|“||You are mortal, and you measure out your lives in days and years. We demons measure out our lives in centuries and millennia. When I wrestled this place from my brother, there were no Shadowhunters. They were not even a thought in Raziel's stupid pretty little head. Over the centuries I have bent everything in this realm to my will. Every tree, every rock, every grain of sand is under my command, and so, my boy, are you.||”|
Prince of Hell
Unlike the other Princes of Hell, Belial can't walk the Earth in his own form. The only way he could appear there is through illusions or by possessing someone—which results in the destruction of that body after a few hours.
Sent by Axel Mortmain, Belial took the form of Richard Gray and slept with his wife, Elizabeth. Because Elizabeth was unmarked and through Mortmain's intervention by protecting her with the angel Ithuriel in her clockwork pendant, their offspring survived birth, resulting in a new kind of being: Tessa, a half-demon, half-Shadowhunter.
Tessa only ever heard about him from Mortmain in 1878, when she was sixteen. Before then, Tessa grew up thinking her father was Richard. When her own son began manifesting a demonic ability, Tessa worried and hoped to be prepared with at least the knowledge of his identity and nature. Her former fiancé Brother Zachariah committed himself to the task of asking around for his identity, particularly with help from his warlock contact Ragnor Fell. However, Belial had been careful in making sure there was no trace of him was left behind; and that anything they did find would lead to a different Princes of Hell.
Some time after Jesse Blackthorn's death, Belial allied himself with Tatiana Blackthorn. He promised her he would help her bring her son back to life provided she help him in turning James Herondale dark. Belial then began spreading word to the different kinds of demons ordering them not to go to London in order to make the Shadowhunters weak by lack of practice.
In 1903, Belial hired a warlock Emmanuel Gast to raise a Mandikhor demon, half in his world and half in the mortal world in order to make it impervious to the sun. He then killed Gast and set the Mandikhor loose on the young Shadowhunters of London. He made sure Barbara Lightwood died of the poison, making her family suffer, as a gift to Tatiana.
He eventually was able to temporarily possess Ariadne Bridgestock to convince James to come to his realm. There he offered James an end to the Mandikhor and a cure for all those who were ill from the demon poison, if James's allowed him to possess his body with him. He explained that the only host body that would allow him to walk the earth again was one of his own blood; that he had tried with his mother but the Angel Ithuriel protected her. James refused and Belial sent the Mandikhor after him to teach him a lesson. Cordelia Carstairs later broke into the realm he and James were in, and helped James defeat the Mandikhor and wounded Belial with Cortana. As he crumbled away so did his realm.
Because he had an anchor, Belial would be able to re-manifest himself much faster than the Shadowhunters believed. Mere days after being wounded he was able create an illusion to speak with Tatiana. They rediscussed their plans; him expressing his rage that she had not properly prepped James as he had been protected when entering his world, and explaining that the reason Tatiana was in her current situation—being sent to the Adamant Citadel—was so that she could attack the Clave from its heart.
In 1936, Belial discovered that a vein of adamas was uncovered in the caverns beneath Ruby Falls. Belial got ahold of the adamas and had it molded into a half mask, reveling in the pain and power contact with the material gave him. He then involved himself with the pop-up Shadow Market that opened in the area. Belial based himself at the end of the carnival's Maze of Mirrors, giving the mundane patrons who dared enter and reach him dangerous illusions based on their dreams and desires.
Brother Zachariah and Sister Emilia were at the carnival looking to retrieve the adamas and confronted Belial for it and the mischief he'd done among the mundanes. Zachariah ordered for Belial to surrender the adamas to Sister Emilia and to close down the Market. Belial asked if it would cancel out the favor he owed him, which Zachariah denied. When Zachariah explained to Emilia that Belial could not kill him because of his debt, Belial pointed out that he could easily kill her, but Zachariah noted that he has not and wouldn't because he found her interesting.
Bothered by the debt he owed to Zachariah, Belial offered him information to pay off his debt: he asked Zachariah if he wanted to know how to cure himself of the yin fen in his body, or to learn about the lost Herondales. Zachariah chose the latter, and Belial simply told him that the Herondales are on the run from powerful, dangerous enemies. He then hinted at the Herondale's identity, making Zachariah realize that he was referring to the carnival's magician, Roland the Astonishing.
Just before he left, he tried once again to convince Emilia to make a deal with him, enticing him with the possibility of fame and greatness in her endeavor as an Iron Sister. Emilia refused but offered him another deal in turn: she asked Belial to give Zachariah and his ailing former parabatai time together in an illusion where they were both young and mortal, or else Emilia would dedicate her life to shaping a blade that would be capable of killing him. Intrigued, Belial agreed.
In 2010, Sammael gathered all the Princes of Hell to convince them to team up and work together to accomplish their ultimate goal. During the meeting, he showed annoyance for the summons, trying to get to the point quickly, though listened and seemed to consider Sammael's plan.
Belial is a demon who ravishes in attention and, just like other demons, in the suffering he could inflict on others. He has a sarcastic personality. Belial habitually tries to trick people, able to act friendly and flattering when he hopes to lure unsuspecting potential victims into a trap.
- Magic: Belial is skilled at creating illusions.
- Immortality: As a Greater Demon, he will live for eternity.
- Shapeshifting: Belial is known to be the greatest of the Eidolon Demons in the Void and is known to have hundreds upon thousands of different forms.
- Clockwork Princess (alluded to)
- Nothing but Shadows (alluded to)
- Every Exquisite Thing (alluded to)
- The Midnight Heir (alluded to)
- Chain of Gold
- Learn About Loss (first appearance)
- The Last Stand of the New York Institute (alluded to)
- The Red Scrolls of Magic (alluded to)
- The Lost Book of the White
- Forever Fallen (mentioned only)
- Belial had a human tailor before 1936. Belial was apparently dissatisfied with his work and was only pacified when he took the tailor's skin and used it for his suit.
- Part of Belial's punishment from Heaven is that he cannot walk Earth in his own form. He alone is restricted from it because he loved humans most.
- The realm Belial often shows to James Herondale is not originally his realm, it is a realm he stole from his brother Belphegor after wounding him.
- He has been called the father of Lucifer and is claimed to have been the one to convince him to rebel against God.
- He is the patron demon of the month of January.
- Invocations for him can be found in the Black Volume of the Dead.