|Landmarks||Fields of Fire|
Hell, in many religious traditions, is a place of suffering and punishment in an afterlife, often after resurrection. Hell is located under the Earth's external surface and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Hell is distinguished from heaven, purgatory, paradise, and limbo and is the home world of demons.
Hell is surrounded by a dark forest where various beasts that represent the sins of the person wandering within it's canopy. Sunlight cannot peirce the trees to illuminate the path of traveler. However, there is a trail that leads one to an arch-way. Inscribed on the arch are the words;
Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.
When one passes through the arch, they enter the Ante-Hell.
The inscribed arch into Hell cannot be seen behind one once one has passed through it.
The beginning of Upper Hell, Ante-Hell (also described as "Nowhere") lies outside the River Acheron, a fast-moving river of ink-black water. The shore of the river is a shiny mud flat that shades into a flat field of dirt that appears to stretch inland for about two miles to some low brown hills. The hills run up against a high wall that stretches off in both directions to the limit of visibility; it is just about possible to see this wall curving inwards at the limits of visibility. It is hard to tell how large or far away the wall is, and it is impossible to reach anyway. Invisible biting insects sting irritatingly. Underfoot, worms write in the soil in an unknown script.
Anyone who has any contact whatsoever with the River Acheron will be trapped forever in the river, very cold and very uncomfortable, aware and unable to move.
This Vestibule is the place where those who would make no choices in life, "who lived a life but lived it with no blame and no praise", are condemned to spend their eternity. This includes those too self-absorbed to make choices, those who were neither warm nor cold on important matters, those who were neither believers nor blasphemers. They run about the hills of Ante-Hell forever having no hope of truly dying, chasing banners they will never catch, and being stung repeatedly by hornets and wasps. An example of such a person who refused to make decisions in his life would be Pontius Pilate, who refused to pass sentence of Christ.
Some people, such as self-absorbed agnostics, end up trapped in a bronze jar in the Vestibule. These jars, of varying sizes, are scattered about the field of dirt; the voices of those trapped inside can be faintly heard through the walls of the jars.
A wooden jetty protrudes out into the River Acheron, from which Charon, a tall, wiry old man with a long white beard and eyes like glowing coals, poles a ferry across the Acheron to the First Circle of Hell. He will carry everyone who wishes to cross, but will chastise those who displease him with the pole with which he propels the ferry (that is, beat them senseless). The ferry is a low punt-like boat that can hold many more people than it seems it should be able to.
From here, Hell is broken into Circles representing each sin
Circles One though Five: Incontinence of DesireEdit
Circle One: LimboEdit
Circle Two: LustEdit
Circle Three: Gluttony
Circle Four: Hoarders and Thrifters
Circle Five: Wrathful and Sullen
Circle Six: The City of DisEdit
The city known as Dis is a huge white marble mausoleum, a maze of corridors about five metres wide and nearly as high. The air inside is cool, despite the heat outside. Sweet, sprightly, insipid music plays, its volume never changing - nature themes, melodramatic sweetness, singing violins and the like - never funeral dirges or sombre tones. In some places within the mausoleum every wall is covered with square-cut marble slabs each of which has a brass plate listing name, birth date and date of death, sometimes with an insipid poem. Behind each slab is imprisoned an unbeliever; rapping on the slab can sometimes summon their shade forth. In other places the walls are lined with densely-packed niches, each with an urn in it. In yet others there are short alcoves with huge, ornate tombs in various styles, copies of the real tombs or crypts of the person imprisoned inside. After a while there one begins to hear groans, whimpers, rage, curses and so on coming from inside the tombs where people are trapped. Some of the corridors of the mausoleum lead back to the iron walls of Dis. There are the same sort of information windows on the inside as the outside. Other halls lead to the drop-off into the Seventh Circle.
Circle Seven: The ViolentEdit
This circle is broken up into rings, as violence can take many forms. The guardian of this circle is the Minotaur, a half-bull, half-man hybrid of pure anger.
In the first Ring, which lies directly below the edge of the Sixth Circle, are found those who were violent to their neighbours in life, whether it be from malice, homicide, or plundering. It consists entirely of the River Phlegethon (also known as the River Phlegyas), a river of boiling blood. Its smell is overpowering, fresh blood and clotted blood, copper bright and polluted foul.
As they wallowed in blood during their lives, so in Hell those condemned here are immersed in boiling blood forever, the depth of each according to the degree of his guilt, while fierce centaurs and the damned souls of people who had to be violent as part of their duty, but who enjoyed it, patrol the banks, ready to shoot with their arrows and other weapons any sinner who raises himself out of the boiling blood beyond the limits permitted him. The depth of the blood varies from ankle-deep to over a person's head. The sinners condemned to the banks wear the uniforms they wore in life, from all periods of history; their eyes are dull, expressionless and intent on their task.
In the second Ring of the Seventh Circle are found those who raised a hand against themselves, such as in suicide, or those who gamble all their wealth away and weep when they should have rejoiced.
Those who were violent against themselves are eternally destroyed by Harpies in the Wood of the Suicides, a dark, deathly forest of tangled trees with black leaves. The souls of the suicides are encased in thorny trees that are constantly torn at by the odious Harpies, the overseers of these damned. When the Harpies feed upon them, damaging their leaves and limbs, the wounds bleed. Only as long as the blood flows are the souls of the trees able to speak. Thus, they who destroyed their own bodies are denied human form; and just as the supreme expression of their lives was self destruction, so they are permitted to speak only through that which tears and destroys them. Only through their own blood do they find voice.
Running through the wood are the Violent Wasters, people who would prove their wealth in life by destroying their possessions. They are pursued by packs of wild dogs. If the dogs catch those they chase they tear them apart.
Interspersed throughout the Wood of Suicides are areas of modern wasteland, filled with all known examples of human pollution. Here are the modern version of the Violent Wasters, the Polluters. Some are chased by animated bulldozers; some are condemned to work in slime-belching factories just like those they owned and profited from in life; some assemble pointless gadgets while others dissemble the same gadgets and pass the parts back for re-assembly. Parts of these wastelands are riven by gullies with filthy rubbish-strewn water at the bottom. Some lie in pools of oil, pecked incessantly by oil-smeared birds. Noxious gases and pollutants waft across these areas too, up to and including nerve gas. There is a constant sound of wailing, roaring motors and clanking machines.
The stream of boiling blood from the Phlegethon flows down through this Ring.
In the third and final Ring of the Seventh Circle are condemned those who were violent against God in life, either by cursing God's name or by despising Nature and God's bounty. Sinners in this Ring include blasphemers, usurers and sodomites. They are stranded forever on the Plain of Burning Sand where it constantly rains great burning flakes of fire which vanish when they hit the ground, but not when they hit the flesh of sinners. This region is also known as The Abominable Sands. "The symbolism of the burning plain is obviously centred in sterility... and wrath."