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Phlegethos was the fourth layer of the Nine Hells. A blazing desolation of fire and lava, it contained the divine realm of Inanna, according to the Great Wheel cosmology.[5]

GeographyEdit

The layer's climate resembled the Elemental Plane of Fire. It was dominated by a scorching heat that ignited the air itself, creating seemingly sentient and aggressive flames that leapt at visitors but not at the residents. The ground had fissures that spewed jets of flame that flowed into rivers of liquid fire. It contained numerous volcanoes whose eruptive products flowed through rivers of lava into an incandescent ocean of magma.[2][6][7]

GovernmentEdit

Phlegethos was ruled jointly by Fierna and Belial, a partnership that was allowed by Asmodeus as an exception to the typical rule that each layer should only have one ruler.[7]

The layer was the center of the judicial system of the Nine Hells. All legal disputes involving devils were discussed in the Diabolical Court, an independent institution under Belial's supervision that only answered to Asmodeus. It was also in Phlegethos that the promotion or demotion of devils took place, through a ritual that temporarily made them vulnerable to the layer's flames.[7]

DefensesEdit

The city of Abriymoch held a reserve of 5,000 hamatulas under the command of the pit fiend Gazra, stationed there to serve as a line of defense in case demons managed to reach the layer.[2]

Notable LocationsEdit

  • Abriymoch, a city made of volcanic rock, obsidian, and crystal, located on the caldera of a volcano. It was said to have been built on top of the grave of a deity killed by Asmodeus. It contained numerous taverns and places for entertainment.[7]
  • Jealous Heart, realm of Inanna of the Untheric pantheon.[5][8] A vast field of crimson dust and rivers of blood, it was not as physically hot as the rest of the layer, but it awakened an equally hot passion for war in its visitors and inhabitants.[9]

Pit of FlameEdit

The Pit of Flame exemplified Phlegethos and Hell overall; it was a place of pain and punishment but also of pleasure and purification that blurred the lines between the two so heavily that it was difficult to tell where either ended. It was the volcanic center of Phlegethos, a massive lake of boiling filth that jettisoned columns of white flame hundreds of feet into the air. At first glance, this would seem harmless to the devils, most if not all of which were immune to fire, but not even devils could endure the agonizing flames of the pit.[6][1]

That was because the flames were not ordinary fire, but hellfire, a kind of unspeakably hot energy drawn from Hell itself that caused even those normally immune to extreme heat to writhe and convulse in unimaginable torment. Suspended above the columns were iron balls held in place by huge, cantilevered beams in which various devils were kept, the maintenance of which was partially kept by all archdevils as a form of paid subscription for using it.[6][1]

Osyluths, with the exception of pit fiends, could condemn devils that broke Baatorian law to the Pit of Flame, and devils of all layers could send their underlings there for disobedience or failure,[6][1] Asmodeus himself being known to send those who provoked his ire to years or torture at a time.[3] It was one of the worst punishments in Baator, one of the few threats that could make even most devils stammer in terror. At the same time, many devils, particularly the fierce and ambitious, were known to willingly subject themselves to the pain, either to prove their resilience, gain mental strength, redeem themselves with an act of penance or simply for the highs of ecstasy they somehow received from the torturous, purifying fire.[6][1]

Barbazus operated the beams, although they had been known to accept bribes to keep prisoners there longer than their stated sentence, while thousands of cornugons ensured that no devil escaped their judgement, forcing powerful devils into cages and making sure they weren't freed before their time was up.[6][1] The Pit was also used as a method of promotion and demotion for several devils, granting some with greater forms but reducing most to lesser beings.[7]

InhabitantsEdit

In addition to the vast hamatula and cornugon contingents, the layer was inhabited primarily by hell hounds, imps, and spinagons. Other planar creatures also made their home there, but the heavily guarded layer was not welcoming to strangers.[1]

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

ConnectionsEdit

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