Let not thy enemies vex thee. Send unto me the measure of their sins and I shall cast down among them my wrath.
No sooner had he gotten in the car than a small buzz in the glove box caught his attention. There was a message waiting for Uriel on his cell phone. Starting the car, he retrieved the small silver annoyance and flipped it open. The name and number on its tiny display actually made him pause.
Sitting in the alley, the engine in his Concept S growling away, he hesitated for just a moment before pushing redial. Of all the calls he knew he would be getting, this was the one he'd been hoping to put off.
"You have to stop. Now."
Uriel almost smiled. No hello, no pleasantries. Exactly what he'd expected.
"And a good day to you too."
The voice on the other end was completely unamused. "There is nothing good about today. You have to stop. That is an order."
Alright. Right to business, then. "Sorry to disappoint you but I don't take orders from On High. Remember?" Uriel tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, considering whether or not to start to driving. He had a feeling this conversation was going to require more attention than he could spare on his way to the next safehouse.
"Fine. Then consider it an order from me."
That made him wince. Only slightly, but the reaction was there. "You are going to get involved?"
"You've ensured I have to."
That... posed a complication. "I don't recommend that."
"Yes, well, I don't take recommendations from Down Below."
Uriel narrowed his eyes, staring down at the phone for a moment before answering. "You know damn well I haven't fallen."
"Perhaps but you certainly aren't on the side of the angels either."
Uriel steadied his breathing. He knew what was going on. Rattle your enemy, make him upset. Make him make mistakes. Make him defeat himself before the battle even begins. Clever...
...but two could play that game.
"That entirely depends on which angels we are talking about."
There was a long pause. Uriel knew that meant he'd scored a hit. The Holy Schism was still a sore point with the Old Guard, a chink in their exalted armor. It was a cheap shot, to be sure, but he had to take what he could get.
"Last warning, Uriel. Leave the Order alone."
"Or what? You'll dispatch more errand boys like Tanarael for me to break and send home hurting?"
Another long pause. "Tanarael's not hurting, Uriel. He's dead."
That stopped Uriel cold. Dead? He sighed inwardly. That, he supposed, had been the risk of using an entropic, especially one carrying a paragon demon in his soul. His "partner" certainly had the power to actually kill a celestial but Uriel had believed that power to still be dormant.
Damn. This complicated things too.
"Perhaps you shouldn't be putting the Host in harm's way, then." It was a blank response, no emotion behind it. It was just something for him to say while he tried to figure out how to handle this latest development in the game.
"Don't worry. I won't be."
"Well that's good. If you'll excuse me then..."
"Attack the Order again, Uriel, and you'll have to have to deal with me."
He blinked at the phone. "You're serious? You'll actually come down here?"
"I'm already here."
Those words didn't come from Uriel's cell phone; they were spoken aloud. There, at the end of the alley, standing right in front of the opening into the busy street beyond, was a figure of muscle and presence.
Dark hair spilled out over both the man's shoulders, one side caught in a bright silver clasp shaped like folded wings. His strong jaw was set in a seemingly permanent scowl beneath a pair of mirrored aviator glasses. Handsome yet terrifying to behold, the man wore his ankle length trenchcoat and half-calf leather boots like a suit of black armor.
"I know where you are headed, Uriel. Don't go there. Don't make me end you."
A bus drove past behind him, its brights flaring the alley for a moment. Uriel glanced away from the painful light and when he looked back, the figure was gone. All that remained was a single falling feather the color of a raven and, in the distance, a large black bird disappearing into the city beyond.
Uriel sighed deeply, folding his phone and putting it away.
"Yeah. Nice talking to you too, Michael..."