The Love Song of Djinn Asmodeus, Prince

By Moe Lane



Have you ever thought about what kind of temptation the Humanity Attunement would be for Djinn?

Everything gets so quiet while it's on. The Symphony itself is almost hushed: the screech of disturbance is only a bad memory. The sensory apparatus of the average human is so inferior to that of the average demon that every movement and sound feels muffled. You're almost forced to relax and drift along for the duration. Best of all, you're almost perfectly safe from discovery: the entire point of this Attunement is to make someone unnoticeable. You can go sit and gather dust in peace. All in all, Humanity must be close to physically addictive for Djinn of the Game.

All Djinn of the Game.

Part I: "This is the noise that keeps me awake/ my head explodes and my body aches" -- Garbage, Push It

Every Superior has his, her or its own methods of stress relief: the Prince of the Game is no exception. His, in fact, is fairly ingenuous: Asmodeus has noted that the two major methodologies for dealing with inappropriate impulses (expression and denial) have significant benefits and flaws. Obviously, the optimal path is to find a method that combines the advantages of both while suffering from the disadvantages of neither.

The Prince has accomplished this by the deliberate 'sacrificing' of part of himself. One facet of his awareness has been placed in a vessel that has had the Humanity Attunement permanently invoked upon it. Whenever Asmodeus encounters in himself an inappropriate feeling or desire, he immediately banishes it to his unwilling spiritual heat sink. Let it deal with the problem: the link is one-way, so the main part of Asmodeus never has to deal with the aftereffects. It's still necessary to very occasionally 'clean out' the subordinate part of his awareness, but the whole procedure is still more efficient than dealing with each little impulse as it comes up.

Part II: "Too bad dark languages rarely survive." -- Poe, Hey Pretty

Unfortunately, something seems to have gone wrong: the piece of Asmodeus that should have been quietly dealing with this for the betterment of all has apparently gone insane, or dead. The experience was ... disquieting: the Prince of the Game is not used to having any part of his well-regulated mind suddenly spout gibberish at the top of its metaphorical lungs. He is even less used to finding any part of himself even more suddenly refuse to work.

Now, normally Asmodeus would simply track down his errant fragment-self, obliterate whatever personality was in there and reintegrate. Unfortunately, he literally can't: whatever it was that sent his emotion sink over the edge also metaphorically knocked it out of the network. The Prince of the Game cannot even determine with any certainty just where his rebellious subroutine is. It's as if there was a blind spot, so subtle that the Prince himself is uncertain whether it's actually there. Asmodeus is certain that he'd know if the fragment had been dispersed: the link is still there, just ... unresponsive. This is unacceptable, especially since the allegorical debris is starting to pile up.

Asmodeus needs to fix this soon, before someone tracks down his errant fragment and starts administering payback (or, worse, before he himself has to start actively dealing with disgusting emotions like empathy or generosity). All he needs is someone to locate the fragment, and he'll handle the rest. Of course, anyone who does this for him is going to have a very short lifespan afterwards (loose lips, and all that)...

... but there are lots of demons in Hell - and, of course, it would be pointless to waste his own Servitors, no?

Part III: "Now get in the pit and try to love someone!" -- Kid Rock, Bawitdaba

Well, that's how you get Demon PCs #1 into the scenario: it would be aesthetically pleasing if they've gotten in trouble with the Game, but a little thought should confirm precisely how superfluous that requirement actually is. Every Other Demon PC group (and Angel PC Group #X) will instead walk into this scenario halfway through, when they encounter the aforementioned fragment.

Actually, by now, the fragment has a name. It's Alfred, if you please - or even if you don't please. He really doesn't care much about celestial opinions, either way.

Alfred has by now gone through anger, insanity, despair and absolute ennui and passed through to the other side. He could feel the pressure building inside him, growing, growing ... and he even tried to warn the dimly-remembered greater part of him about what was going on. Apparently, the larger part of him couldn't be bothered to care. What from Alfred can deduce, that's not too surprising. Well, such is life.

And, you know ... life isn't all that bad, once you've allowed yourself to stand still and let it kick you in the groin for a while. It's hard on the furniture, of course (especially while you're foaming at the mouth from feeling your mind slowly going all fuzzy and hot) - but once you get past that bit, things perk up.

Coffee, for example. Have you ever just sat in an all-night diner and drank coffee? No, of course not - celestials never drink coffee unless it's a Need or role maintenance. Dumb of them: coffee is one of those things that drives home the lesson of what being human is like. But you have to drink a lot, to understand. At about 3 AM, the accumulated caffeine stops being your friend and starts kicking at your stomach. Most people stop there, the fools.

What you have to do is drink more coffee, maybe get a slice of pie or two, and really concentrate on the sensation. It's seriously intense. By 6 AM, you're so wired and tired that the dreams are especially good and surrealistic. Dreaming ... now there's an experience worth having, for that matter. You can really appreciate Beleth's work that way - and even Blandine's, when the coffee will let you. You don't get to dream, when you're a celestial - or so Alfred remembers.

Frankly, they can keep it. Being human is so much more intense, so much more immediate. The pleasures may be dulled a bit, but they soothe. Coffee. Cherry pie. A good book. Linear time.


Who's Janet, you ask? Only the best damn waitress Alfred has ever seen (not that he's seen many, of course). She always knows when you need another cup, leaves you alone when you feel like being alone, never asks why you keep coming back every night to stare out of the window ... and she'll talk to you without cowering. She'll even laugh at you when you've said something stupid. Nobody ever dared do that around Asmod ... Al ... and isn't that a crying shame?

She's alone, too, you understand. No husband, no kids, nobody that cares too much about her. Just the night shift at a diner and feet that always hurt and nobody to talk to except a quiet guy who reads T.S. Eliot for laughs.

A man could do worse.

Now, at this point anybody who knows who Al really is should be quietly swearing and wondering how to get out of this scenario alive. A demon that cannot extrapolate from the existing data and come to the conclusion "Asmodeus will terminate anyone who even faintly looks like they've encountered this weakness in his character" might very well be not worth saving, anyway. Angels who have stumbled upon this situation (hey, it's a good diner) should likewise be paranoid - with good reason. Asmodeus will be an equal-opportunity eliminator of evidence, after all.

Getting a satisfactory conclusion out of this will take some doing. Demons have it easy: they just have to survive. Angels will have to worry about justice/payback/mercy (although they'd probably want to survive, too). Funnily enough, Redemption could be an out for Either Side, provided that demons can do some fast talking to their own Princes about how the new Cherub would be actually one in the eye for someone that nobody likes very much. Permanently dispersing the poor bastard's Forces would work, too.

Really permanently. You don't want to leave even a hint that Asmodeus could pick up on. Redeeming Al looks better all the time.

Not necessarily easier, mind...


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