“I’m so sorry. Rowena was so very special. I remember her from the time she was just a babe. Always so full of life, so full of mischief. The good kind, I mean. You know? She’ll be sorely missed.”
“Well, by some anyway,” Dixon murmured.
“You mean Lilith?” The doorman lowered his voice. “She’s harmless, don’t you think?
“Harmless? Do you really think so?”
“She is terribly self-centered, of course. But that is the way of a sixth.”
“There are always excuses for her.”
The two sat quietly for a few minutes. The sound and smell of the burning torches filled the air and time.
“She died in childbirth, you say?”
“Goodness, such a tragedy. It seems we may never find our way back,” Bernard said. “I worry so for Oosa. The things we’ve always stood for, always believed in, are . . . disappearing. There doesn’t seem to be any order any more. There’s little honor . . . little caring. There are no heroes to speak of. No one knows what ‘loyalty’ means, and few seem to care. Every man is like a law unto himself.
“I’d hoped Rowena’s child might grow to be a great leader, the kind that could bring us back to our roots.” He hung his head. “And now she’s gone and you’re . . . banded. None of it makes any sense.”
“Yes, well apparently Lilith thinks I’m a flight risk or something.” Dixon stood and stretched. “I suppose she asked you to keep an eye on me?”
“Well, she did, but I thought she just wanted to be certain you were properly welcomed. But you? A traitor? Bah! That’s ridiculous. I’ve never known anyone more faithful to Ehyeh’s ways. I’ve watched you. I saw you care for Rowena. I—”
“Thank you. That means a lot to me.”
“Ah, truly, she just asked me to be certain you had no need of anything.” Bernard paused. “I don’t understand. What’s going on between the two of you?”
“Oh nothing really. It’s just that she insisted in a very public way that I come here with her. So, here I am.” Dixon shuffled his feet.
“Understood.” The doorman leaned in. “Well, you tell me if you need anything. You know Lilith. She’s just asserting her authority so she can have her way. She’s always been partial to you.”
“Ha! I mean no offense, but that is incredibly naïve of you.”
Bernard’s brow furrowed. “You don’t think she fancies you?”
“No more than she fancies anyone else she can’t control.”
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