Eventually, you made it to the edge of the desert. This is not the false edge of grass planted by the Bridge Builder, this is the true barrier of this place; a sudden inevitable cliff that spans far beyond the eye can see. You approach the edge casually and peek over. The sight that welcomes you is a sheer, uninterrupted drop into complete and total darkness below.

Slowly, you back away from the edge. You've already suffered one great fall, you don't want to risk another. You travel on, keeping the edge of the world in view, but far enough away to be safe. If you need to find a bridge, then chances are keeping to the cliff will lead you to it eventually.

[You Wander the Desert]

Eventually you find a bridge. The bridge stands tall, white and gold and gleaming in the desert sun. It spans across the canyon before you, its other end far out of sight. It is the Bridge. The only way out of this world, short of divine intervention.

The desert angel is waiting for you at the Bridge's entrance. It feels like it's been ages since you've seen him, but he hasn't changed at all all. He smiles when he sees you.

"Finally," he says, walking over to you. "I've been waiting for you! I was worried you wouldn't make it."

"I'm here," you say, feeling unsure.

The angel watches you with unabashed eagerness that sets your hair standing. "So you are! So you are." He comes up to you and begins to circle you. You turn with him, not wanting him at your back.

"What are you doing?"

"Checking for your name," he says.

"My name's Sonia," you say.

The angel beams. "Excellent! That's a lovely name. Hold still for a moment."

You watch, bemused, as the angel holds his hand to his heart, like he is grabbing some invisible thing. As he pulls his fist away, a long, burning sword appears, as though it was pulled out of the angel's chest.

"What the hell are you doing?" you say. The snake bracelet around your wrist hisses angrily.

"Please don't be frightened," he says. "I need to get to Heaven." His smile is open and wide and completely free of guile. "I can't though, He took our names and locked us down here. Only named souls can get in or out these days, but that's why you're here! You're a soul! And you've got a Name to go with it!"

He lunges forward. You move out of the way mostly by accident.

"I'm going to kill you," he says. "When you're dead, your soul will lift us both to Heaven. We'll both be free!"

He brings the sword down on you.

You scream and fall backwards, barely avoiding having your head lopped off. The angel is thrown off balance from the full swing, and you take the opportunity to headbutt him in the stomach. He wheezes as all the wind is knocked out of him, and you scramble to your feet.

"Don't do this," you say.

"I have to!"

The book in your pocket grows warm.

"What's your name?" you say.


"You don't know your name!"

"I don't need a name, I need your soul!" He lunges at you again, and you barely dodge the attack in time.

"Wait a second!" you shout, jumping backwards in time to narrowly avoid having your arm sliced off.

"No!" says the angel, suddenly appearing beside you. You yelp and throw a handful of dirt in his face. He snarls and vanishes, appearing a few paces away.

"Just wait a second! Stop!" You pull the book from your pocket and hold it up. "Look! I've got this--"

"I don't care!" he shouts. He teleports directly above you and brings down the sword.

You throw your hands up, and the snake on your wrist lunges out, becoming tangible and hurling itself in front of the blade. You expect the snake to be sliced in two, bit instead the sword bounces off with a loud clang, as though the snake were also made of metal.

The angel staggers back a step, and in that time the snake leaps towards him, wrapping itself around his neck. The angel drops the sword, and it disintegrates into nothing before hitting the ground. The two struggle, and while they're distracted, you flip through the pages of the book, hoping for a name to jump out at you.

One does.

"Nihriel!" you boom in a voice that is not yours.

The angel freezes in place.

"No," he says.

"Nihriel!" you shout with your own voice. "Nihriel! That's your name!"

He staggers back, his horrified expression squarely on you. "Stop. Stop it." As you watch, a bloody wound opens in his chest where his heart ought to be.

"Your plan won't work," you say. "You need a heart and a Name to leave."

He drops to his knees, staring at you. He is not crying, really, but tears are streaming down from his eyes.

"How do you know?" he says. There's no spirit in the argument; he knows you're right.

You open your mouth to say something, though you're not sure what you can say, but he stops you.

"Shut up," he says, sinking further to the ground until he's on his hands and knees. "Shut up. Go away. Leave me alone."

You silently cross the bridge, and he makes no move to stop you.

The last thing you see before crossing the light is Nihiriel slumped on the ground, weeping.

* * * * *

You made it out of the Desert!

You're going home! Congratulations.

[Try Again?]