Everyone Loves Belial #2: Fire In The Hole

By Jonathan Walton


Now when the Fallen first arrived in Hell, it was not, as Milton mistakenly described it, a pit of torturous flames. No, it was simply empty. Empty in the way Limbo is empty. The Pit was a huge, immensely flat expanse of Darkness, a fitting prison for the Archangel of Light and his companions. It was as if God had decided to snuff out Lucifer's Light in an endless sea of black.

And it might have worked too.

The Lightbringer's Word, after all, was directly connected to the Light of Heaven, which he was no longer allowed to glimpse, and the corporeal light of the mortal sphere, which he had helped illuminate in the first place. Now, cut off from both sources of his great power, strength, and inspiration, Lucifer was waning. The brilliant glow that surrounded the Lightbringer was dimming, and the chief of the Fallen sank lower and lower into a deep despair. Try as they might, none of Lucifer's oldest friends, Beelzebub included, could rouse him from his condition. It seemed as if God's punishment was a slow death for the Lightbringer, as he languished in a lightless prison.

Belial had other problems.

During the battle with the Host, the Ofanite had reveled in the choas and destruction, leaving a flaming wake behind him as the wheel incinerated his opponents. Then, of course, the rebel Ofanite of Fire had run into Gabriel himself (for she was still a "he" then) and beat a hasty retreat, just in time to fall, get transformed into a Calabite, and end up in this prison, appropriately titled "Hell." It had not been a good experience, all considered. Now, even Lucifer seemed to be losing it, growing more and more introspective and despondent with each passing day (not that you could determine time in this unchanging darkness).

Worst of all, for Belial, was that there was nothing to burn in Hell. The Calabite was pretty talented at making things catch fire, even when they didn't want to, but not even Belial could do much with the bleak expanse of Hell. In the absolute darkness of the Pit, the Fallen did well to stay within a couple celestial miles of Lucifer, for the former Archangel of Light still provided a soft glow which kept the group from being blind in the void. Scouts and search parties had been sent out (the latter going after the scouts that didn't return), but all reported, when they reported in at all, that the darkness concealed just more of the barren landscape that could be seen surrounding Lucifer. In the entire realm of Hell, it seemed, there was nothing that Belial could release his frustration on.

For a while, he tried the dark grey ground itself or even the occasional stone that sprouted up in the landscape, but they refused to burn and simply shattered against his twisted resonance. Still, that degree of minor destruction was entertaining for a while. Soon, Belial and the other Calabim had turned Lucifer's surroundings into little more than a beach of fine grey powder. However, Belial was far from satisfied and Lucifer continued his downward spiral. Daily, arguments broke out over what would happen when Lucifer faded completely. There were also tales that the first scout to be lost in the darkness, Mariel, formerly Angel of Memory, had been seen about the edges of Lucifer's glow, but these were quickly dimissed as the flickering of shadows.

Belial was not one for arguments or half-imagined tales, so the Calabite finally decided venture off into the darkness on his own. At worst, he would find more boulders to turn into sand, and that would at least ease the boredom a little.

No one knows exactly how far Belial wondered in the darkness. Let's just say it was for 40 days and nights, since that seems appropriate.

In the end, Belial found himself at the foot of a great mountain, the first such thing that he'd encountered in Hell. Curious, the demon made his way up the slope, which was often difficult and strewn with hazardous obstacles that were even more hazardous in the absolute dark. In any case, Belial eventually arrived at the top, tattered and beaten by the terrain.

He found nothing.

There was nothing at the peak of the mountain, just a small flat landing before the slope headed back down the other side. It was, all told, not very exciting at all.

This did not sit well with the Calabite.

Belial was as angry as he had ever been in his entire existence. He had lost the rebellion. He was not, as he had been promised, the Archangel of Fire. Now, he was stuck in the pitch black with a dying leader and a bunch of annoying, spineless, fools. And he had wandered for over a month without his vision and had not found a scrap of anything.

And the mountain was going to pay.

(Note that no one ever accused Belial of being rational.)

Everyone was surprised when Belial hit magma.

The Calabite had been using his resonance, over and over, in an attempt to destroy the mountain that had been so foolish as to trick him, and he blasted it a little too hard. The volcanic eruption of celestial lava could been seen all about Hell.

Leaving the ailing Lucifer, the Fallen flocked to the new source of light, which Belial quickly christened "Sheol," and were amazed to find the Calabite re-energized and more alive than they had ever seen him. Flames danced in Belial's eyes as he walked down a river of lave towards the waiting Fallen. In all likelihood, the demons would have accepted the Firebringer as their new lord and master, but, just then, the light that Belial had brought to Hell found its way to the Lightbringer.

Later on, Lucifer's near-instantaneous return to full power, his magnificent flight to the peak of Sheol, and his handing out of Words would overshadow Belial's accomplishment. The Calabite, the savior of the Fallen, would be regulated to simply being the Demon Prince of Fire, and few would remember the early days (Mariel saw to that, at Lucifer's behest).

But Belial remembers. He knows who was responsible for Lucifer's re-empowerment. And he who giveth can taketh away. At the right time ...


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