By: Assorted folks
Redneck's universe took the In Nomine Mailing List by storm. People talk about their cities, and some dream about their own characters...
From: Elizabeth "Archangel Beth" McCoy <email@example.com>
Okay, this is Maya's fault. She and I were batting around ideas of what would happen to some of the non-canon Superiors. In particular, mine: the ArchDean of IOU, and Beth, Archangel of Archives.
So, to add non-canon to Redneck's non-canon universe (how far from canon are we *getting* here, anyway?), I present my own Superiors and how they survived the Dark Victory... (Of course they survived. It's more amusing that way.)
In front of the "Restricted Stacks" door, the final defenders of the Library huddled. A frantic Cherub waved paws, looking up from his Tactical references to the angels around and trying to get them into better positions.
There was a rustle on the shelves as a Kyriotate of Archives flickered through the books, manifesting among the other angels. "They're coming."
The Archangel of Archives, bruised from earlier battles, straightened up. "They're not going to get the knowledge in here. They may have won, but it's going to be a Pyrrhic victory. Literally, if I have to." She'd seen Jean's sacrifice. She was prepared to make her own, and the Library itself would become a crater to span Heaven...
The books rustled on their own, and she smiled wanly. "We'll take them, for as long as they keep coming. The Library is on our side. They will not loot this place."
Her few remaining Malakim straightened, and all grasped their weapons (if they had them) or otherwise readied themselves for battle, hiding among the shelves of the Library they called home.
It was a group of Calabim and Djinn. They were expecting tattered defenders still trying to flee and hide. They got cornered rats instead. So did the next group of demons, and the one after that.
Then they stopped coming. A single Balseraph slithered into their midst and tried to escape, and then there was nothing.
"Kyrios, report," sighed the tired Archangel, letting one of her Cherubim ease her arm into a sling. The books seemed to ripple as the Dominations possessed them, spreading themselves through the library without a betraying celestial form. "They're boarding up the doors and windows," said one. "There are only scattered demons left," stated another. "They seem to have given up on taking the Library," breathed a third.
Beth pushed her hair back with her good hand, wondering if this were a miracle, or some kind of Hell. "So. The good news is, we're alive, and we only have to clean out a few more demons who are wandering around lost. The bad news is, Heaven is in the hands of the Princes, and we're stuck hiding in the middle of an occupied territory."
She looked around at her ragged group of Servitors. "Well, we're just going to have to learn how to be guerrilla warriors now, aren't we?"
"The world must remember the past, so it can rebuild the future."
The Archangel of Archives was never one of the powerful Superiors. When the fighting came, she was busy protecting her beloved books first, and then falling back to make sure that the most valuable information would be denied to the victorious demons.
The demons attributed their losses to the semi-sentient nature of the Library itself, and boarded it up. They never realized that they were also boarding up an Archangel and her remaining Servitors. Even if they had known, they might have done it anyway, thinking it funny.
After all, she's got less than a hundred Servitors remaining (most of them relievers or members of the Heavenly Choirs), she's separated from all Tethers, she's only one Superior (and a wimpy, non-combatant one), and she's in the middle of a desecrated and captured Heaven. What could she do but curl up and fade away?
But Beth has two things going for her. First, the Library itself. It holds great stores of knowledge, and the most powerful works weren't even touched by demons. Knowledge is power, and she has it all at her fingertips. Scholars can become warriors, with enough incentive, and the Servitors of Archives have incentive!
Secondly, she has her Word. Ever since she earned it, Kronos was gritting his teeth, for she draws power from *any* collection of recorded knowledge. The very nature of Kronos' Principality feeds the Word of Archives, as did the records that Asmodeus kept before his destruction. Every time someone, even Kronos himself, writes something down and stores it away, the Word of Archives gains power.
So, by the light of their Hearts, the Servitors of Archives study tactics and training, skirmishing amongst the shelves as Michael's angels once skirmished in the Groves. Relievers search themselves and choose their natures-to-be -- at least half of them will fledge as Malakim, when they are granted their final Forces. Others will be speedy Ofanim, steadfast Cherubim, or the omnipresent Kyriotates. Mercurians of Archives will be a rarity among them, in the times to come.
The pyrotechnics involved in creating new angels is more noticable than Beth wants, so they are limited to what they have.
When they are ready, the Servitors of Archives hope to be able to sneak out and capture demons for information on the situation. The Library still absorbs the knowledge that is written down, but it's much sparser -- these days, the filing regulations are very relaxed, too.
And, in between studying tactics and training, plots and planning, the Archangel of Archives walks the shadowed halls of the Library, communing with it, and seeking out the vague Tethers that once led to it. So far, all have been sealed, but she's read the books of the Discworld. L-Space cannot be denied. There will be a back door out, with only a little pushing; she knows this. The only problem is that the back door will probably be directly to Kronos' Archive...
[No Band attunements, etc., since she's her own little microcosm... The misfiling dissonance is very relaxed: firstly, one should not let the enemy have easy access to information (and so the filing system has become almost as complex as Kronos'), and secondly, there's just not time anymore. "Proper" filing may consist of stacking something in the correct room.
And her Choir is still not clear. <evil grin>]
Lucifer looked at the once-Princess of Freedom, who sat at the table and looked drawn and haggard -- more-so than usual. "You didn't have to come," he said, gently.
"I'm fine." The flatness of the statement denied the pain behind it; a poor disguise, even if it had not been a lie spoken to a Seraph.
The Archangel of Light winced slightly, but turned his head away.
The door opened, and a tall, female Archangel stepped through, with a trio of flanking angels -- pained Malakite, Seraph, and Elohite. The threesome bowed and withdrew as their Superior stepped forward and knelt before Eli.
She said, voice more light than her deferential posture, "I'm glad you made it. I was having fits trying to figure out how to punch a Tether through from the Far Marches. I don't think my Cathedral even exists anymore."
The Archangel of Creation sighed. "Oh, get up. We're glad you made it too. We can use all the help we can get."
She did so, and looked around at the others. Her eyebrows lifted at Andre and Nybbas' presence. "Apparently." Her gaze stopped on Lilith. The "Archangel" of Freedom looked away.
Then there were greetings -- a gentle hug for still-frail Yves, wary shaking of hands with Nybbas, an amused leer at Andre, a respectful bow for the newest and oldest of the Archangels, Lucifer...
And then the Archangel of Knowledge, Bright Lilim, stood beside her Mother. Into Lilith's silence, she said, "I'm glad you made it out."
Lilith nodded to her high-ranking Daughter, lips pressed tightly together.
The ArchDean knelt and laid her head in her Mother's lap. "I'm here. Just ask. I owe you that... I love you, Mother."
"The world is full of things to learn, even now. Knowledge is power."
When your Word is Knowledge (or Secrets, or whatever...), you generally aren't caught napping. As Armageddon raged, the University remained a Sanctuary -- but now a sanctuary only for angels, humans, and those demons who would accept a Geas to serve *the ArchDean*.
And when the intelligence reports from the front said that Heaven was *losing*... Well, that's what the basement Tether in the main building was for. The humans were sent, sadly, to bomb shelters, *away* from the targeted University. The Children of the Grigori got a crash course in certain abilities, and the celestial population of the University evacuated to the Far Marches, along with their Hearts.
There aren't a lot of them. The ArchDean was always more concerned with worldly affairs, and didn't create many Servitors of her own. And many of them died trying to defend the Library Tether, or buying time for the evacuation. Still, when the Lighthouse appeared in the Marches, a once-Servitor of Dreams (now one of Knowledge) came skittering along to investigate.
"We get to use demons, too? Well, finally." And the ArchDean unveiled the selection...
[Additions and changes...]
Destroying knowledge is still dissonant, but restrictions on people to support have been utterly lifted. It's more important to get the job of rebuilding accomplished.
The ArchDean has little problem working with demons as Servitors. She used to do it before anyway, with them Geas-bound to obey her rules. This just removes that particular sort of coercian, replacing it with bribery.
Gritting her teeth at these perverters of information, the ArchDean grants them the ability to use their resonance on written material -- if the Balseraph writes a lie, it will be believed by a number of readers equal to the Liar's total Forces. The victims resist with Will + Celestial Forces, but the Balseraph will not take dissonance if they do so with a CD of 6. It is explained to them that using this ability, save to serve the causes of New Heaven, will be *strongly* disapproved of...
Stalkers and waiters, these demons can attune themselves to a book (or other work of information) and track down other books that were once next to it -- for as long as the attunement lasts, the poor Djinn is usually slouching along from one cache to another, looking for the information that was once next to the original book. They are tasked with recovering lost knowledge... and with spying. The ArchDean welcomes Djinn who were formerly of the Game.
The only Servitors of Knowledge (Secrets, whatever) who can destroy information -- so long as they are in possession of an exact copy of the content. If that final copy is destroyed while in their possession, they take dissonance and have a very annoyed Archangel. They are sent out to "deal with" Hellish propaganda.
The ArchDean's Punishers are granted the Ethereal Song of Attraction, always succeeding in its use (check digit and skill with the song are equal to the demon's Ethereal Forces). They are expected to use this to protect knowledge, and Punish those who seek to inflict igornance on others.
The same as the Bright Lilim -- if their first Geas-attempt fails, they may choose to immediately request a lesser favor with the same Will modifiers to the subject (if she's polite about it). If that favor is granted, they do not take dissonance (though it uses up the Geas).
With great difficulty, the ArchDean can modify a Shedite so that it is able to ride "passively" within a host, not influencing it, but only observing. It may do this for a number of days equal to the check digit of its possession roll, and must then leave the host. If it tries to influence the host in any way during this time, however, it must make a Will roll to assert control -- and if it succeeds, it is instantly bound by its Band's dissonance conditions.
Needless to say, there aren't many Shedim to be found around New Heaven, since nobody else likes them... However, they do make good spies. ("Espionage *is* a subset of Knowledge.") Rumor has it that the ArchDean doesn't mind if a Shedite wrecks an *evil* human's life, but there have always been rumors about her situational ethics.
If an Impudite can get a favorable reaction from a human without using his Charm (this is usually accomplished by finding out something useful, such as a shared hobby), he may siphon off a point of Essence without having to roll. He may also take Essence from a willing human who *knows* what's about to happen, even one who does not know how to control Essence expenditure.
The ArchDean is one of the few Archangels who actually tolerates Andre with a friendly grin. She doesn't much *like* him, but she'll banter with him -- every bit as manipulative as her Mother used to be. She's also quite happy to work with Nybbas, helping him with the "content" part of the Word he claims to want. The ArchDean honors Lucifer greatly, and is quietly devoted to her Mother, though Lilith can hardly stand to be around her Bright Daughter, seeing both what she could choose to be, and what she fears she can never become.
As for the other Archangels... Yves is yet her friend and mentor. She'd met Eli drifting around the corporeal realm, and tries to support him with a more casual manner than "you're in charge" -- he *needs* a break sometimes. Gabriel, insane enough to distrust a Bright Archangel, is avoided most of the time; this saddens the ArchDean, and when they are together, she is usually trying to figure out what Gabriel truly needs to rejoin reality. So far, she hasn't found anything she can supply: Needing the world to go back to The Way It Was, before the Fall, is just not within her power.
--firstname.lastname@example.org // email@example.com In Nomine Line Editor
GURPS, Roleplayers, In Nomine stuff; Art: http://www.prismnet.com/~arcangel/
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Elizabeth McCoy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Archangel of Archives