Evangelists, typically working with Angels, are effectively harnessing the drones and soldiers of Creation, to bring about effects. Primarily working with Cherubim, they tend to be very vulnerable while practicing, and may require soldiers or pre-summoned soldiers.
Evangelists typically use vows as a means of self-protection. Each vow taken imposes a restriction on the practitioner, but unlocks options and summonings. Vows can be taken in the short-term, but at steeper penalty and restriction, or over the long-term, as a permanent restriction with less of a grip.
To only eat bland food and drink, and willingly partake of no intoxicant, drug, potion or non-food substance. If taken as a temporary vow, then remove the word ‘willingly’ from the above and the practitioner cannot gain weight for the duration.
To eat only the food killed or harvested by one’s own hand. If temporary, the food eaten for the duration must be raised and/or grown by one’s own hand.
To speak no more than fifty words each day. If taken as a temporary vow, the number changes (diminishing on average) day by day, and the number of words spoken must be exactly the number specified.
To abstain from sexual relations. If temporary, extends to all contact with genders the avowed is attracted to.
To abstain from eye contact with people. If temporary, extends to holding any position of superiority or equality with other humans; complete subordination and obedience.
Vows can range from the severe to the mild, and don’t necessarily correlate in the severity of the vow and the power accessed. This said, many evangelist sects will keep their selection of vows and access to certain powers secret, as many individuals calling on the same powers may diminish those powers. Should an American Evangelist sect call on a Cherubim Raiser of the Fourth that a group in the United Kingdom has used several times in the last month, the American group may find it doesn’t have the strength to achieve what they need to achieve.
Common lesser spells and practices at an Evangelist’s disposal
Spear, Least (Soldier) – Typically requires a libation – a circle drawn on the ground with a pre-prepared solution (typically ‘holy water’), and a short, twenty-word statement. Summons a spear, as a vaguely angelic impression with a polearm, shield, and full armor. As summonings go, it is fairly durable, and as strong as a strong human, though Puissance plays a role. The Spear acts as a Power (see below) might, but is less connected to the Angelic side of things. As such, it is not limited in the same ways, being somewhat autonomous, and will attack those who attempt to pass within reach of its spear, unless those individuals have been said to be okay by the Evangelist. The Evangelist can have the Spear move and strike out by devoting the whole of their own focus and saying words. Depending on Puissance and Executions, the Spear might be given other capabilities, with a short phrase enabling it to fly or float, so it may stand guard in the air.
Shine (Shake) – The Evangelist can designate an area and chant. The area will be illuminated, and hostile effects will be suppressed to a lesser degree. Hostile barriers, enemy summonings, and deleterious practices will be tested, with steady damage done, durations winding down more quickly, deceptive illusions wavering, and curses having a less pronounced effect. Rarely enough to end an effect unto itself, but may provide openings or tax another’s resources. Practitioner ability determines if the light and suppressive effect continues after the chant stops, and to what degree.
Word of Prayer (Appeal) – A partial recitation of a Cherubim’s rite. Typically a practitioner learns Words of Prayer for the Angelic choirs, but ones for specific words can be learned. Each prayer has an effect within its general domain, randomized from a short list, with reliability and suitability depending heavily on relationship to greater powers, spirits, karma, and the length of time since a Word of Prayer was uttered. While more powerful than the usual beginner practice, is not necessarily consistent or for regular use.
Restoration (Mend) – This chant mends damage done to others with healing, with a strong initial effect and then a lesser effect over time, as the chant continues. Can also provide a fresh surge of life to a Practitioner’s workings. If the practitioner is forced to move and their Evangelist summons are locked in place, Restoration can undo this and resume the process. This can be done to resume the ritual if the Evangelist is attacked, or if a Cherubim or Power are struck down in combat, to bring them into the fray. The effect may fail if used too many times in close succession, as healing spirits are rare and slow to congregate.
Tap/Sphere: Can, on dismissal of a Cherubim, capture some of its essence (Tapping it). This may appear as a charm or an extension of a tattoo. This can be cast out over an area to bestow a lesser effect, be it light, steadier footing, or to cause enemies or the unwitting to be influenced to move away from the area.
As a secondary use, this same energy can be spent to strengthen barriers or make existing barriers into ones all Practitioners and Others will have to fight to pass through, even if they would normally be able to pass through the barrier in question. A circle meant for goblins may bar practitioners and Faerie, for example, or a doorway can be made into a temporary barrier. Such barriers will be relatively fragile, but this trick can buy time.
Lesser Rituals; Evangelist Summonings
Cherubim take the appearance of spherical or geometric objects (cubes, cones), with higher Cherubim having other features, such as a spherical baby’s head (thus the common imagining of a Cherubim in conventional media), celestial object, a lion’s head, a fractal bloom of wings, or something resembling a rubik’s cube. The arrival of even a minor Cherubim is typically joined by a noticeable sound and environmental impact. Cherubim perform tasks and each has a name and a specific effect. The tasks can range from the simple (raising or flattening terrain) to the specific (creating weapons) and supportive (healing the wounded).
Another common set of summonings are the Powers (often termed ‘Swords’ to minimize confusion), which are effectively mindless, but grow more powerful as more Evangelical activity is conducted. Powers are soldiers and warriors, tasked with defending other angelic forces, and have no names or identities. They do have capabilities, depending on their choir and the weapon they embody, typically appearing as a shrouded or indistinct figure with a not-shrouded, very distinct weapon. By and large, Powers have no autonomy. They will only act if and when another non-Power Angel (Cherubim, etc) acts, or if the Evangelist is chanting a verse appropriate to that Power.
As a rule, Cherubim will do the same thing when called forth, and if the Evangelist has broken their vows or if the Evangelist is corrupted (karmically or otherwise), the Cherubim may do them some harm. A Cherubim that creates walls of salt may, if the vows were not minded, turn one part of the Evangelist’s body to salt, or turn the Evangelist as a whole to salt. If the Evangelist has negative karma or ties to negative karma, or if they have interacted with corrupt things in the recent past, they may suffer some secondary damage or effect, with minor changes or damage on top of other effects, reflecting the degree to which this imbalanced, negative force has taken hold. Interactions with Goblins, Faerie, Necromancy, Heartless and anything else that perverts natural order may lead to this corruption, but certain choirs are more likely to react to certain kinds of corruption.
Such changes alter the fabric of one’s being and will not generally kill or free one’s spirit to move on. Amending these consequences, once met, is difficult. Powers are less likely to do abstract or metaphysical harm, and may simply expand explosively out into ambient reality with a flurry of sharpness, heat, or madness, with a great deal of the resulting harm or damage being directed at the Evangelist that summoned them.
As further rules of thumb of what to expect when performing rituals, if the summoning is expected to move or cover an area, then the Evangelist is bound in position for the duration of the summoning’s activity. If the summoning is expected to do harm, defend, or act, then the Evangelist is expected to go unharmed. Should the Evangelist be wounded or occupied in mortal combat, the summoned creatures may be suspended in activity until they take a brief amount of time to say some words and correct matters (see Restoration, above). Much the same is true if the Evangelist leaves the circle that appears as they chant.
Evangelists typically approach an occasion with summonings ready (partially cast and captured in a scroll, book, or object, so they can be finished with a moment’s notice), bodyguards or summoned allies, and they will enter the fray by bringing allies to bear and directing subordinates. Once initial summonings or Practice are finished, the Evangelist will use specific chants to activate Powers (Swords), empower or change the course of Cherubim, or have more control over the effects already created.
Greater Rituals & Summonings
Thrones are greater forces, akin to Cherubim, but created and set forth by distant powers or greater Angels. They are typically assigned a task, and are very good at accomplishing that task, and they are very powerful. An example might be a Throne of Light that appears as a scouring beam, ten feet across, traveling half a mile in one direction over a short period of time. Practices do not typically protect against Thrones.
Such a summoning typically requires some time, resources, and tertiary preparations.
The first difficulty in employing Thrones is that Thrones typically require permission to use and permission is requested as the Throne is summoned – if permission is refused, it typically means the Evangelist is unable to use the Throne and punished for their impertinence. One should be prepared with arguments in favor of the Throne’s use in case they are asked, keeping in mind that they may be challenged by members of a specific choir, and not always the one most closely or intuitively linked to the Throne or situation at hand. Arguments should be tailored in kind, and one should be mindful that repeated use of Thrones, especially as shortcuts, may be met with retribution or rebuke.
The secondary issue of using a Throne is that they tend to involve major and inexplicable events that reach the public. If practitioners cannot keep these events out of the public eye, limiting activity to arenas and specialized attention-evading barriers, or to combat in other realms and foreign demesnes, they are far more likely to be refused and also very likely to suffer a steep karmic penalty.
Virtues are the most commonly ‘angel-like’ of the summonings, but are purely supportive and not always very substantial in how they affect reality. They are messengers to mankind, sometimes theorized to be older Evangelists who were consumed by their practice or the weight of their vows, and act to heal, support, protect, and deflect. They may produce an ongoing passive benefit, like making enemy weapons jam or resist being drawn, or making wind always blow favorably for the summoner, and produce a greater effect when they finish their duties (after a duration or when the practitioner requests it). The effects are not always the same or necessarily predictable. Virtues impose a new, permanent vow each time they are called. Some are more predictable in what kind of impositions they set than others.
Angels are the creators of that which the aforementioned take, shape, and channel. They are autonomous, powerful, and fierce, and are best left alone.
Based on this document, evangelism seems to be spectacularly dangerous and quite likely to go badly for the practitioner. What makes someone decide to become an evangelist instead of (for example) a shaman or an augur? – Grekhaus
It's relatively accessible and acceptable, which does count for something, but it's primarily something that gives you an incredible degree of clout and supportive power. If you do it right, and if you're willing to make personal sacrifices. A lot of the effects you can get into with deeper study can border on the Inevitable effects, the guarantees, the absolutes, the One Option that will break a curse or stop many things that can't otherwise be stopped.
Say you're a practitioner in Europe. Your town is hundreds of years old, and it borders a bog. In that bog lives a Very Old Thing. It predates Solomon, it predates tidy labels, and it is nasty, predatory, and prone to kidnapping children to eat. It can't be killed and most conventional ways of binding it will see it throwing itself against the walls of its metaphorical cage until the people who set up the seal give up or people start to notice something's up.
Enter the Evangelists. Where other practitioners can operate in secret, the Evangelists can operate more openly, because God is pretty well accepted in villages and out of the way places and people are going to accept ritual and rite, chant and symbol. That counts for something, the accessibility and acceptability. It means they're going to hear the news of what's going on if the Very Old Thing starts to migrate to greener pastures, or if a child wanders into the bog and disappears, when other practitioners might be out of the loop.
And when it comes to containing the Very Old Thing, or maybe, maybe even stopping it for good, they're going to have a bit of an edge, because their stuff is the kind of stuff that works against things without label, and their stuff is the sort that kills things that are especially disinclined to being killed.