Terrifying Rulers of The Underworld
Ereshkigal was the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld. There was no judgment or punishment under her rule, only equality. All souls under her dominion were equals, even other gods. The way to her underworld was called the Road of No Return. On it, departed souls would pass through seven gates where they would be stripped of their possessions, even their clothes, entering Ereshkigals realm with absolutely nothing. It was a dark and dreary world where the shades of the dead sucked on clay and dust. She was a vengeful goddess. At one point, she threatened to raise every soul under her thumb into the realm of the livingan army of the dead. All the gods had been invited to a feast by their king. He could not travel to her abode, nor she to his, so a compromise was reached. Her portion of the feast would be taken to her by one of the goddesss messengers. When he arrived, Nergal, the god of disease, failed to rise to greet him.
Ereshkigal was furious and demanded that Nergal come to her realm so she could kill him. When he came, she offered him a series of poisonous gifts, but Nergal refused them on the advice of his father and escaped. Even angrier now that she had failed, Ereshkigal demanded that he be returned to her lest she raise her undead army. Nergal returned, but he came accompanied by a host of demons. He overpowered the goddess, who then offered him her hand in marriage if he would spare her life. He accepted, and the couple thenceforth ruled the underworld together.