EXILED

Robert walked through the forest, trying not to smile to himself like an idiot and failing spectacularly.

 

He’d gone on a few of his own adventures now as a vampire and noticed that he no longer marked time in the way he once did. It had been many years but he was eager to see the people he once fought side-by-side with, and he was fairly certain they would be where he had left them so long ago.

 

Robert was thrilled to be returning after all this time, to join his friends and Desdemona. Learning to be a vampire was never easy for him; it went against many aspects of his nature and love for small living things.

 

He turned the corner in the wood, and it was empty.

Puzzled, he turned around himself. This was the clearing, he was certain of it. It had been several years since he’d been there, but he knew Desdemona hadn’t moved camp in some time.

 

Had she left and not said goodbye?

 

“She’s gone,” said a voice. He turned to see Gregoire standing in the trees.

 

“Gregoire!” he said, “What’s happened? Did you move camp?”

 

“No,” he replied, “it’s through here. Medical bay got full so we adjusted the location.”

 

Robert began to follow and then stopped short.

 

“You just said she’s gone,” he said, “Gone? From here? From the war?”

 

“Yes,” Gregoire said.

 

“How?” he asked, “Why?”

 

Gregoire shrugged his shoulders, although he knew.

 

They entered the camp.

 

Robert’s stomach revolted.

 

Blood and ichor was everywhere, the stench of the place was unbelievable. The cries of the wounded went to his heart and stayed there. As horrific as his first encounter with the medical area had been, it was nothing compared to the suffering spread out before him.

 

“What’s happened, Gregoire?” he whispered.

 

“Without her,” Gregoire said faintly, “this is how the tides of war have turned against us.”

 

***

In Paris, the moon shone on.

 

Desdemona was baobhan sith.

 

She’d been foolish to sacrifice that in order to help the Fae and the humans.

 

Her hair was long and red again, her smile razor sharp, her eyes blazing green embers into the night.

 

Her clothes were green, and they fell away from her body shimmering as she stepped on the stage. The music began to play, and she swirled the veil around herself.

 

Forget.

 

This is who you were meant to be.

 

War, and fighting, and Robert Burns –

 

Ridiculous human nonsense.

 

Be beautiful. Dance. Feed.

 

That is your worth, after all.

 

***

Iain morosely sat with his gun by his side, forgotten. He loved that thing and polished it like it was his prize possession. He just sat, staring off into the distance.

 

Robert approached him and sat down.

 

“Hello Iain,” he said. Iain’s eyes flicked toward him and then down.

 

“You miss her too?” he asked. No response but a quick tightening of his lips.

 

Robert looked out over the forest, the cots of the wounded.

 

“Well, I miss her,” he sighed, “I always do. Now it’s worse.”

 

He put his arms on his knees.

 

Gregoire stepped out, and looked up at a sky, the gloaming filling the place with purple and lavender darkness.

 

There was only a split second of silence.

 

Then there was a pinprick of light in the sky.

 

And Gregoire knew, as the light fell and expanded, that once again he would have to collect the scraps in the aftermath and pull everyone together.

 

Without Desdemona, there was no respite, and no hope.

 

The explosion shook the earth, down deep where creatures lived that had no interest in the ongoing war for humankind.

 

The light was brilliant, and consumed them all.

 

***

In Paris, the moon shone on.