"Mother..."

Lucrezia had lost the ability to speak for reasons that a doctor had claimed were related to the unbearable pain she felt with each breath. The state of her body wasn't much better, for it seemed that she had been sapped of all energy and could do nothing but lie helplessly in bed.

The regular visit from her personal maid always brought temporary relief, though her fading senses meant that it was no longer easy to know who else was in the room, let alone whether they were male or female.

The door to her chamber creaked open two days after she'd become bedridden and a blurred figure drifted closer. She rolled her head over to show that she was still somewhat aware of her surroundings, even though a large rock may as well have been tied around her neck.

"Who are you? What are you doing?" She thought frantically as the figure extended one arm and brushed their fingers against her skin.

She soon felt a quick sting of pain at the back of her neck and the cause became immediately clear. There was no mistaking the figure's cruel smile even through failing vision and she wanted to scream at them to return the heirloom given by her mother.

All she could manage instead was a pitiful whimper that only made her look weak when she wanted so badly to be strong. The household was beginning to fall apart, yet here she was, disabled by the same illness that had claimed her husband.

"I have to recover. If I don't..."