The world is a test of our Faith. Believe, even if
you do not see.
None in Heaven ever speak of the Watcher Archangels anymore. Even after so many millennia, the anguish is too deep. It was a necessary action to take (or so the argument goes), but the Host had to force away the embodiments of the two Words that most succored angels. They had to cast out Song ... and Faith. Neither Archangel has ever been seen again by their former peers.
No matter how badly it seems that they needed both.
Before he was made Outcast, Phanuel had a small but growing number of Servitors, set up along the lines of a fairly traditional hierarchy. Due to the relative newness of their Archangel, Servitors of Faith were still working out protocols and formalities in dealing with each other. Each Servitor still felt personally bound to the others in general, and to any one of several ad hoc groups in particular.
This solidarity shattered like a ceramic mug on a stone floor when Phanuel and his Choir were made Outcast. The Grigori of Faith went with their Superior: the others were, bluntly, prevented from following. The various groups were split up; their members scattered among the rest of the Host. It is interesting to note that very few assigned to Stone or Purity lasted very long - and that almost no Malakim that once served Faith have survived to the current day. The rest have mostly faded back into the background of Heaven.
Still, there are rumors. There are rumors that Judgement is constantly monitoring (and sometimes suppressing) secretive organizations descended from the old groups. There are rumors that more than one Servitor of Faith has joined Phanuel in exile - or that some Outcasts have sought his service. There are even rumors that there are angels that have never seen Heaven, having been created directly by Faith and fighting a lonely War on their own.
But rumors are rumors. The Truth is inaccessible to any Seraph below the rank of Archangel, and they never speak it to Servitors.
Before the Second Fall, it was dissonant for a Servitor of Faith to cause a mortal to lose his or her faith in God. Presumably, it still is; however, Heaven no longer has any Servitors aligned to that Word, and so cannot confirm this.
From the records, it would seem that Servitors of Faith had to beware of being too obvious, or being too subtle. It was not dissonant to confirm a human's faith in God by revealing to him the War, but it was considered risky. 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing': Phanuel was always concerned that revealing too much could cause a human to stop exercising his or her Faith - thus making it weak and puny when the human needed it the most.
Some of these are conjectural: while former Mercurians of Faith are relatively common (as are Elohim), Phanuel's Seraphim are almost all gone by now - and no surviving former Malakite of Faith has kept the Archangel's appropriate Attunement. The Grigori of Faith Attunement is only dimly remembered, and the Bright Lilim Attunement is pure conjecture. All attempts to reconstruct them have been fatally hampered by Phanuel's Ineffability Servitor Attunement (see below).
Seraph (restricted): Faith's former Seraphim were able to automatically determine whether others had True Faith: with a successful Perception roll, they could determine who or what the Faith was in. Those Seraphim still surviving that have this Attunement are universally Servitors of Judgement, and apparently under orders by Dominic to not discuss their former Superior.
Cherub: Cherubim of Faith could choose one person (not necessarily someone that they were attuned to) and protect them: the person affected gained a +3 to Detect Lies, Dodge and any attempt to resist a demonic resonance.
Ofanite (restricted): The Wheels of Faith could make a trade with the Symphony: they could temporarily surrender their free will, in exchange for being instantly being transported to a place where they could aid someone in keeping, rekindling and/or restoring one's Faith. However, once this ability was used, the Ofanite was not permitted to abandon the situation until the crisis of Faith was resolved: doing so anyway resulted in a point of dissonance, which would not be removed if the angel had come back later.
Elohite (restricted): Elohim of Faith are able to automatically use their resonance to determine why a person had faith, with a CD equal to their Celestial Forces.
Malakite: Considering that these legendary warriors of Faith added their Corporeal Forces to the Power of successful attacks against demons and Hellsworn, it's amazing that none of them have survived to the present day.
Kyriotate: Kyriotates of Faith get a +3 to any resonance roll to possess an individual sincerely praying for deliverance.
Bright Lilim: A fabulous beast only whispered about but never seen: indeed, there's no real proof that there are any. Still, someone is causing those with the Need "Have my Faith in God strengthened/defended" to be instantly obvious to angels...
Mercurian: There are more Mercurians of Faith still around than any other Choir: their ability to automatically find the best way to explain matters of Faith to an individual human is prized.
Grigori: The Grigori were able to use their resonance to automatically determine whether a perceived disturbance was caused by an attempt to make someone lose or gain faith in something. Of course, all Grigori of Faith were stripped of their Attunements before they were Outcast. Of course.
Ineffability: Every action performed by an angel with this Attunement is shrouded in mystery: attempts to later detect his or her influence will automatically fail for those who are not Symphonically Aware. Those with Symphonic Awareness will still be at a penalty equal to (the angel's Celestial Forces) to detect said influence.
Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma
Phanuel, of course, has this Attunement, only more so. At Superior level, it effectively denies anyone below the level of Superior the ability to resonate (or remotely detect) any actions done by a Servitor of Faith. This is the primary reason why it's so hard to determine precisely what influence Faith has over the modern world: the only ones with any semblance of an idea are Dominic, Litheroy, Michael and (probably) Yves... and they do not speak of it to others.
Naked Gaze: Angels with this Attunement automatically knew when someone was lying about having Faith: by making a Perception roll, they could determine what the entity actually had Faith in.
Phanuel had only designated one, by the time of his trial: Soothers. Soothers were able to automatically negate a demonic resonance by spending 5 Essence. The Archangel of Faith used them to combat Balseraphs and Shedim.
If there are other Distinctions available for modern Servitors of Faith (assuming, again, that any exist), they are not known.
There aren't any, officially. Of course, 'officially' Michael isn't feuding with at least three of his colleagues, 'officially' Eli isn't the Heavenly equivalent of a Renegade, 'officially' the Council isn't deadlocked between the Peace and War Factions...
That being said, if anybody has a link with Phanuel, it's well hidden. The Council is pretty much polarized on this issue: depending on whom you ask, the necessary course of action regarding the Archangel of Faith ranges from 'find him and bring him back' to 'find him and remove his Word'. Freakishly, the middle position of 'ignore him and move on' is about the only thing that Dominic, Janus and Jordi agree upon.
Allied: No one (Novalis and Yves would be Allied with Phanuel)
Associated: No one (Eli, Gabriel and Michael would be Associated with Phanuel)
Neutral: No one (Janus, Jordi, Laurence and Marc are Neutral to Phanuel)
Hostile: No one (Blandine, David, Dominic and Jean are Hostile to Phanuel)
Blandine: "I don't know. The consequences of his Choir's Outcasting are still unfolding: based on Uriel's later behavior, it's possible that their opponents were not totally disinterested, and we've been hampered by the loss of Phanuel's Word. But the Grigori weren't innocent, either. It might be best if the Word ... became vacant."
David: "Are you joking? The others think too highly of Faith, anyway: it is better to know."
Dominic: "I stand by the results of the trial. All of the results of the trial."
Eli: "What do you think I'm trying to find out? There are times that I wish that I hadn't been talked out of bailing at the same time as Phanuel. At least that way I might be able to figure out where he is now."
Gabriel: "We cast out Faith: is it so strange that it has become such a slippery thing to grasp and hold dear?"
Janus: "Much as I hate to say it, Phanuel was guilty. He kept silent when the rest of his Choir was sinning, making him just as deserving of punishment. I hope that he has taken this lesson to heart ... but until the world changes, Heaven must stay closed to him."
Jean: "Faith is apparently necessary to humanity. The current holder of the Word is unacceptable. The logical conclusion should be obvious."
Jordi: "Animals don't need Faith: only a human would be so contrary as to need such constant reassurance. If Phanuel is still out there, he's among the only ones who need his help, so what exactly is the problem?"
Laurence: "Much as I dislike to contradict my colleagues, I am ... unsure ... whether Phanuel's Exile was completely called for. Surely we could have determined the reliability of the Watcher Archangels, at least, before such a drastic action. I really must review the transcripts of that trial again."
Faith and the Sword
Laurence is starting to get annoyed.
He is, after all, Commander of the Armies of Heaven - with all of the respect and deference that such a position implies. However, the responses that the Archangel of the Sword gets whenever he brings up the subject of the Archangel of Faith are simply unacceptable. Laurence has heard a variation of "Don't worry about it, kid" one too many times, and it's starting to grate.
At the moment, he's mostly trying to gather intelligence (more accurately, he's having Marc gather intelligence for him) about Faith's history, operations and influence on Earth. The Archangel of the Sword is keeping an open mind: if Phanuel has been keeping his nose clean enough and doing his job, then ... well, there is such a thing as time off for good behavior. The political stink that would arise from this parole will be considerable - but so is Laurence's current frustration with trying to fight a War without all the right tools. Getting Faith back into the toolbox will be very, very satisfying.
If the rest of the Council doesn't like it, well, they can go complain to God.
Marc: "He's still fighting Hell - I think. I'm pretty sure of that, from what I've been able to uncover. The time may not be right for all of the Grigori's return, but possibly Phanuel's expiated his own sins. Ask me again when I've acquired more information."
Michael: "You know, the older I get the less inclined I am to consider someone to be evil just because he or she causes the Hyena to froth at the mouth. Seeing as I was never so inclined in the first place, by now I'm just about ready to go look for Phanuel myself."
Novalis: "I said then that exiling all of the Grigori was wrong. I kept saying it for the next thirteen thousand years. I'm saying it now ... and some of the others are finally starting to listen to me. I just hope that it isn't too late."
Yves: (Looks at watch)
Role in the War
Before he became Outcast, Phanuel's task was to nurture humanity's Faith in God: not for His sake, but for theirs. The proclivities and habits of demons had come as a violent shock to the Host: their attacks on humans, more so. However, it soon became clear that a true belief in Goodness provided at least some defense against even the most heinous acts: Phanuel threw himself into the job of strengthening and refining that defense. Presumably, he's still doing it - and it's almost certain that he's got helpers. Nobody's quite sure whether or not Phanuel can create new angels, but even if he cannot, there are enough Outcasts (and, some whisper, Renegades) in the world for the Archangel of Faith to recruit a decent-sized army.
By now, these servants of Phanuel have passed beyond conjecture and gone straight into myth. It's said that they call themselves the Defenders, pledged to fight their lonely war in the shadows, never openly revealing themselves in the light. It's said that they will still come to the aid of those who have rejected them - but never in a manner that would confirm their existence. It's said that they seek out the bleakest situations and places, tirelessly striving to keep nigh hopeless from becoming truly hopeless.
But then, people say so many things.
The Host remembers that "Rekindle a person's Faith" and "Compose an art work that celebrates Faith" were two of Phanuel's Rites before he became Outcast. Whether he supports them or not anymore is unknown: those Rites were removed from former Servitors of Faith en masse, and no angel of Heaven currently has either.
Chance of Invocation: [White noise]
Modifiers: None known.
The tragic thing about Phanuel is that he was personally a wonderful entity to know, both as an angel and as an Archangel: joyful, hopeful, compassionate, hardworking and moral. The Archangel of Faith had no enemies among the Host - even among the Malakim (who were traditionally highly disdainful of the Grigori). Every one liked him, and he liked everybody.
If he had only spoken up when his Choir began to slide into negligence, he might have been able to stay ... but he did not. Phanuel saw that his fellow Grigori were losing themselves in earthly pleasures before anyone else did, but he chose to remain silent. There is some indication that he attempted to restrain them on his own, but that ended in failure.
Thus, when the Choir was put on trial, he stood there among them, head bowed: the only word that he spoke during that time was 'Guilty'. There was no smile on his face as he went into exile ... but no tears, no rage, no trace of emotion at all. Phanuel walked out of Heaven showing no sign at all of what he felt about the situation.
And that's the Hell of it: the Host today still doesn't know how much becoming Outcast has changed him. Is Phanuel regretful? Happy that he can now do his work without interference? Angry and plotting revenge? Fighting despair in a grim rearguard action? Does he wish to come back? Does he wish that the rest of Heaven would join him? Does he miss the powers that were stripped from them, or has he recovered them - or did he even ever really lose them in the first place? Nobody knows ... and the Host has found that about the only thing that helps when you spend too much time worrying about what the loss of Faith to Heaven actually means to the War is to just trust that God will cause things to work out properly in the end.
There's a certain irony there.
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