Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


Uluru National Park, Australia

"Want a beer?" the Seneschal asked. The two Cherubim who were sitting cross-legged in front of the tiny campfire looked up, as the speaker materialized out of the darkness. He held up a six-pack.

"Um. No thank you." The other Cherub also shook his head. The Seneschal shrugged and took a seat next to them, then popped one can open and tilted it back with obvious pleasure.

The three of them were sitting atop Ayers Rock. The ancient monolith generated a pleasant thrumming they each felt in the core of their beings, though none as acutely as the Servitor of Stone. They sat for a while in silence, enjoying the ambience of the Tether. Finally, one of the Cherubim gestured at the landscape spread out around them, hundreds of feet below, and asked "Doesn't this bother you?"

The Seneschal, whose corporeal vessel was that of a dusty old Aborigine, raised an eyebrow. "What, the people?"

"The development," the Cherub said. Electric lights were scattered about the desert landscape. Within line of sight was Yulara Village, a tourism complex built for visitors to the famous landmark in the middle of the Central Australia, and they could hear another plane landing at the nearby airport. "I would think it would offend you, this despoiling and commercialization of such an ancient and sacred site...."

The Seneschal chuckled dryly. "The film crews bothered me. So did the litter. I taught a few hikers some harsh lessons in respecting The Rock. But the visitors, the highway, the Four Seasons hotel? To tell you the truth, it was getting lonely out here. Now that the Anangu are managing the Park, there are fewer tourists climbing up here and pissing over the edge. Most visitors are respectful, and filled with wonder at God's creation." He smiled and nodded contentedly. His Tether, his Word, was stronger now than in all the centuries when only the Anangu Aborigines paid it homage.

The other Cherub continued staring into the fire. "Is she still unmoving?" the Seneschal asked. He could not see what the two Cherubim did in the flames; an image of a gaunt, dark-haired woman seated at the other end of the two-mile long rock. He could sense her, of course -- she was in his Tether. But he felt it best not to intrude on an Archangel's introspection.

"Yes," the Cherub affirmed. "That's common for her. She is probably wandering the Marches."

"You don't follow her there?"

"Not usually. When she walks the Marches, she is contemplative, not destructive. And our proximity is more intrusive there."

"It is not her we are here to protect," the first Cherub, whose name was Aluriel, explained. "Gabriel can take care of herself. We follow her to protect others from her wrath, when it comes upon her."

"I see." The Seneschal of Ayers Rock frowned slightly. "Well, this is a good place to go walking about in, on either plane. You are sure she won't wreak havoc in the Marches, though? I would not like to see the Anangu's totems harmed."

"I thought the Tether to the Dreamtime was broken here long ago," said the second Cherub, whose name was Mordekial.

"It was," the Seneschal replied, somewhat tensely. "But they still linger now and then. I don't go out of my way to hunt down ethereals; they've never caused any harm around here."

Mordekial and Aluriel exchanged glances. It was very likely that the Seneschal had befriended the ethereal spirits who once dwelled openly in this place. Then they shrugged together. It was no concern of theirs; they did not serve Judgment, and the Purification Crusade was long past. "Gabriel has never harbored ill will towards the denizens of the Marches, except those who torment humans. If they have no malicious intent, she will not harm them."


In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?


The Marches

She was not wrathful. She was not contemplative. She was frantic and mad. Her eyes did not glow, they blazed, as she streaked across the ethereal landscape. Blandine's Tower receded behind her, a softly-glowing beacon of hope and hospitality that she ignored. For a few confusing moments she zipped towards a familiar shape on the skyline, a mountain of fused rock lit dimly from behind by the distant glow of Heaven, and from within by its own primeval fires. Then she veered away. She howled in agony, but could not drown out the cacophonous sounds playing in her own head.

She burned a trail across the sky and left Blandine's Marches far behind. Like a celestial meteor that burned what it touched, she plummeted into the Far Marches, running from herself. In her wake, ethereal spirits who had not seen an angel in millennia gaped. And on the outskirts of Heaven, her caldera rumbled, and spewed hot ash.


And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?
What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dead grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?


Gabriel has been unstable for a long time. It started after the Fall, when her Servitor, Belial, was granted her Word by Lucifer. Forced to share a Word with a Demon Prince whose nature is anathema to her own, Gabriel has suffered from the constant friction in the Symphony, inflicting eternal pains deep in her soul for which there is no treatment save the destruction of her nemesis.

Dominic's Inquisition in the seventh century pushed her a little farther -- her critics say it pushed her over the edge. She abandoned Heaven, returning only occasionally to her Citadel of Fire at the edge of the Marches.

Gabriel is an Ofanite, and like all Ofanim, she must always move, always act. Yet her madness often traps her in a fugue state, and she spends long periods of time fighting off the afflictions that threaten to consume her. It is also in her nature to punish cruelty, and yet Belial, her diametrical opposite, has gone unpunished for millennia.

Each abomination by Belial throws another hot cinder in her eye. Each time the weight of her dementia becomes an anchor, consuming flames gnaw a little bit more at her mind. Gabriel has an indomitable will, and she channels the Divine directly. Perhaps at times this acts as a balm on her psyche, as she understands the Symphony in a way no but Yves can, and possibly sees a future where her suffering is ended. And when she moves, she does so in spectacular fashion, the most dynamic, primordial creature in the universe, spinning away dissonance as she acts with the speed and certainty of God's will.

But what if she began to reach her limits? What if after all these aeons, her celestial nature was finally yielding to the stress?

What if Gabriel Fell?


When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?


Yves was sitting on a crystal bench, in a crystal dome, illuminated by an infinite number of dazzling rainbows that did not merely fill the air, but seemed to replace it. The hues played across his aged features and somehow cast deeper shadows than could be seen anywhere else in this cathedral of brilliance.

No one had ever intruded upon him before, as he sat at the center of Lucifer's cathedral, but for the first time in ages, an Ofanite came wending its way through the mirrored hallways and drifted into the center dome. It hovered a respectful distance away from the Archangel and waited, unwilling to interrupt his musings despite the urgency of its message.

"She has not Fallen yet," Yves said at last.

Multiple eyes blinked along its rim, then it tilted slightly and the whirring sound it made increased in pitch. "The Council will want to hear that, Master."

Yves nodded. "I will be there shortly."

The Wheel spun in place, simulating a bow, and flitted away, relieved to be dismissed. The Cathedral of Light was a beautiful but sad place. It did not want to contemplate parallels between this fractured cathedral, and the volcano at the edge of Heaven which was now filling with lava.


Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake

This is a speculative adventure idea, completely non-canonical, exploring Gabriel's psyche and introducing some other notions of my own. It is particularly suited for experienced PCs.

Rather than a fully-scripted adventure, I am writing this as simply a series of events and elements the GM may use to craft an adventure as he sees fit. I have left a lot of holes and blank spots for you to fill in -- this isn't intended to be something you can print out and run as is. Instead, there are numerous bits and pieces and a few ideas of directions to take at each critical juncture; call it an "Adventure Pizza." (Some gaming magazine coined that term...I like it.)


Getting the PCs involved:

The state of Gabriel's psychosis has become apparent to everyone, as lava is beginning to bubble up from the heart of her volcano, filling the crater in the center. It is already up to the base of her citadel, and eating away at the foundations. Her Servitors are more than concerned; they are frantic. The Seraphim Council believes that when the lava reaches the rim of the crater and begins spilling over the top, it will mean the end of the Archangel of Fire.

And some of David's Servitors are reporting ominous rumblings, audible deep, deep beneath the Groves....

Obviously, finding Gabriel has become a top priority for virtually the entire Host. There are only two problems: how to do it, and what to do when you do find her.


Making the Player Characters the primary search party is left to the inventiveness of the GM. Perhaps they are one of many, and the GM wishes to simply have them be the "lucky" group that finds the dissonant Archangel. Or perhaps they have a special connection that makes them the most likely angels to do the job. Maybe everyone else is busy -- the diabolicals have not failed to notice the increasing glow emanating from Gabriel's volcano....


The idea of Gabriel Falling is as frightening as it is delightful to the hordes of the Pit. The Princes are divided as to whether there is anything they should (or can) do to push her over the edge. Kronos senses Gabriel swinging towards her Fate, but she is too complex an entity for him to be able to calculate what will seal it. Lucifer, as is often the case in crisis situations like this, remains silent. So some Princes advocate staying out of her way -- after all, demons showing up and getting in her face might spur her to action, the kind of action that would move her back into Heaven's graces. Others want to know where she is, they want to keep any would-be saviors away from her, and they want to observe her and see if they can figure out what's making her tick, and what will make her snap.

Naturally, the PCs are the ones who get the dubious honor of tracking down the Archangel of Fire. With half the Host on the same assignment, hunting one of the most powerful angels in existence is not a mission to look forward to. But if you could take credit for helping bring Gabriel to the dark side...it's a safe bet that Lucifer himself would reward a feat like that!


Where is Gabriel?

In corporeal form, she is still sitting entranced on Ayers Rock, in Central Australia. Her ethereal self is in the Far Marches, hiding from the universe and slowly being consumed by dissonance.

Her two "Firemen," Mordekial and Aluriel (see "The Marches"), are both attuned to her. One will stay behind to watch her vessel, with the company of Ulowa, an Elohite of Stone who is the Seneschal of Ayers Rock, while the other leads the group searching for her in the Marches. The only problem is, Gabriel has found her way to the Farthest of the Far Marches, where distance means very little and where knowing her exact location is almost meaningless. Mordekial can track her forever, but she is constantly out of sight; Gabriel is an Ofanite, after all. Who can catch the fastest of the Wheels?


In the Farthest Marches, the PCs are pursuing an elusive, magnificent, terrifying and dangerous creature. They should be scared. If they aren't, scare them. There are all kinds of things they can run into far beyond Blandine and Beleth's realms, even before they meet the dissonant Archangel of Fire.

Any Cherub (or Djinn), or the Celestial Song of Affinity can attune to Gabriel's vessel on Earth, and thus trace her in the Marches, but they'll have the same problem as Mordekial, above -- Gabriel is very clearly in danger, but the threat to her safety is herself, and knowing her exact distance in yards and direction in degrees is meaningless in the Far Marches, especially when on the trail of an Ofanite Archangel. ("She's less than one mile ahead -- oh, she just took a step, she's now two thousand miles behind you.") This won't stop Mordekial from chasing her doggedly through the ethereal plane, because he doesn't know what else to do. Mordekial is along for the ride on this stage of the adventure; the GM may involve him or not as he chooses. (Involving him is good if the PCs --presumably angels -- are a little underpowered. Alternatively, he's a good opponent to throw at demonic PCs, accompanied by as many angels as needed to make it a tough fight. If you don't have "The Marches," he is a 15-Force Cherub Master of Divine Knowledge with numerous Destiny and Fire attunements. His twin, Aluriel, is identically endowed.)

How exactly to find Gabriel is an exercise left to the ingenuity of the PCs, but here are some possibilities:

If Gabriel is on the verge of Falling, why are the PCs chasing her when every Archangel should be on her case personally?

Remember what I said about holes you have to fill in? :)

OK, seriously, maybe:

(A) She can sense the presence of another Superior and zips away at lightspeed. They conclude that only Servitors have a chance of reaching her without driving her off.

(B) They're busy. The Archangels aren't even sure this isn't just Gabriel being flaky, with some diabolicals perhaps trying to pull a hoax that will throw Heaven into disarray. The Princes aren't sure this isn't just Gabriel being flaky, with the angels using the opportunity to get them worked up, turning over stones to see what crawls out. This could all be a hoax. Where is Kobal, anyway?

(C) Omit the scene with Yves, above. It's not general knowledge that Gabriel's cathedral is filling with lava; her Servitors are trying to hush it up, and while most of the Archangels are aware of the situation, they don't want to alert all of Heaven, and especially not the diabolicals. Whether or not some Demon Princes have twigged onto the situation, or suspect something is up with Gabriel, is up to you.

Catching the Tiger

Assuming the PCs find Gabriel, how do they deal with her?

This the most role-playing intensive part of the adventure. Somehow, the PCs must coax Gabriel back into some semblance of sanity. They must talk her into returning to the corporeal plane, or to Heaven. Whether this is to face judgment, or healing, is up to the GM. Presumably some of the Archangels have a plan in mind. Curing Gabriel, temporarily or permanently, is another blank spot for the GM (and/or the PCs) to fill. But here are some ideas of my own:

If the PCs are diabolicals, their goal may be to push Gabriel over the edge. That requires even more creativity, and surviving it may just be the feat of a lifetime. If you want to go easy on the diabolical PCs, just assume that if not saved by her followers, Gabriel has already started her descent; it's the PCs' job just to keep the angels away from her, without attracting the Archangel's attention.

Tips on encountering Gabriel:

IF THE PCS WANT TO FIGHT: Destroying Gabriel or dragging her bodily (so to speak) back to the corporeal or celestial plane is an interesting proposition. Decide just how stable and how merciful Gabriel is at the moment. Describe the ensuing battle accordingly, and then let the survivors (if any) know how many Forces they have left.

IF THE PCS PISS OFF GABRIEL: As above, but there are no survivors.


BLANDINE: Blandine will offer all the help she can to those searching for Gabriel. She will even demand that the Guardians assist, and tolerate the presence of any ethereals who might also help.

CHRISTOPHER: Sees Gabriel as a lost child in the woods, albeit a very dangerous one. He'll help any way he can, which isn't much.

DAVID: Deeply concerned at the possibility of losing Gabriel, he will commit his forces to doing everything they can to save her. Angels of Stone will try (in vain) to help Gabriel's Servitors hold back the rising tide of lava in her cathedral. While Gabriel is at Ayers Rock, any major disturbance or attempt to invoke him there will automatically bring David there personally.

DOMINIC: The Archangel of Judgment feels vindicated in his suspicions of Gabriel, and wishes he was not. He will want to bring Gabriel to trial, and have her confined somehow until such time as she is deemed no longer a threat. (In fact, he suspects the best thing to do would be to destroy her, but that may prove impossible...)

ELI: If Eli can be found, he'll express dismay at Gabriel's plight. She is one of mankind's primal inspirations, and for him, a light will go out of the universe if she Falls. Unfortunately, there is little he can do to help directly, but if any of his Servitors have knowledge or skills that might help, he'll order them to do so, even if they are in service to another Archangel.

JANUS: Some change does more harm than good. Losing Gabriel would break his heart, but he knows that his personal presence is unlikely to sway her. He will transport his Servitors instantly anywhere they need to go on the corporeal plane, though.

JEAN: Dismayed that Gabriel has completely taken leave of her senses, he supports Dominic and Laurence; though Gabriel would be a tragic loss, she must not be allowed to inflict chaos in Heaven.

JORDI: Though he has few dealings with Gabriel, he also doesn't want to see the Archangel Fall. There's little he can do to help find her in the Marches; he has many Tethers and Servitors in Australia, though, and they'll be ready for any showdown near Ayers Rock.

KHALID: If Gabriel Falls, it will be a shattering blow to Khalid's faith. He will instruct his Servitors to invoke him if they find her; he will personally try to restore her faith. He is another potential Archangel who might heal her, at least temporarily.

LAURENCE: He stands ready to do what must be done. Gabriel would be a tragic loss, but he has never been able to count on her anyway, so his plans rarely included her. Laurence will try to have Gabriel slain if she does Fall, before Hell gains a new Prince.

MARC: He feels somewhat helpless in this situation, but he will counsel a diplomatic course; if Gabriel is to be saved, it's with calm, reasoned dialogue.

MICHAEL: Like all the other Archangels, Michael wants to prevent Gabriel's Fall, but it has occurred to him that if Gabriel Falls, it will cause enormous disruption in Hell. He quietly prepares his Servitors to prepare to take advantage of the situation if it does happen.

NOVALIS: Enormously saddened, Novalis will under no circumstances condone a violent approach. She implores her Servitors to bring Gabriel to her, so she can bring some peace to the Archangel's mind.

YVES: Yves also will try a reasoned approach -- he asks his Servitors to bring Gabriel to him.

ZADKIEL: Her natural inclination to protect Gabriel is at odds with her need to protect Heaven, even if it is from Gabriel. If Gabriel can be saved, Zadkiel will do all she can to help, including shielding her from Dominic. If Gabriel Falls, though, Zadkiel will join Laurence, Jean and Dominic in seeking her quick destruction.

{The agendas of the Princes are to be found following the next section....)


If the PCs' efforts are in vain, the Archangel of Fire will Fall. This obviously will have a significant impact on your campaign.

Gabriel's Servitors are enormously loyal; they love their Superior, as few Archangels are loved. If she Falls, it is quite likely that many of them will Fall with her. If any PCs are Servitors of Fire, the choice should be theirs as to whether they will follow Gabriel to Hell. (You will especially have to keep in mind the effects on such PCs, since many players might object to having their Superior altered so radically; it will make a major change in their character!)

Soldekai, Gabriel's most powerful and trusted Servitor (see The Marches), will petition for the Word of Fire. The Seraphim Council will spend some time (possibly days, possibly years) deliberating. The outcome may largely depend on the battle between Gabriel and Belial (see below). Having seen what happened to Gabriel, no one will want to put a newer angel in the same position, but if Belial is crushed by the new Princess, Soldekai might be deemed able to take over the Word. Upon assumption of the Word, he will become the new Archangel of Fire. Details of that transition are left to the GM. It will take him a long time to prove himself. Gaining the respect of Gabriel's people will take longer than it took Laurence when he replaced Uriel as commander of the Armies of God; partly because Soldekai doesn't have the reputation Laurence did, and partly because he wasn't appointed directly by God.

As for Gabriel...

Lucifer is faced with an interesting dilemma. Gabriel lost her Word when she Fell. She is now even more of a raging psychopath than she was before. She is obviously Princess material, and she brought a lot of new demons with her, but while it was amusing to have two Superiors with the same Word, it would be less amusing to have two Princes with the same Word.

Gabriel is now busily trying to kill Belial. Word or not, she's a former Archangel, and she might very well succeed in finishing the job she couldn't do before. Some of the Hell's royalty are pleading with Lucifer to destroy Gabriel, or at least rein her in. He has other ideas.

He makes a Gabriel a Princess, and declares that he will not interfere in the power struggle between Gabriel and Belial, so long as it does not spill out of Sheol into other areas of Hell. This is evolution in action.

(Some demons wonder privately if Lucifer could rein in Gabriel if he tried.)

Gabriel's Word? That which she struggled against for so long, and to which she finally succumbed..... Wrath.

Gabriel, Demon Princess of Wrath

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