There have been times in the War that a Hellsworn Soldier becomes repulsed with what they are doing. Maybe they've grown tired of the killing, perhaps they have seen too much horror, or they truly realize that what they are doing is wrong.
It is difficult for them to say the least. Soldiers of Asmodeus are always on the lookout for potential traitors to Hell and the demons that they serve certainly aren't going to stand idly by and let their Soldiers Redeem.
The one hope that these unfortunate souls have are The Forgiven.
The Forgiven are a group of Soldiers that offer sanctuary to Hellsworn that wish to join Heaven. Each and every one of them, from the highest-ranking officers to the lowest grunt share one thing in common; They all were Hellsworn at one point in their lives. They all turned their backs on Hell, and many have the scars to prove it. They now fight for Heaven with a ferocity only matched by the Servitors of Michael.
The Forgiven got their start back in 1979 when Moses Dalton, a high-ranking Soldier of Hell, began to feel remorse and horror at the things he had done. He was a rather dangerous man when he served his demon masters; Several angels lost their Vessels because of him and a few had even been destroyed. The demons were finding him harder to control and the angels were very interested in killing him.
No one really knows what changed him. There are many theories, stories and guesses, but no Forgiven has ever really asked Moses and he's never volunteered the information. What is known is this: He was out on the prowl for an angel that was in his town. He finally found her after about a week of searching. Her name was Capernaum and she was a Seraph of Gabriel's. Rather than attack her or report her presence, he deliberately presented himself to her and begged to be Redeemed. The Seraph heard the Truth in the man's words and took him in.
Moses paid a high price for turning against Hell. What was left of his wife and two daughters were found a week later in a ditch. They had been given to Andrealphus' Servitors and were kept alive for several days. Moses knew right then that he would dedicate his life to making amends for what he had done and fighting Hell.
This is not to say that Heaven accepted this with open wings; Dominic was enraged at this former Soldier of Hell trying to serve those who were formerly his enemies. Capernaum was summoned before the Seraphim Council and tried for Heresy. In answer to the charges, Mubbunai, an Elohite Servitor of Yves intervened and spoke in her defense. He could see that Moses was turning towards his Destiny and would be a valuable ally. Dominic reluctantly agreed, but kept both Capernaum and her charge under close scrutiny. Moses took all of this without complaint; He knew that Heaven had little reason to trust him and that his road to Redemption would be a long one.
As soon as Capernaum was cleared of the charges, Moses set to work. He led a group of angels to a cache of weapons that would help them and recruited several new Soldiers to his cause. Within six months, the name "The Forgiven" was spoken as a curse among demons. Gabriel has been pleased with the work that Moses has done for her and gave him the greatest reward that he could ever hope for: Forgiveness for his past misdeeds.
Moses is older now and rarely takes to the field anymore. The trials that he has faced have aged him badly and his hair has gone completely white. He walks with a cane, courtesy of a battle against a Djinn, but his Will is still strong and he remains a formidable Soldier of Heaven.
The transition from Hellsworn Soldier to the ranks of the Forgiven is a long and dangerous one. The recruit must make contact with one of the Forgiven and petition him for acceptance. This is made difficult as the Forgiven are usually found in battle and are not overly inclined to show mercy. And there are no distinguishing marks that set them apart from other Soldiers.
Once the contact is made, the recruit is kidnapped. The grab is made within a few hours of initial contact; The Forgiven know all to well that once a Hellsworn seeks Redemption, they are living on borrowed time. They are taken to a safe house and Capernaum arrives on the scene. This is the moment of truth for the Hellsworn Soldier. They are asked only once by the Seraphim if they repent and wish to serve Heaven. If they are lying or if there is any doubt in their statement, there are no second chances. They are killed quickly and without remorse. If they are accepted, they quickly find the recruit's family and take them as well.
This is often a large shock for the family. There are rarely whole households that serve Hell. Usually the rest of the family is oblivious to what the Hellsworn has been doing. The Forgiven and the angels work hard to ease the shock of this new knowledge. The families that completely serve Hell are given the same choice as the recruit. Once accepted, they are moved to another city and from there they are brought into the ranks of The Forgiven.
The children of the recruits are handled differently however. This lifestyle is very traumatic for them and Heaven makes every effort to spare them undue suffering. They are transferred to a safe house in Arcata, California. The isolation of the city and the peaceful environment do a considerable amount of good in rehabilitating the children. The job of treating them falls upon two people: Lisa Nguyen, a Soldier of Novalis, and Isaiah, an Elohim of Christopher. The two have a full staff of teachers, psychologists, rape counselors and a doctor that help. The school itself attracts little notice and the staff is very active in the community. The children are counseled, healed and tutored. They learn why they are there in addition to the normal school subjects and are taught how to fit into the normal world. Most of these children come out of it ahead in their learning and emotionally stable.
Sadly, some children serve Hell just as their parents did and do not take kindly to shifting allegiances. These children are subjected to very intense counseling (Most demons laughingly refer to it as "brainwashing" and point out how the angels are no better than them with this.). Isaiah is the one that works the most with them, his stoic demeanor countering the violent outbursts of the Hellsworn children.
After a few months, the children are evaluated. If they are still wish to serve Hell, then it falls upon Isaiah to kill them. Christopher is not overly pleased with this, but he trusts that Isaiah exhausts all options before resorting to this.
After the training is complete, the new Soldiers of Heaven are assigned to a city. They go about their tasks just like any other Soldier. The new Forgiven are kept under close scrutiny for a year. Some chafe under this micromanagement, but most just accept it. They are kept away from the front lines at first. They do surveillance, research records and perform other non combat tasks. After the year is up, they are allowed to join in the fight as full members of the Armies of Heaven.
The forces of Hell have a special hatred for the Forgiven. There is a standing bounty for any demon that kills a Forgiven or brings them to Asmodeus. In the 21 years that the Forgiven have been in existence, only four of those bounties were ever collected and they were all for kills. No Forgiven ever allows himself to be captured and many have killed themselves rather than face Servitors of the Game.
The Host is slowly beginning to accept the Forgiven but they still remain under close observation. Zaccheus, a Malakim of Gabriel's, checks on them at random times. If he finds that they are starting back down the road to damnation, he kills them quickly. Among the Archangels, Gabriel is fiercely proud of them, Dominic remains suspicious of them, Michael admires their courage, Yves smiles whenever they are mentioned, Novalis feels that they vindicate her attitude on Redemption, Laurence treats them like any other Soldier after they have proven themselves and Eli thinks the whole idea is "cool.". The other Archangels are cautiously Neutral. Although the path is a long and difficult one for them, the Forgiven believe that they have made the right choice in turning from Hell.