Woe to her that is rebellious and corrupted, to the oppressing city! She hearkened not to the voice; she received not correction; she confided not in Jehovah; she drew not near her God. Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves, that leave nothing for the morning. Her prophets are vain-glorious, treacherous persons; her priests profane the sanctuary, they do violence to the law. The righteous Jehovah is in the midst of her: he doeth no wrong. Every morning doth he bring his judgment to light; it faileth not: but the unrighteous knoweth no shame.
Welcome to the Big Apple! With over seven million people packed into its five boroughs, and twenty million in the greater metropolitan area, it is the largest city in North America, and the gritty center of American culture. Some have called it the capital of the world- what other city is a larger icon? What other city is so quintessentially "The Big City"?
Everything about New York is world-famous, from its subways to its skyscrapers, from its bars, restaurants and nightclubs to its universities, museums and libraries. Much of the American media empire is built here, New York's studios being rivaled only by Hollywood for their size, number and influence. If a new trend doesn't start in New York, the Big Apple will be where it hits the big-time.
High and deep, glaring with light and immersed in darkness, glamorous and degenerate, cultured and crude, raw and decadent, civilized and hospitable, rude and violent...there is hardly an adjective that doesn't describe New York.
It's a shining example of the heights to which humanity can ascend, and the depths to which they can fall. And angels and demons cluster here, in New York City, to push and pull in both directions, on a scale unmatched anywhere else.
Day and night you can hear rumblings in the Symphony from any of the dozen known Tethers located in Manhattan alone. Celestial disturbances from around the city are so common that New York's celestial residents liken them to errant car alarms, and many react to them in much the same way. There is so much going on here that angels and demons alike tend to confine themselves to their own business and ignore what doesn't directly concern them...much like the city's mortal residents. (It would be a mistake, however, to be fooled into believing that you can shake up the Symphony with impunity here.)
No one knows exactly how many celestials are permanently assigned here, though both sides do their best to keep track of the opposition (and themselves, as an increase in diabolicals serving one Prince will surely result in his rivals beefing up their own forces in the city.) New York City is the Grand Central Station of the corporeal realm, though, and at any given time, the city's celestial visitors may outnumber the permanent residents.
New York City also has a higher percentage of Word-bound celestials than any other city. It is a Word unto itself, so named by both sides, and a host of infernal and divine servitors serve New York in innumerable capacities. And many Word-bound Servitors whose influence spans the globe still call New York home, including the Angel of Subways, the Angel of Stock Markets, the Angel of Immigration, and the Demon of Taxicabs, the Demon of Rudeness, and the Demon of Rude Taxi Drivers, just to name a few.
New York City gets more visits from Archangels than any other city except Paris, and it is the MOST popular spot for corporeal manifestation by Princes. Lilith in particular is known to frequent Manhattan's night clubs, Nybbas has an abiding interest in this major media center, and the Big Apple, with all its worms and its five Boroughs (including the secessionist Staten Island) is said to be Malphas's favorite city. Even Lucifer himself has been spotted here on rare occasion. Meanwhile, Eli is rumored to haunt the Village at times, when not browsing art galleries or Museum Mile, and Marc takes an active interest in Wall Street, watching from his Tether at the World Trade Center. There are few Superiors who haven't been seen here at one time or another. (Even Jordi, it is rumored, was once invoked at Central Park.)
The first thing all newly-arrived celestials probably want to know is, where are the Tethers and who controls them? Where does each Superior make his or her presence known? In New York City, few Tethers are anchored to obscure sites where something particularly horrific or wondrous (but relatively unknown) occurred. In New York City, Archangels and Princes both latch onto the big landmarks and take pride in controlling at least one piece of multi-million dollar Manhattan real estate.
Nybbas owns a boxed seat at Madison Square Gardens, but his Tether is deep in MTV's corporate headquarters. (Yes, the fundamentalists railing against music videos were right all along....) Haagenti has had several Manhattan Tethers over the years....he hasn't had much luck in keeping them, as his restaurants keep getting destroyed or run out of business by angelic opposition (and on at least one occasion, torched by servitors of Belial), but there is always a new one opening up, usually to rave reviews by Manhattan's jaded food critics. Mammon, meanwhile, owes a great deal to Donald Trump for making greed so popular, and still enjoys his Tether at Trump Towers, though like The Donald, the Prince of Greed's star hasn't shined quite so brightly since the end of the 80s.
There are other Princes with Tethers in Manhattan....Andrealphus holds one at a sex club not far from Times Square, while Kronos, taking advantage of the sleaze and crime that haunted Times Square itself, claimed that landmark for himself when the ball dropped at midnight in 1984. He finds himself in the ironic position of relying on Andrealphus, with the latter's interest in porn shops and peep shows surrounding the square, to defend recent attempts by the city to "clean up" Times Square (which would probably result in a loss of infernal influence and make Kronos's Tether vulnerable to an attack by angels.) There is an infernal Tether in the Bowery as well, currently held by the Prince of Drugs.
And what of the Archangels? The most well-known divine Tether is Marc's, located in (where else?) the World Trade Center. From this lofty position, the Archangel of Trade monitors the financial capital of the world. A quieter but almost equally famous site is the New York Public Library....all libraries connect to Yves' Library, of course, but most only by the will of the Archangel himself. An actual Tether to Yves' Library exists in one of the New York Public Library's restricted archives, and the Librarian-Seneschal who tends this place is the one to see if you're an angel in need of answers to obscure questions.
The huge, unfinished Cathedral of St. John the Divine is a Tether to Laurence's heavenly cathedral. The Archangel of the Sword may not approve of all the multicultural events and displays hosted at this mammoth sanctuary (just as he does not support all the faiths represented in the Eternal City's Halls of Worship), but politics keep him from exercising too much control over the contents of his Tether. It is Laurence's Tether, not a joint site like the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, but it is still the most common place for several Archangels to meet in New York City, so he tolerates the "additions" inspired by other angels.
Smaller Manhattan Tethers are held by David, Gabriel and Johab- these three are connected to less famous sites, and are less frequently used, so they require a bit more searching.
There have been others... SoHo was a Tether to Belial's realm, earlier in the century when it was a jam-packed neighborhood of sweat shops and tenement buildings known as "Hell's Hundred Acres", for the frequency of its fires. And Jean succeeded- temporarily- in establishing a Tether to the Halls of Progress during the 1939 World's Fair...but that Tether was destroyed only two years later.
Manhattan is the most popular place for Tethers, but the outer boroughs are not devoid of them of course. Belial lost his SoHo Tether when the neighborhood went upscale and was taken over by artists, but he still holds a Tether in the arson-prone South Bronx, even though his glory days there are waning too. And Saminga has a Tether in, of all places, Brooklyn, thanks to the Prison Ship Martyr's Monument at Fort Greene Park.
Novalis, oddly enough, has chosen Queens as the location for her NYC Tether. She likes to visit the huge New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, but the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing, with its hundreds of varieties of roses, and dozens of theme gardens, is a Tether to the Archangel of Flowers, and the headquarters of one of her more decorative Word-bound Servitors, the Angel of Rose Gardens.
The last, commonly-known divine Tether is in the most unlikely place of all- Coney Island. But where else but on the world-famous Cyclone roller coaster would Servitors of Janus be found? Despite obvious demonic presences at this tacky, sleazy amusement park, the Servitors of Janus have managed to hold onto the Tether attached to the rickety old ride. (The Parachute Drop was also part of Janus's Tether at one time, but when it was closed, the Archangel of Wind's Tether shrunk accordingly.)
It should be noted that while not all Superiors have a Tether in New York City, all of them maintain a presence (even Jordi- he almost never comes to New York City in person, but his Servitors do have in interest in the many "animal conservatories" throughout the five boroughs, and the Angel of Pigeons calls New York City home.) Malphas is believed to be the chief cause of division and strife here, and he loves the divisions between neighborhoods, the inter-borough rivalries, and the racial tensions that periodically flare up with a little demonic coaxing. Besides his Manhattan Tether, Archangel David is a driving force behind New York's famous "Guardian Angels", who unknowingly count real angels among their number. Dominic has not succeeded in establishing a Tether here, but his minions are very active around the Civic Center's many courthouses....and so are their counterparts, the Servitors of Asmodeus. Jean's angels help run the subways, among other things, while Vapula's demons try to sabotage them. And among Manhattan's many comedy clubs, one is said to be favored by minions of Kobal (which one is a matter of speculation, unless you can find a Servitor of Kobal to ask....and expect to get a straight answer.)
There is one more Tether in New York City, centered on the most obvious landmark of all.
The Empire State Building...no longer the tallest building in the world, or even the tallest building in New York City. But still THE symbol of New York City, if anything is. And as the heart of the city, it connects to the celestial realm which has the greatest influence over the city...whichever side that may be at the time.
According to a complicated system of shifting factors, the end of the Tether leading from the Empire State Building can actually move, from Heaven to Hell and back. When Heaven holds sway, it leads to Bethanel's Cathedral in the Eternal City. When Hell gains preeminence, the Tether breaks, and reconnects to Izrann's neighborhood in Stygia.
It has changed hands several times since the building was completed in 1930. Usually it has been in Izrann's hands, shifting to Bethanel's control only for months at a time before Hell reasserts the status quo. However, Hell lost control in 1989, and for the past eight years it has been a Tether to the Archangel of Cities, the longest single period of heavenly occupation since it was first built. This has contributed a great deal to the anger and frustration of the current Demon of New York City.
The above discussion has left out entirely the two celestials who influence the city more than any other. New York City is their Word, and their battleground, and any angel or demon who comes to the Big Apple had better know who's in charge here....so you know who to pay your respects to, or who to avoid.
Yanax ranks as a Baron in Hell's peerage, and is a Servitor of Izrann, the Demon of Cities (who in turn is a Duke of Malphas.) But like most of Izrann's Word-bound minions, Yanax prefers the title of "Mayor". He is responsible for keeping New York gritty, dirty, seamy and crime-ridden. His Servitors permeate the Mob, they stir up racial tensions from Harlem to the Lower East Side, they encourage gangs, they own slums, they work as architects and engineer the worst eyesores and the most over-built neighborhoods, and they earn dissonance if they aren't needlessly rude to someone at least once a day (New York has a reputation to maintain, after all). Yanax has a huge operating budget, and distributes money not only to his own minions, but to any other demons who engage in worthy causes...Yanax welcomes diabolicals to his city, so long as whatever they're doing for their own Word will also help New York's dark side, and he pays well, both for evil deeds, and for evil suggestions.
Yanax is a Calabite, and a very formidable one. As you would expect, the Demon of New York City is as big as the city he is Named for. His corporeal vessel usually stands well over six feet in height, and the Forces at his command rival those of many Dukes. He is not someone to trifle with. He is most active in Manhattan, but his Word does encompass the outer boroughs as well, and his minions have been known to roam even further afield, as far as Yonkers or New Jersey.
Yanax has only been the Mayor of New York for three decades. When the race riots of 1964 erupted, his predecessor, a Habbalite, was so eager to feed the flames that he never saw his adversary coming. In a brief, violent battle, the Angel of New York obliterated the Demon of New York (and caused a city-wide blackout). Yanax, who had been the Demon of New York Mobsters, was promoted by Lucifer, on Izrann's recommendation and with Malphas's approval.
But with all those all those Superiors looking over his shoulder, Yanax has a lot of responsibility. And lately, with crime rates taking a nose-dive, crack-infested neighborhoods and abandoned parks being renovated, and mobsters being locked up everywhere you look, things have been looking less than sunny for the Dark Mayor of New York City.
View Yanax's Character Sheet
Imario is a Servitor of Bethanel, the Archangel of Cities. He is a Kyriotate; only an angel of that Choir could manage the huge, multi-faceted sprawl of New York City against the opposition of countless imps, gremlins and demons serving Yanax. Imario is always many places at once. Wherever you are, from Staten Island to the Cloisters, Imario may be watching, from a New York bystander, from a pigeon, or from the glass and steel cliffs rising on either side of you. Like all Kyriotates of Cities, Imario can possess structures, but as the Angel of New York City, he can even possess entire city blocks! It is taxing for him to do this, but when he takes over Brooklyn Heights or Tribeca for a day, all diabolical influences are driven out. In this way, he has kept Yanax from overrunning the city through superior numbers. At times, he occupies the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty, and just rests for a while while his minions try to clean up the streets, give helpful directions to lost tourists, and organize the cultural events for which New York is famous.
Imario has been here since New York City was New Amsterdam. Although New York City only became a Word (bound to him) in 1898, he was the ranking Angel long before then. Imario loves the city, in all its glory, and is as belligerent as any New Yorker when its virtues are maligned. He is proud of its historical role as gateway to North America, of its long history of multiculturalism before multiculturalism was cool, and of its sheer size and grandeur, giving him bragging rights even with regards to the scale of the opposition he faces. ("Even our diabolicals are tougher and nastier, they'd send your small-town demons running back home to Lucifer in tears!")
Imario is friendly, hospitable, and charming, and is an exceptionally gracious host when he has the time to show visitors around....which isn't often. However, he also has a hard, angry edge which can blow the Hell out of anyone who crosses him. Woe to any celestial, diabolical or divine, who harms his city and is confronted by the Angel himself. He has scattered the Forces of hundreds of demons during his career, and more than a few angels as well. Everyone knows that the current Demon of New York City would fare no better than his predecessor in a direct confrontation with Imario. However, Yanax walks the streets more openly than his predecessor ever did, leading some to speculate that he has reached some kind of agreement with his adversary...if not a truce, then an agreement to terms under which the War will be waged in New York.
View Imario's Character Sheet
Imario and Yanax both want New York City to remain Number One; Imario wants NYC to be #1 economically, politically, and in arts and culture, Yanax wants NYC to be #1 in crime and violence. New York City is famous for many things, and both Servitors take pride in their city's reputation in their respective fields of endeavor. Both of them root for the Yankees, Knicks and Rangers. And neither of them will put up with celestial visitors running amok through their city.
Yanax, as has been mentioned above, is generally hospitable to visiting demons, so long as they don't get carried away with their infernal activities. He does not want anyone shaking up the Symphony and attracting too much heavenly attention. He especially doesn't like it when some other demon's schemes cause such a disturbance that Archangels and Princes make unexpected visits to his city. Lately, he is even limiting mundane violence and mayhem, fearing that New York's current bout of civility and law and order has been brought about by a backlash in response to past excesses. Thus, he frowns on diabolically-inspired bloodbaths and unnatural disasters that haven't been approved by him beforehand. Who would have thought a Calabite would resort to subtlety? But make no mistake....Yanax runs his city the way he ran the mobs. If you tick him off badly enough, he will have you smoked, no matter who your Prince is.
Imario is less violence-prone, but also less receptive towards angels who serve Superiors that aren't friendly to the Archangel of Cities. Being passively balked by the Angel of New York and his Servitors can be a great hindrance to an out-of-towner's mission; being actively opposed by them can make the Big Apple an unfriendly town indeed.
Oh, and if you're a demon who's disturbing the Symphony in a neighborhood that Imario happens to be "inhabiting" at the time...kiss your corporeal vessel good-bye.