When I was finishing up Angelus Rose in the spring, my friend EM Markoff suggested including a dictionary of devils so I could detail some of the mythology that inspired the backstories in the novel. I didn’t get it finished in time to add before the novel went to press, so I thought I’d post it here.
Asmodeus – Chief among the demons in the As Above, So Below books is Asmodeus, the demon Prince of Los Angeles, who serves as Lorelei’s boss. Asmodeus runs the entertainment industry, from movies to gambling, with a series of restaurants, dance clubs, and bars as well.
Traditionally, Asmodeus came from Persian mythology, rather than from Jewish folktales. He was a demon of impurity, lust, and anger who is credited with inventing carousels, music, dancing, and drama. In the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus slew the seven bridegrooms of Sarah, until he was overcome by the angel Rafael and banished to upper Egypt. That story plays into the ending of Angelus Rose.
Barakiel – In Lost Angels, Barakiel poses as a card buddy who watches over the fallen priest Joseph. When Lorelei needs an exorcist to free her from the mortal girl’s soul that possesses her, she has to negotiate with Barakiel to seal the deal. Formerly a seraph, Barakiel is a fallen angel traditionally invoked for successful gambling, particularly in card games. Like Azaziel, Barakiel was a Watcher sent down before the Flood, who took a mortal woman as wife and fathered a nephilim.
Beelzebub – Although he plays a small part in Lost Angels, Beelzebub appears more in Angelus Rose. He was the former Prince of LA, deposed by Asmodeus after the LA Riots in 1992. Traditionally, the Lord of Flies is a Prince of Hell who stood next to Satan. After the Fall, Beelzebub bargained with Christ to release all the unbaptized saints from Hell and was subsequently banished from Hell to the mortal world.
Behemoth – One of the demons who serve Asmodeus in Hell, Behemoth appears in our books as an obese man who tries to tempt Azaziel and is ready to support a coup against Asmodeus if Beelzebub chooses to lead one. Behemoth appears in the story of Job as a male chaos monster. He’s often pictured as an elephant.
Damia and Keisha – Brian created these two harpies to serve as Yasmina’s minions in Lost Angels. They look like street kids and encouraged Ashleigh’s drug habit. They were about to devour Ashleigh’s soul when Azaziel steals it in order to possess Lorelei with it. Azaziel tolerates them, but Lorelei doesn’t.
Floria – In the As Above, So Below books, Floria is a young succubus from the same litter as Lorelei. She wants very badly to advance to being a temptress. In the original short story, Floria encouraged Lorelei to chase after Azaziel, but that changed in the books, where she became more of a nemesis for Lorelei. I named her after Floria in the opera Tosca.
Jequon – Who In Hell: A Guide to the Whole Damned Bunch says Jequon tempted angels with the sight of mortal women and arranged hookups between angels and women for sex. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels calls Jequon a ringleader of the fallen angels. Brian suggested that Jequon could run a talent agency in LA and I ran with that idea.
Jezebel – A Phoenician princess who married the Hebrew king Ahab in the 9th century BCE. She introduced eye makeup and the worship of Baal to the Hebrews. After a coup, she was thrown from a palace window, run over by a chariot in the street, and her corpse was eaten by wild dogs. In the As Above, So Below books, she is a former succubus cursed to serve as Yasmina’s handmaiden. She is one of my favorites of Brian’s characters in the books.
Lorelei – The heroine of the As Above, So Below novels is a younger succubus, only a handful of centuries old, who worked her way up from being an imp in service to Asmodeus. She shares her name with the German river goddess, but was actually named for an apartment building down the street from Brian’s home in Glendale, California, where we wrote much of the books.
One of Brian’s additions to her backstory is that Lorelei served Stalin in Russia and took credit for his victims. I added that she also made bargains with several rock’n’roll legends during the 70s in LA. One of those stories is called “Never Bargained for You,” which appears in my short story collection Unsafe Words.
Mastema – Mentioned in the Book of Jubilees and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mastema is an angel of hostility who hardened the Pharoah’s heart against Moses and helped the Egyptian sorcerers, particularly when they turned their staves into snakes. One of Brian’s best additions to the As Above, So Below books was his research into Mastema, an accusing angel who works for God as tempter and executioner. According to A Dictionary of Angels, God permitted a tenth of the fallen angels to remain at large on Earth in the service of Mastema. Brian spun that into Mastema being a tempter in charge of wrangling newly fallen angels until they can be sorted into a particular demon’s army. The character, who dresses as a cross between a clown and a shady used car salesman, was a lot of fun to write.
Nebiros – Who In Hell names Nebiros as the demon in charge of North America, but we focused on his traditional role as the General of Hell’s Army on Earth. Brian pictured him as the demon of improvised weapons, who had been raising holy hell in the Mideast for decades. In our books, Nebiros carries a serpent as his rank of office. That dates back to the earliest draft of the story, when the character was named Astaroth. He evolved in the revisions when I realized we had Azaziel, Asmodeus, Ashleigh, Astarte, and Astaroth. I didn’t want the names to be confusing, so I changed his. Nebiros was a better choice anyway.
Tibor – a fiend I named after a jeweler in San Francisco. I really liked Mr. Tibor, who was a talkative gay man who’d fled Budapest for true love in San Francisco, so I hope he’d forgive me for borrowing his name. In the As Above, So Below books, fiends are the devils who stick the pitchforks into sinners in Hell (one of Brian’s touches). Tibor is one of Asmodeus’s foot soldiers.
Tomur – the fiend assigned to protect and spy on Lorelei in Angelus Rose. I chose his name to rhyme, in a way, with Tibor. I wanted to indicate that the two fiends were of a generation, the same way that Lorelei and Floria share similar names.
Yasmina – the temptress Yasmina was born human. She was one of the granddaughters of Cain, who lived at the time of the Flood. Her sister Anah was romanced, rescued, and ultimately wed by Azaziel. Yasmina never forgave the angel for not saving her whole family. As the floodwaters rose, Yasmina sold her soul to Asmodeus to become a snake-bodied temptress, bent on revenge against Azaziel. Her name is a play on one of the Victoria’s Secret models that Brian had a crush on.
You can learn more about our succubus/angel love story here: https://lorenrhoads.com/writing/as-above-so-below/
If you’d like to order the “boxed” set from me, I’ll throw in a little special gift. You can check them out at my bookstore. They’re also available individually on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, or as ebooks on Smashwords.