The Story of Anilla's Parents, Part 2
Tia'wen Starheart and Darin Liadon arrived back at their house after leaving Anilla, their only daughter, with Silaqui. They went into their bedroom without saying a word to each other. They quietly removed their clothes and climbed into bed. They kissed for a long time, and they held each other. Eraia was coming for them at midnight, and they wanted to make the most of their last few hours of life.
They made love that evening and into the night. They were both crying during it, and they both tried to kiss away the other's tears. Tia prayed for their souls, and she also prayed for Anilla. Darin prayed too. He hoped it worked.
Around eleven-thirty, Tia and Darin stopped their love-making and resumed holding each other. They held hands tightly, but still didn't say anything. They lay there, staring into each other's eyes, for a long time. Finally, Darin spoke.
"I love you, Tia'wen."
"I love you too, Darin."
At that moment, the raven flew through their window and landed on their bed. It walked up to them and spread its wings, touching both of their bodies. They felt a chill run through their bodies, and they held each other tighter.
Tia's eyes fluttered. She was beginning to lose consciousness. She could see a cloaked figure walking ahead of her, leading her soul away from her body. She began to follow, knowing that it was useless to resist. Suddenly, she turned around and looked for Darin.
He was not there. He was still lying in the bed, fully conscious. He had his eyes shut tight, expecting the worst. But nothing was happening. He just saw the darkness of his own eyelids.
Tia began calling out for Darin. She didn't know why he wasn't following her. The cloaked figure touched her on the shoulder, and Tia tried to push it away. She wasn't going without Darin.
The cloaked figure took Tia by the hand. The figure's hand felt like ice. Tia found that her feet seemed to be moving her along by themselves. She didn't want to go yet. She wanted to go back to find Darin, but she couldn't. She was being taken away.
Darin finally opened his eyes and looked at Tia, who was in his arms. She was pale. She wasn't breathing. She was gone, and he was still alive. Why?
Darin looked at the raven. It spoke: "I only needed one." Without another word, it flew back out of the window it came from.
Darin was shaking. He was still alive. He held Tia, his beautiful Tia, close to his body. She was so pale. He cried into her hair.
He gathered up his strength and picked his lover's naked body up. He carried her out of the room, and he placed her on the table. He grabbed a cooking knife from the counter, and he sat down in a chair next to her. Eraia was going to take him whether she wanted him or not.
Just as he was about to drive the knife into his chest, he heard Tia's voice coming from across the room.
"Darin, don't do it."
Startled, he dropped the knife onto the floor. He looked in the direction of the voice, and he saw his lover standing there, naked and whole. But she was still lying on the table too. "Tia...is that you?"
"Yes, Darin. At least, it's my soul. My body is over there." She pointed at the figure on the table, and then she looked at him again. "Darin, don't do it. Don't kill yourself. It's better this way. Now you can raise Anilla, just like you always wanted."
The tears were falling down his cheeks. "No, Tia. I can't live without you." He stood up and walked over to her figure. He tried to hug her, but his hands and body just went through her. He started to cry harder.
Tia's image had tears in her eyes as well. "Please, Darin. Live for me."
Darin gazed into her eyes. She was so beautiful. He needed her. He loved her too much to live without her. "I can't do it, Tia. I can't raise Anilla by myself. She...she reminds me too much of you."
Tia was fading. "I have to go now, Darin. Please, I need you to live. Do it for me. Promise me that."
"Don't go!" Darin tried to grab her again with no success. "I...I'll do it for you, Tia. I love you."
Tia smiled. "I love you too, Darin." Then she disappeared. Darin stood there, staring at the space where she had been, for a long time. He didn't come out of the trance until the sun started to rise. Once he was able to move, he went over to the table and touched Tia's body. She was cold now.
Darin picked her up and brought her back into the bedroom. He placed her gently on the bed, and then he fell to his knees next to her. He held her hand, and he cried into it for a long time.
Years past. Darin was still alive. He had kept his word to Tia and didn't kill himself. However, he could never bring himself to go to Silaqui's home and retrieve Anilla. He didn't want to see his daughter. She reminded him too much of Tia.
Darin sold all of his belongings and moved out of his house. Every time he looked at his bed, he was reminded of Tia. Everything in that house reminded him of her, and he couldn't have that. He didn't want to forget her, but he didn't want to be reminded of her either.
He moved into a small, one-room hut in a different part of Shendar City. He hardly ever left it, except to buy food. He became a recluse. None of his neighbors knew his name, and he didn't know theirs. He didn't care. If he couldn't be with Tia'wen, he didn't want to be with anyone. And, most of all, he didn't want to be with Anilla.
The Story of Anilla's Parents, Part 1