Remember friend, as you pass by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, you soon shall be.
So, prepare for death, and follow me.
"God is eternal . . . the world is not. And neither are you."
[Dissonance] [Choir Attunements] [Servitor Attunements] [Distinctions] [Relations] [Rites] [Invocation]
Azrael was one of the first Grigori created, and he was the first to be made an Archangel. Patient, meticulous, soft-spoken, he was so inobtrusive about his work that few of his fellow Archangels could be said to have known him, even before the outcasting of his Choir. The few who did know him knew that in addition to his other qualities, Azrael was above all kind -- one of the gentlest souls in the Seraphim Council.
Shortly after his creation, Azrael was assigned to study a phenomenon not well-understood by Heaven at that time: the disposition of human souls. The angels had long known that some human souls arrived in Heaven, and others did not. Reincarnation and oblivion had been offered as theories, but no one really knew where the "missing" souls were going . . . and the Seraphim Council intuited that following the Fall, this question might be very important. Azrael was given the Word of Death to carry out his duties (angelic Words were much less competitive and assigned with less deliberation in those days).
In his research, Azrael learned how to track human souls after death -- an accomplishment other angels have been unable to duplicate. He confirmed that reincarnation and disbandment both occurred, in some cases. He also discovered that many souls were anchoring themselves to the corporeal plane as ghosts, or to the ethereal plane as dream-shades. Some were drawn into the domains of ethereal spirits -- mostly pagan worshippers.
The greatest revelation was the fate of those humans who were weighed down by their selfishness. They were banished to a nether-realm on the celestial plane. At one time, this had been a bleak and empty place where the dead shuffled forever in miserable isolation. But then the Fallen arrived, and the place became known as Hell. The demons were torturing and sometimes destroying the damned souls confined there, and using them to supply Essence.
This revelation appalled Heaven. Azrael was elevated to the status of Archangel, and given the duty of making sure no souls were misdirected away from Heaven. He and his Servitors would gently separate ghosts and dream-shades from their anchors, retrieve pagan souls from ethereal domains, and prevent the demons from claiming any souls that didn't belong to them.
Azrael was extremely effective at his job. Angels of Death became the bane of pagan gods, and exorcised hundreds of ghosts that had been clinging to the corporeal plane. Azrael instructed his Servitors to also teach humans to accept Death; that it was merely a transition to their next state, and that if they lived their lives well, they had no need to fear it.
But Azrael also began a secret project. He could not accept that those souls damned to Hell must suffer for all eternity for mistakes they'd made in their too-short mortal existences. So the Archangel of Death began ministering to the damned, sneaking into Hell to locate human souls who might be converted to selflessness, and made worthy of Heaven.
Angels of Death were among the least involved with day-to-day mortal existence . . . they visited humans only at the end of their lives. So neither Azrael nor any of his Grigori Servitors were guilty of the crimes that got the rest of his Choir cast out of Heaven. Azrael had allies on the Seraphim Council, and might have been able to exempt himself had he fought the sentence. But Dominic had already begun sniffing around his visits to the infernal realm, just as the Archangel of Death was achieving some success at liberating damned souls from Hell.
Most of the Host believed Azrael declined to appeal for special dispensation out of solidarity with his Choir, and because he was indignant at David's brutal treatment of the Grigori and the humans who'd been fraternizing with them. This was true -- but a more important reason was that Azrael wanted to continue his most important project, and deduced that he would have more freedom to do so as an Outcast. So he left Heaven . . . but never stopped serving God.
The majority of Azrael's Servitors, except his Grigori, transferred to the service of another Archangel. Only a few of his most ardently loyal Servitors refused to leave him. To this day, Azrael is carrying on his work, with the help of a small number of angels who followed him into exile.
The other Archangels know Azrael is still alive, but he is not spoken of in Heaven. It has happened -- a few times in the millenia since the Grigori were cast out -- that an angel has researched Azrael's work, identified strongly with his mission, and sought out the Outcast Archangel of Death. Azrael automatically turns away members of the Host who manage to find him . . . but a very rare few have been persistent and sincere enough to persuade the Archangel of Death to take them into his service. (Azrael only takes in angels who remain dedicated to Heaven, but who also feel a genuine calling to Azrael's mission -- he is not a refuge for dissatisfied Servitors or Outcasts seeking patronage.)
No one knows how many Servitors Azrael still has, but the number is almost certainly below a hundred, and some say he has no more than a dozen followers left. If any of them are Grigori, they stay very well-hidden.
Azrael's Servitors are not true Outcasts, in that they do have Hearts. No one knows where Azrael keeps them -- not even his Servitors. If put into Trauma (or when they ascend to the celestial plane using their Hearts as beacons), they awaken in a dark and silent place, alone with their Heart in what seems to be an endless void. Azrael has no known Tethers.
Azrael and his Servitors do four things now. First, they seek to separate ghosts and dream-shades from their ties to the corporeal or ethereal plane, so these souls will move on to their final destinations. In this capacity, angels of Death search for haunted places on Earth, and often venture into the Far Marches, and the domains of ethereal gods (who regard them as "thieves").
Secondly, they hunt undead and destroy them wherever they are found. When Saminga became the Demon Prince of Death, Azrael was disgusted and appalled. Saminga would love to destroy Azrael, but finds his reclusive and subtle adversary impossible to confront directly.
Third, angels of Death try to reduce humanity's fear of death, reflecting Azrael's Grigori nature. When possible, they try to steer humans near death toward their destiny, and away from their fate, or at least give them a second chance on the wheel of life. In this capacity also, they are implacable enemies of Saminga's Servitors, who promote death as a gruesome, frightening, and evil thing.
Lastly, Azrael continues his mission of ministering to the damned. It's much more dangerous now, and he can only slip into Hell occasionally, meeting those souls that might be found far out on the frontiers of some of the more remote Principalities, like Abaddon and Gehanna. He does not discuss this aspect of his work, and does not generally permit any of his Servitors to join him (though it's rumored that one or two have shared in his salvation efforts). No one knows how many souls he might have saved, or how he removes them from Hell, or where they go after that -- to the Higher Heavens, to another reincarnation, or simply to oblivion -- but he must succeed often enough to keep him going back for more.
Azrael's Servitors may not interfere in the natural course of a mortal's life, except to counterract intervention by other celestials.
It is dissonant for angels of Death to cause or prevent a mortal human's death. (Healing someone who is injured is not dissonant, but healing someone who would otherwise die is.) The exception is when a mortal is threatened by celestial intervention, in which case the angel may intervene to save him.
Azrael's Seraphim are mediums who can communicate with the dead. With the mortal remains of a deceased human, they may make a Perception roll; if that human's soul is now in Heaven or Hell, or tied to the corporeal or ethereal plane as a ghost or dream-shade, he will be "summoned" to the Seraph's location (as if through the Song of Projection, and making a disturbance equal to twice his Celestial Forces), for a number of minutes equal to the check digit. Unwilling souls may resist with a Will roll. The Seraph (and anyone else present) may talk to the soul (who is not obligated to talk back).
If the soul has ascended to the Higher Heavens, reincarnated, or disbanded, he is beyond the Seraph's reach. Blessed souls who have been reborn as Saints also cannot be summoned. If the Seraph's summoning roll fails, he may not attempt to summon that individual again for a number of days equal to the check digit.
When Azrael became Outcast, most of his Cherubim transferred to Michael's service, and it is rumored that it was Azrael himself who taught Michael this attunement.
Azrael's Cherubim have the same ability as Cherubim of War: they know if anyone to whom they are attuned will die (without celestial intervention) within the next 24 hours. Unlike Azrael's other Servitors, they are also permitted to save the lives of their attuned without dissonance.
Ofanim of Death can follow a mortal soul to its final destination. They must assume celestial form next to the body of a mortal who has passed on within the last few minutes (no more than the angel's Celestial Forces). With a successful resonance roll, the Ofanite may then ascend to wherever the mortal's soul went -- Heaven, Hell, or an ethereal domain. If the soul became a ghost, the Ofanite will arrive at the soul's corporeal anchor (Corporeal Player's Guide, pp. 80-81). If the soul has disbanded, or gone on to reincarnate, the Ofanite will know this, though he will simply rematerialize next to the body -- unless the soul reincarnated and the Ofanite rolled a check digit of 6. In the latter case, the Ofanite will arrive next to the woman who bears the reincarnated soul in her womb!
Azrael's Powers once worked closely with Servitors of Destiny, trying to steer those near death away from Hell. Now they must work alone. An Elohite of Death can "persuade" a mortal to go to Heaven . . . or at least, to stay away from Hell and try again on Earth. The Elohite must engage a mortal in conversation about his fate, and make a resonance roll. If successful, then if the mortal dies within a number of days equal to the angel's Celestial Forces, if he was Hell-bound (having achieved his fate, but not his destiny), he will reincarnate instead. If he was balanced between Heaven and Hell (having achieved his fate and his destiny, or having achieved neither), he will go to Heaven. This doesn't apply if (in the GM's opinion) the Elohite was unsuccessful in eliciting repentance from the mortal. Being able to divert mortal souls is a powerful ability, one that even Archangels do not have; Elohim of Death don't send their subjects to a better place, they induce the mortal to exercise his free will and go there. This must be roleplayed!
With a successful resonance roll, a Malakite of Death will know, in addition to the usual information, where someone's soul would go if he died right now. They can detect undead with any successful resonance roll. (Celestials, of course, will register their native plane, but this doesn't automatically tell the Malakite that someone is an angel or a demon.)
Kyriotates of Death can possess a corpse, if it died within a number of minutes equal to the Kyriotate's Celestial Forces. The host body will appear to revive, but it will die again after the Kyriotate leaves it (even if the angel healed any damage to the body). The Kyriotate will not suffer dissonance for this. (Azrael will disapprove of inflicting trauma on the living, of course.)
Azrael's Mercurians can perceive connections between the living and the dead. With a successful use of his resonance on a living person, the angel will learn the name of one family member or other loved one currently in Heaven, Hell, or anchored to the corporeal or ethereal planes (and which plane he is on). A check digit of 6 may -- at the GM's option -- reveal the name of a reincarnated love one, and the name of his new incarnation! Resonating on celestials will provide the name of a human soul beloved by that celestial. Individuals (mortal and celestial) who have no loved ones on any of the three planes will register a blank.
The Mercurian may also use this resonance in reverse on a ghost or dream-shade (but not undead). He will learn the name of a living person related to or beloved by the dead soul on whom he resonates.
Azrael's Grigori can examine a corpse within a number of hours equal to the angel's Celestial Forces, and make a Perception roll as if detecting for disturbances (In Nomine, p. 55). On a successful roll, if the mortal was killed by celestial intervention, the Grigori will hear the echoes and receive information as if he'd been standing there at the time.
For a cost of 2 Essence, the angel can send a ghost or dream-shade on to its final reward, or destroy an undead. The subject may resist with a Will roll; if successful, the angel may not try to lay that spirit or undead to rest again for a number of days equal to the check digit of the subject's Will roll.
Quiet as the dead, the angel may absorb any disturbance he generates -- at a cost. Each point of disturbance inflicts 1 Soul hit on the Servitor. The angel may choose to absorb only part of a disturbance (or none of it).
Unless the angel wishes to be seen, no mortal may perceive the Vassal's celestial form, regardless of Perception. The exception is mortals who are dying, who have a normal chance to see the angel. Even other celestials (and Saints and undead) have more difficulty spotting him; do not add the Vassal's Celestial Forces to any Perception rolls.
If a mortal dies in the angel's presence, he may temporarily delay the soul from passing onward; this allows the angel to talk to the soul, and use resonances upon him (including the Elohite of Death resonance, above). As long as the soul is willing to stay, the angel may continue talking to him indefinitely (but the soul's hold on the corporeal plane will end as soon as the angel leaves, and the angel cannot carry the soul with him). If the soul is unwilling, he may make a Will roll; on a success, the angel may only hold him for 6 more minutes minus the check digit of the roll. If the mortal's Will roll is unsuccessful, he may try again in a number of minutes equal to the check digit.
The angel may escort a human soul in celestial form. The soul must be willing, but if he is, the angel can "carry" him anywhere the angel can go celestially. This power is usually used to carry ghosts or dream-shades to Heaven. No one knows if a Master of Eternal Rest can carry a damned soul to Heaven; it's rumored that those who haven't become sufficiently selfless will not survive the journey.
Azrael is technically an Outcast. The Inquisition does not hunt him, or his Servitors, though they will act to prevent angels of Death from interfering in the War, and they will monitor any activities they discover by the Grigori Archangel. Azrael despises Dominic for passing judgment on his entire Choir, and for being so uncaring of humanity, and for continuing to hunt the Children of the Grigori. He also resents Dominic's stationing the Angels of Final Judgment outside the gates of Hades -- they do some of what Azrael once did, screening out souls who don't belong in Hell, but they also make it impossible for angels of Death to minister to the damned before they are herded inside.
Azrael also bears a grudge against David, whose angels ruthlessly hunted down the Grigori, and killed many of them and their children.
Michael took over some of Azrael's duties after the latter left Heaven, and it's rumored that they still talk, from time to time. Azrael will also help angels of Destiny when he can, as they both work toward the same ultimate goal, though he hasn't spoken to Yves personally in over a thousand years.
Allied: No one
Associated: Michael, Yves
Hostile: David, Dominic
+1 A tombstone or other grave marker
+2 A coffin or shroud
+3 A well-tended cemetery or crypt
+4 A corpse, prepared for burial
+5 A joyous wake
+6 The body of a human who died peacefully within the last hour and whose soul was bound for Heaven