Radcliffe, Pachadite of Nightmares, Captain of Headhaunters, Demon of the Terror of Steam

By Jonathan Walton


In another life, Radcliffe would have been a Malakite, a dark-winged champion of honor. However, born as a child of Fear instead of Virtue, Radcliffe was a personal creation of Beleth and never got a chance to swear her Oaths or cleanse the world of its failings. Still, the Pachadite does the best she can with what she has been given.

That certainly goes for her Word as well. Radcliffe was a typical Pachadite when Vapula fell, bringing with him stolen secrets from the Halls of Progress, including a steam-powered engine. Lucifer made the Habbalite the Angel of Engines, and, mere months later, Beleth supported Radcliffe for her own Word, the Terror of Steam. After all, as Vapula began to leak knowledge of his constructs to the Corporeal plane, mankind began to dream of the possibilities of unrestricted technology. And with those dreams came Nightmares.

Steam-driven carriages, steam-powered gliders, clockwork monstrosities, mechanical dragons spouting streams of flame, steam-powered brains, metal men with heads full of valves and hoses, mechanical limbs grafted to living bodies, and more were all Radcliffe's domain ... at least in the Ethereal realm. But the Marches was the only home the Pachadite had ever known, and sometimes she even found herself forgetting that there was a world beyond the Vale. Still, the Words of the Pachadite and the mad Angel of Engines (who would soon be crowned Prince of Technology) were inextricably linked. Vapula's work in the Corporeal plane had a direct impact on the minds of mortals, bringing more and more to both imagine and fear the promise of Steam.

In a bizarre way, Radcliffe has risen to power riding on Vapula's coattails. As the Technologist has grown to become the most powerful Prince in Hell, so too has Radcliffe become the first among Pachadim and Captain of the Steam-Terror, her own personal unit of Frighteners. Beleth often uses the Steam-Terror as special forces or shock troops. With the knowledge and equipment that they have liberated from a century of machine-induced nightmares, the Steam-Terror is truly in a unique position, combining the technological expertise of Vapula's best servitors with extensive experience in the Marches. Radcliffe's forces often carry Ethereal weapons and devices wrenched from mortal dreamscapes, and so their armaments aren't inclined to always follow the laws of physics and are as fantastical as the Vale itself.

Radcliffe runs a tight ship. The Steam-Terror is one of the most disciplined units in the War, its commander knowing exactly how to use fear as a motivator. Radcliffe is aware of every minute fragment of terror in each of her servitors and has no remorse about using that fear to manipulate them into obeying her as they would their Princess and Mother. In fact, it's hard to say who the Steam-Terror fear more, Beleth or Radcliffe. Still, Radcliffe truly has a personality that would fit better on one of Heaven's Blackwings and is sworn to serve the Princess of Nightmares even unto death.

That may actually be a good thing, as far as Beleth is concerned. With Vapula's power quickly expanding, with no end in sight, the Technologist may soon rival Lucifer himself in the sheer force he can exert on the Symphony. Parallel to this development, the significance of Radcliffe's Word continues to increase, to the point that the Steam-Terror's Captain could easily destroy any of Beleth's Barons or other Word-bound. Sure, the fight with the Demon of Terror (who is technically Radcliffe's immediate superior) might be a little close, but, with the Steam-Terror on her side, Radcliffe would eventually triumph. Does Beleth find it disconcerting then, that one of her most powerful servitors is so closely linked to Vapula's Word? Does Beleth worry that Radcliffe may one day sign up with the Technologist and work with him to claim a domain in the Marches for Technology?

She's Beleth; of course she worries. However, up until now, she's also been afraid to do anything about it. Radcliffe is, after all, one of the Princess' most favored children and Beleth doesn't want to lose her. Keeping her as a Captain is a step towards clipping Radcliffe's wings a bit, and so far the Pachadite hasn't seemed to notice being passed up for a promotion.


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