Corporeal Death

By Eric Alfred Burns (


On Sat, 6 Mar 1999, Matthew Rice wrote:

Goes without saying, since a celestial can get away with it. Knowing when to die is very important, but it's something that should be done with forethought, and without a cavalier ("Oh, well, it's only a week or two of Trauma.") attitude.

Very much depends on the flavour of your campaign.

For me, it would go... a little something like this... <plays the opening chords on the piano, adding a few Noel Coward flourishes>

When an Angel's vessel is killed, the Angel is torn, violently, from the Corporeal realm. In so happening, he is also torn away from the Symphony and thrown into another part of it. For a brief second, he is utterly, totally and completely *alone* in a way he would never thought possible. For that brief second, he can *understand* Mortality. He can even understand what it is like to Fall, as his own notes, as hurt as they are, are the only ones he can hear.

Imagine being forced into sensory deprivation for six months. Imagine being plunged into sensory overload for six months. Both happen to an Angel in that split second of Corporeal Death, and it is *hideous.*

And then, the song of the Angel's Heart calls to him, and he finds it. And the Heart sings to him, echoing the symphony, and pushing the pain away, and the Angel grabs hold of that song and the Symphony it seems he had lost forever, and *clings* to it, terrified, like a child clinging to a stuffed animal in the face of his parents dying. He rocks with it and sobs and refuses to let go for a long long time, letting the horror slowly filter out of the music of his celestial form, letting him slowly return to himself entirely.

Malakim hate this as much as anyone else does, but they endure it -- over and over and over again -- until finally, they let go of parts of themself. In a way, they stop letting themselves love their connections to the Symphony, to sensation, so that the shock of that Corporeal death is no longer a shock, but an inevitability. Perhaps this is a part of why they can't Fall -- when you have let that part of yourself die, it cannot be turned in on itself to stare inward into its own personal Hellish Symphony.

When a Demon's vessel is killed, on the other hand... something infinitely worse happens. The Symphony of the world, that terrible, wonderful tapestry which the Demon has blinded himself to, focusing on his own personal Symphony, intrudes *physically* on the Demon and shatters his connection to the Corporeal. For that same split second, the Demon is thrown into the same deprivation/overload fugue that an Angel is, but for the Demon it's his own selfish personal Symphony he can't hear, while he is exposed, naked, to the sheer power of the Symphony -- the glory that he can no longer access. He is reminded of *everything* that he has lost, and for that eternal instant all the self-deception is gone and the horror of what he has become *hits* him.

And then the driving, pounding beat of the Demon's Heart pulls on him, dragging him back to it. Letting him focus on its infernal, selfish rhythm. Letting it lull him and drive back everything -- letting him forget the Symphony, forget what he's lost. Letting him focus on that beat, that music that is his, *just* his, and letting him exclude the entire universe. And slowly, the Demon lets himself drain away his self-perspective, and the deceptions the Demon has made into his existence take over, and he comes back to 'reality.'

Under this interpretation, Lilim must hate Trauma more than any other Celestial, since they'd never heard the Symphony in the first place, so they're confronted with the Other Side in such a gut wrenching way that they have to purge themselves of it. (Though it wouldn't surprise me if Bright Lilim had to die at least once corporeally in order for that other side to begin to creep inside of them).

And under this interpretation, an Outcast or Renegade without a Heart must *really* hate Death. Not just because of the time it takes... but because he has to come back from the hideous, horrible endurance of that death without a guide. He is *alone* for it, and only the utter nothingness of Limbo makes it possible for him to do it at all... so perhaps that Outcast/Renegade *drives* himself to Limbo, since there he can overcome the Trauma of what has happened... of what perspective he has gained... and slowly sooth himself back into being.

So, I guess I'm one of those people for whom Death is Not Good for Celestials, eh? ;)


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