By Ryan M. Roth
Shelly, a skinny 16 year old with very little business being this type of
neighborhood at this hour, hugged the police blanket more tightly around
her and tried to blot out the noise with her hands. It didn't help. She
waited for the police to tell her she could go home. As she waited on the
curb with the policemen buzzing around her, she tried to expain it all to
herself. She wasn't having much luck. The night was full of sounds;
harsh, glaring sounds that made the very air seem to throb in pain. It
was getting quieter, slowly, but only very slowly. Shelly was sure she
would be hearing things long after the sirens and commotion had stopped.
Eventually, a detective came over to her and sat down. Shelly knew he was
a detective because of the cheap suit he wore. "Miss Ashton, I'm
Detective Miller. Officer Benton read me the statement you gave him, and
I have a few more questions for you, and then I think we'll be able to
take you home. Ok?" Shelly nodded.
"Ok." The detective flipped through a notebook. "You said that, about a
week ago, you got your learner's permit, and you decided to borrow your
dad's car without permission tonight to practice, right?"
Shelly nodded. She didn't care that she could get in trouble for driving
without an adult.
"You drove around for a while, and decided to try to handle the freeway,
Shelly nodded again.
"But then you were forced to exit early because you weren't used to the
freeway speeds, and found yourself in an unfamiliar area. As you tried to
find your way back, all that chaos started." The detective gestured
north, where several fire-gutted buildings were, less than 5 blocks away.
The firemen had gotten the flames under control, and were content now to
let the buildings burn themselves out.
Shelly spoke up for the first time. "What... happened?" Images of 9/11
came to her.
"It looks like it was just a really bad case of street gang warfare.
Two large groups decided to try and murder each other, and at least one
side had explosives with them. Was over pretty quick, though; most of
them are dead or scattered. But that's not what we were talking about.
The explosions started, and you lost control of the car and crashed it
into a building. You got scared, so you tried to get away from the blasts
you were hearing. You ran, but then this tall, fat guy stopped you.
Shelly nodded again, shaking a little.
"I'm sorry, Miss Ashton. This won't take much longer. This guy grabbed
your arm and forced you into the alley back there and said he was going to
have fun with you. He got you to the rear of the alley, and tried to kiss
you while you struggled to get away and called for help. And then..."
The detective stopped. "And then, you 'hit' him."
Tears were flowing down her cheeks as she nodded this time.
"Miss Ashton, you must forgive me if I'm a little bit skeptical. The body
we found, which matches a description of a known rapist, by the way,
easily has more than a hundred and fifty pounds on you. And yet you are
telling us that, with one punch, you caused this man to fly backwards more
than fifteen feet, and put a huge dent in a garbage dumpster with his
head. Are you sure that someone didn't help you? That you weren't a
little confused? If someone did help you, they shouldn't be in any
trouble if they were acting to save you."
Shelly was looking down now, at the gutter, barely controlling the sobs.
"It happened like I said."
"Well, then, how did you get so strong?"
Shelly looked up, confused, afraid, and shaken to her very core.
"I... don't... know..."
Most angels who don't think about it believe all Soldiers of God come to
Heaven when they die. This isn't exactly true.
Soldiers don't always find their way home. This has always been true.
While being a Soldier of Hell virtually guarantees being Damned (there
are, of course, a few expections), Soldiers of God get no such guarantee.
They work, they fight, and eventually they die, but sometimes that soul
doesn't show up at the Gates of Heaven. Some don't achieve their Destiny;
some have a strong need to remain on Earth. Some just get lost. And so
the Symphony sweeps them up into the reincarnation cycle. To be born
But we are talking about Soldiers of God here. Many of whom have more
than 5 forces. Soldiers who have learned to listen to the Symphony,
learned to contol their Essence reserves. Soldiers who have been taught
things, like Songs. Having such connections, such awareness of the nature
of the Symphony affects the soul. Affect it in ways that the
reincarnation process can't undo; only conceal.
And, sometimes, when the Symphony is strongly Disturbed, the cloak that
hides the past shifts aside for a moment, and a soul remembers what it
could do before.
Remembrance is the rare phenomenon where a human, who in a previous life
was a Soldier of God, accidentally triggers a supernatural effect that its
previous life used to know. Effects include Symphonic Awareness (the most
common memory), Essence Awareness and Control, and Songs. Once triggered,
the human can, with experimentation, regain complete use of the skill.
Further, once the gate is opened, it becomes easier to recall other skills
the soul used to know. Given enough time, a human could remember all of
his previous abilities. However, the set of triggers which cause a soul's
first Remembrance are only very rarely brought together, so that many
potential Remembering souls go through their entire lives without
recalling their former abilities. The triggers can be complex, and are
dependant on what skills the former life had.
The first Remembrance trigger is always stress. The human in question
must be emotionally agitated; 'fear for one's life' stress is more likely
to cause a Remembrance than any other type.
Second, in reaction to that stress, the human must be trying to do
something in which one of his old skills would be helpful. Fighting may
cause a first Remembrance of a Song of Might. Running might trigger
Corporeal Motion. If the soul didn't know an appropriate song for the
activity, the soul will spontaneously dump all his remaining Essence into
the activity, and gain a flash of awareness as he does so. This can
result in a first Remembrance of Essence Control.
Third, the Symphony around the human must be strongly Distrubed. (The
Symphony naturally acts to cloak past lives from mortal minds; when
disturbed, this natural shield can crack briefly) The human needs to be
in an area which has more than 30 notes of Disturbance echoing through it,
or else be the target of an activity which is causing at least 10 notes of
Disturbance (like being hit with a major Essence-powered Song, or being
wounded by a Celestial).
When these triggers all simultaneously occur, the human gets to make a
Perception-roll. Success indicates a first Remembrance. The soul
immediately regains Symphonic Awareness, and the old skill (if a Song)
goes off as if it were sucessfully sung at a level of 1. If, thereafter,
the human tries to practice the skill and repeat what he did, he must make
a Perception roll at the end of each day of practicing. If he succeeds,
he regains the skill at level/1 (and the skill activates). Also, if the
human is practicing a Song and has not yet learned Essence Control, a
second Perception roll at the end of each day is made. Success indicates
that the human has remembered how to regulate his Essence reserves (note:
if the human hasn't remembered how regulate Essence, any Song he succeeds
in singing will automatically use all of his remaining Essence).
Once the he has figured out how to sing the Song at level 1, he can
continue to practice the song, making Perception rolls every day. Each
success increases the level of the song, until it reaches the level it was
orginally known at. Each success also triggers the Song; the soul may
have to wait between practice sessions to allow his Essence to build back
up. A Divine Intervention during practicing results in learning the skill
at it's orginal level, and a dim memory of what other skills he used to
At this point, the mortal might try to discover what other abilities they
have. This is harder, since the soul has no knowledge of what other
abilities it used to know. It also requires Disturbance, but the levels
are reduced from the ones needed for the first Remembrance: an area of 10
notes of Disturbance, or being the target of a 3 note disturbance (which
can be caused by the soul's own Song use). Once the Disturbance
requirement is met, the soul can make a Perception roll, with a -3
penalty. Success results in the Song going off at level/1, and the
ability to practice it (without the -3 penalty) until it is learned at
its previous level.
Remembrances are almost always frightening for the human afflicted with
them. Suddenly having Symphonic Awareness is frightening in and of
itself; in addition, the human has no idea why they can do what they did.
Should they decide to practice their old skills, they will invariably
start to make repeated Distrubances (and more mundane distrubances) on
their own, and will have no idea that there are demons and angels out
there who can hear them. It is at this point that Hell and Heaven usually
Heaven sees Remembering souls as lost comrades who must be rescued before
Hell finds them. Heaven does it's best to locate them, educate them about
what they are, and gives them the option of becoming Soldiers again. If a
Remembering soul is given instruction, he can ignore -3 penalty for
learning old skills. Since the time between the Soldier's death and his
first Remembrance can span many lifetimes, sometimes souls pop up who
remember very old or secret Songs. There is at least one recorded
instance of a soul Remembering an Attunement as well; this was believed to
be the result of a Divine Intervention.
Hell sees Remembering souls as perfect Soldier of Hell material, with the
extra spice of 'you fought us once, now you will serve us for Eternity'.
Demons have become very proficient at using the mortal's ignorance of the
War to their advantage.
It is theorectially possible that a Soldier of an Ethereal God could
undergo the Remembrance phenomenon, but to date there is no record of it
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