Lilith often found herself drawn to gardens. No need for perfume amidst fragrant bark and flowers; no need for sheets against the soft earth. The dappled shade of a leafy canopy. Wind against bare skin.
She seduced the gardener and then sent him away a broken man, forever looking over his shoulder in the distant hope that she might be looking back at him. In peace she explored the rest of the grounds: its maze of paths, the dreamward arch of trees overhead. Under the roots of a silver birch she buried the man's soul, a gold coin etched with his visage and his name. She didn't bother remembering either.
Neither men nor demonkind pleased her these days. Restless, she'd left Hellsgate, the city of demons, and ventured farther into the mortal plane in hopes of finding someone to amuse her. It had been a fruitless quest thus far. She had been the first demon to ever tempt a mortal, and perhaps she was jaded to the game now.
She heard a footfall and an extraordinarily handsome man stepped into view, lean and tawny-haired. From his garb and aristocratic cheekbones she knew him to be noble, perhaps the man who owned this estate. He looked startled to see her — as well he should, confronted by a demon in his garden. "Who are you?" he asked.
She smiled at him, senses prickling. He would do very well. She didn't bother hiding her wings or her claw-like nails; there was no use pretending to be an ordinary woman, and her appearance was such that she had never failed to lure a man despite them. There were legends of her beauty. "I am—"
There was a soft rush of air behind her. "Lilith," someone whispered into her ear, and she whirled to face the angel who had just landed.
Not a mere angel. An archangel, from the span of his wings and the deep echo of power she felt from him. Her smile faded. Angels were meddlesome, high-handed creatures, and she imagined that an archangel would only be worse.
He made an urgent gesture for her to accompany him, and launched himself back into the air with a powerful beat of his wings.
Lilith's curiosity won over her irritation, and she followed him upward. She knew the movements that would take place between her and the mortal: of tongue, of hands, of deepest flesh. In the end, the offering of his soul. The angel, on the other hand, offered a mystery. That was far more compelling.