"When man learns to love, he births hate to protect it."
- The Roots:
Before Lillias was... well, Lillias, she lived a pleasantly quiet life. She was born the youngest in her family, with two brothers, the eldest being nearly a decade older than her. The second was two years younger, and she doted on him dearly. He was very lovable, and very effeminate for a boy, she remembers, but he had the most adorable laugh.
Her family descended from a line of criminals, but they had long abandoned the family tradition before Lillias had been born, when her grandfather took over as head of the house and decided to reconstruct the family syndicate and at least try to live more respectfully. It did not happen overnight, however, and it was a long and tedious process of shutting down or converting businesses over the years. Some businesses continued, but by the time Lillias had been born the family had most of its fingers out of the deeper areas of the underworld. Her generation was left blissfully unaware of their background, with the exception of her brother, who had willingly involved himself in the family affairs since his childhood. It is unspoken, but her brother had a near-death experience when the residence was attacked by enemies. His resolve only solidified when Hana had just been born, because not long after there had been a second attack by the same group, and he had nearly lost his sleeping sister to a fiend who had gotten as far as into her nursery. The family still had enemies, and there would always be a need to dirty their hands. Her beother wanted to at least be able to keep his sister safe and out of the other world.
Her childhood was a blur of laughter, rolling hills and chasing dragonflies and fireflies. And if it was one thing everyone knew about her, it was that she absolutely loved to sing. Like a little lark, Lily radiated with a gentle joy and brightened the day of those around her with just a smile. Her brothers often competed for her attention, and the little one grew to be very competitive with his older brother, often picking fights and challenging him to impress Lillias. She loved them both very dearly.
The siblings had an uncle - the younger brother of their father, whom Lillias had found to be quite strange at times, but she loved him either way because he was their uncle. An endearing father-figure in her life, despite how coldly he would treat them at times. He hated them - or at least, pretended to, because he did still look out for them. He did oblige (albeit reluctantly) to babysit them when their parents went out, and he played with them when they asked. After a little pleasing from the ever-adorable Lillias and her little brother, whose puppy-dog eyes never failed to work on him. As far as she knew, he was married and childless, but he was very fond of children himself.
Lillias, in her entire life, had never been unhappy. She had everything she could ever want, and was content.
And then everything changed.
- The Sparks:
It came so suddenly, so quickly that she had not been prepared for it. At all.
There had been growing tension within the family - what for, Lily did not know, but it was enough to affect her. She saw less of her brother, who went away on long "business trips" and returned smelling heavily of blood. Her uncle disappeared, and she was told never to speak his name in front of her father and grandfather, who seemed to grow more weary and tired with each day.
It was a civil war, she'd been told, a white lie the adults made to protect the children. So she believed it, because that was all she could do at the time. She assumed that her uncle had been involved in it, and her brother as well, and fervently prayed for their safe return, and for the safety of everyone she held dear. She kept her little brother unaware, occupying his days with lots of stories and games, filling him up with so much happiness he could never begin to think that anything was wrong.
Lillias now believes it was a mistake on her part, because she'd left him unprepared and unwary of possible dangers. Till present, she still blames herself.
Her brother would write as often as he could to her, but over time the letters dwindled. The last one, however, promised that his work was almost finished, and he'd be coming home soon. There was no mention of their uncle, however, and Lillias feared the worst.
A week after, on the day of his expected return, Lily had secretly stayed up late eagerly waiting from the balcony of her room, cheeks red from the cold and hands like ice. At the first sight of light outside the gate, she jumped and bolted out her room, sprinting down the hallways with her heart pounding excitedly and childish screams of 'He's back! He's back!'. She could already picture him; the same, kindly eyes, messy, wind-swept hair, and a big, bright smile.
She stopped dead in her tracks, however, just a few feet away from the person holding the flickering light and the small entourage that had gathered outside to receive him. She saw the backs of her mother, father and grandfather, who did not turn to greet or reprimand her. In front of them stood a young man. But she didn't know him.
"... Your son... was the finest man I'd ever worked for."
Her brother was never, ever coming back. She would never see him again.
For the first time, Lillias tasted suffering. And that was only the beginning.
Her parents were never the same again. Her mother's eyes weren't as bright, and her father would spend hours looking out the window. The times he did come out, he could barely stand to look at her, and she knew it was because she and her brother most resembled each other. When he was with her, he looked so apologetic, as if he himself had murdered her brother, his son.
Lillias did not pursue the matter. Not with her father, who was so distraught that he would come to her room in the middle of the night and sleep by her bedside, caressing her hair and gripping her hand firmly like he really brother once did. He neglected her little brother at times, but he was trying, and her little brother understood. It pained him most to look at his only remaining son, because he would remember he used to have two, and the boys behaved so similarly that personality-wise, his youngest son was like a replica of his older son as a child.
Lillias' thoughts would wonder to her uncle at times. Where had he gone, when his family needed him now more than ever? When her father needed him? The man's health was clearly deteriorating, and there was only so much Lily and her brother could do for their parents.
So when he finally returned, arriving in the dead of the night at her bedside, Lillias had been so relieved, she hadn't even thought to question, why now? When he hugged her dearly, as if his life depended on it, she didn't question why either. She thought she knew, that he was sobbing into her back and fervently apologizing because he grieved for her brother as well. She didn't question the blood on his hands and clothes, or the commotion going on outside, even though she had begun to worry. Then her father barged in just moments later, furious, covered in blood himself, and lunged towards them, tearing her uncle off her. The pair immediately engaged in a sword fight, and Lillias had she never been so confused and distraught, so much so that she could barely gather her thoughts before explosions rocked the residence, and she was thrown into a wall from the sheer force. There were shouts, and the sound of metal clashing, before more explosions, and someone screaming her name. Then someone was carrying her. Not her father - her uncle? She couldn't see, because darkness was encroaching her vision, but she knew his scent well enough.
And she knew who killed her brother. "Why...?" Then sometching collided into them, knocking her out of his grasp. She knew him, she thought, before slipping into unconsciousness.
When she awoke, everything was gone. Someone was holding her - a man- her uncle? No, she thought, when her vision finally focused and the ringing in her ears lessened. Her father. He sat against what once was a pillar, glazed eyes desperately trying to focus on her and lips trying to form words. Her brother. He was telling her to look for her brother, and she remembered that yes, she still had one brother alive. She pulled herself off him, realizing with horror that blood stained the whole of his front and stood, frantically looking around for help. Someone. Anyone.
"... Dead. All... dead. Your uncle - he killed them. I killed him."
She knew. Lillias knew. Her uncle killed her too, she wanted to say, but she could no longer speak. She remained deathly quiet, struggling to cope with her emotions. Her father said something else, but she was no longer listening. He was dying, and her with him.
Ivann would give anything to know just where he went wrong, so wrong that his own children were suffering for it. Had he been a better brother, had he stopped his little brother's foolishness before he turned, stopped his brother from leaving... he might've saved them all.
He looked lovingly at Lillias, unconscious and so small in his arms, and as he ran his fingers through her hair, he regretted not being able to protect her from all this. Regretted that she and her sibling would face the world alone, that he could not be there to watch them grow. That he could not live to marry her off to the right man.
He regretted failing her. He'd already failed his wife, when he could not protect their eldest son. And now, he failed his children, because he had been unable to save their mother as well.
He had so many things to say, so many things he wanted to apologize about, so many things to explain. But so little time. So he decided he would, in due time. The last of his life force, he used on a spell, weaving runes into her memory and binding a fragment of himself to her. It would be years, likely, before that fragment manifested into his consciousness.
A shadow fell over him, and without even looking up, he already knew who it was. Already knew the familiar set of purple eyes, now laced with anguish and an unspeakable grief on his small shoulders.
He breathed Yassen's name and heard a choked, shuddering sob. As his gaze met his brother's deep purple ones, his heart wrenched. The little boy he'd sworn to protect, now stood before him, hands covered in the blood of his own. He'd failed Yassen too. He should've tried harder to dissuade their father - Yassen had done so much for the family, he should've been named the successor. Never mind that Yassen and his wife had difficulty bearing children. Yassen was hardworking, and strong. Or perhaps he should've taken more time to speak with Yassen, to tell him that he was in no way inferior. Father loved him just as much - he had named him his successor instead of Yassen because he knew how naive and kind Yassen was on the inside, how easy it would be for others to use him.
Still, in the end, he had failed to protect Yassen from the men that used him. He failed to protect his family, too.
"Brother, I..." Ivann nodded and looked at him understandingly. A pained expression flirted across his brother's face. "I... I didn't know. When I realized, I... They used my son against me. He's only a month old. He's all I have left of Lorelei."
Ivann paused, letting the news about his brother's newborn son and deceased wife sink in. He realized the decisions Yassen had been forced to made, the things Yassen had to go through. He was angry - of course he was, what about his children? His wife? Their father? His dead little boy? - but he understood, nonetheless, as furious as he was. Yassen had gotten the son he wanted, but at the cost of Ivan's own. It was so unfair, so very unfair, and his heart ached at the gaping holes left by the many deaths his own brother had a hand in.
He had only one question - one he absolutely had to know. "My son. My little boy. How... How did he die? Who was it?"
The silence that fell over them was unsettling, painfully so.
"It was by my hands."
A lone, glistening tear slid down ashen cheeks, landing atop of little Lillias' head. Ivan turned away from his brother, gripping his daughter closer to him and biting down hard on his lip to restrain himself. For once, he felt so alone. The love of his life - gone. He had seen her death himself, watched as she was gunned to death. His father and son, murdered by his own brother.
Lillias did find her brother - but she left with a baby instead. Her Uncle's child. The flesh of a traitor.
Her little brother was dying when she got to him, moments after her father himself had passed. She had never, ever felt so powerless in her life. She had lost everyone she ever loved in a single night. The little brother her father had hoped for her to save, was drowning in his own blood, every second of his slow, agonizing death bringing nothing but suffering to both children. She cried, of course, cradling him in her arms and whispering false promises, lies she knew hurt less than the truth. Perhaps that was when she started lying so much, when she realized truths were not necessarily good.
He had asked for a song, and she knew he was terrified and aware of his fate because he would ask to be sung to whenever there was thunder, or when he couldn't sleep because of night terrors. She complied - how could she not, when her baby brother was dying? And as she sung, it became more apparent that his discomfort was not getting any better. He was still in so much pain, more than he should know of. He deserved to go peacefully, and Lily found it so unfair that she was begging in her mind, to whatever god was listening to just end his suffering, endlessly willing for his pain to cease.
"Spi mladyenets, moi prekrasný,
bayushki bayu" (Sleep, my beautiful good boy,
Bayushki bayu) The little blonde smiles wearily at the familiar tune of his favourite lullaby.
"Tikho smotrit myesyats yasný f kolýbyel tvayu," (Quietly, the moon looks into your cradle) She combs her fingers through his mellow, unruly locks, her voice trembling with each note. There's a slight tingling in her hands, but the weight of her baby brother in her arms distracts her from it.
"Tý-zh dremli, zakrývshi glazki..." (Slumber, with your little eyes closed) Her grip on him tightens, and her tears fall like little pearls on his face. She wipes them away with stiff fingers, and watches as his eyes glass over. Slowly. Much too slowly.
"Bayushki bayu-" The side of his head where her hand is explodes, and his whole body stills in her grasp.
A shrill, haunting cry reverberates throughout the burning residence, before it is joined by another wail.
She was covered in blood when she found him. A little babe, with his mother's dark hair and father's unmistakable deep purple eyes. Someone had left him there as a rule joke, she was sure.
She had every mind to kill him on the spot. Throw him in the fire and watch him die a slow, burning death. She had gone about to doing it too, already holding him above a nice patch of burning wood. Then he smiled at her, and Lillias made the mistake of looking him in the eyes. She heard his laugh; a light, tinkling, baby laugh, so pure and so much like her baby brother's. He was innocent - he had no part in this. Killing him would mean stopping down to his father's level. She would be betraying her blood, and by that her father and his father, and their fathers before them.
The girl lowered the bundle away from the flames licking the air. She hated him, so very much, because he had lived while her brother did not, and here he was, so vulnerable and at her mercy, yet she could not bring herself to kill him because her blood ran in his veins too.
Truly, it was ironic. Cruel, even, but perhaps it was her punishment for trusting the wrong person. This baby was a reminder of her failures, her weakness, she resolved.
Lillias left the residence, and her old self behind; adopting a new identity. Lillias Bardagyé was gone, a mere ghost of the past. The new Lillias - Lillias Noel, was a vicious, selfish little girl. What she wanted, she got, and there would be no one who could deny her otherwise. Whatever it took to survive, she would do it.
After all, what more could she possibly lose?
"How tragic to love something that death can so easily touch."
Last edited by Hana Suzuki on 15th July 2017, 06:00; edited 2 times in total