As a member of the Council of Elders, Vincent’s responsibilities to the Vampire Community tax his resources. For reasons not revealed until book four, he suffers privately while attending his duties the best he can.
In the following excerpt from Twilight Destiny, we find Catherine searching the woods for signs of her missing love. She’d escaped Haven over a week prior, unwilling to accept the Council’s word that Joshua is dead. Vincent finds her, and together they discover evidence of Joshua’s fate.
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“You’ve become more trouble than you’re worth,” he proclaimed, his eyes glowing menacingly. She backed away from him. “Don’t resist me this time,” he warned evenly. “You’ll only make things harder on yourself.”
“What are you going to do?”
He smiled, showing his fangs to their best advantage. “That should be obvious, my dear.”
Her hand flew to her throat. “No, please.”
Stephan had her by the shoulders before she had the chance to think about turning to run. When he leaned toward her, she whimpered a weak protest and closed her eyes. He released her suddenly, and she was almost afraid to open her eyes to discover why. She was relieved to see Vincent holding Stephan aloft by the throat. “Do you intend to take Community matters into your own hands?” he hissed.
“The woman is trouble. She disobeyed the orders of the Council. I was acting for the safety of our race.”
“Did you think to ask her the reason for her disobedience before you blindly decided she deserves to die?” Vincent’s voice sounded dangerously close to outrage.
“Doesn’t she?” he asked defensively.
“Her fate is for the Council to decide,” Vincent said, releasing Stephan abruptly. “You will adhere to their wishes in all things, or I will hold you accountable.”
Stephan shook himself and cast a quick glance at her. “As you wish,” he said more quietly. Then he was gone.
Vincent turned to her, his eyes still glowing with anger. “Well?”
Still shocked by her terror, she opened and closed her mouth dumbly for several seconds. “Please, Vincent. I didn’t mean any harm.”
“You should not have wandered out here alone,” he scolded. The fire in his eyes flickered and went out. “We’ve already searched this area. Joshua is not here. Now, will you submit yourself to me willingly, or must I take you by force?”
While she was trying to decide on her answer, he noticed the downed vampire. He knelt to study the man carefully. “I don’t know him,” he muttered. “He may have been a rogue.” He looked up at her with concern in his eyes. “Did he hurt you?”
“No,” she answered quietly. “He almost…”
“Did you see who did this?” he asked, indicating the arrow protruding from the vampire’s back.
“Sh-she was here,” she stuttered. “I talked to her.”
“She?” He rose quickly to his feet and took hold of her upper arms. “What did she look like? Did you get a good look at her?”
“No. She stayed in the shadows.”
Disappointment swept his features. “What did you talk about?”
Tears came to her eyes. “She said she saw Joshua. Vincent, she believes all vampires are like that one. I tried to convince her otherwise, but she wouldn’t listen.”
“This part of the forest isn’t safe,” he said tightly. “Rogues roam the forest at night. You’re lucky you survived this long.” His eyes fell to the scarf hanging loosely over her shoulders and frowned. He lifted one end in his hand and clutched it tightly. “Joshua was never without this. Where did you find it?”
“That way,” she answered, pointing in the direction she’d come from.
“Show me.” She led him southward through the woods to the clearing and watched him examine the area carefully. “This way,” he said at last, following a trail farther south than she had gone. They walked slowly for several minutes in silence until they came upon another clearing. He knelt to the ground and carefully examined the soil. “He fell here,” he said at last. Then, to her surprise, he dropped to his seat and issued one short, quiet sob.
She was on her knees beside him in an instant. “Tell me. I need to know.”
He looked up at her, the deep pain in his eyes unmistakable. “He died here, Catherine. Look.” She studied the ground where he indicated and saw fine traces of white ash. “This spot is not protected from the sun. I can only hope he was dead before it found him.”
She remembered the vivid description Joshua had given her of what would happen if he were caught in the sun’s rays. She could only imagine the agony. “Are…are you sure he was here?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper.
He nodded and forced himself to his feet. “His ashes must have been scattered by the wind. There can be no mistake now.”
She stared at the spot as sorrow overtook her. “Joshua,” she whispered, choking on the lump forming in her throat. “Oh, Joshua…” She rested her trembling hand tenderly over the ashes.
“Are you satisfied?” he asked gently.
She had no choice but to agree. She closed her eyes tight and nodded. “Do you have a handkerchief?”
“Yeah,” she heard him whisper. She took the handkerchief he offered, and with tender care, transferred as much of the white powder as she could onto the center of the soft cloth and folded it neatly into a roll which she knotted and tucked under her bra, close to her own heart.
He stood watch while she dealt reverently with the remains. “I share your grief, Catherine,” he said thickly. “Joshua was more than my friend. We were brothers, in the fashion of our ways. We shared a master, and so a bloodline.”
She nodded, feeling like she understood some of his sentiment. She put her hand against the ground to push herself onto her feet, and felt an odd lump under the leaves. “What’s this?” she asked, picking up a stick with shredded feathers clinging to one end.
“It looks like the broken shaft of an arrow,” he said, taking the artifact from her grasp. “The Council will want to examine it.” He pocketed the find and turned his eyes to her once more. “Will you surrender to me now?”
She looked at him, tears pooling in her eyes. “What will you do to me?”
He sighed heavily and made a visible attempt to shake off his grief. “I’ll take you back to Haven. It is for the Council to decide your fate.”
“What if I refuse?”
He gave her a look that was plainly a non-verbal plea. “You really don’t want to find out, do you?”
She took the ends of Joshua’s scarf in her hands and clutched it tight to her middle. She couldn’t resist them, even if she tried with all the strength she had left. She could not hope to hide from them for long; they would eventually find her anywhere she went. And, as Dr. Carter had warned, there would be no second chance. Her only hope depended on her cooperation with them from this moment on. “No, I suppose not,” she whispered. Without another word, she allowed him to gather her in his arms. She closed her eyes tightly when they rose into the air and headed back to Haven.