The Black Angel

The statue that has come to be known as the Black Angel has always been the centerpiece of Greyson's campus, from the very beginning. First erected in 1890, as part of the initial flurry of construction, the Angel was rededicated five years later to honor one Abigail Pierce, a close companion and rumored lover of Arthur Cain Greyson. Surviving accounts from the 1890s claim that the statue was originally silver in color, probably constructed of some relatively inexpensive alloy (though legend has it that it is in fact pure silver, and no one can be certain, as the school has not allowed anyone to collect samples from the statue for analysis); in the years following the rededication, however, this metal began to tarnish severely. By the turn of the century, it was a mottled gray and black in color, and by the time Greyson himself died, the statue had blackened in its entirety.

The statue itself is of a robed female angel with unbound hair and bare feet, who stands in what most consider a defeated pose, with her wings partially extended but slumped behind her back, her expression seems mournful, and her arms reaching out toward the ground. Though she holds a naked sword in one hand, it is allowed to point downward, almost as though the angel has given up the fight. All in all, most students and faculty consider the statue profoundly depressing -- but those who examine it more closely will find that the angel's grasp upon the hilt of her sword is still firm, as though she could draw it up at any moment; she stands in a relaxed but ready stance; and her expression, though somewhat sorrowful, also seems thoughtful and vaguely determined. Thus, a small faction on campus argues that the Black Angel does not, in fact, represent a figure in defeat, but rather someone preparing to return to some great battle, perhaps in an effort to finish the fight once and for all.

The angel motif is not uncommon on Greyson's campus; Arthur Greyson was notoriously obsessed with angels throughout his life. Cherubs keep watch on the walls of many of the older buildings, additional statues dot the campus and murals cover some interior walls. Of all these items, however, the Black Angel is the most notorious figure, and stands at the center of the most campus myths and urban legends. The most commonly told tale claims that in times of great need, the statue has stepped down from her pedestal and risen to the defense of the university; of course, no one alive today can recall a time when the university had to be defended with sword and steel, but the romantic story remains popular nonetheless. Other stories claim that the Black Angel points the way to treasure buried beneath the central campus, or is the centerpiece of an elaborate riddle left by Greyson himself for future generations to solve. The statue is also at the center of ruder folklore common to many campuses; notably, it is said that she will turn her head and wink at any female student who graduates a virgin, and many of these tales go on to claim that, should any male student at Greyson ever leave its halls a virgin, she will leap from her pedestal and personally deflower him on the spot. Such ribald tales amount to little more than warmed-over retellings of legends common to other university campuses throughout the world, however, and only the most desperate student would take them seriously.