Article by Keith Robinson
Posted April 2 2013 in Zinedoms Vol 3
When the nine children of Eradu awoke and first walked upon the land of Damarkan, it was divided between them so they could do with it as they pleased and make for themselves homes built in their own image. To the beautiful Desdimar went Golgoria, and to the stout Kavak went the rugged mountains of Canath, while the wise Shylar took the mysterious forest of Henipur. Themex preferred the deep ocean of Rysor for his home and to Onnus went Thoran, which overlooked the land of Golgoria where his love, Desdimar, dwelt. Voln claimed Talokas as her own and to Olmus went to Mulhata. And to the brooding Gort went Herophet.
At first, Herophet was bright place, filled with a pleasant breeze and trees and flowers given to Gort by Shylar, which she had taken from her home in Henipur. It was never a beautiful place as Gort spent little time working on it, preferring to spend his time in the company of Desdimar, who he loved. Nonetheless it was a pleasant enough place. This changed after Desdimar declared her love for Onnus. Gort was sent into a wild rage of jealousy and his heart blackened with hatred. Because the lands the Aslah choose for their homes are bound to them, so Herophet also began to turn dark. The pleasant wind became chafing and things of beauty slowly withered and died. The flowers dried and turned to dust and the trees smoldered under the hot skies, which began to scorch the lands.
The real horrors of what lay inside Gort’s fortress located at the heart of Herophet were revealed to the other Aslah after Gort murdered Desdimar’s and Onnus’ baby. After chasing him back to Herophet, Gort unleashed his army of devils against them and though the Aslah defeated them, Gort caused all the land of Herophet to shake until the land cracked and ruptured. Molten fire poured from the depths of Herophet and filled the whole land, until even the sky itself seemed to burn. The other Aslah retreated and Herophet was sundered from Damarkan as a punishment for his evil ways. To preserve a connection between Damarkan and Herophet, Themex called forth the waters of Rysor to create the River Mothex which connected the two dimensions and which now spans all of known universe.
Gort continued to extend his bleak and brooding Citadel, until it was a foul and truly dreadful place without joy or hope. All those that looked upon it fell into despair. Gort also dug deep into the burning rocks under his citadel, creating a maze of sinister, bleak tunnels where his dreadful servants lived. It was here where prisoners were held, tortured and driven insane, and where those who had made a pact with Gort would eventually wind up, miserable servants to evil in perpetuity. It was in the darkest places of these dungeons that Gort brought forth his vile creations and from where he made his instruments of war. And always he dug deeper, the weary and tormented slaves forced to do his bidding, digging ever downwards where he created new worlds inside his own, all terrible places filled with his malice and spite. These worlds he gave to his greatest and most powerful servants and so were the Seven Hells of Herophet forged.
At the topmost of the hells sits the most vile and terrible of all, Herophet itself, where the Lord of all evil sits and from where all his evil and malice flows into the cosmos. Below Herophet, forming the second in a series of layers, is the frozen wastelands of Hul, followed by the boiling lands of Thyro, the frozen and windswept Karsia, the bottomless pit of Tuska, the ocean of magma that is Valvara, and finally the deepest of the seven hells, the frozen world of Gorodin. Although many of these are now homes to Aslah, all still serve the one true Lord of Herophet.
Herophet itself is a fiery wasteland, filled with rivers of magma and blistering, cracked mountains out of which lava falls as molten waterfalls. The land is almost entirely barren – a blackened, charred and cracked landscape where geysers spout hot gasses or volcanic debris, sometimes hundreds of meters into the sky. Pellets of sticky fire fall from the skies instead of rain and the sky itself is filled with combustible gases that burn and explode. Despite this, many things live amongst this terrible landscape. Mostly these are creatures straight out of the dungeons of Herophet, including the many devils that make up the majority of the population. Devils are obscene and vile creatures, filled with all the evil their maker poured into them. They are the corrupted souls of once living creatures, many of whom were captured, enslaved and eventually condemned into servitude. Others have joined the ranks willingly as servants of evil whose greed and desire for power were purchased at a high price.
There have only been three Lords of Herophet. The first was Gort, whose heart and hands forged the fiery hell it has since become and who poured all his evil and terror into it. Gort was murdered by his son, Hakkan, who became the second Lord of Herophet. Hakkan was its longest master and oversaw not only the peak of Herophet’s power, but who also secured dominion over much of Arrasia in an alliance with Amman, an evil empire who controlled much of the known world. Hakkan was killed by Fandor and for a period of time the throne of Herophet remained empty. During this time the powerful Aslah Zykerathox was made Steward of Herophet, until the time a new Lord emerged. In a twist of irony, Zykerathox masterminded his own rise to the throne, becoming the third Lord of Herophet after seeing off challenges from Hith, Gygafrak and Tettungba. Zykerathox is now intent on being the greatest Lord of Herophet yet and has unleashed his armies against Arrasia with the sole intent of being master of all.