Successors: To Reign In Hell (Introduction)

By Michael Walton


Armageddon did not go at all as planned. Their commander had lied to them about everything -- the countermeasures against the Light of Heaven, Hell s overwhelming numerical advantage and especially the Host's will to fight. Demons died left and right as the first to realize their mistake either surrendered or hid until the battle was over. A few demons (mainly those who couldn't hide from their Superiors) bore the brunt of the Heaven's defense as the Princes cut and ran. Not that it saved them; Archangels took the opportunity to strike down their opposite numbers whenever they could. Saminga's demon and zombi hordes broke ranks when Novalis buried him under a carpet of greenery, and Baal's forces routed completely when Michael tore him asunder. The worst moment was when Lucifer himself fell from Heaven like lightning once more, this time never to rise again.

All things considered, it was not a good day.

Even the rumor that all of the Archangels were dead was cold comfort to the demons as they huddled in Hell waiting for the Malakim to show up and finish the job. They looked at each other with open fear in their eyes, wondering what forms their torments would take. What they got was Kobal.

The last survivor of the Demon Princes materialized among the beaten demons with a huge grin on his face. What a sad lot, he said, No victory to celebrate, no Princes to gloat about it -- and worst of all, no smiles! Somebody's got to cheer you kids up. The Impudite smiled a wicked predatory smile. And since Lucy's not here to blow sunshine up your skirts, we need a new leader. I nominate... KOBAL! Heil me. Kobal gestured, and a throne of banana peels materialized under him. This display of power alerted the most powerful demons present. They took a closer look and saw remnants of Superior-level Forces spinning within Kobal s being. The most perceptive of them recognized those Forces as having come from Lucifer and Kronos. The smartest of the demons immediately hailed Kobal as their leader, and the others (who were almost as smart) quickly followed suit.

That's better, said the Clown Prince. Now, I'm going to need some new Princes to whip this place into shape and get the War running again. Who wants the job? The boldest of the demons, about fifty in number, stepped forward. Kobal blasted them all out of existence.

So much for the ambitious upstarts who'd stab me in the back first chance they got, he said. Now, who wants to lick my boots? The shrewdest of the demons, nearly another fifty, climbed over each other in a mad rush to fall at Kobal's feet. He let the quickest of them get close enough to start licking his boots, then blasted them all out of existence.

And that takes care of the sycophantic yes-men, he said. Now, who's so mad at Heaven that he can't wait to go back up there and give God a wedgie? This time, only a dozen demons stepped forward. Kobal saw the rage in their eyes as looked at him with anger and defiance -- but he could also see that their hatred of Heaven burned even hotter than their hatred of him. You'll do, he said, and started handing out Words.

When the ordeal was over -- and ordeal it was, for Kobal never mastered the process of granting Words enough to do it as gently as the Lightbringer could -- nine Princes emerged from the Pit to rule over the shattered remains of Hell. They were full of hate, and their hate made them strong. And their Words were Artifice, Condemnation, Deceit, Desire, Excess, Fear, Taking, Violence and Winter.

And Kobal looked upon his works and said, Now we're cookin' with gas!


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