"The World was once pure, but now lies defiled. Cleanse it of the corruption and bring it once more to God's Purity."
"And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it."
--Numbers 6:9, KJV
Belial was the unredeemable, or so most thought. Almost no Demon Prince relished his role in the corrupting of God's Symphony as Belial did. He delighted in the destruction that was his Word, and in the dissonant pain he inflicted upon Gabriel, once his Superior and now his worst foe.
That dissonace, naturally, was two edged from the beginning. As Belial was a living discordant jangle across the Holy Fire of Gabriel, so Gabriel's purity, her inspiration, her living flames of God danced across Belial, forever reminding him of the Symphony the Calabite had turned inward to deny. However, where Gabriel seemed tormented by Belial's discordant tune, Belial always seemed to handle the conflict through violence, which in turn fueled his Word. Given a release Gabriel was denied, it seemed Belial was the more stable of the two.
But is a Calabite ever truly stable? And how could one know? Who knows how long Belial had coped with his own pains in loud silence, flailing and destroying all around him.
The day of reckoning came in the burning fires of Pele, a Volcano burning and bubbling below the surface of the water, slowly growing a new Hawaiian Island in the chain. Belial was within the magma and lava and fire, relishing the unleashed destructive force and seeking to harness it into a wave of destruction among the populated islands. But surrounded by water, in his Celestial Form within the burning prototether to Fire... Belial became aware of another. Too late, he realized that he was not alone. That Gabriel had found him and entered beneath him in the flames, and engaged him in combat.
The force of the destruction the two wreaked could be felt hundreds of miles away. The tectonic power sent tsunamis forth. This destruction fueled Belial's Word as the pair fought -- but in grappling with Gabriel, Belial found himself comingling with the Divine Fire. Surrounded by the inspiration of Heaven, Belial was forced into confronting his own shallowness. In the final battle between Fire and Fire, Belial's destruction could not stand before Gabriel's Inspiration, and Belial was surrounded and consumed in Gabriel's fire.
And there, the two saw the dance of Belial's pure self -- the self-hatred and jealosy of his beautiful Superior, long before the Fall. The pride and ambition. The corruption that had been within Belial from the day he Fell. The corruption that had been in his heart even before the Fall.
And holding his broken Celestial Form, ready to obliterate the Calabite completely, Gabriel perceived the Cruelty -- and the Self-Cruelty -- within Belial. In that moment, Gabriel stood on a cusp -- to destroy the cruel or inspire the self-cruel to a better way? To wipe her enemy from the face of the Symphony, or to guide him home?
And she chose, and gathered Belial close, and asked him if he sought redemption for all he had done. And Belial, seeing the corruption he had become, the stains and flaws in his once-beautiful self, agreed, and begged to be cleansed. He surrendered to the discord in his soul, and let the Fire of Gabriel consume him.
Belial emerged from the real and metaphoric Fire a bright, whirling Ofanite once more. Greater by far than he ever was before the Fall. Perhaps even greater than as a Demon Prince. And he emerged with a Word, received in Holy Communion (it is assumed) with Gabriel's prophetic flames. No longer the Demon Prince of Fire, Belial was the Archangel of Cleansing.
This is, of course, where the trouble started.
Belial presented himself to Heaven and the Seraphim Council, a full, Worded Archangel in the robes of a penetant, bald of head. The Council was thrown into shock -- in ways, it seemed more likely Lucifer himself would walk back across the Marches, beg forgiveness and reclaim the Cathedral of Light than Belial would. Further, while it seemed evident that God himself had granted Word and Station to the Archangel, it was through Gabriel's agency, and no one was certain of what happened. Gabriel herself did not return from her exile to explain, and the Council had no proof but the word of a freshly Redeemed Demon Prince -- and one of the worst of the lot, no less.
Dominic announced an investigation. Belial responded with laughter. "I have been Cleansed by the Fire of the Lord," he said. "I am Pure again. Don't you see? Your snoopings cannot approach me, for I have been scoured clean before you. You should submit to me, and I will grant you the gift of cleansing."
"Your words smack of Pride," Dominic accused. And Belial laughed again, and whirling with an Ofanite's love of speed, he left Heaven as Gabriel had before him, to pursue his Word and mission on Earth.
The Council, confused before, was now dismayed. Belial seemed at best primed to Fall again. An Outcast Archangel was the last thing they needed.
"Perhaps," Yves said quietly, "we should consider the damage to Hell, before assessing the damage to Heaven." When pressed, he would say no more. His words were enough to end debate that day, though the Seraphim Council was still sorely worried.
Belial swept over Earth. He sought out his old demonic Servitors where he knew them to be, appearing to them in the pure flames of his own Cleansing and his penetant's robes. Before his erstwhile Servants could react, he took hold of them, one by one, and submurged them into the Cleansing Fires. That one out of a hundred (perhaps) who truly sought redemption in his heart survived. The rest were destroyed. Within scant hours, the Disturbance of Belial's manifestations and redemptions had sent shockwaves through the demonic community, and demons of all stripe -- those orphaned Demons of Fire most of all -- took to ground where they could, hiding from the destruction that stalked them like no Angel before him.
Those few who survived, Redeemed in Belial's Service, became the foundation of his Servitors. They too sought Demons, but where Belial's zeal had raised them up, they used methods more subtle, seeking Renegades of all factions. Once found, they Invoked Belial, who would redeem them into his service (or destroy them in the process).
Of course, in the process of hunting Renegades, the Angels of Cleansing also encountered Outcast Angels. To them were also offered a chance -- undergo the purification, have their dissonance and Discord wiped clean and become Angels of Cleansing themselves. Some agreed, bolstering Belial's ranks (and giving him his first Malakim.)
These early Angels, redeemed and cleansed into Belial's service, formed the foundation of his Servitors, and remain among Belial's most passionately loyal.
After the inital flood of Belial's Cleansing of the Servitors of Infernal Fire, the Servitors of Cleansing have settled into a force on Earth. In echo of Belial's status, a Cathedral has appeared in Heaven, disturbingly close to Uriel's abandoned Halls. Tethers to Cleansing have begun to appear and be stablized as well. Belial himself has not returned to Heaven since that first day. He walks the Earth, seeking to make pure what is corrupt. He is among the most dilagent of demon-hunters, though his armies are yet too small to make a difference. In part, this is because he does not (or has not, at least) created any Angels. Instead, his organization grows through redemption or through Angels petitioning to join his service. It has been rumored he experiments with dismantling the Forces of captured demons and reassembling them into Angels where Redemption is not an option -- and it's said he's founded a flight of particularly fanatic Malakim by this method -- but there is no proof of this.
Belial and his Servitors work to cleanse the Symphony of corruption and flaws, concentrating on the discord of Infernal powers. Belial has been concentrating on his own old strongholds initially, knowing them well (and being offended by the evidence of his personal Fall and corruption). He has been destroying the Tethers to Infernal Fire wherever he can, as well as trying to expunge (or redeem) his own former Servitors. He doesn't scorn breaking the plots and pollutions of other demons, of course.
Hell has reacted to this. Belial's redemption -- especially given his extermely passionate crusade of purification in the beginning -- has rocked the foundations of the Infernal Order. His former Servitors are torn between throwing themselves into other Princes' service (for protection) and fighting each other to take over his organization. It is believed by most Orphaned Belialites that Lucifer will choose another Demon Prince of Fire, as Gabriel has grown increasingly more stable with Belial's redemption and he would not wish her to be unchecked long.
In this, they are likely wrong. Lucifer chose Belial at the dawn of the Fall, and Gabriel had no ability or experince in dealing with such dissonance until it was too late. Now, a Word Conflict with Gabriel after millenia of fighting Belial every second of every day would mean even a powerful Prince would be torn apart, and Lucifer is not likely to waste the effort. It is more likely he would crown a Prince of a varient word, to combat her. (Perhaps even, ironicly enough, a Prince of Cleansing....)
The Demon Princes are in disarray, fighting for the gap in power. Furfur seems to be the only winner, his Word growing with the destructive aspects of Belial's abandoned Word and his ranks swelling with Servitors (including many Word-Bound) seeking a like-thinking Prince. As he moves towards true, Major Princedom, Furfur is aware of Belial's campaign to destroy the old Tethers to Fire and has begun to take steps. Belial wants to cleanse? Cleanse this, baby....
As for the other Demon Princes? Damage control is still the reaction. Belial's redemption (into an Archangel, no less) fuels the hopes of Renegades and flies in the face of Infernal Propeganda. If Belial himself can Redeem and survive, then maybe....
Already, Nybbas and Kronos, working in concert, have begun spin control, of course. After all, Belial ended up destroying far more demons than he redeemed angels in his initial crusade. He is proof that Redemption is possible -- but he can be twisted to 'prove' Redemption is horrible and deadly just as easily....
Kronos and Baal have also begun to gather their forces to wipe out the fledgling Servitors of Cleansing quickly. Belial's Word is too close to Uriel's for comfort, especially if the Ofanite Archangel manages to recruit the Tsaydim where others have failed and bring them back to the forefront of the War....
In Heaven, the Crusade of Cleansing (and the parallels to Uriel that disturb Kronos so much) has been noticed with concern. There are almost no Archangels who support their new brother -- the peaceful Archangels view his swift violence with alarm, the warlike Archangels note his disregard of the Heavenly strategy and the mystery of his Word and Station. Even Yves is concerned -- one cannot force a man to Destiny. One cannot choose to be selfless at the point of a sword.
Most alarming is the similarities between Belial's current hit, destroy and run tactics and his old tactics as a Demon Prince. A Fall back out of grace seems inevitable to some (most notably Dominic). And if he does Fall, he's likely to bring a good number of fanatic Angels with him.
And his ranks are growing, without a doubt. The surity of his cause and drive for purity have made him as popular among the Host as he is unpopular among their Superiors. He is dynamic and committed, bringing a new passion for the destruction of Hell's works that many Angels have not seen since Uriel's recall. Further, it is rumored that his Servitors cannot fall, even as Uriel's couldn't. Further, Belial's very reputation in Hell makes him attractive to some Angels. After all -- if the very scion of destruction can Redeem, there is hope for the cause of Heaven. And while Belial does not walk in Heaven, his Servitors do and are loud in their support for and evangelizing of the Archangel of Cleansing.
Gabriel supports Belial, and Belial renders her deference as his Superior, despite his Archangelic station. Gabriel is distant, however, reacclimating to a Word of Fire not consumed in conflict and dissonance -- and a spirit which chose to inspire rather than punish. In ways (and ironically), Belial makes this easier on Gabriel, by punishing and cleansing the cruel as Gabriel once did.
In appearance, Belial is an energetic man, shaven bald in monk's robes. When needing to appear incogneto on Earth (which he is not disposed to do, but is sometimes necessary), Beliel generally will wear plain clothes or hand-me-downs, in intentional contrast to his sophisticated veneer as a Demon Prince. He is always bald, and always manifests in male form (to date). He is enthusiastic, hammering at those around him with speech and handshakes. His frenetic passion is infectious, and he often draws others into working with him on any project -- from cleaning up a toxic spill to firebombing an Infernal tether. His zeal is like a recovering smoker -- the fanaticism of the convert. His course seems certain at all times, and he never speaks with doubt. Nor, to even Gabriel's regret, with humility.
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