The Cleric Chronicles 12

There’s something you need to understand about my childhood, something that most people never will...Hell is a lonely place and sometimes, the only way to cope is to make friends. That is why I risked befriending Eris even though every bone in my body told me not to. When Lilith found out about my friendship with Eris, she told father.

And father gave Eris to Lilith.

He called me into his throne room and made Eris look into my face...told him that what followed next was my fault. I was never allowed to see Eris again from that point on.

But I could hear him. Lilith made a point to make sure I could hear Eris’ screams every single night while I tried to sleep. More frightening than hearing him scream for hours on end is when his screaming stopped one night.

I was eleven.

That was the last time I ever heard of my friend. There were so many nights I would sit up wondering what happened to him. It was a question I desperately wanted an answer to and was too afraid to ever hear it.

So when he appeared again in my life years later, begging me to kill him, I lost my cool. The truth is, I’d been losing it for a while. I couldn’t tell the rest of my party what we’d been through, what the cost of knowing me meant. They already thought I was a monster, no reason to add fuel to the fire.

Unable to make a decision about Eris’ fate, Lainie asked Teo to carry him with us as we cleared the tower. Maybe we would find a cure to the disease constantly rotting his flesh somewhere. I had to hold on to the hope in order to keep walking.

When we made it past the dungeons, we found ourselves in father’s vault. Every time I heard about this place as a kid, I imagined that it was filled with every weapon imaginable and probably plenty of dangerous things that might harm my father. Sadly, by the time we arrived, it had already been cleared out. While searching through the leftover coins and items discarded, I came across a trap door. We opened it and followed a long hallway to another room.

In it were cages holding all sorts of folks; humans, fauns, cat folk, elves and more. And sitting in front of the cages, wearing a different face was my real half sister, Lilith.

After seeing so much torture, so much pain, so much hurt...after reliving my childhood with every step we took, knowing that Teo stayed within these very walls being tortured, picked apart, and his parents, who were so kind to me, were still in here, something in me snapped. As Lilith taunted us, telling us she was going against father’s orders, I attacked her with everything I had. Lainie did the same, not caring for her own safety in the fight. Every time I looked over at the sister I chose to have, the one that has been showing me what love really is every single day, I worried for her because she wasn’t going to stop.

When Lilith was finally cornered, she cast a charm and disappeared like the coward she was. I wanted to chase after her, grab her by the hair and bash her face into the stone floor over and over again until she stopped moving. My fingertips begged to release inflict wounds, to watch her skin melt off.

But at the same time, as I watched her taunt us, pity came over me. It was so clear that she was searching for love somewhere, that if she could just open her heart to the love I’d always wanted to give her as a child, she might just have a different path.

Which is why I swallowed my pride and told her to be careful when she left. Even through all of her hate, all the ways she has hurt me, I still want to believe she is good. I know this is my flaw, that she will always get the best of me while I believe this, I can’t extinguish that tiny shred of hope that I keep close to my heart. If I chose this path, maybe one day she’ll be brave enough to walk it alongside of me.

But as it is, my past is hard to look back on. There are secrets I must keep, even from myself at times, in order to hold myself upright. Without the love I get from Lainie and Teo, I don’t think I could manage it. And Lilith has far more burdens to atone for. The weight will kill her without someone to help her bear it and I’m not sure anyone is strong enough.

Pelor, save even those that don’t know they need your guidance,

Lena