Maximus watched the sun sink below the horizon and gripped the urn closer to his chest. The brilliant splashes of red and orange across the gentle ripples of the lake bathed his face in an eerie glow. He was thankful for the dying sun’s crimson rays for they disguised the true nature of the tears that flowed over his cheeks. Tears as red as the blood which they shared created by the loss of his mate, his own true love.
The wind picked up and rocked the small boat. Water splashed over the edge, pooling at his feet, and the setting sun cast its bloody hue upon the unwelcome liquid. A pool of crimson, much like the one he found upon awakening. A pool that revealed the truth he still yearned to deny. A pool that encircled his beloved’s head like a ghastly halo.
Enraged, he scooped at the water with one hand while desperately clinging to the urn with the other. He didn’t need any more reminders of that horrific evening. He wanted to think of her as she had been that night, when they had gone to bed in each other’s arms – soft, sensual, beautiful, and so very alive even after three hundred years of undeath. He wanted to erase the memory of her terror-filled eyes, her lovely face contorted in agony. He wanted to erase everything about that morning. He wanted…
Dear God in Heaven, he wanted her! Not in a cold urn about to be cast upon an even colder lake. He wanted her in his arms and in his bed, for tonight and tomorrow and all the days after. He was a greedy man, to that he would readily agree, and three centuries hadn’t been nearly long enough. He wanted three more, and then three more after that.
Sobbing, he sank to his knees in the gently swaying boat. The sun continued to set but, in apparent sympathy to the vampire’s misery, had muted its brilliant colors until the morrow. As the stars watched from the evening sky, Maximus wept his final tears over the loss of his mate. When the moon settled into place, the grieving vampire sprinkled the ashes upon the rippling waves and said goodbye to his heart.
Turning towards the shore, he took up the oars and began to row. Now, it was time for retribution.