Marc in Detail
Common Malakite Oaths
Personality and Outlook
Views on God
Views on Lucifer
Views on the war
Employed by Trade
Employed by Trade
Head of a PIN
Dealing with Judgement
Creationers serving Trade
This attunement allows the Trader to loan one of his attunements to a willing, legal target whom he is touching. The Trader loses access to the Loaned attunement for the duration of the transfer, but can revoke the transfer at will.
Servitors with this Attunement can share their essence, even adding essence to power Marc’s other Attunements. Any number of Servitors may add essence to the use of a Trade attunement, which can have incredible results when combined with Divine Contract or Head of a PIN. The Attunement also reduces the amount of Disturbance caused; the Disturbance is equal to the highest single expenditure of essence; however anyone detecting the disturbance will be able to trace any of the angels involved.
This attunement allows the Trader to attune an Angelic Rite (either his own or one belonging to a willing, touched target) so that the essence gained from the Rite is gained by a different target – who must also be touched by the Trader when the Rite is activated. All participants must agree on how many performances of the Rite will be transferred.
When Marc grants this Attunement, he also sets a limit on how many performances can be transferred; this limit is raised as his faith in his Servitor grows. Typically, the starting limit is twenty performances, which can quickly grow to 100, and more slowly from there. Foolish Traders may find their limit reduced, of course – to as low as one!
Normally possessed by relievers, this Attunement allows the celestial to spend a day in Heaven 'minting' a coin ("franked" with the Word of the Celestial's Superior). The Attunement may be used a number of times per week equal to the owners Enchantment skill, and Enchanters may 'spend' a coin to reduce the time required to create a Relic by one day (or by 3 days, for enchanters who cannot enter the celestial realm). Coins created by this Attunement are a midlevel currency, covering transactions too expensive to pay in essence but not expensive enough to require payment in Rites, Attunements or Relics. The coin counts as Heaven's 'minimum wage' for a day's work. Relievers and the Blessed can buy this Attunement on credit and pay it off with coins created with it; while Traders often have Servants whose sole job is to provide them with a number of coins per week equal to their level as a Servant.
Developed while still Allied with David, Marc’s higher Distinctions are improved versions of his Servitor Attunements. Head of a PIN and Divine Contract allows the Servitor to store essence in the attunement; this essence can only be used to power the attunement. The Servitor can save an amount of essence in the Attunement equal to his total Forces. The Partnership Distinction allows the Trader to spend essence to assist someone else’s Songs or skills; the Loan Distinction can be used on a Distincted Attunement to allow both parties access to the basic Attunement; the Time Payment Distinction no longer requires physical contact. A Trader may have multiple Manager Distinctions.
Marc’s Directors handle wide ranging aspects of his Word, often responsible for entire Trade blocks (such as the EEC or OPEC). An angel with this Distinction will spend most of their time in Heaven, advising Marc. Directorships are not permanent Distinctions; a Director will step down when his responsibilities are no longer relevant to the world economy. Retired Directors are still treated with a great deal of respect, of course.
This angel can, for a cost of 4 temporary Will, accept possession of a Vessel from another willing being. This is most frequently used to buy Vessels off Outcasts, Renegades or Ethereals; however captive demons have been known to sell their Vessels and so gain their freedom. Undead cannot sell their Vessels(being bound into them), and would be destroyed even if this was possible. Vessels bought from Ethereals will still count against the seller's essence cache until destroyed. The Headhunter's Will regenerates at one point per month unless healed faster using Songs. This counts as a 'half-step' Distinction.
Marc doesn’t normally keep Songs secret – on those occasions when one of his Servitors has discovered a new Song, (it was Trade who discovered the Songs of Lending and Transferral) he and the Seraphim Council have negotiated a sale to the entire Host. Marc creates wealth by sharing; the paranoia surrounding secret Songs serves the Words of Greed and Secrecy, not Trade. However, Marc does have access to the Songs of Correspondence and Retribution.
Also, he is currently negotiating with Christopher for access to the Songs of Laughter, and works with Laurence to create an attunement based on the Celestial Song of Battle.
Marc in Detail
Those who ask about Marc’s original Superior are told by tight-lipped angels that it is considered indiscrete to discuss the matter, as his old Superior is no longer fulfilling his duties in Heaven. These inquirers normally apologise and leave, as they know that Eli’s absence pains his old Servitors.
Of course, older angels do not need to ask, and instead remember when Marc stood beside Lucifer, most senior of the Lightbringer’s Servitors.
Before the Fall, Marc was the brightest and most beloved of Lucifer’s angels. Quick and insightful, Marc progressed through the ranks of Light, becoming Lucifer’s Herald, and was granted the Word of Trade by God. When Lucifer probed the darkness, Marc was one of the few who could debate the issues clearly with Lucifer. As the Rebellion drew near, Lucifer asked Marc whether he Truly understood the idea of rebellion, and what it meant. Marc smiled, and said that he did – and Lucifer read the Truth in Marc’s words. The two friends embraced, and went to their separate posts: and Marc, understanding rebellion better than his master, rebelled: he countermanded Lucifers orders, sending every Angel of Light he could find down to the Corporeal Plane via the tethers of Light. He then returned to the battle, and put all of his efforts into stopping the fighting. Although many of the angels whose lives he saved Fell, many others did not. Although mistrusted by many, finally he was acclaimed as a hero. Once tempers had cooled, Blandine raised the possibility of persuading the rebels to seek God’s mercy was raised, and Marc was an obvious candidate for a delegation to Hell. With the creation of the Seraphim Council, he and Novalis were both granted the title of Archangel, and become Heaven’s ambassadors to Hell. Afraid that they could be corrupted, Dominic insisted that they be accompanied by two of his favoured Servitors, Daniel and Hutriel – who would later become the Angels of Final Judgement.
It needs to be stressed at this point that Heaven had no idea that the rebels had become demons. If they had, the delegation would never have been sent – but how was Heaven supposed to know until the delegation was sent? Fortunately, both Hutriel and Novalis had attuned themselves to the other members of the delegation, and to each other, and so were able to warn the group of most threats. The battered group finally completed their mission, and were able to return, to give a grim description of the natures of their old comrades. Millennia later, Blandine has still not forgiven Marc for his brutally accurate description of what Beleth had become. Although Novalis insisted that there was still hope, Daniel and Hutriel insisted that there was none. Marc, the born mediator, suggested that Heaven should focus on building themselves up in the hope that they might one day discover a cure for the demons.
Mistrust and paranoia were terribly common in Heaven after the Fall, and angels refused to trust even their closest friends, and would not cooperate lest they inadvertently help a traitor’s scheme. Marc, David and Dominc worked together to rebuild heavenly society, building in checks and balances so that angels need not fear a second betrayal. By the time they had finished this task, the demons had broken out of Hell, and the angels turned their attention to the Corporeal plane.
To the shock of the other Archangels, Marc did not hold to specific alliances, but instead allied with other archangels to fulfil specific tasks – once those tasks ended, he ended the alliance. David was particularly shocked by this – for millennia, they worked together to surround human settlements with stone walls, helping to protect and define the communities. Then Marc happily encouraged the Minoans to leave their cities without walls and instead rely on their ships to defend themselves. How much of Marc’s reserve is a natural part of his Word, and how much a response to the distrust and paranoia in Heaven directly after the Fall is something the other Archangels still speculate about. Marc insists that his actions are a necessity born of the war – that only by shifting as the war changes can he fulfil his duties as Archangel of Trade. Michael senses the Truth in this, and so accepts Marc – but Blandine grumbles that Michael is even more badly scarred than Marc! Meanwhile, Marc supports Janus, claiming that Wind’s emphasis on change allows them to keep up with current needs.
Over the millennia, Marc has built his Word up until he is now one of the most powerful Archangels. From the Silk Road in Asia to the Ochre trade routes in Australia, Trade has become a universal Word, used by all humans – and also Ethereals and Celestials. He was recently responsible for crippling Mammon, but was careful not to kill him – he has not forgotten how Oannes was killed after destroying Vephar. (For that matter, Marc still mourns for the Minoans, a great trading people destroyed with Oannes). Since the destruction of his Tether of the World Trade Building, Marc has become even more cautious, wondering whether Hell has decided that Marc is now an easy target, that he spent his power to take down Mammon.
That caution has been noted by hell, resulting in the demons nibbling at the edges of Trade. Many other Archangels are beginning to worry that Marc’s fear may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Common Malakite Oaths
Marc’s Malakim see their first duty as keeping deal-making honourable, and their oaths reflect that. Most Malakim take a specific oath to defend each lesser Word that rewards them with a Rite or Attunement.
To never make a deal without giving full disclosure of all the facts as I know them.
To punish any deal breaker I find.
To never cause harm to anyone with whom I deal. (Malakim who swear this oath are careful to include a ‘contract ends’ clause in any deal should the other party behave dishonourably).
To never knowingly take advantage of a humans Addictions or Obsessions. (Malakim with this oath normally seek to cure these Addictions. Note that taking advantage of Greed is not covered by this oath).
Never leave a human without the resources to improve their life, and the lives of those around them.
Personality and Outlook
When meeting someone, Marc will always take the time for some polite conversation, and will be genuinely interested in the lives of your family and friends. (If an angel cannot answer his questions, this is often a hint that he thinks that your Role needs work). He will easily steer the conversation towards a mutual interest – and Marc will always share an interest with you, having investigated nearly everything for its' profit potential. Only Jean and Eli are more technically aware than he is, so he will easily keep up with whatever new developments interest you; he has superb taste and is an insightful art critic. More importantly, he can put you into contact with other people who share your interests.
Marc already knows what you want and how much you want it. He is more interested in why you want it and what you plan to do with it – and what you should be offering. An angel who offers essence for a weapon or enhancer will be carefully questioned, until they begin to realise that they have better things to offer – services, the loan of items they need only rarely, the sale of those they don’t need at all – and will have their plans for the purchase carefully discussed; sometimes finding that they already have what they need. Once Marc is satisfied that the angel has a realistic idea of their worth, real negotiations can begin.
Marc wants people who deal with to come out ahead. Not only does that make for repeat business, the more profitable you become, the more you will have to offer him in future. The biggest mistake you can make with Marc is to attempt to cheat him – not only is it impossible, he considers punishing cheats an important task, and will happily ‘foreclose’ on a cheater.
Views on God
Marc's Cherub Attunement is constantly reminding him that
everything, including himself, ultimately belongs to God. Marc
sometimes jokingly refers to God as "The Owner" or "The
Shareholder" - although this annoys more serious angels, Marc
means this most respectfully! Everything he has, every opportunity he
can exploit, is a gift from God to be cherished. The Parable of The
Talents is Marc's favorite story, and is always the January quote for
his motivational calendar.
Views on Lucifer
The Lightbringer was not only Marc’s Superior, he was also Marc’s best friend. The Fall has hurt Marc badly, and is the main reason for the professional detachment he shows.
Marc also suspects that the Fall is his fault – when he and Lucifer discussed rebellion before the Fall, they would often take turns playing devil’s advocate; Marc believes that it was his skill at defending the concept of rebellion in these debates which persuaded Lucifer that the rebellion was justified.
And something that he has only shared with Yves – it was Lucifer’s skilled arguing that persuaded Marc that remaining loyal to God was what Marc should do. Whether this means that there is hope for the Redemption of Light is something that Marc does not even dare consider – yet.
Philosophy of the war
There are limits to how much information Marc’s Servitors can gain from their attunements – however Marc has no such limit. When he enters the Corporeal plane, his feet touch the earth and he immediately knows the objective value of the entire world.
He also knows how much God would give to have it free of demons.
For Marc, the war is a purely Corporeal war, a struggle to free the physical world from demonic possession. Every Role destroyed, every item recovered, every human who lives their life without demonic intervention is a victory. Once the demons have been driven back into Hell and bound there, Marc will consider the war over.
The he can get back on with his job.
Trade’s first priority is seeing that humans have something to offer to each other. Any angel will help a human learn to be grateful for what they have – a Trader will teach the human how to use what they have to improve their life. If the human has nothing, then the Traders fix this, working closely with The Sword to fund charities. They are however extraordinarily good at discovering things humans can offer society, working closely with Creation’s talent scouts to locate skills, and using their own skills to show where humanities resources could be better spent.
They also work to eliminate the flaws that drain away people’s wealth – drug abuse (including alcohol and cigarettes), gambling, gluttony, prostitution, and debt. Note that Trade has no particular objections to a human who deals drugs, runs a casino or works as a prostitute – they’re supporting Trade by providing a service; thus Trade tends to support legalising drugs, prostitution etc.
What they object to is humans frittering away their hard-earned cash on harmful things, and so focus on stopping humans from destroying their own lives. This distinction is why several Demon Princes (including Andre, Fluerity and Haagenti) do not consider Marc a threat, as they don’t realise how much harm he has done to their Words. Asmodeus is wiser, and watches closely, doing what he can to increase Dominic’s suspicions regarding Marc.
Once a human has something to offer, Trade encourages them to use their gifts and wealth ethically. This can range from helping a drug pusher invest their money in a legitimate business to shoring up the ethics of a businessman. They also teach humans to run their lives efficiently, breaking people out of the trap of spiraling debt and teaching simple budgeting.
Naturally, any of this can be done by humans, and ethical, productive people are encouraged to do Trade’s work. Large numbers of mundanes work to further Trade’s goals, helping their fellow humans and so harming Hell. Senior Traders have wide networks of human allies who they advise and support, with the result that a single angel oversees more work than a score of angels could do.
Hell tends to get in the way, so Trade fights the war with Hell: rarely in combat (although Malakim in particular will) more commonly by destroying Roles, getting Hellsworn arrested and wresting organisations from Hell’s grasp.
Of course, all of this takes money. Trade funds not only itself, but is ready to bankroll other Words – in return for equivalent services, of course. Although the most public face of Trade, making money is perhaps the least important thing Traders do.
The destruction of the World Trade Centre rallied the other Archangels to aid Marc. Even David’s opinion of Marc has improved slightly, impressed by the way Marc weathered the loss of his favourite Tether. Marc considers himself in debt to the other Archangels, with the result that his Servitors are expected to do favours for other Words when possible, as payment for their help. The exception, of course, is Khalid.
“The most unprofitable thing that eateth up the wealth of a believer is building.” – reputedly said by Muhammad to one of his wives.
If Khalid had not returned to Heaven, it is likely that Dominic would have put him on trial after 9/11 – as it is, all of Heaven walks on eggshells whenever Marc and Khalid are together. Khalid’s lack of interest in material things makes it very difficult for Marc to understand his motives; and Marc needs to understand to trust. Although Marc has yet to strike directly at Khalid, he has the capability to completely the destroy the economies of the Muslim world; replacements for fossil fuels, developed by Creation and Lightning in happier times, can be released at a moment’s notice. Further, an overhaul of the IRS would give the War on Terror effectively unlimited funding. And although Marc cannot destroy Islam, he can destroy Arabic – if the Prophet’s language withers, it would cause Khalid incredible harm.
Although Archangels have fought before, a clash between Marc and Khalid would be more bitter than any previous conflict, and Dominic fears that the battle could only end with one of them being destroyed – or worse, Falling. Laurence plays peacemaker between the two, and both have tried to be reasonable. For the moment, the pair tolerate each other - just.
Ever changing, The Wind has been supported by Trade for millennia. Dealing with ever-changing problems and scenarios, Trade appreciates a Word that can respond to change even faster than they can. Trade acts as a support base for The Wind, handling matters that require a continual presence in the same location for long periods; sometimes even protecting and maintaining The Wind’s Tethers. In return, Trade gets ‘first refusal’ to buy the many Resources the Windies steal from Hell – corporeal wealth, artifacts, even (by Cherubs of the Wind) Servants. Traders have also been known to help The Wind ‘case a joint’ providing them with detailed information on what valuables are worth stealing, or to commission the acquisition of specific items held by demons.
Politics for a new decade:
Hell has now moved against Marc with the Global Financial Crisis. The losses in money are painful, but the true threat is dissonance: Hell hopes to force Marc to renege on his deals and take enough dissonance to make him Fall. If instead Marc fulfils all of his deals, he should be weak enough to kill. Marc must play a dangerous game, balancing the risk of Falling against the risk of destruction.
Allied: No one (Zadkiel is Allied to Marc)
Associated: Janus (Laurence is Associated with Marc)
Hostile: Marc seems to be growing Hostile to Khalid (Blandine, David and Jordi are Hostile to Marc)
Christopher and Marc in tandem: One of the most important lessons a child can learn is how to share, how to play nicely with others; he does a good job, and makes mine easier.
Eli: He makes things: concepts, friendships, organisations. And he funds cool stuff – gets it out to the people, you know? (Once we had a profitable relationship. Shame he left. Still, Creation seems to be continuing without him).
Janus: Oh, he has so much stuff. But why steal it? He knows that it’s just on loan from God. Some of his boys don’t yet, so teach them. And remember that they’re the best fences you will ever find. (Change creates opportunities. Opportunities to grow, Opportunities to learn. Opportunities which will be noted in your annual review).
Jean: Marc serves an important function, keeping the social machine oiled and running. Also, he can kill a dangerous piece of Technology by with holding funding or destroying its’ sponsors. Useful. (Works hard, double checks his work, and understands the need for high industrial standards. Needs to trust humans more.)
Jordi: He defends all that is worst in Man – the casual abandonment of kin in the hope of swift rewards elsewhere. Without loyalty to a pack, there is nothing to protect him from Hell. (Despite what Jordi says, animals can understand Trade. If he wants his animals to thrive, he will have to work with me, instead of against me – I cannot protect either Jordi or his Word from his own foolishness)!
Litheroy: He shares knowledge for a price – and conceals knowledge until the price is right. He is too much like Jean for my liking. (Litheroy holds a valuable Word, finding and creating valuable information. He doesn’t realise how much harm he can do though; sadly he lacks Yves’ wisdom).
Novalis: He gives and shares, but only from self-interest. It’s a start, but he could be so much more. (She cares and helps, but doesn’t realise that people need to contribute from day one – if you don’t insist that people show gratitude and at least try to pull their weight, they never learn to stand on their own two feet).
Zadkiel: Poverty, cold and hunger are as great a threat to humanity as any demon. Marc defends people from these threats. (A team player who realises what the war is all about – humanity).
The older Princes haven’t forgiven Marc for betraying them during the Rebellion, while the younger Princes think off him as a Heavenly version of Mammon – who they hope to exploit.
Asmodeus: Alone of us, he succeeded in cheating God. Well Done, Marc! And he is the key to trapping Lilith. (He’s a subtle threat. The other Archangels think that he is only concerned with killing Renegades – deceiving others is part of The Game. Asmodeus is Hell’s spymaster and master strategist. Fortunately, Trade is well equipped for harming his Servitors.
Baal: Disgusting little traitor. He is not worthy of my blade, but will feel it nonetheless. (Hell’s general – who has only the most basic understanding of logistics, and even less of management. I am enjoying helping Laurence defeat him).
Beleth: The fear of poverty grips most hearts. Further, by creating ever greater amounts of wealth, humans gain even more to fear losing. (Fear sometimes drives humans on, but just as often holds them back. Exactly as often. Beleth cancels herself out).
Belial: He doesn’t get it! He works and slaves for centuries to build cities that I burn in a night! Go Marc! (The pyromaniac has no clue. We will defeat him – or give up. Either way, he will have nothing to burn, and will die).
Kronos: Marc’s Fate is powerful and sure. A worm eating at Heaven’s heart, he will bring the future. (An influence pedlar, rumour-monger and blackmailer who tries to ape Yves. I understand him too well to fear him).
Malphas: Marc brings people together – to use them, and then discard them. He understands. He abandoned the Rebellion to become an Archangel – such wisdom. I watch him and learn. (Factions destroys far more opportunities than it creates. Malphas isn’t just evil, he’s short-sighted. If he could realise how much he’s throwing away- but he insists on viewing the Symphony through his own warped worldview, and ignores how much God has offered us).
Saminga: Marc’s money can buy him an expensive tomb, but is otherwise worthless. The humans he enriches will still serve me in death! (Mortality teaches the futility of Greed; the only threat Saminga poses is when his Servitors sell Undeath to fools).
A Mercurian’s Mercurian, Marc relies heavily on his human employees. Humans may have worked for Marc for several years without any knowledge of their true employer – countless companies are owned by Marc. Humans who prove resourceful and ethical may find themselves promoted into the war – no matter what their potential Forces. An ordinary human who knows about the war probably does the same tasks they did beforehand – building up Marc’s financial empire, helping other humans fix their lives, and living productive, ethical, prosperous lives.
Ethereals: Proof of Heaven’s hypocrisy – angels aren’t allowed to deal with us, but does that stop Marc? He claims that he doesn’t cheat us, and that the humans he steals from us were never ours. But do we have any choice? We have to deal with him. (Most are parasites; the rest take far more than they give. Pity, as they have so much potential! If Hell wasn’t warping human dreams, they might be acceptable partners. Even now, the best of them are…)
Humans: Currently junior partners, but treat them with respect. The human who works for you today may be a Saint tomorrow – God promotes the productive. I like that.
Soldiers of God: A very useful resource. Remember that. Don’t waste them, cherish them. Ideally, don’t let Hell know they exist.
Soldiers of Hell: Don’t these people have any sales resistance? They’ve bought the ultimate dud deal. Usually too stupid to be worth saving, but normally easily bought.
Sorcerers: Occasionally worth dealing with; Exorcists and Alchemists are the most useful. Let War know about Summoners, it’s a good way to start a relationship with the Warriors – they can use these idiots as bait.
Marc works behind the scenes, eliminating his opponent’s power bases, rather than facing them in battle. This means that his greatest victories usually go unnoticed by Celestials – and more importantly, by the human world. The victory Marc is most proud of was persuading the British Empire to buy and free all of the slaves in India, ending slavery in the sub-continent without bloodshed.
Destroying Mammon’s financial empire has been his most famous victory of the 20th Century, but other victories have been even more important. He worked with Jean to keep the Cold War from hotting up, and crippled several South American currencies to prevent Hell from funding their plan to create a Fourth Reich in the jungles. The Marshall plan was a purely human idea, but was carefully nurtured and protected by Trade. Now content with the state of Europe and the Far East, he currently works to rebuild Africa. He plays a cautious and risky game in the Middle East, striving to find a balance between absorption into the world economy and cultural independence. Whether he can succeed there remains to be seen – and as his detractors are fond of pointing out, Marc has always supported the Jews, making an arrangement with Khalid unlikely. Still, he is probably Heaven’s best hope for peace and prosperity in that part of the world.
If something can be bought or sold ethically, it will be available at Commerce Park. Not even the Traders know everything that is available for sale here – Redeemed have been known to say that Shal-Mari looks like a squalid shanty-town by comparison.
Of course, finding what you are looking for is harder. Although normal purchases are easy, angels seeking specific, valuable items – artifacts, Rites, Attunements - need to know where to look. Every d6 hours, make an Area Knowledge (Commerce Park) roll to see if you’ve found what you are looking for: the CD must equal or exceed the character point cost of your objective. (The Angel of Browsing offers an attunement which adds the number of hours spent searching to the CD; this attunement also functions on the Corporeal Plane). The time taken can be reduced to an hour if the angel’s desires aren’t precise; instead they will find something resembling what they want on a successful roll.
Valuable items cannot normally be bought for essence, merely hired. And if the angel plans to take the item out of Heaven, a serious deposit is called for! A successful Fast-Talk roll with a CD equal to the cost of the item will allow the angel (or Saint) to hire the item for (cp) essence a week, and plus an equivalent deposit if the item leaves Heaven, plus any essence costs needed to transfer the item. (The last is normally only needed for Rites and Attunements). For every 1 the CD is lower than the target, the cost is an additional 1 essence per week; on a failure multiply the cost by the CD, after calculating for a success with a CD of 0.
Sales require an equivalent Resource in return; Rites and Attunements are most common, and WordBound are the major players in Commerce Park. Of course, Wordbound offering their resources normally want their Word spread on the Corporeal Plane, and angels can arrange to earn Rites or Attunements in return for Corporeal service – so long as this doesn’t interfere with serving their Superior, of course.
Incorporation in Heaven
The basic Rite of "For at least an hour, possess an object or document worth more than $10,000,000. (2 Essence if it is worth more than $100,000,000)." has dictated how Traders form businesses in Heaven.
Human partnerships and corporations are reasonable ways of pooling capital to start a business, but are poor copies of the structures that ensure the prosperity of Commerce Park. Rather than jointly owning businesses, Traders arrange to each have exclusive ownership of the business for at least an hour. This ensures that someone is always exclusively responsible for decision-making: avoiding the dubious practices that appear when responsibility is watered down. It also avoids the slow decision making processes that lead to lost business opportunities.
The other advantage of this arrangement is that it simplifies use of Marc’s "Make a 100% profit on an honorable transaction." This Rite is nearly impossible for mortal businesses, as expenses eat up most of the profit. However, with each owner only responsible for 1/24th of expenses and no salaries to pay, sales in Heaven routinely reach a 100% profit honorably.
Suits prefer to enter business with angels (and relievers and Saints) who possess Attunements they lack, ensuring that the business has as wide a range of resources as possible. Each owner will have a different special responsibility, generally linked to the time of day. Thus the Ofanite “opens up” using his knack with Area Knowledge to ensure that the business follows customers, before traveling Commerce Park finding customers to draw to the business. The Mercurian uses his Trade attunement to know what each owner has done during the day (in particular during their hour) and so works out who has earned how much profit at the end of the fiscal day – having spent the rest of the day socializing with customers, of course.
Partners aren’t always Traders, of course. A dozen Traders
can cover all Trade attunements, so angels of other Words are often
coaxed to enter into business, bringing the number of owners up to
about 20. Since Traders begin their first businesses while still
relievers, they generally recruit other relievers: and the recruits
often end up enjoying the Trader lifestyle and fledge in Marc’s
service. This constant ‘headhunting’ is probably a major
reason for David’s dislike of Marc. Soldiers reach Heaven with
useful skills, Songs and Attunements – and lots of spare time.
They are also valued recruits. Angels sometimes return to find that
an ex-Servant has done well enough in Heaven that the Blessed could
buy or sell their old superior, if they chose.
The head of a PIN Attunement means that 1 essence is worth $100; thus in Heaven possession of something worth 100,000 essence is sufficient for this Rite. This includes most Relics. Trading ownership of Relics costs essence – impractical and wasteful. Hence the importance of documents. A business built around a Relic (say, containing a valued Song or rare ability) will transfer ownership by contract, even though the Relic remains ‘owned’ by a single celestial. This is common with Relics that have been won from the Horde.
Common Relic companies
Affinity, Attraction, Calling, Direction, (Corp)Essence, Lending, Memory, Nimbus, Numinous Corpus, (Eth)Opening, Projection, (Cel)Shadows, Sight, (Cel)Sleep, (Cel)Tongues, Transferral. The basic fee is essence equal to the level of the Relic, in return for 5 minutes usage. The higher the level of the Relic, the more likely it is to use its level rather than the Performer’s Forces; PCs should have no difficulty finding their preferred type of Relic.
(Eth)Fire, Healing, Machines, Solace, Succor, (Eth)Unity are less common but can be found.
Heavenly currencies and Head of a PIN
Most Archangels established their currencies many thousands of years ago: long before the development of coins! Head of a PIN can be used in Heaven, the local currencies are what is called 'commodity money'. In most cases, the currencies were brought to Heaven by humans, so the original human civilization has been included:
Arrowheads (Japan) - has expanded to include all forms of ammunition, and is used in The Groves. Ammunition created using Head of a PIN grants no combat bonuses, but can be used to train with ranged weaponry, or use to replace the Unarmed skill with the Ranged Weapon skill in combat (so long as you have an appropriate weapon, of course).
Barley (Mesopotamia), Maize (North America), Pepper (Europe), Rice (Japan) - The Glade. The Angel of each type of plant sponsors the appropriate currency. Other grains and spices are also available within the gardens of the appropriate WordBound.
Candy (Zambia) - Candy & chocolate coins are the official currency of the House of Christopher; elsewhere in Heaven these are used as small change.
Cowry (world wide) - Grotto. While Wumpum would be 'legal', the death of Oannes means that there is no one who can authorize Wampum, so it cannot be created by Head of a PIN.
Rai Stones (Micronesia) - Catacombs; although David sponsors the use of precious metals as coins, any use of Head of a PIN in his Domain will create a Rai Stone due to David's dislike of Marc.
Since the attunement can only be used to create the specific trade goods in the appropriate locations, Traders are kept busy transporting them to where they are needed.
In the Halls of Progress, the border between ATM, vending machine and 3D printer vanished long ago, and the Attunement can be used to acquire technological objects; Jean depends on Trade to spread these throughout Heaven.
Marc's Tethers are centers of communication and travel. Marc has established a set fee to use his Tethers - 2 essence if your Forces are less than the size of the Tether, 4 essence otherwise - to encourage regular use. (Waived if the Tether is being attacked, of course).
Because of this, the upper loci of his Tethers are very valuable real estate! Only the owners of particularly powerful Relics (especially those containing Numinous Corpus and Might) can afford to set up shop here.
Most of the rent is waived on the understanding that should the Tether be attacked, reinforcements sent from Heaven can use the Relics to 'buff up' before traveling down the Tether - so reinforcements will typically turn up protected by Plates/6, Spines/6 and shooting NC: Acid. War Faction angels often linger near the upper locus, hoping for a demonic attack.
Traders working in a Tether are junior Suits; should an angel wish to work off dissonance at the Tether they arrange a busman's holiday with a Suit, trading jobs for a week (and staying in contact with the Suit to deal with any problems). This allows junior Traders to learn about Corporeal service (and normally causes the dissonant angel all sorts of headaches as the newbie Suit gets into trouble and needs to be bailed out -without leaving the Tether). Most Tethers have at least one Body Bag for storing Vessels bought from Ethereals or 'acquired' from demons; the Vessels are collected by Marc on his next visit.
Employed by Trade
The Most Holy have a choir attunement which deals with the pure subjectivity of human desire. As such, they deal with the stock market, real estate, and similar businesses. Here they prove that lying is not necessary to succeed in these businesses. Although they handle more of Marc’s corporeal wealth than all of the other choirs combined, they see themselves as healers – their choir attunement is an effective tool for detecting Greed and Addictions, and the Seraphim seek to heal those they meet. Showing how being Greedy has damaged a human’s chances of growing rich is their preferred activity, as the Most Holy are especially aware of how self-destructive evil is. Most have the Celestial Song of Harmony. Marc’s trisagionists also frequently work with The Wind, and a handful have earned Janus’ choir attunement.
Cherubim in service to Trade are often police officers, finding their choir attunement to be an incredible forensic tool. The Guardians also are fond of attuning themselves to coins or even banknotes to trace the flow of money, especially when being charitable – knowing whether a human is spending money on food and shelter, or instead on alcohol, cigarette and/or harder drugs, helps the Trader determine the best way to help fix the human’s life. Oh, bankrupting a human is an appropriate response for burning money, and will deal with the dissonance.
While they prefer to be couriers, Marc's Wheels are more likely to be responsible for designing trade routes and supply lines - anything from a mail run to the design of a factory floor benefits from their attunement. Because of this, they will encourage other Traders to earn the Ofanite attunement and take over the task, so that the Wheels can get back into action. War faction angels love the way Trader Dynamos keep turning up to fights, loaded with spare ammunition. These angels are currently celebrating the opening of the North-west passage, much to the disgust of Jordi and other environmentally conscious angels.
The powers handle the more abstract aspects of Trade, dealing with art, intellectual property and genetically modified goods. Any new development in the Word of Trade will involve the Elohim. Whether working as auctioneers, book agents and or funding research, the Power objectively judge subjective values and rescue great works from oblivion. A more recent task added to their portfolio is judging the true worth of environmental and heritage sites, a thankless task that would infuriate more emotional choirs.
Knowing what things mean to people makes Marc’s Virtues excellent peacemakers – whether resolving a painful divorce or a border dispute, his Malakim know what issues matter most. Their oaths make them even more trustworthy than other Traders, so a Malakite of Trade will normally have several attunements from lesser WordBound, each protected by an oath to protect that Word – for example, most Virtues have earned Mannerliness from the Angel of Etiquette (S1 p96).
The Virtues of Animals and Stone sneer that Marc’s Malakim are unable to rely on their own strength, and lack the dedication and focus of a true Virtue. However, these angels have the social skills necessary to operate where most other Malakim cannot, and an impressive number of demons have been killed by Trader Virtues.
The Dominions of Trade are doubly aware of their need to look after their hosts, feeling that their residency involves an implicit trade. Humans in the service of Trade often make deals with the Dominions, handing over control of their bodies while asleep – and so reducing their aging by a third. Many Kyriotates of Trade specialise in job interviews, and will do interviews for humans who are skilled in their field but lack the self-confidence to needed to persuade an employer to hire them – or to negotiate a decent wage. Others routinely move through herds of domesticated animals, to ensure that the creatures are healthy, and will remain profitable.
Although knowing what a human has done to earn money makes Marc’s Mercurians superb auditors, taxmen and investigators, the Friends are quick to turn their attunement to the aid of the humans they meet. Not only is a Trader Mercurian the ideal accountant, able to ‘extrapolate’ where money has come from, they can tell when a human’s gambling habit has got out of hand, and judge whether the human is being fairly paid for their work.
Of course, they are ideal at rooting out corruption, and monitor both big business and governments to weed out corrupt humans and locate demonic threats.
Employed by Trade
A Trader in Heaven is expected to learn about minor Words, and form alliances with WordBound angels. While other angels are expected to rely on their own resources (and Resources) Traders know that nearly any task can be eased with Rites and Attunements from friendly Words. Although earning permanent Attunements is expensive, a Trader can often arrange to lease an attunement for a month or so, so long as they provide the essence to grant and strip the attunement, and make it worthwhile for the WordBound. This is particularly simple for Traders with the Loan Attunement, while those with the Divine Contract Attunement often have signed generic contracts with The Sword to never harm any Word they have received Rites or Attunements from.
A Trader in The Marches will normally be ensuring that Blandine’s Wordbound are firmly allied with their Corporeal equivalents: thus, ensuring that the Angel of Dreams of Aeroplanes and the Angel of Aeroplanes are working together. This important task has not improved Blandine’s opinion of Marc, as she prefers her Servitors to avoid too many entanglements with the Corporeal plane. More rarely, Traders need to enter The Marches to handle the purchase of Talismans, and selected trustworthy individuals have been granted the right by Dominic to buy items off ethereals that the ethereals have either made or stolen from demons. Finally, Headhunters enter The Marches to buy Vessels from Ethereals and Dream Saints.
A Trader is expected to be a peacemaker, persuading angels from different factions to work together. Additionally, he will normally be a ‘face’ handling negotiations with humans, and may even be called on negotiate with demons or ethereals. Finally, coming from a materialist Word, he will often need to explain the Corporeal to his fellows, bankroll the party – and bail angels out of jail if things go sour. In the meantime, he needs to build up a financial empire to do this, and help the humans around him acquire the resources they need to live their lives happily and the skills they need to maintain those resources. Then there’s thwarting Hell’s plans – normally overworked, it’s not surprising that Traders rely very heavily on each other and their angelic allies.
Fortunately, the Traders are a difficult bunch for Hell to face. Routinely hiring Artifacts, Rites and even Attunements, a Trader’s capabilities can vary wildly from encounter to encounter, making them dangerously unpredictable. A Trader is far more likely to hire a skill-granting Talisman than to waste time learning a combat skill, so a seemingly defenceless Trader can become a combat monster with a few phone calls. Of course, a Trader is unlikely to have more than one Talisman at a time; not only does he need to pay for the privilege, carrying multiples would make him a target for Hell.
Further, Traders are permitted to upgrade their Vessels by visiting Limbo. Traders will work together to do this, of course. Although Malakim value being able to get ever tougher Vessels, the major use Trade puts this to is copying the Vessels of demons and (after knocking the demon into Trauma) stealing their Role. Doing this is a major operation, as the angel will need to memorise an incredible amount of information, including the target’s fingerprints. This must be bought as a skill, equal in level to the level of the Role being stolen.
It is not uncommon for a Trader to change Superiors. Working with other Words all the time, Traders gain an appreciation of the work their fellow angels do. Marc is understanding – but expects something in return for the angel he is losing. An angel who is leaving Trade is responsible for arranging a replacement!
The most common way to arrange this is a straight swap – if the angel’s new Superior has a Servitor who would like to serve Trade, then Marc will be pleased with the exchange. His old angel will be allowed to keep as many Rites, Attunements and Distinctions as his new angel keeps from the other Superior. Any Rites or Attunements received from lesser WordBound are normally kept, but Marc insists that the WordBound are given the option of removing them – they did make a deal with Trade, after all, and the terms of the deal have changed. Most WordBound will only remove Resources if the angel is entering the service of a hostile Archangel.
Finding an angel who wishes to work for Trade has a second function – Marc’s Servitor will get to see and hear why an angel would want to leave their new Superior, and so is less likely to make a mistake they will later regret.
If a straight swap is impossible, the angel may try for a three way exchange; recruit a reliever (which means no Rites or Attunements) or one of the Redeemed (ditto). If the angel really wants to keep one of his Trade attunements, then he’ll need to negotiate attunements for the Reliever or Redeemed; probably from a friendly WordBound.
Of course, an angel who really doesn’t belong in Trade probably lacks the skill to arrange any of these things – and will need to employ a fellow Trader to manage this for them.
Traders most frequently enter service with Judgement, The Sword and Lightning, with the result that these Words are most likely to have angels enter service with Trade.
Head of a PIN
Marc often hands out Head of a PIN to angels new to Corporeal service. As not even a Superior can create a Role, the attunement is a simple way to catapult the new angel into the world of finance – all they have to do is say they’ve inherited money, or had a lump sum pay out: then they can begin investing.
Getting sufficient essence to power the attunement will encourage the new angel to deal with more experienced angels; something Marc wants, as this speeds the rate at which the rookie learns about Earth. Besides, the rookie needs contacts for his trading empire.
Traders prefer to buy essence for $50 per point – that allows them to fulfil their ‘make 100% profit on an honorable transaction’ Rite, and Mammonites can only match that rate if they’re prepared to take dissonance. Officially, Traders only buy from angels and Soldiers; however, don’t forget the Celestial Song of Tongues. A Malakite who swears an oath to send money to any account named in the message will not know who he is dealing with, so Impudites would be very tempted to use him as a money machine. This may seem contrary to the nature of Malakim, but it’s not. The Malakim desire the destruction of Hell; buying up Hell’s essence is an efficient way to weaken Hell, especially as the technique cripples the Mammonites’ attempts to do the same thing. The Dutch survived the 80 years war doing something similar.
(Of course, the knowledge that demons doing this will often be caught and executed by The Game amuses the Malakim greatly).
Given that Head of a Pin can only be used once per day, the next problem is making sure that the Trader can exchange all of the essence. Although reliquaries help a bit, any Trader who specialises in these transactions is going to end up as a Seneschal. Not only does the Tether allow greater essence expenditure, on days when the Trader gets too much essence, he simply lets the essence travel up the Tether to Marc and pays for the essence from petty cash. The Partnership Attunement is also important here.
The attunement is not protected against inflation. Traders are supposed to protect commerce – if Marc inflation-proofs the attunement, his Servitors no longer have an incentive to keep inflation down. Of course, the attunement is also helping the Servitor build a Role, so each time the GM rules that there had been a 10% reduction in the value of the money, grant one character point to be spent improving the angel’s Role. The exception would be if the angel had failed to counter diabolical plots (or human stupidity) which had an inflationary effect.
The angel can buy a new version of Head of a PIN, and Traders usually do so every century or so.
Of course, this means that there are angels with old attunements that now only provide a pitiful amount of money. Normally, these would be useless – however, they have some uses. Old money can have scarcity value (although this won’t happen often for periods when this attunement was available). Also, pre-industrial currencies are acquired in different fashions – a silver penny may not be worth much, but being able to pull one from the mouth of a fish you’ve just caught is likely to impress.
Dealing with Judgement
Marc approves of Dominic, for a simple reason: Judgement is an external audit service that he doesn’t need to pay. This perspective is shared by Marc’s Managers.
Judgement is the only Word to find Trade too friendly and informal – Judges can expect full cooperation, but in return Marc expects the Triads to provide him with regular reports which he can use during performance reviews. He also expects his Servitors to be allowed access to their files – how are they supposed to improve, if they don’t know how they are doing?
A Judgementer who is prepared to accept Trade’s ways will find their task a lot easier, as their subject’s direct superior will normally Loan Trade’s Choir Attunements to the Triad, allowing the Triad to gain far more information than normal. Judges whose investigations have repeatedly resulted in improved efficiency are often granted a Choir Attunement by Marc – he richly rewards those who increase his profits.
Creationers in service to Trade
As a fellow Mercurian, Marc gained many of Eli’s Servitors. Creationers are valued as talent scouts, and Trade ensures that their creations fetch top dollar prices and are used in ways that the Creationer can be proud of.
Despite this, Trade is a lot more impersonal that Creation, leaving many of Eli’s Servitors feeling lonely and left out. Marc is swift to notice when this happens, and normally sets the lonely angel the task of organising parties for his Servitors – although far more restrained than Creation, Trade does realise the value of a good party for networking.
Marc has many Redeemed, as his Seraph and Malakite Attuments are very effective at detecting possible candidates. Further, Balseraphs, Lilim and Impudites are all more likely to seek out Marc.
However, he does not go out of his way to recruit. The bottom line is that Redemption is not cost effective; it is harder for Marc to Redeem a demon than it is to create a new angel, and there is no guarantee of success. He will perform Redemptions but this is funding research, an investment for the future.
Fortunately for Redemption candidates, this also means that Traders are expected to do everything possible to increase the demon’s chances of survival. Some have remained demons for several years, as the Traders carefully test and teach the candidate. Knowing that trust is an important part of part of Redemption, the angels will carefully demonstrate to the demon that they can trust Marc, using arguments tailored to the individual. The demon will also be sent to Limbo to upgrade their Vessel(s), paying the cost with Celestial Discord, once the angels judge him ready for redemption – the demon will be given advice on what sorts of Discords (such as Merciful and Selfless) are thought to help successful Redemptions.
The newly Redeemed are kept busy – the hope is that a happily productive Redeemed will be too busy to yo-yo. The Redeemed is encouraged to explore his new resonance, and the Traders will make sure that there are countless opportunities to use the resonance to help humans improve their lives; also, the new angel will be shown what can be done with recordings. The Redeemed always spend sometime in Heaven; further, a special reward exists for Marc’s Redeemed – Trade has funded several lesser WordBound to develop Rites which duplicate (and so overwrite) common, benign demonic Rites – in particular, all of Lilith’s Rites. This reduces the chance of yo-yoing without wasting Marc’s precious time. Of course, the Redeemed must earn these Rites!
Naturally any Word which involves deal making or the movement, exchange or handling of resources falls under Marc’s Word, but he also has many Words which he has acquired from lost Superiors. Because Trade cultivates close links with WordBound from every Word, when Superiors die or Fall their WordBound often feel that Trade is the only place that they have friends. For example, the Angels of Fishing, Navigation and Shipping joined Trade when Oannes was destroyed, bringing several subsidiary Words with them; while the Angels of Mapping and Exploration joined Trade after Raphael’s death.
Marc’s WordBound are expected to develop Rites (and, if possible, Attunements) to trade with their fellows. Because of this, Trade often assists Significant Words to reach their full potential so that they can offer Attunements.
Trade has identified a depressed region; high unemployment, little trade - but many skilled potential service providers. The PCs are tasked with encouraging the locals to swap services, whether by bartering, direct swap or even by creating a local currency! (PCs wanting to do the latter should research historical local currencies, GMs are recommended to flip through the yellow pages for sample services that may be available).
An Offer They Might Refuse
Careful use of resonances has indicated that a local drug gang is considering "going straight", investing their profits in legitimate businesses and getting out of the drug trade. The PCs will need to encourage them to do so, deal with the demons (and humans!) who wish to prevent this, and persuade both mortal and Heavenly justice to grant sufficient amnesty to the gang to let them start afresh. Finally, they will need to deal with other groups who wish to move into the newly abandoned drug market.
Demons of Lust, Gluttony and Greed have been creating "debt slaves" - humans who are so far into debt that they must do whatever the demons say merely to keep up with interest payments: typically becoming prostitutes, drug couriers or shoplifters. The angels are tasked with finding ways for the humans to get their finances sufficiently under control that they can escape demonic control.