The final hope for the Fallen, the Word of the first Bright Lilim Archangel, Redemption is the among the best possible outcomes of any battle between Heaven and Hell. To take evil and turn it into something good, whether it be a soul, an idea, or an object, strengthens Destiny and weakens Fate at the same time. This is Leila's purpose, and she will invite a sinner into the arms of Heaven, even as the War rages around them, promising a safe haven for those no one else would be ready to shelter.
Leila is unique in many ways. Saved by Gabriel, she is almost as much an unknown factor as Gabriel herself. She is the only Archangel to have Redeemed. She is the youngest Archangel, both for time in office and time in existence. On the other hand, she is the oldest surviving Bright Lilim. She is the only Archangel in modern times to have been granted a Word and Superior status not by the Seraphim Council, but by what is believed to be Divine Intervention.
Young and fiercely idealistic, her ends clearly align her with the "peace faction," but her style is aggressive, bold, and risky. She has some philosophical allies, some differences, but hard and fast friendships and mutual support relationships will take time to build. Her newness in the upper ranks of the War is, at the moment, a strong determining factor in her strategies, but this will fade as time goes on. Tempered by age, she may become more cautious, or she may learn more effective strategies and strike deeper into Hell's holdings.
Leila lays heart and soul on the line and expects the same of her Servitors, who are ready and willing. Ability, though, varies. Servitors of Leila take personal time when they can, during gaps in their long-term work on candidates, restoring their emotional reserves. Many find their constant battle for lost souls, with the odds seemingly stacked against them, to be too taxing, and request transfer to some supposedly simpler duty, such as the restoration of objects or ideas in the Symphony that have been sullied.
In the end, Redemption must always be about personal choice, and in this Leila serves a Word that differs from that of many other angels. Whatever the angels of Redemption do, they know it is ultimately up to the humans, demons, and Outcasts that they interact with who will decide whether they succeed. Perhaps this Word, despite its powerful potential, was not yet bound because an Archangel could not make the right kind of candidate. Maybe the Symphony was simply waiting; knowing there were no better angels for this Word than a being made for Freedom by a human, born a demon in the darkness of Hell, who chose to be reforged as an angel in Fire and embrace the Light of Heaven.
The angels of Redemption refuse to give up on anyone, even someone who is an obstacle to someone else's reclamation. Thus, it is dissonant for them to finally kill any being with a destiny. Direct intervention in a death is sufficient to cause dissonance, if the angel had a reasonable expectation that soul-death could occur - e.g., setting a fatal trap. (Ethereals have no destiny, and lead to no dissonance. Killing a human is a gamble, since they might disperse back into the Symphony. Vessel-killing a celestial is just about always okay, except for Heartless Shedim, who are in fairly desperate straits and thus good candidates for conversion anyway. Turning someone into a Remnant, or killing a Remnant or Undead, is sure-fire dissonance.)
Seraphim(10 points, restricted): As an additional aspect of their natural resonance, Seraphim of Redemption can tell how strongly a person believes a truth involved in a statement they made, whether it be the truth they have stated or the one they are lying to cover -- whether the belief in question is fundamental to their behavior pattern, or open to adjustment.
Cherubim(20 points, restricted): Cherubim of Redemption often attune to (initially) unwilling charges. They can, with expenditure of 1 Essence, restrain their charge, freezing them in place for up to (Corporeal Power) minutes. The paralyzed charge still senses their environment, and, at the angel's will, may speak. The charge is not uncomfortable or fatiguing, merely restrained. After all, the Guardian doesn't want to hurt him - this is for his own good. (This power is similar to Dominic's Warder Distinction.)
Ofanim(15 points): While Ofanim are not suited for many kinds of redemption, these Wheels enjoy their job, which is to free people who may be trapped in a life they're unhappy with, but which never changes significantly. To help them in this, they can touch a person and "hear" the pace of their life as a tempo in their part of the Symphony. A dull, repetitive, unimproving life will sound a low, monotonous refrain, while a healthy level of tension will be a jaunty tune. Ofanim may sometimes fail to see the problem with an overactive "stressed" melody, but anyone trapped in an adagio life befriended by an Ofanite will soon feel the pace pick up!
Elohim(7 points, restricted): Always thinking of the big picture, Elohim serving Redemption search for those lost souls that others may overlook, digging for those who fall through the cracks. These Powers can apply their resonance without a specific target, and will get a sense of the location of nearby or strong feelings of loneliness, isolation, and abandonment.
Malakim(25 points): Leila's Malakim are charged with thwarting those who inhibit others' paths to redemption. Drug dealers, mob or gang "family" enforcers, and similar types face them. In pursuit of these duties, they are masters of non-lethal weapons(in GURPS, they attack with any non-lethal weapon as if base skill were IQ; in In Nomine standard, as if with applicable Weapon Skill/1 -- both can be improved by investment of character points), and gain a bonus equal to their Corporeal Power on attack rolls with them.
Kyriotates(15 points, restricted): Masters of the multiple viewpoint, Kyriotates of Redemption can show others these viewpoints. When possessing a human host, the Kyriotate can send the human's mind an awareness of its body's surroundings and actions, manifesting as a vivid dream - usually of something intended to open their mind to a new idea.
|Mercurians(30 points, restricted): With their affinity for relationships and groups, Mercurians of Redemption often target organizations to turn around. They watch hate groups, shout the witticism that defuses an angry mob. If a corporation starts turning a blind eye to ethics in the name of Profit, the next consultant they hire may be a Mercurian who recommends a change in corporate philosophy. To facilitate this purpose, the angel can use his resonance on an organized group of people to gain knowledge (at the group's average level of expertise) of the skills they commonly agree to be useful to their goal, whether this be a quality craft, a quick trigger finger, or an eye for financial opportunities. This knowledge lasts for a number of days equal to the degree of success on the roll(minimum 1) in G:IN, or the check digit in standard IN.||
Grigori(7 points): (This Attunement has not been given yet.) With Redemption's attunement, Grigori could automatically detect Heartless celestials in their line of sight, including ethereals, Renegades, and Outcasts.
Silver Lining(25 points)
When life gives you lemons, this Attunement is a lemonade recipe. Given any event or circumstance that bodes ill for the angel or his companions, an invocation of Silver Lining will provide the angel with some insight -- usually cryptic or at the gut-instinct level -- as to how he may turn the situation to his advantage, or at the worst ameliorate the ill effects. However, the advice will never permit the angel to directly negate the cause of his current straits; using Silver Lining requires an acceptance of reality as it currently stands, without celestial intervention. Use of this ability in a struggle with a Captain of the Third Choice can lead to some peculiar fights....
Turn the Other Cheek(30 points)
For 1 Essence, the angel may invoke this resonance upon receiving damage from a deliberate attack if still conscious. Provided the angel performs no activity the next round other than moving and talking, their Vessel heals all damage taken from that one attack. Damage from other attacks in that round is still taken, and after (Corporeal Power) uses in 24 hours this Attunement may not be used again for one day.
Bury the Hatchet(30 points)
Generally applied to two people, but equally applicable to any number of persons, this Attunement seeks to stop the cycles of violence or hatred which perpetuate human sins. Given a group of willing beings, for 1 Essence per person targeted, Bury the Hatchet fades the memories of harms done to each person in the group by others so targeted. What is left are vague recollections of whatever emotions were involved, and a sketchy knowledge of facts. This Attunement will do no good if hostilities shortly resume, of course, so some preparation is always involved.
By focusing on an object and making a successful Perception roll, the Redeemer can tell whether the object is being used in accordance with the original intent of its creator - assuming the object had a single creator, or a like-minded group of them. On a critical success, they can tell whether the object is being used in accordance with the wishes of the inventor of that kind of object. On a Divine Intervention, the angel manages to know the above, plus what those intents were!
Vassal of Redemption 15 points
This Distinction has been granted already to a few angels in Leila's service. An angel with this Distinction knows when someone in their sight has overcome significant personal difficulties(in game terms, a Discord or other disadvantage was gained, then lost sometime during their life, by what would have been use of character points).
Friend of the Reclamation point value unknown
This Distinction has been considered but not yet granted. No one except Leila knows what it might be, or what her Master Distinction would entail.
Leila has simply not been an Archangel long enough to have any Servitors with sufficient justification for a Higher Distinction. She doesn't seem particularly averse to giving them out once she feels someone earns them, however.
"Common" is a strong word to apply; Leila neither has many Malakim, nor has had them for very long. However, Malakim of Redemption do have a common thread in taking their oaths: they must walk a fine line between conflict with their dissonance condition and the standard oath not to allow an evil to live. With respect to this latter, the Redeemer warriors draw a distinct line between the evil and the person perpetrating the evil. Typical oaths include:
I will never raise my hand against an enemy who has surrendered, save to prevent escape.
I will never draw a weapon until my opponent has.
I will always fight for a higher purpose than merely killing an opponent.
I will endeavor, after defeating any demon in combat, to locate and undo their recent evil works.
I will always offer a human I fight a chance to surrender.
I will do my best to undo the internal corruption wrought by any Shedite I identify.
Allied: Blandine, Gabriel, Novalis, and Yves. (Blandine, Eli, and Novalis consider themselves allied with Leila.)
Associated: Eli, if only by virtue of his servants' eagerness to help hers. (Janus and Yves are associated with Leila.)
Neutral: Leila is neutral or in flux towards all others, except... (Most other Archangels are still evaluating Leila, except...)
Hostile: Leila is hostile to Dominic - although she doesn't want to be. (Dominic and Michael are often at odds with Leila.)
+1 Dickens' A Christmas Carol
+2 Discuss the story of Paul on the Damascus Road with someone
+3 A criminal turning states' evidence
+4 A Renegade demon
+5 An convicted criminal freed and supporting themselves by making honest money.
+6 A demon willing to attempt Redemption
Leila has borne a single name throughout her existence. As a Free Lilim, she rarely stayed in any Role long enough to make it a recognizable name for her, and frequently she worked in the West, where Leila was a common name. After redemption she continued to carry the name Leila for personal use. Only Lilith knows if it has any meaning beyond its corporeal origin.
Leila wore a number of Vessels and Roles while serving Gabriel. But demons who knew her long ago say that these days, she wears a Vessel resembling the one she had first worn on Earth, the one in which she was killed, the one she remade to seek Gabriel. She is a thin young woman of average height(which was tall during the Middle Ages), with features of indistinct European origin. Black hair worn short accentuates a piercing, dark gaze under arched eyebrows. She moves lightly, with a quiet grace, and generally wears whatever the local culture considers a casual outfit - in the West, blue jeans, sweater and sneakers, for example.
Celestially, Leila is a variant of the standard Bright Daughter, appearing mostly as her usual vessel. She has three narrow pair of feathered wings, gently wafting as she moves. The Brights' aura of light and shadow has expanded around her to become a separate thing which is in constant motion, sometimes obscuring part of her, and sometimes illuminating her.
Leila tends toward subtle action. She thinks before moving, but when she does she moves in directions that her enemies have so far been finding difficult to anticipate. Merely summoning Leila in a way that gets known in Hell is a problem for demons working in the area, who are immediately under suspicion of being swayed towards going Renegade or Redeeming. Among her own angels, Leila makes no secret that she hopes this turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Working with demons and hostile humans, Leila seems to care, in a disturbingly deep sort of way, about her foes. She may avoid direct conflict, and has an annoying tendency to work on some seemingly unrelated front that turns her enemies' efforts against their own goals. If the humans were duped, she can often unravel the lies, and demons whisper to one another that she has the Damnedest way of making a fellow doubt his very nature. Last but certainly not least, she still holds the Lilim ability to detect Needs and Geas for their fulfillment, and many a demon has been surprised at how an innocuous desire for something not particularly evil can turn nastily Geasable for a ready-to-please Archangel.
When none of this is possible and sharper action is called for, she will provide, with a sly ruthlessness. If not particularly angry, but her hand is forced, she may try deaths that will send her foe back with an angelic-leaning Discord or disadvantage, or boot them over to Limbo and keep an eye on the site for when they return. If angry, Leila will attack celestially... if she thinks that the demon might be better off less a few Forces.
Redemption is the turning of evil to good. It is the process by which something, or someone, steeped in darkness and sin is brought to light and goodness. Some angels are point out that Redemption, though obviously an angelic Word, is paradoxically a Word that, one would think, would never have existed had it not been for the Fall. Only a few Archangelic Words share such a status: Judgment, the Sword, and War are the others commonly noted. Another way to define the Word is as the process of lessening the strength of Fate in the Symphony, and increasing the presence of Destiny. In this light Leila is almost directly in the middle of the struggle between these two Words.
Redemption is a major component in the theology of Christianity, moreso than any of the other divine religions. According to the Christian doctrine of Original Sin, all men require redemption and Jesus Christ died specifically for this purpose. Leila and her servants often find the New Testament's wisdom and words to be highly fitting for their missions, and learn it well. Many of her angels adopt Christianity personally. Laurence is leaning on Leila to get her to adopt Christianity herself, first privately and then publicly, and she hasn't directly refused him yet. Having another Christian Archangel could shift the religious politics in Heaven, so other Archangels are keeping an eye on this.
Among humanity, Leila promotes both actual and potential redemption, and in the other Realms a third celestial connotation. She and her servants actively work to reform criminals and evil persons, readjust organizations and processes to either do better jobs or do the jobs they were originally intended for, and make objects, ideas, and customs in the Symphony serve a higher purpose, or serve their true purpose more strongly. Potentially, they promote among humans the idea that everyone can change, everyone deserves a second chance, and everyone can become something better than what they are through hard work, understanding, and good moral character. Celestially, the angels of Redemption recruit Renegade demons(even those considering it), seek Outcast angels(with far gentler intentions than Judgment), and try to break the sway of Hell over ethereals and Hellsworn.
Leila was created with that name in A.D. 643. Her first service was to her Mother, who had made her specifically for a mission - a set of several interrelated missions, actually - that required discretion and a previously unknown demon. On the one hand, Leila was actually born yesterday, so not only was she eager to trade in a few more Geases for some proper equipment and a quality vessel and Role, she was easily ensnared in certain difficulties her Mother artfully set which could be remedied with a quick Geas and a bit of outside help. On the other hand, Leila had been created with Freedom in mind, and Lilith really Needed this job done, so Leila managed to come out only a bit more burdened than she went in with, a more-than-fair payment for a vessel, Role, and some useful tools. After successful completion of the tasks, her regular demonic service began.
From her birth, Leila did everything wholeheartedly. If she was made for Freedom, then she was going to be Free, whatever it took. She dealt hard for Geases, always looking for opportunities to provide somebody with a service they Needed out of proportion to the actual work or resources she'd have to consume to perform. This isn't a cheat, of course - as the 20th century would put it, price is set by supply and demand, and if you've got the supply and there's a big demand, that's life. Whenever she was assigned to Earth duty, she invested in Roles with opportunities to gain material wealth(rare as they were for her female Vessels in those days) and free moments where she could squirrel some away. She used money when she could, Essence when material goods failed, and self-Geased only as a last resort.
All of this meant that Leila had to learn to do things the hard way, without the fancy gadgets and sometimes without much Essence to help. But she worked at it, and prospered. In fact, she developed a knack for it, and as a side bonus got a reputation for being able to get a job done with minimal Disturbance.
She served, as Free Lilim will, a variety of Princes. Andrealphus was a frequent employer, of course, but she saw what happened to her sisters in his service and thus kept her distance, never accepting his Attunement - or his bed. Baal similarly enjoyed her Symphonically silent services, but never her long-term loyalty. She would take a job, do it, collect her pay, and move on. No Superior ever minded, because her quality of work was superb - her methods required that she put in real sweat time on the job, and a little elbow grease can go a long way toward a smooth operation.
In all of this, Leila sought Princes who would provide her with jobs that would let her do what she wanted to - advance the Word of Freedom in the world. Lilith would have been perfect - but then, Lilith has her pick of Daughters in her own service, and Leila had several strikes against her. She had a disturbing tendency to over-negotiate; she could manage a job with a minimum of pricey extra help, lessening Lilith's overall profit; and she was going to try to serve Freedom anyway, so why buy the cow? All in all, given her fortunate reputation for a quiet job, it was better to inflict her on other Superiors so they might repay her for the favor. Leila never quite understood this while in Hell... all she knew was that the one Superior she would have liked to work for constantly spurned her offers.
So Leila made the rounds of the other Princes. In Andrealphus' service, she saw men coming back time and time again for useless frivolity that only wasted away their finite lives, trapping themselves willingly in slavery to less-than-animal instincts. Valefor's service was fun, and materially rewarding, but it dismayed her to see people locking themselves away behind high walls and barred doors, all for the sake of protecting their own goods. Baal's missions for her were something of a relief. She still enforced her diabolical will on people against their wishes, and Baal's attunement even helped - but wars against tyrants and pillaging marauders were things she wanted to do, plus opportunities to use the Rites of Freedom as well. It was while in service to Baal that she encountered Father Gregory.
The chain of commands which brought Leila here was this: Lucifer wanted William (later called "the Conqueror") not to consolidate his hold on England, for he foresaw that a united England would be a great force for stability in European development. (The Host, on the other hand, was pleased at the possibility of a single kingdom ruled by William, who was willing to uphold a state religion and who was, by all accounts, an able ruler and a decent man. Of course, it really took the Black Plague and the Renaissance to lift Europe out of the Dark Ages... but that was centuries in the future, so could Lucifer possibly have known...) So Malphas and Baal worked on their separate responsibilities, stirring up discontent and rebellion. Baal's specific responsibility, organizing rebellion, caused him to send numerous demons to various parts of England to fan the flames of discontent that Malphas had set. For Leila, this was no problem - William had, apparently, every intention of replacing the kingship system currently in place (the king chosen by the witan, a council of earls and bishops) with a hereditary monarchy, something she vehemently opposed. So she went from town to town, a woman's sharp barbs inciting the men to "stand up against that man of Normandy who would make the kingship his and his sons', and crush into servitude the deserving men of England."
A couple of angels finally got wind of the demon who was causing so much riot in her wake(or at least helping - plenty of rebellions were quite well under way without any help from demons, thank you), and caught up with her in Northumbria. A nasty battle ensued, wherein Leila managed to kill the pair that had found her, though not without serious injury herself. Crippled in the right leg and arm, bleeding profusely, far away from a demonic Tether, without the Essence to perform a song of Healing, she started walking away from the spot of the battle and prepared to enter Limbo upon her death.
She collapsed not far from a tiny abbey, and was found by the poor priest who lived there. For days she floated in and out of a woozy consciousness, drinking fluids which were pressed to her lips when she was awake, sleeping most of the time. So when the good hermit unwrapped his bandaging to replace it after the second day, he was astonished at the amount of healing that had been done - and then carefully rewrapped the wounds.
Leila awoke to the sounds of a fire and the smell of herbs and foraged food; to the feel of bandages and the sight of an unwashed priest praying in a nook to the side of the one room. She couldn't help but laugh at the irony, and this brought the attentions of her rescuer. She had no chance to hide her nonhuman nature from him; he confronted her with it immediately. Since only a fool would tell the truth to such a man while not yet able to walk straight, she claimed she was an angel, wounded in a recent battle, and to prove it she used her Song of Healing on herself powered by two sunsets' worth of Essence to complete the job he had started.
The simple Abbot was roundly amazed at this sight, and knelt before her. He asked how he could serve, and Leila told him that rather she should be giving him restitution for his care. He refused, saying that it was only Christian charity, and she was an angel besides. He would not take no for an answer, and finally Leila decided to repay him by settling the man's mind as to his service. She asked him what news and views he had, in this remote place, of the man taking over England.
Father Gregory was fairly apolitical, as one can be when one survives on forest forage and the donations of local peasantry. He spoke of the news he had heard, about men who had been passing by with word of uprisings in the south months ago. He spoke highly of King William, especially the laws that he had promulgated - mostly the old Saxon customs, but with some changes including striking down the institution of slavery.
It was Leila's turn to be troubled. Slavery was, by all means, high on her list of Things to Kill. She had gotten a thorough briefing on William and his intentions... why not this? Obviously, so that she'd be more effective. Baal knew what Leila wanted. He knew what she Needed. She should have expected it, of course - what the Hell else was he going to do, experience a moral qualm and order that she be told the truth?
In a moment of clarity she realized that her ranting had been out loud. The Abbot was now shaking in fear, realizing that the creature before him was no angel, but a demon bent on fomenting war and strife throughout England. He reached for his cross - Leila reached for her sword. Blood quenched the tiny fire, and Leila wandered out into the wilderness alone.
Her wanderings brought her to London. There, she saw for herself what William had wrought. The city and its surroundings were, while chaotic, as well off as any city was in those times. And it was true - men were no longer sold into slavery. The government was stable despite the rebellions, and the people praised their king.
Leila passed further south, into the Continent. She thought about many things. Her Mother, who rebuffed her every overture. Her commander Baal, who used her against the one thing she wanted most. Her powers, which by their nature interfered with her desire. Bending people to her will was a means to an end, she had thought. A momentary sacrifice for the greater...
She rolled the concept around on her tongue. Good? To make a better world? To make a freer world, by binding beings to her will? What kind of idiot logic was that? What was she really supposed to be up to here on Earth?
Father Gregory. He'd shown her charity. It bothered her to have killed him; she didn't like debts to go unpaid. If she couldn't pay him back in person, then she could pay back his kind. She could take a few street kids, maybe... Heal some wounds. Some sick, maybe. Heal as much pain and injury as she'd had when she came to the abbey. Yes. Yes, that would do the trick.
So Leila went Renegade, and started to Heal. She didn't think of it as Renegade - as far as she was concerned, she was AWOL, not Renegade. She was merely compensating for services provided, and then she'd come back. In the countryside of France, Germany, and Italy, many a village would remember for a generation or more the story of the beautiful woman who came to town dressed in the English style, who sought the sick or the injured and healed them with powers from the Lord, and then left as if the very hounds of Hell were at her heels. And always, they would say that after she healed the boy, or the old man, or the woman, she would say that the debt was not yet paid.
What would it take? In Italy, she found her answer. A burning villa, with a child trapped inside. She burst through the flames carrying him, the boy badly burned and near death. She lay him on the green grass and Sang, pouring Essence into the Healing. Before his praying parents' eyes, the charred flesh reknit and grew pink and soft again. His parents thanked her, tearfully grateful, and she watched the mother hold her boy to her breast and knew that she had repaid her debt. For a moment, she desperately wished for her own Mother to show her some glimmer of the same caring; then she decried her foolishness and prepared to return and face the consequences of her decision. At the very least, Lilith would see her point of view and shield her from Baal's wrath. Whatever it cost, she would pay. And in time, she would free herself again.
But the demons of Belial, who had set the fire with every intention of killing at least one member of the family as well as destroying their villa and its productive grounds, along with their patronage of the arts, were not happy. The villa in ashes, they came out of hiding and attacked. Leila's last sight before entering Limbo was the boy being torn from his mother's breast, his father being killed behind them.
Floating in the darkness, images reverberated around Leila's soul. Family. Charity. Blood. Fire. Healing. Pain. Freedom. Duty. After years of floating in patience, Leila collected enough Essence to create her accustomed vessel and stepped out. The blackened shell of the villa watched silently over her moment of decision.
Leila was never one to do anything by half-measures. If she was going to seek out Heaven, she was going to do it the way that would take true dedication. She set off for the East, to find the Archangel who could show her whether she really wanted to give charity instead of deals, to heal people instead of hurt them, to really make a better world. She set off to find the one Archangel who could test her resolve in the flame of Heaven, and burn away any remaining uncertainty. She went to find Gabriel.
Near the Flaming Mountains in Mongolia she waited, with patience learned in hours of doing tasks by hand and magnified by years thinking in Limbo. Finally, Gabriel arrived at her Tether. Down to her Leila rushed, and fell before the Lady of Flame. On her knees, hands raised, she silently begged the Archangel of Fire to make her something more than she was. Without a word exchanged, Gabriel lay hands to Leila's head and sent the Fire of God through her spirit. That day a new angel was born.
In Gabriel's service, Leila freed more people than she ever had as a demon. Soldekai was kind to her wishes, and sent her against those who bound others against their will. Fire's Attunement for Leila permitted her to free not only those whom her target oppressed, but the target himself, free him from his dark desires. She rejoiced constantly. Her new fellows made no secret of the average lifespan of a Bright Daughter, but somehow she managed to survive. Used to the corporeal world, used to working quietly, and now able to save Essence for when she really needed it instead of paying another Superior's organization for things, she made it through her first year, then the next, then the next. Her inconspicuousness made her an excellent choice to track someone who was not, directly, guilty of cruelty, when he fled from Heaven - and here the story of Leila as an Archangel began.
The First Day
What was that first mission Leila went on, the one that she was created so specifically for? Why was it so important to Lilith? None of the Superiors most obviously involved are talking. Demons who know about Leila's creation all have their own theory to fuel the rumor mill. A popular theory is that the mission isn't done yet. Maybe there's a demonic purpose bound into her nature that even Leila the Archangel doesn't yet know about. (It is not lost on many who stop to think about it that this secret mission was right around the time a lot of things started happening: the Purity Crusades, the dictation of Islam, Gabriel's trial, and Uriel's ascension to the Higher Heavens. But surely the notion that one mission from Lilith could have played even a small part in these interlinked events is preposterous.)
The Unpaid Debt
The Heavenly version goes like this: Leila spent very little time in Heaven. She was born in Hell, Redeemed on Earth, served an Archangel in exile, and was rarely vessel-killed. Indeed, the first solidly-known instance of her appearing in Heaven outside the Volcano was the day she arrived at the Seraphim Council, a freshly-minted Archangel. Speculation is occasionally bandied about that Leila deliberately avoided being seen in celestial form, because it would be obvious to anyone who saw her that she still owes Geases to Lilith. (She denies this now, but supposedly as a Superior she could hide such bonds.) She may simply have not wanted to risk the additional danger of Geas-stripping, but then why would Lilith not have called in yet?
If Beleth could look within Leila's heart, she might remember why Fear was originally an Archangelic Word. More directly than any other Archangel, save perhaps Yves, can understand, Leila fears Hell. It began with simple survival instincts as a demon, was broadened with a knowledge of her odds after Redemption, and has only sharpened with her newfound capacity to fear for others. Some of this fear is understandable to anyone: Leila is driven by memories of what it's like to serve evil and feel trapped in service to something you hate; but at the same time, she has the sure knowledge that a way out *does* exist, and that it can be found. This much is the province of any Redeemed demon. But Leila wants to bring the same experience to everyone who can experience it.
Have you ever been the recipient of immediate(and, possibly, unwarranted) trust, respect, or love? Talking with Leila, everyone with any perception will feel a shadow of this emotion. The degree to which they feel it and respond depends on them. But regardless of response, Leila believes constantly in the uniqueness of every being and the unique good that they could do for the Symphony as a whole. In light of this, she tries to work for the long term, at least on the scale of human lives. Inexperience does occasionally get the best of her, especially in the form of over-reaching her abilities, but on the whole she is well-suited for the long, slow process which is required for the reclamation of human(and other) souls.
Leila's number one practical priority at the moment is establishing her organization both Celestially and Corporeally and learning about the scope of her powers and influence. Her angels are assisting her in this process, knowingly and unknowingly, and can expect for the moment to have a chance to affect Redemption's structure and methods via their reports and experiences. She is trying to establish Tethers both strong and subtle, and cement contacts in all realms.
In the foreseeable future, Leila has considered the Media as a primary target. Ideals for mass communication existed before Nybbas was granted his Word, and Leila believes that it is possible those ideals not only survive, but can be employed to wrest much of Nybbas' influence away from Earth. He also makes sense as a first target, since he is a young Prince as well, perhaps within her reach; if not at this moment, then soon.
Over the long term, Leila's purpose is to cleanse diabolical influence from anything it has touched... including itself, but humanity is higher priority. Not only are they often more open to persuasion than demons, but there is an automatic time limit. A good deal of her angelic complement goes toward focusing on individual souls, especially those that can make a difference for many others, but many are also assigned to broader efforts to make Fate less tempting or easy for humans.
When demons are encountered, angels of Redemption are commanded to look for signs of weakness or doubt, and work on those, though not to the extent of forgetting the original mission. Renegades are more heavily leaned on, although sometimes subtly if they are not at first receptive. Any Lilim are, if possible, to be informed of the angel's Superior, and invoking Leila at this point should get a visible audience. Outcast angels are noted, and any problems they may be having should be dealt with if it seems more immediately important than the angel's own mission - fortunately, many missions for Redemption are long-term affairs, with time to spare in the middle.
On a personal note, Leila recognizes the concept of the rescue fantasy, and the disastrous consequences it could have for her. She is attempting to find the right balance between insistence on victory for Heaven, and tolerance for individual setbacks. Yves is helping her with this, but it is not an easy task.
Views on God: In a fashion conditioned by her early existence, and these days very much akin to God-fearing humans, Leila fears God as well. He is power: pure, ultimate and incomprehensible. As a demon, to fully understand this was to despair. As an angel, the knowledge is tempered by the assurance that God truly loves His children. Leila knows from personal experience, and now in a way that suffuses her existence, that His power is such that He can reach into the very heart of evil and turn it into a reflection of Himself.
Views on Lucifer: Many angels ask the obvious question: does Leila intend to Redeem the Lightbringer? While she believes it can be done, she harbors no illusions that she has any idea how to go about redeeming the First Fallen, and no illusions about the price of failure in that endeavor. If it happens, it will be God and Lucifer doing it, and she at most a humble tool. She cannot lie to herself and say she does not desire to try, though... and this frightens her as much as anything else.
Views on the War: In simple terms, the War is a struggle to take all those who are apart from God and bring them closer to Him. Sometimes, the process may hurt for a while, but in the end all involved will see the right of it.
Views on Exiled Celestials: Ask about any of them - Outcasts, Renegades, and yes, Grigori - and hear the same answer. They should be aligned with Heaven. She agrees with Judgment that Outcasts must be found quickly and kept from Falling and/or causing further harm. But in God's name, they would not run if they thought that they might be forgiven and receive guidance back to the truth. And how long must the Outcasting of the Watchers last? If they are still angels after thousands of years wandering among humans, might this not show their loyalty to Heaven?
None of these latter sentiments improves Dominic's opinion of the young Archangel.
Blandine: Hers is such a beautiful dream. Some of the other Archangels have not yet learned that there is no such thing as a true, impossible hope. I'll be glad to help her when I can. (Legend has it she was the First Redeemer; I know she was always ready to hope for those willing to try. Now that I have left Gabriel's service, I hope to understand her better.)
David: Some things cannot be changed, some hearts a stone harder than any of the Earth's bones. She will run herself against them, and what harm will she do herself and our cause? Still, it was not the Council that made this choice. We will wait, and see. (So old, so hard. Clay was stone, might be stone again. But clay can be molded.)
Dominic: Her Servitors consort intimately with demons and interfere with my triads hunting Outcasts. She would rather let someone Fall than kill them -- I will not. The conflict seems ireducible. (Dominic would not allow bright Lilim serving his to accept Leila's Attunement -- too much risk of bias.)(How many Renegades and Outcasts have turned away from Heaven, fearing Judgment itself? I must not question the Judgment Dominic embodies, only be present to offer another face of Heaven to those who would flee. But in doing so, we have conflicted, will again. It pains me to so dispute my elders, Ancient Seraph.)
Eli: She still shines fresh from her creation as an Archangel. They may call her naive, but sometimes that just means she's seeing a new world that they don't yet. I'm rooting for her, all the way. The angels of Creation will help where possible. (Eli, you dwell on Earth, you know the pressures tugging this way and that on the souls of men. But why did you leave Heaven? You pique my curiosity, but I have no time to indulge.)
Gabriel: Little Leila, an Archangel? It seems only yesterday I drew her out of Hell... what a rise. She knows what it takes to climb from the Pit. But not everyone burns to escape the chains as she did. She had best know the difference. (Oh, my beloved Lady of Flame. I will redeem the Word of Fire, and then you will burn pure again.)
Janus: She tries hard to change those who most need it. She herself has many changes she must undergo... I fear her growth will be especially painful, filled with the pain of others. If she makes it through the first trials, she will make a fine Archangel. (Change of the world often includes and precipitates change in man and demon alike, a reevaluation of beliefs. But sometimes stability is a better environment for those uncertain first steps toward God.)
Jean: She has expressed an interest in redeeming more than just people, but things and ideas as well. Perhaps she will help by finding decent uses for Vapulan perversions, making them something better despite their purpose. (We have little in common; he's expressed interest in turning certain technological disasters into something useful. Perhaps I can help.)
Jordi: She and her Servitors haven't yet dealt with animals much. We don't need her, and she knows it. That's fine with us. (He's good at his job, I suppose. We don't meet much. Animals act as they must; there's little I need do with them. They're occasionally a useful therapy, and sadly, sometimes an early indicator of future trouble. Otherwise, Jordi and I won't cross paths often.)
Laurence: He who defeats evil triumphs, but she who turns evil to good reaps a double victory. But her constant hope can be easily gulled, and sometimes she refuses the sword, even when it's the only way. We must not let her become a strategic weakness. (By most accounts, he is better than Uriel, and as long as we are in a War a militant as Commander of the Host makes sense. He's still unsure of my place in his plans, and I hope to show him that Novalis and I don't deserve his blind spot.)
Marc: She's made a unilateral commitment, not to kill, to wait with open arms, even to invite. It's risky, I might have said too risky if I'd been consulted. But such moves can engender the kind of trust that will bring in the market. (Marc serves a valuable function well, but I'm no longer in the business of trades. I can only let people give themselves something they didn't think they had, must in fact convince them there's nothing in it for me but joy for their own success.)
Michael: It's a hard battle she fights, and one that many have lost. If it had been proposed to the Seraphim Council to create this Archangel, I'd have said no, that it was a waste of Heaven's Essence and available Forces, and a Fall waiting to happen. But then, it wasn't proposed to us. So I'll wait, and hope that she doesn't burn out badly enough to take others with her. (He's been openly contemptuous of my aims and methods; his own are almost the opposite of mine, but I know they are both effective and necessary. I respect him tremendously, and want to earn his trust and respect. I wonder if I can ever achieve such a difficult goal.)
Novalis: I love it. She's everything you could want in a Gifter, ready to give without stinting and only hope for the other person's well-being. She promises peace as much as I do, and the Servitors of Flowers will stand ready to help. (Novalis and I agree on many things. I hope to learn from the experiences she and her Servitors have had bringing peace to troubled hearts.)
Yves: She'll refuse to give up on souls that others would have long since consigned to their Fate. She has to learn where her efforts are best spent, though. Her resources are finite, and she must direct them where they will do the most good. But she is willing and ready to learn this. Her Destiny can touch many others', like the best all do. (What is Redemption but the pulling of souls from the clutches of Fate and showing them their Destinies? Even among Yves' Servitors, the Order of Redeemers shows me the difficulty and rewards of my task. As for Yves himself, I treasure his counsel above all others.)
Andrealphus: It's always sad to see one of the beautiful Lilim turn away from us. Leila worked under me once, and well; I look forward to having her again. (I served Andre a few times. I know how seductive and sweet that road can be, but its only end is a lonely and selfish heart. So many people start with his particular sins. They're hard to turn away from, a powerful lure for turning people towards their Fate. Turning him away from them may yet be possible, though.)
Asmodeus: She betrayed Hell through luck, finding that crazy Archangel before we caught up. Now she tries to spread her treason, wanting nothing better than to turn our own ranks against us. The Game will stop her. And one day, we'll have her back. (One of my most frequent direct opponents in nonhuman affairs. Old and cunning, and a terror to the candidates, his very existence hurts our chances in the riskiest, most valuable missions, the souls of demons who have a chance to turn their existence into something better. He himself may never see that he's playing a losing game.)
Baal: A young, brash, aggressive opponent. She doesn't stay on their defense, this one. She strikes at our gains, sorties into our territory in the human soul. We'll have to temper that enthusiasm with a few sound defeats. Once she's more cautious, I'll reevaluate her status. (His strategical mind is one I can't yet equal. Fortunately, his concerns are usually of a more military bent, so his minions don't face us directly that often. I haven't yet been able to pentrate the maze of Pride in which he's lost himself. I don't know if I can.)
Beleth: I know her nightmare. I want to make it reality. It's amusing to reach out for those she thinks she's saved, and pull them back into darkness, watching her cry out as they slip through her fingers. She underestimates me yet. (Beleth is barely more than an annoyance to us -- and fear is something I know about working through. A well-placed nightmare or two can do wonders to warn a human of the consequences of selfish choices without really harming them. That used to be her job, of course.)
Belial: What's to know? The bitch found her, turned her into that mockery of an angel all the Bright Lilim are. I'll burn her to watch Gabriel suffer. You can't redeem a pile of ashes, so she can hardly touch me. (He sullied the Word of Fire, and I will do my utmost to repair that damage. As for day-to-day work, he's too blunt to bother with twisting ideas and people to evil, other than Fire. Pyromania can be a symptom, if you catch it early. Otherwise, I don't care about his operations much.)
Haagenti: I'm not sure exactly what it is she even does yet. She doesn't seem to bother us much, though. That's fine with me. (What an idiot. But an effective one -- and the foolish are harder to convince to attempt change. America's bulging population is testament to the widespread acceptance that overindulgence is gaining. Gluttony must be faced for the subtle enticement to deeper evil that it is. Problem is, it's so hard to tell except in extreme cases.)
Kobal: Her biggest wish is for Mommy and all the sisters to come join her, one big happy family in Heaven. She betrayed them, fights against everything they stand for, and in her heart she begs them to join her and bleeds with every one of them. That's the joke of devotion and love. The pain is all hers. (The derision he promotes can hide bitter and hateful rhetoric, make even stupid arguments sound convincing, because the audience knows laughter is meant to be shared. His laughter hides so much pain, so much like humans. For him I hold some hope.)
Kronos: I hold a special place in her heart, I think. She wants nothing more than to strip me of every gain I make. She will find that for every soul she saves, ten more become Hell's. She will not bear up under the strain for long. (Terye is my foremost enemy. I will obey Yves, and leave Kronos to him. Whenever I think about facing Kronos, I feel a strange blankness. Some blind spot of mine? Some mask of his? Some artifact of his nature? I wonder, but cannot stop to wonder.)
Lilith: She's still my Daughter, and she'll never escape that. I'd know what she wanted without even trying. I'll never fulfill her deepest Need, the one she's held since the moment she fled my arms. I don't need to. Its mere existence is power I hold over her. (Unlike so many other things, redemption is always freely chosen. Mother... I never loved you as a demon. Since experiencing the love of Heaven, I've cared more deeply than you could imagine, and now my hope has only strengthened. I know you know, and I know you will try to use it. Let the dance begin.)
Malphas: Her work almost pleases me. Her mere activities raise the tensions. Sight an angel of Redemption in the area, and instantly everyone's wondering if their teammate has been poisoned by her honeyed words. Terye is better, but I don't mind Leila much at all.(Politics, secret alliances - the tools of communication and cooperation, made to help humans, he turns to evil. It traps people, makes them blind to a way out of the circle. I have to fight past his kind of webs to free so many of those I try to reach. He vexes me, but he can be overcome.)
Nybbas: Rejecting a life of crime and sin, struggling to pick yourself up and reach the light at the end of the tunnel. It was an old plot a long time ago. People these days get off on watching somebody spiral down into despair and tragedy. All those bios of old stars, you know? Her crap is good for an after-school special occasionally, but nobody really believes in it anymore. She should have stuck with Andre. (He believes his own useless fiction, he confuses others with it. He should have been a Balseraph. The Media doesn't have to be the wasteland it sometimes is - it can yet be made back into the force it once was, what it could be. I'd love to see that happen.)
Saminga: She saves lives, especially the suicidal. What gives her the right to interfere? She's just pissed because once someone's dead, she loses any hope she could have had for them. She can't touch what I hold. (He cuts off the hopes of so many, so finally. I can imagine few things more hateful. The angels of Redemption will guard always against his predations. Besides, the truly dead are beyond his grasp... as for the merely damned, there may be hope he cannot comprehend. They say my Lady of Flame prophecies it, and do not the Mormons and the Buddhists preach it?)
Terye: My antithesis, my traitorous sister. I see the burden on your heart. I will glory in your Fall most of all. You will kneel before me in shame and failure. You will watch as I undo everything you have achieved. Then I will destroy you, and every chance of redeeming your failure. (My antithesis, my blind sister. I see the rage in your heart. You glory only in destruction of goodness. You will never do anything but pull down others' work. Your defilements especially will I strive to undo. Even your defilement of self, perhaps; I cannot give up hope of the tiniest chance of success.)
Valefor: She's got guts, I'll give her that. She's going to waltz right onto Hell's property and try to make off with our most valuable possessions: souls, Soldiers, Outcast angel possibilities, even infernal connotations on ideas. Of course, someone bold enough can pull the same trick on her. If he's smart enough, he might even get away with it. (A loudmouth braggart who's pulled a fast one on some dangerous folks, including his former boss. But if he thinks to steal souls from me, he'll find I'm not the easiest lock to pick. Another Prince whose very lack of depth is the biggest hindrance to change.)
Vapula: I don't even think she's as real an Archangel as the rest of them. She keeps trying to fiddle with my inventions on Earth, making them something they're not supposed to be, usually limiting them - in some pathetic attempt to make them serve Heaven, I suppose. I smell Jean on it, but neither of them ever understand the true nature of my projects. (I'm finding it a satisfying task to try turning his twisted creations into something more helpful to humanity. As for Vapula himself, if he's still anything like a Habbalite, the first step is curing him of his delusion. Maybe it can be done.)
Humans and Others
Humans: Such magnificent beings. Many of my fellow Archangels, especially the ones who remember times before humanity, look down on them more than they should. They all believe that there is ultimately more to humanity than they know, but sometimes they forget that humans can be surprisingly high-minded and effective in the short term as well.
Soldiers of God: They have chosen to fight the darkness, and sometimes they can achieve things that we cannot. I am grateful and pleased every time one joins us, for they are specially equipped to understand the evil in the hearts of their own brothers.
Hellsworn: They have been lied to, subtly forced, and on some occasions, accepted of their own will. In each case, we must be ready to show them the reality of the choice they have made, and open to them the option of turning away from their path to Hell.
Sorcerors: The art itself need not be evil. Hatiphas and her minions often make it so, and the readiness of demons to respond to a selfish will corrupts the common practices. Let sorcerors born on their own be aligned with Heaven, let their Songs praise God and His goodness. Let the sorcerors born from Hell be purified and made a force for the Host, if they will serve.
Ethereals: Uriel's Purity Crusade turned away what could have been a valuable resource. Who cares if ethereals have no destiny that angels can read? Neither do objects, and they can still be turned to Heavenly purposes. How much more, then, creations of the human mind? Hell's sway over the ethereals should be broken, in a way that shows them that Heaven is willing to accept those who accept Heaven's code.
Undead: Lost. Even those rare few who choose to serve Heaven do so knowing that they can never fully experience the glories of that state. The only hope for them now is to wander the Earth, hoping to survive, until a change occurs in the world, or in our knowledge of their ghastly state, which might give them some chance. What this might be, I cannot see.
The Newbie: A bit of humor can be injected into the campaign if Leila is a wide-eyed, politically inept Superior that makes mistakes(*BOOM* "Oops.") and is still feeling out her new powers. "Whoa! I can do that?!" is a common phrase. Her angels are supportive, but since their jobs(and natures) are much simpler, they are already more used to their existences than she is to hers. She's desperately eager to please the rest of the Seraphim Council, and at least one instantiation of her can often be found following Yves, Blandine, or Novalis like a puppy, watching and trying to learn.
The Purifier: Leila still holds a lot over from her days as a Servitor of Fire. She intends for everyone on Earth to see the righteousness of Heaven, and if you're not praising, praying, or preaching, you're an obstacle. "Scared straight" is a common phrase, not to mention a favored solution. This version has quite a few more Malakim hanging around than the other versions, and her Cherubim are all over the concept of "tough love." Demons are automatically assumed to be perverting and corrupting innocent humans, who are very definitely a higher priority for angelic compassion.
The Personable: While definitely a Superior, the Personable Leila is not yet so immersed in her duties as to have forgotten the complicated world of the everyday Servitor, of which she yet has few. She's not as remote as other Superiors and will be quite understandable when invoked, except on matters relating directly to the nature of Superiors and her Word. She will constantly be on Earth in at least one vessel, and will be very human, a great listener and an immediately likable person if you don't know who she is. An angel might encounter her performing a mission seemingly just like one she assigns any of her Servitors, in a deliberate effort to keep in touch.
"Cathedral of Reflection" is its formal name; more generally, Leila's Cathedral is called "The Mirror." It is generally entered from the Savannah or the Groves, although entrances from the Library, Eternal City, and Catacombs exist. It is a part of Heaven where one may go to experience quiet, solitude, and rest.
Approaching it from the outside, the Light of Heaven gradually changes; at the borders, the light is the same as elsewhere, but as one approaches the settled area nearer the center, the light changes to a rosy hue, the sky above darkening to shades of perpetual dawn or dusk. Here the Mirror begins earning its name. The lightly treed landscape begins rolling, forming innumerable small nooks and coves. In many of them, one can sit, lie, or just stand to watch a shimmering stream, or a formation of large flat-planed stones, or a wispy cloudscape, or another quiet image. To watch these for long enough is to see, as if reflected on the view, scenes from one's past, with great clarity. If there is any logic to the pattern of events, no one has divined it, but occasionally someone will return from the Mirror with some new insight. It is gradually becoming popular among angels and blessed spirits with a philosophical bent to retreat here for a time to meditate upon the images.
In the deepest interior, the ground is flat grassland, but the sky is night, blazing with hundreds of stars. The Light of Heaven is no less effective upon demons here, and spies who have tried it report that the very arrangement of the stars above seems disturbing and terrifying to them, while peaceful and orderly to blessed spirits and angels. Flight is possible with a thought here for all, and the "stars" turn out to be closer than expected: they are in fact lamps, hanging in space and surrounded by furniture similarly situated. These are the homes of Leila's angels, their Hearts seated on pedestals next to whatever simple furnishings they choose. Elohim may have nothing but a small rug defining a ground level, Ofanim or Seraphim not even that, while Mercurians may have a cozy roomful of furniture serenely hanging in space. Here, it is considered impolite to hid one's light from at least some point of view on the ground. Here, night is accepted as part of the Symphony, and made a place of comfort and beauty, as it was when the Universe was first created and the light coexisted with the dark.
Leila herself holds court at a star near the center of the constellation, the multidimensional action associated with setting up a Word's organization orbiting around her. The star is no brighter than any of the other lamps, and the only furniture is created as necessity commands; doubtless, as some items are found more useful to have than others, they will become permanent fixtures, and the style of the court will develop.
Sites of Interest
The Mirror has little internal structure yet, and most of that is in reference to the other Cathedrals. The Groves, Savannah, Glade, and Volcano seem to grow out of the Mirror, and can be reached simply by following the lay of the land from the twilight region as it gradually changes into whatever land form one is looking for.
The Amphitheatre is exactly that, a Greek-style amphitheatre in the grassland underneath the Constellation. A half-circle of stone benches leads down from the ground level to a stage from which a speaker can be heard by anyone in seated in the space. Leila occasionally uses it for addresses -- it has never yet been seen filled to capacity, and rumor has it that the Amphitheatre will enlarge to suit the audience, hardly remarkable in Heaven. Augmenting the light from the sky above, the Amphitheatre is surrounded by clean-burning white torches in stands at the top. Two more torches stand by an archway in the back wall; entering this tunnel will lead one to either the Catacombs or an unassuming room in the Library
The white Obelisk stands visible at one edge of the Cathedral, high enough to be seen from most points in the twilight region of the Mirror. At its base paths begin, leading to the cathedrals of the Eternal City and Blandine's Tower -- the architectured Cathedrals, as has been noticed.
Leila has extremely few Tethers as yet. Upon her ascension, she was pleased to discover that she has one permanent Tether, an innocuous stretch of road just outside of Damascus. Other than this, however, she must rely mainly on the Tethers of supportive Archangels, especially Flowers, Dreams, and Destiny. The few Tethers she has are heavily guarded, if sometimes from a distance, and any angel who manages to secure a new Tether to Redemption may quickly find himself in line for a Seneschal position.
There's many an urban day care like it -- an after-school center as well, for high-risk kids whose parents are working, or trying to find work, populated at any given time by about 60 kids and harried but dedicated staffers. The difference is that Neighborhood House is run by a larger organization of the same name, and also offers such grave services as drug rehabilitation, free food distribution, and other poverty services. In addition, Neighborhood House is tied intimately to Robert "Half'n" Durham, whose old death row prison cell was just thirty minutes down the road, at the San Quentin detention center. He has had a long and fruitful partnership with Glenda Channing, the woman who runs Neighborhood House and has co-authored and published several of Mr. Durham's books, one and all aimed at turning young people away from the path that led him to gang violence, then to murder four men and receive the death penalty just a few years ago.
On the day of the execution, everyone from children to parents to community members awaited the news at Neighborhood House, hoping for a last-minute stay. It didn't arrive, and they mourned with all the strength of their belief that "Half'n" had truly found his way out of the cycle of blood and revenge. Moreover, upon hearing the news more than one person in the audience decided to get out of the life while they still could. At that moment, the potential for a Tether to Redemption formed.
The Tether was noticed by a hopeful young Malakite of Redemption, who summoned Leila and got the Tether stabilized. She has granted him the Seneschal Attunement, and since then he has stayed in the area as a community volunteer who has gotten a steady job helping with the food distribution facility and cleaning things up in the evenings. A "youth group" that has formed in the community recently, while attracting some honest humans, is in fact a haven for the Tether staff, who constantly have at least one angel in the House and several others keeping an eye on the surrounding area.
More than anything else, the angels of Redemption exhibit in common an unshakeable belief that God does not make anything evil; that anything less than good is imposed upon the Symphony by someone who chose to make it so, and can choose to stop doing so. They cannot see Destiny like Yves' angels, but believe in its potential in every being no less -- perhaps more for being unable to judge it with precision. Even Les Temoins can be surprised, after all.
This belief leads them to risks and efforts that other angels might see as foolish or unproductive, overly optimistic and aggressive where other angels may not fear to tread, but would have dismissed as not a place to go. The Redeemers know perfectly well that they make themselves vulnerable, but some souls can only be saved by laying yourself on the line. A soul held out in the hopes of gaining another soul, and if it doesn't work, you knew it was a possibility. The Optimists are prone to taking the calculated risk.
The intensely personal and emotional nature of most of them, and a tendency to take on what look like losing battles, combine to take their toll on Redeemers. Fortunately, the long-term nature of their assignments usually allow them some time away from the immediate action, giving them time to recuperate and stabilize themselves before plunging into the fray again. Many develop personal habits and methods of relaxation during these times. The Optimists are more aware of their own selves than angels of other Words may be, having to tread the paths of their own soul so often and being able to spend time reassembling themselves. Rather an a temptation to selfishness, this awareness becomes a tool they use to better understand the people they interact with, a template they can study to reach past the outer layer of being's environment and actions to perceive motivations, hopes and fears.
Rewards and Punishments
As Leila's organization develops, the command structures -- and who is filling them -- can change rapidly. The tendency, of course, is toward more bureaucracy, and this means more management positions. Authority, first on a temporary basis and then more firmly over the long term, is more likely to be handed out as a large reward than something supernatural such as a Word or a Distinction, which represent a considerable investment of resources and confidence on Leila's part at the moment. When such an award is bestowed, it signifies a permanent recognition of accomplishment and potential, and as such will be worth much respect from other angels of the Word.
Lower-level rewards are much the same as other Superiors. Rites, relics, and Songs may be handed out for a job well done. A common reward is personal time, especially after completion of a particularly stressful mission. In addition, Leila may make it plain, perhaps by spending time with them, that a Servitor has earned her ear, and with it an opportunity to have a say in the growth of the Word of Redemption itself. It is an honor that can be rescinded quickly, but one that most angels who have been granted it take with deep appreciation and seriousness. Someone who keeps this favor for a long while is generally perceived as being on the fast track for a Distinction or Word.
Dissonance and Discord are taken quite seriously, and the methods of dealing with them outlined elsewhere, but other behaviors can warrant punishment as well. A killing which does not result in dissonance may nevertheless result in the loss of Leila's favor, which frequently manifests itself as less important and less difficult assignments, with correspondingly fewer opportunities to receive the greater rewards. Removal of relics or other resources is common as well. More blatant disregard of procedure and ethics may result in inflicted Dissonance, with the angel "recommended" to take some time off in Heaven or a Tether to work it off and meditate on their error. On the other hand, Leila may just make efforts to show the angel his folly with a carefully staged mission, possibly with other angels in the group having specific orders. If the lesson is learned, the angel can continue with his work as if nothing happened, save that he will need to put in extra time correcting his past errors as well as he can.
Leila never Outcasts a Servitor deliberately.
Leila will readily allow a Servitor to change Superiors. She will try to dissuade the angel, trying to pinpoint what is going wrong -- perhaps it is something in her own fledgling organization that is driving the angel away -- and will also, in nearby days, add that everyone involved is relatively young at the moment. Perhaps a few years will find a better outlook on the job. However, if the angel insists, the transfer will not be begrudged, and it will leave Leila's service with her best wishes. Few angels have yet sought to leave Leila's service. Several have requested transfers in, and these angels will commonly be given some time to work with the Redeemers to see whether the organization and missions are what they were expecting. If so, Leila will accept transfers, especially of angels who express a desire to be less warlike or violent.
The Archangel of Redemption is not necessarily the obvious target for a demon seeking to join the Host. To join Leila's service is not only to want to Redeem, but to want to convince other demons to do so as well. A demon seeking an easy path up -- and rumors fly that demons Redeemed by Leila have a higher chance of survival, though whether this is true is purely speculation until many more Redemptions are attempted -- may seek out Leila, and will be informed, after expressing interest, that a good deal of work yet lies ahead.
First, the demon is asked to explain why. One angel will analyze the demon's motivations for selfishness and selflessness, while another will search the records for any knowledge of this demon. Both will report to a ranking angel, who will decide on a course of action. The demon may be suggested to try a Superior better in line with their own temperament, Leila may be invoked immediately to attempt the Redemption, or patience may be urged. The demon may actually be sent along with angels on low-priority, easy missions, to watch angels at work, and/or sent into retreat on Earth with several angels to work on the worst of the lingering selfishness. Brief trips to the Mirror may prepare the demon psychologically for the experience of Redemption, and the Mirror's image capability is believed to possibly help with this. In all of this, the angels are solicitous and careful of the demon's health and attitude. A report is sent to the ranking angel, who will not deny the demon its chance at Redemption, but will inform Leila of any possible difficulties.
After these things are done, Leila will meet with the demon. It may be an awe-inspiring appearance, or a simple chat over coffee. Observers have noted that it's usually whatever the demon seems to vaguely expect, and be comfortable with. If Leila thinks severe difficulties persist, she may urge that the demon go through more preparation. It is the demon's choice, of course. After at most one more phase of preparations, the actual Redemption is then attempted.
Successfully Redeemed demons are viewed as living symbols of the Word they serve, and treated with considerable respect for the hardship they have endured to get where they are. Their early duties may vary considerably -- most will have simple jobs in Heaven to begin with, as would any new angel still earning his trust. However, the atmosphere is such that the new angel will already have an ample store of goodwill going, and will generally rise to corporeal duties in a small group quickly.
Dealing with Dissonance
As might be expected, Leila is forgiving of Dissonance in her Servitors. However, she will not act to encourage slackness. Dissonance is not immediately punished, but neither will Leila intervene to remove it from a Servitor. To redeem themselves, the angel will receive help in ridding themself of the Dissonance, by scheduling for them some time to spend in a Tether, or to perform their Choir techniques. Repetitive offenses, however, will be noted and draw her displeasure, usually removal to lesser duty for a time.
Discord is a tougher case. However, Leila will still not intervene directly, unless the circumstances are urgent. Rather, she will play a subtle harmonic in the angel's nature: the angel is in tune with Leila and her Word; Leila was created by a human; humans can work off their own disadvantages. The angel gets the same opportunity as a human to remove his defect by working at overcoming the difficulty - in game terms, he may spend character points (only those earned after the Discord was imposed) to rid himself of the Discord as a human would rid himself of an equivalent disadvantage. The work necessary to do this focuses both on the symptoms (treatment for a phobia, e.g.) and the root cause (the behavior which caused the Dissonance in the first place).
A servant of Redemption who goes Outcast is hunted as assiduously as those of Judgment, but with different reasons. Once found, it is brought back to Heaven (or Leila is summoned if the Outcast is uncooperative) and confronted with the consequences of its actions. If it does not show repentance but agrees to return to Heaven, it is given time in solitude in Leila's Cathedral. If not, it is watched on Earth, and distanced from any possible interference with the Host. This "solitary confinement" is guarded from a distance by a number of Leila's servitors, who are sometimes nicknamed (not favorably) the "Jailors." If, after a time of Leila's choosing, the Servitor still shows no sign of seeking his own Redemption, the angel will undergo trial by celestial combat with Leila, in a final effort to either show the superiority of his way, or accept the consequences of his actions. In the inevitable resulting Force-stripping of the Servitor, Leila will make every attempt to remove most of the offending memories and thought-patterns, sometimes leaving the angel a bare shell of a reliever with almost no connection to what he was.
Sometimes this still does not suffice, although with all the opportunities they are given and precautions taken to avoid or remove the usual causes of Falling, even the weakest angels of Redemption have little chance of making it to a Fall unless undertaking a fast, determined effort. The effect is much the same as among Judgment's angels, but with considerably fewer soul-deaths. However, a number of Judgment's angels, as well as some others in Heaven, predict the resource expenditure will wear down the process, and simply delay the eventual Falls and increase the damage to the Host that will result.
For such a new Word, a surprising number of humans serve Redemption. When Leila hits her stride, she may have more humans working for her than any other Archangel. Furthermore, of those humans, a large proportion are former Hellsworn. Leila is making it a point to demonstrate, to everyone who can listen, that even when they're doing it, few humans actually admit to themselves that what they're doing is wrong; they merely rationalize it. "Selfishness is just the way the world works"; "better me than them"; or "it's only temporary." Those being paid or doing it for other rewards may be open to convincing that the ultimate price they'll pay is beyond anything they're receiving now; those deluded by others might be freed by the truth; and those who knowingly serve Hell and Fate usually have highly personal reasons worth detailed examination and, if possible, repair.
Soldiers serving Redemption seek out Hellsworn on a regular basis, especially those who serve their old masters. Leila has committed herself to a strong support network for her Soldiers, who can rely on firm contacts, angelic aid on important occasions, and a Superior who is considerably more understanding about personal time than others. When not seeking out other Hellsworn to either convert or thwart, Redemption's human servants often do mundane versions of angels' jobs where they can, like being a mentor in their neighborhood, coaching a Sports-Not-Streets team for at-risk kids, or volunteering at a halfway house to aid ex-cons in getting back on the straight and narrow.
Leila herself is outside the standard Choir structure, and is still exploring the principles of the Choirs from her new vantage. Beyond the accepted standards for Choir usages and the needs she has for a specific Choir at the moment, the primary guide she uses in making and assigning angels is a desire to oppose the depredations of their Fallen brethren. She has never openly displayed a discomfort with Malakim, but there are fewer of these in service to her than the other Choirs -- whether this is a preference, or merely an acknowledgement that force doesn't get Redemption's job done as often, is a question for the future. Another question, whether she is capable of producing Bright Lilim, she remains silent on when asked. She certainly has not created any to date, but more disturbing to many in Heaven and Hell is that Lilith remains silent when asked the same question about Leila.
For the Seraphim serving Redemption, all it should take to get someone back on the path is some enlightenment. Evil stems from free will exercised in ignorance or error. Once someone has understood the Truth, any rational person will prefer to serve God and be selfless. The twin problems with this are that first, it can be exceedingly difficult to convince someone of their error, and second, not all beings are rational. The latter include unfortunate aberrations, but debate is hot as to whether this category includes demons, with all the ramifications it has on their Redemption. Getting along quite well with Litheroy's angels, Seraph Redeemers seek to fight ignorance and error and the evil they lead to. They will often take counseling positions, where people can be willing to listen to what they say, and ready to hear some sense -- priests, teachers, bartenders, and psychologists, for example.
The downside of this is that it can be extremely frustrating to show the Truth to someone, subtly or clearly, and have them choose to reject it, as so often happens. In addition, these Seraphim can become somewhat arrogant, since the path of Heaven is so plainly, commonsensically right as to make those who shun it seem rather foolish. Nobody likes to be lectured to, especially when the lecturer is acting as if they're slow-witted.
Tough love, son. When a Cherub of Redemption has fixed his sights on you, he's not going to give up until you've survived the streets, the war, or whatever is holding you back, and made your way towards the light and Destiny. Sometimes that will mean taking a bullet for you, and sometimes it will mean pummeling your supplier and all of his replacements until you get a reputation for being a bad business risk. You can rage at him, you can tell him to get lost, you can even attack him, but it's not going to do any good. Your sin will find you out, and your guardian angel will be there when it does. Waiting.
The toughest evil to guard against is the one that arises from within, and it's the one that Cherubim of Redemption have set their sights on. They're deeper thinkers than many other Cherubim, having to deal often with an unwilling attuned and being forced to allow for this in their protection schemes from outside influences while they work on teaching their charges how to keep from harming themselves. Gabriel's Mercurians take to them frequently.
To these Wheels, the subtlest kind of evil is the evil of apathy and ignorance, of habituation and acceptance. They are charged with rooting out this particular uncaringness and applying their inimitable energy to it, exposing their target to the daylight (and anything else that might get his adrenaline going). "The banality of evil" is their battleground, and they mean to get their target to see the darkness for what it is if they have to shake the sense into him. Once you've settled into accepting selfishness, doing nothing to prevent it, that selfishness comes one step closer to final victory. Never accept something wrong you can stand up to, they say, and never let anybody else accept it, either. Activists, motivational speakers, or the organizational cheerleaders(still doing their share of the work and more, of course), they either open your eyes to the mess right under your nose, or they infect you with their energy, and suddenly the world looks a little brighter and the wildest hope doesn't seem so far away.
Let other angels help everyone they can find. The problem, the one that can lay hidden until it explodes into a Fate of fury and perceived betrayal born from loneliness and isolation, is often the person who is the hardest to find, accidentally or deliberately cut off from the world, unable to stir themself to call for help, or unable to be heard if they did.
The Elohim of Redemption seek out these cases. Finding them is only the first step, though. They must still convince their foundling to accept help if they need it, to ask for what they must. Very rarely does it only take a few kind words, an assurance of a caring presence that knows who they are and wishes their welfare. Usually, it takes the most delicate touch to draw someone out from a self-imposed shell of fear and suspicion, but when they finally reach out, they are often the kind of sensitive, deep-feeling, deep-thinking person who aids Heaven with their simple presence, inspiring protective feelings in those around them, and in return gifting the world with sometimes startlingly deep insight.
Some people forget that the worst Fates are the ones that drag other people down with the Fated. Leila's Malakim refuse to allow some Hellbound piece of filth to send an innocent soul spinning into the muck. Killing, however, is too good for most of them. Oh, they'll cheerfully explain the joys of Trauma to a demon in a Vessel, but humans are a different story. What a human doing this kind of stuff really needs is teaching about consequences, and if the first class doesn't take -- well, it's really amazing the kind of inspirational stories someone can tell when he's explaining to some wide-eyed young things how he used to be a blood brother with Jimmy's bunch down on the south side before some big guy with a lead pipe with a really intricate knowledge of spinal anatomy met him one day, and let that be a lesson to you not to get mixed up in that kind of thing, and wheel me over to the TV, will you?
In groups of Redemption's angels, Malakim serve another purpose -- their outlook on the Host's foes is considerably less forgiving than their compatriots', and so they can serve as a balance to an overdose of rosy optimism, pointing out who might not be as innocent as today's rescuee. And, of course, for those times when the group can't agree on who the innocents and the demons are in the building, tear gas is just a blessing from Heaven. Praise the Lord and pass the canister gun.
Careful how you define "harm" -- these Dominations have to recognize that, regardless of how despicable their current host's companions may be in their own opinion, uprooting someone from their social circle can cause exactly the kind of loneliness that their fellow Elohim are trying to eliminate, and it isn't likely to take anyway. Instead, the Kyriotate may find himselves working subtly over a longer period of time in a group, possessing first one host and then the next, shifting the group's direction as a whole, which suits them just fine.
Their preferred targets are people who haven't had the chance to develop empathy, or who automatically act in such a fashion as to prevent gaining a real understanding of the harm their actions are doing. Even though their host knows that he "hasn't been himself" for the past few days, trancelike and disconnected -- a surprising number put it down to a short-lived virus -- the memories remain, there waiting to be analyzed, and the Kyriotate will probably hang around to nudge the previous host towards that analysis. All the touching, revealing experiences in the world won't do a thing if the host doesn't choose of his own free will to explore that new path.
Set your sights big, friend. People define themselves by their relationships so much that making a hub of those relationships something better can affect hundreds of people at once. Mercurians in Redemption's ranks have the patience and the sophistication to identify and affect large groups in need of a change of direction. They immerse themselves in little world after little world, helping humans work together to make their common goal something exciting, noble, and worthwhile. Their tasks can take longer than those of most other angels of their Word, but when successful they have aided many people at once, made something that will last, maybe longer than any human lifetime, and with a little luck have reached out to people years down the road that they have never even seen.
Naturally, Leila has few Word-Bound Servitors yet. Just because she's young doesn't mean she's desperate, and she will not lower the standards for raising angels to Words.
The most powerful Word-Bound that Leila commands at the moment is the Angel of Second Chances, a transfer from Destiny. The Angel of Drug Rehab has been named, and in fact has a disproportionately large number of Cherubim and Malakim assigned to her, since Fleurity has taken this as a direct challenge(which it might very well be). The Angel of Reform School may be named in a few years, and both Reform School and Drug Rehab could have the opportunity eventually to have their Words expanded to "Rehabilitation/Reformation of Criminals from Criminal Activities."
A fairly elaborate hierarchy of assignments, with the most difficult and possibly fruitful jobs at the top, and the easiest jobs at the lower end, is a common tool for Leila and her managing angels to express pleasure or displeasure with an angel's performance. The principle is simple - serve well, and receive the opportunity to make a greater impact, with a wider venue for your abilities. Serve poorly, and someone else will be given the chance while you take some time to hone your skills. Naturally, the additional principle applies that the stronger Servitor should be given the tougher jobs.
Corporeal jobs are generally regarded as the most rewarding, with jobs in the Marches next in line and Celestial jobs having less impact. This is by no means rigid, however -- angels with Distinctions may be assigned positions of considerable influence in the hierarchy and thereafter never leave Heaven -- and more importantly, signs that the ladder is becoming a status symbol will be quickly addressed by angels with standing orders to see that vanity does not gain a foothold in the organization.
In Heaven, there are quite a number of jobs available for Redeemers. Leila is in the process of establishing her Word's organization, and there are plenty of things that need to be done. Liaisons to all of the other Archangels maintain relations between Leila and the other Words, and help the Redeemers reach understandings with Heaven's other goals by bringing back experience working with this or that viewpoint. Angels with an organizing bent are working on keeping the rapidly-growing records neat and accessible. Quite a number of Leila's angels move among the humans in Heaven, asking about their experiences in life and about obstacles they felt they might have overcome to get to Heaven, about the struggles they have had to endure, and try to find the patterns within these stories that can help the angels who must deal with the problems of the living as they are occurring. Another, smaller task force is collating the stories of Redeemed demons for a similar purpose.
Blandine and Leila are mutually friendly, and Leila sends a number of her angels to the Marches to learn about the aid that can be wrought there for the humans she targets. Many angels on Earth duty will spend some time here eventually, since the inner thoughts and dreams of their human charges are a large part of their focus. Another group of her angels explores Beleth's side of the Vale, bringing back information on human fears, and on the ethereals that inhabit that region. The Far Marches are also explored, for similar purposes. Soon, Leila will make overt moves, openly voicing her hope that more Ethereals will choose to serve Heaven and attempting to make contact with those she and Blandine deem likely prospects.
Primary among Leila's missions are those where an angel is assigned, long-term, to pull a human being up from the muck of Fate and get him to turn towards his Destiny. To this end, the angels of Redemption spend a lot of time in the seedier corners of the world, looking for a way to dig out the nuggets of gold that they believe lie within every human. Often, an angel may have several of these missions going at once, since rarely will a single job be so all-consuming as to require every moment of an angel's time -- and besides, it's more reasonable not to be close by every minute of the day. They will try just about anything -- providing moral support while someone gets their high school degree, just happening to have the free hours each day to look after a baby while a single mother works the evening shift, or being in the vicinity and seeming to wander onto the scene before a gun is pulled at a tense standoff. Other Corporeal jobs include the usual -- being a Seneschal, preparing for emergency operations, protecting Tethers, or running the retreats where angels can work off Dissonance or just get recentered, for example.
Anything militant counts as an unusual job for the Servitors of Redemption. However, in experimenting with the boundaries of her nature, Word, and abilities, sometimes Leila will assign an angel to a different area of influence. An angel of Redemption may see service with small groups from nearly any other divine Word, acting as backup or support staff and seeking only to learn about other ways to serve Heaven and combine this with their own viewpoint. Angels of Redemption, after all, try to see the best in everything, including other Words, and often succeed.
Terreniah, Elohite Angel of Second Chances
In Nomine Statistics:
Corporeal Forces - 2 Strength 4 Agility 4
GURPS: In Nomine Statistics:
Word Attunement: With a touch, Terreniah can send a willing mortal soul into the cycle of reincarnation - the human's body dies and their soul is reborn elsewhere, sans memories or any old Corporeal Forces (including those granted infernally).
Word Dissonance(optional): Second chances need to be supported, or else the same thing is just going to happen again. Terreniah needs to work with the souls sent to reincarnation by her Attunement -- she gains a point of Dissonance if any soul she has marked enters Hell.
Terreniah is an old angel, considerably older than Leila herself. She rose to her Word in service to Destiny, and was happy in Yves' service, but when Leila ascended, Terreniah gave the matter every thought and concluded that her Word would better serve Heaven under the new Archangel, so closely aligned. She talked it over with Yves, who agreed, and let her go without the loss of any of her old Attunements. Leila welcomed her and has used her to fill out the higher levels of her fledgling organization, as well as provide some quiet advice occasionally.
The Archangel has also been encouraging Terreniah to explore other aspects of her Word, such as encouraging people to give second chances to others to prevent greater sadness later in that same life. This has led to the development of Terreniah's new Rite.
Shmu-el ("Samuel Reubens"), Mercurian Servitor of Redemption
In Nomine Statistics:
Corporeal Forces - 3 Strength 6 Agility 6
GURPS: In Nomine Statistics:
At a small desk in a phone bank for a suicide hotline in Boston, Sam will be the one to answer the call. He's gained a reputation among his co-workers for building a real sense of trust and understanding with the callers, and having a knack for untangling layers of interacting relationships and stresses on the fly. Outside of working hours, Sam visits his callers using a separate identity to do followup work, when he can get sufficient information to identify the caller(the Hotline has a strict policy against personal involvement with callers, and against any attempt to ID callers beyond their express wishes, so Sam may be in trouble if he gets caught). He unwinds from the emotional stress by doing some volunteer gardening in a welcoming Tether to Flowers nearby, a city arboretum.
(Sam was created as a balanced starting character in GURPS: In Nomine.)
As noted under the Archangelic Opinions, Eli has a high opinion of Leila and has offered Servitors to help hers. (Few are currently assigned on the long term, and most of these are transfers from other Archangels.) Leila has accepted -- she can use all the help she can get in these early years -- but is wary, for two reasons. First, the angels of Creation like to create. They're keenly interested in the process of shaping the organization, and she doesn't want control of this process usurped from her without a certainty of the result, even if the usurpers have purely innocent intentions or even don't consciously mean to do so. Second, Eli's support is not exactly the best to have from a political point of view, so it seems best to thank him sincerely and carry on with business as usual. Of course, if Leila could bring the Archangel of Creation back to the fold, or at least get a comprehensible answer from him as to why he's staying on Earth, her political position might be considerably boosted.
Dealing with Judgment
Redemption would rather see someone Fall than die; it leaves open the possibility of their return to the fold. Judgment would rather see someone die than Fall; no evil, even temporary, is acceptable. This conflict is nearly irreducible, and attempts to reduce it are almost solely on the part of the Redeemers, who try to see the best in everything, including Judgment.
Dominic and Leila are flatly hostile to each other, and the animosity is reflected in their organizations. Angels of Redemption and triads of Judgment will by the nature of their missions often cross paths when hunting for Outcasts or Renegades, sometimes at cross-purposes (usually if Judgment is looking for an execution). After seeing a pattern of such incidents, Dominic brought up a number of the angels of Redemption on charges of obstructing Judgment. Leila hotly defended her Servitors, pointing out that the angels were serving their Word with alacrity and vigor. Leila's Servitors made no objection to Judgment's activities, but rather sought to have the angel come back sincerely repentant once found by the triad, whose search they made no effort to stall(on her explicit orders, when necessary) or misdirect. As for not proactively reporting the Outcast's location, no angel was expected to aid Judgment at the cost of their Word, and acting to Redeem an Outcast was well within the parameters of their Word.
Dominic found the angels not guilty by reason of overriding Word considerations and a True explanation of the behaviors described by the evidence. His charge had not been wrong, Leila's opponents pointed out, merely mitigated. Nevertheless, it was a significant milestone in the Superiors' relationship -- although their servants maintain their mutual opinions of each other.