Amalgam: Raphael/Belael/Raplial?

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 back...

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 never confirmed.

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.

He couldn't.

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 real loss...

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 trigger...

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 broken Prince.

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 logical.

Even if there are Fires in his eyes now.


Back to the INC Mainpage.
Back to the Archangels page.

Send mail to the Curator