Jordi was born a Kyriotate, able to join his soul with the souls of living things. So that all angels might have the joy that this gave him, he helped his comrades create the first Vessels, and for this he was given dominion over corporeal life. He loved the creatures of the waters and the creatures of the air, from the largest to the smallest. To his Seraphim he taught the languages of the deep, and his Elohim spoke the tongue of dinosaurs. The Kyriotates who served him were the most fortunate of all: he taught them to share the minds of insects, who first invented culture. Even en masse, a hive is nowhere near as intelligent as a man -- but their stories and their customs long predate humanity.
The thoughts of animals are callow and self-centered. Jordi has always admitted this. Something in their bodies and their natures, however, is constantly singing the praises of God. If the humans are instruments in a Symphony, the animals are songs from a Hymnal -- and to Jordi and many of his Servitors this is transcendentally clear. It is for this reason that he was so concerned by humanity's appearance: most humans were silent or, at best, faint notes in the ongoing hymn of praise. They were, more to the point, defective. It was eventually made clear to him that there was an important reason for this -- that humans have been given the choice whether to praise God or reject him. Jordi finds this a particularly stupid idea.
Lucifer believed that Jordi's distaste for humanity was a weakness. He came to Jordi as Jordi swam in the seas and said, "The oceans are vast, but man will destroy them. He will kill the great whales. He will kill the dolphins. He will destroy hundreds of species more. Then, when he can no longer eat, use, or waste the life in the seas faster than it can breed, he will fill the waters with poisons and all the oceans will die. This is my prophecy, Jordi, and only if man dies will it change."
Jordi flicked his tail lazily and showed Lucifer his bloody teeth. "I am not the keeper of destiny," he said. "If this must be, then it will be. I will teach the whales to sing and I will teach the dolphins to love, and I will make many fish good food for humankind. I will ask my Seraphim to create wonders beneath the waves for man to discover and be awed by, so that when the seas are dead, their killers will mourn. Leave me now, Lucifer, or I will indulge the nature of the shark."
The next day, Lucifer came to Jordi as Jordi roamed the plains. He said, "Cats are the wisest of all beasts, and they have the softest steps. They are fierce and they are strong, good hunters and players of games. They celebrate the Lord in every breath, and man will come to love them well. Yet, in the end, there will be a man-killing disease that a cat can carry, and in the pogrom that follows man will kill every one."
Jordi sat back and licked his paw. "I am not the keeper of destiny," he said. "If this must be, then it will be. I will teach the cats secrets that even you do not know, and games that will delight all who look upon them. I will make them healers of the soul and healers of the heart, and destroyers of all who defile the human homes -- be they rats, or snakes, or your followers, Lightbringer. I will do these things, though I love humanity not, so that when the cats pass, they will be mourned. Leave me, Lucifer, or I will show you how cats can hunt."
The next day, Lucifer came to Jordi as he soared the empty skies. He said, "The horizon is vast, but man will obscure it. He will kill the pigeons, and the eagles, and hundreds of species more. Then, when the last of the birds elude his reach, he will poison the skies and all who fly them will die. This is my prophecy, Jordi, and unless man dies, it is true."
Jordi fell like thunder to the branches of a tree. "I am not the keeper of destiny," he said. "If this must be, then it will be. I will make the birds keepers of inspiration, tellers of stories, and an eternal symbol of freedom and hope. I will give them wonder, Lucifer, and they will teach the humans flight. They will carry his messages, and lead ships to shore. I do this so that when the skies fall and the birds are no more, humanity will mourn as I do now. Leave me, Lucifer, or I will have my people harry you until you scream a scream of pain and fear."
The next day, Lucifer came to Jordi as he wandered the desert. He said, "The sands will burn with a killing flame, and twisted creatures will roam it singing praises to the darkness. This, too, will come of man."
Jordi coiled gently and lifted his head. "The dinosaurs were struck with the hammer of God. Is that any different, Lightbringer? Yet -- I will tell you this. I will make the reptiles the keepers of reason and sanity. From their flesh, one day, man will make a reagent to cure the troubled mind and cleanse the tortured soul. I will give them memories that go back forever, so that they are the record-keepers of the times long ago. And, when it is time, I will teach man to share this memory -- not from love in my heart, but so that when the reptiles and their memories are twisted forever, man will look upon man's work and weep. Now go, Lucifer, else you will know the venom of an Archangel's fangs."
Lucifer then came to Jordi in a wolfpack Jordi ruled. He said, "No beast will love man as the wolves will do, yet he will turn upon them. When he has ruined the Earth, he will not preserve them, but will strive at the last to save only himself. This is the prophecy of Lucifer Lightbringer, if man is not ended before God has planned it."
Jordi snarled. "I grow tired of you, Lightbringer. I am not the keeper of destiny; if this must be, it will be. I will grant the wolves power to understand man as I do not; if they still love him, then I will not stand in their way. Now go, Lucifer, before I grow angrier."
The next day, Lucifer came to Jordi deep in a hive. He said, "The thousand greatest cultures in the world are those of the insects. You know this. The battle dances of the dragonflies, the tragedies of the bees, the singing of the ants and the comedies of the beetles. Man will never appreciate any of it, will never believe in any of it; he will name himself the enemy of all but a few, and will spend eternity striving to destroy them."
Jordi said, quietly, "There are a hundred warriors behind you and around you, Lucifer. Do you not think you are risking a Trauma? Yet I will answer you. I am not the keeper of destiny. If this must be, it will be. If man will not mourn, then I will mourn. I will make a place for every insect in my Savannah when it dies, and they will thrive there. No power in existence will destroy them or their cultures while I and the Savannah still stand. This I swear. Now return to Heaven, if it will let you."
On the seventh day, Jordi stood by the apes and watched them and said, "If man fails, and God still desires a race that can make choice --" His eyes were warm and there was water in them. "You will be his second chance."
Lucifer was never to approach him again.
PERSONALITY AND OUTLOOK
Jordi's sense of the world has been tainted permanently by the Lightbringer's prophecies. He knows that everything he is, and everything he stands for, will be destroyed in the end -- and that this is God's will. One moment, he will help God's precious humanity tame the natural world; this is his duty as an Archangel and a servant of the Lord. The next, he will fight tooth and claw to preserve that world from humanity's encroachment; this is his duty to his Word and his own nature. He is divided against himself as only a Kyriotate can be.
The Archangel of Animals never abandons the causes he upholds. At any given time, part of him will be standing by a wounded tigress defending her kittens, or destroying an exterminator's tanks of insecticide. Part of him will be keeping his ancient promises, as he revealed them to the Lightbringer: creating wonders under the sea, teaching cats secrets and telling the seagulls stories, sharing memories with the serpents and arguing with the dogs. He scours the natural world for demons who understand, as he does, that there is something valuable in it. If they are seeking selfish gain and glory, he destroys them; if they have the glimmerings of an understanding of what Jordi sees, he drags them before Novalis for attempted redemption.
Even though he fights, and teaches, and sings paeans to the Lord, the greatest part of Jordi is elsewhere. The deepest passion in him is the desire to walk the untamed regions, listening to the hymns of the animal kingdom while they still endure. He is easiest to summon, and happiest, when his Servitor is surrounded by undamaged nature -- what kind of nature doesn't matter. The songs in an ordinary field or hill are as beautiful to him as the hymns of the jungle.
In Jordi's mind, the war has already been lost -- was lost even before the Fall, was lost the moment that his Word was doomed. There is hope, of course. For example, the Fall itself might lead to humanity's premature destruction. Genetic engineering, that recent, fascinating development, offers the implicit possibility that one day the ravaged Earth might be restored. Jordi accepts that there is hope, but he does not allow himself to feel that hope. It would weaken his personal dedication to the war. He is absolutely committed, not to victory, but to holding off the day of Heaven's failure every year, every day, and every minute that it is possible.
Believing that Jordi is ruled by passion, or that he is incapable of subtlety, is a common mistake made by angels and demons alike. Jordi's angels, and Gabriel's, know better: passion and madness do not preclude brilliance. Angels of Animals are unsuited to politics, but they make excellent and valuable advisors. Soldiers of Animals are not just ecoterrorists -- many of them are hard-edged, intelligent, and wealthy men with a wide net of connections. Some have been carefully chosen from the ranks of military weapons designers; when nuclear armageddon comes, humanity will be surprised just how much of their offensive capability doesn't exist.
Jordi loves life -- even human life, although he is wary of it. In his heart, he recognizes no higher purpose than to spare a creature pain, or to bring it happiness. The Angel of the Clean Kill serves under him, as do the Angels of Warm Burrows and Sweet Nectar. The Angel of Lifetime Mating works for Blandine these days, but visits Jordi in his Savannah when she can. Most of his Servitors are off in the wilderness helping any beast that needs them.
The Archangel of Animals has some investment in cities and human lives as well. Animal rights activism, human preservation of parks and wildernesses, and humane societies are all things that attract Jordi's interest and intervention. He also strives to bring humans back towards their animal roots -- he supports nature retreats and loosening of sexual inhibitions, free-range meats and physical activities. Since insects have set the precedent, Jordi grudgingly accepts human arts in general -- and enjoys many instances of these arts in specific.
Jordi is ambivalent regarding the war against Hell. He has never met a demon he liked, with the exception of a few who Redeemed shortly afterwards. He shares the Kyriotate loathing for Shedim, even though they rarely affect his world. He does fully support his Servitors taking on demons when they can -- but he is unable to hold a real grudge against anyone who isn't right in front of his nose. Defeating Hell in toto, or saving the souls of humankind, just doesn't seem worth the energy. In this, he is a little like Blandine; he has his own battles to fight, and he fights them well, but he is not a part of Laurence's all-purpose army.
Jordi is not just responsible for the natural world. He is required to make it serve God's plan, as it has been revealed to him. This means, ironically, that he must help turn the creatures of the world to humanity's service. He has been given the grace to defend those that humanity will learn from some day, but he has had to stand aside while species after 'useless' species is slaughtered. Most of the time, humans have done so with minimal demonic prompting.
Nature must teach humanity of the truth of God and the glory of virtue -- the highest principles of Heaven. Jordi has chosen the seas for this, and his Seraphim are his instruments: teaching the dolphins and the whales to celebrate the Almighty in song and build great temples beneath the waves. There are creatures in the depths whose very existence is a testament to miracles and a warning to humanity that God watches them. Sadly, some of the creatures in the ocean's deeps have been turned to darkness, instead, and strive always to defile. They ruin the holy places and pervert the faith of the dolphins and the whales. Jordi watches, and fights back when he can.
Nature must teach humanity of love and dedication. Jordi has chosen the cats for this, and made them healers of the soul and keepers of wisdom. They teach young Malakim how to hunt, and young servants of Novalis how to play. They gather in hidden places in the savannahs and cities, guarded by Jordi's Cherubim, and whisper the secrets of the natural world; the Demon Prince of Secrets would give his eyeteeth to hear and understand such a gathering but once.
Nature must teach humanity of motion: how to dance and how to run and how to live in their bodies as joyously as they should live in their minds. Jordi has chosen the birds to be humanity's inspiration, symbols of motion, freedom, hope, and flight. They whirl in the skies with his Ofanim, and chatter the stories of Heaven's history -- and their own. To those who have his Ofanite Attunement, birds become the messengers of Heaven, though somewhat unreliable and easily distracted.
Sanity, reason, and memory have been put in the keeping of the reptiles. It is said that if you wish to know what happened a thousand years ago, you have only to ask a snake or a lizard. Their memories for recent events are far more clouded, but still hold a few items of interest. Angels and special humans, severely wounded in their minds, who for one reason or another cannot be healed by Archangelic intervention, are put in the care of the reptiles and Jordi's Elohim, so that slowly their shattered sanity may be restored.
Dogs and wolves serve man willingly enough on their own. To them Jordi has given a special blessing: humans can see the love and service in their eyes. Therefore, dogs and Jordi's Malakim guide mankind towards honorable treatment of those who serve them. It doesn't work on everyone, but a human who abuses their dog, knowing its loyalty, was probably doomed to Hell anyway.
Jordi has resigned himself to the notion that man will never learn much from the apes and the insects, because they are respectively too like and too unlike the human race. Accordingly, the roles he has given his Kyriotates and Mercurians are more general. The Kyriotates guide Jordi to places where his Word is in danger; the Mercurians guide humanity generally towards an understanding of the animal world.
Jordi is emotionally stable most of the time; he knows what he's doing, and there is glory as well as horror in his life. When he allows himself to think too much, though, he usually becomes profoundly, deeply, unhappy. This is the reason why he rarely participates in Heavenly politics -- he has no right to guide Heaven's decisions unless he considers the situation on Earth with open eyes. He doesn't really want to.
Below are some of the opinions that the other Superiors have in regards to the most powerful of the Kyriotate Archangels.
Blandine: Jordi has dreamed once in all his life, deliberately and consciously shaping a dreamscape in the Marches. In that dream, I saw a darkness coming down from the sun, and he rose and reached forth his hand to stop it. Below him, as he wrestled with that darkness, human lives winked out one by one, until all of them were gone. There was such longing in him -- I understand what he sees in the life he preserves, but I think his vision of humanity is clouded. He frightens me sometimes.
David: In a way, I feel that I've let him down. Humanity has become so strong it can trample his Word, but not strong enough not to. Still, the Symphony's not over yet.
Dominic: His loyalty has never been in question. His angels are immune to many temptations, although sadly not all of them. I can ask no more.
Eli: Me, I tell my angels to be cool. He tells them to be cool or /else/. He's probably missing the point, but he does a good job, anyway.
Gabriel: The Lightbringer prophecied that he will lose everything. His body and his mind will be shaken by the winds of Fate and Destiny. He will be devoured by the fires of Hell. I saw this once. I also saw that he will walk out again, stronger. God does not forget devotion.
Janus: Jordi doesn't change. Period. He keeps going on and on, fighting the same wars over and over again, keeping the same promises the same way, listening to the same songs, and thinking exactly the same way he did in the very beginning. When he began, he was the best of us, but if he doesn't keep up with the times, I tell you, he's going to crack.
Jean: I have spent a great deal of time considering why Jordi remains an Archangel in this modern day, and I have concluded that it is a result of politics, bureaucracy, and inefficiency. His Word is outdated and his Savannah is ridiculous. Further, he has opposed several reasonable notions in the Council and thereby set back the plans of Heaven by at least two hundred years.
Laurence: There is a fish that can knock bugs out of the air with its spittle. There is a bird that can turn its head entirely around. Once, there were unicorns who could cure poison with a touch. The first two are natural, but the unicorns were ethereal monsters. Uriel relied heavily on Jordi's insights when determining which was which. I respect him and his Word, although he is almost useless to me.
Marc: He's a very ... valuable servant of Heaven, noted for his many ... fine contributions and general ... virtuous behavior. His Word has made a great difference to the world. I respect him immensely for his, ah, achievements.
Michael: If Jordi were not there to guard his corner of the world, I would have to. His contribution to the war effort might not be obvious, but it's definitely important.
Novalis: He has a great heart, and he serves his Word well. Mine too, at that -- the vegetable and animal kingdoms depend on one another for survival.
Yves: Jordi is living his Destiny. Every moment of every day, he does what the Divine would ask of him. I honor him and his dedication.
NEW SERVITOR ATTUNEMENTS
The angel can touch an animal and experience the last day of that animal's life -- in an instant. If the animal has suffered Mind hits in the past day, the angel will take them as well; this never happens by chance, but sometimes particularly cunning demons will set a trap. More importantly, for the next day of the angel's own life, they will take on some of the personality traits of the animal. If the animal suffers from the equivalent of an Ethereal or Celestial Discord such as Angry or Slothful, the angel will suffer that Discord at level 1 for the next 24 hours.
By spending 3 Essence, the angel can give a human a temporary perception of the beauty in a given animal's nature. Even as Jordi did, the human is likely to fall at least a little bit in love with that animal and type of animal, and they will never look at the natural world the same way again. Of course, a hard-hearted human who doesn't think much of love in general will not be swayed for very long.
/Mastery of the Hunt/
By spending 1 Essence, the angel can use any one of the skills their current animal Vessel would normally possess for the purposes of a single roll. This Attunement can be very powerful in combat, but it also burns through Essence quickly.
An angel can use this Attunement on an animal to heal one Body hit or give the animal a painless death. A given angel can use this Attunement on a single animal at most once per day.
Jordi gives only one Distinction beyond Master of the Creature Within. This Distinction, Guardian of the Untamed, guarantees the angel an animal Vessel/2 at no character point cost whenever their current Vessel dies. This is only awarded after long and distinguished service, and before Jordi gives this Distinction out, he sets the angel in the mind and body of an appropriate beast, their true nature invisible and their memories hidden, for an entire mortal life. Only when they understand one kind of animal via this ultimate immersion do they qualify for the Distinction.
The small cat shouldered open the door and crept into the apartment. Ignoring the books, trash, and weaponry that littered the floor, it walked purposefully into the kitchen and leapt up onto the table, mewing loudly for attention.
A young woman with disheveled hair wandered out of an adjacent room and peered at the cat. "Oh, it's /you/," she said, and smiled. "How's life?"
The cat grimaced distastefully and then hid its head between its forepaws.
The woman peered at it closely, bent close, and sniffed. A moment later she laughed. "Oh, I see. First time in heat?"
The cat didn't look up.
"Why don't you just enjoy it? Get in the groove, work a few kinks out? No?" The woman sighed. "Well, if you insist, I'll check again." She rummaged around in a nearby drawer. "This is entirely your own fault, you know. There's a strict rule for Elohim: keep your feelings in check, don't go around doing selfish things ..."
The cat made a grofulling noise and the woman looked up sharply. "Hey. None of those cracks. I'll have you know it's /quite/ difficult being an Ofanite. Here we are, just floating around as free Forces in the Symphony, when some Archangel reaches out and snatches us and we're never again allowed to be still and just -- drift --"
The cat looked unimpressed.
"Okay," she admitted, "so it's not the motion I mind, so much as the fact that you all seem to /think/ so much better when you're at peace. Now, anyway, if you'll just pee onto this stick ..." She frowned severely at the cat. "It is /not/ degrading. Animals do it all the time. Besides, it's /my/ kitchen that you're going to be messing up. And, anyway, it's not my fault that you Fell --"
The cat mewled loudly.
"I'm sorry. That you 'expressed your passions.' Look, Jordi said that he didn't want to lose you, and that there was still hope for you. He wouldn't say that about me if /I/ became a /Calabite/, you know. So you should be grateful that he gave you this chance at all."
A few moments later, the Ofanite shook off the stick and peered at it. "And it's definitely not my fault that you argued that you were just indulging your animal nature. Personally, I think it's just straight-out justice. Animal you claim to be, animal you become ..."
The cat snarled irritably.
"I'm sorry," the woman said, after a long moment. "You're still a
Habbalite inside. ... Hey! That's my favorite table!"
SAMPLE SERVITORS OF JORDI
Higgaion, Elohite Servitor of Animals
Corporeal Forces - 3 ( Strength 5 , Agility 7 )
Ethereal Forces - 3 ( Intelligence 7 , Precision 5 )
Celestial Forces - 3 ( Will 5 , Perception 7 )
Vessel: Human/1, Huge Rattlesnake/1
Skills: Detect Lies/1, Dodge/1, Emote/1, Fighting/2, Medicine/3, Move Silently/1, Singing/1, Survival/4 (Desert), Tracking/1
Songs: Dreams (Corporeal/6, Ethereal/3, Celestial/6)
Attunements: Elohite of Animals
Higgaion is a spirit guide, who leads the Soldiers of Jordi into a greater understanding of the natural world and helps them share in the ancient memories of the reptiles. In his human form, he will lead them out into the desert and talk with them by day; by night he will share their dreams; if called for, he will defend them as an ancient and vicious rattlesnake (with minimal disturbance to the Symphony.)
Lycaonia, Malakite Servitor of Animals
Corporeal Forces - 4 ( Strength 10 , Agility 6 )
Ethereal Forces - 2 ( Intelligence 5 , Precision 3 )
Celestial Forces - 3 ( Will 7 , Perception 5 )
Vessel: Human/1, Wolf/3
Skills: Dodge/2, Driving/1, Emote/5, Fighting/2, Move Silently/2, Tactics/2
Attunements: Malakite of Animals, Mastery of the Hunt
Lycaonia is a city girl, vaguely associated with a humane society, who 'checks up' on the humans who take the shelter's animals home. Anyone who abuses the animals, or dumps them by the road somewhere when they become too much trouble, gets a visit from Lycaonia in wolf form, willing to spend a few Essence on her "Mastery of the Hunt" attunement to give them the scare of their life. It's a sad commentary on humanity that after a visit by the local "werewolf," no one has ever brought home a dog again -- but her victims are always scrupulously kind to any animals they encounter thenceforth.
Sample Tether: Gray Acre Creek
In 1895, a small Irish Setter accompanied her master down to Gray Acre Creek for a quiet walk. Her master was a good and generous man, but that hardly matters; what is important is that three demons, in the form of great grey panthers with glowing eyes, had been sent to kill him. The Irish Setter (her name was Sandy) was half the weight of any one of the demons, and nearly a head shorter -- but her vicious stand in defense of her master actually held all three of the creatures back for a good minute and a half before they vivisected her and moved on. By that time her master was far away.
Three crows perched in nearby trees witnessed the whole thing, and
refused to devour her torn-up flesh. The story spread among the avians until
a hundred birds gathered to do Sandy honor; at the height of their service,
Jordi himself came. He was a snowy owl, that time, and he stood vigil through
the night; when he was done, a patch of Gray Acre Creek a mile long had
become a Tether to Animals -- and the uncommon valor found in even the