"The World is a joke, and *you* won't ever hear the punchline."
Demon Prince of Mockery
Kobal was created Archangel of Laughter, one of the second generation of Archangels. He brought joy to Heaven with his sometimes sharp, but always gentle, observations. He was valued in particular by Lucifer, Janus and, secretly, Dominic. Lucifer appreciated first Kobal's awesome intellect, a match for his own in many situations. Janus respected the way that Kobal fought prejudice and mental stasis, in much the same way that the word of Wind opposed laziness and stagnation. Dominic was often the target of Kobal's humour, but was always left feeling that he gained more self-insight and perspective from Kobal's observations than he lost in embarrassment.
When Lucifer began to make known some of his opinions, asking questions that few angels felt comfortable answering, Kobal was often present to observe the conversations, and to provoke defensive angels into committing themselves to an answer. At first this was a good thing, since it prevented anyone from trying to ignore what were obviously important ideas. Later, however, Kobal began to concentrate less on provoking thought, and more on provoking a response. Although his comments were directed at Lucifer almost as often as at others, it certainly seemed that he favoured the Lightbringer's ideas.
Then came the Fall. Lucifer had been watching carefully as his support grew, and as an opposition formed in response. Since heresy and discord had never been seen before in Heaven, those who suspected Lucifer were far too slow to counter him. Thus it was that he was able to rally his legions around him and strike against the Eternal City in an attempt to capture Heaven for himself. He failed, and his armies were cast into Hell. Among them was Kobal.
As he saw the Rebellion fail, watched as those opposed to God were defeated, but not destroyed, Kobal became aware of a Truth. He saw, in an instant, the future of the War, and he recognised it for what it was. While the newly altered demons were writhing in agony and despair in what became Hell, torn from the presence of God, Kobal looked at them, and he laughed. Then he approached Lucifer, and spoke with him.
When Lucifer rallied the demons, and urged them to join him in continuing the War with Heaven, Kobal was quiet. When some of the demons councilled surrender, he only smiled. When the idea was first put forward that the Archangels clearly would have destroyed the rebels if they could, his smile perhaps twitched a little. The final decision, to fight on if possible, earned his polite applause. When Baal made it known that he still believed in God's omnipotence, and was fighting only in order to provoke Him into direct action, Kobal bowed to him with a flourish, and departed.
Where he went is not clear - Lucifer had not by this stage created and opened the gates of Hell, but Kobal and his few servitors played no part in the creation of Pandemonium and the laying out of the Principalities.
When Kobal returned, he was the dark, bitter figure that all Hell has come to know, hate and fear. He declared that he would take no territory of his own, and asked the Princes how long they expected to hold their properties against their rivals. Kobal created very few servitors, and ridiculed the energy with which Baal and Belial, especially, had been pouring their energies into armies of pointless flunkies. He scrutinised the elaborate systems of games that Asmodeus laid out, and asked him whether he had noticed such and such a flaw in his plans, or how he intended to reply to the obvious move that Heaven would surely make to counter some brilliant attack.
He asked Beleth whether how the Nighmares she created compared to the terror she herself felt at the idea of her own existence. He asked Andrealphus whether he thought his carnal pleasures would ever fill the cavernous, aching void left in him by the loss of the Love of Heaven. Finally, he asked Lucifer how he hoped to defeat Heaven with such a ragged mob of pathetic, snivelling, brawling, fractured reflections of everything they wished they could be but were not. Lucifer gave his hideous smile, and answered
We Will Win, Prince Kobal, Because However Strong We Become, You Will Always Be Here To Tell Us That We Are Not Yet Strong Enough.
What Kobal said to Lucifer
"Lord Lucifer, I place myself at your disposal. I propose that you can lead your armies once more. You can rally them, and raise them up, and march them against Heaven. You can mark paths from here to Earth, and we can enter it and despoil, and destroy, and bring ruin to the works of the Tyrant. I tell you that despite our defeat, despite it being known to all that we have betrayed our own natures and opposed those of others, we can beguile many angels into doing the same, and joining us in our punishment of their own will. I will help you in this. I will support you in everything you do. I will stand by your right hand, and look thoughtful. When those beneath you argue and fight each other, as I tell you they will do, they will know I am listening. And when you pronounce your decisions, I will nod and smile, and none of them will dare to disagree, for they will fear me and fear what I can do to them in the eyes of their fellows. They will fear me, and they will hate me with a hatred as black as any they feel for Heaven, because they will know that while Heaven might injure them with force, I could destroy them with words. They will hate me because they cannot touch me, whereas I can speak of them to others whenever I choose, and they will know nothing of it."
And Why Is It, Little Demon, That They Will Not Destroy You In Anger?
"Because, Lord Lucifer, you will lend me your own power, and you will display your favour for me. This will make them hate me doubly, and fear me triply. And you will do this because, for as long as they feel this terrible knot of terror and rage, and for as long as I torment them worse than the wrath of Heaven ever could, what they think of you will be in comparison love and loyalty, and what you choose to do to them they will feel as pleasure."
It Will Be As You Say.
Tell Me, Why Is It You Wish This Thing?
"Because I have seen the face of God, and I know that he can destroy us all at any time he may choose. I know that he prolongs this glorious War, this brave Rebellion, this petty, puling squabble, only because it gives Him pleasure. But I also know that it amuses Him not to share this grand, cosmic, ineffable prank with his own angels. I know that you will never repeat what I am saying to your demons, because if they knew the truth they would kill themselves now. I even know that you do not believe me, because you think that your new-found design, to pollute what you could not capture, has some tiny glimmer of a chance of success. I know you are wrong, and that anything we acheive is for nothing, because it will be undone. Everything the angels work for is less than a drop in the ocean of Divine Power that watches this world and moulds it like clay. You are nothing, and they are nothing, but I am more than that. I have the pleasure of watching you and the angels strive, and struggle, and fight, and weep, and bleed, and win, and lose, and hope, and despair, and try your puny, futile, best to carve out some tiny significance for yourself in an infinity of pure, untouchable God. I am that pleasure, because that is the only thing God has that we could ever hope to take for ourselves. I am Mockery."
Kobal's only goal is to create for himself a temporary feeling of superiority over everything else in the Universe, and to prolong that feeling for as long as possible. He knows that he will ultimately fail, that some day God will wrap everything up, and either destroy him or, worse, render him powerless in some way. This concerns him, but at least he is better off than those who never realise the truth. To this end, he ensures that everyone he meets fears him, or hates him, or both. He also encourages those he meets to mock their fellows, since he can then feel doubly superior in his own refined contempt of both joker and victim.
His favoured Servitors are occasionally exceptions - if they can prove that they properly despise the world, he will allow them their own pleasure for as long as they can keep it. None of his demons ever knows whether they are truly favoured, or whether they are simply acting as the butt of another of Kobal's jokes.
Kobal is whimsical in the extreme, since he has no ultimate desire. However one of his whims seems to be to carve for himself a little power in Hell. He always does this by taking it from another Prince, usually publicising his victory. But whenever an act seems to serve some complex purpose, that purpose will remain inscrutable. Whenever a scheme seems utterly without motive, it will shortly prove to have gained Kobal some invaluable prize.
Of course this often provokes covert couterstrikes against his assets. This is not a problem: everything he has is utterly irrelevant, and he doesn't mind losing it so long as he forces his opponent to destroy it rather than steal it. Kobal and Valefor have a long-running rivalry that seems almost friendly to outsiders.
Kobal will not stand being mocked. If any demon belittles him in any way, he will typically destroy them immediately. If the incident occurs in public, he forc them to admit that their comment was inaccurate, inarticulate and unfunny. He will ensure that all around think the worse of that demon for their stupidity. Only then will he destroy them, and possibly also those who witnessed the incident.
Kobal does not like jokes. He never laughs, and if others laugh or joke around him, he will usually ask them to justify their levity. This applies as much to those who laugh at Kobal's own comments as to those who make jokes in his presence.
Those few who can, without having the arrogance to share the laughter, cause others to laugh at the misfortunes, weaknesses or imperfections of others, will gain Kobal's favour, because this is the complete perversion of his former, Heavenly, word.
Kobal does not in general make blatant displays of power - he feels no need to impress others with main force when he can do so much more with his intellect. He also realises that enforcing his will over another is aping God in a way which is doomed to failure - controlling others does not reduce God's power over Kobal. Only his knowledge of the secret of Mockery reduces the extent to which God can mock Kobal.