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Old 04-08-2020, 12:22 PM   #1
William's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Default The Immovable Ladder

The Immovable Ladder

Minor Tether to Factions
6 Forces, Low Influence, Slow Essence flow
Attuned Seneschal
Inconvenient Feature, Inelastic (triple Essence), Quiet

Inconvenient Feature: Being stuck in the middle of a major angelic Tether


It ain't much but it's a resource, and Malphas isn't going to throw one away, even if it is in the middle of one of Laurence's most powerful Tethers.

Wait. This is Malphas.

Especially if it's in the middle of one of Laurence's most powerful Tethers.

The short version is, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, arguably the holiest site in Christianity and one of Laurence's capital Tethers, has long existed in a state of tension between rival Christian denominations, whose centuries-old boundaries run down to inches on the floor and whether certain doors are open or closed. Someone moving their chair into a shadier spot has been known to cause a riot ending up with multiple injuries.

For one notable example, when the Church was divided in the 1850s by the Ottoman Empire among the various Christian denominations with claims at the time, there happened to be a ladder which someone had left there, probably after making some repairs. No one knew who had sponsored the work, however. In some tiny way, awarding ownership of the ladder would bolster the claim of some denomination to a part of the Church, so instead of any of them giving it up, they agreed that all six denominations must agree to any movement of the ladder. Of course, all six of them never did, and it became known as the Immovable Ladder.

For the most part the arrangements have kept the peace, although part of the peace is also due to the fact that everyone agreed that the primary keys to the Church itself would be kept not by any Christian denomination but by a certain Jerusalem Muslim family. The obvious potential for a Tether to Factions is kept down by the usual effect of the much larger angelic Tether in suppressing any other Tethers in its vicinity, especially when it's a large and well-established one.

So when the Immovable Ladder gained a bit of notoriety and a tiny Tether formed around the humorous crystallization of interdenominational rivalry and stubbornness, Malphas immediately jumped on the opportunity to tweak Laurence's Oaths. Splitting the Church has been practically a hobby of his for millenia, so of course a symbol of his victories in this sphere was something he would never pass up.

The Tether is easiest for demonlings to use, preferably ones that can make a quick escape into the city. It's too small for even newly-fledged demons to use without stretching it, and the Essence cost to do so is triple the usual; a 9-Force demon would have to use all their Essence to make the transit, and it's usually wise to be able to escape quickly after arrival. To celestial appearances, the user seems to climb the Ladder, rising from or descending into the roof where it sits. On the other hand, of course Laurence's people keep a close eye on it, but because the Tether is Quiet, it can be ascended and descended without making any Disturbance, even when Essence is spent. The Seneschal, a Malphasian Shedite, wanders through the crowds passing through the Church constantly, keeping an eye on the watch and letting users from either side know when it may be safe to make a dash for the locus. Angels in celestial form, even Relievers, can't just hover right by the Ladder; enough tourists pass by that plenty of Perception rolls would pass every day. Thus they have to patrol and exchange watches, without someone obviously staring at a plain ladder constantly, so there are opportune gaps.

Both sides work with the natural assumption that if the Ladder is ever removed the Tether will be quickly forgotten and fade. Clearly with so many humans around a blunt miraculous intervention would be highly inappropriate, not to mention very likely to cause backlash; if it were, say, to get struck by lightning, the scar on the rock could become a permanent feature of the Church. Also, Malphas is likely to have made it considerably sturdier than its material construction would suggest. Therefore Heaven has done its best to work via humans, especially Soldiers of the Wind, to have it stolen. This has been successful a couple of times, but so far the Ladder has been found easily before it could be destroyed, since of course Malphas knows where it is at all times.

While away from the Church the Tether was in abeyance: present, but untraversable. If someone could work out how to open it elsewhere, Malphas might see to its removal himself: small, easily portable Tethers are rare and very useful.
William is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2020, 02:29 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: The Immovable Ladder

Nicely done.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2020, 05:45 AM   #3
cptbutton's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Default Re: The Immovable Ladder

Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Nicely done.
Yes I like this too, thank you.
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