Your Guide To Lesser-Known Horsemen

You've heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You've probably seen them performing their act in any number of nations across the globe. Maybe you've even seen them in person and survived against all odds.

Hordes of screaming mortals have flooded the streets just on rumors of their arrival alone. Men, Women, Children, it doesn't matter who you are; you'll come to know their handiwork.

But… how much do you REALLY know about the Four Horsemen? Can you name all of them? Not just the original group, but all that followed? Have you read about the mysterious "Fifth Horseman" who left the quartet in the early years, back when they were just a group of rot-faced kids on the outskirts of Macedonia?

Here's your guide to lesser-known Horsemen!

When put on the spot, most fans will list the Horsemen as Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence. Did you know that there was a fifth member early on? It's true!

Conquest was there from the beginning. As Death's Brother-in-Law, wed to his sister Taxes, Conquest got an early hoof in the door. For the first few decades, the group toured the Middle East and surrounding venues dishing out their own special brand of chaos and destruction.

Everything was not clear sailing, however, as the group became increasingly frustrated with their lack of success. Try as they might, they just couldn't get warm bodies lined up to see them.

Making matters worse, Conquest had begun to rub the others the wrong way with his gradually increasing and outlandish demands. Once he started wearing the crown, it was War who finally decided there needed to be a change.

"Either Conquest goes, or I do!" read the headlines with War's gruesome, lantern-jawed visage grimacing just beneath.

Insisting the group did not kick him out, and that in fact he decided they were holding him back, Conquest branched out on his own. His efforts proved to be for naught as he failed to make a real name for himself. To this day, most mortals asked aren't even sure what "Conquest" is.

Not ones to sit idly by while their world crumbled around them, the three remaining Horsemen began holding auditions for a replacement member. Newspaper ads and flyers brought in all manner of applicants.

The quality of would-be members ranged from the impressive to the absurd.

Bigotry made a powerful play for the role, but in the end it was decided he would've clashed with Famine and his Bohemian clique. Additionally, the three felt he would bring in an "undesirable" element. Death and War later expressed regret at even letting him apply.

On the other end of the spectrum, a weak showing was made by Promiscuity. Famine lauded him for trying, but in an interview stated; "It was a tad embarrassing, to be honest. There was this bit with an inflatable sheep we're all trying to forget."

In the end, the group settled on Pestilence as their new fourth.

"This chap comes in, right." Death related to TV personality Larry King, "He's looking a mess, clothes all in tatters and flesh naught but boils… I'm looking at War, and War's looking at me, and we're like… right… this bloke better be bloody fantastic. And he was!"

The group seemed to have found their missing piece at long last, and success was just around the corner.

The line-up of Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence would go on to become the most well-recognized and oft remembered group to perform under the Four Horsemen title.

As centuries passed, the hits just kept coming for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Live from Sodom, The Sacking of Rome, Atlantis Sinks, and countless other events rippled through the public consciousness, proving without a doubt that the boys were at the top of their game.

"If you really stop to think about it," Death remarked in an issue of Disaster Monthly, "We're sort of bigger than Lucifer."

All was not well behind-the-scenes, though, as Famine moved farther and farther away from the goals of the group. Experimenting in all manner of destructive fields, he took to wearing outlandish sequined outfits and began calling himself "Skinny Bonedust". Eventually, this alter ego swelled to a size that could not be contained.

To make matters worse, Death had become attached to Dismemberment, an obscure fan turned Fan Club Manager. Together, the two pulled a series of esoteric publicity stunts that turned into public relations nightmares.

"She came in like any other fucking groupie," War noted in a Four Horseman retrospective, "Fucking bitch was falling all over Death and shit. Had him wearing eye make-up in a week. After a God Damned month they were trading jeans. It was a fucking disgrace. Bastard lost his fucking head, thought he was King Dick and before we knew what hit us he was quitting the group!"

Death and Famine pursued successful solo careers until Death accidentally overdosed on embalming fluid. Distraught by the loss of his one-time lover, Famine was found hanging from a pair of his own tights.

"I'm sorry," read Famine's suicide note, "I can't live in a world without Death."

Following the untimely demise of their two most popular members, the remaining Horsemen once again sought to kick-start the group. This time, under War's leadership, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would strike a much harder tone.

"War was a madman! A brute!" said Pestilence when recently approached by Paparazzi, "I never want to hear another question about him. Understand?"

War shook things up, to say the least. Gone were the fanciful colors of Famine, as well as the surrealist aesthetic Death and Dismemberment had forced onto the others. All that remained was the unbridled passion… or perhaps rage… of War's deep-seated dislike of all people and all things.

Extinction joined the group after he and War met in a pub crawl. The two had become fast friends and spent most nights drinking and brawling with whoever came into their line of sight.

Plague similarly joined on recommendation of Pestilence, though War insisted she prove her mettle since he was not keen on having a woman in the group.

"It was the Four fucking Horse-MEN," War stated in the aforementioned retrospective, "I decided I'd be fucked if any of us were riding fucking side-saddle. Famine was bad enough, get me?"

Showing her worth, Plague out-performed War during an impromptu challenge. The battlefield was red with blood, but disease ran rampant through the towns and cities, reaching a far wider audience. At first, War was understandably angered - but cooler heads prevailed.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, with War and the helm, became an all-out, in-your-face sensory overload. The group's target demographic, teeming crowds of disoriented mortals, found this new approach to be terrifying and brutal. Conversely, critics chided the group for putting "bile over substance".

The group's tour schedule increased threefold, with War insisting every venue be razed completely to the blackened soil. It wasn't long before this hectic routine took its toll on members.

One night after what War described as "The best fucking performance we'd ever given!", Pestilence was found unresponsive in the back room of a vomitorium. Plague was on the scene in moments, and is widely credited with bringing the fatigued wretch back from the brink of doom.

Citing health reasons, and seemingly unaware of that irony, Pestilence stepped down from the Four Horsemen. Since the time of his departure he became somewhat of a hermit, preferring to work through his charitable organization, "People for the Endemic Transfer of Annelids".

Unbeknownst to even those with close ties to the group, War and Extinction had also been experiencing trouble. The two possessed such strong personalities and unbending world views that an explosive clash was most likely inevitable.

"War's all about the blood and guts," explained Extinction in response to a fan website's inquiry, "I'm a bones and ash sort of guy. It just couldn't be reconciled."

Extinction, always the opportunist, turned the buzz around his departure into a successful campaign that got him a position on the Seven Deadly Sins. He unseated the incumbent, Sloth, in a landslide.

Widely known as "the forgotten age" of the Four Horsemen, War and Plague soon took a backseat to an all-new roster of malevolent miscreants. Experts seemed to say the two were a bit long in the fang and too out-of-touch with modern atrocities.

This lead to the ill-advised meddling of outside influences which sought to make their claim on a piece of Horseman history. With the two former pillars of the group on the sidelines, poor judgment calls were made by others.

Ruin, a suburban kid turned rage-fueled anarchist took the lead role for this short-lived incarnation of the group. Followers of previous versions complained that he was more "pre-fab" than "post-apocalyptic".

Along with three corporate creations, Poverty, Inequality, and Apathy, the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" went on to produce their least effective work to date. After just six hundred and sixty-six days, the four young upstarts went their separate ways.

"The problem was we didn't exactly know what we were supposed to do," Poverty explained after the group was disbanded, "Were we following in the craters of the giants… or were we supposed to blaze our own trail of dead? It was just a muddled mess."

For what seemed like a Millennium, it appeared as if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were no more. War and Plague, having grown fond of each other, settled down in a cottage just outside a large smoking chasm which had been Belgium.

Together they raised two sons, Sabotage and Subjugation, along with a daughter, Hysteria.

Plague became a powerful member of the anti-vaccine lobby, while War spent most of his time in the garage, tinkering on his extensive collection of military machines.

Worldwide reaction was mixed. Half of humanity was overjoyed at the demise of the Four Horsemen. The other half was relieved.

Then, a twist of fate. As luck would have it, a young man by the name of Disinformation had been performing at local venues. Calling himself "The Next Horseman", the mass panic he caused piqued the interest of War.

"I was just some punk kid from Nohow, Nowhere," Disinformation recalled during a speaking engagement before the Republican National Convention, "Then War walks in while I'm doing my thing, and I'm going… oh, no… I figure he's heard I've been calling myself a Horseman and he's going to rip me a new one. Imagine my surprise when he walks over the bodies in the crowd and just shoots me this wicked grin."

As it turned out, War appreciated Disinformation's nerve. Talk quickly began spreading within the death cults. Could a Four Horsemen revival be in the tarot cards? If so, did War still have "it"? What of Plague?

Now, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are back… in name, at least.

The roster has changed greatly over time, and the only original member is War. Like a hyena with a bone, he refuses to let the dream go. Plague, noting her workload and a commitment to family, has given her husband the spotlight.

"Aw, let the ol' S.O.B. 'ave 'is fun," Plague said when asked about her decision, "This ol' bird ain't got no 'ead for that business no more!"

Disinformation called on two of his oldest friends, chums he'd performed with in the past, to fill the vacant positions in the group. Torture, a bad boy with a penchant for off-key screeches, has taken his place as a Horseman along with Waste, whose skulking persona and dribbling orifices have earned him few fans thus far.

"Nngh," Waste was quoted as saying in the Four Horseman newsletter, "Bnngh. BAGAH-BLAHG. GLAAAG!!"

So there you have it. You may have thought it ended with "Death, War, Famine and Pestilence".

I bet if someone asked you who the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were, you'd never have guessed "War, Disinformation, Torture, and Waste"!

See you at the new Horsemen's unveiling! It’s sure to bring the walls down.

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