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It had started only a century after God ordered the Host confined to the Silver City and the surrounding areas. Banned from the mortal realm and the humans that existed within it without His orders or permission.

None of them had thought much of it at the time, other than a few grumblings from the angels who had once followed Lucifer in his Rebellion. Not enough to be taken as a resurgence of Rebellion, just enough to let them all know they were not pleased with the new orders.

Uriel had thought nothing of it, then. He hadn’t cared for the human realms, had never been inclined to interact with them at all. He was an observer and tactician first, really. The Angel of Patterns didn’t need to be on the Earth or around it to observe the humans. So Uriel had nodded in agreement and sat at the Gate of the Silver City, watching the patterns of the mortals below.

Eventually, Father gave him a purpose. If Uriel wanted to be at the gates for his patterns, then he would be the angel who would greet the incoming souls. A wise decision, as Uriel was able to weed out those that should not have made it to the gates at all. Humans that had slipped through the cracks of the system, a break in the pattern.

After a hundred years of this, Uriel felt the first signs that something was wrong within both himself and the host. An increased amount of discontent in the voices that filled the gates. He didn’t think much of it other than a quick note to the change in the pattern.

There were just so many patterns on the Earth below that Uriel frequently found himself getting lost in them. Watching as humans continued down their same path or change their patterns for the better. His domain sung to him from the realm just out of his reach.

Another three centuries past before Uriel felt the second signs of something wrong within the Silver City’s Pattern. His siblings were quieter, more tense. The singing that Uriel had always thought would be ingrained into the very fabric of the city began to ebb away as his siblings withdrew into themselves.

There was something very, very wrong.

Uriel began to get worried, then.

It didn’t get better. A thousand years after the new Order, the Pattern of the Silver City had twisted.

Michael was, perhaps, the worst affected. The Sword of God was short with anyone who talked to him, exuding a promise of violence should anyone make a wrong move. The first time Gabriel had made a wrong move, Michael had nearly put their sister in the Infirmary before he’d caught himself.

Uriel had tried going to God then, only to find that he could not.

Father had blocked off His offices from them. Any prayer Uriel sent was answered with silence. Their Mother was also unavailable. He’d searched everywhere for their Parents and had come up empty. There was no pattern to help him locate either deity.

Uriel was forced to watch as that urge, an itch, began to settle into the souls of his siblings. Into his own soul, as well. It hurt, as if he had fallen into a thicket of brambles and had become inseparable from them. The only way to soothe it was to leave his post at the gates and wander away from the Silver City into the unending space that made up their realm.

After a century, even that no longer soothed the ache that was left behind.

Just as Uriel was thinking of restarting his search for their Parents, he discovered what had been happening to keep them away from the Host for all that time.

Goddess and God had been arguing, no, fighting. With each other, quietly, away from the Host so that they were not bothered. Until their rage had grown to the point that it bled into the Silver City and shook the very foundations of Heaven.

Uriel watched it all, with a horror that his siblings could never understand. Before him, the Pattern began to form as the fighting started getting worse and worse. Goddess and God were no longer even trying to hide Their growing fury with the other. With each battle, Uriel could watch the menace within Goddess begin to twist Her. The Pattern was weaved in an unchanging red that meant there was no way to prevent it. No rock to move in order to change the path.

Uriel was powerless to do anything other than watch as his family descended into chaos once more. As Goddess incited dissonance amongst the Host, trying to start a new Rebellion. One that would end with the complete destruction of creation, something that Lucifer had always been so careful to keep from happening.

There would be nothing left. No Silver City, no Earth, and eventually, even Hell would fall.

Uriel fought against the red that had always bound him from interference. He couldn’t allow this, couldn’t let this happen. Those red ties of fate, the Pattern that Uriel had never been able to touch in the past, not powerful enough to affect the path of God and Goddess.

It was no use. Struggle as he did, that red always remained. A taunt as Uriel was forced to watch his family be destroyed.

Furious and grieved, Uriel turned his attention back towards the Earth. A distraction from the horrors that were happening within the walls of the Silver City.

It was there that he found his solution. Walking around the surface of Earth was Lucifer, the Will. Shining and interacting with the humans. It wasn’t the first time Uriel had found his older brother on Earth’s surface, it wouldn’t be the last if Uriel read the Patterns right, yet it sparked something within his chest as he remembered the one that that had always been able to change the patterns of God and Goddess.

The Demiurge.

Of all of God and Goddess’s children, Samael and Michael had always been the most powerful. Together, they alone had the power to create in the way that only God had been able to do. To fill existence with a dark void that contained the bursts of light that had given Samael the name Lucifer. Lightbringer.

Michael the Power of God and Samael the Will of God.

It was not Will that Uriel needed for this, not this time. No, to break this Pattern and save his family, Uriel needed Power.

He needed Michael.

It had taken careful planning and strategic moves to set the stage. Michael was dangerous without Samael there to temper him, had been getting worse as time passed on. It would only grow more and more disastrous until God was forced to either put Michael down, banish him to Samael, or bring Samael home. Each outcome was determined by a single event, one that would decide if his older brother would survive or die.

An event that Uriel was ensuring would never happen if he did this.

Because that Pattern was woven into the red that Uriel needed to break, to change. The red that would lead to the end of everything. If God and Goddess did not change, it would not matter if Uriel allowed Michael to be saved.

Choice. He had to make a choice.

Just as Samael had once done, so long ago.

If Uriel did this, then he risked finding himself joining Lucifer in exile. He would be disobeying every order that God had given when it came to Pattern.

If he failed, it would mean that everything would be lost anyways, Uriel consoled himself. Should Father banish him as well, Lucifer would not turn him away. His older brother would welcome him, would make sure that he would not be alone as Lucifer was. So long as Uriel never let him know that this plan, if it worked, would end with Michael’s death.

Lucifer would never forgive him the death of Michael.

Uriel closed his eyes. The grief that threatened to consume him hurt worse than the itch that had become increasingly worse in the few thousand years they had spent trapped in this realm by God’s order.

Was trading Michael for the rest of their family worth it? That was the choice Uriel found himself faced with. His older brother or the rest of his family. One or the other. No option for both.

Could he wait, find a better pattern? Find a way around this impossible decision which trapped him, discover a third option.

Humans always seemed to find a third option, always seemed to find a way around the Patterns Uriel predicted for them. Free Will, their gift, which kept them unbound by the Fate that only Uriel could see. His version of omnipotence, the only one in their family to have an ability that was even slightly close to God’s.

Except that God did not seem to see the danger that they were all in, caused by His and Her fighting. Did not see how His reactions to Her prodding would bring ruin to them all. Too caught in rage and resentment.

One that had been growing for so long that Uriel had not noticed the pattern until it was too late to change it.

No, Uriel told himself. It was not too late.

With that, Uriel made his choice.

And set his own Pattern in place.

It had taken no time at all to maneuver Michael where Uriel needed him to be. A few words, carefully chosen, a few hints that were coded to be dismissed. Just enough to get Power interested.

Michael discovered what Goddess had been doing. Uncovered the plagues that were descending upon humanity as being Her doing. All in a way that would not leave Michael to connect his discovery back to Uriel.

Uriel, who had carefully been expressing his confusion about the sudden illnesses taking human life, pretending that he had not seen the Pattern leading to them. He watched, with bated breath, as God was informed. Watched that red which had been taunting him with its untouchable existence, twist.

Nothing Uriel did could change the Pattern because that Pattern bound him within its confines. Just as it bound all of the lower angels, who were not nearly to the strength of those that had given them life, in its web. All of them, baring the Demiurge.

Barring Michael and Lucifer.

Uriel watched, heart in his throat, as Michael’s own pattern changed. Watched with the knowledge that he had sacrificed Michael for the rest of the Host.

The weight at it ripped into his souls, burrowing there right next to that itch.

The Host screamed out silently as Goddess was banished to Hell, where Lucifer would be tasked with keeping Her contained.

God would not listen.

Uriel had tried. Over and over, he had tried getting Father’s attention. With the removal of the Goddess from Heaven, Uriel should have been able to affect the Patterns again. That had been the plan, that had been what he had sacrificed Michael for.

And still, God would not listen.

It was maddening. Uriel had risked everything for this, for the chance to save their family before it was too late. Had already ensured Michael’s destruction with his interference.

He had changed the red that had always been out of his reach. Achieved what he’d always thought impossible. He had changed the Patterns of Goddess and God!

Why was it that it had not been enough?

Uriel despaired it all.

The humans arrived more and more. Even with the imprisonment of Goddess, there was no way to change what She had done. Plagues and diseases had been cultivated too long on the Earth’s surface before Uriel had acted. Had used Michael instead of himself to stop her. It was a pity but necessary.

What did humans’ matter when it was Uriel’s family at risk? These creatures were nothing more than experiments that had caused his turmoil in the first place. If not for them, none of this would be happening.

The root of this, the cause of everything that was happening, could be traced back to these creatures. Uriel had traced the patterns backwards, finding the decisions that had set this in motion so long ago. All of it stemmed from Humanity.

Humanity and the Goddess.

That was where Uriel had gone wrong. Why sacrificing Michael had not changed enough to stop the Pattern. It was not enough to alter the Pattern of God and Goddess. They had only been a part of the overall Pattern that still taunted him, flecked in Gold instead of Their Red.

The answer to stopping this, to keep the destruction from happening, had been banished because of them.

The itch that Uriel felt, that was affecting his siblings? The one that had taken him so long to notice? That was the reason that Lucifer had Rebelled, the reason that Lucifer demanded Free Will like the humans.

Samael had seen it first, somehow. Uriel had found it, after a century of looking, buried into the Pattern that held them all now. If Samael had won, the patterns told him, then this would not be happening. Uriel had been mistaken in thinking that is was God and Goddess who held the key to this.

The key was Lucifer.

Uriel turned his attention back to Earth, then. For a very different reason than he had before.

Lucifer’s Pattern clung to the Earth’s surface, shaping human history in ways that it would not have gone otherwise. Adding to art, keeping the right people alive, balancing out the world with no idea of how his actions changed the course of their Patterns. Someone who would have died destitute now lived to advance society. A King who would have sparked an unending war was now dying of disease as Lucifer’s choices spiraled the path of Fate.

Uriel watched and the beginnings of an idea began to form.

Picking up a single stone, Uriel changed the Pattern.

It would never get easier, watching as the newest priest captured his brother. The magic that tore at Lucifer’s soul made Uriel want to curl in shame, the knowledge that he was the one behind this tearing at his mind.

If sacrificing Michael had been hard, then using Lucifer like this was agony. It was always a difficult balance, making sure that Lucifer thought Father aware and keeping Father from realizing what the humans were doing. Every time a pattern led to God discovering these exorcisms, Uriel carefully nudged it until Father remained oblivious.

For this to work, Lucifer needed to believe that the Host and God did not love him. That they did not care for his injuries, for any wrongs that were done to him. Lucifer needed to believe that there was no one he could rely on.

Uriel hated himself to doing this to his older brother. Hated watching the pain of abandonment grow with each new event that led to Lucifer’s suffering. Events that were put in place by Uriel.

Events that Uriel needed Lucifer to think God was behind. If Lucifer thought he could ask Father for help, this would have been for nothing. He needed his brother to think that God hated him. That their Father had manipulated all these things to punish him.

In order to save their family, Uriel had to destroy Lucifer.

Seven thousand years after their Father confined them, Uriel’s plan had started coming together.

Lucifer had lost all faith in God, in their family, and in anything that was good. He was bitter, angry, and so very broken. Feral, almost. Uriel’s manipulations had done their job, ensuring that Lucifer not only hated Father but also himself.

It hurt that Uriel had done this. Had ensured that Lucifer was alone, isolated, and had nowhere to turn for help.

The only saving grace was that doing so had given Michael a new chance at surviving this. Uriel tried not to think about the fact that he was trading one Twin for the other. If this worked, Lucifer would likely not survive.

It was exhausting, keeping up with the changes Uriel was making in the Patterns. Things that were true millennia ago were altered beyond recognition now. Michael now would live, and Lucifer would not. Amenadiel’s relationship with Lucifer was ruined, when they should have grown close again three thousand years ago.

There were days that Uriel wished he had never gained Pattern as his domain. That this was the work of another of their siblings.

Days where Uriel, filled with guilt, nudged things just a little in order to keep Lucifer’s suffering as short as possible. A priest made a mistake and Lucifer managed to slip free of the bindings without notice. Amenadiel appearing just a tad earlier and taking Lucifer back to Hell before the religions noticed Lucifer and tried another exorcism.

A time or two, Uriel had even ensured that Lucifer had more time to enjoy Earth before returning to Hell by Amenadiel’s hand.

Lucifer noticed his interference, at times. Noticed when events spiraled in ways they couldn’t have without Uriel’s touch, found the flaws that he wouldn’t have if God had truly been behind this. Every time that happened, Uriel held his breath, waiting for his brother to notice that it wasn’t God doing this. To figure out Uriel’s culpability in it all.

Each time, Lucifer convinced himself that it was God who was manipulating things. Would rant angrily at their Father about it. Uriel would breathe a sigh of relief and make sure that the patterns kept it so God wouldn’t realize that Lucifer wasn’t being paranoid in his belief that he was being manipulated.

Uriel wished, at times, that he could see into Hell.

The infernal domain was the only place where Uriel could not reach Lucifer or read Patterns. It was past the limit of Uriel’s abilities, what made sure that he was nowhere near the level that their Father was. What kept his Patterns from being a form of true omnipotence.  

Whenever Lucifer was in Hell, Uriel could not predict what would happen to his brother. It was maddening as much as it was relieving.

Creating these scenarios that were tormenting his older brother was chipping away at his soul. Uriel could feel himself enjoying the suffering of his brother as time went by, when it should have still nauseated him. It was becoming harder and harder to believe that what he was doing was just for the good of the Host. That in doing this, he was saving the rest of his family.

Humanity thought that Lucifer was evil. Uriel was beginning to think the only evil angel in existence was himself.

The thought, horrifyingly, was more pleasing than it was distressing.

What am I becoming?

The itch still scratched at him.

Uriel had begun to find it a comfort more than an annoyance.

Millennia after he had set out to stop the patterns that would lead to the destruction of his family, Uriel had succeeded.

God had finally created the linchpin. Chloe Decker, the Miracle, a gift for Lucifer as God tried to mend their bridges. The Patterns twisted and turned until Uriel could see no path that would bring the destruction of the Host to its destruction. New paths, forged by Uriel’s hard work, even brought the possibility of Lucifer surviving what needed to be done.

To his horror, Uriel found the idea of this ending to be…disappointing.

He had spent so very long cultivating this. The ritual was hidden where it would be discovered at just the right time. Mother would escape. She would track Lucifer down, convince him to allow Her to remain out of Hell. She would sway Amenadiel to her side, whisper dissonance as She had so long ago before Uriel had made his move. She’d talk about family and love, all the while plotting the war that Uriel had seen destroying their family.

Lucifer would discover her plans, move to stop her, and in the process, die by Her hand defending the Miracle God had created for him. Die with the belief that both Mother and Father hated him, desired his eradication from existence.

Michael would lose it after Lucifer’s death and would destroy their Mother in retaliation. The Host would grieve Lucifer’s loss and Uriel would pretend that he had not seen it coming.

It all depended on the humans finding the ritual that would contain their Mother and making sure that Azrael’s blade ended up on Earth. Easy enough, really.

God no longer paid attention to who approached the vaults containing that magic. Uriel had already hidden it in a place where human priests could find it.

This long since he had first started his plans, Uriel had become an expert at hiding from the omnipotence of God. A small spell that hid the darker of his thoughts, found in his Mother’s rooms, made it seem as if Uriel was the same as he’d always been. If God truly went back, observed everything that Uriel had done from the day that God had ordered the second withdraw from Earth, the spell would not hold up. It only made it so that Uriel could pass unnoticed from his Father’s gaze as long as God was distracted by other things.

Uriel frowned to himself. He would not need the spell soon. It was only a matter of time before this was over. Not even a century and his plan would be completed.

A small part of him was relieved that it would be over soon.

A larger part would miss it.

Uriel hoped that he would not lose that small voice before it was consumed by the evil that was starting to take hold in his soul.

The itch was gone.

It had gone the moment that Uriel had entered the mortal plain and put his plan into action. Caused the car accident.

For the first time in millennia, Uriel could think clearly. The Patterns around him didn’t strangle his soul, biting and bleeding it. They morphed around him until Uriel was gasping with the horror of what he had done. The first clear thought he’d had in so very long.

It had seemed so clear. All of it, from the moment that he had noticed the Pattern that encompassed God and Goddess all that time ago. That had been when it had begun.

The itch that Uriel had never been able to bring to God’s attention had already done its damage. The first sign of the insanity that he had not realized had gripped him until it was gone. Until he could really think again.

Uriel gasped, dropping the blade on the ground as he remembered it all, his head and soul clear now. Patterns flickered around him, changing rapidly under his attention. Never settling.

Uriel’s own Pattern sat in front of him, a blinding red.

It was never God and Goddess that would have brought the destruction that Patterns had been trying to warn him off. Uriel’s soul had already begun to be rubbed raw and the Patterns had blurred to him. Blurred until only the negative outcomes had been visible to him. A projection of the pain that he was in as he was confined in.

Driving him more and more insane as he started to enjoy them. Even the Patterns that he’d used to give Lucifer a bit more happiness had always been the negative Patterns. Amenadiel would always arrive and start a fight to get Lucifer back to Hell. Uriel could see a few options now, where Lucifer could have found a reason to get Amenadiel to leave him alone on Earth. Patterns where they mended their relationship millennia ago. Back during the rise of the Church, even.

Patterns were Uriel could have shifted good outcomes to make sure that the destruction coming for their family could have been avoided. Avoided with not a single one of them harmed.

Uriel couldn’t breathe as he looked at them all.

What had he done?

The sickness in him, which enjoyed the horrors that he’d put Lucifer through, whispered to him even now. It wanted to keep going, to keep on the Path. To keep the Pattern as it was. Longed to see how Michael would wail and grieve, withering after Lucifer died. The blood and death that would follow as Michael went insane without the Light to balance him

Uriel pushed it away, forcing it down. Even as he did, he could see that every Pattern would lead to it taking over him. To the futures where Uriel would find someone to take Lucifer’s place, to manipulate their patterns until there was nothing but suffering in their lives. A suffering that Uriel would bask in.

I need to stop, he thought. I need to be stopped.

He had sinned. Had become a monster, the same kind of monster that found itself behind a locked door in Hell. The ones that never deserved the chance to earn forgiveness, to leave their cell and be brought to the gates, granted eternal happiness. The ones that deserved punishment.

Uriel knew exactly who that punishment should come from. Knew who should be the one to make sure that he was stopped. He knew how to ensure it.

When the blade entered his flesh, Uriel had never been so relieved.

The madness hissed and fought, demanding that he change the Pattern, regain the upper hand. Take Lucifer’s life before his own was snuffed out.

Uriel did none of that.

He didn’t fight as the blade began to destroy his soul. The madness was the first to go, leaving him gasping at its absence. The guilt that had been buried by it shredded at him, memories of everything that he’d done.

The knowledge that Lucifer would hate himself for this. That Uriel had done such a good job destroying his brother there would be no doubt in Lucifer’s mind that this was his fault. He would not know Uriel had been planning his death. Would not know the suffering that he had made sure that his brother was put through. Never know how close Uriel had come to being the monster Lucifer believed himself to be.

Uriel hoped that God would succeed in bring Lucifer back. Knew that with his death, Uriel had insured the Goddess would not go to war with God. Instead of trading Michael or Lucifer for that outcome, Uriel had traded himself. Done the right thing, though it had taken far too long for him to think of it.

The Patterns would be free of his iron control. God would be able to see the whole picture without Uriel’s subtle interference hiding it from Him. Keeping Him from seeing what had been happening to the Host.

Uriel died knowing that without him, there was a chance that his family would become better. Would move forward.

And that Uriel would be free.