Dylan, Dana and Star are on Earth, in Jersey, standing in the well of Harmony created by Novalis’s physical presence, surrounded by an army of demons several miles thick. Not entirely sure what to do, Dana (still in Celestial form) attempts to assess the situation. She determines that Novalis’s sphere of harmony is, in fact, a sphere. She ascends to her Attuned in heaven without bothering to tell the other two – who stand there lost for a little bit. Star consults Smoochie the Frog, but he just lie s there, beanie-like. Then she consults the I-Ching, which give her the 67th Hexagram and change in the 6th and 7th lines, whatever that means. And then Dylan gives up and ascends to his Heart. Star tries to follow, and she tries… and she tries… but she is having a heck of a time ascending for some reason. It requires Novalis to stop dealing with Baal for the moment to give Star a little boost.
Dana ascends to the Attuned One, who is there with Maxwell and Blitzen, protective over an unconscious Laurence in the Glade. There aren’t other angels around, but there is a pond, with ducks. They begin a heated discussion on what to do with Laurenc e, since when he wakes up he’s going to be seriously unhappy on many new and interesting levels.
Star and Dylan ascends to their Hearts, and locate Dana through Daimon’s Heart. Star would like to gather a whole bunch of people to herself, but everyone seems to be missing. They join the rest of the group in the Glade.
General concensus turns out to take Laurence to Gabriel, but no one knows where she is. Therefore, they’re going to have to go to the Volcano. Blitzen grabs Dana, so he can find his way back to the group, and sprints on ahead. Maxwell gathers up his Archangel, and the Mercurians follow as he plods across the largely empty Heaven.
Blitzen spots a black mass on the horizon, something coming out of the Marches. He files this away as something to deal with, and goes flying into the Volcano, trying to locate Soldekai, who is locatable. Blitzen explains the situation, and Soldekai explains that Gabriel is on Earth, mostly because Belial has been spotted. At the same time, Soldekai tells Blitzen that he is currently, apart from himself, the highest ranking Fire Servitor who has not been assigned, and either someone has to take over the Volcano while he goes out to fight, or Blitzen has to lead the fight against the things coming at them from the Marches. Blitzen ops to lead the fight, and realizes that there is a Superior who is available, and around, and can help to remove the di scord from Laurence. He beats feet for Blandine’s Tower – leaving Dana in the middle of the Fire Servitors. She gets some very interesting looks.
The other group gets to the Volcano just in time to see a red speck leave and head toward the Tower. They locate a Malakite of Fire to lead them into the main room, where they gather up Dana. Soldekai is now impressed that Blitzen wasn’t just making things up, and provides them a room in which to lay down the unconscious Archangel. Maxwell stands guard, and there is some requisite cuddling. Dana scolds Daimon for drooling.
Blizten gets to the Tower and is accosted by the guards at the front door. He tells his story, and he’s permitted in. He ascends the Tower and is permitted to see Blandine. He speaks to Blandine, and she consents to allowing them to bring Laurence t o her. Blitzen heads back to the Volcano.
Blitzen runs back to the Volcano, and rushes in. He grabs Laurence, doesn’t allow much time for any sort of discussion, and heads back to the Tower. After some vague ponderings and dealings, the group realizes (and Dylan acquires a skill – State the Blatantly Obvious / 1) that they can just walk over to the Tower, since it’s rather close by. They head that way, but much slower.
Blitzen gets to the Tower, and this time when the doors are opened for him, there is no giant spiral staircase to ascend, just the doors which lead to Blandine’s chambers. Blitzen enters, and Blandine indicates a place to put the fallen Archangel down . After he ascertains that she is does not take pleasure in pain, he does what she says. She starts to, very slowly, remove the worst of the Discord while Blitzen bops around the room, looking at everything, and seeing the black wall coming close r and closer.
The group gets to the Tower, and they can see the wall of ethereals. They can also hear the strange chomping and slobbering noises coming from that direction. As they enter, Dana reaches out and grabs the Lilim and tells him that she’s leaving to go do things that need to be done for Heaven. And then she leaves. They ascend the Tower, since it didn’t make itself short for them.
The group, without Dana, watch as Blandine removes chunks of Laurence’s Discord. As far as they can tell, she’s trying to separate his Forces and pull the black, icky goo that has wound itself inside off of them individually. It’s taking a large amou nt of time. After some time passes, a Malakite enters through the door suddenly. "Milady," he says, "They are approaching." Blitzen goes out through the window to investigate the wall, and he sees that they’re millions of little tiny black round balls with teeth which are chewing away at the fabric of reality. Several of them chase him, attracted by something, but he schpocks them without too much trouble. He runs back to the Volcano.
Dana descends to Terry’s house where there is much in the way of mayhem. The place is covered with cars, vans, trucks, demons, humans, tv equipment, movie equipment, mikes, cameras, and madness of all sorts. As she coasts through the hallways celesti al, she’s only mildly spotted by someone saying, "What the heck was that?" She finds the Man himself in his office, still in his spandex jogging shorts and covered with sweat, talking on the phone in one ear and the dozen other people who are a ll shouting at once in the other. Dana becomes corporeal in the center of this office, and this results in several firearms being pulled, cocked, and pointed at her head. Terry calls them off, and then announces that he’s going to go take a shower to cl ear his head. Dana follows him through the packed hallways to his bedroom, and then follows him as he goes into the shower, talking about wanting to be on TV. He’s distracted and busy, and tells her to go pick up his cellphone and press number 6. She d oes so and gets someone named "Maria" who is one of an array of personal assistants. Maria offers to sign Dana up for a time slot around 1:30 am, but this doesn’t go over well and Dana just hangs up. Then she ponders what to do next.
In the Tower, Laurence is starting to come around, as Blandine stops removing discord to deal with other, more immediate problems. After being appraised of the situation, he grants Maxwell a distinction as a Vassal of the Sword, and hands to him comma nd of whatever armies are around at the time. And then Laurence orders Star not to leave his side, since her aura of Peace and Happiness is keeping him sane, as he still sports, at least, Angry and Berserk. Maxwell accepts his new post with dignity, and all the celestials present are filled to the maximum on essence.
Blitzen gets to the Volcano, and he talks to Soldekai about getting troops. Soldekai has 35 Ofanim on hand, 15 of which are of Vassel distinction. They also talk about equipment, and from somewhere is dug up a large cardboard box full of relics with some sort of song of fire. These stick onto the Ofanim, but would likely be deadly to anyone else. Fully equiped, Blitzen goes over his tactics, and prepares to lead his group into the Marches.
Dana is still in Terry’s rather posh bedroom. She walks into the bathroom and writes "Thanks for the help" in his large and very steamy bathroom mirror, and leaves the prowl the huge house. There are simply people everywhere, and no one par ticularly cares about her. She locates a Detroit Newspaper (the Freep, actually, that evil commie rag) and looks for information, and finds mostly about the world blowing up. Nothing new there, except for some gathering in Saginaw. Hmmm. Having no Hea rt in Heaven, she ascends to the Attuned One, which happens to be right between Laurence and Blandine, moments before the fight. Laurence demands to know why she just popped up. Dana claims she’s just relocating to a different position on the corporeal plane, and she doesn’t have a Heart to ascend to. Laurence informs her, tersely, that he can fix that problem rather quickly. After all, everyone wants to fight in God’s Armies and for the saving of Heaven. Dana has to think about how she’s goin g to phrase her refusal.
Blitzen’s army appears like the helicopters in Apocalypse Now, except on fire, screaming "YA!" Maxwell has arranged his army, which consists entirely of servitors of Dream, in a formation around the base of the Tower. And then they wait for the wall of ethereals to hit them.
The attack hits them full force. Maxwell finds himself commanding, protecting Dylan, and fighting a swarm of these things head on. Luckily, he threw the Ethereal Song of Shields which was doing wonders. The servitors of Dream start getting consumed as these things clamp onto them and won’t let go. The servitors of Fire break and head into battle. The ethereal beings are divebombing the Tower, attempting to eat it – and it is, in some ways, succeeding.
Right before the battle begins, Laurence is still waiting for Dana’s answer. Dana turns him down flat. There is some arguing about living or not with Star, and Dana descends to Earth. Star tells Laurence about Dana’s actions – being strange, wanting to go off along, etc. Star starts to hypothesis that Dana is really a pawn of Dominic’s. This sets Laurence off, and he’s all for hurting Dana’s attuned to get her back and to use her as a lure for Dominic, because he’s got some talking to do with Mr. Balseraph. Luckily Blandine is there and talks some sense into people as the combat begins.
Blitzen concocts a plan to use the relics and resonances to wreathe the entire Tower in flame. He uses Ofanim to coordinate troop movement with Maxwell, and Max gets his troops to move to the entrance of the Tower. The Tower is starting to become a giant bug zapper as the ethereals bomb and get fried. Blitzen looks off to the far side of the Marches, and sees, in the distance, something similar going on around Beleth’s Tower, but instead of flames, there are the telltale signs of firing Vaputech. P>
Dana descends to the warehouse where they originally encountered Kezef a million years ago (or so it seems), but all is peaceful. But she notices that there is activity at the fire tether in Saginaw. As a matter of fact, there is rather quite a bit o f activity. This was where they had left Joel… and now this has become the gathering spot for the last of the unfallen Dominicans. Dana materializes and walks through them until she finds Dedan, who welcomes her, and informs her that something has to ch ange very soon because there is no cosmic balance for Dominic. Asmodeus is dead…
Blitzen, with some infusions of Archangel provided essence, finishes wreathing the Tower in flames as the remaining servitors of Dream under Maxwell’s charge retreat through the doors and they slam, locked. There are chomping, slobbering noises outsid e along with the popping of frying ethereals.
The battered group trudges upstairs, and debriefs Laurence. Blitzen tells him everything he knows – about the Raphael/Kobal dichotomy, about everything he’s seen about Dominic, about freeing the Malakim, about Eli appearing in the white armor. Lauren ce recants his story about what happened after the surrender in the Groves, and dealing with Dominic afterwards. And then Blitzen held over the amulet through which he could communicate to Michael, and which has been on hold the entire time…