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King Vasska knelt before the stone altar, his long hair fanning across the ground as he worshipped before the statue of his goddess, Amethia. He bowed down until his forehead touched the rough, icy floor. The smell of damp stone and earth filled his nose while the contact with the hard rock left a burning trail across his skin.
Brushing the pain from his mind, he closed his eyes to absorb the world around him, silently seeking divine acknowledgement, pleading with his goddess to no longer ignore his need. This was his last chance, and nothing would deter him from his request.
Vasska’s throat swelled as he fought back tears. Despair choked him. He knew he’d reached the end of his journey. If he didn’t find a mate this season, he would never marry. He knew that fact as well he knew the stars in the sky and the cycle of the moons. Maybe he had angered the goddess with his preference for males. Whatever the reason, loneliness stabbed him deeper than a knife held by his greatest enemy. After a millennium of searching, he couldn’t stand the wall of isolation anymore. Something had to break, and Vasska worried it would end up being him.
“Please, goddess, find me a mate.” His raspy voice echoed off the cave walls as he pleaded with the deity. “Male or female, handsome or ugly, I care not. Just bring me a lover with a kind heart and a strong spirit. Someone I can spend my days and nights with. I beg of you. By the blood of my forefathers, please bring me my other half.”
Vasska pulled himself off the ground and walked the short distance to the stone mantel before kneeling again. He unsheathed a sharp blade from his belt and sliced his wrist from one side to the other. He hissed softly, but made no other sound as he dangled his arm over the altar and dripped his blood over the letting stone. Only a blood sacrifice would catch the goddess’s attention. The rumor was that blood grounded her and pulled her attention from the stars. In order to win her focus, he’d bleed out his entire body if necessary.
“I plead with you, Goddess Amethia, protector of the innocent, guardian of the sun and stars, matchmaker of the rich and poor. If you have any fondness for me, please bring me my other half.”
Bowing his head, he let his tears fall, mixing with his blood. If this didn’t work, he was out of ideas. Everyone else in his family had found their mate long ago.
He was the only one remaining who walked alone, a fact his family pointed out time after time, hoping to use his single status against him. All proper kings needed a consort, but Vasska had refused to settle for less than his fated mate.
Rumors were beginning to spread that the goddess had forsaken Vasska, whispers no doubt started by his brother Derl, next in line for the throne. Bleeding and heartsick, the strongest vampire king ever born cradled his face in his hands and cried blood red tears.