Everyone needs Faith
It was raining. Again. Even through the dark, Faith could make out the trails of raindrops sluicing down the window pane like fat tears. It was almost as though the sky was emphasising with her, crying the tears she could not allow herself to shed. It was strangely poetic, really. It didn't make her feel better though. It didn't take away the numbness gnawing deep inside the pit of her stomach. She felt so damn cold, even under the 3 thick woollen blankets and the heavy winter quilt, she felt cold. Like she had ice in her veins, finally. Wouldn't the grand council be proud? They had always said she was too emotional; now she couldn't feel a thing. Now that it was too late.
She squirmed further down into her bed hoping the friction would warm up the skin of her legs. A low groan escaped her lips and she sat up with a huff. Her toes were about to fall off and she felt like crying and she hated it! She hated all of it! It wasn't like it was her fault. Couldn't the stupid grand council see that? She hadn't betrayed them. She had been doing her job; protecting an innocent. So she didn't stick to the rules and regulations; did that make her a bad person?
No. No it didn't. It made her human. It made her the one thing she could never, ever be. Her blood was mixed, sure, but there wasn't a trace of human DNA within it.
She huffed out a breath and stared into the darkness. Never would she gaze upon the white strands of Sanctuary's beaches anymore or the cool, crystal blue waters. She wouldn't see the large amethyst towers the council so loved to hole up inside. She let out a half sob before biting her lip to quell the others she could feel building up. She missed her home. She missed the white effervescent moon that always hung so low you could almost touch it. She wanted to go home.
But she couldn't. She was in exile. People in exile didn't go home. She was finally realizing that. After the first day, she thought they would come for her. She thought they would tell her that it was all a big mistake and that they didn't really blame her. It hadn't been her fault anyway; but they didn't. They sent her away and now six months later, they still hadn't come to claim her. Six months and she still wasn't over the depression of losing her home but at least she was adjusting. At least her fascination with the human world had finally paid off.
She had to look at this as a positive thing; she was experiencing the mortal realm in a whole new manner... as an honorary mortal. It wasn't as though anyone knew she wasn't human. Even if she told someone, they wouldn't believe her. Humans were quite happy to turn a blind eye to anything that threatened to change their outlook; it was as though they had tunnel vision when it came to anything paranormal.
A soft snuffle caught her attention and she glanced across the room to the figure lying in the other bed. The figure stirred a little under the covers then stilled with a soft sigh. Faith released the breath she was holding; then sunk back into her pillows to stare at the ceiling. At least they hadn't abandoned her completely, she supposed. Someone had been nice enough to set up a life for her on this world so that she could live as normally as possible. It was a surprise that they hadn't taken her memories too –well they had wanted to but her mediator had been reluctant to do that. It was bad enough that she had been forbidden to step foot on Sanctuary ever again and she certainly wasn't allowed to use her powers but to take her memories too... she shuddered as she imagined what an empty life that would have been.
Oh, they probably would have implanted new ones like they had with the humans she had to come into contact with on a daily basis at the school. For instance, the headmistress was always making allusions to the faux transcripts that apparently existed in her filing cabinet. They didn't, but if the Head mistress thought they did, all the better for Faith. According to one of her more malicious teachers, she, Faith, had been expelled from her last school for using brute force against another student. Utter rot! Faith had never used brute force against another being in her life –she was tiny! -but that was supposed to serve as a reminder of the real reason she was trapped in the human world. Faith had committed a big no-no in the eyes of the council and they would never let her forget it as long as they had a say in her life. Which they inevitably did while she needed their lies to live in this world as a normal person.
Normality was overrated. Give her demons any day, mean teenagers were the pits!
"Faith? Are you awake?"
Faith jolted; then smiled ruefully. "Sorry, Cleo, did I disturb your sleep?"
"No, it's ok. What time is it?"
Blue eyes scanned the luminous digits on the alarm clock situated on the bedside cabinet between the two beds. "3:17."
The other girl groaned audibly. "Faith, you should try to get some sleep. We have a big exam tomorrow morning, remember?"
"Yeah. Yeah. OK, g'night." She huddled back under the blankets and stared into the darkness.
How ironic, she thought, that she shared a room with the very mortal that had brought about her exile to the human world. She wasn't bitter about it; after all, she acknowledged, if she had to do it again, she would. She had saved Cleo's life and she'd never regret that and Cleo had come to be one of her very special people. She only had a few so she would never hold any grudge against them. Not even Hyde who still hadn't come to find her –and she had been so sure that he would.
"I wish it would stop raining," Cleo, short for Cleona, whispered; her voice carrying through the stale, stagnant air. "I don't like it when it rains."
Did she remember, Faith wondered, that it had been raining the night she had been attacked? The night that Faith herself had saved her and risked getting them both killed through her sheer inexperience? She shouldn't remember. Her mind would have been wiped clean of the whole situation. That was typical protocol amongst those who had been attacked. It was stupid, to Faith's way of thinking. Why wipe their memories when they were only going to get attacked again? That was the vicious circle. They were attacked, they were saved, their minds were wiped, they were attacked again because they didn't remember the first time and on it continued. But the council would never risk the human world finding out about what existed under their very noses. They would never know the truth about the battle of between light and dark.
At least by being Cleo's dorm-mate, she would be able to keep an eye on the girl; even if she couldn't protect her anymore. Idly, the fingers on Faith's right hand trailed over the stiff fingerless glove on her left and felt the shock of electricity as they touched the engraved rune embedded into the cloth. She sucked in a breath and snapped the offended digits away, bringing them to her lips to suck. They wouldn't hurt long; one of the benefits of being of her race meant that she tended to heal fast. It wasn't just a benefit though; it was a necessity in her –old- line of work. She didn't need that super healing anymore but she liked it; she liked it just fine; in fact she probably wouldn't be able to cope with pain for any lengthy period of time. She was such a wuss when it came to pain; Hyde had always teased her about it.
"It'll stop soon, Cleo. Just go to sleep." Faith finally murmured, sensing the pregnant silence within the room. Despite how strong and confident Cleo pretended to be, during the darkness, her worst fears came to light. It made her wonder if Cleo still felt phantasms of fear from that night. Maybe her mind couldn't remember it but her body remembered the feeling of intense fear and reminded her of it every so often. If that was the case, then maybe the council was going about their job all wrong. They could be endangering the mental health of those they claimed to protect.
Of course if she said that to them –which she wouldn't because she was exiled- they would merely point out that they were near the end of their unbearably short lives anyway, so they wouldn't be alive long enough to develop any serious problems. That was the worrying thing about Cleo having been attacked all those months ago. She was a Special One and that meant that one day, when she died –which was inevitable as all humans died- she would ascend onto greatness; however, the creatures of darkness never liked the side of light gaining any new members so they had a tendency to locate the Special Ones and try to kill them. Death by a demon was never pretty and for a Special One, it was a terrible plight; one that often left the spirit of the Special One distraught and the more distraught a spirit was, the more likely it was to give in to the anger and depression and become like the creature that killed it.
The good guys on the other hand, waited until the Special One died from natural causes and then stepped in to elevate them upon high. The only time the good guys ever interfered in this situation was when the demons attacked; however if it was the Special One's destiny to die underneath a bus, they were all for it.
Faith wasn't like that. She didn't like the idea of Cleo dying early. Especially not when Cleo planned to do so much with her life; she would contribute so much more in the mortal world than she would in the higher plane. Hence why Faith had made it her new mission to stop Cleo from dying; after all, everything she had given up would be in vain if Cleo were to kick the bucket. If only she knew how Cleo was going to die. It wasn't as though she could ask her. How did you bring that up in a conversation? 'Oh hey Cleo, is there any particular way you envisage your death? No? Really? Huh.' Yeah that conversation was a bust.
"Faith, stop sighing and go to sleep." Cleo implored groggily. "We have to be up early tomorrow morning. Mrs. Winters will kill me if I don't pass that exam tomorrow so I need to cram nice and early."
Faith perked up. "Mrs Winters? You think she harbours violent tendencies?"
"You said she will kill you."
"I was being melodramatic, Faith. Mrs. Winters won't kill me. The old doll is nearly crippled with arthritis; I doubt she can lift a piece of chalk never mind a blunt instrument." Cleo joked.
Faith jumped on the point. "So you think you'll die from blunt force trauma?"
"What?!" The dark haired girl yelped, sitting up in her bed to peer through the darkness.
"Oh nothing, nothing." Faith laughed weakly, scratching her neck with a sheepish expression while silently making a note to herself: keep Cleo away from all blunt, potentially dangerous objects...and sharp ones too, just to cover all the bases.
"Uh sure, ok Faith; now go to sleep."
Faith smiled softly in the darkness; then she flopped back onto the bed causing her strawberry blonde hair to cover the pillow in a riot of loose curls. Her eyes strayed to the rivulets of water glimmering in the orange street light and her stomach turned cold but instead of dwelling on those thoughts, she turned on her side to face away from the window. She couldn't be depressed anymore; she had a purpose now. She would not, under any circumstances, allow Cleo to die.
A tall figure stood on a rooftop overlooking the lake of Sanctuary, his pale blue eyes flickering over the ripples in the water as though trying to discern some meaning from the pattern like movement. A stir in the air behind him caught his attention and he swung around, a flash of light streaking between his open palms as his fingers closed round a long staff that he twirled quickly before assuming his defensive stance.
"Stand down, Aubrey." A voice sighed lazily, before sauntering past the defensive figure and taking their place against the onyx railings. "I'm not going to attack you."
Aubrey reluctantly smiled and dismissed his weapon, soaking up the white light through his finger and rubbing the vibrating tips against the heavy silk of his trousers. "Well, what did you hear?"
The figure swung round to regard him and the light from the fat white moon overhead lit up the sharp, striking features of the tall ice blonde. "It's more of a case of what I didn't hear. Something is wrong with the Angelic council and there is tension in the ranks; maybe even a little bit of dissention."
"It always comes back to our illustrious keeper of the tomes, doesn't it?" She sighed heavily and slumped back against the railings. "There is something wrong with our dear Gabrielle too. I fear her powers may be growing weaker with each passing day. We cannot allow for any weakness; Uriel will not stand for it and Serena will seize any chance as soon as it appears."
"Serena," For the first time, a flash of emotion and rage tarnished the cool cultured voice. "is a vulture, preying on the weak and defenceless."
"Serena is a Demon Queen and while we stand here in our arrogance, looking down upon the world, she is gathering her armies and preparing for a war which no one can see."
"Serena would not dare attack us." The Gabrielle would know it the instant the thought was formed within the Demon Queen's wicked mind.
"Oh, she would dare. We were too merciful on her."
"Someone needs to keep the balance." Aubrey pointed out. While he may not like the existence of Serena, -not at the cost of human life-, he could not ignore the place she kept within their delicately balanced little world. "We could not leave the demon world without a leader; it would have descended into utter chaos."
"What balance? Do not be naive. There is no balance. We should destroy the demons and live a good life here in Sanctuary, away from our duty to a race who cannot be bothered to save themselves from themselves, never mind a demon kingdom. We could have settled this once and for all. We should have destroyed all the demons in one fell swoop and be done with this farce."
Aubrey closed his eyes tightly and ground his teeth. "You are talking about genocide and you dare to say we are above all humans? That is their answer to everything. We form our own path. We are duty bound to protect the humans from demon attack but it is not our destiny to destroy every demon that lives and breathes. The great four did not charge us with that task." He sucked in a deep breath as he struggled to rein in his emotions. It would not do to lose them in front of such a powerful colleague; such a show of weakness would not be tolerated of a successor apparent to the Gabrielle. He slowly exhaled before continuing on calmly. "The more you talk, the more you sound like Uriel. If that is all, then I will be going. I must report back to Hyde all I have seen."
"Hyde is a Captain of the first division and you are a member of the fourth, why do you answer to him?"
"Because we share someone whom we both care about deeply; now if you'll excuse me, I shall be on my way. It was nice talking to you... Veronica."
"Oh, by the way Aubrey, you may like to know that Dylan is going to earth. Should I ask him to keep an eye out for your little mongrel?"
Aubrey clenched his fists and considered summoning his staff once more but that would be too easy, and he never resorted to violence if there was another option. So instead, he managed a tight nod in her direction before he spun on his heel and leapt off the roof.
Well there's the prologue. I hope you guys like it and all comments are appreciated.