A Commission for Belial12
Pandemonium, n.: from "Pan-" (all) and "daimon" (spirit, soul, or demon), usually denotes an uproar or state of chaos in the English language. A state of wildness and disorder. However, the origin of the word is Milton's Paradise Lost, where he uses it to refer to a gathering of all the demons in Hell--itself a riotous event.
Vasir found something rather curious. A portal to the mortal realms. And on the other side, an arrogant mortal with promises of power and service, of thralls to be captured and realms to be crushed. Of a world to be conquered.
It was an offer far too tempting to refuse. He flew through the portal, flexing his wings to proudly display his size and power. "You were wise to ask for my assistance," he lied to the woman.
"Well, you were foolish to give it," she replied, and the trap was sprung. Magic surged forth around him, binding spells and mystic chains. A cohort of sorceresses joined in as the mortal--wait, she was no mortal, she was that Aleta! Aleta fought Vasir to a standstill, forced him into submission. Forced him to actually give her the power he was planning to cheat her of.
The Archdemon raged against the world as he was hauled away, immobilized by purple chains.
The Demon Prince was gone.
It was not immediately apparent, but once it was apparent the news spread like wildfire through Torment. Demons and Archdemons alike roiled in confusion and ambition, each trying to fill the void. Yagron called for a Pandemonium, a meeting of all Torment to discuss the new changes and, perhaps, elect a new Demon Prince. Though 'elect' was a polite word for the contest of power that would take place, a contest that had already taken a year and would no doubt take many more.
Nysrugh had no appetite for the other Archdemon's ambitions. "Let Yagron pander to the others and try to manipulate them for his own ends. I'm far more interested in other matters." Nysrugh had been feeding off of human emotions of hunger, greed, desire, and sometimes even ambition for millennia. All appetites fed his own insatiable hunger. Yet he had no hunger for power within Torment.
He was far more interested in where Vasir had gone.
Most demons had been too busy jostling for power in Vasir's absence to realize that he had disappeared through a rift to one of the mortal realms. He had gone to directly interfere where before the demons--and the angels--had only indirectly fed. A mortal had opened a portal, a hellmouth, and was letting demons through.
Minor demons were disappearing as well, ones no one would miss. No doubt slipping through. But Nysrugh could sense their hunger once they entered the mortal realms, and their continued frustration. They had been promised power, and only received chains.
Nysrugh worked his way through Torment towards the portal, careful to avoid notice from the other Archdemons. Where Solace was a land of light and clouds, Torment was a world of fire and pain, that in spite of the constant flames was shrouded in shadow. When he reached the portal, the Archdemon carefully crept through. There were witches on the other side, of course. They cast binding spells, chains, smiled as they sought to enslave him.
Nysrugh smiled as he surged forward with an unexpected burst of power, escaping their spells and devouring the arrogant sorceresses. For so long he had fed indirectly, consumed emotions. This... visceral... mode of feeding was far more to his liking. He smiled widely, blood dripping from his mouth.
As Demon Prince, Vasir knew everything that went on in Torment. The Archdemon seethed as Yagron and the others tried to seize his power, but took solace in the fact that once he was free he would be able to take his throne back and punish all would-be usurpers.
What's more, Vasir sensed Nysrugh's departure, although his awareness of the insatiable Archdemon grew faint once he was in the mortal realms. Apparently he was running amok in the wastes between Veroria and Jinhai, gobbling up any he came across.
No matter. Vasir had more pressing issues. Namely, the chains pressing in on him. His acidic spit wore away at binding runes, and he worked his way free. When Aleta returned, shocked and irate at his escape, she stood no chance.
Revenge was sweet, as was binding her in the chains that had bound him for the many years. Within the sphere of magic that he used to confine her, Aleta raged. She swore, threatened, threw spells, wrought powerful and dangerous magic, and accomplished absolutely nothing. Within those chains, she was powerless against the Demon Prince of Torment. Eventually, far too soon for Vasir's liking, she gave up.
Word had spread among the other Archdemons that Nysrugh had disappeared into the mortal realms. He was the second Archdemon to do so, and he would not be the last, though the others were hesitant to follow his example while cultists still guarded the rift--guarded with greater vigilance too, after Nysrugh slipped through their grasp. Still, it was only a matter of time. While the Pandemonium raged and roiled, with Yagron trying to keep the chaos limited to at least some manner of control--or at least dominance--Tygrugh explored the rift.
There were no sorceresses on the other side to ensnare unwitting demons, not anymore. After Vasir broke loose of his chains in Veroria (oh, the demons knew about that, and trembled) the cultists had fled, licking their wounds and letting minor demons trickle into the world without restraint. The once formidable Cult of Verore was now ruined, reduced to squabbling factions unable to reclaim Aleta's mantle of leadership. Their days of summoning and enslaving demons were over.
Tygrugh stepped through the rift, relishing the feel of the mortal air on his skin, the sensation of not constantly stepping through flames and on embers. Being outside of Torment was surprisingly pleasant. "I think I like it here," he rumbled. He bounded away from the portal and into the wastes surrounding it, where he found a group of corrupted humans.
They fell before him, and the Archdemon grinned cruelly. Reaching out with his claws, he seized their minds and replaced their consciousness with raving madness. "Reish," he rumbled, walking away as the corrupted humans, the devils, writhed in their newfound insanity. He glanced through the scraps of sanity he had stolen from them. "Interesting..."
Mortal minds were always so easy to manipulate, to exchange sanity for madness. Long had Tygrugh fed off of the ragged edge of the human psyche--to tear it apart in person, however, was so much sweeter.
Another group of humans, these fleeing westwards away from something. Tygrugh mercilessly seized their minds, leaving only scraps behind as he devoured what knowledge he could take from their already deranged psyches. What he found was most displeasing.
The angels were directly interfering. They had opened a massive gate from Solace to one of the mortal realms and were pouring through, fighting the undead and asserting their dominance over the mortals. If the angels were in the mortal realms, it was only a matter of time before they and the demons would clash.
Tygrugh let himself grin. "Let them come," he snarled to the sky. "I will gladly demolish their minds and rip open their bodies. Let them come."
The angels were coming. Vasir growled furiously as he beat a hasty retreat. It seemed that alone he could not face their champions, their armies, their annoying guns that spat light.
"It is high time," he muttered to himself, "that I returned to Torment. I'm sure they've enjoyed the century without me, but with the angels interfering we must all act. I cannot let Sol and his ilk dominate these worlds, not when feeding upon them directly is such glorious pleasure."
And so he flew, the chained orb holding Aleta floating at his side. Back across the world, back west, back towards the hellmouth.
Back home to Torment.
The balance of power within Torment had been obliterated. The Pandemonium had fallen into, well, pandemonium. Archdemons fought openly as the others watched. Minor demons were quashed without thought, collateral damage in the mayhem. All were in a panic now that Vasir was on his way.
Yagron roared and howled, attempting to exert dominance over the uproar. As he had from the beginning, from Vasir's disappearance. His control of the situation, of the Pandemonium, had never been entirely secure. Now, however, with multiple Archdemons forsaking Torment for the mortal realms, it fell apart. He had spent a hundred years trying to cement his power and seize control of Torment, and now it was all slipping away. Even if a century was a short span of time for a demon, it was more effort than he'd care to lose in one fell swoop.
Normally Yagron would welcome the disappearance of his rivals, but their departure had wider consequences than he had expected. The turmoil had been greater than he had expected. So many things, it seemed, were running counter to his expectations (not that he had expected Vasir to disappear in the first place, or even particularly expected events to proceed according to his expectations).
Perhaps trying to control Torment, to control the Pandemonium, was too much work for too little gain. No one was going to replace the Demon Prince anytime soon. Besides, Vasir was on his way back to Torment to reclaim his throne. Even if Yagron managed to seize control, he would be no match for the Demon Prince, whose wrath, no doubt, would be great.
Yagron figured it would be best to make himself scarce before that happened. So, quietly one day, he slipped away from the Pandemonium--after encouraging a fight between two of the few other remaining Archfiends, of course. Their battle gathered more than enough attention for him to escape unnoticed.
"If the mortal realms are good enough for Vasir, Nysrugh, and Tygrugh," he rumbled, "they'll be good enough for me." As Yagron passed through the rift, he paused. "Hmm..."
Carefully, the Archdemon tore at the edge of the portal between worlds, peeling off a strand of... well, he wasn't quite sure. Ambitious now, and more thoughtful than his predecessors by half, he affixed the strip of rift-ness to his own torso. The pain was sudden and immense as though he was being ripped apart from within, but Yagron had spent his entire immortal life in Torment, where pain was a state of being.
Slowly, he fought down the nausea and the pain, controlling the explosion of power that nearly tore him in half. And just as slowly, he reached through the rift in his belly. Torment was on the other side.
Yagron smiled and began to stride away, a personal rift between worlds. Many lesser demons would hark to his call and obey his will, and he would provide them access to the mortal realms.
"Forget Torment," he laughed harshly, "I am the lord of my own rift. Let Vasir rule there, I will rule here."
Vasir returned to a pandemonius Pandemonium. It seemed that Archfiends were disappearing into the mortal realms left and right. Roaring, the Demon Prince reasserted his will over the realm of fire, shadows, and pain that was Torment. Those Archdemons who had not fled trembled before him, and the lesser demons disappeared in fright.
The Demon Prince was back.