then one of the girls groaned during lunch. I could not raise my head an inch. The cost however was too great. This made our work much more difficult. and chains attached to us. We were already a pretty sorry looking lot. We had to continue service in such a condition. it is not a bad memory. Once again we tried to steel ourselves to whatever new torture we had earned for ourselves. I do not know how long we remained thus. All sense of self was gone. although now I was getting used to it. burning into my back and neck. we could avoid all of these problems. As it was. One spilled drop of soup and we were back in the pit. the "torture" proved to be nothing more than a length of chain. My brain. each trying to fight through the pain or our predicament. and already I was starting to cramp and grow stiff. The hunchback fastened the chain to each of our iron collars. so it was back again to have our voice boxes removed with a pair of pliers. At first they just made the lengths of chain shorter. It wasn't long before we missteped yet again. Were we not already dead. chained together for eternity. an excruciating process that caused me to pass out from the pain. Surprisingly. My brain shut down. It was too much for me and I passed out. the shock would surely have killed us. They then placed an iron plate at the back of our necks. actually touching the brain. They took metal cable about an inch thick and inserted it directly into our heads. Our third trip to the pit they added iron blinders to the side of our heads. and eventually one of us slipped up again and it was back to the pit. as did some others. But it was difficulty to do one's duty when you have to worry about what everyone else was doing as well. Of course this only made service more difficult. We were no longer human. Sharing the torments of eleven others who had gone through what I had gone through in hell was just too much. all sense of who we had been. binding the twelve of us together. We were by this time quite a sight to behold. This time we were in the bottom of the pit. saying that we needed to learn to work as a team or we would never amount to anything. and were back to the pit.far as they would go. They connected us together much as the chains did. The iron plate was then riveted into our very flesh. bolting them to our temples. angled so that we could not raise our heads from their stooped position. constantly dripping pus and blood onto our normally clean uniforms. all their pain. We looked more like machines than human beings. Then. bolts. It seems that it was time for us to truly learn the meaning of team work.

Certainly you will no longer be human. with one of my fellow demons. and it would explain a great many things. The final Razides of the lowest circle are on a very special quest. here in the pits of the Earth Prison. Take a moment and contemplate the kind of mental fortitude it takes to go through all of Hell that I have described thus far. At the bottom we find the most select souls. Everything has a place. * * * I have just had a most interesting conversation with one of the demons. I have vague memories of a time before the Earth Prison. After all what kind of a man can go through such horrors and not question his own identity? In the Ninth. Truly. One has to have a certain affinity for the very tortures you are supposed to hate. Eternity in Astaroth's realm without hope of reprieve is hardly worth living. and a duty and a destiny. I have no place. my place in . or they give in to the joys of Inferno. I have no feelings. Xiao's Tale "I have come a long way through the tortures of the Earth Prison. Either one loses whatever he or she has left in themselves. Never did a stronger man enter The Pit. He passed on down through The Pit. something from over two hundred years ago. and about who they are. there is time for quiet reflection. the more I realize all that I have lost. I no longer know what I am. they are impossible to catch hold of. those rare few who can survive all eight previous levels with their mind and soul intact. clashing his strong will against that of his oppressors. for he finally did succumb. something not offered to me at any time before. less even than the lowliest animal. They are questioning many things about themselves. they seek to separate the merely human from those rare beings who have become somewhat Infernal themselves. It is my duty. one needs be made of very stern stuff. in one last attempt to hold on to himself. but in this new place they have treated me kindly. My advice: give in if you can. The more time I have to contemplate my fate in this comfortable room. Here in this new hell. but no more than any other ambitious man. for I have no manly qualities. I have always been taught that the world is carefully organized and ordered. This is something I would never have dreamed of. If I once had a family. He did his share of wrongs during his life. Things I myself have no explanation for. I have no duty. My friend told me that I am. To come through them all entirely unscathed is impossible. Things like why I am here and where I came from. and whose soul has only escaped Inferno's torments in the past twenty years. but he eventually succumbed to the inevitable. at least for the few days I have been here. a demon. To make it to the bottom. I have no desires. their memory is long gone from me. I suppose I should say. although I am not at all sure that is true. but like all shadows. and now I am almost through it. I am but an empty shell. Of course it did no good. his version of matters seems to make sense. never to leave its boundaries again. The Ninth Circle So at last we come to the end of our voyage to through the depths of Inferno's Great Circles. Murdered one night by his own son. There is simply no other way to pass through the ordeals of the upper levels. Here I present the story of Shen Xiao. he woke up to find himself in The First Circle. a Chinese nobleman confined to The Pit upon his death in 1767. although it must have something to do with the demons who surround me at every turn. I remember their kind from the other hells of the Earth Prison. much less all eight. no longer a god. This cannot be anything but another trick on the part of the demons who keep me here. I no longer even know why I am here. By the time he had reached the Ninth level he was almost unstrung. For my final selection on the Circles I have chosen a rather old piece.finally I had found my place in the world. identities are changed. I am no longer a man. Still. it is hard for many us to imagine surviving any one circle intact. Even those who retain some of themselves down to the Ninth Circle have had a rough time of it. by birth. I remember only a life of pain. Shadows of a former life still haunt me. and their are only two ways out. It was then that he wrote this confession. He was a brilliant man of sound character and righteous Confucian upbringing.

I was not sure I could do it. I was no demon. It smelled very good and I ate it with great relish. although occasionally we would meet others who seemed to be simply walking about leisurely as we were. Now I am tired. We spent the rest of the day wandering in and out of the fantastic tunnels that make up most of my homeland. He said these were not memories but visions inspired by my birth. but he continued to talk with me and now I am not so sure. and are forbidden by The King of Hell to perform any others. We passed through every conceivable variety of torture chamber. Everywhere we turned there were human souls being tortured. We are the first among the fallen. but that I would have to help him prepare it. I will have to think on it some more. who screamed loudly as I cut from his thighs. We are truly masters of ourselves and those lesser beings around us. why they need to have their . He told me that the demons of the other Circles are confined to a particular kind of torture. all of whom are very understanding. and he agreed with me. I said that I thought this a very good practice. We get only the best souls to torture. It would explain why I can't remember anything but pain and suffering before yesterday. But once my friend handed me the knife I had no problem carving into the meat-boy. but I smiled and thanked him for the compliment. All the rest of hell. Certainly all the evidence points towards my being a demon. I could not imagine how my genteel companion could take pleasure in such barbarous activities. and that he was proud of me. I felt somewhat ashamed because I did not feel the same delight at these sights as my companion obviously did. the meat in the dish was carved from the side of a living human boy. I learned how to make the dish.life to torture humans in retribution for their sins. My companion told me that I was mistaken. and we may do whatever we wish. I was somewhat disturbed by these last statements. I had in me no desire to hurt for pain's sake. that there was no past of torture. and I asked if I might have some more. Those memories are all false. and it was really quite delicious. with the exception of the King of Hell himself admire our status and envy our power. my friend and I. a feeling I cannot explain. He claims that I was born into this world only yesterday. He told me that I could one day be a great and powerful Demon Lord because I was born in the Ninth Circle. He has explained to me all of the horrible things that men do to each other in the land of the living. when all my life I have been tortured a thousand different ways. although not quite as good as the bowl my friend had prepared for me. I began to distrust him at once. they are the memories of my parents. This seems to make a kind of sense. I agreed. As it turned out. that I am a demon now and always will be. I was sure of it then. many of which were familiar to me. He told me of the wonders of my homeland. My friend explained to me that these were other new-born demons and their mentors. but we of The Ninth and Greatest Circle may do what we please with the souls that come down to us. My heart swelled with pride until he told me that soon I would be able to perform my own tortures. and I cannot seem to choose. * * * My friend came around this morning with some food. He has explained to me why they need to be punished. We talked for a long while my. I was not like him at all. Torture seemed to be the main occupation of my fellow demons. It would explain a great deal. He said that every new-born has a mentor to help them grow accustomed to life in the Earth Prison. He told me I was coming along very quickly. I did not want to torture others. * * * Tomorrow I am to be given my first human charge. It was delicious. They tell me that it is not at all unusual for a new born be as confused as I am. The method of torture is left up to me. the luckiest of all Circles. I am treated with tenderness and respect by my fellows. I played along and pretended to enjoy the visions of agony that spread out before me. It seems that I must indeed be a demon to be able to do such a thing to a human. My memories are not of me being tortured. thankful of the opportunity to learn how to prepare such a dish. This at first seemed entirely wrong to me. How could this be. but still seems wrong to me. It would be nice to believe him. No. I felt my stomach turn at the idea. He said of course. I have spent the last few days in deep conversation with my mentor. You see. Nevertheless. For an instant I felt somewhat strange. and my bed calls out to me. pain and suffering give birth to demons.

Some kind of guide is absolutely necessary here. written in blood with Infernal characters. and precipitation can be anything from rain to blood to frogs to diamonds: literally anything. They are so selfish. serving Astaroth for the rest of his days. If the Circles are the Center of things in Astaroth's realm. so foolish. but certainly none of his humanity remained either. He proved to be no demon. It is. Others are those who have managed to escape from The Pit. so petty. your flesh constantly regenerating each time you die so that your ravenous host can continue eating. suitably for rebirth. If I cannot be a torturer than what am I? What will become of me? I know no other life. dragging them back to their lairs or to their masters in The Pit. so be sure to move on quickly from any Razide "kills" you manage to rack up. I have disgraced my mentor and myself. it is impossible to kill Razide on its home territory. Many temporary and permanent portals open up into a location somewhere within the Wild Zones. Such is our fate. and it is not uncommon to find poor lost souls wandering across the landscape. for truly they are the only ones who really have much leisure time and free will in Inferno these days. and there are no set paths for an outsider to follow from one place to another. Chapter Six: The Wild Zones Having dealt in with the Great Circles in some detail. When I say "they" I of course refer to Astaroth himself and his Death Angels. and my mentor suggested it as a first choice. unless you are exceptionally good at blazing your own trails. others are infamous for their obscurity. There are few fates worse than becoming a permanent meal for a feral Razide. I could not perform when it came time to carry out the human's punishment. I seem to have a certain affinity for it. Much of what I said earlier about traveling in Inferno applies particularly to the Wild Zones. but most who pass through the Ninth Circle move on back into the living world. vainly searching for some way back home. They will spend weeks gnawing on him until they finally grow weary of his taste. Some of them are well known throughout Inferno. I recovered it from the archives of the Ninth Circle myself. if you will. going straight from one hell to another. then the Wild Zones are everything else. * * * I have failed as a demon. in a place of infinite space. I find myself at somewhat of a loss for material about the next section of Inferno. He would have instead become a Razide of sorts himself. and has promised that if I don not come around soon. hunting down and tearing human souls to pieces. There are a few that do fall into such a fate. The Marshaling Fields Since he created Inferno Astaroth has been building up his Legion of the . This can be a good stalling tactic however. He was very angry. Weather is in constant flux. especially if you have a human companion to sacrifice.souls scoured clean of the memory of their past sins. You will see what I mean. Packs of feral Razides roam the countryside. and now I look forward to having at my first victim. As representative if the Wild Zones I have picked a few areas that are beyond a doubt important. I make here a few notes concerning some of the more important areas in the Wild Zones. the place where they experiment with their own plans and desires without having to worry about the interesting but time-consuming business of destroying human memories. I believe I will start with the lash. I will be destroyed. their playground. Everything else is working too hard at surviving or making it difficult for others to survive. Truly anything exists out there in the Wild Zones. Xiao went on back into our world. that is quite a bit. He was a perfect tabula rasa. for it exists simply to be molded by the hands of the Infernals. I hate humans. the so-called Wild Zones." That is the full extent of the manuscript. As you can imagine. Remember. We begin then with one of the more important features of today's Inferno: The Marshaling Fields. you can merely immobilize for a short while. If he had proved capable of performing the deeds asked of him he might never have left Inferno. Geography is in constant flux. particularly those related to the true lords of Inferno. They deserve more pain than we can give them.

Perhaps Astaroth simply enjoys the irony of having an army of fallen gods. Now that Astaroth has taken his ten Legions into our world. most of the Legions were stationed in bases here. present. Of course. In many ways they are not. The human traveler may have a little more difficulty accomplishing such a passage. Out in the Wild Zones their appearance is somewhat more personalized to the individual Lord of Hell. Only a few Razides remain to train new recruits.Damned. The most significant fact for the Harrower today is that there are a great many gates linking The Marshaling Fields with other parts of Inferno and our world. The Citadels. Where once a million legionaries marched in step. Astaroth has instilled in them a burning hatred for humanity and the living world. Their bodies have become as warped and monstrous as their souls. The Dark Citadels I mentioned before that the Dark Citadels of the Death Angels pierce down through all nine levels of The Pit. The Razides that train them are zealous in their duties. humans are much more stable when they are back on their home ground. Remember. these are all men and women who have survived the horrors of The Pit themselves. These Citadels are in fact directly linked to the Citadels within the Pit. They can be forced into unflagging submission and loyalty with the simplest of spells. There are also Gates linking the Marshaling Fields with both Astaroth's and Hareb-Serap citadels. its ability to think for itself and be creative. With the malleable nature of Inferno it was easy for the Death Angel to transform the Marshaling Fields into whatever form necessary for training. The facades may be in different locations within Inferno. the informed traveler should be aware of them. muddy fields where the legionaries are made to drill incessantly. and come out from his citadel gate in the Wild Zones. When Death Angels become . desert warfare. The area contains miles and miles of bleak. Razides and the Death Angels themselves commonly do just that. and willing to try and use them if worse comes to worse. So. Under the constant tutelage of Hareb-Serap and the Prince of Darkness himself. theoretically. These somewhat resembled the conflicts staged in The Pit. and they can probably never go back to what they once were. allowing them to easily get new recruits. It is unlikely that you will see one actually moving across the land. Why then create an army of fallen humans? It seems obvious that the power of humanity lies in its godhead. like everything in the Wild Zones are in no fixed place in relation to one another. and the recruits are eager to serve their masters in war. Still. singing songs of praise for their lord Astaroth. Until recently. Each of the ten legions in Elysium maintains a Gate or portal that links directly with the Marshaling Fields. Certainly in Inferno. War games and military exercises were constantly under way. Still. In fact. They are beyond the capacity to feel pain or sorrow. they were trained in every form of combat known to human history: past. and even under water warfare. Additionally. Most do not even believe they are human any more. or shift troops from one location to another without having to move through the space of Elysium. the Marshaling Fields are all but empty. now only a few hundred can be mustered. Centuries of torture and manipulation have altered them beyond repair. they can be found in the Wild Zones. each soldier has become well versed in jungle warfare. Mayhap he anticipated that the day would come when The Demiurge would disappear and he would take his army into the illusory land of the living. For what purpose he started such an entity I have no answer. all of these Gates are heavily guarded and require the proper passwords and spells to activate. once one ventures inside there is no difference at all. In the glory days of the marshaling fields a million men and women would march in step across the fields for days on end. there can be no doubt that such an army exists and that it is among us even as we speak. Also. you would never know that the place has fallen on hard times from the attitudes of its inhabitants. Whatever his reasons. one could enter Samael's citadel in the Fifth Circle. while demons tend to go a little wild and get uncontrollable when released upon our world. but they were more expressly for the purpose of training excellent troops rather than breaking down souls. but the insides are all the same. and they are immune to the effects of death. Razides and other Infernals make for a more useful armed force. They now seek only to serve their masters to the bitter end. but it is not unheard of. each taking on its own manifestation. but now many are active in our world. and future. The Marshaling Fields have been the training grounds and base of operations for the Legions since their inception. arctic warfare.

If however he happens to be in Inferno at the time. one can travel freely throughout the various realms. Of course only those born to its twisting passages can ever begin to fully understand it. fighting as if they were sixteenth century ships of the line. they will jump at the chance. the Death Angels have come to care little for their homes. It is best to ascertain if the master is home or not before you come knocking. While there are not a great number of these free floating humans. They will even circle about. and passageways are so extensive that one can almost always find a place to hide. This makes entrance into the citadels sometimes surprisingly easy. The same Labyrinth runs between our world. very long time. and a defenseless human is liable to be spotted and attacked or captured within a matter of hours. Given half an opportunity to somehow inconvenience the Lords of Hell. ducts. They will naturally assume you to be demons until you prove otherwise. Should you. The Labyrinth is however home to some of the more interesting denizens of Inferno. at least not without the aid of powerful magics. Of course a compass is entirely useless. While a Razide may never get lost down below. as an inquisitive Harrower. They despise the forces that have imprisoned them here. but no one has ever proven this to my satisfaction. offering a quick escape if you catch a Death Angel on an off day. the realm of dreams. since most of their lords have followed Astaroth into our world or have invaded Metropolis itself. Offering them gifts is a decidedly bad idea. Some say that there are even passages that connect with Limbo. Even though the Citadels themselves are extensions of their Lords' will. The Labyrinth within the Wild Zones is no safer than the surface world. and have become very adept at avoiding the Razides andother Infernals who prowl the underground byways. Anywhere else in the Wild Zones. They may have long lost their communication skills. Metropolis. well you are in trouble. as well as people who have mistakenly wandered into Inferno through temporary portals. Because citadels often have many gates and portals into our world. The walls and rooms are merely an extension of the thing itself.embroiled in fights with one another (as is common these days) it is not uncommon to see to warring Citadels adjacent to one another. and the various parts of Inferno. hunting and killing whatever they can to survive. and certainly no one born of Earth will ever know its secrets with any certainty. Many have been here for a very. What unites all of these escapees. manage to come across such a band you should be very calm and make no sudden movements. Today the Citadels stand mostly empty. and Razide for itself. . and the Labyrinth connects all of it together. and there is no sure way to map your passage. and will be more than willing to help you in your schemes. Of course Razides are common down there. they are useful destinations for harrowers. Even more alluring is the promise of escape from Inferno's clutches. it is every man. and is just as unpredictable. It is extremely unlikely that you will come across such groups anywhere outside of the Labyrinth. maneuvering for position. and many of them have become feral. The surface belongs to The Death Angels and their servants and citadels. The myriad of underground hiding places in the Labyrinth offer one of the only places of refuge for human souls who have managed to escape their tormentors. It is said that it was in just such a battle that Togarini's Citadel was destroyed and the Death Angel himself forced into Elysium in the body of a human conjurer. Passages are liable to close up or change behind you. there are enough to make them worth mentioning. The Labyrinth The Wild Zones extend as far underground as they do above. and everyone knows what a bad idea it is to take gifts from Razides. but not as common as one might think. and what the Harrower may be able to capitalize on. If one can master the intricacies of traveling through the most confusing maze in existence. The tunnels. They know some of the secrets of the Labyrinth. it is not necessarily able to find anything either. at its citadel it knows all that transpires within. often hundreds of years. When a Death Angel is present in Inferno. This is a torture almost as dehumanizing as some of the tortures of the Nine Circles. The help they have to offer can prove invaluable. They look to new conquests in the True Reality and over humanity itself. but in some cases it is possible to reason with them. They tend to be very nomadic. wandering the less traveled passages of the Labyrinth. is their hatred for all things Infernal. Down below. Most of them will do anything to escape from the clutches of Astaroth and his minions. woman. as are any other location finding devices.

especially for tasks set by Astaroth. They constantly seem to be underfoot everywhere in Inferno. humble creatures. taking down the comings and goings of as many of Hell's visitors as possible. but intricate carvings cover the entire surface. as long as he knows how to look. and anyone can simply walk in whenever they please. The Prince of Darkness thought it important to keep accurate records of every soul that passed through Inferno. However. In fact. The Archives themselves are a massive building located in The Wild Zones. When he formed Inferno. The records are all kept in Infernal script. They keep all their records on long scrolls. The black marble edifice reaches up into the sky almost a mile. showing the history of Astaroth's foundation of Inferno.The Archives Even Hell has its bureaucrats. I have been told that the pleasure of making a lexith quiet down for a short while is worth the pain of its escape. In fact. When looking for information. Inside the building are hundreds of floors of scriptoriums and shelves overstuffed with records scrolls. a language all its own. Without the guidance of their creator. All of them will be eager to try and emulate the marvels they have seen their idols perform. Of course then the nasty little librarians will simply claw their way out of the offending Razide's stomach. it probably keeps better records than most banks. there are very few records of humans being written at all these days. The Hatching Chambers One of the more famous features of the Wild Zones. the lexiths have strayed from their original path. The intrepid researcher can find a tremendous amount of useful information here. I myself have made use of the Archives on more than one occasion in assembling this book. although the lexiths are by birth bookish. However. since the Demiurge disappeared and Astaroth came into our world. like an interesting list of all the tortures performed in The First Circle in a one hour period (Archive time). although not impossible for a human to learn. Of course gaining access to the Archives is not as easy as one my think. I find that a few spells from the Lore of Time and Space are of inestimable value when researching here. Other Razides find the lexiths to be insufferably annoying. He created a whole race of Infernal record keepers for just this purpose: The so-called lexiths or book imps. After all. but they can be very dangerous when large groups get together. they would love to be something more. jealous of their power over human souls. and are in the habit of eating them rather than answering their questions. The building extends underground at least as far as it soars above. from scribes of diminutive stature to large hulking brutes who tend the stacks. labor is effectively free in Inferno. Alone a lexith is not much of a threat. and the increasing ease with which lexiths are becoming distracted by other matters. said to be made from human skin. Nevertheless. but the lexiths try their best to act as fearsome as their more sinister brethren. These lesser Infernals come in a variety of shapes and sizes. be sure to bring them along. the Archives have slipped into a rather chaotic regime. Even today there are parts of the Archives that still contain such information. facts that can be very useful when trying to find some soul's whereabouts in Inferno at any given time. The Hatching Chambers . They look up with awe and envy at the other Razides. given the declining number of human souls. One can find reams and reams of scrolls devoted to the eating habits of a particular Razide over a thirteen year period. The doors do not lock. a solid black monolith dominating the surrounding Infernal landscape. They have now taken to recording not only the comings and goings of human souls. the Archives are quite inconsistent. If you come across a lexicon (an admittedly rare find) it is worth studying. In the old days it was possible to find the history of any soul in human history that had been through Inferno. and if you have access to such magiks or know someone who does. Some are interesting. and all the Circles and other torments it passed through. In fact they are massed produced in the Archives from the very stuff of Inferno. unprepared human wandering into the Archives is liable to be attacked by every lexith who sees him. but anything else they happen to find out about as well. A lone. There are no windows.

This is not to say this is not to say that they cannot learn more. But he did not want them to be able to procreate on their own. Each of the great Birthing Chambers contains what some call the "queen". That of course is also the largest caveat: all the varieties are present. there are a number of Chambers dedicated to producing Razides specially suited for each of the Nine Circles. Contact with even a small amount of the liquid causes a Razide (and human) intense pain. especially in areas where their presence is not so obvious. for they are not specific regions . They consist of a vast network of caverns and tunnels that connect directly with the Labyrinth and the Nine Circles. the Infernal device responsible for laying the eggs that eventually mature into the various types of Razides. said to be the raw materials for Razides. and have their own ambitions to greatness. The Freeholds Freeholds is somewhat of a misnomer. guarding the citadels. give or take a few. In fact. such as the Fifth Circle. where born out of Astaroth's head. it is also where they go to die. For example. It is not a queen at all. their minds contain all the knowledge necessary to perform their assigned tasks. muck like Athena. The original Razides. and have long memories. for all the varieties are usually present. or even corrupting humans in Elysium.are located entirely underneath the surface. The result of all this uncertainty is that I cannot make any kind of accurate guess at the number of these demon spawn residing in Inferno at any one time. The risks are too great. Certainly this is the best place to look when searching for a special kind of Razide. My final recommendation is that the wary traveler not make the journey to the Hatching Chambers. and there is only one possible reward. I would put the number at something close to thirteen billion. It is for those with too much ambition that the second function of the birthing Machines exists. they are full of anxious Razides running about. I have spoken of the Hatching Chambers in very general terms thus far. So occasionally a brave conjurer might try and pick out a new born from the Hatching Chambers. and is the only thing that Razides truly fear. and most of the Information here is either taken from the Archives or from legend. No human I know of has ever visited the place. a fact which makes it all the more fearful for the Razides who have to work around it. He knew that as long as he controlled their numbers he could keep them under his sway. The Chambers resemble an ant hill or bee hive. It is an astonishingly simple process. tending to the needs of the new born. but a machine that The Lord of Hell created to give birth to its creations. Of course creating from scratch is a tiring process. for it is where Razides are born. boiling liquid. This is the ultimate punishment for those who disobey the lords of hell. To the side of each machine there is usually a pool or vat of foul smelling. Each machine usually specializes in producing Razides designed for specific tasks. Nor do I know at what rate the machines produce Razides or how many are terminated on a regular basis. It is much easier for a conjurer to bind a new born Razide than one of its more experienced cousins. While the Hatching Chambers are the birth place of all Razides. The Machines are the only devices in Inferno known to be able to totally destroy a Razide (aside of course from Astaroth and his Death Angels). Only someone who wanted to spend the rest of eternity in the pits of Inferno would dare to visit such a place. but it numbers well over a hundred. They are usually quite intelligent. even for a powerful being such as Astaroth. He created them from nothing to be the perfect servants to him and his cause. Remember it is not uncommon for as many as a thousand different Razides to have a hand in torturing a single human soul as it passes through the Circles. Forced to guess. while emerging a demon in the stuff will break it down completely. where many Razides disguise themselves as humans for the purpose of mental abuse. and you can not bind them all. and it is from there that they draw their power. Thus the Hatching Chambers came to be. mostly because there is little information available about them. the machines are all connected to Astaroth's Citadel in The Pit. combining the raw energy of Inferno with the hatred and energy taken directly from The Prince of Darkness himself. Others create Razides tailored for leading the Legions. I have no idea how many different machines operate within The Chambers. Many become potent conjurers in their own rights. From the moment they hatch from their leathery eggs. one who meets his or her very specific needs. The machines operate under mechanical laws unimaginable to us.

simply a matter of jealousy. even if they do not reside there any more. seemingly in some vain attempt to imitate their masters. Why rebel against hell? Unfortunately. while they are stuck with some menial Infernal task. We have already seen this phenomenon in theduplication of Citadels . it is actually quite dangerous to create such fortifications. Just remember. raiding The Circles for human slaves and new recruits. and now wander the landscape of hell like rabid dogs. Some resent the powers and pleasures available to the Lords of the Circles. More interesting are the organized resistance groups. Much has been said of these Infernal potentates in other volumes. Astaroth's will in Inferno was absolute. Here I shall examine not so much their motives as their physical manifestation in Inferno itself. Sometimes these are just bands of wild demons who have lost their minds. Such thoughts are anathema to the Razide. it remains the base of their power. it is not for noble or idealistic reasons. Only the Death Angels and the Dark Lord himself have the power necessary to hunt these seditious bands out. hoping for a chance to raise their standing in the world of the damned. The consequence of this greed is that none of the various rebel groups are willing to work together. and they will do anything to meet their goals. wandering throughout the Wild Zones and the Labyrinth. they have no trouble moving about the hellish terrain. These pale in comparison to the Citadels of the Death Angels. These are the Razides who were the lowest of the low. even in the ever shifting geography of Inferno. searching for new recruits. although not much. The Freeholds are rouge groups of Razides who have broken free from their lords and are trying to make it on their own in Inferno. naturally enough. Astaroth and the Death Angels. but are fearsome places all the same. many of which dedicate themselves to overthrowing the rule of Astaroth and his Death Angels. Of course not all the groups exist as nomads.within the Wild Zones so much as specific groups who exist in Inferno. More than one such stronghold has been leveled when the moving Citadel of a Death Angel simply moves over it. that Inferno is but a distant memory to them. allowing them to hide from their enemies rather effectively. The more powerful demon lords who have remained loyal to Astaroth have found that it is almost impossible to find a Razide who does not want to be found in Inferno. I discussed them somewhat in the section devoted to The Wild Zones. Everyone knows you cannot take a Razide at its word. and they are too busy with their own affairs to care. There are in fact a few established strongholds deep within the Wild Zones. for each one reflects the will ad desire of its master. Nevertheless. The result is that many of the rebels are able to move about with impunity. namely. Trust is an alien sentiment down below. and somewhat less in my description of The Pit. and most of them still call it home. Lexiths flock to these bands in great numbers. It is. Today there is hope for these demonic revolutionaries. Since they are Infernals by birth. They tend to be nomads. I mean of course their respective Dark Citadels. Here I turn to the individual character of the vast fortresses. The Harrower may find that these rouge groups offer some assistance in a time of need. who are then captured and sent to the Hatching Chambers to be broken down. Nevertheless. First a few more general comments. Part Three: Lords of Hell I have spent the majority of this work detailing some of the intricacies of Inferno's complicated geography. There I discussed them as part and parcel of the land they occupied. places that I have hinted at throughout the volume up to the present chapter. Today these beings are so involved in the world of the living. Many Razides are willing to ally themselves with humans in order to accomplish their own goals. a set structure is something that can be found and destroyed. and Razides know it better than most. the Razide's goals usually encompass enslaving and torturing humans. but caution is always prudent in such matters. rouge Razides keep building the structures. crushing thestructure and all its occupants. In former times such a rebellion would be impossible. especially among demons. I come now to a discussion of some of the realm's more notable figures. and to a certain extant the subject is beyond my purview. especially if a powerful conjurer offers his or her services. who never got their fair share of humans to torment and torture. While it may be nice to have a home one can depend on. The Citadels themselves exist in several places within Inferno at once.

who have been making their own plays for power in hell. Some do so in the name of loyalty. It is even possible for several versions of a Citadel to exist in different place in different parts of The Wild Zones at the same time. so do the Razides. and even less so for Astaroth. do The Death Angels seldom if ever become involved in these petty squabbles? Surely they have the power to take what souls they want from the hands of the minor demon lords of The Circles. To have power one must have the necessary tools with which to do battle: armies. machines of war. particularly among the demons who exist only to torture them. Such paltry gifts are easy for them to bestow. The Lords of Hell and its King have their sights set much higher. asking nothing in return. They will go to Inferno when they die. desire power for themselves. Selling one's soul is a risky proposition at best. Since he left. Power is crushing your enemies. more like a throne from which he surveys his kingdom spread out in all its glory before him. Once one inside. Quite the contrary. and it is merely an extension of his will. When Astaroth was content to sit on that throne. while in reality they seek nothing but their own aggrandizement. Why. This happens much more often than one might expect. In fact. although generally with less hope of lasting success than their betters. magic. Once someone sells their soul the contract is final. The torture of souls who sinned and whose memories must be scoured is of little interest to the Death Angels. Power is controlling the fate of the world. Astaroth's Citadel is somewhat different from the others. every part of the Citadel is accessible. and is a task best left to lesser beings. power. and the private armies of many Death Angels as well. at least in theory. As the Death Angels go. The Death Angels and Astaroth are all eager to make such deals with foolish humans. Most cults. Thousands of young people have willingly given themselves over in thoughtless rebellion against their parents' ideas. his kingdom has begun to fall apart. one might ask. The incredibly resilient human forms the backbone of the Legions of the Damned. money. This is the nominal purpose for Inferno. The Prince of Darkness now eagerly awaits their death so that he might take custody of his new prize. But they will not begin the process of filtering down though The Pit. They seek able bodied. and devil worshipers end up selling their soul at some point. Thus there are Pit Wars where demons fight for the right to torture the damned. coupled with stupidity. While the Death Angels may reign supreme within their own keeps. Astaroth reigns over all of Inferno. Others are more open in their revolt. Instead they will pass directly into the Citadel of their new master. claiming that they are merely protecting Astaroth's interests. Almost universally all the souls one finds in a Citadel are those who sold themselves. with one exception. Astaroth will be so grateful that he will continue to protect them. In the limitless space of the outer reaches of Inferno. and so on. no question about it. Satanists. Why then do Astaroth and the Death Angels not participate in the Pit Wars? Because they are not interested in finding temporary playthings for torture. eager servants. servants.between The Pit and The Wild Zones. taking what they can get now. Power is being worshipped and revered by lesser beings. Of course they could. that makes them think that once they have given up their soul. One of the most powerful tools available is the human soul. and hoping that they will be powerful enough to hold on to it later. he ruled Inferno with an iron fist. In effect. and in return they get a god as a servant for eternity. those who will be loyal to the cause. it makes no difference where you entered. They seek those who will sell their souls willingly. It is blind devotion on their part. many cultists simply give it away. They all. What is true power for a Lord of Hell? Power lets them enforce their will on others. The Death Angels have begun to take more and more of Inferno for their own. whatever you want. The great spire sprouting up from the depths of The Pit is merely a symbol of Astaroth's power. Selling Your Soul Human souls are the most important commodity in Inferno. the tower's door locked against the kingdom. The throne sits abandoned. not realizing . be it Astaroth or one of the Death Angels. and will offer seemingly wonderful concessions: magic. the entirety of Inferno is the Prince of Darkness' Citadel. usually at the expense of each other. this is often a necessity for the Death Angels in their feuds with one another. they just do not care to do so. women.

Only one in a million will awaken from such techniques. The Dark Citadel Whenever anything speaks of The Dark Citadel in Inferno. or one of the Death Angels may well be listening to your plea. The poor fools who sold their souls live out an eternity of pain and suffering. the secret unwritten. and if they act to ensure that your request comes true. Here he taught . Certainly Astaroth. However. If anyone could find a way to enslave the power of human divinity. Others say that there have been some very great successes. It is entirely possible that they have not succeeded at all. and now that force is the sole property of the Lord of Hell who bought the soul originally. they are merely beating into submission. bartering power of some sort for an individual's soul. and so are more than willing to sell it. It can. Instead of beating the soul into a mindless state. At your moment of greatest need they will come to you and offer aid. They will approach the downtrodden and the sinners. so that they can create a whole race of enslaved gods. Each. and many times resembles the tortures of The Circles. except that the goal is different. So I turn now to those individual lords and their citadels offering what insights I have gleaned into their workings. a strictly verbal agreement. asking only your soul in return. Once they have the soul. particularly when they are applied by an outsider. your soul is theirs. grooming him to take the Prince of Darkness' place in Inferno while he pursues his interests in Elysium and Metropolis. in its own way seeks a way to unlock the key to human divinity. since the beginning of our imprisonment the Lords of Hell have been out there. The Razides and other demons who serve the lords are ceaselessly cruel to the humans. To what extent they have succeeded I cannot say. As you read. but it is true. it may take some time to acclimate it for its new duties. people who are in some kind of trouble. Most people do not take the offer seriously. Where is the power in having human slaves? Where is the power in endless torture? The goal of this torture.that they would be paying the price of rebellion for eternity. Others say that Astaroth himself has raised an Awakened One for many years. unspoken goal of all the suffering is the awakening of humans. The exception is the reason for the whole rigmarole. Astaroth and his Death Angels seek to use our power against us. The process takes place within the Dark Citadel of the soul's new master. This may seem incredible. and was once home to the greatest concentration of souls in all Inferno. and that ritual pain and suffering can bring enlightenment. The Dark Spire encompassed every form of torture known to Inferno. It can be as simple as "O Satan! If I pass this test. Most souls never leave their new home. keep ever in mind the true purpose of these vast fortresses. yoked to their own hellish schemes. in all his many incarnations around the world. it would be the Prince of Darkness himself. There are few forces in the universe more potent than an awakened god. they inevitably are referring to the thousand mile high spire of Astaroth's enthronement. you can have my soul forever!" He. almost without exception. or that they have succeeded but then lost their hold over the newly awakened gods. remaining servants to the Death Angels for the rest of time. The Infernals prefer to offer much less. who they view as lower than themselves in every respect. and millions of human souls held in eternal pain and torment. and that it is a small force of awakened humans under Thaumiel's command that protects him from Astaroth's vengeance. and usually is. We know that there is a dark path and a light path to The Awakening. In fact many do not believe that they have a soul. It is first among citadels. for some day your soul may depend on that knowledge. Astaroth's Citadel was the center of all goings on in Inferno. actively seeking converts among humanity. and now you see why they try to fill their citadels with them. Sometimes they will strike traditional deals. Entering into a contract requires very little formality. but the one in a million is worth all the trouble. In the Dark Spire alone there were over a billion Razides employed. The value of human souls to the Infernal Lords cannot be doubted. has managed to acquire several times as many souls as all of his Death Angels put together. most of these deals are originated by would be conjurers who seek short cuts on the road to knowledge. taking joy in tricking men out of their souls. soaring from the unknown depths of The Pit. At the height of his power. and the Razides there did it better than any other demons in hell. to harness the energies of our divinity for their own purposes.

He has been quite effective in using the floating citadel to force lesser demon lords into submission. he could easily bring order back to the chaotic realm. and even what kind of weapons it is allowed to use in warfare. Occasionally one spies a lone figure moving about in a window. and other attacks rage up and down the . No one knows what became of these unfortunate Razides. It towers above all the other citadels. or servants of Astaroth himself. Of course if the divine human is half as powerful as his lord. Installing such a regent might just be enough to force the Death Angels to put aside their petty squabbles and join together to overthrow their former master. There is constant fighting among the castes. although some surmise that Astaroth sacrificed the lot of them in order to gain the power to open up all the gates necessary to bring his armies through into Elysium. none have yet summoned up the courage to try. Only those who come to serve Thaumiel or become his slave can pass through these gates unchallenged. or a winged beast circling the spire for a short while. The rebellious Death Angel looked to be impotent before the entire Infernal host of The Pit. The Dark Spire stands as a symbol of Astaroth's immutable authority. Still. then it will be no contest. It is a maze of medieval looking battlements. Since the fall of Togarini. then the whole dynamic of Infernal politics could change in an instant. daring them to make a futile assault on its impregnable walls. since the Citadel is almost constantly under attack on some front. its black gates closed to all who would gain entry. but these are the only signs of activity within. with demonic guards stationed all about it. there is usually a wide zone around Thaumiel's citadel in each of the Nine Circles. He stands in open conflict with both his lord and his cousins. Most of the souls that Astaroth kept in his citadel have been forced into service in the Legions. Thaumiel's was one of the first to pioneer the moving Citadel. Movement through the ranks is accomplished entirely by proving one's merit. This is easy to do. If the rumors about Astaroth grooming an awakened human to watch over Inferno are true. sometimes moving at supersonic speeds. Many have already made the journey over to Elysium. Certainly a few of them are involved with the Legions. Of course. A demon's caste determines its duties. powerful Razides. No one has managed to gain entrance to the Citadel since Astaroth left in search of the Demiurge. The infernal lord's caste system is made up of 1. and in these times of troubles the only way to prove one's merit is through combat. Now the Dark Spire stands virtually empty. what levels of the Citadel it has access to. Thaumiel now stands as the most rebellious of Astaroth's former servants. but not a billion of them. although never outright war. no matter how divine. with every entrance guarded by diabolic machines of war. and this is reflected in everything about the Citadel. His Citadel is an armed camp. and allows him to use it as a mobile base of operations. The hosts of demons who served The Dark Lord are nowhere to be seen. However. Even the gates and portals that once connected the citadel with other parts of Inferno.the most powerful death magics to his human worshipers and servants. Inside the Citadel is a tremendous armed camp. Thaumiel is obsessive about station and place in society. assassinations. Rather. Several years ago Thaumiel launched an assault on the citadel. with a complex hierarchy of ranks and titles. The citadel appears in the form of a tremendous floating fortress. and turrets. Thaumiel's Citadel First among his kinds. In the Wild Zones. Assuming that this corrupted human had enough power to hold on to the Throne of Hell. What is certain is that there is no unlocking the mystery of the Dark Spire. constant duels. lording it over them. and Metropolis have been sealed shut. No one wants to be mistaken for an attacker. the Lords of Hell may greatly resent a human. It roves through the Wild Zones. he is not so impotent that Astaroth is able to put down his rebellion either. manned by fiercely loyal demonic soldiers. hovering hundred yards above the ground.237 different classes. All other are cut down on sight. sending them back into Elysium to make more converts to his Satanic cause. This makes it very hard for Thaumiel's enemies to launch an effective attack on his citadel. and Thaumiel's failure. either by other Death Angels. It was worse than being defeated in. So impotent that the Prince of Darkness did not even have to mount a defense against him. while the rest are training at the Marshaling Fields. towers. Elysium. each with very clear privileges and restrictions. but could not penetrate its walls by any means. As a result. who is under its command.

Thaumiel is most interested in those souls with a bent towards domination and power. Chagdiel and his Razides are the only "adults" in the citadel. These he subjects to every imaginable torture in an attempt to awaken their divinity. It is close to impossible for a human to travel through the chambers of the citadel without being accosted. Part of Chagdiel's paradigm prevents the children from feeling tired. Chagdiel delights in the ease with which children are frightened. yet marvels at how surprisingly resilient they can be. Humans within the Citadel tend to succumb quickly to the mindset of the place. Of course. He does however admire the childish selfishness for power that the Bloodstained Patriarch displays. and forceful corporal punishment. studded with spikes. to being flayed alive. There they are either transformed into adequate servants. although Thaumiel himself seems to care little for the lesser Death Angel. especially now that it has turned against Astaroth as well. but are rather made to go through a horrifying mockery of normal childhood. Thaumiel encourages conflict and ambition among his followers. Room after room of holding cells. fields of man eating plants: these are . demonic classrooms. and his mind is so overpowering that it cannot but effect the human psyche. and perverted play areas make up the vast majority of the Citadel's interior. that is an immutable law. Of all the travel destinations for a would be Harrower of hell. Even those souls of Chagdiel's who are not children when they die will revert to a childlike state upon entering his citadel. Pools of blood. The children are of course allowed time to play. Thaumiel's legions work together brilliantly on the field of battle. The citadel is after all an extension of the Death Angel himself. Chagdiel is a firm believer that children should have time among themselves to have fun and be creative. Golab. and Chagdiel himself specializes in collecting the souls of children. The citadel is therefore filled with children. Even powerful conjurers working with Thaumiel do not move about the citadel without guides of some sort to protect them. abusive authority figures who strike fear into the heart of all young ones. and they are stern. Teachers give them interminable lessons that are impossible to understand. It is not hard at all to corrupt a young human. believing that they are in fact the lowest of the low. to try some how and get some sleep. Humans begin to get caught up in the caste system. their playthings are the stuff of torture chambers and charnel houses. No privacy is permitted. or talking. Razides prowl through the rows of beds. Chagdiel's obsession with children seems profoundly impractical to Thaumiel. They are given the sharpest knives and real guns with which to play war.Citadel. It also helps that Astaroth has not turned his full attention to the rebellious Death Angel. Everything from being paddled ten thousand times. Most however he consigns to the depths of the Citadel for his demons to play with. or suffer through an eternity of sorrow and agony at the cruel hands of Thaumiel's Razides. They sleep in huge dormitory settings with a thousand children to a room. razor wire. playthings and victims. thus they constantly want to squirm about and get more comfortable. The interior of the citadel is a kind of daycare center gone mad. or answer a question correctly results in immediate. while they may fight among themselves at home. and other traps. Humans are of course the lowest caste in Thaumiel's citadel. this is one of the least accommodating in an already unfriendly climate. or sit up straight. This unity is one of the main reasons Thaumiel has been as successful as he has in standing up against Astaroth. Adversely. and deserving of whatever punishments they receive. as long as it does not interfere with his own plans. They are servants. So. As an extension of his will. particularly if they have never been brought up to believe in the existence of the soul. no whispering. They climb on insanely intricate climbing apparati. rotting corpses. In a society where everyone has his place. Those rare individuals who resist such feelings tend to be prime candidates for a forced awakening Chagdiel's Citadel Chagdiel is perhaps Thaumiel's greatest ally. bubbling cauldrons of bile. and Hareb-Serap. those who re out of theirs are easily noticed. each of which is merely an iron pallet kept either too hot or too cold for comfort. Failing to pay attention. The only truly unforgivable sin for The Unjust Ruler is compromising the war effort. The Razide monitors invariably view such attempts as disobedience and punish it accordingly. The children are not simply kept as prisoners.

it can be very inconvenient. Since young humans tend to be more impressionable than their elders. Sathariel is obsessed with creating new and different forms of life. even adventurous harrowers. many of them come to accept Chagdiel as a kind of perverted father figure. Here all laws of man. she often does the unexpected. These he treats with special care. Chagdiel will have a distinct advantage over his foes. and as you might imagine. submitting them to the harshest measures and most harrowing torments he can come up with. but traveling through the place. Food can be anything and everything that might provide nourishment. Recess is a constant nightmare. In many respects her entire citadel resembles the Sixth Circle. Sex is another story entirely. Creatures of every imaginable sort wander the halls. ruthless being. nature. Usually it means the other creatures that wander the endless halls. looking for those who might prove themselves possible candidates for awakening. they will usually chooses anything that moves. but never the unintelligent. especially if they . and all who venture into her realm are caught up in it. There is no known way to avoid this fate. While nominally loyal to The Prince of Darkness. and given the state of mind they are in. it is every human who strays into the citadel. totally ruthless. and no sense of hierarchy or rules exist. with very clear goals: chaos for everyone. caught up in the chaos. They tens to become lost in the shuffle. The result is children who are hard. death conjurers. But of course no one really dies in Inferno. a fight to survive. Many Satanists. unable to conceive of or use tools of any kind. they launch ill-fated rescue missions which inevitably end in failure. offering aid to anarchists. Here of course humans are at a distinct disadvantage. They are left to fight with tooth and claw just like any other beast. stronger. just one more strange being lurking about in the shadows. The drive for sex in the citadel has nothing to do with pleasure and everything to do with procreation. she has never been a great recruiter of human souls. and fatter than he is.the playthings of Chagdiel's children. and even hell are void. and so in her world. it is a place where animal instincts rule. Some of them come to even love him in a very twisted way. the parents reverting to a childlike state themselves and becoming eternal slaves to the Death Angel. Satherial's Citadel The Devastating Mother is ever an unpredictable force in Infernal politics and power plays. Driven by despair. Certainly she has relations with humans. you would hardly know it. one can be sure that she would turn on him with pleasure should the opportunity present itself. unfeeling. and dabblers in the occult become quite distraught when they find that their children. they just live to suffer another day. Many of these end up in her citadel when they die. As a fomenter of chaos. The dense complex of tunnels twist and turn in upon themselves throughout the length and breadth of the citadel. Her citadel runs now much as it always has. Should one of these some day awaken. only entering into the fray on occasion to stir things up a bit. thus Chagdiel enjoys a strange luxury among the Death Angels: many of his human servant actually serve him out of misguided sense of loyalty. Chagdiel keeps a close watch on his children. Chagdiel's citadel is also a relatively common destination for the more foolhardy harrowers. in emulation of their parents. In the current state of conflict between Death Angels she is relatively aloof. The result: more often than not they get eaten. usually to however they were around the age of twelve. She is a cunning. radical political and religious movements. The typical human requires tools with which to hunt. constantly shifting and changing around you. even though fewer and fewer humans find their way to her. Even human beings are free to mate with whatever they choose. especially when the prey is bigger. Unlike some of the others. In the primeval labyrinth of Satheriel's home. Humans entering Chagdiel's citadel often undergo an almost immediate metamorphosis into a child like state. Be forewarned: it is not just the souls the Sathariel has bought that undergo this transformation. humans tend to revert to an animal state. any tow beings can mate and produce young. have unwittingly sold their souls to Chagdiel. and others who might disrupt the order. Satherial expresses her own chaos in her citadel. There are only two things that any of the inhabitants care about: food and sex. Unfortunately.

For her. Theoretically the value of such techniques is in denying yourself worldly comforts in an attempt to get more in touch with your soul. For her anything that supports the ability to feed and procreate is good. although in the back of your mind you always have the feeling that you will figure it out at any moment. Like all of his kind. Metropolis. Of course Gamichicoth has made certain that there is no way to satiate these feelings. existence is good. comfortable experience. Of course her idea of best traits and ours tend to be radically different. Gamichicoth's human servants are those individuals who in life proved themselves capable of great cruelty and deception. Whatever the reason. he simply takes enormous pleasure in the suffering that accompanies dire need. these have all long been seen as tools in the quest for enlightenment. More likely. Perhaps this is why Gamichicoth has chosen to focus his existence on the deprivation of food and drink. and intelligence. At least they seem to be arranged in an orderly manner. humans and fish. The rooms are usually well kept. Other humans are the only other beings one is likely to encounter as you wander the endless corridors. He is after all. and you can be assured that it has all been tried at least once. Gamichicoth is another minor player in the struggle for authority in Inferno. Sathariel opposes all those factors that go into awakening out inner divinity. Such meetings are rarely pleasant. for your fellow man tends to look more like food than like a possible companion. but it certainly does not seem likely. but he nominally remains loyal to the King of Hell. her dream becomes reality every day. mostly out of fear. Neither is likely to be a pleasant experience. Can this primordial chaos produce an awakened human? I can not say. each one eager to wither take a bite out of you. an Angel of Death. including things like beauty. It is Sathariel's will that only the best traits go into the union. The citadel itself is a series of barren chambers. He has no real army. love. self-denial. wandering the sterile halls and rooms. The desire to find one's way is heightened by the tremendous hunger and thirst that humans feel immediately upon entering the citadel. and far less human souls than most of his brethren. Animal wits are all well and good. no real following. Chaos is coming ever closer to all the worlds. Fights almost invariable ensue upon such meetings. The offspring of such unions are inevitably bizarre. preferring to let hunger and thirst take their toll. Anything is possible. not engaged in the constant strife that has engulfed other regions. Maybe he sees the perfection of such techniques as the key to awakening the human souls he holds under his power. Gamichicoth employs few Razides or other creatures. Monstrosities from all over Inferno. even if they have been long time friends. careful never to arouse the suspicion of any of the other Death Angels. but logical thought has no place in Sathariel's citadel. Gamichicoth's Citadel Fasting.have already eaten. it is difficult if not impossible to ever get the hang of it. and one ceases to worry about little matters such as loyalty. anything else is unimportant. asceticism. for although one has a sense that there is a plan to the place. Many of the creatures that stock the citadel were originally not from earth. it is not supposed to be a pleasant. or (if you re a little more lucky) mount you and mate. In Inferno. no matter how much one consumes. Mot travelers quickly gobble up all they have brought with them in an effort to slake their parched throats and appease their ravenous bellies. but always viable. Gamichicoth would . They spend the rest of their days searching for more. but diligently to increase his power. closely resembling a hospital. and even Elysium come together here. as each tries to sink his teeth into the other's emaciated flesh. Perhaps to she simply does not care. and are arranged in an orderly manner. blinded by her own chaotic desires. He works quietly. This same tendency often causes groups of humans to turn against each other. Eventually the desire for sustenance simply becomes too great. Perhaps she is misguided in her efforts. Even creatures from totally incompatible categories can mate here: insects and mammals. his realm is a quiet one. he chafes under Astaroth's rules and restrictions. Losing one's way is easy in such a place. and friendship. Anyone traveling through her citadel is likely to encounter scores or even hundreds of these creatures.

The fascination with pain and metal is something Golab can well appreciate. Unfortunately for Gamichicoth. the Torturer prefers things to remain ordered and rational. All the tortures of the Nine Circles are well represented here. The Death Angel has carefully organized his vast complex of torture chambers. In return these depraved men and women give up their souls forever. with Razide and even human guards patrolling it at all times. but it is thought that many of Astaroth's servants fled the Dark . and other Infernals. He enjoys Astaroth's favor. then he might actually manage to produce an awakened human. To him. In some rare cases. as well as an army of demons and fallen humans willing to fight for their lord's vision of Inferno. Millions of different kinds of torments are performed there every day by the hordes of Razides and Excrucies working under The Master Torturer's guidance. Seeing the agony it produces so effectively. They will literally fling themselves onto a Razide's rack. such people are not usually the type that will benefit from the meditative benefits of fasting. he still finds time to take a personal interest in some of his subjects. Golab does not like the moving citadels so popular with some of his fellow Death Angels. As busy as he is in his constant struggles with Thaumiel and others. should a more spiritual person find themselves locked up for years or decades in Gamichicoth's citadel. but he is also proud of his work. and Golab's lust for pain permeates. separating them by a detailed classification system of his own devising. seeking a way to overcome their power. since Gamichicoth's methods are more passive than most. In the Wild Zones. and much of the joy comes from executing his techniques flawlessly.promise to aid such men and women in return for their eternal souls. the end all and be all of torment. He takes joy in his work. and of his loyalty to Astaroth. he is a simple being. Nepharites. At his heart. Golab's citadel usually takes the form of a tremendous steel building. Golab's Citadel Golab is the true idealist of all the Death Angels. usually on one of their friends. They are usually much too shallow and self centered. many harrowers will foolishly stop and take a closer look at some particularly fascinating bit of torture. The very air is thick with agony. spikes. Golab offers them guidance or help when they are alive. The Dark Lord's support has allowed him to amass quite a collection of souls for his own experiments. or showing them assure fire technique for inflicting unspeakable pain. He is the Master Torturer. However. since the Dark Lord will occasionally give the Death Angel some human guinea pigs in order to keep him loyal and happy. In recent times. and humans have been known to become overwhelmed with a desire to be tortured. Golab also has a very large following among the Razides. Rather than keeping their minds on their goal (whatever it may be). His love of his work is matched only by his hatred of those like Thaumiel who have betrayed the One True Lord of Hell. begging to be flayed or whipped. they will then be overcome with the urge to try it out themselves. resembling in many ways a hospital or scientific facility. The number of demons in his service is unknown. Golab is a diligent pursuer of souls. although not even he is permitted into The Dark Spire now that Astaroth is gone. devoted to his master and his work. perhaps helping them escape the police. This unavoidable side effect of entering Golab's private domain means that most humans will soon become fascinated with the tortures that are taking place around them. High walls. it is unlikely that he is well enough equipped or prepared to actually control a fully divine and awake human. edged with razors. Many of those humans Golab has snared for his Citadel are those who were once torturers of some sort themselves. the feelings are reversed. and he has acquired a great many test subjects over the years. torture is as much a science as an art. He struggles against the rebellious Death Angels constantly. should the need arise. entering the citadel is soon overcome by the desire to do harm. Anyone. of this there an be no doubt. Golab has taken a particular interest in fostering the piercing and body mutilation movement that has grown so popular in certain segments of western society. and barbed hooks surrounds the building. Golab's citadel is a monument to efficiency and art in torture. The fact that Astaroth favors him somewhat has helped in this. whether they be human or demon. However. many of whom feel that Golab offers the best hope for a steady supply of human victims in the years to come. along with scores of others never even thought of outside of Golab's realm.

This is behavior most unusual for a Razide. jealously guarding their human captives. magic was our birthright. their influence is growing ever stronger. coupling them with all seven of the great occult sciences. joined forces with his rival Thaumiel. There is now little cause for visiting the site of Togarini's fallen citadel. and it would not be surprising to find several billion of the demons locked away in the citadel somewhere. local demon lords have encroached on the fallen Death Angel's former territory. Sadly. all of whom were beholden to him for their power. Given his rather scientific. protector of Death Magicians. then something could have been done. Already. although not impossible. he was extremely lucky to escape Inferno at all. his rebellion miss-timed. Signs point to at least one survivor. they are being very careful. his power in Inferno lost to him. Metropolis. The most promising subjects are even allowed breaks from their own agony so that they may have an opportunity to torture others for a while. It is hard to believe that none of them escaped Astaroth's wrath. once one of the mightiest of the ten. will have the synergistic effect necessary for awakening. thought that he himself was great enough to overthrow his sovereign lord. no matter how far sighted it is. He prefers those with a high tolerance for torture. the fleets of black ships that sailed through Inferno's skies under his flag are now long gone. and their exact whereabouts remain a mystery. in his haste. establishing a new world of magic. there can be no doubt that these men and women were some of the greatest conjurers in existence. and Elysium. is now little more than a gaping hole running through the depths of The Pit. Whoever this person is. Now that ancient academy of the Lore of Death lies in ruins. When the Demiurge withdrew. This is an accomplishment no mere Razide has ever been able to achieve before now. and is just one sign pointing to the possible divine origins of these so-called "demon lord". and spreads throughout the lower five Circles of The Pit. Together they would overthrow Inferno. and Togarini. he was sadly mistaken. leader among the Death Angels. building their own citadels in place of his. almost rational bent. ambitious Togarini. A few managed to make their way into Elysium with their master. There has even been some speculation that . While I feel that many of them were misguided in putting their faith in a Death Angel instead of themselves.Spire for Golab's citadel. Togarini's citadel was one of the few places in all of Inferno where an accomplished death conjurer could travel without fear of being molested or spurned. Whoever it is. perhaps even possessing the body of a powerful Razide. In the Wild Zones there is no sign of him. Known in the Pit simply as Quiri-yek. His Citadel. The Death Angel feels that inflicting pain is almost as important as receiving pain in his attempt to bring out the inner divinity in man. he fell. Togarini experimented with some of the most avante guard magical techniques known in the universe. Togarini's Lost Citadel Poor. and so. The lores of magic are a key to our divinity. He or she seems to have set themselves up as a demon lord. Obviously. but few have seen the demon itself. Astaroth grew despondent. Once he was Astaroth's right hand. it is not surprising that Golab is in the forefront of the attempts to raise awakened humans in Inferno. demanding nothing more from us than our respect. ruthless. dead or living. when we reigned as gods. he did not wait for his dream to become a reality. As it is. Perhaps if he had waited. He hoped to create an army of the awakened. Most strange of all. with Togarini at its head. Quiri-yek seems less concerned with gaining control over human souls than it does over gaining territory and establishing a base of support among the Infernals. brought down by his own hubris. He feels sure that the right combination of tortures. The rest Astaroth destroyed. in a rather uncharacteristic blunder. The place was a haven for intelligence and reason in an otherwise insane land. Once it was a place where the souls of dead conjurers came to learn demonic magicks at Toagarini's feet. when coupled with the right human. the demon lords servants seem to be everywhere. Even his Razides have for the most part disappeared from Inferno. possibly even an awakened human who has taken over part of Togarini's fallen citadel. and we wielded it with confidence and authority. Most ironic of all was that Togarini was on the verge of actually awakening one or more of his human pupils. Togarini treated us all like his pupils. Now he lives in human form in our world. Rumors remain about what happened to his most gifted pupils.

Hareb-Serap commands two of Astaroth's Legions in Elysium. other times at unseen enemies. a struggle that has forced him into a unlikely alliance with his other rival: Golab. and prepares for the day when the war on humanity begins in earnest. and only two more stand between him and ascendant over Inferno. and sometimes just for the joy of seeing and hearing the resulting explosion. Thaumiel's revolt also occupies his attention. No one can deny he is powerful. Once a leader fails to obtain that victory. An overpowering. he spent a great deal of time wandering humanity's battlefields. Others become generals themselves. and now some of the greatest military minds in history languish in his citadel. Hareb-Serap's contains a great man wide open areas where battles can be fought and re-fought without end. In the old days. It typically appears as a city sized juggernaut. the barrels of which are hundreds of yards long. Hareb-Serap's Citadel The dark angel of war. greatest rival to Thaumiel and Golab. Sometimes the crew fires for practice. The dark general's citadel is an armed camp. working in secret to reestablish his position in Inferno. policemen. Hareb-Serap has never been much for needless torture (although he has no problem with needless violence). These are all grizzled veterans. weapons of every sort covering its entire surface. with many close ties to the goings on in Circle Seven. However. helping to lead the Dark Legions in Inferno and Elysium. There is an overwhelming need to do violence. honing them into razor sharp fighters. Hareb-Serap specializes in corrupting soldiers. Quiri-yek will be forced to show its hand as it draws the attention of some of the more powerful Death Angels. offering victory or the death of one's enemies in return for the soldiers' souls. Despite the barriers between him and his goal. They have shown that when others obey their commands. The Raven of the Battlefields has always put his army first and foremost. each of whom knows exactly what they have to do and are eager to do it. cunning. Unlike Thaumiel's realm. Certainly there are few general in the history of time who have fought more battles or who have had greater military minds. Unlike many of the other citadels. They fire shells the size of missiles. bloodlust permeates the whole citadel. he or . Some of these he uses as opponents to sharpen his own skills and those of his Razide generals. The Raven of the Battlefields remains confident in his hopes for victory. filled to the brim with explosives created by Hareb-Serap himself. gung-ho. At least some of the weapons re almost always firing. Whether or not the fallen Death Angel took his tomes with him remains a mystery who's answer is known only to Togarini himself. offering one of the only chances in all Inferno of upward advancement for humans. rather than any considerations of tormenting his charges. but they only have the authority because they have proven themselves capable of handling it. Humans who do make their way into Hareb-Serap's citadel immediately fall into his mindset. pouring death and destruction into the surrounding countryside. The juggernaut and Thaumiel's floating fortress have often clashed. The humans in his custody may disagree. Dominating this landscape of death are gigantic cannons. Togarini is already gone. Many took him up on the offer. Warfare is the only answer to any problems. What is surprising is that he is also loyal. Killing in combat is a joy to be cherished always.Quiri-yek is in fact Togarini himself. The Death Angel takes great pleasure in war. enjoying it on both a visceral and intellectual level. and he struggles to find the resources for a war on two fronts. at some point. they exist for the fight and nothing more or less will satisfy them. when he was less distracted by Infernal politics. moving across the landscape on mechanical legs and treads. or at least more loyal than most of his cousins. and at least thirty feet in diameter. Hareb-Serap will actually promote those who prove themselves. but no definite victor ever emerges. victory is the inevitable result. and dangerous. Hareb-Serap's citadel is one of the largest moving geographic features in the entirety of the Wild Zones. Others say that the Demon lord is so interested in acquiring territory because it seeks the lost arcane library that once resided in Togarini's citadel. He prefers to drill his charges almost to the point of exhaustion. There are to be certain leaders. most trusted of Astaroth's general. What is certain is that. under Astaroth of course. there is no carefully organized system of ranks here. and anyone else even remotely trained in combat. Hareb-Serap. even compared to the never ending warfare of the Seventh Circle. but they do not realize how good they have.

It may also be a rather novel attempt to awaken some of them. where the multitude of punishments are carried out over and over . He never is. This practice of elevating humans may stem from the grudging respect Hareb-Serap has or their military minds. or argue incessantly about trivial points. make a bid for supreme power. but none of them function as they were intended in our world. honored. or more likely human souls who have been in Inferno long enough to be entirely corrupted by Samael's paradigm. They spend their time thinking of what terrible punishment the guilty man will be sentenced to. not knowing what his fate will be. a sprawling baroque building covered with monumental carvings of Samael himself meting out punishment to the wicked in a never ending cycle of vengeance. they live out the rest of existence paying for their moment of passion. especially with the rumors about that Thaumiel already has one such being at his disposal. it is assumed that you are guilty as soon as you mount the wide marble steps. He then lets them fight out the vendetta over and over again across time. and prisons make up the vast majority of the citadel. or if he does. Courtrooms. and in this he is almost a being of principal. the murderer becomes the victim. Samael's Citadel Samael is a strange lonely figure in the constant infighting among the Death Angels. lawyer. The need for revenge calls out to the Death Angel. or juror. tried. such passionate hatreds. and most importantly. He is powerful enough that he could. while the lawyers simply spout off nonsense. or at least to partially tap into humanity's divine power. for now there is someone new who needs avenging. that he stays aloof from the conflict that rages around him. It is in part this fanatical sense of vengeance that holds back the other Death Angels who might otherwise be inclined to interfere in his affairs. and found guilty. Samael concerns himself with one thing only. a never ending cycle of vengeance. a force one cannot afford to be without and still hope to be considered a super power. revenge. drawing them further and further into the blood feud. These are the men and women Samael seeks out. They tend to create the laws and rules of court as they go along. Then they are sent below. Anyone straying into the Palace is liable to be ushered directly to some courtroom. and is open to any who would enter. and so he mocks them constantly in the form and structure of his citadel. The judges and juries are either Razides. The wheel of fate always comes full circle. Samael has always been close to humanity. unless one is already an appointed judge. Samael can sense the rage that wells up inside men when they find themselves suffering from injustice. Every day someone just gets fed up with the law and takes justice into their own hands. but he is so committed to his own. Countless times a lovers spat will lead to one murdering the other.she loses their place. Samael's citadel manifests itself as The Palace of Justice in the Wild Zones. obeyed. They know that should they cross The Avenger. He lends his aid to both sides. He believes firmly that revenge is a fundamental law of existence. if he wished it. he will come after them with all his power until one or the other of them is totally annihilated. and had already spread his tendrils far and wide among us before Astaroth stepped in and began to so actively meddle with the affairs of the living. Samael sees no hypocrisy in this. he certainly does not care. internal goals. never coming to the point. until eventually both sides are destroyed. Once he has them. He views them as the nuclear weapons of Inferno (he has plenty of normal atomic weapons). something to be respected. The Palace of Justice has many entrances. All the while the poor accused sits and waits. becoming once again a soldier. Humans tend to have such strong emotions. law offices. their souls now the sole property of The Avenger. something unheard of down below. that it they are easily swayed to violence and damnation. Samael has little respect for human institutions of law and punishment. vainly hoping that somehow he might be acquitted. Vengeance is an almost holy rite for Samael. standing trial and being executed countless times for taking their vengeance on another. He obeys Astaroth. and he tries to answer as often as he can. Juries have made up their minds before they ever enter the courtroom. However. The Death Angel would dearly love to have an awakened human in his arsenal. I only to avoid the annoyance that comes with disobedience. Samael takes special delight in fostering vendettas between rival families or groups.

and destructive forms of sexual expression interest him. he is little better than a sex obsessed adolescent. filling their every thought with images of violent. bladed phalluses. Any conjurer versed in the Lore of Passion will tell you that there is power in the act of sex. Like The Avenger. or souls. even more so than Samael. He sought out those who who felt that the world had lost its meaning. All his ambition aims towards these goals. sadistic. giving them an escape from the drudgery of . Once inside there are few beings. and finds the conflict between his brethren to be entirely too distracting. Of course only the most vicious. Nothing short of the full perversions of Gamaliel's vision will satisfy these unnatural hungers: leather whips. and once you partake of its pleasures. Nahemoth has chosen to opt out of existence. but only so that he may bring more souls down to his citadel for vengeance. I have it on the authority of a cultist devoted to Gamaliel that the Death Angel has high hopes for such a human. hoping to ensnare others into his pleasure pits. just like his cousins.again. He lures their souls to his realm with promises of forbidden pleasures and undreamed of delights. Nahemoth's Citadel Nahemoth is an interesting character. this is not to say that he cannot act refined and civilized. that can resist the temptations of the citadel. Like all Death Angels. Gamaliel seeks out those poor lost fools who put physical pleasure before all other things. The concept seems to hold no interest for him. Why the change? While always a collector of had given up on life. Nahemoth was souls. The citadel of Gamaliel has no set incarnation in the Wild Zones. there is no going back. and rapists of the world call out to him and he here's their call. he is absorbed in his own passions. He hopes to send the awakened back into Elysium as a sort of messiah for perversion. pleasure. and nearly all the time they are seduced by his promises. offered to prove them he may never have been truly ambitious. there is no line between pain and pleasure. The appearance often molds itself to the viewer's desires. He seems to carry with him no ambition. no lust for power. with demons and humans mixing their pleasure with wild abandon. Gamaliel seeks to pervert normal pleasures in any way he can imagine. and boiling wax call out to even the most puritanical of men. someone who intrigues me more than almost any other Infernal being. violent sexuality. He right. Gamaliel seems to be trying to use this power to awaken some of his subjects. and self denial. Samael is not known to have become involved in any efforts for creating awakened humans to serve his cause. succumbing entirely to his own raison d'etre. even though he is the weakest of his kind. Gamaliel's Citadel There is tasteless and then there is Gamaliel. no sex without violence. infernal or human. with a one track mind: punishment and vengeance. invasive intercourse. he is a being of immense power. and in fact revels in his own baseness. spreading across the planet his message of unbridled. He constantly extends his power in Elysium. iron hooks. Many willing give their lives for just a taste of Gamaliel's perversity. becoming whatever it is that entices and titillates them the most. The perverts. and thus has equipped his citadel with every known sexual and torture device known to history. The personification of self doubt. At his care however. In fact he loves more than anything to coat his perversions with a thin veneer of proper society and etiquette. Wandering through the citadel is like wandering through a pornographic movie studio gone mad. Power that can lead one to enlightenment and maybe even awakening. All manner of congress abounds. but what would one expect from a lord of hell? He exists in isolation from the other Death Angels. For The Perverted Sexuality. although there have been no reports of his having much success. Any being entering the Citadel feels an animal lust rise up within them. The two are forever inseparable in his realm. He is a simple being. nymphomaniacs. Perhaps he hopes merely to lead by example. It is rumored (although unsubstantiated) that as many as a third of the souls in Gamaliel's citadel sacrificed themselves to the Death Angel in a ritual of auto-erotic asphyxiation. He is not what one would consider the most refined of demons. self loathing. The Death Angel prefers to alter the appearance and location of the citadel constantly.

and there are literally thousands of cults around the world devoted to his various avatars. despite my own misgivings I have in fact crossed paths with the dreaded Astaroth on more than one occasion. possessing their leaders and revealing a part of his true self. not knowing the horrors that awaited them in The Pit and the Wild Zones. Even Infernals succumb to its drudgery. Miranda As I have noted before. Many of them left. retiring in upon himself. a watershed date to be sure. doctors bent on causing pain. What did he care? What did it matter? Consumed by his own self doubt and loathing. He sits alone somewhere. a human soul managed to transcend it chains of doubt and awaken. It is said that Nahemoth was so overcome with despair that such a wondrous event should take place in spite of his dark influence that he gave up right then and there. There is another explanation for Nahemoth's suddenly changed that has been posited more than once. This figure may seem startling to some. Not that they themselves cannot be harmed in turn. but it takes a brave and foolish soul to cross paths with them. too far drawn into the apathy that permeates Nahemoth's citadel. he simply stopped. Having bodily entered our world along with his Death Angels and Infernal Legions. these cults have grown by leaps and bounds. if the story is true. Fortunately for myself. For millennia Astaroth has used cults to cultivate an army of human followers. Some remain. Satan is only one of the many forms Astaroth is wont to assume.life. and so forth. no book whose subject claims to be Inferno itself can neglect discussing the Lord of Hell himself. Astaroth has all but abandoned his creation. His Razides fled from him. hellers. Nahemoth certainly cared not at all as to whether they stayed or left. As often as not however. the air of apathy has grown so strong in the citadel. alone in his citadel. They fled the citadel. paralyzed by self doubt into inactivity. However. Some say that Nahemoth may have succeeded where all others are said to have failed. although usually their membership was small. and so the citadel is seldom if ever visited anymore. their influence nearly insignificant. I now admit that. Astaroth Naturally enough. This sudden withdrawal left a large number of souls suddenly free in Inferno. Once Astaroth was limited to providing his worshipers small insights into magic or the service of a minor demon for a while. Having said this. Sometimes these cults are devoted to flagrantly evil ends: death cults. Astaroth still found himself in need of human servants to bolster his strength in Elysium. catching the departing souls in his web and dragging them down to Inferno for an eternity bleaker than their life ever could have been. They sit and wait. Since the Prince of Darkness entered our world. but it is after all just a story. his servant abandoned him. my role in these encounters has always been that of an observer. Of course most of them were immediately snatched up by other Death Angels or lesser Infernal Lords. Such satanic or infernal sects have always been a part of human society. Certainly the worship of Astaroth as Satan has grown over the last hundred years. These beings can destroy even a mage as powerful as myself with little more than a thought. The change seems to have come around the same time the Demiurge withdrew. Astaroth's existence on our plane allows him to directly spread his influence to a great many willing individuals. Nahemoth seems to have discovered that there was no real point to the futile exercise of gathering the souls of the hopeless and depressed. emboldened by their new found freedom. focusing his attentions on the affairs of the living. and satanic cults now claim record numbers. not of one who interferes in Infernal affairs. Such a man would have to be very strong willed indeed. Now the Dark Lord himself can be present with his cults. pondering the futility of it all. It is probably safe to say that there are now a thousand times more Satanists on Earth than were present a hundred years ago. Over the years. Astaroth hides his true nature . especially those who do not realize just how insidious the Dark Lord can be. conceding the war to the humans once and for all. He encouraged suicide among his followers. I have mentioned more than once that I try to stay out of the affairs of the Death Angels and their master. Somehow. I present here my remembrances of one such experience. in the oppressive climate of apathy. that it is now almost impossible to summon up the will or energy to do anything once one has passed through its gates. The story has a certain appeal.

and Miranda went into foster care. except through their missionaries. they bought a farm in Idaho and transplanted the entire family there. Crystal had slipped from her idealistic youth into a disenchanted life of prostitution. who was now using her to form a new cult dedicated to his service. young Miranda Thomas had in fact been possessed by Astaroth himself. Christian fundamentalist upbringing. and so on. By the time I got there. They did not use electricity or any other modern conveniences. Astaroth corrupts them gradually. Although they seldom converted anyone. In 1974 the commune broke up.behind a mask of good. and soon devotees from all over where coming to the small Idaho farm to hear what the young prophet had to say. . but you can imagine why I might be interested in such a find. a fact that made a great impression on her adoptive parents. and Crystal took her daughter west to Vancouver. racist and ultra-nationalist organizations. Miranda was born on December 25th. She was suddenly able to quote exactly any verse from the bible. They gave their children a very strict. Miranda grew up in an increasingly hostile home environment. even though her reading skills were well below average for her age. to parents Crystal Johnson and Robert Buckley. A year later she was adopted by a radical Christian family who took pity on her. and it was two years later that she gave birth to Miranda. He met the young Canadian Crystal on a commune. The members seldom realize the true nature of their leaders. Robert having fled the draft in his native America. 1968. The fact is that it is almost impossible to distinguish between a group controlled by Astaroth. They worked the fields. and were effectively isolated from the rest of the world. Thus I made the journey across the Atlantic and into the wilds of Idaho. worshipped her as a messenger of God on Earth. In 1978 Miranda began to start speaking prophecies and giving sermons to all who would listen. My first thought was perhaps this girl had somehow become Awakened and was not yet aware of her true abilities and potential. Miranda had become the mistress of all she surveyed. The story of Miranda details one such cult. she began to spend hours everyday in silent prayer. there were those who were persuaded into coming to view the cult and were instantly swayed by the force of Miranda's personality and "holiness. Every few months Miranda would send out ten or twenty of her followers to go and try and recruit more worshipers into the cult. The small Idaho farm had been converted into a large compound where all of the followers lived. at least for the first five years of her life. Crystal and Robert were living together at the time in Toronto. and abusive lovers. This was the beginning of the cult that I came across in early 1984. The father had long ago fled the commune as soon as it became obvious that Crystal intended to raise the baby instead of aborting it or putting it up for adoption. setting up their own church and preaching to the locals. and one that is not. It was at this point that Miranda began exhibiting strange behavior. preying on their innate fears and desires until they have come to far on the path of darkness to turn back. a cult centered around a little girl whose followers believed her to be a new prophet of Christ. She had a core following of between seventy-five and a hundred men and women. Word of this amazing girl spread throughout the radical Christian community of the American west. Over the next four years." I came to the farm after having heard several rather convincing accounts of the young girl giving accurate prophecies and even performing miracles. All of her followers. When Miranda started seeing visions of Christ on a weekly and then daily basis. Although none of them realized it at the time. the Johnsons knew that they had been blessed. radical Christian groups. This is not to say that all such groups are actually fronts for satanic worship. hoping to catch a glimpse of this wondrous prophetess. or if not good. Her mother died of a drug overdose in 1975. In 1977. but had adopted seven other unfortunate orphans before Miranda. then some sort of secular front. so-called "hippie" love communes. Miranda grew up on the commune. including her parents. The girl was at the time only 14. Frederick and Ellen Johnson were incapable of having children. as well as some twenty children whose parents forced them into following Miranda. drug addiction. and tried to be as self-sufficient as possible. I came to the farm in the guise of a penitent pilgrim. and I only came to realize it later. raised animals. Likewise. radical environmentalist groups. The advantages of gaining access to a newly Awakened human are too numerous to list here. a most forbidding and primitive place in my personal estimation. nor the true goals of their organization. Examples include such diverse groups as millennial cults.

I went into the situation somewhat off guard. her simple yellow dress hanging loosely from her shoulders. I told my lies and eventually was allowed to come to one of the Church's services." I was naturally shocked. but Miranda had long ago ordered that the whole building be gutted and turned into a church facility. believing the tales told by the rustic locals I had interviewed. I certainly looked the part. curious as to what the girl might have to say to me.Having asked around among the local populace I discovered that most of the local residents had a relatively positive impression of Miranda's cult. I know your work. "No more lies!" she yelled at me. but I was curious enough to see the situation to its end." Her voice had changed. She turned her back to me and strode purposefully up to the altar. I readily agreed. The service proved to be nothing out of the ordinary. an admirable feat for which I give you all the credit you are due. The congregation of the Visionary Church were generally a very positive group. asking me to stay behind and talk with her. I had trouble meeting her eyes. As the congregation began to file out. looking for possible exits. "Please sit down conjurer. now officially referred to as the Visionary Church of Christ. and instead of yelling she simply sighed. but here she appeared merely sickly. aghast. studying her. waiting for her. I was welcomed with open arms and warm smiles. and then a sneer. wondering how she could have guessed that I was lying. and unassuming nature. and I saw nothing particularly surprising or intriguing about the so-called prophetess. although my hand crept down to the cuff of my jeans. She stood in front of the simple wooden table for a moment. nor will I keep you here against your will. It had dropped in pitch and was now full of malice and an almost evil self-assurance. nor who you are dealing with. I sat down. If I could get her angry enough. It was little more than a series of wooden shacks built up on an extensive tract of farm land. She obviously saw little of the sun. She nodded and placed her hand on my head. their kindly ways. She drew her hand back quickly as if she had been burned. They were known for their acts of charity. She preempted any action on my part however. I know that you are merely a scholar interested in learning the truth about me and my subjects. Instead her shocked look turned to a smile. You came here looking for . thinking perhaps that I should kill the child where she stood. reading the knife I had strapped to my calf. As if reading my thoughts. She turned then. What was going on here? I sat in the front pew. she turned away and began to speak. and was hardly what I expected. and even helping out the local community when they could. my gaze wandering around the church. never causing any trouble. maybe she would let something slip. In the center of it all was the Church itself. only to be cut off by a shrill screech from the young woman who stood before me. the cult members being extremely friendly. The compound was not fenced off. fixing her gaze on me. I will not harm you now. Finally she spoke. offering me a blessing. hoping to elicit another bout of outrage from her. She obviously saw right through my tactic. I know too that you have cheated death's curse on more than one occasion. I'm not sure you are ready for the truths I have. I had already cast spells of protection to keep her from interfering with my thoughts or reading my mind. The building had once been the home of the Johnson family. "Who are you?" I was silent for a moment. "It's the truth you want is it? Well Mr. the girl called to me. I stood up. I tried to insist that I was telling the truth. as if gathering her thoughts or possibly praying for guidance. In other circumstances she might have been pretty. Somewhat surprised by this move. She motioned for me to have a seat. She looked at me with a rather dangerous look in her eye. The girl walked back over to me and looked at me for a long moment. You know not what you do. and I thought for a moment that she might call for help. I approached her and bowed before her as I had seen others do. "Calm yourself Shelby. and I suspected that she seldom if ever left the church building. She was small for her age and dangerously thin. having dressed in the simple clothes of the American penitent: jeans and a T-shirt. I had of course given a false name and there was no way that she could have known my true identity. I was not sure what was going on. Tyree. Who are you? What do you want?" I began to spin my tale that I had prepared for the occasion.

hoping for some sign that there is . Again she spoke.answers. I only knew now because she wanted me to know. You know as well as I that there are few forces in existence more powerful than an awakened human. the Lord of Death. homosexuals. more and more offers as time goes on and mankind begins to lose all semblance of hope for a brighter future. and I wondered how I ever could have missed something so painfully obvious. as more and more hopeless souls are drawn to her and her power. Truth of the matter is. I am among them all. Astaroth can hide within the body of a saint if he wants to. my attention captured by this waif of a girl who spoke with Satan's words. skinheads. All the while I shall preach to them the word of their false God. You are face to face with he whom you have feared all your many lives. As the millennium closes the Visionary Church of Christ will take up arms under the leadership of their great prophetess Miranda. nor do I need to. I prefer to incarnate myself at the moment of conception. I will turn the religion in upon itself. and simple evil poured off the girls. despair. Miranda is now on the verge of becoming truly awakened. Muslims. I will let you go with your memories intact. I want you to tell my story. the center of the establishment. These peaceful Christians will be the base of a militant crusade to cleanse their beloved nation of undesirables: Jews. Civilization looks to it leaders for guidance and protection when the radical fringe rises up. led by me in all my many forms. In the United States Miranda will find other parts of my soul in the hearts of militia leaders. for there are few in your world who could tell it with more credibility. How could I have been so blind? How could her congregation have missed the fact that it was Astaroth himself who stood in their very midst every day! Of course I knew the answer as soon as I asked the question. There was no denying it. Who will stop them? I will of course." Now I knew. nor the quarrelsome Archons. My soul has been born time and again into the fetus of the future politician. All disguises are within his power for he is the Prince of Lies. any prejudice I can foster I will. and then her latent power will join with mine. Nor will they be alone. Who will oppose them? Who can stop such a force? Of course you know the answer. I would be born again into the world in the body of this child. until this faithful flock doesn't know which way is up. liberals. By the time such children reach maturity I have dominated their souls to such an extent that I can cause them to awaken without losing control of them. and any other militant force this country can muster. and I will do everything I can to crush those who would overthrow order and civility. Christian Love in the eighties will become rabid hate and intolerance in the nineties. drawing them deeper and deeper into the net. Don't worry little mage. for it gives me tremendous power later in life. blacks. There are plenty of people in this world of yours who are more than willing to serve me of their own free will. Now that I knew the truth radiated from her like a signal fire. For I am in the heart of government. The small cult you see here will blossom and grow tenfold in the next few years. Groups from across the world will come together to form an army of hate ready to tear down the establishment. I cannot be everywhere at once. Not the long lost Demiurge. "Now you realize what you have stumbled upon don't you Shelby? Now you know that your existence continues only at my discretion. for my Legions of the Damned will be right there with them. her mother having bartered the child's soul away long before it was conceived. Nor is Miranda alone. and who better to give them hope than me? Of course there is a limit how far I can spread my soul around the world. From that moment I began laying the groundwork for my plans. Of course they will not be alone in the fight. Would you care to hear me out Shelby? Would you like to know of my doings here in Idaho and beyond?" I nodded mutely. Zionist groups. cunning. bloodlust. terrorist groups. I get offers every day. the one day general. Wave after wave of hate. Destroyer of Knowledge. as I had been born into the world in countless other children. They will join with nationalists and racists in Europe and the far east. "This girl has been mine since the day she was born. the president. Both young and old turn to me in desperation. Thus I chose the fetus as my vessel of choice. and I am here to give them to you. waiting for the time to march upon Elysium and burn it to the ground. Across this country and around the world I have been reborn into similar bodies. Hundreds of thousands of hell's finest lie scattered across the globe.

going to their jobs at newspapers. Thus have I spread my net far and wide across the world. so much so the hell itself will spill over into Elysium. a businessman and manufacturer from Milan. My inquiries have. Only I know the true extent of my network of agents. with the North free from the tax burden and corruption of Rome. The results have been less than encouraging however. They exist because they help keep my servants in line. he was tired of sending all of his money south to Rome where it was divided between those who didn't want to work. The coming chaos will fill the coffers of hell again. and soon I shall begin to draw it tight. Milan Italy In recent years the northern Italian cities have grown more and more resentful of the rest of Italy. I have since that time spent many months and years searching for the truth in what "Miranda" told me. that it they none of them are aware of all the other spies out there. . but they are unmistakably there if you know where to look. Every so often they come together to make sacrifice and honor me in some ritual of their devising. in the schools. Throughout the north support for a divided Italy has grown rapidly. Then only Metropolis shall remain free from my power. these signs. consuming the entire world. They pass the days in silent devotion. The seeds of chaos have been planted. The Italian Freedom Front is ostensibly the brain child of one Giorgio Bennetti. Not even the most loyal of my Death Angels can imagine how extensive the network has become in the last half century. The North wishes to split Italy into two or more semi-independent regions. War. If Astaroth has the time to be in a small church in Idaho. Members of the front pay dues and make donations that go towards achieving the goal of a Federated Italy. I am loathe to cross paths with the Beast directly. Almost all of Italy's industrial base resides north of the Po river. Now I bid you go my friend. and that only for a short time. never dream that their loved one worships Satan himself. the corrupt politicians. at churches. I believed him as far as he went however." With that she turned back to the altar. waiting until they are called upon to prove their loyalty to me and my cause. while the largest drains on the Italian economy are in the south and in Sicily. of necessity. Italian Freedom Front. I see that I have shocked you Tyree. I am there to hear their pleas. I present here a few examples of what I have learned through my endeavors cults. Leave me to my faithful congregation and be gone. although it will soon enough. Everywhere I turn. According to his rhetoric. wherever one finds strife. hate. Do not return. and so it should be. In return they must give me their constant and never-ending devotion. groups. are devoted to so many different aspects of me. accomplished through agents and intermediaries. effectively making the south fend for itself. not because I gain anything from them. been discreet. he had given me no real details. More than one being has commented to me that my web of devotees is not unlike a spy network. I see that this was not what you expected. and at the stock exchange. They are not easy to discern. Nevertheless. in the military. Searching For the Truth As much as Astaroth had revealed to me in his diatribe. Certainly most of my agents fit the description of spies. his influence no doubt extends into many other small corners of the world. and soon they will begin to bloom in all their glory. I rose to my feet and walked from the church. Not surprisingly. This is one of the most volatile issues in Italian politics. to offer them guidance in their time of need. and individuals in high places all devoted to Astaroth in one of his many incarnations. there are signs of the Dark Lord's influence. it is the truth. it is likely that Astaroth or his agents are not far away. Their friends and family never suspect. Only I realize just how far my power has extended into the world.more to life than they know. and the Mafia. As always. the sprouts have sprung up. and kept walking to my car. an always volatile environment. Our time has not come yet. The Front soon gathered a moderate following among small business owners and a few of the more prominent Industrialists. He founded the front in 1991 in reaction to the ever growing tax burden on him and his company. They live their lives as they normally would. I did not stop driving until I had hit the state border. Over the past five years it has grown increasingly larger. and savagery will tear this planet apart. Such pleasantries are irrelevant to me. These spies come from so many different sources. to the point where it has significant political clout in the region.

Astaroth has extended his influence into other tender parts of the American underbelly. a twenty-five year old radical. and Astaroth has focused a lot of his attention on the world's only remaining super power. Surprisingly. a war that he hopes would have grave repercussions throughout Europe and the rest of the world. but few if any of these attacks are ever reported in the West. but I think it is fair to assume that he wants nothing less than to insight civil war within Italy. Naturally. the age old country is also much to stable for Astaroth's liking. and it is not surprising that we find Astaroth himself involved in the heart of the issue. As repressive as the Communist regime might be. There have been numerous stories about Ling Wei in western papers. Certainly America is a prize worth fighting for on any level. due to the tight hold the government keeps on the press. Ling Wei's support is much greater than Beijing would have the world believe. although he is purported to have been at the scene of several student demonstrations. The new hope for chaos and instability in China lies in the burgeoning student pro-democracy movement. Ling Wei lives in hiding. No doubt Astaroth hopes to make the move to open rebellion sometime soon. citizens have grown accustomed. They also serve as assassins when Bennetti finds himself confronted with a political rival who will not succumb to threats or bribery. However. and it is not uncommon for Razides and members of the Damned Legions to accompany the radicals on their missions of terror. especially Americans where there are so many competing beliefs at play. most who would make such an argument are Americans. From his hiding place deep in Communist China. Fortunately for the lord of Inferno there is a great deal of fertile ground for his works in the United States. it is nothing compared to the glory days of the raging civil wars that have wracked the Chinese mainland in the past. He is revered as a national hero by those who would seek to change the face and heart of China. but there is a certain amount of truth in the sentiment. now wanted by the police for questioning in several matters. I have already described in detail my encounter with Miranda's church in Idaho. born into the flesh of Ling Wei. who is in fact not only an agent of Astaroth.S. most particularly the hyper-sensitive issue of racism. all of these individuals have become worshipers of Astaroth. Even though some might find Communism evil or the work of the Devil. Randy Hughes. The editor in chief is none other than the dark lord himself. Los Angeles Many would argue that the United States of America is the leading force in the world today. The racial division in the Untied States cuts deep into the American psyche. and all of them are devoted Satanists. Freedom's Voice. Aside from the hallowed halls of religion. Many of the army's leaders have become powerful death conjurers under Astaroth's direct tutelage. and where it goes the world will follow. and it is not surprising to find Astaroth himself right in the middle of it. but is in fact an incarnation of the dread Prince of Lies. Astaroth's ultimate goal is uncertain. Granted.Behind the facade of concerned businessman lurks the true face of Bennetti. Astaroth himself has no political allegiances. aided by covert support from the west as well as the Legions of the Damned. and it has amazing power to disrupt the ordered social contract U. and in America their is a fund set up to take donations to help Ling Wei's cause. Bennetti uses the army to destabilize the government in Rome and generally worsen division throughout Europe. The city of Los Angeles remains one of the centers of racial tension in the States. . Freedom's Voice is an underground newspaper published and distributed by the radical elements of the Beijing academic community. No one outside of the movement has seen him in several years. The Front's military wing has close ties to Astaroth himself. The fact is that China is subject to a great deal of terrorism from within. and you can be assured that Astaroth has inserted his tendrils into hundreds of other churches and religious organizations around the country. Beijing China remains one of the most powerful and oppressive nations on the face of the Earth. He is and agent of chaos and destruction. Bennetti has been secretly using a portion of the Front's funds to pay for the training of a private terrorist army. Astaroth understands very well just how divisive religion can be among humans. Ling Wei directs a small company of radicals and terrorists bent on overthrowing the Communist regime.

The fact that Hughes is in fact an incarnation of the Devil himself seems to have been lost on his many supporters. but it does make him extraordinarily dangerous. they paint a depressing picture. Everyone gives him great credit for his work. I can only make one generalization about Astaroth: no generalizations are possible. If even the great peacemaker Randy Hughes agrees that there will be no racial peace in America. and staging media events. In the citadels you cannot even count on that. He is not building up an army. More accurately. All the more dangerous because of what his ultimate goal is. There are a great many stereotypes about the devil and the nature of evil in the world and none of them are true. Certainly those accounts fill every nook and cranny in the room I now sit. I find myself somewhat sad as I write these final words. There is hardly a black leader on the west Coast who does not owe Hughes a favor or two. and on one in the country who does not respect him (assuming they know him). Astaroth is not a creature of pure evil. and I can assure you. and looks to him for guidance. down to the very emotions you feel and thought you think. Always remember that in its citadel a Death Angel controls reality. and their can be no doubt that what I have said is true. His motives are as multifaceted as any humans. and since no authoritative catalog could ever be . Hughes is a very insidious form of the Lord of Hell. then millions will follow him into chaos. He is a being of tremendous power and unfathomable complexity. I do not delude myself. But what would be the point? I have waded through these tales of unending human misery. different from the other incarnations I have discussed here. setting up meetings. at least for now. the readership of this work will be small. despite Hughes' best efforts. Nor can his methods be confined to any particular patterns or rules. Often you have only your own heart and mind to rely on in order to make it through whatever ordeal hell throws up against you next. He is seen as the great voice of moderation within the modern African American community. He wants hell on Earth and nothing less. although few people know his name. As far as I am able to discern the man works entirely on his own. However. nor does he have large numbers of worshipers or followers. Astaroth will then be in a position to do great harm whenever the mood strikes him. Randy Hughes is one of the most powerful figures in African-American politics in America.Astaroth operates under the guise of peacemaker. he is not the embodiment of all that is bad. but I doubt it. one who's ostensible goal is to bring the people of America together. It is enough for my readers to know what kind of horrors lie below. He prefers to remain behind the scenes. I do not doubt that once this work is published Astaroth will become aware of its existence. brokering agreements. This small work is of no concern to the Lord of Hell. He will do anything. simply by switching his position. This book has been decades upon decades in the making. none of them are entirely true. and if you have read this far you know that is not a consummation devoutly to be wished. yet he seldom seems to accomplish much. Hughes constantly works to mollify the radical elements of the black community. a fact lost on his admirers. and probably more so. Epilogue It think it only fitting that my work end with the citadels of the Death Angels. The evidence in each case is overwhelming. building bridges of understanding between blacks and whites. Why should this be? I could fill the text with all the accounts of hell I have accumulated over the years. When this happens he may well change tactic or even come after me himself. This is not necessarily true for the rest of Inferno. and even a smaller percentage will choose to let themselves believe what I have written here. Unfortunately things always seem to fall apart at the last minute. They are certainly the most dangerous places in Inferno for a traveler. go anywhere to achieve his goals. he has maneuvered himself into such a position of authority and influence that he has a tremendous amount of power at his influence. and still it comes down to just a few pages. That does not make him evil. Take with you this final thought on Astaroth and his plans for the world. Or at least he tries to build bridges. Hughes will soon maneuver himself into a position where he can step from behind the scenes and assume the leadership of the moderate black community in America. Hell on Earth These three are the only examples I can conclusively give.

sprinkled liberally with diagrams. I would hope that most would take it as a warning to give up such vainglorious dreams. but failing that I hope they will at least take my warnings to heart. He may even contact the players himself if he thinks they could prove valuable allies or agents. Likewise there are no doubt many more. preferring not to deal with any traditional book selling venues. So he withdrew from society. no matter who you are. When playing Tyree always act very urbane and distinguished. He remained a loyalist during the revolutionary war. He currently resides in the greater New York metropolitan area. Bound in hand tooled leather. the child of two conjurers well versed in the Lores of Passion and Death. is the product of decades of research on the part of one of the world's best known Death Conjurers: Shelby Tyree. He is the perfect host. He felt that he could make a contribution to human society. engravings. and social graces. depending on how the game master wishes to use him. will find value in it. gave away several hundred copies to friends and associates around the world. I decided not to try. He never loses his temper. Shelby Tyree as an NPC Game masters may want to include the opinionated and enigmatic Tyree in their campaign. acid free paper. and taught early on of his divine rights as a human being. Tyree was the enfant terrible of the conjuring social scene for many years. a famous European conjurer from Renaissance Italy. and even color prints. He can be an excellent ally or antagonist for any group of players. an affectation on his part that . where he spent the next hundred or so years. and there are certainly a great many. but I firmly believe that you. devoting his full attentions to the study of the world of the dead. He has his own agenda. maybe even help overthrow the power of Astaroth himself.000 copies. well documented account of hell: "A tour guide for the afterlife. nor shows any surprise.completed. opinionated man. But the ambitious magician had more than immortality on his mind when he began his exhaustive study of Inferno. Remembering is what They hate more than anything. After the Napoleonic wars he relocated to Europe. Tyree was born in Boston in 1720. I would wish that you should never have need of this book. Appendices About the Author Inferno: An Authoritative Study. and listen attentively to their stories. He speaks with a slightly European accent when in America. even into Inferno itself. He is a very arrogant. Always remember. and has a way of gaining others' trust very quickly. He would gladly use the players as pawns in his schemes against the Death Angels. Printed on high quality. Raised in a tradition of magic. decades later. Those interested in obtaining a copy should attempt to contact the author directly. learning all he could from the greatest conjurers of the day. Remember. Forgive an old man his ramblings. but also very polite. we lose a little more of them to the darkness. I have represented here every kind of horror and threat that I know to exist in Inferno. the book is meant to last for centuries. Tyree. It is time to bring this to a close. and was rumored to have engaged in piracy on more than one occasion. Shelby quickly excelled at both the magical arts and the occult sciences. being a generous man." as Tyree himself once called it. He spent several decades in the Caribbean. This turns out to have been a kind of manual or guide for those who would seek fame or fortune in the furthest reaches of hell. and one should always expect the unexpected. with a first print run of 1. the book was an instant collectors item in occult circles. and fled to Jamaica when it became obvious that the Colonies would soon throw off their masters. So. sending them on dangerous missions. He will laugh politely at other people's jokes. Tyree published the book at his own expense. It is said that they assured for their child the soul of a long dead ancestor. in exchange for information or possibly teaching the player characters magic. we see the fruits of his labors in this finely researched. Renowned for his magically enhanced longevity. He handles sales himself. only some of which is revealed in his book. Every day that we do not fight for our souls.

Nevertheless. those threats lose their potency. Novelty. so as not to become passé. Lore of Madness: 15. German: 18. Satanists: 15. Players are most frightened in situations they are not familiar with. Inferno should remain a mystery to the players. Nothing in Inferno should ever be what the players expect it will be. Symbols: 18. or the death of a loved one often carries more emotional impact than facing some larger than life monster with gnashing teeth and fiery breath. Few of us can really picture what it would be like to fight a dragon. and speaks eight different languages as if he were a native. Greek: 20. Magic: Lore of Death: 60 (all spells at 25).increases his charm. Thus the betrayal of a friend. . Inferno is the source of so many of the antagonists players are likely to come up against: Satanists. Razides. Sword: 13. demon lords are replaced by others. even horrifying for them. Stats for Shelby Tyree AGL: STR: CON: COM: EGO: CHA: PER: EDU: 15 12 24 15 25 17 16 16 Height: 170 cm Weight: 68 kg Movement: 8m/rnd Actions: 2 Initiative Bonus: +3 Damage Bonus: +2 Damage Capacity: 6 scratches = 1 light wound 5 light wounds = 1 serious wound 3 serious wounds = 1 fatal wound Endurance: 140 Mental Balance: -40 Dark Secrets: Family Secret Advantages: Influential Friends. laws of physics change. or at least suffered from a fear of losing someone or something we hold dear. Astrology: 25. The decision to go to Inferno should never be undertaken lightly. Dutch: 15. after all. in fact he is a talented linguist. Hebrew: 20. confusion. Even more importantly. Languages: English: 20. Lore of Time & Space: 15 Home: New York Using Inferno in your Campaign Inferno and the Kult Campaign Inferno offers quite a few opportunities for game masters to liven up their games. Lore of Passion: 20. It is also important to realize that it can be hard for players to feel sympathetic fear for their characters if they cannot picture the horrors that confront them. Net of Contacts: Death Magicians: 30. but only if the setting is used judiciously. Tarot: 15. and shock are the keys to a successful Inferno experience. Unarmed Combat: 10 First Aid: 15. Numerology: 20. It is only natural to think that at some point the players characters might try to take the fight to their enemies' home turf. French: 20. Latin: 20. Italian: 18. Thus many of Inferno's torments are firmly grounded in human experience. so whenever they become familiar with Inferno's threats. it is simply beyond our experience. their characters' souls are at stake here. That is why so much of what is described in this book walks a fine line between our world and the fantastic. Voodoo: 30. Magical Intuition Disadvantages: Egoist Skills: Handgun: 14. he it should remain threatening. Alchemy: 26. Cabbalah: 23. Trips to Inferno should occur very rarely. Corridors move. We've all been betrayed. death conjurers. Everyday situations taken to horrible extremes are easier to imagine than bizarre situations the players cannot relate to. and even Astaroth himself. Spanish: 20. the Death Angels.

seeking some artifact rumored to be in hell. and are the stuff of extended campaigns that take several game sessions. and they will learn what it means to harrow hell. Inferno is a force of implacable despair in the universe. Dying in Inferno is the same for all humans: a few moments. These are games of high melodrama and tension. and even if they get those rewards. does a character have a dead sister who's ghost still haunts him? Bring that spirit into Inferno. There should be plenty of danger. The resulting carnage. Intentional journeys into Inferno should come from the players. Even if the players go in with the hope of great rewards. and no good can come from dealing with it. nasty interludes in a campaign that maybe needs a little spicing up. quick. they should come away feeling that it was not worth it. Look closely at your players and their characters. finding information known only to a dead person. but circumstances offer them no choice. It is paramount that any Inferno experience be as frightening. and the game master needs to work extra hard to keep up the appropriate mood. Accidental entries include temporary portals opening up around the characters. Do you have a player who is scared to death of spiders? Confront them with hordes of the little arachnids somewhere along the line as they journey through Inferno. being kidnapped by Razides. Its really quite simple: they stay in Hell. the players manage to fight off a number evil cultists attacking a school full of children. They know it is a bad idea. that she's sorry. The dead sister does not attack. the players should absolutely dread the thought of ever returning their again. For example. sorrow. when they are brought back against their wishes. These Infernal explorations are usually about trying to find a way home again and nothing more. excitement. If the character was alive before he came to Inferno. fear. he is now dead. Classic reasons for harrowing hell include: recovering the souls of lost loved ones. That will make it all the worse for them when they do have to go back. After all. This of course makes them all the more fun to play. Instead she tells her brother that she loves him. They make for good. they are often misguided quests of some sort. She begs to know why he convinced her to commit suicide. although the game master might well provide the impetus. Keep this in mind when creating torments and encounters of your own in Inferno. and getting lost wandering through the Labyrinth. or fulfilling a quest given to the players by some other being. and are almost universally ill-fated from inception. hours. confront the character with her. What does it mean to be dead? Most importantly. Temporary portals between Elysium and Inferno open up all the time. There are a variety of ways Inferno can be integrated into a Kult campaign. anyone who takes a moment to ponder things rationally should realize that voluntarily going to hell is a bad idea. disheartening. and gut-wrenching as possible. Souls that leave the body in Inferno do not move from their current location. Some Important Game Conventions Dying The most important game convention to keep in mind when running a game set in Inferno is what happens to characters when they die. Once it is over. They will try. The journey should be fraught with peril. Not that the players will know or believe this. and hopelessness. That is a horrifying experience most people and characters will have trouble dealing with. Intentional harrowings should be quite rare.They are familiar situations taken a step further. and think about what would make them most uncomfortable. It is a nice ironic touch to make the opening of a portal the direct result of something the players have done. or worse yet. your soul is no longer . Every journey to Inferno should cost more than is gained That is the nature of the place. The price they pay is always too great. We divide them here into two rather broad categories: Accidental and Intentional. taking vengeance on a particular death angel. We all know what to do when we are attacked. and suffering is enough to open a temporary portal that manages to get the players and the children stuck in Inferno and trying to find a way out. It is against all odds that the players might come out of it with their souls intact. and non-stop action: a desperate race against time. or days later (depending on the will of local demon lords and the game master) the body is fully regenerated. and are the perfect opportunity to give the players a small taste of Inferno. Accidental is the more common way of entering Inferno.

if the character should try to leave Inferno with their new body. we encourage the game master to go wild with Inferno. Characters dying for the first time will have an odd experience: their physical body will remain where it fell. do not pull any punches. This is a great tool for keeping the players off guard. Guns can misfire. parallel lines can meet. Make it the worst place your player characters have ever been as well. Likewise. Dying in Inferno also means that the character is out of the loop of reincarnation. and so on. two objects can occupy the same place at the same time. This is easier said than done. . The characters may not even be aware of what is happening until it is too late. they will be prohibited. Laws of Physics The Game master should feel free to play fast and loose with the laws of physics and time and space. and the character is unaware of any differences. and choose to hold on to him rather than offer him hope of returning to the living world some day.attached to your body. The demon might demand that the player character find another soul to take his place. a lifeless hunk of flesh. They will not ever receive a new body. for as Tyree has said so often in his book. unless a death conjurer or some other being reincarnates him with by magical means. This can result in some interesting deal making. fire backwards. The character cannot step through portal. Gravity can suddenly switch direction. since most demons will see the player character for what he is. In return the character will be allowed to undergo years of torture before he finally escapes Inferno's clutches. but only as long as the game master uses them with subtlety. Do not hold back. His souls is lost forever. nor effect the other side in any way. the amount of time that passes for the players probably has no correlation to the flow of time in Elysium. The game master is free to do whatever he or she can dream up. In Inferno. years of torment can take a few minutes of Greenwich Mean time. Inferno is the worst place imaginable in all of the already nasty Kult universe. The new body functions just like the old one. For all intents and purposes it is as if the character has two bodies. They'll thank you later. The character's soul will literally step out of that body and appear next to the corpse. unless they can somehow figure out a way to get themselves into the memory purging process of the Nine Circles. Make them hate you for ever bringing them there. Last Words Inferno is more malleable than most game settings. or not fire at all. and a soul needs a body to exist in Elysium. The only problem is. it truly is all relative. anything is possible in Inferno.

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