The Master of Malice
Dis the Infernal City, Sixth Circle of Hell – Myles Brand – the ruler of the fifth circle of Hell, the Stygian King, known to many as Gulygon the Terrible, the Tyrant of Man, the Betrayer of Hope and president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) – yesterday completed his bid for power by adding the sixth circle of Hell to his already vast holdings.
Brand, Devourer of Souls and former president of Indiana University and the University of Oregon, seized the important city of Dis after a well staged attack on the fortress of despair’s former ruler, Dagon, Lord of Flies. The coup began well before the rise of Hell’s blazing, blood red globe of withering flame, with the NCAA president and Destroyer of Cities leading his chitinous troops through the gates of Dis.
“The unfortunate situation created by [Dagon, Lord of Flies] and his gross negligence concerning one of the greatest institutions of Hell has forced Our hand,” Brand read from a prepared speech at a press conference held at his new blood soaked throne room. “We regret the harsh and swift nature of Our judgment, but after a thorough analysis We can only come to the conclusion that the infernal city of Dis deserves new management.”
Dagon and his elite regiment of half-spider, half-snake soldiers were caught completely unaware of the assault partly due to Brand’s recent insistence that the Lord of Flies observe all of the regular rules and procedures normally used to mediate disputes between demon princes. The Many Eyed One was preoccuppied with filling out form 42A-B in triplicate when the pre-dawn raid struck.
“I was trying to file the damn paperwork with Lucifer [Morningstar, the Adversary and Ruler of all Hell], but [Brand] and his cronies are in charge of that shit. Nice job if you can get it, especially if you’re planning a full trans-planar assaut. It’s not like I wasn’t prepared, it’s just that [Brand] is so fucking good at that shit. He kept saying, ‘No, no, We can’t come to any decision yet. It’s held up in committee. Even We must observe the rules.’”
“Can you believe that? He’s even using the royal ‘we’, like he was the sole ruler of all nine layers of the Pit. If Lucifer only knew what that guy was saying behind his back, I swear to Satan they would let Cerberus gnaw the flesh from his bones. Excuse me, ‘His’ bones,” Dagon said from his place chained above a bubbling cauldron of acid.
Brand’s erratic, sometimes baffling behavior is not without precedent. In 2004, he denied athletic eligibility to University of Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom and University of Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams despite popular sentiment – and plenty of reasonable extenuating circumstancs – to reinstate them. He followed that up by mandating that all torture devices be safety approved by his own hand picked committee of low level demons and an assortment of boot licking ghouls.
“That safety bit, what the hell is up with that?” Hastur the Blighted said. Hastur is a goat headed devil in charge of the fire pits of Asmodeus, and is now entering its sixth millennia as a caretaker of the infamous sources of lava and flame. “Look, I understand that all things, even a place as inherently anarchic and chaotic as Hell, need a measure of order to them. But [Brand] is just ridiculous. We spent two centuries checking every nob, spike and blood caked leather strap on every thing we’ve got here. Because Hell is an infinite place I’m not even sure how we managed to go over every little iron maiden, but we did. And you know what he said? ‘Sorry, not up to par. We’re going to have to order newer models.’”
“Newer models? Have you ever seen a Salvador Dali painting with a rack from the Sharper Image? No, you haven’t. First of all, safety is the exact opposite purpose of these machines. And secondly, that really sucked about Mike Williams and that Bloom guy. Man, [Brand]’s such a dick,” Hastur said.
Brand’s unique case of megalomania blossomed shortly after his seizure of the River Styx over two eons ago. As the main trans-planar tributary of the Pit of Despair, the River Styx was and is a hotly disputed stretch of real estate that runs from the suicide woods all the way to the gates of Dis itself. Since adding the great river to his assets Brand has taken every one of the coins traditionally given to Styx’s boatman, Charon, as fare for the journey across; he also ceased the yearly sacrifice of a hundred unbelievers to the river.
Plutus, the Baron of Avarice and ruler of the fourth circle of Hell, is not surprised by any of Brand’s behavior.
“Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t want my job,” the wolf headed demon prince said. “I fall right down his alley: misers, the greedy and the insatiable. The guy has a classic case of rich man’s forgetfulness. With him it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re poor and you need my help? Oh, so sorry, you gotta do something for me first, and then maybe I’ll consider backstabbing you.’ Did you see that shit, the stuff about him taking away Charon’s benefits? That’s just wrong. Charon’s a good guy, old as dirt; the only thing he’s good for is poling around in that dinghy of his and picking up random fare. Same thing with the river itself; for thousands of years we fed it the faithless and the unbelievers to keep it nice and black and nasty. Then he comes around and decides it’s a ‘misallocation of resources’! All Brand wants to do is make money off any poor sucker he can, so long as he doesn’t have to pay them back.”
Plutus, Baron of Avarice, contemplates what a gigantic prick his Unholiness Myles Brand is
Since then he has generated untold amounts of wealth by letting various factions battle over small portions of the River Styx in order to stockpile the karmic energy such control would provide.
“It’s not a system we like, really, but it’s unfortunately all we have right now,” Baphomet the Bloated One said.
“Every year a splinter group or faction of devils or demons or what have you have a particularly good outing versus everyone else, and of course that means they get a shot at the best stretch of the Styx and theoretical control, right? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. It seems logical that the nastiest, fiercest underworlders should battle it out for the best property, but that’s not how he does it,” the Duke of Sloth and captain of the Agony Brigade gurgled. “He’s got the you-know-who damned New York Times tabulating strength of devilry and a bunch of other nonsense. How can you base it on your strength of devilry? What about the demons? I guess he just assumed they were going to use their “demonry” or something equally absurd. How fucking fair is that screw job? We all know devilry is overrated anyway, because the same group always somehow manages to get first choice of the riverbanks despite their obvious lack of devilry.”
“All we want is a system where the most vile, backstabbing, terrible groups amongst us can vie it out on the battle fields of Gehennon and settle this the way Satan intended it: with pitchforks and lots of acid spittle. Who wouldn’t want to see that? Myles Brand, Master of Malice, that’s who,” Baphomet burbled.
“Plus, what the fuck is so hard about implementing a college football playoff? It’s not like we’re asking a first year physics student whether Hell is exothermic or endothermic,” he added.
By adding the sixth circle to his list of assets, as well as the Infernal City of Dis, Brand has begun to solidify himself as one of the grand dukes of Hell. The Codex of the Damned lists only Asmodeus the Black, Beelzebub the Father of Lies, Skip Bayless and Lucifer as being higher in status than the bat winged, sword of flame wielding NCAA president.
“We are growing concerned with Myles,” Lucifer, Lord of the Pit of Despair, said yesterday from his throne room high atop the infinite peaks of the Pinnacle of Doom. “He is vexing Us mightily. We believe in the purity of pain and the delight of agony, yet the Scaly One [Brand] goes beyond all measure of such things. His desecration of helpless vestal virgins throughout the gray wastes of Limbo was terrible, even for Our standards. And do not even get Us started on the NCAA clearinghouse.”
Lucifer then shuddered.
“We do not know what lies ahead, for his acquisition of the sixth circle and Dis are dire portents indeed. We can only postulate that Hell, the worst place imaginable to the mortal mind, is about to get totally fucked up.”