Bensozia

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Greyhawk Deity
Bensozia
Title(s) Queen of Hell, Lady of Nessus
Home Plane Nine Hells
Power Level Archdevil
Gender Female
Class(es)
Alignment Lawful Evil
Portfolio
Domains
Alias(es)
Superior Asmodeus

Bensozia was the consort of Baator's overlord, Asmodeus. She's also referred to as the Queen of Hell.

Description

According to scholars, Bensozia appeared as a beautiful, wingless, red-skinned she-devil with long white hair and completely black eyes.

Relationships

Bensozia was the consort of Asmodeus, and the mother of Glasya, their daughter. Her demeanor was cold and haughty, but polite.

History

Bensozia is often noted as having been a loyal and devoted consort who stood by her master at all times. Unlike Asmodeus and her daughter, Bensozia appeared quiet and not so forceful, since little was heard of her until her recent death. She used to be the most powerful of the consorts but only could wield her power through Asmodeus, having little authority by herself. She is known to have commented, "I do not speak, it's not my place," in regards to this situation.

Millennia before the Reckoning of Hell, Bensozia was assaulted by the arch-lord of the 5th layer of Hell, Levistus. While she was leading a routine inspection of the layers, Levistus came to her with the offer of becoming his consort if she helped him depose Asmodeus. Upon her harsh refusal, he became infuriated and killed her along with her pit fiend bodyguards. Asmodeus quickly spotted the act and imprisoned Levistus in a thick block of ice as punishment. The archdevil Geryon replaced him as the new ruler of Stygia. Later, when the Reckoning was over, Hell's overlord deposed Geryon and returned control of Stygia to Levistus.

Whether or not the Queen of Hell really died has been unclear for quite some time, given that in first edition supplements, Bensozia was still Asmodeus's consort during Geryon's reign on Stygia. However, as of Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, her death is now confirmed.

Asmodeus has yet to take another consort. More importantly, their daughter Glasya, who overthrew the Hag Countess as ruler of Malbolge (Hell's sixth layer), is now planning revenge against Levistus for daring to murder her beloved mother. This is with the approval of Baator's overlord, who will grant his daughter the right to utterly destroy the Lord of Stygia as soon as she can provide any evidence of major transgression.

Dungeon #197 offered a radically different version of the story, however. According to that source, Bensozia had always hated Asmodeus and plotted the Lord of the Ninth's destruction from almost the first moment of their relationship. She reared their daughter Glasya on hate, seduction, and intrigue, hoping to turn her into a weapon against her father.

What actually may have happened was not what Bensozia had hoped. Bensozia, it is whispered, had secretly taken Levistus as her lover, and the two conspired against the overlord of the Nine Hells. Then Glasya arrived in Stygia, after a fight with her father, hoping to openly become Levistus's consort. Instead she discovered her mother in Levistus's embrace, and in a fit of pique slit her own mother's throat. Martinet discovered the scene and, so as to avoid shaming Asmodeus with his daughter's actions, he slew all other witnesses save Levistus and Glasya and blamed Levistus for the murders, claiming to have been the only survivor of the massacre. Asmodeus seemed to take Martinet at his word, imprisoning Levistus in ice and elevating Geryon to his position. Glasya was made Mammon's consort.

Creative origins

Bensozia was named for a real-life mythological figure, the French dark goddess of witches. This name is derived from the term bona socia, literally "the good neighbour." Her name supposedly was invoked during the ritual sabbath of the witches.

Bibliography

  • Ginsburg, Carlo. Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches Sabbath. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Schwalb, Robert J. "Codex of Betrayal: Glasya, Princess of the Nine Hells." Dungeon #197. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, December 2011.