The Serpent Riders are the main antagonists of the Heretic and Hexen series. They are three powerful demonic siblings that travel between the worlds with the intent of subjugating entire civilizations through trickery, manipulation or brute force.
The Serpent Riders are eventually defeated by mortal heroes and their souls are released into the void.
The Serpent Riders originate from the Outer Worlds that lie in the darkness beyond the known universe. According to a legend, they were able to infiltrate the mortal world when a magician in a mystical space-faring vessel accidentally crashed into the crystal barrier that surrounds the Aether, the primordial substance that fills the void between worlds and holds the cosmos in place. Although the wizard sacrificed his life to successfully seal the fracture, the Serpent Riders were quick to slip inside before the rift was closed.
It is unknown exactly how the Serpent Riders came into being. It is known that D'Sparil originated from the Stagnant Demesne, although no details are given on when, why or how that happened.
The Serpent Riders' first target was the world of Parthoris. They used their unnatural charisma and trickery to captivate the minds of the world's seven great nations and organize them into an army known as The Order. D'Sparil was left behind to rule Parthoris from the shadows, while the other two brothers departed.
The only ones to oppose The Order were a race of elves known as the Sidhe. For their defiance, they were labelled Heretics and treated as enemies. The seven great nations gathered armies to march against the Sidhe, yet their Elders used powerful magic to exterminate them. In their weakened state after the casting of the spell, the Sidhe were surprised by the sudden attack of D'Sparil's minions who took over their capital and slaughtered most of them.
One of the surviving elves, Corvus, swore vengeance and infiltrated the overrun city, now known as the City of the Damned. He found a way into Hell's Maw, the primary staging ground for D'Sparil's armies and eventually infiltrated the Serpent Rider's Crystal Dome at the bottom of the ocean and defeated him in combat.
The highly magical world of Cronos was the Serpent Riders' next target. Korax knew that he could gain control over the entire civilization by enthralling its leaders - Zedek of the Legion, Traductus of the Church, and Menelkir of the Arcanum. Many of the Cronos's defenders were corrupted and turned into monstrous followers of Korax.
Three heroes arose to fight the Serpent Rider - the Fighter Baratus, the Cleric Parias, and the Mage Daedolon. After traversing the corrupted lands of Cronos, solving devious puzzles and defeating powerful foes, the three heroes infiltrated Korax's dark fortress and defeated the Serpent Rider in his lair.
The oldest and most powerful of the three, Eidolon, added the last remnants of his fallen brothers' armies to his own and assaulted the world of Thyrion. He subjugated the world's four continents and appointed his most powerful generals, the Riders of the Apocalypse, as their guardians.
Four mismatched heroes - a Crusader, Paladin, Assassin, and Necromancer - arose to fight against the evil that had infested their world. They were able to overcome Eidolon's dark schemes and defeat his Dark Generals. In the final decisive battle, Eidolon called upon the power of his Chaos Sphere. The heroes were able to destroy the Sphere and slay the last Serpent Rider.
The Serpent Riders' defeat had not gone unnoticed. The evil being Praevus captured the Serpent Riders' souls and intended to use them for his own evil purposes. His hideout, the hidden continent of Tulku, emerged from the oceans of Thyrion and threatened the whole world with eternal winter.
The heroes who had defeated Eidolon, as well as a mysterious Demoness, infiltrated the heart of Tulku and ultimately defeated Praevus, releasing the Serpent Riders' souls into the void.
The three brothers' fate from this point on is unknown.
Powers & Abilities
Each of the Serpent Riders possesses immense magical powers, which can be used directly in combat to obliterate opponents or to summon helpful minions. They possess unnatural strength and their bodies can endure tremendous amounts of punishment before dying.
The main source of the Serpent Riders' power is the Chaos Spheres, a mysterious artifact brought from the Outer Worlds, which holds great power. Korax's Sphere is kept safe at an unknown location, accessible only through his own inner sanctum. Only Eidolon is seen wielding the power of a Chaos Sphere directly.
The Serpent Riders command vast armies, made up primarily of corrupted members of previously subjugated civilizations. Mass enslavement is their most common method of filling up their ranks. The armies also include several powerful demonic and undead entities from the Outer Worlds, such as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Certain mortals willingly become followers of the Serpent Riders and allow themselves to be corrupted in exchange for power. The Disciples of D'Sparil, Dark Bishops, and Knight Archers are examples of such followers.
It is unknown exactly how many civilizations from the Outer Worlds the Serpent Riders have conquered.