a guide to life as a Creationer

0. Terminology

An Elohite of Creation can be referred to as:

This applies to Eli's other Choirs as well. Creationers and the Forsaken are both common slang terms for Eli's angels, although Forsaken is never used to their face or (for politeness) in the remainder of this document.

1. Stories

When Dominic first took steps against the debauched angels of Creation, he argued that Eli had lost control -- that he didn't know what he was doing any more. Some of Eli's angels agreed; most of them met his eyes, or the eyes of a Triad Seraph, and said, "But you are wrong." He argued that Eli's angels were selfish and dangerous; again, many agreed, and many stared the Seraph down.

The seven stories that follow are testimony given to the Divine Inquisition by those who once served Eli. Each is an excerpt from a trial held in Heaven, either at Dominic's decree or at the request of an Earthly Triad. This testimony was faithfully recorded by the angels of the court. In these records, Inq stands for the Primary Inquisitor, and Def for the Defendant.

1.1 The Seraph's Story

Inq: Name and service, for the record?
Def: Abigail, Seraph of Creation in service to Wind. Institute member.
Inq: Could you please recount the events of August 2nd, 1996 C.E.?
Def: I yanked the wheel to the left, car skidding violently across the road, as the police sirens bleated repetitively behind me. Rain was pouring across my windshield, and I recall thinking quite clearly, "It would be a good thing to be an Ofanite right now --"
Inq: Excuse me?
Def: Yes?
Inq: What are you talking about?
Def: The events of August 2nd, 1996 C.E.. Beginning one second after midnight, as measured by the clock in the car I was driving at the time.
Inq: Ah.
Def: Suddenly, I saw a hairpin curve in the mountain road ahead of me! A small yellow Subaru was methodically rounding the curve from the other side, in my lane -- by which I mean, of course, the lane that I was actually in, not the lane I was supposed to be in ...
Inq: Stop.
Def: Okay.
Inq: Somewhat later that day, you were in a bank with two other Servitors of Wind --
Def: Strike "other".
Inq: -- with two Servitors of Wind, and a man came in brandishing a gun, his apparent intention being a bank robbery. Is this correct?
Def: More or less.
Inq: What in that statement do you object to?
Def: It's a perfectly fine statement.
Inq: Then why do you say "more or less?"
Def: Hey, it was your question. You tell me.
Inq: Moving on. As I understand it, the Cherub of Wind who accompanied you whispered, "Can you tell how good he is with that thing?"
Def: That is indeed how you understand it.
Inq: Is my understanding correct?
Def: Yes.
Inq: And what was your response?
Def: I said, "That would be a misuse of my talents."
Inq: Why?
Def: Hm. Understand that while I serve Janus, currently, I remain an angel of my maker Eli. I suspect that this is why I am being investigated. I have been created in order to unlock potential -- to help humans and even angels create by showing them that they have the necessary ability. Seraphim of most Superiors seem to be defined by the statement, "I know." Although I have the power to discern truth, as they do, my defining statement is, "I trust." I show people my faith in them, in what they can do and what they can become. In truth, --
Inq: One moment. I had understood that disobeying the creative principle brought angels of Creation no dissonance.
Def: For our purposes, that is an accurate statement. However, angels are allowed to have ethics beyond the avoidance of dissonance. Is it wrong for a Cherub to value their word of honor? For a Malakite to value honesty? I feel no guilt for valuing my purpose as well as my nature.
Inq: A Malakite who broke an oath in order to remain honest would be questioned, however.
Def: Indeed. And if I were to lie to myself about the way I should behave, there would be grounds to haul me before the Divine Inquisition!
Inq: It could be argued that you were betraying the cause of Heaven by risking the lives of your comrades. It is correct, is it not, that -- lacking information on the skill of the gunman -- your companions decided to try to capture him? That they could have been seriously injured if he had turned out to be a crack shot?
Def: Oh. Well. I knew that he didn't have any idea how to use the thing.
Inq: Pardon?
Def: He didn't know how to use the thing. He was probably some kind of desperate drug addict --
Inq: How do you know he didn't know how to use it?
Def: What, do you think I'm crazy? I checked.
Inq: You checked. I thought you said that that would be a misuse of your talents? That it would be violating the divine mandate given you by Eli to use your gifts to unlock creative potential? That the whole notion was as unethical as a Malakite's lie?
Def: Well, yes. But Eli doesn't expect us to be stupid.

1.2 The Cherub's Story

Inq: Name and service, for the record?
Def: Chilion, Cherub of Creation in service to War. Cycle Pusher.
Inq: Which do you consider your primary service?
Def: Heaven.
Inq: I mean, between Creation and War?
Def: An unanswerable question. Do you serve your Seraphic nature first, or Dominic?
Inq: I serve the one by serving the other --
Def: Precisely.
Inq: -- but if Dominic were to demand I learn the Helltongue, and speak blasphemous lies before this court, I would.
Def: Yet he does not. How remarkable. -- Would it not be fair to say that he does not do this thing because in so doing he would be violating the purpose of your creation? If he wished you to lie, would he not have created a Balseraph? The same applies in my case. I have been given to the Lord of War because service to him suits my nature as a Cherub of Creation.
Inq: This logic is imprecise; however, I will accept your answer. We may return to the implied insubordination at a future point. If you serve Creation and War simultaneously, what is the nature of this service?
Def: The first goal of Hell is the perversion of the essential drives of humanity. These are: one, to love; two, to dream; three, to struggle, and four, to build. Thus we have Princes of Lust, and Nightmare, and Sloth, and Technology. It is my duty to remove the corruption and the corruptors, so that love will grow where there was lust, and dreams will grow where there was terror, and valor will replace cowardice, and bright things will be built.
Inq: I am uncertain that this is the principal goal of Hell. Can demons not dream? Can they not struggle? Can they not build? Could humans be valorous if there was no corruption to battle?
Def: Demons can dream, and struggle, and build. It may even be that they can love. But humans will always have reasons for valor. Even in Heaven, I have seen blessed souls sacrifice their own time and joy to increase the joy of another.
Inq: Would you continue to battle corruption and corruptors if there were no demons behind it?
Def: I don't know.
Inq: Come, how could you not know?
Def: If the only thing that changed was that the demons were no more, I would fight against the purely human corruption and corruptors. However, I am not old enough to recall the boundaries God set for the angels before the Fall. If the Creator of all things told me to stop, I would retreat to Heaven and, I think, wander the Savannah and the Eternal City for as long as I endured. How could I not?
Inq: So your concern isn't really the war between Heaven and Hell, but the war between the "bright" creative principle and the "dark" creative principle?
Def: No.
Inq: No?
Def: The division you propose is false. Creation does not come in "light" and "dark" -- it is creation. It is the life of the universe. It is good. My objection to Hell is that it can result in --
Inq: (waits)
Def: The Lord of Hell is a Balseraph. The creations that can be traced to him or the accursed Prince Vapula are fundamentally lies. A river carves out a riverbed; this is an act of creation. If it carved out an ornately-decorated house, this would be an act of perversion. Humans who build what Vapula teaches them to are being conned. Their creation won't be what they think it will be. And it won't come from them. Ignoring the problems of demonic plagiarism destroying careers, of accursed Nybbas' box deadening the mind, and inventions turned away from their purpose, this is bad.
Inq: You do, however, concede the point that this is not what the War is about?
Def: I don't kill demons for the sake of killing demons, no. I don't think the Lord of War does, either, no matter how many he kills for other reasons. Like him, I have my own reasons for what I do, and my own causes.
Inq: His cause seems to be somewhat broader than your own.
Def: Ahhh. This is about Dinhabah.
Inq: Indeed. And we will come to that shortly. First, though, I have a question. You describe yourself as the one who removes the corruption and the corruptors -- are not the Cherubim of Michael expected to be protectors first, and warriors second?
Def: I'm not a Cherub of War. I'm a Cherub in service to War.
Inq: So being an angel of Creation lets you be more aggressive and less of a Guardian than if you were an angel of Michael's?
Def: (uncomfortably) Yes.
Inq: In essence, you have assigned yourself a cause that is both more and less encompassing than that appropriate to a Cherub Servitor of War? And your justification is that the Archangel Eli, who selected Michael to be your Superior, has endowed you with a holy mission that is at cross-purposes with this decision?
Def: I have fought in the name of the Archangel of War. I have risked my existence in his name. How can you suggest that I do not serve his Word? Or is it my Cherubic nature you suspect? Do I lack the identifying characteristics of a Cherub? Have I not wings, that I can fly? Have I not grace, that I can love? I am a Cherub Servitor of War, and my cause is the cause of just such a being.
Inq: To my eye, you are a giant octopus swathed in golden haloes.
Def: The wings are metaphorical.
Inq: I see.
Def: In any case, I do not lack the internal characteristics of Cherubim. I am a Guardian. But I am not a guardian of individual humans, or places, or things unless I need to be. I have been crafted to guard the creative principle. I have the means to find and encourage true artists -- of every sort -- and the means to hunt down the plagiarists, the forgers, Vapula's brood, and often, those who corrupt the mind.
Inq: If this is your purpose, then why can you not always hunt them down?
Def: The Cherubic resonance deals with the tangible, and corruption is intangible.
Inq: Is it possible that the purpose you have assigned yourself might be incompatible with Michael's goals?
Def: I have not assigned myself this purpose. It was a gift to me from my maker.
Inq: Is it possible that your purpose might be incompatible with Michael's goals?
Def: Sometimes I wish it was a Malakite who ran these trials.
Inq: Answer the question.
Def: There might be a conflict with the goals he has presented to me. However, he has only spoken in generalities. I would hope he would agree with my specific decisions. And, in fact, you will note I have not been cast from his service.
Inq: I will note, in turn, that he has not chosen to attend this tribunal.
Def: He has many things to attend to.
Inq: Now. The matter of Dinhabah. It is on record that you encountered a demon, had illicit converse with it, did battle with it, and fled. While in the service of Michael, who demands that his Servitors be valiant.
Def: I did not flee. I retreated.
Inq: That has the sound of sophistry.
Def: It is not. There was at most one chance in twenty that Dinhabah would have defeated me. I chose to retreat so that I would not have to kill him.
Inq: (slowly) You are defending yourself from a charge of improper behavior by claiming that it was treason, instead?
Def: I had been asked by the Lord of War to locate the creator of a particularly disturbing painting. It was, apparently, giving numbers of its viewers nightmares, and he suspected that it was crafted by a Servitor of Beleth.
Inq: I can understand this. Michael chose to put your unusual talent to use.
Def: I was uneasy about the assignment, you understand, because I did not sense genuine taint in the painting. It was what you would call an instance of the "dark" creative principle, and not what I would call an inherently corrupt work. I was willing to accept that it might have been created by a human under accursed Beleth's influence, however.
Inq: Your report states that it was, in fact, demon-crafted.
Def: That is correct. I am not certain why I did not perceive this immediately, but I have two theories.
Inq: And these are?
Def: One, he was a demon on the road to Redemption. Two, he was a Shedite, and therefore the work was the joint product of a human and a diabolical.
Inq: Three, you were imperceptive that day. Go on.
Def: When I arrived in the creator's apartment, I discovered that there were numerous other paintings on the walls. Some were disturbing. Others were beauteous. All of them had the same maker.
Inq: Did you refrain from killing the creature out of a sentimental attachment to beauty?
Def: I found the demon hiding under the sink. And I said, "It is terrible enough that you should serve the Princess of Nightmares. What you have done to your own talent, however, is unforgivable." He looked at me with hopeless eyes and said, "It is the only way I am allowed to paint at all."
Inq: It was sympathy, then?
Def: I said, coldly, "There is always Redemption." He crawled out from under the sink and stood. Then he said, quietly, "Heaven does not ask of humans that they rewrite their own natures. I am not evil; why do you ask it of me?"
Inq: I begin to suspect a Balseraph.
Def: I looked away for a moment and said, "It should be an easy choice." And he attacked.
Inq: You may omit the battle. Why did you decide to retreat?
Def: Faith.
Inq: What?
Def: He had no intention of Redeeming. This was obvious. He was dangerous. This was also obvious. I knew, however, that his intentions and his danger were irrelevant. I must have faith that such a man cannot remain in the service of Hell. If I cannot trust in the fire of creation, then I cannot trust myself.
Inq: Your decision was incorrect.
Def: Judge me if you must. Destroy me if you must. But if you cannot even understand, then as surely as he will Rise --
Inq: Yes?
Def: You will Fall.

1.3 The Ofanite's Story

Inq: Name and service, for the record?
Def: Sisamai, Ofanite of Creation, in service to Destiny.
Inq: Sisamai, I should inform you that your existence is at stake. If you are in fact guilty of the crimes of sedition and conspiracy, and no sufficiently extenuating circumstances are discovered, it will be the recommendation of this court that your Forces be disbanded and your name struck from the records of Heaven. Answer all questions with this in mind, but do not seek to deceive me; you will fail.
Def: Wait. Conspiracy?
Inq: A case has been made that your Archangel forms the focal point of an organization dedicated to the moral decay of Heaven and, quite possibly, the literal disbanding of the Inquisition. While I do not expect to find conclusive evidence for or against this in this trial, the fact remains: the well-known decadence, debauchery, and tribal loyalty of the Servitors of Creation puts a darker cast on the crimes of any individual within that group.
Def: So you're saying that because my siblings are occasionally unruly --
Inq: That this may represent a kind of organized resistance. Or preprogramming by the Archangel Eli. Yes.
Def: Can you define sedition?
Inq: In general, the suggestion that the Archangels do not deserve their position, or that the policies of Heaven are incorrect. In this specific case, the exact quote was, "To Hell with what Yves wants. He's got a bloody sewer for a mind!"
Def: Oh.
Inq: Did you make this statement?
Def: I guess so.
Inq: Why?
Def: Everything in the Symphony has both a Fate and a Destiny, correct?
Inq: That is my understanding. The concepts may lack meaning in certain cases, such as tables and ants; I am not certain.
Def: Yves is, in theory, concerned with the Destiny of everything. A man might be inherently evil, so that his Fate is to become a mass murderer and his Destiny is to be a cruel miser. Yves would wish him to reach his Destiny. Yes?
Inq: That statement is beyond my capabilities to verify or deny.
Def: Go with me, here. Let's imagine a more common case: an old man with a vaguely acceptable Destiny and a significantly negative Fate. Here is someone Yves would definitely be concerned with, yes?
Inq: I believe so.
Def: Suppose he had more or less achieved his Fate. Sixty-five years old, just released from prison for a brutal killing when he was twenty years old. He has a brother who is wealthy enough, these days, to support him, so he isn't likely to do much more evil or any particular good. And what seals the ticket is that he's going to have heart failure in about a year.
Inq: I assume that this is not a purely hypothetical construction?
Def: It is not. Now, it is within my capacity, as an Ofanite of Creation, to change this. I could approach this man and offer him the opposite of the Infernal bargain. I could tell him: I will make you eight years younger, if you swear to dedicate your life to good. And I could warn him that it's just as easy for me to take those years back if he breaks his word.
Inq: Can someone achieve their Destiny under duress?
Def: Nothing that he did out of fear would count. But let's assume that his heart would lighten in eight years of good works, and he would start doing good deeds out of genuine love for the world.
Inq: This does not sound objectionable.
Def: Sure. But suppose that I met with the guy this man killed on my way out of Heaven.
Inq: Again, something more than a supposition?
Def: Have I mentioned how nice your tie is?
Inq: I wear no tie.
Def: That would almost certainly be the reason. So, suppose I met this guy on my way out of Heaven, and he said, "How dare you? Have you no sense of justice? Have you no sense of shame? Why should a man whose heart has been black his whole life be rewarded? My sister has gone to Hell, and you would shoo him forcibly into Heaven?"
Inq: But --
Def: And I say, "It is in the interests of Heaven! He will do better things! From his example, others will do better things!" And he says, "For my sake, do not. For the sake of justice, do not." And I stop, for just a moment, for all that I'm an Ofanite, and I think, "Maybe justice is more important than Yves."
Inq: The interests of Heaven outweigh your personal sense of what is right.
Def: Do they?
Inq: Yes.
Def: I'm supposed to throw out my own sense of what's right on an Archangel's say-so?
Inq: Yes.
Def: Then I have no defense.
Inq: Very well. The judgment of this tribunal --
Def: After all. Your own sense of right has no meaning compared to your Archangel's instructions. That the suggested debauchery of Eli and his Servitors be punished.
Inq: (silence)
Def: I'm correct, aren't I? I was judged by you before I even rolled into this room.
Inq: If my lord Dominic believes that Eli is a danger to the interests of Heaven --
Def: If Eli suggests that Dominic might be the same --
Inq: (silence)
Def: You are an interesting case, did you know that? An angel with a Fate that isn't "to Fall." An angel with the Fate of "become a monster, because he does not choose to see."
Inq: If I was overharsh, I would be dissonant.
Def: Angels do not become dissonant because of events beyond their knowledge.
Inq: Dominic --
Def: It is the gift of my maker: I bring the wisdom of age, or the clear sight of youth. One to guide creation, and one to cause it. I offer you both.
Inq: (snapped) You are on trial here.
Def: No. I am not. It was promised before I ever spoke those words: when we are through here, Yves will come for me.

1.4 The Elohite's Story

Inq: Name and service, for the record?
Def: Pekod, Elohite of Creation in service to Lightning. May I ask why I have been brought here?
Inq: It was the opinion of our local agent in Baltimore that you suffer from the sin of Pride.
Def: I see.
Inq: I will read from our agent's report. The Elohite has ceased working on behalf of the interests of Heaven. Where one would logically expect it to apply its abilities to the creation of relics useful to the destruction of demons and the suppression of Vapulan technology, it instead focuses its attention on the creation of ever more bizarre and unusual devices. At times, it diverges from the process of relic creation entirely to build strange and excessively complex mechanical or electronic devices with no practical purpose whatsoever. Were this angel a Kyriotate, this could be described as a "harmless hobby;" in an Elohite, it is worrisome. The implication is that the Elohite considers its own creations more important and beneficial to the Symphony than those that would directly aid the cause of Heaven. Recommendation is termination.
Def: A very strong statement.
Inq: Do you dispute it?
Def: It is an opinion, and cannot be disputed. However, I find it objectively inaccurate.
Inq: Why so?
Def: The things that I build are not lacking in practical purpose. Understand, I did not create the relic that your agent requested. I believe the proper term for his emotional motivation thereafter is 'a snit.'
Inq: An attached document states, ... the Elohite's latest obsession appears to be a relic for generating orange juice without the intervention of oranges or the expenditure of Essence. The relic, assembled from approximately eighty pounds of iron and a number of strange alchemic ingredients, is now erratically operational, but I am uncertain whether this is a positive sign. Certainly, there is a practical use for this artifact, but an important one?
Def: I believe you misunderstand the project.
Inq: You may enlighten me.
Def: The purpose of the artifact was not to generate the juice of the fruit called the orange. It was designed to create the juice of the color orange. A liquid concept -- or perhaps liquid light. I'm not entirely certain.
Inq: Pekod, the device was your creation. Why don't you know what it was designed to do?
Def: For precisely the reason that it cannot be called an obsession or a subjective enterprise. It was not a device of my own conception. I served only as a channel for the creative principle. The crafting of relics, you understand, is not my function -- it is my ability. My function is to serve as a bridge between the is not and the is.
Inq: Using your own whims to determine which "is not"s you bridge into reality?
Def: I have a question.
Inq: You may ask.
Def: Do you perform your work according to a rigorous and complete plan? Do you have instructions from Dominic, for example, as to how to reply to this particular question?
Inq: Of course not.
Def: You use your own intuition, training, and judgment. Yes?
Inq: Yes.
Def: All of which can be traced, ultimately, to your creation by the Archangel Dominic, who may be reasonably said to understand the principles of law, justice, and judgment?
Inq: Yes.
Def: And yet you find it surprising that my intuition, imagination, and drive to create, all of which derive ultimately from the Archangel of Creation, may be considered an accurate guide to what should be created?
Inq: Imagination is not judgment. The one is an essential tool for solving problems; the other is an essential tool for determining which solutions are acceptable.
Def: Pardon. I am not certain I understand. You are accusing me of Pride, and present as evidence my unwillingness to judge what should exist and what should not?
Inq: Even for an Elohite, some sense of discrimination is essential.
Def: May I tell you a story? I warn you, it will be a metaphor and not the literal truth.
Inq: You may.
Def: Long, long ago, there was a blind man. He lived for twenty years in the dark, a suffering cripple, but he was nevertheless a good man. He was humble, and he loved his family, and he did what work he could do. And then he met a miracle worker, one day, while he was in the city with his son. And the miracle worker said, "Lo; you are healed." And so he was. He could see. Perhaps more miraculous, he could understand what he saw. And great was his joy.
Inq: (listens)
Def: His brother took him home, greatly pleased, and said that he would teach the once-blind man of the many wonderful sights in the world. And the very next morning, the brother took the healed man out onto the grass to watch the sun come up over the hills. The healed man looked out at the sunrise, and he said, quietly, "It's beautiful. But what does it do?"
Inq: (eventually) The sun gives the Earth light and heat, without which everything would die.
Def: It is not my place to judge what should be created. I have not a thousandth part of the wisdom, the intelligence, or the knowledge for that. I must trust that the Archangel Eli knows what must be made to be. I must trust that when something fires my imagination, it is something that should be.
Inq: Are not Elohim meant to be dispassionate?
Def: We are not. We are meant to share the Symphony's passions as best we can. The Symphony may not discriminate among its component notes, but it does have a plan for its future. It can be damaged by the discordant songs of demons. Should I ignore the Hellborn because Heaven isn't worth my passion? And the Symphony can be damaged, as well, by the removal of even one piece of its glory. One human life. One sparrow. Or one creation, one existence, that because an Elohite of Creation neglected it, will now never be born.

1.5. The Malakite's Story

Inq: Name and service, for the record.
Def: Araquel, Malakite of Creation, Angel of Tomorrow.
Inq: Are you in service to any other Archangel but your own?
Def: I remain in the direct service of milord Eli.
Inq: I understand that the "Catechism of Eli," which has recently been making the rounds of Heaven, is your creation. Have I been deceived?
Def: You are entirely correct.
Inq: This document outlines your Archangel's policies towards the demonic kind, yes?
Def: A half-truth. He has not endorsed the document, although he said he approved of my writing it. In other words, it may be taken as an approximation to his opinions and policies, but not their literal substance.
Inq: These policies might be considered damning.
Def: This is the case with any policy. However, I do not believe myself damned; insofar as I can tell, I am not even dissonant. Neither do I believe that milord Eli is damned; he is the truest servant of Heaven that I have had the grace to encounter.
Inq: (reading from a document) Q: How should one handle a Balseraph?
Def: (quoting from memory) The weaknesses of a Balseraph are vanity and certainty. A Balseraph always believes what it is convenient and comforting for them to believe. If you convince them that something is not important, they will rarely hedge their bets by examining further evidence. Once they have failed to investigate that thing, their vanity will insist that no other demons investigate it. Their persuasive abilities will make sure of this. The virtue of a Balseraph is their conviction. A Balseraphic ally can persuade any mortal that doing the right thing is rewarded. This is an almost-truth, but false enough for their resonance.
Inq: Then you maintain that a Balseraph can be an acceptable tool or even ally? That the most selfish of all bands has a virtue?
Def: Yes. Have you no faith? Do you not believe that everything has a Destiny? There is nothing that cannot be turned to God's purposes. Should I hesitate to sully my hands, when the Symphony needs my protection? Should I not feed sparks of brightness discovered within a Balseraph?
Inq: You are a Malakite. You are expected to destroy evil, not ally with it for temporary gain.
Def: Some demons are evil, but "evil" does not mean demons. It means the knowing tools of the Symphony's Fate. Surely it is within our oath to Redeem a demon instead of killing them? This turns the demon to the service of the Symphony, yes? This can also be achieved without that Redemption, if the demon is not smarter than the angels.
Inq: This is not inherently heresy, but it is an exceptionally dangerous line of thought.
Def: Hey. Live dangerously.
Inq: Q: How should one handle a Djinn?
Def: Very carefully. (laughs) Um. The weakness of a Djinn is emotion. A Djinn will go to great lengths to conceal its emotions. Therefore, if you can push a Djinn into hating something, it will often act to defend it; if you can push a Djinn into admiration of something, it will act to destroy it. A Djinn fears becoming attached, as their typical behavior demonstrates. The virtue of a Djinn is persistence. One can give a Djinn ally a task that they have no personal connection to. As focused creatures, they will continue to perform the task at length; as apathetic creatures, they will never find a reason to stop.
Inq: So you suggest, first, that an angel twist demons into doing dirty work for them, and second, that a Djinn may be more valuable than a Cherub for certain tasks?
Def: (glances around the room) I make no such value judgments. A Cherub is likely to serve the Symphony without manipulation, which cannot be said for the Djinn.
Inq: Q: How should one handle a Calabite?
Def: You have a copy of the Catechism.
Inq: I wish to hear you say it.
Def: The weakness of a Calabite is need. They require destruction. They will engage in destruction under all and any circumstances. If you wish to damage the credibility of a group of demons, or wish to make them hunted criminals, follow their Calabite in secret and gather evidence of his wanton vandalism. The virtue of a Calabite is efficiency. A Calabite ally needs no weapons or tools, and can therefore walk right through many security systems.
Inq: So you advocate allowing Calabim to destroy at random rather than curbing them directly? And you believe that our strike teams should contain the Destroyers instead of Malakim?
Def: I point out that we would lose fewer Malakim and more Calabim that way.
Inq: Um.
Def: (smiles)
Inq: If Infernals can do the work of the Divine, then the Fall and Redemption are meaningless, no?
Def: The Fall and Redemption have meaning. Each represents a massive change, towards selfishness or towards good. However, neither change is complete, and neither change is permanent.
Inq: Q: How should one handle a Habbalite?
Def: The weakness of a Habbalite is their hatred. Do not expect to sway them with conversation, or with direct and obvious action; they are biased against "the angels of Heaven." -- I quote that last phrase, incidentally. However, subtle manipulation can set them against other demons, and they will never question their malice and anger once it has started. Their virtue is their faith. A Habbalite is full of rage and bitterness directed against the forces of Heaven, but they believe themselves to be on the same side. They will make sacrifices in the name of God, something rare among demonkind.
Inq: Do you seriously suggest that we employ the techniques of Malphas?
Def: I believe in using any tool that works.
Inq: Q: How should one handle a Lilim?
Def: That question is not part of the catechism.
Inq: And why is that?
Def: As enemies, the Lilim are less dangerous than most other demons. As tools, they are much more dangerous. I could provide an answer, of course, if you like.
Inq: I see no reason to encourage further heresy. Q: How should one handle a Shedite?
Def: A Shedite's weakness is selfishness. They are like Balseraphs in their involvement with their own lives. This means that if you hurt them, they will talk, and they have access to their host's memories as well as their own. They often cannot accept that if they leave their host before its corruption is complete, self-loathing may impel their host towards Destiny. A Shedite's virtue is perspective. Not even a Mercurian understands human nature as well as the Shedim.
Inq: Knowing that a Shedite's host is partially "awake," you would still suggest torturing the Shedite's body for information?
Def: We're fighting a war here.
Inq: If you embrace such horrors, for what do you fight?
Def: I fight for milord Eli.
Inq: Why?
Def: So that there will always be a tomorrow. So that the universe does not run down and die. I will use any tool that comes to hand, because that is the nature of inspiration. I do not care about human pain, oh Seraph of Judgment; I care about human dreams. I care that the universe grows. This is why you will not agree with me, in the end: your law and your Heaven are both stagnant.
Inq: There is no need to continue with the catechism; you stand condemned by your own words.
Def: That's quite all right. I have reached my Destiny.

1.6. The Kyriotate's Story

Inq: Name and service, for the record?
Def: I am whoever I need to be.
Inq: Who do you need to be now?
Def: Someone who is somewhere else.
Inq: To the best of my knowledge, you are not. Here now. You are an angel. You have a name and a service. Tell them to me.
Def: Any name I gave you would be a lie. But my service is to humanity. I shape myself to match their needs, and then I perform the services that are necessary.
Inq: Stenographer? The defendant's name and service?
Stenographer: Amaziah, Kyriotate of Creation in service to Novalis.
Inq: Amaziah, there are concerns that you have repeated your Archangel's mistake and have lost yourself to the human world. As of now, these concerns appear justified.
Def: I see only one world. If I see it through human eyes, that is my function.
Inq: Amaziah, in what manner do you address the needs of humanity?
Def: He said -- he said to find people who weren't really alive. And to help them. To make them really live. He said to become the thing that will fire their imaginations.
Inq: Can you give some examples from the last year?
Def: I remember everything.
Inq: Perhaps you should give them in order, then.
Def: I was a teacher to a young man in the ghetto. He thought no one but his family would ever care for him, and he thought that he would never amount to anything much. I watched him for talent, and when I realized that he had long fingers and an excellent sense for time, I brought him a flute and I showed him that he could learn beauty.
Inq: May I ask how you earned his trust?
Def: This is what the Songs of Charm are for, are they not?
Inq: Not precisely, but this use is acceptable. You understand that major orchestras do not commonly recruit flautists from the ghetto?
Def: I needed him to be confident. This made him confident of himself, and that made his life better.
Inq: Continue.
Def: There were several "punks" in the park who had a fairly nihilist, anti-magical view of life. After some thought, I possessed several local birds -- called them to my shoulders, talked to them, played games of fetch with them. This returned wonder to their lives, and made them question the boundaries of their existence.
Inq: You may survive this Inquisition yet. Continue.
Def: There was a businesswoman, Mrs. Maxwell, who felt that she no longer had any choice but to be a mundane, dull, boring person for the rest of her life. I took on the form of her ideal man and seduced her, giving her one night of wild and fiery passion to shatter the boundaries of her world.
Inq: Pardon. Mrs. Maxwell? The term denotes a married woman, does it not?
Def: The mortals say God himself lay with a married woman. Well, some of them do.
Inq: Continue.
Def: There was a man whose brother had died long ago. This death had crippled the man of whom I speak, had left him with the eternal feeling, "It should have been me." This is common among mortals. The man could not lift his eyes from the ground, from his brother's grave --
Inq: Metaphorically speaking.
Def: I'm sorry. Yes. Metaphorically speaking. So I took the form of his dead brother and came to him and told him --
Inq: You did what?
Def: And told him --
Inq: Why? What in the Lord's name did you think you were doing?
Def: And told him, "You are wasting the life you have been given. How can I forgive you my death if your own life is meaningless?"
Inq: (goes pale) You -- (long silence)
Inq: This is acceptable, in the name of Heaven and your maker's Word. Barely. Continue.
Def: There was a man who worked as a stockbroker but dreamed of blood and mayhem. I knew that there was this wild animal inside him begging for release, and I took over various hosts and pushed him and pushed him until finally he broke and became more than he had been --
Inq: More by what standard?
Def: The emotion flowed more freely in him. He began to apply the hidden creativity within him --
Inq: To blood and mayhem?
Def: That was his particular talent, yes.
Inq: Just -- random blood and mayhem?
Def: I considered the matter very carefully, but eventually I realized that that would damage the Symphony to some extent. I arranged for him to join a vigilante organization that would put some order in his life but not restrict his efforts unduly.
Inq: This is madness.
Def: It is the teaching of my master Eli.
Inq: Continue.
Def: There was a man who refused to imagine anything beyond "what was real." So I took on a monster's form and quietly haunted him for a week --
Inq: Stop.
Def: Okay.
Inq: This is abominable. This is --
Def: Jacky said it was okay!
Inq: (narrows eyes) Jacky being?
Def: He's my friend. He was sent by Eli to guide me and help me make the right decisions.
Inq: (quietly) How long have you been talking to Jacky?
Def: Most of this year. I met him when I was working with the boy.
Inq: Domination, you have been deceived.
Def: No.
Inq: It would earn me enormous merit, Domination, to report that you were encouraged in these things by a representative of Eli, but it is not true. Jacky is almost certainly demonic.
Def: (launches herself across the courtroom at the Inquisitor. The Malakite's sword neatly pins the Defendant to the floor.)
Inq: You have been tainted. Yet you can still be saved. Falling under a Habbalite or Balseraph's sway is not necessarily a crime.
Def: He was not!
Inq: No doubt he has made you love him.
Def: He has not!
Inq: (blinks, slowly, with all six eyes) That is the truth. (hesitates) Why, then? Why must he be a representative of Eli? Why do you insist that this creature, who you do not love, must be an angel?
Def: Because Eli would not abandon me.
Inq: (finally) Take her away. Give her to Novalis. I will return to this courtroom -- in a little while.

1.7. The Mercurian's Story

Inq: Name and service, for the record.
Def: Rinnah, Mercurian of Creation in service to the Sword.
Inq: Rinnah, you are an artificer, correct? Your primary duty is to create blessed and holy weapons for the Heavenly Host?
Def: That is my duty as my lord Laurence has given it to me, yes.
Inq: You must be a masterful combatant.
Def: I am skilled enough with the sword to hear the Hymn of the Sword. I am skilled enough with my hands to hear the Battle Trumpets play.
Inq: I do not understand these references.
Def: There are themes woven into the Symphony that embody the Isness of Action. A duel is a lesser reflection of a fundamental truth: the Hymn of the Sword. As duelists grow better, their soul grows closer to that Hymn -- their being hears it more clearly, even though they may not realize that they hear. This is skill.
Inq: In less mystical terms, you are saying that abilities are part of the Symphony just as objects are?
Def: You say it, but I do not think you understand it.
Inq: You directly perceive the Symphonic themes corresponding to your own abilities, then?
Def: Yes. Is this relevant?
Inq: Yes. In the matter of your guilt or innocence, your perspective is irrelevant. In the matter of my determination whether a guilty angel merits death or counseling, emotional perspective is everything.
Def: I see. Then yes, I directly perceive Symphonic themes corresponding to skills and talents, and find these themes enormously beautiful. Creating a device that harmonizes with those themes is like capturing golden light in a sword. It is like making a little piece of Heaven. I'm not nearly proud enough to think that's what it is, but that's what it feels like.
Inq: My comments do not mean that you should pander to the court.
Def: Of course.
Inq: You have an Earthly Role, yes?
Def: Rinnah Kensington, discount grocer, yes.
Inq: That is an incomplete answer.
Def: Ms. Kensington also operates a weapons-smuggling enterprise, using several spare warehouses. The necessary connections were acquired through various criminal syndicates that also serve as her primary clients.
Inq: This benefitting Heaven in what way?
Def: Imprimus, it gives the Ms. Kensington Role the opportunity to defend herself, if attacked by Hell, with deadly force. Secundus, a local organization of Soldiers also provides Ms. Kensington with business. Tertius, this enables Heaven to control and track weapons coming in to the local criminal syndicates. Quartus, Ms. Kensington is cheaper but deliberately less efficient than any likely replacement.
Inq: Satisfactory. It seems likely that demons would also be interested in obtaining weaponry, yes?
Def: They often are.
Inq: Do you provide it?
Def: On occasion.
Inq: Does this not make your loyalty to Heaven questionable?
Def: I can answer that in many ways. I am loyal to Heaven. I have no loyalty to Hell. Therefore, it is not disloyalty that makes me hand out weapons to Hell on any occasion.
Inq: Was it expediency?
Def: In general, the demonic beings to whom I granted weapons were worthy of them.
Inq: Our agent reports that you sold submachine guns to certain Calabim and Djinn. These demons were worthy recipients of high-power weaponry? What standard could you possibly have used that would justify that?
Def: When they examined my guns, they demonstrated a remarkable proficiency. In their hands, the guns were not simply implements of destruction but things of beauty, transcendental and marvelous. I could not refuse them, demons though they were.
Inq: So you gave them whole boxes of guns?
Def: Sold. Yes.
Inq: I note that some of your stored weapons are talismans -- mostly of your own making. Correct?
Def: Yes.
Inq: The Archangel Laurence has stated that these are to be issued to angels and Soldiers of God that can demonstrate sufficient need, correct?
Def: Yes.
Inq: Have you ever distributed one to someone who was not an angel or a Soldier of God?
Def: Fifth Amendment.
Inq: Heaven does not have a constitution. Have you ever --
Def: Yes. I have.
Inq: Have you ever distributed one of these talismans to a demon?
Def: Yes.
Inq: Someone in whose hands the gun was not simply an implement of destruction but a thing of beauty, transcendental and marvelous?
Def: (quietly) No. It was a sword, not a gun, and he could barely tell one end from the other.
Inq: Explain.
Def: He knew that I was an angel.
Inq: He threatened your Role?
Def: Yes.
Inq: So you decided to give him what he wanted?
Def: I think you misunderstand.
Inq: You have this court's permission to enlighten me.
Def: He threatened my Role. Therefore, it was necessary to kill him. It would have been terribly unfair to kill him when he could not defend himself, so I provided him with a weapon that he could use.
Inq: Laurence expects his angels to be honorable.
Def: Yes.
Inq: This includes helping up a fallen opponent, and so forth. Things like what you did, also.
Def: Yes.
Inq: It also includes following orders precisely, both in letter and in spirit.
Def: Yes.
Inq: It is, in fact, standard ethical theory that specific honor -- following your oaths -- overrides general principles like "fair play." Yes?
Def: Yes.
Inq: Then why did you do it?
Def: Fighting against such an inferior opponent -- it would have been an affront to the Hymn of the Sword. It would have been like a boxing match against a toddler. I had to strive for beauty in something as important as a person's death.
Inq: But he won.
Def: Yah, well. He cheated.

2. More on the Choirs

2.0 The Four Corners of Creation

A normal Servitor of Creation divides that Word into four parts -- the "Four Corners of Creation." These Corners are the creative energies of humans, nature, the angel themselves, and the Heavenly host. Most Creationers in service to other Words give that service priority, but none of them forget their original role.

Patrons of human creativity (the first Corner), the angels of Eli inspire humanity to bring forth substance from the void. Although they protect, fund, and encourage artists, this is not restricted to the purely abstract arts. Angels of Eli have inspired bakers, architects, and even armorers. They have sacrificed their lives to protect the creators of original computer games. Their hand can be seen in the funding of small and unusual businesses. Creationers fought to have Benjamin Tinker, the greatest torturer ever born, brought to Heaven. They lost only because he would never have been happy there.

Guardians of nature's generative forces, the angels of Eli protect all new things. This includes ideas, institutions, new forms of life, new events, and young animals and children. Anything that is just beginning, that could lead to even more interesting new things, falls to the Creationers to protect. On a good day, this means saving baby seals. On a bad day, it means letting the Chernobyl disaster run its course. On an average day, it means hanging out with Wind Servitors and having fun.

Angels of Creation are expected to be artists themselves. Each of them has a hobby to which invention can be applied -- whether it is genetic engineering, painting, or the design of advertising jingles. This hobby is not intrinsically a priority, but having one, and spending time on it, is something they consider important. If they do not create, how can they teach others to?

Creationers are also expected to apply imagination to the service of Heaven -- this being the usual interpretation of the Fourth Corner. The angels of Eli are expected, by others and themselves, to come up with weird and oddball plans that just might work. If Eli gave his Servitors a dissonance condition, it would probably be "having no idea what to do." Ofanim of Creation, in particular, have minds that churn as fast as their bodies, and are always doing something just a little bit unwise. Most groups of angels will ignore a Creationer's suggestions most of the time, but on rare occasions those suggestions are lifesavers.

2.1 Seraphim

Ordinary Seraphim understand the truth of existence. The Seraphim of Eli understand a little bit more: the truth about what can be. This is an enormous gift, and they value it highly. They consider themselves guardians of the future, nourishers of talent, and master tacticians in the war between Heaven and Hell -- because they understand everyone's capabilities.

Seraphim of Creation perceive the truth through the lens of the variable, expansive, flexible Word of Creation. Most of them cast a jaundiced eye on anyone who claims that reality is simple. Yes and no answers, black and white honesty, and straightforward perspectives seem to them almost ridiculously naive. Although they will never lie, they are completely aware that nothing they say is more than a single aspect of an infinitely complicated truth. Their favorite artworks are those that reveal something unexpected, a hidden but verifiable fact otherwise lost in the complexity of existence.

Creation Seraphim are fond of pointing out that the entire Symphony is true. Some even claim that within that verity is contained the entire future -- enfolded into the present truth like layers of an onion, or cheese within wax paper. Attuned to the Word that began time and connects today with tomorrow, they see this kind of many-leveled reality every time they look around them. This makes it extremely hard to get any kind of straight answer out of them.

This philosophy is not the only one found among Creation Seraphim. Some take a harder line and define truth as something that the Symphony is trying to achieve -- that the world wants to be a place without the current ambiguity. Heaven requires more honesty than Earth, after all, and Earth more than Hell. It is reasonable to think that the ultimate destiny of the Symphony is a world where one can and must state the complete and unambiguous truth. As servants of Creation, it is their role to usher in this new world.

Many Seraphim of Creation are Zen Buddhists and other students of esoteric wisdom. Finding greater understanding by an unusual and creative route appeals to them. If Dominic had not begun supporting the Catholic faith, these Seraphim might have spread Zen across the world long ago.

Seraphim usually refer to the Archangel of Creation as "my maker Eli," or, simply, "Eli." The key truth that they wish to emphasize is Eli's role as the divine architect, the builder, the one who brings forth substance from the void. This is incarnate in his name, because the name of an angel and their Word become deeply intertwined with time.

Creation Seraphim in high favor with Eli look rather strange in celestial form: waves of swirling color radiate from them like heat from a fire. It makes them look like one "normal" creature in the center of an abstract watercolor painting. Other rewards for high service to Eli's Word include enhanced personal creativity, favorable breezes that increase celestial movement, quixotic artifacts, and surprise birthday parties.

The Seraphim who serve Creation like to help people face their own talents and limitations honestly. By helping someone understand where they are going wrong, they can push humans past their artistic stumbling blocks. By having faith in someone's talent, they can help that talent blossom. They are adept at uncovering the lies humans tell themselves and are experts at locating the proper market for any artwork. They are not required to focus on the pure arts; everything from archaeology to beekeeping can be approached creatively.

Typical hobbies for Creation Seraphim are music, collage, and the manufacture of "antique" weaponry and armor. They are good at painstaking and delicate tasks, and understand harmony and balance very well. Even the Seraphim who lack patience are usually good at these things; they simply break their hobby time into smaller and more frequent chunks.

In modern times, the Seraphim of Creation are a bit edgy. On the one hand, they have a kind of intuitive appreciation of the reasons behind Eli's actions. As sharp-eyed beings of truth, and as Eli's handmade children, they can see why Eli's "madness" is a kind of service to his Word. On the other hand, his losing himself in the human world is such a quintessentially Mercurian action that they find it hard to stomach, much less accept. The Most Holy servants of Creation waver between the austerity of Seraphim and the loose party mentality of the Creationers. They find it all too easy to lose themselves in the contradiction.

Generating Seraphim of Creation (the easy way):
Seraphim of Creation tend to value Celestial Forces more than others. The power of the soul governs artistic ability. It is their resonance that fuels their Choir Attunement. A high Will helps them keep their mental balance, as well as protecting them against Dominic's Friends of Judgment. It is usually Corporeal Forces that get slighted in exchange, since Eli never envisioned his Seraphim clubbing Calabim to death.

Before giving a Servitor to another Archangel, Eli usually gave them a good, strong Vessel -- knowing that their new Superior might be reluctant to replace it. Since the Archangel of Creation is a blatantly sexual being, these Vessels tend to have erotic appeal; more general Charisma was usually slighted in favor of uniqueness.

Good Roles for Seraphim of Creation are those which let them interact with as many developing minds as possible. Such Roles include teacher, art gallery or bookstore owner, Unitarian preacher, documentary designer for public television or learning channels, publisher, and talent agent. In general, anything that puts them in contact with people who are trying to expand themselves is a Role they can live in happily.

Seraphim of Creation rarely have artifacts, unless they have the Mercurian or Elohite Choir Attunement. To a certain extent, they're uncomfortable around talismans -- ethereal artifacts throw off their perception of people's capabilities. Talismans can be an incredible teaching tool, of course; this makes them more desirable but no less unnerving.

Creation Seraphim have few Servants. The Relievers that Eli assigned to his Seraphim have mostly fledged into angels by now, and Creation has little need for Soldiers. Seraphim of Creation in service to War or Stone or some such Word might be given a Soldier or two by their current Superior, however.

All of Eli's angels have an affinity for Artistry, Emote, Fast-Talk, obscure Knowledges, and Singing. Skills particularly useful to his Seraphim are Driving, Savoir-Faire, and even Seduction. Of course, a Seraph of Creation will fully develop whichever skills they have the most potential in -- it's not just humans who can benefit from a little self-realization.

Songs of Charm, Dreams, Corporeal Entropy, Healing, and Shields are in high favor with Creationer Seraphim. Ethereal Entropy and Thunder are the most common "offensive" Songs, although particularly corporeal Seraphim may indulge in various Numinous Corpus Songs.

Thoughts on the other Choirs of Creation:
Cherubim: An unfortunate characteristic of the Cherubic nature is that they often neglect their own development in order to oversee the development of others. Self-sacrifice is noble, but like all things it should be practiced in moderation. The gift of Eli to their Choir is useful in finding those who deserve encouragement.

Ofanim: Progressive beings that they are, most of them have fully adapted to their new Services. This is in its own way a tragedy, but their particular ability is not one that any Archangel will deliberately waste. Mourn for those days when they served Creation purely, and all great artists died young.

Elohim: It takes maturity to appreciate that they are fulfilled when they extinguish their own perspective. Once you have accepted that, the Elohim are easy to admire -- they are incomparably skilled craftsmen and incomparably noble angels.

Malakim: It is impossible to measure the amount of damage swords and guns and tools of battle have done over the millenia. Great lives have been snuffed out over and over again. There is no Archangel of Destruction, and there is a good reason for that. However -- while blood and violence are dark and ugly things, destruction and creation are intertwined. Some things must die so that new things can be born. A wise Malakite of our maker Eli removes obstacles to humanity's growth; an unwise Malakite of any Archangel is a grave danger to Heaven and Earth alike.

Kyriotates: It is expected that a servant of our maker Eli, without specific duties, will inspire creation in the mortal world. The Kyriotates are the least equipped of all angels to do so. Their most intimate contact on Earth -- their host -- will never remember them. Our general conclusion is that Eli's Dominations exist only to be invaluable assistants to other angels.

Mercurians: It would be very interesting to hear the music they claim to hear -- but their function, as makers of talismans, is not an appealing one. A talisman is like a forgery of talent, and we do not know why our maker Eli embraces their creation so -- but an Archangel is surely wiser than lesser angels.

2.2 Cherubim

Creationer Cherubim have never given up on Eli. Most of them don't even feel abandoned; as the avatars of devotion, they cannot imagine that a mere century of neglect is anything more than an oversight. It may take five hundred years before all of them realize that he could abandon them -- and they won't give up on him themselves for a millenium more. This means that the current situation is much more confusing to them, but far less disheartening.

Under Eli's management, the Cherubim of Creation were expected to safeguard the basic creative nature of humankind. To them fell the duty to separate the wheat from the chaff, the false and derivative artists from the great ones to be preserved at all costs. It takes a great deal of duplicity and artistic degeneracy to make a Cherub classify someone as "chaff," even if they have no specific loyalty to that person. That's okay, though; Eli wanted it that way.

A typical Creationer Cherub believes that God loves everything there is -- even the most despicable demons and the most depraved humans. As the first and greatest sign of his love, he has offered the world a fraction of his own most glorious power -- the ability to create. God is also a judge, who weighs how people use or misuse this gift. He turns his face away from those who suppress their own imaginations or who use God's gift against him. As fallible beings, the Cherubim expect that they must weigh the evidence carefully before they make the same kind of judgment. As the incarnations of divine love, they feel that such judgments on their part are necessary.

A minority of Creation Cherubim reverse this philosophy, saying that it is because people can create that God loves them. This lets them strike out at demons with a less troubled conscience; it is clear to them that few demons merit God's love.

Cherubim of Eli traditionally refer to him as the Maker Lord. In a similar vein, they refer to Michael as the Lord of War, Novalis as the Lady of Flowers, Laurence as the Blade Lord, and so on. (Laurence is only called the Sword Lord when a Creationer Cherub gets very annoyed with him. It sounds undignified somehow.)

The highest honor Eli gives his Cherubim is the chance to attune to him for a few days, so that, in his words, "I'll always know where I am." Secondary honors include talismans of various sorts, custodial duty at a museum or art gallery, handcrafted celestial sweaters, interesting field trips, and notable assignments.

The Servitors of Creation hold it as axiomatic that Eli has a good reason for acting capriciously. Either he is serving his Word somehow by acting chaotically, or he is attempting to learn something about randomness and synchronicity. One persistent rumor among Creationers is that the "random" nature of his actions is nothing but a ruse -- that Eli has a very specific purpose in the mortal world, and his erratic behavior is nothing more than a useful cover. According to this rumor, he has an elite cadre of Cherubim and Malakim who have earned a place in his "Left Hand," an organization designed to quietly take out the obstacles to his ultimate desire. This might technically be considered an honor, if such an organization even exists.

Cherubim of Creation are generally consummate investigators. In order to know who requires and who deserves their protection, they must understand a good deal about their potential wards. They often train as police, if their current Superior can make use of such a Role. They are excellent demon hunters as well, able to track a demon without emotionally bonding to it.

Some common tricks these Cherubim employ:

Note that, no matter who they serve currently, Creationer Cherubim take their role as guardians of the creative principle very seriously. Nybbas and Vapula (referred to as "accursed ") are particular targets of their hatred, as was the Prince of Sloth before his untimely death.

Common hobbies for the Cherubim of Eli are the time-consuming arts. Mastering rare and difficult instruments fits this category, as does designing mosaics or painting large murals. Some of them write entire novels in verse, or artistically translate books from one tongue to another. If it requires inhuman devotion, they consider it worth their time.

Creation Cherubim are devoted friends, but are rarely the life of any party -- they take their duties too seriously. Unlike most Creationers, they don't have a very big need to lose themselves in the moment; they have faith that Eli will return to them, and are sheltered from the fundamental tragedy of Creation.

Generating Cherubim of Creation (the easy way):
Unless the Cherub wishes to use resonance tricks like the ones above, a solid 7 Perception is enough to make them useful to any Archangel in Heaven. Balanced Forces are common, although there are many Cherubim who slight Corporeal Forces for Ethereal Forces or vice versa. In the modern day, Ethereal Forces are more useful to them -- but most Creationers were manufactured in the 19th century or before.

For several millenia, Eli has had the habit of giving his Cherubim a small animal Vessel, with which they can shepherd their charges inconspicuously. Foxes are traditional, as are cats; dogs, rabbits, raccoons, owls, and falcons are also common. Their normal human Vessel is generally fairly tough in itself. Again, sex appeal and uniqueness come before actual Charisma.

The traditional Roles for these Cherubim are investigative Roles (G-man, police officer, or private investigator.) These Roles suit their natural inclinations and talents. Some of them have more bizarre and creative Roles, such as Freelance Bodyguard, Occult Investigator, Professional Artistic Agent, and Aggressive Lost and Found Practicioner. (See the comments on purses, above.)

Cherubim of Eli have an affinity for artifacts. This is partially because Heavenly artificers are a valuable resource -- a Creation Cherub can find an artifact's creator in an emergency. Cool toys are also a sign of Eli's favor.

Many of Eli's Cherubim charm the great artists that they find, acting as a muse and guardian both; this allows them to guide and protect without using their resonance. Such artists and creative people are their most common Servants.

Cherubim with the relevant Artistry skill can detect forgeries and plagiarized works with a Detect Lies roll. Investigation skills (Chemistry, Computer Operation, Electronics, Lockpicking, and Move Silently) are favored, as are combat skills. For all that Cherubim are the second-most divine Choir, Lying is also common -- not so much as to hide the truth as to creatively dance around it.

Favored Songs include Form, Harmony, and Healing. A Song of Light or Motion is usually thrown into the mix for those pesky emergencies.

Thoughts on other Choirs of Creation:
Seraphim: Talent must exist, and must be encouraged, before it can be preserved. This is the function of our Seraphim. Remember that they cannot predict a talent that they cannot imagine; this is their weakness, and it has slighted Picasso, Monet, and Ford alike.

Ofanim: So quickly they forget. So quickly they move on.

Elohim: It is impossible to deny that they are creators, crafters, and architects of dreams. Yet -- it seems that their dispassionate nature robs their creations of their hearts. God formed the universe out of himself with a sense of boundless, selfless, but very specific and personal joy. It is hard not to wonder if the Elohim are not, in a way, betraying this legacy.

Malakim: One would think that the dignity of their office and role would be compromised by fighting with lampshades, rugs, whipped cream, and hurled potato chips. They disagree, of course.

Kyriotates: One rumor has it that Eli's "madness" began when he tried to think like a Kyriotate. Of course, the notion is an unlikely one -- but it derives from a known truth. The Hives of the Maker Lord experiment creatively with their own identities, and they go insane with appalling frequency.

Mercurians: The Mercurians are somewhat shallow and egocentric, but their creations have more honest joy in them than those of the Elohim.

2.3 Ofanim

Ofanim have a natural affinity for Creation -- it is a process, a kind of motion, one of the defining forces that creates the arrow of time. It says much for Eli's power that his Ofanim have command over that arrow, that they can turn back the clock or shove its hands forward. (The two are equivalent from an Ofanite perspective. Motion is still motion when you look at it from the other side.) The proper use for their powers is almost instinctive, since Ofanim are not embodiments of meaningless motion. Every moment, they are a fount of positive action, the creation of possibilities and realities in Heaven's name.

The philosophy of Creation Ofanim is that invention needs a fertile field to grow. Things must be made interesting if creativity is to flourish. Circumstances must change. Different combinations of people must be brought together. In an environment that is filled with raw motion and newness, the amazing creative power of humans and angels can flourish.

The universe has the natural ability to create things with and without meaning, and it needs no help for this -- it does so constantly. Most Creation Ofanim believe that the purpose of the universe is to create things with meaning, and therefore this is the kind of creativity they try and promote. What exactly defines meaning varies with the Ofanite. Some think that the universe is all about power -- the power that its people (humans, demons, and angels) need to live happy, fulfilling, and/or moral lives. Some think that "meaning" is ethical meaning, and a meaningful creation is one that will guide human souls towards Heaven, demon souls towards Redemption, and angels towards a dissonance-free lifestyle. Still others believe in the more nebulous concepts of beauty, reason, and friendship.

Creationer Ofanim generally take three approaches to promoting Eli's Word, all at once -- it keeps them busy. The first is pinpointing the proper targets for their Choir Attunement. As agents of Heaven, they can rarely resist helping someone in need -- but when they have the opportunity, they target people who inspire others or who create interesting new things themselves. Then they give them a few extra years of life. The second approach is building a Role that lets them foster new ideas and help people to grow. It's difficult for an Ofanite to tie themselves down to a mortal identity. It's also much easier to manipulate society as a genuine part of it. Most of them, reluctant as they are, wind up in a Role eventually. Thirdly, for the rest of their time, they act as transportation agents. They help things and people get together faster -- in turn helping the cross-fertilization of ideas. Many of them work for Marc these days, keeping an almost covetous eye on his Ofanite Attunement.

Ofanim of Creation refer to Eli by name, except when in his presence. Then they will refer to him as "Dreamer" or "Teacher" -- terms of subtle respect for Eli the person that bring a smile to his face. In millenia of experimentation, the Ofanim have hit on a fair number of these terms, although not all of them work repeatedly.

Marks of honor for Creationer Ofanim include multicolored "trails," reversed rotation relative to their direction of travel, and a faint aura of euphoria-inducing smoke. Such gifts are usually only manifest in celestial form, unless Eli was in a forgetful mood. He also offers quixotic and unusual artifacts to favored Servitors.

The most common hobby for Creationer Ofanim is music -- at least, it has been since the invention of rock and roll. Other artistic hobbies include party design, interior decoration, and watercolor -- arts where they can rush around tweaking things. In the past, many of them were composers, writing music manically for entire symphonies. Of course, these are just the artistic hobbies; Ofanim of every Superior tend to have an athletic activity or two.

Ofanim of Creation tend to flit from one friend to another, one social group to another, never forming what an angel would consider to be a deep bond. Compared to most humans, however, they are very dedicated -- even to their oldest friends. Parties thrown by Creationer Ofanim are usually eccentric, eclectic, and very interesting.

Of all Eli's angels, it is the Ofanim who have come closest to forgetting about him and moving on. They are the most loyal to their new Superiors. Still, even the avatars of motion cannot move wholly beyond the purposes built into them when they were first shaped from nothingness. All of them sometimes forget themselves and act in Creation's name.

Generating Ofanim of Creation (the easy way):
Ethereal Forces are usually dominant in Ofanim of Creation. In order to assist with the grand design -- the purpose for existence, for Creation, and for Eli's Ofanim themselves -- they must have an intellect of a high order. Gathering a group of physicists for a jungle-themed costume party might stir the creative juices a little; finding the right technical paper to inspire a physicist or two might cause great things to be born. Guiding creation requires understanding the processes already in existence. For all that Precision is a requirement for their Choir Attunement, their Intelligence is often a little bit higher.

Most Creation Ofanim will have 2 Celestial Forces, to balance higher Ethereal or Corporeal Forces. It's better, after all, to fail the Ofanite resonance roll than to fail the Agility or Precision roll that follows it. Similarly, Eli's Ofanim have no particular need for high Will, unless they're expected to deal with demons on a regular basis.

High Corporeal Forces are reasonably common, if only because Eli wants his angels to be happy. As a general rule, an agile Ofanite is a happy Ofanite, and strength is useful for getting things out of the way. Having 3 or more Corporeal Forces is also extremely useful given the other half of the Ofanite Choir Attunement.

As mentioned before, Eli gave most of his Servitors strong Vessels before abandoning them. Ofanite Vessels usually lack both straightforward Charisma and specific sex appeal; the inexhaustible energy of an Ofanite is daunting. His Ofanim rarely have spare Vessels, since their duties are variable; to have a Vessel designed for each common circumstance would require twenty or thirty of them and remove any need for angelic initiative. Some of them have both a male and a female Vessel, however, to help give them perspective in the mortal world.

Common Roles are those which help them rearrange someone's cosmos. Roles like this include temp research assistant, musician, wedding planner, interior decorator, and rich socialite. Those with a decent fast-talk can pull off Roles that make a little less sense -- one Ofanite in California runs a Zen pizza delivery joint (a free koan on every box) and another runs a placement agency for rare animals that need human companionship.

Ofanim of Creation are occasionally given artifacts or relics by Eli -- when they have done him or his Word a good turn. They also spend a good deal of energy binding themselves to corporeal artifacts; an Ofanite who knows where something is can always get to it.

Creation Ofanim rarely need servants -- except where their current service dictates otherwise. It can come in handy to have someone around to clean up after them, put books back on the shelves, and cook the occasional minute meal.

Ofanim who go in for scientific advancement or the technical approach to art often purchase the Speed-Reading skill at a modest level; they naturally loathe sitting down with a book and poring over the pages one at a time. Artistry and Knowledge skills are favored by almost every Creation Ofanim, as are organizational skills. Like the Cherubim, they often have the Lying skill, and they are much more likely to use it. The Detect Lies skill is very important, because they will frequently need to make snap judgments of a person's worth before giving them extended time on Earth. Driving, Emote, and movement skills all fit their style.

The most useful Song for these Ofanim is the Ethereal Song of Harmony. Bringing together the most viciously opposed groups, in peace, allows for a powerful cross-fertilization of ideas. As Ofanim, they favor the Songs of Motion. The Corporeal Song of Entropy, which mirrors their Choir Attunement, is almost never taken -- an Ofanite who begins to understand things in terms of entropy is one dangerous step towards becoming a Calabite.

Thoughts on other Choirs of Creation:
Seraphim: Their methods of operation are unusual, but they are also a kind of gardener. They select beings with the seeds of greatness within them, and encourage those seeds to grow. What makes them incomprehensible is their insistence that honesty is the virtue on which all other things must be built. Surely such virtues as self-sacrifice and love are greater?

Cherubim: They are tragic figures. There is a story .... Once upon a time, a Cherub stood on a hill, looked towards the sun, and swore that he would guard it against all comers. So he turned his back to the sun and towards all threats that could come toward it. To the west, there were many clouds, and he never saw that the sun arced up over his head and sank beneath the horizon in the west. Then, when it grew dark at last, he frowned and turned to look behind him -- and the sun was gone. The moral is this: you cannot guard something that moves constantly while standing still yourself.

Elohim: It is hard to understand what makes your average Elohite tick, but the Elohim of Creation are fairly transparent. Striving to become one with the Symphony, they incorporate in themselves all things and all combinations of things. It is no wonder that they are inspired. It is not strange that they are inspirational.

Malakim: It's fun to watch them fight. It's fun to watch human reactions to a fighting Creation Malakite. Keep a distance, though -- you're as good a weapon as any.

Kyriotates: They're mercurial beings (although Eli's Mercurians aren't kyriotatal). They're always in flux. In a way, they have internalized the kind of constant motion that defines us. A different face for every occasion, a different body every few days -- I don't envy them, but I admire them a little.

Mercurians: Talismans are keen. Most Mercurians don't seem to understand what's really important in life, but then, you have to expect that.

2.4 Elohim

Any Elohite will admit that "objectivity" is a misleading word. There is no separation from perspective except in precise, formal systems like mathematics or symbolic logic. The ultimate Elohite goal is not to destroy their own identity, but to make it a reflection of the identity of the Symphony -- a lesser image of God. God, after all, is the only being who is necessarily correct in all his/her beliefs and actions. In order to address the impossible problem of being "like God," an Elohite will make a series of simplifications, accepting the general goodness of the Symphony and Heaven, embracing reason, studying which personal quirks are verifiably good or bad, and filtering their perspective through the Word of their Superior. That last is the important one for our purposes: an Elohite of Creation will not be objective where creation itself is concerned. Growth, construction, birth, art, technology, new things and new states of mind are all generally considered 'good.'

A typical Elohite Creationer's philosophy might go like this:

A static Symphony is effectively dead. A static God is effectively meaningless. It is not the present state of anything, however glorious, that matters; it is a thing's capacity for growth. On the one side stands Yves, in search of boring, foreordained but infinitely bright Destinies; on the other stands Janus, in search of random and chaotic futures that may be as black as pitch. The proper course lies between these two extremes: helping things to achieve their Destinies and then to go beyond them, in directions that even God has not imagined. (Of course, God could not simply imagine but dictate the future -- but it is an article of faith to these Elohim that he doesn't want to.)

Insofar as a Creation Elohite recognizes any concrete and absolute "good," it is helping the Symphony develop. A wryly frustrated Elohite once described her efforts in this direction as "like a ten-year old raising a toddler who just happens to be smarter, stronger, and twenty-nine feet tall." This is not a unique sentiment.

Emotion is one of the greatest motivating factors (and one of the greatest barriers) to growth. Usually, Elohite Creationers will pick someone who seems to be wasting their potential -- whether that potential is huge or small -- and make that person a special project for a while. Slowly, they will weed out the emotions that stand in that person's way, helping the person to acknowledge, confront, and overcome these barriers. When their work is complete, their beneficiary is much more likely to reach their Destiny or, at least, to make their lives interesting and worthwhile. Creationer Elohim will generally keep this habit even when they serve other Archangels, with the obvious exception of Janus. After all, being assigned to a new Superior doesn't change who they are, or their fundamental beliefs about the world and rightness.

Elohim of Creation usually refer to Eli as "the Archangel Eli," or "Archangel" to his face. Some of them have adopted the address of the Cherubim and call him "the Maker Lord." Most of Eli's Seneschals are Elohim. Aside from such duties, he shows favor to some Elohim by giving them celestial opera cloaks, little harmless flames that dance in the Elohite's palm, or uncanny athletic ability. Aniam, Power of Creation, explains, "He's a Mercurian, and really can't help teasing us a little. On the other hand, the confirmation of the correctness of our actions is welcome -- however embarrassing the manifestation."

Creation Elohim are, in a reflection of their Archangel, rather socially relaxed. Understanding their maker is one of the first tasks they assign themselves, and they eventually conclude that obvious distance makes people uncomfortable. Maintaining their detachment in public, accordingly, is simply selfish. Of course, they will not break their personal ethics in the name of a party, and they are always available to provide an actual "Elohite point of view," but the rest of the time, they are sociable and even cheerful. (This is, of course, a general trend; Elohim vary.)

It's said that if you blink, you might miss an Elohite's reaction to the fall of Heaven. Reactions to Eli's abandonment of his post are equally subtle but almost as strong. An Elohite understands that sometimes one must commit a lesser evil to prevent a greater one; they are not "hurt" by the fact that for some reason Eli did exactly that. At the same time, on a very deep level, many of them feel devalued. Sacrificing their service and their support of his Word was apparently a lesser evil than staying in Heaven and being an Archangel -- and many of them wonder, quietly, how badly they have failed, that this was so.

The typical creative hobby for an Elohite of Eli is the crafting of relics. If they lack the talent, or wish diversity, they build strange machines or write exacting poetry. As part of their mission to understand their maker's Word, and thus to serve it better, none of this can be considered selfish or dissonant.

Generating Elohim of Creation (the easy way):
The first tool of Eli's Elohim is their resonance. The Archangel of Creation made some few Elohim who specialized in physical combat or intellectual manipulation, but this was rare -- the usual purpose for his Elohim, as detailed above, didn't require it. Similarly, their secondary raison d'etre, the creation of relics, favors angels with many Celestial Forces -- insofar as Forces matter at all. The normal Force distribution for Creation Elohim, therefore, is 2/3/4 for Corporeal, Ethereal, and Celestial Forces respectively. The favored characteristics are Strength, Precision, and Perception.

Some of Eli's angels were created with the War in mind. Of these angels, the Elohim were usually Eli's spies -- with an extra Vessel that reflects this. To the frequent frustration of demonkind, some Elohim can take on the form of a spider, almost invisible, highly mobile, and a natural creature in any urban, rural, or wilderness environment. Others have the shapes of birds or mice; some even have the shapes of motorcycles or cars! (Naturally, an organic car is not going to move at anywhere near the speed of a real car, and an inorganic Vessel cannot move voluntarily at all.)

Unsurprisingly, most of Eli's Elohim know Transubstantiation. Eli may be crazy, but he's not stupid enough to create an army of Elohim with an Attunement they can't use.

Common Roles for Elohim of Creation include prison warden, defense lawyer, talent agent, homeless shelter manager, temp executive assistant, and corporate troubleshooter. In general, they will be happy in any Role that lets them establish a weeks-long relationship with someone -- to help them grow -- and then allows them to move on to someone else. Even when their new Superior dictates a Role, they usually put their own spin on it. For example, a Michaelite Power might be assigned to a military base. This Elohite will then rapidly rise to a command position and spend a good deal of time "working on" the soldiers underneath them.

Elohim of Creation rarely have servants. Those they do have are usually long-term projects, and the Elohite will be nothing but pleased when their follower outgrows their servitude. Some of them favor Reliever familiars, however, both as a storehouse for Essence (in case of dissonance or emergency) and as a way to teach a Reliever about the corporeal world.

The relics created by Elohim of Creation are usually passed on to Superiors or needy angels immediately -- this is simply their duty to Heaven. The major benefit of their Choir Attunement to the Elohim themselves is a wide net of grateful angels. They may well regard it as their duty to repay the relevant Elohite in a time of need. The relics and artifacts that the Elohim of Creation accumulate personally tend to be the quixotic, experimental devices that are not worth passing upwards and those that have been given them by the Archangel Eli.

Preferred skills include Detect Lies, Emote, Savoir-Faire, and Singing -- the last because the celestial language expresses certain concepts clearer than any Earthly tongue. As with the Seraphim, Creation Elohim sometimes learn just for the sake of learning, for the sake of personal growth -- and so their skills can be quite eclectic. Skills for "spy" Elohim include Lying, Move Silently, and Seduction, as well as an assortment of combat abilities.

Songs useful to Eli's Elohim include: Ethereal Attraction, as a way to shape a person's mind; Celestial Attraction, for his spies; Dreams, for insight; Ethereal Form, also for his spies; and Healing, Shields, and Tongues on general principles. Those who expect to be in combat have shown no reluctance to learn the Numinous Corpus.

Thoughts on other Choirs of Creation:
Seraphim: Like the Servitors of Destiny, they are blind -- but there is no shame in it; they have been blinded by the glory of God. Seeing one marvelous part of what a person can be, they fail to understand that there must be many futures, and many ways to grow.

Cherubim: The Cherubim represent the glory of what is. It is not our role to judge that, measure it, or do anything save admire it. Cherubim of the Archangel Eli are trapped in a contradiction -- caught between stability and change. This is unfortunate, in a way, but it makes them stronger beings, with more perspective and deeper souls.

Ofanim: Examined rationally, their purported philosophy has many holes. Pouring random paints onto a canvas and smudging them with your fingers does not create art. Their millenia of successful service to the Word of Creation indicates that they are somewhat wiser in actions than in words, somewhat more discriminating -- which, after all, is to be expected in Ofanim.

Malakim: One could envy the Malakim. Honor is a simple and clean approach to life. Also, beating back demons with a live chicken in one hand and a portrait of George Washington in the other looks sort of like fun.

Kyriotates: The Dominations have nearly limitless potential. Their minds are brilliantly flexible, their beings brightly celestial, and their bodies are whatever they require them to be. The Archangel Eli has sent them a message -- become. Become different, change, become better. Their futures could be glorious -- if they ever rise above the moment long enough to understand the message.

Mercurians: We have much in common with the crafters of talismans. As children of Eli, we share something of the Mercurian spirit -- and our roles in existence are similar as well.

2.5 Malakim

In order to serve as the ethical backbone of the Word of Creation, a Malakite must first come to terms with the infinite variety embodied in that Word. There is no "most honorable" act of creation, and no "least honorable" act of creation. From a Virtue's perspective, the entire Word is a horribly muddled mess, lacking clear-cut boundaries. Malakim like clear-cut boundaries; without them, no decision can meet their standards of correctness.

In practice, this means that a majority of Eli's Virtues are, from the Malakite perspective, completely insane. Their honor is "loose, lax, and debauched." Their reason is questionable. Their wings are not properly groomed.

In their own eyes, the Malakim of Eli are flexible but dedicated and not vain enough to argue. They are true to their honor, but live in a more complicated world than most other Malakim. And no one will deny that they are some of the staunchest, most effective warriors in Heaven.

Some common Oaths for Malakim of Creation include:

(*) Similarly, covetousness, avarice, gluttony, wrath, lust, and sloth.
(**) Similar statements can be made regarding other Demon Prince schticks.

Some of these Oaths have been worded to give the Malakite flexibility, but violating their essential spirit is as bad as violating the letter -- except when other oaths or the interests of Heaven interfere. For example, the qualifier on the first oath listed ensures that the Malakite will not need to counsel any demons they encounter who are not on the Redemption track. It doesn't mean that they can decide that everyone they encounter is unwilling to listen. Some of these Oaths are fairly standard for Malakim; others would be considered laughable except by Creationers.

There is one constant to the modus operandus of a Malakite of Creation: they believe that everything can be a weapon. Some of them refuse to use empty Chinese food boxes and hairdryers out of a sense of dignity, but they cannot look at something without seeing its military uses. This isn't just a matter of their Attunement, and it doesn't just apply to objects. Some other things that a Malakite sees as potential weapons include themselves, other angels, demons, philosophies, religions, advertising, light, darkness, scents, sounds, art, dreams, love, hate, skills, crowds, and large houses on the bay. If they can't pick it up (c.f. large houses on the bay), then they'll manipulate it, take advantage of it, or use it to buy another warrior's loyalty. And that's just scratching the surface.

Malakim of Eli usually refer to their Archangel as "milord Eli," or "milord" to his face. This suits their nature -- but bearing his nature in mind, there is a substantial minority who invent strange, bizarre, unusual and humorous titles for him on the spot. Getting Eli to laugh is just about as respectful as treating him with full courtly manners. (As an example, the Malakite Antipatris once referred to the Archangel of Creation as "He whose greatness blots out the sun, if you are standing at precisely the right angle or are very very small." It is reported that Eli was amused.)

The honors Eli bestows upon his shadowy angels are sometimes eccentric. Those for whom he desires respect he gives sweet but commanding voices. Those who should frighten their enemies have fist-sized balls of coruscating energy floating behind them in celestial form. (It is believed that these will actually do something, but not until the final battle between Heaven and Hell.) There are also more general honors, manifesting as interesting celestial weapons. The ultimate honor is a shield formed directly from his love, which shames the Malakite only slightly and graces them beyond measure.

Malakim are not soft, and few are gentle, but the Malakim of Eli come as close as any. They are even kind and thoughtful at times. The first and foremost demand of their honor is that Hell be thwarted in all ways, but there is room in their life for smaller, secondary concerns.

Being abandoned by Eli has shaken most of these Malakim badly. Like the Elohim, they are used to turning their backs on "bad" things and "useless" angels, and it is difficult not to feel like they have just been put in that category. Of course, he has not forgotten any of his angels completely; most of them have seen him once or twice since he reassigned them -- and this is heartening. It is confusing as well.

Malakite creative hobbies include cooking, glassblowing, and weapon design. The common theme is that their hobbies keep them close to particularly useful weapons -- like hot oil, liquid glass, and handcrafted katanas. It's technically almost unnecessary, but it's a sound tactical move.

Generating Malakim of Eli (the easy way):
In general, Malakim of Creation will divide their Forces evenly. Perception is priceless, both in investigation and in physical combat. Strength, Agility, and Will are all necessary in the fight against Hell. A decent intellect is necessary for the less physical forms of battle, and most of Eli's Malakim are equipped with one. (Once again, Eli may be crazy, but he is not dumb. He is not going to build an elite cadre of straightforward and stupid warriors.)

The only Attunement common among Malakim of Creation (besides their own) is the Kyriotate Choir Attunement. It allows them to manipulate people like strings on a fiddle, and this is sometimes necessary. A warrior angel, after all, should be able to turn any situation to their advantage -- social situations as well as physical ones.

Vessel strength varies, since most Creationer Malakim have lost at least one since Eli gave them to other Superiors. Similarly, Charisma is wildly variable, and depends on the attitude of their new Superior. Malakim of Eli avoid Roles; their calm "accountant" or "fisherman" life tends to grow complicated the first time they fight off a brutal Calabite with two large drinking glasses and a bicycle. Nevertheless, some few have established Roles as vigilantes, special agents, or martial arts teachers -- to help limit the disturbance in the Symphony when they commit acts of violence.

Malakim of Eli have a variety of servants, from Relievers to ordinary human disciples to trained and powerful Soldiers of God. The average Malakite of Creation, however, will have none; having a servant obligates them to inflict their ethics on someone else. Although Malakim only believe in a very limited form of moral relativism, they do believe in it -- people should find their own codes, and find their own honor with which to follow them. Being directly responsible for someone else's choices changes that picture in a way that is hard to handle cleanly.

A Malakite of Eli, based on their approach to life and their jobs, will usually have an enormous selection of skills, most of them at low levels. Six level/1 weapons skills are common, for handling the improvised "weapons" their Attunement gives them; the six most popular non-weapons skills are Chemistry, Computer Operation, Emote, Fighting, Medicine, and Tactics. An experienced Malakite with almost all of the book skills (and a selection of Knowledges) is not in the least unheard of; the Word of Creation does not encourage specialization. Favored Songs, when they have them, include Charm, Entropy, Form, Healing, and Shields.

Thoughts on other Choirs of Creation:
Seraphim: The weakness of a Seraph is pride. Once you understand this, you don't have to let them get in the way. Let them think that they're doing the tactical planning; use their insights into the enemy's capabilities; use careful truths to point them in the directions you want them to go. No disrespect intended, of course; they are the brightest of us, and it's not their fault that the war requires a little bit more than they have to give.

Cherubim: Cherubim are more or less predictable. Their basic motivations are also very similar to our own. Therefore, when a Cherub has outstanding commitments, you can maneuver around them; when they do not, you need only explain your concerns -- they will stand with you. On a more general level, we embody the cleansing force that makes room for new creation, while they embody the preservative force that protects it until it grows strong. Probably, from Eli's point of view, we're both sidelines, but there is at least some symmetry.

Ofanim: Ofanim are not allowed sloth, in any form; if they can help with something, they do so. The only real problem is that they don't have much self-control about who they help. Show us a sucker for a demon with a fake Redemption story, and we'll show you an Ofanite. The best use for an Ofanite, all things considered, is as a diversion, a disruption, a random variable, a wrench thrown into the enemy's works. They can't help messing up a demon's plans if they have the chance to do that.

Elohim: We rarely need or can use an Elohite's advice, but it's best to get it anyway -- you never know when they are going to have a genuine valuable insight. They are extremely good at infiltration and reconnaissance, which is not surprising given that that's what Eli uses them for.

Kyriotates: In general, a Creation Kyriotate desires guidance. They skirt the edges of losing themselves, and a fixed perspective from someone who shares their ultimate goals anchors them. Not only is helping them the proper and obligatory thing to do, but it allows one to call upon their enormous ability in times of need.

Mercurians: A solid holy blade is a saintly thing. Mercurians of other Choirs are sometimes reluctant to do their part in the war, but the Mercurians of milord Eli are of vital assistance. Leaving talismans aside for the moment, it is extremely difficult to manipulate a Mercurian -- but if you start to like one, go with it. Sooner or later, they'll know, and they'll appreciate it, and they'll appreciate you.

2.6 Kyriotates

Kyriotates, who embody multiplicity and unity, are a good match to the Word of Creation in many ways. Like them, it is a sprawling, multifaceted being with as many faces as there are shapes under the stars. That's sort of the problem, in the long run -- Creation is just too big for them. It takes their minds in too many directions at once, and some of them begin tuning in to the universal subconscious instead of their own private thoughts. Once that confusion starts, it's a long slow slide to complete madness.

This isn't an omnipresent trend. There are some Kyriotates who have the mental discipline to stay themselves under the pressure of unifying Creation; they may seem a bit distracted, or a bit too focused, but they have control. Even when their bodies change like quicksilver statues and their mind skips from place to place like a pogo stick on drugs, they hang on to who they are. It's admirable, and if they only knew how hard it really was they might become a little bit vain. There are also Kyriotates of Creation who never fully clicked with the whole extent of the Word; they are pitied and envied at once by their more confused cousins.

The Kyriotates of Creation are like the Malakim of Gabriel: special agents, sent in when a situation desperately requires redress. There are no celestials anywhere who are better at getting endangered people out of harm's way; once the Kyriotate slips into a host and invokes the Song of Form, it's as if that person no longer existed. With angelic strength, dexterity, skill, and (if necessary) Songs, they can fight their way out of the best-guarded prisons in the world. With their resonance and a few appropriate abilities, they can safeguard an artwork or a scientific discovery like few others can. The fires of inspiration are always with them, slipping out through the corners of their mind, and, if their planning abilities are limited, they brainstorm excellently.

Kyriotates of Creation generally refer to Eli as Eli, in or out of his presence. The Word of Creation is a part of their selves, and they can't afford to put any part of themselves at a distance. This is true for all Kyriotates, to one degree or another, but most other Superiors give them a bit more to hang on to. If Eli's dismissal of his angels was painful for most, for the Kyriotates it was agonizing -- not just for the reasons described, but because they are among the least divine of all Choirs. They have less of God's grace than the average angel, and it does less to see them through. It's not that all of Eli's Seraphim coped with his actions better than all his Kyriotates, but it's a definite statistical trend.

When Eli wished to reward one of his Kyriotates, he would often teach them mastery of a rare or unusual skill -- being Eli, this took at most an hour. Some of the best tea brewers, horse tamers, glassblowers, and I Ching readers in the world are Eli's Kyriotates. He even taught one or two an absolute mastery of vulgar language -- enough to send a Djinn staggering back with their hands over their ears. Another honor given out more than once is a sense of the vastness of Creation -- worked directly into the Kyriotate's celestial form. It is said that if you look into the eyes of such a Kyriotate's host, you can sometimes see the glow of distant stars.

Kyriotates of Eli are sociable angels, although they are just the slightest bit incomprehensible. They can be found at many Creationer parties, at one moment the stuffy and formal maitre d' and the next the T-shirted man tapdancing down the bar. As their creative hobby, they enjoy conducting, building with legos, and odd and unusual arts like mime.

Generating Kyriotates of Creation (the easy way):
Celestial Forces are almost always dominant -- in the sane Kyriotates, at least. Attunement to the Word of Creation tends to carry with it a good deal of intuitive perception and understanding -- as measured by the Perception characteristic. Maintaining sanity in the face of that Word, and Eli's behavior, and the Kyriotate's own natural abilities and talents -- that requires high Will. So does the Kyriotate resonance. Some display a fey wisdom and merely human strength -- with only 2 Corporeal Forces. Others have workable minds and raw physical power, in whatever host -- with only 2 Ethereal Forces. Having 3 or fewer Celestial Forces is almost guaranteed to make an unhappy Kyriotate -- but there are, of course, a reasonable number of those.

Given what these Kyriotates do, a Role is almost as ridiculous as a Vessel. On the other hand, the right Role can be tied to a particular reshaping of their physical form. Roles that can be maintained in clumps of a few minutes at a time include criminal Roles, first and foremost, which are deliberately outside the structure of society. Roving agent for any of a variety of agencies is also a possible Role, as is "mysterious and wealthy person who leads a mysterious and interesting life." Sometimes these Kyriotates will have the Role of a retired politician (this Role stolen from a dead human) whose life is lived in soundbites.

Any artifacts they have must be Summonable, of course. Your average Kyriotate of Eli would give their eyeteeth for a Summonable set of lockpicks, a gun, a set of variable clothes, or a motorcycle. In general, they have the essence to burn. (Note: the Summonable artifact feature is found in the Liber Reliquarum. In general, it costs between +4 and +9 for the items mentioned, depending on size and whether a point of Essence must be spent to summon the artifact.)

If the Kyriotate does have a Role, a servant can be useful for pinning it down -- providing a warm body that's holding the Role when the Kyriotate isn't. Reliever servants can also be useful -- they can insert themselves into any non-demonic situation with ease.

Kyriotates of Eli, whomever they wound up serving, usually have a fair number of "secret agent" skills: Acrobatics, Climbing, Detect Lies, Dodge, Escape, Fast-Talk, Fighting, Lying, Medicine, Running, Seduction, Survival, Swimming, and Tactics are all very common. Whether they have the more modern skills like Computer Operation and Chemistry depends on what they've been doing since their reassignment.

The favorite Song, of course, is Celestial Form, at a high level. Charm, Celestial Entropy, Ethereal Form, Ethereal Harmony, Healing, and Celestial Motion are all fairly common, as are the Numinous Corpus. A Kyriotate who embraces all the products of creation is no more likely to be disgusted by NC: Feet or NC: Horns than a follower of Jordi's.

Thoughts on other Choirs of Creation:
Seraphim: It must be very interesting to see into other people's souls as they do. It is not an excuse for them to look down on others, however. It is hard to believe that they understand the Word of Creation when they have such singular and straightforward perspectives.

Cherubim: It is hard to say whether they are truly a part of Eli's Word, but they are certainly good protectors of it. Their perception of a creative principle is similar to ours, although they are prone to locking it up for its own good.

Ofanim: We love the Ofanim well. As the Cherubim stand outside of Creation, the Ofanim run inside it, like white blood cells. It is difficult not to be impressed by their physical capabilities, and they have an extremely salutary effect on any group of angels.

Elohim: The Elohim close the eyes that point inwards, and open the eyes that look into forever. We understand their choice -- the self is very difficult to live with. At the same time, they are definitely missing something. If we like them, as different as we are, they could probably like themselves much more. If they tried.

Malakim: Knives have silenced more greatness than we can imagine at one time. It is hard to remember that the Malakim are in the service of Heaven, so severe are they -- but they are, and usually, even though they use their knives, it works out.

Mercurians: It seems that Eli's gift to the Mercurians both enriches them and cheapens them beyond measure. The talismans that they create are art -- but it is essentially derivative art. It's certainly possible to be creative with ethereal artifacts, but not at the rate the Mercurian's produce. Eli himself makes them as if each one was a word in a poem, nothing in itself but, as a whole, part of one grand statement. That's how it ought to be done.

2.7 Mercurians

The Mercurian resonance for politics is more or less orthogonal to the Word of Creation. The lens through which they view Creation is, therefore, not their resonance -- it is their suave attitude, their affectionate hearts, and their respect for life. It is no coincidence that, in a world where humans are mastering the processes of creation and growth, it is a Mercurian who rules Creation's Word. Eli's unity with Creation and humanity's inspiration are one and the same.

Mercurians of Creation are concerned not with abstractions of the creative principle; what matters to them is humanity's ability -- and the ability of angels, and blessed souls, and perhaps even demons -- to produce greatness. Not simply in objects of art, but in every aspect of their lives. They make the tools that help this happen. Their talismans can take an ordinary angel or human and make their skill extraordinary.

Some of Eli's Mercurians claim to hear themes in the Symphony corresponding to skills. Others have the kind of absolute self-understanding they need to capture the power within them. All of them are the artificers of Heaven, some of the most valuable servants of the armies of God. They must fight to be allowed on the front lines -- but it is their only chance at true self-realization. Without the tempering of the world their own skills will never reach mastery, and they will not be able to create the legendary artifacts that some few can make.

One unfortunate thing about the world is that the genuine creative spirits are often beaten down or taken advantage of by more unpleasant and more powerful people. The people in power (governmental or corporate) understand this, but usually lack the knowledge necessary to change the situation. Even if they could find the genuine inventive souls, an expense account, respect, and a title might just make it harder for these souls to create. This kind of situation is the particular playground of the Mercurians of Creation; they understand organization and people far better than an average human. They can intuit motivations, also, though not as well as the Elohim. Most of them who are not creating talismans search out situations like this; others find roles as teachers or students or (on occasion) appointed officials in charge of scientific, environmental, or artistic organizations. Only a handful have requested to oppose Hell in direct combat. Not that many more have volunteered to verify the intentions of Redeeming demons.

Mercurians usually refer to Eli as "Walker." Mercurians of Creation tell a story to explain this name, which goes as follows. One lunar cycle after Jordi taught the angels to create Vessels, almost all of them had come down to Earth -- one way or another. Most of these angels took flying Vessels. They soared across the Earth as they soared in Heaven. A few swam swiftly beneath the waves, and the last ran, as dogs or great cats, in powerful leaps and bounds. Only Eli, in the shape of a tiger kitten, walked. And God came down beside him and asked, "Eli, for now the Earth belongs to the angels. Why do you walk when you could fly?" And Eli said, "I do not wish to fly through the world, Lord. I wish to walk within it."

Even the Seraphim are unable to verify this story, concerning on the one hand most of the Host, on the other an Archangel, and on a third God himself. Still, the Mercurians like it.

Marks of honor given to Eli's Mercurians included perfect mirrors, remarkable horses, auras of innocence, and interesting clothing. In the modern day, those who still serve him receive similar but updated rewards. This isn't, of course, condescension; Eli has always tried to live in the world, and he can't help expecting all his Mercurians to do the same. Besides, they can make their own items of power.

In the face of Eli's occasional dips into grunge style, his Mercurians are attempting to relax a bit more about fashion and manners. Even when they fail, and get a bit uptight, they've still got good hearts and a mastery of social situations -- making friends with one is never a waste.

Mercurians are slick and understanding and for the most part they've adapted well to Eli's behavior. On the other hand, like the Kyriotates, they are far from the divine; there are those who still lock themselves in their bathrooms every few weeks and cry, shaking, with their head down and their hands upon the sink. After all, their Archangel gave them away, vanished into the human masses, and brought the Inquisition down on his head and their own. Their personal creator did this, the one whose service they dedicated their life to. It's a bit of a shock.

Mercurians of Creation have almost any human art as a hobby. The manufacture of weird and usually purely mechanical machines is common -- but painting, music, architecture, and a hundred other arts all have Mercurian practicioners. The creation of talismans is, of course, a kind of art all its own.

Generating Mercurians of Creation (the easy way):
Mercurians of Creation can have almost any division of Forces -- it's even possible to slight the Celestial Forces in favor of one of the others. The two duties all of them have in common, making talismans and learning things, require no particular division. Therefore, some were made balanced, and some were made unusually strong, and some unusually smart, and some powerful in soul. Let it never be said that Eli dislikes variety.

Like other Servitors of Creation, most Mercurians got a strong, appealing Vessel as Eli's parting gift. There's no particular reason why the ones still working for him wouldn't have one, too. Animal Vessels aren't really their thing, but some have asked for a second Vessel of a different racial type or gender -- for help in fitting in.

The most common Role is organizational consultant -- they establish their ability to come into an organization, speak with the people, study the organizational chart, and make recommendations that will better the company or association. Some of them come in from another angle, as company-hopping businessmen or women who stay just long enough to shake things up with a word or two in the right ears. If their Vessel is attractive enough that people will talk to them, even work as a parking attendant in a company garage can help turn a company around.

Other common Roles include all kinds of teachers, all kinds of students, and all kinds of scholars. For those who make weapons, a gun store or an antique weapons mail-order business are very handy adjuncts -- it doesn't do to have police burst into your apartment and find a dozen katanas and no explanation. It also does angels good to have such stores and businesses in their pocket -- a Seraph of David might need to arm an entire gang one night, and money might be hard to come by.

Mercurians of Creation usually love servants, but only genuinely loyal ones. They sense it constantly when a servant resents them, their angelic browbeating or their supernatural charisma -- and it's quite uncomfortable. Relievers and those Soldiers who have enormous faith but little aggression are generally ideal.

Unsurprisingly, their most common artifacts are talismans. Talismans with special features, for the most part, but they will occasionally keep a straightforward talisman that enhances a skill/6. Some of them have corporeal artifacts of various kinds as well.

Secondary Attunements are rare, but some Mercurians of Creation have the Seraph Attunement. Being able to sense the skill in others is as joyous to them as being able to hear the songs of their own skills -- and involves significantly less vanity. The Abracadabra Attunement is also prized, mostly because it can produce small gemstones.

Many Mercurians of Creation have one battle skill, at a fairly high level. Although they are not personally violent, except against demons, they learn combat so that they may bless weapons. Similarly, in the modern age, many of them study one of the sciences, or Computer Operation, or Chemistry, so that they can help out fellow angels in more subtle ways. Skills they have taken for their own benefit vary wildly, as do Songs.

Thoughts on the other Choirs of Creation:
Seraphim: On all levels, they have been greatly blessed. They are touched with the divine, with the direct and holy light of God. They have been given the only gift of the Walker that is as wonderful as our own. To them falls the command of the Heavenly Host. At the same time, there is a reason that our maker is a Mercurian -- that creation, the fundamental and foremost Act of God, has been given into his hands. Our hands. That is, Seraphim have flown so high they ran out of oxygen. They're brain-dead. They don't get it. In the mortal world, it's not just about skill -- it's about who has that skill, and how they react with others. Creation doesn't come from solitary geniuses sitting on the tops of mountains meditating on how great some Most Holy told them they are. It comes from a whole culture full of people. We understand that. They refuse to.

Cherubim: It's hard to say this, but sometimes they're more like abstract principles of dedication than dedicated people. When they say "we guard the creative principle," you get the impression that they really mean it. Just like that. As if they're willing to burrow right through some creative person's brain to rescue that principle from captivity. Honestly -- there's no one we'd rather have at our sides, but understanding them is just not an option. And, yes, that bugs us.

Ofanim: To put it all into perspective, they use their gift for more or less the same thing we use ours for. They get to turn back the clock, and to move around really fast, and we get to make holy stuff and understand people. So, yes, our methods are different, and sometimes we wind up arguing loudly over whose method takes precedence. But they basically want the same thing we do, which is to build up the basic human creativity, as individuals and societies.

Elohim: The Walker's Elohim are just human enough to make them comprehensible. Unlike, say, most other Elohim. In fact, they sort of prove the general point, which is that Elohim could have fun, if they wanted to. And Eli's Powers make the most interesting toys.

Malakim: Fighting with a pair of garden shears and a hula hoop lacks dignity, which bothers us a little -- it's okay in itself, but it doesn't seem very Malakish. On the other hand, as people, and as allies, we have absolutely no complaints. In fact, they're downright swell, and nowhere near as uptight as some Malakim can get.

Kyriotates: Nobody understands the Kyriotates, and I think that our Kyriotates don't even understand themselves. Still, the stories these guys tell can be just absolutely incredible. Breaking American spies out of Cold War Russian prisons, and vice versa, managing rebellions in small countries -- it's hard to be sure that they're really doing good things, but entertaining things, oh yes!

3. Services

Many Creationers provide unique services to their new Archangels; others are treated more or less like normal Servitors. In most cases, their new Superiors walk a middle road, assigning all of "their" Creationers to tasks that logically relate to the junction between the Words or to the Servitor's Eli-given capabilities. Some generalities:

Seraphim of Creation are sometimes tapped as "auditors," visiting their new Superior's Servitors to see which ones need additional training. In more military organizations, they sometimes scout ahead for demons -- people with uncanny skill at violence are likely to be demonic, superhuman liars are most likely Balseraphs, and so forth. They don't like this last duty, as it seems to be at cross purposes with their original, Eli-given duties.

Cherubim of Creation are usually treated as normal Cherubim -- as stalwart guardians with a little bit of the bloodhound in them. In recognition of their personal inclinations, they are usually assigned to protect the more imaginative souls -- in Michael's service, they guard artificers and mortal weaponsmakers, and in Novalis' service, they guard those who have grand visions of peace.

Ofanim of Creation are valued by more or less every Superior. Without any disturbance, they can speed up the reflexes and clear up the mind of a Soldier who is beginning to slow down. Heaven is extremely careful about offering extended youth -- sometimes it's better to let a Soldier retire and (in a few decades at most) achieve their eternal reward. At the same time, healthy, fit, young Soldiers are an infinitely valuable resource. These Ofanim also have a good understanding of how to bring things together, and their Attunement can be used to brighten many non-Soldier mortal lives.

Elohim of Creation are valued crafters of relics. Other than that, they are usually treated like any other Elohim. Most Superiors have some doubts about Eli, and about the Creationers, but the Elohim of Eli see the world through the lens of Eli's Word, not his person. Since no one objects to Eli's Word, discriminating against his Elohim would have remarkably little point.

Malakim of Creation are often, sadly, treated as shock troops. Their dubious honor, for Malakim, keeps them from receiving more interesting assignments -- even though their honor is still head and shoulders above that of a normal angel. Most Creationer Malakim that the PCs meet will be exceptions, given complicated assignments that require a vast selection of skills.

Kyriotates of Creation are usually treated with kid gloves, except by Superiors like David and Laurence. They are considered excellent spies and even better agents provocateur.

Mercurians of Creation are valued enchanters of talismans. As non-violent and highly skilled workers, they would never be allowed out of Heaven -- except for the fact that they are Mercurians. Angelic Superiors aren't cruel; they understand that a Mercurian is a bit lost if they can't interact with humans and human society. Accordingly, once a Mercurian has earned a modest amount of trust from their new Superior, they will usually be given light Earthbound duties.

3.1 Blandine

Humans, usually, create their dreams pretty much on their own. Some of the Creation angels assigned to Blandine attempt to help with it anyway, creating works of fiction, movies, and television programming that will inspire bright and peaceful dreams. Inspirational literature, that pushes humans towards realizing their ambitions, is also a tool of these angels. Some use Songs of Dreams and ethereal manipulation, instead, to push specific humans towards realizing their creative potential.

3.2 David

Servitors of Creation in service to Stone are few and far between. David normally prefers his own people to Creationers for more or less any assignment. The exception is "muse duty," which is helping a mortal shape a philosophy, artwork, or political program that will bring people together. Sometimes, David will give Creationers hard assignments because he feels they need "toughening up," but it's not all that common -- that sentiment is normally reserved for humans. Even given his attitudes, the Creationers in Stone's service do get assigned to Earthly tasks -- no Archangel can afford to waste the angels that serve them. It's just that most of them don't get the plum assignments.

3.3 Dominic

Only a rare few Creationers serve Dominic now. For the most part, these are angels who will one day ask to become full Servitors of Judgment -- smart, ruthless, slightly uptight angels with a strong sense of justice. None of them are involved with Dominic's investigations of Eli and his Servitors -- Dominic is not so cold-hearted as to allow that.

3.4 Gabriel

Creationers in Fire's service generally fill auxiliary roles in Soldekai's organization, until and unless they receive a Choir Attunement and can become full angelic scourges. Wrath isn't exactly a Creationer thing, but neither is cruelty; these Creationers are relatively happy with their work.

3.5 Janus

Angels of Janus, who hate falling into patterns, start getting very creative within a year or two of mortal service. Angels of Eli usually love working with them, and for the Wind -- not only is the company good, but they themselves are free to rock and roll, have fun, and cause all the trouble they want. There are some Creationers who don't like this kind of thing, but, of course, Eli didn't give any of the staid, nervous, or prim angels to Janus.

3.6 Jean

Jean is almost an idol to the Creationers who were placed in his service. Overcoming the "immense handicaps" of being an Elohite and "knowing too much," he continues to produce some of the most creative products of Heaven. The one exception to the general regard is that his unwillingness to share techtoys with the humans bothers Eli's Mercurians. Many Creationers work in Jean's Research and Development branch; a modest number are field-testers; and a handful fill miscellaneous roles.

3.7 Jordi

Those Creationers who, in service on Earth, conceived a great love for animals were given to Jordi. Just as Jordi accepts humans who love animals, he accepts these angels gladly -- but he doesn't usually think of them as real "Servitors of Animals." As for special duties, the junction between the Word of Creation and Word of Animals is fairly small and is treated case-by-case by a few angels at a time.

3.8 Laurence

The Archangel of the Sword doesn't trust the Creationers in his ranks very much -- they can disobey him as much as they like without getting a single point of dissonance from it. (Of course, Laurence and the Creationers both know what happens if they are caught -- but that's beside the point.) He has trouble putting up with them in high-level tactical or strategic meetings, but he often assigns Creationers as "special advisors" to his ranking angels on Earth. They provide the Laurentine angels with a constant stream of ideas and a handful of unusual powers -- and the angels of the Sword don't have to listen to the stupid plans.

3.9 Marc

Marc gets along with Creationers rather well; the entire capitalistic backbone of his Word rests on imaginary concepts like "money" and "value." The junction between the two Words is the creation of wealth, and those of Eli's angels who can wrap their brains around this concept are usually quite effective at promoting it. For example, Eli's Kyriotates are often used as "inside agents" in federal investigations of antitrust law violations; Eli's Seraphim are used to bring inventive and financial geniuses into positions of importance.

3.10 Michael

Michael just adores Malakim of Creation. Other angels of Creation are less prized, but for the most part they all get the standard Michaelite assignments:

  1. Go out and fight demons,
  2. Defend somewhere/someone from demons, or
  3. Provide support services to people doing 1 and 2.

3.11 Novalis

Eli and Novalis have always gotten along, so she tends to give his angels a modest amount of respect. As with David's Creationers, they are often given "muse duty," helping people create the tools of peace. Other assignments are usually loosely defined. That's how Eli did things, and it helps minimize the shock of transition.

3.12 Yves

The Archangel of Destiny rarely discriminates against the Creationers in his service -- but they do have to work a bit harder to earn his specific favor. They have not been designed as precisely as his own angels to fit the service of Destiny.

4. Organizations

4.1 The Institute for Understanding People

Preamble to the Charter:

Four thousand years after the Eden experiment, it occurred to the angel Bajith of Creation that we understand approximately nothing about the human race. In honor of this great discovery, we have gathered to found the Institute: an organization dedicated to understanding people. It is our hope that within another four thousand years, we will at least be able to reliably tell the difference between a human born human and a demonic Vessel.

It is our intention to establish two branches to the Institute. The first will be in Heaven, where information on human motivations and cool stories about them can be gathered together under one roof. After some discussion, we have elected to build an annex to the Halls of Creation rather than an annex to Yves' library, since as soon as the first documents are stored it will be connected to Yves' library anyway. The second branch will be on Earth, consisting of Institute members who will carefully observe humans and report their observations to the workers in the Institute above. Early experiments have revealed that humans dislike continuous overt observation, and so subtlety is expected.

Each agent in the Earthside Institute will, of course, gather stories and learn everything they can. They will also assign themselves a particular Question which they feel needs to be answered about the humans. Example Questions include:

Where do humans go when we're not watching? Conversations have revealed that humans wishing to avoid celestial contact go to "that thing." Except -- they always lie about what "that thing" is. Somehow they intuitively know when they are being followed and avoid revealing this most important of all secrets.

Why do humans tolerate bad Kings? It is easy to understand why demons accept the monstrous Demon Princes as their lords -- each Prince can personally destroy an army of lesser demons, and each offers the demons under them personal power. The power of human Kings is an illusion, a social construct; why do the humans retain their illusions when it actively does them harm?

How does Margaret make that excellent soup? This is an example of a more general class of Questions, the "ability" Questions. God has given his grace to the humans in a different way than he has graced the angels. If we can only understand the things that humans can do that we cannot, we are well on our way to becoming better beings ourselves. Despite many attempts, we have failed to produce soup of a quality worthy of Margaret's, even using the same recipe. This indicates that the mythical "human resonance," their special gift from God, is in operation in some way.

Why do humans sin? Humans are well aware that terrible acts lead to horrifying punishments -- if only because angels and demons have the bad tendency to blab. Why, then, do they willingly commit human-dissonant acts like murder and theft? Are they, perhaps, organizing for a takeover of Hell?

What makes a human turn to God? This is the billion-coin question. Don't expect to be able to answer it within your lifetime, but any work in this direction is dearly appreciated by all of us at the Institute Upstairs.

For reference, here are some examples of bad Questions, Questions that should be avoided:

Why don't humans like me? Loosen up, lose that stern expression, don't talk about eternal damnation and smiting the cruel so much. Come on. We already know this one.

Can a human soul be redeemed once it's already in Hell? The official answer of the Archangels is "no comment." After due consideration, the founding members have ruled that we don't want to know anything that Archangels won't talk about.

Why do humans use euphemisms? It would be very interesting to establish the answer to this definitively. The problem is: it's just flat out beneath angelic dignity to go around listening to people swear, blaspheme, and talk about bodily functions all the time. We have an image to maintain, you know, and it's not nautical.

Although the Institute for Understanding People is a project of the angels of Creation, all angels will be welcomed into its ranks. It is recommended that the angels of Creation maintain a majority of the seats on the Board of Directors at all times, even so, so that the purpose and approach of the Institute remain consistent throughout its existence.

The following titles may be assigned to angels participating in this Institute:

Chair of the Institute:
This title is applied to any angel of Creation who does significant research for the Institute while sitting down.
Institute Librarian:
This title applies to any angel who serves as a reference librarian in the Upstairs Institute.
Special Investigator:
This title applies to any angel who serves as an observer in the Earthside Institute.
Any member of the Board of Directors of the Institute.
Institute Member:
Any and all of the above.

4.2 The Linguistics Guild of Heaven

The celestial tongue is a language of pure and beautiful truth. However, the truth is changing all the time, and as the mortal languages have developed, interesting forms of half-truth have come to be. Many non-Seraphim would like to feel that they can discuss the Liar's Paradox in Heaven, and then there are allegories, parables, pulp tales, sarcastic comments, puns, inconsistent segues, promises for future conduct that do not include guarantees, predictions, statistical likelihoods, meaningless comforting noises, sweet nothings, and -- well, the list goes on and on.

The Linguistics Guild of Heaven is dedicated to expanding the celestial tongue and, at the same time, protecting its purity. Over time, it has become the de facto source of new angelic words. The nature of the celestial tongue means that any angel can coin a new word and be understood -- but the experts at the Linguistics Guild craft words/notes that ring with clarity and beauty, or (for "slang") with a delicate ripple of humor. It's an intensely creative and artistic job, and the angels of Eli just love it.

Concepts like sweet nothings and parables are hard to translate into angelic, but the Linguistics Guild has found a few ways to do so. The classical approach, pioneered long ago, is to build "chords." A tone reflecting the "parable" concept (for example) is sung at the same moment as the words to the parable itself. The discordant clashes of the almost-false story are muted and made sweet by the "parable" tone. Seraphim are still a little bit uncomfortable around this form of expression, but it suffices for most occasions.

In the modern day, other approaches exist. There is, for example, the Digressive Tongue, a form of celestial speech that encodes human words inside it. In effect, this translates to "On Earth, I might say this: ...." The Digressive Tongue is fairly recent, and hasn't fully caught on. For one thing, several Archangels disapprove of it -- and for another, everyone involved must understand a single Earth language. Another development of the Linguistics Guild is the Memory Reflection, an encoding technique that lets an angel express an entire memory in the celestial tongue. It takes a lot of energy on everyone's part to convey an Earthly moment this way -- but it lets celestials exchange fictional stories and repeat possible human lies.

Most angels of Eli spend at least a little bit of time in the Linguistics Guild, playing with the celestial tongue or helping to develop it. Those who perform acts of high service to the art become official Guildsmen, Guildswomen, or Guildsthings, depending on what gender the angel thinks of themselves as belonging to.

4.3 Heresy, Inc.

Dominic's "dark attentions" turned, not so very long ago, on the "debauched and decadent" angels of Eli. Casual and earthy, the Creationers were labelled heretics and hundreds were brought to trial. Even the Creationers whose spirits were too bright for any suspicion were hit hard by this -- their kind was accused of Pride, Lust, Heresy, and Disrespect.

As the Seraph Blastus said, "So mote it be."

A group of Creationers with impeccable records gathered together to found Heresy, Inc. Its mandate was to demonstrate that the nature of the Creationers (including the casual attitude towards authority, the love for earthly pleasures, and the tendency to defend Eli's actions) was a positive force in Heaven -- and that the campaign of fear and punishment promoted by Dominic was not.

Creating Heresy, Inc. was an enormous gamble. All of them could have been swept up by the Inquisition for actions against the Word of Judgment. Given their records, there was the faint hope that their current Superiors would protect them -- but it was unlikely. Their primary hope was based on their assessment of Dominic's personality. Cherethime, Ofanite of Creation, explained to the founding members, "An emotional attack on Dominic or his Inquisition would result in immediate arrests and trials. But to stop an orderly, polite investigation into his affairs by angels directly and personally harmed by his actions -- this would be acting against his own Word."

For whatever the reason, he has allowed Heresy, Inc. to operate. Perhaps he is simply waiting.

Heretical Lawyers speak in the defense of angels under the Inquisition's eye. Impassioned and creative, their words as golden as their haloes, they stick their noses where they are never wanted: in the middle of interrogations and judgments. It is an article of faith for all Triads that their decision-making abilities are sufficient for all needs -- that no prosecutor or defense attorney is necessary. At the same time, it is awkward and personally distressing for even the most arrogant Inquisitor to tell the subject of inquiry that no one else may speak on their behalf. One of "Eli's lawyers" even dared to intrude on an inquest given by Dominic himself. After Dominic calmly, politely, and absolutely humiliated him in court, the Heretical Lawyers have focused on lesser Inquisitors.

Mirror Inquisitors investigate the actions of Dominic's Triads, and their effects on the angels they encounter. Once again, it is an article of faith with most Triads that their behavior is perfectly correct -- and, once again, it is extremely awkward to tell another angel that they can't investigate the Triad's actions. (The exception, of course, is when the Creationer Investigation would interfere directly with the inquiry.)

Heretical Philosophers are in the process of developing the Creation Manifesto, an ultimate argument on Eli's behalf and their own. In layman's terms, this philosophy is, "We're cool, so lighten up," but they are embroidering this concept a great deal. They are also trained in the arts of convincing other angels individually of the rightness of their position. Naturally, there is no deception involved -- even on Earth -- but they use a great deal of rhetorical skill.

Heretical Professionals are angels "on call" for Heresy, Inc. if it should need them -- troubleshooters and temp workers for the Creationer cause. Other Archangels don't approve, of course, but no one is admitted to Heresy, Inc. who has not earned the general good graces of their current Superior.

Members of Heresy, Inc. are, of course, referred to as Heretics. To distinguish this from lower-case heretics, on Earth, the initial h is usually drawn out as a separate syllable.

4.4 The Cycle Pushers

First, there is destruction, to make room. Then, there is creation, to fill it. Then destruction must come again, or creation itself will die. This is the Cycle, and those angels who help it along are called the Cycle Pushers.

The ultimate aim of the Cycle Pushers is to weed away all of the unpleasant parts of the world so that they may be replaced with new, bright, brilliant things. Some new things will not be bright and brilliant, so the Cycle will go on -- but each time it is shorter, and each time things get better. Obviously, these angels are walking a fine line between service to Heaven and demoniacal behavior. They keep sight of this line by focusing on their Superior's Word. Therefore,

Cycle Pushers of Dream usually do their "trimming" within a dreamscape;
Cycle Pushers of Stone dig out traitors and destroy them;
Cycle Pushers of Judgment (all three of them) perform executions;
Cycle Pushers of Creation remove disruptive influences from the lives of artists et al;
Cycle Pushers of Fire act much like any other Fire Servitor;
Cycle Pushers of Wind help break down stagnant societies and organizations;
Cycle Pushers of Lightning hunt Vapulans, fierely, smiling;
Cycle Pushers of Animals help to humanely trim herds, et al;
Cycle Pushers of the Sword sometimes patrol for disobedience in the ranks;
Cycle Pushers of Trade tear down unfair laws and tariffs;
Cycle Pushers of War act much like any other War Servitor;
Cycle Pushers of Flowers do odd things like find politicians opposed to peace and humanely transport them to undeveloped countries without identification, money, or clothing; and
Cycle Pushers of Destiny assist the suicides of those who have reached their Destiny but are in terrible pain -- and hunt the demons of Kronos.

Anyone can claim the title "Cycle Pusher." The formal organization dissolved centuries ago, when the leaders concluded that the philosophy was better served by individuals than by a group -- and was less likely to produce dissonance thereby and endanger an angel's soul.

4.5 The Preservation Agency

On the other side of things is the Preservation Agency, dedicated to the proposition that Creation builds on the past. The tendency of the world is that people will make the same mistakes and rediscover the same things as long as the past isn't there, and visible, to remind them. The notion of the Cycle Pushers, of a universe slowly spiraling upwards towards perfection, is abhorrent -- to them, perfection is a line going outwards forever, new things being born for all eternity. (There is a bitter feud between Preservation Agents and Cycle Pushers, one of the very few divisions that can separate one Creationer from another.)

Libraries, museums, and archives are all the special domain of the Preservation Agency. Their goal is to document, somewhere, every important thing that there has ever been. Sometimes, that means storing things in Heaven -- at the thousand square mile Preservation Centre tucked into a tiny room in the Halls of Creation. Relic-made "copies" of famous historical figures like Caesar and Kennedy roam the grounds of the Preservation Centre, hiding from the dinosaurs who volunteered to leave the Savannah and from the aliens recreated out of the early pulp science fiction novels. (The Preservation Agents are just about certain that none of the duplications have real souls, although of course the dinosaurs do.)

The life of a preservation agent can get rather complicated at times. On many an occasion, when their lobbyists failed to make a given building a historical landmark, the agents have been forced to spirit the whole building away overnight. Some of the most important holy relics ever made have been squirreled away in secret places by Obsessed Cherubim of the Agency. Obtaining a relic-duplicate of a given human requires immobilizing them for three days, or getting to their corpse within an hour of its death. When such a problem comes up in the middle of another assignment, the angel will have to work fast and hard. That's okay, though; all of these angels do. It is one of their dreams to be given an official badge by the General Manager and become a full Preservation Agent -- and it is only by accomplishing a truly impossible task that they can make this happen.

4.6 Caterers of Heaven

Heavenly cuisine is never bland. At that, it's never too salty, too spicy, too juicy, too dry, or generally unpleasant, and it never causes heartburn or gas. Still, because the Heaven most angels can get to is a Lower Heaven, one can do better -- and the Caterers of Heaven aim to do so. Of course, most Archangels can't spare the seven major Choirs of Angels to cook for the blessed souls -- they're plenty happy already. On occasion, sure -- most welcoming receptions for dead Soldiers of God include a Heavenly chef, trained by the best cooks on Earth and in Heaven, often with a powerful Cooking talisman. That's not, however, the job of the Caterers of Heaven. Their job isn't to cook food, and their role isn't to deliver food.

Their role is to deliver hope.

The Caterers of Heaven are called on when hope is beginning to die -- in conquered countries, in homeless shelters, in prison camps, in mental hospitals, in buildings full of hostages, in tiny apartments where someone has just been assaulted or has just found out that their child died. Slipping past the best security out there -- Ofanim and Kyriotates are ideal -- they come, shrouded in Heaven's glory, and cook for the hopeless. They season their foods using special relics or Songs, and those who eat are warmed within and without.

It is said among Eli's Servitors that not even an Archangel can cook like one of Heaven's Caterers. Certainly, no Archangel but their own has ever tried.

When they leave again, people carry on.

5. Forsaken (by the Ofanite Dodai of Creation)

In the beginning, I was born out of nothingness. I knew nothing but my father's name. It was Creation. He told me later that I was to call him Eli. I realized eventually that my own name was Dodai. With each new thing I learned, I was filled with joy. There were many reasons. I burned with God's own fire. Learning is itself a joy. I did not yet know sorrow. And I knew that I was loved.

From the moment I was born, I knew that I was loved. It was a part of that name. Creation. It was a part of me, and I was a part of it, and in Heaven that can mean nothing but love. There is no sharing of souls in Heaven that gives pain. There is only the infinite intertwining of souls in absolute unity and peace.

And slowly I grew, and I learned more and more, and eventually I was sent down to Earth.

I had been assigned to Greece, in what is now called the classical period, when philosophy and art and mathematics were flourishing. I was ordered to do what I could to keep that spirit alive. I was warned that I would see immense cruelty, even in the hearts of geniuses and creators. I was warned that I would encounter love that beggared my own. This, Eli explained, was the human way; only God loves more, and only the Princes have more hate.

There were several Tethers to Eli in ancient Greece. As an Ofanite, I could always reach one of them in a short time. Eli explained to me that the Seneschals were there to receive status reports and information that he should hear, when there was no need to contact him directly. For immediate assistance, I was given the meeting place of a local birthing, a group of Eli's angels who were expected to support one another at need. (In modern days, these are sometimes called beginnings, or rivermouths, or sunrises. But there are so many fewer!) One of these angels had no other assignments; he was simply there to aid the birthing at need. The others had roles of their own.

For the most part, I made good politicians young. It was a very slow process, so that it would be inobvious. I had to protect their position. Cruel men, I did not have to protect; on occasion, I would strip thirty years from an unpleasant man's life in a handful of days. When I was through, he had a whole new life to live -- but no one would recognize him. His power base was gone.

Outside of the birthings, Eli handled most of the organization himself. There were some few angels whom he assigned as a cross between tactical planners and advisors, who had some degree of authority over local angels -- the visionaries. They were disbanded, officially, although most Creationers still give the former visionaries respect. There were also Word-bound angels, of course, and when I eventually realized how much I loved mathematics, I was placed under the Angel of Abstract Reasoning. Those relationships were fairly loose, though.

It's interesting, actually, that. Most Archangels don't have time to handle the details themselves. I think Eli could because his people pretty much knew what they were about. His Word is a little like Janus' that way -- having a bunch of people working on it from all sorts of different directions doesn't do anything any harm.

Anyway. Lots of blood and gore later, there was no more classical Greece, and I moved from place to place for an awful lot of years. Then, a few centuries back, Eli came to me and said, "I have placed you, and Eliada," -- that's the Angel of Abstract Reasoning -- "in the service of Yves."

Have you ever seen a handful of humans clustered around a fire in a pouring rainstorm, huddling close to it for heat, pulling canvas or other coverings over them and the fire to keep it from going out? And then one strong gust of wind, and water falls onto the fire like a thousand tons of lead, and in that instant there is nothing left but cold stones and scattered wood?

I swear to you that for a moment, my celestial form burned cold.

I wondered softly, "Dreamer, what have I done?"

He smiled the kind of perfect smile you always see on his face, and said, "No, Dodai. It is nothing you have done." Then he shrugged, once, and was gone.

So I worked for Yves for a bit, which is a different story. And eventually Dominic came sniffing around, and I knew Yves had no reason to defend me, so I called to Eli.

He didn't come.

The trial was short. My so-called "crimes" were, the Inquisitor said, forgivable. I was bound into my Vessel for a year and a day. I wandered the world helping people towards their Destinies, and every now and then -- maybe once every three days or so -- I would work up the energy to do something like I used to do for my maker. Bring a few things together, not for the sake of Destiny, but just to see what would grow.

Then the Dreamer vanished.

You've heard all of this before, and you don't need me to tell you how it hurt. I just want to tell you -- why --

Why the dissonance rings when I try to act.

I'm a member of this club, you see. We go city-climbing, up clock towers and building walls and such. It's real fun, and real cool, and they don't know that I'm celestially good at it, because I don't push my skills too hard. And one time, the guy near me missed a jump, and grabbed at a railing, and hung from it by a hand. I whirled with Ofanite speed and I lunged to grab his wrist.

And for just the barest instant, with panic rushing through my head, I thought his face was just a little different, his voice was just a little different, that he wasn't just this guy but my creator, my Archangel, the one who brought me forth.

I didn't stop, or anything. I didn't let go after grabbing him, or anything. I just -- sort of -- missed. And he fell all the way to the ground.

I'm not angry at him, you know. I love him. He even stopped by, last year, and told me he loved me.

Sometimes that single note of dissonance is so loud I can hardly hear.