This article originally appeared in Pyramid #30
An In Nomine Resource by Alain H. Dawson
Karaziel walked out the door of the clinic toward the despondent form hunched on the stoop. She had been sitting there ever since the boy she came to see had snarled at her to stay out of his life. The angel stopped next to her and lit himself a cigarette, hoping that would get her attention.
As the smoke blew by her, she lifted her head like a stray dog catching scent of a T-bone.
"Hey, lemme have one, will ya?" she said, half begging, half demanding.
"Sure." He threw the pack to her. "Keep it, I ought to quit anyway."
They smoked in silence, then suddenly she stared at him and said, "How do you know if a person is good for you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Like, I've gone out with a lot of guys that treated me bad, and now I'm dating this guy who's actually nice, but I keep wanting to fool around on him. How do I know if he's good for me?"
"Why don't you ask your parents?"
She rolled her eyes eloquently.
"Don't you have a good relationship with them?"
Her thin face took on a look of distrust. "I don't want to talk about it."
"How old are you?"
"And you've dated a lot of guys?"
She smirked. "Yeah, a lot."
"How did they treat you badly? Did they hit you?"
Again, she looked suspicious of him. "I don't want to talk about it."
"You sound like you need to talk to someone. I can put you in touch with a group that might be able to answer your question for you, help you put your problems in perspective . . ."
"I don't have a problem, mister. God, ask a stupid question . . ." She unfolded herself from her perch and threw the pack of cigarettes at him. "Keep the damn things."
Karaziel watched her stalk away and winced as he thought about the pain she was heading toward in her future, the pain he had to share.
He looked up and asked with both puzzlement and despair, "Why me?"
Being a member of the Host is not all harps and clouds. Angels may live in the grace of God, but some of them have to put up with torments that would make any demon flinch. On very bad days some angels wonder whether Kronos has more to do with their lives than Yves. Other angels sympathize with their plight, usually from a safe distance. After all, bad luck is contagious.
The Angel of Self-DestructionCorporeal Forces - 4 Strength 10 Agility 6
Cherub Vassal of Flowers
Ethereal Forces - 4 Intelligence 10 Precision 6
Celestial Forces - 3 Will 3 Perception 9
Vessel: Human/3 (Charisma+1).
Role: Clinic Administrator/2 (Status 2).
Skills: Detect Lies/4, Drive/3, Medicine/6, Small Weapon (Baton)/4, Tracking/5.
Songs: Harmony (Corporeal/4, Ethereal/5), Motion (Corporeal/6), Shields (Corporeal/5, Celestial/3).
Attunements: Cherub of Flowers, Mercurian of Fire, Vassal of Flowers, the Angel of Self-Destruction.
Special Rites: Gains 1 Essence each time he prevents someone from hurting himself.
Karaziel is very unusual for a Word-bound celestial. He didn't petition for his Word or undergo any tests: apparently, it was given to him as a lesson.
He is a young angel, only a century old, and he made a mistake. He was attuned to a woman whose husband abused and threatened her. This being his first time on Earth, he was naive about human behavior and tended to believe human propaganda. In his Role as a minister he counseled her to stay at her parents' home while her husband "cooled off" from their recent argument, then go back to him. Karaziel saw no danger in his advice and only realized his carelessness when the shrieking dissonance of her death overcame him. Her husband had killed her.
Novalis recalled him and he cowered under her wrath, unable to say anything in self-defense. When she finally left him alone, he heard a voice asking how he wished to atone. He answered miserably that he wanted to stop the same thing from happening again. Much to his amazement, he was immediately given his Word and charged to help those who would hurt themselves.
Karaziel had no idea what he was getting into. Supporting his Word is a long process of imbuing self-worth into his charges until they no longer seek out ways to damage themselves. He can't force them to stand up for themselves. It may take years until he motivates someone to kick a drug habit or leave a batterer, and all the while he is attuned and suffers along with them. He carries a constant burden of dissonance because he can't always protect his charges from their own actions. For this reason most angels find him unpleasant to be around, so he has few friends among his peers, even those who appreciate his work.
His Word does not allow him to waste much attention on the abusers his victims chose, but he frequently tips off Gabriel's forces and watches with satisfaction as they punish the victimizers. He has helped her Word to such an extent that she granted him the Mercurian of Fire attunement. Of course, this burdens him with even more responsibility.
Fortunately, Karaziel takes his responsibilities very seriously. He supports his Word not only on an individual basis, but by forming and financing shelters, clinics, hotlines, any sort of group which might help him look after his charges. Actually, Karaziel doesn't have much money himself, but he does know how to raise it: he pesters the Servitors of Marc. The Archangel of Trade knows many affluent people (and corporations, and governments) who need tax shelters or positive publicity, and Karaziel always has a worthwhile organization lined up to receive the money. Despite having a Word that is far too big for him, Karaziel has not been overcome, but has risen to the challenge.
The Angel of Self-Destruction attunement grants him the ability to successfully perform all 3 Songs of Healing, at the normal cost. Combined with his Cherub of Flowers attunement, this enables him to make people feel much better when he is around. He has often sought out Roles that allow him to mask his healing as a part of his job. At various times he has been a priest, a doctor and a therapist. Currently he has assumed the Role of an administrator at a detox clinic.
The Angel of PolitenessCorporeal Forces - 4 Strength 6 Agility 10
Elohite Master of Trade
Ethereal Forces - 5 Intelligence 9 Precision 11
Celestial Forces - 5 Will 8 Perception 12
Vessel: Human/4 (Charisma +3).
Skills: Artistry/5, Detect Lies/6, Driving/3, Emote/6, Fast-Talk/6, Singing/5.
Songs: Charm (All/6), Harmony (All/6), Tongues (Corporeal/6, Ethereal/4).
Attunements: Elohite of Trade, Elohite of Destiny, Mercurian of War, Master of Trade, Divine Contract, Incarnate Law, the Angel of Politeness.
Artifacts: A white silk handkerchief that acts as a Reliquary/3.
Special Rites: as Angel of Politeness, Valerian receives 1 Essence when he takes part in a polite conversation (all parties in the conversation must be acting politely).
Valerian is a Word-bound angel in trouble. His once powerful Word has gone into a severe decline since its peak around the beginning of this century. All the advances that he has worked on for millennia are slipping away, and his attempts to halt this erosion have blown up in his face.
While serving his Word he has fought diligently against rudeness such as pranks, dirty jokes and toilet humor. This has thrown him into direct conflict with Kobal. The Demon Prince of Dark Humor has oodles of fun poking holes in Valerian's sometimes stuffy attempts to defend the status quo. His decline can be almost singly attributed to the work of Kobal and his servants, who never tire of turning politeness into a symbol of repression, class warfare and narrow-mindedness. In a desperate attempt to gain lost ground, Valerian fostered the idea of Political Correctness during the '80s. Within months, Kobal had turned it from a rejection of hurtful labels to a nationwide cult of language fascism. He hasn't stopped laughing over that one yet.
Valerian appears as the epitome of politeness in any society. In England, he is a well-groomed older gentleman with an umbrella and a pin-striped suit. In Japan he is a wizened matriarch in a snow-white kimono. His aged appearance reflects his opinion of himself as obsolete. He is bewildered by modern society and finds New York City downright scary. Despite the current weakness of his Word, Valerian is still an old and powerful angel, and underestimating him can bring reprisals of astonishing strength and subtlety.
His attunement allows him always to succeed at the skill Savoir-Faire. More importantly, it gives him the Mercurian resonance for human interaction. No matter how worried he may be about supporting his Word, his concern is never outwardly apparent. He is far too skilled in social situations to project any feeling he wishes to conceal. Valerian's control is not always to his benefit, however. He cannot physically defend his word, and because he is at all times polite, his Word gets ignored in favor of more urgent business and more urgent angels.
The Angel of Equal TruthCorporeal Forces - 3 Strength 4 Agility 8
Seraph Inquisitor and Master of Judgment
Ethereal Forces - 5 Intelligence 11 Precision 9
Celestial Forces - 6 Will 12 Perception 12
Role: Lawyer/6 (Status 4).
Skills: Computer Operation/4, Driving/2, Emote/6, Fast-Talk/6
Songs: Form (Ethereal/4, Celestial/6), Harmony (Ethereal/5, Celestial/6), Tongues (Corporeal/6, Ethereal/3, Celestial/4).
Attunements: Seraph of Judgment, Master of Judgment, Advocate, Incarnate Law, Angel of Equal Truth.
Artifacts: A small set of scales (yes, just like the ones Blind Justice carries). When Koriel spends 1 Essence, she can force a biased person to make an Intelligence roll. If Koriel succeeds, the biased person loses his bias for a number of minutes equal to the check digit.
Special Rites: In addition to all of Dominic's Rites, Koriel receives 1 point of Essence for helping the legal defense of a human, 2 points for defending a celestial.
Koriel decided long ago that among humans, truth is not absolute, it is relative. The underdogs of the world had to fight harder to get their truths heard and believed. This went against her very nature as a Seraph, so she committed herself to the concept of equal truth, equal justice for all. She fostered the concept of the public defender, a voice to speak for those most in need whether they were guilty or not. In time, she earned the Word of Equal Truth.
Over the years, this Word expanded to encompass more than she had anticipated. Many of the people she spoke for were far from innocent, but her desire to see all beings get a fair hearing overcame her angelic distaste. More than other angels, she was able to hate the sin while striving to help the sinner. When it became known that she would represent even the most unpopular defendants, Outcasts began to seek her out, asking her to intervene for them with their Superiors. Eventually, even Renegades sought her advice on how to atone and return to a state of grace.
Dominic watches such interactions very carefully, but it is a measure of his respect for her that he allows them at all. When she successfully managed to reinstate a fallen angel (over the course of a century), Dominic nicknamed her "The Devil's Advocate." The name has bad connotations for Koriel's angelic peers, particularly those who support the Word of Judgment. The more time she spends in questionable company, the less other angels want to be around her. As her friends have grown more distant, she has been forced to choose between loneliness or the often unpleasant company of those she defends. Currently, she favors loneliness.
Humanity itself seems dead-set against her Word, no matter how much lip service they devote to it. Over the millenia, she has seen the underdogs of countless societies shake off their oppressors in the name of equality only to become oppressors themselves. If she ever slept, she might find it difficult to get up in the morning.
Koriel does have allies; the most powerful is Michael. He knows all too well how it feels to be persecuted, and he thinks she provides a good balance to Dominic. He does, however, believes in a more physical defense of the truth, and he often chides her for talking when he thinks the time for words is past.
Koriel's drive to succeed makes her seem distant and cold-hearted, but she cares deeply about the people she helps. Caring to her means fighting to redress a wrong, not coddling. She keeps herself and other Servitors of Judgment honed in constant debate, which they usually tire of long before she does. In keeping with her nickname, she usually takes the most unpopular side in any discussion, and some angels even accuse her of disagreeing with them just to provoke an argument. Relaxing, she is not.
Her major enemy is time. Like most public defenders, she has far too many cases that need her attention and her backlog is huge. The hardest thought for her to bear is that she can never catch up. No matter how hard she tries, thousands of injustices occur every day. Yves, out of respect for the harassed Seraph, has lent her the services of a clerk. Koriel has the use of an Ofanite who knows Yves' Library up and down, and always finds the fastest way to pass on anything important he discovers. Unfortunately, this only scratches the surface of Koriel's workload.
Koriel's Equal Truth attunement is for memory: she can remember any fact or detail relating to any being she has ever defended. This makes her incredibly irritating to argue with, because she can marshal the facts with consummate ease. All in all, she is neither comfortable with herself nor with other beings. She is only happy with the Truth, and the Truth is in short supply.
Article publication date: May 15, 1998
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