Here is the damn backstory.
The Principle was first. The Principle is many things - the spark of humanity, the desire for human connection, the lightning that created life from the primordial soup. Throughout the first few billion years of Earth, it was evolving along with all of life, looking for...something. It was undergoing its own Pilgrimage.
Once humanity arose, it found its purpose. It was able to shape servants - the qashmallim - from its endless reserve of Divine Fire, and send them into the world. Unfortunately, its own commitment to self-determination meant that it can't really control qashmallim; they always have a bit of autonomy (which is why they fail sometimes).
Somewhere along the way, someone created the first Promethean. Might have been Hank, actually, or it might have been some collection of rocks arranged into a human form that some caveman, lonely after the destruction of his tribe, created. Who knows. But at that point, the Principle's real purpose was cemented - guide the Pilgrimage of the Created. That is its chosen expression of its purpose.
And then there's the God-Machine. The God-Machine is from the future, but the thing about time travel is that it's irrelevant when it happens, as long as it does. The God-Machine has its own agenda, but its agenda is a lot more complicated than the Principle's. But in order to interact with the world, the God-Machine copied a lot of the Principle's "software." That's why its angels always have enough free will to Fall.
The God-Machine has a weird relationship with time. Although it can shift things forward or backwards in time, it knows that things only happen if/when they happen. As such, it can't look forward to know that something succeeded or failed and know not to do it (or to change its approach). Time travel does not indicate time sight, at least not infallibly so.
So a couple of years ago, in Detroit, the God-Machine lost a huge Command & Control Infrastructure due to the intervention of a throng of Prometheans and an Arch-qashmal. The Created blew the place up after throwing two Prometheans into the works (actually, one of them jumped). The God-Machine quickly created an angel to hold that data, a Psychopomp that was just supposed to carry the data from Detroit to Corona, NM. The angel Fell somewhere along the way, and became a demon. The demon still has the data, it just can't access much of it. Mixed into the demon's demonic form (it has the Dataform ability) is a heaping helping of the Divine Fire (remember, the God-Machine created this angel on the fly and wasn't quite able to make it from the "cleanest" materials). Since the God-Machine can't find the demon, it's trying to use the Principle (and therefore the Created) to do so.
The initial encounter and the "seven angels" speech was supposed to happen, but not like it did. The First Angel was supposed to deliver the quest about the seven angels, but the actual speech went like this:
Seven angels, and I am the first. Each of you has an angel, but the 7th angel is for you all, and he is the angel that will undo all of your Great Work if you cannot answer the question. The question is this: What are the angels? The question must be answered completely, and each of you must know the answer, for when the 7th Angel arrives to greet you in the sun, he will ask one final question of you.
Of course, the speech they got was a little different. This is because the God-Machine called up the dust storm (Concealment Infrastructure in Tuscon) and grabbed the First Angel as it was forming, and altered it.
The Principle, unfortunately, isn't quite sure what's going on. It knows the message was delivered, and it knows that the qashmal it sent got returned to the Divine Fire, but along with...something else (that'd be Aether). The Principle is trying to purge that impurity, and at present it's not a big problem. Knowing that something went wrong, the Principle steers the characters to the Logistical Infrastructure in Corona (where, remember, the God-Machine was trying to get the demon to) and has them free Brick Bradford. That done, both parties back off for a spell, and the characters take work in Truth or Consequences. They stumble across a minor bit of Infrastructure there (rather, Enoch did, as part of the Pilgrimage Site), but it was the Principle that asked that he keep that to himself. Why? Well, because the Principle isn't entirely sure who it can trust and what's going on, I think.
So, the Blinding Light on the mountain-top - definitely a qashmal. So that takes us through the last story. Now, for this story, we've got Wolfpack trying to kill Leslie. We've established that Leslie has a soul brand on his aura, but we haven't established exactly what that means (and while demons can, as of the Demon Players Guide, make soul brands, there is no shortage of other World of Darkness weirdness that can do it).
I had considered having Leslie be the target due to an impending soul pact coming due, but maybe this needs a bit of a rethink. If Wolfpack is a qashmal, rather than an angel, then its mission might be to kill Leslie, still, but why? Hmm. I'd actually rather not have a demon get involved, at least not directly. So let's say that Leslie doesn't have a soul pact out on him and he's stigmatic. He's up here to kill Ferdinand, not any member of the wedding party (Ferdinand will, of course, be married on Saturday, just as his now). Why? Part of an occult matrix. The God-Machine wants a particular cavern in the mountain opened up. If Leslie does what he's told (shove Ferdinand over the balcony at a particular time), then Ferdinand's body will land near the opening and the search party will crack it open looking for him. This will cause the output that the God-Machine needs; it's looking to turn the mountain into Infrastructure. The Principle, then, is just going to off Leslie before he gets the chance.
But like I said before, I need some kind of human drama going on so that the folks with social milestones can make them. So. Man, a relationship map would be really handy. Is there one? Not that I can easily find, grarr. Well, just a list, then.
- Ferdinand Omertz: Co-owner of Angellus. Served in Army. Generally handy. Knows mountains well. Married 28 years.
- Ella Omertz: Co-owner of Angellus. Met Ferdinand when he was a solider, she was a a bartender. Married 28 years. Keeps staff and resort running smoothly. Avid skiier.
- Naresh Singh: Happy his son is happy, not entirely thrilled about going back to India (most of his family has emigrated). Accountant.
- Anjali Singh: Would have preferred Babi marry an Indian girl, but committed to him making his own choices and likes Serena well enough. Nervous about what her extended family is going to think. Banker.
- Babi Singh: Pre-med student at UC Boulder. Met Serena in a science class. Enjoys sports, but partial to swimming. Had a fling with Stephanie May while Serena was "on her break;" has never told Serena.
- Serena May: Biochem major at UC Boulder. Angry at her parents for dying and her family for being such tools. Suspects that her sister had or has a crush on Babi. Nervous about going to India (has never been there, but has been to Europe). Didn't actually want Madison in her wedding (they don't get along politically). Took a "break" from her relationship with Babi four months before he proposed, traveled to New England to visit friends, and realized she missed him.
- Stephanie May: Freshman at UC Boulder, major undecided. Misses her parents and harbors a grudge against Serena for not going to family gatherings. Had a fling with Babi while Serena was away and feels guilty, but also a bit triumphant.
- Leslie Serrano: Babi's friend from college. Mech engineer. Avid skiier. Got trapped in a cave-in during a ski outing in Wyoming, and stumbled upon Infrastructure (actually the model the God-Machine is using for the Infrastructure it's trying to create here). Never told Madison about the cave-in, but Mike Amole was there with him. Turned into a stigmatic, and has a "device" inside him that allows limited control by the God-Machine or an angel.
- Madison Serrano: Leslie's wife, respiratory therapist. Enjoys outdoors things, but not so much during the winter. Knows that Leslie came home from Wyoming different, but doesn't know why. Is considering divorce, and has been confiding in Damien West. Dislikes Serena May (considers her naive and whiny), but enjoys Babi's company.
- Damien West: Film major (senior) at UC Boulder. Bisexual. He and Olly had a fling at one point, but Olly blames it on the booze and considers himself straight. Damien hates weddings and doesn't think Serena and Babi are going to last, but not for any reason he can name.
- Richard "Olly" Ollenbeck: Art major (senior) at UC Boulder. Currently unattached, but growing attracted to Avalon. Not really in his element; he's not much of an outdoorsman and prefers the city. Brought along a big bag of weed.
- Mike Amole: Babi's best friend (also pre-med), has known him and Leslie since high school. Was with Leslie in the cave-in, but panicked and didn't see what Leslie did. Mike is worried about Leslie, as he's noticed Madison spending time with Damien and knows Damien has very little respect for the confines of marriage.
- Winnifred "Freddie" Gale: Biracial (black mother, white father), History major at UC Boulder. Met Serena at a party and left together because Serena was drunk and getting hit on; Freddie considers herself Serena's big sister. Bisexual leaning toward women, doesn't feel close to anyone else here besides Serena.
- Brooke Winston: Serena's friend and confidante since grade school, but they lost touch when Brooke went to college (she went to Texas). Recent graduate in psychology and folklore, mildly psychic (Unseen Sense Merit). Sensed something "off" but isn't sure where it's coming from.
- Peter LaRey: Peter is the head chef at Angellus, born in Jamaica, and has lived in many different places. Has been warned about sleeping with guests before, but already has his sights set on Brooke.
- Denise Tennant: Server at Angellus. Hadn't planned on returning after Xmas break, but a better job she'd lined up in Denver fell through. Wants to get off the mountain as soon as possible.
- Miguel Callos: Ski instructor in the winter, rafting guide during the summer, burner, hippie, lives off the grid. Is aware that werewolves exist (wolf-blood to the Hunters in Darkness) and tries to keep people off the scent.
And I think I'll print that.
So now the other major issue I need to address is the clockwork from Ashar'Arif. Reading the lyrics to "Devil's Dance Floor" again, and considering there's a wedding about to happen, I think that the clockwork inside the clock that Avalon obtained should be representative of social chaos. When Leslie approached the clockwork, the energy he was carrying, combined with the social stress of his marriage and his secret, turned the thing on. It will continue building energy as the wedding plans continue, and then during the wedding dances, it activates. Before that, though, it pushes people to act on their impulses, which should flame the tensions already present considerably.
And I think that'll do it.