Well, there's awkward, and then there's awkward.
Awkward is whaling on ethereal spirits who don't know
their place when you've quietly acquiesced in letting
alone the ones that look like they've got the muscle
to get away with telling you just where one could
stick this "place" of yours. Awkward is having to
deal with the occasional reminder that your nice,
comfortable dualistic theology isn't necessarily an
accurate map of reality.
OK, this needs a little explanation. A few days ago (at the height of Novalis' annual Equinox party, actually), guess who showed up at the shindig but Krishna, simply loaded down with gifts of friendship for all the Archangels? Nice gifts, too: nothing earthshaking, but there was some real thought behind each one of them. Unprecedented, of course, but there was nothing anyone could do: the rule was, "Anyone who can stand the Light of Heaven is welcome". Besides, trying to obliterate somebody who's brought you a present is sort of ... petty. When asked, Krishna just shrugged and informed the crowd that his fellow god Rama was behind the gift giving.
The Council meeting (Archangels only for this one - officially, at least) the next day was somewhat vigorous, to say the least. Naturally, the Ban on ethereals couldn't be relaxed, no matter what kind of pretty gifts were given. Naturally. However, several Archangels (notably Marc and Michael, to their mutual surprise) were quick to point out that, as the rules were complex when it came to the Hindu pantheon, anyway, and that it never hurt to have 'understandings' in complex situations like this one, and that (most importantly) no Archangel wanted to look cheap in front of his, her or its Servitors...
Well, you get the idea. The two most likely to disagree vehemently with this position weren't on the top of their form that day. Laurence really liked the scabbard and belt: everybody gives Laurence swords, but nobody ever thinks to include scabbards. The fact that both were made from tanned, Word-Bound Balseraph skin was an especially nice touch. Dominic, in his turn, wasn't even going to think about taking away his kitten's new plush mouse (interestingly enough, Marc's Collation Department have reported that outbreaks of the "Dominic is a secret Balseraph" meme have decreased by over 65% since his acquisition of his kitten). David didn't have a chance to derail the movement to discreetly reciprocate with a suitable number of gifts. Nothing too fancy, of course: just enough to retain the collective Archangels' dignity.
Of course, the best time for this (and it would have to be done fast, if it were to be done at all) would be at the holiday of Ravanavmi: that way, it would send a general message of goodwill without actually saying anything. Said holiday was in less than two corporeal weeks, so best to get started quickly whipping up appropriate tokens of - well, if not friendship, at least informal, deniable neutrality.
Yes, this is where the PCs come in. More than one Archangel will simply delegate the job of locating (or thinking of) a suitable gift to their favored Servitors: those that already have an idea will need the usual insanely difficult to find (or acquire) raw materials. Time's a-wasting, and don't you just know that Archangel A will want the same relic or raw material as Archangel B? There's also the fact that the PCs won't be the only ones tapped for this job: this is an odd way to look good for the Boss, but whatever works. This will be like a scavenger hunt, only with live ammunition and behind-the-scenes dirty tricks - provided that the GM has a low sense of humor.
And, of course, once the gifts have been collected, they've got to be sent - and, gee, who better to escort them through the Far Marches than the angels so diligent in acquiring them in the first place? It'll be good for them, too: travel is so broadening. In other words, once the GM gets tired of exposing the PCs to exotic and dangerous corporeal locations, she can send them on a magical mystery tour of the ethereal plane. Better special effects there, anyway.
Now, having Eli show up halfway through the trip, completely unexpected and carrying along something really neat, is cruel. It would preserve face for the Council (and may save the PC's collective lives), but Dominic isn't so happy with his kitten that he won't grill the PCs about their sudden acquiring of the Archangel of Creation. I repeat, having Eli come along will be cruel.
Needless to say, once the PCs have dropped off the stuff (remember, having Eli along is cruel), they'll have to stay for the party. Won't that be fun? Especially when Eli - no, wait, only cruel GMs would have him there - anyway, especially when Eli starts a drinking contest with Krishna and Ganesh. He'll need teammates, of course...
No, wait. I keep forgetting. That would be cruel.
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