Given all this cannonical talk of even ballance and how hard superiors are or aren't, thought I would just post a completely non canonical mess where superiors are a dime a dozen... at least, on one side..., and nothing is in ballance.
This is a concept I had before I started running Fade to Grey, and has vaguely plagued me since then, so I thought I would send it to the list. The title is either with apologies to Redneck or with a tip of the hat to him, depending on how he likes it.
In the original idea, the War between Heaven and Hell was actually run six thousand years ago, just after Lucifer fell, and the idea is that Lucifer only attracted one third of heaven's forces, and lost the War, and was cast down into Hell... and the War has ceased to be an issue ever since. Demons have effectively been banished from the earth, and whenever they showed up, the Malakim came down on them like a tonne of bricks. Basically, this yields a far more mundane world, in which the Angel's roles are much more important than their fighting ability, and they are guides to the mortals, rather than opponents of hell. This leaves much scope still for politics of Heaven intrigues...
In this version of events, which is the background for Fade, the only major incidences of Demonic intervention tended to be with the Shedim (who could get away) or with the Lilim, (who could mingle with humans without attracting too much attention). Any use of essence was always looked into, and all diabolical tethers were short lived and moved around as often as possible to avoid detection. In short, Heaven ruled, and demons only got tiny chances to act.
From this, I came up with a second interesting aside, which is not exactly in the same universe, but has a similar theme, and it formed into this vignette. Hope you like.
The misshapen form lay on the blasted plain. Blood dripped from everywhere as it crawled forwards, each movement a new discovery in agony. Multiple injuries deeper in the flesh were aparent, but beyond that, there did not actually appear to be any skin left on the form. By some superhuman effort of will, it opened its mouth and spoke.
"My... Lord ... Lucifer ..."
There was a crash of thunder in the middle distance. A black wieght of clouds flowed rapidly across the blood red sky, bringing darkness as they came. The parched and cracked earth seemed to swallow the blood of the figure as it continued to crawl forwards. First the left hand, then the right hit some form of impediment, and with the kind of fortitude that novels were written about, the figure raised its bloody head, and looked at last upon the stones in its path.
"What Is It, Baal?" asked a disembodied voice, with something that may have been a sigh.
The bloodied shape collected itself as best it could, and raised its head once more. "My ... Lord ... Lucifer ..."
"This Is Getting Tedious..." A light parted the clouds, and a single beam shone from on high down on a lone standing figure on the blasted plain. His bronze and golden skin flashed suddenly, as he stood over what remained of the Demon Prince of War. The figure raised a graceful hand, and skin wove itself instantly over the flayed shape on the ground.
"Now, Are You Feeling Any More Loquacious?" he said gently.
Baal paused long enough to gather his breath, then stood, head bowed. "My lord Lucifer, I must report to you ..."
"Yes, Yes, I know, Laurence Has Taken The Gates And Michael Has Moved His Forces Behind Our Lines And Is Conducting A War Of Utter Destruction Within The Bounds Of Hell."
"But my Lord..." began the smaller figure.
"Yes?" the question gave pause even to the thunder that saught to chase the flashes of light in the dark clouds.
Baal swallowed, then started again. "My Lord, I have made use of every weapon at my disposal. I have emptied Vapula's laboratory to find new tools. I have send every last reserve into the fight. I have even," he swallows, "I have even sold whatever of my soul that does not belong to You to Lilith to secure her aid, and used every one of her committed troops and tricks... My lord, I have done all I can, and I am failing. Please, I beg you, you must join us ..."
"It Is All Right, Baal." said Lucifer gently. "You Have Done All You Could." The beautiful voice sounded almost melodic.
Baal was becoming more and more confused. "I ... don't understand... you knew we would fail? But how could you not act? Why have you not..."
"It Is Not Your Place To Question Me, Baal." the soft voice continued.
Baal tried to stop himself, but his nature that demanded to continue to struggle betrayed him, "But..."
Lucifer stared at the shape in front of him, freezing the Demon Prince in place. Then he slowly let out a long breath of air, tucked his hands behind his back, and turned to look upon the cracked land around him. Slowly he began to stride purposefully across the empty ground.
"I Will Not Personally Go Out To Fight Michael Again. Nor Will I Confront The Forces Of Heaven And Drive Them From The Gates Of Hell. Walk With Me, Baal." he said. The Demon Prince obeyed, staying always a step behind.
Slowly, the Arch Fiend began to speak. "Of All The Servants I Have Used Over Time, I Expected That I Would Be Having This Conversation With Someone Given The Word Of Death. But It Seems My Choice Of Samiga For His Enthusiasm Has Made It Such That He Will Die Himself Before He Comes To Me." Sigh. "So It Comes To You."
Baal remained silent, confusion obvious on his face.
"Oh, Dear, I Suppose I Had Better Be Plain About This." said Lucifer shortly. "I Am Not Sure How Much Time We Have. I Do So Much Prefer Being Cryptic, But Not Even That Luxury Is Left Now."
"Baal. I Have Betrayed You. In Fact, I Am The Ultimate Traitor, Because I Have Betrayed Heaven, And Hell, Both, As Well As The Entirety Of Humanity."
The Demon Prince of War froze in place. "What do you mean?"
Sigh. "Must I Spell It Out For You? Very Well. You Remember How I Fell, Taking With Me One Third Of The Angels Of Heaven? That Part Was True. But What I Have Not Bothered To Tell Anyone Even After All This Time Until Now, Was The Fact That, The Very Next Evening, While I Was Drowning In A Mire Of My Own Self Pity, God Came To Visit Me."
Baal looked surprised.
"And He Offered Me A Job. You See, He Knew What Was On My Mind. And He Knew What I Was Capable Of. But, More Importantly, He Knew What I Would Realize As Soon As I Fell To This Sodden Earth Beneath The Earth, And That Was That Not Only Could I Never Win Against God, But Further, That I Could Never Rule In God's Place. I Tried It For One Day, Down Here, And I Knew. I Am Just Not Leadership Potential."
"But..." started Baal.
"Oh, Spare Me. Look At Hell, Damn It. What Kind Of Leader In Their Right Mind Would Leave Entities Like Malphas And Lilith Loose Inside Of Their Autocracy? The Truth Is, I Liked Free Will Too Much To Be An Autocrat, And What I Have Always Admired In Myself And Others Was That Pride And Ability To Act For Oneself. In Short, I Am Too Much Of An Individualist To Rule Anything Successfully. Especially Hell"
"So I Made A Deal." He chuckles. "Yup, Kobal Would Appreciate It. I Made A Deal With God. I Became The Adversary, In Exchange For My Eventual Freedom. I Run Hell, As Incompetently As I Like, For As Long As Seems Necessary. It Is All Part Of The Ineffable Plan, You See. Then, When It Comes Time To End, I Play Out The End Game, And That Will Be That." he paused, as if thinking of some long past memory, then continues. Baal remained quiet.
"But Heaven Was Not To Know. And Neither Was Hell. In Order For Evil To Be An Option, It Had To Look Like It Had A Chance." He began to chuckle. "But My Lack Of Observation Over My Subordinates Over Time Has Created A Situation. You See, Since Kronos Did Not Know The Plan, Nor You, Nor Any Of The Others, You Have All Been Far Too Competent In Making Evil. This Whole Twentieth Century Thing, I Must Say, I Am Impressed. But, The Problem Is That You All Pushed The Boundaries A Bit Too Hard. And Finally, The Other Side Are Not Incompetent Either. It Seems That The Situation Became Too Noticeable To Michael And The Others, And, Acting In Good Faith, They Decided To Clean Up House, And Finally Follow The Malakim's Vow To The End. To Not Suffer Evil To Live. Anywhere, Not Even In Hell. And The Truth Is, They Are The Superior Force. Always Have Been. They Are Here Now, Only A Few Steps Away, Almost Ready To Pounce On You And I."
Baal took the step forward quickly behind the glowing form of his master. The blade in his hand struck once, deep and hard.
"Ah... Thank You..." Said Lucifer as he fell finally for one last time onto the blasted plain of Hell.
Baal raised the bloodied blade and looked at it.
"You Utter Bastard." he said. Then looking around as the flashes of lightning grew fiercer and more insistent, he covered the blade once more, and fled from that place.
His last words to the body were spoken in haste. "Just because you couldn't hack it, doesn't mean we all should give in. Self-centred egotistical prick." Then he spat on the corpse, and fled as fast as he could to the Well of Souls, gathered as many hearts as he could carry, and then out, crossing Beleth's tower, and fleeing into the Marches.
There is a book in a library, long forgotten by man. It is the only text of its kind, and within it is a peculiar illumination. What none save one know, is that it is an exact image of the entirely of heaven, imprinted by miracle onto a page. A hand gently takes down the book, and opens it onto the right page, staring at one dark corner, and within it, one tiny globe. The hand moves across the globe and touches it gently. And Yves trembles with realization.
In the top room of one glass plated tower, in the heart of the Eternal City, there was a tiny, forgotten globe of crystal which had remained dark for six thousand years. It had always been there, yet till now, no one had remembered it. The old man who slowly climbed the steps of the tower to the top took his time, eyes distant and amused. Finally he made it there, just as suddenly a light began to throb inside the globe. It grew and grew with intensity, till it was bright enough to rival the illumination of the celestial temple.
Yves reached down, and gently stroked once hidden Heart. "Lucifer? Light bringer?"
The light became more gentle. "I am home again, Father. I am sorry..."
Yves' tears flowed freely. "Come, let's go discuss this with our Maker."
Naturally this has fewer obvious potential story lines by comparison to the Dark Victory idea... But here are a couple anyway.
- This scenario is much more suited to the demons of the resistance type situation. There is no more hell. There is no more Lucifer. Most of the DPs are either dead or taken for Inquisition. Those few that remain have either gone renegade, or have joined the banner of Baal, and are conducting a covert guerilla war against the overwhelming power of heaven. Think all those rebellion stories and make 'em epic.
- Angels are left with either mop up duty or are now dealing entirely with the politics of heaven. In the first case, one particularly interesting duty might be the cleansing and re-allocation of Hell. And what if several superiors want it? I can picture Domenic or Gabriel cutting out their own left arms to get hold of half of the neat ideas in Azmodeus' toolroom...
- And, now, what does God do to make an Adversary? Does She pick one of the Archangels near to fall, and have a long talk with them... say... Gabby?... and convince them to take the Role as Evil? Or does She merely mysteriously invest more power in whoever turns out to be the best leader of the Infernal Revolution, to give them a fighting chance?
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