Before I completed a step, a film of white energy swallowed me, halting me mid step. I struggled to move and couldn’t. I pushed at the thin white film, desperately trying to get to my Eric.
My Eric. Before I saw him with Freyda, I hadn’t really understood the meaning of the word mine. Now I did because my body screamed it for that six and a half foot huge vampire whose fangs were sunk in a neck that wasn’t mine. My eyes went red for a moment and in that moment, I somehow got Eric’s twisted angry rampage after Bill drank my blood yesterday. Of course he flipped. I was flipping out too. ‘Cuz Eric was mine.
I wanted to tear Freyda’s fangs out of Eric’s neck with my bare hands. Actually I wanted to tear her head off her body with my bare hands. And then blast Eric’s ass off for being anywhere near the bitch!
“He can’t hear you so stop punching my shield!”
I froze as Niall stepped beside me out of nowhere.
“Where the hell were you?! And why the hell do you always have to sneak up?” I yelled, a huge part of my anger now directed at my unruffled great grandfather.
“Oh shushhh little girl.” Niall waved a hand, “Not everything is about your love life. I had things to do.”
“Things to do? THINGS TO DO?!! WHAT THINGS???” I stomped my foot. I could still hear the moans. Their moans. Eric’s moans…And all I saw was red.
“Things like saving the last of my bloodline.” Niall hissed, pinning me with a glare.
“No one’s killing me and you sure ain’t dead.” I bitched. My eyes cut to the stage again, the scene getting more physically painful than a bullet in the stomach. And I knew how much that bullet could actually hurt.
“They don’t even see me.” my voice reduced to a whisper.
Freyda grabbed Eric’s ass and started grinding herself into him. Her moans took the tone of a seasoned porn star. My hands lit on their own and I dug my feet steady for the coming blast.
“I said don’t punch my shield! They can’t see or hear us because of it.” Niall grabbed my hands and just like that, the light went out of them.
“Let go.” I struggled.
“And what will you do? Go foolishly charging in the middle of a hostile takeover? How many soldiers do you suppose you would take out before getting slaughtered or taken hostage?”
“As many as I can before I die trying!” I argued belligerently, well beyond reason at the point.
Niall’s fingers tightened painfully on my wrists.
“No! I will not let you. I won’t loose you too. You are not going to die here. Not at the hands of my enemies.”
The moaning stopped abruptly and I turned to look. Freyda took a step back, her face smug, blood still dripping off her chin. Eric’s blood. She wiped her face daintily with a pristine white handkerchief. Eric’s hands dropped to his sides and he went silent and still as a statue.
“Now that you are done with your filthy ritual, it is time you hold up your end of the bargain Freyda.” Queen Mab sauntered onto the stage, another surprising punch to my already battered gut. “I delivered you the Northman, all soft and pliant.” Her fingers stroked Eric’s chest, “I took care of your interfering maker. Now you will give me Niall Brigant.”
I glanced at Niall and he nodded grimly, his jaw set.
“No need to be impatient.” Freyda replied, lisping a bit from her still unsheathed fangs, “The ritual is not complete. We will exchange blood twice more. The exchanges have to be spaced out to hold. And then our marriage contract will be signed. Until that happens, I am not required to hold up my end of the bargain and you can’t back out.”
A rush of energy circled Mab and released itself around her, shaking everyone within a ten feet radius.
“Do not play games with me vampire! Show me Niall and then you can proceed with your other plans. I do not have time to squander here.” The fairy queen snarled.
“Oh you’ll get that old fart alright.” Freyda giggled, ” After all, I have my claws on his precious great granddaughter. Niall will come to save her and then you can have at it with him.”
“And where is this precious grand daughter? ” Mab sneered, “I do not care what you do to get him to me. Just give me Niall Brigant and I’ll consider your end of the bargain fulfilled. If not…” Mab trailed off.
“Yes yes. I get it. Fairies collect their debts alright.” Freyda rolled her eyes and went to sit on the throne and then flicked her hand towards Eric. “Come sit with me Eric.”
Eric walked to Freyda and sat on the step supporting the throne. Sitting there, his head almost reached Freyda’s shoulders. It broke me to see him sit there like that, at that vampire bitch’s feet, and the tears I had been suppressing all evening finally trailed down my cheeks. I struggled with Niall’s hold again. His grip did not budge.
“Please let go.” I whispered. ” You do not understand. I have to get him out of there. He’s all I have.”
“What about me? And your brother? We have to leave now before anything else goes wrong. Come on Sookie.”
Before I knew what was happening, I was teleported out of the room I had half died to get to.
Niall brought me to a plain cookie cutter kind of an urban single level house, within a community of similar houses. I had no idea where we were. The house was plainly furnished, an open concept living room, kitchen and dining area, with doors leading to two bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a grass yard at the back that broke the monotony of white and grey around the house. I would have appreciated it if my nerves weren’t shot to hell.
It had been half an hour since Niall bodily ripped me away from Eric and the horror taking place in the throne room. He wouldn’t tell me where we were, or what he planned to do, or whether he would let me go or not. I knew that he was planning to go snatch Jason as well and that was that.
My earlier tears had bled out to an overwhelming anger. I was angry, hungry and running on fumes, the rocking trifecta that never ended well. Niall looked like a stone statue, expressionless and infinitely patient, as he sat in a dining room chair and stared at the TV.
Breaking news of the day- the wedding announcement of the Vampire King of Louisiana and The Vampire Queen of Oklahoma. The reporter gushed about the upcoming event, how the New Orleans headquarters were closed to media and public on account of the preparations and that the king and queen wanted privacy for their very personal ceremony. All this between spouting nonsense about how love and relationships was the common thread that linked vampires just like they linked us humans.
Someone give me that fucking thread and I’d shove her worthless drivel up her ass before choking her throat with that same thread. With love of course.
I had to give it to Freyda. Bitch worked fast. In the duration of a few hours, she had captured the attention of national media and spun out a story to explain the shut doors and secrecy around Eric’s HQ and found a way to marry and claim Eric in front of hundreds of witnesses. Ceremony was important to vampires. Who the hell knew how I was going to get Eric out of her clutches if she completed the ritual. Time was falling out of my hands and all I was doing was sitting on a shitty sofa, twiddling my thumbs. I should have been out there, helping Eric, saving him…
Even thinking his name in my head brought a fresh wave of furious need to my already fried heart. I looked at Niall, sitting all dapper in a suit, watching how my precious nascent bond with my viking crumbled on national television and how the media danced on it’s grave. I raised my hands and shot my great grandfather with my light. His chair toppled over.
“Watch it Sookie! Or I’ll have to tie you up. I have enough problems as it is.” Niall yelled, upside down from the floor.
He certainly had good lungs for one so old. But his yelling felt good. Some show of emotion was better than none. And I was spoiling for a fight. Verbal or otherwise.
“Take me back to Eric and you can wash your hands off me altogether.” I shot back. “One less problem to deal with.”
“Not going to happen sugar. Sorry.” he snapped.
“And what the hell are ya gonna do? Kidnap me and take me someplace safe where the bad vampires can’t get to me? Boy does that sound familiar coming from the mouth of a fairy.”
Whatever he was going to say was cut off by the shrill ringing of his phone. Niall picked up on the second ring.
I didn’t hear what was said on the other end but it seemed to give pause to Niall’s ticking jaw.
“I am cashing in on that favor you owe me.”
For all the worlds noises I heard without end on a daily basis, my telepathy gained me squat on the phone conversation happening seven feet from me. It was infuriating.
“Safe passage for my kin and me. Burn bridges if necessary.”
Niall nodded even though the person on the other end could obviously not see him, and ended the call after a minute or so of listening.
“Where are you taking me?” I tried not to let my anger bleed into my question. Yelling was getting me nowhere and I needed to get someplace badly.
Thanks for clearing that up!
“For how long?”
“As long as it takes.”
I gritted my teeth in an effort to not swear up and down the house.
“You’ll have to delay. I need to go gather my stuff.”
“No.” Niall fixed me with a stare. “You don’t need to go gather anything. You’ll stay here. I’ll go get whatever we might need. In the interim, don’t try to escape. I’ll know if you do.”
With that parting shot of vague sentences that I was learning were his specialty, Niall poofed into thin air, leaving me fuming in the nice proper cookie cutter house that I wanted to hack to pieces.
Good thing I had problems with following instruction, because two seconds after Niall left, I was marching out the door. Only to be horribly stung by the air and thrown back. I ran to the back door that opened to the yard, to again be struck by the same invisible force and thrown back on my ass. The inky night was giving way to a faint dawn. I turned away from it and wrestled the windows. I tried blasting my light at the doors. Nothing worked. Niall had locked me up tight.
I went around the house, trying to find something. Anything. And found the exit to a garage. There was a beat up old Lincoln sedan in there. A set of car keys hung on a rack just inside the door. I had keys and a car parked five feet from me but couldn’t get to it for all the pushing and shoving I did against the shields.
The TV was still droning on in the living room. News reports of Eric’s impending marriage floated to my ears sending each drop of my blood into an enraged frenzy. It burned me and stirred up my anger till I couldn’t see straight. I kicked with everything I had, at the shield blocking my way out the door, at the darkness blocking my bond to Eric, at fate for making me so helpless. Nothing gave. So I kicked again and put all of my frustration, my anger and my desperation into it.
I just kicked. Again. And again. And again.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
The insidious darkness curled and tried to overwhelm me. I beat it back. Being forced to sit still made me turn all my energy inside with a vengeance. But for all my efforts, I couldn’t find Eric. Hopelessness grew like poisonous weeds bent on choking the life out of me. I beat them back too.
And just when I was on the verge of passing out of despair alone, the gold thread of my bond with Eric pulsed inside my heart. I touched it. It shimmered in response and caressed me back. I clutched at it, tears of relief pouring out of my eyes. It flexed again and started twisting and turning, transforming from a single thread to a whole woven golden fabric that interlaced with my shields and anchored me safely within itself. With each twirl of the gossamer like thread, power flowed in me like an avalanche.
It grew and grew and became more than I had ever felt before. Then with one final surge, the gold exploded, touching each cell of my existence and lighting me up from inside out. I became dizzy and disoriented for a second, before I landed on my ass in a familiar tunnel of Eric’s prison dungeons.
Shocking was way small a word to explain what I had done. I was sure I would be ready to analyse and obsess about my impromptu teleportation in the next couple of years, but for then, I had to haul myself upright and go looking for Eric.
My sight was black. My thoughts grey. All I was aware of was incessant thumps against my ribs. Heartbeat?
Must be my heartbeat….
Everything was darkness as I floated in a vacuum and listened. In the lack of any other sensory input, the thumping ebbed, flowed and knocked at the mist around my sight. The grey clouds swirled and lifted for a second…
Scent, voices, cold hands. Clouded faces…All unfamiliar and strange.
An ache in my mouth and throat. Aching fangs.
I was vampire. I had fangs.
Cold skin. I was dead.
I didn’t have a heartbeat.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
That could not be my heartbeat.
I listened to the reverberating rhythmic pulses. They felt like coming from afar. They felt like coming from deep inside. And they were everywhere. The thumping felt urgent. Important.
I concentrated on it instead of the dark, and my senses started coming back again. Scent came first. I sifted through the scents I caught. One of them raised a faint red flag that my brain was too fogged to catch.
Thump…Thump…Thump went on the staccato knocking, dispersing more mist with each beat. I clutched at it and let everything else go. A thread of gold appeared in the darkness, faint, delicate, beautiful. The beat seemed to vibrate the thread. I couldn’t see the ends of it. I didn’t know where it came from or where it went. The thread flickered and I strove to not lose sight of it. It came back and flashed gold, beating, pulsating, spiraling with the unknown vibration that seemed to come from my still heart.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
In my lack of everything, the thread looked like a lifeline I couldn’t lose sight of. So I didn’t. And it kept getting brighter and brighter till it exploded in a spectacular vision of a thousand colors and dispelled my darkness away.
I regained consciousness but kept my eyes shut. By the scents around me, I knew I was in my own dungeon, heavily chained in silver. The chains were not directly touching skin which meant there would be minimal surface injury. But I could feel more silver in my bloodstream and that combined with the chains was draining me out. The sun had risen out in the world and I could feel the resulting pull of sleep in my bones. But I resisted giving in to death and took stock of my situation instead.
My body felt fine. No broken bones or missing vital parts. I thanked the Gods for that! Whoever my captor was, they were either stupid or overconfident. I’d gladly take either and when I found them…
My bonds with Pam and Willa felt fuzzy, as if someone had filled the connection with cotton wool.
A new weak link was rubbing like a saw inside. I decided to think about it later.
My bond with Sookie…that bond with Sookie was the one that was overwhelming all my senses and perhaps keeping me awake during the day and under siege of silver. It swept across me and charged my blood, as if summoning me to fly to her immediately. I couldn’t right then. So I turned my attention to other pressing matters.
Like, how the fuck did I end up bound in my own fucking dungeon.
What the fuck happened in my throne room yesterday?
And where the fucking hell were my progeny, my soldiers and my allies?
All I could remember was walking in the throne room. This gap in memory routine was getting really tedious and frustrating. But instead of going raving mad about it, I forced myself to calm down and consider my options. I needed to think. And I needed more information. And I needed to heal my body from the silver flowing in my veins. I needed blood.
And I needed Sookie.
I found the gold thread of our bond inside me and caressed it open again. The bond pulsed back to life and with it flowed in feelings of desperation, intense anger and bone deep weariness from my beloved. Wherever she was, my little warrior was no doubt fighting. And she needed my strength to do that. I marshaled my thoughts and channeled every bit of strength, power and magic that made me what I was, into the thread of our bond. The thread blazed gold and started twisting and turning and growing in volume. The more strength I poured in it, the more strength it gave me back. As always with Sookie Stackhouse, I gave as good as I got.
Freyda was feeling ecstatic. She had completed the second blood exchange with Eric before sending him to be restrained in the dungeons. That combined with Eric’s potent blood was making her senses sing. The third exchange was planned to be held the following night, amidst many influential vampires, a few carefully chosen media people and two witnesses from the new Vampire Authority of the US. She had carefully handpicked each person to be friendly enough, neutral and upstanding or powerful enough to attest to the fact that she was entering a legal and binding contract of marriage with Eric Northman. They would not know Eric enough to note that something was wrong with the whole affair but their presence would seal the deal for her. Meanwhile, friends of the Northman were being artfully kept away and his progeny were under heavy lock and guard.
The matter of the pet part fairy remained the only open end. Hallow’s spells showed she was somewhere within the compound. If she was this close, she would be found. All of Freyda’s day people and wolf guards were hunting for the girl. Freyda had no doubt that the flighty little half breed would be caught soon. And then there was just the simple matter of getting to Niall, through blood magic or through old fashioned blackmail, whatever worked. Mab would be paid off. Eric Northman would be her legal consort and in a few years she might think about getting his enchantments removed. Louisiana and Mississippi, including all the states’ resources would belong to Freyda. Eric’s chair at the Vampire Authority would be hers. And then, no Monarch in the United States would be as powerful as Queen Freyda.
Things were indeed turning out well and good. With a satisfied smile, she retired for the day.