Name: Herbert Mallory Wormsworth
Age: 1543 years old
Species: Allied Pride Demon
Strengths: Having previously worked as part of Pride’s legal defense team from within the Pit-based law firm of Cacus & Bune, Herbert was originally designed and raised in order to defend the morally indefensible and weasel his Vice’s representatives past Celestial objections in those rare instances where the Goat and his allies elected diplomacy over force. As such, you couldn’t find a more eloquent, silver-tongued or slippery legal rep in any of the known Planes. He chiefly manages to work by carrying the mantle of his clients’ Egoes, and using them to supplement his own sense of self-worth. Of course, being what he is, this means his own pride and self-respect is as effective a suit of armor as any set of Kevlar pads. Despite his plain looks as far as demons are concerned, Herbert is remarkably resilient and hard to effectively put down. Give him reason enough to focus on something other than self-preservation, and you’ll find yourself facing an improvisational, if still somewhat capable foe.
Still, as you could expect, his skills are largely centered around rhetoric. He prefers to talk down potential opponents, oftentimes with the addition of slight feats of teleportation or Hellfire-based matter displacement in order to turn a tense palaver into a deceptively casual round of chin-wagging, leather armchairs and whiskey tumblers in hand. As he stems from Pride’s more civilized corners, he oftentimes is able to take the raging needs and incoherent demands of more urgent opponents and frame them in civil and genteel constraints. The same goes for Heaven’s self-righteousness, which he effectively reframes as working, almost mercantile requests.
Lately, however, his association with Hope’s mortal contingent and his developing relationship with Lilith are making it increasingly clear that Pride’s crown has shifted, and that the days of the Black Goat leading the charge are long past. He, in the meantime, has demonstrated the beginnings of a fine sense of empathy, which he is somehow effectively marrying with his Vice’s innate snobbery. Kind, if airy sophistication seems to be enough to assuage the recent transplants from the Pit’s vanquished armies while still guaranteeing protection to the natives.
Weaknesses: as he effectively draws power from his own vain countenance, you could assume that blows dealt to his ego are as painful to him as actual physical strikes. Allies he drapes in the mantle of his own self-worth might earn an extra layer of kinetic padding, but Herbert’s nature makes it difficult for him to shrug off derogatory comments. He absolutely wants to look like any comments might roll off his back, but they tend to do the exact opposite. Friendly jabs are one thing, criticisms or mockery levied at him by an enemy both tend to dig deep and effectively feel as though someone were ripping immaterial chunks of flesh off of him. As any exorcist could tell you - ask Tom or Father Curran - demons associated with the sin of Pride tend to wither away the more they’re questioned or effectively dismissed. It certainly explains Herbert’s love of routine assisted pampering, which usually involves massage therapy, mani or pedicures, or expensively-procured trips to five-star restaurants on his lonesome. While he might not take things as literally or as carnally as incubi or succubi, there’s a certain degree of mental Onanism - or expensively-sourced self-care routines - that serves to keep his ego and power source well-fed.
Herbert is and has always been an unrepentant aesthete. Cut him off from sources of refinement, and you’ll be able to accurately chart the decrease of his overall arcane capabilities. It doesn’t quite help that as he embodies a relatively new facet of Pride, he doesn’t have access to the same wide massing of arcane potency that was his predecessor’s. If refinement is unavailable, then companionship is his last remaining source of sustenance. While he generally means well, odds are he’ll never be quite as selfless towards his friends as other local demons have proven to be. There’s always going to be some sense that lending a hand implies a certain level of reciprocation - not in terms of favors in need of being asked, but in how their requiring his assistance serves as a source of sustenance.
In essence, his variant of Pride thrives on being solicited, sought after or used, in some mechanical fashion. Time will tell if this will result in his planting his Name in modern grimoires the world over, or in simply making his resources more readily available to his friends and colleagues.
Appearance: with a long face, an extended naso-labial bridge and a weak chin, coupled with large eyes and supple lips, Herbert tends to be amongst the most expressive of Pride’s demons, almost to the point of caricature. Of course, it feels as though he’s been tailor-made to deliver glacial quips or droll splashes of sarcasm, as if no idea other than his own could ever be worthy of consideration. All smiles, even his kindest ones, tend to look syrupy and insincere, and his jagged teeth and contrasting Trans-Atlantic delivery all are fairly effective in making him come across as a native of Pride. Add a set of large and flight-capable wings, along with a spaded tail and a simple, if outrageously expensive gray tailored suit, and you earn something that’s less a gentleman’s potential oppressing spirit and more a form of self-infatuation and self-satisfaction made flesh, his skin’s coppery sheen turning clearer the more energized or empowered he becomes. A few minutes in his presence makes it clear that there’s a point where Pride and Greed both share a certain affection for material luxuries, for concrete signs of poise, success, power or confidence. For Herbert, this comes in the form of an endless supply of moleskine notebooks and Mont Blanc fountain pens, for on-the-fly tailoring jobs solicited at the favor of the slightest nick in an otherwise-wearable jacket, and for a polite, if unmistakable disdain for those restaurants and sources of food contained by Magnus Tower. Driving himself around similarly strikes him as being beneath him - and so does effectively flying about or relying on summoning circles. Despite him having earned Pride’s official mantle, he still prefers to have himself chauffeured about, with his first few summons serving more as requests to be put down on a real-time docket than as calls for immediate appearance.
Still, having learned much from Hope’s resistance, he’s learned to balance all that palpable self-importance with something hitherto alien to Pride; it being empathy. If someone he knows is in need and he happens to be nearby, he enjoys dropping by to shower his friend or friends with a myriad small attentions, his lover of recent months often tagging along to provide a stream of posh, witty, urbane and strangely kind blather. To Lilith go the more meaningful parts of any conversation, while what levels of gossip a Defense attorney can afford are Herbert’s to ply.
Behavior: Herbert is vain, self-centered and most decidedly pretentious. Strangely enough, his pretensions as a socialite, demon and attorney are all tools he plies in the most selfless means imaginable, good deeds having been found to butter him up as effectively as a round of excessive compliments. His altruism might be smarmy and he might be more than glad to submit a bill for services rendered or a request for a supernatural tithe, but it still is very clear that this is someone who’s just shy of admitting that they enjoy fighting the good fight for its own sake. Behind the hoity-toity affectations lie someone who genuinely cares, but who remains afraid of what could happen if his ego were fully brought down. Sariel herself might note how she’s observed that luxury and affected sophistication are shields he puts up to protect himself from eventual rejection, possibly as a result of his having been originally cast aside by the Black Goat. He entirely knows that boundless wealth will never substitute a natural or adopted family, but has grown so accustomed to this charade that he has no clear grasp on just who he truly is, underneath his high-crust aspirations.
Goals: to fully exemplify Civilization’s graces in an age of planar barbarians emigrating to his elected home, and to display the nobler ends of his inherited Vice. As moral nobility is a focus of his, helping others is as much a case of selflessness as a deliberate means of showboating, of displaying the extent of his genuine, yet demonic kindness, for all to see.
History: born in 484 AD, Herbert’s grasp on mortal history was obtained largely by proxy. His presence in the mortal plane is recent, with most of his life having unfolded in the Pit. The passing centuries had no formative effect on his life, History effectively touching him only once he’d join forces with Holden Hall’s vigilantes, circa 2026.
Born a figment of the Black Goat’s own diseased pride, Herbert effectively crawled out from between two Brimstone shelves, already clad in the fatuous temperament that would be his and already invested with the task of protecting his creator’s boundless ego. Effective cases of mediation carried him across the Vice’s ranks and the centuries alike, going from mere tension-breakers to the expert mollifying of the more contentious of Pride’s serving Knights. From there to mediating truces and prisoner releases with Heaven, all that was missing was a short stint in Cacus & Bune, a twentieth-century legal defense firm founded in the Pit some six hundred years before the emergence of similar cabinets in the mortal plane. Once trained and ready, several mortal lifetimes were spent negotiating the release of prisoners, exchanging intel or demanding amnesty for some of the Goat’s spies and soldiers. It all went swimmingly until his boss and creditor began to expedite procedures in order to sate his growing ambitions.
Naturally, this created a paradox. How was a preening subaltern supposed to react, when the Prince’s worldview began to chafe against his own? How was one facet of Pride supposed to survive, in the face of another, less personable one? Nursing a wounded ego for the first time in his long life, Herbert packed his bags and fled the Pit, reaching Hope a few short weeks before the final incursions, using one final assignment of the Goat’s as a pretext.
The weeks turned to months, the incursions began, and Herbert soon found himself forced to live with and fight alongside creatures who not only were capable of empathy, but who relied on it in order to perform impressive feats of logistics and survivability. Insidiously, equanimity wormed its way inside his heart and mind, leading to his assisting Leonard Ephesian in the administration of a temporary and independent court system. With the resistance having no access to easy legal representation, Tom Magnus’ laws and guidelines served as the last bulwarks of civilization for several long months. Both attorneys took turns representing those citizens in the warlock’s tower that had committed a crime, while the other spoke for the remainder of the community. Rhadamantus served as judge, and all parties secretly hoped that these court cases would eventually be officialized, come the reconstruction efforts.
As the weeks passed, however, he ran into a few examples of defeated, fleeing or surrendering Fiends cryptically maintaining that he’d have some part to play in Pride’s future. Come Lucifer’s return and the final push to defeat the Pit, his mantle of Pride terrified more than a few demons who had expected never to find a greater source of majesty than the Black Goat. With the Prince’s defeat and Lucifer’s reduction to mere immortality, along with Wrath’s unsuccessful attempt to elevate one of the allies to Valefor’s previously-occupied position, Lilith saw the need to manifest, and to swiftly re-seat the Pit’s powers for a new age - one in which penance would finally matter more than punishment.
Among the lucky few, Ezemial received Gluttony’s crown, while Herbert was crowned as the new Prince of Pride. Sloth’s seat remained, considering its neutral position in the struggle, while the other Vices ignored all summons or calls for formal appearances. Wrath, however, would remain without a figurehead, as its contingents devolved to in-fighting amidst its wind-blasted Infernal province.
With the Spire now risen above ground and successfully toppled, Pride has no official seat to speak of. However, many among the Infernal refugees now consider the offices of Wormsworth & Ephesian to act as the de facto seat of the fallen and reconstituted Vice.
White Knights, plain old good guys, folks who take charge and want to take the city's problems in hand altruistically are a natural fit for this section.
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