Lunia the Silver
the Messenger’s home
Mercuria the Golden
the Mercy-Bringer’s tomb
Venya the Pearly
the Seer’s school
Solania the Crystal
the Ascetic’s monastery
Mertion the Platinum
the Crusader’s armory
Jovar the Glittering
the Defender’s keep
Chronias the Illuminated
the Watcher’s throne
– The Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia (translated from Hebrew)
When Striga announced the vampires at Bloody Thirteen, she was exploiting pure, animal fear of darkness and the unknown to protect herself and her followers. She never considered that anyone would find the strength to rise up against her.
A young man sent to the city for little more than petty theft had an idea. The story of how Striga had tricked the toy maker out of the hands of the Mother Monster gave him an inkling of a plan. While she was now under heavy guard, he was still able to find her, and survived her bodyguards long enough to beg for a favor. He needed a weapon, and the city needed a savior.
Lilith was eager to rectify her earlier mistake, but she had learned wisdom quickly. Rather than giving him her copy of the toy maker, she allowed him to be modified, enhanced in such a way as to be perfect for fighting Striga’s vampires. If he was able to fight successfully, she would grant the gift to others.
The experiment was a complete success. The young man, now known as Zaphkiel, cleared out a small vampire nest by himself, cutting through the surprised nighteyes like a hot knife through butter. He returned to the Mother Monster with friends and allies, and the angels were born. Before Striga had even realized what had happened to the destroyed nest, Zaphkiel led the newborn angels in a daring raid on Poenari Castle, the very seat of the Vampire Queen’s power. Zaphkiel himself killed Striga with his mirrored sword, and the skyscraper was left to burn while the vampires scattered.
In the beginning, the city hailed the rise of the angels, and many were happy to donate men and resources to help build their fortress, a double skyscraper called the Pearly Gates. The defeat of Striga was a day of celebration, and the Watcher became a household name.
But while the fall of Striga broke her soldiers beyond repair, the vampires survived.
Without Striga around to conscript vampires to fight for her cause, they were free to live their lives as they wished. Although the angels hunted them throughout the city, this actually proved to their advantage in some ways, scattering them far and wide, giving them more chances to recruit others. Various warlords, both well-meaning and non, rose and were slapped down by the angels.
It was the Dragon who changed all that.
With his godeyes, he was immune to the daybreaks of the angels, and declared the vampires under his protection. Zaphkiel and his saints saw little need to discuss him, and sent several Night-caste angels to assassinate him, a tactic that had served well against many others. When Dracul killed them, Zaphkiel was forced to admit that this one might be different. Despite the council of Raziel and Pistis Sophia, the Watcher agreed to a cease-fire.
While the Dragon and his men honored the deal, Malcanthet’s Riven did not. A persistent rumor claims that the Dark King hired her to circumvent the agreement, but most historians agree that she was just taking advantage of the lowered angelic defenses. Using her new pheromone toys, Malcanthet seduced her way through the Pearly Gates with ease, and killed fully half of the fledgling culture in what was literally an orgy of destruction.
The angels managed to recover, helped most by the fact that most of them were outside the domain at the time. Zaphkiel, however, decided that their sexuality was too obvious a weakness, and used the toy maker to remove his genitals and most other mechanisms for arousal. While not a perfect defense against Malcanthet’s pheromones, it proved an extremely effective one nonetheless, and many other angels—including all of the Watcher’s saints—followed their leader’s example as a show of commitment to the cause.
At this point, the war between vampires and angels would likely have been re-ignited at any moment. Despite the Dragon’s protests, most angels believed he was the one behind Malcanthet’s attack, and small brawls between nightstalkers and daybreakers were becoming more common by the day.
Levistus simply made things worse.
From his Black Crypt of Stygia, Levistus declared vampires to be the eternal enemies of the angels, officially starting the Twilight War with a daring attack on the Pearly Gates. While the vast majority of vampires were not involved, this was more than enough proof for the angels. They were more convinced than ever that every vampire was a monster that needed to be put down. Zaphkiel reformatted the culture, naming Barachiel, Domiel, Erathoal, Pistis Sophia, Raziel, and Sealtiel as his Arch-Saints, the Hebdomad of Heaven. Each Arch-Saint was given a domain, a Heaven from which to launch attacks on the vampires.
This proved to be their undoing. While Levistus and his men fought tooth and nail, the vampires heavily outnumbered the angels, and most were content to just live their lives in peace. When angels firebombed vampire businesses or apartment buildings, filling the night with daybreaks and angelsong, the average people of the city didn’t care about Striga or the source behind Malcanthet’s attack. All they saw were innocent people being murdered by terrorists.
Public opinion turned against the angels, and the money stopped pouring in. They were forced to scale back the war and improve upon their infrastructure and businesses. Barachiel started up a very profitable messenger and delivery service, while Domiel provided volunteers to the Servants to help maintain the Halls of the Dead as a good-will gesture. Erathoal founded schools, often referred to as the first schools in Domina—even though many schools already existed, the Seer’s were safer, and survived far longer. Pistis Sophia used her spy network to find mercenary missions for Raziel and Sealtiel, while Zaphkiel himself built orphanages using money from Necessarius.
But throughout it all, the angels remained true to their core purpose: Destroy all vampires. Skirmishes with the other cultures were common, and the fey especially enjoyed antagonizing them, but vampires were always the target. Historians agree that until the culture finally throws off this racist origin, they will remain the smallest and weakest of the cultures—even if their fury and zeal allows them to make up for their numbers.
Angel honored are called daybreakers, while their deviants are known as Fallen. Their warlords are called Saints, with the Hebdomad being the Arch-Saints. Their novices are glowlings. The angels do not have traditional subcultures or microcultures, but they do have Hosts, company-sized forces that act mostly independently.
Angel castes are like the gangs of other cultures, and represent the individual angel’s occupation and area of expertise. Their Names (below) are their talents, or callings. As far as they’re concerned, the Name is something you simply are, while castes are a choice.
The warriors, the soldiers, the generals, made up largely of the Gabriels and Michaels. The Dawn caste tends to congregate to Hosts sponsored by Raziel and Sealtiel, but they are the most common caste, and thus are spread broadly throughout all seven Heavens.
The evangelists, both social and religious. They count a number of Lucifers among their ranks, as teaching is just another form of evangelism, but all Names are welcome, and the Raphaels often find a place with them. They work especially well with Barachiel and Erathoal, and are most common in Lunia and Venya.
The scholars and scientists of the angels. While they attract more than a few Lucifers, it is actually the Jegudiels who make up the majority of their numbers. They excel at an intelligent, determined march towards progress. They spend most of their time in Venya, domain of Erathoal, the Seer.
Most angels would be happy not to speak of the Night caste. The spies and assassins of the Heavens, they go against many ideals the angels hold dear. They attract many Uriels, and work very closely with Pistis Sophia in her home of Solania.
The angels most likely to be encountered by outsiders in a peaceful setting, the Eclipse caste make up the ambassadors, diplomats, and negotiators. Lucifers and Raphaels both find this caste attractive, but it is far from uncommon to see other Names as well. They flock to Zaphkiel in Chronias, but Domiel in Mercuria has also found many uses for this caste.
Names are an angel’s calling, and one is only very rarely changed once determined. It becomes the angel’s surname, and members of the same Name are considered family.
Warriors, “the strength of god.” Gabriels are known for being aggressive, strong, and dangerous. They also have a reputation for leaping before they look and failing to follow orders they don’t agree with. The other angels often blame them for the continuation of the Twilight War, which is not fair—but not entirely untrue, either.
Workers, “the laudation of god.” Outsiders rarely meet members of the Jegudiel Name, as they spend most of their time at the Heavens, handling paperwork, bureaucracy, heavy labor, and anything else that requires hard work and dedication. While they are often ignored and forgotten, other Names will quickly sing their praises if asked.
Teachers, “the lightbringer.” Arguably the most important Name of them all, the Lucifers are those angels who lead and teach. They plan the tactics and the strategies, watch over the orphanages and schools. Zaphkiel keeps a close watch on them, as he considers raising intelligent and informed children more important than brainwashing new angels.
Protectors, “the name of god.” Like Gabriels, the Michaels are powerful soldiers. But while Gabriels prefer to strike first, ranging far and wide in search of enemies, the Michaels believe in defense before offense. They are the protectors of the Heavens and anywhere else the Saints deem needs defending, and are held in high esteem even by non-angels. They do, however, have a reputation for stubbornness and immovability, as well as a lack of imagination.
Doctors, “the healing of god.” A valuable Name that tries to stay at the Heavens, Raphaels often find themselves on the front lines to patch up their brothers and sisters. In addition to being doctors and surgeons, Raphaels are the primary keepers of the toy maker. A number of medical advancements can be credited to them, especially those Raphaels who joined the Twilight caste.
Hunters, “the light of god.” Solitary trackers and spies, the Uriels are a quiet bunch who do not interact with others much. They are the most socially awkward of the angels, rarely getting along even with each other. But they are still praised by the Saints and Arch-Saints due to their skills. Among other cultures, they would be valuable, but among the stealth-impaired angels, they are invaluable.
Above all other Saints are the Celestial Hebdomad, the seven angels who first took the glow. They are the ultimate authority on all angels that fall under their domain, but rarely interfere directly with anyone below Saint rank. They are sometimes referred to as Arch-Saints.
The Messenger, Lord of Lunia, the Silver Heaven. He is in charge of all forms of angelic communication.
The Mercy-Bringer, Lord of Mercuria, the Golden Heaven. His charge is protecting the sanctity of death, and is in charge of the Halls of the Dead for all the angels who have fallen in battle.
The Seer, Lord of Venya, the Pearly Heaven. He is in charge of intelligence and schooling, and watches over the Book of Glory.
The Ascetic, Lord of Solania, the Crystal Heaven. She commands the charge of pure and unvarnished truth, unfettered by pain or despair. Somewhat paradoxically, she is also in charge of the spies.
The Crusader, Lord of Mertion, the Platinum Heaven. He is the Arch-saint of War, and the commander-in-chief of all angelic armies.
The Defender, Lord of Jovar, the Glittering Heaven. His charge is protecting Celestia, which he does with a terrifying will.
The Watcher, Lord of Chronias, the Illuminated Heaven. He is the highest angel, and dispenses wisdom and advice to all other members of the Hebdomad. He also watches over orphans and children; Chronias has more orphanages than any other domain.
Angel armies and guilds are referred to as hosts, and are best described as similar to the microcultures of other cultures. Angelic hosts do not compete with each other, however (at least not officially), and always claim members of multiple Names.
The Host of Glorious Destruction
The elderly Saint of the Host of Glorious Destruction is not well-known for her restraint. She is often called upon to strike down a vampire nest swiftly and mercilessly, and is known for her love of fire especially. She is, however, also known for being surprisingly egalitarian. In an organization where racism is seen as passion, she holds no grudge against vampires—though she holds no love for them, either. The Host of Glorious Destruction is sponsored by Pistis Sophia, and recruits angels of both the Gabriel and Uriel Names.
The Host of Radiant Nights
Although his Host is known for shooting first and asking questions later, Saint Ash is calm, collected, and polite at all time… unless you’re a vampire. Or suggest that maybe killing vampires on sight is a bad idea. Or that angels aren’t the beacons of righteousness they make themselves out to be. He claims credit for the disappearance of Levistus, and the continuation of the Twilight War is often laid at his feet. The Host of Radiant Nights is sponsored by Raziel, and recruits angels of the Gabriel Name almost exclusively.