Friday, September 4, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: Angels and the Not (Fate Core)

This covers angels in my romantic fantasy setting of #Crux, City of Curses.  Click here for more on that, if you have no idea what a Crux is.  Edit: thanks to +Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi for his suggestion for a change to one of the paragraphs, I'd just said sixteen, he'd suggested a different alternation of numbers for different things.  I altered that numbering, but only because I like the idea of seven happening twice.  The numerologist in me and all that.


Fire crackles in the air.  It smells of cinnamon.  One can feel this static with each breath.

A figure with six wings descends from the clouds above.  Her emerald skin and bright blue hair glowed.  Beautiful.  Armored.  A golden sword in her left hand.  Immortal.  Perfection.

The smoke and dirt of #Crux seemed fouler in her presence.  More filthy.  Like a lantern in darkness, she highlighted the stains and cracks.  An angel floated in the air, and the City of Curses paled in comparison.

Seventeen times in Crux's history, Angels have come. Seven of those times, those Angels performed miracles, regardless of faith or creed. Seven times they silently watched, then left as if something had happened. But three times they besieged the city, brought fire and brimstone upon it- always leaving after at least one person had died. No one knows, why...

Angels appear one day, from the sky.  It could be for a moment, or it could be for a whole day.  Never at night, only during the day.  Sometimes they appear with the rain.  Other times, only surrounded by sunbeams.

The why remains a mystery, but the after effects are always remembered.  Angels always cast bright light, their forms electric.  Their words are carried in stories for generations afterward.

Here are a few of the known incidents in Crux that Angels have partaken in:

  • The Battle of Ranza, during the Ursyklon invasion.  An Angel named Siobhael forced a truce between the Prince's Herald and Srady Wiseowl; the entire village of Ranza diappeared the next day, the entire peninsula leaving a bay that the West docks of Crux are based around.
  • The burial of General Vivala Oculus, during the height of the Tomasi Empire.  An angel appeared during the rainstorm that marred the ceremony, resurrecting the general the Empress.  Within a month, Oculus had helped to execute the reigning Empress, installing a new dynasty, the last great house to rule the Tomasi Empire before its fall.  
  • Brachael appeared and resurrected Sharazh'akd, a hung wizard in the Rose Quarter during the Revolution Wars.  This miracle motivated the Archbishop in Crux to push the Othebean government to break off their occupation of the Cross River and other regions in Ith.  It proved critical in helping the Ithic Patriots win the war.

Angels come to this world from a variety of places.  Expert conjurers and summoners can identify
their kinds on sight, but even then, individual angels can vary even within their own kinds.  Some act as priests of a faith; others act as secular as constables.

There are innumerable realms and planes they normally frequent.  Most often though, Angels are said to come from the Eternal City of La.  In La they come into being to serve.  Whom, no Angel says.  Those who see the golden streets of La and its shining towers always are awed.  Angels live together in peace, with no signs of crimes or even harsh words.  Even then, La remains distant for mortals to comprehend.  Angels seem to be part energy, and even the most eloquent of mortals may never get the attention of any angel.

For the Angel, they simply are too low for them to comprehend.  An Angel could (and they have been known to) wreak havoc to mortals who could not grab their attention.  Some show attention for Mortals, but if they shift focus, it can be as if the mortal has become nothing more than echo in the back of their mind.

The Fae, Demons and Devils all acknowledge Angels.  Demons and Devils seem to show no animosity toward Angels, but always warn those mortals who think Angels might save them.  Fae speak of them in awe, always eager to share stories of the worlds Angels destroyed by accident or for want of a brief word.  Angels, those who speak of others, seem to have no overall opinions on any Demons, Devils or Fae.

Angels always speak of "the Law" and enforce its tenets.  But they don't say what the "Law" is, how one might learn of it, or how one is to obey it.  Only that "the Law" must be protected.  The other thing Angels speak of is "the Not."  This term is confusing, as they are referring to a specific kind of thing, but provide no details.

"The Not" is something they seek out.  They always destroy anything touched by it, as it "the Not" itself were a cancer.  Whatever it is, this "Not" always provokes the worst in Angels, even to those who are ignorant of it altogether and unable to communicate with an Angel.  We have few records of such peoples, but they always seem remote or forgotten, ancient before our oldest records.

In that Angels war upon the "Not" yet tolerate Demons, Devils, Fae and even the Aboleth's great transgressions, always beggars the question: how much worse must it be that perfect beings stand vigilant against it?

Angels never seem to have Classes like Mortals do.  They do have something similar, but unlike the metaphysical mantles Mortals sometimes use, these seem more interchangeable.  They have names that sound beyond mortal means: Seraphim; Cherubim; Ophanim; Grigorim.

We don't know what these mean.  Some can guess, but even these guesses can be wrong in a different context.  Grigorim are watchers, but this seems to be something that means watching in several different dimensions at once.  They watch time, space, emotions, possibilities and more.  They watch something no mortal can comprehend.  Not without going mad, we think.

Sample Angel Stats
Angels have stronger Approaches.  They lack much in skills, as they are more forces than comprehensible in mortal terms.

Hanael; Hope of the High
Aspects: Seraphim; Mercy of the Morning Rain; Giver of Miracles; Angel of Hope
Approaches: Flashy Great (+4), Forceful Great (+4), Quick Good (+3), Clever Good (+3), Careful Superb (+5), Sneaky Good (+3)
Skills: Faith Fair (+2), Notice Average (+1), Athletics Average (+1)
Angel Powers (-3): Hanael can use Faith to cast major spells.  Her flavors of magic are: Hope, Celestials, Rain, Miracles, Mercy, Space.
Healing (-3): Hanael can cure Mild and Moderate consequences of anyone she kisses.
Righteousness (-2): Hanael can use Faith to attack anything unholy or unnatural.  Her touch always inflicts 2 additional mental stress.
Careful Touch: Hanael can use Careful in a speedy manner, much faster than others might.  She can always use it in place of Quick.
Divine Insight: Hanael's first spell in a scene costs her no mental stress, so long as she is using that spell to gain information about a living person.
Divine Body: Hanael's number of physical stress boxes is based off her Careful approach instead of her Physique.
Immortality: Hanael cannot die from mortal weapons, nor can she get sick from illnesses.  They can inflict her stress, but her consequences never are physical in nature.  She can be destroyed, but to do so requires a lot of research and special materials to do so.

Where Tieflings are those born with souls escaped from some hell, there are none whose bodies are as touched that reflect some heaven of one kind or another.  Angels do mate with mortals though.

Unlike Tieflings, these happen so rarely they aren't another kind of folk.  Most don't even know what the child of a Angel might be like.  Perhaps more perfect or beautiful.  The best name reserved for such rare children might be Nephillim.  Academics sometimes coin terms like Celestial or Holyblooded.

A Nephillim could be borne by any union within Crux.  Angels are consummate shapeshifters, so anything from Feyborn animals to even Tieflings could impregnated with a Nephillim.  There are no known Nephillim in the world today, although many claim that secret groups work to protect and hide them.

The Cenobite of the Celestial Crown is said to be such a group.  Made up of aristocrats and monarchists throughout the Maru Sea, the Crown's emblem of a three-pointed crown is associated with their "secret society."  No one has ever proven the Crown even formally exists, even as part of a an established church or nation.

Lastly, the Prince has long decreed that no Nephillim within Crux is to be harmed.  If any harm befell any Nephillim, whoever did so would be executed, publicly.  Why the Prince is so explicit remains unclear, as is most things with the Prince.

Nephillim Aspects: Angelchild; Holyblooded; Child of the Gods; Chosen of the Celestial Crown