Baal's Sword

By Moe Lane


Some points enshrined in this relic:

  1. Honor does not equal stupidity;
  2. As Robert Adams once said, when push comes to shove a 'gentleman' fights with whatever weapons are at hand;
  3. 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;

  4. and
  5. 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 else. :)

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, anymore.


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 his Colonel.

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 moment.

Every little bit helps.


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