So I just had to write this chapter as a first person account of what Sookie is going through. The third person narrative just wasn’t working out for all that she needs to feel and say…
It is also starting something that I have never tried before…I hope you like the first part…Do share your suggestions and feedback so that I can improve and get a feel of whether I am doing this right or not.
So here it goes –
Michael? Archangel Michael?
I must be going mad!
Or over religious! Or both? God knows I had missed more Sunday church visits than should be good for my soul!
Had he come to strike me down or something? I wasn’t so bad, was I?
“You are afraid of me…” Michael didn’t say it like a question.
Damn right I was afraid! Who wouldn’t be if an actual blooming archangel paid them a visit? Were they even supposed to be real? Was he for real?
And why was he saying that I was his sister of all the things? I was just Sookie Stackhouse…
He pulled me into his arms, just like happened in the freakish dream I had had moments ago and stroked my hair soothingly, while whispering, “Please don’t fear me. I know what I am saying is a lot to take in for you. But I wouldn’t have come forward if there was any other way.” He kept his touch gentle. Although I didn’t think about reading his thoughts, I still got the feelings of love and happiness in spades from him. Curiously, I also believed all that he was saying, including the part of his being my brother and all. I mean he was an angel right? The highest wrung at that? He couldn’t lie to me. I could clearly feel he was no human or vampire. He was something else. His presence was something else. I did not once think about doubting what he was saying. I tried…But I could not…And however much I tried to shake the feeling, being in his arms did feel very safe and very familiar. I would have been soothed if I was not so shocked or freaked out though. This was too just too much to be happening for real!
“Is this a dream too?” I didn’t remember my voice to ever have been that squeaky.
“No this is not” Suddenly he went rigid and pulled back to look at intently at me. He had really beautiful eyes with different shades of blue and green swirling in speckles. They trapped me in his gaze and I felt like pinned to the spot. “Is this a dream too? Have you dreamed of me before?”
I had this feeling that he was not going to be happy with what I had to say. I sighed; trying to find words for the dream I had had a few moments ago. Telepathic…seer? God! I was one bag of crazy…But with Michael, the freaking archangel, standing on my porch, it really did stop to matter how crazy this appeared.
“Well I uh,” was trying not to break into a giggle at what I was about to say, “saw you coming…like a psychic? I saw you coming to this porch and telling me who you are, in a dream. That’s how I knew your name.”
He gasped and gently shook my shoulders. “When did you see this?”
“A few moments ago? I was still dreaming about this when you came up!”
All signs of pleasantness left his lovely face.
“Have you had such dreams before?”
“Dreams that came true?”
He nodded and added, “Yes that and others too. Strange dreams…Some that felt real but you had no idea how they could be real? Like you had been in places before but had no memory of them in waking life? Yet when you saw them in a dream, they felt familiar to you?”
Urrmmm…Why the sudden questions? They were just dreams right?
“I don’t know. I don’t keep track of them that much. This one was the strangest dream of my life though. It felt like a vision and then I was having visions within that vision…It makes no sense…It was like old memories coming back to me…But that stuff was way too old for me to having being there…” I shook my head to clear it up. Battles and swords and Eric? I was so not going to that dream now. That shit was way over my head!
“What were the visions about?” he asked very seriously, as if the fate of the world rested on my weird dreams.
“Uh wars? Not like these days but those hand to hand sword fight kind of wars…And…” do I tell him about Eric in the dream too? I decided that it was best to come clean. God knew he might know I was hiding something and then, sister or not, decide to strike me down for lying after all. I cleared my throat, “And I saw someone I know…in that fight.”
His eyebrows went up but he kept quite, waiting for me to finish.
“He is a vampire now…It is possible he could have lived through those times.” A muscle in his jaw twitched… “But what I saw was like he would have been when he was still human. I also saw gran. And some ship sailing.”
He looked at me for a while, not saying or reacting in any way. It was going past my patience and I was twitching nervously inside. I dared not read his mind, lest he realize what I was doing and go all archangel on me! Who knew what he was capable of anyways…So I decided to distract him with southern hospitality. “Why don’t we go inside. Can I get you anything? Forgive my asking but, do…ummm…angels eat human food?”
It didn’t work. He kept looking at me, clutching my shoulders, a look of calculation written all over his features. At last I couldn’t take it anymore. Now how do you question an archangel of his intentions?
“Michael? You really need to tell me what is going on.”
Not quite breaking his gaze, he answered softly. “That is what I want to know too. I see that there is no other way now. You need to remember…Come, we will go inside your home. Then I want you to do something for me.”
Were all men cryptic? Even when they finally reached the stage of becoming archangels? I guessed, I’d never know!
We went inside and he chose a spot near the windows, to sit cross legged on the floor, pulling me down to sit in front of him. Thank the lord I had cleaned the house before…
He took my hands in both of his, one hand clasping each of mine and again looked deep into my eyes with utmost gravity.
“You are safe here. Nothing can touch you right now. No one can see us right now. Close your eyes sister.” He coaxed gently and I couldn’t help but comply. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. “Keep breathing deeply. Concentrate on your breath, as it enters and leaves you…”
I focused on my breath and after a bit, was aware of nothing else but the feel of his hands and my own breathing. My shields came down but it was silent enough to hear a pin drop. He must be good at shields too. His gentle words touched me again, lilting and relaxing me to a deeper state of concentration.
“Good…That’s it…Now, follow your breath as it moves from your nose to your lungs…The air is entering your blood…It is traveling with your blood to each and every particle of your body…” his voice was deep, calming, reaching into me…I started to imagine my blood flowing in my veins.
“Keep breathing,” he whispered, “In your mind’s eye, keep following where your blood flows. You can follow it everywhere. You can reach everywhere within yourself.” We were building up to something. My concentration and focus were always extraordinary, having fought day and night since childhood to keep other people’s thoughts at bay. Under Michael’s strange spell, following his words with everything that I had, I started to feel a yellow glow appearing in my mind’s eye. “Yes. You found it. Reach out to it sister. What you can see inside is what you are. Reach out to it and look within. Let the light bathe you from within. Let the light show you the way from within. It will give you all the answers you need…Let it in Sookie… And let everything else go…”
I was quite…Calm…Focussed…And I felt powerful…I saw a likeness of me walking towards that glow in my head. I saw the glow engulf me completely, blinding me with its intensity. Michael said something about looking into it. About it having all the answers I needed. Right then, in that complete trance, the first thought I had apart from the light was of Eric…My Eric…Human…Vampire…And why I was seeing him like that in my dreams…
I opened my eyes and immediately knew I was in another memory. Instead of feeling strange or doubting it, I dove headlong into the experience. What I was feeling right then, felt like a sharp kick in the gut! I steadied and concentrated on the memory, on my feelings at the time of it and on the surroundings. And just like that, no more was I Sookie Stackhouse, the town weirdo and crazy barmaid.
I was more…I was so much more…
I stood in the shadows again. This time, hiding in the misty water of the ocean, while Eric’s ship was waylaid and his men were killed, by a much greater force, right there in front of me. It was just like that other battle I had seen. Bloody and brutal…
This was not something one could just come up with, in their head…It had to have happened.
Eric kept fighting off men and they kept coming back in droves. I had an urgent feeling of taking him away to safety, far from the battle, but somehow I knew I could not interfere.
His men were shouting to retreat from their ships in a smaller boat and leave the bigger vessels for the raiders. But Eric would not back down and let go. He was so like me…I could not help smiling to myself, despite the gruesome scene in front of me. I wasn’t disturbed by the gore in this memory. I was used to it now. I had seen it all, ever since I saw him first with his dying father. In this time and memory, I knew he was always going from one blood bath to the next. That was what his human life entailed and that was what was expected of him. Eric couldn’t help the battles. I couldn’t help not shadowing him when he walked into danger, so willingly. Looking within, I found so much love and adoration for him in my heart…It was staggering! I looked on as he fought…His propensity of finding himself in near death situations both strangely infuriated me and endeared him to me. The way he played with danger and welcomed it…
I could feel emotions running through me just as if I was feeling them up for the first time myself, clear and real…So I focused on them to understand what was going on…
A part of my soul was telling me I needed to let go. Grieve, and let go.
Then there was this other part in me telling me the exact opposite and I didn’t know what to do with that part.
It would not leave me. It would not let me back down and let go. I knew I needed to forget about Eric! Michael had told me to forget about him. I had a different life, a different purpose and a whole different dimension of existence. I could fight my family. I could fight my fate. I could put up a hell of a fight against people who stood between Eric and me.
What I could not fight was nature. I could not fight it, I could not change it, and I could not come to terms with it. It was just not fair. If only I hadn’t been what I was and he wasn’t what he was… But here we were. He was a part human, part fae, and I, an angel, was supposed to watch over him, protect him, and listen to his innermost desires and his deepest fears.
But I was not supposed to appear to him, stand with him, touch him… I was supposed to not love him. Or have him love me in return…
How could I not love him?
He was fighting off two huge raiders, the leaders of the raid, and their heavy spears. His left forearm was bleeding, as his right thigh, from deep gashes, from the spears. His body was drenched in sweat. His shield lay somewhere in the rubble behind him. But his sword arm was perfect, so were the near dance like movements his body followed, against the two warriors who fought against him. His eyes sparkled in his excited concentration and his lips were almost curved in a familiar smirk.
I surreptitiously entered his mind and sighed in relief. His thoughts were alert, fluid to a point of distraction and, not surprisingly he was enjoying himself immensely, almost praying for his two opponents to be quicker, stronger and less predictable with their movements. His mind was my favorite place to be, my secret refuge…
Eric ducked and rolled beneath a low spear blow only to stand at the other side again, now with another long knife in his injured left arm, which he picked as he rolled. He looked at his opponents and smirked at them, throwing some insults to get a rise out of them. They lunged at him, enraged by his insults and in their anger, gave him just the opening he needed. He suddenly kneeled and swung both the blades in synchronization, making identical cuts on both of their legs and sword arms. The two brutes shouted curses and stumbled forward. Eric could have finished both of them off, there and then. With the leaders gone, the fight would end. But did he ever do the expected? No! Now, the infuriating man wanted to have some fun at their expense.
I sighed and looked to the sky for answers. There were none, obviously.
He hurled some more creative dirt at the panting brutes and again they lost patience! Eric was right! They really were dumb…
A few of Erik’s men cried out and that sobered him up quickly. He made short work of slicing up the two he was playing sword with and ran towards his men, to help finish up the last remaining raiders.
I finally breathed easy…
He was safe now. It was time for me to go but my body would not move. I could not move. I could not take my eyes off him. His aura called to me. I closed my eyes in frustration and tried to calm myself down. However, instead of collecting my thoughts, I was pulled into the whirlpool of emotions flying around me. In the passionate red and black swirls of thought associated with bloodlust and battle going around, there was that one beloved corner I could not help but touch.
I had closed my eyes to not look at Eric and now with closed eyes, I followed him yet again.
He was rallying his forces and surveying damages. He quickly ordered a group to separate the bodies of his men from those of the sea raiders and sent their healer on a round to help those who needed attention for their wounds. In addition to their own three ships, they now had two additional vessels that the sea raiders had used to sneak up on them. Eric sent his second in command, Hermóðr, with four more of his warriors to check those vessels for the remaining members of the gang and spoils of raid. Everybody was in high spirits. They had had a successful Viking expedition, had foiled an attempt on their ships from the much feared sea raiders, had two more ships to their name which undoubtedly would contain more treasures and then, they were expecting to touch their homeland by tomorrow evening. By far, this had been Eric’s most successful raid.
He was happy.
Sadly, I was not. In his village, Eric’s grandfather was waiting with a marriage alliance for him.
I was conflicted…anxious…and a little angry…
This successful voyage would just add to his appeal and speed up the process to make the alliance and strengthen their ties with the girl’s village, where her father was the chieftain. I had seen her. I couldn’t have stopped myself. She was beautiful. Dark auburn hair, white tanned skin, bright green eyes, a tall body complete with the right curves. She was strong, intelligent and well versed in the ways of their people. His family had chosen very well indeed. I knew he would come to love her one day. It was only a matter of time.
It would have to be better that way. Then perhaps, in my most secret thoughts, I would not see myself making a life with him, in his home. His marriage would finally crush my little fantasy. Then perhaps I could be free of this dead end fixation I had with him. Then perhaps, I would not shadow his steps. Perhaps then, I could finally let go.
I had to let go…
I opened my eyes with that thought and saw Eric standing at the edge of the railing of his ship, looking into the mist that shrouded me. All the others were busy around the boats and he was alone on this side of his ship, his forehead crinkled in deep contemplation. He was thinking how the raiders came to know their location.
He tilted his head and squinted, almost as if he could sift through the fog and find what it hid. My heart wanted him to be aware of and looking for me. I knew he could not see me. But his eyes were still looking my way. The slanting rays of the setting sun lit up his long tangled golden hair into a halo and kissed his golden skin, giving him an ethereal glow. As if he was an angel too…
What if he was an angel too?
Or, what if I was human? Or fae?
What if I was the beautiful green eyed Aude?
What would it be like if he was returning from this raid to be promised to me? What would it be like if I was the blushing girl, waiting for her warrior to return and look at her for the first time on the sun kissed beach of his homeland? How would his eyes look when he did see that girl for the first time? What would his eyes say when he looked at me for the first time?
The want, tore my heart again. To pieces…
I hadn’t known that was possible for me. Want, jealousy, anger were such quintessential human emotions. I should not be feeling them. I should not have been even capable of having them. But here I was…spectacularly failing at keeping myself under control. I hadn’t known there could be this sharp knife twisting in me that I could not pull out or heal. For all that I could see, could feel, could hear, there was just one thing that could give me peace now. And I could not have it. Would not have it…
She would have it…
At that moment, with all the broken pieces of my heart, I wanted to be that girl.
I wanted his eyes to look at me. Really look at me. Take me in. Travel on me. Sparkle for me…I wanted to see love, adoration, want, pooling in his eyes as he looked at me. My need for that look in his eyes drove me to the edge and completely drowned me with this alien desire for his touch, even if it was just with his eyes. I had never felt this urge to feel his touch before…
What was happening to me?
And now, his future waited for him a day forth from today. He would be busy maneuvering their vessels through the choppy inland waters tomorrow. All I had was tonight.
A full silvery moon cast its hypnotic net and brought out the strongest magic in everything around. The water shivered and shimmered where her feet touched it. The wind dropped and the waves ebbed out. The sails on the five floating ships in the vast ocean went slack. The five elements of nature paused and reached out to her verve. The sailors felt a peace and contentment flowing in them that few had ever experienced as mortals. Wherever they were, they just stopped whatever they were doing and gave in to the restful and deep trance like sleep that overtook each and every one of them. Everyone, except Eric. In a dreamlike state, he came up to the prow and beheld the pure light walking on the ocean towards him. The water did not part under her nimble feet. The moonlight did not hold a candle to her. She was light itself, forged into the shape of a heavenly form, radiating beauty and grace. To Erik, she had but to say the word and he would become a mystic for life, to have her look at him again, just the way she was looking at him right then. He did not feel shock at the sight in front of him, nor did he feel danger or caution. His mind was bursting to the seams with her sight alone. Undoubtedly, she was a goddess, honoring him with a rare séance. His mind at that moment did not have the capacity to process anything other than that sight. Somehow, his soul knew it was safe. So he just stood there, at the edge of his boat, drinking in the sight of pure luminosity in front of him.
She came to stand a few feet away from the ship but said nothing. He felt a pull and dropped the sword he still clutched in his hand before diving into the water to get to her. His dive took him under the water and he turned with agility to get to the surface to breathe again. Only, when he broke to the surface and looked again for her light, they were no longer at sea. Eric looked around for her and gasped in surprise. He was standing waist deep in a shallow lake, surrounded by a lush dense wall of birch and pine trees. The trees looked familiar. Leaving the small rivulets of water ebbing around him, the water of the lake was unruffled and glassy, perfectly reflecting a full moon and the brighter stars. Somewhere, not in his line of sight, he heard the muted rush of a small waterfall, which might be slowly filling up the lake. Then he heard a stir in the water, much nearer to him this time, and he caught his breath.
He knew what made that sound.
Staying still as a statue, he turned his face slightly to his right and said in a hushed tone, “Är du en valkyrie?”
She did not answer. Erik turned to face her and this time, he forgot how to breath…
She stood there in front of him, a few feet away, in the water. Her light had transformed from iridescent brilliance to a soft glow, just bathing all of her being. Her long golden tresses rippled on the surface of the water where they touched the surface, giving a slight glow to the water too. Her lush form was barely concealed in a white translucent silken robe clinched lightly at her right shoulder and just atop her left breast, with plain unadorned gold loops. During his many travels, Eric had seen the finest silks, the warmest wools and the softest linens. But he had never seen a weave of cloth like the one that covered her, clinging almost as if it was painted there. The garment floated in the water too, just like her hair. She was swaying slightly, running her delicate fingertips on the glassy water around her. Beautiful, didn’t even begin to describe how she looked to him.
She tenderly touched a small wave that had formed in the water when Erik turned, and smiled shyly at him. Her smile warmed his heart with an emotion he had never felt before.
“Jag är i Valhala?” he whispered in awe.
She smiled some more. “Inte”
“Är det här en dröm?” he asked again.
She took a step towards him. “Vissa skulle kalla detta en dröm.” Then another, and her overpowering maddening scent hit him, “Men jag är inte en dröm.” She reached within his arm’s reach and stopped. “Och jag är inte din valkyrie.” She dropped her gaze on to the strip of water between them for a moment, and when she looked up to him again, her eyes shining like pools of crystal filled water in the sun. Erik wanted to drown in those eyes and never see anything else again. Her sight alone was doing powerful things to him. He had never seen anyone more beautiful than she…never seen a woman dressed in so less and yet look to be more innocent than a small child…The bare triangle of her waist visible over water just where her garment ended, the shapely rise of a full breast under the gold loop, her round, shapely arms, ending in the delicate fingers dancing on the water…everywhere Eric looked, his eyes sang in silent worship at the perfection they beheld.
He was awestruck… And found an urge growing inside him to reach out to this godlike woman, whoever she was, and hold onto her in a way that no one could separate him from her. He silently prayed for her to not be a dream.
Slowly, hesitantly, he brought out his hand and touched her hair floating on the water, almost expecting her to spirit away at the touch. Sookie was overwhelmed by his awe. And intoxicated by the want growing inside him… When he touched her hair she trembled slightly and leaned away, scared of her own urge to close the distance between them.
Afraid that he had somehow offended the Goddess like creature, Erik withdrew his hand and lowered his eyes from hers, silently thinking how to beg forgiveness.
Her musical voice broke the silence this time. “Nej… Var inte rädd för mig … Jag darrade eftersom …” she paused and searched for the words to say it, “Ingen dödlig varelse har berört mig innan…”
Erik’s eyes widened in wonder and he looked up at her, trying to believe what he just heard. She must surely be a goddess then, he concluded. He wanted to ask a million questions and struggled on where to begin. Knowing exactly what was going on in his head, she chuckled softly and closed the distance between them, placing her hand on his lips to keep him from saying anything else.
“Men ikväll … jag vill att du ska röra vid mig … Jag vill veta hur det skulle kännas” she whispered, her breath caressing him, her breasts gently brushing his chest. She traced her hands over his well sculpted arms and brought his hands to rest on her waist, “Jag vill ha din kamp härdade händer på min hud och verkligen vet hur grov och hur mjuka fingrarna skulle vara …”
Her voice was hypnotic…Her bare skin, where his hand touched her, on the left side of her waist, was wet, warm and softer than silk. His large hands almost circled her small round waist.
A deep fire started in Eric’s eyes…It broke the thin, stretched thread of control in Sookie’s mind, with a resonating twang, and she pulled his face to her for the first, searing, lovers’ kiss of her immortal life.
Är du en valkyrie? – Are you a valkyrie?
Jag är i Valhala? – Am I in Valhala?
Inte – No
Är det här en dröm? – Is this a dream?
Vissa skulle kalla detta en dröm. Men jag är inte en dröm. Och jag är inte din valkyrie. – Some would call this a dream. But I am not a dream. And I am not your valkyrie.
Nej. Var inte rädd för mig … Jag darrade eftersom … – No…Don’t fear me…I trembled because…
Ingen dödlig varelse har berört mig innan… – No mortal being has touched me before
Men ikväll … jag vill att du ska röra vid mig … Jag vill veta hur det skulle kännas … – But tonight…I want you to touch me… I want to know how that would feel
Jag vill ha din kamp härdade händer på min hud och verkligen vet hur grov och hur mjuka fingrarna skulle vara … – I want your battle hardened hands on my skin and really know how rough and how soft your fingers would be…