Excerpts from The Final Trumpet
In the center of her mosque, carved inside the only active volcano on the border between Heaven and the ethereal land of dreams, Gabriel sat cross-legged at the edge of a carefully-tiled mosaic. She was enjoying the incredible performance of her Servitors. As part of the usual holiday festivities, her angels breathed flames, they contorted their bodies into impossible shapes, they transformed themselves into beautifully complex and alien metamorphoses, all for her pleasure.
Heaven has its occasions, its celebratory moods. Since their Archangel removed them from Heavenly life, more than a thousand years ago, Gabriel's angels invented their own holidays and noteworthy occasions. The summer solstice, the Earth's longest day, seldom failed to fill their hearts with joy. Gabriel nodded to her angels, clapping with appreciation, and in the resulting silence opened her mouth to speak – but nothing came out. Instead, she tilted her head ever so slightly, as if straining to hear a note being played by an ant on the floor.
Some compulsions can be handled calmly, with grace. Others demand undivided and immediate attention. Gabriel knocked over a brazier by getting up too quickly, setting a scarlet tapestry aflame. Her angels backed away as she ran across the room and up a winding corridor chiseled from volcanic rock.
She hurtled into her private chambers, ripping the fine netting from around the entrance in her uncontrollable haste. With frantic speed, she emptied the contents of every container she possessed into a large pile in the middle of the room until she found what she was looking for. Her angels saw none of this, but when she held God's own Trumpet to her lips and blew until tears streamed down her face, they all knew what happened without seeing a thing.
When the Archangel of Fire opened her eyes, she stared with determination at an entirely different world. Strangely, she didn't feel happy, nor did she feel sad. She just felt certain. This horn has been blown before, Gabriel thought, but this time, this is really it.
I can feel it. This is really it.
Each Trumpet has its own prophecy which must be fulfilled before the Trumpet will be blown. It is known that the prophecies must occur in order, but there is no consensus among the Superiors about the exact meaning of each prophecy; whether they are literal or metaphorical, or if there is more than one way to trigger each Trumpet. The events that set off the Trumpets warn of the approach of Armageddon, but it doesn't actually begin until the Seventh Trumpet is blown. The Apocalypse may be averted at any time before that.
1. A Great City is Emptied of the Children of Heaven.
2. The Holiest Man in the World Dies by Hands Not Mortal.
3. The Mortal Tyrant Harvests a Million Souls.
4. An Ancient Evil Breaks its Bonds.
5. In Unity, War Is Embraced.
6. At the Changing of the Year, All the Continents are at War.
7. The Champions Battle amid the Flames and One is Vanquished.
In public, Malphas is an icon of civility, well known for convincing Servitors and Princes that he is interested in their point of view, swayed by their arguments and in every way considers their input valuable. When he interacts with anyone, from a Demon Prince to the humblest demon or human soul, he makes it plain that they are important to him, and have a private understanding with him (if not with the rest of the world).
It's all a lie. They're unimportant to him. Nobody matters to Malphas except Malphas . . . nobody truly exists to Malphas except Malphas.
The Prince of Factions has never, for himself, desired more than what he is. He is entirely devoted to his Word; believing its truth is all that he has ever known, and propagating its truth is all that he has ever desired. He has taken a Principality from Lucifer's hands, and engaged in politics and destruction, all for the sake of the truth he learned in Lucifer's words: all beings are ultimately alone, factions warring against each other.
Malphas views all interactions from a distance. He manipulates others as at the end of a microscope and with a cold dispassion, viewing groups of people or individuals as factions to be encouraged. Secrecy and misinformation are two of his primary tools. He controls the flow of information to those around him, hoping in time to strip away their willful blindness and bring them to the understanding which he has already reached.
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