Break Moe's Brain: Once More, With Feeling

By Jonathan Walton


What can be said? There is not and never was a Word quite like Corruption.

The Oceans drowned those who might master them. Destruction left nothing in its wake. Rapine was violated by a stranger. Sloth? Eaten away by apathy. Oblivion? Swallowed by the void. Everyone shied away from Disease's rotting carcass, lest they catch something contagious. Secrets has a new boss? Shhh! That would be telling.

But no single Word has ever destroyed two Superiors...

No Word except Corruption.

Beelzebub was not weak, by any means, but there was something devouring him from the inside. By the time Uriel reached him, the ancient Prince was a husk of what he once was, barely able to resist as the Archangel cleaned the stain from the world's Purity. And Legion... Everyone knows how that story goes. Though the Tsayadim fully expected Uriel to return and deal with Corruption's second master, it took the combined forces of Heaven and Hell, as well as the death of Raphael, to sweep the world clean this time.

And when Corruption returns for a third go?

The world may never come clean.

Why? It's a simple fact. Corruption only grows stronger. Mankind spreads across the surface of the earth and evil spreads its way deeper and deeper into their bosoms. Lucifer is not stupid. Beelzebub didn't succeed, but the Darkest Lord was just testing the waters. Legion failed as well, but the Lightbringer finally got a glimpse of what Corruption was capable of.

Where Beelzebub held back, letting his Word consume him, Legion let it all out, pushing the limits of what a Word could mean, threatening all of Creation itself. Lucifer was impressed. Very impressed.

But the First Balseraph knows how to play the waiting game. Corruption's strength is already, by conservative guesses, twice as strong as it was in Legion's day, but still the Lightbringer will not name a Third Prince.

Critics say it's because he fears the Word and that, to a certain extent, is true. The next and, hopefully, last Prince of Corruption would have little reason to heed any master. The destruction he creates will make Demogorgon look like Novalis. This time around, the Corruption will not be limited to just one plane, but may reach even the deepest depths of Hell, where Lucifer occasionally takes a break from his busy schedule to hang upside-down in a block of ice.

Still, Lucifer knows that there will someday be a Third Prince of Corruption. How could he not make one? It would be like not pressing the button labeled "Extremely Dangerous! Don't Push!" Even the Darkest Lord succumbs to the occasional destructive habit, and awarding the Word of Corruption is the most dangerous one he's acquired so far.

He's even chosen a proper candidate.

Not that anyone knows, of course. It wouldn't be proper to give away the surprise. Still, Lucifer can't wait to see the look on Kobal's face when the Impudite sees the look on David's face...

And Judgment too. If Lucifer had any pity left in his icy, dark heart, it might stir to the surface for the poor messenger who will have to tell Dominic...

To put icing on the cake, Laurence will be perfectly livid, as well. And since Uriel destroyed the first of Corruption's Princes, it seems ironically fitting that the Word's final bearer will desecrate the memory of the First Malakite...

But until that day finally comes, the Lightbringer keeps his chosen vassal a tightly guarded secret. It's not that difficult, all said, since no one knows the creature is still alive, much less bottled up in the Lower Hells. There, Lucifer claims, "He ages nicely, like a fine wine."

"1998 was such a good year for California."


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