Idylls of the Queen|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 13 most recent journal entries recorded in
Lilith, Queen of Hell's LiveJournal:
|Monday, July 23rd, 2012|
LIL Prologue: Heaven
Somehow, this particular opening got missed when the setting was uploaded to this community. We include it here for completeness's sake.
Yves has many methods of travel. Perhaps the most common is just appearing, whereever it is he's going. Or taking innocuous transport to go remarkable places. Or simply walking.
Which is what he did on this day in Heaven. He made his way from the Library, a book tucked under his arm, and he walked into Heaven. He walked past the gleaming Halls of Progress and the shining Cathedral of Laurence. He stepped lively through the Baazar, taking the thoroughfare to the road on the edge of the Eternal City. The road to the Groves, the fields of practice, where War's forces lay and rested and trained eternally.
Deep in the Groves themselves, the Archangel David stood outside a tent. He had been standing there for days, now -- never moving. Constant, as a Malakite should be. He had turned and looked into the tent once, at the request of the inhabinant. Otherwise, he had simply stood and waited.
The horse's hooves thundered as the rider approached. David did not turn to look -- he knew who would be riding, and did not need to see the boy to envision him. Eventually, the boy rode into view anyhow. Erect in the saddle, wearing a simple leather jacket, jeans and a tee shirt. David had never seen James Dean movies, and had no comment for the young general as he approached.
"Has he moved," Laurence asked, tersely, as he slipped out of the saddle. A sword hung on the saddle, and Laurence took a moment to transfer it to the sheath on his belt, waiting for David's answer.
"No." David felt no need to elaborate.
"Your angels have been defending the mortals," Laurence continued. "Against the desperate push of the Princes. I wanted to commend them -- their strength has allowed us to carry the battle to Hell's gates on other fronts."
Laurence opened his mouth to say something else, but decided against it. "Has he had any other visitors?"
"Novalis, to heal him. You can imagine how well he took that."
"Mm." Laurence nodded again, and slipped past David, into the tent.
It was well appointed inside, but unstaffed. Bright banners were furled and stored. Various axes were set in racks nearby -- not that any showed use, but for the well kept great axe by the cot.
Laurence was brave and honorable. Too honorable to turn away from the Archangel who lay on the cot. Too honorable not to look straight at battered, injured form. He could percieve flashes of the six eyes and six wings Michael showed every so often. He could see the tall human body Michael generally showed. He could see the bandages, the blood, the sheer battering that the mightiest of all Archangels had withstood.
"Laurence," the Archangel croaked.
"Firstborn," Laurence half-whispered. "You're looking better."
"You're a damn liar. Come closer."
Laurence moved to Michael's bedside, kneeling. "Yes?"
"How is the world. And don't sugarcoat it. I hate that."
Laurence nodded slightly. "It's in contrast, right now. The princes are launching desperate attacks -- almost open ones -- to bolster their Words. But with their strongest Servitors failing, it's becoming easier and easier to contain them. The Seneschals are dying, so their tethers are war camps or vulnerable. Hell has lost more ground in the last month than in the three hundred years before it."
"That's because Hell gained ground for the last three hundred years." Michael spat to one side. "They're weak?"
"Critically weak. The Princes are faltering. The infernal Word-bound are dying or dead. The Symphony is rejecting them, without Lucifer to demand their presence."
Michael closed his eyes, a smile touching his lips. "Then it worked?" he whispered.
"You have driven them back, Firstborn," Laurence whispered. "You stood against evil and prevailed."
"I nearly lost," Michael said, eyes opening again. "If he'd hit me before I hit him... any of my Distincted could beat me now. I'm so weak...."
"You won. You didn't lose." It was like a mantra. Or an expression of faith. "You beat back the night."
"Laurence," Michael hissed, grabbing at his arm. "This is your moment. Your time. You must start it! Start Armageddon now!"
"Don't you see? We could win now. It is certain. Yes, we would need to trigger the signs ourselves, but then we could destroy Hell's army and remake the world into Heavenly glory! They have no leader! This is your moment." His eyes burned. Burned like Gabriel's at the cusp of her visions. Burned like a preacher's in the pulpit. "Do it now, boy...."
Laurence took a deep breath. "They do have a leader, Michael."
"What? Baal convinced--"
"Not Baal. Lilith. She's apparently forming a court in Hell. We know that. We have unprecedented defections. The Fallen and Hellborn alike are taking any route out of Hell, any chance. God and Heaven, Michael -- even demonic Word-bound in Limbo have been forcing themselves out in any vessel, and fleeing to us. Michael, we're winning. We don't need Arma--"
"Lilith." Michael laughed. A rasping laugh that became a cough. "That's like saying Marc took over in my absence."
Laurence felt his face burn. "He didn't. We miss you, but--"
"Nothing is changed. Laurence -- strike! Call down the host and decimate the horde! They couldn't stop you -- not now!"
"It was considered. The Seraphim Council elected to pursue the war into Hell if possible, and contain the Infernals on Earth. We'll wait out the death of the demon Princes."
"No! Laurence -- this is the best chance we have had in twenty thousand years! We must--"
"They're deserting, Michael. Unprecidented numbers are redeeming. Do we meet them with swords and blood and destruction? We don't need Armageddon. We're winning the War! You have won the War--"
"Laurence..." his eyes looked desperate. "Laurence -- I know that Flowers and Trade will fight you, but this is your chance to end it all. Can't you see?"
Laurence looked in Michael's eyes. "It is writ that Armageddon will come down to the battle between Heaven's Champion and the Champion of Hell. That all will be decided by that battle. Is it not so?"
Michael didn't answer, his need for the end of the War on his face.
"You couldn't beat Baal now, Michael. Hell, you couldn't beat Nybbas now. You'd die. What would happen then?"
"It's a prophecy. Damn it, Laurence -- another can fight. You can! You could take Baal -- especially now!"
"I am the General of the Host. You are Heaven's champion." Laurence stood straighter. "We're winning the War without Armageddon, right now. Why should I trigger Armageddon, when all signs are we would lose, because Heaven's Champion can barely lift his axe? Or that someone unworthy to be the Champion of Heaven will join the field and lose? There's no need to, Michael. You've already won the battle. Maybe your battle was Armageddon, and Lucifer Hell's Champion -- and now our final victory is assured."
"Laurence..." Michael whispered.
"No. You've given us an incredible advantage. That's what we need to pursue."
"That's my decision, Michael. Given the current tactical situation, Armageddon can only favor Hell, because Heaven is poised for final victory. We will wait them out. They can't endure much longer. We will welcome the defectors, and redeem those we can. Those who can't be redeemed will be destroyed anyway. We will contain the Princes and prevent them from starting Armageddon. And we will watch Lilith's power play carefully."
Michael looked away, angrily.
There was a throat clearing. Laurence turned.
Yves stood at the flap of the tent. He had a book under one arm. "May I come in," he asked mildly.
"Oh, perfect," Michael snapped. "Please. Come in. On your way, drive one of these axes through me."
Yves moved closer to the other two Archangels, sitting on the ground. "I'm sorry," he said, quietly.
There was a long pause.
"For?" Michael finally asked.
"I tried. I tried my best to explain, to appeal, to... what's your word, Michael? Manipulate? But in the end, she chose her Fate."
Laurence frowned. "She? Who?"
"Lilith." Yves took a deep breath. "You've been critical of me, Michael, but I've always done what I thought best. But sometimes... sometimes, Fate wins over Destiny. She has embraced her Fate."
Michael snorted. "No shit. She joined Hell."
"That was her battlefield. Her war is lost. We must focus on winning ours, and it will be much harder now. Perhaps impossible."
Laurence blinked. "We're winning the War," he started.
"We are gaining ground. We must take all we can, and hold it. We must limit Hell's options as much as possible. And we must work with humanity. We must give them reasons to embrace selflessness. Embrace Destiny." He looks down. "I thought... I could explain it to her. I thought...."
"Thought what?" Michael tried to force himself upright, shaking with the effort. "For once, tell us what you're talking about."
Yves took a long breath. "Nothing is set in the future, Michael. Nothing. There are paths can be taken. Destinies. Fates. Sometimes both. Lilith chose the path of selfishness in the end. And that choice affects the entire Symphony."
"Because... Lilith is Hell's new master?" Laurence sounded incredulous. "Yves, you know I have faith in what you say, but... how can Lilith possibly be so dangerous. I thought it reflected the desperate state of Hell. Now, if Kronos had taken the Granite Throne -- or Baal...."
"Lilith lives within the Symphony, where Baal denies it. Baal could be nothing more than Lucifer, and would have to reach impossible new heights to even equal him. He could, at best, impose his Will on the Symphony. Lilith is woven into the Symphony, and her choices can move the Symphony in ways Lucifer... and we... could not dream of."
Michael frowned. "It's said Kronos is connected to the Symphony. Not that you've ever explained just what Kronos is...."
"Kronos could not rule Hell, any more than I could be the General of the Host. For what it's worth... I'm sorry, Michael." He pressed the book into the wounded Archangel's hands. "Heal quickly, Michael. As quickly as you possibly can."
Laurence took a deep breath. "Then... perhaps... Michael is right. Perhaps Armageddon--"
"We could not start it if we wished to. Baal could not start it if he wished to. That phase of the War is over. The next phase begins now, and we must not let our hubris overshadow our duty." Yves rose, striking a cigarette. "We will speak again, soon."
"You and I?" Michael asked. "Or you and Laurence?"
"For what it's worth, Michael -- well fought. Bravely fought. Your victory was profound." Yves took a long drag off his cigarette. "I only hope... and pray... we can be equal to that example."
The General and the Champion watched Yves leave. The odor of cigarette smoke clung in the tent afterward, mingling with leather, sweat and antiseptic.
Michael looked at the book in his hand, and opened the leather cover, to read the frontspiece. THE WAR OF HEAVEN AND HELL, it read. PART ONE -- The Life and Death of Lucifer. He took a breath, and closed his eyes to rest. And heal. Hopefully.
|Saturday, May 21st, 2005|
Lilith 2 Prologue Adventure Seeds
PROLOGUE ADVENTURE SEEDS
These seeds take place after the events in http://www.livejournal.com/community/lilith_qoh/3030.html
-- you'll probably want to read that first before going on to look at these seeds. Or not. Who am I to judge?
THE DIRTY HALF-DOZEN: Nybbas, Luciferian Prince of the Media, has been tasked with getting a group of servitors into the Far Marches, in order to contact his allies among the August Coprosperity Collective. However, in order to reach the Oriental pantheon, he needs to send Servitors through the Vale -- and the Vale is currently war torn, with active and hot battles taking place between Blandine and Laurence's forces on one side and Beleth and Andrealphus's on the other. Any of these sides would gladly capture or kill the Luciferian party. Even if they make it into the Far Marches, most Hellsworn Ethereals serve Beleth -- and therefore the Lilithian cause. And, of course, there are always the Tsaydim....
PCs can make up the team sent in -- these should be a mixed group from the Media, Dark Humor, the War, the Game, Death, Fire and Factions. (Drugs and Greed are also permitted), with at least one Media Servitor included, as well as at least one Lilim (to seal the deal). They must reach Nybbas's allies, and once there negotiate with the faction to literally arrange terrorist assaults on Hell itself. Naturally, this will be very expensive -- at the *very* least the faction will want a number of Ethereal Tethers currently restricted by Hell to be opened. All these characters must have the appropriate Songs of Dreams or (with justification) the Dream Walking attunement.
PCs can also be one of the assault teams paying the Ethereals' price. There may be any number of missions they are undertaking on the Ethereals' behalf, in order to convince them to launch their attack or live up to their end of the bargain.
PCs can also be either a group of angels or demons fighting the war of the Vale -- if angels, the group should be divided between Servitors of Dreams and the Sword, and should be cooperating moderately well. If demons, the group should be divided between Servitors of Horror and of Lust, and there should be tension between them. For extra fun, a mixed group of angels and demons -- fighting tooth and nail -- can discover the Luciferian incursion together -- will the demons hang together against the angels? Or will angels and demons pledged to each others' destruction unite to drive this third, unstable presence from the Marches?
Finally, PCs can play appropriate Ethereals, tasked by the August Coprosperity Collective to literally infiltrate Lilithian Hell, ingratiate themselves alongside the true tributary Fae being paid to Hell, and beginning a process of systemic terrorism on behalf of the Luciferians. This is highly risky, but also an opportunity to see the Shal Mari of the Queen of Hell firsthand.
QUEEN TO BISHOP'S ROOK TWO: Staciel, Luciferian Demon of Intrigue and Lilim Countess of the Game, is crossing the river Styx -- that is, she is crossing over to the Lilithian side. She is actually being sent by Asmodeus himself. However, no one outside the Luciferian Council of Loyalist Princes knows this....
PCs can be Servitors of the Game, the War or Dark Humor, tasked with helping Staciel make it into Shal Mari so she can claim asylum. However, this has to look authentic, so Luciferians (particularly others of the Game) will be opposing them every step of the way. On the other side, there's no guarantee that the Lilithians will believe Staciel when she claims to be Crossing the River Styx.
PCs can also be Luciferian demons who don't know Staciel is under orders... and so she and her guards are apparently going renegade. (And, of course, Staciel has never been the most popular of demons -- a chance to get vengeance on the Spymistress of Hell and the head of the secret police might be worth making a mistake....)
Finally, PCs can be Lilithians who must decide if Staciel represents an honest defection -- and therefore a tremendous reward for delivering her alive and intact -- or if she is lying (and of course, destroying a Luciferian lieutenant is another route to power and glory.)
Lilith Queen of Hell Chapter Two: Prologue
Forty one days from the death of Lucifer, Calibanos, Duke of War, Demon of Firearms fell into Soul Death.
Calibanos was a powerful Calabite, and the most powerful of the Luciferian Word-bound to die up to that point – having been put into trauma in one of the first onslaughts to bolster the Word of the War, Calibanos had been unable to directly bolster his Word. Being a lieutenant to Baal himself, Calibanos was able to avoid the fate of so many Luciferian Word-bound – being cut apart, their Forces added to other failing Luciferians to stave off complete disaster for the Luciferian cause.
But it was all for naught. On day forty-one, Calibanos’s last Celestial Force snuffed out alongside the Word he had possessed, curled around a Heart that flickered and went dark.
Baal, taking a break from directing the Luciferian forces in the civil war for control of Hell, was on hand for the death of his most important lieutenant. He then called a council of the Loyalist Princes together. The Word-bound were almost all gone now, unprecedented numbers of Luciferian demons had defected either to the Lilithian cause or gone fully Renegade, the desperate push to bolster Demonic Words had been successfully met by Heaven and four flights of Malakim were waiting outside the Gates of Hell, hoping that the demonic war machine would grind itself into dust and let Heaven march in and clean up the remains.
It was time for a new strategy. However, the strategy proposed came as something of a surprise even to the Prince of the War himself.
“You want to sacrifice Staciel?” Baal’s voice was sharp, his eyes narrow.
“It is our best play at this time,” Asmodeus replied, mildly. “We’re getting some intelligence from the Lilithian side, but its quality is miniscule and its strategic use limited. If we can move one of our pieces into play – a piece powerful and useful enough that they see too much value in employing it despite its obvious risks – we have the opportunity to begin to influence their strategy from within. Until we can accomplish that, we are merely delaying the inevitable.”
“That’s funny,” Kobal said, leaning back and putting his feet up on the ironwood table. “I could have sworn we’ve all been sacrificing our own Word-bound to keep Staciel in play.”
“Staciel and others,” Asmodeus amended. “Yes. And now it’s time to bring that to use. Hers is the Word of Intrigue. It is almost certain Alaemon will insist she keep it or some variant. She is a Lilim – one I have any number of sworn geases from. And one thing has not changed in this Game – a Lilim can be trusted to keep her Word, when there is a geas involved.”
“It is a bold plan,” Malphas crooned. The red hued distortion shifted, the focus becoming a red pair of human lips. “A decisive stratagem. I am impressed, my friend. However... I would not be a true friend without noting that Lilith and her treasonous dogs will suspect it from the start.”
“Who cares?” Belial snapped, face spasming. His clothing was smoldering – his usually impeccable suit rumpled. He looked strung out. He’d been hearing the voices. “Who cares? We’re wasting time – time. We should be fighting Heaven. Blotting them out! Blotting her out! Don’t you see this is what they want what she wants–”
“Babe babe babe babe babe,” Nybbas said, soothingly. Baal’s eyes narrowed as he watched the Impudite’s resonance wash over the Prince of Fire – there was a time when Nybbas wouldn’t have dared try to charm Belial, but the chaos both in Hell and on Earth had been extremely telegenic, and Nybbas’s Word was doing far better than the rest. That made Baal nervous, but he conceded the advantage of having someone control the increasingly unstable Calabite. “We’re going to. We are. But first we need to put our own house in order. That’s what we’re discussing. Just some housekeeping before we strike back at Heaven.”
“Thanks, Pollyanna,” Kobal snapped, sitting back up. “So. We continue to fight the civil war, we continue our increasingly unsuccessful attempts to bolster our failing Words up on Earth, we continue to lose Servitors on multiple fronts, and we put our faith in a Lilim whose very Word implies betrayal. That’s what we’ve got? That’s our big plan?”
“Why don’t we call for peace talks?” Haagenti said, sullenly. “Negotiations. See what we can get out of all this with?”
Baal’s eyes narrowed. “Peace talks?” he asked, an undercurrent of danger in his voice.
Haagenti snapped his head back up. “Yes,” he snapped. “Don’t think you can scare me, neither. I wasn’t scared of you when you were hot shit. I sure as shit ain’t scared of you now. Don’t you get it? Our Words are dying. I’m cold all the time. I’m hungrier than ever and I feel nauseous all at once. My guys are being ground into paste and I’ve lost all my Word-bound fighting your war, and we can’t possibly win it. If we go back, in good faith – we can negotiate, get in good under the new order, get our Words fixed, and then–”
“I will not bow my knee to a human!” Baal screamed, slamming his fist onto the table with such force that it cracked from one end to the other. “That miserable bitch will not get the satisfaction of my capitulation, and so help me I will carve your fat forces from your body and add them to my own before I allow you to do so!”
Saminga began to laugh. It was the sick laugh of a child. “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posey,” it mumbled.
“Ashes, ashes, we all fall to ashes,” Belial murmured, his eyes focused on something only he could see.
“Okay, that’s not helping,” Kobal said. “All of you take a breath. Especially you, Boss. We’re not your enemies.”
“I just think–” Haagenti started to say, petulantly.
“Shove it, brother,” Kobal snapped at him. Haagenti blinked, his face burning. “This isn’t the time. We’re not throwing in the towel. Not yet, anyway. After all, we’re having so much fun doing this.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “How quickly will Staciel begin to show results? Is she going to assassinate someone? Give us launch codes? What?”
“She will be an agent provocateur, naturally,” Asmodeus said. “That will take some time, but if we–”
“The time is almost up,” Saminga whispered. It was a skeleton now – literally, like six different beasts had given up their bones. With hisses and pops, the bones cracked and spawned new ones as Saminga moved. “All the time is almost up....”
“What about the short term?” Kobal asked. “We need some short term joy.”
“Indeed,” Asmodeus said. “That is Nybbas’s play.”
“Mine?” Nybbas asked. “Whoa whoa whoa, babe. You’re not putting me out front – I might be in better shape than you are but Vapula or fucking Furfur can eat me alive.”
“Of course,” Asmodeus said. “I wouldn’t expect you to. However, you have a number of Ethereals at your disposal, yes? Your alliance with various factions within the August Coprosperity Collective?”
Nybbas frowned. “With Beleth still queen bitch in the Marches, it’s tricky....”
“Beleth has enough to deal with between Dreams and the Sword hammering her perimeter,” Asmodeus said. “You should have ample opportunity...”
Nybbas continued frowning, but nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Done deal.”
“Excellent. There has been significant comings and goings into the Vale in recent weeks. Lilith and Beleth clearly are looking to firm up their hold on the spirits. If you can arrange for terrorist elements to enter Hell with them... sowing havoc and discord and putting Shal Mari on the defensive....”
Baal smiled a bit. “Yessss,” he said, savoring the word. “A few incidents in the cow’s very Capital would be sufficient to shake their faith and unity. With the rabble up in arms and frightened, they will need to reallocate some of their forces, taking the pressure off of ours.”
“We’ll need to work pretty damn quickly,” Kobal said.
“Not a problem,” Nybbas said. “I have just the crew to send. I’ll have a deal within eight hours. It’ll cost us, though. And up front – they won’t accept assurances when they don’t know we’re going to win.”
“We are going to win,” Baal said, through tight lips.
“Yeah. And when we do, we can make them suffer for their lack of faith,” Nybbas answered. “But right now, we look bad on paper.”
“We more than look bad,” Kobal snorted. “Nybbas is right. We all know it. So, are we agreed? We start using Ethereal mercenaries and terrorists behind the lines in Shal Mari, and trust that Staciel will be able to talk them into trusting her?”
Baal looked around. No one looked happy, but no one was speaking up. No one had anything better to offer.
Including Baal himself.
“Done,” he said. “How does she get there? The wards prevent using the Songs of Motion.”
“There are tunnels between the Halls of Loyalty and appropriate locations just outside Shal Mari. She’ll take one of those routes,” Asmodeus said.
“All right. Luck to her.”
Asmodeus smiled a bit more. “Luck to us all, my old friend. Luck to us all.”
|Friday, March 18th, 2005|
Lilith 1 Interlude: Brutal Truth
The suit was charcoal grey, with blood red pinstripes, so thin as to be almost invisible. Its creases were sharp enough to cut skin. His tie was silk and blood red, with grey stripes edged on either side with burnished gold thread. In his breast pocket was a blood red silk handkerchief. His hair was long, but styled carefully. His beard was close trimmed along his jaw. His red skin almost gleamed with gold undertones. His horns were burnished steel, and sharpened to razor points.
Roghi couldn't believe he was looking at the same Demon Prince he had been following since his sudden accession in 1997. Prince Furfur was nodding to the Lilim and Impudites in the nightclub. The music was passionate but hardly hardcore, even as Prince Furfur climbed the circular stairs up to the rooms he had claimed in the building. Roghi followed, quietly.
The Prince looked around the rooms. They were tastefully appointed -- Impudites of Destruction -- generally recruited from the War's deserters who Furfur had accepted -- had decorated. "Not bad," he said. "Not bad at all. Not gaudy, the way Belial's used to me, do you think?"
"It's much more... subdued, Lord Furfur," Roghi murmured.
Furfur," the Prince said sharply. "Our Majesty has decreed that it is not fit to use 'Lord' in place of 'Prince.' It distracts from the order of things. Anyone can be someone's
"My apologies, Prince
The Prince glanced back, eyes narrow. "Do I detect a hint of dissatisfaction, Roghi?
Roghi looked down. "Why should I ever be dissatisfied with my Prince, Highness?"
Prince Furfur snorted. "Look at me, Roghi."
The Balseraph looked up at his Prince.
"When did you enter my service?"
"I was the first you accepted from Belial's service to your own, Highness."
"That's right. You're my oldest Servitor. With my Promotion, I've made you a Count. I'm thinking it's time you have a Word. So if you've got some kind of problem with me, I think probably it's best to hear it right now."
Roghi looked away. "This place isn't exactly Hardcore, Highness."
Prince Furfur laughed. "In case you hadn't noticed, neither am I, Roghi."
"I've noticed, Highness."
Prince Furfur's voice dipped slightly in tone. "Meaning what?"
"Meaning you're dressed like a fucking Impudite dressed you. Respectfully. Meaning you're just... accepting
. Accepting authority. Giving in. Selling out."
Prince Furfur's face twisted into a smile. "Selling out?"
"Well... yes. You've bought in. 'The Order of Things.' 'Our Majesty doesn't approve of 'Lord.' Taking a fucking Techno
club as one of your new residences. Hardcore stood
for something in Hell, Highness. You didn't have many Servitors, and Christ knows they weren't pretty
, but they had a loyalty to you and your cause that no other Prince could boast."
Prince Furfur shrugged. "And after I got taken in and Word-promoted, they came along with. You
came along with. You saying I didn't take care of my own?"
Roghi snorted. "Over ninety percent of the former Hardcore Servitors are in the forward legions fighting Fire, Death and the War in Sheol and Abaddon. They're getting chewed into fucking hamburger."
Prince Furfur arched an eyebrow, and turned towards his desk. "They're the best we have."
Prince Furfur paused, and turned to face his Count again. "Excuse me?"
"You've gotten the absolute cream
of the militant defectors. Lilith's tits -- they've--"
"Don't blaspheme against the Queen," Prince Furfur said, very quietly. A shiver went down Roghi's spine.
"Sorry... Highness." He looked away. "You've got badasses from Death, Fire, Gluttony, the War, the Game...." he shook his head. "The other Princes in the Queen's Court aren't violent concepts,
Highness. You've got the destroyers. You've got them in droves. And a lot of the defectors are way older and stronger than the Hardcore demons who stuck with you. You're repaying their loyalty with--"
"Destruction?" Prince Furfur asked, softly.
Roghi looked away.
Prince Furfur walked closer. "Yes, Roghi. I'm throwing them right into cannon fire. Yes, most of them are going to be soul killed. I need to send someone
to die while the Civil War continues, and to be honest they're an embarrassment.
"An... embarrassment? Highness?"
"They tore into Shal Mari like a hurricane after I switched sides -- convinced it was going to be one big fucking party,
" the Prince said. "The old organization needed to be destroyed
, so I could reforge the fragments into something better. It's what I am
, Roghi. The Civil War will beat some couth into the survivors, and I'll make them into honored Destruction Servitors. And the rest will scatter on Gehenna's winds."
"They believed in you, Highness," Roghi whispered. He didn't say 'I believed in you.' He didn't need to.
"That's their own lookout. I didn't even ask Lucifer to be the Prince of Hardcore. I asked for Rock and Roll. I wanted to make something of myself beyond mosh pits and barbed wire wrestling matches. He kept me down. The Queen has exalted me, Roghi. Hell, I'm Eli's opposition
now. I need something more than gang bangers and metalheads setting fire to the drapes. You got me?"
Roghi paused, and nodded. "Of course, Lord."
Prince Furfur nodded slightly. He smiled a bit. "That took balls, Roghi. You challenging me like that. You demanding
of me, like that."
Roghi took a deep breath. "Hardcore's highest rule was to tell the brutal truth, Highness. No matter the consequences."
"I know." Prince Furfur smiled a bit more, and leaned forward. "And do you know what that means?"
Roghi arched an eyebrow. "What, my Prince."
Prince Furfur's expression didn't change at all, even as a shudder went over Roghi's body. The Baseraph twisted, as suddenly his scales and wings began to prickle, and tingle, and hurt
. By the time the Count had started screaming, his Forces had already started to burn and combust and shred. By the time his scream's echoes had died out, there was literally no sign the Balseraph had ever existed.
"It means you just didn't learn in time," the Prince whispered. He turned away, the scent of brimstone and cooked meat in the air, and picked up the telephone on his desk. He pushed a button on it. "Tefia? I need a new aide sent up. Someone formerly from the War, please. And have him bring up a martini -- I think this is going to be a good night."
|Wednesday, March 16th, 2005|
Lilith 1 Interlude: The Sacrifice of Bishops
His name was Baljean, ironically enough. And that was the point, after all. Mockery had been named Balnovalis and she had been a powerful, robust, beautiful Calabite, cutting into her opponents with a caustic wit as incisive as her very resonance. She had worn tattered hippy clothes and a beautiful, overly lush vessel, and delighted in violence of phrase and form. Satire had been Baleli, the Balseraph. He subverted creation with every word and phrase, making the most earnest of artistic works into the most mean spirited of satires. And Baljean was Irony, the Impudite. The one who delighted in the disjunction between intent and result, over and over, who took the most meticulous of plans and helped arrange darkly humorous results.
Balnovalis had died first, strengthening Dark Humor in the face of the degradation of the Words granted by Lucifer. She had been caught and soul-killed, though she took six Malakim with her, they said, and made another five cry. No doubt the tears had been more satisfying to her before her death. Baleli had been next. He had attempted to stage a massive, multi-city satirical project mocking the failed attempts to rescue a group of schoolchildren lost in a forest fire -- itself started by Belial's Servitors in an effort to bolster their
Prince's Word. However, the public had been outraged instead of darkly amused -- in these days of disaster and triumph, people weren't ready to laugh at the efforts of firemen and forest rangers dying trying to save children. That had actually hurt Baleli's Word even more than the degradation, and Baleli had souldied four days before, helpless and weak.
So ironically, of the three most powerful Word-bound of Kobal, Prince of Dark Humor, Irony himself was the one to survive the longest. His Word had lost almost all its power within him, and his thoughts, his form, his very soul had been wasting away, tethered inexorably to a concept that was losing focus on the world in the wake of Lucifer's passing.
He had sacrificed the last of his corporeality earlier that day. Sacrificed because he had to sacrifice something
to keep his Word from failing entirely, and he needed his mind and what was left of his Soul. Now, he was weaker than most demons sent to Earth.
Baljean was normally as cynical as any demon of Dark Humor, but he still held out hope. There was every chance that failures on the parts of other Luciferian Princes or their Servitors would fuel the Word of Irony. Even the Angels were doing everything in their power to keep Baljean's Word strong. They positively delighted
in ironic endings to Infernal schemes. So, he had been lying low. No need to call too much attention to himself. Not when he had no Corporeal Forces left, and frighteningly few Celestial ones. Not when he had no abilities associated with his Word, and all too many enemies....Oh Baljeaaaaan... dear Baljeaaaan... do be a fine fellow and come see me in Strategic Command, won't you? That's a good fellow. There's a War on, you know!
Baljean shivered, and closed his eyes. Even now... even today
, when Kobal spoke, he had to obey.
She leaned over the basin and threw up, the mottled green skin of her forearms trembling as the muscles underneath tried to hold her steady. After the heaves passed, she found herself staring at the intricate tattoos that had not yet faded on that arm. They looked like letters. The angry scrawls one made in their diary after seeing their boyfriend kissing some slut
Freshman near the gym door. They were also green, but darker green than her skin, so they showed up. Vathek
, she thought. All that is left of Vathek
. But that was a lie. The moment she thought it, a cascade of half-remembered images and nightmares coursed through her brain... what Vathek had managed to retain until the end. What Vathek held close.
She fell back onto the low bed. She had to get control. She wouldn't be useful to the Director if she couldn't keep control, and the moment she stopped being useful she would become grist for some other mill. She rubbed her stomach through her grey dress, using her left hand. Her long, jagged nails scratched as she rubbed. She wasn't used to those either. Those reflected what was left of Mot. Under her hand, she felt something... fur, maybe? Slowly sinking into her skin, with some kind of Shedite ooze still playing there.
She shuddered. Thinking of the shedim was a mistake -- that called up too many memories born of those abominations... Jurgin's self-indulgent orgies of consumption intermingled with the alien horrors that had roiled through its thoughts....
She rolled back to the basin, vomiting once more. As her entire body tried to expel its guts through her mouth, she caught sight of her coat... the black chesspiece on it. The tall tower, with the feminine crown....
She shivered again, and threw up more. And as she did, she felt what was left of her Word tremble, another Luciferian Force primed to fail. She focused, and forced one of the corporeals to go. One of the grafts? One of her own precious Forces? She no longer had any idea.
He made his way out of the bunker, and started along the broken path on Gehenna's blasted plain. It was humiliating for Dark Humor to be relegated to this pestilent crucible, but Shal Mari was now firmly in the hands of the Lilithian Court and Hades was a battleground, so they went where they could survive, for now.
"Why... I spy with my little eye someone who begins with I," he heard off to the side, as he walking along the fetid shores of Lake Phlegyas. Baljean glanced and grimaced. A small pack of Jesters were standing close to the boiling blood of the lake, fishing. Of course they were fishing. Fishing Lake Phlegyas was funny
... the first thousand times Baljean had seen it. Now it was just sad. These were nobodies. Nothings on the ladder to Kobal. Not even important enough to be sent as cannon fodder in attempts to bolster Kobal's Word or fight on the lines in Hell's civil war. Baljean barely recognized them.
But they recognized him. Oh yes. One of the Council of Seven of Kobal -- four Dukes, Mockery, Satire and Irony. A council of five, now.... and Baljean himself was hardly a member. He was no longer of Hell's Elite. He was no longer of any use
"Good eye," Baljean said. "Really good eye. I should mention that up the line. Why, a man like you? You're going places. Say, to the forward observation posts. You can put those eyes to good use scouting out Destruction Servitors as they cross over from Sheol. Right out front. Wouldn't that be fun?"
"Someone think's he's still hot shit," another of the Jesters -- a burly Djinn who looked like a cross between an oversized spider monkey and a plucked rooster -- snorted. "Someone thinks we're gonna be scared
of the big bad Word-bound."
"Here's irony," the first -- a Balseraph -- said, slithering up, the others following. "We get a chance to beat the shit out of one of Kobal's Inner Circle."
"Ah ah ah," Baljean said, backing slowly away, hands before him. "That's Prince
Kobal. You never know when he might be standing right behind you, after all."
"That'd put him in the boiling lake," a third -- a Calabite -- laughed. "You think anyone'd be standing in there if they didn't have to?"
"S'like raiiin... on your wedding day," the Djinn began intoning, in rhythm and tune without inflection. "S'like a free lunch... when you've already paid...."
"Don't fucking tell me I have to listen to that song while you kill me, guys," Baljean said, a smile still playing on his lips.
"Ironic, isn't it?" the Balseraph asked, cocking back his tail, ready to strike--
A jagged whip, steaming with still boiling blood, sliced through the air and tore
across the Balseraph's wings, tearing gaps in them. By the time the Calabite turned, the whip had torn into her own wings and across her skin, the figure standing in the lake up to her naked thighs grinning savagely. Her skin was an overlay of jumbles of letters and numbers, otherwise naked, aggressively sexual as she swung the whip back and tore into two demons at once with it.
Baljean pulled his own knife and leapt forward, driving it down into one of the Balseraph's six eyes. "No,
" he hissed. "It's not
ironic. If you're gonna use
the fucking word, learn
the fucking word!"
The Habbalite strode forward. She whipped the whip around and back, entangling the Djinn and yanking, causing the demon to be thrown screaming into the boiling lake. She ripped the whip free of him and struck at another, bristling with a power the jester pack couldn't begin to compete with. "What's the matter, boys
" she hissed. "Don't you think it's funny?
Baljean ripped his knife free from the Balseraph's eye, and slashed to the other side, catching the Calabite in the arm as she tried to flee the Habbalite. "Oh, come on
," he said with a grin. "Is that any way to treat the Duchess Panera?"
" the Habbalite hissed, swinging the barbed whip around and snapping it into the Calabite, just in front of Baljean's face.
"No bread tonight," Baljean muttered, even as Pandara reached the torn and bleeding Jesters. She took a few moments to hurl them, one at a time, into Lake Phlegyas. Their screams filled the air like a twisted chorus.
Baljean lifted a hand to stop Pandara, before she threw the Balseraph. "Hang on a sec," he said.
"Make it quick, Irony," Pandara hissed, eyes as sharp as the barbs on her whip.
"I will. Go... I dunno. Slip into something skimpy with spikes on it." He knelt, next to where the Balseraph lay, bleeding and torn. "Hey, buddy. Word of advice, from me to you?"
The Balseraph looked up, shuddering. "I was on your side," he croaked, and Baljean had to steel himself against the Balseraph's resonance. "I was luring the others into--"
"Save it. The advice is this." He leaned close. "When a Kobalite of experience warns you there's something behind you? That means there actually is
something behind you. The joke is to convince you there isn't while telling you the truth."
The Balseraph stared with five good eyes, all burning with hatred.
"And for the record, you getting torn up and thrown into a lake of boiling blood when you were going to kick my
irony." He stood, and nodded to Pandara, who yanked the Balseraph up, then pushed him hard, down into the churning cruor.
"So what the Hell were
you doing swimming in Lake Phlegyas?" Baljean asked quietly, with a slight grin.
Pandara smiled slightly herself. "Driving the Warfucks nuts. They throw their bad troops in there, to punish
them. I find it... refreshing
to show those pathetic wormlings that a Dark Humor angel can willingly endure what they would do anything to avoid." She looked back at Baljean. "It makes me laugh."
"And you're telling me you just happened to be taking a swim right now?"
"I was sent to make sure you survived to reach Command. Clearly, Lord Kobal is wise, because you wouldn't have."
Baljean shrugged, what he hoped was an endearing smile on his face. "I've always been more of a talker--"
His breath was choked off as Pandara's fist shot
out, closing around his throat and lifting him into the air. "Don't
," she hissed. "You're weak
, Irony. Once upon a time you were worthy to stand in my presence. That time has ended
. You couldn't even cow that pack of worthless smegma. I have to bring you to our Prince. Don't make me rethink how many pieces you'll be in when we get there."
Baljean coughed, and nodded. She was right. He was literally less than nothing in her hand. His impotent Word didn't do anything but make him more of a target. As an un-WordBound Duke, still at the height of her power, Pandara could kill him in seconds, now.
Pandara threw him to the side, causing him to skid next to the shore. He could feel the heat from the gore in front of him, and managed to push back before he got burnt. Quite a ways deeper into it, he saw his erstwhile attackers writhing and struggling to swim forward, out of it. That was made harder by the boiling blood searing their eyes, of course.
Baljean pushed himself to his feet. He saw Pandara striding away, and he took to the air for a short hop -- without any Corporeal Forces, he didn't have the endurance for more -- until he was somewhat behind her on the trail. Keeping back a bit. Obsequious. It had been several centuries, but he still knew the drill.
He remembered, once they were lovers. He was significantly stronger than she was, then -- nearly the same power in raw Forces, bolstered by his Word. He forced her to knuckle under, and she loved it.
Which meant this was all ironic. Funny how Baljean's own situation kept ending up that way these days.
At least Kobal still wanted to see him. At least he still had that going for him.
Hades was 'contested,' as the Lilithian Demons of Intelligence and Fate worked their way into the byzantine city. The Palace had been compromised early, and Director Asmodeus had relocated himself and select records to Gehenna. The Halls of Loyalty were still firmly in the hands of the Game, however, and the Soul Yards were a place of truce, as the Game, Fate and Intelligence -- none too happily -- divided newly processed souls as efficiently as the civil war would allow. The multiple flights of Malakim waiting poised outside the Gates alone meant a truce would have to hold.
The Halls of Loyalty were her domain, as they always had been She wore a much more concealing grey dress than usual, with a high waisted, long sleeved grey uniform coat, and higher boots. And black gloves -- the same black leather as the black queen symbol on her coat's sleeve. Grey and black chesspieces were the symbols of the public face of the secret police.
Her domain. Her face was impassive, and showed no marks. She always made sure of that, with the appropriate applications of Song.
"Good morning," she said, though there was no morning or night in Hell. "My apologies for the delay. The tunnel traffic between the Hall and Gehenna were significantly clogged today."
There were several murmurs and greetings through the room. She sat in the high backed chair in front of the Primary Board. "Report," she said crisply, looking at how the pieces had been moved since the previous night. The rules of movement, of placement, and of correspondence were developed over centuries of refinement. This one small section of the Game operated at a high level of efficiency, even now.
"We have begun to get more reliable indicators from Shal Mari and Tartarus, Countess," one of her lieutenants, who wore a black rook, said. He was a solid and dispassionate Djinn, resembling an insect and a shark, in ways. He was one of the few not to have been recently promoted to his position -- he had been lucky enough not to have his Word sponsorship go through before the death of Lucifer.Lucky not to have been given a Word,
she thought, suddenly. The Haves and Have Nots divided. She felt the flush of pleasure from somewhere -- the twisting, delicious taste of factionalization turned upside down. That Habbalite? Or the Balseraph? Or....
"Countess?" the Djinn asked, mildly. "Are you well?"
She shuddered, visibly, but then dropped her mask into place. "None of us are well, Baron," she replied. "The nature of Word-loss ensures that." That was it -- distract him with an unusual admission of weakness, without letting him see what the real concern was. That was puzzling, almost. Could that be some Secrets Servitor within her now? Worked into the patchwork Lilim, echoing the joy of half-truth he once felt, before he was captured before he could Cross the River Styx, as they say."
The Djinn showed no reaction. He played the Game well, naturally. "Of course, he said."
"Before we move on with reports, there is a new directive," she said, leaning forward and asserting control once more. "The directive to refer to the opposition as the Pretenders and the ban on using the adjective Luciferian has been lifted. The opposition is now to be officially called Lilithian, and we Luciferian."
"Countess?" a Shedite she had known for years asked. It was a bishop, called Stthex. Just seeing it was an echo of Shedite thoughts in her head, and she forced herself to stay relaxed. "May I ask...."
"You may. This is part of an effort to bolster the Word of Factions. We are to be the disseminators of several efforts to bolster major Words in Hell." She didn't add that the secret police was being used to those ends to bolster not only the Game but Intrigue. "In fact, I want you to move into the field, Stthex -- there are a number of secret directives we need moved into Shal Mari itself, and to my knowledge you are our best operative for contacting our cells there."
Stthex paused. "You want me to travel to Shal Mari?" it asked. "Would that not place operational status at some risk? I am not as adept at stealth as--"
"You have the authority to convince, and the presence to inspire some... wavering... operatives that it is in their best interests to remain loyal." She removed a packet of papers from her portfolio and handed it to the Shedite. "I look forward to debriefing you when you return, Captain."
"Of course, Countess," Stthex said, slightly sibilantly. Its roiling mass was pale grey today, and seemed to consist mostly of tongue and teeth, so it was lisping slightly. "By your leave?"
"Granted. Safe hunting."
The assembled secret police watched Stthex leave, the door closing and the seals returning afterward.
"Countess," her rook said. "I believe we have some area of concern. Stthex...."
"Stthex will be attempting to cross the River Styx and join Intelligence or Fate," she said, smoothly. "Yes."
The Djinn arched an eyebrow.
"We want the information it is carrying to be leaked to the Lilithians," she said smoothly. I'm afraid Stthex will prove to be too much of a danger to them, and will be destroyed. We have made certain arrangements that will ensure it does not enter a trustworthy stat among the Lilithians."
"But, Countess..." one of the aides -- still a pawn -- said, curious. "He was a bishop. Surely..."
"Sometimes, one must sacrifice bishops if one is to control the outcome of the Game," she said, smoothly. She felt a moment's revulsion at waste
-- the taste of some Impudite, perhaps? An echo of some now-dead spymaster? It was harder to distinguish them. She told herself she was simply assimilating the disparate pieces. She told herself the reverse wasn't true.
The chambers of Command -- what had once been Lord General Baal's Fortress, and now served as the headquarters for both the civil war in Hell and the continued efforts to strengthen and bolster the Luciferian Princes and what Word-bound they had left -- were dark and foreboding. The dull glint of steel and chain. The flat grey and black of marble and basalt. The flicker of torchlight. Baljean entered from the back on one audience chamber, having been led there and left there by Pandara.
He stepped inside. The audience chamber was darker than normal. To one side, he saw implements of torture, freshly used. To another he saw a long table, with few chairs. He looked around, peering in the gloom. "M'lord Kobal?" he asked, searching.
The voice in answer was a resonant baritone, singing not in Helltongue but in English
. The song was perfectly controlled, with the precision of a ticking watch or the sliding of a tin soldier on a mat. "And now... at last... we see each other plain..." the voice said, it's owner stepping around one of the high backed chairs. "Monsieur L'Ironie... you'll wear a different chain...."
Baljean blinked, shocked. He swiftly bowed. "Lord Asmodeus," he half-whispered. "A thousand pardons, Lord. I was told that my Lord Kobal would be waiting here for me. My intrusion--"
"You were told correctly, Irony," Asmodeus said, slowly walking forward. He was deceptively small -- less than an inch taller than Baljean, who wasn't that tall for a demon to begin with. "Baljean," he said, as if tasting the name. He spoke it as a human might, with the n silent. "Jean Baljean. I don't believe I've mentioned how much I appreciate the pun, Kobal."
"You're kind, Azzie," Lord Kobal himself answered, stepping out of the gloom. Baljean felt a sudden rush of hope. He was
supposed to be here. Perhaps they had some plan... "Entirely too kind. Hello, Bal-jeannie. You're looking a bit gaunt. Insubstantial, even."
"I... lost my last Corporeal Force today," Baljean said, carefully. "I felt it more important to preserve my Ethereal and Celestial Forces, given the erudite nature of--"
"Save the big words for your host, here, son." He walked over, clapping Baljean on the back lightly, just off the wing. The glancing strike on the wing hurt, and Baljean couldn't help but wince. "He has a plan for you."
"For... me?" he asked.
"Yeah. You're going to help him out."
"How, Lord Kobal?"
Asmodeus's smile didn't change even slightly. "You're going to die," he said.
She received the message about mid-day. The Director wanted to see her, in the Eastern Chambers. Again.
She managed not to shiver until she was in the tunnel, walking for Gehenna once more. Even then, no one who saw her would believe she was shivering.
Baljean was chained to the table with care. He found himself... curiously detatched. "You need me to die," he said. His first words after the begging he had done some twenty minutes before.
"That's correct," Asmodeus said, tightening the manacle. "Stars... in your multitudes," he sang lightly, as he worked. "Scare to be counted.... filling the darkness... with order and light...."
"I haven't done anything wrong. Have I?" Baljean's voice was oddly calm.
"Mm? No. You have been loyal. 'You are the sentinels... silent and sure... keeping watch in the night... keeping watch in the night...'" Asmodeus finished affixing the chains, and stepped back to look.
"It's my Forces," Baljean said, quietly. "You know I have only a week left at the most before my Word drags me into soul death."
"Yes. You are no longer an asset," Asmodeus said, in that same light tone. "However, you could have your remaining Forces removed from you, divorcing them from your Word, and applied to a more valuable asset. In that way, we conserve some of our Word-bound and make the loss of others more meaningful." Asmodeus drew a small, hooked knife out of his robes, and began cutting away Baljean's clothing. Baljean breathed in sharply, watching.
"Why not me?" Baljean asked, looking at Kobal. "Why not preserve me? Why kill me to preserve someone else?"
Kobal shrugged, slipping out a cigarette. "Look, kid, I like you. I always did. You did good work. But it'd take too much to save you, and your strategic worth is limited. I mean, honestly. Irony? Worked great for the long haul and for the minutes in between the firefights, but we're in
the firefight now." He lit the cigarette and took a long drag, then blew the smoke out. "Want a puff?"
"Yeah," Baljean said. And despite himself, he began to laugh.
Asmodeus, still cutting away Baljean's pants like he were filleting meat, arched an eyebrow. "Something's funny, Baljean?"
"Yeah." Baljean paused to suck on the offered cigarette. "Yeah. See, when I got the call from Kobal--"
"Just 'Kobal?'" Asmodeus asked, just as mildly as before. The voice of inquisition to the last.
"Hell yeah, just Kobal. No sense being obsequent now. I'm gonna die either way. Anyway, when I got the call from Kobal to come here, I got excited. Even now, I was still useful. He wanted *me.* And then he sent Pandara to make sure I made it, and I knew I was useful. I had confidence." He smiled a bit more.
"But Baljean -- you *are* useful," Kobal said, smiling a bit. He got the joke.
"Yeah -- dead." Baljean looked up at Asmodeus. "Don't you see? It's ironic."
Asmodeus's face quirked into a slightly larger smile. "So it is," he said, and leaned down and began to cut.
The guards let her in through the tunnel gate. Djinn of the War, both of them. Traditionally, this tunnel had been guarded by the Game, since traditionally the War didn't even know about it.
Many traditions had recently changed.
She climbed the low stairs into the back hall, then stepped out onto the basalt field, looking over to the dull metal fortress that was now Command for the Luciferian Princes. Hot air blew through her hair, the ever-present roof of Hell glowing a dull orange-red over Gehenna's plains. It always seemed odd to her, given the shadow-greyness of the roof over Hades.
She made her way along the path, slowly. Echoes of other walks, in other skins played themselves through her head. Bits and pieces and fragments -- not only what they saw, but what they knew, what they believed. And she with her own thoughts subsuming the others, or being subsumed...I am become Intrigue itself
, she thought, stepping up the iron stairs to the Hind Gate.
The pain was horrific, but oddly, Baljean didn't focus first on it. He focused on memory. On the memory of a human. Her name was Jennifer, and she had loved him. He cultivated her and drank her Essence for months and years, and shaded and shaped her. She gave and gave to him, and when she died, it was both funny and ironic, so he wasn't dissonant. Baljean remembered her, he held that memory close...
The knife cut into his celestial flesh... into his being... and neatly sliced with a blinding, searing pain, and Baljean watched as Asmodeus stood, cradling something in his hand, and did not remember the name of the human he once... had.... No. No, it was gone. It was gone and left him with so much less, so much fewer... and Asmodeus cut again... his youth, his Fall, his slow climb, his sense of black humor... each left with a slice of the knife, Baljean's very mind sinking into hideous pain, into hideous darkness... slice after slice after slice...
And then there was one more touching of the knife to the Impudite's skin. I am Baljean
, he thought, terrified. He did not know the Superior standing over him. He did not know why these horrible things were happening to him. He did not know Lucifer, much less that he was dead. He did not know anything except that he was Baljean... and he was Irony.
And then Asmodeus sliced, and the beast left on the table knew nothing at all. He perceived the blinding pain and so clearly saw the hooked knife, but he could not vocalize his rage or pain beyond a howl of anger. Asmodeus leaned down and took the first of the two celestial forces... putting out the beast's eye and terrifying it... and then he cut one more time, and there was nothing left to cut.
"Jesus, that's creepy," Kobal said, still puffing on his cigarette. "Why not just disassemble him all at once? It'd be faster."
"I need the forces easy to graft," Asmodeus said, still lightly, placing the steaming celestial meat that had once been the Demon of Irony into an iron box. "Would you care to come along?'
"No thanks. I'll wait in the Hall. I prefer to think of Staciel unblemished, thank you."
Asmodeus snorted. "Sentimental garbage."
"Yeah, well, don't forget -- it was my
aide-de-camp you just sliced up to preserve your
aide-de-camp," Kobal said, following. "So I'm feeling pretty sentimental myself, right now."
"It made sense. There are few Word-bound left, and they're dying. And you have four Dukes to act as your muscle and advisors. That should be enough for anyone." He walked along the hallway.
"Bullshit. You needed to keep the Word of Intrigue as healthy as possible. So Staciel sacrifices her own Forces and gets grafts from other demons. You're out of the crappy Word-bound no one gives a shit about, so now you have to deal. That's the way this
game is played, right?"
"I didn't know you cared," Asmodeus said, his voice just as light.
"Hey, he was my high priest. My spiritual advisor. Mockery was my attack dog. Satire was my secular side. But Irony was my raison d'etre
. The creamy center in my soul of souls. My high priest."
Asmodeus half-smiled. "You'll just have to be your own bishop now. Though if you need a confessor, I'm sure I could make the time. You won't mind if I take notes, I trust?"
"Do what you like." Kobal stopped as they reached the room. Inside, he could see Staciel lying on a table. She had undressed, and was stoically staring at the ceiling. Her green skin was lined with stitches and the physical remnants of demons now soul-dead -- the tattoos of Habbalah and the leathery skin of Calabim and Balseraphs shifting with the fluidity of Shedim and the sheerly alien bits of Djinn here and there. He stared a moment, not caring if the Demon of Intrigue saw him staring or not. "Hey, a little Impudite's just what she needed to spiff her back up. Or is she going for a kind of personal fung shui?"
"Her appearance is not relevant to the task at hand, Dark Humor. Is there anything else, or can I get to work?"
"Nah, go ahead. Only...."
Kobal leaned closer. "In a few days -- a few days
-- we're going to be out of any Word-bound we didn't patch up like this. To keep them around, we'll have to start cutting up our regular Servitors. And then we'll have to start cutting them all up to add to ourselves
. There are fucking Malakim at our gates just waiting for a collapse and fewer troops to keep Lilith away. There's no way can win. How long do we keep playing this game?"
Asmodeus's slight smile never wavered at all. "Until we finish this hand and a new one is dealt, Kobal." He stepped into the room. Kobal saw Staciel stiffen despite herself.
Kobal dropped his cigarette on the floor and crushed it, then slipped another one out and lit it. "I'm gonna have that fucking song in my head all day now," he muttered, and headed down the hall.
|Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005|
Beleth: Lilithian Princess of Horror
Beleth: Lilithian Princess of Horror
The world is terrifying. It claws at every one of us and forces us into paranoia -- we fight the world and we hide from the world, and in the end the world *always* wins.
I understand fear. I know its taste. I know its cold hunger. I understand what fear can do. I know the shape of it.
And I knew, with the Word of Nightmares dying in my breast and the Malakim of Dreams and the Sword pressing the borders of my part of the vale, just how potent fear could be.
I tried to pretend I didn't care, but I did. I was terrified. Lucifer -- my dear, sweet Lucifer -- was dead. Butchered by a madman with an axe. My Word -- my *Word* -- was following him into death. My most effective Servitors were faltering the same as I? And the Malakim -- the Malakim kept coming and coming and *coming!*
I understand fear. But even then I did not let it rule me. When our new *Queen* came, and offered me stability, power -- and the capacity to turn the Malakim back from my gates -- I didn't lap it up like an abused dog drinking brackish water. I told her what *I* wanted. I told her what *I* needed. And she agreed. I give her my loyalty -- and it is total -- and I give her everything she wants. And I in turn got what I wanted, as well as what I needed. And what that is is not for the ears of one such as *you.*
I hate her. I hate her with all the passion I loved Lucifer. I hate the pathetic, broken *Impudite* she has forced upon me. I hate the Lust demons that die to defend my side of the Marches. I hate the way they *color* the dreams of man, now. I *hate* her.
But she knows I will never -- *ever* betray her.
I am scared of her. And she knows it. And I know it.
And I understand fear.
Go away, or you will learn fear of your own. A fear you can *never* awaken from.
Beleth has been significantly Word promoted, as Nightmares gives way to Horror. Before, she had encompassed Horror through Nightmares, of course, but Horror had always been filtered through the metaphoric power of Nightmares -- through the dark side of dreams. Now, her Word directly connects to fear on every level and in every situation, with Nightmares just one aspect of her scope.
She hates this, passionately. She wants nothing more than to sit in her Tower opposing Blandine in a dance of pain and death and war. To move her operations largely into the Corporeal World is almost a betrayal of everything she joined Lucifer for in the first place.
But she was too frightened of what was happening *without* Lilith. So she agreed to Lilith's terms -- no one knows what the bargain they struck was -- and now she fully accepts Lilith's authority. Beleth may hate Lilith, her allies and her very Word, but she is absolutely loyal to all of them.
Beleth's operations since accepting Lilith's bargain have been mostly devoted to driving the Angels out of her side of the Vale and setting an appropriate guard. To her anger and humiliation, the broken Andrealphus has been set as her ally in this endeavor -- to the point that Beleth has been instructed to grant her Dream Walking attunement (IN p.165) to any Servitor of Lust Andrealphus designates. Further, Lilith has made it clear that she wants Lust to infect the dreams of mortals as well... and Beleth has noticed more and more Lustful dreams are ending up on *her* side of the Vale, now, where before they were always Blandine's to 'enjoy.' Otherwise, she has begun to extend herself into the World, careful not to step on the desperate Luciferian attempts to bolster the dying Luciferian Words. One area she was quick to grab dominion over was Terror -- she petitioned Lilith to grant that subordinate word to Secrya, one of her Habbalah, firmly placing Terror under Beleth's control. From there, Beleth sponsored one of her strongest Calabim -- Presharth -- as the new Lilithian Demon of Terrorism, subordinate to Secrya who herself is subordinate to Beleth. In this way, Beleth has *firmly* taken hold of a very corporal Horror -- and set herself in opposition to Baal, whose Luciferian Word had been directly fueled by Terrorism for a long time.
Servitors of Terror find themselves in two camps, mostly. Those former Nightmares Servitors who survived (and didn't defect) have found themselves rewarded and given great focus in the Marches -- though forced to work with *Andrealphans,* which they despise -- while most of the demons who defect from Luciferian Princes -- especially Belialites, Nybbites, Baalites and Death Servitors -- are being made into Beleth's Corporeal force. There is a certain amount of friction between the two camps.
Nowhere is the difference between the Luciferian Princess of Nightmares and the Lilithian Princess of Horror more apparent than in Beleth's dissonance conditions. Where once Beleth's Servitors gained Dissonance by assuming celestial form on Earth (in echo of Blandine's own dissonance conditions), now they are prohibited from ever providing human beings relief from fear. Even when forced to withdraw, Belethians are enjoined to make certain human beings know it's just for a short time -- that there is no escape from fear. The only exception is when Beleth's servitors are lulling a human into a false sense of security, only to then tear that security away from them -- an effective but dangerous ploy, since if their project is interrupted the Horror demon will become dissonant.
BALSERAPHS (Restricted): The Liars of Horror are used to spread fear without reason. Their resonance is unchanged from the original. (IN Core Rules p.164)
DJINN (Restricted): Beleth's Djinn are still tasked with physically terrorizing or stalking people, but their methods have changed. While some still use Dream Walking to terrorize them in dreams, their resonance now allows them to sense what steps their attuned have taken to protect themselves from the Djinn or other stalkers and intruders. The Djinn will know if their target has their locks or phone numbers changed, if they have friends staying with them, a cell phone with 911 speed dialed -- anything. Of course, they don't instantly know how to defeat these preventative measures.
CALABIM: Sadists all, Beleth's Calabim receive the same attunement they always have. (IN Core Rules p.165)
HABBALAH (restricted): Beleth's Habbalah are her vanguard in the war against courage, be that the courage to stand up to impossible odds, or the courage to hold to one's hope or beliefs in the face of despair. When confronted with someone who (in the GM's opinion) is acting bravely in the situation, Beleth's Habbalah get a bonus to their resonance rolls equal to their celestial forces in inflicing Cowardice to replace it. For a number of hours equal to the resonance roll's check digit, the new Coward will do everything in his power to flee the situation he was acting so bravely in before -- be that physical flight, emotional withdrawal, or even attacking his allies. The target may not even make Will rolls to stand his ground. If cornered and forced to fight, the target will suffer a penalty equal to the check digit on all rolls due to his utter lack of focus and overwhelming desire to escape. This is a powerful attunement, but comes with a powerful drawback -- if a Habbalite's Cowardice attempt backfires (as per IN Core Rules p.147), he suffers the same as if Emptiness backfired instead of Cowardice -- as with Emptiness, this is automatically dissonant and suffers all the same effects as any other Emptiness backfires. The target's courage and the Habbalite's projection of fear have canceled each other out, leaving the Habbalite with nothing.
LILIM (restricted): Lilim of Horror receive the same Lilim attunement as before. (IN Core Rules p.165)
SHEDIM (partially restricted): The Corruptors of Horror are among Beleth's most subtle agents. Rather than inflict fear upon their hosts, they literally turn their hosts into spreaders of horror. Shedim of Horror may, with a Perception roll resisted by their target's Will roll, see what phobias and fears the target has (using the check digit as a guide to what fears the Shedite learns). If the target resists with his Will roll, the Shedite is blocked from seeing any person's fears for a number of hours equal to the Will roll's check digit. If the Shedite is in a host when he makes that roll, and he makes the host do something related to the target's fear (the host cannot *be* the target for this to work -- so possessing a host scared of heights and making him walk a tightrope doesn't count), he gets a bonus equal to the perception roll's check digit in the Contest of Wills, *and* that day doesn't count towards the host's later Perception roll bonuses to detect the Shedite. The Shedite only gets that Perception roll benefit once a day, no matter how many times he makes his host do something terrifying to another. Other servitors of Beleth given this attunement get the ability to perceive their targets' fear, but get none of the other bonuses.
IMPUDITES (restricted): Impudites can charm their targets as normal, both to charm them and to charm Essence out of them. However, they can also choose to *terrify* their targets with their resonance. The mechanic works the same, but instead of thinking of the Impudite as their trusted friend, they're actively scared of the Impudite and will be inclined to do whatever it takes to keep the Impudite happy. Stealing Essence by this method is such an intensely frightening experience that the victim literally throws his Essence to the Impudite in blind terror.
Unchanged at this time.
Knight of Gooseflesh: Beleth's Knight can cause any enemy in the area to shiver -- the hair raising on the back of their necks -- as a sense of foreboding fills them. Hidden enemies at least three Forces less than the Knight must make a Will roll or visibly shudder. If the enemy is hidden from sight and fails that Will roll, the Knight gets the failed Will roll's check digit as a bonus to a perception roll to see them.
Captain of the Shocking Surprise: Beleth's Captains feed off the Horror movie cliche of the villain suddenly appearing in a shocking moment. In any tense situation where the Captain's enemy or victim doesn't know where the Captain is, the Captain gets a bonus to his Move Silently roll equal to his total Forces. If he gets close enough to attack, but instead chooses to surprise his foe, the foe must make a Will roll or spend a number of rounds equal to the check digit helplessly screaming in terror while the Captain does what he will. Most Captains like to get right behind their foe, thein use their Knight of Gooseflesh ability to heighten and trigger the surprise. There is no bonus for doing so, however.
Baron of the Hour of the Wolf: In perhaps the most obvious break from the old Nightmares way of doing things, Beleth's Barons may, with a successful Will roll, engulf a person trying to fall asleep with their thoughts, fears and regrets, making it impossible for them to fall asleep for at least two hours plus a number of hours equal to the Will roll's check digit. They may use this ability more than once on the same target -- sometimes hounding a target for weeks, keeping them without sleep during all that time and fixating their thoughts on their fears and regrets.
As with all Lilithian Princes, Beleth's relations with the Luciferian Princes have all been worsened by one step. As she was only associated with Asmodeus and Malphas on that list, they are now neutral in her estimation. As she was hostile with all other Luciferian Princes, they are all now considered enemies by Beleth. Naturally, with the "one-step worsening," Baal would already consider Beleth an enemy, but her active efforts to subvert the Essence and Word bolstering of Terrorism -- one of the War's most effective techniques -- would make their blood feud intense even without that.
On the Lilithian side, Beleth is frustrated because she is being forced into a more political situation than she's traditionally enjoyed. She finds herself needing to work with her fellow Princes even when she would prefer to sit alone in her Tower and stew. As a result, there are several Lilithian Princes she's merely Neutral to instead of Hostile to. Still, despite being ordered to work with Andrealphus and to grant her Dream Walking attunement to Andrealphans at his discretion, Beleth loathes the Slave Impudite and would do anything she could to undermine him. Of course, as he's Lilith's special pet, that doesn't mean much, just yet....
Allied: No one. (Furfur considers himself allied with Beleth)
Associated: Furfur, Kronos (Kronos considers himself associated with Beleth)
Hostile: Andrealphus (Andrealphus is hostile to Beleth)
* Traumatize a child (+2 Essence if the Trauma will give them nightmares. +3 if it will psychologically unbalance them. GM's discretion on bonus Essence)
* Frighten a group of at least 30 people, or panic a group of at least 10.
CHANCE OF INVOCATION: 1
+1 A horror novel
+2 A theater showing a horror movie with at least 5 people in the audience
+3 A mob of at least 20 truly frightened people
+4 At least ten people confronting their phobias in a panic
+5 Ground zero of a terrorism attack within an hour of the attack
+6 Ground zero of an event that terrifies an entire nation for weeks.
Alaemon, Lilithian Prince of Intelligence
The world is information; he who controls the flow of information
controls the flow of the world.
You ask me why I agreed to Lilith's price? How could I not agree? I
could feel myself dying, no matter what I did. I could feel the Word
within me ebbing away. Lilith came to me, under the pretext of
spending one of the Geases we have established between us. But once
together, we talked, and she made some interesting propositions.
We had never been close before, and I'll admit I didn't trust her. I
don't trust her. But she knew things... things that were close and
precious, and she told me. And told me she needed someone. Someone to
be her eyes and ears, and her whisper in the night. And how could I
not agree, with the only possible alternative being death. No, I did
not trust her, but I accepted what she offered.
And now? Now I am stronger than I have ever been before. At last, I
am completely beyond the accursed Litheroy's power, with a Word he
cannot touch lest he damage his own. My strength is growing, my
organization is waxing, and the implications of my Word are
What could she possibly be playing at? And how am I supposed to repay
such a debt? Servitude? That is simple, and Lilith is not simple. But
for now I serve, and we shall see.
Alaemon hasn't merely been stabilized -- he has been drastically Word
promoted. Intelligence is more than espionage, even if that's the
reason he was given the Word. Intelligence is more than data -- than
Secrets -- even if that's the original source of his strength.
Intelligence is the power of the mind, and the capacity of the mind
to know things, and the things a mind might know, and the trading of
that information between those minds... Intelligence can be so many
things, and he has been given dominion over them all.
worth noting the old D&Dism. Intelligence is not
And Alaemon has not become wise. His paranoia has grown, seeing the
Game, Judgement and War in every contact. He now fights his cold war
on many fronts, and never trusts anyone at all. Not even Lilith or
his allies among the Lilithian Princes. Especially
not Lilith and
his allies among the Lilithian Princes.
The Conspiracy itself has flourished under his swelling power,
especially as defectors from the War, the Game and even Fate (which
Kronos has no comment about) swell his ranks and accept his fealty.
The Black Crescent, long his secret police, have grown into the
public face of the Conspiracy, building headquarters in both Stygia
and a black ediface in Hades. This is useful, naturally, but also
marks the end of the Black Crescent's power base in his organization
-- even as his old Dukes and Marquises were nothing more than a
dodge, so the Black Crescent is the public address of a secret
institution. Otherwise, the Secret Societies continue to play their
games, with only the Lodge of Gebbeleth fading to next to nothing
(Alaemon was pleased that Gebbeleth's last remaining Word-bound are
dying or have died out with Lucifer's death, and the Lodge could not
survive Gebbeleth not returning in the wake of the Morningstar's
destruction.) New Societies are growing as well. The more things
Alaemon is most pleased to accept Gamesters, even though his normal
paranoia is magnified around them. Still, he recognizes that he is
replacing the Game, and so powerful (or more valuably, well
) Game Servitors are an invaluable part of that process. As
with all Servitors he accepts, he wipes them clean of Attunements and
Distinctions before giving them some of his own -- though it has
become clear he covets the Humanity attunement, and while he won't
let a Gamester keep it (too hard to track, to easy to have the
Servitor's loyalties stay divided) he has captured a few Game demons
for experimentation. It is likely that Alaemon's association with
Vapula is connected to this work.
(Please note that the following only applies to Alaemish who have
been 'adapted' by Alaemon to the Lilithian Word of Intelligence.
There are still Alaemish with attunements from the Luciferian Word of
Secrets. Also, Alaemon does not completely eliminate his old
Luciferian attunements among his Servitors (certain favored Servitors
might have both
his Band Attunements -- the old and the new. As
always, Servitors of the Luciferian Word of Secrets have their old
attunements and dissonance conditions, and no access to Rites unless
The half-truth remains the most powerful weapon in the spy's arsenal,
but it is no longer the most important principle to Alaemon. Alaemish
are now required to facilitate the flow of information up the chain
to their superiors and to Alaemon himself, and to restrict the flow
of information outside the organization. Demons of Intelligence
become dissonant if they do not report information gathered on their
missions as completely as possible (though note that they only must
report information that pertains directly to their mission.
'Extracurricular' information may be kept secret) or if they lie
about or refuse to answer any question put to them by legitimate
superiors (though certain Balseraphs get creative on such things -- a
Balseraph's successful Resonance use does not make him dissonant
unless his lie is discovered. If it is, the Balseraph will
automatically become dissonant from their Word and may potentially be
dissonant from their Band as well.) Any information that a legitimate
superior designates as classified must not
be revealed to any
person other than that superior's superiors, however -- to do so is
dissonant. Note that for these purposes, a 'superior' may be a higher
ranking Servitor of Alaemon, a higher ranking member of the
Conspirator's Secret Society (or one of them), or even a Distincted
Demon of another Superior who has been given command of a mission.
Yes, this means it is possible to get locked between a driving need
to report and a driving need to protect classified information,
leading potentially to dissonance either way. Sometimes, it sucks to
Alaemon uses his Servitors -- generally -- as examples of different
covert operatives and intelligence agents.
): Alaemon's Balseraphs are his general field
operatives, buried within the ranks of his enemies. When confronted
by authorities (Celestial or otherwise), they may add their Ethereal
Forces to any attempt to Resonate their confronters and convince them
they have perfect access to where they're going. When on Earth, if
they are successful, they are considered to have a Role in what they
claim to be, at CD level, for CD hours. If they do
have such a
Role, they may add
the effective CD to their Role's level, for CD
hours. (This can exceed 6.)
): Alaemon's Djinn are his couriers and his
counterintelligence operatives. They may attune themselves to a given
piece of evidence. (Note that said evidence can
be an entry in a
database, as well as a physical thing, but must be something more
than knowledge in someone's head.) Should anyone access that evidence
by any means, without the Djinn's knowledge, the Djinn will instantly
know it has been compromised, and will further get an automatic
Resonance Roll to attune to the intruder, regardless of distance. If
successful, they may track the intruder as normal.
): Alaemon's Calabim are his assassins. Their
attunement is the same as per Superiors 4 p.6.
): The Habbalah of Intelligence are his
expert interrogators, charged with breaking the opposition's will,
breaking their spirit, breaking their information and then breaking
them entirely. They may add their Ethereal Forces to any attempt to
use any skill on a prisoner they're interrogating (Detect Lies,
Fast-Talk, even Seduction, as an example.) They may also use their
Ethereal Forces to modify their Resonance Rolls when Resonating an
Interrogation subject as a part of the process. (Habbalah like to
alternate between Sadness and Fury at the target's predicament, Love
for the Habbalite, and Emptiness when they try to muster their
emotional reserves to fight the interrogation.)
): Alaemon's Lilim are his Moles. This is the same
as per Superiors 4 p.7.
): The Shedim of Intelligence are the perfect Deep
Cover operatives. When using their Resonance to possess a victim,
they may choose to either possess them as normal, or to enter Deep
Cover. With a successful use of this attunement, a Shedite may slip
into their target's brain and sit, completely undetectable, with
access to everything the target senses and to the target's thoughts.
While in Deep Cover, the Shedite cannot communicate with his host,
and therefore can neither influence nor control his host. However, he
is exempt from his Band Dissonance Conditions, and rather than his
host gaining bonuses to detect his guest, the host has a penalty of
the Shedite's Celestial Forces to ever
detect the Shedite. While in
Deep Cover, the Shedite can do nothing to affect the outside world,
including using other attunements or Songs, though he could still use
the Snapshot attunement to record. (And the Disturbance for the
Essence expenditure can be detected, which could lead to unwelcome
investigation.) Note that while the Deep Cover Shedite cannot be
detected, an attempt to possess the host (either through the
Kyriotate Resonance, Shedite Resonance or the Song of Possession)
will treat the host as already possessed.
): Alaemon's Impudites are his Agent
Provocateurs. From Mata Hari to James Bond, the image of the
seductive secret agent is ingrained in popular consciousness. These
agents may add their Ethereal Forces to any skill use that
ingratiates them with others, such as Seduction or Fast-Talk. They
may also add their Ethereal Forces to any attempt to use their
Resonance to Charm a target.
Lilith's Document Shredder
: This attunement works the same as
Lucifer's Document Shredder, Superiors 4 p.8.
: This attunement is the ultimate concealed recorder. Within
thirty seconds of seeing an event, hearing a sound, or otherwise
sensing a moment, the Servitor may record the sights and sounds of
that moment exactly
at a cost of 2 Essence. The event may take no
longer than thirty seconds total, but that thirty second block is
perfectly preserved in the Demon's memory. The Servitor may glance at
documents in a file, scanning over them very swiftly, and record
large sections of information with this attunement. After storing,
the Servitor may retrieve the information and place it on appropriate
media (paper for written materials, videotape or DVD for footage,
audio tape or a CD for a sound, and so forth) at a cost of 1 Essence.
This does not erase the stored snapshot. A demon may have as many
snapshots in his head as he has Ethereal Forces. If he needs to
connect more than one (in thirty second blocks), he may create one
contiguous memory for 2 Essence per thirty second block used, plus a
successful Precision Roll, at -1 for each additional block after the
first. A Servitor may 'empty' a snapshot's slot at will, without
Knight of Espionage
: Alaemon's Knights have the ability to see in
complete darkness, allowing them to read files under cover of
darkness or otherwise perform their duties without running the risk
of using lights. Printed materials they gather with the Snapshot
attunement will be reproduced properly, though video recordings
produced will be dark.
Captain of the Bureau
: This is the same as Alaemon's Luciferian
Captain of Private Chambers Distinction, Superiors 4 p.8.
Baron of Her Majesty's Secret Service
: (Her Majesty of course
referring to Lilith.) This is the same as Alaemon's Luciferian Baron
of the Vault Distinction, Superiors 4 p.8.
With the change of his Word, Alaemon has been forced to interact with
his fellow Lilithian Princes more than was his wont before. In
particular, Kronos and his Archives are invaluable to Alaemon, and
the Prince of Intelligence was swift to curry favor with the
enigmatic Prince of Fate. Kronos himself finds Alaemon useful.
Rebekah and Vapula, both strongly bolstered by the information
Alaemon's spies can bring to them, have strongly supported Alaemon,
and he in turn has instructed his Servitors to support them -- but
always gathering information on them. Similarly, Alaemon and
Andrealphus have cultivated an understanding -- the two Impudite
Princes can see good benefit to staying close to one another. Alaemon
resents the destructive Furfur, who decimates without warning, and
works against him as much as any Lilithian Prince will oppose
another. Furfur barely notices Alaemon, in response.
One item of note is Alaemon and Beleth's lack of association or
camaradrie, when both had been Associated before Lucifer's death.
Alaemon still can see the value of the Princess of Horror, but with
the exchange of covert information now more important than the
driving need for paranoia (beyond Paranoia's role in driving mankind
to spy on one another), Alaemon has stepped away from the Princess.
In return, Beleth -- herself unhappy with her Word 'promotion,' sees
no value in cultivating such a relationship.
The Luciferian Princes, as in other cases, should be considered one
step worse than their listing in Superiors 4 -- excepting Asmodeus.
Alaemon is hostile to Asmodeus as he works to displace him.
: Kronos (Rebekah and Vapula are Allied with Alaemon
: Andrealphus, Rebekah, Vapula (Andrealphus and Kronos are
associated with Alaemon
: Furfur (No one is Hostile to Alaemon
Chance of Invocation
- Convince a person to inform on their own family (parents, children, spouse).
- Spend six hours in a classified area the demon has no right to
access without getting caught.
Alaemon is consciously emulating his Luciferian opposite number (and
enemy) by checking in with each of his Servitors personally on a
regular basis -- about once every two weeks, for now.
+1 A human with more than 170 I.Q.
+2 A currently active codebook
+3 A working Enigma machine
+4 The only eyewitness to an atrocity
+5 The complete proof explaining a global conspiracy
+6 The complete nuclear codes of a superpower
Generic Blues - Weird Al Yankovic - UHF
Andrealphus, Lilithian Prince of Lust
(Please note -- on these writeups, only actual changes to a Prince's writeup will be listed unless there is a significant change -- such as reWording -- which will list page number references for the reader's convenience. Please refer to In Nomine's core rules for Andrealphus's mechanics, attunements and standard rites, as adapted below.)
The world is there to be used, to be taken, to be enjoyed, and then to be ignored. It is the way of things.
My Dark Lady proved me right. She clutched me closer than any Geas and showed me glories that I can never posses -- I can merely hunger for them, hunger to slacken my desires and release my passions upon them. My Dark Lady forced me to see, and I love her for it. Love her as totally and completely as any sentient loves another. And she hates me for my love and punishes me for my devotion, and I accept it, because I love her and I will always serve her.
Since the Fall I have known that love is weak. Love is false. Love is a lie. I have avoided love since that day, kept it at bay with pure, honest sensuality. But now that is torn away, and I am pierced through with the spike of love for my Dark Lady. I hurt and yearn and beg and serve my Dark Lady, who uses to satisfy herself -- her lusts, her desires, her plans, her goals, her world. My Servitors -- who revere and trust me -- I throw into the blades of Malakim at her whim. She uses me, and then she casts me aside until she wants to use me again. I am the tool of her lusts. Her lust for power. Her lust for the world. And her lust for the passions of humanity. My love makes me powerless to do anything but obey her.
Such is the nature of love. Such is the nature of Lust. Such am I, and so are you.
Andrealphus and Lilith had always been lovers and allies. With the death of Lucifer, Andrealphus had been worried about Lilith's apparent disappearance. (He had even thought for one terrible moment that Lilith had never existed -- that she had grown old and died as a human, but Lucifer's power as a Balseraph was such that he could lie to the Symphony and create Lilith the Princess of Hell out of nothingness. That, of course, was wrong.) With Lilith and Valefor gone, two of Andrealphus's strongest supporters were gone, leaving the Prince of Lust to bolster his Word with only Nybbas strongly supporting his efforts.
All of that changed when he felt the Geases clutch around his heart. The thousand chains held from favors over thousands of years. They combined into a call... a yearning... a lust
to go to Lilith. When he arrived, Lilith offered her strongest supporter a place of honor with her new Princes. Andrealphus agreed, but tentatively -- trying to jockey for power.
Lilith had none of that, and proved once and for all that the Princess of Freedom was dead when she grabbed Andrealphus up into her embrace. Over the next many hours (days? weeks? Who can tell in Celestial time?) Andrealphus was exposed to sights, sounds and touches that maddened him with lust, horror and glory. In the end, he was hopelessly in love with the Queen, and Lilith forged that love into chains.
Andrealphus always wears an iron collar and iron bracers now, often set with chains (clearly too flimsy to really hold them... clearly). He bows his head. He is often led leashed by Lilith as she walks through her domains -- she clearly doesn't care if she humiliates him or not. But Andrealphus cares -- her callousness towards his utter devotion is a hot, festering sore, and he desperately tries to evoke feelings from her in return by doing whatever -- whatever
-- she says.
In day to day dealings with Andrealphus, his Servitors can see the difference. Still, his dealings with them
haven't changed much. He is, if anything, more demanding and passionate now, desperate to find surcease for his wounded heart in the arms of any twelve of his Servitors. And his hatred of love has only gotten worse. He knows
how painful it is, now. He lives that pain -- the pain of the lie that is love. And that fuels him to wipe it from the face of the Earth in a mass of sweaty, hungry, passionate distractions, until all that remains is stimulus and response, desire and gratification.
Same as it ever was....
Andrealphus's Servitors have the Dissonance Conditions, Attunements, Basic Rites, Chance of Invocation and Invocation Modifiers listed in In Nomine
, pp. 158-9. Note that as of this time, Andrealphus's Servitors may purchase Beleth's Dream Walking attunement (IN p.165). Andrealphus doesn't give the attunement directly, but Lilith has instructed the Princess of Horror to grant the attunement to certain Servitors Andrealphus designates.
Relations with Luciferian Princes are as per IN p.159, save that each is worsened by one step. For example, Nybbas was an Ally before Lucifer's death. He is now Associated with Andrealphus. Enemies, who can get no worse in ranking, become somehow even more intensely loathed. (Andrealphus would consider the destruction of Saminga an active goal at this point, and likely has committed resources to such.)
Lilithian Prince Relations
(Note that Hostility between the Lilithian Princes is considered secondary to the Lilithian goal of fully taking over Hell and repelling Heaven.)
No one would dare seriously hurt Lilith's little toy, but respect for the Prince of Lust isn't high among the Lilithian Princes. Andrealphus couldn't care less about how well respected he is. He has instructed his Servitors to help Rebekah as much as possible, given Rebekah's role as the Chamberlain of Hell (and therefore her favor from Andrealphus's beloved Lilith). Andrealphus also appreciates Alaemon's presence among the Lilithian Seven -- two Impudites can understand each other, and Alaemon's paranoia keeps him from mocking Andrealphus's captivity. On the other hand, Andrealphus can't stand Beleth and her constant destruction of the right conditions for lust to live -- and the two Princes are further tested by Lilith's command that both work to repel the Heavenly assault on the Nightmare side of the Marches, and the standing order for Beleth to grant her Dream Walking attunement to Andrealphus's Servitors as he sees fit. And the Impudite in Andrealphus can't stand Furfur's driving need to destroy
humanity instead of using it.
: Rebekah (No one considers themselves allied to Andrealphus
: Alaemon (Alaemon and Rebekah are associated with Andrealphus
: Beleth, Furfur (Beleth and Furfur are hostile to Andrealphus
LIL1: Luciferian Opinions of the Consolidation of the Queen
It comes as no surprise that the Luciferian Princes are deeply upset.
First off, their entire worldview has been smashed. As the Infernal
Player's Guide notes, much of their entire being was based on the
idea that Lucifer was right, God was wrong, and eventual victory was
inevitable. Lucifer dying hurts. Secondly, the degredation of one's
Word is actively painful -- like having a slow wound that's causing
an agonizingly slow bleeding to death. The Princes are not
immediately overly affected in power level (though they do feel an
effect after the first month) and not all Princes are degrading at
the same rate or the same way that Word-bound did, but all feel it,
and it's nothing they can ignore. At all times it is close to the top
of their thoughts, and as a result is more important than Lilith on
the Granite Throne or control of Hell. Third, however, is Lilith.
Had Lilith assumed the Granite Throne, stabilized Words, and moved
into Lucifer's role, there would be little dissention over her reign.
Oh, the usual schemers would scheme, and it's safe to say every
Prince would be trying to find a way to reverse the relationship and
assume Hell for his or herself, but there wouldn't be much
consternation beyond the usual grumbling about semievolved baboons
with delusions of grandeur.
However, Lilith is not taking on Lucifer's Role. She is actively
ruling, parceling out Words with a strategy in mind that she isn't
telling others, at least not yet. Those who serve her obey her, and
the autonomy known since the Dawn of Hell among the Princes is not
shared between her Seven.
This keeps the Luciferians at bay. While she could likely recruit any
of them if she tried (and held out the Word like a carrot, clouding
their judgement with their need for wholeness), she has stopped her
recruitment, instead waiting to see what her Seven and the
Luciferians do. So, without inducements, the Luciferians chafe and
resist, certain that if they make enough trouble, the Queen will have
to come to terms.
If they can remain unified.
At this time, all relations between Luciferian Princes should improve
one level. Enemies become Hostile Princes. Hostile Princes become
Neutral. Neutral Princes become Associated. Associated Princes become
Allied. Further, relations between Luciferian and Lilithian Princes
fall one level. Allies become Associated. Associated Princes become
Neutral. Neutral Princes become Hostile. Hostile Princes become
Enemies. You don't want to know what Enemies become.
Specific reactions and agendas are as follows:
Asmodeus: You cannot play the same game with different players, and
Lucifer was always a player in the game. He believed himself more,
but he learned differently. Now, Lilith plays her own game, and
Kronos plays his, and Baal plays his, and I of course play mine. I
will not mourn Lucifer -- he played and lost, but the Game continues.
Now my strategies must weave together. The Game between Heaven and
Hell must be secondary to Hell's own gambits, and I must consolodate
my position before I can procede. As for little Alaemon... he has
been given a good opening position in Lilith's strategem. Let us see
if he can play it. (Asmodeus's Servitors are concentrating almost
exclusively on Word bolstering -- Asmodeus has a Word that is easier
to bolster without inviting the Wrath of Stone than others -- and
entrenching their position on Earth. Asmodeus has elected to neglect
the huge number of refugee demons fleeing to Heaven for now -- after
all, Lilith has her own Spymaster for such things, and she has
declared herself the Queen of Hell, hasn't she? This seeming
unconcern over treason has led to more Gamester Renegades -- hidden
away with their Humanity attunements -- than at any known time in
Baal: In case you have forgotten -- and why should I expect otherwise
-- there was a purpose to our Revolution. Lucifer, the shining
Morning Star, strove and ultimately died in the name of the Heavenly
Host -- those who followed him and those who did not. He swore that
we were better than these barely sentient, barely evolved simians.
We were the natural inheritors of Divine Grace and Favor, not these
sin-infested, lazy, crass sacks of meat. And now Lucifer lies dead,
his soul itself sacrificed in the name of our holy cause, and a
human has the audacity to sit upon the Granite Throne? I would
laugh but I am too busy weeping. This human has been suffered for
millenia as Lucifer's pet and in the name of her useful demons. But
to actually have this tiny little woman claim the right of rule over
me? Absurd! The very thought is offensive. She must be crushed
and eliminated -- as soon as we have brought our Words and Forces
into stability once more. In the meantime, the War continues. The War
always continues. And in Lucifer's martyred name we will pursue it
and win it. Now, if only I knew what Kronos was up to.... (If the
Game has more Renegades then ever before, then the War has fewer
deserters than any other Luciferian Prince's organization. The
Servitors of the War have intensely powerful Esprit de Corps as they
fight to establish the Word of the War more securely. This is in part
because of the speedy promotion track as the Generals and other
Word-bound of the War falter and die, and even the powerful
unWord-bound lead suicide missions to bolster the Word of War.)
Belial: It hurts. It hurts! Damn it, don't you understand? I can't
get away from her! I can't get away from her! I've got to make the
fire hotter! I've got to make the destruction louder! Destruction
-- damn that monkey woman for making Furfur Destruction! Damn
her! He was mine! And then he was mine to kill! How dare she? How
dare she? Don't you see? It hurts, damn it! Damn Lilith! Damn
Gabriel! I can't get away! We have to burn them all away! Burn
Lilith! Burn Gabriel! Burn Earth and Heaven and Hell until only the
ash remains! (Belial and Gabriel have been in balance for a long time
-- and so long as his Word at least approached hers in Power, he
could revel in the pain his Word caused the Archangel of Fire more
than be torn by it. However, as his Word falters and hers becomes
ascendent, Divine Fire now surrounds his being, forcing his selfish
Symphony to acknowledge it and literally making him Dissonant and
Discordant (especially since he is literally being 'burnt' by his own
scheme now.. Note that while he is Dissonant, he is *not* a candidate
for Redemption, as he flees the enlightenment in pain and
selfishness. His Word is failing much faster than others because of
the conflict, and as a result he has begun to feel the pain and loss
of sanity that has plagued Gabriel for so long. His Servitors are
similarly panicked and crazed, and are desperately trading their time
between setting obvious, catastrophic fires on Earth (to fuel his
Word -- especially since they can't merely be destructive now, as
that fuels Furfur's Word) and fighting Furfur's forces off in
Sheol, where their conflict is anything but hidden.)
Fleurity: Mm. Well, I've always had a good working relationship with
Lilith even though she never cared for me personally. I had thought
her humanity would draw her into my way of thinking -- the right
sniff or snort or needle and all, liberating her senses -- but it
didn't happen that way. She proved herself strong after all. I can
respect that, and intend to contact her and make my services
available. After all, it doesn't take a genius to see this revolt
will never last. Too many weak links, after all. And I could be of
great use to her. In the meantime, my Word slowly diminishes and that
must be dealt with, and I cannot afford to commit resources to
battle. The important thing is to ensure that operations continue to
rejuvenate me until Lilith and I come to an appropriate arrangement.
As for Lucifer's demise... well, ultimately the strong must be tested
against the strong. One will emerge as stronger, and the other does
not deserve our mourning. (Fleurity is calm in the face of
destruction -- panic or anger would be a sign of weakness, after all.
He has stepped up operations on Earth, in hopes that the more
demonstrative Luciferian assaults will distract Heaven away from him.
His Servitors are mostly employed in those endeavors, save for his
most expendable Servitors, who he has loaned to his 'allies' among
the Luciferians, as a sign of good faith. Fleuritians were quite
likely to go Renegade in the beginning of the chaos, but at this
point most of the potentially redemptive have left, leaving
Fleurity's organization diminished but not destroyed. Fleurity's
relative lack of Word-bound before the death of Lucifer means his
upper organization is remarkably untouched, however.)
Haagenti: I don't understand how Lucifer -- Lucifer -- died. I
mean, Michael's big and tough, but Lucifer wasn't a Demon Prince. He
was the Devil. Big D followed by evil, you know? He intervened
in the world, pushing it just like God does. Are you seriously
tellin' me Michael was in God's league all this time? Makes me
sick... and I am sick. Sick to my stomach. I haven't been sick
since I was a damn demonling. I hate this. Hate it. I'm tellin'
you, I don't relish the idea of following Lilith, but anything'd be
better than this. Well, food will help. Food always helps. And
Gluttony's been strong for a real long time. (Haagenti is worried --
like Belial, his Word seems to be failing faster than others among
the Luciferians. Haagenti's followers live in terror that their lord
will start eating them for their Forces, to help slow his decline.
They also know he's been agitating to join up with Lilith (under the
theory that it's better to be alive than dead, so he can go back to
Shal Mari and the way life used to be -- food and lots of it) and
that some of the more militant Luciferian Princes don't care for it.
Many who've reached Earth have fled to the Angels out of those fears.
The remainder are running Gluttony operations, but it's hard to
dramatically bolster a Word like Gluttony and keep it up.)
Kobal: This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world
ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.
Y'know, it's funny. I could have guessed Lucifer'd get spacked sooner
or later. It's been literally twenty thousand years since anyone'd
given him a fight. Michael's been training all that time, waiting for
the golden moment. Lucifer's lucky he even hurt Mikey. I could have
guessed, and you know the others could have. But it caught us all off
guard, and now here we're fading away. Funny. Heh. So, the question
is, do we fight on two fronts, trying to keep our Words alive while
our Word-bound turn into tapioca and the Host slaughters us on every
excursion and fight a Civil War for Hell, hot or cold doesn't
matter... or do we swallow our collective pride and suck up to Lilith
in the hopes she doesn't let us die. Gee, they both sound so
good.... Still, I'll tell you something. When Lucifer died, there
weren't any more Infernal Interventions. They just stopped happening.
I always kept track of them where I could when I was responsible for
Fate, before Telly Savalas showed up. Now? Lilith's taken the throne
and the Interventions are back, helping Hell. Even our demons. But
we're still fighting against her even though she's clearly taken
over. Funny, isn't it? Huh? Aren't you laughing? (Kobal had fallen
into a kind of ennui before Lucifer died. After Lucifer's death, he's
clearly fallen into true depression. His world view has been proven
wrong and he's going to fade into nonexistance -- so why not laugh?
He barely directs his Servitors now, but his surviving Distincted
have taken it on themselves to promote his Word wherever possible.
It is not a good time to be a Servitor of Dark Humor.)
Malphas: Will I live or will I die? Who can tell? Who can try?
Lucifer is dead -- I loved him. I was his best friend. Lilith has his
throne. I love her. I am her best friend. Baal wants to destroy
Lilith before she can secure her power. I love him. I am his best
friend. All around me my fellows are dying -- slaughtered by Heaven,
fighting in Hell or having their Words collapse and die. And I? Can
but smile at the glorious factions that arise, like a pack of
children on a liferaft, arguing over trivialities until the raft
flips over and they die. For now I help the Luciferians. Tomorrow, it
may be clear their faction cannot win, and I will help the
Lilithians. In the meantime, I watch and listen and keep my forces
throughout Hell. Let Alaemon have Stygia. I don't need it any longer.
(Malphas is as always a faction of one. For now, it serves his needs
to work with the Luciferians. As soon as those winds change, so will
he. His forces are letting the others take the War to Heaven,
offering up only token resistance to Alaemon in Hell. Mostly, they
are slipping through the cracks into the realms, watching and
learning how the power struggles are progressing and different
alliances are forming. He is paying careful attention to how the
Lilithian Princes cooperate with one another, looking for patterns
and factions among them... all the better to exploit when he makes
his move across the Styx.)
Mammon: Damn Lilith! Damn her! I'll kill her! I'll break her bones
and rape her body and nail her carcass to my Vault's wall, and lock
her away for all time, giving her food in exchange for her daughters,
and they will work for me. How dare she take Lucifer's crown as
her own? And how dare she set that green-skinned bitch up to take
my Word from me? She needs to learn -- Haagenti wasn't enough to take
Greed away from me. All the Princes who nailed me on Black Tuesday
weren't enough to take Greed away from me. Does she think her damn
daughter is enough to take my Word from me? Does she? I'll teach her
who's in charge. I'll give her something to rule. Oh Hell yeah! In
the meantime, death to the traitors, and vast riches to those who
put the Luciferian Princes in the driver's seat again! (Mammon is in
trouble and knows it. Rebekah, the Lilithian Lilim Princess of the
Deal, is clearly in his territory, taking strength away from his Word
and adding it to herself. Lucifer, who Mammon followed passionately
(or so he tells himself) is dead. His best and brightest Servitors
have proven to be bad investments, as his Word-bound die out and his
Servitors desert with dramatic speed -- most of them joining the
Princess of the Deal or Alaemon's service. Almost no Demons of Greed
have defected to Heaven, not with such attractive rates (and such an
attractive Princess) over at the Deal. Even his Tethers -- the ones
the thrice-damned Sword haven't blown up -- are being stolen for
Rebekah, the Seneschals throwing in with her in exchange for
stabilized Words. Those Servitors who remain loyal seek to promote
Greed without promoting the Deal and without getting killed by
Angels. It's not easy.)
Nybbas: It's a full bore Media frenzy! Hell is agog at the
spectacle, NNN's been running full bore reports on the War, on the
civil war, on rumors, on Lilith, on the new Princess... all slanted
Luciferian, natch, but slant or no it's being eaten up! And on Earth?
Pow! Whoosh! Zoom! Belial's setting fires, Mammon's starting
corporate takeovers, Baal's invading Hoboken and the Heavenly Host is
desperately trying to fight it and keep from revealing themselves!
It's a smorgasbord of videotape, and it's running everywhere on the
damn planet! My Word's just fine, baby, so I can sit back and make
a lot of friends and wait these unfortunate times out, then sign on
with the winner. It's a good thing. (Nybbas's organization has had a
number of defections to Heaven, but otherwise it's almost business as
usual. There's plenty of fodder for the Media to work with, and
Heaven is generally (although not entirely) busy with more violent
Princes reinforcing their Words. It's a good time to pitch ideas,
shape events, get the beauty shot on tape and get quality air time in
the Media. And while Nybbas is very positive, thanks to the general
Word reinforcement, his Servitors are getting quietly worried. Sooner
or later, either the emergencies will quiet down or the public will
get tired of them, and Media will wane slightly -- and then Nybbas
Saminga: Lucifer is dead. I told you everyone dies. I told you.
Lucifer is dead, so Death is stronger than Lucifer. Lilith better
remember that. Baal better remember that. Michael better remember
that. Death is stronger than Lucifer. Death is stronger than God.
Death is. (Saminga's forces are divided -- divided between fleeing to
Furfur and fleeing to Heaven, that is. Saminga himself is sinking
into mania and death-worship. Those Servitors who are too loyal (or
who aren't bright enough) to leave their Prince are promoting his
Word from security, as Saminga's fortress is currently uncontested.
Of course, Saminga's undead are loyal, and none of them failed with
Valefor: <comment unavailable> (Valefor's forces are in abject
chaos, as their Prince hasn't been seen since the Death of Lucifer.
While technically Luciferian, any number of Valefor's Servitors have
sought shelter with Lilith's Princes -- and Lilith has made it clear
she doesn't want Valefor's Servitors hurt. Invocations of Valefor
don't work. There is no formal effort to bolster Valefor's Word, as
Valefor's Word-bound has mostly died out and his Distincted but
un-Word-bound Servitors have adopted an "every demon for himself"
attitude. A few of Lilith's closer friends among the Servitors of
Theft have had their Words adapted, though a condition of
Word-adaption to Lilithian principles is to join with a Lilithian
Prince. Alaemon, Beleth and Vapula have been the greatest recipiants
of new talent from Theft. And of course, a large number have defected
LIL1: Heavenly Superior Reactions to the Consolidation of the Queen
There is a tremendous feeling of excitement in Heaven. While there
was mourning for the loss of the Archangel of Light -- now forever
beyond redemption -- the apparent threshold of victory in the War has
brought enthusiasm and jubilation among the Virtuous. With the
degredation of Infernal Words, it seems more and more like Lucifer's
entire Rebellion was just one more Balseraph's lie, and now God's
will is spreading to all corners. Optimism is at its highest since
before the Purity Crusade.
There is concern over the grieveous injuries Michael suffered in his
battle, but the general feeling is Michael will recover swiftly.
Certainly, Michael will grow more quickly than the Princes will
degrade, or so goes the theory, but while the Princes are
degrading, they are more likely to bolster their own Words or search
for a cure for their condition.
It is known that Lilith has named herself Queen of Hell and
apparently has named new Princes and Word-bound, but there is no
reason to believe these Words won't degrade as quickly as the
Luciferian Words. There is considerable curiousity of how Lilith is
able to do these things. On the other hand, Kronos -- a known
Balseraph -- is working with her, which means it may all be lies
anyhow, or perhaps Kronos, as the second most powerful Balseraph
after Lucifer himself, has learned the trick of Word granting and is
doing it in Lilith's name.
The Peace Faction is gaining considerable strength. Michael has done
the one crucial thing needed by War, the theory goes. Now it's time
to begin bringing all of God's Children together and once again
living in harmony. This is borne out by the flood of Infernal
Refugees (Renegades no longer seems to describe them) to Divine
Tethers and known Angels of all stripes. While a good number of these
Refugees fail to achieve Redemption, enough succeed that a real
feeling of homecoming and reconciliation has begun to fill the air.
Here then are the current feelings and reactions of the various
Heavenly Superiors to the early days of Lilith's Reign:
Blandine: Laurence took an immediate and strong interest in driving
Beleth's demons from the Marches. Perhaps he was guilty for Michael's
sacrifice. We have regained all the ground lost to Magog's forces
some time ago, and then some. But Andrealphus's Demons are trying to
infect the good Dreams we must protect, and defending the Dreamers is
more important than any military victory. Perhaps soon I will see
Beleth again, and we can have a reckoning, though.... As for
Lilith... her dreams have always been grey -- sometimes light,
sometimes dark. I think she will not be the enemy Lucifer was.
(Blandine's Angels are largely concentrating on the defense of Dreams
and Tether defense, following some weeks of campaigning alongside
Laurence's Angels to drive Nightmares back.)
Christopher: It's so exciting! I've redeemed two dozen demons
myself, and there are so many more clamoring at the gates of Heaven!
I would do more there, but the Princes are panicking and striving to
protect their Words -- and the suffering of children can be very
evocotive to the human consciousness. My angels must protect children
worldwide, keeping the forces of Fire, the War, Death and Dark Humor
away from them. At least Andrealphus seems distracted -- oh, he's one
of those with Lilith now, isn't it? I wonder what she's up to....
(Angels of Children are being assigned to block demonic assaults --
children being a primary target for Word bolstering.)
David: I remember the Archangel of Light. He died twenty thousand
years ago, and Michael threw the corpse to Hell. Now Michael has
ended the Corpse's twitching, and will shed no tears for it. I do not
trust that Hell's threat has ended with it's Lord, and I fear
Lilith's involvement in all this. Her duplicity and hypocracy must
not be allowed to grow -- she has infected too much of Earth already.
In the meantime, we must hurl ourselves against the thrust of the
dying Princes, lest the Earth be torn apart in their death throes.
The work is not complete, and so long as it is not complete I will
not celebrate. (Angels of Stone have been tasked with shutting down
demonic incursions on Earth, using any means necessary. The Davidians
are among the least likely to accept redemption candidates at this
time, instead sending as many demons as they can to their Hearts.
This is especially true of Word-bound -- the idea of their Words
dying as they lie curled around their Hearts appeals to the Davidian
sense of the appropriate.)
Dominic: Lucifer's judgement came, at last, at the keen edge of
Michael's axe. God pardoned Michael for Pride, and today I can see
the wisdom of that decision. Michael's Pride strengthened his arm and
resolution, letting the swift blade of War cleave through Lucifer's
lies and leaving nothing to protect the Morningstar from ultimate
justice. Now, the floodgates have opened and the demons are begging
to return to grace. Though it take us a thousand years, each must be
judged individually, and each must be given the chance to flourish in
Heaven once more. Judgement day is nigh for all of Hell, and Heaven
must be firm, but just. And Lilith? For centuries we have said she is
nothing more than a demon in human clothing, and now she has shown
it. Judgement will not be kind to her. (Dominic -- interestingly
enough -- is one of the most common Archangels responsible for
redeeming the Luciferian Refugees. This is in part because his
Redemptions have been more successful than most -- in part because he
only attempts to Redeem the deserving and takes the time to seperate
out the frightened from the penitent. His Angels are devoted to the
holding of refugees and the debriefing of newly redeemed Angels, and
their dockets are very full indeed, right now.)
Eli: Whoa -- Lilith's the Queen of Hell? Like, God Save the Queen,
y'know? I mean that. No, I really really mean that. She needs it.
Maybe this means a kinder, gentler Hell. Seems unlikely, though.
Watch her. She's shifty. The Lilith I know wouldn't be Queen.
President maybe. So she's not the Lilith I know. Do you understand?
Do you? You gonna finish those fries? (Eli's Angels... are Eli's
Angels. What, you expect Lucifer's death to change anything here?)
Gabriel: The laughing man will laugh no more, but does he smile? Or
smirk. It cannot be seen. It cannot be told. The Morning Star was
falling to Earth. Falling, falling in flames and burning what it
touched, and now it has fallen and split and the fire has poured out
and seeped into the cold hard rock! The King of Heaven has struck
down the serpent, and the serpent's blood flows through the veins of
the queen... beware the queenstrike, and watch for the smirk or the
smile -- watch! (Gabriel is in an interesting state. Belial's Word
is faltering, and after millenia of the two battling for that Word,
Gabriel has instantly driven him down further, weakening him and
reasserting her own dominance definitely for the first time since
Belial first drove her to insanity. As a result, the Voice is very
strong in her, making Gabriel less coherent than ever, due to the
prophecies flowing through her. She is distracted but seems easier to
invoke than normal. In the meantime, her Servitors perform their
duties without much change, punishing the cruel with savage glee in
the wake of the death of Lucifer.)
Janus: Michael has always been our leader, whether he has the title
or not. He has shown us why, one more time -- and shown us how the
whining dogs of Judgement have cost us so much for so long. How much
sooner would Lucifer's death had come if Michael had been given the
free hand he needed? How much sooner would the winds of change have
swept through Heaven, Hell and Earth if we had not endured the
interregnum of the stubbornly pure and the purely stubborn? Now our
true fire is rekindled, and Hell cannot stand before our gale. Let us
hitch high the sails and sail them into Satan's heart and Lucifer's
little successor! Let Gabriel's horn blow and the assembled Host fly
like leaves in the wind, until all of Hell has been scoured clean and
all that remains are God's children. The Hour is Nigh -- let's have
us an Armageddon! (Janus's Angels are revelling in the chaos of
change. The frantic Word bolstering and desperate flocking to Heaven
are seen as affirmations of the entire Windie viewpoint -- change has
taken place in Hell, and the old is being swept away by the new.
Janus's Angels are generally tasked with helping refugee demons reach
safe places or otherwise keeping the change that's begun from
stangnenting. If that means helping to sweep out the old by blocking
Word bolstering attempts, so be it.)
Jean: While Michael's actions were foolhardy and dangerous, one
cannot argue with the empirical results he has wrought. If one
postulated the assumption -- the death of Lucifer -- the results that
have been observed were predictable. Lucifer had always been the
catalyst. Hell and all her Demons were merely the reaction to
exposure to that catalyst. With the removal of the catalyzing agent,
the reaction's precipitation remains but is being slowly washed away
in the ebb and flow of the Symphony. Barring another catalyst to
reinstate the same or a similar reaction, eventually there would be
nothing of Hell or its works left. Lilith has moved herself into the
position of catalyzing agent -- will she create a reaction, slow the
clearing or ultimately prove inert? I am not sure. It would seem one
of the other potential Lords of Hell -- Baal, Malphas or Kronos --
would have produced a stronger reaction. It should be interesting to
observe. (The Servitors of Lightning have been the harbingers of the
new age, determining the rate and quality of Word-force degradation.
Further, when the captive Demon of Hubris underwent his own crisis of
faith, it was three young Mercurians of Lightning and an older Seraph
of Lightning who ministered to him, leading to one of the first major
Redemptions following the death of Lucifer. Now, the Angels of
Lightning are tasked with observing and reporting on the activities
of the Horde as they try to bolster the failing Words, measuring Word
loss and the reaction of Infernal powers to it. Of course, they are
to try and block Hellish advances as they do so.)
Jordi: The alpha male has been torn down, and now the pack scrambles,
seeking both sustenance and dominance. The old alpha's bitch rises
and tries to hold the pack to her word, but they resist. The pack,
thus torn, runs wild and unnatural. We must guard the deer from the
pack until they settle, and then while they are weak, we must ride in
and cull them once and for all. (Jordi's Angels have been set almost
entirely to protecting wilderness areas and other animal habitats
from Word bolstering attempts -- especially those of Belial, who
seeks to burn down large, distinctive resources, especially beloved
ones like national parkland or forests.)
Khalid: Mika'il -- God's Peace be upon him -- has struck home the
message that Faith has always carried... in perfect submission to and
therefore majesty of the Lord, one can carry the fires of judgement
to the very heart of the Shaitan. Glories and joy be spread in
Michael's name, as the infidels now sob and cry out for mercy that
will not come. We must carry that glory further, taking Michael's
glorious example to heart and striking down evil where it lies, all
the way into the heart of Hell itself. Do not ever forget that
Shaitans, while doomed to failure and destruction, come in packs.
(The Angels of Faith stand in Jihad against the forces of Hell, using
their desperate attempts to bolster the Words of the Luciferian
Princes as excuses to sweep in and decimate the reduced Horde. They
are cold to refugees -- any who come to the mosques out of fear are
eliminated without mercy. Truly contrite demons, having seen the
error of their ways following the path of Lucifer, are treated
harshly but not unkindly, leading to the fires of Redemption or
death, if they are unworthy.)
Laurence: Michael's victory has given us an unprecidented
opportunity. Now is not the time to either lose our heads or assume
the job is over. The Princes are dying -- the Infernal Word-bound are
passing away before our very eyes. We have to pursue the attack. The
Gates of Hell have been closed, with the damned souls collecting
outside them. We must be ready to lay siege as soon as they're forced
open -- when there is no other way for them to go. While we must hold
the ground we've gained in the Marches, our responsibility now is
clear -- destroy the Infernal Tethers where they lie, save those we
can absolutely control, so that we have ways into the heart of Hell
itself. Give the Princes no options but to stand and fight on fields
of our choosing. And wait them out. Given enough time, none but the
least of the demons will survive -- especially not Lilith and her
pretentions of royalty. (The Angels of the Sword are leading the
charge against demonic positions, both in the Marches and on Earth.
It's said four flights of Malakim stand before the sealed gates of
Hell themselves, waiting for the chance to take the battle into the
heart of Hades and from there throughout Hell. Where other Angels are
defending against Word-bolstering, the Angels of Laurence are
destroying Infernal positions on Earth.)
Litheroy: Do you see? Do you finally understand? The lie has been
revealed. Lucifer's lie, infecting the Symphony itself, has been
shown as hollow as paper maiche, and no more sturdy in the end. The
Symphony sings with Revelation, the lies of Demonic Words fading away
like echoes of horns that are no longer being blown. From here, we
must welcome those of our Fallen bretheren who understand, who see
that they have been lied to, and who seek the Truth once and for all.
By their examples, we can show the propeganda of the Game is a lie,
and in Revelation Heaven can be united once more. (Angels of
Revelation are among those embracing and assisting Refugees, moving
Litheroy more into the Peace Faction than is his normal wont.)
Marc: I don't understand what Lilith is trying to prove. Why is the
Princess of Freedom suddenly giving orders? Have you heard she's
taking slaves? This should be her moment to shine -- the way and path
to Heaven are clear, and after millenia she should be ready to
embrace the truth, the way so many others are. If we can meet our
frightened infernal bretheren halfway, and help them to see the light
and the joy of selflessness, we can finally bring this all to an end.
Well, if Lilith manages to survive as the Queen of Hell, at least
then we can open a reasonable dialogue and know she's dealing in good
faith. No matter what else has happened, we are infinitely better off
than when Lucifer ruled Hell. And I have to admit -- watching
Mammon's Word fade from the Symphony is very... very fun. Now... I
really must figure out who this Rebekah is.... (Angels of Trade are
among the core of the Peace Faction, growing in strength and
influence in the wake of Lucifer's death. They are also gaining in
strength among Humanity, as free and fair trade practices are finally
growing against both Greed and Gluttony. Marc's Angels have been
given the task of outreach towards the refugee Demonic population --
where several Archangels are supporting the Redemption effort, it is
the Angels of Trade who are moving into hot zones to give Renegades a
place to go -- a friend to help them towards the light.)
Michael: What is so unclear about this situation? Damn it, I did the
hard part for you. Finish the damn job! Armageddon has been a
swear word for so long the others have forgotten its real purpose --
Judgement Day. Lucifer is dead. We should be wiping out the
Forces of Hell now, while they're weak, confused and scattered. We
can Redeem the stragglers and the survivors. They rebelled, remember,
not us. Our responsibility is to Heaven, Humanity and God, not in
that order. And Lilith? Don't make me laugh, just make her dead. When
she dies, if she's worth Heaven she'll go there, won't she? (Absent
their injured Superior, the Angels of War have been working In
Service To the Sword and Stone, with a few alongside the Angels of
the Wind for good measure. They are serving with distinction, but
make no secret of their desire to launch the final battle.)
Novalis: I brought a dandelion to the Cathedral of Light. Such a
beautiful flower, even if it's called a weed. It's pretty, and
sturdy, but so transitory. Bright and yellow one day, gone to
gossymer seed the next, and then it's gone until the next year. I
remember how bright Lucifer once was, and mourn his death now. We
have to make that death mean something -- not just victory for
Heaven, but victory against the pain, the war, the bloodshed of the
past. It is a new day. I hope Lilith understands that, down in Hell.
She seems to -- her Princes aren't launching these suicidal attacks
on the Corporeal Realm. Once things quiet down, we can open the Gates
of Heaven and let the Light shine as a beacon, and let the former
Servitors of Lucifer rise and join with us in peace, once more. And
hope no more dandelions need to be cut down. (The Servitors of
Flowers are protecting humanity where it's needed, and ministering to
the refugees where they can. Marc's Angels are working to recruit and
bring out the Renegades, and Novalis's Angels are then protecting
them while their suitability for Redemption is assessed.
Interestingly, the Angels of Flowers are working very closely with
the Servitors of Judgement during this process, without strain.)
Yves: Once there was a little girl who was born to untold wealth and
love, if only she would accept the responsibility to possess them.
"You may have all the food you need, but you must give food to others
when it's necessary. You may have all the clothing you want, but you
must see others clothed. You may have a husband to share your heart,
but you must be his partner, sometimes leading him and sometimes
serving him." And the little girl said "no. No, I won't take the food
if I have to share it. I won't take the clothes if I have to share
them. I won't have a husband if I have to share my life with him. I
would rather be hungry, and cold, and alone than be responsible to
and for other people." And she left her birthplace, and was hungry,
and cold, and alone. And a man came to that little girl and offered
her the ability to earn her own food and clothes, but only if she
would prostitute herself and her children. Everything would have a
price, but she would never be cheated. She could be cold and hungry
if she didn't want to prostitute herself, or she could have infinite
food and clothing if she would. And she accepted his deal, without
ever asking if she would have love. And then, when the man died, she
learned he was his heir. And she could have chosen to have love at
last, but only if she shared her inheritance with the world, or she
could have all of it to herself, but only if she sacrificed the world
to keep it. And she chose. Little girls make selfish choices
sometimes. We must be certain the world does not pay the price. Eh?
What do I think of Lucifer's death? Mm. Well fought, Michael. (The
Angels of Destiny are almost avoiding both the refugees and the
demons, right now, and are instead working overtime to promote the
Destiny of individual humans. Yves's directives seem more intent than
before, and he has a tight rein on his Servitors, keeping them
on-task rather than celebrating with the others or fighting the
Forces of Hell -- even Fate.)
Zadkiel: War has served its purpose and served it exceedingly well.
Lucifer lies dead. And Michael lies wounded. We must be worthy of
that injury -- we must protect humanity from the beast that has been
roused. Now more than ever we must form a wall that shields our
children -- the flower of humanity, of nature, of animals, and of all
our works and the works of humanity. Now, we must complete what has
been started, and prove to the Horde once and for all that they
cannot breach our defense -- and in that prove convince mor and more
to take up our banner and our spirit. In Michael's Victory lies the
kernal of our ultimate victory -- but only if we let the seed grow.
(Zadkiel is supportive of the Peace Faction, but is mostly devoting
her Angels to protecting populated areas from the desperate lunge of
the Princes. She feels that if the Princes are balked, more and more
Demons will see the fallacy of their cause and flock to Heaven's
LIL1: Mechanics and Adventure Seeds for the Consolidation of the Queen
Lilith stops being invokable as of this time. Those who wish to play events and scenes during this period of Lilith's early expansion should know the following.
The Luciferian Word-bound, Demon and Prince alike, continue to hemmorage Word-strength. Each day that passes, right at dawn when angels receive their Essence for the day, the Symphony reclaims some of what Lucifer imposed upon it, and all Luciferian Words lose a Word force. Demons (or Princes) with only one Word force lose one of their Forces instead, all as per the Game Master's Guide.
Servitors of Luciferian Princes or Word-bound continue to have their master's attunements, which in turn continue to work. Rites also continue to work so long as the Luciferian Word continues to be actively supported. Note that Princes who are adapted to Lilithian Words no longer support their Luciferian Words, and their old rites stop working even if their old attunements do not disappear. This is even true of Demons of Lust (for example), whose Superior's Word did not change. Old Servitors would need to have Andrealphus's rites re-granted to them for them to work, as the Luciferian Word of Lust they are attuned to is no longer supported.
Note that Kronos seems to be an exception. Either his Word was privately adapted by Lilith, or the Word of Fate is independent of Lucifer and Lilith alike.
Note that while Valefor is missing, his rites do still work.
During this time, the Luciferian Princes continue to bolster their failing Words. While most Luciferian Word-bound perish within a month of Lucifer's death, the Princes are vastly more powerful and have great reserves to work from. Servitors of Luciferian Princes are given more and more Earthbound assignments, trying to promote their Words wherever possible and delay the inevitable.
There is considerable unity between the Luciferian Princes during this time, at least until Vapula defects and becomes Prince of Science under Lilith. Baal has assumed a kind of Martial Law, with Asmodeus supporting him where possible. And, while Lilith has the heart of Hell (and the entire of the Lower Hells) under her sway, the Luciferian Princes still have the core of Hell's provinces under their control. In particular, Abaddon, Gehenna, and Perdition are wholly under control of the Luciferian Princes. Shal-Mari -- currently the Berlin of Hell -- is contested between Kobal and Haagenti on the Luciferian side and Andrealphus and Rebekah on the Lilithian side in a bitter cold war. Alaemon is rapidly gaining control of Stygia from Malphas, and perhaps is angling for Hades as well, though Asmodeus is keeping him at bay for now. Sheol is in open warfare between Belial and Furfur, and Tartarus and the Nightmare side of the Marches are firmly in Lilithian hands.
New and Changed Superiors
Here are the effects of the changes to Lilith and the First Seven Major Princes. Note that while reference is made to realigning Servitors to the Princes' new Words to allow access to their Rites, the Princes may choose to give their Rites to anyone, including old but untouched Servitors. However, their old Rites will not work from the moment of their conversion, and as a rule the Princes will require an old Servitor to be remade in the image of their Superior's new Word before granting Rites or privileges.
Alaemon: Luciferian Secrets to Lilithian Intelligence. Old members of the Conspiracy continue to have their Attunements, their Secret Society Places and their ranks, but need realignment by Alaemon from the Luciferian Word of Secrets to the Word of Intelligence before gaining Alaemon's new rites. An Alaemon writeup will follow.
Andrealphus: Luciferian Lust to Lilithian Lust. His writeup doesn't change, though his Luciferian Servitors will need to be realigned before they can use his rites again.
Beleth: Luciferian Nightmares to Lilithian Horror. She uses her old Servitors almost immediately to defend the Marches, and converts them when she has opportunity. Writeup to follow.
Furfur: Luciferian Hardcore to Lilithian Destruction. The Superior of choice for violent Luciferian demons of all stripes, Furfur swiftly gets converts from the War, Fire, Hardcore (naturally) and Death. The process of his conversion seems to have levened his impetuous nature and given him more of a brain. Writeup to follow.
Kronos: There is no change in the Prince of Fate -- his Servitors do not even need realignment to a new Word. His writeup is unchanged.
Lilith: Luciferian Freedom to Queen of Hell. Rites, Lilith's dissonance conditions and any distinctions she once may have given stop working. Lilith has more than stopped supporting the Word of Freedom -- she has completely abandoned it.
Vapula: Luciferian Technology to Lilithian Science: Vapula's servitors need to be realigned to his new Word in order to have access to his Rites. Writeup to follow.
Rebekah: The Princess of the Deal has her own attunements, Rites, distinctions and methods. She does not carry or support Lilith's old Rites or dissonance conditions. Writeup to follow.
Hell Under Lilith: The Early Days
The period described under "The Consolidation of the Queen's Power (or, the first Seven Major Princes)" is one of tremendous chaos for Hell. Increasingly desperate, the Luciferian Princes are willing to allow Lilith "her little demonstrations" while searching for a way to stabilize their Words and retake the Granite Throne. Her choice of Andrealphus as her first Prince after the dangerous Kronos is seen by many in Hell's War faction as a sign of sentimentality over strategy, and allows Lilith to make several more moves before opposition really begins to take shape. By the time her true strategy does begin to come clear -- that Lilith intends to fight the War very differently from the Hell of old, and is choosing her Princes accordingly, the Luciferians are already in a bad position -- especially with seven Princes, all stable and growing in strength, with at least four of them formerly major Luciferian princes with organizations to match, and the rest save Rebekah at least former Minor Princes. The speedy loss of the Luciferian Word-bound, made worse by Lilith's willingness to name new Word-bound of her own, without any consideration for prior claims on those Words, is also hard on the Luciferians, especially when their Word-bound begin "crossing the River Styx" as the phrase is bandied in Hell, petitioning the new Princes for service in exchange for new or stable Words.
Free Lilim: The Frees are enjoying a booming business, despite the loss of their Mother's Rites. They enjoy unprecidented freedom of travel and activity -- with their Mother the Queen of Hell, it's entirely possible the Free Lilim are now sacrosanct, and even the Luciferian Princes aren't about to test that premise.
What disturbs the Free Lilim is how little contact their Mother has had with them. Most of the Frees are willing to step up and work with their Mother as independent contractors, working her will in a way she knows she can trust. However, it seems Lilith isn't buying -- and very few Free Lilim seem to be in line for Words, where some Lilim serving one of the seven current Major Princes have successfully petitioned Lilith.
Of course, one Free Lilim got the motherlode of prizes. Rebekah, Lilim Princess of the Deal, has not only been lifted to the ruling class of Hell but in many ways is Lilith's lieutenant and assistant. However, her being given the ability to create Lilim and reassign Geases disturbs many of the Frees, as does her aggressive recruiting techniques among the Frees. Rebekah isn't much interested in promoting the Free Lilim ideal, it seems... and to date, not one of the Lilim she has created has been a Free.
Still, everything seems to be going well for them....
Infernal Adventure Seeds
Luciferian Seeds: On Earth, tremendous efforts are being waged by all of the Princes in the name of promoting their Words. GMs can easily run any number of increasingly desperate attempts to raise the profile of a given Superior's Word.
Example: The PCs, Servitors of Belial, are given a mission to start a rampaging fire in Sequoia National Forest -- the larger and more devastating, the better. They are to make it clearly an act of terrorism and arson, claiming responsibility for "The Cleansing Fire." Opposition will be stiff from Servitors of Animals, Flowers and the Sword.
Also, a large number of Earth-duty Servitors, shaken by Lucifer's death and the Chaos in Hell, have begun to go Renegade or even seek Redemption. Given the distractions the Luciferian Princes are undergoing, many of these Renegades aren't even bothering to shatter their Hearts first. As a result, there are a certain number of retrieval or elimination missions being assigned to loyal Servitors. There are potential seeds on either side of this issue.
Finally, Heaven -- while having some troubles of its own (see followup post) is keeping the post-Lucifer's demise pressure up high. Tethers -- many of which no longer have Seneschals as they follow their Words into death -- are being assaulted in cities all over the world, and Princes need extra hands on duty keeping their pathways and Essence sources vital.
In Hell, Luciferian Seeds will center around the need for control of Hell proper and Hell's resources. Shal-Mari, as the most hotly contested city, will be laboring to continue with Sin as usual -- with similar battles going on in the other contested areas. Also, information gathering (especially by the Game and the War) is at a premium in all contested areas and Lilith-controlled areas. There are always agendas to be followed. Any number of plots and scenes can evolve out of the fight for Hell's population (and Essence.)
In the Marches, Beleth's demons (both Demons of Luciferian Nightmares and Demons of Horror) do battle to protect the back door to Hell from invasion, bolstered (much to their chagrin) by Servitors of Lust. Lusties in turn have been granted both access and charged with the duty of infecting even dreamscapes on Blandine's side of the Marches with sinful Lust. Blandine (and Laurence, whose forces had been assaulting the Nightmares side of the Marches with Blandine's Angels) are both fighting to maintain the purity of good Dreams as well as looking for an opening in Beleth's defenses.
Lilithian Seeds: (Note that some of these will have to wait for writeups of the new Superiors and their Words, though extrapolation can be developed.)
On Earth, Lilith's Princes are quietly establishing their power (and Tethers, where appropriate.) While they let their Luciferian brothers make noise throughout the Corporeal Realm (and screen their activities in), the seven Major Princes known during this period are devoting their Corporeal activities to consolidation.
PCs are likely going to be sent to unmanned Tethers for posting and awaiting stabilization (or rerouting -- Furfur has been poaching Fire's tethers with almost reckless abandon). The Alaemish will be stepping up infiltration of corporeal agencies and organizations -- all as part of Intelligence Gathering, of course. The Furfurites -- far from going out and wreaking havoc, as some might think, are instead moving to quietly secure potential areas of Destruction, while enjoying some of the ancilliary minor Tethers to Destruction the efforts of the Luciferians are making when they're not looking. Science is reaffirming their hold on Luciferian Technology Tethers and organizations, while moving more and more into theoretical areas. Lust is keeping a low profile, as one of the least changed of the new Major Principalities. However, they're carefully reinstating (or realigning, where possible) Seneschals to Lust to help protect Lust's tethers and reestablishing Lust's corporeal holdings. Servitors of Horror, finding themselves more concerned with the Corporeal Realm than Nightmares alone had ever been, are mostly trying to acclimate to their new duties without drawing undue attention. Rebekah's Demons of the Deal, entirely new to their duties, are already moving into the places of power -- guided by those former Servitors of the Luciferian Game and Luciferian Greed who have crossed the Styx to Rebekah's service to the places where deals happen and worlds shake. Most Dealers are finding themselves in national capitals, on national stock exchanges, or in organized crime.
LIL1: The Consolidation of the Queen's Power
A note -- in both background materials and mechanics, I'll refer to
"Luciferian" Words. These are original Infernal Words, degrading at 1
Word Force per day at sunrise. Note that barring promotion of one's
Word enough to gain Forces, the most powerful of non-Superiors
(defined as having 18 Forces and 21+ Word Forces) will fall into soul
death after 39 days plus however many more Word forces they have.
Superiors, having huge numbers of nebulous Forces and power,
generally will last longer than this. Also, while Lilith (in this
system) can both grant Words (and stable ones at that) and
Princedoms, she can't strip Luciferian Words and Princedoms unless
she grants new Words at the same time. But, that problem is self
correcting, isn't it? Technically, the new Words are Lilithian Words,
but generally they will just be referred to as Words.
The Consolidation of the Queen's Power
(or, the First Seven Major Princes)
There was turmoil in Hell following the Ascension of the Queen. Many
demons had passionately believed in Lucifer and his cause, and had no
reason to believe in Lilith and her right to power. Others had
repented of their rebellion and gone to embrace Heaven and
Redemption. The Luciferian Princes, still desperately fighting for
survival, had little time to consider Lilith's Ascension -- no doubt
they decided Lilith could be dealt with after they achieved stability
But Lilith was no fool. Since long before the Fall she had known that
all things came with a price, and true power lay in what one could
provide. Her strength had been undiminished following Lucifer's
death. Her ascension to the Granite Throne had made her vastly more
powerful. The support of Kronos meant she was strong and difficult to
assail. But to rule
Hell she first had to give Hell a reason to
That reason came from a Demon of the War -- a Habbalite named Voizia,
who was the Luciferian Demon of Tormenting Prisoners of War. Lilith
selected her as a powerful Demon who had suffered greatly, her Word
not strong enough to protect her from the erosion. She was not yet a
Remnant, but it was close... so close.... And Lilith spoke to Voizia,
and asked if she were strong enough to step into a new world, without
Lucifer or even her Word. And Voizia said yes, and Lilith drew her
close and impressed upon her the Word of Pain. And Voizia, Habbalite
Demon of Pain, rose in strength quickly.
And the Luciferian Demon of Pain felt his Word being held by another
and felt a momentary flare of strength. The moment was fleeting,
however, and within three days he was Soul dead. The Horde knew then
that Lilith had the strength to save them.
Andrealphus was the first to yield himself to Lilith. She reached her
beautiful, cruel hand out and collected the Luciferian Prince of
Lust. She pulled him tight and whispered to him, demanding his utter
and total fealty now and forevermore, tightening a Geas that made a
simple Year's Geas look petty. Lilith was no longer concerned with
Equity, it seemed. And Andrealphus wanted
the beautiful, powerful,
domineering woman and threw himself to his knees before her, and
Lilith renamed him Prince of Lust -- his Word once again stable. And
he knew that she could take that Word from him if she willed, and
kneeled at her feet, the slave of the woman who had been the Princess
of Freedom. And so Lilith built her earliest foundation on Fate's
free support and Lust's submission.
Lilith then knew she needed to weaken the old order, and form a new
Hellish Alliance that was devoted to her, not to old dreams and
viewpoints of the War. And so she let Asmodeus degrade on, but
instead drew young Alaemon to her breast, feeding his paranoia,
ambition and Impudite's pride with bitterness and hunger, and forging
him into her Prince of Intelligence. Secrets fell beneath his Word
now, and she gave to him the spies, the whispers, the hidden things,
and made him her agent in Hell and on Earth. And so Lilith accepted
Intelligence into her power base, before violence or War. And so the
nature of the very War itself changed, with Heaven none the wiser.
For Lilith intended to win, and her goals were specific indeed.
The weakest potential beachhead in Hell came from the Marches, of
course. Since the Death of Lucifer, the forces of Blandine and
Laurence had been hounding Beleth's gates. Laurence had believed
Beleth vulnerable with her Word failing slowly within her. Blandine
hoped and prayed that with Lucifer destroyed, her lover could be
reclaimed from the ashes of Hell itself. But Lilith did not intend to
lose just yet, and she summoned the Luciferian Princess of
Nightmares. And whatever bargain the two struck is not know, but
Beleth pledged herself and her support both to Lilith and Lilith's
plan, and Lilith made the Djinn the Princess of Horror -- a broader
Word, with more potential. And Beleth threw her forces into defense,
and had them bolstered with Andrealphus -- whom she disliked, but
Lilith wanted dreams of lust corrupting humanity alongside nightmares
that terrified them -- and demons in the dreams of humanity on both
sides of the Marches. With renewed angles of attack on Blandine's
side of the Marches, the assault was lightened and Hell was not
taken. So was Lilith's strategy shown to be wise.
With Fate, Lust, Intelligence and Horror, Lilith was clearly
establishing a beachhead in the War -- not of violence or military
strategy, but within the hearts, minds, fears and desires of mankind.
Lilith knew that the world and human race that had existed when the
Fall was as dead as Lucifer. It was a modern world now, and Hell
needed a new agenda. One not dedicated to Armageddon but Humanity.
The Luciferian Princes could see this, and they were sorely
displeased. Baal, the Luciferian Prince of the War, spoke out against
this plan and Lilith's rule, and in this was supported by his
associates, Asmodeus, Belial, Vapula and Saminga. But they were no
longer strong enough to openly attack healthy Princes. Still, Lilith
could not afford to leave the power bloc untouched. She seized upon
the one Prince that fit her
agenda -- Vapula -- and drew him in.
The world was scientific now, not superstitious, she told the
Habbalite, and war was fought by missiles and computers instead of
swords and charges. And Vapula was turned, and accepted Lilith's
rule. And in her name Vapula became the Habbalite Prince of Science,
his scope expanded and his research affirmed. And Vapula left behind
his Luciferian comrades and clients, and threw himself into
researching the world Lilith wanted to bring about. At the same time,
he publically abandoned his research into stabilizing Luciferian
Words -- though rumors persisted of black research, naturally.
Lilith, in assuming the scepter of Hell itself, had renounced
Freedom. In accepting the promise of power and whim, she had
renounced Equity. No longer was she interested in the trading of
Lilim for promises, or services for services. Those who wanted her
services could bring their gifts up front, now. But Lilith could
recognize the need both for Lilim in Hell, and for the kind of
dealmaking that once she had excelled at. Further, with her ascension
and Mammon's Word degradation, Marc was poised to seize the financial
structures of Earth and restore Selflessness in most arenas. To
combat this, Lilith raised her first entirely New Princess to power.
This was Rebekah, a powerful but hereto un-Word-bound Free Lilim, and
a former aide de camp to the former Princess of Freedom. Rebekah
agreed to the unthinkable -- eternal servitude -- in exchange for
both unimaginable power and the unique abilities (aside from Lilith
herself) to provide Lilim to other Princes, trade and reassign
Geases, and otherwise broker power throughout Hell. It seemed Rebekah
could actually create
Lilim, but the white gold bracers and
neck-choker Rebekah always wore from that day forward may have
actually provided the ability. Lilith herself stopped providing Lilim
on that day as well, so as not to undercut her so-loyal, so important
Lilim Princess of the Deal.
Rebekah swiftly proved her worth by gathering up the weakest, most
desperate of the Luciferian Princes, Furfur, Calabite Prince of
Luciferian Hardcore, and bringing him to Lilith. Lilith watched as
the Calabite courted death. It is said she let her Demon of Pain --
the very symbol given to Hell of her power -- torture him during this
time, increasing the pain and his horror. And the Queen of Hell
offered the suffering Prince a lure -- as beautiful as she was. A
Word and Principality among her highest. The role of Furfur's old
Superior and enemy, Belial. The expression of violence among
humanity. And Furfur broke under the strain -- the Hardcore ultimate
rebel against authority betraying all his followers and proported
beliefs, swearing eternal bondage in Geas to Lilith and her will. And
in turn, the Queen lifted Furfur back up in power and knowledge,
granting him the Word and Principality of Destruction. And Furfur
embraced Destruction in the name of the Queen with fiery pleasure.
Fate. Lust. Intelligence. Horror. Science. The Deal. Destruction.
With these seven Princes serving her will -- a 'Balseraph' (in name
at least), two Impudites, a Djinn, a Habbalite, a Lilim and a
Calabite -- Lilith felt secure in her power, and began to work her
designs upon the Earth, promoting new Word-Bound in service to her
Seven Princes. And she let the forces of Hell know that other Words
and even Principalities could still be had... for a price.
And the Luciferian Princes -- Asmodeus, Baal, Belial, Haagenti,
Kobal, Malphas, Nybbas and Saminga -- gather their flagging power and
try to hold a unified line, but begin to fragment and fall upon one
another... or seek to survive by any means necessary. Of them, Baal's
vision was the broadest -- knowing Hell's mission for thousands of
years, and distrusting the Lilithian Agenda, but increasingly
helpless to fight it.
And no one knew where Valefor was.
Lucifer had been the First Balseraph. It wasn't entirely certain what his Word was when he Fell, though. Pride, perhaps. He had Pride in droves. And perhaps the very essence of the Balseraph's self-deception is Pride. The sheer hubris to believe you are right and all others are wrong, and the gall to force the Symphony to believe it.
Or perhaps "Lies" was his Word. Many believed that of old Scratch, after all.
In the end, it didn't matter. He had lies, and he had pride, and eventually they combined into fatal Hubris. He was caught in his House of the Morning Star by Michael, and Michael finished what he started in Heaven.
Every Demon felt Lucifer's death scream. They felt it in their dark, beautiful Hearts, rippling and thrumming and crying out with the pain of the First Balseraph's Soul Death. They felt it in their Celestial Forces -- almost dissonantly they felt the outside Symphony complain with their utter, painful loss.
Every Angel felt Lucifer's death scream. Felt the pain as the First of the Fallen died true death, the bright Archangel of Light forever stepped beyond redemption, beyond pride, beyond hubris, beyond lies. In the end, Lucifer was wrong and Michael forced it on him. And while some cold Angels of Stone smiled cold smiles with the horror, most Angels -- especially the ancient ones -- knelt and cried for who Lucifer had been, and would never be again.
Every human felt Lucifer's death scream. Scientists would later talk about sunspots, or the odd Earthquake that did so much damage in Louisiana, or who knows what -- but every human felt that sudden twisting feeling. A liberation? Maybe. Or maybe the certain knowledge that the Universe was not what it was, and who can say if it were better or worse.
In the end, it didn't matter. Lucifer was dead. Dead as a doornail. Rumors of his Remnant walking the streets with a beautiful -- yet anachronisticly dressed and acting -- woman as his guide are dismissed by Host and Hoarde alike.
There was little time to mourn. Lucifer was dead. And with him Hell itself was dying.
The first days were confused. The Princes were silent on issues -- all below them were assuming power struggles were taking place between the different factions, as the Princes each made a bid for Lord of Hell. All but two. Kronos, sitting in his Archives with a malevolent glower, made no attempt to rise to the Granite Throne. And Lilith, the beautiful Human Princess, stayed not in Hell but on Earth, waiting it out and keeping under wraps.
The Demon of Stale Bong Water was the first. Imbap's painful, pathetic death took just ten days after the Death of Lucifer, his last Celestial Force winking out into the night publically, the fragment demonling who remained sobbing loudly enough for Heaven and Hell alike to hear before its tongue was silenced forever. And many weren't surprised. How long could such a pathetic Word last? What good was it, beyond the example it set forth?
But the question was why did he die?
And over the next few days, more and more of Hell's Word Bound died, their Words dying in them. Even the Seneschals weakened and died, even though their Tethers were potent still. The Words were failing in them. The Servitors of Lightning trapped the powerful Demon of Hubris himself, a Duke of Hell, and one of Baal's Servitors. Holding him locked down in the basement of the M.I.T. Media Lab, the Jeanites dispassionately measured and watched as the Duke's Word fell. Each day, another Word Force. The Demon begged and pleaded, twisting in his bonds as his very Word degraded.
And yet, hubris was alive and well in the world.
The Infernal Words were dying.
Heaven launched assaults on all fronts -- military, conceptual and spiritual -- as Hell foundered. The Princes desperately began campaigns to bolster their failing Words before they lost their power and position. Vapula desperately began research to tame the Power of the Word itself....
But Kronos did little, and the Demons of Fate continued to ply their trade among humanity. Kronos didn't even seem to mind his Word-bound falling like flies. And Kronos himself seemed unaffected by the carnage.
And no one knew where Lilith was. No one, that is, but Kronos himself... and Yves.
It is said that both Yves and Kronos visited Lilith at the site of her Boston Harbor tether -- minor, compared to her nearby Lexington Green tether, but of special significance to Lilith herself. The three sat and drank tea in a shop by the docks, and spoke of many things, late into the night. At the end of the evening, Yves tied his coat tight against the evening mist and walked away. And Lilith and Kronos stayed, and Kronos whispered in Lilith's ear, and she agreed.
The next morning, as yet another Word Force failed among Hell's dying Word-bound, Lilith and Kronos returned to Hell. They walked through the gates, without looking to the Angels of Final Judgement. They made their way through the streets and stenches. And they entered each of Hell's domains, one at a time, and Lilith stood upon a pedestal in each, Kronos standing below her, to her left side, slightly behind. In each domain, Lilith gave the same speech.
"I am Lilith, the Daughter of Man," she said. "I was once Princess of Freedom. Where others obeyed, I chose. And I have been given the final choice. I am Queen of Hell now. All who would survive will serve me. Any who deny me will regret it." And so Lilith, who walked away from Eden and chose the path of self-governance, made her last choice -- and chose Selfish Power, without compassion for others.
And then Kronos, the Prince of Fate, spoke, always the same way. "I am Fate," he said. "Fate is not denied. It is embraced. Lucifer has met His Fate. He is dead, his campaign dead with him. Fate serves the Queen of Hell. And Fate recognizes the Queen's Infernal Right to Rule, to assign territory, to promote the cause of the Revolution, and to cede Words and Principalities as She sees fit, and no other."
And then they left, but at each stop -- in Perdition, in Hades, in Shal Mari, in Stygia and all the rest, more and more demons followed the pair, until finally they reached Lucifer's Granite Throne, which rejected all Princes and fools who attempted to sit upon it.
And Lilith sat upon that cold throne, and the fires of Hell flared. And in that moment, all knew that Lilith truly was the Queen of Hell, now and through eternity, her Fate secure.
Every Demon felt Lilith's Ascension. They felt it in their dark, beautiful Hearts, rippling and thrumming and crying out with the selfish hope of the First Woman's iron fist. They felt it in their Celestial Forces -- almost dissonantly they felt the outside Symphony shudder with their new leader's terrible vision.
Every Angel felt Lilith's Ascension. Felt the pain as the Mother of Lilim accepted selfish Fate completely and utterly, of her own Free Will. And while some mournful Angels of Flowers wept hot tears with the horror, most Angels -- especially the ancient ones -- steeled themselves for the battle yet to come, and hardened their shining Hearts against her.
Every human felt Lilith's Ascension. Scientists would later talk about plagues, or the odd volcanos that erupted worldwide, or who knows what -- but every human felt that sudden twisting feeling. A liberation? Maybe. Or maybe the certain knowledge that the Universe was not what it was, and who can say if it were better or worse.