Chapter 69 - Rowan
“Martin nearly destroyed me over the next few months before he turned me, and it wasn’t all he did. Finally, after almost beating me to a pulp one night, he walked up to the balcony with me in his arms, and he pushed my sword right through my heart,” Rowan cried as she recounted that moment, but she never noticed
“Why don’t you do us all a favor love, and die this time, Marius whispered in my ear as he slid that cold, hard thing inside me, through muscle and bone. Do you remember dying Marcus? I remember dying. It hurt so much, and I hated him. I vowed I would live if only to kill him as I stared out at the last dawn I would ever see,” Rowan’s voice held so much pathos as she said those last words, but her eyes burned with an unquenched vengeance. Alena cried silent tears that Rowan didn’t even notice.
“He carried me back down, but I never knew. I woke alone and lost. He stole from me the last thing that I cherished. I hated the darkness because I knew what hid inside it, and that I would never see the light again,” the quiet after Rowan’s words carried a weight that didn’t leave them anything to say.
“When Victor died, I returned to the watchers. The man the Dark One's minions beheaded the night we met, his name was Pierce, and he used to be a Watcher. When I joined them again, hatred had consumed me. Death had robbed me of revenge against Victor, but I needed something to sate my desire for vengeance,” she admitted, and the afterglow of those feelings reflected in her eyes.
“I found Martin, and I hunted him like an animal. I had help since he managed to anger more than just mere me. He regretted making me because Victor’s blood gave me an edge on him he hadn’t expected,” she smirked at the thought, but it was the coldest expression either Marcus or Alena had ever seen on her face.
“Someone already wounded Martin when I found him, but I felt nothing. I tortured him, and he screamed like a woman in the throes of childbirth, long before the sun ever rose, and I would not let him die. I took out every bad thing that ever happened in my life, on him,” Rowan admitted with an expression utterly devoid of compassion.
“Martin killed me, my trust and every bit of the empathy inside of me. When I finished with him, he was no longer a man and he stopped fighting to live,” it almost seemed as if Rowan forgot their presence, and regret registered for a brief moment on her face.
“I turned away from Martin and found Pierce staring at me in horror. I saw myself through his eyes. Covered in blood, and with hate engraved so deeply in my soul that it blinded me to everything else. I realized the victory that Martin and Victor achieved in me, and it ripped through the ice in my veins like boiling acid,” Rowan shuddered at the memory.
“I retched when I at the things I did to Martin as reaction set in and I shook so badly I couldn’t walk. A lifetime of anger and bitterness had turned something inside me bad, like a rotten core in a healthy looking apple. I took my sword, and I ended Martin’s suffering,” she looked at them, and they saw it all in her expression.
“Despite his aversion to what I did, Pierce took me to the hideout. He helped me clean the blood off, and although I never thanked him, he saved me and my life that night. He never told the watcher what I did,” Rowan took a moment to control her emotions before she continued.
“I told the About four years ago I told the watchers that I needed some space to sort out my head. When I walked out that door, Pierce walked with me as their safeguard. He kept them informed of what he thought they needed to know,” she grimaced at the memory.
“Pierce never betrayed me, and he became my only friend. The night our enemy murdered him, it was my fault. He would have been home with his family in Ferric, if I hadn’t insisted on responding to your summons. My curiosity wanted to see this enemy that hounded me, but did not challenge me,” Rowan proved a fantastic sight with her eyes ablaze with inner anger and loathing; infinitely sad and so profoundly hurt. Both powerful and fragile at the same moment.
Marcus wanted to take her in his arms and hold her until the pain went away, but it never would. Nor would she allow him to comfort her after his unjustified display of anger.
“You’re not the only person in the world who has ever suffered Rowan. I loved a woman once, but not in the way I love you. She used to be a Watcher, and she found me through them, but Audre pretended to be someone she wasn't,” Marcus admitted.
“She led me on a merry chase, and I realized too late that she didn't want me, she just wanted to become a vampire,” his anger became evident, despite his effort to control his feelings.
“Audre told the Watchers that I attacked her and they helped her to find my best friend and his wife, the first girl I ever loved. I hadn’t seen them in ten years, and when the other villagers went after my family, they didn't, and they even tried to help. Sheila lost her baby that day, and she couldn't have another. Audre told the Watchers that Janus and Sheila hid me in the root cellar of their home and that she would settle the matter with me,” Marcus fought the pain of his memory, but it showed.
“She killed Janus in their home, and she beheaded Sheila. I found her head on my pillows in my house,” Marcus bit out the words, and his guilt showed.
“Audre was only one watcher,” Rowan pointed out.
“Martin was only one Vampire, and Victor was only one vampire,” Marcus countered, and they stared at each other for the longest time while they processed the past with the new information at hand.
“Do you think Alena had a nice life with Victor?” Marcus asked Rowan with deceptive calm.
“Please, Marcus, no,” Alena tried to deflect him, but his feelings of guilt made him deaf to it. Rowan needed to hear Alena’s story.