The Divine Comedy of Lillian Avon Shaw
The frontiers of Soridin was a tricky place to raise a family. People lived in clusters along the coast lines, never trekking too far inland for fear of the savages that lived in the thick growing forests and creatures too terrifying to imagine. Uncharted rivers full of innumerable fish and predators lurked along their banks frequently killed a wandering fishermen in the savage border. Women were afraid to come to this desolate and hazardous land of new opportunities and demons. Lillian Avon Shaw was one such woman.
Raised in the upper class, she'd longed to rid herself of the bonds imperialism presented in the capital. She'd moved to the colonies in search of her freedom. Abandoning her overbearing parents who wanted her to marry within a year's time of turning sixteen cycles just to be rid of her wild and chaotic ways. Instead she'd wanted to live a life of freedom, not laying beneath the fifty cycle old Barron her parents had bartered with to take her on.
The colonies was where she built her first home. In the port city of Darchia she'd traded part of her dowry for passage on a ship to the colonies and outside the reach of her imperial home's reach. What remained was spent hiring local men to build her a modest size home on the outskirts of the colony boarder. It was nothing impressive, the estate her parents had lived in was lavish with marble floors and plaster walls. Her home had wooden floors that would wear smooth with time, a wood stove she had to fill herself and water she had to boil to bathe in. It wasn't long into her time living in the colonies she began to act less like a lady and more like a man. Going on hunts to avoid the high prices in the markets, shingling her roof after a large storm, cutting her own wood in the forest a few strides from her own back door. Her life was hard, but it was her own.
It was one such day that Lillian met a stranger in town, he was a newcomer to the colony, fresh from port, a handsome gentlemen looking for somewhere to stay while he sought work. She offered him a room and meal in exchange for work around the house, he agreed and days later when he'd found work with the village smith he did not leave but continued to love with Lillian. Wooing her in his own ways and son she fell in love with this man who called himself Raphael. After months of living together the pair consummated their love, against the utopian ideologies of the people in the colony and became engaged.
Weeks later Lillian heard of an arrest, a non-human had been caught and discovered attempting to rape a woman on the other side of the colony. She had been in the village and wandered down to see this man whom the caught. Horror struck her once she saw that it was Raphael in the stockade. She begged and pleaded with the judge for a moment of time with the man she loved, trying to convince them of his honesty and of how he could have never done something like this. If he was indeed a non-human she surely would have known. The judge permitted her to see him alone and inside that iron cell she froze with both fear and dread.
He looked no different on the outside but his eyes gave him away. Those gray eyes she'd loved were glowing with an eerie inner light. He studied her for a long while, all she could do was silently cry. When he approached her, she did not flinch away, but he held her face tenderly like he'd always done and smiled sadly at her. Then he said something that chilled her to the core. Lillian was pregnant. Her stomach lurched but not as much as when he whispered the remainder of his news, she was bonded to him for life. Raphael told her more, that the town had learned he was a demon who preyed upon the desires of others and their ideologies forced their hand into capturing him. Lying about the charges, they knew of Lillian's consorting with him and would likely attack her if given the opportunity. With sadness in his eyes he told her to run. Run and never look back.
Lillian found herself begging and pleading with the governor for her fiancés release from prison and that they would leave and never come back. The governor refused, citing her unholy union with a creature not of this realm and condemned her as a heathen and harlot. Lillian went home that evening in tears, her hand pressed against her stomach where she knew her children grew. Upon arriving home she knew what she had to do. Leaving that night, with few clothing and enough of her own life to start anew somewhere else. She could not bear to see the man she loved die simply for loving her. Humans were the monsters in this, not Raphael.
Growing up on the coast Selene and her twin brother Michael frequently asked to hear stories about their father. The man named Raphael, a mysterious person without a past who their mother loved with all her heart. Lillian had raised the two alone, father away from the colony towns than she'd ever imagined living. In an area untouched by the iron grip of Imperial Soridin it was somewhat peaceful. They were free to live unhampered by the ideology of others; until they were forced to visit the villages for supplies. The twins blue and brown eyes brought and onslaught of insults and derogatory remarks from the people about their, "dirty half-breed blood."
Villages turned into towns and people began invading further into uncharted territory and closer to the Shaw family home. After turning seven cycles old their mother began to become ill; the water supply had become tainted by a new town up river, a Soridin army outpost. The children watched as their mother began to waste away slowly, eventually she could barely haul wood by herself unless Michael helped her while Selene tended to the house hold chores. Both children doing their best to share the burden of running a home. It wasn't long until Lillian Avon Shaw realized the inevitable, she was dying.
The last day of her life was spent in a chair near the ocean. She sat with her feet dangling in the surf watching the sun set and her two children play. The pair kicking the sea foam back and forth at one another in play. Picking up shells and laughing, showing them to their mother with pride and wonder when a small crab would skitter out. It filled her heart with job as she watched them. Life in the frontier had suited her well thus far and she prayed her children would never know the oppressive imperialism that waited in the larger cities.
The attack came suddenly. She couldn't breathe but dare not move herself from the chair less her children saw and moved into a state of panic. Gritting her teeth and clutching at her heart Lillian felt her body swallowed with fire. Then a hand draped over her shoulder, fearing it was one of her children she felt the pain disappear. Turning her head in shock she met a pair of steel colored eyes and the sweet smile of the man she loved.
If she had been aware both Michael and Selene had stopped playing and were now looking at the man neither of them had ever seen. Coming to her feet in disbelief her shall fell into the surf with a cry of anguish. He only smiled back at her and opened his arms to receive the embrace. Throwing her arms around Raphael she began to sob, believing his very presence an illusion of her own mind. He stroked her face and kissed the tears from her eyes just as he used to. Lillian softly confessed she believed he'd return. Raphael said nothing, instead he swept her into his arms and sat into the chair holding her close as the sun began to set.
It was there in the surf, in the arms of the man she loved, that Lillian Avon Shaw died.