By email@example.com (GR Cogman)
(co-credit to the Archangel Beth, who helped to an equal degree)
Once, Eli and Yves crafted a mirror: it was a great and magnificent piece of work, that would show the brightest Destiny of any being that gazed into it, human or Celestial.
Then, by some means, Kobal gained access to it, and made it double-edged, so that a demon or malicious human would see his brightest Destiny, and it might become real, but that an angel or human of good heart would see their darkest Fate.
Eli gazed into the mirror, and it shattered.
Ahihud, brother of vanity, was born from the mirror, a twisted reflection of Eli: this dark Impudite fled with the largest shard of that mirror, down to the depths of Hell, where he was taken under the wing of Kronos and hid in the shadows. He holds the word of Parody now, and guards the shard of mirror which remains.
A single, sharp-edged piece of onyx, roughly oval and about five feet by two, set in a frame of black steel. If a being looks in it, then for a good being the reflection will be their darkest Fate, and for an evil being their brightest Destiny. If they fail their Will roll, then the reflection steps out of the mirror, and takes on a life of its own for perhaps five minutes. If they hit a divine or diabolical intervention, then they _become_ the reflection (probably hideously repentantly, with severe discord). For instance, a Seraph of Dominic might see himself reflected as a Balseraph of Kronos. And nasty. Customise to suit what the players feel about their characters.
Also, any Djinn who attunes themselves to the mirror can try, on a resonance roll, to sense those beings nearby who have been reflected in the mirror. It leaves a taint. Doing so will make the dark reflection briefly appear in the mirror: a useful tool for those who would _wish_ to see people fall..
Hadraniel, Ofanite of Janus, Master of Motion, with a few other attunements from friendly Superiors, decided to go for the big one. The biggest one. He'd heard rumours of the vastly important artifact that Kronos was storing in the deepest sub-basement: he got past the locks, sneaked past the guard, avoided the worryingly familiar Impudite down there, and got The Mirror. Not that he'd expected it to be a mirror, and he hadn't time to look at it down there, especially as it was covered, and he was rather busy getting out of there, when...
Lehiah, Seraph of Dominic, Friend of Judgement, took it off him. After all, what was this Ofanite doing running round with a clearly diabolical artifact? (Though it did have some odd resonances...) Some apt use of severe reproach had the Ofanite handing it over. It was only when she examined the mirror that she realised its true utility. One could use it to discover the perils of other souls, and how they might Fall! And who could refuse to look into it, when it was their duty to examine themselves? (No, she hasn't activated some of the darker effects yet. Yes, this is close to Falling herself. No, Dominic would not approve. Unfortunately, Dominic doesn't know about this yet.) The two others of her Triad agree with her, and are working out how best to use this unexplained asset...
However, Alihud wants _his_ mirror back, though the prospect of exposing a few Celestials to it is ... enticing. He hasn't been up in a corporeal vessel for _centuries_. While it is of course nonsense to claim that he isn't taking action fast enough, the few Servitors (a Calabite here, a Djinn there, whatever is a good threat) that Kronos permitted him are finding he's not really being that decisive. He's spending too much time wandering round and sucking Essence and positively frivolling. Given that he's a Baron of the Book of Days, Baron of Eternal Ecstacy, and has Attunements from several Superiors, and a nasty large amount of Forces, it is probably fortunate for the Celestials involved that he has been frivolling so far...
Not to forget the PCs, who are about to walk into this...
Day 1 : Hadraniel escapes from Hell, with the Mirror. Lehiah senses the disruption, investigates, and confiscates the Mirror (Hadraniel being too beat up and exhausted to make a really significant objection). Lehiah and her team observe the dark-reflection property (only a reflection, no more) and realise how useful the mirror could be.
Day 2 : Alihud arrives, at the site of Hadraniel's arrival (let's hope the PCs aren't sitting there to get minced) with his team. They "spread out to investigate", causing disruptions here and there in the city. Hadraniel, recovering, decides to ask for help, and calls in a favour that a Malakite buddy of Janus owes him.
Day 3 : The Malakite, Israfel, arrives: she is one of those Malakim of Janus who loves the smell of any explosive in the morning. Or any time of day, really. After hearing Hadraniel's point of view on the subject, she "realises" that it's necessary to secure the mirror _before_ arguing with the Servitors of Judgement. Of course, this may involve a slight diversion to get at it. Pass the dynamite.
Somewhere during the day, also, Alihud and his mob locate the mirror at Lehiah's base. This is likely to result in confusion and awkwardness, especially if everyone moves in at the same time. Tch.
Day 4 : Unless the current owner of the Mirror is hiding it in some extraordinary way, Alihud knows where it is. Also, Dominic is due his regular weekly checkup on Lehiah. And Hadraniel has been in the same place for three days, so he needs to act now or never...
An obvious option is to make them local to the city that all this takes place in: there will certainly be enough Disturbance to the Symphony. Another option is that they're a travelling group of troubleshooters, sent to find out what's going on here, or asked for help by some unnamed NPC Celestial who knows there's Bad Stuff Happening but is rather too weak to investigate.
As to the mirror: Hadraniel knows some bits about it (it's weird, it's old, the guy near it looked awfully like Eli); Alihud knows almost everything, and has a tendency to gloat if you get captured. Or, heck, Impudites always enjoy talking. Lehiah knows almost nothing. Yves has some records at the back of his library, but the Librarians are bound to want something for looking them out for you. Yves himself might even take an interest. And Yves, well, is powerful enough that his interest ought to seriously worry any PC.
The Mirror can (to my mind) only be destroyed by Eli himself, who is likely to be unavailable. An Archangel could take custody of it and stash it somewhere, but is going to want the PCs to find it first _before_ calling them. Alihud and his mob would just take it straight back down - which is sort of a passable solution, but do we really want to leave an artifact of such power in their hands?
Any which way, the PCs are bound to annoy _somebody_.
Opinions, as ever, welcome: and my thanks to the Archangel Beth.
Maya, Elohim of Eli in service to Blandine
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