A Brief Lecture : Angels and How to Deal with Them

By GR Cogman (maya@tcp.co.uk)


My dear young Lilim, I have been obtained - at some expense, I might add - by a Sister of yours to whom I was unfortunate enough to owe a slight favour. Still, all's done and paid for after this, and I trust that you will have no cause for complaint. I understand that she wishes me to give you the benefit of my experience of dealing with angels? Yes, that was what I thought. Very well.

I would like to think that a century or so of life has given me some experience in handling them, and certainly the Beautiful Prince has never had cause to complain in that area. I will discuss the more societal and physical aspects first, then the celestial.

First of all, _know your enemy_. No angel is a cardboard cutout, however much the propaganda spouts it: they all have their own wishes, desires, needs and habits. If five minutes of reconnaissance is enough to show you their favourite coffee-shop, this is time very well spent. Informers and servants can be used to get a full picture of their movements and tastes. Even if you end up deciding not to move against the angel personally, a full report containing the information is always appreciated by your superior or Prince, and can frequently be sold to other demons who might have a minor grudge to settle, or a taste to indulge. I am sure that you know that my Prince's servants are extremely interested in the whereabouts of any Servitors of Creation? No? Well, you do now.

Secondly, _target their Roles_. If they are societally important, then raise a scandal: if they need to be publicly virtuous, then arrange subscriptions to pornographic magazines in their name and have them publicly discovered: if they are fiscally known for their probity, see about putting some cracks in that reputation. A Balseraph such as myself finds this easiest, as we can easily arrange hordes of convinced witnesses who will testify faithfully to what they believe they saw or heard. However, and bear this in mind: save the damage for when it will be most useful. Don't waste your time smashing one Role when it is not important to them. Wait until they're busy arranging the crucial deal with it, or making the political or police-orientated move, and _then_ present your evidence and let the howling mobs tear them apart. Remember, the best time for you is the worst time for them.

Thirdly, _take out their servants_. They exhibit some traces of intelligence in using humans as their hands and eyes, as do we. However, their "servants" work for faith and love, mainly. Give them some pressing reasons to do otherwise. On the more violent scale, bomb their houses, make threatening phone calls, scare their families - how many husbands are going to keep on working for an angel if their terrified wives beg them not to? - frame them with some of the spare corpses you are bound to accumulate, blackmail them, and so on. If you want a more peaceful tack, arrange a college scholarship for them on the other side of the country, or a better job, and watch the cursing angel be unable to hold onto them when it is clearly so much better for them to leave town.

Reputations. Ah, what fragile things. Smear the angels with the tar of public opinion, and cripple them with it. Damage their standing with their fellow mortals, _and_ with their fellow angels, and best of all, with their Superiors. An angel bearing a grudge for his Archangel's reproving words is an angel who might some day join us here, and is _also_ an angel who probably won't be able to call on those awkward squads of Malakim for a short while. As to how to do it, well, that is a more difficult point, but those squads of spies may prove useful yet. Many angels will disapprove of their fellows for purely corporeal activities, in a most bigoted way. Take advantage of this, get some film or witnesses of those awkward little moments, and use it, either to damage them or in blackmail. The latter should not be tried unless you are quite certain of your ground, but if it _does_ come off, then you have yet more ammunition in that they _agreed_ to it (you will, of course, have evidence of this).

Some points on their character may be gained by observing their Vessels. Very few angels choose an attractive Vessel merely in order to grease the social wheels or because they were ordered to: most do so due to some spark of vanity, and hopes of using the Vessel in a more physical context. Assist them in this. The fact that the Vessels are attractive is pure icing on the cake. Also, bear in mind that vanity which shows itself in body or clothing may also show itself elsewhere, and watch out for angels who may spend ten minutes agonising while holding a sword over your head in a theatrical way. I am sure you can think of several ideas... yes, precisely.

Violent solutions. Much as I deprecate killing and the like, there are times when there is simply no other way to resolve a situation. Let me make one matter clear to you: if you are in a position where you _must_ take down the angel - or several angels - then don't ration your forces, but deal with them fast. Use your allies, especially more warlike demons or Hellsworn, your information, and even your own hands if necessary.

You shake your head. Yes, dear, I know all about the evils of Symphonic disturbance. It is a very awkward thing to explain. But I have also seen a number of cases where people failed to act with their full potential, out of a desire to try and be quiet about it or to use the minimum resources, and ended up in Trauma or soul-killed. Basically, if an angel must be _dead_, then make it _dead_ by any means necessary, and blame somebody else afterwards if you must.

Sometimes you need to keep the angels occupied while you or others are busy elsewhere, or escaping. I have found a rather useful trick is the one referred to as the "Dead Man's Handle", or, in the tacky parlance of Star Wars, the "detonator thing". Inform them that if they kill you, some detonator or device will go off and kill a number of innocent humans. If they number Seraphs among them, then ensure that such a device exists, and be sparing with your words. The only flaw with this little trick is that you tend to get a reputation among the more insane angels as cruel, and end up being hunted by maniacs with flaming hands. Ah well, c'est la vie.

Finally, bear in mind that a dead angel is a soldier lost to the other side, but a Fallen angel is a soldier gained to our side as well. All Princes are most appreciative of new converts - especially those from their particular foes, or those with strategic information. Yes, I have done my share of recruiting, arduous task and enthusiastic as it was. Use what information you have to get a grasp on their personality, develop a friendship with them, make evident to them how the flaws in Heaven's views equal their personal dislikes and the strong points here echo their own morals, and try and arrange a few situations to show Heaven in a bad light. Come now, use your imagination. Walk the Servitor of Michael past a courthouse and some abusive cops a few times, and listen to that mental abacus tipping towards "HYENA SCUM". It's all in the delivery.

I believe that is about it. Of course, if you would care to discuss these matters further... dear me, how flattering. Yes, I do have the names and files on some angels currently in that city, and I am sure that we can come to some arrangement. Just let me contact the clerk, and extend our booking on this room...


Maya, Elohite of Eli in service to Blandine


-- "There are those who say that wizards are subject to temptations and addictions beyond the understanding of ordinary men: the addiction to shape-changing, or to meditation under the influence of certain herbs and conditions of the stars; the obsession with knowledge, and the development of power. Yet this is not so. Temptation is temptation, obsession is obsession, and choice is choice." - Isar Chelladan, Precepts of Wizardry. -- "Dog Wizard", Barbara Hambly.


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