NPC Log... pt 2.

In Heaven...

The Council fell suddenly quiet from their bickering when he threw open the doors with a bang and walked out into the center of the auditorium. He was breathing hard, wild-eyed, clutching his bloody sword and wearing his gore splattered armor. His chains of oaths rattled hollowly in the silence, his black wings trembled with rage. He stood, and gave each one there a slow, careful stare.

"Blessed God," said Novalis under her breath as she walked over to him, hands out, proffering obvious peace.

He cast a hoary eye upon her, and clutched his jaw. "Where is the Balseraph?" he hissed.

"Who?" she asked, the calming motherly tone in her voice. "Maybe you should just sit down and we'll talk about this. It's going to be okay."

"Where is he?" he said through his teeth. "Where are you hiding him? By all that is honorable, where are you hiding Dominic?"

Novalis winced and sighed. The look of pure anger in his eyes brought her pain. Her fellow Archangel was so honorable, so pure, so young, so truly good. She wanted to protect him, keep him innocent, keep him ignorant of the true ways of the universe. As long as he believed that there was an essential good, an essential purity, then all of Heaven made sense. But she could already tell that he had seen something, done something that was shattering those illusions, and it would change him forever. That was more terrible, she believed, then the truth and the killing and the death. It meant a certain end to an age of innocence, and that was almost too horrible to bear. Novalis wanted to take him into her arms and hold him and tell him that it was all going to be okay. She decided to do that later, after the blood was cleaned away, in definite private away from the prying eyes of servitors who were prone to talk. Mother Novalis would make it all better.

The Malakim standing at attention on either side of the large double doors made it to him first. The looks on their faces were stony and silent, but in their eyes was concern for their Archangel. It was clear what they were thinking, and they were praying whatever happened to Judgment was not about to happen to them as well. On either side of Laurence, they lay firm hands on his shoulders, ready to hold him back if it was necessary, and assist him if need be. Crossing their Archangel never crossed their mind, but upholding the virtuous was what they intended, and this included avoiding a wild killing spree.

Novalis shook her head. "We're not hiding him anywhere. I assume he is in the Spires still."

Laurence clutched his sword tighter, and breathed heavily. Then he lowered his head. "I killed two of them in a most dishonorable manner. But it was a mercy killing. They were... they were wrong somehow..."

"Who?" Novalis saw out of the corner of her eye Jean get up out of his seat where he had been watching the proceedings with interest. The Elohite Archangel disposed of his small palmtop computer into a pocket and stood, impassive, emotionless, arms crossed across his chest and flanked by a pair of his own servitors. "What are you talking about?" Novalis asked.

"By God, Novalis," Laurence said, "he would have turned me into one of those... those things. We all would have been nothing more then puppets at the end of his strings. And I still believed him, believed in him. He needs to die, for it is the fitting, honorable thing to do now."

Novalis narrowed her eyes. "You are not going after Dominic by yourself, if that is what you are talking about, and I know you, so don't even think about it. We don't even know if this is an internal problem, or if any of the accusations are true."

"I assure you," Jean spoke evenly, "Malakim do not Fall, if this is what you are implying."

"I didn't say Fallen," Laurence said. "Just wrong. By all that is holy, they were twisted creatures, changed beyond recognition. I never believed I would see the day where I would be forced to kill my fellow angels by my own hand in defense of my own servitors."

"Laurence..." Novalis said.

His head came up, and his eyes narrowed in anger once again. "I was betrayed. We all were betrayed. I am sure of it."

"Attacking him alone is a sure method to disaster," Jean spoke, saying the naturally sensible thing, and trying to talk the Malakite down from contemplating disaster. "And we are not positive if what you saw an aberration of the current combat. It is entirely possible that you put out of their misery creatures who could no longer accept fighting in Heaven. What we need is to collect more data..."

Novalis was starting to believe that what they really needed to do was tie Laurence to the nearest tree and wait until some sense permeated his brain, instead of collecting most data. Oh well, Jean does things his way, and she does things hers. She nodded to Requel, standing in the doorway, and she whispered through the Symphony to her servant the message to go get some help, and a few of the strongest angels she could find. Requel bowed, and disappeared into the darkness.

Novalis squinted her eyes up at the crowd sitting around the amphitheater. The servitors serving their various Lords were whispering to each other, if not about the Creationer breakout, then about this. Her eyes alighted on Janus, making a very rare appearance and sitting far in the back of the crowd with a strange small smile on his face, and she wondered what really was going on.

In Hell...

They landed on the tacky brightly colored carpeting in a heap, trembling and trying to make themselves look small. Bound and gagged, the two of them had limited movement, but they still managed to get themselves kneeling in supplication before their Master.

He walked slowly behind the two naked, bound, cowering forms on the floor. The tattooed, mutilated body of the Habbalah and the red winged form of the Cabalite shook in wild eyed maddened fear. He leaned down and ran his finger between the Calabite's wings, slowly, evoking a moan of lust and a shiver of pleasure. He chuckled low, and leaned down to whisper into the demon's ear. "You seemed to have failed me, Calib. I'm rather disappointed. You shouldn't have disappointed me."

The demon moaned into its gag and rolled its eyes.

Andrealphus walked around the servitors, and poured himself into an ornate chair. He reached over and picked up the riding crop off the gilded end table, and ran it between his fingers. "You should have brought the angel directly to me. You know I was interested in possessing it for my own private entertainment. Maybe I would have allowed you two to play with it for a while when I was through, had I felt generous. But no, you had to get greedy. And I'm afraid that there will be punishment. Oh yes, there will be punishment."

The Demon Prince flicked the crop between his fingers lightly, once, twice. And then he grinned. It was not a friendly grin. He stood up, and ran the crop slowly over the back of the Habbalah, who flinched and tugged at its bonds in futility. Andrealphus leaned down to whisper into its ear, "You get to be lucky. Since you only cooperated with this filth, you get to die."

He walked over to Calib, and knelt to whisper in the Calabite's ear. "And you, my dear sweet Calib, you don't get to die. You get to entertain me in place of that angel for a while until I get bored of you. And then you get to entertain others who are deserving of your attentions. Passed around and used like the whore you are, until you cry out for mercy or you go mad. That is your punishment." He flicked the riding crop across the Calabite's back, and the demon's scream was muffled.

Andrealphus nodded to the guards standing off to the side. "Take them both away." The guards moved quickly, and dragged the gagged, twisting, madly thrashing demons off to their individual dooms.

He sat back in the chair, and pondered. He put the crop down on the table, and picked up a brightly glowing piece of crystal, pulsing wildly and deeply cracked. He turned it in his hands, examining each individual fissure with interest. He said, without looking up to the Impudite secretary who was standing in the shadows, "How long before Schiekron comes out of trauma?"

The secretary bowed deeply. "A few days, maybe, my Master."

"Ah yes. Well, I want you to find a suitable Balseraph replacement for the time being. Bring it to me and I will provide it with the proper vessel. It would be such a shame to lose that role right now, just when the humans may find themselves in need of a little faith," Andrealphus said without looking up from his prize. "And maybe a little... something more."

"Yes, my Master." The Impudite said, and bowed low.

Andrealphus held the cracked demonic heart to the light, examining each crack and rupture. "And do make sure we deploy a suitable team to hunt those Angels down and bring my Daughter back to me for suitable punishment, will you? This is becoming old, and I am starting to become angry."

"Yes, my Master," The Impudite responded again, starting to want to leave its Master's presence as soon as possible.

"We would not want Eli to win this round. That would... anger me. And I'm not very pretty when I'm angry, and no one will be very happy," the Demon Prince said in an offhand matter. "Eli is not to win this at all."

"Yes, my Master," The Impudite said.

Andrealphus bit his lip, and placed the Heart back on the table. "Oh, yes, and I do need to talk to Nybbas about keeping a shorter leash on his servitors. They're getting a little too excited about their headlines lately. You may go now."

"Yes, my Master." The Impudite bowed one more time and left with more then a little relief.

When all were gone, the Demon Prince gracefully lifted himself out of his seat, and moved on to his next rendezvous. For a moment, he stopped and looked out at the dark tower of the Kobalite Palace, towering far over the nexus of Shal-Mari. And for a moment, he wondered what was exactly going on. No matter, he had someplace more interesting to be. He always had someplace more interesting to be.

... And in between

Standing in the depths of the Chicago ghetto, he put the last few impassioned strokes onto the cement fresco under the freeway overpass, and stood back from his masterpiece. Arms crossed, he gave it a critical look, and made some noncommital noises. Close up, it only looked like interesting abstract splashes of color and random detail. Standing back, it resolved into a large mural, a silent testimonial to the hard work of the impoverished, the passion of the forgotten, the quite hope and spirit of community that the poorer quarters inspired. All in all, he felt it needed more pink.

"It needs more pink," he said, just to emphasize the point.

"No man," Jerome, his assistant said, "I think it needs more blue. Just a little touch, down at the corner here."

He disagreed. "Pink. The people just don't look fleshy enough."

"No way, you're a total fool," the young human artist said. "You just don't have it down. It's blue, I tell you. And there's just not enough of it. Look, man, stand back and just see..."

He stood back. He squinted. He hummed a few bars of some random Bob Dylan song. And then he said, "Pink."

"Oh, come on man," Jerome said, gesturing with his brush. "What are you, blind?"

"I vote for green," came a female voice behind him. "It needs a little more grass, to incite the feeling of freedom. You know, greener pastures, the ability to think whatever you want, do whatever you put your mind to..."

Both of them turned around, and the Artist smiled a surprised but very pleased grin. He pushed his wild hair out of his face, stuffed behind a handkerchief, and wiped a hand off on his pants, leaving another colorful streak of paint along with many others. He dropped his brush into can of paint, and walked over to her. "Oh, I'm always happy to see you..."

She brushed her red hair out of her eyes and stood on her tip toes. She accepted his passionate kiss freely, and returned it with equal intensity.

When they pulled apart, he looked down at her, and said, somewhat lamely, "I got paint on your nose. Hold on..." He reached up a thumb, and tried to rub it off.

She wrinkled her nose. "Okay, enough of that." She waved his hand away, but he snuck in another kiss before they were completely broken apart. She put her hands on her hips. "We need to talk."

"Yeah, I figured as much." He pushed his hands into his pockets, and squinted his eyes against the blaring streetlight, illuminating the darkness. "And I know what it's about, too."

She nodded. "You betcha, art boy." She tapped her foot. "Can we go off to eat somewhere?"

"Well, uh, maybe... I've got Jerome here who is insisting on adding blue what it clearly doesn't need any, and there is some other stuff..." He shrugged. "I can probably pull away for a bit."

"Stuff? You do know what happened, don't you?" She asked. "A Dominican supported my Word in Heaven releasing your servitors at the behest of-"

"Yeah, I know." He shrugged again. "I've been meaning to drop in on her and give her a thumbs up or something. But you know how it is. Dominicans... everything else... all bad. It has been bad for some time. I think it's getting worse, and we're all getting a little tired of it all. Four people, even us, can't hold this off forever."

She nodded her head, and took a step forward to come into his arms. He opened them willingly, and she walked into them, putting her head on his chest and letting his arms enfold her. He reached up and smoothed out her hair under his hand. He tightened his arms around her. She cocked her head up at him, and he kissed her again. If there was any constants in this universe, it was Lilith. And if anything she certainly had him ensnared, and had for centuries. Not that he was complaining.

Eli sighed. Hey, he knew exactly what was going on. It didn't mean it made him feel any better. Quite the contrary. And it was going to get far worse.

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.