Disclaimer: I do not own Southern Vampire Mysteries, Charlaine Harris does. This is her universe that I get to play around and let my imagination run away with me. Thank you for joining me!
“The North Man would do the same for me, Miss Stackhouse.” Stan spoke into his microphone before he turned his attention back to the endless abyss of night.
The rotors on the helicopter whirred around the eight of us. Pam sat on the edge near the door. She was more focused than I had ever seen her. No doubt trying to hone into Eric’s exact location with the glimpses he would allow to filter through. So far he had yet to slip and allow any feeling through our bond.
It made me uneasy and pissed that he would not share his burden.
Yet another item we would talk about when I saw him. I was doing the best I could to not think about ringing his neck for not arriving to this dreadful place without an ally.
All were stupid in their own ways.
We were flying low through the Oklahoma country side. Pam, Stan Davis, and five of his trusted vampire guard. They were armed to the teeth, their fangs elongated in preparation for the fight ahead. Which would be soon, according to the landscape below whizzing by the window.
“Yes, I believe he would your majesty.” I spoke into my fuzzy microphone. I knew everyone in the aircraft heard our conversation, but I felt that this was no secret. “Eric is loyal to his friends.”
The vampire King of Texas nodded, bearing his fangs. “And Freyda has never understood allegiance. She has done nothing but downplay the relationships of ancient vampires. Eric is not a paper tiger, he is a sleeping giant. And Oklahoma will lie in pieces when Eric is unleashed.”
The very idea of Eric slaughtering other vampires should have disgusted me. Should have made me want to protest the King’s words. Instead of was thrilled at the thought that Eric would get his justice on those that had wronged him. Tortured him.
“Sixty seconds.” The pilot’s voice broke through my thoughts. The others began unbuckling their seatbelts and load up the last of their weapons. Pam tapped me on the shoulder but spoke calmly through the sound system in my large headphones.
“Follow me, stay close. If any danger awaits I will get you out.” I furrowed my brow and very close to protesting when she held up her hand.
“I will not allow you injury this close to freeing my Master. Statistics show that the closer to home, the more likely accidents will happen.” What? Now I was confused.
“But, we aren’t at home. We’re in Oklahoma.”
A slow smile spread across Pam’s face. “He is your home. You know I speak the truth.”
Eric was my home, she was absolutely right. I nodded my head willing to keep my tears at bay. “Then let’s get our home safe.”
“Yes, Mistress.” Pam whispered.
“This is not a drill people. Lock and load. Air drop in three…”
The doors opened to the chill of the night air.
The helicopter velocity slowed and I fell forward with the momentum. Once the aircraft was steady, I unbuckled my belt, ready to drop and run. I was not prepped for this other than a crash course explanation by Pam. I was determined to make Eric proud by not falling or tripping. I would make it to him in record time so that we could kill that fucking bitch who dared to trap what was mine.
Pam slid into the darkness, followed by two vampires who had sat across from us. I knew the ground was less than a foot, maybe two away. The moonless sky gave me no confidence on what lay below the HLO skids.
I exhaled a breath and prayed to God that I would soon be reunited with my Eric.
Then I dropped like a stone from the craft.
“You will do everything I wish. Isn’t that right Eric.”
Still not answering the fucking cow. I kept my face blank and my groans lodged in my throat by shear will. I would not give any satisfaction to my tormentor. Torture at the hands of an infant compared to my sadist maker was laughable.
Not wishing to tip my hand at my captor’s ineptness, so I help my tongue.
I shook my head at myself. This bitch captured me because I ignored all my well-honed instincts. It should not be. I had been caught up in the moment with Alexi to realize the trap stepped into.
Another deep slash crossed my upper thigh.
I was barely holding myself back from unfurling my side of the bond I had closed to Sookie. Pam was getting closer, I could feel my child clearly. Her confidence and reassurance was simultaneously uplifting and infuriating. My Child should be protecting Sookie, as per my instructions. She had some explaining to do.
If Pam was coming to me, which our maker/child bond confirmed. Where was my Lover?
Was she safe?
I desperately wanted to open the bond and feel my Sookie. Needed to feel her light, her love. It was hope and sunshine that would allow me to endure. Wheat and honey to my ancient nose. My senses were eased and heightened in her very presence.
Pam would not risk a rescue alone.
We had many allies.
Freyda had many enemies.
I knew that those circles intersected throughout the United States and was fairly confident of the European connections. No vampire overtook any kingdom by force without having to consider the ramifications. The ripple effect through the vampire world was deep and wide. Freyda simply didn’t have the backup of the initial take over to sustain her queendom, hence my incarceration.
On both our parts.
When De Castro invaded Sophie-Ann’s territory, he had the upper hand and a plan of action ready for both contingencies. One does not move into a land without replacing and sustaining the area with lasting leadership. All would be lost. Fights would break out anew.
“Answer me!” The silver blade crossed back over the top on my knee, the tip slid in a bit, scratching the knee cap.
“You only make this harder on yourself.” Freyda seethed. She was confident she would have had my screams and shortly after my compliance. After the liquid silver mist, she nearly did. I gritted down on my molars, found my inner space that no torturer could reach and thought of my Sookie. Her image shielding me from the attack. I had shook my head at her internally. I should be protecting her not the other way around. It was absurd and yet her fearful blue eyes gave me strength to withstand the deep burning.
I registered a beep on Freyda’s cell phone. This was the next set of cell interruptions coming through in the last few minutes. Interesting.
“Eric, I will leave her to Alexi. Don’t push me.” Freyda’s voice was calm. “How long do you think your Sookie will last? My wager is less than five minutes. Regardless, I will make you watch her end by that damaged vampire’s fangs.” Her voice regained a soft authority. “Be my consort, my enforcer. And I will spare your child and your telepath. Tick tock, Eric. Tick, tock.”
Freyda had been using the time reference as a stress trigger. Or at least she tried. Her skills needed some refinement.
Why would she care if it took fifteen minutes or fifteen years to track down my Bonded. The outcome, in her eyes would remain the same. Something was not adding up. Sookie was safe, wherever she was. How long she remained that way was still undetermined.
A vampire guard threw open the steel door to my sterile cell. “My queen, we are under attack! The intruders have set up…”
The blast was loud and vibrated through the silver gurney I was tied to.
“Again!” Stan bellowed.
The explosion had left a hole in the exterior walls the size of a semi-truck. The BETA Team was ready to set off their explosions on the other side of the compound in less than three minutes. Stan’s strategy was simple.
Distraction. Divide. Conquer.
Take Freyda alive.
First one to free Eric wins.
The next blast blew my hair around my shoulders as I clasped my hands over my ears. Pam was happy to be my vampire shield, avoiding any miscellaneous debris from hitting me. I had moved closer from my hiding space. Just in time to get an eyeful.
Dead were guards were torn into bloody pieces. An arm here, a foot there. Oh my God, is that a torso. It was the Walking Dead around here tonight. Literally.
I kept my head down and took a deep breath. My thoughts were re-focused on finding Eric, I just needed to follow the bond.
I would find him.
“Stay close, Sookie. The dungeons are a maze.” Pam said over her shoulder to me once the second detonation had concluded.
“How do you know?” I asked, patted concrete dust off of my well-worn Metallica T-shirt. I had grabbed the change of clothes along with a pair of black leather leggings and steel toed boots. I want comfort and efficient. God knows what I was walking into here.
Pam flashed her pearl white fangs to me. They were dainty and deadly. A fabulous combination on a high couture wearing vampire such as Pam.
“I have read Liam’s reports. Freyda inherited a palace from an old school vampire King. One who believed that if prisoners could escape, they should face other obstacles. Be careful Sookie. There are boobie traps set for a multitude of creatures. Not just vampire kind.”
“Oh, great.” This could not get any worse.
Pam smirk grew wider at my grumbling, then tapped the side of her head with two fingers. “All in the vault sweet tits.”
I flipped her the bird and walked over some ruble, into the compound and to find my Eric.
“Fuck! Get those idiots under control and protect what is mine!” The queen screamed at her guard.
The younger vampire swallowed unnecessarily, nodded, and then turned to leave.
“It must be so frustrating when a plan doesn’t go your way.” I chuckled from my bonds. It may have been unwise to parade Freyda’s failures while I was still tied up but I was fucking pissed. My child had brought a fucking army with her. The fighting would be long gone by the time she reached me. And I still had no definite clues to Sookie’s whereabouts.
“Fuck you Eric!” Freyda had stopped pacing near my head and bent down to my ear.
Whispering so close I could feel her icy breath on my neck, she spoke. “You will see your child die by my hand tonight. You will see the light of the telepaths eyes dim as I drain her, here. Calling out to you as I take her life.”
I hissed and fought against the silver to no avail.
“Hmm, or perhaps I will turn her.” Freyda smiled with malice. Her fangs long and thin.
“Yes, make her my immortal child to do with what I wish. That way her suffering will be endless. That seems a more fitting end for you both.”
“When I am free, you had better run far. There is no where you can hide from me. I will be your true death.”
Another explosion rocked the palace above and the lights went out. The red emergency lighting flashing on and off for a moment before staying on, a dull red highlighting the darkness.
Distracted, Freyda had brought a silver blade to my chest. “Who said I was keeping you around? If the palace is sacked, you are dead weight. Too bad my dear Viking, we could have been extraordinary. Your maker believed that you were being held back in that back water swamp. And I completely agreed.”
So my maker was ready to take his influence back after all this time. Freyda would have been dead by his own accident not after we would have been married. Appius wanted power but not a target on his back. I was the perfect shield. Fucking piece of shit.
“By all means, don’t hold a grudge just because he wouldn’t fuck you. You are not his type.” I sneered.
Anything to slow her down while Pam closed in.
“But you are. Alexi as well. I didn’t have any desire to lay with him, I am far above his meager station, no matter how ancient Appius was.” She preened and scoffed at the idea of fucking my maker. I couldn’t blame her. He was an eel.
Freyda backed off, considering her next words as her cheek flinches in concentration.
“I still have my minions out to collect your Sookie. I tell you what Eric, leave with me, now. Fight for me. And I will forget all about her. Sookie will not suffer by my hand. What do you say?” Freyda tapped her foot impatiently.
Was she serious? Reinforcements above us were inching their stake ever closer to her dead heart and she was still under the delusion that I would be of assistance. This was madness. I contemplated my next words by staring at the now darkened ceiling. My vampire sight was not impaired. Our vampire nature allowed us to be the perfect predators we are in the dark.
I opened the bond to Sookie. I needed to know where she was. Not just sense her existence.
I closed my lids, unwinding the link to my beloved, allowing after long last to let her light wash over our connection.
To my horror, she was as close as Pam was. Rage and anger clouded my one link to a peace I craved. My child would pay for bringing my Bonded to a fucking war zone. Enemies around every corner! Fuck!
I inhaled the stale basement air to clear my wrath. Knowing my Sookie, Pam would have had not much choice in the matter. No, my little lover would have been defiant, stubborn and sexy as fuck as she plead her case to my Pam.
They were very close. I triangulated their location as on the same floor I was. And closing in.
“What say you, Eric?” Freyda pressed.
Fear crashed through me, through the bond.
“Sookie!” I called out.
Pain exploded across my arm.
Shock filtered in, then determination spread like wild fire.
“You have chosen unwisely, Eric.” I registered that Freyda was holding a wooden stake over my heart. Ready to strike. “What a fool for a human you have been.”
A flashing light fills the room. Causing me to close my lids against the blinding glare. My eyes are slower than normal to anticipate the change in light. Normally, vampires would not need to guard against such a drastic change. But the silver and torcher have depleted my energy.
Freyda hisses, stepping back from me to the wall, I suppose in case the light is fatal. Ultra violet light is as dangerous as the sunshine. The bright white light fades into blue and pink fairy dust, my Bonded appears in all her supernatural beauty. Flanked by my Pam and….Alexi?
What the fuck?
“Eric!” Sookie shouted in fear.