Ezemial / Zeke Lyman

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IamLEAM1983
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Ezemial / Zeke Lyman

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Name: Ezekiel “Zeke” Lyman (AKA Ezemial)
Age: approximately 2900 years old
Gender: male
Species: Gluttony demon

Strengths: having previously served as a double agent of sorts for the developing resistance against the Black Goat, Zeke is well-suited to complement Herbert’s more personal knowledge of Pride’s usual methods of operation. Having carried sensitive intel related to the Frank Lambert and IsoTech cases, he also joins Magnus Tower and Shield’s fledgeling legal team with a more pointed focus on corporate defense - and in full awareness of the various loopholes he knows certain Fiends will attempt to exploit. Most of the world might be expecting the capitulating invaders to simply adhere to the rule of law, while Zeke joins Herbert in knowing that malingering doesn’t exist as an absolute. Plenty of Terrestrial demons will submit to the rule of law on paper while moving their exactions to more mundane or practical levels. Considering, Zeke rightly estimates that the post-invasion world won’t solely consist of Belial having a legitimate presence on the arms-manufacturing scene. There are other nest-eggs to tap into and other investment opportunities to exploit, well beyond the market of souls and damnation.

From a technical aspect, the mortal coil he originally co-opted furnished him with everything he’d need to investigate the sorts of opaque and obstreperous enterprises the corporate Damned will put forward.

More actively, Zeke’s co-opted the shell of one of Beelzebub’s Orgy Wardens, creatures that exist in the Pit as hulking, slightly elephantine bipeds entirely devoted to their endless appetite. Their flesh is slightly Non-Newtonian in design, allowing them to form congeries of placid, mindless and slavering beasts perfectly designed to pen in hapless victims in the hollow space formed in the middle of their created ring. That physical malleability makes it difficult for him to be effectively constricted, and his seemingly possessing no obvious internal organs makes it difficult to seriously injure him - if bisections and amputations aren’t considered. 

As an Orgy Warden, he also shares particularly appetizing qualities with the Vitellians, seeing as gobs of his soft, almost mochi-like flesh seem to have a universal application in culinary matters. Pinching some of it off doesn’t hurt him in the least and somehow seems to be unable to make a dent in his total biomass, to the point where he pinches soft balls of his own constituting matter on occasion and effectively treats himself as finger food. While the Ogres use their own blood to enhance their food, Orgy Wardens can adulterate any dish with their own soft matter, their substance carrying strong addictive properties. 

On its own, Warden flesh tastes sweet and doesn’t look too dissimilar from yesteryear’s Hostess Sno-Balls. Adding sauces or other condiments causes chunks of the stuff to seemingly adapt to the surrounding ingredients - effectively turning into chunks of meat or vegetable slices. In the Pit, those who tasted of a Warden’s flesh typically became reverent and docile, while the mortal plane has seemingly greatly diminished its effects. For now, placating would-be adversaries with food only serves to keep Zeke’s enemies more amenable, as if his table and hosting skills had the ability to open minds and soften hearts. 

As could be expected of a Gluttony demon, he also displays an acute sense of smell that keeps him informed of his current vis-à-vis emotional status, and that also supplies him with a vague estimate of their current drives. If he can accede to their unspoken demands, he generally will, but oftentimes has to defer to the specific experts in their own field, from Wormsworth, Paimon and Allocer’s Pride expertise to Tom’s family ties with Lust.

Weaknesses: as Gluttony thrives in the satiation of sensual pleasures, Zeke carries a burden that feels less torrid than Tom’s former ball-and-chain of unrestrained and undesired libido. He instead feels as though everything he experiences were in need of being savored, which pushes him to devote almost all of his attention to whatever momentary satisfaction happens to scratch his itch in the moment. His spectrum is much wider than an incubus, enabling him to spend long days meandering through the city’s galleries or art auctions, luxury car dealerships or both public and private libraries. Food obviously does still take pride-of-place, and he bucks most expected trends in preferring to either order fastidiously-prepared luxury meals in five-star restaurants, or he might spend almost an entire day working on a specific recipe. Quantities don’t matter, but his demanding expectations can occasionally push him to put his normally professional perfectionism to less-useful pursuits. His senses also cause him to flit between boredom and pointed interest quite often during the course of a single day, which has him take to even top-priority cases with a sort of flippant attitude that might insult others. The end result is a supernatural influence that occasionally veers towards Sloth’s extreme apathy.

If he isn’t careful, his desire to spend a few hours smelling the roses or painstakingly analyzing each bite in a plate of finger food can involuntarily seep into the minds of others. Unlike the Goat, he isn’t likely to intentionally drive someone else to inaction, but his occasionally extreme forms of comfort still tend to stick in the back of the mind. On the plus side, that can make for occasional and extremely rejuvenating off-days for his friends and allies. On the other hand, it makes the thought of leaving his own penthouse after stopping by for work something that requires a smidgen more willpower than you’d expect.

Appearance: in Gluttony’s realm, his Orgy Warden’s body was towering and massive, requiring several high-powered shots to be forced to sit down. In Hope, Zeke goes for a far more sedate 6”3’ for 372 pounds, most of it garnishing sturdy arms and legs, along with a sizable paunch. His nose is somewhat long and trunk-like, standing in for his upper lip and draping over his stomach for about three feet. Nubby tusks grow on either side of his lower jawline, giving his easy grins a bit of a snaggle-toothed look. His eyes are almost bug-like and multifaceted, but are still closed over by standard eyelids, with his facets’ colors responding to his mood and reactions. Normal human color ranges and pupil sizes seem to be his go-to selection for normal, everyday interactions, but almost Squid-like pupil blobs or saurian and feline slits can develop depending on how stimulated or angered he happens to be.

Favouring darker tones of purple that almost verge on black, Zeke usually conjures up smart three-pieces and vertical patterns, along with suspenders and a belt, largely to undermine his own Non-Newtonian physics and affect a more solid countenance. Despite his best efforts, he still packs the kind of belly jiggle you could’ve attributed to Wallace Doherty prior to his having gained superpowers, and knows quite well that being the local obese and boneless lawyer with a thing for tasty bits is likely to entrench quite a few people within unfortunate prejudices - which he sees as a useful asset to exploit. Watching him work, it’s fairly obvious that he enjoys watching his opponents - demonic or otherwise - bury themselves while insulting him during a requested consultation. Add to this a waddling and fittingly elephantine gait, and you end up with an intentionally grotesque exterior that hides the sharp mind that waits within, as well as the repenting Fiend.

Behavior: on most days, Zeke Lyman’s Bourbon-on-the-rocks smoky rasp slithers around and smothers talk of the latest modern art exhibit, the last châteaubriand he all but religiously explored with the tines of his fork and his tongue, or the last nubile young thing he crooned into his bed for a night of surprisingly tasteful amusements. He has an uncanny knack for finding things that catch his attention and, a bit like an indolent cat, will fiddle with them or otherwise interact with them as though he were chronically unable to focus. He can’t seem to read a single novel at once, but prefers to clutter his nightstand with five or six dog-eared paperbacks. He finds standard meal combinations boring, preferring instead buffet-like arrangements of a dozen small morsels. He’d be knocked fast asleep within the first song of a standard concert, but religiously keeps chamber music on the down-low in his penthouse. He’d say he likes to mix-and-match, to find combinations between flavor and timbre, color and sound, sensation and emotion. The same applies to the more sordid trenches of human nature. Herbert and Leonard both prefer to tightly schedule their appointments, whereas Lyman tackles his agenda as the mood strikes him, usually without much consideration for standard work hours. You might find him utterly absorbed by a case for sixteen hours in a row, and then catch him spending most of the following day napping, even on the eve of his final summation. By-and-large, stress seems to be an alien concept he just can’t grasp, finding even Tom’s time-tabling and fastidious planning a bit disconcerting.

Things take a sharp turn if his friends and benefactors are threatened, and especially if the source of said threats is of Pride or of demonic origin. His eyes turn to slits and the deliberate openness he showcases with others slams shut. A bit like Doherty, he packs a surprising amount of speed despite his girth, and generally thinks little of things such as bladed weapons, bullets, claws or teeth. Better he be the one to bleed, he’d say, than an innocent. That’s without considering how making him bleed can be an advantage, seeing as his candy-like flesh can temporarily enthrall those already disposed to spending time satisfying life’s myriad hungers.

Unlike Tom, however, or other incubi, Zeke can’t parse pain as being a source of pleasure. Other Gluttony demons might be provincially tied to Lust, Zeke has more of a foot closer to Sloth: he considers he’s been given a chance to defend the rights of most mortals of exploring their senses safely and responsibly - and to occasionally wallow in them, if laws and social mores permit. He might prefer Club Ishtar after hours or one of the several bars within driving distance of the local courthouse, but this is still something he won’t hesitate to defend using his own soft and pliable life.

Goals: publicly, Zeke will wax on about defending the laws of his adoptive home, the Constitution, justice and the innocent - but anyone with some sense of his history could figure out that for all his breezy attitude, for every way he finds of chomping down on life’s good parts while pushing the proverbial gristle away, what he really desires is redemption, perhaps seasoned with a dash of vengeance. He’d once shivered with delight at the thought of gaming both sides of the war, only to realize all but too late that the Goat had played into his tastes and desires, quite fittingly glutting him with short-term success and comfort before pulling it from under him.

When it comes to mortals, he’s adamant about defending their rights and privileges - with some emphasis on the second part. When demons are concerned, he wants to rip every ounce of pleasure, every scrap of illicit bliss, from any among them who might besmirch what Earth - if not the rest of the Universe - has graciously offered them: the chance to begin anew. 

History: the subaltern demon known as Ezemial was, much like Wormsworth for the Goat or Tom for Asmodeus, born out of some slow-burning pangs of hunger and resentment that plagued Beelzebub, shortly after his Fall from Heaven. As you could expect of a spirit of Gluttony, his formative years largely involved gorging himself on the flesh, textures and cultivated appetites of the first few actively Damned to reach the Pit. Unlike Tom or Herbert, however, his existence remained a formless expanse of time for much of Antiquity, and only took shape while the Plague of Justinian began to ravage Europe and the Middle East, circa 540 A.D.

Quarantine measures rendering the importing of basic goods into and throughout Europe difficult, famine was given a foothold in the everyday occurrences of your average mortal life. Its counterpoint, gross indulgence, quickly seized those in control of Constantinople’s food supply. Many granaries throughout the Byzantine Empire were quickly seized by the powers-that-be and labeled as infected, with the confluence of negligence and of grain rackets granted the fortunate and wealthy access to a generous massing of foodstuffs - so long as infection was considered as a gamble worth taking. As Europe partially imported its grain from Egypt as well as the rest of its holdings in Northern Africa, disease vectors were wide-ranging and quickly allowed both the Byzantine and late Roman Empires to fall victim to Yrsinia Pestis.

In the Pit, the resulting confluence of Greed and Gluttony spurred Beelzebub and Mammon to pay special attention to the ways in which their respective agendas intersected. Hunger and petty needs combining into truly homicidal tendencies, they both quickly began to tutor their fledgelings in the ways of the other camp, which granted a voice to Gluttony’s thralls and allowed them to express appetites that went beyond mere hunger. The experience of satiation or sensory fulfillment began to define the Scions of Gula - a sign of progress both useful for both Vices while also firmly tethering them to the human experience. From then on, Greed and Gluttony would both need to develop particularly repressive means of control, in order to prevent Humanity’s swan song from leading the representatives of raw excess towards more justifiable displays. The Hell Hogs, also referred to as Orgy Wardens, are a staple of Beelzebub’s R&D production, during that time.

Ezemial, on the other hand, began as almost nothing - unconscionable thoughts that seized the already-starving, or the privately smug satisfaction of moneylenders and suzerains when faced with their generous table spreads, locked away from streets and plazas crowded by pustule-ridden citizens mere days away from becoming mere bodies in a gravedigger’s cart. Sapience came to him and soon, he realized he could do much more than simply lead the already-fattened down darker paths. Why drive to mere excess when you could drive others to success, thereby guaranteeing more stable forms of indulgence, steadier forms of arcane tribute?

He first took his developing wiles to the Carthaginians and Ostrogoths, turning the Byzantine and Roman worlds’ respective misfortunes into the so-called barbarians’ heyday. He stoked the Lombards’ appetite for Byzantine luxury in 568 A.D. and helped to turn the small Italian outpost they eked a living in into the Kingdom of the Lombards, then later similarly affecting the late Roman presence in Britain and Gaul - what would eventually become modern-day France.

His efforts didn’t manifest the exact kind of approval he’d been hoping for. While he did earn accolades from Beelzebub, Mammon chastised him for not choosing to put pressure on Justinian’s failing mind or for turning the Byzantine’s growing financial cautiousness into outright avarice. Those of Pride - the Goat included - gloated of their own accomplishments and did little to justify those in the remainder of the Pit’s circles.

This obviously didn’t sit well with Zeke. Several centuries followed in which he attempted to extol the virtues of smartly-applied Gluttony to Pride’s figurehead and main representatives, which at best culminated in what mundane work placements might consider an internship at Cacus & Bune, the same anachronistic law firm which would give rise to Herbert Wormsworth. Zeke’s first few assignments weren’t exactly glorious, however, with his own desires needing to be shelved aside to allow him to attend to the firm’s intentionally-obtuse Complaints and Doleances department. From the tail ends of the Dark Ages to the rise of the Enlightenment, he developed his patience in having to curate the oftentimes needless pleas for personal entreaties Pride and Greed’s lackeys would regularly make. By the time Isaac Newton couched the laws of gravity on paper, he’d developed into an unusually patient Glutton - and a particularly shrewd one, at that.

On his own, he more or less reached an ideological position that would mirror Tom’s, in stating that while Vices cannot be avoided, they can all be given ample space for self-expression within the confines of decency and of mortal laws, or could even be used to further agreeable goals and lessen tensions between the Pit and Heaven, thereby lightening the load for case workers along the lines of Herbert, who were forced to mediate with the enemy in Limbo. To that end, he set up the working conditions for the French Revolution with a little help from Greed and Envy subalterns. As expected, he received praise from Pride for the extent of mortal suffering he caused, while also earning timid relayed comments of approval from the cabinet’s vis-à-vis in Heaven, regarding the ways in which the French Revolution’s unavoidable turmoil would eventually improve the lot of thousands of mortal lives. Even Cacus paused his usual imitation of a late nineteenth-century Scottish peer to land a few coarse compliments.

For all this, what mattered most to him involved standing out in Pride’s eyes as more than just another well-read saprophyte with a yen for deciphering the mortal psyche. His historical influence did indeed earn him the Black Goat’s attention, as well as an insider scoop on the underpinnings of a scheme that had required dozens of trips ensconced in mortal flesh across a hundred or so different lives. Paving the way for the right vessel - for Leonard Ephesian - had required eons of careful pawn-placing, without the convenience of Angel Time to visualize the entirety of the genetic, genealogical and historical scaffold that was being assembled. The Chief Inspector of Black Magic presented it as his magnum opus, and the focal point of his efforts in the mortal plane.

For things to fall in place, he’d need a means to destabilize the denizens of a city that was still only a few decades away from its inception, and he’d need his already-declared enemies to care a great deal. To claim Hope, he’d have to offer Holden Hall’s cohorts a spark of hope - the Principle for the city. Only too late did Ezemial realize that he’d been charged with providing them with said hope, by spurring the IsoTech case onwards.

Not being as skilled with concurrent possessions as the Goat, Zeke thought he’d simply go through with his allotted role, to then be extracted once the seeds of treachery would’ve been sown. To that end, he took to the Lyman persona with not an immeasurable amount of gusto, taking a lean and respectable corporate defense lawyer and stretching his skin over close to two years, stuffing it with every luxury, every indulgence he could sample. He was good, indeed, and did as he’d been instructed - but with one fatal flaw.

He started to care about Hope. With a year’s worth of smarm and courtroom bravado hidden behind signed documents tying him to Frank Lambert, he’d effectively shackled himself in golden handcuffs. If he broke the act, all his indulgences would end. If he didn’t, their source would be extinguished. All but literally silenced, he could do nothing as the September 2025 incursions began - first discreetly, and then with enough force to merge all three planes of existence into one. His claimed shell died as the city’s fate was apparently sealed, with the Goat being more than aware of his spy’s unsuccessful attempts to signal the enemy camp…

His punishment was later witnessed by a cadre of Pandemonium natives, along with a small alliance of supernatural and Eldritch forces from Hope as well as Walpurgis, Texas. Without the involvement of Matriel, the myriad parasitic insect species based in the Pit that had taken residence on Earth wouldn’t have been all but effectively culled. With Beelzebub’s power reduced, the Pit’s unofficial frontline harassers and his effectively buzzing and stinging psychological weapons were both silenced. Only later would Archibald and Crystal learn that their efforts in Gluttony’s domain would have proven to positively influence Wormsworth, Aspasia and Meris’ infiltration of Blackreach Keep - allowing them to exfiltrate a disgraced Cacus, learn of Riona’s exact location as well as positively seal the fate of the local Void Weavers’ rebellion. Without their rescue of the modern Speaker for House Davos - the Choir leader known as Penfield Hilliard - New Dalarath likely wouldn’t have risen out of the waves, a few thousand meters off of Green Island’s Northeastern shores.

While his now being freed and empowered, as well as forgiven by those he’d worked against, would enable him to further assist in the shifting construct of Hope’s new Eldritch paralegal instances, it certainly painted a target on his back. The Hell-Hog of which he claimed the shell was some of Beelzebub’s finest work, and the Prince of Gluttony now finds himself in need of atonement for his failure. The Goat being shackled to mortal flesh and bereft of his powers does nothing to circumvent those unsavory connections he shares with Leonard Ephesian, with the Inspector knowing how the Hog’s pride and self-esteem are much easier things to mar than his flesh...

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