State Change

By Ryan M. Roth


Everybody's wrong, you know. About Gabriel's madness.

Oh, she's quite mad. That's obvious. But why she is mad...that's where everybody's got the wrong idea. Or, rather, ideas.

Word-friction? Pleeease. Gabriel's dealt with the bozo for millenia. And one would think that, if that were it, Belial would be as crackers as she is (okay, admittedly, it would be hard to tell, but still...)

Actually, if you were to go and look at Gabriel's instructions to her, um, his, Servitors before she, um he (look, I'm just going to call her 'she' from now on. It's just easier. Deal with it.) went bonkers, you might pick out a pattern. A pattern which suggests that maybe the so-called 'warning signs' of Gabriel's mental breakdown were a ruse on her part, a ruse to make her appear weak. A ruse meant to draw out Belial for some heavy-duty, old-school smiting. Given that, I think that we can safely rule out Word-friction.

What about her connection to God? Again, she had been dealing with that for ages. And I, for one, don't believe God would punish her with madness in the course of being His Divine Speakerphone. And don't give me that hooey about the pressure of everything building up over time until it was too much for her. She's Fire -- the light of the stars and core of the planet. She knows how to handle pressure.

The Trial? Well, that did put her in a bit of snit. It -was- rather insulting. But it wasn't the cause; more like the...spark.

I can see the pain in your eyes. Look, I'll let you in on what really went down, seeing as you want to help your Mistress so much. But I really doubt there's anything you can do about it; there isn't anything anybody can do about it, except wait, hope and pray. Swear to keep what I tell you to yourself. That's a good little Malakite.

Like I said, Gabriel was not too happy about being hauled before the Council by Dominic. But, she is an Archangel. One of the good guys. She knew that Dominic was really only doing his job (even if he was being a jerk about it and even if she did say a lot of hot-headed things she probably shouldn't have). But she just wasn't able to defend her actions very well (being a Divine Speakerphone doesn't mean you get to know why or what you are saying). But she did want to reassure everybody that she was okay. And, if they were worried about her the way she was, then she would change what she was and make the issue moot. Wind isn't the only dynamic Word, after all.

Impulsive? Well, yeah. Impulsiveness and Fire are no strangers.

So she went to her Volcano, got it and everything else in order, and decided to make her change on the spot. (Did I mention this was an impulsive decision?). I wish she had told somebody, anybody, what she was going to do. You can be blessed sure that Soldekai would have, at the very least, made sure another Archangel was there to supervise things. But she told no one.

The change itself was supposed to be quick and fairly straightforward. I mean, she had seen others do it before. Heck, she almost did it herself, back in the day. So she saw no reason why she couldn't do it now.

The change was primarily an emotional one, an transformation fueled by Divine Fury, something Fire had in spades. Her idea was to center herself on her divine connection, summon all the Divine Anger she could muster (which was, of course, a lot. I imagine she only had to imagine the bozo's face to get the ball rolling), focus her Will, and speak the words. As far as she knew, that was all that she needed.

Honestly, anyone would think the power of Fire, a connection to God and the Will of one of the most powerful and ancient beings in all Creation should be enough to do almost anything.

Well, to her credit, she almost pulled it off. She got a quarter of the way though the process before something went wrong. Maybe some element was missing; maybe she started with the wrong premise, or maybe, the wrong promise. Maybe Word-friction did play a part after all. Maybe God just simply didn't want it to happen again. Regardless, something happened, and Gabriel's mind took the brunt of the awesome forces she had summoned and tried to channel.

Soldekai found her then, and immediately called for the others and I. The Council knows, of course. We saw her just after it happened, and it was pretty simple to piece together what she had tried to do. She herself doesn't remember, though; the process destroyed that memory, leaving her even more confused. She doesn't remember even if you explain it to her. Believe me, we've tried.

We saw her, raving, in her naked celestial form, the one we Archangels rarely show. We saw her -- burning rings of flame brighter than the sun. But we also saw the new ring -- one that was added and surrounded her constantly, like a dark corona. A ring made of words. Words that, if you looked close enough, said 'I shall not suffer the cruel to go without proper punishment' over and over in a long, dark chain.

It was hard to see my choirmate (or should I say our choirmate?) in that state. We tried to help her, of course. But we couldn't reverse what she did or cause the process to finish. So we had to let her go (who could hold her?), and to hope. We decided not to reveal what we knew; Hell might find some way of using it against her, and we didn't want others up here attempting to duplicate the experiment. We guarded the knowledge for her sake. And now we wait, hoping that time will help her stabilize and recover. We hope that, someday, she will work through the damage and heal. And we (or, rather, most of us) allow this New Crusade to happen, since it allows her Servitors to channel their pain, and because getting rid of Belial and his crew, while it may not help, certainly wouldn't hurt.

And I, for my part, do what I can to keep the bozo off her back. A good breeze can change the course of even Infernal flame, after all.


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