Lady Proserpine/The Dark Place
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Dark Place, and Related Subjects
The Dark Place: The Dark Place, called Hades by the Greeks, is a series of interconnected planes that lie parallel to the material plane of Earth. Each plane of the Dark Place is intended for different sorts of souls after death. The Dark Place is just one of the many afterlife planes; there are infinitely more, such as the Judeo-Christian Heaven and Hell, the Egyptian Offering Fields, and the Norse Valhalla and Niflheim. The Dark Place is ruled by the aptly named Dark Lady, called Persephone by the Greeks. Her husband, the king Hades, has grown cold and distant, and is no longer interested in maintaining the realm. In his stead, the queen has taken the high throne, and brought the Dark Place into the modern era. She can usually be seen dressed in a navy blue pantsuit. The Dark Place is entirely encircled by two rivers, the Styx and the Acheron. The Styx is a frigid river of ice and blackness, while the Acheron is a bright river of flowing flame. The gods they represent are a married couple who have existed since the dawn of time, and both reside in Elysium.
Asphodel: The first plane of the Dark Place, Asphodel is an expanse of open fields and mountainous woods, shrouded in mist and darkness. The Dark Lady lives here, in a large palace at the center of the plane. She is attended by Lethe and Mnemosyne, the goddesses of forgetfulness and memory, respectively. Each one is the embodiment of a river that flows through Asphodel. The River Lethe allows deceased souls to forget their mortal lives, while the River Mnemosyne reverses the process. The Asphodel Palace has been remodeled into a facsimile of a modern office building, and is often called Headquarters. In a large parlour on the upper floor, the Lady often entertains various deities from a multitude of cosmologies. Also calling Asphodel home are the three judges of the Dark Place; Aeacus, Rhadamanthys, and Minos. They are supervised by Themis, goddess of justice. All deceased are brought before the judges to determine in which plane of the Dark Place their soul will be staying for the rest of eternity. In the darkest, quietest corner of Asphodel live the three Moirae; Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. It is there where the Fates of mortal men and women on Earth are decided.
Tartarus: The most infamous plane of the Dark Place, Tartarus is a wide sprawl of deep canyons and valleys wreathed in flame, with volcanic eruptions arising from the surface at nigh random. It is classified as an infernal plane. Here, those souls with wicked and cruel hearts are punished for the rest of time. Several goddesses make their home in Tartarus, the most notable being Hecate, goddess of magic , crossroads, and the waning moon. The most dedicated follower of the Lady, she is attended by her servants, the empusae, or succubi. Also dwelling in Tartarus is the goddess Nemesis, arbiter of vengeance. Nemesis decides adequate punishments for criminals, and sends her agents the Erinyes to complete these tasks. The Erinyes, also called Furies or Eumenedies ("Kindly Ones"), are fearsome warrior women who have often been called devils simply because of their cunning and tenacity. To incur the wrath of the Erinyes is to doom oneself to a life of torture and misery. Tartarus itself is ruled by two lesser demons, the imp Satanus and the empusa Lilith. In other cosmologies, versions of these two have held significant power, however in the Dark Place they are but sycophants to the Lady, and altogether of little import.
Elysium: Elysium is not the classic heavenly plane, but it is a fine substitute. An endless grassy plain, full of beautiful flowers and overarching trees, Elysium is a place of joy and reward. Those with truly heroic and just hearts are brought to Elysium after death. They are granted the unique chance at reincarnation, a process not given out lightly, and which the Dark Lady only allows to those who meet Elysian standards. Elysium is home to Acheron and Styx, who live together at the mouths of their respective rivers. It is also the final resting place of many great heroes of past and present, from Achilles to Martin Luther King, Jr. The Dark Lady visits Elysium on occasion in an attempt to recapture her youth as the maiden Kore, and to a certain degree, it brings her happiness. Elysium is also the home of the Protogonoi, the gods and goddesses who are the forebears of the current generation. They live in a tall palace to the south of the plane, and are usually left undisturbed.
The Isles of the Blessed: The most mysterious plane of the Dark Place, the Isles of the Blessed are not seen by most, and in fact, it is said that the Dark Lady herself has visited the Isles on very few occasions. In the extremely rare event that a soul in Elysium chooses to be reincarnated, and suceeds in reaching Elysium twice more, he or she is sent to live out eternity on the Isles. This plane is ruled by Harmonia, goddess of peace, who was once, in an age long since gone by, the first mortal to reach it.
The Reapers (also called the Keres): The emissaries and agents of the Dark Lady, the Reapers are many in number, if dissimilar in power. Though most of the Reapers live in Asphodel full-time, working in the office Headquarters, the Dark Lady has made a point to send those she feels have the highest potential for field work in major cities. They have numerous responsibilities, with the most important being to gently shuttle the souls of the dead from their mortal forms on Earth, across the River Styx, to the judging chamber in Asphodel. Each of the Reapers has been Chosen for a specific reason, one which the Dark Lady does not usually share with them. All female, the Reapers have been gifted with incredible height and a body in peak physical condition. They do not age, and do not die of natural causes, a system which the Dark Lady calls "accounting for [her] own". They can be killed in battle, however, and on rare occasion a mortal will stave off death by slaying the Reaper who has come to retrieve them. Most Reapers, despite their extended lifespan, die young. Their job is one of combat and danger. When one Reaper is killed, another is Chosen to replace her. The one notable exception is the position of Lady Proserpine, which was left vacant for centuries following the disastrous run of one Countesse Erzsebet Bathory, infamous as the most prolific female serial killer of all time, who was driven mad by her lust for the power of the Lady. Bathory was later stripped of her duties and imprisoned in Tartarus.
While training in the use of her powers, each Reaper wears the uniform of her station, a skintight bodysuit with an intricately crafted cowl. Each Reaper's uniform has differently colored accents, echoing their superhuman powers. Lady Proserpine, for example, wore pale blue accents to signify her power over ice. Each is also marked as the Dark Lady's servant through their hair and skin, the former being a deep ebony and the latter appearing like polished alabaster. The Reapers each have the title of Lady, and are given the name of a god or goddess of the Dark Place. Often they will draw power from their patron, and this is a service the Dark Lady requires in exchange for allowing said gods to live in her realm. Once a Reaper has proven herself as a trained and powerful warrior, she is given an enchanted suit of armor, called the Mantle, which grants her added protection. Though an invaluable resource, this armor is cumbersome and is usually only worn to face extremely difficult foes. Upon recieving the Mantle, which is formed from their training uniform, the Reapers are granted the choice of wearing whatever they wish into combat, though it is preferred that they wear their signature colors.