Bill Compton’s vampire sister couldn’t quite hold in her gasp as she saw the condition that Eric was in. She’d seen much violence in her days—almost every night that she had been forced to spend with Lorena, as a matter of fact.
Lorena had found and become interested in Lillith when she was only fourteen years old. “Interesting” to Lorena meant that she enjoyed using and toying with Lillith; she’d also toyed with Bill by using Lillith.
Lillith had grown up in a rural area of Indiana and had been taking a walk in the night air during a particularly humid summer day in 1905. Lorena and Bill had been hunting in the area. Lillith now knew that it was a miracle that Lorena hadn’t drained her, but Bill had begged for Lillith’s life, and Lorena had used Bill’s interest to her advantage.
After feeding from Lillith, Lorena had glamoured her to remember everything but to say nothing. She’d also ordered her to secretly come to the woods in one week’s time with all of her belongings—which didn’t amount to much—and to leave a note behind saying that she had run away.
For more than a decade, Lorena had kept Lillith glamoured and used her as a kind of day-person. Bill had done all he could to keep Lillith from being exposed to the violence of his maker, but Lorena still fed from Lillith any time she wanted to punish Bill, and Lillith quickly stopped counting the number of times that Lorena threatened her in order to keep Bill from trying to leave—to keep him obedient. She also stopped counting the number of human corpses she had to help bury.
When she was sixteen, Lillith lost her virginity when Lorena ordered Bill to have sex with her. By that time, Lillith had already fallen in love with Bill, and he cared for her too. In fact, given a different situation, Lillith would have certainly offered her virginity to Bill; she wanted him to have it. The night it happened, Bill had begged Lorena to allow Lillith to go free, and when Bill pursued the topic after Lorena’s initial denial, Bill’s punishment was to take Lillith’s virginity in front of his maker.
Right after he’d done that, Lorena had commanded Bill to take Lillith anally—without preparing the young girl’s body first. Lorena had felt that Bill had not yet received adequate punishment since both he and Lillith had seemed to enjoy the sex up to that point.
In effect, Lorena had forced the man that Lillith loved to rape her, and that fact still haunted Lillith. She vividly remembered Lorena’s cackles as she’d celebrated Bill’s mental turmoil and Lillith’s physical agony.
Lillith closed her eyes and steeled herself as she recognized that Eric had been taken that way too. There had been blood after her experience too—though Bill had been as gentle as Lorena would let him be.
After that horrible night, Lorena promised Bill that she would let “the human” go in exactly ten years if Bill never mentioned the topic again. She also gave Bill permission to “play” with Lillith from then on, but—though Bill often held her after that night—he did not pursue having sex with her again until after Lillith was eighteen.
The second time they’d had sex—the first night they’d made love—had been everything Lillith could have hoped for; Bill had waited until Lorena was going to be away from their nest for several hours.
And then he’d asked her, and she’d said yes.
He’d been tender with Lillith—loving. And they’d stayed lovers after that—except for when Lorena was in one of her frequent jealous moods and ordered Bill not to have any contact with Lillith for a while.
Surprising both Bill and Lillith, Lorena had kept her word and let Lillith go after ten years. She’d even allowed Bill to give Lillith some money. The now twenty-six-year-old young woman had enjoyed exactly one day of freedom. That night, however, Lorena had hunted her down and taken her human life.
Even before she’d been made a vampire, Lillith had seen more dying and dead humans than she cared to remember. Then, Lorena had pronounced her “too soft” in her early days as a vampire, so she exposed Lillith to even more violence and death.
Of course, one of Lorena’s favorite things to do was to order Lillith to participate in that violence. Lillith shivered at the memory of the things that she’d done—the lives that she’d taken. Only Bill’s presence and the little bit of comfort that they could offer one another had helped Lillith to keep a fragment of her sanity during those first few dark years with her maker.
Given Lorena’s tendency to leave behind a trail of blood everywhere they went, they’d moved around a lot. For about fifteen years after Lillith became a vampire, Bill stayed with them. Then came the night that Bill and Lorena were captured by agents of the Authority during one of their particularly brutal bloodbaths. Lillith had only been able to escape because Bill had literally hidden her underneath their “collection” of human corpses, and Lorena had never informed anyone that she’d made another child.
The agents took away her maker and her brother and then lit the house on fire. Luckily, they did not wait to see it burn to the ground, and Lillith was able to escape. Bill managed to manipulate the situation and was able to convince the Authority that Lorena had commanded him to participate in all of the killing they’d done over the years. Of course, the Authority didn’t much mind the body count; they minded the fact that Lorena tended to be so indiscreet.
In the end, for her punishment, Lorena was forced to free Bill and then put into a silver-lined coffin for five years. Lillith knew that Bill later regretted hiding Lillith the night that they were caught by the Authority, for that fact made it impossible for him to arrange for her freedom from Lorena too. But Lillith had never blamed him. How could he have known that the Authority was not just going to kill them all?
One of the best times of Lillith’s undead life was the first three months after Bill had been let go by the Authority. Lorena was safely put away, and they were free to simply be together. They’d settled in a little home on the outskirts of Philadelphia, and Lillith felt like she was in paradise. Of course, they would find humans to feed upon, but they no longer had to kill them. Lillith was so happy—until she began to sense Bill’s restlessness.
Therefore, Lillith had been expecting it when Bill told her that he’d decided to travel alone for a while. She accepted his decisions with no questions, for she already knew the reason. Lillith never gained the taste for killing that her maker had; Bill was not so lucky. He returned to her a few times a year after that—never telling her much about what he’d been doing.
Lillith loved him so much that she didn’t ask either.
During those years, she made a good home for them when he was with her, and when he was not, she looked for her own contentment—though she knew it would be short-lived.
She glamoured a college professor to tutor her in mathematics and science, and she glamoured a hospital administrator to give her a job as a nursing assistant during the night shift. Having had very little education before—beyond basic reading, writing, and arithmetic—Lillith fell in love with the peaceful life of study and work that she chose. Her night job kept her from having to answer any questions about why she was never seen during the day by the humans who lived in her neighborhood. And when they asked where Bill was, she simply told them that he was in the army. When he came home, she told them that he was on leave and chose to keep the same hours as she did so that they could spend more time together. She’d even bought herself a modest ring with her first real paycheck so that she could better portray herself as the married army wife, who lived a humble life and worked a humble job as she waited for visits from her “husband.”
Bill never knew about the ring.
Lillith was never bitter or angry at Bill. She knew that he gave her all that he could in those years as he came to grips with the fact that he could not escape the monster than Lorena had made him. But with Lillith, he was always tender and good.
Of course, the expiration date of her peaceful life was always clear to Lillith. Four years and three hundred and sixty-four days after Lorena had been put into silver, Lillith sat on the concrete steps of her back stoop in the half-hour before sunrise. She stared at the graying sky, enjoying her last night of “freedom.”
Knowing that Lorena would either come to her or call her immediately upon her release, Lillith had not blamed Bill for leaving earlier that night and not telling Lillith where he was going. On the contrary, she was happy that he was going to be well away from Lorena. He promised to try to find a way to get her free—or to see her, but Lillith figured that neither of those two things would ever happen.
At the time, she didn’t know what had made her walk into her home to avoid the sunrise that morning, but she did. She went to her day-rest as a “free” vampiress one more time.
Of course, the next night Lorena called her, and Lillith had to leave behind the home and life she’d made. She also left behind her hope.
In the years following that, Lorena and Lillith had moved quickly from territory to territory. Lorena liked to say that they were “sampling the local cuisine.” But Lillith knew that there were other reasons for the quick moves. One was to avoid being “caught in the act” by the Authority again. The other was to keep up a subtle search for Bill.
Lillith simply decided to turn off her feelings in those years. As before, Lorena often forced her to kill those whom she fed upon. But Lillith found that if she showed no emotion—felt no emotion—then Lorena did not receive pleasure from her commands. And that gave Lillith a certain kind of satisfaction in the life she hated.
They were often in and out of an area before the sheriff knew they were there, but a few times over the years, they’d been found out by the area sheriffs or other vampires. On those occasions, Lillith had gotten to see the true brutality of her maker. Remembering the pain of being encased in silver, Lorena would make sure that they always killed any vampires who had found them out.
And—when possible—Lorena liked to make them suffer before their deaths.
In 1963, Bill had somehow discovered where they were, and he contacted Lorena via letter to begin to negotiate for Lillith’s release. He’d set up a post office box in Los Angeles, and immediately they’d traveled there. However, Bill proved to be quite clever in how he would receive and drop off letters. He would use humans who had been glamoured not to be able to answer Lorena’s questions, and each letter obviously went through the hands of many people before it made its way to Bill. Finally, after about a year, Lorena and Bill had finally come to an arrangement.
Bill agreed to spend exactly five years—the number decided upon because of the years Lorena had been in the silver-lined coffin—with his maker. He agreed to “live in the old way” with her throughout that time, and at the end of it, she would let Lillith leave and neither see her nor harm her again—though Lorena refused to officially “free” her.
No—Lorena would keep the child-maker bond intact with Lillith so that she could make sure that the rest of their deal was kept. That part entailed that Bill and Lillith would not see each other after those five years. And if they tried to sneak away to be together, Lorena promised to find them and to kill them both.
Lorena had kept her part of the bargain, and after the five bloodiest years of Lillith’s life, Lorena let her leave. Her maker never contacted her again. And Bill and she had settled for writing letters to one another. About once a year, they spoke via telephone. And then, there had been email. But they didn’t see each other again until Bill had asked Lillith to come to Louisiana to help him. By then—of course—Lorena had been dead.
After she was let go, Lillith made her way to Philadelphia again. The home she’d had there in the 1930s had burned down and had been leveled, but the root cellar where she’d made her daytime resting place was still intact. She dug into its rotting walls and found the tin box that she’d left behind when she had to answer Lorena’s call. In it was the ring that she’d bought for herself and some money, which had—thankfully—not rotted in the moist walls of the wrecked home.
Similar to the last time she’d been “free,” Lillith lived quietly, though she did move around every five years or so in order to avoid the inevitable questions about why she didn’t seem to be aging. Everywhere she lived, Lillith would glamour professors so that she could learn new things. The era made it easier for a woman to find a larger variety of jobs, but Lillith stuck with working as a nurse’s aide and then as a nurse once she completed her studies and was qualified for the job. Getting the forged paperwork for her “degree” was always a piece of cake, given a vampire’s ability to glamour.
Bill once asked her why she chose nursing as her profession and why she never lived in a nest again. Lillith answered that she’d always been interested in medicine since her father had been the country doctor in her small Indiana hometown. She also told him that she enjoyed the evolution of the work as technology changed the profession. These things were both true.
But she knew that the real reason was that she was trying to atone to a God that she wasn’t even sure she believed in anymore. Or maybe she just wanted to feel a little less like an agent of death. Some days, she actually succeeded. Most of the time, however, there was too much blood in her memories to allow her to have any real peace.
Lillith had long ago reconciled herself to the fact that she was a survivor—even when she was not sure whether she deserved to live on. But live she did.
And then—one night—she felt something from her maker for the first time in many, many years. She felt her maker’s final death.
More importantly, she felt “real” freedom until Bill called her two weeks later, telling her about Sookie Stackhouse, his love for her, her disappearance, and his being made king of Louisiana. Part of Lillith had wanted to go to him right then, but the edge in Bill’s voice as he’d spoken of Sookie had been eerily familiar. At times, he’d sounded like Lorena.
So she had stayed away until he called the next year to ask for her help. She could not refuse him. He’d lived an extra five years in misery with Lorena in exchange for her freedom. But as soon as Lillith had been called by Bill, she felt anything but free again.
Even after all their time apart, Lillith still loved Bill, but it was obligation that brought her to him. And then, she’d become a part of his plan to kill Eric and take Sookie. And the first task that the man that she had loved for a hundred years had given her was to seduce another man.
Lorena had injured Lillith’s soul in countless ways, but it was Bill—in that moment—who had broken her heart.
However, love was a powerful beast. And Lillith had not been able to say “No” to anything Bill asked of her, though she’d often tried to talk him out of his more insane ideas.
Bill and Lillith restarted a sexual relationship, but this time, Bill also included humans into their “play,” something that they’d never done together before. Lillith had—in her love and obligation to her brother—gone along with it. She felt herself slipping into his life; she felt herself disconnecting from her emotions again. But she agreed to help Bill complete the ten-year plan he made for himself to get rid of Northman and to take Sookie for himself. Of course, when Sookie disappeared again, things changed, and Bill became even more frenetic as he tried to find Hadley and then her son.
But Lillith had reconciled herself to her new life. She glanced at the ring on her finger. She’d begun wearing it again after Bill had died, though she’d not worn it while she was with him. She wasn’t sure why. Perhaps—after that first three months that they’d spent together in that little house in Philadelphia—she’d always felt like a widow. She’d never felt like a wife.
A gesture from Russell pulled her from the recollections that had sped through her mind; she moved her attention back to the vampire lying prone and bleeding on the table.
Yes—Lillith had seen many vampires die, but she had never seen one live through damage like what had been done to Eric Northman. He was not moving. And his wounds seemed to cover almost every inch of his body. Yet he was alive.
She couldn’t believe that he was still alive.
And in that moment, she felt something she did not expect, something that she’d rarely experienced during her century of life. She felt “hope.”
Maybe—after all—there was someone stronger than Russell Edgington.
A/N: I cannot explain why, but I always go through many Kleenex as I work on this chapter. Until I wrote it, I hated Lillith (not to be confused with the Lillith on the show; the same name is a coincidence). But—as we have seen—no one lives his/her life in black or white, in sun or dark. I know that you are probably ready to kick me that I took this break from Eric and Sookie and people we love, but I have to say that I needed it. After the last few chapters, I felt a very intense need to “disconnect” is bit here, so I found myself “connecting” to one person I never thought I would: Lillith.