(from Bodhi <email@example.com>)
"Life is Pain, but shared pain is lessenned."
As a young Elohite, Sunya learned early on that life is filled with suffering,
and that it is only through understanding the source of that pain that the
pain is reduced. When one becomes distanced from the source of the pain,
and is able to reflect truly upon the reason behind the suffering, the effect
is then diminished. True understanding and unattached reflection bring about
a complete cessation of suffering.
However, one still recognizes that others suffer in the world, and the first, best duty of all sentient beings is the reduction of that suffering. The true etiology of the divine Word "Compassion" means "to suffer with another." Thus, in the angelic tongue, one discusses being compassionate by describing, quite literally, suffering with someone else. To Understand all is to Forgive all: thus, servitors of Sunya seek to understand another's pain, in order to truly experience it, share it, and thereby reduce its effects.
Servitors of Sunya are constant reminders that Life is a tapestry of interwoven threads. When one thread is broken, the unravelling affects many other lives. The first lesson for all servitors of Sunya is that "no man is an island", and that we all are interconnected at the most fundamental level. Servitors of Sunya love Chaos theory, as this accurately reflects the Divine lesson that a butterfly beating its wings in central park has an effect felt halfway around the world. All things are inter-related. When we understand our inter-relation with those around us, we see ourselves in our true Light.
Almost every servitor of Sunya has a copy of "It's a Wonderful Life" on videotape, but their copies tend to be a bit worn.
Every act of compassion thus furthers Sunya's divine Word. This being the case, Sunya has found that Buddhists tend to end up furthering his Word quite a bit, since the root of Buddhism is the Compassionate Understanding of all others. Thus, Sunya has a special fondness for Buddhists, although he feels no pressing need to side with any one religion. All religions are inter-related, after all. What matters the ladder used to achieve the Summit of Compassionate Understanding: after one climbs to the Peak, throw the ladder away.
Servitors of Sunya gain discord when they fail to recognize the inter-related nature of people's suffering, and thereby mistakenly increase the amount of suffering in the world by an amount more than they alleviate. If a servitor of Sunya, through their actions, brings about more suffering than they alleviate, they gain a point of dissonance.
This does not mean that they cannot ever cause suffering. Sometimes one "must be cruel, only to be kind." However, if the eventual losses outweigh the gains, and more suffering is caused than cured, then the servant gains a point of dissonance.
As compassionate understanding and Truth go hand in hand, Sunya's Seraphim have an affinity for knowing the true cause of somebody's pain. For each person, a Seraph can know the True cause of somebody's greatest suffering, even if this cause is unknown to the sufferer. This True Cause could be an easy-to-interpret background event ("Your mother never loved you," or "You feel inadequate because you never finished college") or something even more esoteric (".....Rosebud"). Thus, while you know what the Root of their Suffering is, you don't necessarily know why!
Devotion and compassion combine in the cherub's attunement. Cherubim serving Sunya gain the ability to literally suffer the pains of another. They may remove any damage, or any type, from the object of their Resonance-attachment, and take it upon themselves, from anywhere in the world.
Ofanim in service to Sunya, through their special affinity for movement and places, can immediately tell where a subject would feel most at home, at ease, at peace. Thus, they can tell where a person "should be." This knowledge can be very specific ("you'd be Happy if you visited your old tree-house") or very vague ("you should finally take that pilgrimage")
Elohites in service to Sunya know, for every subject, whether they have Objectively alleviated more suffering than they have caused in the world. Thus, for every mortal, such an Elohite knows whether their karmic balance is in the Black, or the Red. Such information is often outside of the ken of the subjects, as most people have no real idea who they have helped, or who they have hurt.
You only hurt the ones you love. A Malakite serving Sunya understands their enemy to such an extent that they gain extra knowledge about what truly hurts their opponent. Such knowledge comes only through truly understanding and "connecting with" one's opponent, however. Thus, while their attunement gives them a +1 to hit any opponent with any method, each time they use this attunement they gain one point of the same type of damage they are inflicting. (When you REALLY want to hurt somebody, you must suffer alongside them while you Beat them to a Bloody Pulp!)
Kyriotates generate no disturbance in the Symphony when they use the Corporeal Song of Healing on the vessel of their Host, so long as they are leaving the host in better shape than when they found it. Thus, some kyriotates will have a stable of volunteers who are permanently Ill, and will always leave their host's vessel more well-off than when they first possessed it.
Mercurians in service to Sunya can pick the names of the people most affected by the subject out of the Symphony. Thus, they can know the names of the persons who will be most affected by the loss of the subject, even if the subject has no idea that these people exist at all. (Think Scrooge and Tiny-Tim...)
This attunement allows the servitor to triple (!!) the amount of healing done by any of the Songs of Healing, but the servitor must suffer the base number in points of damage themselves. Thus, you could cure 18 Corporeal Hits if you were willing to suffer 6 hits yourself. In a similar fashion, the amount of healing for Ethereal and Celestial songs is tripled, so long as the servitor takes the required amount of damage themself.
At the cost of 2 essence per participant, this attunement allows the servitor to set up a "slightly more than metaphorical" connection between individuals. Any damage done to one individual is also done to (and felt by) the others. This, ideally, forces the individuals in question to recognize the inter-related nature of all things, and the meaninglessness of causing pain to others. Not a bad way to break up a fight, either...
At the cost of one essence, a Vassal of Karma can pull out of their pocket a small-sized gift. This gift is always "just the right thing" to make somebody's day a little brighter. This doesn't mean you know what it will be, or the significance of the object. It only means you get to pull it out, and present it to the person. This could be their favourite chocolate bar, a Cuban cigar, a replica of their childhoood toboganning cap, etc.
At the cost of one essence per event, you can explain to a mortal what the world would've been like had they never been born. After a number of such explanations, hopefully the hapless mortal gets the point that they are an intrinsically important part of the Symphony. (Think Clarence getting his wings by explaining to George Bailey why It's a Wonderful Life...) Great for talking down those jumpers!
At the cost of 5 essence, a Master of Suffering can remove permanently 2 points of somebody else's Dissonance, but they gain 1 point for themselves. They will do the suffering for others. They must work off this dissonance in a normal fashion. Thus, you could, at the cost of 10 essence, remove 4 points of dissonance from a friend, and then work off your own 2 points of dissonance in a normal fashion. NO DISSONANCE ROLL IS REQUIRED WHEN THIS DISSONANCE IS GAINED, as it has already been "bought and paid for" by someone else.
Servitors of Sunya gain one Essence when they...
Sunya is Neutral to all factions. All factions are necessary... it is the inter-relationship between factions that is the real "glue" that holds the Forces of God together. Thus, Sunya sees all sides as equally important as the other.
Chance of Invocation: 4 (Sunya is always willing to lend a helping hand...)
Modifiers to Invocation:
+1 - a "get-well-soon" or "condolences" card
+2 - a handkerchief, still damp with mortal tears
+3 - 1 litre of blood, sweat and tears (not yours, but freely given)
+4 - a Suicide Note that was, in the end, never used.
+5 - one kilogram of bullets taken out of drive-by shooting victims
+6 - The Pound of Flesh closest to a Demon's Heart (if they had one, that is...)
One of my Players suggested this and was chastised appropriately for it.
If you know one of the rare Malakim of Sunya, the Archangel of Compassion, who has gained the distinction Master of Suffering you could get them to take on all of your dissonance and being a Malakim they would never have a chance of Falling. In fact you should take very good care of your unusual friend, probably keeping him in a cellar chained up so he can't get into any trouble. Then you can feel righteous in going back out and doing whatever it was that got you the dissonance, because it will give your cellar dwelling friend more opportunity to show his compassion.
More over if two such rare Angels work together they could swap their dissonance back and forth and it would be halved each time. This works better and better the more Malakim Masters of Suffering you have in your dissonance dispersal bucket brigade.
It prompted me to make the comment, which became a house guideline if not a rule, that "angels are not rules lawyers".
Thanking you for your indulgence.