Angels are a Celestial race who inhabit the realm called Aether. They claim and indeed appear to be completely opposed to Demons, and their historical involvement with Witches has largely involved Angels supporting Witches to oppose demonic threats. The history of the hatred between angels and demons is not known; an event, known as the Fall, appears to be precipitated millennia of loathing and fear.
Historically, references to beings now thought to have been angels start around 3000BC, towards the end of the Neolithic period. The founding of Troy, the building of Stonehenge, and the development of civilisations in the Cyclades and Northern Peru date from roughly this time, and all are thought to have been supported by angels. Contacts between Witches and Angels have been much more consistent than between Witches and Demons - some say Demons are harder to negotiate with, others that cultural prejudices in favour of Angels have benefitted that race - whatever the reason, there is no doubt that Angels and Witches have had sporadic but successful partnerships in the past.
This success is considered due to the discernible nature of Angels. They appear to follow a complicated and strict hierarchy of Choirs, with each Choir being more powerful than the ones below it. The exact roles given to each Choir are not clear, but some ideas have been formed and, if not confirmed by angels, then at least not contradicted by them. If Choirs roughly enable Witches to determine an angel's power level, then what precisely it has that power over will be informed by which Chapter it falls into. There are five known Chapters: Law, Truth, War, Healing and Death. Each Chapter is believed to contain angels from each Choir. The witch Graciana Ortega described it as follows:
“Chapters are like schools. They've each got a Headteacher, Senior Leadership Team, Teachers, Students and a PTA. Those positions are like Choirs. Students at different schools might be friends, or might have petty rivalries. Similarly, schools might work together on some projects, for example, sharing resources. But everyone knows their place within their school and areas of responsibility seldom overlap. As far as I can tell, this is how Angels work.
Despite Ortega having neatly reduced an entire celestial hierarchy to the status of an educational establishment, Angels are not to be taken lightly. They have a vast range of powerful abilities and seldom tell the whole truth. They are fighting an ancient and vicious war and though they have much to offer those who aid them, many Witches argue that it is seldom worth it, and that humans would be better focused on learning the ways of Gaians instead.
So why bother? many Witches ask. Why have anything to do with these entities? There are a variety of excuses given. Some Witches have a strong sense of justice: they witness the crimes of the demons towards both angels and humans, and want to help those they see as being in the right. Some are curious as to the nature of angels and the extent of their abilities and wish to understand these entities. Others seek power to aid in future successes or avenge past wrongs. From time to time witches pop up who have previously encountered angels: some aid angels in need, others are noticed for their skills and asked to perform specific tasks, others get bored on rainy Friday nights when Mum won't drive them anywhere and try a summoning to see what happens.
Angels divide into five known Chapters, which determine the discipline under which any angel labours. All Chapters have had previous contact with humans and theoretically summoning rituals exist for each Chapter.
Angels of Law are among the least well-known: it is unsure if they uphold the laws of the cosmos, or angelic laws, or human laws, or any or all of the these. As a rule they are quiet, thoughtful and dismissive of humans, and require considerable sacrifice to gain their attention. They are said to respond best to those who pursue a life dedicated to upholding laws or rules - of any kind.
Angels of Law are believed to hold to the following statements:
Angels of Death are said to be the harbingers of a great change. The extent to which this change is beneficial is a matter of some considerable debate. There is little evidence on either side: few witches care to summon and question angels of death.
Living witches who have spoken with angels of death include Graciana Ortega, formerly of the Slough Institute, now retired. Ortega claimed that the angel Raziel once advised her:
Angels of truth tend to favour those who set out to increase human knowledge. They look particularly favourably on those who share their knowledge and tend to have little time for the secretive or those who tell falsehoods. Witches who have formed relationships with angels of truth have reported being summoned on occasion to get the angel out of trouble - knowledge-seeking can be dangerous work. There are dark rumours that some angels of truth will support the learning of demonic magics; it is generally believed that you need to know an angel of truth very well before hinting this to them and asking for their aid down this path.
Angels of truth are very open about holding the following statements in high regard. They expect the same from those who seek their help:
Angels of War are reputed to be the finest fighters in the cosmos and only a fool would get between them and their desires. Occasionally the Archangel Michael is said to descend and speak to a witch powerful enough to request his presence - but only those who can prove themselves worthy of his notice through tales of great deeds battling evil are likely to leave alive.
Angels of War are said to believe the following:
It is believed that the angels of healing suffered most during the Fall and that their desire for revenge on the Demonic stems from the injuries they suffered. They value loyalty and self-sacrifice more than any other: they give their gifts more freely than some of the other chapters of angels, but wreak furious vengeance on those who cross them. As a rule they are swift to anger and slow to forget, but can nonetheless be good company - and a great asset to any demon-hunter.
Angels of healing claim to believe the following:
Within the Chapters, angels can be found at different ranks, known to humans as:
The lowest powered rank of angel and the most common. Most low-level summoning rituals attract the attention of angels.
One for each Chapter: they are known to be the overlords and watchers of the Angels. Their names are well-known: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Camael.
Apparently responsible for taking most decisions, Virtues appear to rule the day-to-day runnings of the Chapters. They tend to embody the excesses of the Angelic Chapters more so than some of the other ranks, and humans rarely if ever get a nuanced (or well-thought-through) opinion from a Virtue. They can be a tad obsessive. On the other hand, if you get them chatting about a subject of their interest (and manage not to screw up your end of the conversation) they can be surpisingly good company. Most of the advances celestials helped humanity with can be traced back to the Virtues.
Angelic enforcers. Single-minded. Ruthless. Almost unstoppable.
Thrones tend to have jobs to do making the world turn. If you think your problem is important enough to be worth bothering one, it had better be of cosmic importance - or you had better be offering a deal sweet enough to tempt a creature able to pluck the moon from the heavens. A mildly irritated Throne is likely to destroy your town, partner, and children in a show of displeasure. An angry Throne might send a tsunami or a volcanic eruption as a warning to others.
Abandon all hope, sacrifice everything you have, cast aside all dreams and desires for your future - and pray that it's going to be worth it.
One of the more commonly known angels of truth, Azazel tends to frequent war zones, remote mountain regions and Central Park, New York. Witches who have spoken with them suggest Azazel is looking for something, but is going about it slowly and having a good time doing so.
Azazel can be summoned by using seventeen ballpoint pens to write with juice squeezed from chicken livers as part of a ritual performed in direct moonlight.
The witch Ortega, formerly of the Slough Institute, now retired, claimed to have spoken on a few occasions to the angel Raziel, from whom she learned much of the beliefs and customs of angels of death.
Ortega said Raziel liked afternoon tea, television shows featuring little old lady detectives, the 1812 Overture and the colour pink.
When the streets around Norwich Cathedral blew up during an attempt to constrain the demon Muriel, the committee of witches afterwards apportioned most of the blame to the angel Kerubiel and suggested not summoning it again for a good few years. The book containing details of how to summon this angel was destroyed in 2015.
Notably, in 2014 Norwich Central Lending transferred all their old manuscripts into e-format to make them accessible to an international audience. It is possible that the e-file still exists…
Archangel of Truth: friendly, approachable, and usually fairly incomprehensible. Witches dealing with Gabriel are advised to bring along another angel to translate. Rumours that bringing along a demon works just as well are (probably) ill-advised piffle.
Summoning Gabriel is seldom necessary: if they want to find you, they generally will.
Archangel of Healing: generally considered a nasty piece of work. Reputedly every favour granted or power given by Raphael has had unpleasant consequences for almost all involved. Raphael is said to be able to bring people back from the brink of death - whether or not they appreciate this is another matter entirely.
Summoning Raphael requires the caster to endure six ritual purifications, the nature and duration of which are up to the caster to decide. Too little and the archangel will not condescend to show; too much and a demon is likely to take an interest.