"The world is corruptible, flawed and discordant. We must scour it of its imperfections, returning it to its former state of glory."
[Tsayadim] [Dissonance] [Choir Attunements] [Servitor Attunements] [Distinctions] [Politics]
Once, Uriel was perhaps the mightiest angel in Heaven, second only to Michael in force of arms, and second to none in sheer blazing Essence. He was the first and the greatest of the Malakim, and when he ascended to the status of Archangel, Michael stepped aside to let Uriel assume command of Heaven's armies. Under Uriel, the War went much more favorably than it has in recent centuries; demons cowered in fear of Uriel's minions, and while they still often got the upper hand in the battle for the hearts and minds of humanity, they were never able to operate as openly as they do now.
Ultimately, it was Uriel's dedication to his job that was his downfall. His determination to cleanse the Symphony of all diabolical taint was a passion that went beyond fanatical; as the embodiment of Purity, Uriel became so bound to his Word that the mere existence of Discord in the once-perfect Symphony drove him insane. He came to see everything that did not stem directly from God as dissonant, and initiated a purge to eradicate it all.
His campaign for purity devastated much of Blandine's Marches, where many pagan spirits dwelled. His angels also swept across the Earth, and virtually wiped out all the creatures of myth, beasts that had been spawned by angels and demons alike. Faeries, giants, unicorns, dragons, griffins, were-creatures, undead, and anything else that hadn't been created by God and Named by Yves before the Fall fell prey to Uriel's purifying forces.
Most of Uriel's fellow Archangels were aghast at the destruction. They feared that he might destroy the world in order to save it, and they were furious that he felt empowered to run roughshod over the domains of other Archangels, and obliterate everything that did not please him, in his crusade.
Called before the Seraphim Council and accused of usurping God's authority, Uriel defended his actions without remorse. Even his most ardent supporters- Michael and Dominic- could not bring themselves to speak in his defense, though they also refused to condemn him. There was a very real danger of a schism that would pit Uriel and his divine army against the rest of Heaven; even if Uriel submitted to the will of the Seraphim Council (and it is debated to this day whether or not he would have done so), the Servitors of Purity were so devoted to their Superior that they might have rebelled nonetheless.
At this point, God intervened personally. Uriel was recalled to the higher planes of Heaven, and has not been heard from since.
His most powerful Servitor, Laurence, took his place as commander of God's armies. Most of Uriel's Servitors realigned themselves to the Archangel of Swords, though there were a few who had personal conflicts with Laurence, or felt that another Archangel's Word was closer to the one they had been serving; many went over to Dominic's camp, and a few joined Michael.
There were an even smaller number who refused to serve any other Superior, and in effect became Outcasts. Some believe they Fell, no longer shielded from that fate by Uriel.
Those beliefs are in error. No Angel serving the Word of Purity has ever Fallen.
The Tsayadim ("Hunters") are Uriel's loyalists, who refused to abandon his crusade just because he no longer leads it personally. They do not believe they have been abandoned, or that God's recall of their Superior was a condemnation of his actions. To the Tsayadim, Uriel's "exile" was a necessary action to appease the other Archangels, a sacrifice Uriel made voluntarily to take the heat off his followers. Someday, they hope, the rest of Heaven's hierarchy will stop making compromises in the War against dissonance, and Uriel will return to take his rightful place again.
In the meantime, they continue the work that they started back in the 8th century. The Tsayadim hunt down all beings that don't belong on Earth (or the Marches); which to their mind includes not only demons, but all spirits, undead, and magical creatures.....as well as Outcasts, Children of the Grigori, and severely dissonant angels. They are a powerful force of demon and monster-hunters, unquestionably on Heaven's side in the War, but some of them have become a little unstable during twelve centuries of self-imposed exile from Heaven, and they've been known to destroy "impure" angels as readily as they do demons. They are especially fanatical about policing themselves (see below.)
Tsayadim have a precarious status; they are Outcasts without Discord, who cannot ascend to Heaven only because they consider themselves still to be Servitors of a Superior who can no longer be reached. They can no longer use Uriel's Rites, but they still have his Attunements and Distinctions. They avoid contact with other angels, not wishing to be drawn into conflict with their brethren unless forced. Though most of them are somewhat bitter towards the Seraphim Council, a few Tsayadim have performed services for other Archangels, or some other Word-bound Superior, and been awarded Rites from that Superior. However, they will accept no Attunements or Distinctions from anyone other than Uriel, or one of the few remaining Word-bound Tsayadim. Every once in a while, a Tsayadim will renounce his lonely path and swear service to a new Archangel. Tsayadim who do so lose all the Attunements and Distinctions they received from Uriel; their former comrades shun such "defectors", though they will not hunt them. Tsayadim view those who abandon the Word of Purity with a mixture of bitterness and envy.
The Tsayadim today are secretive, clannish, and intensely loyal, to one another and their vanished Superior. After centuries of hiding within the hidden society of celestials on Earth, their isolation and fanaticism has only intensified. More than a few are half-crazed, and when a Tsayadim does start accumulating Discord, it most often manifests as Paranoia (which is justified, because now they are being hunted by everyone, including their former comrades!)
Besides Uriel's Attunements, which are very powerful and which only the Tsayadim may possess, they also maintain a repertoire of Songs that Uriel taught them, and which they guard jealously. Remember that all remaining Tsayadim have survived as effective Outcasts for over twelve hundred years, without the protection of a Superior; they are very powerful and very dangerous foes.
Uriel's angels were the only ones never touched by Dominic's Inquisition. The reason for this is simple; Uriel's angels cannot Fall.
The Word of Purity ensures that none of Uriel's Servitors will ever go over to other side, but there was a high price to pay for this protection. Uriel would immediately destroy any of his Servitors who had more than two notes of Dissonance, or a single level of Discord. Even one or two notes of Dissonance was grounds for summary execution unless the angel had a very good explanation! The Archangel of Purity did not tolerate the slightest deviation from his Word; Dominic is charitable and forgiving by comparison.
Now that Uriel is gone, his remaining Servitors enforce his Word upon themselves as well as others; the Tsayadim hunt down and destroy dissonant and discordant Tsayadim more ruthlessly than any other creature.
It is dissonant for an Angel of Purity to ignore Dissonance or Discord in any angel, or to ignore any demon, spirit, undead, or other unnatural creature.
When Uriel was around, his Servitors had the option of reporting dissonant angels to him, and he would duly inform the angel's Superior. Now, the Tsayadim often feel compelled to deal with offending angels themselves. They must either destroy the offending being, or gather other Tsayadim (or other allies on rare occasion) so they can hunt it down and destroy it together. If a targeted angel can clear himself of dissonance, or seek the protection of his Archangel, before the Tsayadim catch up to him, the hunters will reluctantly abandon their prey.
Uriel's followers call themselves the Tsayadim, but they are still members of the Choirs they belonged to when Uriel was recalled. Only the original, unreformed Angels of Purity can have these Attunements, as Uriel is obviously no longer able to grant them. This also means that even existing Tsayadim cannot purchase new Purity Attunements. Nor can they earn any Distinctions except those Uriel had already granted before he left.
The highly attuned senses of the Seraphim of Purity can pick out the slightest strain of disturbance in the Symphony. If their Perception roll to detect a disturbance is 2 or better- i.e. if it is within the range of their senses- they automatically succeed. (Roll the d666 anyway to get the check digit.)
Cherubim of Purity are the ultimate trackers; they do not need to make physical contact to attune themselves to something. They can attune themselves to the trail their target left behind. This can be any physical remains, from a fingerprint to a discarded candy wrapper. They do not necessarily know who or what they are attuning themselves to, but once they're on the trail, they can follow it to the ends of the Earth....and beyond. If their target leaves the corporeal plane, then when the Cherub gets to the location where this took place, he must make a new Resonance roll to avoid losing the trail. If he makes the roll, he can continue following his quarry, even to Heaven, Hell, or the Marches.
Cherubim of Purity can attune themselves to something that has caused a ripple in the Symphony, if they hear the echoes. Many of Uriel's Cherubim also obtained his Seraphim's Attunement, making them an evasive celestial's worst nightmare.
Because the objects of their attunements are often prey, Cherubim of Purity can easily sever an attunement to someone deserving of punishment; when making a Will roll to dissolve a bond, they get a bonus equal to the sum of the attuned person's dissonance and Discord.
Silent predators, Uriel's Ofanim can move without disturbing the purity of the Symphony. They may spend Essence to improve their Resonance rolls without creating a ripple in the Symphony. Also, when entering or leaving the Corporeal plane, they generate a disturbance, but leave no echoes....other celestials within range may hear the initial ripple, but cannot easily follow it back to the source.
When applying their Resonance to a subject, Elohim of Purity automatically detect any Ethereal Discord (or disadvantages, for humans), in addition to the usual information gained, if their roll is successful. On a check digit of 6, they also know how that Discord was gained.
Uriel's Malakim were the most dreaded scourges in Heaven, and are still the bane of all dissonant celestials. When targeting a celestial who has Dissonance in combat, they add the target's Dissonance to their Accuracy. And if they strike a target with Discord, add the victim's Discord to the Power of the Malakite's attack!
Kyriotates of Purity can temporarily "purify" those they possess, by removing any Discord, up the Kyriotate's Celestial Forces. This remains in effect as long as the Kyriotate possesses the host.
Uriel's Mercurians are still mourning mankind's exile from Eden, and they believe that if all diabolical taint, and sinful discord, is eradicated from human society, humanity will be able to regain God's grace and return to the garden.
When applying their Resonance to someone, Mercurians of Purity know whether any other Attunement, Resonance or Song has been used on the subject within a number of days equal to the check digit of their successful roll. They only get a "yes" or "no" answer, so applying their resonance to a celestial will (in all likelihood) reveal the recent occurrence of such outside influences, but it won't tell them that the subject is a celestial himself.
They may also use violence against anyone with Celestial Discord without incurring Dissonance.
More perfectly attuned to the Symphony, the angel adds his Celestial Forces to his Perception for purposes of detecting ripples in the Symphony...and subtracts the same amount from the degree of disturbance his own actions cause. (No disturbance can be reduced below 1, however.)
The angel bathes a target in pure white flames. The range is only one yard for each of the angel's Celestial Forces, but they automatically hit, and cannot be Dodged. If the target has no Discord, the flames do no damage. Otherwise, the target takes simultaneous Body, Mind and Soul Hits equal to his Discord in each area times the Essence used to power the attack, bypassing all armor.
Example: The target has 1 level of Corporeal Discord, 2 levels of Ethereal Discord, and no Celestial Discord. The purifying angel spends 5 Essence. The target will takes 5 Body hits, 10 Mind Hits, and 0 Soul Hits.
The impure cannot touch a Vassal of Purity; at least, it's pretty hard. When anyone with Dissonance and/or Discord attacks the angel, add the attacker's Dissonance to the angel's Dodge target number; add the attacker's Discord to the Check Digit of a successful roll.
The angel knows how pure anyone's motives are, in any situation. He does not know specifics about why someone acts the way they do, but the emotions involved, and the sincerity of the subject's commitment, are plain. This only applies to the motives pertaining to a specific course of action, it does not give the general information available to Seraphim and Elohim.
Angels of Uriel holding this rank can administer the dreaded Scourge upon a discordant celestial. Though more merciful than death, few submit to it voluntarily. For a cost of 10 Essence, the angel can remove one level of Discord from a celestial, but the victim also loses one Force of the same type, permanently! The angel must lay hands on the intended target to do this.
Most Archangels know that some of Uriel's followers are still around. Usually, the Tsayadim are treated like Outcasts, and generally ignored...both because it's safer to ignore them, and because many Archangels secretly consider the Tsayadim to be doing Heaven's work, operating outside the rules. Michael and David have both given aid and comfort to the Tsayadim on occasion. Laurence considers them to be in defiance of God's will, but avoids persecuting them, because he doesn't want to be seen as pursuing a personal vendetta. Khalid attempts to recruit them, and supports them as much as he can get away with.
Jordi and Blandine both have deep animosity for Uriel's followers. The Tsayadim still hunt fantastic beasts that Jordi would like to preserve, and they still intrude on Blandine's Marches. The two Archangels have ordered their Servitors to destroy any Tsayadim who threaten their works, and to completely stay away from them otherwise.
Officially, Dominic does not acknowledge the existence of the Tsayadim. Unofficially, he has commanded his Servitors to leave them alone. The Tsayadim are even more relentless in eliminating dissonance than he is, and they police themselves better than his angels ever could.
Below is a summary of the feelings other Archangels have towards Uriel and his followers.
"If ever an Archangel deserved to Fall, it was he! He did more damage to our side in one day than Hell's forces have accomplished in a lifetime. I hope God has forgiven him, so that I do not have to. His followers are as dangerously insane as he was."
"Uriel was mad. His followers now protect children from monsters...but they'd kill a child just as readily, for being 'impure'. Stay away from them."
"Sometimes you have to shake the world up in order to get things done. Maybe Uriel went too far. I don't know. But no one else has come forward and offered to do a better job since."
"He rooted out corruption as none other has done, before or since. His flames burned even hotter than mine, and if they burned too deep, I find no joy in the alternative. I fear we will never again see his like."
"What good is purity without beauty? You can sort out the good from the bad without razing everything! Stay away from his remaining followers, they're dangerous nutcases."
"I admired his singularity of purpose....but all flames must be tempered, lest they burn out of control."
"He shook things up all right, but if he hadn't been stopped, he might have left nothing in his wake. His wind scoured everything, indiscriminately."
"He performed his function admirably. It was a truly a loss for our side when he succumbed to madness. Alas that his Servitors are also too dangerous to deal with."
"Self-righteous, murderous fanatic! His butchery in Heaven's name was a blasphemy, a slaughter unparalleled in the history of the world! May he never return!"
"It is not my place to judge he who was once my Superior. But his absence leaves a great void, and I hope someday, another will fill his place."
"Uriel was the brightest and the holiest among us, an inspiration to us all. I know that no one can truly replace him, and I miss him greatly."
"He left no stone unturned, but he searched for secrets only to destroy them. Now his Servitors hide from everyone. A great tragedy."
"There's nothing to be gained by mass destruction. That kind of indiscriminate warfare is bad for business, bad for everyone."
"All right, he went overboard, I won't deny it. But he was a true warrior, one of the greatest, and Heaven is diminished by his loss."
"Purity, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder, and all he could see was unreasoning destruction. His unforgiving nature left no possibility for salvation or redemption. I hold no animosity for Uriel....but I am not sorry he's gone. I only hope he has found the inner peace he was so sorely lacking."
"He was needed; he still is. But he became a slave to his own Word, and engineered his own downfall....though he never truly Fell, so perhaps his Destiny is still unwritten. I believe his flames will burn again, but will they light the fires of renewal, or the consuming flames of the apocalypse?"
"You cannot protect something by destroying it. He sought to protect us from impurity, but now I must often provide protection from his followers."