“The information should be incorrect, Leylin might not have obtained the flying city Thultanthar. Either that, or he’s extremely crafty and predicted our ambush…” Mystra’s beautiful gaze pierced through the void, seeing the scenario unfolding in the world.
Had Leylin been here, he definitely would’ve broken out into cold sweat. Had he actually used the floating city to attack the backbone of these churches, the gods lying in wait for him would definitely show him why the flowers were dyed red.
This was two greater gods! Leylin had a chance to resist them in the prime material plane, but outside it there were no more restrictions. There would be no chance for him to fight back.
“Where did you obtain this information?” Tyr asked, rousing from his silence.
“One of my worshippers met a devil during his travels, and obtained the information from him. However the devil was already dead by the time I got there, and his soul had disappeared as well…”
A trace of doubt surfaced on Mystra’s face. “I feel an extremely irksome and sinister aura, more vile than the three monarchs of the deep abyss. This is a mysterious existence…”
“More sinister than evil itself?” Tyr shuddered, as if having recalled some unwanted memory. “You should go and check the seals. Remove any contamination around the area if needed…”
“You mean…” Mystra inhaled deeply, spitting out the taboo word of times long past, “Magi…”
Teleportation light flashed as Leylin stepped out of a distortion in space. A mere moment before, the A.I. Chip’s voice had sounded out, [Contingent conditions met, instant teleportation activated!]
‘Instant teleportation was indeed the safest option. I fear nobody in the main world, but I can’t be too sure in the outer planes. Right now, I’m most likely in…’ Leylin looked around. Meteors streaked past the crimson sky, dancing in the air. His surroundings were a charred mess, the desolate earth littered with small rocks. A few hills in the distance broke the even landscape.
“Huuu… This seems to be…” The air was filled with a tinge of malevolence and dread, clueing Leylin in to his whereabouts. Of course, the little streams of blood flowing around the land left no more room for doubt. ‘Baator, the Nine Hells. I knew this felt familiar!’
Leylin stretched his back lazily, before sending out a command, ‘A.I. Chip, conduct scan.’
[Beep! Mission established, beginning scan…] the A.I. Chip’s voice intoned. It was followed up instantly.
[Environment scanned, air analysis complete. Current location: Avernus, the first level of Baator.]
[Beep! Laws in the area are different from the prime material plane, analysing…]
It quickly showed the properties of the world.
[1) Gravity normal.
2) Time flow normal.
3) Space Unlimited: The nine levels of hell extend indefinitely, but are always a fixed distance from the abyss and their lower levels.
4) Divine form: An organism requires the strength of at least a lesser god to transform the Nine Hells, and this transformative control extends over the regular organisms of the region.
5) No elemental affinity: All elements are balanced in power.
6) Minor lawful evil: Any beings of the chaotic or good alignment are weakened, and devils will attack them. Beings of the lawful evil alignment receive a slight buff to powers.]
“This is indeed the territory of the devils.” Leylin inhaled deeply. He felt like he’d merged into one with the entirety of Baator, an impression he’d been given because he’d devoured Beelzebub before.
But the impression wasn’t necessarily false. His own disposition was quite aligned with the laws of hell, which meant this place could bear the weight of his ambitions. He would soar into the skies!
‘Demigods can traverse planes. I can return to the prime material plane if I want to, but since I’m already here…’ Leylin stroked his chin. ‘Anyway, Debanks Island is quite far from the mainland, and won’t be influenced easily. I can manage my worshippers and their divine spells just as easily from this place. I’ve wanted to make a trip to Baator anyway, so I might as well get on with it…’
Baator had nine levels, called the Nine Hells. It was an ideal destination for travellers, a place where treasure hunters could satisfy their greed and paladins would seethe with rage. As a dimension it was the ultimate embodiment of lawful evil, laced with the cold, harsh cruelty of schemes and ploys.
It was the garden of various devils, including bearded devils, horned devils, ice devils, barbed devils, pit fiends and countless others. They had a hierarchy here, and apart from the devils were also hellcats, hellhounds, imps, kytons, dream eaters, demonic beasts, and even humans!
The devils of the Nine Hells abided by a hierarchical system, with status obtained through schemes and ruthless action.
“The Nine Hells of Baator, the endless abyss, and the everlasting Underdark. The underground planes of the World of Gods…” All wizards were erudite. On top of that, Leylin had Beelzebub’s memories and researched this land before, so his knowledge of and familiarity with the Nine Hells exceeded even that of those in the celestial planes.
‘Baator has a total of nine levels, a place for fallen souls. Legends say that it was once part of the abyss, from which it later separated itself. The ruler in name is Asmodeus.’ Information on Baator surfaced in Leylin’s mind.
Although Asmodeus was hailed the Supreme of the Nine Hells, he only had control over the Ninth Hell, Nessus, a plain filled with canyons deeper than any marine trench. His control over the other eight hells was limited.
Rumours said that Asmodeus had ascended to his throne through countless battles. He’d schemed his way along, putting together an epic army consisting of pit fiends and greater devils, securing his seat as the leader of the Nine Hells with the assistance of the overlords of each level.
According to Leylin’s own understanding Asmodeus did not have much control over the other hells. The overlords of each level were about the same ranking as him. Of course, Asmodeus himself wouldn’t admit to this matter, making efforts to stand out amongst the rest.
As the most powerful of Archdevils, Asmodeus had unparalleled strength. He was not inferior to any of the greater gods. He’d expanded his influence over Baator in the past several thousand years, showing his wild ambition to unite it all.
When Beelzebub had gone missing from the second level, he’d grasped the chance to strengthen his control of it. Of course, the six remaining Archdevils did not agree. Jealous of Asmodeus, they’d employed a series of ploys until the Nine Hells had reached a miraculous balance. That was, of course, until Leylin flew in like a butterfly— No, he was a Tyrannosaurus Rex that would disrupt the scales. The forces here now had a new variable to consider!
‘There are eight Archdevils in Baator, with the first level being in a common area that is the frontline of bloody battles. There’s even some gods who’ve housed their divine kingdoms here, like the Kobold God Kurtulmak and the Shark God Sekolah. On top of that, due to the battles with the demons Asmodeus has a great amount of influence here. The Dark Eight, his eight generals, are stationed in this place…
‘As for the second level, Dis, it’s a place I’m extremely familiar with. It was Beelzebub’s fief, and right now he’s probably hiding somewhere inside, deep in slumber…’
With most of his divinity and divine force devoured, Beelzebub had sustained serious injuries. He was recovering even if slowly, with chances of a complete recovery. After all, he was the Archdevil of this level, someone loved by the will of Baator. The fortunes he’d amassed would be enough to tide him through this crisis.
However, Leylin aimed to complete devouring Beelzebub, taking everything in his position!
‘The third level of hell is Minauros, a filthy marsh ruled by Mammon the Lord of Greed. Legends say that if one is tainted by the greed and corruption there, they will sink deep into the marsh and eventually get swallowed by it…’
“The rest of their levels have their owners as well, with Asmodeus in the ninth…’ Leylin counted on his fingers, ‘Eight Archdevils, plus a few gods and the pit fiends on the First Hell. They’re the strongest in all of Baator…’
These people were exceptionally powerful, and they also had their own forces behind them. Someone able to grow their influence in hell itself was no easy character, capable of many ploys and conspiracies.
However, the more this was true, the more burning desire Leylin felt.
“I really want… really want to kill them all…” Leylin had never shied away from powerful enemies and unimaginable difficulty. On the contrary, such things only ignited his fighting spirit and his confidence. He would amass his strength steadily, and finally defeat them in one fell swoop!
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