Chapter One - a visitor to the Library
Flynn walked into the annex holding a paper bag in one hand and a newspaper in the other. Stone and Jones trailed behind him, making their usual jokes at each others expense. The team had been gone from the Annex for hours, out to see a local pawnshop owner about a ceramic cat statue that supposedly had come to life and attacked his son. The story had popped up on social media on one of the websites Jones perused on occasion. It had taken more time to find the store than it had to deal with the issue. As it had turned out the story was all a massive joke being played on the owner's son by one of his fraternity brothers who was a student of special effects. Flynn was not looking forward to returning the Library after such an obvious wild goose chase. Baird had said she doubted the story (especially since it had NOT appeared in the clippings book) but the Library had been so quiet lately Flynn had been willing to take a chance. "Well - let that be a lesson to us, Librarians. Unless the clippings book says it's an issue - is isn't one."
Stone and Jones both rolled their eyes at their leader's words. "Baird is going to have a cow when she finds out how much you spend on that bloody statue." Stone muttered, motioning to the bag in Flynn's hand. "You paid the dude thirty dollars for a replica of an Egyptian cat statue that I'm pretty sure I saw on one of the lower levels of the library. And I've seen it for sale in a thrift shop for five bucks. She's going to have your hide."
The Librarian looked down at his hand with a start, having totally forgotten he was still carrying the item he had purchased - before he had realized it wasn't "as advertised". "Yes - well, maybe Cassandra will like it for her desk" he replied lamely.
"Either way - Baird's going to be mad." Jones said with a smile. He pulled his tablet out of his pocked and started to swipe through the various apps, looking for his copy of the clippings book - just to be sure.
"Mad about what?" Baird's voice echoed from the direction of Jenkins workroom. Behind her the Librarians Caretaker and Cassandra, who had chosen to stay behind, stood waiting for an answer. "Let me guess - no cat artifact?"
"Well - no. Actually..."
"Actually I was right about the story. Come on, Skippy, you can say it. Eve was right."
"Hey guys" Jones said, urgently, stopping in his tracks. "Internal sensors have been tripped. Something or someone is waiting for us in the meeting room."
"We didn't hear an alarm" Cassandra whispered, staring down the hall.
"Yeah - that's strange. None of the alarms are sounding - the Library has disabled them. It's almost like...Like maybe the Library allowed whoever it is to come in."
"Why would it do that?" Stone asked, incredulous.
"Let's find out." Flynn fell into step with Baird as they crossed the hall quickly and stepped into the large meeting area with the others taking up the rear. In the center room their new table stood covered in books and manuscripts. Their old table had been shattered by an angry archangel and the current one had only been in place for a month and while not as old or as long, it was serving its purpose well enough. And standing beside it was their "guest" - a tall (well over six feet) and burly figure dressed in green robes and with large, black wings (tinged with dark emerald) fluttering gently behind him. He was flipping randomly through an herbalists textbook, head cocked as he read through the descriptions. "Hello?" Flynn said, quietly, making a mental note that "this" angel hadn't come into his home armed, looking for battle.
The angel turned, his dark brown eyes sparkling as he swept them over the group. "Hello" he replied, his voice having a distinctive Aussie accent similar to Jones. "I'm assuming you are the Librarians?"
"Yes" Flynn replied, moving forward closer. "And you would be...?"
"Archangel Rafael" he said with a smile. "I believe you've met my brother Michael?"
"Archangel Rafael, whose name means 'God Heals', the angel most associated with healing and thought to be one of the three angels who appeared to Abraham in the grove.." Flynn began, winding up for a lecture.
Baird nudged her partner with an elbow to the ribs. "Yes, we have met Michael. And he mentioned his brothers but he seemed to think..."
"That we were dead" Rafael said sadly. "I know, it wasn't a very good time for us."
Cassandra smiled welcomingly up at the towering angel. "We've been worried about how things have been with him and with Arthur and Rowan and Khan..." her voice skittered to a stop at the sadness in the angel's eyes. "They are alright, aren't they? I mean, we haven't seen them in months and..."
"My brothers are home at the foot of our Father's throne as we all should be but the young ones..." he stopped, hesitating. "We none of us have seen them since they set out on their quest to bring an end to the forces plaguing Vega."
"Arthur was here but a few short months ago" Jenkins interjected, stepping forward. "He seemed fine - if a little annoyed with me. Rowan and Khan were with him."
Rafael sighed in relief. "Thank Father - at least someone knows they are well." His eyes took in the glow from the older man with interest. "You would be the knight of Camelot my brother mentioned? Galahad - who was friend to the young Firebird King?"
"I have that honor sir" Jenkins replied gravely, one hand to his heart.
"Perhaps then you have seen more of him than the others/" Rafael asked urgently.
"You mean you can't see them from Heaven?" Baird quizzed.
"Though they, like all of his creations, are never out of the sight of our Heavenly Father the Triad has chosen to make themselves invisible to my brothers and I." Rafael's feathers trembled in anger. "They none of them can know how much their actions have hurt the angels who love them best."
"Then they didn't tell you...?" Cassandra began, catching her breath as the angel's eyes moved back to her.
"Told us what? That our Father has allowed their previous incarnations to be erased from time, to be replaced with lives not led in our care? Yes, little Librarian, they told us. Though not because they wanted to. The three of them were content to allow us to go blindly into battle without the knowledge of what had been done to them. To put our very existences in jeopardy thinking we were sacrificing it all for them - only to find out that "they" - our young ones - no longer existed." Rafael tossed the book he had been holding angrily on the desk. "Had it not been for a chance encounter in front of a dry fountain between myself and brother Seraphiel we none of us would have know what had happened until the battle was over and they had disappeared again into the ether."
"That doesn't sound like Ro and Arthur" Jones protested, slipping out from behind Baird to get a better look at this angel who sounded like a piece of home.
Rafael sighed in frustration. "Michael insists that they had a reason for their reticence but none of us can know what it might be until we speak to them - and they have made it clear they have no intention of speaking to us ever."
Baird motioned for her team mates to bring chairs so that they could gather beside the table. "You have us at something of a disadvantage" she began cautiously "We don't know anything about what happened after they stepped through the Library's back door looking for the Loom of Fate."
"The Loom of Fate - yes, that would be where it all started. That part of the story I had from the sod they found there - Metatron. His take on what happened was full of self-pity and loathing for the Triad but we were able to pick out the kernels of truth and understand exactly what had been done before they returned to Vega."
"Could you tell us about it?" Flynn asked, somberly. "We all would really like to understand what happened when they left us."
Rafael bowed his head, then sank to the ground, bracing his back against the leg of the table with a sigh. "Yes - perhaps if I tell you their story I will understand it better. It, like all their missions, started out simply enough. But in the end - things were changed in our lives in ways none of us could have imagined."
Notes: Continuation of my other story - where I explain where Arthur and family have been to the Librarians (and eventually Lucifer).