By Moe Lane
Some points enshrined in this relic:
- Honor does not equal stupidity;
- As Robert Adams once said, when push comes to
shove a 'gentleman' fights with whatever weapons are
- There is a moral difference between running
someone through with a sword, and letting someone
impale themselves on it as a consequence of their own
consciously evil acts;
- If Baal was as half as smart as he thinks he is,
he'd have never let himself get caught up in a
rebellion against an omnipotent deity.
The above applies only in regular Bright campaigns, of
course: this item is pretty much pointless anywhere
Baal is, these days, more of an assault rifle and
napalm sort of Demon Prince, but he still carries a
sword with him wherever he goes: in fact, he's carried
the same sword now for over a century. The reason
Baal carries such an archaic weapon is because he
never knows when he might be suddenly called away for
Armageddon: Baal is not going to want to waste even a
millisecond of good dueling-to-the-death time. The
reason why the Prince carries this particular one is
because he knows that it must irk Heaven no end.
You see, it used to be Laurence's.
Baal has probably half-convinced himself by now that
he took it from the Archangel himself, but that's,
well, a lie. What he did do is win it off of
Savaliel, one of Laurence's senior Generals: indeed,
Baal was so pleased with the victory that he let the
brave fool live and return to his Superior with a
message. The Demon Prince of the War thinks it a
delicious irony that a weapon that was once owned by
the present Commander of the Host is to be used to
kill the first Commander of the Host, come the Day.
Laurence is welcome to try and take it away from him,
any time he likes. That should keep the whelp nice
and distracted: every little bit helps, after all.
Laurence hasn't come for his sword yet; by now, Baal
has stopped expecting him to, but he wears it anyway.
Actually, the Prince doesn't even think about it much,
Frankly, Laurence never expected this harebrained
scheme to work at all, let alone this long. Indeed,
if it wasn't for the fact that General Savaliel and
his sworn companion Major Nemamiah literally begged
him, the Archangel would never have gone along with
this plan. After all, it is no light matter to take a
faithful (and fanatical) Servitor, transform him into
a living artifact, then send him off into the ultimate
of deep covers. The risk to an equally faithful and
fanatical General was not inconsiderable, either, but
the two Malakim's arguments were ultimately persuasive
- and it worked. Laurence even got his General back:
he's now trying to work out the best way to get back
Yes, it's true: Baal has had every action of his done
over the last half-century witnessed by a silent
angelic observer. Nemamiah has soaked up Baal's
tactics, strategies, command style and even
personality quirks like a sponge, endlessly
categorizing and assessing the strengths and
weaknesses of his 'owner'. Only a Malakite with
specific oaths and iron-clad orders could have hoped
to do this and remain sane: only the Archangel of the
Sword could hope to create a relic that would obscure
another Superior's perceptions in this one specific
area. It should be obvious that part of the safeguards
in the sword is that either the Archangel, or
Nemamiah, will be able to break free at any time that
either wills it.
It helps, of course, that Nemamiah is purely a passive
agent: he cannot communicate with or influence the
outside world at all. Baal might - the key word here
is 'might': this relic is Laurence's masterwork -
detect the angel's presence, were he to look. Alas,
the sin of Pride is so strong in the Prince that he
could never take seriously the notion that the - what
was the phrase? Oh, yes: 'sublimated Boy Scout' -
could possibly fool him at all.
No, make no comments about dishonorable behavior here.
Both the Colonel and the General volunteered the
notion and their services, even though it likely meant
their deaths. Baal could have - should have, by
Laurence's lights - simply returned the weapon; that
he has chosen instead to try to use it as an
instrument of wanton cruelty has shown his essential
dishonor. Thus, it is only meet that his stolen
weapon turn in his hand. This is a legitimate ruse of
war: Laurence swore no oaths to protect Baal's
feelings (or Michael's, for that matter). He did,
however, swear before God to obey and serve Him, and,
by extension, to defeat these traitors to Divine will.
The Archangel of the Sword has examined his
conscience and his sense of honor on this matter, and
found it clean.
The Archangel's only worry is the timing. Laurence is
uncertain whether to get the sword back well before
Armageddon, or just to wait until the very moment
before the duel between Michael and Baal begins before
releasing the Malakite from his observation post.
Either way has its points: Nemamiah will be an amazing
resource, once debriefed - but the shock to the Prince
of the War will be greater if delayed until the last
Every little bit helps.
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