Disclaimer: This wonderful world of Southern Vampire Mysteries and True Blood do not belong to me. They belong to Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball. I just get a kick out of fixing their stories the way it should have been.
Entering the palace throne room to yet another gruesome scene unsettled my stomach all over again. Yes, there had been patches and smears of blood along our way from the catacombs. But this room was…soaked in blood. The once white marble was covered in bright red pools edged with drag stains and bloody foot prints leading here and there.
The Texas vampire platoon that I had originally arrived in Oklahoma with tonight were talking in small groups. A second look confirmed they were gathered in their squads. Covered in gore and tensely awaiting the next command.
“I feel terrible for whoever the cleaning company is that have to clean this up. There may not be enough hydrogen peroxide in the state.” Eric smirked, amused by my ramblings no doubt. “I bet they make a fortune on this job.” I muttered to Eric.
He chuckled a muffled, “They always do.”
“Ah, here we are. Eric the Northman,” Stan Davis, the King of Texas and now King of Oklahoma’s voice echoed throughout the large open space. The assembled vampires turned their attention to us as Stan excused himself from Isabel, his Lieutenant to turn our way.
Isabel still looked as lovely as ever, her ensemble stained with blood withstanding. She wore a snug all-black outfit and knee high combat boots. She was every bit the bad-ass vampire Stan pretended not to be.
Stan nodded to Eric and my Viking returned the gesture before turning his sharp gaze on me. He unnerved me a little and that hurt to admit. After all, Stan was the dorkiest looking vampire I had ever seen. His large horn-rimmed glasses and his accountant attire were a screaming contradiction to what he really was.
A highly respected vampire king.
“And Miss Stackhouse, I am thrilled to see you both in one piece.” Turning his amused grin back to Eric he said, “You’ve arrived just in time.”
I tilt my head in confusion and then followed Stan’s gaze as he twisted his body to the right, allowing the new view to be the center of our focus.
Freyda. That uppity bitch was hissing and cursing from the silver chains she had wrapped around her. A stone alter near one side of the throne held her in place as she stared over at us. Her eyes widened in shock to see Eric and I watching her. I grinned evilly at Freyda.
Karma was a bitch, if you believed in that sort of thing. I certainly did and I was about to see Karma collect.
The alter Freyda was restrained to was also bloodstained, lit black candles surrounded the white stone making the blood seem more sinister. God only knew what a crazy vampire like her had used that stone for. I had a good feeling. Tonight though, I knew it would see a disgraced queen’s blood.
Shuttering in anticipation, I vibrated in anger just thinking about all the turmoil Freyda had brought into our lives. Eric squeezed my hand in his before bringing my fingers to his cool lips for a kiss. “We are pleased to be present for such a monumental transfer of power, majesty. Thank you for coming when you did.” Eric relayed his gratitude.
A shake of the head and then Stan smiled warmly at Eric. “Oh Viking. I do look forward to the times I can you’re your lanky ass. And in this case, I was already on route to claim my throne.” His eyes danced with mirth, “you are simply the icing on the cake.”
Eric rolled his eyes but bowed a little deeper to the king, showing more respect than his previous nod had displayed. Clearly these two had history and enjoyed needling each other.
“This is unlawful! I’ll see you all staked for this!” Freyda screamed, shaking us all back to the present. Like we all had forgotten this was a take-over, not a friendly bar-b-que.
Stan sighed, shaking his head in disgust as if annoyed that he had to clean up after a child’s mess.
“Oh, Freyda. Did you think I forgot about you and the impertinence you show me? Not only do you send piss poor assassins to my territory in attempts to end me and mine, but you try to maneuver my companies into foreclosure with your scare tactics. Tsk, tsk.” Stan shook his head in disapproval.
One thing I knew for sure, you did not interfere with a vampire owned business. They were deadly on a nightly basis but fucking with their revenue stream was an excellent way to get killed. Long Shadow had discovered that truth. Or maybe that Eric wouldn’t put up with someone attacking me?
I looked up and my beautiful, fierce warrior. Eric’s stance was tense as he watched the king saunter over to Freyda. His fangs had made an appearance. The brilliant white blades were glossy and long as he growled in her direction.
Probably a question for Eric at another time.
The king and Isabel strolled over the stone alter where Freyda was restrained. Eric placed his hand at the small of my back, by his side as we followed in the new ruler’s wake.
“Moves of an inexperienced brat, no wait, a selfish queen who butchered her way to the top of her own state. You have killed many loyal vampires, bitch.”
“Just as you intend to kill me now!” Freyda spat.
Stan’s fangs snapped down, finally allowing his followers to see the hidden, unforgiving part of Stan. I could also hear the pop of many other fangs echo around the room. Everyone was anticipating the moment Freyda met her gruesome end.
Admitting to myself that I too, was desperate to see it. If for no other reason than she would no longer be a threat to Eric and me.
Quicker than I could follow his next move, Stan twined his fingers around Freyda’s neck in a suffocating grip. She gasped for air fruitlessly.
Freyda was a vampire, she didn’t need air what-so-ever. And Stan may be older than I was previously aware of, proving to Freyda in yet another way that he was stronger.
“Yes, the difference my dear, is that I have wisdom and strength on my side.” Stan looked over to the dozen or so vampires who were handcuffed in silver on their knees. “Unlike your young gaggle of yes-men, who I am sure can barely hold a sword, much less fight with honor.”
Stan turned his piecing gaze back to Freyda in condemnation, “Really Freyda, I expected more from you.” Stan chided.
Stan let go of the fallen queen’s throat and walked down the three polished stone steps toward the few remaining vampires loyal to Freyda. The dozen or so vampires were clumped together with Stan’s forces surrounding them. The guards growled and hissed at their frightened captives, blood-lust hung thick in the air. They were all but daring for Freyda’s minions to put one fang out of line.
Stan had removed a pristine white cloth from his khakis and began wiping his hands clean of Freyda’s blood. It was a laughable sight since everything else King of Texas wore was in dire need of dry cleaning.
“My loyal subjects already know this tidbit about me, but allow me to share my obsession with you.” Stan smiled a charming smile to the Oklahoma vampires.
“I am a fan of George R.R. Martin, were he so inclined I would gladly make him my child tonight. If only to talk hours upon hours of his work and insights and ensure his books would continue to be written.” Stan chuckled as did his vampires.
“But I digress.”
Raising his hand, Stan summoned a very tall burly looking vampire with two curled fingers. I had seen this particular vampire before, while getting ready to invade. He was intimidating to be sure. He was as tall as Eric but thicker than a tree truck.
His large dark eyes were as lifeless as a shark. A ling beard that was braided down the middle of his chin swayed slightly as he made his way to the king’s side.
Nodding to the hulk, Stan paced back up the steps to where Freyda laid incarcerated. The big vampire followed suit.
“One of my favorite scenes in the show was when Khal Drogo crowns his queen’s very greedy brother. Tell me have you seen the show, or pray tell read the books?” Stan questioned Freyda with a glint of hope.
“Fuck you!” Freyda spit.
Stan sighed, “Yet another sign of the times we live in. Does no one watch or read magnificent fiction?” He shook his head in exasperation. Stan was quite the character but I knew he had something gruesome planned for Freyda.
“Ah well, back to matter at hand. I shall fill you into the plot point Freyda, since you were too busy fucking around instead of running a prosperous kingdom. Viserys demands that Drogo and his army give him what was promised, his crown. His throne, power over the seven kingdoms. How does he do this you ask? Why by threatening to kill his sister Daenerys’ unborn child. Laying the tip of his sword to her womb. A threat made by an over confident child.”
Stan laughs, “There is of course so much more to the story, but I’ll give you the highlights and the most important part of the story.”
Stan looked at the other vampire, who I just realized was holding a black cauldron, something you may find in a blacksmith shop. My grip tightened in Eric’s as he flooded the bond with calm, love.
“I too, have a crown for the queen.” Stan sneered at Freyda.
The braided bearded goon turned over the cauldron of what looked like melted silver over Freyda’s head. Burning into her hair, the skin of her forehead and cheeks and sliding down in large splats against stone alter she flailed on.
Screams and groans filled the air. Fangs snapped down all around me. I clung to Eric, pressing my body into his side. He wrapped one arm around me as he scanned the other vampire’s intentions. Pam was agitated, her fangs ran out as long as Eric’s as she flanked us.
This could be really, really bad. If Eric had to fight off any other vampires in protection of me while Stan was in the height of his power play. Blood-lust, I’ve learned the hard way is real, and a very, very violent emotion. Especially in such a huge group of conquering vampires.
The screams fad to moans as the silver cools on Freyda’s unrecognizable face. She continued to writhe and shake in pain. The silver is certainly strong enough to mam her but not kill her. Stan has truly done his homework on the art of torcher.
Another set of Stan’s vampires approach Freyda wearing gloves, they unwind the silver chains and remove the toxic metal that bound Freda to the alter. If she were still aware, this would be the time to try and escape. Not that she could after what Stan just subjected her to.
The smells of burnt hair and pained sounds are in the top five worst sights I’ve ever witnessed. I push my head against Eric’s chest and close my eyes to the sight. This is too much. No one lied when they said vampire politics are brutal.
I remember my co-workers talking about this scene after it aired on some overpriced premium channel. It was touted that night by the guys as one of the more horrific acts played on the show thus far. I seriously doubt Jason or Hoyt ever thought about what this would be like in real life.
I was ready to hurl, and I knew I had grown a stronger stomach since dealing with so much supernatural shit. But tonight was pushing it. I think exhaustion was setting in.
“Hear me now. This territory is mine!” Stan’s voice echoed menacingly through the throne room. I looked back up from the security of Eric’s embrace to see what Stan would do next.
And to think, this nerdy looking king is nothing but a bloodthirsty killer in a smart pair of khakis.
Take it from a vampire to misdirect everyone around him. Freyda certainly underestimated Stan’s wrath and she is paying the price. This little show will no doubt deter others from taking what belongs to Stan Davis.
Stan slowly unsheathed a great curved sword from the small of his back and stood menacingly over Freyda. Quicker than a snake could spit, he decapitated the queen of Oklahoma’s head.
Drizzled in shining silver, the skull fell like a stone and landed with a metallic thump on the stone surface. Where it picked by speed and bowled down the steps, every impact with the smooth rock made my nose twitch tighter in disgust.
To my horror, Freyda’s dismembered head was rolling right toward Eric and me.
I gasped, clawing at Eric’s shirt. Maybe if I climbed him I could get far enough away from it. Eric stopped the queen’s skull dead in its tracks with his large combat boot. A pained expression that was once a talking, walking, plotting Freyda stared up at me from the floor.
A moment later the one eye left uncovered by melted silver blinked up at us.
“Fuck!” I shuttered.
She was still alive! Would she heal herself if her head was reattached?
Oh fuck this!
This bitch had stolen my Eric, tortured him, and tried to convince him to be her sex slave. She had sent vampire assassins to kill Pam and me and God only knew what else this tramp had up her sleeve.
Rage and hatred fired through my veins, making my fingertips tingle in a white hot heat. I had no way to block Eric from feeling my fury. And I truly never wanted to hide anything from him again.
He deserved to know every feeling I had, since this was the bond we had signed up for and eventually accepted. Eric looked up from Freyda’s skull to me in astonishment.
So much hate and bloodlust swirled in me in that moment. Eric’s pupils dilated, his fangs grew impossibly longer as he growled his approval in my emotions.
My vampire was incredible and sexy. I nodded once and pushed through acceptance and determination through the bond. Eric winked in acknowledgement and looked to Stan, who was still holding his sword. He stood predatory and raw above everyone, his chest inflated as he surveyed a steely stare to anyone who was brave enough to look his way. Freyda’s headless body lay limply next to him.
A scream filled the air as Stan buried his great blade deep in Freyda’s chest, severing her heart. In the same moment Eric stomped the fallen queen’s head into the marble with a slippery sound.
Blood exploded where both of her remains had once been. I clung to Eric’s waist in relief as cheers of approval echoed the halls. Every Texas vampire was cheering for their King. I was so thankful that our enemy was out of our lives, for good.
Looking around at the celebrating vampires, I realized that Eric and I were building strong allies. I knew the past was a good indicator of the future and Lord knew, we would probably need them.
“You will find that I am a gracious King and if you please me, you will, over time be rewarded.” Stan stood calmly in front of the remaining Oklahoma vampires. If not for his fangs and the splattered blood appearance he gave, I would have thought we were in a board room. “If any of you would like to keep your existence past this evening, renounce your queen and pay fealty to me.” Stan’s voice was low and hard.
Silence descended for a moment, then every vampire in Freyda’s court rose on unsteady feet and formed a line to pay the proper respect to Stan Davis, King of Texas and Oklahoma.
The dining room was full of vampires and human donors. Eric, Pam and I sat at a large table near the wall and tried to process the events of the last few days. Okay, perhaps Eric and Pam were fine. No doubt they saw countless governments overthrown and partied with the victors in the aftermath many times over their long lives.
I needed a moment to calm down from the adrenaline rush of it all.
Alexi and Freyda were dead. Thank God.
Eric filled me in about Appius making his terrible arrangement with Freyda. I was disgusted that his own maker would treat him like nothing but a play thing. A sex toy. To be used and abused at his vile whims.
I hope you burn in hell Appius!
Stan strolled over to our table and gave each of us a nod in greeting. “Well, hello friends.” Pam, Eric and I started to rise from our seats. But the king shook his head and pulled out a chair to sit.
“No, please. Stay where you are. May I join you?”
“Of course,” Eric nodded towards to open chair. “Congratulations Majesty, how do you find your new acquisition?”
“Just as I dreamed it would be.” Stan laughed, “Over decorated and ran by bumpkins.” Stan shook his head as we shared in his little joke.
Vampires as bumpkins. Stan was quite a character.
“I do however have a matter to discuss with you, Regent. In private. My people have cleared Freyda’s office for bugs. I also insist that you bring Miss Stackhouse and Ms. Ravenscroft with you,” Stan’s brow raised in question as he watched Pam, “that is of course, unless you need the services of the donor pool?”
Pam smiled broadly at the king. I did as well, since he did not include Eric in his assumption. I was perfectly capable of handling Eric’s blood needs. Thank you very much!
A trickle of awareness ran through me as I thought about our most recent time together. It was unorthodox for me to have sex in an open hallway at a vampire takeover, but hot as hell. And I couldn’t wait to have my Viking to myself again.
Eric’ palm squeezed my thigh under the table and I looked up to realize I’d been caught by the bond. I blushed as he flashed his fangs. Our bond sang to me of Eric’s lust and love.
“My lover is impatient.” Eric whispered against the back of my hand, bringing it to his lips for a kiss.
Pam broke our heated exchange when she responded to Stan. “I’ve already attended to my needs majesty, but I always look forward to sating others.” Pam answered with a mirrored look of interested to Stan.
My friend was flirting with the king!
Stan leered at Pam, taking in her clean appearance of her little countered dress and crossed legs tipped in the tallest stilettos I had ever seen, “I would be happy to give you a tour, my dear Pamela. I do so enjoy a woman’s touch and I have heard that your taste in beyond reproach.”
“It is, and it seems you are in dire need of a woman’s touch again.” Pam winked.
Like Maker, like Child.
Stan growled in predatory need and then extended his hand to her. Pam clasp his and allowed Stan to pull her to his side. “What a beautiful tease you are.” Stan whispered to Pam who only smirked in response and then cast his gaze back to Eric, “Ready?”
Eric stood, my hand still held with his as we walked behind Pam and the king toward his new office.