And I Feel Fine - Part 4: The Second and Third Horsemen
Lucifer spends most of his time, now, going to and fro in the Earth, and
up and down in it. (Job 1:7) This includes making regular visits to
his protege, Therrian, in Rome. He appeares in Therrian's office and is
immediately met with the Antichrist's beaming smile.
"My Father," said Therrian, "I have just heard from Baal. He has
discovered who has succeeded Laurence as commander of the Host. A spy
of his, working with Beleth's people, got it out of a God-Soldier's
dreamscape. He has confirmed it from other sources. Do you know who
they are down to now? Janus."
The Devil chuckled.
"After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the
earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from
blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another
angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He
called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power
to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the
trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."
-- Revelation 7:1
Roleplaying seed: Disinformation
In deference to seraphim and angels of Revelation, Janus *is* now titled
"Commander of the Host." It's just that he's not the only Commander, or
the highest-ranking. No need to let that slip to the Horde, though.
And there is every need to keep Hell ignorant while Heaven continues to
build it strength.
PCs can be sent to recall seraphim from Earth, since they are now deemed
too great a security risk, if they know anything at all about recent
developments in Heaven. Or PCs can *be* seraphim, anxious to finish up
work on Earth before they're recalled.
Perhaps the PCs have a nifty way of keeping seraphim on Earth-duty
without endangering the news blackout. Let them try it out, or let them
try selling it to their Archangel.
PCs may have demonic or Hell-sworn contacts that they are trying to
redeem. (This has gotten much harder, now that Hell looks like
winning.) If they are angels of Flowers (very likely, if they're trying
to talk demons into redemption), their Archangel probably knows about
their contacts. Is Novalis going to pull them out? Or can they bring
off the redemption *soon*, without tipping Heaven's hand?
A rumor leaks out -- that Gabriel isn't dead, or Uriel's come back, or
Michael isn't dead, or even that the Metatron has returned. Pick one.
One or more non-celestial servants of Hell have gotten wind of it -- a
Hellsworn, Soldier, Undead, or Ethereal. The PCs can either be the
Hell-servants or the angels who are now assuredly hunting them down.
(Even if the Hell-servants manage to report to someone, let them not be
believed by anyone important, to preserve the plot.)
Many boddhisatvas and Soldiers of God must simply be kept in the dark
about the opening of the Upper Heavens. As the world crumbles around
them, can they also be kept from despair? Not much combat potential
here, but plenty of roleplaying opportunity.
"When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living
creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its
rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay
each other. To him was given a large sword." -- Revelation 6:3-4
Therrian's "recovery effort" gets mixed reviews in the world at large.
Most people are too busy surviving to notice or care, but of the rest, a
large number resent his flouting of national sovereignties. Some
(accurately) accuse him of empire-building. In every nation, there are
underground resistance movements forming, and in many nations, there are
national armies, or chunks of them, starting to resist the UN troops and
the collaborating forces.
In the patterns of resistance, in the strategies used, in the occasional
reports of battle-Songs, Baal sees Michael's hand. Michael himself may
be dead (though Baal personally hopes not), but his influence continues,
and it is Baal's place to fight it. Lucifer and Therrian are more than
pleased to accept, and soon Therrian's troops are heavily infiltrated
and largely commanded by demons and Soldiers of The War.
Roleplaying seed: Rallying Michael's Saints
Michael is known to have more Saints on Earth than any other Archangel.
This was why. He sends out the word and starts to rally *all* the
Saints of War, to aid resistance to Baal and Therrian (covertly, for
now). But *how* does he send out the word? It starts with Ophanim of
War making the rounds, looking up Saints whose locations are known to
Senechals of War and anyone else who volunteers the information. But
it's a long list of Saints, a big job, and anyone (any PC) is welcome to
help hunt up War Saints whose locations are unknown.
On a smaller scale, David, Laurence, and Zadkiel need to rally their
Most of Belial's demons soon find new masters. Many go to Baal or
Saminga. Those few who can monitor the traffic of Fire orphans --
mostly demons of Asmodeus -- are surprised at how many Mammon buys up.
Consequently, they are among the few *not* surprised when Mammon makes a
lightning strike on Haagenti, wiping out most of Gluttony's higher-level
servitors, backing Haagenti into a corner, and forcing on the Prince a
geas-contract of servitude, brokered by Lilith. "The Hostile Takeover,"
as this event is dubbed by the Nybbas News Network, restores Mammon to
his place as a major Prince.
Roleplaying seed: The Hostile Takeover
Demonic PCs are swept up in the battles of the Hostile Takeover, in Shal
Mari. They can be Gluttons, Mammonites, Fire demons newly re-tuned to
Greed, or Fire demons not yet re-tuned but simply in service to Mammon
as "mercenaries." Or they could be any other denizens of Shal Mari,
taking sides or laying low.
"When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature
say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider
was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded
like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat
for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do
not damage the oil and the wine!" -- Revelation 6:5-6
Raphael, Archangel of Knowledge, guides the streams of information
crossing Therrian's desk in Rome. Soon, Therrian sees that he needed an
economic miracle. In fact, he needs three. The "recovery zones" are
fiendishly expensive to organize. The various battles all over the
globe will soon be more expensive. The hidden plans for turning all
this into his own empire will be the most expensive of all.
Of course, one could simply go into debt, then default. But that would
dislocate the very economies he wants to rule one day. No, he needs to
move the debts and shortages around, turning them into new weapons. It
will be chancey; he will need the devil's own luck for money. Which
means he will need Mammon.
The Demon Prince is delighted. Fresh from his Hostile Takeover in Shal
Mari, he is temporarily flush with power, but he is secretly worried
about the future of his Word in a world where economic systems are being
shredded by war and "natural" disaster. This gives him a golden
opportunity to protect himself and his Word. He eagerly accepts a Role
as Therrian's economic advisor.
And close behind Mammon, though not in any public role, is Valefor,
Prince of Theft. Mammon is uneasy, of course, about Valefor; they are
natural enemies. But "moving the debts and shortages around" means
stealing, when all's said and done.
In a few months, it becomes more and more desirable to live in a
"recovery zone," under the protection/domination of Therrian's troops.
There, and more and more only there, you can find food and shelter, even
luxuries if you know people, do favors, drop bribes, pull strings. Of
course, if you can't exploit and weasel successfully, you spend most of
your waking hours waiting in queues or working in sweatshops or
Roleplaying seed: Angels of Sherwood
Against Mammon and Valefor, Heaven plays Marc and Janus. Unlikely
allies in normal times, now, in the Tribulation, they team up to run
masses of Robin-Hood scenarios, pulling resources back from Therrian,
reducing his power to act and to tempt. Angelic PCs can run Robin Hood
adventures more concretely, liberating food, medicine, guns, jeeps, from
Therrian's troops and recovery zones, delivering them to resistance
fighters, or to those who simply don't want to live in places that
increasingly resemble Shal Mari.
Demonic PCs can have similar fun, of course, bribing and coercing
industrialists, misdirecting funds (Switzerland suffered very little in
the natural catastrophes), and running guns in all sizes and amounts.
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