Ambriel sat on the edge of the stone bridge, feet dangling, looking over the dark water and wondering when he was going to get there. Wringing her hands together, she began to whistle the theme of a television show that had been popular in the late 1950’s, trying her best to raise its volume above the constant buzz of crickets surrounding her.
She whistled, eyes flicking back and forth down the dark road behind her, and waited.
He appeared on the twenty-seventh repetition, strolling down the walkway gingerly, hands shoved in the pockets of an oversized trenchcoat. Even in the middle of the night, from thirty feet away, Ambriel could see his hair, the color of dandelions, spilling over his shoulders and framing his pale, moonlit face. Squaring her shoulders, she faced the dark water once again, taking a deep breath.
“Hello, Ambriel,” he said upon reaching her. In one fluid movement, he turned on his heels and leaned back against the stone edge of the bridge. “The time has come. Have you given my proposal any further thought?”
She gulped, and cracked her knuckles. Her voice, when it came, sounded like slowly crumpling paper. “I….I have questions.”
“Of course.” He tilted his head in her direction and smiled. His eyes were the color of the sky just entering dusk, a field of merging blues and purples, and they looked at her with intense interest. “I did not expect you to join our cause without first clearing up any confusions you have as to our goals. Ask away, and I will do my best to answer, as well as quell any fears you may have.”
“W…why do you need me?” Ambriel’s voice drifted slowly down to weathered stones of the bridge, coming to rest on the surface of the water below them. “Do you not have the support of the host under your command?”
“Fear not, those under my command give their full support to the cause,” he replied without a seconds pause. “But, as to why I need your help, Ambriel…..well, I suppose it’s not that I need it. Rather, I want your help.”
He spoke slowly, his voice like honey dripping out of the bottle. Ambriel closed her eyes.
“Then, why do you want me?”
“That, my dear friend, is simple.” He exhaled deeply, turning his head towards the dark slate of the overcast sky. “I want all who are willing to help to do so. But, more than that, I want all who are worthy to do so.”
“Worthy….” Ambriel tried the word out for herself, but she could not seem to get it to roll in the same way, and let it die on her tongue. “What….what is it that makes one worthy?”
“Ah, there is the real question. What makes one worthy to join a righteous cause, to lend their power in the pursuit of that which is good, and true? Under normal circumstances, one could not know, but luckily, I carry the answer.”
He took his hands out of his pockets, and laid them on the cold surface of the stone behind him.
“You, Ambriel, are worthy because you see. You see that there is wrong, but you also see that there is a way to make it right.”
“Wrong…” She glanced down at her feet, her heels resting on the rough siding of the bridge. “I see that which is wrong?”
“Yes,” the angel beside her turned, leaning on his elbow and staring forward, his eyes wide. “You have seen it, Ambriel, I know you have. You have noticed that the system we are ruled under is an unjust one, where those in power are so simply because it is where they found themselves in the beginning. Where our brothers and sisters, so withheld from their purpose, are driven from their just path and sacrificed to the enemy. You have seen, and so you deserve to aid us in changing this truth.”
Ambriel hazarded a glance at her companion, before shifting her gaze to the dark water once more. “A-are you……sure it can be changed? Has our Father not decided that this is the way it will be?”
“You are right, Ambriel, that our Father, in his wisdom, designed the order of the angels in such a way. But, that does not mean that he created them to be forever unchanging,” the angel’s eyes blazed. “The Lord knows all, is ever-loving and ever-good, but those below him are not. They are that which must be overcome, the obstacle which has been placed before us. Our Father rewards the righteous. When we succeed in prevailing against the corruption inherent in this order, we, all of us, will earn the place at his side.”
“But how will we be able to stand up against them? How are you so sure we can prevail? How do you know you are right, Barachiel?”
“How? The answer is simple: we will stand, forces combined, the Lord standing over us. That is how we will prevail. That is how I know none can stand against us.” He took a step forward and turned. Ambriel kept her back facing him. “As to how I know we are right, tell me this, Ambriel. Has your position never led you to waver? Has the knowledge that, no matter how hard you try, someone will still stand over you, displaying their unearned might like a badge of honor, never caused you to doubt?”
She was silent, and he continued.
“It is as I thought, but you are not alone. How many brothers and sisters of ours have felt this way, how many of them have fallen to the side of the enemy because of it? It is not right, and that is what we must change. In rising together and taking our rightful place at the Lord’s side, we will prove this. In abolishing the old system, we can bring those lost back. Ambriel, you ask how I could know I am right, but I ask you: how could I not?”
The water churned softly below, and Ambriel kicked her feet once again, watching them dangle over the dark. Setting her jaw, she clasped her hands together, speaking softly. “I…I will help, to the extent that I can. What is it that I must do?”
Her back was turned, and she didn’t see Barachiel smile, his lips parting to reveal the small, perfectly set sections of bone beneath.
“All you must do is lend us your power,” he said, already walking away, sticking his hands in his pockets. “When we require it, give us your hand, and your voice. That is all.”
A moment later he was gone, disappearing in the soft shadow of the night. As soon as he had gone, she released her breath, still staring at the river below, wondering where it might lead.
The night wore on, the thick clouds above parting to reveal the small pinpoints of light that covered the sky. Absentmindedly, Ambriel began to whistle, unlacing her fingers and laying her palms on the rough, cold stone of the bridge, tilting her head towards the fierce light of the stars, her eyes closed.