Mrflglim: the Translators
By Matthew Gerber
Sometimes, the rest of Heaven really wonders about Yves.
The Archangel of Destiny came up with this minor Choir relatively recently, and has been more than pleased with the results. You wouldn't know it by looking at them--in Celestial form, Mrflglim are short, wizened figures with huge ears and stubby, almost comical wings. Their Vessels are almost invariably vital elderly men and women, and they're always good--very, very good--at listening.
The Resonance of a Mrflglite is for language. On a successful Resonance roll, the Angel can understand anything he or she hears or reads that is in a coherent human language. Anything. To be more precise about it:
On a check digit of 1, the Mrflglite understands, at worst, the rough gist of what the person originating the communication was trying to get across. (The Angel might get more information than this just from being observant, if they happen to know the language.)
On a check digit of 2, the Mrflglite understands both the gist and nuances of what the person meant to say.
On a check digit of 3, the Mrflglite understands everything the originator intended to say. Meaning, double-meanings, puns, poetry, and all other linguistic constructs will be clear.
On a check digit of 4, the Mrflglite understands all of the above, plus some things the originator perhaps didn't intend to say: they will pick up unconscious cues of sarcasm and bitterness, for example.
On a check digit of 5, the Mrflglite understands everything the originator both did and didn't intend to say; meanings inadvertantly included in the message will be clear to the Angel, as well as whether the communicator believed them or not (whether or not he or she intended to say it).
On a check digit of 6, the Mrflglite gets all this plus a total linguistic breakdown of the communication from the Symphony, including a word-by-word translation and analysis of the linguistic constructs and roots of everything said. A Mrflglite doesn't need many of these to start translating a language in earnest.
A successful Resonance lasts either for the check digit in hours or for as long as a Mrflglite continues to listen to or study the same person/people, conversation, or text--whichever is shorter. After a failed Resonance, a Mrflglite must wait the check digit in hours to try again. If a Mrflglite succeeds but wants to try for greater clarity in a Resonance (i.e., a higher check digit), they may voluntarily end the Resonance and try again immediately.
Mrflglim become Dissnonant if they muddle their own speech. When they speak, the intended listeners must understand what they say: it's fine for it to not come across immediately, but if a person for whom the communication was meant leaves without getting the point, the Mrflglite takes Dissonance. It is very, very dangerous for Mrflglim to engage in public speaking!
The same problem doesn't happen with written documents--the Mrflglite Dissonance condition doesn't apply for documents except to the extent that a document was written for one specific recipient (i.e., a letter, an E-mail or a report).
Fallen Mrflglim become Mrglflim, a minor Band with a Resonance for obfuscating communications; Kronos and Alaemon tend to fight over who gets them.
All Mrflglite Choir Attunements are restricted.
Mrflglite of Dreams: Blandine's Translators can interpret the subconscious meanings inherent in the dreams of humans. When observing someone's dream, they may treat the dream itself as a communication for the purposes of their Resonance. When inside that person's dreamscape, they add their Ethereal Forces to their Resonance roll for this purpose.
Mrflglite of Children: Christopher's Translators can, with their successful resonance, understand the meaning of a child's cry--from where it hurts, to how petty the child is being about getting his or her way, to who the bad man is that the Malakim need to be pointed in the general direction of.
Mrflglite of Stone: David has a surprising amount of affinity for this Choir. His Translators add their Celestial Forces to any Resonance roll that involves one group communicating with another.
Mrflglite of Judgement: Dominic's Translators are the most skilled interpreters of law and laws to exist. They add their Celestial Forces to the check digit of any Resonance that concerns a legal matter.
Mrflglite of Creation: Eli's Translators can use a successful Resonance on a work of art, to see the message, if any, that the artist was trying to convey.
Mrflglite of Fire: Gabriel's Translators can Resonate to determine the meaning of a prophecy, at a penalty commensurate with its import. The penalty, sadly, has meant that none of the really important prophecies have gotten cracked. It's rumored that there are about ten Wordbound Mrflglim of Fire constantly pounding on the prophecies of Armageddon; if it's true, either they haven't gotten anywhere or the results have been spectacularly well-bottled....
Mrflglite of Faith: Khalid's beloved Translators can add their Celestial Forces to the check digit of any Resonance on a religious text. This does not tell them whether the text was actually Divinely (or, for that matter, Infernally) inspired, but it does allow them to see more clearly the intent of the human author.
Mrflglite of The Wind: Janus has very few Translators--the quiet, long-term study they prefer clashes rather seriously with Wind's usual modus operandi. The few that he has can use their Resonance to see what someone intends to say as soon as the conversation starts rather than waiting for them to say it, letting them discern the point quickly.
Mrflglite of Lightning: Jean's Translators may use their Resonance on computer-readable languages, including not only programming languages but machine object code.
Mrflglite of Animals: Jordi's Translators may use their Resonance on animal languages--right on down to bird calls. Heaven's linguistics journals have been getting significantly more interesting, recently...
Mrflglite of The Sword: Laurence's Translators add their Celestial Forces to the check digit when Resonating a communication going either up or down a hierarchy. Laurence uses them to ferret out, and find the sources of, hidden disrespect in reports from subordinates to superiors -- or responses from superiors to subordinates.
Mrflglite of Revelation: Litheroy's Translators may use their Resonance, as normal, to decipher encrypted or otherwise intentionally obfuscated communications!
Mrflglite of Trade: Marc dearly, dearly loves Translators. His have the ability to add their total Forces to any Resonance roll that involves reading or interpreting a contract or business agreement of any kind. (Yes, this essentially means automatic success.)
Mrflglite of War: Michael's rare and deeply coveted Translators cut through the fog of war. On a successful Resonance roll, they have the ability to understand any order or other military communication from any fragment of it that is received -- any fragment, period. Even if only a tenth of the text has survived, a Mrflglite of War will receive the meaning of the entire message from the Symphony!
Mrflglite of Flowers: Novalis' Translators add their Celestial Forces to any Resonance roll when attempting to understand information necessary to end a violent situation.
Mrflglite of Destiny: Yves' Translators simply add half their Celestial Forces (rounded up) to any Resonance roll.
Mrflglite of Protection: Zadkiel's Translators often protect information from being lost forever. Whenever they successfully Resonate on a communication whose medium is damaged or in danger, they will remember the text of the communication verbatim, after the Resonance ends, for a number of hours equivalent to the check digit.
The role of Mrflglim in the War is fairly obvious: help the good guys understand everything, especially what the bad guys don't want them to. They are essentially never combat monsters--it's not that they think any less of combatants, it's just not something they do. The typical Mrflglite is patient if condescending, speaking carefully and clearly, often absently reading over something while you talk.
They tend to take Roles as reclusive researchers, especially linguists or archaeologists. More daring ones will take Roles as college professors, but always teaching small classes. Somewhat atypical ones (particularly Mrflglim of Flowers) will take Roles as psychologists or counselors--their Resonance can be nearly as useful as the Elohite Resonance for figuring out what makes people tick.
A final note: Rare and valuable, Mrflglim are often backed up by Malakim nearby. What? You thought Nybbas came up with the stereotype of the reclusive researcher with the hulking bodyguard? For shame, for shame....
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