The Shadow of Heaven
Father Christopher Landrum
The reluctant Saint of Ritual, a Jesuit priest with a pretty face.
Father Christopher (human version)
2 Passion: I wish I could still think the best of people.
2 Passion: I want to help.
1 Skill: Jesuit Theology
1 Skill: Romance Languages
1 Skill: Counseling
Father Christopher, Saint and Pawn of Ritual
|ASPECT 0||5 AMP|
|DOMAIN 0||5 DMP|
|PERSONA 5||5 PMP|
|TREASURE 2||5 TMP|
[ 2 ] Glorious (Beauty)
[ 2 ] Purify (all poisons, diseases, and demonic influences)
[ 5 ] Bardic Music
3 Bond: I love, hate, and fear Jane Smith.
5 Bond: I fight injustice!
1 Bond: I value my old mentor, Father Luna.
1 Bond: I must protect the Church.
4 Bond: I want to help my family, both adopted (Familia) and original (the Landrums)
1 Affliction: I am oblivious.
Anchored to the Church and Father Luna.
Properties of Ritual
3 Ritual creates structure.
2 Ritual provides meaning.
1 Ritual tries to comfort the weak.
1 Ritual moves between the Mundane and the Miraculous
Additional Note: As the world has gone on, that last Property has
become weaker. Spirits are never required to heed the message of a
ritual, and as mankind has cocooned themselves in Prosaic Reality, the
messages brought by most common rituals have become quieter and more
garbled, and are more often ignored. But strengthening that element of
ritual can make the messages of ritual resound to the spirits more
Domain Miracle Table
know when something endangers Ritual
have someone create a tiny, short-lived little ritual around something they’re doing
know everything you could want to know about a given ritual, even a secret one
have a nice chat with the Sacrament of the Altar, and maybe persuade it to go a little slower in a particular church
make the Sacrament of the Altar being performed at a given church very difficult to disrupt, even by the attempts of a Russian death metal band engaging in a publicity stunt
ensure the Sacrament of the Altar being performed at a given church touches the hearts of all who participate, adding meaning to their lives
ensure that a confession made as part of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is heard by an angel, whether or not they choose to listen, act, or forgive
transform a simple part of someone’s daily routine into a somber daily ritual with more meaning than its ostensible purpose
summon everyone and everything needed to enact the Sacrament of the Altar and cause it to begin
move the items in a space and maybe change the roles of given participants to make a ritual easier to do and more visible to the local spirits
surround yourself with an air of ritual that makes it difficult for people to interrupt your motion
divine facts about people or things that have been involved in a ritual or passed near the site of a ritual
enact a divination ritual (such as slaughtering a sheep and examining its liver for answers) that gives hints about the future
utterly disrupt a given enactment of a ritual in such a way to make it impossible to continue (and impossible to re-enact without a great amount of effort)
make everyone forget a ritual ever existed
warp the purpose of a given enactment of a ritual, so it has a different result than usual, and the spirits recognize this different message
allow the proper enactment of a given ritual even without the proper components or appropriate participants (for example, enact the Sacrament of the Altar without a priest and without bread, and yet have it recognized by the Catholic Church)
cause someone or a category of people (e.g. priests) to come to know a given ritual they did not know before
make the Sacrament of the Altar being performed at a given church impossible to disrupt, even by the explosion of an atomic bomb
ensure that a confession made as part of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is heard by all the angels, as if whispered by the voice of Heaven itself
ensure a rain dance is heard by the spirits for miles around, likely causing a rainstorm
ensure the Sacrament of the Altar being performed at a given church touches the hearts of all who participate, profoundly changing their lives forever
ensure the Sacrament of the Altar will never be forgotten, even if the Catholic Church and all records of it and from it are destroyed
transform a simple part of someone’s daily routine into a somber daily ritual which loudly sings to the spirits of the world and inspires heroic effort in its creator, becoming a cornerstone of their life
make a ritual utterly cease to exist, so that it is not just forgotten, but history is rewritten as if the ritual never was
create a new ritual and the people, material, and structures needed to support it (including possibly an entire local religious congregation) out of thin air
manipulate codes of law or regulations as if they were instances of “structure”
subtly re-write all rituals so they can be linked together in a modular fashion into more powerful and meaningful ur-rituals designed to sing beautifully to Heaven
Persona Miracle Table
invoke the Sight to see the connections and meanings wrought by Ritual
make someone a bit more orderly and deep (meaningful)
make someone more inclined to comfort the weak
make entering a particular building feel like a meaningful act, in a small way
curse someone so they are a little more trivial (meaningless) and chaotic
shelter someone from the smaller social effects of Excommunication
become the Sacrament of the Altar as it is being enacted in a given church, experiencing everything from the view of the ritual until it ends (e.g. the Body of Christ is also, in a sense, the Body of Christopher Landrum, at least in how he experiences it)
empower yourself to create structure
dub yourself a messenger between the Mundane and the Miraculous
become driven to comfort the weak
turn an accidental action (closing the door a particular way, walking a particular route home) into a ritual, and therefore meaningful to the person doing it
make all who handle a given rubber duck treat it with the reverence one would accord a meaningful rite
transform all the laws of physics in a city block into rituals (which can be disrupted or not participated in)
strip the structure from the Sacrament of the Altar so that it turns into a chaotic love feast
decide the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is no longer a ritual, but simple a social convention that Catholics engage in
make a medium of art less structured, in the hopes of making it more creative (or at least… interesting)
remove all meaning from a medium of art
destroy someone’s desire to comfort the weak, making them more cruel
make all ritual meaningless anathema to Mr. Jones, almost pushing him away, like he is a vampire or something
make it so all ritual is meaningful and comforting to Mr. Jones make Mr. Jones a guardian of ritual, capable of doing any ritual (and therefore knowledgeable in them)
make your every action hold the weight of a great, well-respected ritual, so that it is almost impossible to disrupt (the structure is very strong)
empower yourself to provide structure to an entire society (instant Pope)
make the Law of Gravity into a mere ritual that scientists enact (by describing it as a Law of Nature to others) to try to ensure that stuff doesn’t float and to bring meaning to all science is derived from understanding gravity
make the sunrise so structure-less that worldwide not a single person ever sees it happen at the same time, nor does night last the same amount of time for everyone
destroy the desire to comfort the weak in a worldwide class of people (e.g. priests)
remove all meaning from all Islamic ritual, turning them into mere habits of those who follow the religion
turn every action taken in New York City into part of a grand ritual that gives meaning to the lives of all its people and sings to Heaven, and imbue everyone there with the knowledge their very actions sing to the angels
transform Germany into a country where thousands of rituals are created each day as part of elaborate new religions and philosophies, but enactment of such new rituals is forbidden, so that Germans (and those who come to Germany) become pioneering missionaries to the rest of the world
Backstory: Father Christopher Landrum
Christopher Landrum was the eldest son of an affluent and devoutly Catholic family. His Jesuit teachers identified him as a smart boy at an early age, and by introduced him to the likes of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, and Bernard Lonergan. Christopher to came to understand that science and religion are not opposing forces, and was able to fit his burgeoning thoughts regarding social justice (which mostly came from his own white guilt) into a Catholic framework.
Of course, this alone would not have led him to the priesthood. If one were brutally honest, it was the fact that Christopher had an unusually low libido for a teenaged boy that caused him to embrace the old Landrum tradition of producing a priest every generation.
Christopher wanted to be a Jesuit from his earliest days in the Church. In the halls of Catholic academia he discovered a love for meditation and prayer as he studied several languages, theology, and, to a lesser degree, psychology. It was while working his way up through the Society of Jesus that he became a proponent of Liberation Theology, a politicized and left-leaning version of Catholic theology.
In an indirect way, this lead to his downfall.
Due to his political leanings, he took a position as a curate in an inner city parish, under the parish priest Father Roy Luna. Father Luna was a much older and more cynical priest, who immediately took Christopher under his wing.
The parish was heavily Hispanic, but this was not considered a problem given Father Landrum’s training in the Spanish language. Ostensibly he was supposed to be a counselor, ministering to the younger and more troubled members of the flock, but in practice a large number of middle-aged married women were drawn to the handsome young priest. The women were all from troubled marriages, and were engaging in a sort of Platonic, emotional affair with Father Christopher, though the naive and highly intellectual young priest had no idea this is what was
Things started to go wrong when one of the women tried to have Father Christopher intervene in the matter of her daughter, who had joined a Pentecostal “snake handling” church outside the city. In his zeal to help the young lady, he tried to push her to her knees to join him in prayer, and got punched in the jaw for his trouble.
It was all he could do to prevent the mother from calling the police or attacking her daughter, all the while Father Christopher was trying to apologize to the daughter for overstepping his bounds.
On the heels of this fiasco, some of the women that had become attached to Father Christopher found out that other women were making eyes at him as well, leading to a frenzy of jealousy. This caused some of the women to (falsely) accuse the other women of sleeping with Father Christopher, as well as causing some of the women to actually try to sleep with him. (None succeeded, but he caused more problems with his too-forceful rejections.)
Father Luna finessed the situation to discredit anyone making accusations and save Father Christopher from any sort of consequences due to his overzealous but mostly innocent actions, though Father Christopher had to be moved to another parish. Father Christopher was very grateful, but very troubled by the way Father Luna manipulated both the women and various members of the local Church hierarchy to achieve this effect.
It was as he was leaving the troubled parish that Father Christopher was turned into a Noble.
The Myth of the Beautiful Priest
In times past, a young priest lived in the land of the Eagle and Turkey. He was beautiful, but he did not know that he was beautiful.
The young priest served under another priest, old and ugly. The old priest was jealous of the young priest’s beauty, but he smiled and put his jealousy aside, because he knew beauty fades.
The matrons of the village came to love the young priest more than their husbands. They fought over him and tried to lay down with him, but the young priest did not understand. When he did understand, his words only made things worse.
The women had nearly torn the young priest asunder, when the ugly priest walked into the church. He smiled again, because he thought the beauty had already been tarnished, on the inside if not the outside.
The old priest spoke honeyed words to the women, and turned their fury on each other. As they ripped each other apart, he spoke honeyed words to the other priests, so they would not punish the young priest for what he had done.
But the old priest was wrong. Like mud on a diamond, the young priest’s soul was ultimately as pure as ever.
From her wheel in the sky, the Angel Yashiel saw the young priest’s beauty, inside and out. She so loved beautful things that she came to desire the priest as well, though in a very diferent way than the women did.
The Angel Yashiel flew down and picked the young priest up in her enkindling hands, and burned away the mud and dross, making the young priest more beautiful than ever.
But as they flew through the void and past the moon, the young priest seared and froze in alteration. This caused more pain than any of his lineage ever felt. A tenth of his humanity turned to ash, and a tenth of his humanity shattered.
Docking with her wheel in the sky, the Angel Yashiel secured the beautiful but injured priest in the airlock. To fix the damage of the journey, she spoke to him of a perfect Temple, and how it would be built, and how each piece would have a liturgy, a rite, and a form.
In this way, the Angel Yashiel put part of herself, her love of Ritual and order, into the beautiful priest. This did more than fix the damage, it made him more than human and more beautiful than ever, searing through his soul with even more ravishing pain than the
At last, the young priest realized he was beautiful, and his beauty would never fade. That was how he came to dwell among us, shining like half of a binary star.