Soldiers or Gardeners?

By James Walker


Laurence's hostility to Novalis has some interesting effects for humans serving Flowers, given that they report to both Superiors.

Of course, Laurence doesn't actually commandeer the Gardeners - that wouldn't be appropriate. But if he thinks that it would help Heaven to have more Soldiers fighting forest fires, it's only natural that the request go to Novalis. Similarly, Gardeners will be asked to consider becoming paramedics, and expected to at least have Medallion level first aid certificates, or asked to watch over pacifistic Christian churches (those who do so commendably may be granted Laurence's baptism Rite).

This slowly draws the gardeners into formal organisations which fall under Laurence's Word - and only those Gardeners who do so are likely to ever get Rites or attunements of The Sword. And some of Laurence's attunements are very useful to Gardeners: Purity of Purpose is the one most desired, of course. Holy Fortitude is the one most often granted - any gardener who choses to become a paramedic can hope to acquire it one day, especially if they join the (secret branch of) The Knight's of St John, and openly belong to St. John's Ambulance Brigade: Laurence is openly pleased that one of his knightly orders is still nominally in existence and working for Heaven, and watches over it's mortal members.

Every now and again, a Gardener acquires Scabbard - and it's understood by everyone that the attunement is so that they can get rid of weapons, not use them: a Gardener who works with juvenile delinquents can end up Scabbarding thousands of knives during their career. Still, 'misuse' of the attunement has been irritating Novalis no end. A Gardener with Hunt or Blade Blessing has almost certainly been transferred permanently to The Sword.

What is causing problems between Flowers and The Sword is the existence of Soldiers of Flowers (none of whom use the title Gardeners) with the Divine Absolution attunement. They're very rare; partly because Laurence will not grant the attunement lightly, generally only if the individual has a Distinction (or for Soldiers, a couple of attunements); partly because he won't grant it to anyone with fewer than 25 Soul hits; but they're more common than among any other Superior's Soldiers! The reason is simple, of course. Laurence "understands" that Novalis' Servitors can acquire dissonance when killing a demon isn't necessary, but furthers Heaven's purposes, and he doesn't want Novalis' angels "unjustly" punished. The light penances applied to the angels involved encourages Angels of Flowers to be happier with violence than Novalis approves of - and that violence is habit forming.

Of course, any Soldier with this attunement does report back who he has used the attunement on and why (generally while recovering) so the benefiting angel will eventually be asked to join The Sword: generally directly after being reprimanded by Novalis for unnecessary violence.


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