The Matropater Faithful
By Maya Cogman
They've recorded that Uriel was Christian.
They never said that he was Catholic.
And they never said that all his followers were Catholic, either.
Laurence doesn't talk about this, and Dominic can't afford to take a direct
interest -- it'd attract too much attention to the problem, and technically
speaking it's not really a heresy. But he's not happy, not happy at all.
Gnosticism really appealed to a lot of angels -- all right, so the humans
attached a lot of ideas to the basic concept, but a number of points
recommended it to many angels of Purity in particular. Supreme being who was
both male and female, no problem there. Equality of the sexes, sure.
Emphasis on inner spiritual life, no problem there. Meditation,
vegetarianism, non-violence -- perhaps this wasn't quite to the taste of a
lot of Malakim, but humans who could hold to those principles and preserve
their self-chosen honor were a credit to humanity.
Some of the angels of Purity even started wearing the Matropater cross, with
a crucified man on one side, and a crucified woman on the other. Discreetly.
Then Laurence took over.
"In 1209 the Pope sent an army of 30,000 into the Languedoc."
Laurence's personal devotion to Catholicism, and Dominic's viewpoint that it
was Good For Humans, gave the Matropater Faithful (as they had taken to
calling themselves) little room to maneuver. They weren't being promoted,
unless they could demonstrate astonishing prowess and faith. They were
Officially Viewed As Near Heretics, in some quarters. Their dissonance
conditions of total obedience to Laurence's orders (for those of them who
weren't already out in the Marches with the Tsayadim) forbade any option of
So they went underground. The Matropater Cross was no longer worn openly
(though some of them have private tattoos . . .) But the word is spreading.
Angels talk to each other, and it's not as if it's against any law of Heaven
. . . or even wrong . . . Laurence doesn't know how many of his angels are
gnostic, and they're not going to tell him. Dominic can't make a cause
celebre out of it -- it's not as if they're really committing crimes. That
he knows of.
"'The companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than
all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth.' (Gospel of
Recently, a woman has been seen walking in the Marches, wearing oddly
antique clothes, with flame-red hair and a prostitute's body, but with the
eyes of someone who has seen the living God. She says that she has a
message: the men of the propagation of falsehood must be cut down, and the
righteous shall be exalted. She preaches this to all who will hear her. She
does not name herself, but her truth and her personal honor shine like
sunlight to all who resonate her.
She has spoken to the Tsayadim, and they have listened to her. Laurence has
betrayed his heritage, they have decided. He is no longer the righteous
successor to Uriel. He must be cut down, root and branch. Their long
isolation has become a brooding madness, and now that they have found a
Cause, they will not be denied. They have taken up the vestments of Heaven
again, and sharpened their swords, and they will walk in the streets of
Heaven until they come to the Cathedral of the Sword, and there they will
cleanse the place of corruption, and strike down the Archangel of the Sword.
However, some of the Matropater Faithful in Heaven have got word of this. So
how do they stop a truly horrendous possibility like this without (a)
starting a Dominican inquisition into gnosticism in Heaven, and (b) causing
Do any of your PCs have that little tattoo of a Matropater cross?
The identity of the woman with red hair is deliberately left uncertain. Is
she the ghost of Mary Magdalene? Or an Ethereal, formed by belief? Is she a
cunning plot of Hell's, a brainwashed angel, a demon raised in innocence for
this purpose? Is she Mary the mother of Christ, who is (in some stories)
also supposed to have risen after three days, and who is still believed to
walk the roads and wander until her Son returns?
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