for In Nomine
by Loki Carbis
Demon of Unexplained Noises
Impudite Knight of Secrets
Corporeal Forces - 3
Ethereal Forces - 6
Celestial Forces - 5
Skills: Fast-Talk/6, Lying/6
Songs: Dreams (Celestial/3), Entropy (Ethereal/4), Thunder (6), Tongues (Corporeal/6)
Attunements: Demon of Unexplained Noises, Distraction, Djinn of Secrets, Habbalite of Dark Humor, Imbroglio, Impudite of Dark Humor, Impudite of Nightmares, Impudite of Secrets, Knight of Derision, Knight of Hidden Doors
Rites: 'Gheliphrex generates 1 point of Essence each time he manages to convince someone that the noise they just heard wasn't what they thought it was. He usually does this by quickly suggesting two or three additional explanations, and doing what he can to make it hard to figure out which one (if any) is the true explanation. If he can convince other people to do it for him, he gains 2 Essence.
It all went weird for Phrex the day he asked for his Word, about three centuries ago. Up until that time, he'd served Kobal, working fairly closely with the Prince. He'd attracted the jealousy of his fellow Servitors -- always a sign that a demon is doing a good job -- and was regarded as something of an up-and-comer to those in the know. His closeness to Kobal no doubt assisted him in this, but no one could deny that he was good at his work. And so, Kobal summoned Phrex one day, and told him that the time had come for him to petition Lucifer for a Word. Naturally, Phrex did so. He asked for a relatively minor Word -- Unexpected Noises. Phrex, like Kobal, greatly appreciated the comic value of a well-timed fart noise, but wanted to expand his repertoire.
Lucifer considered his request, dismissed it, and granted Phrex a different Word from the one he'd asked for. Gheliphrex was given the Word of Unexplained Noises. As an afterthought, Lucifer added an apostrophe at the start of Phrex's full name, and reassigned him to Alaemon, declaring that the explanation of any noise was a secret. Furthermore, he commanded Phrex not to enter his presence again until such time as Phrex had figured out how to pronounce his new name properly. Phrex is fond of joking that Lucifer's words were his first real experience of unexplained noises.
Since then, Phrex has served his new master well, largely out of terror, and risen in power. Alaemon's largely hands-off leadership style took him a while to get used to, especially after working with Kobal. In fact, centuries later, Phrex has still not met Alaemon. Somewhat tentatively, he has assumed that this is a good sign, and that his independence is a mark of Alaemon's trust in him. Certainly the several Attunements he has received from his new master would seem to be positive signs.
In the meantime, just in case they aren't, he's taken advantage of the Prince of Secret's blind eye to form good working relationships with several other Princes, notably Beleth (who appreciates the fright value of things that go bump in the night) and Malphas; it is rumored that the additional gun shots some people claim to have heard when Kennedy was assassinated were the work of Phrex, as a favor to Malphas, and Malphas is well satisfied with the results. More often than anything else, though, Phrex works with the Servitors of Media -- often in fairly minor ways, through his vessel as a Producer for several alternative musical acts.
On the other hand, several other superiors take a dim view of him -- notably Fleurity (who thinks that drugs are all the explanation anyone needs) and Vapula (who has lost untold production hours trying to track down nonexistent but noisy mechanical faults). And relations between 'Gheliphrex and Kobal are a still precarious; each still suspects the other of having pulled a fast one on him.
Phrex is that rara avis in Hell: a demon who stays bought. Not that he doesn't lie and cheat . . . but he never breaks a deal if he can avoid it. There are those who whisper that he's aiming for redemption, but in truth, Phrex is just trying to establish a little insurance for himself. He's well aware that most Princes take a dim view of demons changing Superiors at all, let alone a second time, and he wants to make sure that his new boss trusts him (at least, as much as any demon ever trusts another).
His Word allows him to create all sorts of Unexplained Noises more or less at will. A Noise that is merely disquieting or beneath conscious notice costs him 1 Essence, while a Noise that is truly shocking or otherwise inexplicable could cost up to 3 points of Essence. For 5 points of Essence, he can create a noise that sounds to any Celestial like a Infernal disturbance of the Symphony. Furthermore, by linking his Word and his resonance, he can Steal Essence from anyone he has previously stolen Essence from in person, so long as they are actively puzzling over the explanation of the noise they heard at the time. This ability has no range modifier, although it will not work across Planes. Other than that, it is identical to the normal Impudite Resonance.
As a general rule, 'Gheliphrex is still the merry prankster that he was when he worked for Kobal, but now his pranks have a nastier edge, and are more likely to cause fear and paranoia than humiliation (although that's still fun, too). In fact, Phrex is increasingly a mercenary; so many words find the occasional Unexplained Noise useful to their plans, and Phrex is the best in the business.
If players are Servitors of Secrets, Phrex most likely outranks them. There aren't a lot of Words under Secrets, after all. 'Gheliphrex is aware that his Word is considered basically dead-end by most other demons, but he thinks that he can prove them wrong -- and possibly change Superiors again. Beneath his playful exterior, Phrex is all ambition. Unlike most demons, though, he's prepared to bargain more or less fairly for what he wants.
Does Unexplained Equal Ineffable? Phrex has been going all out lately, trying to develop another special rite. He wants to have the ability to make a noise that even a Malakite who have trouble distinguishing from the true ineffability of the Symphony -- think how many angels could fall to Hell then!
Right now, Phrex is busily trading favors and making deals with everyone he can. Anyone he can. He owes Lilith a lot of Geases (she'll be the only other one to get the rite when he's done -- and if he fails, he still has to pay, so she wins either way), and lately, he's been seen talking to an individual many think is the long-lost Eli.
Demons can be assigned to help or frustrate him in his quest, depending on how their Superiors feel. Angels will simply be asked to investigate the possibility that Eli is consorting with demons.
Honor and Offer -- Mammon has taken exception to the work of 'Gheliphrex for reasons he refuses to explain, as has Andrealphus. Together, the two Princes are scheming to bring down the Demon of Unexplained Noises before the paranoia and confusion that spread in his wake destabilize their Words any further. Their chosen method is simply to set up the Impudite -- if it looks like he's trying to redeem himself in Heaven's eyes, he'll soon be brought down by Asmodeus.
Unknown to them, several Archangels, including Yves himself, have assigned Angels to the job of helping Phrex redeem. Whether or not Phrex actually wants to redeem himself is a question that only he knows the answer to. The answer is "yes"; it's just that he feels that he has to complete his current assignment first. This is likely to make an enemy of Nybbas, when it disrupts an important broadcast . . .
Demons may be Servitors of either Prince, Servitors of Secrets or the Game trying to find out what is going on, or just caught in the middle. Angels will be members of the team trying to get the Impudite to redeem.
Article publication date: August 22, 2003
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