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First LightThe sun was just starting to peek over the tops of the trees as Dahlia walked up the short gravel path to the front door of Lilywaite. She paused for a moment on the doorstep, spare key in hand. Turncandle Row was quiet, a hush still settled over the neighborhood. It was the first moment she’d had to truly be alone since she woke up in the graveyard. And the sight of Turncandle’s idyllic beauty on a summer morning was nearly enough to dispel the feeling of dull horror that had clung to her since the previous evening.
Turning back to the door, Dahlia fit the key into the lock and stepped into the foyer. It was just as quiet inside, and to her relief, much the same as the last time she was here. If perhaps somewhat sparer, less lived-in. And the bare spot on the wall where the family lemnis used to hang was all too conspicuous. Dahlia stood looking at the silhouette of unfaded wallpaper, rubbing her thumb across the raw
Postmortem part 6: The Last Inch“He bound me.”
As the words left her, a great weight fell from Dahlia all at once. Tears began to slip down her face, and she found that she did not even care what Phaedros might think of her. The relief she felt now was so overwhelming that it was difficult to fathom why she had ever fought to keep the secret. Her mouth twisted into a trembling smile at her own stubbornness, and then Dahlia could only cover her face with her hands as she began to weep in earnest.
Phaedros did not interrupt until the worst of it had passed. When he finally spoke, his voice was as gentle and careful as she could ever remember, absent of any traces of his previous anger. “Would you please explain what you mean by ‘bound’?”
Dahlia nodded, wiping at her cheeks. At first she was afraid that she would not have the composure to get through the tale. But as she began to relate what she had learned of Gwylin’s magics, she found
Postmortem part 5: Roads Run TogetherThe table stood once more in the center of the room, flanked by the two chairs. Dahlia sat in hers, motionless as a statue. She held her head up, chin high and shoulders squared, and did not so much as twitch when the tap of footsteps sounded behind her. Nor did she meet Phaedros’ eyes when he came around the side of the table, but merely kept looking straight ahead.
The interrogator stood there for several seconds before sliding his chair out from the table and taking a seat. His face came into view then, and Dahlia saw the slight frown of disappointment on it. She fought the urge to look away and held her head up a little higher instead.
The silence stretched out as they sat facing one another. Eventually, Phaedros cleared his throat and spoke. “I realize that I instructed you to set the room to rights. But I thought it was understood that you should only do so when you were prepared to have a mature conversation. Not
Postmortem part 4: ChiaroscuroDahlia pillowed her head atop her arms on the table, closing her eyes against the harsh white light of the room. There were so many lives, and she had only been aware of perhaps a tenth of them. The memories Phaedros had stirred up whirled in her mind, and it seemed like no matter which way she turned her thoughts there was some atrocity from her past waiting to meet her. Dahlia drew in a deep breath, holding it against the hot tears that sprang up in her eyes. Had all her lives truly been that horrific?
No. No, she had to remember where she was. What Phaedros had done to her had been cold, calculated, and meant to wound. He was trying to break her spirit, just as they had tried to break her body during her previous “stay” with the Balance. Of course he had forced the very worst upon her, ignoring any of the good. He would do whatever it took to further his agenda with her. And no matter that she was weary t
Postmortem part 3: More Than a FeatherGraice held Odran tight in her arms, trying to will his trembling to stop. Underneath the soot his face was ashen, his eyes wide and wild. After the story of the Tree’s burning had spilled out of him, the only response he had given to her questions was a whispered, “I don’t know what to do,” over and over. She was terrified, wanting desperately to pull him back from the edge of the blackness that gripped him, but feeling completely helpless in the face of this tragedy.
“Please, love,” Graice begged. “Let me help you. I promise, I’ll do anything. Anything you need me to do.”
Slowly, Odran stirred and shifted in her arms to look at her. There was something new in his eyes now. The slightest hint of hope? It warred with the panic that had been there, until finally a shaky smile appeared on his face. “You will…? You can? Of course you can--you can h
Postmortem part 2: Betwixt and BetweenWith the departure of her captor, the only distraction Dahlia had was to explore the room itself, spare as it was. The only objects in it were the table and chairs, which were smooth and featureless. Pacing out the length of the walls, she calculated the space to be four turns to a side, with a ceiling at the same height. The whole room was illuminated by a cold light, but she found herself unable to locate the source. There was nothing to mar the flat white surface of the walls, ceiling, and floor; she couldn’t even find the seams of the door the man had disappeared through, let alone the button he had pressed to open it.
The room was no distraction at all, in other words. Dahlia put her back to one corner and sank down to the floor, pillowing her head on her knees. She told herself that she was going to turn her mind toward finding a means of escape, that it was pointless to dwell on what had passed between her and Nefin.
In the end, s
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Lilyas has dedicated herself to making our community a brighter place with her vibrant artwork and infectious enthusiasm for interacting with others in our community. It has certainly paid off, as many deviants flock to her page on a daily basis to let her know how much of an inspiration she is. We absolutely agree, and couldn't let all that hard work go without recognition, so it's with great pride that we bestow the Deviousness Award for March 2014, to ... Read More