Chapter 32: And the Dawn Breaks

Leah is currently waiting in the Glade. First Maxwell leaves to go after some bright light. Then, after much arguing, people come to take Blitzen away, as heís needed elsewhere. Then one of Gabrielís horns sounds. This isnít getting any better. Le ah decides to go off to find Michael. He is pointed to the new Seraphim Council, where there are people milling everywhere. He waits in line to see Rigziel, who tells him to wait. He starts to hear rumors about the four horsemen, so expecting a big end of the world battle, he starts sharpening his axe. Then he starts to hear rumors that it was all started by an angel. He spots the original group and goes to talk to Maxwell.

Maxwell and Leah talk.

While Leah and Maxwell are talking, a pair of Malakim of the Sword appear, and line up on either of Star and arrest her. Leah gets Starís three most ignoble things she has done this year: improper use of the I Ching, cavorted with a Demon Prince, and let loose the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This stuns the poor Malakite into silence. He tries to get her noble deeds, but this just burns out his resonance.

"At least she tried to fix the seal." - Steve

Leah decides to follow his fellow Malakim. The holding cells beneath the Seraphim Council chambers are like motel rooms, except the TV controller is stapled to the lampstand next to the bed Ė something about Windies who pocket things. They charge Sta r with all sorts of fun stuff. Maxwell, ever the cherub, stays at Starís room. Maxwell explains what happened with Star to Leah. They discuss what to do about the Four Horsemen, and they realize that they donít know anything about what is really going on.

"What do you know of the horsemen?" - Maxwell

"There are four of them." - Leah

"This is one of the things where Yves would be a lot of help if he was a lot of help instead of no help." - Maxwell

Maxwell explains what is going wrong with Yves, or at least what he has seen with his own two eyes and what he heard from Raphael. Maxwell hypothesizes finding a servitor of Yves in the service to someone else, and asking them to take the group throug h the Library to find some information.

Dylan goes up to the council floors. He notices his Wind attunement is gone and heís very sad, because there are all these people and they are all in his way. But he locates Dana, and tells her about Star being taken away to await trial. Dylan, good deed done for the day, returns to Maxwell and Leah under the chambers.

Dana sees servitors of Judgment bringing in stacks papers. She hears a rumor that there are still Judges being held in Dominicís Spires, and no one really knows their state Ė they might be dead, they might be converted, they might just be tortured. J oel tells Dana that sheís the third in the Triad who will be judging Dominic and then just walks back off into the crowd. Dana blinks, then deals with paperwork and tries to make things accessible for everyone. She eventually goes down to the cells to j oin the rest, after being told that she will be alerted before they require her.

The four are together, and are discussing Starís general position with being tried Ė long after Dominic, but still tried. Maxwell would like to stop or slow the Four Horsemen, but they donít know anything about them at all. They go back up to the Ser aphim Council.

The group looks for someone who worked for Yves, and after thrashing around for a while, Dana remembers someone who used to work for Destiny. She finds a Mercurian of Judgment who used to work for Destiny, but no longer. Her name is Carniel. The grou p tells her about all the dead servitors of Destiny, and the problems that they might encounter going into the stacks. Leah decides to stay behind to talk to Rigziel while the others go to the Library.

They go to the Library. Inside, everything is covered with dust and cobwebs. Lights are flickering on and off. Some of the books crumble to dust at a touch. After wandering through the Theology section for a while, in the silence, they find a book. Inside, they discover that the only way to stop the Horsemen is to allow them to finish killing 75% of the worldís population or to get both celestial sides to swear off Armageddon. They argue about how to defend Star.

"Letís see who Yves really is! Itís old man Drucker!" - Steve

Leah gets through the Rigziel line. He asks about stopping Armageddon. He doesnít get very far, as Rigziel really doesnít have any answers for him, and Leah is told that he will be required soon. Leah waits, and then joins the group when they leave the Library and reenter the Seraphim Council.

"DahlinkÖ." Maxwell gets a song of Tongues, which tells him to go to a certain address in Austria, which comes out of the blue and surprises him. The group discusses what the heck they are going to do about this. Is everyone going to go? W hy yes!

"Wait wait wait, Iím getting a trump!" - Maxwell

Maxwell goes and finds Daimon on the floor Ė who is arguing with Dedan over something Lilim - and pokes him. Poke poke poke. Poke poke poke. Maxwell gets a joy buzzer off of him, while Daimon contemplates the greatness that is a cubic foot of joy buz zers.

Leah leaves the following message for Rigziel: "Went to Austria. Expect itís a trap. If you could have a replacement vesselÖ Love and Kisses, Leah. PS. If I could have a non-female vessel when I get back?"

"Like Eli is going to come along and say, ĎHey, donít you have responsibilities?í" - Steve

"Even during Armageddon you can still find a bathroom." - Allen

Everyone descends to Austria, in front of this massive manor house. Dana, Dylan, and Maxwell are still wearing the Kobalite suits, and Maxwell looks downright ridiculous. They get taken inside to a plush living area, and served hot mugs of hot cocoa. Two guards walk in, with obvious numinous corpus. And then Terry and Andrealphus enter. Terry looks downright haggard.

Andre gives his speech to the assembled group about wanting in on the Michael-Baal alliance, and his plan to let Baal in through Shal-Mari. Andre explains that he doesnít exactly like this Armageddon business much, and he wants it to end - the best way to end it is through killing Dominic. He hands them the video tape that Terry has made as counter propaganda about Starís releasing the four horsemen as a bit of goodwill between the two. As a token of his goodwill to this particular group, he agrees to leave Star and Daimon alone permanently, "As much as it hurts me." Andre provides Maxwell with a better set of clothing, because itís a shame to leave Maxwell dressed in such a tacky fashion. And then Andre leaves. Dana attempts to talk to Te rry, but she doesnít get much out of him Ė heís too out of it, too haggard, and he doesnít exactly want to talk here.

The group gets a car, and they drive around the Austrian countryside for a while. They locate the nearby War tether [some killing field from WWII]. Outside the War tether they decide to talk about what they have learned. They get directly to Michael , who, through a device, tells them to come up directly.

They ascend to the Groves, and Michael is waiting for them. They talk to him, and Michael gives them the straight up orders about how to get in to Baal and communicate with him directly. Maxwell is given a scroll and a token of being embassaries of H eaven.

"This part is going to be so much easier without Star." - Maxwell

Dana goes back to the council floor.

Dylan, Maxwell and Leah descend to Jersey to deal with Baalís forces. Dana also gives Maxwell and Leah the porta-tether. When Dylan descends, he gets a Song of Tongues right to his ear from Janus to go to Chicago.

Dylan ascends and descends to a Chicago Tether. Janus, who with his long beard and long wild hair and biker leathers looks like an insane version of Jerry Garcia, is waiting for him outside the tether, and the wind is really going like mad. He talks to Janus about wanting to blow stuff up. So Janus makes Dylan back into a Windie, and gives him the Malakite of the Wind attunement. Why? Because people need to blow stuff up, and causing chaos and madness is good. Dylan is much happier.

"You can kill demons even if it isnít Armageddon." - Susan

"But in Armageddon they line up!" - Shade

Leah and Maxwell descend to Jersey. They try to deal with a human who is totally traumatized, who is going off about his cat. Leah notices that this guy smells a little rank. Sort of like this guy is a littleÖ. Dead. Like every human around here is just a little on the dead and decomposing side. Dead rising from the graves? Only in Armageddon! They locate pillars of smoke and head that way.

"So Trenton is the Necropolis?" - Maxwell

Maxwell and Leah spot a pair of scouts on the side of a hill, unprotected, and their general size body size. Then they scheme to get the uniforms so they can get in.

"Stealth?" - Leah

"Letís split up." - Maxwell

Leah is the distraction and Maxwell attacks from behind. They just kill the demons and take their uniforms. They discuss what to do nextÖ.

Dana goes to the Council Chambers. She looks over her case that she has to give to defend Dominic. She prepares her defense, which honestly, isnít much. Just as she finishes, the rest of the Seraphim Council assembles, save Eli, Raphael [no surprise ], Gabriel. [Blandine, Janus, Jean, Jordi, Laurence, Michael, Novalis, and Yves. Yes Yves.] Jean is chairing the meeting, and brings it to order. Dana gets a hooded black robe. The trial opens with a long-winded Law speech, where Regulus will Prosecu te, and Dana will Defend while Joel gives the balanced view on the accused. Regulus starts speaking all the evidence against Dominic, most of which is pretty damning.

Leah and Maxwell go to find the Sergeant. Maxwell claims that he has some bad news to give to the Lieutenant, so the Sergeant sends him right along. They get in to see the Lieutenant. The Lieutenant calls on the phone up the chain of command and mak es them wait out in the hallway. The Colonel shows up and gives Leah and Maxwell the business about who they work for and why they are here. They finally have to cough up proof that they are embassaries of Michael. The Colonel stalks out and they are f orced to wait. Finally a jeep shows up to drive them to HQ.

They speak to Baal about Andreís plans, the tape, and the scroll. Maxwell hands over the scroll, then they are forced to watch the tape, which is an excellent production of some counter-propoganda to directly counter the Nybbas Media Machine. Baal wa tches the tape, and then says, "I accept," and gets them out of his sight. They leave and climb into a jeep.

On the way out the jeep driver is taking them out to a firing squad. Realizing this, Leah kills the guard and Maxwell grabs the wheel and turns the jeep around. The firing squad fires, and pelts Maxwell, but heís a tank. They drive out and drive to Philadelphia. They find a War tether and ascend.

Dylan is sitting in the stands while the trial is going on, and on, and on, and boy is he bored. Itís too bad he canít locate a beach ball. It seems that sort of thing isnít included in the Seraphim of Council. But paper is! He starts to make paper airplane, and heís sitting next to an Elohite of Lightning who teaches him to make an optimal airplane, but he gets dull after a while once the Elohite moves into the finer points of thermodynamics and lift. So he moves seats. He throws the airplane, a nd it misses Regulus by a good foot. Then Dylan needs something else to do. So he finds Daimon, who was out smoking and trying to pretend he doesnít have a dozen important things to be doing. They go on a quest for silly string and beach balls. To the Halls of Creation!

"And lo, he searched for 40 days and 40 nights, and there was no silly string, and there was much sadness." - Allen

And so they go to the Halls of Creation, and they find silly string and beach balls and air horns. Chaos and Madness Incarnate return to the Seraphim Council loaded down with toys. With the expended effort of a little bit of hot air, there are sudden ly six eyeball shaped beach balls being bounced around the upper deck of the Seraphim Council.

Maxwell and Leah show up, and see the beach balls bouncing around. This can only be the cause of two people, and they make a point of not sitting next to them.

As Regulus finishes, Dylan sounds the airhorn. And Laurence yells, "Hey! Enough with the airhorn!"

Dana gets up to defends Dominic to the Seraphim Council. Itís not very long. People

applaud, because hey, not only is it a valiant effort, it was short. Daimon sounds the airhorn again and the wary eye of Laurence passes over the Upper Deck. Maxwell and Leah move down to the lower deck.

Joel wraps up and sums up the trial.

As the rest of the Council convenes for Judgment, Yves gets up to get among them. He stands on the floor of the Council and he passes his Judgment on Heaven, as a dying and empty husk. And starts to talk about Heaven and Fate. "And itís a pity ," Yves says, "without God, that Heaven is going to have to die." There is a feeling as things start to get ripped apartÖ.

"Man, what a bitch." - Maxwell, to Leah, about Yves.

In a shaft of blinding light, Raphael appears behind Yves, and says, "Not quite yet." He stabs the Spear of Destiny through Yves from behind. And then he pulls it out of him and stabs it into his body again, and sticks Yves face down on the floor, leaving the Spear wedged between the tiles and standing straight up. Cracks radiate out from Yvesís body across the floor of the Seraphim Council and up the walls.

There are two changes in the Symphony. One is a tone that disappears and then is suddenly replaced by something different. Another are the two themes which were discordant and then one disappears and the other becomes pure.

Maxwell, as usual, notices nothing.

Michael demands an explanation from Raphael, and Raphael says that it is merely, "Eliís Idea." And gets forced to give the Very Short Explanation of what was going on to the Council which came down to "Dominic was pushed".

Jean gets up and says that the Seraphim Council must go on. Michael interrupts and says that they have lost many Archangels, "and gainedÖ. A Something." Jean says this must go on, and the next motion on the docket is to choose a new Archang el of Judgment. But they do not want a single Archangel of Judgment, but a Triad, represented and balanced. The three words are: Discipline (Regulus), Fairness (Joel) and Liberty (Torquaret). And then there is a glowing light as they are invested with the Archangel of Judgment power and light. Dana has a feeling that 99% of this power just went to the other two Ė besides, sheís trying to figure out what the heck a Word actually does.

Jean declares a recess as Michael is dragging Raphael offstage.

Leah tries to get to Michael. With much purpose, he and Maxwell push through the crowd and is shown to a room with a closed door. And right through the door, he can hear Michael yelling, "Just what the fuck do you think you are doing?"

"We better wait right here where we can hear right through the door." - Maxwell

Michael walks over and rips open the door. "Will you two stop listening at the door?" He yanks the door open and the two fall in. Michael sends Maxwell off to go talk to Laurence about keeping him here in Heaven, to Ďdefend Heavení as it we re. Michael is worried that Dominic might have planted ideas in Laurenceís head, and that, while the kid has a good heart, is a real liability right now. Maxwell goes.

Daimon is making his way down the stands to go talk to Dana. There is a silly string fight between Dylan and Daimon. They go and visit with Dana, covered with silly string.

Maxwell goes to talk with Laurence about staying behind, which he agrees to do. Laurence requests that Maxwell show the new Stonies some new training and organization and leadership.

Dana talks to the other two Judges and they discuss rescuing people from Dominicís Spires. Dana goes over to pass this by Maxwell. They discuss plans and the like.

Maxwell goes to talk at Star.

Leah finds a few other servitors of War to get together for the strike.

Dylan can find Zachariah and Isaac, who agree to go with them.

"Having no useful skills has never disqualified me for anything." - Dylan

Regulus and Joel teaches Dana the Cel Song of Tongues/3.

NextÖ. War!



Flaming edge graphics from Our Domain Gallery of Graphics
The "In Nomine" and "flaming feather" graphics are
(C) 1997 Steve Jackson Games, Incorporated.
Used with fnord.