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A pack of mewling hounds making battle with famine. Irony abounds. Especially considering your kind's association with greed. But no matter. Understand that regardless of how best your efforts may be it will be for naught. For your bodies will be littered before me and serve as sustenance for the maggots beneath the Earth.
~ Famine to the Silver Cross' wolf pack

Famine, also known as The Black Rider or The Black Horseman, is one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Overview

Riding on the night-black horse named Fear, the dreaded Horseman of Famine gallops onward, denying the world life-sustaining food and bringing starvation, but being ordered by divine law to not harm oil or wine. The rider is shown holding a scale, which represents scarcity of food, higher prices and famine, likely as a result of the wars caused by the second horseman. Food will be scarce, but luxuries such as wine and oil will still be readily available.

Famine seeks to deal justice to those whose major sin is gluttony. When he finds people who gorge themselves, he wipes out scores of crops, kills and rots livestock, dries up rivers, and sends the masses into despair. He carries a scale that doubles as magical focus, riding his black horse while draining energy and hope from the living to only make himself stronger.

The black horse rider is instructed not to harm the oil and the wine which signifies that this scarcity should not fall upon the superfluities, such as oil and wine, which men can live without, but upon the necessities of life—bread. This suggests that the black horse's famine is to drive up the price of grain but leave oil and wine supplies unaffected (though out of reach of the ordinary worker).

Description

The third Horseman rides a black horse and is popularly understood to be Famine as the Horseman carries a pair of balances or weighing scales (Greek ζυγὸν, zygon), indicating the way that bread would have been weighed during a famine. Other authors interpret the third Horseman as the "Lord as a Law-Giver" holding Scales of Justice. In the passage, it is read that the indicated price of grain is about ten times normal (thus the famine interpretation popularity), with an entire day's wages (a denarius) buying enough wheat for only one person (one choenix, about 1.1 litres), or enough of the less nutritious barley for three, so that workers would struggle to feed their families.

Personality

Famine is a very serious person who does not approve of slacking off or procrastination. He believes that hard work is required to get anything done, and expects his fellow Horsemen to do their best. He is also formal, always speaking when spoken to and never stepping out of line.

He is not very social, since his appearance is highly intimidating towards others. He comes across as rather aloof, brooding, and indifferent, more than willing to harm his enemies should they get in his way similar to Death. Despite this, unlike War and Conquest, he is not particularly violent, and will only fight when provoked or ordered to by Death.

Power and Abilities

As one of the Horseman of the Apocalypse, he is a very powerful entity, and the sheer embodiment of famine. The horseman possesses the ability to induce famine upon a region, sapping all the life energy in an area and leave it devoid of sustenance. Famine also causes those in its presence to feel a heightened desire for food, sometimes being driven to violence to obtain food to eat. Famine is empowered by the hunger of those around it, and grows more powerful the more humanity starves.

Even supernatural beings are not exempt from Famine's influence evidenced where the forces of the Order of the Silver Cross, specifically the wolf pack, felt a growing hunger within despite the protective charm given to them by John Constantine so as not to succumb to Famine's influence. Even though he had the appearance of a non-combatant, Famine is far from it as he proved in his battle against Miguel's wolf pack. He was more than capable of taking on the combined might of the pack and even overwhelmed them as the battle progressed. Perhaps more impressively is him emerging relatively unscathed from Miguel's most powerful attacks from the use of his Munin Howl and was also unharmed by some of the pack members' own unique abilities.

Quotes

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!
~ Revelation 6:5-6
Famine will torture the world, bringing about the wishes and desire for the apocalypse.
~ Klara Orlov

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