There is a tremendous feeling of excitement in Heaven. While there
was mourning for the loss of the Archangel of Light -- now forever
beyond redemption -- the apparent threshold of victory in the War has
brought enthusiasm and jubilation among the Virtuous. With the
degredation of Infernal Words, it seems more and more like Lucifer's
entire Rebellion was just one more Balseraph's lie, and now God's
will is spreading to all corners. Optimism is at its highest since
before the Purity Crusade.
There is concern over the grieveous injuries Michael suffered in his battle, but the general feeling is Michael will recover swiftly. Certainly, Michael will grow more quickly than the Princes will degrade, or so goes the theory, but while the Princes are degrading, they are more likely to bolster their own Words or search for a cure for their condition.
It is known that Lilith has named herself Queen of Hell and apparently has named new Princes and Word-bound, but there is no reason to believe these Words won't degrade as quickly as the Luciferian Words. There is considerable curiousity of how Lilith is able to do these things. On the other hand, Kronos -- a known Balseraph -- is working with her, which means it may all be lies anyhow, or perhaps Kronos, as the second most powerful Balseraph after Lucifer himself, has learned the trick of Word granting and is doing it in Lilith's name.
The Peace Faction is gaining considerable strength. Michael has done the one crucial thing needed by War, the theory goes. Now it's time to begin bringing all of God's Children together and once again living in harmony. This is borne out by the flood of Infernal Refugees (Renegades no longer seems to describe them) to Divine Tethers and known Angels of all stripes. While a good number of these Refugees fail to achieve Redemption, enough succeed that a real feeling of homecoming and reconciliation has begun to fill the air.
Here then are the current feelings and reactions of the various Heavenly Superiors to the early days of Lilith's Reign:
Blandine: Laurence took an immediate and strong interest in driving Beleth's demons from the Marches. Perhaps he was guilty for Michael's sacrifice. We have regained all the ground lost to Magog's forces some time ago, and then some. But Andrealphus's Demons are trying to infect the good Dreams we must protect, and defending the Dreamers is more important than any military victory. Perhaps soon I will see Beleth again, and we can have a reckoning, though.... As for Lilith... her dreams have always been grey -- sometimes light, sometimes dark. I think she will not be the enemy Lucifer was. (Blandine's Angels are largely concentrating on the defense of Dreams and Tether defense, following some weeks of campaigning alongside Laurence's Angels to drive Nightmares back.)
Christopher: It's so exciting! I've redeemed two dozen demons myself, and there are so many more clamoring at the gates of Heaven! I would do more there, but the Princes are panicking and striving to protect their Words -- and the suffering of children can be very evocotive to the human consciousness. My angels must protect children worldwide, keeping the forces of Fire, the War, Death and Dark Humor away from them. At least Andrealphus seems distracted -- oh, he's one of those with Lilith now, isn't it? I wonder what she's up to.... (Angels of Children are being assigned to block demonic assaults -- children being a primary target for Word bolstering.)
David: I remember the Archangel of Light. He died twenty thousand years ago, and Michael threw the corpse to Hell. Now Michael has ended the Corpse's twitching, and will shed no tears for it. I do not trust that Hell's threat has ended with it's Lord, and I fear Lilith's involvement in all this. Her duplicity and hypocracy must not be allowed to grow -- she has infected too much of Earth already. In the meantime, we must hurl ourselves against the thrust of the dying Princes, lest the Earth be torn apart in their death throes. The work is not complete, and so long as it is not complete I will not celebrate. (Angels of Stone have been tasked with shutting down demonic incursions on Earth, using any means necessary. The Davidians are among the least likely to accept redemption candidates at this time, instead sending as many demons as they can to their Hearts. This is especially true of Word-bound -- the idea of their Words dying as they lie curled around their Hearts appeals to the Davidian sense of the appropriate.)
Dominic: Lucifer's judgement came, at last, at the keen edge of Michael's axe. God pardoned Michael for Pride, and today I can see the wisdom of that decision. Michael's Pride strengthened his arm and resolution, letting the swift blade of War cleave through Lucifer's lies and leaving nothing to protect the Morningstar from ultimate justice. Now, the floodgates have opened and the demons are begging to return to grace. Though it take us a thousand years, each must be judged individually, and each must be given the chance to flourish in Heaven once more. Judgement day is nigh for all of Hell, and Heaven must be firm, but just. And Lilith? For centuries we have said she is nothing more than a demon in human clothing, and now she has shown it. Judgement will not be kind to her. (Dominic -- interestingly enough -- is one of the most common Archangels responsible for redeeming the Luciferian Refugees. This is in part because his Redemptions have been more successful than most -- in part because he only attempts to Redeem the deserving and takes the time to seperate out the frightened from the penitent. His Angels are devoted to the holding of refugees and the debriefing of newly redeemed Angels, and their dockets are very full indeed, right now.)
Eli: Whoa -- Lilith's the Queen of Hell? Like, God Save the Queen, y'know? I mean that. No, I really really mean that. She needs it. Maybe this means a kinder, gentler Hell. Seems unlikely, though. Watch her. She's shifty. The Lilith I know wouldn't be Queen. President maybe. So she's not the Lilith I know. Do you understand? Do you? You gonna finish those fries? (Eli's Angels... are Eli's Angels. What, you expect Lucifer's death to change anything here?)
Gabriel: The laughing man will laugh no more, but does he smile? Or smirk. It cannot be seen. It cannot be told. The Morning Star was falling to Earth. Falling, falling in flames and burning what it touched, and now it has fallen and split and the fire has poured out and seeped into the cold hard rock! The King of Heaven has struck down the serpent, and the serpent's blood flows through the veins of the queen... beware the queenstrike, and watch for the smirk or the smile -- watch! (Gabriel is in an interesting state. Belial's Word is faltering, and after millenia of the two battling for that Word, Gabriel has instantly driven him down further, weakening him and reasserting her own dominance definitely for the first time since Belial first drove her to insanity. As a result, the Voice is very strong in her, making Gabriel less coherent than ever, due to the prophecies flowing through her. She is distracted but seems easier to invoke than normal. In the meantime, her Servitors perform their duties without much change, punishing the cruel with savage glee in the wake of the death of Lucifer.)
Janus: Michael has always been our leader, whether he has the title or not. He has shown us why, one more time -- and shown us how the whining dogs of Judgement have cost us so much for so long. How much sooner would Lucifer's death had come if Michael had been given the free hand he needed? How much sooner would the winds of change have swept through Heaven, Hell and Earth if we had not endured the interregnum of the stubbornly pure and the purely stubborn? Now our true fire is rekindled, and Hell cannot stand before our gale. Let us hitch high the sails and sail them into Satan's heart and Lucifer's little successor! Let Gabriel's horn blow and the assembled Host fly like leaves in the wind, until all of Hell has been scoured clean and all that remains are God's children. The Hour is Nigh -- let's have us an Armageddon! (Janus's Angels are revelling in the chaos of change. The frantic Word bolstering and desperate flocking to Heaven are seen as affirmations of the entire Windie viewpoint -- change has taken place in Hell, and the old is being swept away by the new. Janus's Angels are generally tasked with helping refugee demons reach safe places or otherwise keeping the change that's begun from stangnenting. If that means helping to sweep out the old by blocking Word bolstering attempts, so be it.)
Jean: While Michael's actions were foolhardy and dangerous, one cannot argue with the empirical results he has wrought. If one postulated the assumption -- the death of Lucifer -- the results that have been observed were predictable. Lucifer had always been the catalyst. Hell and all her Demons were merely the reaction to exposure to that catalyst. With the removal of the catalyzing agent, the reaction's precipitation remains but is being slowly washed away in the ebb and flow of the Symphony. Barring another catalyst to reinstate the same or a similar reaction, eventually there would be nothing of Hell or its works left. Lilith has moved herself into the position of catalyzing agent -- will she create a reaction, slow the clearing or ultimately prove inert? I am not sure. It would seem one of the other potential Lords of Hell -- Baal, Malphas or Kronos -- would have produced a stronger reaction. It should be interesting to observe. (The Servitors of Lightning have been the harbingers of the new age, determining the rate and quality of Word-force degradation. Further, when the captive Demon of Hubris underwent his own crisis of faith, it was three young Mercurians of Lightning and an older Seraph of Lightning who ministered to him, leading to one of the first major Redemptions following the death of Lucifer. Now, the Angels of Lightning are tasked with observing and reporting on the activities of the Horde as they try to bolster the failing Words, measuring Word loss and the reaction of Infernal powers to it. Of course, they are to try and block Hellish advances as they do so.)
Jordi: The alpha male has been torn down, and now the pack scrambles, seeking both sustenance and dominance. The old alpha's bitch rises and tries to hold the pack to her word, but they resist. The pack, thus torn, runs wild and unnatural. We must guard the deer from the pack until they settle, and then while they are weak, we must ride in and cull them once and for all. (Jordi's Angels have been set almost entirely to protecting wilderness areas and other animal habitats from Word bolstering attempts -- especially those of Belial, who seeks to burn down large, distinctive resources, especially beloved ones like national parkland or forests.)
Khalid: Mika'il -- God's Peace be upon him -- has struck home the message that Faith has always carried... in perfect submission to and therefore majesty of the Lord, one can carry the fires of judgement to the very heart of the Shaitan. Glories and joy be spread in Michael's name, as the infidels now sob and cry out for mercy that will not come. We must carry that glory further, taking Michael's glorious example to heart and striking down evil where it lies, all the way into the heart of Hell itself. Do not ever forget that Shaitans, while doomed to failure and destruction, come in packs. (The Angels of Faith stand in Jihad against the forces of Hell, using their desperate attempts to bolster the Words of the Luciferian Princes as excuses to sweep in and decimate the reduced Horde. They are cold to refugees -- any who come to the mosques out of fear are eliminated without mercy. Truly contrite demons, having seen the error of their ways following the path of Lucifer, are treated harshly but not unkindly, leading to the fires of Redemption or death, if they are unworthy.)
Laurence: Michael's victory has given us an unprecidented opportunity. Now is not the time to either lose our heads or assume the job is over. The Princes are dying -- the Infernal Word-bound are passing away before our very eyes. We have to pursue the attack. The Gates of Hell have been closed, with the damned souls collecting outside them. We must be ready to lay siege as soon as they're forced open -- when there is no other way for them to go. While we must hold the ground we've gained in the Marches, our responsibility now is clear -- destroy the Infernal Tethers where they lie, save those we can absolutely control, so that we have ways into the heart of Hell itself. Give the Princes no options but to stand and fight on fields of our choosing. And wait them out. Given enough time, none but the least of the demons will survive -- especially not Lilith and her pretentions of royalty. (The Angels of the Sword are leading the charge against demonic positions, both in the Marches and on Earth. It's said four flights of Malakim stand before the sealed gates of Hell themselves, waiting for the chance to take the battle into the heart of Hades and from there throughout Hell. Where other Angels are defending against Word-bolstering, the Angels of Laurence are destroying Infernal positions on Earth.)
Litheroy: Do you see? Do you finally understand? The lie has been revealed. Lucifer's lie, infecting the Symphony itself, has been shown as hollow as paper maiche, and no more sturdy in the end. The Symphony sings with Revelation, the lies of Demonic Words fading away like echoes of horns that are no longer being blown. From here, we must welcome those of our Fallen bretheren who understand, who see that they have been lied to, and who seek the Truth once and for all. By their examples, we can show the propeganda of the Game is a lie, and in Revelation Heaven can be united once more. (Angels of Revelation are among those embracing and assisting Refugees, moving Litheroy more into the Peace Faction than is his normal wont.)
Marc: I don't understand what Lilith is trying to prove. Why is the Princess of Freedom suddenly giving orders? Have you heard she's taking slaves? This should be her moment to shine -- the way and path to Heaven are clear, and after millenia she should be ready to embrace the truth, the way so many others are. If we can meet our frightened infernal bretheren halfway, and help them to see the light and the joy of selflessness, we can finally bring this all to an end. Well, if Lilith manages to survive as the Queen of Hell, at least then we can open a reasonable dialogue and know she's dealing in good faith. No matter what else has happened, we are infinitely better off than when Lucifer ruled Hell. And I have to admit -- watching Mammon's Word fade from the Symphony is very... very fun. Now... I really must figure out who this Rebekah is.... (Angels of Trade are among the core of the Peace Faction, growing in strength and influence in the wake of Lucifer's death. They are also gaining in strength among Humanity, as free and fair trade practices are finally growing against both Greed and Gluttony. Marc's Angels have been given the task of outreach towards the refugee Demonic population -- where several Archangels are supporting the Redemption effort, it is the Angels of Trade who are moving into hot zones to give Renegades a place to go -- a friend to help them towards the light.)
Michael: What is so unclear about this situation? Damn it, I did the hard part for you. Finish the damn job! Armageddon has been a swear word for so long the others have forgotten its real purpose -- Judgement Day. Lucifer is dead. We should be wiping out the Forces of Hell now, while they're weak, confused and scattered. We can Redeem the stragglers and the survivors. They rebelled, remember, not us. Our responsibility is to Heaven, Humanity and God, not in that order. And Lilith? Don't make me laugh, just make her dead. When she dies, if she's worth Heaven she'll go there, won't she? (Absent their injured Superior, the Angels of War have been working In Service To the Sword and Stone, with a few alongside the Angels of the Wind for good measure. They are serving with distinction, but make no secret of their desire to launch the final battle.)
Novalis: I brought a dandelion to the Cathedral of Light. Such a beautiful flower, even if it's called a weed. It's pretty, and sturdy, but so transitory. Bright and yellow one day, gone to gossymer seed the next, and then it's gone until the next year. I remember how bright Lucifer once was, and mourn his death now. We have to make that death mean something -- not just victory for Heaven, but victory against the pain, the war, the bloodshed of the past. It is a new day. I hope Lilith understands that, down in Hell. She seems to -- her Princes aren't launching these suicidal attacks on the Corporeal Realm. Once things quiet down, we can open the Gates of Heaven and let the Light shine as a beacon, and let the former Servitors of Lucifer rise and join with us in peace, once more. And hope no more dandelions need to be cut down. (The Servitors of Flowers are protecting humanity where it's needed, and ministering to the refugees where they can. Marc's Angels are working to recruit and bring out the Renegades, and Novalis's Angels are then protecting them while their suitability for Redemption is assessed. Interestingly, the Angels of Flowers are working very closely with the Servitors of Judgement during this process, without strain.)
Yves: Once there was a little girl who was born to untold wealth and love, if only she would accept the responsibility to possess them. "You may have all the food you need, but you must give food to others when it's necessary. You may have all the clothing you want, but you must see others clothed. You may have a husband to share your heart, but you must be his partner, sometimes leading him and sometimes serving him." And the little girl said "no. No, I won't take the food if I have to share it. I won't take the clothes if I have to share them. I won't have a husband if I have to share my life with him. I would rather be hungry, and cold, and alone than be responsible to and for other people." And she left her birthplace, and was hungry, and cold, and alone. And a man came to that little girl and offered her the ability to earn her own food and clothes, but only if she would prostitute herself and her children. Everything would have a price, but she would never be cheated. She could be cold and hungry if she didn't want to prostitute herself, or she could have infinite food and clothing if she would. And she accepted his deal, without ever asking if she would have love. And then, when the man died, she learned he was his heir. And she could have chosen to have love at last, but only if she shared her inheritance with the world, or she could have all of it to herself, but only if she sacrificed the world to keep it. And she chose. Little girls make selfish choices sometimes. We must be certain the world does not pay the price. Eh? What do I think of Lucifer's death? Mm. Well fought, Michael. (The Angels of Destiny are almost avoiding both the refugees and the demons, right now, and are instead working overtime to promote the Destiny of individual humans. Yves's directives seem more intent than before, and he has a tight rein on his Servitors, keeping them on-task rather than celebrating with the others or fighting the Forces of Hell -- even Fate.)
Zadkiel: War has served its purpose and served it exceedingly well. Lucifer lies dead. And Michael lies wounded. We must be worthy of that injury -- we must protect humanity from the beast that has been roused. Now more than ever we must form a wall that shields our children -- the flower of humanity, of nature, of animals, and of all our works and the works of humanity. Now, we must complete what has been started, and prove to the Horde once and for all that they cannot breach our defense -- and in that prove convince mor and more to take up our banner and our spirit. In Michael's Victory lies the kernal of our ultimate victory -- but only if we let the seed grow. (Zadkiel is supportive of the Peace Faction, but is mostly devoting her Angels to protecting populated areas from the desperate lunge of the Princes. She feels that if the Princes are balked, more and more Demons will see the fallacy of their cause and flock to Heaven's banner.)
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