“Remember how I was born,” she said softly her eyes darting to the side as if there was something to see there.
“I don’t wish to,” he sighed. Regret flooded his system at the memories, no matter how hard he tried that would never leave him.
“Wishes are for the weak,” she said with an unmistakeable strength. “Remember.”
“I seek healing in a future now,” Godric frowned. “It is not of wishes but of truth.”
“Not everyone who claims to speak for a God actually does,” she warned as the light that shrouded her dissipated and Godric was left to his eternal solitude once again.
“Cecily,” he spoke once more but this time no answer was received.
Sookie had to work the lunch shift during the day and the lack of sleep and blood loss was wreaking havoc with her mental shields. She had already messed up several orders and Sam had ‘suggested’ she catch her breath out back. She hated being ordered around even if it was in her best interest. Reluctantly she had gone out back wishing she had a nicotine habit so she didn’t feel so useless standing around.
When Lafayette came out to take out some trash she caught him worrying for her in his mind. When she heard his mind skip to the other Stackhouse of Bon Temps Sookie’s rage could hardly be contained.
“What the hell are you doing selling Jason V?” Sookie exclaimed. “Or selling V for that matter.”
“Fuck Sook,” Lafayette replied, “Gets outs of my head.”
“Too late,” she said aggravated as she gestured for him to get on and explain. The threat of pulling it from his mind if necessary was evident. ”What were you thinking? Are you draining vampires?”
“Shit no Sook,” Lafayette said affronted. “I have an arrangement with a vampire. He’s disappeared though. I’ve stopped selling since.”
She looked at him sceptically until she caught the images from his mind. Sookie grimaced a little at it before she managed to close up her shields again.
“You’re making this right Lafayette Reynolds,” she said pointedly. “Come to my house after your shift.”
Her conversation with Sam went as predicted, he even pulled in Tara to gang up on her. She relented and continued her insistence for her time off and what she was doing with it was none of their business. A threat of quitting was made and knowing her stubbornness Sam finally relented.
Sookie asked Tara to look after her house in her absence and even offering for her to move in permanently. She would consider it while Sookie was gone but she was really enjoying staying with the mysterious Maryann Forrester.
She had a little time left before sunset and she instructed Lafayette to help her pack up her car with the necessary supplies. He reluctantly abided by her wishes and kept his opinions on operation Free Billy to himself. She left a note with instructions for Tara and closed up her house. They walked over to Bill’s house through the cemetery. Sookie remarked that she seemed to be living her life in between the living and death in an endless loop that never seemed to let her up to catch her breath. It was mere weeks ago that she was fighting for her own life in this very spot as Rene chased her. The heavy thuds of Lafayette’s footsteps slowed them down considerably which meant they found Pam ready and waiting on the porch.
“Hi Pam,” Sookie said cheerfully as she bounced up the steps to the Antebellum home. “I brought you a present.”
Pam cocked her eyebrow at her in question, “Who’s the queen?”
“This is Lafayette,” Sookie introduced. “He will feed you tonight after I release your command.”
“You brought me a fangbanger?” Pam drawled amused. If she thought it possible she’d be touched at Sookie’s gesture.
“I ain’t no fangbanger hookah,” Lafayette replied annoyed.
“Oh honey, I haven’t been called that in quite some time,” Pam replied as her fingers tapped away at her crossed over arms. She scented the air differentiating the scent of his blood from the delectable scent that was Sookie’s. B negative she discerned, not her favourite flavour but welcome nonetheless. Her continued unrelenting stare was clearly unnerving Lafayette and she let out her fangs with a little hiss to amp up the adrenaline coursing through his veins knowing it would heighten the dull flavour.
“Let’s do this Sook, this place gives me the creeps,” Lafayette said speaking more of the female vampire than the derelict home.
“Be nice you two,” Sookie admonished as she gestured them to sit on the sofa in the living room. Much to Sookie’s surprise they obediently sat down next to each other. She moved to stand behind Pam and concentrated on her task at hand.
“For future reference Sookie, the clothing is not that far off but I really do enjoy a donor with less equipment,” Pam mused as Sookie placed her hands atop her head.
“Noted, now let me do my thing,” she said as she set to work on releasing Pam on the last command Godric had enforced on her through Eric.
“Bitch it’s not like yous is my type either,” Lafayette snapped back. “Your earrings are killer though.”
Pam regarded him with her patented scrutiny. “I like your,” she paused before she found the most inoffensive item, “scarf.”
“All done,” Sookie announced as she released the female vampire from her last remaining restraint. Pam was on Lafayette in an instant and Sookie worried if perhaps she was taking too much as she greedily gulped down Lafayette’s blood. She retracted her fangs with a satisfied smile and a still alive Lafayette was stunned into silence for the first time in his life.
“Mmmm, funky,” Pam mused as she ran his flavour over her discerning palette. “Witchy.”
“We even now Sooks?” Lafayette asked as he felt at his closed up wounds. Sookie nodded and bid him goodbye. He seemed to move out of there quicker than a vampie. Pam soon returned from the bathroom all cleaned up from her ‘morning’ snack.
“How are you feeling Pam?” Sookie asked as she pulled the last of Bill’s Tru Blood supplies from the fridge.
“Better,” she replied. “Are we set to go?”
“Yes. Let’s take these and leave.”
Pam scrutinised Sookie’s little yellow rust bucket of a car as they filled it up with the last of their things.
“I think I’ve been in more reliable cars when this thing was still considered new,” Pam said with disdain.
“It’s all that’s on offer Pam,” Sookie replied with a clipped tone. “Unless you want to walk.”
Pam looked down at her shoes and briefly considered it but it would be some time before she would be able to reunite with her vast shoe collection. That was a big if at the moment. She reluctantly seated herself in the front passenger seat.
“What’s Godric like?” Sookie asked once they were firmly on the road.
“I never met him. Eric hasn’t seen him since before he made me,” Pam replied. “I only saw him from afar when we were in New Orleans. Eric always had great reverence for his maker. I never thought we’d be in the situation we’re in.”
“How about Russell Edgington?”
“I met him once when he was still King of Mississippi. Eccentric,” Pam shrugged. “He looks unimpressive but radiates power. His consort was entertaining.”
“Is he the oldest vampire you ever met?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“Feel free to elaborate Pam,” Sookie said with an eye roll.
“I’ve never had to entertain a human before,” she replied before thoughtlessly supplying, “Unless it involved sex.”
“Just tell me something interesting and I’ll respond. Try not to use one word sentences,” Sookie informed. “You and Eric seemed to talk just fine amongst yourselves.”
“You’re not Eric.”
“I know,” Sookie sighed not wanting to think of his impending fate if they failed to locate the eldest vampire in North America. “Just talk to me about something that’s important to you.”
“It’s a start. I guess,” Sookie mumbled to herself. By the time they were slowing down to their intermittent stop in Mississippi Sookie was well informed on the art of footwear. Though most of the names Pam was rolling around her tongue were too foreign sounding for Sookie to store in her own vault. It kept their minds off the situation that would otherwise cast a dark cloud over their travels.
When they reached Jackson Pam instructed Sookie to a meeting point. There Alcide Herveaux would join them. Apparently actual wolves guarded Russell’s layer so they would need the help of a werewolf. This made no sense to Sookie but according to Pam it was the most logical thing in the world. Alcide’s father was in debt with Eric and she was calling in his marker. He seemed pleasant enough to Sookie his thoughts seemed to be mostly preoccupied with his relationship troubles.
Sookie was surprised Pam didn’t upgrade to Alcide’s truck. It was certainly nicer. When asked, Sookie was treated to vampire 101 on weres. The gist of it came down to their offensive smell and Pam’s suspicion of their hand in the V trade.
When Sookie asked if her smell was offensive too Pam replied it was the sweetest she had ever known. It well made up for the craptastic state that was her car. Sookie tried to take it as a compliment but it was a far reach.
They set up camp at the closest known location of the ancient vampire. Pam sped off in one direction whilst Sookie and Alcide, in wolf form, took to the other. They met back just before dawn neither party finding anything promising. They stood looking over the map again crossing of the caves they had reached.
“We need to expand our search area,” Pam observed. “How large is your range sugar lumps?”
“I’m not sure,” Sookie replied. “I’ve never taken my shields down fully.”
“Try it,” Pam encouraged. “Tell me when you hit the first cluster of minds.”
Sookie concentrated on lowering her shields. When they were all but down she hit her first cluster indicating a town of some sort. ”Now. South from here,” Sookie said. “My shields are not all the way down yet. Another settlement to the north.”
“Eight to ten miles then,” Pam calculated by the map’s scale. “We can work with that. Wolf arrange us a helicopter.”
“Pam ask nicely,” Sookie admonished.
“Wolf please arrange us a helicopter,” she all but gritted out.
Eric walked through Fangtasia one last time taking it all in. He was never sentimental about buildings or things for that matter. A thousand years showed you the value of immateriality. However, this place had become special to him, it was where he could first truly be himself without repercussion. He took pride in that.
The Great Reveal wasn’t something he had been a fervent proponent or opponent of. His indifference was stemmed from the acknowledgement of the necessity in evolving times but he wasn’t as disillusioned as some to think this would erupt in a golden age for his kind. He understood the threat humanity could be upon them and vice versa. Had it not been for the Great Reveal his stay in Louisiana would most likely have forced him from the area considering how long he had already resided there. Somewhere he had grown attached to these surroundings.
It was also the place where a young woman in a white dress adorned with little red flowers had entered to alleviate his eternal boredom. He had taken to her instantly not that he would let her know that. No he had observed the enticing creature from afar. He often wondered what would have happened if they had not been interrupted by that raid. Perhaps that pull that existed between them had ignited then as it had two days ago. He vowed if by some slim chance he made it out alive he would change that supply room into a shrine. More magnificent than his throne. He would tell anyone that would listen that that is where his life had changed.
He said goodbye to a place, to a building, to memories cherished. Never had he departed anywhere with such weight in his step. He left instructions to the human guards and handed over his keys. He got into his cherry red corvette and sped down the road. He’d be in New Orleans within five hours. Under normal circumstances his lead foot would lead him in there in three. Tonight he would take his time, rev the engine to make it enjoyable but not to hurry on down.
He arrived to a stripped palace. Eric never had enjoyed the ostentatious taste of Sophie Anne’s regime but the sight before him just emitted the impending end. It was depressing. He was never down trodden in his existence, he left that to brooding vampires like Bill Compton. Sookie had ignited some hope in him even though he knew it foolish to entrust in that.
He greeted his master in the new throne room. Eric suspected this used to be a courtyard he had never ventured in before. It was simple and understated with its bare furnishing. It suited his maker who always preferred a hard wooden seat to a plush one.
“It is good to see you again,” Godric greeted.
Eric simply nodded continuing to focus on his ‘loss’ of Pam. It had the intended effect, Godric quickly shut down his side of the bond. Eric never thought he would be using the teachings of his master against him. Find that grain of weakness and pick at it till it collapses.
“I seek your assistance with one of the vampires of your area,” Godric said as he motioned Eric to sit.
“I am yours to do as you see fit Master,” Eric replied sitting down on the uncomfortable bench. Even more so considering his height.
“He has proven himself to be an excellent repenter,”Godric said. Eric groaned internally not needing to hear the name to confirm the vampire’s identity.
“Bill Compton,” Eric spoke knowingly.
The Civil War veteran had proven himself to be quite the slippery eel. He had spent years in the service of the queen jumping from ship to ship to his advantage. It didn’t surprise Eric at all that his ‘repention’ had happened so soon and so successfully.
“Yes,” Godric replied with praise. “He has admitted to some immoral dealings on behalf of the former queen.”
“I am not surprised,” Eric replied. “He was her procurer until he relocated to my area.”
“You are sure he was retired?” Godric asked.
“The palace had confirmed as much when I enquired.”
“He has accused you of colluding with the crown,” Godric said seriously as he felt the rage boil in his child with his next sentence. “The acquisition of a telepath.”
Sookie was the weakness that would fester at him if given the opportunity. His carefully contained emotions of a thousand years blew out at the mere mention of her. It didn’t surprise Eric one bit that it would be Bill who would reveal her identity so easily and use it for his own gains.
“Tell me the truth Eric, repent your sins.”
“I have nothing to repent,” he seethed. “I told you about Sophie Anne’s plans to sell our blood. That is the only sin I carry.”
“I can feel you speak the truth,” Godric returned after some contemplation. “Perhaps you feel you have nothing to apologise for when it comes to the telepath.” The rage continued to rile through their bond despite Eric’s stoic exterior.
“I will tell you how I came to know about the telepath,” Eric offered after he managed to take control over his emotions again. “Bill Compton brought her to my bar and announced her gift to a room full of vampires.”
“How did he do that?” Godric asked recording his answers on a legal pad.
“He asked her what everyone was thinking. She answered something about sex then he said at an audible voice for all vampires in the room to hear ‘one needn’t be telepathic to know that’.” His maker motioned for him to continue. “I asked to be introduced and while we were speaking she revealed her gift by informing me we were about to be raided and that a vampire was illegally feeding in the bathrooms.”
“What is this I feel from you?” Godric asked. “It is almost like warmth.”
“I know less than you,” Eric replied shortly. “I requested use of her services when funds had gone missing from Fangtasia. She was able to find the culprit who turned out to be our business partner Long Shadow.”
“The telepath can read vampire minds?”
“No,” Eric responded shaking his head. “She was able to release the glamour on one of my employees as it had been imposed by Long Shadow. When he realised he was caught he attacked her.”
“Why do I feel regret from you?”
“I should have seen to her safety. She is,” he paused before he continued and corrected, “was a valuable asset to my retinue. I assumed the thief to be human.”
“Bill Compton killed Long Shadow in her defence,” Godric said looking at the Magister’s file. “He was forced to turn an innocent.”
“Yes,” Eric said. “I followed the required protocol in reporting the crime.”
“Would you have protected the telepath if Compton had not intervened?”
Eric nodded. “I would have been in my right as he had stolen from me. The telepath’s life was more valuable than his.”
“You do not often come to the defence of a human,” Godric noted
“She is no ordinary human.”
“The warmth I feel it whenever you speak of her,” he said puzzled. “What is her name?”
“Sookie Stackhouse,” Eric replied testily, the words rolling with ease off his tongue.
“You care for her?” his maker asked with some surprise.
“She is special to me,” he admitted knowing there was no possibility of hiding this from his maker.
“You were pursuing her?” Godric asked. “Romantically.”
“As much as was allowed while honouring Compton’s claim on her.”
“You were his Sheriff,” Godric said confused. His son was never one to let things lie untouched. “You could have claimed her from him, especially considering her talent.”
“I wanted her to come to me of her own accord,” Eric explained with regret. “She is not one to be forced to do anything.”
“The honour cultivated in your human days never really dissipated.”
“I don’t think I would have made it this far without it,” Eric shrugged.
“You were unaware of your queen’s intentions?”
“I had unconfirmed suspicions.” Eric said whilst running his fingers along the bridge of his nose. “Compton’s sudden retirement struck me as odd especially when he came into my bar parading a virginal telepath. One he coincidentally found hidden from the world in his former human hometown.”
“That would raise suspicion,” Godric agreed. “I would expect a former procurer to inform his queen immediately upon discovery.”
“He claimed to love her,” Eric returned with a slump in his shoulders. “He took no precautions for her protection. He did not bind her to him by blood exchanges only ties. I assumed he had revealed her to me so I could ascertain her effectiveness. I feared he was preparing to sell her off to the highest bidder with my testimony. I had put things in motion to protect her from poaching.”
“Such as?” Godric asked pen ready in hand.
“The demon lawyer Cataliades was preparing an employment contract for her. She had agreed to work for free at my disposal as long as any wrongdoings would be handled by human law enforcement where possible. The contract would put her on my company health plan. I knew she was in need of that.”
“She must be very special if she managed for you to agree to those terms,” Godric chuckled. “I would like to meet her.”
“Is that necessary?” Eric asked tensely.
“Yes,” Godric replied. “You have confirmed to me my suspicions that Compton was speaking half-truths. I wish to hear from Ms Stackhouse herself. I have already sent the human guards to retrieve her.”