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Belasco

Real Name: (allegedly) Belasco (rest of name unrevealed)
Occupation: Sorcerer serving the Elder Gods
Identity: His existence is unknown to the general population of Earth
Legal Status: Citizen of Italy believed to be dead
Former aliases: Unknown
Place of Birth: (allegedly) Florence, Italy
Marital Status: Unknown
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Formerly Florence, Italy, Pangea, Limbo
First Appearance: KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #11

History: The only recorded accounts of Belasco's origin are his own and the one in a book purported to be a ship's log kept by the poet Dante Alighieri, and there are reasons to doubt the veracity of both stories. According to these accounts, Belasco was a sorcerer in 13th Century Italy who used his knowledge of alchemy and the black arts to make contact with the so-called Elder Gods, extradimensional demonic beings bent on invading and ruling Earth. (It is not known whether the Elder Gods have any connection with the N'garai or the Undying Ones, two demonic races with similar goals, or wheather they may be of the same race as the Elder Gods Chthon and Geae.) Belasco struck a bargain with these Elder Gods. He would enable them to cross the inter dimensional boundaries between their cosmos and Earth's by means of a spell he would cast utilizing a pentagonal arrangement of five mystical "bloodstones." In exchange, the Elder Gods granted Belasco enormous mystical powers and immortality. They also designated him to become the father of a new race of Earth born demons, and in order to make his role possible, made him partially demonic in form, giving him horns and a tail, among other features. This much of Belasco's account of his origin is probably true.

It is next asserted that Belasco kidnapped Bice "Beatrice" dei Portinari, the beloved of poet Dante Alighieri, to serve as his mate in spawning this race of demons. Belasco fled with Beatrice aboard a ship, which was pursued by another vessel hire by Dante. Belasco sailed for Pangea, a land once settled by the pre-cataclysmic Atlanteans, who used climate control machinery and other technology that had been left by its original inhabitants to turn the area into a recreation center with a tropical climate. The Elder Gods had indicated to Belasco that the spell to bring them to Earth could best be performed at Mt. Flavius, a volcano, there. Belasco had Beatrice wear a locket containing four of the bloodstones necessary to make the spell work, while he retained the last one. While on the voyage Belasco forced Beatrice to marry and mate with him, and she was in her ninth month of pregnancy when they finally arrived in Panges.

Closely pursued by Dante, Belasco took Beatrice down into a network of underground passageways that the Atlanteans had allegedly designed for their own amusement to resemble hell. On arriving at the center of the exhibit. Beatrice died in the process of giving birth to demonic creatures. Dante witnesses her death and, horrified and enraged, tried to kill Belasco. In the swordfight that ensued, Belasco accidentally cut an overhead pipe with his sword, causing an unknown freezing liquid to pour over him. Because of his immortality, Belasco did not die but was placed in suspended animation. Dante returned to Italy. The locket had somehow become lost while Belasco and Beatrice had made their way through the subterranean tunnels.

Belasco claims that he remained in suspended animation for centuries. Then, he asserts, in recent years the years the volcano became active again, causing an accident with the electrical wiring in the chamber where Belasco was, melting the frozen liquid around him and returned him to life. Belasco then studied the underground controls.

There are several reasons to doubt the entire veracity of these accounts. First, they are contradicted by the historical records of the lives of Dante and Beatrice. Second, it is impossible to believe that the pre-cataclysmic Atlantean scientists could have built a replica of hell that resembles in such close detail the vision of hell that were independently developed by the ancient Greek religion and by Christianity thousands of years later. It is far more likely that Belasco himself used Pangean technology to construct a mechanized replica of the underworld as it is depicted in Dante's poem, the Inferno. It may be that Dante's ship's log is a forgery by Belasco. Third, Belasco's own account of his origin conceals the fact that some points he lost his right arm.

Only recently did Belasco regain the locket that would enable him to bring the Elder Gods to Earth. He placed Shanna O'Hara under his mental control, intending to make her the mother of his new demonic race. Placing the final bloodstone in the locket, Belasco began casting his spell, but just as the Elder Gods were about to emerge through an interdimentsional rift, Shanna's lover Ka-Zar tore the locket from her neck and hurled it into volcano's lava. The rift closed, imprisoning the Elder Gods once again. They apparently destroyed Belasco, but in fact trapped him within another dimension that he calls limbo.

Years may pass in Belasco's limboe while mere moments pass on Earth. Hence, it is impossible to determine how long Belasco remained there. He became the absolute master of this realm, and there battled and defeated the X-Men of a divergent Earth. He also brought the X-Men of our own Earth to limbo, including Illyana Rasputin, the seven-year-old sister of the X-Man Colossus. Belasco seized Illyana as the other X-Men escaped back to our Earth. He shaped a portion of her soul into bloodstone, thereby infusing some of his own evil into her, enabling him to control her, and giving her great potential mystical power. Illyana became Belasco's apprentice, and he conjured two more bloodstones from her soul as years passed in limbo. Belasco intended to use her as his new means of bringing the Elder Gods to Earth once she reached adulthood. After turning fourteen, however, Illyana defeated Belasco in battle and drove him from limbo. She became its new master and returned to Earth at a point only seconds after the X-Men's escape back to it, and joined the New Mutants as Magik.

In limbo, Belasco had already begun magically manipulating events in Pangea to bring about his release. When Ka-Zar placed a ring containing the only one of the original bloodstones to survive on the finger of Shanna, with whom Belasco had established a mystic link, Belasco was able to return to Pangea. This time he had intended to turn Ka-Zar and Shanna into demons who would serve as parents to a new demonic race. He also planned to find Illyana and use her to bring the Elder Gods to Earth. However, Ka-Zar seized Belasco's sword which the Elder Gods had forged, and impaled him with it just as Shanna recited a spell from a book of Belasco's that caused Belasco and the sword to vanish. Belasco's current where abouts are unknown.

Height: 6 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 250 lbs.
Eyes: Black
Hair: Brown
Unusual Physical Characteristics: Belasco has various demonic features including red horns upon his forehead, a long, pointer tall, reddish skin, fangs, claws, and pointed ears. Belasco lost his right arm when it was served, under circumstances yet to be revealed, by his own sword, which was forged by the Elder Gods.

Strength Level: Unknown, but presumably that of a normal human in good physical condition.

Known Superhuman Powers: Belasco is of the powerful of all Earthborn sorcerer, and was granted most of his power by the Elder God he serves. Among other feats, he can hurl bolts of mystical force, mesmerize victims, transform people into animals, and raise the dead under certain circumstances. His long studies of the black arts have given him an encyclopedic knowledge of spells that he can use.

The Elder Gods also granted Belasco immortality and apparently invulnerability as well. Possibly the only means of killing him is his own sword, which was forged by the Elder Gods and was used to server his right arm.

Belasco's powers are somehow linked to those of Magik. When they fought their climactic battle in limbo, Magik took on a demonic form while simultaneously Belasco reverted to human form, losing most of his power and his invulnerability in the process. It is not known whether Belasco would lose his demonic form and powers whenever Magik takes on her demonic form.

Other Abilities: Belasco has considerable knowledge of much of the technology that the pre-cataclysmic Atlanteans found in Pangea.

Weapons: Belasco carries a sword forged by the Elder Gods which is capable of harming Belasco himself.

Base of Operation: Belasco was formerly master of a dimension he called limbo. The word "limbo is frequently used to describe interdimensional voids. The one once ruled by Belasco is probably a small pocket dimension that is tenuously connected to True Limbo, where time does not pass in a physical sense and, as a result no one can age or die. Time does not pass in a physical sense in Belasco's limbo, and Magik aged seven years while she was there. However, one might spend years in Belasco's limbo while no more than moments pass on Earth, due to the unknown temporal laws of the former place. The matter within Belasco's limbo can be shaped and transformed by the thoughts and emotions of the sorcerer who is its master.

Belasco's limbo is populated by demons who serve its master. The principal demon is known as S'ym.

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