The Testament of Nehamaiah

By Jo Hart


"If everyone is here, then I'll begin. I know that you have all heard of me, so I won't bore you with lengthy introductions. I see nervous expressions on some faces and rightly so; I imagine that many of the stories you have heard have some basis in truth. Ah yes, does that surprise you to hear me say so? No need to apologise, I have grown used to the reaction. I was the first Outcast to leave Heaven due to (how shall I put this?) irreconcilable differences of opinion with my Superior at that time."

"They are still irreconcilable."

"I am an Outcast still, much as you are, and if anything time has only strengthened my resolve. My anger has subsided but not abated. I am grown older and sadder and more tired, but I will not return. To coin an idiom, my bridges are burned -- I say again, the stories you have heard about my countless treacheries, machinations against the established divine order and association with minions of the Adversary may have some basis in truth."

"Most of you are here because you have burned your bridges too, and I tell you that God has not abandoned you. Your duties to God, to mankind, and to the World do not need to be dictated by the tyrants of the Seraphim Council. Only be true to yourselves, and you will not Fall as so many of our brothers Fell."

"To those others who still wrestle with the orders of Superiors whilst harboring sympathies for our cause, my thoughts go with you. I called this meeting to speak about the divine Inquisition, Dominic's hounds who have so harried us across the years."

"If you are known to be an Outcast, avoid them. Individual angels can be suborned, fought, or persuaded, especially if you happen to meet them without the rest of their triad, but that isn't the most likely outcome. In extreme circumstances, warnings of urgent demonic attacks (of the sort that require them to act before they have interrogated you), or an all-out assault on all three triad members may give you enough time to escape. Failing that, your best recourse is to kill your own vessel and dive into limbo, where they cannot follow. Yes, I have done this. Yes, it is difficult."

"A more hopeful situation is if you are questioned by them in passing, when they have no idea of your real situation or sympathies. Be aware: they have many angels to investigate, and unless they have evidence of specific wrongdoing, there are limits to how long they will intend to spend with each one. You can expect to see them rarely if ever, unless you are unlucky, so cover your tracks and keep down your Disturbance, but there is no need to live in utter fear. Have something in mind that you can report to them, if pressed, especially if you have any suspicions about fellow angels. Give them lists of names (reluctantly, if you wish) with concrete suspicions. Pass on any information you have about demonic activity. Be polite and as helpful as you can. Ask for advice on pressing theological questions. Request them to give you penances for any minor infraction you may have committed. Throw yourself upon their mercy. As long as they are not investigating your specific sympathies with Outcasts, they can be diverted onto other topics."

"Oh, yes. The Inquisition can be diverted. I see looks of surprise? Nevertheless, it is true. For all their talk of hunting Outcasts, old 'Nick is more concerned about sedition among loyal angels."

"If all else fails, there are senior members of the Inquisition who are authorised to bargain with you for useful information. If you think you have access to names of heretics, vessels and locations of perpetrators, and guidance to meetings of dissidents and Outcasts, you can bargain for both life and freedom, whatever your crimes."

"With this in mind, I regret very much the necessity of luring you all here this evening. The building is surrounded and there are Inquisition agents stationed around the room. I'd advise you all to surrender quietly, to save the mortal souls who toil in upstairs offices."


-- Testament of Nehamaiah, Outcast Seraph of Light


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