"Malicious": In Hell, circa 150 A.D., Lucifer Morningstar shows the enemy: the Spectre, who is now bonded with a human named Caraka. The demon Shaitan asks Lucifer whether the presence of the Spectre simply guarantees that Hell will lose a war it was destined to lose in any case. Lucifer
- We all like to think that our sins are the blackest, the deeoest, the vilest. That our sins are greater than God's mercy, silly ego stuff, really.
Appearing in "Malicious"
- The Spectre ("Caraka") (Flashback only)
- Lucifer Morningstar (Flashback only)
- Shathan the Eternal (Flashback only)
- Belial, Archduke of Hell (Flashback only)
- Azmodus ("Caraka" (male) & "Sekuba" (female): split souls) (Origin)
- William Martindale (Azmodus' host)
- Devi (Flashback only)
- Bankim (Flashback only)
Synopsis for "Malicious"
In Hell, circa 150 A.D., Lucifer Morningstar shows the enemy: the Spectre, who is now bonded with a human named Caraka. The demon Shaitan asks Lucifer whether the presence of the Spectre simply guarantees that Hell will lose a war it was destined to lose in any case. Lucifer concedes nothing, and he orders his various demons to neutralize this threat; a higher place in hell awaits the victor. Secretly, Lucifer knows their task is impossible, but it will at least keep them busy and give them less time to scheme against him.
Shaitan thinks it would be easier to seduce the Spectre, rather than trying to directly destroy him. He summons Sekuba, his succubus. He tells Sekuba to teach the Spectre to despair and revolt against Heaven. Shaitan plans to make the Spectre his ally to counteract Lucifer's smugness.
In India, the Spectre enters the court of Chadhandra, the sultan, and accuses him of shedding innocent blood in his lust for power. The sultan, however, was prepared for the Spectre; Belial, Archduke of Hell, steps out from behind the sultan and battles the Spectre. The Spectre defeats Belial without much effort and then kills the sultan.
Sekuba appears and attempts to seduce the Spectre, but he rejects her. Then Sekuba shows him the bones of Brahma. Caraka's god is dead, yet Caraka still attends his duties. The Spectre rejects this vision as a lie, so Sekuba takes him elsewhere. She shows him the future, when cities grow large but within are nothing but decay; evil grows and thrives despite his actions. Again, the Spectre rejects the vision as a lie. Sekuba then shows him an Indian village, where a leprous woman is being stoned. However, Sekuba shows him that in a previous life, the woman was Devi, his wife. Sekuba explains that she, along with Caraka himself, was meant to reach nirvana—but without her husband at her side she despaired, and this led to her decay. The Spectre cannot take it, so he intervenes to save his wife from the stoning. But he is too late, and her soul departs. The Spectre is furious, and he threatens to destroy the entire village. Sekuba shows him someone more deserving of his rage: a thief who has murdered someone in the street. The Spectre then realizes that he recognizes the murderer—it was his son, Bankim. Sekuba tells the Spectre that the gods are mocking him. Nevertheless, the Spectre performs his duty and kills his son. But he says that humanity itself is diseased, and he vows to destroy the world in fire. A god appears and informs the Spectre that the destruction of the world is not in his purview. The Spectre then says he will destroy the gods themselves. However, the god defeats the Spectre and says, "Thou art humbled and defeated, rebellious one. Thou wouldst do well to contemplate forgiveness." But the Spectre says he will forgive no one. The god also recognizes Sekuba's role in the Spectre's recent actions. He strips the Spectre of his power and tells him another host will be found. He then joins Caraka and Sekuba together so that they may be tormented forever. He says, "Thy name shall now be Azmodus, and you shall eat the shadows and see the joys you have forgone." Azmodus vows to harass the new Spectre; if he is to be miserable, he will teach misery to others.
In the present day, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Father Craemer is putting up Christmas decorations. Azmodus, in the body of William Martindale, appears at the church and threatens to kill Father Craemer. By depriving the Spectre of his human anchor, Azmodus intends to drive him insane. Father Craemer is not afraid, though. He only pities Azmodus. Craemer explains that Azmodus does not have to ask for forgiveness, because God has already forgiven him. Azmodus has a far deeper problem: he must accept forgiveness. Azmodus admits that he is not strong enough to do that.
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