LilyAnne La Morte was the daughter of the enigmatic Chantarelle La Morte, a reputed psychic. She was orphaned as a toddler, during a terrible fire that destroyed the family home under mysterious circumstances. Passerby saw the orange glow of flames from the road late one night, and summoned help to the estate. When they arrived, little LilyAnne was sitting outside on the front steps of the blazing house, cuddling a teddy bear. Her white cotton nightgown was marred by two large, bloody handprints. Every door and window was found to be barred from the inside, and rescuers had to break down a door to gain entry. Inside, they found the remains of 13 adults, including LilyAnne's parents, arranged in a circle in the grand hall. All were mutilated and burned beyond recognition; there were no survivors. Her mother's head was missing, and was never recovered. Young LilyAnne wasn't even old enough to speak, so could offer no explanation for the bizarre scene; she had no recollection of these events when she grew older. The mystery of the deaths was only deepened by the discovery of a bizarre message- "LIX TETRAX"- slashed into the trunk of an old tree outside the home. It had been freshly (if somewhat crudely) carved, and smears and drops of blood were discovered around and on the tree, but no footprints could be found anywhere in the area. In fact, no footprints, fingerprints, or any other clues of any kind were ever found in the house, or on the grounds. The mystery of the La Morte tragedy was never solved.
The girl was put into the care of the sisters of the convent in the neighboring parish, who sheltered her from the whispers of occult activity and murder that surrounded her family's demise. The shy and somber girl lived in the convent under the teaching of the sisters; it was assumed that she would join the sisterhood when she was of age. In 1876, a man contacted the sisters in search of a bride-to-be (a common form of arranged marriages in those days). That man was Mr. Alexander Marsters. An offer of engagement from the older, very wealthy Marsters was seen as a great opportunity for an orphaned girl of her standing, a girl whose options were even more limited by the shadow of disgrace that clouded her family name. The offer was accepted, and an engagement was set. A simple ceremony was performed in the chapel a year later. At 17, LilyAnne became Mrs. Marsters.
After the ceremony, a fine carriage carried the couple off to their new home. It was a custom-built, exquisitely detailed Victorian Gothic mansion perched high atop a lonely hill, a hill the locals called Shroud Hill. It was a desolate, beautiful spot, but was maligned with local rumors of ancient evil. There were said to be miles of catacombs hidden deep inside from the days when an ancient, demon-worshipping cult used the hill as a place of ritual, sacrifice, and burial, making the hill in essence one giant burial mound. The locals avoided the place like the plague. As a result, Alexander Marsters been able to purchase the land easily. He had spent the last year supervising every last angle of the brooding place, sparing no expense in it's construction. The grand house should have been the perfect happy home for a newlywed couple. Instead, the troubles began almost as soon as they settled in.
LilyAnne began to have horrifying recurring nightmares. In one, she encountered a disembodied female head that whispered to her. In others, she was pursued through endless corridors lined with skulls by something with great, leathery wings. She also began to sleepwalk, and was seen by the servants wandering as if in a trance in the dead of night. Some whispered that she went into the secret passages that led into the catacombs; others claimed that they heard strange and eerie whispers and chants echoing from a distance throughout the quiet house. Many mornings, LilyAnne awoke to find her bare feet covered in dried mud, the edges of her long nightgown soiled and torn, yet had no recollection of how it happened. She grew pale and thin, and even more withdrawn. Within that year, LilyAnne became pregnant and in 1878, her daughter Drusilla was born.
Motherhood did nothing to improve her health. She became more delusional, claiming that her newborn daughter was not human, and refusing to care for the girl. In fact, she seemed to fear the child. A nanny took over the care of the baby, while Alexander brought in doctors, specialists, priests to no avail. No one could determine the cause of her growing madness. Eventually, LilyAnne became confined to the house as her grip on reality faded. She was often seen wandering the back hallways in the dead of night; she actually seemed to fear the main hallways, which were lined with ornately framed paintings. She claimed to see evil apparitions appear in the paintings, and statues moving as if alive. She especially seemed to fear the portrait of her mother that hung in an empty room on the upper floor. Many times she had to be restrained when she became hysterical, babbling in terror about unseen devils and demons and tearing at her long matted hair. She was especially afraid of her child, Drusilla, and would cringe in terror from the girl as if fearing for her life.
One dark night, in 1882, LilyAnne's life ended in violence and mystery, as tortured screams rang through the house, followed by the sound of shattering glass. Her crumpled, partially burned and bloody body was found outside in a sprinkling of jagged broken glass, two stories below. Upstairs, a burning drapery writhed at one end of a servant's hallway, the smashed window at the other. No one saw what happened, but one servant whispered that she had seen little Drusilla standing at the end of the hallway just after the tragedy. According to rumor, she was holding her favorite dolly in one hand, and a candle in the other.
The mysterious events offered no other clues, so it was concluded that in a fit of madness, LilyAnne used a candle to set fire to a drapery at the other end of the hall, and the flames caught quick and leapt high, scorching half of the mad young woman's face horribly. Upon realizing the damage done to her once-lovely face, LilyAnne lost her feeble hold on sanity and ran down the hallway, throwing herself out of the window to her end. Some speculated suspiciously about the fact that LilyAnne, who had been deathly afraid of fire her whole life, would set fire to the drapery when it was widely known that she would not even light a candle by herself. Little Drusilla claimed not to have seen anything. The rest was speculation.
LilyAnne was entombed in the family burial grounds, out behind the Marsters House. It has been said that her tormented spirit never left, and that sometimes, her maddened screams can still be heard. Some have even claimed to see her gruesome visage and bloody nightgown reflected in the window at the end of the servant's hall... screaming in fear and madness for all eternity.