Azrael, Ofanite Archangel of Passage
By Manny Nepomuceno
The world is in transition, moving from what it was to what it will be.
Ancient and inscrutable, the Ofanite Azrael serves the Symphony in ways that Saminga will never understand. For him, death is but one step in a cosmic path -- a path only he, and possibly Yves, understand. But let us be clear: he is not the Archangel of Death. His Word is far broader than that.
Ages ago, under pressure from Uriel and Dominic, Azrael was driven out of Heaven, moving his Cathedral to an as-yet undisclosed location. For untold centuries, he has worked behind the lines, absenting himself from celestial politics and serving the Symphony's best interests. In recent years, Laurence has sent out peace feelers to the exiled Archangel, but Azrael prefers to take his time. He has, however, been seen consulting with the Seraphim Council, and angels of Passage are once again walking Heaven's paths.
Patient and wise, the Archangel of Passage is often mistaken for an Elohite. His eyes, however, betray the mad passion of an Ofanite, tempered by years of exile and ironbound control. When he manifests on Earth, he often takes the form of a young girl, preferring to mask the terrifying beauty of his angelic nature in the innocence of a child. He is always polite but distracted in an audience, allowing his Servitors to choose their own paths instead of giving specific orders. After all, everyone comprehends death at their own pace.
By far, the vast majority of Azrael's angels are his Noha-Abarim, his celestially invisible angels who do not fight the War. Instead they serve as celestial guides, granted the secrets of life after death and charged with conducting souls to their proper destinations. The seven major Choirs are not of the Noha-Abarim; they are Azrael's police, his one concession to the necessities of countering the forces of darkness. That Azrael has been creating more and more of them in recent years is another indication of just how poorly Heaven is conducting the War.
The Noha-Abarim, the Bearers
No one knows who they are. Rumor has it that they walk through Heaven and Hell unseen and unchallenged, and that they conduct even celestials to their final rest. The secret of their creation remains in Azrael's care. In ages past, the Archangel Uriel sought to use them as spies, only to be rebuffed by Azrael -- an insult which ultimately led to the Archangel of Passage's exile from Heaven. Even angels of Passage who are in Heaven's graces do not speak of the Noha-Abarim, although no few have been observed to glance around when the Bearers are spoken of.
It is dissonant for an angel of Passage to cause a human's untimely death either through action or inaction. It is also dissonant for an angel of Passage to actively prevent a human's death when it is his time to die. While it is not dissonant for them to do so, Azrael frowns on his Servitors telling anyone how much time they have left before their death.
Seraphim: In addition to having a sense of how much time a person has left (see Borrowed Time, below), Azrael's Seraphim have a sense of the manner of their appointed passing.
Cherubim (restricted): Cherubim of Azrael take no dissonance from the death of their attuned, whether or not they were the cause of that person's death, provided that it was the person's time to die.
Ofanim: In tune with the patterns of death in the Symphony, Ofanim of Passage become keenly aware of a mortal's death (Celestial Forces) minutes before it occurs, and may act to prevent it in that time.
In some games, especially those where the dice govern every point of damage dealt, this may not be an appropriate or easy attunement to use. The author offers an alternate attunement for such games.
Ofanim (alternate): Ofanim of Passage are keenly aware of the sense of a mortal's untimely death. Treat Symphonic disturbance as doubled whenever this occurs -- this includes untimely death at the hands of beings who would not otherwise cause disturbance!
Elohim (restricted): The Dynamis of Passage understand grief. If the target of their resonance is grieving or in mourning, they automatically succeed in their resonance roll. Roll anyway to determine CD.
Malakim (restricted): In exchange for the oath "Suffer no undead to continue, provided that it is my choice," Azrael's Virtues may detect undead on a successful resonance roll.
Bright Lilim (restricted): It is unclear whether or not the ranks of Passage are home to any of Lilith's Daughters. A Bright Lilim of Passage would be able to get a sense of how a mortal would prefer to die on a successful resonance roll.
Kyriotates (restricted): Kyriotates of Passage can possess corpses and are under no compulsion to keep them in good condition (this tends not to go over well, however, with the corpse's previous owner). They may only possess a corpse that has been dead for up to 6 hours, but they may not remain in it longer than 24 hours after the time of its death.
Mercurians: By spending 2 Essence and gazing at a person's dead body, a Mercurian of Passage can relive the last five minutes before his death. Many Intercessionists of Passage take Roles as private detectives or police officers to better ferret out diabolical activity.
(Apocryphal) Grigori (restricted): It is rumored that Azrael, being exiled from Heaven, has Watchers in his ranks. As he has not yet seen fit to return his Cathedral, this is unverifiable. If any of the Giants remain in his service, they are capable of determining, no a successful Perception roll, whether a particular disturbance in the Symphony was made by a mortal, and whether or not that mortal was undead.
Borrowed Time: Angels of Passage with this attunement will always get a sense of how much time a person has before his death. This may be as explicit or as vague as the GM chooses. It is not recommended that an exact amount of time be specified -- but an angel of Passage will always know when the moment of a person's death is at hand! All angels of Passage must purchase this attunement at character creation.
Body and Soul: An angel with this attunement may attempt to reverse the effects of zombification, returning an undead being back to mortal life. This is neither easy nor painless -- it costs the angel as much Essence as the undead has Forces, plus the angel and the undead being both lose a random Force. The effects of time are not cumulative -- a 300 year old mummy thus restored will not suddenly turn to dust.
Exiled from Heaven, Azrael has not seen fit to craft Distinctions for his followers. The following is believed to be his only Distinction.
Noha-Abarim: It is rumored that to become one of the Noha-Abarim is Azrael's reward for earthly service. Angels who accept this Distinction lose their Choir and gain a new one (much as the original Malakim were once members of other Choirs). In addition, they become celestially invisible and intangible, although other angels, notably those of Lightning, argue that they are both visible and tangible, merely ignored through ineffable means. On becoming Noha-Abarim, they learn the secrets of life and death. They then are charged with conveying souls from the corporeal realm to their final destination.
Being celestially invisible and intangible, no instance of a Noha-Abarim falling has yet been recorded. That does not mean, however, that it is impossible, or that it has never happened.
Azrael the Ofanite
Well, let's face it: Azrael isn't your typical Wheel. The archetypal Thrones of Heaven, Janus and Gabriel, don't claim to understand him, and most Ofanim won't even discuss him when they're talking about the highest of their Choir. The frenzied mania that characterizes Wheels seems to be absent from Azrael, except for the occasional glimmer of Ofanite passion when he loses control.
One theory in Heaven is that, like the Calabim, Azrael's resonance has been turned inwards -- but it does not manifest as entropy. Instead, Azrael's resonance allows him to move along time, the fourth mortal dimension, instead of the usual three. Others theorize that Azrael exists in all times, or that he is bound to time itself through his Word.
An agent of change, Azrael makes common cause with Janus and Gabriel, although the good will is not reciprocated. Destiny and Passage, on the other hand, have a good working relationship -- the two Superiors may be among the few beings in existence who truly understand each other and the roles they play in the Symphony.
Allied: Yves (Yves is allied with Azrael.)
Associated: Janus, Gabriel (No one considers themselves associated with Azrael.)
Neutral: All else
Saminga, Demon Prince of Death
Stupid as he is, Saminga has a sense that Azrael exists, despite rumors to the contrary. Naturally, he can feel the Word-friction coming from somewhere -- and every so often, he gets a sense of the depth and breadth of his opposite's true Word. Experiences like this overwhelm the Prince of Death, driving him deeper and deeper into his psychosis. Mentioning Azrael's name in Saminga's presence is a favorite prank of Kobal's, who likes to see Saminga froth at the mouth and scamper away, looking for a hiding place.
Azrael, for his part, would like a few words with Saminga -- mortals are supposed to die, not have their souls bound into their bodies. Anything else cannot be borne.
- Comfort a human at the moment of his death.
- Spend three hours meditating in a graveyard.
- Serve as a pallbearer at a funeral.
- Give a eulogy.
- Serve as executor of a deceased mortal's estate.
Chance of Invocation: 1
+1 A bouquet of lilies
+2 100 white paper cranes
+3 The Taj Mahal
+4 A used burial shroud of at least 100 years of age
+5 A forgotten graveyard
+6 A 3000 year old preserved corpse
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