"I really don't understand you," the first angel said.
"I know," said the second. "You're not alone."
"We're angels, for God's sake! We're supposed to be protecting life! And you - a Servitor of Flowers! Novalis is as pro-life as any Archangel! Whatever possessed Novalis to sponsor a Word like that....or the Seraphim Council to grant it?"
"Presumably greater wisdom than yours," retorted the second angel, causing the first to flush angrily. But she went on: "Novalis isn't just pro-life. She's also pro-happiness and pro-compassion. She's concerned with the quality of life, not just its mere existence. She wants children to be nurtured and treasured, and she wants women to have a safe, loving environment in which to do that. It doesn't support her Word to force women to bear children against their will, nor to surround childbirth with guilt and oppression."
"But it does support her Word to encourage women to kill them when they're inconvenient?"
The Angel of Abortion sighed. "No, she's trying very hard to create a world in which every child is a wanted child..."
"Oh please. We know each other's slogans by heart."
"Yes. So why are we doing this again? I suppose next you'll be making some snide comment about herbal abortificants, and I'll be making a crack about using flaming swords on abortionists..."
The two angels looked at one another, and as so often before, sighed and turned away. They were both Malakim, so they knew better than anyone the futility of trying to persuade the other.
|Corporeal Forces -- 5||Strength 10||Agility 10|
|Ethereal Forces -- 3||Intelligence 6||Precision 6|
|Celestial Forces -- 4||Will 8||Perception 8|
|Word Forces: 12|
Songs: Charm (Corporeal/6), Dreams (Corporeal/3, Celestial/3), Healing (Corporeal/3), Light (Corporeal/2), Tongues (Corporeal/3, Ethereal/3, Celestial/1), Wings/2
Skills: Detect Lies/3, Emote/3, Fighting/3, Knowledge (Obstetrics/4, Abortion Laws/5), Large Weapon (Sword/4)
Artifacts: Fiery Sword/4
Attunements: Malakite of the Sword, Seraph of the Sword, Elohite of the Sword, Hunt, Angel of the Unborn
Special Attunement: As the Angel of the Unborn, Shachim knows at a glance if a woman is pregnant, and how far along she is. He can also get a general idea of the fetus's health with a Perception roll. Applying his resonance to a pregnant woman will provide information about her maternal feelings (in addition to the normal Malakim resonance information), including such things as how she feels about her pregnancy, how well she is taking care of herself and her unborn child, and whether or not she is considering an abortion (and if so -- on a high check digit -- why).
Special Rites: Shachim gets a point of Essence for each child he causes to be born that would otherwise have been aborted or miscarried. He also gains a point of Essence for preventing an imminent abortion (whether by talking someone out of going into a clinic, or physically preventing the procedure).
Additional Malakite Oaths: Do not fail to prevent an abortion if he has the ability to do so; protect unborn children from harm; destroy anyone who knowingly and maliciously causes harm to the unborn if he has the means to do so.
Shachim is a pro-life fanatic - being a Word-bound Malakite, he can't be otherwise. But he's an intelligent, reasonable fanatic, as contradictory as that may seem. He considers abortion to be an evil thing, but he knows very well that not every person who has or performs an abortion is evil. Nonetheless, he cannot condone abortion, for any reason. His Word is the Unborn; for him, there is no question that life begins at conception and an unborn child is a human being that must be treated as such. He is not unsympathetic to rape and incest victims, but will point out that the child should not be murdered for the circumstances of its conceptions. Likewise he will defend children who may be born deformed or retarded ("We don't kill such children after they're born, why should it be acceptable to murder them before birth for their imperfections?"). Hazards to the mother are also secondary, in his view.
Shachim will try to prevent abortion by any honorable means available. He's not above pulling the "Vengeful Angel of the Lord" routine when it will prove effective; he considers justifiable guilt to be an honorable tactic. (This is how he most often uses the Song of Light and Numinous Corpus/Wings.) But he's also willing to try to help a pregnant woman, offering money and shelter and protection from abusive boyfriends if she will carry her child to term. He is involved in several hospice organizations. If all else fails, though, he's also willing to physically prevent someone from entering an abortion clinic.
Shachim does not, in general, support actions such as bombing abortion clinics and shooting abortion doctors. He is compelled to heed his resonance, and many abortionists believe they are doing the right thing, relative to their own standards. Therefore, he cannot consider them evil and worthy of death. However, there are those who perform abortion purely for profit, with no concern for their patients, particularly in countries where it is common practice to abort girls. Those who are what he calls "abortion profiteers" are fair game.
He also seeks to have the unborn protected in other ways - he will snatch cigarettes and alcoholic drinks out of the hands of pregnant women, and even chase them out of bars. He also visits women in their dreams, crafting both encouraging dreams and nightmares to help them make the "right" decision. (Blandine takes a dim view of some of Shachim's methods.)
Laurence has yet to grant Shachim a Distinction, as Shachim is a relative newcomer to the Word, and the Archangel of the Sword would like to see more definitive steps taken. Preventing individual abortions is a worthy activity, but Laurence wants society to gain more respect for life and embrace the sort of moral values he considers beneficial, not just pass laws against one sin while doing nothing to address the root causes. Shachim also faces a problem in that not all angels agree with his pro-life stance, and he's been unable to root out enough diabolical involvement in abortion to prove to the Host that Hell is benefiting from and supporting abortion rights.
Right now, Shachim is trying to make friends with angels of Destiny, so he can look for endangered unborn children with particularly bright destinies, and save them. He would love to earn Yves' Divine Logic attunement.... Although Shachim assumes Yves should oppose abortion since it can rob so many of their destinies, the Archangel of Destiny has not yet expressed an opinion on the matter.
|Corporeal Forces -- 3||Strength 5||Agility 7|
|Ethereal Forces -- 5||Intelligence 12||Precision 8|
|Celestial Forces -- 4||Will 7||Perception 9|
|Word Forces: 11|
Vessels: Human/3 (female)
Role: OB/GYN (Dr. Jane Gardener)/3, Status 3
Songs: Attraction (Celestial/3), Form (Corporeal/3, Ethereal/3), Harmony (Corporeal/6, Ethereal/6), Healing (Corporeal/6), Motion (Celestial/5), Shields (Corporeal/2, Ethereal/2)
Skills: Detect Lies/3, Driving/1, Knowledge (Abortion Methods/6), Medicine/5
Attunements: Malakite of Flowers, Seraph of Flowers, Cherub of Flowers, Vassal of Flowers, Angel of Abortion
Special Attunement: As the Angel of Abortion, Maranel's presence guarantees that any abortion will be successful and free of any complications. She can also apply her resonance to anyone, and learn what they think of abortion (in addition to normal information gained by the resonance).
Special Rites: Assist in or perform an abortion; help a woman make the right (for her) moral decision about whether or not to have an abortion.
Additional Malakite Oaths: Help anyone who needs an abortion get one; prevent anyone from being compelled to make a decision about childbirth; make abortion as safe as possible for anyone who is going to have one.
Maranel has a hard row to hoe in Heaven. She is perhaps the only Word-bound angel whose ultimate goal is the extinction of her own Word.
Many Archangels (including Dominic, Laurence, Christopher, Zadkiel, and even Eli) are either ambivalent or downright hostile to her Word. Her own Archangel, Novalis, is indeed pro-life by natural inclination. But for millennia, Novalis has also been the only Archangel willing to provide the succor so desperately needed by women in extremis. It is a grievous, painful service she provides, and the angel of Abortion (Maranel is not the first) must be one Novalis can trust to uphold the Word within very narrow parameters. Maranel does not encourage abortion. She does not even like it. But she is mindful of the greater evils that can arise in the absence of any choice. So she works to keep different methods of abortion available, as safely as possible, and strives to give women maximal opportunity to make an informed choice they will not regret. She leaves it to her Superior to strive for a world in which her Word will no longer be needed.
Previous Angels of Abortion have had different views on such matters as the rights of the mother balanced against the rights of the child, when a fetus becomes a human being, etc. It is a difficult, almost impossibly thin line to walk, and some of Maranel's predecessors have run afoul of Judgment, at least one has Fallen, and others have been killed (not always by demons...)
Maranel will support any woman who decides abortion is the right choice, after making sure the decision is a fully informed one made without duress. The wording of her oath is critical; she will help anyone who needs an abortion, and "need" is defined by what Maranel reads from her resonance. Some women believe abortion is wrong, yet seek it anyway, and Maranel does her best to help them find another solution. Others use it as a convenient solution to irresponsible behavior, and the Malakite takes a dim view of them. She will not, however, try to actively prevent anyone from getting an abortion, and if someone is going to have an abortion, Maranel will never stand by and do nothing if she can do something to make the abortion safer and more humane. Like Shachim, the Angel of the Unborn, she is more than willing to vent her wrath against back-alley butchers.