When he first comes down to Earth, he flattens a feasting hall with his voice and blinds the throng of people within. Humans, he realizes, are not as strong as he thinks.
So he searches for a vessel—he floats far above the town and reaches out, grazing against people's souls. His touch lingers on an ordinary, nondescript man: mousy brown hair, twinkling eyes. He is a solitary man, a lonely man; the neighbor's daughter never sees the adoration in his eyes when she passes by him, her skirts swishing.
No one notices when a light flashes in the forest and he begins to behave differently.
Almost a millennium later, Gabriel wonders if his vessel is still alive. He has been stabbed, cut, burned, shot, thrown off a cliff, run over by a train, but, every time, with a whisper of a thought, he mends his flesh back whole. He would like to think that his vessel has long since ceased to suffer for his selfishness and that his soul is now resting with his father in Heaven.
Yet sometimes, when he sits by himself in a quiet place and reaches within, he feels a flutter of another soul remaining.
It occurs to him that he does not know his vessel's name.