An Empire from Ashes
The Deviants established the seat of their empire in the City of Toads in the kingdom of Lemuria on the continent of Mu, and by 18,000 BC the only significant human kingdom resisting their influence was Atlantis. When the Second Host of the Celestials arrived on Earth, the Deviant Emperor Phraug ruled Lemuria, and had sent his armies to conquer Atlantis from its rulers Kamuu and Zartra. Phraug faced opposition from a human priest named Atra who crafted the Serpent Crown to aid the Serpent Men, descendants of the Elder God Set , in conquering Lemuria for their lord. However, Atra found that Phraug was a worshiper of Set as well, and they fought for the Serpent Crown.
To defeat the Lemurian and Muvian armies sent to take Atlantis, Kamuu unleashed the city’s magma pits (which had been used for heating) to destroy their fleets. However, the opened pits caused a destructive eruption that began to sink Atlantis. At the same time, the Deviants sighted the Celestials’ mothership, and opened fire upon it. The Celestials then fired on Lemuria, and the resulting explosion coupled with the volcanic eruption in Atlantis caused the entire continent of Mu to sink, taking Lemuria with it. Emperor Phraug was killed along with thousands of Deviants, and their race has never recovered from this catastrophe.
Those Deviants who survived the Great Cataclysm moved into the subterranean kingdoms, and eventually repopulated Lemuria underwater. No longer possessing an abundance of human slaves, the Deviants bred an entire class of cloned slaves to carve out their underground empire. However, the slaves eventually revolted against the Deviants, and successfully broke away to form their own society as the Gortokians (named for the rebel leader Gor-Tok). Some Gortokians later worshiped and were mutated by the demon Cha’sa’dra, becoming known as the Lava Men. Reeling from this failure, the Deviants designed two new classes of slaves who possessed limited faculties for free will, but who could operate and maintain their sophisticated devices. They sent the new slaves into war with the Gortokians, but the Gortokians defeated them, and the Deviants ultimately abandoned both classes of slaves, and did not contest the Gortokians’ territories.
At the time the Celestials had sunk Lemuria, they also disciplined a member of their ranks for an unknown crime, striking his name from their records and placing his inert body in an underground vault. The Deviants came to believe that this “Dreaming Celestial” had been punished for creating them, and an entire religion sprang up in Lemuria centered around worship of the fallen Space God. The Deviant priesthood foresaw a day when they would have their revenge upon the Celestials, and began to stockpile an army of Deviants in suspended animation whom they dubbed “the Fifth Host.” In order to expand the army’s ranks, they established the ritual of “Purity Time” in Lemuria, in which the most monstrous of their numbers would be rounded up and sent to the priests, supposedly to be executed. The priests kept their goal a secret from the rest of the populace, even the ruling classes. “Purity Time” also served to exclude undesirable mutations from the Deviant gene pool, as over time the Deviants had become so disgusted with their bodies that reproduction stagnated, and the Deviants’ own population growth has been negligible.
Although the Eternals continued to oppose the Deviants, they fell into half-remembered legends by most of humankind, save for rare clashes with humans such as when the Tribe of the Moon fought a band of rogue Deviants. However, the people of the lost city El Dorado once clashed with the Deviants, and stole a cobalt flame, which they went on to worship as though it were a living thing. One significant Deviant who lived through the Great Cataclysm was Warlord Kro, whose unnaturally long lifespan caused him to hide his nature from the public, afraid that the priesthood would dissect him. Kro pretended to be his own descendants in the centuries that followed. One thousand years ago, just prior to the arrival of the Celestials’ Third Host, the powerful mutate Dromedan once led fellow Deviants Tutinax, Thunder and the World-Devouring Worm against the Eternals, ultimately resulting in the death of Ikaris’ father Virako, but the Eternals beat Dromedan with the help of Thor.
In the aftermath of the Third Host’s visit, the Deviants made a truce with the Eternals, as both sides agreed not to interfere with humanity until the Fourth Host arrived to judge the Earth.
At some point Earth was visited by Tantalus, a Deviant of unknown origins, said to have been personally fashioned by the Dreaming Celestial on another world. Tantalus was the ruler of the Deviants on four other worlds where the Celestials had performed similar experiments, and made his throneworld the planet Armechadon. Tantalus’ philosophy of Deviant supremacy inspired the Deviants of other worlds to rise up against their fellow subspecies and exterminate them, such the Skrulls, who were populated entirely by their Deviant subspecies of shapeshifters when the others were all but destroyed. The Celestials exiled Tantalus and his followers to Earth, and they founded their own kingdom of Deviants separate from Lemuria, the kingdom of Lyonesse.
Lemuria was later visited by the outcast Inhuman geneticist Phaeder, who mated with a Deviant woman named Morga, who bore his son Maelstrom. Morga was killed because she resembled a human, and Maelstrom was sent to Lemuria’s slave pits until Phaeder rescued him. Maelstrom vowed vengeance upon the Deviants. He later mated with the Deviant Medula, but abandoned her, unaware that she was pregnant with his son, Ransak. Maelstrom and Phaeder went on to be two of the foremost geneticists on Earth, and shared their knowledge with humans such as Herbert Wyndham, AKA High Evolutionary, Arnim Zola, and the Enclave, allowing humans to rival the Deviants in that field.
In the 20th century, a band of rogue Deviants, Eternals, and humans joined forces to create the Damocles Foundation, an organization devoted to determining what the next dominant species on Earth would be, and to controlling this species for themselves. Led by Odysseus Indigo, the Damocles Foundation became convinced that this species would be mutants, an offshoot of humanity who became increasingly common as the century went on. In the 1950s, a Deviant named Sledge aided the United States government, and was granted U.S. citizenship. Sledge went on to live amongst humans, making personal advances in science.
To surreptitiously spread chaos, Warlord Kro was assigned to release a variety of mutates on humankind, including the giant ape Gorgilla in Borneo, the Molten Man-Thing in Polynesia, the giant ant Grottu in Mombasa, and re-created dinosaurs in Wakanda. Kro’s involvement in these attacks was exposed by the Eternal Makkari and his allies, the Monster Hunters. Kro was forced to abandon the Deviant outpost at Monster Island where many of the mutates had been bred, and the island, mutates, and abandoned technology were claimed by the Mole Man, who also became the master of one of the classes of slaves the Deviants had abandoned centuries earlier, terming them the “Moloids.” The other class of slaves had been taken over by the one-time Roman emperor Tyrannus, terming them the “Tyrannoids.”
Kro later made an attempt on the Eternal Pixie, who had served as a member of the First Line, but otherwise the Deviants kept to themselves, waiting for the Fourth Host. Thena, daughter of the Eternals’ ruler Zuras, had been attracted to Kro for centuries, initially believing his claim to be his own descendant. In one of their secret encounters, they made love, and Thena became pregnant with twins. She placed them within the womb of a human woman in order to keep their existence a secret from both of their races, and they were raised as Donald and Deborah Ritter.
When the time of the Fourth Host’s arrival was at hand, Kro was sent to try to prevent Ikaris from guiding the Celestial mothership to Earth, but he failed. Rather than attack the Celestials again, the Deviants instead attempted to trick humanity into an assault upon the City of the Space Gods in the Andes where the Celestials were stationed, but the Eternals revealed themselves to the humans and prevented an open conflict.
Thena and Kro were reunited by the crisis, and Kro invited her to Lemuria to witness a battle between the gladiators Karkas (a mutate) and Ransak (a reject). Thena was astonished by the cruelty of the handsome-looking Ransak as well as the philosophical nature of the inhuman Karkas. Kro hoped that Ransak’s human appearance boded well for his people, and Thena took Ransak and Karkas into her care, making them residents of the Eternals’ city of Olympia.
After the Celestial Eson damaged Lemuria, causing a partial evacuation, the Deviants targeted the mothership, launching a bomb that they hoped would destroy the Celestials’ vessel. The Eternal Sprite noticed the launch and sent the Forgotten One to oppose them. Although the Forgotten One prevented the bomb from striking the Celestials, the Deviant priesthood secretly sent a ship of their own to the mothership in the confusion, and their agents stole aboard the vessel and sent the priests data on a crystal key. The priests fashioned a replica, which they hoped would one day help to awaken the Dreaming Celestial.
Brother Tode, ruler of the Deviants, sent Erishkigal to the City of the Space Gods to spy upon the Celestials, but Thor thwarted her. Thor’s encounter with Erishkigal led him to seek out the Eternals and aid them against the Deviants, discovering New Lemuria, the new home for the Deviants that Brother Tode had begun to construct beneath New York, while Tode’s son Ranar helped finance a restoration of the original Lemuria. Brother Tode sent Metabo, a mutate designed to absorb the Eternals’ energies, to combat their intruders, but Thor bested Metabo, and the Deviants were forced to destroy New Lemuria. Later, the Deviant El Toro Rojo posed as a costumed wrestler to battle the Eternal costumed wrestler El Vampiro, but was beaten by Thor. El Toro Rojo was later bonded to the autistic child Tupac Amaru as a punishment.
The Fourth Host ultimately judged in favor of the Earth, and departed. Brother Tode then launched an ambitious invasion of Olympia, imprisoning the entire population by using brain-mines to incapacitate them. Brother Tode then began to convert the Eternals into energy so that he could consume them in a futile effort to prolong his life. The Eternals were rescued by War Machine, James Rhodes as Iron Man, and the Deviants were all captured. Kro escaped by placing a brain-mine on Thena, which allowed him to control her, while the rest of the captive Deviants who comprised most of the ruling class, were fused by the Eternals into a giant block of stone. When most of the Eternals subsequently departed Earth as a Uni-Mind to seek their destiny in space, the Uni-Mind took the stone block with it.
Lemuria’s rebuilding had been completed by this time, but the loss of the ruling class was a harsh blow to the Deviants. Ranar confronted the priesthood, demanding to be made ruler, but the priestlord Ghaur refused and slew him. Kro was ultimately accepted as Lemuria’s new ruler, but Ghaur made it clear to him that he was considered nothing more than a puppet king while the priesthood ruled from the shadows. The priesthood arranged for Kro to gain access to the Pyramid of the Winds, where the Eternals had sealed the essence of the Dreaming Celestial, entrusted to them by the Second Host. The priesthood had not intended for Kro to return from this mission, but Thena came to his rescue, sacrificing her own status as Prime Eternal to save him. The two former rulers went on the run; Ghaur commanded Lemuria’s forces to locate them, and finally caught them when they attempted to meet with Kro’s resistance faction in Lemuria. Ghaur demonstrated that the priesthood had knowledge of every Deviant’s genetic code except for Kro, and that he could control every Deviant except for him.
Ghaur also captured Margo Damian, human lover of Ikaris, and this led Ikaris to Lemuria to try to save her. Ghaur tried to disguise Margo as a Deviant, but the Deviants’ limited understanding of human genetics resulted in their experiments killing her instead. Ghaur captured Sersi the Eternal and controlled her in an attempt on Ikaris’ life , but this also failed. Ikaris led the Eternals to halt Ghaur’s attempt to use the replica of the crystal key and essence of the Dreaming Celestial to claim the Dreaming Celestial’s power, but Ghaur succeeded, and activated the Fifth Host to attack the Eternals. However, Kro and Thena destroyed the machinery keeping the Fifth Host alive, and they all perished. Ghaur was unable to control the Dreaming Celestial’s essence, which destroyed him as it attempted to free its physical form from its resting place, only to be beaten by the Eternals and Avengers.
Kro resumed the role of ruler of the Deviants , and was once tricked by the High Evolutionary into attacking Atlantis, but then sided with Atlantis against the High Evolutionary. Ghaur eventually regained his physical form, becoming leader of rogue Deviants in an alliance with Llyra, a member of the Lemurians (an offshoot of the Atlantean Homo mermani race who had settled in a sunken portion of the original Lemurian continent). He sent a trio of Deviants who resembled members of the New Mutants to Atlantis to steal the Horn of Proteus, and summoned a sea creature to destroy Atlantis, but it was beaten by Namorita, Surf, and the New Mutants. Ghaur was slain again when he and Llyra fashioned a replica of the Serpent Crown, which consumed them.
The Deviants once captured the Eternal Elo and held him in Lemuria, but Makkari and his friend Quasar rescued Elo. Kro ultimately chose to cease ruling Lemuria, and Visara became the new ruler. He advocated the actual execution of mutates and rejects (in keeping with the defunct priesthood’s supposed policies), and the Deviant artist Yrdisis and her Eternal lover Khoryphos helped smuggle intended victims to safety. Ultimately, the Eternals and Kro helped turn the populace against Visara, and he was killed. At the same time, Donald and Deborah Ritter were revealed to be Kro and Thena’s children, and the twins were made welcome in Olympia. Kro entered the twins into the Delta Network, a gathering of Deviants from both Lemuria and Lyonesse who wished to assimilate with human culture. Lemuria fell under the rule of Brutus, who waged war with other Subterranean kingdoms including the Mole Man and Lava Men, but he was slain by his own people when they learned he was secretly a mutate.
When the Avengers were captured in Lemuria during a plot to resurrect Ghaur, Kro led his children alongside Karkas, Ransak, Dragona, Enigmo and El Toro Rojo as a “Delta Force” to rescue them. The newly revived Ghaur assumed control of Lemuria.
In the kingdom of Lyonesse, Tantalus and his followers the Peacekeepers were opposed by rebel leader Blackwulf (Tantalus’ own son Pelops) and the Underground Legion, a US-sponsored team of Deviants and other superhumans who helped keep Tantalus’ existence a secret. When Tantalus killed Pelops, Pelops’ brother Lucian assumed the identity of Blackwulf to continue the battle. Lucian ultimately slew Tantalus on Armechadon, and Tantalus’ adviser Khult assumed control of Lyonesse. In Lemuria, Ghaur transferred his consciousness into a statue of himself for a time, and captured a number of Eternals in an attempt to force them to create a Deviant equivalent of the Uni-Mind, the so-called “Anti-Mind,” but Kro led a rebellion against Ghaur, and rescued the Eternals with the help of the Heroes for Hire.
Subsequently, the near-immortal mutant En Sabah Nur, AKA Apocalypse, set off nuclear missiles at Lemuria, causing a surge in mutations. During the tumult, Ghaur’s statue form was captured by the U.S. military, forcing Ghaur to resume his mortal form. The Eternals helped end the rampages that resulted from the incident, and in the aftermath, Kro and Ghaur formed an alliance in which Kro resumed his role as ruler, but was forced to share power uneasily with Ghaur. When T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, found a Deviant mother and her human-like child in Wakanda, Ghaur demanded their release, which Prince T’Challa refused. This sparked an international incident, and nearly plunged Wakanda into war with Lemuria when Klaw tricked the Wakandans into firing upon Lemuria, but T’Challa’s friend Everett K. Ross eventually discerned that the child was Ghaur’s daughter, and Ghaur feared the scandal that would erupt were it known he had sired such a human-like offspring. Ghaur ultimately stood down, and the mother and child were placed in the custody of Namor the Sub-Mariner, with their deaths faked for the sake of the public.
The Damocles Foundation pursued numerous scientific endeavors in attempts to master mutantkind, including the study of Arcadia Deville, a mutant with reality-warping powers. In the town of Almost Reno, New Mexico, they combined mutant and Deviant genes to help the town’s sterile population reproduce, but the superhuman children who resulted proved to be unstable as many were consumed by their powers ; and an attempt to activate a Gatherer robot left behind by the Celestials. They were repeatedly thwarted by members of X-Force , as well as Sledge and former Damocles Foundation member Ulysses Dragonblood.
When the time traveler Nathaniel Richards, AKA Kang the Conqueror, prepared to invade Earth, he offered a place in his new rule to anyone who would rise up and conquer territory for him, and the rogue general Dulpus led his soldiers to invade China, but the Avengers defeated them. Kro apologized to the Avengers for the incident, and later aided them by offering Lemuria’s sanctuary to the U.S.’ president when Kang conquered the Earth, and then added Lemuria’s forces in the uprising, which ultimately overthrew Kang.
When the sorceress and shape-shifting Deviant Ereshkigal stole the Unbinding Stone of Oshemar on Fallen Asgard, the ancient weapon of ultimate destruction, she intended to use it to crown herself Queen of the Deviants. In opposition, Ghaur captured the Eternal Phastos and the Eternals’ resurrection chamber hoping to restore the Deviants to power since they were dying out, rendered sterile in fact. Ereshkigal then allied with Kro who unleashed the Unbinding Stone’s powers of total annihilation but was ultimately stopped by Phastos and Thor. With Lemuria and reality intact but Ereshkigal and Ghaur missing, the power vacuum left Kro in charge.
The Deviants remain apart from humanity, but are now recognized by the United Nations, and under Brother Kro’s rule are on amicable terms with the U.S. and Atlantis.