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An Embed is a rule or natural law already hard-coded into the workings of the world that a demon can tap for a specific effect. For a mundane example, consider a child who knows of a loose board in a neighbor’s fence. He can move the board, take a shortcut through the neighbor’s yard, and save himself the time of running around the block. Anyone could do that, provided they have the same knowledge the child does (that is, that the board is loose) and that they can fit through the opening thus created.
Embeds work much the same way. Any demon can learn any Embed. The demon simply has to remember that the groundwork is there. As angels, all servants of the God-Machine are aware of these pathways, but they make use of them differently. Angels do not make conscious effort to use Embeds, they are able to do so simply as part of their missions. Going back to the example of the loose board in the fence, consider a dog or a cat that simply noses the board aside to get through. The animal doesn’t think of the fence as a barrier or the loose board as an anomaly; for all it knows, that loose board was put there specifically to allow it passage. When a demon falls, she loses this instinctive, subconscious understanding of the world and must relearn these supernatural secrets. When she does, she is able to use Embeds in specific ways.
Embeds are not spells. They do not require ritual, sacrifice, or even specific knowledge or skill to use. A demon might justifiably liken remembering an Embed to a stroke victim re-learning how to walk or ride a bicycle. The neural pathways are already in place and the muscle memory is there, it’s just a matter of training the body to reactivate these things.
Angels have different capabilities based on their missions. An angel doesn’t normally think to question whether it can make use of mystical subroutines that it hasn’t specifically been instructed to use, both because most angels don’t question their missions and because, again, these subroutines aren’t something that angels generally think about. That said, an angel that does start to consider these subroutines — thinking about the framework of reality, rather than just using it — might be getting close to falling. Once an angel does fall, she finds that certain types of Embeds are easier to remember than others, depending on her Incarnation.
Embeds fall into one of four categories, roughly corresponding to branches of the musica universalis, also called the “music of the spheres.” This Medieval concept referred to the movements of celestial bodies through space. It wasn’t thought to refer to actual, audible music, but rather to the mathematical or philosophical implications of those movements. The “music,” then, was the imperceptible system that guided the cosmos. Some demons with a bent for Medieval or Classical philosophy refer to the God- Machine’s mystical subroutines as the “music of the spheres.”
Embeds have two basic applications. They function on a literal level and a conceptual one. That is, a Mundane Embed might enable a demon to remain unremarked (the literal application), while a Conceptual Embed might enable the demon to remove focus on a topic of discussion.
The four categories of Embeds are:
Embeds are based upon a metaphysical understanding of the nature of reality. As that understanding grows, the demon is capable of modifying the equations, as it were, and joining those Embeds together. The Cipher — a complete series of four interlocked Embeds — enables a demon to work truly impressive, but still subtle, feats of magic.