Black and White Angel

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Summary

Lilith has always been an outcast because of what she is. But when she leaves her home, she discovers there are others of her kind; together they search of the Earth Maiden.

Genre:
Fantasy
Author:
LadyLilium
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
59
Rating:
n/a 1 review
Age Rating:
18+

Part 1: Chapter 1

Rat Face

She stood before the cupboard in her home, grabbing hold of both the handles, and opening the doors simultaneously.

Within the cupboard, and beyond, was another world. A large town lit by hundreds of lanterns that hung above the dark streets, and everything was utterly still. The moon above was in its whole, shining down its glorious light upon the rooftops.

She leant forwards into the cupboard, and fell down towards the dark town. From her back wings erupted, and she soared through the sky above the town. She climbed higher towards the moon.

‘Lilith!’

She opened her eyes.

‘Lilith’ came the voice again, singing teasingly at her.

She pushed herself up from where she lay resting on her side. Sitting up slowly and lifting her head to the figure that stood before her.

‘What are you doing here?’ she asked flatly.

‘I could ask you the same thing’ the figure named Joseph said.

Lilith lowered her eyes glowering.

You are not allowed up here’ Joseph told her.

Lilith cast her eyes away from the pest before her and towards the rest of the library.

‘I think it’s so wrong,’ Lilith said ‘to hide away all this knowledge from the world.’

‘Whatever your opinion on the matter is’ Joseph replied, ‘is irrelevant. Think of the punishment you would suffer if caught.’

’Don’t you mean when I’m caught?’ Lilith replied meeting his gaze again. ‘No doubt you will scurry to the teachers and tell them of my sins. Nothing would give you more pleasure I’m sure than to see me punished.’

‘As you deserve’ Joseph glared.

‘You are not allowed here either. You would surely be punished also’ Lilith said. ’If you tell them I was here, I will tell then you were here.’

‘And who would believe you?’

‘My father is a powerful man’ Lilith told him. ‘I have influence.’

‘Not as much as you would if you didn’t act like a freak’ Joseph shot back. ‘And besides, your family is small. Only your father and your servants can tolerate you. I have both my parents and their parents, and aunt and uncles and successful older siblings. If you want to play that game, I assure you, you will lose.’

Lilith gritted her teeth, nails digging into the sofa she sat upon. Her upper lip twitched as she thought desperately for a swift enough and decent response.

‘You think you have influence?’ Joseph went on. ‘Yours is nothing compared to mine. You’re just a grey haired freak with no friends.’

Lilith’s hand went automatically to her head. All her life she had had grey hair, dirty like smoke. And all her life she had been forced to endure scorn and ridicule because of it.

‘I have friends’ Lilith muttered. ‘But you’re right; it’s hard to get people to accept you, when you look different. It’s hard to live in a city where the people are so judgemental of everyone around them, people who care only about what they see and not what is inside.’

‘Even your own mother hates you’ Joseph went on, pushing her further. ‘My family never treated me like that. People see you for what you are. I will do great things in life, unlike you.’

‘It must be nice’ Lilith said. ‘Living in the shadows of such a rich and powerful family, and using their success to your own benefit, as if you had a hand in anything they’ve achieved. You act so, but you don’t.’

‘And you think you are better than me?’ Joseph sneered. ’You.’

‘I know much of the world, and of life. I have learnt, I have travelled, and done far more good for this world than you ever will. You know nothing.’ She lifted her heavy eyes to him.

‘Uncultured swine.’

He slapped her.

Lilith froze in shock for a moment, head still turned to the side. Cheek burning.

She slowly turned her head back towards him; then rose, very slowly to her feet.

The two locked stares, each challenging the other, and for the longest time, neither moved.

Lilith was the first to act. She swung to the side, reaching for a medium stone statue of a naked woman that happened to be in arms reach, intending to strike Joseph with it. But a voice called out to stop her.

‘ENOUGH!’

Lilith froze, still holding the statue high, arms outstretched as she had been ready to swing. She glared at Joseph. Eyes burning, brow furrowed and lips twitching in a snarl.

‘LILITH!’ came the same voice. ‘Put that down!’

Still holding up the statue, Lilith turned her head, seeing a tall dark haired figure striding towards her across the open hall. His tall black boots echoed with each heavy footstep, and his dark cloak billowed menacingly behind him as he approached.

Her heart sank at the sight of him. It was one of the teachers.

‘What on earth do you think you’re doing?’ the teacher asked incredulous, glaring at her as he stopped beside her. His dark eyes, oiled pointed beard and narrow face gave him a very sharp look, like a vulture.

Lilith looked back at Joseph angrily. He had not moved or even flinched at her action, he just gazed back at her calmly. But below the surface, Lilith could see his uncertainty. He too was nervous at the sudden appearance of the teacher.

‘Lilith’ the teacher prompted.

Lilith lowered her head, placing the statue back in its place.

‘You do realise that if you were a low-born you could be killed for being here. I wish you would act your class, act like a lady instead of a peasant.’

‘Class’ Lilith sneered under her breath.

‘What!?’

‘Nothing’ Lilith replied clearly. ‘I’m sorry sir.’

‘I have a good mind to have you beaten’ the teacher went on. ‘This is a very serious crime. You do know that only the most important select few are allowed to be here?’

‘Yes sir.’

‘You know that only the high lords and ladies are allowed to be here?’

‘Yes sir.’

‘And students are not.’

‘No sir.’

‘If the headmaster knew about this…’ the teacher went on, completely ignoring Joseph. He pursed his lips, puffing himself out, his cheeks growing red in anger. ‘You should be beaten. You deserve to be beaten. But lords don’t beat ladies; I will have to think of a more fitting punishment for you.’ He waved her away arrogantly, like one would do a servant. ‘Get out of my sight and return to your class.’

Lilith bowed her head submissively, as was expected behaviour from a student towards a teacher. She carefully walked past him, heading to the doors of the library.

‘You too Joseph’ the teacher snapped, as if noticing him for the first time. ‘You shouldn’t be here. Make your absence swift.’

Joseph automatically dipped his head, moving quickly away from the teacher. As he passed Lilith, he couldn’t resist one last hurtful comment while he had the chance.

‘Freak’ he muttered under his breath as he overtook her, striding across the marble floor towards the entrance of the library.

His voice was low, but Lilith heard it clear, and she knew that even if the teacher behind heard it clearly too, he would have pretended he didn’t.

Lilith reached the doors, pausing with her hand on the cold dark wood. She glanced into the library once last time, feeling a deep sorrow in her heart. It was a beautiful place, with an impossibly high ceiling made only of glass. Natural sunlight spilled into every corner of the room, lighting up the red and brown and black pattered diamond floor.

She didn’t know when she would see the place again, if she would ever get the chance to see it again.

And then she noticed the teacher, standing a distance away glaring at her.

She dropped her gaze, and left through the doors.

High lords and ladies Lilith thought to herself. What is class in a world like this? Why is so much importance placed on breeding?

Lilith thought then of the high lords and ladies, the very purest, richest, most successful in society, with statuses within the city that nearly matched the king and queen themselves. The most obnoxious, selfish and arrogant people in the world, groomed to be blind to everything beyond their own desires. People who were physically unable to understand or even see those in poverty who suffered, those who were not so lucky in life as they.

She sighed, standing upon the stage and staring back at the many faces before her. Her punishment had been to stand upon the stage with the teacher, and balance several books on her head for two and a half hours. If she lost concentration, and one of the books were to fall, one of the other students in the room were to endure the same punishment beside her. She didn’t want that to happen, she was unpopular enough as it was, and so, she stood there, as still as she could, and waited for time to go by.

One of the faces before her was that of Joseph’s. He sneered up at her regularly as he continued on with his work.

Lilith sighed again, eyes sliding about the room as she looked for something to take her interest and make time pass quicker. The room the classes took place in were very large, and often one teacher would teach nearly a hundred students. All the chairs and tables faced the stage, the ones at the back higher than the ones at the front so that everyone could see.

Lilith sighed some more. She was used to this punishment, or at least as used to this sort of treatment as one could have been. This was not the first time she had to endure this. Lilith dared a glanced to the side of her, and towards the teacher who sat at the podium in the centre of the stage, the same one who had given her this punishment. He glared at her briefly, before returning to his papers.

There was not a friendly face amongst any of them, save for one. One of the few friends she had, a young girl seventeen years in age, the same age as her. Her name was Victoria. She smiled uncertainly at Lilith, and Lilith smiled back, more encouragingly. Victoria returned to her work.

Lilith let her attention drift away, and her eyes began to glaze over, the books on her head still balanced perfectly still.

Time slowly ticked away.

When at last her ordeal was over, Lilith was allowed to leave with the rest of the class, once she was given permission by the teacher. Once everyone else had left.

She took the books from her head, placing them on the stage and walking carefully past the teacher, avoiding his glare.

She moved through the large expanse of the school, through its many halls and long corridors, and outside into the glorious awaiting sunlight.

She breathed a sigh of relief. It felt good to be out in the sunlight again.

Lilith looked at the world around her.

The city she lived in was the capital, and the largest city for miles around. It was congested, and in places filthy. The air was the first offense to those not very well acquainted to city life, especially this city life. Day and night great factories churned black smoke and sick air into the atmosphere, but one became accustomed to the dirt they breathed in. After a time, one stopped noticing it altogether. There were many building crowded here into this little area of land, and the streets were very narrow. Many large towers and tall building grew from its cement; the taller richer buildings were built in the centre. The not so tall buildings were built further away from the centre, and the poorest buildings, the dank and squalor homes, were at the very edges. These were the poor quarters, where those without money lived in filth, scraping a living at the edges of humanity.

The city was built in a roughly circular shape, and at a distance, because of the way the towers were positioned, looked like a cone, with the filthy poorer houses scattered in a disordered manner around the edges.

Many whispered of that dangerous place, where the desperate would do anything to survive. The richer folk simply adored to spill terrible tales of the poorer outer quarters, speaking of it as if it were another world, and its inhabitants aliens. Or mutants.

Or freaks. Just like Lilith.

She then glanced back at the university behind her. It was a large building, the front was made almost entirely of glass, and there was a great tower at its head, growing tall into a point that nearly touched the sky.

‘Very soon’ Lilith whispered to the building. ‘I will gaze upon you for the last time.’

She turned her back on that hateful place where she had suffered so much scorn, and crossed its large grassy grounds to the main gate which sat at the end of a wide road. The richer more arrogant students that thought they were above walking waited on the steps before the school, as horses and carriages lined to pick them up.

Lilith left the grounds, passing through the tall iron gates that were left open. Once all the students had left, the gates would be locked, and the school would fall silent.

Lilith stepped out into the streets, glancing around her. It was a crowded place, like the rest of the city. The centre rarely suffered quiet streets, even after dark.

Around her the other students were milling out of the school grounds, each separating and going their own ways home.

Lilith heard a disturbance then, glancing to the side she saw a crowd of young men, standing with their backs to her in a circle facing inwards. Lilith tilted her head, trying to get a better view. Within the circle was another young man, who appeared to be crouching. One of the men in the circle raised his voice in hostility, but Lilith couldn’t hear his words over the crowd. She watched as the figure pushed the one in the middle, shoving him to the side.

Lilith suddenly recognised the figure that had pushed the other, turning on her heel she strode briskly up to him.

‘Joseph!’

He turned as the sound of her voice, just as she walked up to him. Lilith shoved him roughly to the side, causing him to stumble.

‘What are you doing?’ Joseph shot back.

‘Enough of this’ Lilith demanded. ‘Who do you think you are to treat another this way?’

Joseph glowered back at her, but Lilith wouldn’t bend, not under his glare, nor the glare of the other young men that had participated.

Within the centre of the circle, the victim watched in silence, still upon one knee.

‘You overstep your mark’ Joseph growled, stepping towards her.

Lilith didn’t move, standing proudly, fearlessly before the men before her. Any other girl would surely have fled in terror by now. Young girls these days were so weak.

’You overstep your mark’ Lilith repeated back to Joseph.

Joseph tensed, growing furious at her audacity. But Lilith only glared back at him, challenging him. She saw his fists clench.

‘Go on’ she whispered. ‘Strike me now. I know you desire it.’

She saw as Joseph gritted his teeth. He glanced about him suddenly, realising their little scene had drawn a considerable amount of attention. People walking by had stopped now, to watch the events unfold before them, between the young girl and the young man she confronted.

‘Do it’ Lilith whispered to Joseph. ‘I dare you.’

Joseph snarled at her, backing away as he felt the eyes of the crowd around him. ‘You will pay for this’ he promised her. ‘Mark my word.’

He turned sharply away from her and stormed away. The circle broke, and the other men followed after him, muttering under their breaths and glaring at her as they walked away.

Lilith relaxed, glancing down to the victim still kneeling beside her. And at one glance, she saw why he had been teased so.

He was from the poor quarters. She could tell from his dress.

‘Are you alright?’ she spoke to him.

The poor man glanced up at her with large eyes. Even his skin was dirty. There were smudges on his cheeks and forehead that looked like coal dust.

Lilith extended a hand for him to take. The stranger stared at her for a moment; Lilith could almost hear the thoughts passing through his mind. Perhaps he feared another trick; perhaps he thought that she too was teasing him. But after a time, he accepted. Taking Lilith by the hand, she helped him up.

‘I’m sorry about them’ Lilith said to him. ‘We are not all the same here.’

‘As I see’ the young man said speaking at last.

Lilith blinked slowly, taking in the stranger’s features. It was then that Lilith noticed that beneath the shabby clothes and soot, the young man was handsome.

‘What’s your name?’

‘William’ the stranger answered. ‘What’s yours?’

‘Lilith.’

‘Oh. That’s an interesting name.’

‘That’s what most people say’ Lilith smiled humourlessly. ‘Most people make fun of me because of it.’

‘That’s terrible.’

Lilith smiled again weakly. ‘There are many things that are terrible here’ she said. ‘Many things that are wrong.’

William didn’t answer.

‘What are you doing here?’

‘I came here to look at the school’ William said turning his back to her to see it. ‘Where I live, it is only whispered about. It is spoken as if it were a myth, and not a real place in the city we live.’

‘Hm.’ Lilith closed her eyes. ‘It’s nothing special.’

‘That’s easy for you to say’ William answered back, not turning to her, but keeping his eyes upon the school, drinking in its glorious sights. ‘You go here often, it’s normal for you. But to me…someone who has no such privileges…..’ he fell silent.

Suddenly he turned back to her, a big cheesy grin on his face.

‘I thank you for your help’ he said suddenly. ‘And it was nice to meet you. It’s nice to know that not all rich folk are the same.’

‘Wait!’ Lilith called after him as he began to scamper off. ‘Are you going to be alright?’

He glanced back at her confidently, standing tall and proud, despite not fitting in. ‘Don’t you worry about me. I know these streets.’ He watched her for a moment, considering her. ‘I hope we meet again.’

He swiftly left, slipping into the crowd. Some still stood and stared, but most had continued on, grumbling in disappointment that the confrontation had boiled down to nothing. Though they would never admit it, it was not only the poor who enjoyed confrontation and violence.

It was only a short time that Lilith had to think about William, before she was pounced on by her friend. One of the few she had.

‘That was so brave! Are you alright?’

Lilith turned towards Victoria. Small in stature, her dirty blonde hair was tied in pigtails and styled in big curls.

‘Those ones are you cruel’ she scowled, referring to Joseph and his gang. ‘They swarm around like dogs and act like such wretches. I hope they didn’t hurt or frighten you.’

‘Those fools’ Lilith scoffed. ‘They could never frighten me. They are nothing.’

‘Oooohhh’ Victoria grabbed her arm firmly. ‘I wish I could have the confidence you do, I would be so much better off I’m sure.’

‘I’m not so sure myself’ Lilith said raising an eyebrow at her in amusement. ‘For a start you would get yourself in far more trouble.’

‘Hmm’ Victoria hummed. ‘I suppose you’re right’ she said curtly. ‘Now. Do you still want to come with me to the streets to see the fireworks? You didn’t forget about my invitation did you?’

‘Oh’ Lilith said. In truth she had completely forgotten. ‘Yes, of course I’ll come. I just need to tell my fa…’ she broke off. Lilith smiled suddenly. ‘Yes’ she said again, composing herself. ‘I’ll come.’

‘Wonderful!’ Victoria cried clapping her hands gleefully. ‘Oh this will be so much fun.’

That night when the world had darkened, the sky lit up in a flurry of exploding lights.

The streets were crammed with people, out enjoying the celebration. It was the start of the New Year, and the first day of summer. From here on, life was to get better for everyone, until winter came around once more.

Lilith ran through the streets, hand in hand with Victoria, running from one place to the next. There was no single open space where people had to celebrate, for the streets throughout the city were so narrow. And so the celebration happened everywhere.

It seemed on every corner there was something happening. Fireworks being set off, dances, music, magical performances that would awe the children and make the adults gasp in surprise. This was one of the few nights in the year when the rich folk would tolerate gypsies. With their absurd dresses and bright colours and excessive gold jewellery, it all offended the rich folk. Even their fortune telling and the way they constantly travelled was an insult. But tonight, tonight was a night to rejoice, and be happy.

Lilith skipped past a group of them, loudly playing their violins and beating their drums jovially as many other of them danced in the streets. Lilith even saw some of the animals that accompanied them. A donkey, a skinny dog, a goat, all of which wore jewellery of their own, hoops that pierced their and rings around their necks.

‘Come with me’ Victoria called over the noise, pulling Lilith with her as she went.

They went to a corner of the street where smaller fireworks were being set off, those that didn’t reach high into the sky like the others, those that barely reached the top of the buildings.

They jumped upon a low wall, leaning on a tall lamppost and jumping up to grab the sparks as they fell. Nearby a group of young boys ran around the feet of their elders, waving around sparklers.

For many hours the celebration went on, late into the night, and slowly, the people became more and more drunk, and slowly, the streets began to empty. Began to quieten.

When they deemed it appropriate, the gypsies departed, as quickly as they had arrived.

‘Victoria’ Lilith said quietly, shaking her friend.

‘Hm?’

’It’s getting late. ‘We should go home now.’

Victoria sat up, rubbing her eyes. She had drunk a small amount of wine, and had fallen asleep at the foot of one of the lampposts.

‘What time is it?’ Victoria groaned.

‘I don’t know.’

They walked through the now quieter parts of the streets, and all was silent. Lilith held Victoria around the shoulders as they went. She was still very tired, and a little tipsy, stumbling more than once in the dark alley.

There was very little light at this time, but Lilith knew this way well, and she walked bolding, moving Victoria with her.

It was only a short time they walked, when there was suddenly movement before them, and Lilith tensed as a shadowing figure appeared ahead. At first Victoria had not noticed it. Lilith stopped, watching as it approached.

‘What’s wrong?’ Victoria mumbled. She then glanced forwards, gasping as the shadow loomed closer.

‘Joseph?’ Lilith said as it came into clearer view. ‘Is that you?’

Lilith heard movement and quiet footsteps behind her. She glanced around, seeing three more figures, in the dark they appeared only as black silhouettes. Looking forward again, Lilith saw that three more figures had joined Joseph. Beside her Victoria began to shake. Lilith let go of her, straightening up.

‘What are you going to do?’ she asked firmly.

‘I’m going to teach you a little lesson’ Joseph spoke calmly to her, gliding forwards and using a finger tip to lift her chin. He began to walk around her, still touching her chin so that she always faced him.

‘At least let Victoria go.’

‘I’m not going to do anything you want me to’ Joseph answered arrogantly. ‘Maybe this will be a good lesson for her as well.’

He completed one circle around her, withdrawing his hand.

‘The teachers have failed to control you’ Joseph said. ‘I won’t.’

Lilith threw her head back laughing then, an act that seemed to surprise not only Joseph, but the surrounding figures as well.

‘Listen to yourself’ she said calming. ‘You really do think you’re so high and mighty.’ She sighed, becoming still again, staring at him hard. ‘You are nothing.’

He went to hit her, but Lilith caught his wrist in the air.

’You will not strike me again’ she growled at him.

She stumbled forwards suddenly, as one of the figures hit her across the back of the head with a hard object. Lilith fell to her knees, as Victoria screamed in fear beside her. But the attention of all the figures was not on her, but on Lilith.

’Listen to yourself’ Joseph cried throwing his hands out. ‘Even out here where nobody can help you, you still mock me.’ He grabbed her face, forcing it upwards to his. ‘You just don’t know when to keep your mouth shut do you?’

‘I was just going to say the same about you.’

‘Ooohh’ he said shaking his head at her audacity. ‘Thank you for giving me a reason to do what I’m about to do.’

He let go of her, backing away.

‘Hey!’ called one of the boys around them.

Lilith glanced up.

‘What is it?’ Joseph asked irritant, turning back to the one who had spoken.

‘Look.’

Joseph looked to where his friend was pointing. His heard skipped a beat in his chest at what he saw.

A shadowy figure was standing on one of the rooftops, wearing a grotesque mask of some insect. The figure did not move, it only stood there, watching the small group in the street below.

‘There’s another one’ a second called.

Joseph glanced all around him, seeing more and more figures appearing from the night, from all sides they surrounded them on the rooftops. Each wore vile masks that covered their faces, masks of deformed and hideous beasts like pigs and sloths and bizarre sea creatures.

Joseph let his eyes slide around him, waiting to see what would happen. But the figures did nothing.

They only stood. They only stared.

A twinge of fear trickled through him them, as he realised how many of them there were. Twenty? Maybe even thirty?’

‘Let’s go’ he mumbled to his friends.

They quickly departed. Joseph spared one last hateful glanced towards Lilith before following them.

When they were gone, Lilith turned her attention back towards these new figures, wondering what would happen next, and ignoring Victoria’s hysterical sobs.

The figures crept forwards, closing the circle. They leant over the edge of the rooftops, almost creating a canopy with their bodies.

And then one of them leapt down into the street. Lilith watched still kneeling, as the figure approached.

The figure lifted their hands, removing their ghastly rats face mask, and revealing their identity.

‘William?’

He smiled smugly at her, holding the mask under his arm.

‘Are you alright?’ he asked, extending a hand to her.

She took it, rising again to her feet. Beside her another one of the masked figures went over to Victoria, who was kneeling and holding her arms tightly over her ears, still shaking in terror and daring not to open her eyes.

The figure touched her shoulder gently, and Victoria risked a glance up.

She screamed when she saw the hideous squid mask. Slapping the figure’s hand away she rose to her feet, screaming and running away.

‘Leave her!’ William commanded the figure, who made to follow her. ‘You will only frighten her more.’

The figure removed their mask, and Lilith was surprised to see a girl, far younger than she would have guessed.

‘Stupid little rich girl’ she complained. ‘Run home like a frightened rabbit.’ She glanced towards Lilith. ‘I hope this one’s as good as you say she is.’

‘She is’ William answered confidently.

Lilith felt a strange sensation inside her stomach, one she was not used to, and she wondered what the two were talking about.

‘What have you been saying about me?’

William smiled at her.

‘One good deed deserves another’ he grinned slyly. ‘Thank you!’ he spoke loudly to the others surrounding. ‘You may leave us alone now.’

‘But it is social suicide to be seen alone with a man you are not related or married to’ Lilith said automatically.

‘And you care about these silly rules the rich fabricate?’

It was Lilith’s turn to smile now.

‘I suppose not.’

She suddenly noticed that all the other figures had gone now, save but one.

‘You too’ William said to the young girl.

‘Awwww’ she whined. Huffing, she replaced her mask, hiding her face once again. ‘Don’t be gone too long, you know how mother worries.’

She turned and leapt up, grabbing onto the protruding bricks and window sills and climbing with surprising grace, up the side of the building. She disappeared over the rooftop and out of sight.

‘My sister’ William shrugged apologetically. ‘She is a tricky one. Now’ he said, extending an arm for Lilith to take. ‘Would the lady mind if I escorted her home?’

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booknut123: Hey, I wanted to say that this was really interesting! Definitely some pretty good writing. I had to stop halfway through chapter 2 though because the exclamation marks were so aggravating to me. I think I'll come back later, but for now please know that I think your writing is amazing, and punct...

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