Chapter 110 - Aftershock
Alena found Rowan in the bathroom, retching, with her skin scrubbed to a pale pink glow, kneeling naked on the cold floor.
She wanted to go over there and console Rowan, even when misery threatened to engulf her own soul, but Belvare’s scent clung to her skin and Rowan couldn’t take a physical reminder of his presence.
“Robert.” The word came out as no more than a whisper, but he reacted as if he’d been waiting for it. She knew it was a mistake, but he was already there and could see for himself the state Rowan was in. If Belvare saw them now, it would be all for naught.
Robert picked Rowan up off the floor as if she were his child, made her clean the bile from her mouth, pulled her wrap around her, and carried her away. Despite her emotional distress, Alena noticed with a frown that Robert handled Rowan with an unexpectedly gentle hand.
Alena scrubbed herself until her skin felt raw, and with each stroke, her determination grew. She could not allow her mind to wander for even a second, or she would experience flashes of the filthy things Belvare enjoyed. The Dark One had to die, Alena decided with vicious hatred. She could not take this another day, let alone for years or centuries.
Rowan had never been so vulnerable, she lay in a tight bundle on the bed, and occasional tremors still wracked her body, but she recovered with each shuddering breath.
Under the influence of their allure, it hadn’t been so difficult to lull Belvare into thinking he’d seduced them to his ways, but when their passions wore off and cold reality set in, Rowan couldn’t face the things she’d done and allowed him to do.
Rowan couldn’t even bear the thought of the night she spent with Belvare, and she realized she’d never be able to look Marcus in the eye again. Belvare tainted her in ways she’d never conceived possible. He’d scarred her soul so deeply it would never recover, and suddenly, not surviving Belvare’s death, didn’t seem like such a bad thing.
Alena lay down beside Rowan and held her close. Neither of them spoke into the comforting silence, and for once, Alena found no way to comfort the sorrows inside herself, and thus didn’t know how to console her sister.
“He killed them all,” Rowan whispered, “for us,” Rowan sounded desolate, wounded, but also angry and determined. “They died because of us,” Rowan corrected herself as she shuddered, “all those poor innocent people.”
Alena sensed the thoughts spinning and crashing through Rowan’s head, only because they tumbled through her head too.
“No, Rowan. They died because of him. He killed them. We were just an excuse,” Alena countered with ample anger of her own. It was an echo of another conversation, but this time with much wider repercussions.
They saw what happened through his eyes when he touched them. He made them witness the horror he visited upon those he killed in their name, and it was worse than anything either of them ever saw before or could have envisioned.
They witnessed the Dark One first hand, and he was a monster to end all monsters. Until now, he hid that part of himself, showing them no more or less than what they expected or knew.
Belvare’s brand of cruelty was worse than anything Victor could have dreamed up or would have indulged. He could change shape into the creature of Myth, and that being, twice the size of the vampire, was half man and half reptile with leathery wings that made the creature Rowan killed, look puny.
He had no pity, remorse, shame, or guilt. Belvare was the perfect killer in any of his three forms. He could tear through a battalion of human soldiers as if they were straw puppets. He saw himself as the ultimate vampire, and he didn’t care if humanity knew, because they were no match for him, and worse? He didn’t need them.
His contempt for vampire kind and their fears was unlimited. The atrocities he committed against those he did not respect, bore no consideration. He showed them what would happen if they ever crossed him in those images of the past.
Belvare possessed none of Marcus’s consideration for their bodies and needs, only his body and his need and his appetite for lust. Everything was about him, and in his mind, the world was created to serve him.
It only cemented one thing in both their minds; Belvare must die soon. The time to wait was over because neither of them could take much more of this.