Much like fire itself, Belial’s Duchies tend to flicker and change.
This is in large part due to Belial’s nasty habit of abolishing any Duchy whose Duke might make a bid for a Princedom. Certain vacancies (like the Duke of Brimstone) will always be re-filled, though the new Duke will be expected and required to start building their province in a different part of Sheol from the old one. Others posts (like the Duchess of Natria) may go centuries or more before Belial gets around to refilling them.
Because of the frequent turnover at the top, Belial’s Servitors are accustomed to quick promotion. This in turn breeds a great deal of ambition, which only goes to fuel Belial’s fears that his senior servitors have all set their sights on attaining a Princedom of their own.
Like many of the more traditional Princes, Belial’s Duchies are tied to infernal territory and not the demon’s word. However, given the way in which the Flames aggressively pursue promotion, only a Wordbound demon is going to be able to hold a Duchy for more than a couple of years. Most others won’t even get promoted in the first place.
Duchies of the Burning Ground
These tend to be among the larger duchies within Belial’s domain. This means that turnover and ambition are quite high among the ruling demons. At any given time as many as half of these duchies will be in ruins though typically it’ll only be 2 or 3.
Duke of Brimstone
This is both the largest and most persistent duchy in Sheol. Even when Belial destroys it, a new Duke will quickly emerge and the domain will grow back to its original size. This is due in no small part to steady stream of essence coming in from sermons in the revivalist tradition. The post is typically held by one of the Habbalah.
House colors: Yellow & Blue
Associated smell: Rotting eggs
Duchess of Magnesia
The Duchy of Magnesia is so brilliantly and luminously white that it is sometimes known as False Heaven. New souls are often brought here to blind them before leading them to their everlasting torment. Unlike other duchies of the burning ground, Magnesia does not move, though it is sometimes absorbed into other duchies. The post is typically held by a Balseraph.
House colors: Gray and Painfully Bright White
Duchess of Phosphor
This sadistic Duchess delights in making incendiaries out of humans and other animals. She has been particularly active in the most recent bout of holy wars. The Duchy has been known to extend to the burning waters from time to time. She is often one of Belial’s most senior Shedim.
House colors: White & Green
(White occasionally replaced with Red, Yellow, or Violet)
Associated smell: Garlic
Duke of Pitchblende
This province is home to many of Sheol’s nuclear researchers. No molten pools or burning buildings required here (though both exist), the radiation poisoning is affliction enough for the damned stuck here. Unlike other duchies of the burning ground, Pitchblende does not move, though it is sometimes absorbed into other duchies. The Duke is often a Calabite.
House colors: Slate & Glowing Green
Duke of Selene (Furfur)
Selene is the only duchy that is definitely in ruins right now. Belial destroyed it in the wake of Furfur’s promotion and he has no plans to invest a new duke any time soon.
House colors: Red, Black & Azure
Associated smell: Rotting radishes
Duchess of Soot
The Duchy of Soot has passed through many, many hands – which in the service of Belial is generally an indicator of high status and competent administration. It is a province of mining and industry. Rather than throw souls into pools of fire, they are typically pressed into work gangs. The Duchess of Soot is often a Lilim or Habbalah.
House colors: Black, Blue & Crystal Clear
Duke of Stone
This is a very new duchy and still fairly weak. However, the Duke has a chance to claim the area of electrical fires now that the Duchy of Selene has been destroyed. The current Duke is an Impudite.
House colors: Silver and Rose
Duke of Thermite
Thermite is Sheol’s greatest Metropolis. It is usually located on the border with Hades, though like most duchies of fire it can move about between administrations. The Dukes favor great burning skyscrapers of iron that serve as both torture and tenement for those who die to urban violence.
House colors: Rust & Gold
Duchies of the Burning Waters
The burning Caldera of Phlegethon and the river that it feeds are permanent features of Sheol. As such, there is always a Duke Phlegethon. On the rare occasions when Belial needs to depose him or her, he will often split the duchy into two or more pieces and watch to see if one of the replacements consolidates power too quickly.
Duke of Phlegethon
The Duchy of Phlegethon is one of the most stable in hell. So long as the Duke stays focused on punishing the damned (and disfavored), he is unlikely to become the subject of Belial’s wrath and paranoia. The post is typically filled by a Djinn, though some Calabim have held it as well.
House color: Blood Red
Associated smell: Grilled Meat
Naptha was once East Phlegethon, but one of Belial’s more crafty Dukes traded his rights in the caldera of the volcano for control of Lord Phlegethon’s tethers. The duchy is awash in oilfields (and oil fires), and still contests Phlegethon’s control over the streams and rivers of Sheol. Djinn do not do well as Lords of Naphtha, but any other band would fit.
House colors: Black, Orange, Blue, and Iridescence
Associated smell: Victory
Duchies of the Burning Woods
Near where Sheol meets Shal Mari there is a massive forest fire that never goes out. Servitors of Haagenti love to raid the forests charred souls burnt “in the wild” and brands of burning wood to fuel their ovens. At any given time the woods will be administered by between one and three dukes (depending on how many of the duchies Belial has destroyed). Two is the typical number.
Duchess of Natria
As close to a “nondescript” duchy as Sheol can have. The administration is on better terms with the neighboring Shal-Mari than most. Often a Lilim or Impudite.
House colors: Silver & Yellow
Duke of Potash
This forested duchy is home to Sheol’s caustic hot springs. Damned souls are often dipped inside to produce artisinal soaps. Often a Shedite or Lilim.
House colors: Copper, Silver & Violet
Duchess of Saltpetre
The economy of this duchy is driven as much by arms as by souls and essence. No one produces more small arms munitions than the Duchess of Saltpetre. The post is often held by Impudites.
House Saltpetre: Black, White & Violet
Long Burning Embers
Lords go in and out of favor so quickly in Belial’s court that most of hell cannot bothered to keep up. However, there are three duchies that have persistently been near the top of the list, and their lords will generally get a great deal of respect from Hell at large.
Even when out of favor, the Duke of Brimstone is typically considered to be Belial’s number two. The Prince may slap down (or destroy) Brimstone frequently, but there are few dukes who can hope to compete with whomever holds this post.
If Brimstone is Number 2, Phelegethon is Number 3. He controls a large, spiritually significant territory. The post is also typically held by a loyalist without (much) ambition beyond his current station. While Brimstone would likely take over if anything happened to the Prince of Fire, it’s the Duke of Phelegethon who is typically tapped as Viceroy when Belial is unavailable.
The triumvirate of “senior” Dukes is rounded out the Duchess of Soot. She tries to stay out of the politics of Fire, and has just enough ambition that Belial is glad to keep her out.
Most of Belial’s Duchies have been named after Elements that are particularly well known for their flammable properties. The Alkali Metals and Polyatomic Nonmetals are particularly well represented, though there are a few others as well.
The house colors are based on the element’s physical appearance and flame color.
- Brimstone = Sulfur
- Naptha = “Sticky” Hydrocarbons
- Natria = Sodium
- Potash = Potassium
- Phosphor = Phosphorus
- Pitchblende = Uranium
- Saltpeter = Potassium (again!)
- Selene = Selenium
- Soot = Carbon
- Stone = Lithium
- Thermite = Iron (more specifically, rust)