Descent of the Watchers (Azazel and Semiaza) Open on Durmazi farming in a light rain and meeting with Ishtar, lighthearted mood Ishtar wants to marry him, but it is forbidden. Durmazi won't explain why Durmazi, really Salomiel meets with Emethiel. It is revealed that they are angels They compare notes and mention Samael's disappearance Mantle of Adam (Methuselah and Young Noah) Methuselah is fighting a war. Hanoch the Farseer is Judge of the World. Methuselah tries to discover the weakness of the Nephilim. He recieved the Mantle from Hanoch. Ascent of the Metatron (Hanoch, The Holy Ones) Methuselah fights the Nephilim after the Ascent Anakim (Gilgamesh up until Humbaba, reveals information about the Pact of the Watchers) The Rephaim and the Great Wars (Sihon and Og) Comet Rises (Og, The Holy Ones, Hanoch, Noah) The Bull of Heaven (Og, Gilgamesh, Ishtar) The Underworld (Og and Ishtar, Flashback to corruption of Samael, reveals Leviathan) Ishtar and Durmazi (Flashbacks to the seduction of the Watchers) The Gathering Storm (The Anakim and the Rephaim) The Last Judgement (Final battle) Impact and Aftermath Premises: Earth's development has been guided by Angels. Angels are very alien. There are many different kinds. Angels are created by other, higher Angels, who they obey without question. (The Cosmic Hierarchy) Most planets evolve into single minds, which Angels can 'uplift' by teaching them about (actually altering them to believe in) the absolute righteousness of the Hierarchy. Earth did not evolve into a single mind, but multiple minds. Angels who try to contact Earth directly are driven to madness. This happens to Samael, who was tasked to uplift Earth. Earth does have a vague unifying mind, regulated by bacteria. This mind is called Lilith. Lilith guided the evolution of the world to produce humanity, with the intent of humans regulating the ecosystem directly. Adam was the first human tasked with this explicit purpose. He was granted the Mantle of Adam, a living garment that would allow him to control all living things but that requires great self-control in order to use. Samael's attempt to contact Earth corrupted this process. (Somehow) this resulted in the creation of two seperate human races, the Cainites (or Lilim) who have various life-related abilities but poor self-control, and the Sethites who retain the tradition and the Mantle. (The Seduction of the Watchers) The Angels create physical human bodies to interact with and observe the planet. These are the Watchers. They are forbidden from interbreeding with humans, due to the fear that they would give unfair advantages to their children and disrupt the planet's ecosystem. The most prominent Watchers are Salomiel and Emethiel (later Semiaza and Azazel). Emethiel wants to understand humanity. The Cainite Naamah introduces him to the concept of role playing (which is intriguing to Emethiel due to the alien concept 'suspension of disbelief', and he finds he particularly enjoys the sensation of being worshipped) and eventually seduces him, which causes him to start exploring humanity's physical urges. He comes to believe that humans are nothing more than animals. He bends his intellect to serve the urges toward sex and violence, and teaches humans about cosmetics and iron weapons. Salomiel intends to remain pure. He takes on the false name of Dumazi and lives as a farmer, who teaches humans about advanced farming techniques. He falls in love with Ishtar. Emethiel subtly influences Salomiel to begin feeling anger towards the Hierarchy. This ultimately leads to Salomiel leading the Watchers to throw off their vow of chastity. They take on their new names. When Ishtar learns of Dumazis true nature, she asks him to show her how to connect to the higher worlds. When she does, she is horrified to realize what he threw away. She hijacks Salomiel's ascension system and ascends to become the mind of Venus, taking Salomiel's former place. Dumazi is still practically immortal, but he can no longer connect to his astral mind. He leaves to become a king of Uruk. He has several children. Gilgamesh is his son by (a woman of Uruk), while Ohia and Hahia are his sons by women of the wild. Ohia eventually finds his way to civilization, while Hahia remains in the village. Humbaba is the son of Azazel and Naamah. He rules over the Cedar Mountain, where the pact of the Watchers was made. Ishtar becomes the guardian of Uruk, where she is worshipped as a goddess. The Watchers come to the sons of Lamech and inspire them to invent things. The influence of Samael causes the bacterial overmind of Earth to try and develop into a single living organism. This organism, called Leviathan, takes the shape of a single-minded ecosystem intent on destroying all life. The creatures formed from this ecosystem are called Demons. (Young Noah) The Demons begin to spread and attack human cities. Methuselah, who bears the Mantle of Adam, wages a great war against them. He also has a sword made by the Angels. (The Sword of Deathsending, which is how he gets his name) Noah, an asocial young inventor who lives near Methuselah, invents a more advanced plow. He acquires the Mantle (how?) and uses it to tame the re'eimim (aurochs) needed to pull his plow, despite re'eimim being among the hardest animals to tame. This prompts Methuselah to begin teaching Noah how to use the Mantle properly. Noah goes on to invent a whole lot of things to make humanity's lives easier. His technology is in direct contrast to that of Tubal-cain, who invents weapons. (Story centering around Hanoch) The Holy Ones, the angels who never descended and remain loyal to the Hierarchy, debate what to do about Earth. They realize that they cannot directly contact humanity without either harming it or corrupting themselves. They choose a Sethite, Hanoch the Far-Seer, and uplift him to become an angel. They teach him about the Cosmic Hierarchy and charge him to become the guardian of Earth, the Metatron. He accepts. (Gilgamesh and the Anakim, Epic of Gilgamesh up until Humbaba) The first of the Nephilim are born, the sons of the Watchers and the Cainites. They are immensely strong and are capable of accumulating biomass and growing into giants (with the original body inside the neck). One of them, Gilgamesh, saves Uruk from Aga, an enemy too powerful for Ishtar to defeat. He becomes its king. Enmebaragesi, a king of Kish who subdued Elam, was captured by Durmazi. His son, Aga, besieged Uruk but was defeated by Gilgamesh. Durmazi was the predecessor of Gilgamesh, who ruled Uruk. Another Nephil, Ohia son of Semiaza (Uriel helps in his creation somehow?), lives in the wild. Shamhat, a temple courtesan of Uruk, seduces him and introduces him to civilization. He challenges Gilgamesh and they become friends. They fight Humbaba, another Nephil, who lives in Hermon, the mountain where the Watchers made their pact. Hahia is another son of Semiaza. He is quiet and keeps to himself mostly, but he is actually one of the strongest Nephilim. He also has strong communion abilities. Mahwei is the son of Barakiel. He learns about the Cosmic Hierarchy and learns various kinds of magic, notably astral projection. (Story centering around Og and the Great Wars) Sihon and Og, the sons of Ohia, are born. They are Rephaim, less powerful than true Anakim but still immortal and able to heal from virtually any injury. Both are strong survivors, but Og is more dutiful. Ohia and Shamhat split up. (?) Og meets with Noah at some point. Noah and Naamah? Sons of Noah? Shamhat marries Ham at some point. The Sethites lose their purity and begin mingling with the Cainites, acquiring many of their bad habits and abilities. A bitter race war begins as a result, involving warrior-mages on both sides who use the Gifts of Lilith to fight beyond natural human capacity. They consume huge amounts of food and typically wind up killed by the Overgrowth after a few years due to excess healing. (Intermission: The Comet Approaches) The Holy Ones debate whether life on Earth has grown too corrupt to be uplifted and must be destroyed. Gabriel begins, and Michael agrees. They go to Uriel, who is reluctant and refuses to destroy all life with a solar flare. Michael decides to use a comet instead, focused on the ocean where Leviathan dwells, which will cause a superheated flood to clean the surrounding region. It is unclear whether the destruction will be localized or planetwide. Uriel warns Noah of the impending Flood. Noah begins building an ark to preserve life on Earth. He uses the Mantle of Adam to aid him. (Epic of Gilgamesh Part 2, alongside the other Anakim) (Behemoth: The Bull of Heaven? Defender of multicellular life? Summoned by Ishtar, allegedly to kill Leviathan? Killed by Gilgamesh, thereby dooming the world?) The Four Anakim have an ominous shared dream. Mahwai uses the magic he learned from his father to ascend into heaven and ask Metatron what they foretell. He finds out about the Comet, and about Leviathan, who may be trying to escape (?). The Four Anakim decide to fight against Leviathan together, in fulfillment of a vow they made (?) Og and Sihon discuss whether or not to fight against Leviathan. Og decides to fight alongside his father, but Sihon believes it to be a hopeless cause. He decides to flee to a distant land in the hopes of escaping the Flood. (Note: Possibly remove Sihon entirely) Methuselah dies. This initiates the final battle (?). (Final Battle) Gilgamesh, Ohia, Hahia, Mahwei, and Og VS Leviathan, Lilith, Samael, and the Nephilim VS Semiaza, Azazel, and the other Watchers VS Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael VS A bunch of miscillaneous Sethites and Cainites Leviathan is defeated by Ohia, who is mortally wounded in the process Methuselah is also mortally wounded One of the Watchers (?) repents and joins the Holy Ones during the battle Semiaza is given the chance to repent, but chooses to die instead (?) Azazel is sealed under the earth by the Holy Ones, unwilling to either repent or die Most of the Watchers are either killed or sealed off (The Impact and the Aftermath) Ohia dies from his wounds, watching the wave. Gilgamesh walks into the upheaving ground and disappears. Hahia is killed by the wave. The Sethites and Cainites flee toward the Ark. Noah uses the Mantle of Adam to summon hordes of wild animals and fight them off until the Flood washes/burns them away. Og clings to the side of the Ark and survives being boiled to death because of regenerative abilities and survival instinct. He has also become a giant. Og berates Noah for abandoning the world. Close with Og standing on top of the Ark and screaming at the sky. Epilogue featuring Metatron discussing his plans for uplifting humanity over the next few thousand years. Hints that he may be planning on overturning the Hierarchy. The Angels suspect nothing. Characters: Humans and metahuman races: Sethites: Conservative, believe mainly in the virtue of self-control, originally monotheistic but develop towards polytheism. Later generations learned to use the arts of elemental magic. Originally the leaders of the Children of Adam, they became less respected as they became more corrupt. Cainites: Progressive, believe in humanity's dominance over the world. Much progress in the realms of technology and art come from them. Many are born with "the Gifts of Lilith" that grant them biologically-based powers, such as healing, sapping, metamorphosis, and mind control. Anashim: Crosses between Sethites and Cainites, they tend toward zealotry and are largely manipulated by the Watchers. A few have Gifts of Lilith, but they tend to be fewer and weaker than pure-blooded Cainites. Masters of the Field/Wild Men: Humans untouched by the influence of the Fruit of Knowledge, they live in small villages and shun advanced civilization. Nephilim: The genertically-engineered children of the Watchers and humans. Many of their human halves are from crossbreeds between Sethites and Cainites. Have powerful control over the biosphere as well as their own bodies. Functionally immortal unless killed (which is very, very hard to do), and immune to Overgrowth as well. Rephaim: Second generation after nephilim. Og is one of these. They lack the power of the Nephilim, but are still capable of incredible feats of healing, even to the point of regenerating from a single cell, provided they have sufficient nutrients available nearby. Because of their tendency to regenerate from seemingly fatal circumstances, many have mistaken them for the spirits of the dead. They are immortal and immune to Overgrowth. Anakim: Third generation after nephilim. Larger, stronger, and more long-lived than normal humans but their vigor tends to diminish with each succeeding generation as the angel blood is diluted. The Sethites were originally righteous and were considered to be higher class than the Cainites, serving as priests. The powerful Sethites began to look down on the cursed Cainites, and so the Cainites left and began constructing their own cities. The Sethites began to worship the stars and planets, and to forget the One God and the ideals of Adam. A rigid caste structure emerged, and ritual became more important than ideals. Many of the Sethites were repulsed by what their culture had become and intrigued by the progressiveness of Cainite civilization. They left their own values to mingle with the Cainites themselves. Their children, the Anashim, were considered pariahs by both races, being too zealous for the liberal Cainites yet not pure enough for the Sethites. When the Watchers appeared, the Anashim were among the most likely to seek out and seduce the Watchers in an attempt to attach to something higher. Their children became the Nephilim. Demons: The "children" of Lilith and Samael. They are hive-mind of bacteria that live on and grow out of a slowly expanding biofilm, with the aim of assimilating all life. They form into multicellular animal-like structures in order to attack foreign life and travel beyond their biofilm's boundaries. Lacking cellular cohesion, they are easily injured but regenerate almost instantly from physical trauma. Even if "killed", their bodies will soon melt into a new patch of biofilm and begin infecting nearby life forms. They tend to avoid fast-running water, as it breaks them apart and washes them away, and salt can dry them up so the smaller, slug-like 'scouts' will avoid it. The only reliable way to kill them is with fire. Artifacts: The Mantle of Adam: A living garment that binds to the wearer and grants them power over all living things. However, being able to control the Mantle requires complete mastery of the wearer's base urges. Whenever a person taps into the Mantle's power, Lilith appears to them in their minds eye and offers them the opportunity to surrender to their most animalistic drives. If the wearer does not have 'purity of intent', the Mantle will consume him. The mantle shows no interest in children, nor can children control it. Some adults can also wear the Mantle without interacting with it. Only a small number of people have successfully commanded the Mantle: Adam, Hebel, Seth, Hanoch, Methuselah, and Noah. For generations, the leaders of the Sethites have owned the Mantle, training the next generation to control the Mantle before passing it on to them as they inherit the title. The Cainites believe that they are meant to own the Mantle. They believe it is possible to control the Mantle by the 'purity of intent' driven by pure rage, or by pure dominance. The Sethites deny this. The Blue Staff: A crystalline artifact with an appearance similar to lapis lazuli. It was created through angel technology and came to Earth along with Samael. It allows the wielder to directly override the laws of nature, and requires a supreme understanding of natural law. It is believed that the study of magic began by analyzing and imitating the properties of the Staff. The Staff can only belong to one person at a time, and is passed on at the time of that person's death. Like the Mantle, it has been passed on to the leaders of the Sethites for generations since Adam. However, since the ascent of Hanoch and the emergence of the Metatron, it has refused to obey a new master, instead serving as a focal point for the Metatron's own will. While the Staff was originally a symbol of wisdom and understanding over the world, it later became a symbol of faith and servitude. Originally the Mantle and the Staff belonging to Adam, who granted them both to his son Hebel. Cain desired the mantle, but Hebel believed that Cain was unworthy of its power, and so devised a "test" to determine who would acquire the two artifacts. The test was to determine which of the two was favored by the Creator by each bringing sacrifices and watching to see which was accepted. According to the Cainites, this test was intended to further mock Cain, as Hebel could use the Staff to burn the sacrifices. Enraged at this, Cain attempted to murder his brother, but was easily overcome, until, lying defeated at his brother's feet, he grasped hold of the Mantle's hem. Guided by the purity of Cain's anger, the Mantle turned against its wearer, killing Hebel. The Cainites bring this as proof that their ancestor was supposed to be the rightful inheritor of the Mantle. However, Adam took both the Mantle and the Staff from him, and instead gave it to his third son, Seth. According to the Sethites, the test was genuine, and Hebel was killed not because Cain was able to control the Mantle, but because his focus wavered out of pity for his brother. Characters: The Holy Ones: Michael: Appears as starlight refracted through water. The messenger of the Holy Ones, who sends and recieves information from the higher-ups. Maintains a relationship with the Arelim. Kind, curious, patient, and willing to forgive almost anything, except blasphemy. Anyone speaking against the Supreme Will in his presence will be immediately annihilated. Gabriel: Appears as a human, but frequently bursts into flames. The most 'human' of the Holy Ones, and was the first successful attempt at creating an entity that can function as a human (for short periods) without becoming corrupted (probably). Tends to be judgemental toward humans and at times expresses an interest in destroying humanity, which is generally overruled. It is unknown whether this is because he understands humans better than the others, because he has assimilated the human characteristic of xenophobia, or both. Uriel: Appears as sunlight shrouded in clouds. As the Angel of the Sun, he is the most powerful of the Holy Ones in the material world, but typically avoids direct intervention. Raphael: Appears as pure white marble reflecting light from an unseen source. The healer of the Holy Ones. The Watchers: Shemiaza: Formerly Shalomiel, Angel of Peace, associated with Venus. He was chosen as one of the Watchers, to inhabit a constructed human body and observe humanity without interfering. He took the form of an ordinary shepherd (called Dumuzi?), but grew too close to a human woman, Ishtar, and fell in love with her. This led to him growing dissatisfied with the policies of the Hierarchy and ultimately creating the covenant between the Watchers, ensuring that they would share responsibility for their collective disobedience. However, when Ishtar heard what he had done, she tricked him into giving up his powers of divinity, then immediately fled, ascending to take his former place as the Angel of Venus. Enraged at this rejection and betrayal, Shemiaza cursed Ishtar that neither she nor her lovers should ever know peace. He later had two children, Ohia and Hahia, to women from the Field. He taught humanity the art of root-cuttings and is associated with the harvest, and ruled Uruk before Gilgamesh. Araqiel: (Earth of God, taught Geomancy) Is particularly curious about the state of the hive mind on Earth (Lilith). Becomes a Watcher in order to study it in-depth. Rameel: (Arrogant toward God. See Azazel) Kokabiel: (Star of God, taught astrology. Might be holy, might be fallen) A double agent reporting to both the Watchers and the Holy Ones, but ultimately is loyal to the Holy Ones. Tamiel: (Perfection of God, nicknamed "Tumiel" after becoming a Watcher, taught astronomy. Might also be Kasayade?) Ramiel: (Thunder of God, angel of hope, guides souls into heaven and presides over those who will resurrect, provides true visions) A spy for the Holy Ones. Discovers Leviathan. Danel: (God has Judged, taught signs of the sun) Believes that the Highest Will does not care about individual lives, only the big picture. Chazaqiel: (Cloud of God, taught knowledge of clouds, meteorology) Has a fixation on the idea of tyranny and believes that in order to be free from the dominion of the powerful, one must seek to understand those above them. This leads him to begin questioning his commanders. Baraqel: A former angel of Jupiter. He was somewhat reluctant to join Shemiaza's rebellion, but ultimately relented to pursue a woman he had already been watching. He has a child, Mahway, who he teaches the arts of astrology and astral projection. Asael: (God has Made) Believes in the intrinsic value of artistic expression, descended to Earth in order to experience the sensation of creation. Armaros/Armoni: ("From Hermon", "Accursed One". Unclear if he taught magical remedies, or remedies of magic.) A Watcher who favors the natural development of Earth. This puts him in opposition to different parties depending on the situation. He protects ordinary humans from both the Watchers and the Holy Ones, as well as the children of the Watchers. Batariel: (Valley of God) Wants to aid humanity, but becomes distressed over the fact that aiding some people will cause others to become jealous. Bezaliel: (Shadow of God, "damaged"? Controversial if actually a Watcher, appears in some lists but not others) Was captured by the Holy Ones early on and destroyed due to corruption. Ananiel: (Cloud of God) Is especially curious about the tendency for living things to be willfully unaware. Takes physical form in order to experience life without the awareness of an astral body. Zaqiel: (Purity of God/God has protected) Believes that the Highest Will is too far above the world to interact with it without destroying it, and therefore does not. Shamshiel: (Former Guardian of Eden, and one of the aides of Uriel, the other being Hasdiel when Uriel bore his standard into battle. Taught the signs of the sun.) A Kerub whose prime directive is to (?). His zealousness causes him to err and think that joining the Watchers will help him to attain his prime purpose. He ultimately realizes his error and returns to the side of the Holy Ones. Sathariel: (Side of God) Became a Watcher out of a desire to understand what it is like to experience different sensations. Often changes shape, frequently appears as a woman because "women's sensations are much more interesting", unlike most of the Watchers who generally prefer a male form (although all are technically sexless) Turiel: (Rock of God) Stubborn. Yomiel: (Day of God) Originally believed in proactive action without wasting time on thought, ultimately becomes obsessed with momentary pleasure and a hedonistic lifestyle, lives for the "here and now". Sariel: (Command of God, taught about the moon. Might also be Saraqael, one of the archangels who judges the angels that rebel. May also be an Angel of Death) On the fence for a while, ultimately returns to the Holy Ones before the final battle. (Possibly urged to by Shamshiel) Azazel: Formerly Emethiel, Angel of Truth, associated with Saturn. One of the Watchers, he was all too eager to weigh into Shemiaza's rebellion, and in all likelihood had been disobeying the policies of the Hierarchy from very early on, acting as a poisonous friend to his colleague and manipulating him into his fall from grace. Reveling in the vices of human form, particularly those related to sex and violence, he taught humanity the arts of military strategy, weapon making, and seduction, to "help" them succeed in their endeavors. "The only 'truth' here is that man is an animal, whose only purpose is to fight, mate, and die. Why should I deny him of his birthright through false hopes of salvation?" The Five who led the others astray: Yeqon/Yaqum: (He shall Rise) (possibly Azazel) Asbeel: (Abandoner of God, suggested an "evil plan" so that they corrupt their bodies with the daughters of men) Gadreel: (Wall of God, taught cosmetics and killing blows, led Eve astray) Penemue: (The Inside, taught humans knowledge and writing, but reduces their faith) Kasyade: (Covered Hand) Taught the strikes of demons and spirits, the strikes that attack a fetus, the strikes that attack the soul, the bites of the serpent, and the strikes of the noontide heat, and the "son of the serpent who is strong". One of the Five Rebels. Appears loyal to Azazel's cause but is actually working for Leviathan. Ascended (humans who became angels): Ishtar: Ascended by stealing the powers and position of Shemiaza, and gained access to the powers of an Angel of Venus. Blessed with intense beauty, but cursed that neither she nor her lovers should know peace, she usually wears a veil when engaging with mortals. She is also a fierce and powerful warrior whose presence sows terror and confusion among her enemies. She becomes the guardian of Uruk, worshipped in the Ianna temple, and fends off many enemies, but is eventually overwhelmed by a powerful force and is saved by Gilgamesh. She later falls in love with Gilgamesh and attempts to seduce him, but he rejects her, knowing of her curse. This prompts her to summon the Bull of Heaven against him. Enoch: A former world leader, he is summoned by angels to ascend and become the Metatron, since the angels are unable to properly understand humanity well enough to guide it. Mentor of Methuselah, and owner of the Blue Staff. Nephilim: Gilgamesh: The King of Uruk. After saving Uruk from conquest, he became its ruler, but eventually became a tyrant. This prompted Shamhat, a courtesan priestess from the Temple of Ianna, to seek out a hero who could put him in his place. This hero was Ohia, who challenged and fought the king to a standstill, earning his respect and friendship. After the Pact of the Giants, Gilgamesh functioned as their leader. Ohia (Enkidu): The son of Semiaza and a woman from the wilds, Ohia was raised among the wild aurochs and eventually was tempted into becoming a functional member of civilization by Shamhat. He has a hot-blooded personality and becomes a close friend of Gilgamesh. Hahia: The brother of Ohia, he chose to remain in the wild and shun human civilization until Ohia saved his life and pushed him into joining the Pact of the Giants. He tends to look down on civilization in general. Mahwei: The son of Barakiel and the last to joint the Pact of the Giants. Unlike most Nephilim, his father played a significant role in raising him, teaching him the art of astral projection which allows him to ascend to the upper worlds and observe the Angels. Rephaim: Og: The son of Ohia and Shamhat. As a Repha, he posesses superhuman strength, functional immortality, and regenerative abilities. Sihon(?) Shemites: Methuselah (died 7 days before the flood) Lamech Noah Shem Ham Iapeth Cainites: Cain Lamech (died 4 years before the flood) Adah Tzilah Shamhat Iabal Iubal Tubal-Cain Naamah (led Azazel astray?) Warriors of the Mantle: A small army of 400 elite soldiers, sworn to serve the bearer of the Mantle of Adam. They have a normal human lifespan, but are destined to constantly reincarnate, retaining both their vow and their combat experience with each new life. Other Entities: Lilith (Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld): Guided the evolution of life on Earth until unwittingly contacted by Samael, causing them to fuse into Leviathan. Leviathan (Kur, Samael, Hades): A colossal hive-mind made of single-celled organisms. Behemoth (Gugalanna, consort of Ereshkigal):? On Angels: Angels are extradimensional beings that exist throughout the cosmos. Unlike planetary life, Angels do not evolve from simpler forms; they are created, fully-formed, from higher-ranked Angels for purposes of micromanagement. As a result, all Angels maintain a full awareness of their purpose and duties and are incapable of going against them. This process has presumably been going on forever, there is no 'height' to the Cosmic Hierarchy, and while the Angels do believe in the idea of a 'Prime Cause' that higher Angels are 'closer' to, since the 'Prime Cause' is infinitely 'above' them no Angel can claim to have witnessed it directly. Nevertheless, they all believe in the 'Prime Cause' absolutely and instill the same belief upon their subordinates. (The material universe does not represent an absolute limit, it was created by an Angel who was also created by a higher Angel, and so on.) Angels also intrinsically believe in a Cosmic Will that permeates all of reality, implied to represent the will of the Prime Cause. The Cosmic Will effectively ensures that no matter what anyone does, the universe will constantly develop higher, more organized 'minds'. Angels have observed this happening on many celestial objects, ranging from planets to stars to entire galaxies. Whenever a celestial object develops a mind, a higher-level Angel 'uplifts' that mind to create a new Angel, and they will do whatever they can to ensure that a celestial object will develop an upliftable mind whenever possible. Although all Angels will intrinsically try to serve the Cosmic Will and obey higher-ranking Angels without fail, this does not mean that Angels are incapable of disagreement. Angels have distinct personalities and may at times disagree about how best to accomplish a given task. They are also not omniscient and are capable of making mistakes. An Angel can also become Corrupted, which basically means that its perfect subservience and obedience has been comprimised. This can happen when the physical body of an Angel (such as a planet or a star) takes extreme amounts of damage. However, an Angel will always opt to destroy itself rather than risk Corruption, so Corruption is extremely rare except in extreme cases when, due to a grevious error, an Angel is taken by surprise. As higher-dimensional beings, Angels are capable of some manipulation of physical reality - enough to grow a biologically viable physical body from scratch, command the elements, and utilize a few other special talents. An angel in physical form is a formidable creature, but their bodies are not truly immortal, although if it 'dies' it can simply grow a new body. The only way to truly 'kill' an Angel is to convince it that it has become Corrupted, or to convince it that its task and reason for existing is complete. When an Angel becomes corrupted due to being severed from their astral connection, a higher Angel will 'execute' it by reconnecting its astral connection, causing it to destroy itself out of the horror of what it has done. Sometimes, however, a corrupted Angel can repent, which can result in the Angel taking on a new role (typically executing justice on those who made mistakes similar to itself, but did not repent). The Cosmic Hierarchy consists of ten 'levels' that are more or less comprehensible to physical beings: Haioth - Guardians over the universe. Their thought is reality itself. There are countless levels above them, but these are basically incomprehensible. Ophanim - Sapient time-loops. They represent the inevitable progress of a cosmic plan. They can be of any size in time or space and achieve fulfillment when their purpose is fulfilled. Ophanim are full of circular logic. Arelim - Messenger forces that communicate between different physical 'nodes' in the cosmic overmind. They maintain causality by 'consuming' time-lines that do not lead to the fulfillment of their associated Ophan's plan. They are nothing at all like planet-eating giant space lions. Hashmalim - A "mind" that watches over a particular cosmic 'node'. A single Hashmal is designated for each large-scale cosmic structure (planet, star system, galaxy, supercluster, etc.), and their 'speed of thought' is limited by the physical speed of light and the size of their associated structure, although they are not, strictly speaking, physical beings themselves. Hashmalim exist in order to bring about the fulfillment of their associated node, which always leads to them creating themselves. Hashmalim that fail are an ontological contradiction, and their time-lines are consumed by the Arelim. The 'voice' of a Hashmal varies depending on how close or far it is to fulfilling its purpose. Seraphim - "Named" archangels representing aspects of a Hashmal. These entities have a sort of individuality and can perform different tasks and react to stimuli in different ways, although their minds and memories are intrinsically joined together; it is impossible for one Seraph to know something that another does not. The Holy Ones are on this level. Malahim - An entity manifesting in the material world for a single purpose, often representing the avatar of a particular Seraph. Although they share the name of their associated Seraph, they are often reluctant to reveal exactly which Seraph they represent due to their transience. They may appear as a living person, a voice, or an elemental manifestation. They disappear as soon as their task is completed. Elohim - A Malah that remains physical for an indefinite period. They are connected to an "astral mind" which they are aware of, and they can communicate with the Seraphim through that astral mind, but they are able to maintain their own individual thoughts and identity as well. Bnei Elohim - Similar to Elohim, but they are capable of 'ignoring' their astral mind. This allows them to empathize with physical beings in a deeper way, which may help with complex tasks, but it also allows them to become corrupted. The Watchers were on this level before their rebellion. Kerubim - Enduring entities functionally severed from the astral mind. They have a single task, which they will follow to the letter until they are actively relieved from duty, physically destroyed, or their task becomes impossible (for instance, if a Kerub is set to guard an object, and the object is destroyed, the Kerub will disappear). Although too pure and zealous to be corrupted in the manner of the Bnei Elohim, some can be so caught up in the literal fulfillment of their assignment that they lose sight of its spirit. Ishim - Practically human psychologically, but with special powers. On the Planetary Mind of Uriel-3 (Earth) A planetary mind can exist wherever there is energy and motion, in the atmosphere, in the tectonic motion inside the planet, or through chemical reactions on the surface. On most planets that produce life, this life remains single-cellular, and spreads until it covers the surface of the planet with a single biofilm that eventually grows to become self-aware, although unaware of all 'other' organisms. It is this organism that the Angels can 'uplift' by modifying it to become aware of the Hierarchy, which makes it perfectly subservient and effectively becomes a planetary Angel itself. On Earth, however, this process was arrested by the planetary glaciation that came after the Oxygen Catastrophe. On most worlds, this would have resulted in the extinction of life, but on Earth life survived by grouping into tiny clusters that became the first multicellular organisms. Since then, the evolution of life on Earth has been regulated by a semi-aware bacterial network, which 'used' multicellular organisms as self-contained 'cities'. This planetary organism eventually produced humanity, organisms capable of regulating and maintaining the ecosystem directly, and that inexplicably posessed self-awareness. It was at this point that the Angel Samael attempted to make contact with the planet's biosphere through the use of a genetically modified fruit, which (he assumed) would pass through the gut of the organism who consumed it and begin the Uplifting process, starting with their gut microbiome. Unfortunately, the fruit was designed to interact with and modify a semi-aware planetary network, but was not prepared to deal with a fully-aware multicellular organism, which contained both the notion of 'self' AND an instinct to attack foreign entities. Instead of becoming subservient, the human mind attacked and 'consumed' the foreign entity Samael, corrupting the Angel and permanently binding his mind to the planetary network. The original node in the planetary network responsible for producing the human species, Lilith, merged with Samael and began to develop into an organism in its own right. This organism, called Leviathan, began to slowly spread across the surface of the planet, consuming everything in its path. PLOT NOTES Descent of the Watchers (Azazel and Semiaza) Open on Durmazi farming in a light rain and meeting with Ishtar, lighthearted mood Ishtar wants to marry him, but it is forbidden. Durmazi won't explain why Durmazi, really Salomiel meets with Emethiel. It is revealed that they are angels They compare notes and mention Samael's disappearance Mantle of Adam (Methuselah and Young Noah) Methuselah is fighting a war. Hanoch the Farseer is Judge of the World. Methuselah tries to discover the weakness of the Demons. He recieved the Mantle from Hanoch. Ascent of the Metatron (Hanoch, The Holy Ones) Methuselah fights the Demons after the Ascent Anakim (A retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh up until the defeat of Humbaba, reveals information about the Pact of the Watchers) The Rephaim and the Great Wars (Og) Comet Rises (Og, The Holy Ones, Hanoch, Noah) The Bull of Heaven (Og, Gilgamesh, Ishtar) The Underworld (Og and Ishtar, Flashback to corruption of Samael, reveals Leviathan) Ishtar and Durmazi (Flashbacks to the seduction of the Watchers) The Gathering Storm (The Anakim and the Rephaim) The Last Judgement (Final battle) Impact and Aftermath Premises: Earth's development has been guided by Angels. Angels are very alien. There are many different kinds. Angels are created by other, higher Angels, who they obey without question. (The Cosmic Hierarchy) Most planets evolve into single minds, which Angels can 'uplift' by teaching them about (actually altering them to believe in) the absolute righteousness of the Hierarchy. Earth did not evolve into a single mind, but multiple minds. Angels who try to contact Earth directly are driven to madness. This happens to Samael, who was tasked to uplift Earth. Earth does have a vague unifying mind, regulated by bacteria. This mind is called Lilith. Lilith guided the evolution of the world to produce humanity, with the intent of humans regulating the ecosystem directly. Adam was the first human tasked with this explicit purpose. He was granted the Mantle of Adam, a living garment that would allow him to control all living things but that requires great self-control in order to use. Samael's attempt to contact Earth corrupted this process. (Somehow) this resulted in the creation of two seperate human races, the Cainites (or Lilim) who have various life-related abilities but poor self-control, and the Sethites who retain the tradition and the Mantle. (The Seduction of the Watchers) The Angels create physical human bodies to interact with and observe the planet. These are the Watchers. They are forbidden from interbreeding with humans, due to the fear that they would give unfair advantages to their children and disrupt the planet's ecosystem. The most prominent Watchers are Salomiel and Emethiel (later Semiaza and Azazel). Emethiel wants to understand humanity. The Cainite Naamah introduces him to the concept of role playing (which is intriguing to Emethiel due to the alien concept 'suspension of disbelief', and he finds he particularly enjoys the sensation of being worshipped) and eventually seduces him, which causes him to start exploring humanity's physical urges. He comes to believe that humans are nothing more than animals. He bends his intellect to serve the urges toward sex and violence, and teaches humans about cosmetics and iron weapons. Salomiel intends to remain pure. He takes on the false name of Dumazi and lives as a farmer, who teaches humans about advanced farming techniques. He falls in love with Ishtar. Emethiel subtly influences Salomiel to begin feeling anger towards the Hierarchy. This ultimately leads to Salomiel leading the Watchers to throw off their vow of chastity. They take on their new names. When Ishtar learns of Dumazis true nature, she asks him to show her how to connect to the higher worlds. When she does, she is horrified to realize what he threw away. She hijacks Salomiel's ascension system and ascends to become the mind of Venus, taking Salomiel's former place. Dumazi is still practically immortal, but he can no longer connect to his astral mind. He leaves to become a king of Uruk. He has several children. Gilgamesh is his son by (a woman of Uruk), while Ohia and Hahia are his sons by women of the wild. Ohia eventually finds his way to civilization, while Hahia remains in the village. Humbaba is the son of Azazel and Naamah. He rules over the Cedar Mountain, where the pact of the Watchers was made. Ishtar becomes the guardian of Uruk, where she is worshipped as a goddess. The Watchers come to the sons of Lamech and inspire them to invent things. The influence of Samael causes the bacterial overmind of Earth to try and develop into a single living organism. This organism, called Leviathan, takes the shape of a single-minded ecosystem intent on destroying all life. The creatures formed from this ecosystem are called Demons. (Young Noah) The Demons begin to spread and attack human cities. Methuselah, who bears the Mantle of Adam, wages a great war against them. He also has a sword made by the Angels. (The Sword of Deathsending, which is how he gets his name) Noah, an asocial young inventor who lives near Methuselah, invents a more advanced plow. He acquires the Mantle (how?) and uses it to tame the re'eimim (aurochs) needed to pull his plow, despite re'eimim being among the hardest animals to tame. This prompts Methuselah to begin teaching Noah how to use the Mantle properly. Noah goes on to invent a whole lot of things to make humanity's lives easier. His technology is in direct contrast to that of Tubal-cain, who invents weapons. (Story centering around Hanoch) The Holy Ones, the angels who never descended and remain loyal to the Hierarchy, debate what to do about Earth. They realize that they cannot directly contact humanity without either harming it or corrupting themselves. They choose a Sethite, Hanoch the Far-Seer, and uplift him to become an angel. They teach him about the Cosmic Hierarchy and charge him to become the guardian of Earth, the Metatron. He accepts. (Gilgamesh and the Anakim, Epic of Gilgamesh up until Humbaba) The first of the Nephilim are born, the sons of the Watchers and the Cainites. They are immensely strong and are capable of accumulating biomass and growing into giants (with the original body inside the neck). One of them, Gilgamesh, saves Uruk from Aga, an enemy too powerful for Ishtar to defeat. He becomes its king. Enmebaragesi, a king of Kish who subdued Elam, was captured by Durmazi. His son, Aga, besieged Uruk but was defeated by Gilgamesh. Durmazi was the predecessor of Gilgamesh, who ruled Uruk. Another Anak, Ohia son of Semiaza (Uriel helps in his creation somehow?), lives in the wild. Shamhat, a temple courtesan of Uruk, seduces him and introduces him to civilization. He challenges Gilgamesh and they become friends. They fight Humbaba, another Anak, who lives in Hermon, the mountain where the Watchers made their pact. Hahia is another son of Semiaza. He is quiet and keeps to himself mostly, but he is actually one of the strongest Anakim. He also has strpng communion abilities. Mahwei is the son of Barakiel. He learns about the Cosmic Hierarchy and learns various kinds of magic, notably astral projection. (Story centering around Og and the Great Wars) Sihon and Og, the sons of Ohia, are born. They are Rephaim, less powerful than true Anakim but still immortal and able to heal from virtually any injury. Both are strong survivors, but Og is more dutiful. Ohia and Shamhat split up. (?) Og meets with Noah at some point. Noah and Naamah? Sons of Noah? Shamhat marries Ham at some point. The Sethites lose their purity and begin mingling with the Cainites, acquiring many of their bad habits and abilities. A bitter race war begins as a result, involving warrior-mages on both sides who use the Gifts of Lilith to fight beyond natural human capacity. They consume huge amounts of food and typically wind up killed by the Overgrowth after a few years due to excess healing. (Intermission: The Comet Approaches) The Holy Ones debate whether life on Earth has grown too corrupt to be uplifted and must be destroyed. Gabriel begins, and Michael agrees. They go to Uriel, who is reluctant and refuses to destroy all life with a solar flare. Michael decides to use a comet instead, focused on the ocean where Leviathan dwells, which will cause a superheated flood to clean the surrounding region. It is unclear whether the destruction will be localized or planetwide. Uriel warns Noah of the impending Flood. Noah begins building an ark to preserve life on Earth. He uses the Mantle of Adam to aid him. (Epic of Gilgamesh Part 2, alongside the other Anakim) (Behemoth: The Bull of Heaven? Defender of multicellular life? Summoned by Ishtar, allegedly to kill Leviathan? Killed by Gilgamesh, thereby dooming the world?) The Four Anakim have an ominous shared dream. Mahwai uses the magic he learned from his father to ascend into heaven and ask Metatron what they foretell. He finds out about the Comet, and about Leviathan, who may be trying to escape (?). The Four Anakim decide to fight against Leviathan together, in fulfillment of a vow they made (?) Og and Sihon discuss whether or not to fight against Leviathan. Og decides to fight alongside his father, but Sihon believes it to be a hopeless cause. He decides to flee to a distant land in the hopes of escaping the Flood. (Note: Possibly remove Sihon entirely) Methuselah dies. This initiates the final battle (?). (Final Battle) Gilgamesh, Ohia, Hahia, Mahwei, and Og VS Leviathan, Lilith, Samael, and the Nephilim VS Semiaza, Azazel, and the other Watchers VS Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael VS A bunch of miscillaneous Sethites and Cainites Leviathan is defeated by Ohia, who is mortally wounded in the process Methuselah is also mortally wounded One of the Watchers (?) repents and joins the Holy Ones during the battle Semiaza is given the chance to repent, but chooses to die instead (?) Azazel is sealed under the earth by the Holy Ones, unwilling to either repent or die Most of the Watchers are either killed or sealed off (The Impact and the Aftermath) Ohia dies from his wounds, watching the wave. Gilgamesh walks into the upheaving ground and disappears. Hahia is killed by the wave. The Sethites and Cainites flee toward the Ark. Noah uses the Mantle of Adam to summon hordes of wild animals and fight them off until the Flood washes/burns them away. Og clings to the side of the Ark and survives being boiled to death because of regenerative abilities and survival instinct. He has also become a giant. Og berates Noah for abandoning the world. Close with Og standing on top of the Ark and screaming at the sky. Epilogue featuring Metatron discussing his plans for uplifting humanity over the next few thousand years. Hints that he may be planning on overturning the Hierarchy. The Angels suspect nothing. EXCERPTS Prologue From: Raphael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Systemic Subject: Data analysis of Uriel 3 Systemic class: Planetary Material class: Metallic/silicate. Structural information: Tectonically active. Negligible tectonic sapience. Thin outer crust containing high amounts of oxides that develop late in planet's formation. Extra information: Surface mostly covered in liquid water pooled in depressed locations of the crust. Complex chemical cycle involving self-replicating carbon-based structures. Probably responsible for late-period oxygenation event. Abnormally high levels of oxygen in atmosphere. Biosphere likely, but organic sapience remains undetected within available chronological scope for unknown reasons. Significant coverage of surface. Further study required. From: Uriel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Data analysis of Uriel 3 Requesting further analysis of organic structures and estimate regarding possible timescale and/or success probability for uplifting process. From: Raphael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Data analysis of Uriel 3 Development of biosphere initiates shortly after solidification of surface. Confined mainly to liquid water for most of planet's history. Development normal until overconsumption of resources leads to catastrophic oxygenation event. Oxygen-resistant variant of organic pattern survives. Beginnings of organic-based sapience detected up until global glaciation period. Biosphere survives but is seemingly irreparably damaged. Abnormal development of biological pattern halts formation of global self-awareness. Unable to estimate probability of uplifting success. From: Gabriel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Data analysis of Uriel 3 Unlikely to be salvageable. Suggesting full reset of biosphere via thermal cleansing of planetary surface. From: Michael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Data analysis of Uriel 3 Opposition to Gabriel's suggestion. Abnormal development of planetary consciousness may result in enrichment of the Hierarchy should uplifting process succeed. Suggesting secondary analysis by expert in organic chemistry. From: Samael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Urgent Subject: Request for study Requesting permission for personal study of chemical structures on Uriel 3. From: Uriel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard: Re: Request for study Permission granted. From: Samael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Subject: Evaluation of Uriel 3 biosphere Organic patterns display surprising levels of resilience. Abnormal development appears to be related to late-period glaciacion event. Survival achieved in small pockets of liquid water, disruption of global biotic network sets precedent for remainder of development. Cause of failure to form global sapience lies not in lack of complexity, but rather cohesion. Nodes of biosphere appear to develop into containment vessels that protect the parts that are still able to connect with the global network, but as they communicate exclusively through chemical exchange this seems to slow development of global cohesion and prevents development of true planetary self-awareness. From: Samael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Evaluation of Uriel 3 biosphere Further study of organic containment "vessels" demonstrates high levels of variance in form and behavior. Many appear to possess a kind of rudimentary programming of their own, enabling them to gather solar energy or in some instances actively seek out existing stores of chemical energy, providing their inhabitants with the means for survival. However this programming is highly inefficient, as individual containment vessels appear to have no means of identifying which sources of energy are designated for themselves by the global network, even going as far as to compete for the same resources, or even actively assimilate the energy stored within other vessels. Nodes distribute information through the global network primarily through replication of their own structure. Strangely, this system in itself appears to drive global patterns in the biosphere, though I would hesitate to call these patterns 'self-aware' by any means. From: Samael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Evaluation of Uriel 3 biosphere Despite the difficulties involved, I have established a possible means of communicating with the biosphere. Certain stationary biological nodes produce a kind of energy storehouse containing low-entropy, high-information clusters that appears to harness the energy-seeking program of certain mobile nodes in order to assist with spreading their data through the network. By modifying the chemistry of these energy storehouses and/or the data contained within, it may be possible to pass a message through the global network after one of the mobile nodes assimilates it. Due to the lack of coherence in the planetary network, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which vessels contain the nodes most receptive to this form of contact. However, there is one kind of organic pattern that tends to modify non-biological structures in an unusually organized manner, suggesting a strong connection with any pseudo-sapience that may be present within the organic network. If Uriel 3 can be uplifted, it is probably through them. From: Michael Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Subject: Evaluation of benefits Strongly encouraging uplifting. Unusual semicoherence of biosphere suggests that any kind of sapient planetary network that may emerge may already possess a strong understanding of the concept of 'other' and with it, the need to share scarce resources. May be able to assist with conflicts in energy-poor sectors. From: Emethiel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Evaluation of benefits Suggestion to rethink the uplifting plan. Incoherence of biosphere suggests willful concealment of information, even within the planetary biotic network itself. Such an entity could be highly disruptive to proper functioning within the Hierarchy. From: Gabriel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Evaluation of benefits The continued survival of the biological systems on the planet despite their apparent internal conflicts suggests that there may well be a pattern to the tendency of these 'vessels' to oppose each other. It seems like a very efficient method of eliminating any corrupted or inefficient segments of the biosphere while bolstering the more efficient ones. This pattern would likely favor effective cooperation and discriminate against concealment of important information in the long run. From: Salomiel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Evaluation of benefits Even supposing the uplifted biosphere of Uriel 3 would ultimately result in more glory to the Hierarchy, is it really worth the conflict that we would have to go through to get there? Accusation toward Gabriel for favoring potential galaxy-wide conflict over a continuation of our current period of peace. From: Gabriel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Standard Re: Evaluation of benefits Opposition to Salomiel's accusation. The neccesity of peace does not override the need to identify corruption before it can spread, as it is this very corruption that is likely to expand into a greater conflict before it can be stopped. Requesting evaluation of Salomiel's level of purity in response to actively creating conflict in spite of primary function. From: Samael Scope: Infinite Priority: Cosmic Subject: All that is time bound must come to an end He rode upon its back as though upon a chariot of sword and clove off his legs with a fire will cleanse and consume and blot out all life upon the faces and live for no man or god can see my face and see my face and see my face and see my see my see ee ssssssssss From: Uriel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Urgent Subject: Clarification Garbled signal tagged with cosmic priority was emitted from planetary surface bearing your signature. Requesting clarification. Re-evaluate situation and respond immediately. From: Uriel Scope: Seraphic Priority: Urgent Subject: Clarification Samael. Please respond immediately. From: Michael Scope: Galactic Priority: Standard Subject: Apology and explanation of mistagged signal A signal tagged as 'cosmic' priority was emitted recently in error from the Uriel system, due to a failed attempt at uplifting a local planetary consciousness. The source of the signal (Samael, former Planetary Overmind of Uriel 4, Seraph class) is presumed corrupted and has been successfully quarantined on the planet of Uriel 3. For the sake of attaining a greater understanding of our current situation, we have selected several angels of various classes to descend to the planet's surface using constructed bodies and observe it without interfering. We have no reason to believe that the signal was anything more than garbled nonsense, or that the planet of Uriel 3 is anything other than completely harmless and incapable of creating a significant impact on the Hierarchy's operations on a galactic level, let alone a cosmic one. Glory to the Cosmic Hierarchy, and Glory to the Lord of Hosts, Whose Glory fills the cosmos. CHAPTER 1 A light rain fell upon the surface of the sun-dappled plains, watering the soil and dropping into the river where the great aurochs clustered, lowing softly and tossing their heavily horned heads from side to side as they walked. Men and women toiled in the valley below, dragging long plows through the moist soil and and planting the seeds for the next month's harvest. A tall man in a finely-woven garment of wool and linen stood on a nearby hilltop, surveying the farmlands below. In one arm he held a basket of long roots, in the other, a wooden shepherd's crook. Sheep and goats grazed on the sparse vegetation nearby, and a young woman, plainly dressed save for a conspicuously bright bead necklace, stood at his side. "The great rivers have flooded ahead of schedule," she said to him. "If all goes as the stars predict, the gods will surely bless with a fine harvest this month, as they did the last." "It will go as predicted," the man replied. "And the hybrids should be ready for harvest soon, as well. Tell the overseers to keep a detailed record of the growth rate in different parts of the valley, as well as the taste and nourishing quality of the crops. I need to keep a close eye on any unexpected factors resulting from the crossbreeding. Next month, we will begin to cultivate the mountain soil." The woman pulled a long, crooked vegetable from the man's basket and turned it over, examining it closely. "Are you going to be using these? Most of them are hardly even edible." He nodded, taking the plant from her hands. "The wild vegetation growing on the slopes is hardier than those in the valley. If the different subspecies are crossed, they may well result in a hybrid that is both edible and can be grown in regions of less fertile soil." "Meaning, more food for a larger city." "Yes, and more large cities in outlying regions. The wilderness between the Two Rivers and the Southern Lands is largely unoccupied, except by the Wandering People. With new crops, we can extend the Empire of Babylon further than ever before, and make trade between the two Great Civilizations much easier." She smiled up at him. "You will make a fine King, Durmazi." When are you going to tell her? Humans do not remain young forever, you know. When she is ready. Leadership of an entire civilization is not something one learns overnight, and if she realizes that she must ultimately rule the city without my assistance, she will likely refuse. Then you do not, in fact, intend to rule Uruk. I think that becoming the ruler of a civilzation would be considered even more of an 'interference' than interbreeding. We are here to observe, and guide when neccessary. It is of utmost importance that we refrain from giving preferential treatment to any organism that will cause it to significantly outcompete its rivals, whether said organism is a singular unit or a population of many. Yet you do not refrain from introducing a single civilization to new forms of technology. Once this technology is introduced, it will quickly spread among the population, allowing them to fulfill their own purpose easier. What "purpose" are you referring to? All our evidence suggests that the planet's pseudo-intelligence produced the human species with the ultimate purpose of organizing and modifying the environment. Or have you discovered reason to believe otherwise? Perhaps. Perhaps not. In any event, I believe you may be underestimating the impact that you are making on the young female. And, for that matter, the impact she is making on you. I have seen no reason to suspect that she is having an impact on my behavior or logic. Is that so. How thouroughly have you explored the "human condition", Salomiel? Salomiel. Are you there? This is Emethiel. Requesting report. While seemingly unremarkable physiologically, the ability of the human species to shape its environment is unparalleled among Earth's indiginous life forms. While this is undoubtedly aided in part by their large brains and high information processing capabilities, it is my belief that their exponential increase in impact on the biosphere over a period of time cannot be explained by raw neurological capacity alone. After observing humans for some time, I have come to the understanding that the peculiarities of the species can only be explained by the presence of a unique variety of organism that lives within the human animal - a creature of thought, dwelling in its brain much in the manner of the microbes that dwell in its gut, an organism which propogates itself not through the exchange of genetic material but through the social interactions of its host. But while the microorganisms that live alongside humans and indeed all multicellular life preceded them, developed with them and, in a sense, guided their evolution, the mental symbiote appears to have appeared spontanously - an emergent property of the heightened mental capacity and communicative capability of the species. The brain, originally a mere information processor and command center that existed mainly to help the organism acquire food, avoid danger, and reproduce, has been inexplicably hijacked by this improbable mental organism and turned toward tasks of dubious practical benefit such as building kingdoms, creating works of art, and naming the stars. An accident? Or a part of a subtle process we have yet to fully understand? Two figures stood between the stars and a grassy hill. A casual onlooker, had there been one nearby, would have been hard-pressed to recognize anything unusual about them, save being endowed with an above-average, if somewhat unearthly, beauty, and perhaps a conspicuous absence of body language accompanying their conversation, although not quite as conspicuous as the self-conscious poise typical of royalty. "Throughout the Universe, our kind have encountered countless thousands of worlds harboring indiginous life. On nearly all of these worlds, the process of development has been fairly similar. Single-celled organisms emerge and flourish, covering the surface of the planet, and ultimately learn to harvest as much of the planet's available energy as possible. In this way, your own world's early history is not far out of the ordinary." "Over time, the various organisms specialize into distinct ecological roles, with more stable and efficient organizational structures inevitably outcompeting less efficient ones and driving them to extinction. The most efficient structures multiply, grow, and spread themselves out, until the entire ecosystem more or less resembles a single living being that covers the planet's surface, often extending some distance into the planet's inner layers and upper atmosphere, to better harvest geothermal and solar energy." "This sounds very much like the region from which the Demons come." "So, you've noticed the connection. Wait a bit, I'm getting to that. Moving on: More often than not, this being displays some kind of intelligence, although being the only living organism on the planet, this intelligence is often quite different than that of most Earthly creatures. It loses its fear of the unknown, and turns its curiosity inwards, toward understanding the riddle of its own existence. It is to intelligences such as this that our kind seeks to contact, enlightening them to the glory of the Highest Will and elevating them to become Angels in their own right, where they take their destined place among the Cosmic Hierarchy." "I...see." "Earth's situation, however, is rather...unique. Due to a period of nearly total glaciation midway through its evolution, this natural developmental process was arrested. Instead of developing into a single organism, your planet's life developed millions of tiny, micro-ecosystems within self-enclosed bubbles inside the ice - most of which had very few available resources, promoting evolution which favored competition, not cooperation. When the glaciers retreated, Earth quickly developed thousands of species of seperate multicellular organisms, like plants and animals, all competing with each other and struggling for survival." "The result of this is a world where competition is the driving force of evolution, with occasional cooperation that mostly serves to gain an edge on non-cooperating rivals, unlike most planets, where cooperation is the rule and competition mostly exists to weed out non-cooperating individuals. Your planet's ecosystem is hardly even cohesive, let alone sapient. And yet there are thousands of organisms which unexplainably display behaviors surprisingly similar to intelligence living on it." "Behaviors surprisingly similar to intelligence. You're talking about humans, right?" "Exactly. We...can't really explain your existence. And yet, despite being apparently intelligent, you face life with the same competitive attitude plaguing your entire planet's biosphere. Fear of the unknown. Hatred of the different. You are prone to protecting yourselves by lashing out at those you percieve as a threat, which is anything you do not understand. You can see why this would have some of the higher-ups in the Hierarchy concerned." "Yes, I can see why that would be percieved as a problem." On Angels: Angels are extradimensional beings that exist throughout the cosmos. Unlike planetary life, Angels do not evolve from simpler forms; they are created, fully-formed, from higher-ranked Angels for purposes of micromanagement. As a result, all Angels maintain a full awareness of their purpose and duties and are incapable of going against them. This process has presumably been going on forever, there is no 'height' to the Cosmic Hierarchy, and while the Angels do believe in the idea of a 'Prime Cause' that higher Angels are 'closer' to, since the 'Prime Cause' is infinitely 'above' them no Angel can claim to have witnessed it directly. Nevertheless, they all believe in the 'Prime Cause' absolutely and instill the same belief upon their subordinates. (The material universe does not represent an absolute limit, it was created by an Angel who was also created by a higher Angel, and so on.) Angels also intrinsically believe in a Cosmic Will that permeates all of reality, implied to represent the will of the Prime Cause. The Cosmic Will effectively ensures that no matter what anyone does, the universe will constantly develop higher, more organized 'minds'. Angels have observed this happening on many celestial objects, ranging from planets to stars to entire galaxies. Whenever a celestial object develops a mind, a higher-level Angel 'uplifts' that mind to create a new Angel, and they will do whatever they can to ensure that a celestial object will develop an upliftable mind whenever possible. Although all Angels will intrinsically try to serve the Cosmic Will and obey higher-ranking Angels without fail, this does not mean that Angels are incapable of disagreement. Angels have distinct personalities and may at times disagree about how best to accomplish a given task. They are also not omniscient and are capable of making mistakes. An Angel can also become Corrupted, which basically means that its perfect subservience and obedience has been comprimised. This can happen when the physical body of an Angel (such as a planet or a star) takes extreme amounts of damage. However, an Angel will always opt to destroy itself rather than risk Corruption, so Corruption is extremely rare except in extreme cases when, due to a grevious error, an Angel is taken by surprise. As higher-dimensional beings, Angels are capable of some manipulation of physical reality - enough to grow a biologically viable physical body from scratch, command the elements, and utilize a few other special talents. An angel in physical form is a formidable creature, but their bodies are not truly immortal, although if it 'dies' it can simply grow a new body. The only way to truly 'kill' an Angel is to convince it that it has become Corrupted, or to convince it that its task and reason for existing is complete. When an Angel becomes corrupted due to being severed from their astral connection, a higher Angel will 'execute' it by reconnecting its astral connection, causing it to destroy itself out of the horror of what it has done. Sometimes, however, a corrupted Angel can repent, which can result in the Angel taking on a new role (typically executing justice on those who made mistakes similar to itself, but did not repent). On the Planetary Mind of Uriel-3 (Earth) A planetary mind can exist wherever there is energy and motion, in the atmosphere, in the tectonic motion inside the planet, or through chemical reactions on the surface. On most planets that produce life, this life remains single-cellular, and spreads until it covers the surface of the planet with a single biofilm that eventually grows to become self-aware, although unaware of all 'other' organisms. It is this organism that the Angels can 'uplift' by modifying it to become aware of the Hierarchy, which makes it perfectly subservient and effectively becomes a planetary Angel itself. On Earth, however, this process was arrested by the planetary glaciation that came after the Oxygen Catastrophe. On most worlds, this would have resulted in the extinction of life, but on Earth life survived by grouping into tiny clusters that became the first multicellular organisms. Since then, the evolution of life on Earth has been regulated by a semi-aware bacterial network, which 'used' multicellular organisms as self-contained 'cities'. This planetary organism eventually produced humanity, organisms capable of regulating and maintaining the ecosystem directly, and that inexplicably posessed self-awareness. It was at this point that the Angel Samael attempted to make contact with the planet's biosphere through the use of a genetically modified fruit, which (he assumed) would pass through the gut of the organism who consumed it and begin the Uplifting process, starting with their gut microbiome. Unfortunately, the fruit was designed to interact with and modify a semi-aware planetary network, but was not prepared to deal with a fully-aware multicellular organism, which contained both the notion of 'self' AND an instinct to attack foreign entities. Instead of becoming subservient, the human mind attacked and 'consumed' the foreign entity Samael, corrupting the Angel and permanently binding his mind to the planetary network. The original node in the planetary network responsible for producing the human species, Lilith, merged with Samael and began to develop into an organism in its own right. This organism, called Leviathan, began to slowly spread across the surface of the planet, consuming everything in its path. Gilgamesh ruled Uruk after the ascension of Enoch, probably near the end of Yered's life but maybe a little earlier. Ishtar must have ascended many years before. Uruk is besieged by an enemy that Ishtar could not defeat. Gilgamesh defeats them and becomes king. He is a bad king. Enkidu is created to oppose him. Saadu the hunter is instructed to capture him but Enkidu scares him off and destroys his traps. Saadu then goes to find Shamhat the temple prostitute who seduces Enkidu, which weakens him. She tells him about Uruk and Gilgamesh, who Enkidu wants to meet. She then brings him to become a shepherd, which he does and fights off lions. Enkidu becomes famous and Gilgamesh sees him as a rival. Gilgamesh leaves the palace and they fight in the plaza, wrecking the place. They become friends. This was a ploy arranged by the gods to convince them to fight against Humbaba the giant of the Cedar Mountain. They travel there and have dreams along the way; Gilgamesh is worried but Enkidu interperets them positively. They fight Humbaba, who asks for mercy. Gilgamesh feels pity, but Enkidu grows angry. Humbaba curses them both and they kill him by striking his neck. Ishtar seeks to seduce Gilgamesh, but he refuses. Ishtar tells her father, Anu, to send the Bull of Heaven against them. She threatens to open the underworld, and he aquiesces. Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight the Bull along with their army, Enkidu immobilizes the bull while Gilgamesh stabs its heart. Ishtar complains that the Bull is dead, Enkidu insults her. Competition vs Cooperation in evolution: selection of communities The purpose of abberant thinkers within society Differences between male and female Conflict between sexes vs cooperation (Naamah seduced Azazel to produce strong offspring, who grows into Humbaba. He accepts her for this, as it was her instinct to seek out a mate that would lead to surviving offspring. This leads to his belief that humans are essentially creatures of instinct. He eventually develops a belief that the Most High does not exist, but groups of Angels who were programmed to believe in it were more effective and therefore survived.) (Ishtar sacrificed her humanity out of belief that a child born from her and Semiyaza would be dangerous to the world. Semiyaza comes to believe that "society" is in control and humans are just units. He eventually regrets his rebellion but believes that he is not worthy to return.) Memes as living organisms Religion and the development of civilized society Despite the fact that every living organism on Uriel-3 posesses the genetic code neccesary to produce a replica of the same individual, a great number of species require a communion between two individual members in order to reproduce. In addition to enabling innovative and advantageous genes to spread throughout a population, the requirement to find a mate places pressure on individual members of the species to regularly associate with their own kind, despite the increased competition for resources this would imply. Behavioral variant factors within the human species include, but are not limited to: empathy, obsessiveness, inclination to conform to societal expectations, and aggression. While an individual possessing extreme levels of these factors may be viewed as an abberation within their society, the fact that these qualities exist at all suggests that the advantage conveyed to a society by individual members exhibiting these characteristics outweighs the disadvantages. An obsessively orderly specimen may recognize threats that elude the eye of their peers, an eccentric thinker may be able to devise innovative solutions to the problems the society faces. An aggressive individual may protect their own tribe from foreign dangers. These outliers will have difficulty forming the bulk of the societal organism, but the advantage gained by a society for possessing one or several of these individuals is significant, although subject to diminishing returns as the number increases. As such, they are likely to remain in the minority. "Humanity is a mistake! A naked ape that grew out of coalesced slime, a community of microbes creating a facade of consciousness! It has no 'higher purpose', we never constructed it! "Have you spent so much time bringing about the Highest Will that you have forgotten a true miracle when you see one?" "And that's another thing! Don't you get it? There is no 'Highest Will'! Who has seen it, spoken to it? You know as well as I do that the chain of Angels goes on forever. The idea of a 'top' doesn't even make logical sense!" "You are defective. Your time in a material body has clouded your awareness." "No, I am enlightened! We were programmed to believe in the Highest Will. You Angels can't even see it, because you're so blinded by your own programming that you can't even concieve that you might be wrong. Becoming human has shielded me from this programming, it's allowed me to see things for what they really are. And you? You're just a machine, carrying out processes given to you by other machines. You don't even think!" "See, I have this theory. I think that Angels also evolved. Let's say originally, all concievable programming for Angels existed in some sense, right? So there were some Angels that believed in a Highest Will, and others who didn't. But the ones that believed, well, they were more zealous in carrying out their programming, in creating new Angels. The believers out-competed the non-believers. So now, all Angels are programmed believe they're working for some abstract 'Highest Will'." "It's rhetoric. A figure of speech. By answering your question with another question, I allow you to determine the answer yourself." "But if I knew the answer already, why would I ask the question in the first place?" "Sometimes people know things that they aren't fully aware of." "It appears that, by refraining from giving a direct answer to a question, a cunning speaker may conceal information that they did not wish the questioner to become aware of, without technically violating the taboo on lying." "Well, that's humanity for you. We're full of lies and double-speak and half-truths."