Balberith of the Ancient Tomes
Dark Brown (Formerly)
|Base of Operations||Hell; The Labyrinth|
|Debut||Clive Barker's Hellraiser - The Devil's Brigade: Part One "Call to Arms"|
Balberith was a female Cenobite who served as Hell's Librarian, who loved to read out of her books made from humans' skin. Balberith is known to have been an old friend of Pinhead and thus had numerous appearances throughout the comic series of Hellraiser.
In life, Mrs. Balberith was a mother and a librarian. Tragically, her son was struck fatally ill one day, and she tirelessly perused countless books in an attempt to find a cure for him, but with no luck. All hope seemed lost until a local pharmacist gave her a puzzle that he claimed would yield the cure she sought. The pharmacist unfortunately was an agent of Leviathan and the puzzle a Lament Configuration, so when Mrs. Balberith finally solved it she was taken by the Cenobites to be made into one of their own, allowing her just one last glimpse of her son to see that he had been cured. She was then made into Balberith, Hell's Librarian, with her glasses stitched into her head, her books of eternally tormented flesh, and the knowledge she would never see her son again.
At an unknown point in time before the Devil's Brigade had been brought together, Pinhead had fallen into past incarnations of himself and could not return by himself. Balberith, alongside many other of Pinhead's old allies (Atkins, Face, Gehenna etc.) joined together to go retrieve him from the abyss. Much like Gehenna, Balberith experienced her past during the adventure, where we learn that Balberith had a child that had become ill and was close to death, so Balberith opened the doors to Hell and bartered her soul away for her child's recovery.
Balberith was Hell's Librarian and was fourth to be summoned by Flagellum during the Time Configuration, alongside Abigor, Face, Atkins and Pinhead, which Balberith knew about by reading Robert Yaeger's Dictionaire Infernal, so she had expected to be "called to arms". Balberith was then assigned to Father Abaddon.
Balberith was then summoned by a male dancer named Martin when he preformed "The Dance", a puzzle though dance. Balberith cut off Martin's hand, as he died before she had gotten there, and with it created the Hand of Glory. The Hand of Glory could make her turn invisible which would be a great asset in her plans to retain order. Luke, a man with too many mental issues to count, craves order which keeps Father Abaddon to his purpose. Balberith saw him as a threat to her plans and killed Luke before he could make any kind or complications.
To try and speed up the missions process, Balberith tried to influence Samuel and Father Abaddon to turn to order, but instead caused them to experience doubt. When Father Abaddon's crusade gained more strength, Balberith had planned to kill Samuel, thus forcing Abaddon to lead both congregations on a New Inquisition. Rebecca and David were two people who knew of the cenobite's existence and wished to expose it, but when they interfered they just angered Balberith. Balberith revealed herself to Rebecca and attacked her with a knife, which caused her to seemingly attack Abaddon as well. Balberith was slightly disappointed by how easy it had been to manipulate Abaddon.
After a year of manipulating Abaddon's dreams and haunting him with his past along with fortelling Samuel's death, Balberith asked Flagellum how the War was going and told her that she would succeed. When Samuel disagreed with her plan Balberith ripped away the railing of his balcony, causing him to fall to his death. Balberith successfully drove Abaddon to begin a new fundamentalist church.
She was one of the few cenobites that appeared only to select one of those unlucky souls of sinners for one of Hell's greater honours, which no soul in the ranks of the damned was anxious to receive. She was the leader of these fearful selections - a cronely sow with a sour face, known in hell's halls as the Librarian. Hers was not the lot of the menial experimenter cum artist in hell. She seldom sullied her hands directly on the malleable flesh of those trapped there. She was an intellectual among artisans, a scholarly bookkeeper whose meticulous recordings were themselves a microcosm of Leviathan's ultimate plan. If any of Hell's denizens knew the complexity of the god's scheme, it was Balberith, the tight lipped keeper of the records of Hell.
Those unfortunate souls that were slightly more literate, slightly less verbose, more long lived or with better memories, were selected to serve as living pages in a library of souls. Their souls were stripped, their bones liquified, their very mass condensed to a fraction of its original. As the As the Jivaro Indians of Ecuador practiced the art of shrinking heads, a ritual handed down through generations, so did the mistress of Hell's library peel away the extraneous layers of flesh and sine, shrinking entire bodies down to a particular size, and exactly the shape of a page in one of her books. This process was an arduous one, often taking years to shrink a mind, a soul, and a set of memories to a compact size for easy reference. This process was accompanied by ceremonial dances, and a complete and utter silence during its final hours, as a soul surrendered its hold on its past form, accepting its new embodiment as a record of things past. These victims would never again hold hope for the future, a rare commodity anywhere in Hell, for they had become vessels of history; Leviathan's history.
Balberith was an elderly cenobite who appeared as a shrewish needle of a woman who seldom seldom ventured far in Hell's labyrinth from her precious library, and is never without her precious book of secrets. Her bloody eyes were magnified by thick bands of glass, edges intricately carved with evil patterns with razor sharp keen, which were stitched directly into her skull. She is honoured and loved by many other cenobites, including Pinhead. Unlike other cenobites she does not wear a leather bound suit, but instead wears a black dress. She is also one of few cenobites to have hair, although greying.
Powers & Abilities
Like all Cenobites, Balberith possesses great strength, a heightened resistance to damage, proficiency in the dark arts, and is virtually immortal. As Hell's Librarian, she has access to countless tomes rich with knowledge, giving her an extensive knowledge of Hell's history and also granting her access to various ancient rituals and spells. It was through one such spell that Balberith was able to create the Hand of Glory, a severed hand with burning fingertips that allows her to be completely invisible to humans. She can also become partially visible if she so wishes by extinguishing one or more of the fingers of the Hand of Glory. Balberith is also well practiced in the art of manipulation, able to coerce most humans to follow her designs with but a whisper to influence their thoughts.
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser - The Devil's Brigade: Part I #7, "Call to Arms"
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser - The Devil's Brigade: Part VI #10, "One True Faith"
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser - The Devil's Brigade: Part XI, #12, "Believe the Sinners"
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser - The Devil's Brigade: Part XIV, #14, "Echos, Dreams and Revelations"
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser - The Devil's Brigade: Part XV #15, "The Cenobite Always Rings Twice"
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser - The Devil's Brigade: Part XVII #16, "Reckoning"
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser: Masterpieces #5, 7, 10, 12
- Clive Barker's Book of the Damned: A Hellraiser Companion #2 "Of Hell's Library"
- Pinhead #1-3, 6