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The Mal'akh were a race of vampires descended from the Yssgaroth. They were connected to humanity's collective unconscious and capable of redefining themselves to suit their circumstances. They were often described as grotesques (PROSE: The Book of the War) or Babewyns. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street)
The Mal'akh were a significant force during the War in Heaven. (PROSE: The Book of the War) Some groups of Mal'akh worshipped Sutekh and fought for him. (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities) Some War-time participants thought that the Enemy were Mal'akh hoping for payback for the Eternal War, but Michael Simpson believed that the Mal'akh were only taking advantage of the War. (PROSE: Pre-narrative Briefing C)
The Mal’akh were almost impossible to kill due to their extreme regenerative healing abilities. (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) Any organic object could be simply assimilated into the Mal'akh body and rendered harmless; upon contact with a Mal’akh, many non-organic objects would start to rust or fall apart after a few minutes. It was also very difficult to tell when they had actually died, so it was standard practice to bury them alive, leaving to mummify in the Earth. (PROSE: The Book of the War) They were, however, susceptible to shadow-weapons (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) and the "screwdriver sonique". (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street)
The Mal'akh were masters of illusion, inhabiting folkloric otherworlds where time ran differently to time in the known world. Those who encountered them and survived consistently told of losing years of their lives. Their alter-time realm was encountered in the Maltese incident (PROSE: The Book of the War) and briefly intersected London in 1782-83, when it was named the Kingdom of Beasts. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street)
Rather than food or water, the Mal’akh needed to eat the blood and flesh of the living in order to survive. Their own blood appeared like black bile. Furthermore, the Mal'akh were capable of changing their shape at will. According to the Liber Sanguisugarum, there were two types of Mal'akh, categorized by diet. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
If a Mal'akh wanted to appear beautiful to human eyes, it needed to consume untainted and stable biomass: that is to say, human blood and flesh. The resultant Rephaim were unnaturally beautiful, angelic creatures that could pass as exceptionally charismatic humans. In the 18th century, they used this power to infiltrate the courts of the Turkish empire and Ali Pascha; the Ottoman army of Nicolopolis was known to be filled with Mal’akh in the 15th century. In legends of the Arabian and Middle Eastern peoples, they appeared as the djinn and peri, the spirits of the air and masters of desert storms. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
The Nephilim (metaphorical "giants of the Earth" mentioned in the Book of Genesis) were Mal'akh who fed upon themselves rather than humans. Without the ingestion of a suitable, untainted biomass, the memetic field of the Mal'akh was stretched too far, distorting their body and mind in unpredictable, animalistic ways. The resultant ape-like creatures inspired many of the demonic images of Middle Eastern legend.
Richard Francis Burton encountered these Mal'akh during his journey to the Mountains of the Moon, where he said that the more civilised Mal'akh would keep them as pets or force the change upon an enemy. His private accounts reference his companion's ravings about "crowds of devils, giants, lion-headed demons who avert wrenching with superhuman force..." The encounters inspired Burton to describe these Mal'akh as "grotesques", after the gargoyle-like statues; (PROSE: The Book of the War) in her diaries, Lisa-Beth Lachlan similarly called them "babewyns" after the French word for the same statues. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street)
Lord Byron described the grotesques he saw during the Maltese incident as humanoid giants with wings and animal faces. However, since the bat-like Mal'akh hybrids supposedly used by Faction Paradox for their armour were unknown to the Star Chamber and Earth mythology alike, this description was considered by scholars to be a later addition. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
As recorded in The Monkey to Time Saga, in Marnal's era the Time Lords began having visions of a future where they were erased and their primate shadows ruled the spaces between time under a great Black Eye. (PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles)
The legendary origins of the Mal'akh were recorded in the Biblical apocrypha, namely the Book of Noah and Book of Enoch, where the Anakim were a highly advanced and civilised race. They remotely watched worldly affairs, but many of their members preferred to infere; led by Azazel, two hundred rebels descended from "the high place" to live among the lesser species, spreading their knowledge and taking wives. However, their offspring, created by the intermarriage of humans and the spirit world, were unstoppable monsters with a terrible hunger for flesh and blood. The watchers intervened to fight, capture, and exile the rebels; they bound Azazel headfirst over the abyss for all eternity, hanging by one leg.
According to other versions of the same legend in Arabia, (PROSE: The Book of the War) the djinn were from the "world before the world" but survived the destruction of their reality by the grace of Allah. (PROSE: Head of State) They were allied with the angels until their leader Iblis refused to bow down to Adam, at which point they were cast out of Heaven. (PROSE: The Book of the War) According to The Thousand and Second Night, Iblis sent the djinn to wage war against the angels and steal the cauldron from Jannat. Allah then hid the cauldron in the Earth and placed humanity there to guard it. (PROSE: Head of State) Indeed, the human magician King Solomon defeated the djinn at the City of Brass and made them his servants. However, upon Solomon's death the djinn took his harem of maidens and had bestial children. (PROSE: The Book of the War) These children, the Mal'akh, would lie in wait until the day the angels returned to Earth to reclaim the cauldron. (PROSE: Head of State)
As the Mal'akh's alter-time structures suggested a connection to the Great Houses, many commentators speculated that these legends gave a corrupted account of the war against the Yssgaroth and the flight from the Homeworld of those tainted by Yssgaroth biomass. Faction Paradox always claimed that their armour was created from the bones of such agents from an alternate timeline where the Houses lost their war; consistent with this idea, the Houses and the Faction alike regarded the Mal'akh as a small-scale "oxbow lake" in the river of time.
However, Faction Paradox's leading scholar on the Mal'akh, Father Abdullah, disputed this claim. Noting the similarities between the Great Houses' regeneration abilities and those of the Mal'akh, he instead concluded that the Houses attempted to infect themselves with the Yssgaroth taint during their war to give themselves a biological advantage. He suggested that the Mal'akh were failed experiments during these attempts or, worse, future versions of the Houses' agents, finally overcome by the Yssgaroth taint. However, this interpretation proved universally unpopular and was suppressed by Abdullah's superiors in the Faction. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
In the post-War universe, Aguta once told a story of what happened to the families of the Great Houses after their defeat by the Enemy: "They were left naked in the cold and they grew grotesque, woolly faces. In their hunger they began to hunt one another, and their skin grew too strong to be cut by stone or horn. When our ancestors came to this land, they drove them away with the help of spirits, but they still roam the dark places, seeking their revenge." (PROSE: Cobweb and Ivory)
In 1857, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke visited the heartland of the Mal'akh in the Mountains of the Moon. There, they discovered the first Mal'akh settlement on Earth at the High Place. The settlement's proximity to the birthplace of humankind led scholars within Faction Paradox and the Star Chamber alike to speculate that the Mal'akh influenced the development of humanity.
The Mal'akh and their fabled leaders, the Edimmu, were deeply embedded in human mythology and legend. Burton found tales of the Mal'akh in the Arabian Nights fables as well as the Indian cycle Vikram and the Vampire; the Shelley Cabal's stories of the Mal'akh inspired the first vampire novels, and Burton's knowledge of vampire legends likely contributed to Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
Before the War
The Grand Families were five human bloodlines chosen by the pre-War ruling Houses to fight the Mal'akh throughout history. Though each Family had its official beginning during the Crusades, The Book of the War speculated that they were descended from "untainted" Mal'akh rebels from the last Ice Age who were disgusted by the carnage of their offspring. In the medieval period, the Families founded multiple secret societies to combat the Westward spread of the Mal'akh. These included the Society of St. George, the Star Chamber, the Order of the Dragon, the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Thule Society, (PROSE: The Book of the War) and the Society of Sigismondo di Rimini. (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) The societies' collective knowledge was stored in the Liber Sanguisugarum.
In the 15th century, Mal'akh infiltrated the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Vlad III led the Ottoman Purges against the Turks from 1431 to 1447 on behalf of the Order of the Dragon. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
In the 20th century, Professor Eric Stahlman began the Inferno Project to drill to the centre of the Earth, (TV: Inferno) where an opening to the Spiral Yssgaroth was hidden. (PROSE: Interference - Book One, Head of State) The resultant Stahlman's ooze transformed any humans who touched it into bestial Primords. (TV: Inferno) In a similar way, after the impact that killed the dinosaurs, the Wyrm was released from Earth's centre, tainting the blood of Earth Reptiles and transforming them into Wyrm Callers. (AUDIO: The Adolescence of Time)
During the War
When House Paradox made the Gregorian Compact in 1752, the Protocols of Linearity bound the next seventy years of their history to that of Earth. During this time, the enemy began their war against the Great Houses, and this was reflected in Earth's history as a return and rise in the power of the Mal'akh. As a result, by the 19th century, the Mal'akh were again a major force in the East, with more and more grotesque sightings in Africa and Britain's Indian territories, and Mal'akh influence spreading to the courts of the Turkish empire and Ali Pascha.
In response to this resurgence, the Star Chamber became the directors of the Service. However, after the Gregorian Compact, they incorrectly identified Faction Paradox as the leaders of the Mal'akh. As a result, they wasted many of their resources on attacking the Eleven-Day Empire; they only notably interfered with the Mal'akh in the 1809 Maltese incident.
On one of his first missions for the Star Chamber, Richard Francis Burton travelled to Araby to seek out information on the Mal'akh. There, he met the Lady of the Last Night, who gave him The Thousand and Second Tale, the Tale of the Malakh. This story told legends of the Mal'akh alongside anti-Faction propaganda. The Lady told him that she had dealt with the "Mal'akhs" and that they would no longer bother either the British Empire or the Eleven-Day Empire. (PROSE: Head of State)
In 1845 or 1846, a small group of young British army officers stationed in Karachi performed a tantric ritual that spiralled out of control, unleashing at least one full-blood Mal'akh. Burton, by then a member of Faction Paradox, helped the Faction capture the Mal'akh for study; it was transported to the Stacks of the Eleven-Day Empire, where it was kept in the closed-off 1995 platform of Mornington Crescent.
In Michael Brookhaven's 1999 film Mujun: The Ghost Kingdom, the ainu aboriginals of Japan appeared with bleached skin and black eyes in a pincer-like formation around the slope of Mount Usu right before the Voice emerged from the mountain. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
In the early 21st century, Dave Larsen became convinced that Presidential candidate Matt Nelson was a Mal'akh after he read Richard Francis Burton's translation of The Thousand and Second Night. He assassinated Nelson at his inauguration, and Lola Denison became President. (PROSE: Head of State)
In 2609, Bernice Summerfield was attacked by a Mal'akh while excavating the Blood Citadel of Alukah and hypnotised into being subservient. The Mal'akh used Summerfield to get into the First Colonial University of Murigen and convert some of its scholars. A plot to use the university's experimental quantum gateways to send Mal'akh to countless planets across the galaxy was stopped by Bernice Summerfield, Imogen Tantry, and Lloyd Doihara. (PROSE: De Umbris Idearum, Predating the Predators)
In the 2640s, the Catholic Church led the Beatrician Crusade against a resurgence of Mal'akh. The Church kept information on the Mal'akh in their Collection of Necessary Secrets. (PROSE: De Umbris Idearum, T.memeticus: A Morphology)
After destroying the Eleven-Day Empire shortly after the War's fiftieth year, (AUDIO: The Shadow Play) the Great Houses began to threaten the Osirians. To force the Houses into a truce, Sutekh threatened to destroy the Earth by awakening the Canaan Mal'akh in the 15th century and leading their infiltration of the Ottoman Empire.
During this conquest, Sutekh enslaved Merytra Ellainya, an agent of the Great Houses who commanded the Christian forces. (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) Merytra and these Mal'akh were freed by Upuat, who set them on a crusade to erase Sutekh's name from the Earth. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)
In 1763, a grotesque Mal'akh named Jala surfaced in Posto di Ferragio and was kept by the town's mayor, Don Escuro, as a tourist attraction. John Pennerton and Abelard Finton believed it had been summoned by the Society of Sigismondo di Rimini's experiments in science and occultism. Merytra Ellainya freed Jala and formed an army of Mal'akh to bring Upuat back to Earth and reclaim their promised destiny. However, Upuat didn't emerge from the time corridor, having forgotten about the Mal'akh long ago. (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) Cousin Eliza tortured Jala for days before realising he didn't work for Sutekh. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)
Cousin Justine fought Sutekh's vicious crocodilian Mal'akh in the delta. When they began attacking the Osirians, the light of Osiris shone through Horus to destroy them all. Crippled by Horus, Sutekh agreed to share with Justine his technology for breeding and controlling grotesques; with it, Justine attacked Lolita's Council on the Homeworld with Mal'akh. (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities)
After the War
After the end of the War, in 1774, the American ambassadors to King George III, led by Mr. Cleeve, brought several Mal'akh grotesques to his zoo for use in the hunt for George III's mammoth. They claimed they were "hunting dogs", but Isobel knew they were something else. (COMIC: Political Animals)
In 1782, "babewyns" began an invasion of London. They were interpreted by contemporary analysts as representations of ignorance being pushed aside in favour of enlightenment and reason. The Eighth Doctor ended the invasion in 1783 by decapitating the babewyns' leader, the King of Beasts, with his "screwdriver sonique", the device representing a new power that the creatures couldn't understand. After the War was erased from history, these babewyns kept the last fragment of Gallifrey within their realm. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street)
Sabbath staffed the Jonah with a crew of ape-like Mal'akh. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, The Infinity Race, The Last Resort, Timeless, Sometime Never...) Even when not seen, the cries of the apes were sometimes heard coming from inside the ship. (PROSE: Anachrophobia, Camera Obscura) When recruiting Jaxa to be his agent, Sabbath mentioned his difficulties in finding a workforce and made a private remark involving paying peanuts and only getting monkeys. (PROSE: Trading Futures) An alternate version of Sabbath under the sway of the Oracle similarly used Mal'akh apes as servants. (PROSE: The Domino Effect)
City of the Saved
In the City of the Saved, the vampiric human-Mal'akh hybrids were organized as the Sons of Tepes. They revered Vlad III for his reputation as Dracula despite his real-life animosity toward the Mal'akh. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
Most of the humans infected by the Mal'akh Olena on Murigen reverted to their pre-Mal'akh selves when they were resurrected in the City, but Krisztina-Judit Németh remained in a vampiric state. Németh joined the Sons of Tepes (PROSE: Unification Theory) and became their Grand Dragon. (PROSE: A Hundred Words from a Civil War)
Behind the scenes
- The Mal'akh draws a clear, heavy influence from the Jewish mythology and Hebrew language. The word "mal'akh" in Hebrew is translated as "angel", "nephilim" as "giants" and "rephaim" as "ghosts".