Lillith

Liliana Elmira Everett

Every muscle in her body ached. Exhaustion had come and gone hours ago. She reached for the rope for a second time knowing there was simply no other option. She would get it.  If by no other force, then will alone she would pull herself up.  She would continue. Not because she could, not because she had anything left in her, she knew she did not, but because she had no choice.

 

As she reached forward she felt someone grab her foot and push, a second set of muddy hands wrapped around her waist, the cold mud burring her skin, and pushed her up the last inch. Her fingers grabbed the rope as the world around her slowly came back in to focus. Voices now filled her ears.

“Dolor, Dolor, Dolor” The crowd screamed louder and louder. The cheers brought lighting the fire insider her. “Dolor, Dolor, Dolor”

Dolor, her dolor, her team. They were less then 100 yards from completing the annual military might championship. No other team was close. They were, without question, the best. As captain she had pushed her team relentlessly and that work was about to pay off. Just a few more yards and they would change the world forever. They were on pace to beat all the records. No team in the 50 years had come close to the victory set by Canus Silius Nennius in 1796 and no team captained by a woman had ever won. In less then 100 yards both of those statements would be history.

Liliana pulled herself over the mud-covered wall and reached back for her teammates hand and pulled.

All five team mates over the wall they ran..

The celebration was as epic as the victory. Work hard, play harder. The unofficial moto of the team and today they worked. She would pay for this tomorrow. The cuts and bruises would heal, they always did. But she would pay with the hangover. Back on the course tomorrow to deal with that.  But, for tonight there was only one thought, celebration.

As she walked across the room an endless sea of hand reached out to congratulate her. Faces blurred as much from the number as from the wine, except one. Not a big woman but she carried herself with a poise and stature equal to her reputation. Liliana new immediately who it was and reached out shake the hand of none other than Olivia Charity Bowen, Secondo to Princeps Lucas Rayden Pierce.

“Impressive showing” Charity said holding on to Liliana and looking directly into her eyes.

“Thank you, but it was my team. I am simply the one who gets to take the credit for their work”

“I am not so sure I believe that… but tonight is not a time for anything other then celebration” Charity replied. “You will have your choice of duty in the Leagon, have you thought about what comes next for you?”

“No mam, I have not. Preparing for today has been my only life for so long I never really thought about after”

Charity, reaching into the pocket on her vest pulls a folded piece of paper hands it to Liliana. “Well we have been thinking about your future. On that page is an address. Three days from now be there. But for tonight, “Labor Omnia Improba Vincit” and play as hard as you worked. You deserve every moment of this”

Charity turned and walked away as Liliana felt a hand on her shoulder spin her around and someone pushed a new glass in her hand.