Malphas, Archangel of Individuality

Malphas, Archangel of Individuality

The world is an evolving pattern of separate entities – but in the end, the only way to complexity is through individual contribution. Each of us has something unique to offer.

Malphas, as a Kyriotate, isn’t tied down to one appearance. On Earth, it never appears in the same vessel twice, save at great need, as it constantly hungers for different viewpoints.

Since Redeeming, Malphas has had one great advantage: some of its former Servitors of Factions have been slowly but steadily following its lead. For fairly obvious reasons, the new Archangel performs few Redemptions itself, instead petitioning Superiors that are above reproach to perform the task for it. In fact, the Archangel most likely often asked has been David, the Superior most hostile to Malphas … a fact of some bemusement to the Seraphim Council.

Dissonance

It is dissonant for any Servitor of Individuality to deny, hinder or forestall another individual’s right to make a choice, providing that the individual in question is in his or her right mind and is not ignorant of possible consequences. A child, or someone noticeably under the influence of a drug, is considered “not of right mind” for the purpose of this discussion.

Organization

As noted above, Malphas has had some of its former Servitors follow its lead in Redeeming. Due to the (very likely) possibility that at least a few have done so for the wrong reasons, the Archangel allows others suspicious of it to conduct all Redemptions. This is probably the major reason why David has not been more hostile than he could be.

For those who survive the process, and for those newly fledged, Malphas provides a congenial working environment. Angels in its organization are listened to, and are probably have the most freedom to tell their boss when they think it’s wrong. Just like the days when it was a Prince, Malphas makes every Servitor feel that they have a tough but fair boss who is their best friend: only now, they’re essentially correct.

However, there are two problems with working for the Archangel of Individuality. One is, ironically, that they’re not trusted very much in some – or even most – quarters. To some reactionaries, free will is too intertwined with Falling. Second, dissonance is very unacceptable. Angels of Individuality have to be squeaky-clean, even more so than Servitors of Judgement or Stone. One that manages to become Outcast is under an effective sentence of death.

Choir Attunements

Seraphim

These angels, once per day, can determine the most likely consequences of their actions, and can grant this gift to others with a Will Roll.

Cherubim (Restricted)

Cherubim of Malphas are immune to dissonance if someone that they are attuned to is hurt or killed, if the person so attuned has made an informed, unforced decision to risk injury or death in order to protect something dear to that individual.

Ofanite

The Wheels of Individuality can look at a person and determine what needs to be changed (or disappear!) in order to help that person regain a sense of identity.

Elohim

The Elohite resonance always succeeds when it is used to determine the target’s feelings about self-determination or independence: roll anyway for the check digit.

Malakim

No Malakim has accepted service with Malphas yet, but when they do, they will be able to be always know the greatest threat to individuality within an area equal to (Celestial Forces times 10) yards.

Bright Lilim

Likewise, few Gifters have joined Malphas: those who have may gift a target with a heightened sense of determination and positive self-esteem for a number of minutes equal to their Ethereal forces. The target will not lose interest in those close to him or her … but he or she will see clearly how their friends, lovers and family treat them.

Kyriotates (Restricted)

No Kyriotate may enter a host’s body without permission, or unless the host is unconscious (the Kyriotate may not cause the host to enter this state). However, once they do, they have full access to the host’s memories and skills, and may use them freely, as long as the host does not object to the Kyriotate’s actions and presence. The host vessel may be also used indefinitely, subject to the same conditions. If asked, Malphas also will assign a free vessel of no more than three Forces for the Kyriotate to use (this vessel always counts towards the amount of Forces ‘tied up’). Kyriotates of Malphas tend to have a favorite Soldier for their human host.

Mercurians

These angels work to promote individual effort in larger contexts. On a Perception roll, they know what activities will best encourage a group of people to voluntarily pool their efforts for a positive results (at –1 for a group larger than 10, -2 for a group larger than 20, and so on). They receive a +2 on their check digits for any roll to encourage said group towards this goal.

Attunements

Calm

When in use, every individual within (Celestial Forces times 3) yards will be able to determine whether or not a statement is meant to provoke a response and/or “push someone’s buttons” on a successful Perception Roll. The check digit will provide the level of the loaded statement (GM call: a 1 will determine merely that the statement is provocative, while a 6 might reveal exactly why the statement was made). If an individual does not know that this Attunement is in effect, he/she still gets the roll, but does not benefit from the check digit unless it is a natural 6.

Moral Courage

This Attunement only works on those who have denied or discouraged another’s individuality recently, and are secretly guilty about it. On a successful Will Roll by the angel, the target gets a plus to his/her own Will Rolls, equal to the check digit, to publicly oppose any further actions detrimental to individual aspirations. This effect will last for a number of hours equal to the check digit.

Distinctions

Vassal of Synergy

An angel with this Distinction can inspire a group of mortals to put aside petty differences in order to produce a joint effort greater than the sum of its parts.

Friend of Glory

This Distinction allows the angel, once per day, to look at a person and determine what great individual deed that person secretly wishes to accomplish. This dream does not have to be realistic, or even possible: however, actually arranging matters so that the subject actually does achieve his “impossible” (GM call) dream is good for 2 Essence. This dream must be something that consciously serves the side of Good, or no Essence is gathered.

Master of Inner Peace

The angel can calm a person’s nervousness and stage fright at a touch, for as long as it takes for the subject to publicly perform for an audience, ask someone else out on a date, present a proposal to the Board of Directors, etc. The subject will feel no lingering shame if he or she does not succeed, provided that he or she truly attempted to do as well as possible.

Relations

Frankly, the other Archangels are going to be suspicious of Malphas for a long, long time. Most of them were happy enough to accept its Redemption, but Malphas the Archangel? The Word doesn’t help, either: “Individuality” is certainly a Superior-level Word, but not necessarily angelic. It’s occurred to a few of the more paranoid Superiors that Malphas’ new Word might even be supported by Hell’s Rebellion. All in all, it’s no wonder that the Seraphim Council is not exactly … supportive of its newest member.

Still, there are exceptions. Novalis and Eli, as usual, are willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Janus thinks that his Word and Individuality have no conflict. Jordi couldn’t care less. The Seraphim Superiors are stuck with the “it’s not putting up any shields, and we’re reading the Truth of its Redemption, so now what?” problem that they had with Haagenti. Khalid goes a little farther, with his new Faith in Allah’s mysterious ways. The Archangel of Gusto’s glad to see another reclaimed soul. And Yves just smiles.

Allied:

Associated: all other Superiors (Gabriel*, Haagenti, Janus, Khalid and Yves are Associated with Malphas)

Neutral: none (Blandine, Dominic, Eli, Jordi, Michael and Novalis are Neutral to Malphas)

Hostile: none (Gabriel*, Marc, David, Laurence and Jean are Hostile to Malphas)

*Gabriel, always capricious, is still undecided. Her reaction towards Malphas ranges from “warm” to “burning hostility”: her Servitors usually just keep things Neutral, and hope she makes up her mind soon…

Blandine: “The longer this War goes, the less I understand it. I trust Yves though: otherwise, why else have Hope?” “She stands alone, more so then any angel in Heaven. We must remember that, and freely offer our support to her.”

David: “This is not how I expected my war with Malphas to end. I don’t trust it to not Fall again. Right now, the only thing I can do is make sure that its Servitors are … Tested. We’ll see if stronger measures are needed later.” “It is ironic that the angel that knows self-reliance so well knows me so little.”

Dominic: “What can I say? Its sincerity rings True. And so does Asmodeus’ panicked look lately. Malphas might be able to fool me, but not God.” “He may not publicly admit to the power of my Word, but his actions are clear. I hope to show him that this new trust of his is not misplaced.”

Eli: “On second thought, maybe someone did spike my drink last night, and I’ve just hallucinated Haagenti’s and Malphas’ Redemption. One of my better trips, if so. Assuming this is actually happening, I’m going to cut the Domination some slack. Let’s see what happens. Dominic’s capable of shutting it down fast If Things Go Boom (not that I’d actually tell him that: then he’d be sure that I was tripping…).” “Not being able to make Creation Fall was my greatest failure as a Prince. And possibly my Salvation now.”

Gabriel: “Sparks may combine to become Fire, but does that mean we must have a Word celebrating it? Perhaps. I must gaze upon the Flames and consider.” “She … confuses … me. Some days she seems to remember that I had a heavy hand in her current difficulties, and her eyes burn with hate: on others, her eyes are merely warm with welcome. I deserve the former, and am grateful for the latter, but both at once? Haagenti is right when he says that it is our responsibility to remove the Infernal focus of her pain.”

Haagenti: “Get used to it, everyone: Hell’s going down hard. Unlike the rest of my new family, I knew Mal real well when we were both diseased scum together, and let me tell you: he’s better now. I don’t blame you all for being wary, but give the Kyrio time, okay? You did it for me, and it didn’t turn out that bad…” “I loathed him once: he returned the favor. Now he and I are truly on the same side for the first time. The world is a delightfully mad place. It was his example that brought me here, and my current problems are not his fault.”

Janus: “I love my brothers, sisters and others dearly, but they are so blipping conservative! Wake up, people: THIS WHAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING AND WORKING FOR, REMEMBER? Lambs returning to the fold, and all that. Sheesh…” “His Word is closest to mine, and I think that he and Haagenti understand me best. Without what the Wind signifies, my Word is nothing. I’d tell the rest just how unlike Valefor he is, but somehow I’d doubt they’d believe me much.”

Jean: “Free will. Hmmph. If I thought humans could handle it without supervision, I’d let them acquire more of my discoveries. Just how is having an Archangel dedicated to that Word going to help matters any? Yes, yes, I know the Word is “Individuality”. Same thing, in the End.” “We disagree on methods, not goals. That’s enough. It has to be enough: after all, it is his choice…”

Jordi: “A new Archangel. They come, and they go. Malphas wasn’t a concern of mine as a Prince, and I fail to see how anything should be different now.” “I did better work than I knew, in the old days. We must all reach out to him. Now.”

Khalid: “Allah’s will is Allah’s will. Free will has always been part of His Plan: I do not understand it, but I do not have to. If Malphas has been chosen to bear this Word, then, in the words of the youngest mortal generation, ‘you should all just chill out, dudes’.

“The phrase at least caught your attention, did it not?” “I was certain that he would oppose me most of all, and he has instead offered peace. I will be happier when I have earned this gift.”

Laurence: “Free will is for humans. We have a job to do. If Malphas remembers that, then there won’t be any problems. I expect problems. I’ve crossed it off the List, though.” “Mistrustful of me, but what else can he be? I hope that he will one day accept my aid without rancor.”

Marc: “I don’t really trust him. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Sure, the Word in itself isn’t bad: I’m just indulging in a little constructive paranoia about Malphas being permanently changed. Hell would dearly love to get a saboteur in, and what could be a better choice than the Prince of Factions? If it works out, that’s great. Otherwise, David and I are right in being wary. Weird that I’m agreeing with David about anything, but these aren’t normal times…” “I am saddened, but not surprised, by his coolness. In truth, it is no more than I deserve. I trust in his essential fairness.”

Michael: “Like Khalid, I have no idea what God is up to: also like Khalid, I trust God. Again, end of story. And what’s War without Glory, and what’s Glory without Individual effort for the greater good?” “Michael is the most terrifying enemy that the Host has, and the best friend. I’m not his friend, but not being his enemy is … relieving. He is willing to let me show how I can contribute: I haven’t earned the right for anything more.”

Novalis: “Malphas has caused a lot of pain, knowingly. So much so that it’s hard for others to forgive. Still … even if Yves hadn’t spoken on its behalf, I would have. Heaven is about forgiveness. I’m not saying, ‘Forget’. Just … forgive.” “There is steel underneath that cheerful visage: in some ways, my first private talk with her was more grueling than an interrogation. To sit there, knowing that an entity that embodies forgiveness and peace is sitting across from you with a frown on her face, does not do anything to still your inner anguish. I felt that I was staining my surroundings with past, regretted evil. But to be forgiven by her quenches a soul thirsty for peace. She hasn’t forgotten what I was, though. God help me if I ever Fall again, for nothing less will stop her or even slow her down much. The rest of you may not see this in her, but trust me: do not abuse this Superior’s trust.”

Yves: “Two down. Or should it be, ‘Two up?’” “Destiny has the individual’s grandest choice at its core. He is refreshing to work with. I just wonder if he always laughed this much…”

Role in the War

As per his Word, the new Archangel does not emphasize great, sweeping trends and policies: his Servitors try instead to make life better, one person or small group at a time. They’ll concentrate on key people, of course, when that one person could make a difference on a larger scale, but Malphas will often coordinate such efforts with Yves.

Malphas doesn’t push for a violent confrontation with Hell. It’s seen too much of the human fallout that results: in fact, in the old days, it was where Factions did some of its best work. Like Haagenti, Malphas has revealed the wealth of intelligence on Infernal plans, and is using the resultant chaos to cover attempts to repair some of the specific damage that it has caused as a Prince. Still, when fighting is necessary, it’s necessary: a Choice is a Choice.

Renegades ostensibly seeking Redemption will approach Malphas’ Servitors fairly often. Unfortunately, sincere petitioners are rarer: most Renegades assume that Malphas is running a scam of some kind, and hope to join in. Malphas has thus made arrangements with Dominic to quietly run all applicants through the nearest Triad of Judgement (and if there isn’t one near a Servitor of Individuality, one will be placed there). Renegades that don’t pass the Triad’s first inspection are tossed to the Game without a qualm: Asmodeus eliminates these entities without fanfare, presumably because it’s in his self-interest to keep this scheme going (after all, he’s got the other side doing the legwork for him for free: why spoil things?). David or Dominic (never Malphas) personally handles demons that are judged to be seeking Redemption: Stone trusts only himself and Judgement to Test these potential converts, and Individuality has agreed to this as a peace gesture. As a result, David has been slightly less hostile to Malphas, as he can personally vouch for many of Individuality’s formerly demonic Servitors.

Slightly.

Basic Rites

:Play in a sport or game that recognizes individual effort.

:Encourage a person to perform, live and solo, in front of a audience of at least ten people.

Chance of Invocation: 3

Modifiers:

+1 A book on self-esteem

+2 An original sonnet, written by the angel (doesn’t have to be good, but you have to do a new one each time: sadistic GMs will make the player do likewise!)

+3 A talented artist engrossed by creating a masterpiece

+4 A Demon sincerely seeking Redemption

+5 The headquarters (during a normal working day only) of an international organization that protects the rights of the individual

+6 A group of at least fifty thousand, peacefully calling for greater self-determination in politics

History

The Redemption of Haagenti confused Hell. The Redemption of Malphas scared them.

It happened very, very quickly. One minute, the Prince of Factions was sitting like a slim spider in the middle of its complex web of deals, betrayals, plots and counterplots; the next minute, all Hell was rocking from the discordant screech of a Prince’s Heart shattering. It took a full convening of every Infernal Superior to determine exactly who had gone Renegade … and even then, the other Princes refused to believe at first that it could be Malphas who had defected. It was only when its new angelic Servitors appeared on Earth that Hell acknowledged that another Prince had gone Bright. Some still don’t believe it.

To be fair, some Archangels don’t believe it as well.

Few entities on either side of the War understand exactly what happened: Lucifer, Kronos, Alaemon and (possibly) Kobal on the one hand, and Yves, Dominic, Litheroy and Michael on the other. Lilith suspects, but has no proof: at any rate, she’s more concerned at the suspicious eyes turned towards her as the ranks of the Princes diminish. Malphas has not been forthcoming on this intensely private matter. The only thing that its new compatriots are certain of is that the Archangel of Individuality, like Haagenti, owes his new stature to God’s direct intervention.

They just aren’t sure that they like the way that God is directing things…

It began when, somehow, Malphas had a Thought. Whether it came from within, or it was a suggestion by one of its “peers”, is something that even Malphas isn’t sure about. It came some time before Haagenti’s Redemption, and at first was just a little, tiny, inconsequential Thought. Another Shedite serving Factions would have probably dismissed it forthwith and been done with it, but Malphas’ very self-centered nature was peculiarly vulnerable to this Thought. It stayed, never growing larger or smaller, but always there at the back of its mind.

Haagenti’s Redemption caused a lot of confusion in Hell, however, and Malphas was no exception. The Thought grew, despite all it could do to banish. A simple, ridiculous, petty Thought:

“Nothing exists but Myself. Thus, I cannot trust anything but Myself.

But what if I cannot trust Myself?”

A solipsist who doubts itself is in a state of mind both horrible and pitiful. The simple act of a Prince Redeeming had caused even the Prince of Factions, the most self-centered entity in Hell, to question one of the supporting pillars of its self-image. Malphas began to Doubt.

Even then, it might have ended there, if it wasn’t for two factors. First, the dead Shedite Legion had once successfully regained a piece of its old Kyriotate resonance, and began to again experience multiplicity of viewpoints: thus, it might be then theoretically possible to somehow look at one’s self from another point of view. Second, Malphas was also a Shedite, not to mention a much more intelligent entity than that fool Saminga, who had created Legion in the first place.

Needless to say, Legion’s path was not exactly what Malphas had in mind. Multiple physical viewpoints were not the answer: what was needed was a way to mentally observe one’s self from the outside. The best way that it could determine to do this was to split itself down into two entities, who could then coldly appraise the other and then reintegrate into a new whole. Then Malphas could be secure in the knowledge that it was pure.

It was a good plan. Unfortunately Malphas did not take into consideration that the new entities would both consider themselves to be the “real” Malphas, and would still be unsure about the purity of its “core” self. They thus further split themselves again to spy out any impurity, and did it again, and again, and again, and again…

While Malphas descended further and further into self-induced schizophrenia, the rest of Hell (and his minions) completely failed to notice. The Prince of Factions had always worked behind the scenes, and its Word was always low-maintenance. Malphas might still be fragmenting in the middle of Perdition if it weren’t for Francis, a Habbalah of Factions. Francis, thanks to a recent bout of Emptiness, had snapped out of his delusional state and was desperately trying to find his Heart. After finding it, and deciding to retreat and smash it somewhere marginally safer, he came across the whirling morass of catatonic corruption that was his soon-to-be-former-Prince. Luckily, demonic vessels are incapable of heart failure. Francis cowered, literally caught in the act of ultimate rebellion, and helplessly awaited soul-death.

After a minute or two passed without obliteration, Francis carefully opened one eye and looked upon the silent whirlwind. Malphas had shown no notice of his presence. The relief that this provided caused Francis to make what appeared to be an even greater mistake: he actually asked, “Dread Lord … is that you?” (Francis was later heard to state that, by any objective analysis, this statement was both the most appropriate and inappropriate question that it had ever asked as a Punisher).

The question had been heard by all of Malphas’ fragments of personalities. In unison, clinging to the only external stimuli that had broken their vicious circle of fragment/panic/fragment, they replied “YES!” Francis cowered again.

The shattered pieces of the Prince of Factions began to re-knit. Malphas had, in fact, succeeded in its aim: as it became one again, it could see what it was, and that the entire suggestion of whether it could trust itself was a meaningless question. Seeing its surroundings for the first time, Malphas noticed the obvious would-be Renegade that had been the catalyst, and casually started to destroy it…

…when another one of those little, inconsequential Thoughts stopped it. This is not Me, but it affected My actions. Therefore, other things besides Me exist. Therefore, there is no ‘Me’, but me … and Others.

The existence of Others can be of help to me. Therefore, it is a mistake to destroy this Other who has been of help to me.

It would be … ‘wrong’.

So this is what ‘wrong’ is. Amazing. I wonder if any other actions that I have done in the past have been ‘wrong’…

Malphas stared at the Punisher, seeing it as only a Superior can. Very carefully, it took the Heart from Francis’ arms, and bid him, “Look at me.”

Francis did. Malphas began to glide along the corridors of Perdition, bidding its rebellious servant, “Follow me.”

Francis did (what else could he do?). The Prince brought him to its most secret place, the place of Malphas’ Heart. There, in the sight of another seeker after the light, it raised its Heart up and smashed it to the ground. Francis then looked wide-eyed as Malphas returned his own Heart to him.

“Your turn.” Malphas told him. “I’d hurry, if I were you:” – at this, the Renegade Prince stopped, bemused at the words that it thought it would never say and actually mean — “We really don’t have much time.”

After that, being declared the Kyriotate Archangel of Individuality was a bit anticlimactic.