When Lilith awoke, it was to a soft knock at the entrance of her home. Trying not to think of how she was about to leave Grenwyn and never look back, she moved toward the door and opened it to find that it was Terrence who thought to disturb her. Lilith felt annoyed that she would not even be allowed a full day to grieve alone for her mother, then felt a rush of guilt because she hadn't even been with Yomaira when she had passed on. With a sigh, Lilith stepped to the side, a silent invitation for Terrence to enter.
"How are you feeling?" Terrence asked her. Lilith had to fight the urge to roll her eyes, mostly because her head was pounding and her eyes felt a little pained and stiff. Stress and grief are hard on the body, and Lilith had yet to truly release her tears. The buildup left quite the headache from the pressure.
"Is that a real question, Terrence, because I just don't know how to answer it," was Lilith's retort.
"Right, dumb of me," he murmured, mostly to himself, and Lilith almost snorted. As children, she and Terrence had been close. Now that they had grown, Terrence could not see beyond Grenwyn and the life he was expected to lead as a farmer who attempts to cultivate crops from the dusty earth that made up the village. Lilith had dreams, ambition, and inspiration. However much she had loved Terrence in her youth, there was no place for closed-mindedness, ignorance, and tunnel vision in the life she planned to lead.
"How long are you planning to grieve?" was his next stupid question. As the words hit Lilith's ears, she could hardly believe that they had ever been close. What friend would be so crass with a person whom he or she truly loved and respected at such a time?
"I don't rightly know," Lilith snapped, angry that he would ask such a thing of her. "The rest of my life, I suppose. The woman who raised me and cared for me has passed on, and I wasn't even by her side when her presence left this land. I don't see myself ever letting that go."
"I'm so sorry, Lilith," Terrence said, chagrined. "I only meant… Well, see, I had meant to… I mean, I had only wanted…."
"Out with it," Lilith practically barked, losing patience with trying to piece together his meaning through half-begun sentences while fighting the headache she was suffering and the desire to be alone.
"Just… I came to offer… Well, because… I want you to know that…um…I um…love you."
"I beg your pardon?" was Lilith's response.
"I just thought we could, um…get married," Terrence said timidly. "You have no one else in this world, and before long other men of the village will come knocking to try to get their hands on your land, and…I uh…I don't want anyone else to have you. It's unseemly for a woman to be alone and independent, especially uh…especially a young woman…. I just thought…" Terrence trailed off from his small speech, which he no doubt prepared before his visit, as he watched the emotions cross Lilith's face.
"You want the land, Terrence?" Lilith responded bitingly. She knew she was being unkind, but she was outraged by him, and she also felt a little bit violated by his forwardness and notions.
"That's not what I meant, and you know it," he said, his face pleading with her for understanding.
"There is so much more to Moroba than this dusty grave of a village," Lilith spoke harshly.
"This is your home," Terrence protested.
"You want the land, Terrence?" she demanded.
"Terrence, do you want the land? I know your father could use it, and I know that Solange and her husband need a place of their own for themselves and the children. You want your sister to have her own space, right?" Lilith pressed.
"Yes, Lilith, but we can figure this out." Terrence said.
"I'm leaving," Lilith restated. "I have no reason to stay." The hurt that crossed Terrence's face made Lilith feel slightly guilty, but she had meant it. There was no point in tiptoeing around the truth.
"I want you, Lilith, not your land. Other men, they would only want your land," Terrence told her, still clinging to the hope that she might remain in the village. "Lilith, marry me, please."
"If this is painful for you, then I am sorry. My decision remains unchanged."
"But where will you go?" Terrence demanded.
"What concern is it of yours?" Lilith asked defensively.
"I just care."
"Well don't." At that, Terrence appeared to grow angry for a fleeting moment, but then it passed.
"The offer stands, no matter the time. I will wait for you."
"Do not wait," she repeated with more force behind her voice. "I'm not coming back. Now leave me to grieve, and when I am ready to leave, I will sell the land to your family to do with as you wish."
Lilith watched Terrence turn with a heavy heart to leave. Truly, she felt for him, but it was not the same as what he felt for her. And Grenwyn…no, she could not stay. For just a moment, she allowed herself to close her eyes and imagine a feeling of utter peace and satisfaction. A smile adorned her lips for just that moment, and then she began thinking of her reality and planning her future.
Lilith sat up straight in bed, wondering if she had heard her name, or if she had merely imagined hearing it. After looking about her home, she decided upon the latter and laid back down, prepared to rest. Suddenly a flash of bright violet filled her vision, even with her eyes shut tightly. Once more, Lilith sat up in bed, eyes wide. Thinking that it must be the stress she was under currently, she took a deep breath to calm herself. She closed her eyes once more and forced herself to relax, testing her body and mind. The flash of violet she had seen a moment ago filled her vision once more, then clarified itself into an arc of flames. A terrible scream filled her mind, and it was almost as if it were a memory.
You know where I am, Lilith.
This was all very disconcerting for Lilith. She laid flat upon the bed, determined to rest.
Do not ignore me, Lilith. You know where I am, what I am. You were young, but you remember.
Thoughts of the well in the village square bombarded her, and she felt again as if a memory were trying to break through. Curious, she stood and walked to the well, just to see if everything was only in her mind right now. Perhaps a dream? Upon reaching the well, Lilith looked down into the depths. A dim golden glow appeared to shine from beneath the water, and Lilith took it as a sign that she was indeed exhausted, emotionally and mentally. With a sigh and a shake of her head, she turned to return to her bed.
Lilith! Look at me!
Lilith turned slowly and looked once more into the well. The glow was still there at the bottom. Unsure of her sanity, she picked up the bucket and lowered it. She felt it hit the surface of the water, and waited until it sank below. After another moment, she pulled on the rope and hauled the bucket up. To her great shock, there was a rock in the bucket, but no water. Lilith retrieved the rock, put the bucket and rope back the way she had found it, and returned to her bed. She did not see the dark, cloaked figure standing beside her home, watching her.