Worst-Case Scenarios

By John Dallman


A small clearing in the Groves.

Amongst the trees, a bit off the usual routes to anywhere. There's a Cherub here, who doesn't seem talkative. This is interesting; let's keep watch a little while.

Angels come along; a slightly mixed bunch. Several blackwings, a Seraph of Judgement - you don't often see a Hyena here, but the Michaelites seem to tolerate him, as if for a purpose. A few of Flowers, and, yes ... many of the Wind in the trees. What are they doing?

A blackwing unwraps his Heart from a bag; the Seraph steps up to him, takes his hand and listens closely to his declaration. He nods, and the blackwing lays his heart at the centre of the clearing, and leaves, briskly. What is all this?

The remaining angels settle down and wait. They seem patient except for those of the Wind, and they're taking shifts. Three days later, the blackwing comes back. He's greeted by his fellows, and takes up his heart. What was all that about?

Elohim of War can be scary.

When you set a few of them to thinking of worst cases, you get some pretty bad ones. There are quite a few cases where a mission is really important, but giving it a big escort would give the game away. The trick is to give it a way of calling for help that's really hard to block. And Elohim are good at spotting ways to make use of unique advantages.

Michael's Malakim don't usually participate. Getting yourself killed deliberately as a fast way of getting back to your heart that's hard for an enemy - even a Superior - to stop feels a little like retreating from combat. Since it has to be a judgement call when you do it, it's hard to give orders. Besides, Michael doesn't really like the idea of calling for help.

But you get Malakim of other Archangels who are willing to pull this trick, if it seems necessary and the need has been anticipated. The Seraph is there to get the Truth of what happened: any reasonable Seraph of Judgement with a cooperative target reckons to manage that one reliably. And the Windies are there to spread the word, very fast. Healers to put the Malakite back together if needed - this trick doesn't get used for ordinary everyday life-or-death situations.

It's kept secret - but not too secret. It's always as well to have the other side wondering if the maniacal Malakite is a trick.


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