Essence of the World
I said that once already, but in the IC, so maybe I should repeat it here, to have everything neatly in one place.
This is a story set in a modern, urban setting and it deals with death and the ideas of right and wrong. I want both sides (angels and demons) to be equally good/bad and the conflicts that arise to be based on the differences they have in mindsets rather than plain truth. You can play any role from a simple school girl to a demon-lord or a tamer angel. Tell me what you want and we can brainstorm how to fit it in.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me and we can discuss them, I’d love to hear your suggestions and opinions. ^^
Let's call it a high-end casual, since I like the term. I don't mind one-paragraph responses, for conversation's sake, but I would like to have well-created and deep characters. For the sake of character-development I'm not requiring the bio of your characters just yet, but feel free to have flashbacks while the story progresses.
Of course, if you don't like revealing mysteries one at a time, you could just write it down here as well.
I think the main things required would be:
Age: (usually angels mature at the same pace as humans, unless they're from the old ones, belonging to the Council; demons live sequential lives of different lifetimes)
Also I would like reading a short character introduction, a scene to reveal them, instead of a bio.
Since I'm new here and this is my very first story on this forum please feel free to correct me and teach me when I'm doing something wrong or could do it better. :) I'm not sure of the format of the OOC thread but I feel it's useful to add the introduction to the story, the first post, to give a better idea of one side of the conflict at least.
So here are some explanations on the setting itself.
The story is set in a world inhabited by angels, demons and humans. Originally the 3 worlds (Heaven, Surface and Hell) were separated, with the Surface and the humans being a buffer element between angels and demons.
During a war between the angels and demons Heaven was destroyed and angels populated Surface, making it their ultimate goal to protect the humans. They lost their immortality, mixing with humans, but their immortal souls remained in their wings, being passed to the next, new body, that’s left without the memory of Haven, but with the inherited abilities.
The angels then specialized in different regions of service for the humans, building their hierarchy and The Council - the ruling force that follows through the education and raising of new angels, making sure they follow their duty and take care of punishments. The core of the Council are the seven Arc-angels, a few Clairvoyant and some lower-ranked Pure or Grays
Angels have a relative freedom of movement and action, as long as they serve the greater good, never put their interests before the humans’ and never neglect their duties. Self-sacrifice is often the worst possible crime, because it leaves the angel unable to serve and is hence selfish. The punishment is an eternal immobility trapped in something like onyx until the Council decides the powers of the trapped angel is needed and release them.
The demons populating the Surface are mostly mutated/ infected humans (vampires, werewolves). The real demons, the ones in Hell are usually quite docile and noble. They vary greatly in shape and have their own social structure that is simply different from the angels’. The relationship between them and the Council are complicated, because before the War the interactions were much more intense and the prejudices much less.
The only ones who remember the War are a few angels of the Council, some high-class demons in Hell and some high-level angels. In order to keep the low-class angels submissive the Council created the image of demons as vicious monsters, while concealing the truth about the real demons being held in the same respect as angels and being secretly protected on the Surface by them.
Nowadays the young angels are taught to blindly hate and kill any abnormal being they see, resulting in both blind submission to the Council and arrogant belief in their own powers. The arrogance that sprouts from that is based on the lack of knowledge of the real demons being at least just as powerful as the angels.
The demons don’t follow a strict hierarchy, their abilities and shapes varying greatly. When an angel dies their immortal souls are passed on, but their memories are usually locked away from them, giving the children skill, but no experience greater than a lifetime. In comparison a demon has to spend their life in one form and when they know all about it, they are killed in a ritual to possibly raise from their corpses in another one, keeping their memories.
The major difference between angels and demons is their perception of growth, development and death. Demons accept death as a necessary evil to evolution and to making their offspring stronger; angels deny and resent it, clinging to the idea of personal perfection.
Humans are the in-between race that could easily be affected by demonic influence (like vampirism or hypnosis), but that is much less familiar to the both races and much more unpredictable. They are considered God’s favourites.
What’s needed is for an item to be crafted to strengthen the barrier between Hell and Surface. For that the angels are assigned to collect as much understanding of the races as possible. By understanding single individuals and their drives in life they get droplets of their blood and tears.
The Angel Hierarchy
(From lower rank to highest, depending on wing-color)
5. Fallen Angels – Angels that have fallen from grace, lost their wings and powers and were banished to Surface to live the rest of their lives there.
4. Dark Angels - The children or grandchildren of the Fallen Ones. They bear the sins of their ancestors tainting their wings, struggling to purify them back to white by performing good deeds.
3. Gray angels/ Half angels- humans, that become angels for one reason or another.
2. Pure Angels - The most common, innocent angels with white wings.
1. Archangels- The link between normal angels and God. The Council core. They are everywhere at the same time and usually only materialize for important Council meetings and pass their messages on to Pure angels to execute them.
Types of Angels
Inhabit regions and care for the weather to be the way it should. (Like a Rain Angel watching over England.)
(Have to be emotionless enough to be able to kill by the hundreds, because they’re a direct link to Nature rather than God and have to be objective. Held with fear and respect and rarely interact with the Council, mostly staying in their region of influence.)
Their wings are tainted by the nature force they are a link to.
Guarding the really fateful/ important humans that are meant to do great deeds.
(Might not like or realize who they’re assigned to, but are forced to be their shields, taking up all their injuries and possibly death. They might be born connected to a being or be assigned to serve it.)
Exterminate demons and humans if it’s necessary. Have great physical power and stamina, almost unlimited uses of their powers and limbs.
(Usually the Clairvoyant dictate upon their deeds.)
‘Tame’ demons to work for them and have semi-control over them.
(Can also do that to humans or angels, although it’s taboo. They usually hover over the battlefield rather than fight themselves.)
Care, that the humans don’t stop believing in God. They’re beautiful, majestic and can use all kinds of impressive, show-off magic.
Their wings are usually the most awe-inspiring.
Have visions of the future and use it to advise the Council on their future actions, as well as sometimes assigning Guardians to specific humans. They are very few and very well-protected.
The Archangels, Clairvoyants and some Pures, leading the rest. They take the important decisions, educate the young angels, assign duties to the Darks to give them a chance for salvation and punishes the convicted.
“Angels are arrogant creatures”, Hazumi thought as she walked down the great halls of the Council building. They had no doubt they were superior to any other species, and when there was no one left to look down upon they started looking down each other, always finding a reason to do so – be it feather color, usefulness on the battlefield, usefulness outside the battlefield, manner of speech, hairstyle, cooking skills.
Hazumi smirked to herself. Maybe that was just a little exaggerated. Just a little.
She herself couldn’t claim to be completely innocent on that matter. Part of her clearly realized it was impossible for her to have another opinion, being at the very bottom of the power pyramid.
Yet, evidence was everywhere she looked, every class demonstrating their own view on the gatherings – Weather angels being too busy and important to make the trip here, the perfect-looking Miracles joining together and carefully avoiding the Battles, the Tamers always keeping to themselves with a little cunning smirk on their lips or the obvious lack there of, never looking quite as innocent or cooperative. The mild, often strangely wingless Guardians silently observing, sizing up, deciding who might be a future threat to their entrusted humans. Everyone knew their place here and everyone hated sharing whatever authority they had in front of the Council.
Or so it seemed to her, at least. She was an exile, not so much by class, but by wings. The deep jet-black color of her wings marked her unmistakably as a sinner, or at least bearer of sins. She was a Dark angel, her existence only tolerated because the true sin had not been committed by her and hence the faint possibility for redemption being present. By swearing absolute loyalty, of course, recognizing her only purpose in life is to serve the Greater good. Even the Grays, the humans who turned into angels for one reason or another, having made a cross-species leap were held with greater respect than the Darks. And obviously, if she could hope to get a second glance from them, the Pure angels would never dirty their pristine snow-white wings with even looking at her with more than pure disgust.
Somewhere deep inside something in her stirred under those looks. They reached under the layers and layers of devotion, loyalty and selflessness and reminded her she was the best Battle angel there was. The arrogance she herself held, the one she usually used to justify another impersonal kill of a random demon, would try to redirect itself to another kind of being. She would feel her fingers itching to prove her existence’s worth. Selfish. Sinful. No way an angel should think. Hence maybe the reason her wings were still black after years of service.
Or just an instinct, she thought, taking in a deep breath. She was an a loner, a fighter. Being around so many living beings, praying for no one probably made her paranoid. Was she so used to killing already?
“Ha. As if I ever did anything else.”
Trying to calm her nerves Hazumi concentrated on trying to figure out why she was called here. The Council never contacted her before because she was never important enough to waste their time. In a sense for that to change was a honor, in another it was unnerving. She couldn't think of any reason for her to be here, that was beneficial, if even harmless, to herself. Surely they wouldn't offer her a big and important mission that would offer her actual chance to clear off the sins from her feathers. That would be unthinkable.
Besides, she saw a few other Darks among the procession that really amazed her – she’d never seen another Dark in her life. So, if this wasn’t personal, then it must be big, she decided just as she reached the Hall.
The room was majestic, yet held little meaning to her – her eyes would automatically focus on the living and breathing elements and let everything else sink in the fuzzy marble background of the unimportant. But even if she was an aesthete she would probably not have noticed anything but the angels before her.
Hazumi’s breath flew out of her chest like a fleeing bird and her knees kissed the ground in front of the pure majesty of Fate themselves.
The Archangels, the Council. The guardians of the world, the seven who took orders only from God himself. The beings they had all heard of and few have ever seen, let alone all of them at once.
They stood proudly and silently in a small circle in the middle of the hall, waiting for the last angels to enter, concentric circles of kneeling servants surrounding them, no one daring to step too close.
“Arise, friends. You are all equal here today” a quiet voice spoke with a tone that startled them all. Warm. Gentle. Genuine. As a mother’s whisper in a baby’s ear. In spite of herself Hazumi felt tears welling up in her eyes. She’d never heard something so wonderful. She didn’t move, letting the purer than her approach the holy beings she didn’t even have the heart to look at.
“You have been gathered here because a tragedy has struck. The Gate, separating our world and the one of demons, has been weakened.”
Hazumi could hear the rustling of cloth and hair as heads shot up with the shock that traveled through the room, the realization hitting her neck and crawling down her spine with a thousand feet.
Demons were supposed to stay in Hell, just the occasional low-life escaping to the Surface, plaguing the humans with vampirism, lycanthropy and death, the monsters they read about in books being confined to the netherworld. If the Gate broke open and the Surface was flooded with all those foul beings would the human race even stand a chance? How many humans would lose their life and how many angels would lose their wings by failing to protect them? Suddenly it made sense why she was here. The Council would require everyone’s utmost effort to overcome this crisis. Or the Surface would fall, just as Heaven once did….
“In order to save our home and repair the Gate we need all your power, the power each of you has been blessed with, but even the one beyond yours. We can only hope to imitate our Creator’s genius, but we have no other choice but to try. In order to attempt to re-draw the line of separation we need to know our differences to our best possibility. We need the Essence of the World – the essence of the beings we want to separate. The significance they hold in their life and death, held by their blood. The hopes and fears, held in their tears. Those can only be obtained by being given willingly - by understanding, by feeling what they feel, by compassion.
We hereby ask all of you to understand the world better than you have ever before and to collect its roots. We need you to help us understand the driving forces of all living beings. Often you will feel threatened, overwhelmed, consumed and lost in a maze of feelings so different than yours you would barely understand. We ask you to be brave, and to be peaceful, as our foes also deserve our respect and understanding.
Some of the Demon Lords have already pushed through the Gate and are roaming free this very moment with intentions we can’t be entirely sure of. We need you to approach those as well, and convince them to step back into the netherworld. One way or another.
There is a use of every single good intention, gathered in this room today, so may everyone use their talent to help the best way they can.”
As the speech ended the Hall was suddenly left empty, deprived of the magic that has ruled over it with a gentle touch of the Archangels.
The room breathed in and stirred, everyone realizing they hold two glass bottles no bigger than an acorn – a red and a white one.
Hazumi’s closed eyes let burning tears roll down her cheeks. She was asked to serve, and serve she would gladly.
The little boy, no more than two, was sitting on the couch and glaring at Anna as she flexed her huge black wings in front of him, preparing for a flight. After several minutes of silence, the slightly exasperated angel sighed and turned to face him with a stern expression on her usually bright and peaceful face. “Now look here, little demon,” she said, “I don’t care how much you hate it; this is a summons from the Archangels themselves! I can’t hide from them. Sure, I can stay away from the others, but not from them. I have to attend the meeting, you have to come with me, and that’s final.” The boy continued to pout, and crossed his arms in a strangely adult fashion. “No,” he said, turning his nose up in disgust. “I’m not going.”
Anna put her hands on her hips, and continued, arguing: “You’ll be safer there, with me, than here without, so yes you are. Besides, isn’t this why you’re here? To learn about them and the humans, to try and understand them? What better place to observe than the Hall of the Council itself? Remember, when you’re with me, I can mask your essence, keep you safe. Do you want to be sitting here helpless when a Battle Angel picks up your scent?” The child mumbled something to himself, but eventually acquiesced, holding up his arms and allowing her to pick him up.
She smiled down at him, and said “Thank you. Now, hold on, okay? It’ll be a very short flight, but you know it’s better when I don’t have to worry about you falling off.” He climbed onto her back slowly, getting into his familiar flying position. “Thankfully,” the angel thought, “his grip is much stronger than the average toddler’s…” The door to her apartment’s balcony was open already, and she stepped out onto it, closed the door behind her, and had one last stretch. Finally satisfied, she simply stepped up onto the wide, flat stone wall, spread her wings, and leapt off.
For the boy, there were only a few flaps before the great building of the Council materialized before them, and despite himself he was excited to finally see it. Rather absentmindedly, he licked his lips, thinking about how many angels would be inside. He hadn’t had a true meal in ages, as his body just needed human food, and Anna would never let him eat anything sentient. No tasty angels, no humans, not even the rare demon they came across. “Damn angel,” he thought, “Always making things difficult. I wish this body would grow faster… Once I can use it to fend for myself, she won’t be able to dictate my life…”
He looked up at the back of his Guardian’s head as she made her descent, noting the taut flying muscles in her shoulders and neck. He didn’t hate her, of course. He was grateful for what she was doing, and knew that without her, he would have died very soon after he arrived. She would die to protect him… Would he be able to protect her? “No, no, stop thinking about that,” he told himself silently. “What is to be must be.”
For Anna’s part, she was concentrating on a controlled flight, but a few orphaned thoughts slipped in, mostly having to do with the summons. “It will probably be safest to shield him the whole time… The Archangels will still be able to sense his presence, I’m sure, but with his essence blocked off by mine, they hopefully won’t be able to find him in the crowd… Gah, I’ll have to remind him to control his hunger. Those demonic urges could act as beacon, even through my shielding…”
Finally, they touched down, and the Guardian helped her charge off of her back, carefully folding her wings. She squatted down to his level once he was on his feet, swiftly and quietly reminded him to suppress any demonic thoughts, and kissed him on the cheek with a smile. “Okay, let’s go,” she said, and she scooped the child up in her arms, planting him on her shoulders. The purpose of this was two-fold: one, his body was only two years old, and couldn’t walk long distances, and two, the closer he was to her wings and her head, the easier it would be to shield him.
Now, the child was situated, danger was unlikely, and Anna could (if only slightly) relax. She hadn’t been around her own kind in quite a while, due to the unique nature of the child, and she smiled at several of them as she passed into the Hall. Obviously, with her wings the color they were, none of them except for one fellow Dark smiled back; they were all busy conversing with their own colors, the Pures all together, the Grays likewise, and the few Darks standing outside of the little groups, or off by themselves, tolerated but not at all accepted. Because of her nature as a Guardian, there was really little need for her to examine or bitch about the hierarchy. She was there for the child, and that was that. She didn’t even have any desire to be Pure, as it wouldn’t change her abilities, or her effectiveness.
Her charge, on the other hand, was very fascinated. He examined his surroundings with a keen eye, noting the groups, and especially the distinctions between the different types of angels, such as the Tamers, who made him shiver just slightly, having had a taste of their power in past lives, the Guardians like Anna, and the awesome, beautiful Miracles. He smiled a child’s smile, and hoped he’d be able to see an Archangel when he had the chance.
The thought had barely crossed his mind when they entered the Hall proper, and there they were. Radiating power from the center of the room, some of the most majestic beings in existence stood waiting, and though the boy was delighted, it was almost too much for Anna. She was struck with wave after wave of pure grace, and had to fight to maintain the connection with the demon on her shoulders. She carefully put him back on the ground, and fell to her knees, tears forming in her eyes. A few of the surrounding angels would likely have noticed bits of demon essence slipping from behind the mask, if they were not also in the presence of the Circle of Seven. After a quick look, the child knew he couldn’t draw attention to himself, and sat down, pretending to be nothing more than a small child.
Though their presence and their voice overwhelmed her, Anna was not surprised by the message she and her fellows were receiving. After all, she had a demon sitting next to her that could not have entered the Surface if the Gate was not weakening. Also because of him, she realized once her masters disappeared, she might be able to approach a Demon Lord, and gain his trust, or at least understand him the way they commanded. Shaking a little, the angel rose to her feet and placed her charge back on her shoulders. The tiny bottles, safely stored in her pocket, were powerfully magical, and gave her considerable reason to examine their next move. She’d have to talk to the child about a Demon Lord.
The demon had met beings of such power before, in several of his past lives, but the Archangels were… different. Powerful, yes, but with such a calmness and soft demeanor that he was genuinely surprised. After his experience with them, he thought, “I might have to make some amendments…”
Cabadath was at first a normal demon. He would torture the sinful, throw them into boiling vats of spiders the whole cabang. But during one faithful night he decided against what he was doing. He realized that no one, no matter how bad their sin was should be punished eternally.
He fled to the human world where he didn't exactly fit in.
He made no trouble for either side, never killing, never scaring intentionally and only fighting in one documented battle. He only fought in that battle because his only friend was a soldier in it, this was around medieval times of course and he was painted from memory rather than appearing in a photograph which he would do later in life.
He always knew that both demons and angels were about with clearance from their makers, but he wasn't. He never made himself of notice to either side but as of late he has been considering it after the death of his friend who was a child. He feels partly responsible for the childs death, he had fallen in front of a bus and Cabadath knew that if he had acted quicker he could have saved him, but he didn't.
Now he wants friends that can last a bit longer than humans, he only wants a friend in the end.
She let out a silent sigh. Her black feathers reflected the pale moon glow above, as well as the streetlights under. Under the stronger rays of the sun they could possibly get the colorful brilliance that raven-feathers got, but she wouldn't know – it had been years since she’d last seen the sunlight… and years since it’s last seen her.
She was a creature of the dark and her sigh would be the only whisper of her existence. Right after, her agile wings would carry her soundlessly to the target, her extendable, blade-like claws passing judgment. She was rarely heard, rarely seen, if not as a blurry herald of death.
It wasn’t a life she chose. It wasn’t a life she would choose. But it was her life.
Hazumi pushed herself off the edge of the building and didn’t bother spreading her wings out, even though they would soften the rip of the air. She enjoyed the fresh breeze hitting her face before the hot blood-drops replaced it. Her claws sank deeply as her fall was interrupted with a desperate crunching sound by a now lifeless body. Like a cat she now arched her back and spread her wings open to soften the impact on her own body as the other one turned to dust. Her toes gently touched the ground. She rose in her full height and glanced over her shoulder to the scared, weeping girl in the corner of the alley. An empty gaze deprived of compassion or sympathy.
Stepping back on the rooftop she closed her eyes and lifted her chin up high to inhale a breast full of evening air. It was cool and fresh, with a hint of upcoming rain and a promise for morning dew. It felt real. Without opening her eyes she started slowly pacing along the edge letting her feet explore the concrete. It had still preserved some warmth from the long set sun and felt pleasantly alive against to her bare skin.
A sudden tingle ran up her spine, alerting her of something sharp cutting into her flesh. She couldn’t help but smirk at the sensation that felt so real it made her whole and alive again.
Pain was a welcome guest, reminding her she still had some feeling left in her, if only a physical one. Killing had long lost its challenge, if it ever had any - she couldn't remember. Emotions were even farther away, sent to some distant realm where she would actually need them.
Right here all she needed was her efficiency. There were no orders, no reports, no interaction, no beings that required her to speak or feel. All that was requested of her was disposing of certain elements.
It was all about killing. And she didn't object, why would she? She was created for this job and she was good at it.
Hazumi opened her eyes and sighing again prepared to return to the world of duty.
Her breath escaped her as an unfelt waft carried a single snow-white feather her way. The angel extended her hand with disbelief, as the small fluff landed on her palm. Images flashed in front of her eyes, vivid and clear in their message. The Council was gathering.
As the feather returned to dust she pulled the glass shard out of her foot and collected her sandals, bewildered as to why she was invited to such an important event.
Zuriel has fought countless wars and was victorious in many, most demons are already stunned by his pureness and light. But even an old angel like himself can not be left unbeaten, he didn't lose in a fight a but he lost the one he loved a long time ago. In the old times he was not the only one fighting the demons no, he had his wife that he loved along him which made him even stronger then he was already, almost invincible even.
After countless of years they finally decided to have a baby. Yes, a baby in this rotten world but they would be sure it would become the one that changed the world. Sadly nothing of this ever became true, when both Zuriel and his wife were on a mission a demon intruded the house and killed the guardians protecting the child. Once they came back from the mission his wife was send home and Zuriel was send on another important mission, when his wife arrived she found the guardians laying dead on the ground and when she found her baby she couldn't control herself anymore. In an enraged state she easily found the demon with her clairvoyant skills and killed it but not only the demon, in her rage she killed many innocent people.
Once Zuriel came back from his mission they asked him if they could lock him up for his own safety, giving him no reason, he did not know why but he agreed with the council and got locked up. He got told what happened and that they would execute her for killing many innocents but he did not fall to the anger that his wife did, he fell to his knees in despair and tears rolled over his cheeks for days. They did not dare to release him even when he only stared in front of him in a state of depression, because in anger this man could be unstoppable.
But after hundreds of years, his salvation came, he heared about a baby called Sophia with dark wings and it appeared to be his Sophia only in her new life form. He decided to become the protector of this child and was released from his prison by the council believing that he was no danger for them anymore and as he did he took her under his protection, seeing her grow up year after year only hoping that she would become the woman she once was. And now she got old enough to know the truth about her old life.
Will he ever get his old Sophia back?
Millenia ago when the world faced a period where the existence of life itself hung in the balance, a being was created from the destructive forces of the land. This angel was created to bring back balance to that of the land. His existence and power were bound to that land, and its fate. This being came to be known as Wouter.
Wouter's life and base of power were centered in the area that has come to be known as the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. He has held control over the weather of this region since those dark times, his power over the region is on par with that of the archangels of old. Due to the continued stress on his power to keep the area as stable as he can manage when not in the region his power drops significantly. Due to this he is only called to the council on matters of extreme importance, or when God mandates it. If it was not for the tasks that he has been given some believe he would have ascended to a council position if only based on his age.
When he received the summons to the council for a meeting of all angels, his heart sunk for he knew he must leave his land for the time being. Once there the full scope of the situation settled on him, Hell was coming for mortal world and that would mean the end of all Wouter had worked for over six hundred thousand years. He could now see the knifes edge that they all walked, and his time in this world seemed to weigh heavy on his shoulders.
The meeting went forward and the announcement of collecting essence from all beings to understand them better came down. Some of the younger angels embraced this with little thought about its true meaning, after all most had only been around a few decades some of the older ones of this new generation may have seen a century. None had ever seen what hell on earth might actually look like, only the old generation knew what that could mean and what it would most likely look like if it came to pass.
Most of the other weather angels laughed at the idea of leaving their homes, their territory to go on such a quest, and leave the places they fought so hard to gain and remain in control of. Wouter was one of the few who was secure in his knowledge that if another moved in to his lands he could return and remove them with sheer force or divine mandate. This was his reasoning for helping this was his thoughts on why to leave his home. This is why he is one of the few of his kind to step forward and take up the mantel needed to save this world. That and being feared by those that most angels fear to tangle with has its advantages.