Proto-Superior: Jahi, Demon of Inheritance

By Douglas Muir


Jahi, the Demon of Inheritance
Habbalite Marquis of Factions

To inherit property is not to be born. It is rather to be still-born. - Henry David Thoreau


Jahi is an older demon, and she's been working for Malphas since the days of the Pharaohs. The Egyptians discovered land surveys, and developed the concept of inheritance law and written wills. Jahi perverted these developments into endless, bitter wrangles over inheritance, turning families against each other in feuds that could last for generations. Malphas approved, and sponsored her for the Word that she has held ever since.

For many centuries, Jahi was just another mid-level Word-Bound of Factions. She encouraged humans to fight over inheritances, and she got very good at it. Sometimes she'd manage to get close to royalty, and set princes at odds; more often, she'd just ruin the lives of ordinary families. Jahi didn't much care. God had set her to winnow out the weak, and she'd take them where she could find them. Malphas made her a Knight, but she rose no higher for many, many years.

(Though even then, she knew she was something more than just another Punisher. Jahi felt sure that Fate held some higher calling for her... and she developed the habit of collecting things that might help her someday, even in the very distant future, when that calling was revealed. She collected relics, she collected Essence, and most of all she collected secrets.)

Things began to change in the eighteenth century, when nationalism began sweeping across Europe. Jahi had always known that princes could be provoked to fight over the inheritance of kingdoms. Now she came to realize that, even with the princes gone, whole nations were still willing to fight over "their" land and "their" traditions. Her Word, she saw, was expandable into a new aspect: the inheritance of national hatreds and grudges.

When the Balkan states became free of the Ottoman Empire, for instance, it was Jahi who made sure that they inherited the clannishness, corruption and violence of the Ottoman system but not the social mobility or the tolerance of minorities. Later, she would work to ensure that generations after generations (of Frenchman and Germans, Protestant and Catholic Irish, Indians and Pakistanis, Serbs and Croats...) inherited national grudges against each other.

Malphas was greatly pleased, and Jahi rose to Captain, and then Baron. Baal, too, paused to look at her work... and smiled, granted her an attunement, and moved on.

Still, by the early 20th century, Jahi seemed to have reached a plateau again. She was a 15-Force Baron, rich in Songs and attunements, but she seemed unlikely to go any further; her Word had expanded, but it was still not a truly Major one.

And then, one day in 1923, a book caught her eye: "On the Inheritance of Characteristics," by one G. Mendel. She pulled it off the shelf, began to read... and slowly the realization dawned over her that she had found her higher calling at last. God had a new, and breathtakingly immense, task for her.

"Inheritance" could mean much more than wills and estates, much more than even national grudges and ethnic hatreds. Inheritance could mean -- genes! Chromosomes! Genetic diseases, inherited temperaments, physical weaknesses -- every single thing that a person inherited from his parents! And not just humans... every living thing, ever since the first proto-bacterium had split in two, had some sort of inheritance. Her Word was everywhere!

Ever since then, Jahi has -- slowly, oh so carefully -- been experimenting with expanding the scope of her Word. And sure enough: she has developed Rites and Attunements relating to genetic inheritance, and her Word Forces have more than tripled in number. Inheritance is a Superior-class Word. Her only remaining issue is how she can work around her boss, and achieve the Archangel status that God obviously has intended for her all along.

Appearance and Demeanor

Heritum Damnosum (Latin): an accursed inheritance; one that causes misery, divides, or destroys. - Black's Law Dictionary

Jahi's Celestial appearance is typical for one of her Band: a beautiful female body pierced with dozens of rings, from which hang heavy chains (symbolizing the bonds of inheritance). Lines of text from various legal codes are tattooed across her flesh. In recent years, her appearance has begun to shift slightly; very close examination might show that some of the chains are now double helixes, for instance, and that some of the tattoos are actually lines from biology texts. Nobody gets that close, though.

On Earth, Jahi uses several different vessels, from attractive young woman to silver-haired (but charming) older man. She has several Roles at low levels, and may appear almost anywhere, from courtrooms to battlefields to laboratories.

Jahi has between a dozen and a hundred demons working for her, mostly promoting various sorts of ethnic hatred. Three very carefully selected Servitors have been let in on the secret of her expanded Word; the rest are completely in the dark.

(Well, actually it's more like twelve have been let in on the secret. But of those, only three are still alive. Jahi hasn't worked for Malphas for six thousand years without learning a thing or two about treachery, and she has Essence to burn these days. The ones who have survived are about as trustworthy as demons can be... which is to say, their fear of Jahi plus their hope of future rewards pretty firmly outweighs their natural instincts. Repeated applications of her resonance haven't hurt, of course.)

Otherwise, to all appearances Jahi is a perfect Habbalite Baron: ruthless to her inferiors, sneeringly correct to her peers, and deferential to her Prince and his Dukes. She seems in all respects to be conscientious, strict, methodical, harsh, predictable... and, insofar as the word can be applied to a Baron of Hell, rather dull.

Present Status and Plans

When shall I be dead and rid
Of the wrong my father did?
How long, how long, till spade and hearse
Put to rest my mother's curse?

- A.E. Housman

Jahi is still a Baron of Factions. What nobody realizes -- yet -- is that she's become more powerful than any of her colleagues; more powerful, in fact, than most Dukes. Her expanded Word is part of the reason, but it's also that she's been monomaniacally working for the last 80 years to make herself worthy of it. Jahi is an absolute fanatic, and she has devoted herself to acquiring more Skills, Songs and Relics with a fanatic's mad energy and devotion.

So far, she's gotten away with it. After all, she's always been intense, but in six thousand years she's never rocked the boat before. Everyone has her tagged as a typical Habbalite, one who underwent some Word-expansion a couple of centuries back but is now firmly settled in her niche. Everyone thinks that she's an older demon who's utterly predictable, and therefore "safe".

And everyone is so horribly wrong. Jahi has become a truck bomb, barreling down the road bearing all the explosive power of a Superior-class Word. And whether or not she succeeds in attaining Princehood, she's going to make one Hell of a bang.

Jahi isn't too wild about petitioning Lucifer for her Princehood; after all, she's an angel. What she wants, instead, is to find a Prince who will agree to sponsor her, and perhaps even act as her patron while she finds her legs.

This may sound insane, but there's method to Jahi's madness. Not every Prince is going to automatically squelch a newcomer, after all, and her Word offers up intriguing new possibilities.

Her first choice is Vapula, and she's already carefully sounding him out. After all, he sponsored Nybbas, didn't he? And he's a fellow Habbalite, who knows what it means to serve God in Hell. More to the point, genetic engineering is clearly going to be the Next Big Thing. Imagine armies of gengineered zombies! Or humans bred for low Wills and vulnerability to evil! Jahi can offer him exciting synergy as a minor (at first) Princess allied to Technology.

If Vapula turns her down, and assuming she gets a second chance, she's going to try Baal. He's approved of her good work in the past, after all. And he's hostile to Malphas. Baal has wanted to take the Prince of Factions down a peg for a long, long time now, and the events of The Final Trumpet have surely not improved his attitude. Yes, it's a long shot, but if it comes off, she's set -- Hell's General is the most powerful patron imaginable. And even if he turns her down, he's unlikely to turn her in to her Prince.

If all else fails, she might try Malphas himself. No, she doesn't believe that he's really her best friend -- she's an angel, she knows better than that. But he's a thoughtful Prince, and one who might, just perhaps, be open to a negotiated solution. After all, the emergence of a new Superior is sure to open up all sorts of interesting new fault lines in Infernal politics.

Finally, as an utterly last resort, Jahi is prepared to take her case to the bottom. She's already made arrangements to either steal or shatter her Heart. She'll then head straight for the nearest sinkhole to the Lower Hells, where she'll make her petition straight to Lucifer himself.

And if she doesn't come back... well, no angel is going to go down without taking some demons down, too. Jahi has her own Inheritance ready to go. She has big bombs planted at several key locations in Malphas' Principality. Worse yet, she has six thousand years of secrets that will be revealed if she disappears. She knows things that will turn half of Stygia inside out.

A demon who stumbles across her careful preparations could blow her plans sky-high... if he survives the attentions of a very powerful, methodical, utterly insane Habbalite Baron and her various co-conspirators. So far, none have.

(Any demon of Secrets, of course, would cheerfully give one of his Forces to find out about all this. And any angel of Revelation as well, of course...)


Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him. - Lavater

Those marked [secret] are known only to Jahi and her conspirators.

Demon of Inheritance (1): With a touch and a Perception roll, the demon can know the complete inheritance status of a human: who he's likely to inherit from, and how much, and who his own heirs are. On a check digit of 6, the demon also knows what aspect of his inheritance is most important to the human. This attunement can only be used once per day on a given human.

Demon of Inheritance (2): This is a variant of Malphas' Bigotry attunement. It amplifies a single intolerance arising out of national, religious or ethnic heritage. The demon must choose the intolerance, and it must actually exist in the victim. If it does not (i.e., he encounters a Palestinian who doesn't hate or even dislike Israelis), any Essence spent is lost. It requires a Will roll to invoke, lasts for (Essence spent x check digit) hours, and can be resisted with a Will roll. Failure means the intolerance is amplified to fanatical hatred.

Demon of Inheritance (3) [secret]: Similar to #1, except that it costs 3 Essence, and this version allows the demon to know the complete status of the human's genetic inheritance. Basically, the demon gets to read the victim's DNA! The check digit cannot exceed the lower of the demon's Knowledge (Genetics) and Intelligence; higher check digits will be reduced, as he won't be able to make sense of the information.

Jahi is still working out the details of this, but even low check digits give useful information, while higher ones will reveal specific "weak spots" in the human's genetic makeup (predispositions to addiction or depression, for instance, or hidden physical disabilities). GM discretion is required, but a check digit of 6 will always allow the demon to add +1 to all resonance rolls against that human, forever!


Possible allies: Kronos, Vapula, perhaps Baal

Probable enemies: Malphas (maybe), Lilith (you're not free if you're bound by what your parents were -- and considering who Lilith's "parent" was, I suspect she'd feel strongly about this)

Particularly hostile Archangels: David (she breaks the bonds of family and nation), Jean, Yves


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