Court of the Prince of Demons
Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons, ruled over Gaping Maw, the 88th layer of the Abyss. While the Gang of Five may have had the collective might of their allies assembled from across the planes, Demogorgon was most dangerous on his home plane, where he was in control. Furthermore, the Prince of Demons did not face his opposition alone, and here, collected, are the known forces of Demogorgon’s savage war machine.
One of the two heads – and therefore two personas – that comprised Demogorgon. According to his former lovers Shami-Amourae and Malcanthet, Aaemeul was the more methodical, the more reserved of the two. Aameul did most of the talking for the pair, and was responsible for the bulk of the day-to-day administration of Gaping Maw. Aameul had, at various times, sought to gain control of the body he and his twin share by cauterizing away Hethrediah. Malcanthet believed that Aameul thought the plan for the savage tide was his own, and that he may have thought of some way to capitalize on it for his own ends.
Ultimately, it was for naught, as Demogorgon – both of him – fell to the Gang of Five and their collected allies. While Dorian sought to consign Demogorgon to the same pit in which he had confined Shami-Amourae to satisfy their debt to Ahazu in what would have been a delicious irony, they were instead scooped by Iggwilv, who used the Iron Flask of Tuerney the Merciless to sweep up what motes of Demogorgon remained, and absconded with them. What part Aameul or his brother may play in the Abyss from here out, nobody can know.
While all parts of Demogorgon are feral, bestial, and born of the savagery of the blackest jungles, Hethrediah was the even less civilized, more brutish of the two personalities that collectively comprised Demogorgon. He believed the savage tide was his idea, though it has been observed that such a plan seems far beyond his capacity for planning or administration, and it was eventually revealed that both Hethrediah and his brother had been manipulated by Dagon, Obyrith Lord of the Deep. Hethrediah believed that the influx of chaos created by the savage tide would allow him to utilize the Well of Souls to absorb his erstwhile twin completely. Mercifully, the planes will never know if this plan would have worked.
Horrid and twisted offspring of Demogorgon’s coupling with Malcanthet, Arendagrost is a disgusting thing of pure horror, a corpulent thing of darkness and hate and madness. His form was that of a trio of maws gaping from vaguely fiendish heads, each gigantic, rotting mouth filled with row upon row of fangs. An obscenity of anger the size of a house, his body was little more than a writhing tangle of tentacles, each large enough to crush the life out of a man with but a moment’s idle whim.
Arendagrost, long imprisoned on Gaping Maw by Demogorgon, was charged with guarding the totem of negation established at the Lemoriax Portal Point, thus stopping the armies of Orcus from pouring through and invading Demogorgon’s capital city of Lemoriax. While he almost certainly would have killed the Gang of Five if battled alone, Kizziar, Othar, Lirith, and Skald managed to distract him long enough that Dorian and Traxen were able to dispatch the totem, allowing two full armies of Orcus’ troops, lead by Skull King Quah Nomag, through the portal to overtake the son of the Prince of Demons by sheer numbers. The loss of his monstrous son proved yet another thorn in Demogorgon’s side that he could not get out of his head.
Clone of Aameul, Tetradarian is the nominal “brother” to Bagromar, clone of Hethrediah. The rivalry that existed between these two siblings was enough to turn Bagromar against his kin for a promise of the glory that had so eluded him. When Tetradarian’s massive army, the Demos Horde, stood between the armies of Orcus and the capital city of Lemoriax, it was Tetradarian who lead them.
Thankfully, Bagromar proved himself a demon of his word (or at least willing to make good on an advantageous arrangement) and brought in his own legion to disrupt the Demos Horde, entering the melee by battling his own brother for supremacy of their father’s attentions. Their pieces off the board, Orcus’ armies could at last march on Lemoriax, capital of Gaping Maw. As Demogorgon himself made haste for the shores of Wat Dagon in order to intercede against the Gang of Five, Tetradarian fell upon the teeth of his brother, and it is there his story ends.
One of Demogorgon’s favored, General Ghorvash was a massive glabrezu and orchestrator of much of his lord’s machinations. Known as “The Hunter of Mortals”, General Ghorvash excelled in bringing pain and ruin to those who dwell on the Prime. When the Gang of Five infiltrated Wat Dagon, General Ghorvash was the first to greet them. At first pretending to be Lavinia Vanderboren, this disguise was easily seen through by our heroes, causing the General to retake his true form. His ruse exposed, he gloated over his victories in an attempt to rattle his foes, most horrible of which was his dealings with Vanthus, revealing that it was he who was responsible for forging Vanthus’ pact with Demogorgon, enforcing that pact throughout the course of the last several years as he delivered to Vanthus the wealth, power, and immortality he bargained for. Vanthus never considered the true cost of any of these things, and in a moment of almost comical, macabre horror, General Ghorvash revealed that since Vanthus’ most recent defeat at Divided’s Ire, the glabrezu had been holding onto Vanthus’ soul, in the form of a squealing, wretched larvae.
While the General was a mighty hunter of mortals, his decades spent close to the bosom of his lord had softened him considerably and left him unaware of how mortals had changed. His usual bag of tricks availed him little, and he fell, bleeding and shocked, under a hail of lead.
Saint Korgath the Betrayer:
More than simply the first Death Knight Demogorgon created, Saint Korgath the Betrayer is a being of such corruption, a man who fell so far, that he is, in fact, the germ of the idea from which the concept of the ‘Death Knight’ was formed, the template from which all who have come after him have been wrought.
Korgath’s history is expansive, and beyond the scope of his role in this drama. Charged with guarding Wat Dagon by Demogorgon, Saint Korgath stood between the Gang of Five and the inner sanctum of the temple. Supposedly invulnerable to all that lives, the battle with Saint Korgath looked grim from the beginning: Korgath’s singularity of purpose repelled sword blows and snuffed out spells. It was all anyone could do to keep him at bay, let alone hurt him. All seemed lost until the timely intervention and surprising return of Tobin, the deceased priest who had sacrificed himself to save his friends so long before, who arrived riding a beam of light and engaged Saint Korgath, once again buying his friends precious time to escape and carry out their mission.
When they returned to the scene of the battle, it appeared as though Tobin had sacrificed his life to buy them time yet again, and as the final battle with Demogorgon began, it was Saint Korgath who stood at his lord’s right hand. But as the fighting started, it was revealed that the priest had, in fact, bested the Betrayer; as his helm fell off in the battle, it was revealed that the armor that stood beside Demogorgon had the form of Tobin Grey inside. By ways and means which he claims he is not at liberty to discuss, Saint Korgath fell, and as Demogorgon, too, breathed his last, Malcanthet suggested Saint Korgath be offered to Ahazu to satisfy their bargain. Invoking the will of the Seizer, Traxen confined the soul of the first death knight to the Wells of Darkness. A fitting end to the betrayer.
Nulonga the Thrice-Cursed:
Nulonga is the last of the generation of Olman who came to this world from another. In an epoch passed, the Olman retreated their world to escape the wrath of dark and stygian gods that sought to destroy their world. When the Olman made their exodus away from their reality to a new one, it was Nulonga, a stricken – half-mad shaman who had been seduced by the Dark Ones – who showed his masters the way by which they might follow the Olman people into a new world, a new reality, one brimming with more possibilities for ruin and the ushering in of oblivion. For his service, Nulonga was gifted eternal life by his master, and given a place of power and authority within the halls of that lord. With Nulonga’s help, that dark god, now an obyrith lord called ‘Dagon’, shattered the Olman civilization at Thanaclan, and from its ashes hatched a plan to erase all that is, was, and shall be, and leave behind only a husk.
Nulonga is a shriveled skeleton of an Olman man, with skin like brittle parchment and eyes that appear to have begun to burst from their sockets and quit halfway. His legs are hacked off to bloody, coarsely-stitched stumps at the knee, a gesture of servitude to his lord. Nulonga was issued forth from his mother with a horrifying birth defect, and only be secreting him away and raising him outside of their tribe did he survive without being put to merciful death. As he grew, he became obsessed with the occult and through his madness came into contact with the Dark Ones, whom he pledged himself to. It was because of this that he sold out his people to his masters, and for his service, they rewarded him with a prize that any sane man would call a hell unending; cast into a deep hole and tasked with helping his masters unmake all that is, Nulonga became the Thrice-Cursed.
Over the centuries of isolation, Nulonga had become quite mad, and so it was that when the Gang of Five infiltrated Wat Dagon to seize the Master Pearl, Nulonga at first believed they were apparitions or representatives of his lord. With their fluency in Olman, they were able to convince Nulonga to reveal that Dagon was behind Demogorgon’s savage tide, though he spoke in such mad riddles that his meaning was not altogether clear. In the battle that followed, Nulonga was slain again and again, as the group found that Nulonga, too, had a curious sort of immortality: whenever he was slain, Nulonga’s tumorous spirit would simply cleave to the nearest carcass, turning it into a simulacra of his own wasted body. Nonetheless, Nulonga was defeated so many times that the Gang was able to retrieve the Master Pearl and escape Wat Dagon.
During the final battle with Demogorgon, Nulonga came to the Demon Prince’s side so as to maintain his ruse of servitude and ensure the success of his true master’s plot. Unfortunately for the ancient Olman traitor, the man that stood beside him at Demogorgon’s right hand was not Saint Korgath, but Tobin Grey wearing the Death Knight’s armor, and as the battle for all that lives began, Tobin dispatched the brittle shaman, putting an end to his blasphemous immortality.
With Demogoron’s defeat and the death or destruction of all of his most trusted lieutenants, all that remained was for one with the will to power to seize the halo of the fallen demon lord and take up the title of Prince of Demons. But it was known to the men who could seize that power that to accept that mantle meant sacrificing and destroying a part of ones self. The Prince of Demons is not merely a title or a role, it is a driving force, and the individual who bears it is merely the vehicle.
The Gang of Five’s hesitation cost them the opportunity to make the decision as to who would be the next Prince of Demons for themselves; as Orcus arrived to claim the crown, they leapt into action to prevent the Prince of Undeath from acquiring the additional clout that would surely promote him to godhood, but in so doing, they were blind to the arrival of Malcanthet, who, having failed to force Dorian, her proxy, to seize the title, himself, took matters into her own hands.
With Malcanthet now serving the dual roles of Demon Queen of the Succubi and the Princess of All Demons, the future of the Abyss is uncertain, but it is clear that Gaping Maw, itself, will become a reflection of its new ruler: a twisted, lusty hellscape populated by blasphemies monstrous and sexual, exotic pleasures and pains, ruled by a mercurial psychopath who is more dangerous in a good mood then when angered.
Until she, too, ascends to godhood, fueled by her mastery of all demonkind and all those who seek to sin with their lusts.