This is a work heavily in progress. The Empyrean an attempt to bring angels to Exalted in a fashion which is not too abrasive to the "feel" of the setting and doesn't completely flip the place upside down.
I have a lot to thank to the good people at RPG.net for their ideas and feedback on this concept originally, as well as to my friend Daniel for helping me out with it over all and letting me bug him with it. ^_^
Thoughts, feedback, suggestions, ideas, flames, motel keys... all are welcome with open arms.
The Tale of Azeriphel
Azeriphel, the Child Who Swallowed the Sea, was the last of the Primordials to form out of the shapeless chaos of the Wyld and thus the youngest. His youth was his blessing and his curse. Even vast and unknowable as he was, he was yet a mere babe compared to his brethren. As he was last, so was he looked down upon by his brothers and sisters. Shunned, ignored, he was bared from their sport and their plots. As any elder siblings are prone to, they piled him with the daily chores of running Creation none of them wished to be bothered with and dangled the promise of acceptance before him. He stretched himself above Creation to keep watch upon all the taks he was burdened with. Yu-Shan was built upon his back by his siblings to house themselves, a further burden to the beleaguered Primordial. In time, he began to serve without being told and his hope for the love and friendship that was denied to him withered.
His siblings were too busy playing games he was not invited to join in. Alone and lonesome, he made his own games upon the earth. Mortals, the little beings his brethren virtually ignored, he made his unwitting playmates. At times, armies clashed for his amusement and delight and nations twisted into spires of bloody bone and ash. As much horror as he wrought, he created much that was beautiful as well. He was still a child and held a child’s simple sense of beauty and painted his dreams upon the canvas as his body. He created the night and the day, the vibrated red of the sun set and the terrible beauty of the storm. He created clouds, and delighted in hearing the laughter and idle thoughts in the minds of mortal kind as they looked up at his creations and each saw a different shape within.
Azeriphel's own games began to consume him nearly with the same addiction as the Games of Divinity had his brethren. Much was left undone and Creation began to fray at the edges. The other Primordials would spare no time for such work and with their pathetic baby brother now obsessed over his games of imagination, they needed someone else to tend to the tasks which kept Creation from slipping back into the Wyld. So, they crafted the Incarna, and set in motion the coming of their own downfall.
Through their Exalted servants, the Incarna turned upon the Primordials. When the war came, Azeriphel hid himself. For countless years, the sky was an unchanging, empty blackness. The Incarna and other Spirits believed that the Primordial had barred them from Yu-Shan, never realizing simply that the city and the entire landscape it was built upon was simply cowering in a darkened corner and hoping not to be noticed. But someone did notice. Gaia alone among the Primordials and the Incarna gave thought to the child-Titan. She did nothing to remind others of his existence until the war was over and her wayward brethren slain or imprisoned. Only then, playing the role of a kindly elder sister for the first time, she coaxed Azeriphel from hiding. She spoke kind words to him, loving words, gentled his fear and told him of what was changed and what was to come. Gaia knew the Chosen would not suffer the child-being meddling and toying with their world. She made him promise that until the day he could discover a way to play his games without drawing the attention and ire of the Incarna or their Chosen, he would have to be content to watch. Then she spread him back across the sky and sang him to sleep and his arms wrapped around her bosom, as the sky forever encompasses the earth. None save Gaia and her ever-changing lover Luna ever knew about the Primordials continued freedom and lost in a state of half-awake and half-asleep, Azeriphel watched the events of the world unfold bellow him with smiling delight.
Even only half-awake, Azeriphel longed to play his games again, but his promise and love for his sister bound him. He use to watch and play with mortals, but Gaia wouldn't let him anymore, and so once he was no longer afraid of them, he started to watch the Chosen instead. They were much brighter and easier to see. What struck him most of all though, was that for all they did, they never brought the attention of the Incarna to them beyond that first moment of Exaltation. They were the greatest toys ever made, but he could never play with them. He didn't know how to make his own and as much as he thrilled to see the things they could do, it wasn't the same as being a part of it.
He had forever to watch them and study them, to quietly listen in to the things said about them. He eventually came at least the basic idea of how they worked, if not how they were made. He even ate one once, when no one was watching. It's Essence escaped eventually, but in the time it spent inside him, he came to understand a great deal more about them than any amount of observing ever could impart. He devised a way to make his own Chosen. Not the exact same thing, but a close copy, and most importantly, one that was his. His own toys. His own play things. His own champions to carry his banner and glow with his light.
And on a dimly lit winter morning deep into the western Threshold, a young girl took up a sword in angry defiance to the pirates who came to loot and pillage in her impoverished town. As she stood poised for certain death, a vision unlike any in the memory of the world blossomed before her eyes. And thus was born the first of the Empyrean into the world.
After a fashion, the Empyrean are the opposite of those who bear the taint of a demon, yet their method of creation is much the same. Simple beings, taken and twisted from what they once were, imbued by a power beyond them. More over, both are slaves to their masters will. Yet it is in the master where they differentiate. The Yozi seek only their freedom and the Akuma are the tools towards that end. Azeriphel has no such concerns. Akuma come to the Yozi to barging for power. Azeriphel seeks out Empyrean and invites them to accept it.
In his own way, Azeriphel is more of what mortal kind could hope a God to be, rather than the reality of what they are. He watches. He is attentive and curious. Few know his name, yet to call upon it is almost certain to draw him to you. And while he cannot reach out to touch you, he can open his arms and invite you come to him. Those who do and irrevocably changed, becoming something new. The experience is much like Exaltation - the vision of the Godly being, a message, a sudden surge of power. As often as he can, Azeriphel even seeks to make the moment he offers them the right to become his toys as climatic as those in which mortals would under-go true Exaltation.
Empyrean are not Exalted, however. They are not beings of free-will. They can believe themselves to be, and many often do. They can in all ways function as if they were, but only to Azeriphel's consent. His whim could kill them all, should he grow bored with the game, but in as long as he as watched the world pass beneath him, he has found things which delight him to see far more. Thus, for the moment at least, the Empyrean find themselves emulating the Exalted of the First Age, striking out at demons and Fair Folk and undead, protecting the innocent and championing the righteous, playing at heroes and divine messengers. Dancing the jig, all for the delight of their omnipresent master.
As his sibling Primordials and even the twisted Yozi do, Azeriphel’s soul is fragmented and every piece it’s own being. Clouds are the lowest of Azeriphel's souls and his most cherished toys, though he freely allows others to play with them. When a mortal becomes an Empyrean they are merged into one with one of his higher souls, beings beyond the simple wisps which have not manifested themselves since before the First Age. They become his demons and his agents, his hands and his voice upon Creation, carefully slipped through a hole in the oath that binds him to passive observance.
New to the world and strange and beautiful to behold, the Empyrean are often mistaken for many things. Gods, Anathema, Dragon-Blooded, or even Rhaksha. The appearance of each is often wildly unique, yet all bear a certain haunting similarity. They are refined versions of the people they once were, reshaped into the child-Titan’s ideal of magnificence and perfection. Birds are creatures of the sky and while not his creatures, Azeriphel has always liked them, thus do all Empyrean bear wings. Only rarely simple feathered wings, the wings of the Empyrean are expressions of Azeriphel’s sense of beauty and thus are often stylized and unusual. Most seem almost as things forged from the earth, something crafted rather than natural, each feather a smooth plate of jade or Orchalcum. Many bear bizarre and frightening additions, such as great eyes peering out of the gaps between the feathers. Some are bright and brilliant, others dark and mysterious. Each is a symbol of Aspect and nature for every Empyrean.
- [[[Greymane/Empyrean/Empyrean]] Systems]]
- [[[Greymane/Empyrean/Character]] Creation]]
- [[[Greymane/Empyrean/Empyrean]] Charms]]
Welcome to the Wiki! I have noticed that in many places, you use "bare" (to expose or uncover) where mpre commonly accepted diction would expect "bear" (to carry or display). I am running to a meeting, or I would correct this myself. - willows
- Thanks for pointing that out to me. Sadly, English is my first language, but my spelling and vocabulary skills are… extremely poor. ^^; Edited to fix that. - Greymane
Back when you first posted this idea on RPG.net, I remember you posting a link to some cool pictures that were visual inspiration for the Empyrean. Could you tell me where I could find those pictures now? ---catmandrake
Catmandrake, I'm not exactly sure if these are the pictures you're looking for, but I think I recall this gallery having the Empyrean-inspiring art.  It's also got a great selection of demons that I use for Exalted as well. - garrisod
- That is indeed the gallery I was looking for. Many thanks. - catmandrake