William stood there shell shocked. He had feared for this moment, he knew it might happen some day, but he never expected it to happen now, he was not ready to face her. Arianne looked at the man with judging eyes, she studied him and she could see the fear in his eyes, but not the guilt. For a long moment there was silence, then Arianne decided to break it, "Two centuries William. I have been searching for you, struggling to find my way to India. I wandered this ancient world, seeking closure", she walked closer to William as she spoke, "Where is my Sebastian?" William tried to look away, he turned around, he could not face Arianne's question. "William answer me! What happened to Sebastian!?" "He died Arrianne! He is dead!" William broke down as he exclaimed the truth, Arianne's expression turned from a questioning angered gaze to a sorrow filled frown, "You don't think I know that William.." she said as her voice broke and a tear ran down her cheek. She walked in front of William and held his shoulders, "When I made my escape from the manse of Gaius Marius with the other slaves. I heard that they had taken the man who freed us and.... crucified him..", she spoke with a sobbing voice. "He died for you Arianne..He loved you." "He was foolhardy and he paid the price.. When I went to bring back his body, the crucifix was empty. For a moment then, I hoped that somewhere somehow he would still live, but the blood on the pillar destroyed my hopes. That is when I realized, if he was anywhere, if his body was anywhere, you would know. Now I stand here before you, I ask you, where is my Sebstian?" William closed his eyes and clenched his fist, he mustered the strength to face his inevitable fate. In that moment, the past seemed to flash before him conjuring a vivid image of that grotesque sight, of his friend Sebastian being sawed into pieces as he screamed in pain, his last words were for the wife he loved, 'Arianne! Arianne!'. William could not find Arianne, nor could he let her see Sebastian like this. He decided then that it would be best if he took the body with him, but he swore he would not grant his final rites till he found Arianne. He tried whatever he could within his means, but three decades of trying had not yielded any results. He concluded instead that he would wait, till the time came."Follow me", William said in a low voice before leading Arianne to his bedchamber. Beside his bed he kept a large wooden casket. He dragged it out from the corner and opened it. The casket, had the bones of Sebastian Kapoor. Arianne took small hesitant steps towards the morbid casket, she knelt down and felt over the bones. They were a terrible, mangled mess. "Sebastian.." she sobbed, "What did they do to you.." William put his hand on her shoulder and spoke, "For all its worth, he was brave. He was braver than I." "He was your friend William.. Didn't you try and save him?" she said in a tear filled voice. "I tried Arianne, I tried but I failed. The emissary... said we couldn't let the actions of one man destroy our relations with Rome. Nothing I said or did would change it. It was hard Arianne.. I just stood there watching my friend.." Arianne stood up and slapped William. "You failed your friend. You failed me ! Because of you, my husband died. You condemned me to two centuries of sorrow." William just stood there silent and sullen, tears ran down his face as he stood there facing his judgment. Arianne wept for her lost love, William could only stand and watch and contemplated over his own failure. He had redeemed himself in his own eyes, but knew that Arianne would never forgive him. There was little that could be done now, time it is said heals all wounds. As Arianne had the right to express her anger, two centuries of grief and longing poured out before him, William questioned the wisdom of this saying. When she was finished and dried her tears, she closed the casket and stood up. Arianne took a deep breath before she spoke, "Sebastian was a Hindu. He is entitled to a Hindu funeral. Can you give him at least that much, William ?" "I will call for a priest. We may begin the final rites tomorrow." The final rites for Sebastian were concluded some days later. A funeral pyre was lit on the banks of the sacred Ganga. William and Arianne stood at a distance from each other. There was still some anger in Arianne, but William could see she had begun to forgive him. A woman could not complete the final rites, so it was William who took the responsibility. They waited till the fires burned out, Sebastian's ashes were thrown in the Ganga. The chapter at last had come to an end, Arianne had achieved closure. The sun had set by the time the ritual was ended, the two immortals saw each other one last time. Arianne wrapped her face with the veil once more, "We won't see each other again William. Our paths may not meet again, not for centuries." "Arianne, you don't need to do this. You can have a place here." "No William, you don't understand. I have built a world of my own back in Alexandria. Perhaps some day, in this immortal life, we will meet again, I don't know, but not today. Farewell William Sayer." "Arianne, before you leave. There is one thing I'd like to ask of you." "I know what you're thinking William. You have my forgiveness." At that moment, William felt like a huge burden was lifted from his conscience.