Location: Abyss / Pazunia

Vanelon, now there’s a place with more glamour than half of the rest of Pazunia put together, and all of it a thin veneer to hide the nasty underbelly, mark my words. You walk in there, and you’re like a moth to a flame, drawn by them rose-hued marble pillars and them magnificent façades that Malcanthet’s thrown up to keep up appearances. Picture the kind of place a Prime would dream of when they’re thinkin’ about grand kingdoms and fairy tales, and then add a dangerous, sensual undertow; a veritable siren song of stone and mortar, it is.

Now, the Lady of the house, or the fortress, in this case, she’s one to watch. Malcanthet, she’s got herself a consort, a handsome bloke, Mastiphal by name. Bright red skin, four arms and a set of ibex horns that’d make any satyr green with envy, he’s got a look about him that screams danger and allure in equal measure, a fine catch for a succubus queen, I’d say. Rumour has it, Mastiphal won her over by giftin’ her the head of a fiendish smilodon that he’d hunted on Spirac — the 71st layer of the Abyss and a hunting ground for notoriously dangerous beasties, a grand gesture if there ever was one.

But don’t be fooled by this romantic tale, dear traveller. They say the fire between ’em has been dwindlin’ as of late, and the poor berk is more desperate than a limbless man in a kickin’ contest. He’s willin’ to do anythin’ to get back in her good graces, the chant goes; it’s a right sorry state, so it is. His desperation has him sitting on the edge of his gilded throne, always on the lookout for a grand hunt to impress her, to relive them glory days, ya know?

If you find yourself wanderin’ too close to Vanelon, you might want to watch out for the glabrezu that patrol the place. Those bashers have got a nasty habit of draggin’ curious gawkers to their master’s trophy-bedecked hall, a place where the walls are adorned with the grim memories of Mastiphal’s huntin’ adventures, a testament to his once grand stature. These days, though, the whole charade seems a bit more desperate, like a gambler bettin’ his last jink in a losing game, he’s throwin’ everything he’s got into capturin’ some mythic beast to prove he’s still got it, to prove he’s still the demon he once was. 

But I’ll tell ya a little secret, lean in close now. If you ever find yourself caught in a sticky wicket in that place, just spin a yarn about a wild, unbeatable beast, the kind of tale that’ll get a hunter’s blood pumpin’. That might just be your ticket to freedom, a sly way to play into Mastiphal’s fantasies and escape with your hide intact, and maybe even a pocket of jink to boot. Remember, in places like Vanelon, it ain’t just about what you know, but how well you can play the game, cutter.

The Pit of Shendilavri

The Palace of Vanelon is more than just a grandiose home for the high and mighty; it’s also the guardin’ ground for one of the most infamous pits in the Abyss, a gateway to the layer governed by Malcanthet, the Queen of the Succubi herself.

So, within the wicked halls of Vanelon, a place of opulence and wicked pleasures that would make even the most seasoned of berks blush, there lies a pit draped in intrigue and dark desires. Picture a room, a grand hall, soaked in decadence, where the floor suddenly gives way to the yawning maw of the abyssal pit, a chasm that breathes almost as if livin’, a swirling vortex of shadows and whispers, inviting, beckoning to all who dare approach it.

Now, the very essence of Shendilavri, that 570th layer of the Abyss, it bleeds through this pit, it does, fillin’ the palace with an air thick with seduction and malevolence. The scent that wafts from it, oh it’s a cocktail of the sweetest perfumes not quite masking the foulest of stenches, a real nose-confuser that one, playin’ tricks on the senses, leading poor saps to their doom with a promise of untold pleasures, it does. The sight of that pit, oh it’s a proper feast for the eyes, a whirlpool of flesh and desire, constantly shifting and merging in a dance of seduction and agony. It’s like starin’ into the deepest desires and darkest fears, all mingled into one. It’s hypnotic, it is, and draws you in with the gentle caress of a lover and the cold hand of death.

As for the guardians, oh cutter, Malcanthet ain’t playin’ around, no siree. She has set her most enchanting succubi and incubi to guard the pit, creatures of lust and desire that would seduce a saint into sin, they would. Masters of manipulation, creatures that ooze charm and danger in equal measure. But it ain’t just seduction that guards that pit, no. There are also ferocious kalavakus tanar’ri, violent demonic creatures who guard the succubus harems who guard the pit. These guardians roam the halls, a symphony of growls and hisses, a real frightenin’ lot that ain’t to be trifled with, cutter.

But the pit itself, that’s where the real danger lies, because to enter it is to lay bare your very soul to Malcanthet herself, to give her dominion over your desires, your fears, every dirty little secret you harbour, she’ll have it all, she will. It’s a place where the boundaries between pleasure and pain become blurred, where one’s innermost desires are twisted into nightmarish realities, a place of ecstasy and agony in equal measure. If you’re heading to Shendilavri then you’re certainly in for a memorable time, cutter.

Source: Fiendish Codex I [3e] p116 (short description), expanded by Jon Winter-Holt,

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