By Moe Lane
It would seem that Jean was a Collector.
Nobody talks too much about Collectors, on either side
of the War. The idea that some celestials would spend
every free moment seeking out and securing Forces that
belonged once to long-dead friends and loved ones, in
the hopes that someday they could somehow bring them
Well, it's disquieting, not least because obsession
always lies just beneath the surface of any celestial,
and they all know it. Somewhere in the head of every
angel and demon in existence is a little voice that
says "Yeah, that makes sense" whenever the subject of
Collecting comes up. Few like to admit it.
At any rate, Jean had apparently (very calmly,
rationally and objectively) decided that the world had
gone too long without Wisdom. Calmly, rationally,
objectively - and worst of all, sanely - he spent
centuries Collecting her Forces as they became
available. The Archangel of Lightning declined to rip
the desired Forces from angels and most humans, but
should a demon end up with one, that demon was
essentially living on borrowed time. There's also a
story or two about Fated humans who qualified ... but
those are just rumors, never proven and certainly
However, one of the things about Elohite Collectors is
that they know when they've reached the point of
diminishing returns. Jean reached his about two
decades or so ago: every Force that he was going to
get, he had gotten. He then retired to the Halls of
Progress to see if he could do something satisfactory
with what he had.
Certainly, he had enough Forces to create a stable
celestial, but Jean creates those every day. What he
was aiming for was a celestial of Archangel-level
power, and that was simply impossible. Too much of
the framework had been disrupted, and could not be
salvaged. Rigorous research indicated that possibly,
just possibly, the use of the framework of an existing
Superior could be used, at the expense of the original
personality, but that would result in the irrevocable
loss of the donor.
Not even Jean could work out a way to personally
surgically replace his personal Forces with Raphael's,
and certainly no other Archangel could be trusted to
do the job for him. The only possible surgeon was
Eli, and while Jean respects the Archangel of
Creation's craftsmanship, this was a very specialized
procedure (assuming that Eli would even agree). Jean
was certain that he was the only one of both sides
that could hope to accomplish this task properly.
Ironic, actually: Jean had the tools, the skill and
even all the necessary parts, but no way to combine
the three. If only there was someone of the right
power level that, objectively speaking, would be no
At this point, Jean blinked (for him, the equivalent
of screaming "Eureka!" at the top of his lungs),
tidied up the work area and walked into his physics
laboratory. At least one avatar of him stayed there
at all times for the next five corporeal years.
The missive made its way (however such things go) to
the proper entity, without any snooping eyes to ferret
out its message of defiance and mockery. It was
designed to enflame, to ridicule, to lash out at the
pride of its recipient - and it succeeded. Never very
stable to begin with, the recipient was willing to
finally 'settle it all'. The locale for this
settlement was an added bonus: accessing their shared
Word there would demonstrate who was the proper
holder, once and for all. Of course, the recipient
planned to cheat: Servitors were seeded throughout the
vicinity of the chosen arena, ready to help destroy
the hated source of Word-Friction.
However, while the dark side of the moon is not
conducive to the expression of Fire, it is just fine
when you're a Servitor of Lightning. The ambushers
were ambushed, instead, leaving their Superior to face
Jean alone (instead of the hated enemy). This
betrayal was infuriating, but Jean was never known to
be skilled in personal combat: in fact, he chose this
point to pull a gun. An actual gun, against the true
embodiment of Fire: Jean's enemy didn't even bother to
block as the Archangel of Lightning pulled the
If Jean was the sort to admit the existence of
subjective emotions, he would probably concede that
the look on Belial's face as the quantum black hole
impacted his torso was entertaining, in its own way.
Not as much as empirical proof of the theory that
direct interaction with a singularity could cause
celestial damage was, of course. It was satisfying to
see that five years of Research and Design had not
been wasted, after all. The shockwave as the quantum
black hole self-destructed (even Jean can't make
impossible things last) was even more impressive ...
but that's why Jean picked the back of the moon in the
first place. Once Belial was on the ground, then
Jean called for Gabriel.
Things got messy after that.
It was all Jean could do to keep Gabriel from ripping
the drastically weakened Belial apart, instead of just
turning him into a Superior-level Remnant. Jean
actually had to raise his voice ... and tell Gabriel
that he could bring back Raphael, as long as he had
Belial's husk. Luckily, the presence of Soldekai at
this point managed to keep Gabriel stable long enough
for her to desist and break off her worrying of the
Working swiftly (because every celestial on Earth
heard the blast, and was still trying to figure out
where the Hell it had come from) the Archangel of
Lightning prepared the Remnant for transportation to
Heaven. Jean declines to discuss how he managed to do
this - it was experimental, apparently, and later
judged not economical enough to duplicate on a regular
basis - but he ended up with the empty, 'living'
framework he needed - and the Forces of Wisdom that he
had painstakingly Collected close to hand.
Did he succeed?
Depends on the Brightness. In a Bright campaign, he
was completely successful. The Elohite Archangel of
Wisdom is now reestablished in Heaven, and the Host is
currently looking into the potential applications for
non-Superiors. Raphael has none of Belial's Forces
(they were purged and replaced as soon as the
transplanted personality was stable), and Gabriel is
quite sane. Hell, of course, has taken a severe blow
to its prestige and power.
In a Dark campaign? Well, Raphael came back - and
promptly Fell, becoming a minor Princess. Lucifer
decided that Infernal Fire had been a failure, so
instead Belael is now the Calabite Princess of Things
Man Was Not Meant To Know. Gabriel is infuriated that
Jean dared to interfere with the proper destruction of
Belial, and the rest of the Host is beginning to
become nervous at the sight of Jean's openly
despondent behavior. And Vapula is pressing ahead
with his own quantum black hole research (well, he'll
be doing that in all three outcomes, but this is one
where he might actually succeed).
In between, well, Raphael did not Fall, but she was
not what she was. Whether Archangel or mere Ofanite,
she has to deal with on her own the destructive
impulses that came with her new 'body'. She is
somewhere between Wisdom and Fire, and Gabriel (while
much saner) will not be completely without pain until
the situation is resolved. The Council is concerned,
and has not yet given Raplial her old Word back (or
any other). Jean, however, has not shown any reaction
to the controversy: his stated position is,
objectively speaking, that one Prince removed, plus
one Archangel brought back to sanity, plus another
potential Archangel returned from the dead equals an
improvement in the War. His actions were perfectly
Even if there are Fires in his eyes now.
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