The Bargainer (Proto-Superior)

By James Walker


He has countless names: The Bargainer, The Dweller in the Darkness, even Death (although this name has fallen out of use since Saminga's rise). The legends of his beginnings are fragmented and contradictory. But he exists. His Word is rumoured to be Deals With The Darkness.

Sitting on the scree hills beyond the river Styx, he waits for the Damned. As the herds of screaming, begging, pleading fools rushes by, he makes his choices. And they make theirs.

"Choose life."

"You are already damned. You are the possession of Hell, and will remain here for all eternity, tormented by Lucifer's minions."


" serve me."

Those he chooses are the most desperate, the most ruthless, the most determined to do anything to live. Further, they must have the potential for an extra Force (which he can detect) and the injury which killed them must not be too severe. If they choose to swear allegiance to him he grants them a Corporeal Force. The extra health is enough to draw them back to the Corporeal realm, to restore their lives - which are now dedicated to him.

It's not even known which Band he is. Most demons assume that he's a Shedite; certainly the humans descriptions sound like one. His ability to track where his Soldiers are makes other demons suspect that he is a particularly ugly Djinn; his persuasiveness and understanding of terror is 'proof' to others that he is a hideously scarred Habbalite. The legends don't say.

What the legends do say is that he was one of the First Fallen, hurled from Heaven with Lucifer's defeat. While the other demons fought for dominance, he travelled to the edge of Hell and waited. Waited for the Damned. Continual experiments showed him how to attach a Force from a demonling to a human and return them to the corporeal plane. According to some legends, he was the demon who sent the message to Lilith, bargaining for release; other variants have him granted his Word by Lucifer when he discovered the ability, and Lucifer imprinting his personality on a Damned before it was sent back to Lilith. Only Lilith herself is available to say, and you can't afford her price...

The Soldiers of Deals With The Darkness work without Infernal supervision - they don't need it, they've proven themselves by damning themselves. They often sell bogus tales of seeing Jesus, Heaven or angels to journalists, both for the money and to hide what really happened. The fact that this often attracts angelic interest is a minor problem - or opportunity. More quietly, they tell their story to those humans who will happily turn to evil if they think that they can avoid death; occasionally they will 'kill' an associate, sending them to the Master - this is their normal method of requesting instructions. They spend the rest of their lives working for Hell, ruining lives and crushing others. Often they are very rich; The ability to control their Essence, and the Songs they are taught, are enough to build a mundane empire. they frequently employ Sorcerers and Grey Soldiers as bodyguards and mercenaries.

Then they die, and pay the price.

The Forces they are granted must come from somewhere. When one of his Soldiers returns, the Dweller strips their Ethereal Forces (which become his Word Forces) granting him their memories, and allowing him to keep up to date with Corporeal developments. Eventually those Forces will be added to a different Soldier. The mindless Soldier continues on to the soulyards; The Game plucks them out, and they become file clerks in Asmodeus' Palace. Asmodeus has never had any interest in the 'Renegade' sitting on a hill in plain view of Hades. Lucifer, on the other hand, is known to drop in and talk about old times.


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