CageRattlers
"The hand that rattles the Cage is the hand that rules the world..."
-- Cager proverb

LAURELLI TANTARELLA THE SOULUSHER
Copyright 1999 by Jon Winter, art by Karl Mikalsen

( Proxy of Vishnu / female trumpet archon / HD 11 / LG )

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Every cutter needs guidance once in a while, especially when they're about to undertake the longest journey they'll ever make. Even more so when it's a journey that they didn't realise they even needed to make until they've finished it. Confused? You would be.

When a body dies, the soul is pulled by some mystical force to an Outer Plane where it's reformed as a petitioner. The corpse, as it's no longer needed, remains where the sod died, as food for worms, vultures and tieflings. However, from time to time, bashers who felt particularly strongly about the dead sod will try and restore life to 'em -- to erase their name from the Dead-Book, as it were. 'Course, the Powers don't give up their charges easily, and that's why it takes powerful magic like resurrection or raise dead to bring bodies back to life again.

Now, souls are plucked from dead bodies and pulled into the right Outer Plane by merit of their moral and ethical purity -- if you like, the pure souls rise to the Upper Planes while the corrupt ones sink to the Lower Planes. Presumably, some mechanism separates Law from Chaos too, but let's not burden ourselves with technicalities, right? First things first.

So, souls are drawn to their Powers' respective homes naturally, but how do they return to their bodies if they're resurrected? It all depends on the plane they start out at really. Often, it's just the power of the necromantic spell that summoned them, other times it's mere good luck that the spirit finds the right path (ever wondered why those spells sometimes fail?) Sometimes the plane itself refuses to give up the petitioner -- Carcerian petitioners are notoriously hard to resurrect. Mount Celestia, however, seems to care that little bit more about its dead. When necromancy is used to revive a dead-booked soul on that plane, the Powers That Be try to make sure it gets home in one piece. Most often, they send a Trumpet Archon to guide it on its long path back.

That's where our story converges with Laurelli again. She's the trumpet in charge of delivering souls back to Sigil. It's one of the more prestigious postings, because Sigil has more than its fair share of powerful bloods who can perform this sort of high-flown magic, and because Sigil happens to be a rather more interesting place than many Prime worlds...

Laurelli Tantarella

SEE ALSO:

Cage Rattlers:--
Berchta, Clarion, Jovius, Malkalotl.
Uncaged: Faces of Sigil:--
Koe (p.52), Kylie (p.56), Xideous (p.114).

Laurelli's had some pretty important souls to usher in her time, too...cutters who're resurrected tend to be that little bit more high-up than most. She's not supposed to talk about them, but I happen to know the rumours that one of her recent charges is a Mover Three in the Harmonium (just a couple of steps -- or assassinations! -- down from the Factol himself). That blood's name is Malkalotl, and he's a little bit more than an average Hardhead; for a start, he's a couatl. Laurelli'd not dream of revealing such privileged information usually, but then she probably didn't mean to let it slip.

See, trumpet archons don't eat food like normal mortals. For one thing, they ain't mortals, berk. No, they only consume mead, and get all their sustenance from that instead. As you might expect, archon mead ain't bowel-wrenching gut rot like some bubbers drink, it's distilled from flowers and plants of Mount Celestia. There ain't many places in the Cage that cater for such exquisite (or expensive) tastes, though. When Laurelli's in Sigil she's never found too far from the Seven Heavens, a classy tavern in the Lady's Ward, where Celestial mead is sold. It's popular amongst non-trumpets too, because it's supposed to increase the life span of mortals. Many a bubber's drunk himself to death trying to enhance his longevity.

Trouble is, Laurelli seems to have picked up a bit of a bad habit. Celestial mead is renowned for being strong enough to knock a tiefling for six, and just because trumpets drink it doesn't mean they stay sober. Laurelli's frequently found in a state of such merriness that she's unable to remember what she's been doing for the past hours, or days, let alone explain how she ends up in the Hive more often than not. The effect that mead has on her it's almost as if someone were controlling her body (this is Berchta's doing)...

Lucky for her, the all-seeing tome archons who rule Celestia can't quite see as far as the Cage, and by the time she leaves back for Celestia, she's sobered up again and regained control of her faculties. That's also due in part at least to Jovius, an astral deva who's great friends with Laurelli. He's often the first to find her when she's gone astray, and much too loyal to even think of telling her superiors on the Mount about her little 'problem'. It's a cert that Vishnu, Laurelli's patron power, wouldn't be too impressed, especially as he only lets sharp-minded petitioners into his realm in the first place. Still, he's the power of Mercy, so maybe he'd be a forgiving sort of chap. Either way, Laurelli ain't keen on testing this out.

When she's not delivering souls, drunk or missing, Laurelli and Jovius frequently work together on the deva's own personal mission. See, he's concerned that certain Upper Planar creatures are dirtying their hands in secret arms deals with the Lower Planes, and he wants to expose them. Trouble is, they're having difficulties in discovering who's doing the deals and how. They know for a fact that the asuras Koe is in on the dealings, though they've got nothing but hearsay from the Sinkers to back it up. A tout named Kylie was also providing them with the occasional snippet of information, but that dried up when the arms dealers changed their tactics. The celestial pair are still trying to pick up the tracks where they lost them...

Recently, Laurelli's been seen more and more often in the company of Clarion, a Guardian agent who hangs around Sigil like a pleasant smell (as Xideous says). Rumour has these two as, variously, friends, companions, partners in some dark (but undoubtedly good) plan, and even lovers. Neither party, however, seems keen to shed light on the relationship, so like many things in Sigil it's probably best left for time to reveal.

If you've ever clapped eyes on Laurelli, you'd remember her. She's the seven foot tall cutter with feathery wings like an angel, a metal collar and a breastplate. You'd also remember her shining silver trumpet (the barmy thing's so well-polished it even shines in the dark), which she blows with great gusto every time she enters a building, Sigil, Mount Celestia or anywhere really. It certainly makes a statement in the Seven Heavens tavern when she instantly silences all conversations with a blast or pure beauty from that horn!

Like most trumpet archons, Laurelli's eyes are a burning silver colour, bright enough to peer right into your soul. She's got an unfailing sense of direction, even when drunk, and woe betide any cross trader who thinks she's an easy target. In addition to being able to cast practically any priest spell she desires, Laurelli's trumpet transforms into a mighty enchanted sword.


Cage Rattlers
Consult the Mimir Again