Lehereca Va, the Tangerine Usurer

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DEMON OF THE SECOND CIRCLE, WARDEN SOUL OF THE GARDEN OF AVARICE

Upon many layers of Malfeas, there you will find citadels of black basalt with great doors of living wood painted a bright orange. Fruit-bearing trees grow along the battlements, weaving together to cover the compounds. This does not shade them against the light of the mad green sun, but it does serve to protect the wealth within, for these are the countinghouses of Lehereca Va.

The Tangerine Usurer is one of the leading bankers of hell and has fought tooth and nail for his position. Should one of the demon lords wish to fund a great war against a rival, they might go to Lehereca Va and exchange some words, lay down some holdings - or perhaps a great artefact - as a deposit and find themselves with the funds to hire the mercenaries they desire. He makes lavish and ostentatious donations to the priests of Cecelyne, and will use the laws and this curried favour as a weapon against his peers and rivals.

The demon himself has the form of a great orange swallow with a human head and hands at the end of his wings. He is overweight and flies only with difficulty, riding in a palanquin atop a six-legged giant crocodile when he leaves one of his fortress-vaults. Numbers dance upon paper when he approaches. His own holdings are extensive, gained through plunder and debtors’ defaults. He is a cruel master who drains lands he does not plan to keep of everything of value and then sells the barren wastes to other citizens - and will freely offer loans to allow them to purchase the worthless domain.

He does not deal with serfs - what nonsense! - but lesser demons who hold citizen status may approach him and he is a significant backer of the trading houses of hell, who will deposit funds with him. The birds that fly between his fortress vaults bring news of deposits and withdrawals, allowing one - with a small percentage as a fee - to bear one of his promissory notes across many layers without having to carry precious metals or gems through the demon city. He has interests in Creation, too. Tales say that certain senior members of the Nexan Guild have traded countless slaves to him to get the capital that bought them their position on the Board.

He is no great general, but nevertheless he has a larger standing army than most demon lords. Within the demon realm, main force is often needed to collect owed debts and his force is specialised in locust-like assaults to seize areas and pillage them for payment. Seldom are his armies led by him, though - instead his general is One Ox, an outcaste Terrestrial and infernalist who is his trusted confidant and lover. Brilliant and mercurial, that man’s leadership has made Lehereca Va a demon lord to be feared.

One Ox is an old man, though - nearing five hundred, and kept alive by the cunning mechanisms that riddle his flesh and the salvaged suit of Shogunate armour rebuilt by Alevua’s hand. The two of them fear that some day in the near future the sorcery and drugs that purify his flesh and stop death from taking him will fail. None of the children One Ox has sired have Exalted, and the two of them look for a young Terrestrial who they can train to replace him.

Sorcerers call upon Lehereca Va as an accountant and a manager. The sight of a poorly constructed ledger or records which do not properly account for holdings cause him spiritual pain. A wise master will not give him too lax a hand if they care for their subjects, though, for the demon is ruthless and cruel in settling all debts. While he will invest wealth wisely, he spurns charity and respects no laws save Cecelyne’s. When an enterprise at least a century old is on the verge of collapse due to mismanagement in handling the accounts, occasionally he will feel a twinge of pain and appear riding his crocodile to seize ownership and set the records right.

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