And I Feel Fine - Part 10: Open War
"But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to
you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."
-- Revelation 12:12
Lucifer has had a Bad Day. The worst day since the Fall, in fact. He
has just discovered that Armageddon is on track, with himself still
safely cast as the losing bad guy.
There's a yawning chasm where two thirds of Abaddon used to be, and
Belial's old Principality of Sheol has fallen into it, forming a Lake of
Fire, just visible as a red spark at the bottom. Lucifer knows from a
quick glance that the Lake is the final boundary of reality -- nothing
that goes into it continues to exist in any way. All the ruins of the
Lower Hells have already gone into it.
Only a handful of the double-damned got out of the Lower Hells; he's
just lost his private Essence base, along with almost everything else he
had in the Lower Hells, and the Enemy has revealed itself to be
Lucifer is frantic with rage and fear. His celestial form, a gigantic
scarlet balseraph with seven heads, rampages through the skies over
Rome, tossing off Songs of madness and physical violence, seeding the
streets below with havoc and causing many to become Symphonically
Meanwhile, in a human vessel, he confronts the Four Horsemen and Kronos
in Therrian's offices. He berates Baal for incompetent generalship,
Saminga for failing to defend his own Principality, Mammon for being
generally useless. Therrian, the only human present, keeps a terrified
silence, but notes with amazement that the Princes are not submissive --
Baal argues back with cold dignity, Saminga snarls, even Mammon sulks.
"How art thou fallen, O Lucifer," Therrian reflects, "in the eyes of
your own servants."
The Lucifer turns on Therrian: "You! Putting you forth was my first
mistake! With you, I set the prophecies in motion against myself!
*Now* what good are you?"
Therrian: "I am good to do your will on Earth, my Father, as before. If
you want more of me, then give me what you know I seek -- a Princedom,
to reign in Hell as well as on the Earth, like Lilith."
Lucifer : "You'll have *what* I choose, *when* I choose, greedly little
monkey." (To Kronos): "And what of you, grand Prince of Fate? Why did
you not foresee any of this, Hell's prophet? What of MY Fate?!"
Kronos (with chill calm): "You know full well that all my foreseeing is
only of possibility. Nor did you ever suffer me or anyone else to
Lucifer: "What ARE you?! If you are indeed part of God's Spirit, I will
rend you myself, to cause some pain to Him. Answer!"
Kronos: "I am no one, not a soul. You found me a torn web of Forces,
still echoing with the Symphony, and took me, at first, for a shattered
seraph or balseraph. Then you decided I was an Aspect, like Yves. Like
him, I am a swirl of Forces from God's own heart, but I was never
fashioned into an ego, a soul, a self. I say "I" and "me" and they are
lies, fictions, in my mouth. I was your last chance, Lucifer; God gave
me to you to see what you would make of me. He gave me to you weak and
wounded, to allay your pride and fear, but with the Symphony still
within me. You could have made me your ambassador to Heaven, your
mediator, and ultimately the guide to your Redemption. But you chose to
make me your tool for seeking the worst possibilities, and that I am,
the Prince of Fate, including your Fate."
Lucifer growls, turns away, and stabs at the air with a forefinger. By
the time he completes the gesture, Kobal has appeared, startled, taking
the jab in his sternum. "You jackanapes! It was you persuaded me to
make Hell a realm of pain and destruction. Now look at the annihilation
it leads to! If we had made of Hell a rival paradise, could the Lower
Hells have been made to lead to *that*?! Go, fool, and help Nybbas with
the propaganda. I would shred you all, but that I need every slave
now. Go!" He gestures and all the Princes vanish. In the next moment,
he himself is gone, leaving Therrian to listen to the distant screams
The War is no longer a secret. Huge numbers of people have become
Symphonically aware from sheer exposure to Disturbance. More than half
of the (remaining) world population has seen a giant locust or watched
someone get Raptured. EVERYONE can see that all the children and a
third of the adults are gone.
Anticipating this, Heaven lifts the ban on secrecy. The day after the
Rapture, a number of, er, street-preachers with Numinous Corpus Wings
appear flying over cities all over the world and announce that the End
Is Near, that Therrian is the Antichrist, and it's time to repent.
(Several are shot down.) This just stirs the pot on the media
hullaballoo following the Rapture. Lots of demons give up on secrecy
without waiting to be told they can.
Since the early days of the Tribulation, the world has been a patchwork
of "UN recovery zones" (Beast-held territories) and resistance
territories, where it isn't howling wilderness and ruin. Some of the
resistance territories are held by various nationalists who want their
old sovereignties back; others are just held by people who don't like
Since the resistance territories tended to lose more people in the
Rapture, they now shrink, in the face of less-depleted foes. But Hell's
forces have taken a monstrous blow to their morale, propaganda or not,
and there are even uprisings in Therrian's territories. So borders don't
shift as much as mere changes of numbers would indicate.
*Some* of the resistance areas become openly held by Heaven -- but only
where angels and saints can convince the local authorities to ally.
Other areas, particularly in Asia, turn to Ethereals, who now walk the
Earth openly. Still others want to remain independent, though few of
these resistance areas are openly hostile to Heaven and many are very
The whole situation vaguely resembles the paritioning of the world
during World War II, between the poles of the Axis and the Allies.
Roleplaying seed: Superheroes
There's always been a "danger" of In Nomine turning into a superheroes
game. Now it can happen safely. All it takes is for the battles to be
out in the open more. Spandex optional.
Roleplaying seed: Superspies
Of course, the old covert mode is still quite useful. And, while it was
nigh-impossible for angels and demons to infiltrate each other's home
turf on the Celestial Plane, it's easy to do it on the Corporeal -- and,
for the first time, they actually have significant Corporeal
territories, with boundaries and check points and supply lines. Lots of
World War spy plots can be recycled for Celestials and Soldiers.
Roleplaying seed: No Atheists in These Fox Holes
Now Heaven and Hell actually have physical battle lines on Earth. War
zone adventures are now possible, though they will not be much like
adventures set in World War II, since the combatants span such a wide
range of races and powers. There are four tactical situations:
- Mortals vs. mortals, the most mundane and most like historical
precedent, though even here there are Soldiers and Song-users.
- Angels vs. mortals, where one or a few angels slice through mortal
Hell-troops, limited somewhat by the capacities of their vessels and
their hope of converting some of the enemy.
- Demons vs. mortals, like the above, but without the option of moral
- Angels vs. demons; the previous two situations tend to turn into this
one quickly, as celestials come to the aid of their mortals. The
mortals then run away, lay low, or get thrust into the background,
except for occasional interesting surprises situations.
Roleplaying seed: Celestial Diplomacy
Not all anti-Therrian enclaves are pro-Heaven. Heaven will want to do
something about that. PCs can be sent to negotiate. Of course, they'll
be hoping to convince the enclave leadership that "Yes indeed, we *are*
the Forces of Good, and you want to work for us." They may have to
settle for alliance or neutrality. Or failure.
This is especially true if the leadership of the enclave is heavily
influenced by Ethereals, or just plain replaced by Ethereals. It's a
lot easier to believe in the supernatural now, after all, and this has
given a huge boost to many pagan pantheons and other Ethereal groups.
Pre-Rapture, many anti-Therrian groups were nationalists; now, old
ethnic pantheons are coming back, or actually re-forming.
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