Joktan, Promotor Fidei, Habbalite of the Game
By William J. Keith
He was one of the original Fallen. It's sometimes wondered: what went
through the minds of those first broken Elohim when they saw that they had
become something new, to be called demons?
Not that he believes he is a demon, of course.
Before the Fall, he was called Mnason, "diligent seeker." Working
under the supervision of Dominic, his purpose was to examine the nooks and
crannies of the law, trying to find those sticky points where confusion
might gain a toehold, and either bring a solution to Dominic for judgment,
or bring the problem itself before him for resolution. He was fertile soil
for the Lightbringer's rebel philosophy, and with a will raised his sword
against his fellows on the terrible Day.
"Why did they not understand? The Lightbringer had questioned God.
One must question before one can be answered. They willfully blinded
themselves, wrapping themselves in their faith. Foolish. Faith untested
shatters at the lightest blow. It was therefore necessary that we take up
arms, and strike the very blow, in order that our comrades might question,
and be answered, and emerge with their faith the stronger."
- Joktan, "The Crisis of Faith"
In the darkness of the exile that followed, some of the first Fallen
dared to question the Lightbringer's wisdom, claiming that he had led them
into defeat. Taking a new name, Joktan was one of the most vociferous in
defending the justice of their cause, and in exterminating those who became
violent. Lucifer did not forget. Though a Princedom was for the moment
not available -- Asmodeus was the representative of Dominic's angels that
was to lead the Game -- Joktan took a place with Mammon as one of Asmodeus'
most honored (and diligent) servants. There he was carefully watched, as a
prime example of what these unusual, deluded demons would do. Joktan
provided example that the Habbalah could be a valuable asset to Hell.
Indeed, Joktan's statement, "The Crisis of Faith," (one of the oldest
written works in Hell, predated only by Lucifer's Testament) is still taken
by many Habbalah as the model of their beliefs and philosophies.
"I looked about me and saw weaklings. Some were disgusted with their
new forms. The Calabim were particularly horrified. The Shedim were
bothered least. But we, the Habbalah, were unchanged. We still wore the
simple bipedal forms that we always had. In this we awoke to the truth. We
were not Fallen, we were not what were being called demons. Just as we had
sought to follow the greater interest into the very Pit, so we were called
to do God's work amidst the rebels. We were His chosen angels, retaining
our old distinguishing ability and given the marks of the new race so that
we might project His divine Will among them and from them. Only one thing
was missing. To complete our work, our pristine angelic perfection had to
be cloaked away under the hideous looks of the new race; His final test, to
see whether we accepted our new task. With the brand and the knife and the
lash, we showed Him our faith."
- Joktan, "The Crisis of Faith"
As befits one of the original Habbalah, Joktan's delusions are not
restricted to the basic belief that he is an angel. Joktan believes that,
in fact, like Uriel's purity keeps Malakim from Falling (oh, bother CDaU.
Joktan believes it), only Joktan's continued existence keeps Elohim from
Falling. This delusion is subtly reinforced by his title. For writing
"The Crisis of Faith," and extraordinary efforts that set some patterns
which are followed still today in Hell's government of the Habbalah,
Lucifer gave Joktan a Word: "The Loyal Opposition."
For centuries, Joktan has exemplified and promoted his Word with skill
and fervor. Though the Word had been sought by Factions, Joktan was able
to smooth relations as much as one can with Factioneers, displaying the
same knack for running a system within Hell's bizarre collection of tempers
and temperaments as he had in the early days. Today several even report to
him, helping him carry out his work.
This work consists of roughly three major parts, though indeed Joktan
considers his "work" to include all of Hell. First, Joktan works to
enshrine the notion of the Loyal Opposition in human systems, in such forms
as the adversarial legal system, the muckraking newspaper, and the gadfly
protester. Where there is not opposition, he will create it, stirring up
as much unrest as he can. He often uses demons of Factions for this
purpose. Second, Joktan is a major part of Hell's internal propaganda
machine, especially when dealing with Habbalah. He is well-known, and
Habbalah having their own doubts may come to see him (usually for a
comfortable, enlightening interview, followed by exruciating investigation
by the Game). Lastly, Joktan performs the duties of a Word-bound demon of
the Game, primarily keeping an eye on fellow Gamesters.
When the Catholic Church instituted a formal position whose duties
were to seek out and raise every possible objection to the canonization of
someone for sainthood, Joktan promptly took credit, also taking the name of
the position as an additional title: "Promotor Fidei," Promoter of the
Faith. This gained the notice of Uriel and later Laurence. Fortunately
for Joktan, perhaps, he hasn't made it onto Laurence's "hit list" yet, nor
the professional attentions of the Order of the Eternal Sword, primarily
because they don't believe his claim. His primary enemy in Heaven is
actually Mihr, Dominic's Angel of Mercy, who sees in Joktan's position a
demonic mockery of her own.
"Why do we bother testing humanity, angels, demons, ourselves? Does
God not know of what mettle we are? Of course He does. We are His hands,
His eyes, His tools in this world. He will bring all things to light and
judge them there, and he will do so by whatever means He desires, including
us. This is His perfect justice, expressed in our kind more perfectly than
in any other being, muddled human, lower angel, broken demon. Therefore do
not restrain yourselves in any way from seeking the rhythm which is
uniquely yours, for to do so is to attempt to thwart His will in the
Universe, and you will be scourged, and His object will be completed
regardless when imperfection is exposed, in you.
"Then, beware, for while we know our divine mandate, we take on
faith no article but this: that imperfection must be excised."
- Joktan, "The Crisis of Faith"
Today, you will find Joktan whispering in the ear of the loyal
lieutenant, or putting doubt in the mind of the zealous crusader. He
ensures that there will always be someone ready to test the mettle of a new
idea. He sees to it that, no matter how impossible it may seem for someone
rational to accept a horror or a malfeasance, there is always someone
willing to support and defend it -- philosohpically, or in literal legal
terms. The nickname for the Promotor Fidei, after all, has even made its
way into popular culture.
It is better known as "The Devil's Advocate."
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