Hey, hey readers!
I wasn’t going to post this until after my legs felt a bit better (I had two procedures in the last week and a half), but I’m in a celebratory mood. My birthday was earlier this week and I thought I’d gift you all an update! Don’t be like Canon Sookie and refuse my gift. It’ll make me drop fang and hiss.
This chapter is a wee bit shorter than the last two. In fact, it’s normal-sized! Don’t worry though- I’m sure you’ll get another Viking-sized chapter soon.
In this chapter our favorite vampires are about to move the pieces around in our chess game. They’ll be working through Sookie’s little epiphany and figuring out their next move. Next chapter Bon Temps gets a look at Faepire Sookie out in public. About time, right? And, finally, the members of the Authority have returned. Apparently Nora talked them into coming back.
I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing.
They’re feeding right now (remember when I said I’d have to bribe them?), so they won’t be making an appearance for a couple chapters. But, honestly, who wants them around when we’re opening gifts anyway?!
Disclaimer: I do not own True Blood or Southern Vampire Mysteries. Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball, and HBO do. Yet, that didn’t stop me from wishing I did when I blew out my candles.
I could feel myself becoming more predatory as soon as the word left my mouth, the vampire in me rebelling against the idea that these two ancient vampires were not just manipulating me into getting what they wanted, but my entire bloodline. My emotions rapidly tightened, nearly fading away, and my shoulders dropped, loosening up as my muscles relaxed. Everything around me came into focus, becoming sharper, crisper, as my vampire senses drank in the world around me. Godric eyed my predatory stance, immediately going on full alert while Eric fruitlessly tried pushing me reassurance. The only thing that kept me from bottoming out, from fully becoming my inner predator, was reminding myself of the incredible threat my kin were now facing.
“What do you mean by that, Sookie?” Godric asked.
I vamped to my feet in a blur, reached across the table to snatch up the Smartboard console, and quickly flipped it on. Godric taught me how to use the Smartboard back in Texas and had a new one installed in our day-rest area. As it loaded, I looked back to the two of them and said, “If that happens, Russell wins.” My voice got quieter as the bright future I once envisioned suddenly became much darker, more sinister, “And we all lose.”
“How?” Eric asked, confused.
I ask a question of my own in response, “Who is Salome’s biggest competition?”
“The Guardian,” Godric replied instantly. “She’s the leader of the Sanguinistas and he’s the leader of the Authority.”
I nodded slowly, thinking everything through, and pulled the electronic pen from the console. I walked up to the Smartboard and drew a large rectangle, demonstrating the Authority’s complex. At the center of it, I drew one circle, labeling it “G” for Guardian before drawing another with an “S” for Salome.
“Where do they keep the prisoners?”
“Underground, Sookie, on the second level down. The entire complex is set up underneath a useless building,” Eric answered as he slowly stood up, watching warily as I fluidly made the rectangle 3D and added the underground layers. Godric joined us too, standing to my left as he watched me fill in a series of cells, adding dozens of faces inside them and labeling it all, “Sanguinistas.”
“The main floor, child, where they hold their meetings,” Godric informed me.
I added a few rooms along the perimeter and slowly began filling them in on my thought process, “What Eric said about Salome runnin’ around tryin’ to gag them, it’s wrong. She doesn’t like gettin’ her hands dirty. She’d seek out one person and make a deal with him, she’d seek out the strongest of the group.”
I then added an “R” to one of the interrogation rooms.
“Russell came to terms with the Sanguinistas, but ultimately wants to topple the Authority and establish his own regime. Salome would approach him, since he’s one of the strongest vampires in the U.S. and claims to be her ally, and make a deal, believing savin’ his life would indebt him to her- that she could suddenly control Russell if he were caught. So, she’d ask him to take out her biggest competition.”
I drew an arrow, moving Russell from the interrogation room to the conference room where I redrew his circle and placed an X over the Guardian’s. Godric and Eric stilled as their emotions suddenly scattered into static, exchanging worried glances over my head. With every word I spoke, I could sense the vampire, the predator, stirring inside them too.
“But Russell cannot be controlled. He would take the Guardian out for his own purposes and turn on Salome, either ending her or forcin’ her compliance. He seems to prefer the latter when it comes to vampires. He could easily end Sophie-Anne, but he wants to maneuver her into marriage instead. After takin’ out the Guardian and turnin’ Salome into his asset, he would take control of the complex. If these prisoner cells are full, he then has hundreds of Sanguinistas he can draft into his army, promisin’ them their release in exchange for their service,” I finished, drawing a king’s crown on Russell’s circle.
“Checkmate,” Eric repeated, feeling oddly numb.
“What was it that made you think this way, Sookie?” Godric asked, a little awe leaking into his voice.
I looked at Eric, who looked kind of pale even for a vampire, before I turned back to Godric and explained, “What Eric said about Salome runnin’ around gagging them all- it suddenly painted the picture of an army stuck in a prisoner-of-war camp. I shuddered at the thought of either Salome or Russell gettin’ their hands on an army of Sanguinista vampires.” I turned back to the Smartboard, pressing my finger to the touchscreen and drawing a circle of a different color around Russell as I added, “The story in the Bible, it was enough for me to glean a pattern. All of us follow patterns without realizing it and those patterns become very obvious to a telepath. This pattern trails all the way back to Salome’s human days. It’s the dance of the seven veils all over again. She plans to seduce Russell, the king, with an offer of freedom under her service, asking for John the Baptist’s head,” I circled the Guardian next, “in return for her performance. What she doesn’t realize is Russell isn’t the king, he’s the snake in the garden of Eden. She can no more control him than she can the devil. He’ll turn on her and destroy the Authority completely before makin’ deals with the Sanguinista prisoners, makin’ them attack humans out in the public to start a war-”
“Why would he do that? We would be hunted,” Eric snarled, feeling murderous. He hadn’t been immersed in Russell’s mind like we had, so he didn’t know what Russell was ultimately trying to accomplish. With the way Eric’s mind worked, though, I had no doubt he would’ve picked up on it after just one conversation with Russell.
I turned to Godric and he shook his head, waving at me in permission. It appeared my maker was enjoying my show-and-tell time and was letting me reveal what we learned from Russell’s mind as well.
“It’s his plan, Eric, his big, grand plan. What did he accomplish by gettin’ his werewolves involved in WWII?” I asked.
“He enmeshed himself in the war, inserted himself in humanity’s affairs to worsen the conflict. He wanted to cause as many human deaths as possible,” he stated, having actually lived through that nightmare. I really didn’t want to be the witness to another world war. We had to stop this from happening. He looked at me while he considered everything he learned over the years and slowly concluded, “He was hoping vampires would take control if it escalated, wasn’t he?”
See? I knew he’d figure it out.
I nodded and explained, “If he gets vampires, his Sanguinista allies, to attack humanity, it drastically worsens the tension between our races. He firmly believes that if he can provoke humanity into attackin’ and targetin’ vampires, that our race will rise up and snatch control away from humans, thus saving our planet and resources from what he is sure will one day be extinction if humanity remains in control.”
“And if we capture him, Salome will set him free. He’ll destroy the Authority, form a dictatorship, and start putting that plan into motion,” he surmised and I nodded. “So, what do we do? If we don’t give the Authority the Sanguinista evidence, Salome won’t be distracted. She could warn Russell about tomorrow night.”
Would she though? For some reason I doubted it. She needed Russell to end the Guardian and we had just unknowingly given her the perfect excuse to pull him into their headquarters.
Trusting my instincts, I slowly shook my head and stated, “She already knows we’ll be tasked with capturin’ him. She’s already doing another dance, makin’ sure Russell is brought in so she can make a deal with him and have Russell bring her the Guardian’s head. She won’t tell Russell because she wants him to be indebted to her.”
“Salome is known for leading interrogations,” Eric said, thinking quickly and moving pieces around on his mental chess board. “She will approach him during his interrogation, forcing him to choose between helping her or torture and death.”
I sighed and pointed out, “The problem is Nora. If we turn in the evidence, Salome will know we know about Nora and that we would never turn her in. She’s hopin’ Nora’s participation will mean we’ll side with her, but she’ll turn her in if we don’t, knowing Nora would never give up her mentor. Nora is check, Russell is mate.”
We both fell silent for a moment, furiously thinking about what we could do to stop Salome from making such a huge error, and both of us were, sadly, at a loss. Eric’s mind positively whirred as he thought through all the possibilities and discarded one strategy after another, unsatisfied with the inevitable results. There were too many factors, too many risks, and having Nora under her control allowed Salome to block his every move. Something in my bond with my maker then caught my attention, pulling me out of my thoughts, and I looked up at him in question, wondering why it felt so warm.
“I’m glad I can still teach you both a few things,” he said with a wink and I laughed, relief briefly surging up in my blood, once I realized he knew what to do. “Sookie, now that we know the moves of the other side,” he explained, flushing me with gratitude, “we meet them with our own offensive. We tip the balance in the other direction.”
He took the pen from me and started crossing out all of the prisoners. Then he added the rest of the Authority Chancellors to the board, marking who were Sanguinistas and who believed in mainstreaming, leaving a small group who went with the status quo. Finally, he added the three of us to the board, placing us in between Russell and the Guardian.
“We start,” Godric began, “with taking away his army.”
“But if we don’t turn in the evidence on the Sanguinistas, Salome might get the chance to warn them. They will go to ground,” Eric pointed out.
Godric flushed Eric with his agreement and added, “Which is why we give the evidence to the faction in support of mainstreaming, but not to the group as a whole tonight. We explain what’s going on and let them take care of the Sanguinistas while we focus on Russell and Salome.” He put a circle over the “D” written on the board and suggested, “Personally, I think we should give it to Dieter Braun. He’s completely loyal to the Guardian, does not take the Book of Lillith too literally, and excels in getting…” he grimaced, “confessions.”
“How do you plan to get the evidence to them, master?” Eric asked. “We’re not supposed to know their identities.”
I purred when it hit me. Godric’s lips kicked up at the intensity of the delight in my blood and nodded. I turned to a confused Eric and hinted, “I get to call in a favor.”
I may have been a little too excited about that fact. I’d never had a powerful ally before and the predator inside of me loved the idea of the Magister doing something for me, no questions asked.
Eric chuckled and commented, “Somehow, I think you’ll still have your favors left by the end of the night. He’s going to take this favor as a favor to him, Sookie, when you reveal you’re trying to keep the Guardian alive and in control.”
“But why don’t we just give it to the Guardian then?” I asked. I then answered my own question before either of them could speak, “Let me guess, Salome has seduced him.”
Godric grinned at me while Eric nodded and explained, “She did that particular dance centuries ago, lover. She’s been sleeping with him for years.”
Surprise suddenly echoed across my maker bond and Godric asked, “And how do you know that, Eric?”
“Nora is not my only contact on the inside,” he reluctantly replied.
Was he seriously not going to tell us who it was?
I cocked an eyebrow at him, reminding him I could just peek into his head, when he suddenly gave me a dark look, his face practically shouting Just try it, Sookie! His look alone made me realize he must’ve promised never to reveal this source to anybody, reminding me again with his sheer determination why it was I loved him. Since I loved that sense of honor he had so much, I kept myself from peeking and promised, “I won’t scoop it outta ya.” He relaxed instantly as surprise fluttered across our bond. I pushed reassurance and love his way as I admitted, “I love your sense of honor, Eric. I won’t make you break your word.”
I suddenly found myself being passionately kissed for that admission. When Godric coughed pointedly, trying to refocus us, Eric gentled the kiss and pulled back, whispering, “Thank you.”
After leaving me breathless, which always cracked Godric up because I didn’t need to breathe, Eric took a step back, putting some much needed space between us. His lust was literally pulsing in the bond and it took everything I had to focus on Godric’s plan again. Eric chuckled, pushing me friskiness, but stopped when I gave him a warning look, realizing he was about to be smacked.
“Eric, you will have to sell your role,” Godric commented. “Even though we now know we will only be tasked with capturing Russell, you must play it up, act as if you thirst for his death.”
Eric nodded slowly, shooting me a glare when I snickered. Somehow, I didn’t think it would be difficult for Eric to really sell the fact that he wanted Russell dead, though it wasn’t so much that he actually thirsted for Russell’s death as it was that he thirsted for peace. He hadn’t felt at peace for over a thousand years now, all because of Russell. Eric promised his father vengeance, but he hadn’t been able to collect it yet.
Knowing how much Eric’s word meant to him, I also knew that Eric would never truly let himself be happy until he could fulfill his promise to his kin. He wanted to enjoy life, I would even say he thirsted for it more than he did for vengeance, but that would never happen until he could lay his family’s memory to rest. More than anything, I hoped Eric could be happy once everything was said and done. I looked back up to the board as I thought this, my eyes landing on the three circles Godric drew, and realized I wasn’t the only one hoping Eric would finally start enjoying life. Godric yearned to see Eric embrace it fully too.
That’s when it hit me. We were the second part of Godric’s plan. He was going to give Eric the opportunity to end Russell Edgington, the opportunity to fulfill his vow so he could start enjoying life again.
But how would we get Russell to the Authority to begin with?
“Master?” I asked, nearly making Eric’s fangs drop with the title, “How will we capture Russell Edgington?”
Godric fell silent as he thought it through, turning to an equally quiet Eric for suggestions. A memory suddenly hit me from Eric’s mind, which I accidentally picked up on because I was in it. I stayed quiet as Eric replayed the conversation he watched on the monitors in Fangtasia, zeroing in on Russell’s fondness for unique blood. An insidious idea then began to form in his thoughts. My emotions vanished, disappearing completely while I listened to him think and I languidly stretched my body. He glanced at me, realizing the vampire in me had fully emerged, and I was sure he would’ve paled if he could.
“Just because I thought it, doesn’t mean I’d do it,” he immediately explained.
“Nonsense,” I purred as Godric furrowed his brows, noticing I had bottomed out and not liking it one bit, “I think it’s a wonderful idea.”
Caution and wariness creeped into our bond as Eric met my eyes, trying to figure out if I was serious or if I was about to snap. Part of me loved that he was nervous. He had just thought about feeding me to Russell Edgington, about manipulating me, so he deserved a little punishment. Another part of me reminded me I was in love with this man, that he would never hurt me, and even if he had carried out that plan, Eric still would’ve found a way to keep me safe.
We just stared at each other for a tense moment, evaluating each other, before another emotion surfaced in the bond. I suddenly found myself entrenched in his fear all over again. With the reminder of what happened just minutes ago still fresh in my mind, I delved into that fear and analyzed it, realizing Eric was afraid of losing me. I made a quick decision after I felt it to move past his momentary lapse in judgment and explained what I meant when I said I liked the idea, “We just present it in a bottle instead of from the tap.”
Sensing I had picked something up from Eric’s thoughts, Godric asked, “What is she talking about, Eric?”
Eric searched my eyes for a minute, letting the room fall back into silence, before swallowing needlessly and thickly whispering, “Her blood.”
Godric turned back to me with a hardened expression and quietly scolded, “The blood is sacred, Sookie.”
I nodded in agreement, which only seemed to confuse him, and softly pointed out, “What is more sacred, master, than the love of family? I offer up a bottle of my blood out of love. I will help Eric capture Russell because I love him and what Russell did haunts him. I also do it for my bloodline, because we need to stop Russell before he triggers a war that ends the vampire race. That ends the ones I love.”
I was completely rational in my vampire state. Godric was under the impression I had just made this decision out of desperation, but that wasn’t true. Eric was the one that needed this, not me. I was willing to do what was necessary to help him, to protect him, and those we loved. There was nothing more sacred than love in the entire world and if my decision to use my blood was borne of love, not hatred or anger or the need for vengeance, then I was right to make that decision. I wasn’t being rash and my calm, collected answer gave him pause.
His face softened considerably as he took in my reasoning while Eric stared at me with a new intensity, our bond literally thrumming with how much he loved me at that moment. Godric weighed my offer carefully before whispering, “You will have to feel him.”
“I can shut the tie down,” I responded. I had enough control to do that and he knew it. I then highlighted the pros of the idea, “He will feel drunk, master, incredibly drunk. I can use the blood he drinks to dampen his focus. Amp up that drunken feeling.” My voice then got softer as I added, “Filter his pain out of his bond with Talbot so Talbot doesn’t suspect something’s amiss. If he plants wolves outside, I’ll sense their connections too. Keep Russell from callin’ them to his side.”
Unable to argue with all of those points, Godric focused on the technical aspect, “Russell knows your scent-”
“Which I’m able to alter,” I cut in. “I’ll remove my filter completely while I fill the bottle up, alterin’ it slightly so it smells of fairy blood instead of vampire blood. When I’m done, I’ll start filterin’ my scent again. The bottle will smell delicious and I will smell vampire.”
“And where will we say we got fairy blood?” he asked, grasping at straws. He really hated the idea of my blood running through Russell’s veins.
I looked up at an unusually quiet Eric before turning back to Godric, “You say Eric brokered a deal through a shifter who sometimes makes his monthly run with fairies. You say he paid an arm and a leg for it.”
“And what happens when he realizes a tie was formed? That an unknown vampire’s blood began manipulating his bloodstream when he drank from this bottle?” he asked, already knowing what I would say.
“Master,” I said gently, “you and I both know that if he thinks he’s drinkin’ fairy blood, it won’t even occur to him to search his blood for unfamiliar ties.”
Even at 3,000 years old, Russell can’t look for something he doesn’t believe exists. He wouldn’t analyze what my blood was doing to him if he didn’t know my blood was there. In a weird twist, I had accidentally stumbled upon the one time a vampire’s blood could actually retain that viciously manipulative quality it had towards humans against another vampire.
If I could feel, I probably would’ve felt shock that I had actually learned something from Bill Compton. I probably would’ve been even more shocked that what I learned was helping me protect my loved ones. It was ironic, to say the least.
Godric closed his eyes in resignation, realizing that there was nothing else to say. The decision was made.
“Is there an alternative, master?” I asked, needing him to be confident in my choices. “If there is, I will follow your lead.”
He opened his eyes slowly, the bond once again filling with warmth, and crossed the few feet between us to gently cradle my face in his hands, whispering, “Sookie, I am proud of you. I am over 2,000 years old and, for the last millennia, I truly thought there was nothing left for me to learn, yet you teach me something new every day. In all those years, it never occurred to me that there was something more sacred in this world than our blood. You haven’t made this decision lightly and I know it comes out of a place of love. And you are right, there is nothing more sacred than that. So in this case? I follow your lead, moder.” [mother]
I closed my eyes, needing to feel emotions in that moment, and remembered the first time Godric told me he would be my father, my brother, and my son, embracing the hope and sense of belonging I felt after I rose. When I opened my eyes again, a blood tear spilled over and Godric caught it with his lips. I wrapped my arms around his waist and he quickly tucked his own around me, giving me a gentle squeeze as I flushed our bond with love and gratitude.
“Thank you,” I whispered. He squeezed me gently once more before slowly pulling back and giving me a nod.
Godric turned, catching Eric’s eye, and asked. “Can you think of an alternative?”
Eric studied me for a moment while he thought. Finally, he asked, “What about your light shield? Would silver disappear if you held it?”
I nodded, but Godric quickly shot down the idea, “Russell is intrigued by her. If she isn’t present, he will suspect something is amiss. Anything else?”
“No, master,” he said, resignation lacing his tone. “I got the idea from the bottled blood Russell served you. The only other thing I can think of is something neither of you would accept.” When Godric raised his eyebrows at him in question, he reluctantly explained, “If it were just me in this position, I would use his love for his progeny against him. Besides his arrogance, it is the only other potential weakness I see. I would destroy him by destroying Talbot.”
I was in front of him milliseconds later, not liking this at all. He looked down at me with an unreadable expression and I reached up with both hands, gently resting my hands on his cheeks and stroking his skin with my thumbs.
“Going after his kin, Eric, would turn you into Russell,” I said evenly. He flinched at the idea, locking his body down so that it was imperceptible to anyone not touching him, and reflexively grabbed one of my wrists. “You’re better than that. Don’t become the monster you’re fightin’. I was inside Talbot’s mind, Eric, and he is innocent in this. He didn’t even exist when Russell did what he did. Don’t punish an innocent for a monster’s mistakes.” I pushed my faith, love, and overwhelming conviction that he truly was better than this into Eric while I spoke.
“Why do you have such faith in me, Sookie?” he murmured.
I trailed my hands down to his chest and placed them over his heart, admitting, “Because I’ve seen this, Eric.” His brows furrowed while he slid his hand up from my wrist and covered one of mine with his. “I’ve seen your heart. Your strength, your loyalty, your honor, your passion, your drive- each and every one of these things stems from your heart. It’s an amazin’ thing.” I smiled softly, adding, “From day one, you tried to make me yours, but seeing your heart is what made me yours, Eric. So, please, don’t damage it.”
The bond warmed with a torrent of lust and astonishment as Eric slowly settled his hands on my hips, pulling me against him while he lowered his head and pressed his lips to mine in a tender caress, literally showing me how much he cherished me with the gentle, sensual movements of his lips. I was making all too happy vampire noises by the time he pulled back, tempted to pop him to my room and make him run those gentle lips up and down my body. He chuckled, feeling my frisky urge, but embraced me instead of teasing me, tucking me into him and pressing a kiss to my forehead before whispering, “I love you.”
I took a small step back, meeting his eyes, and asked, “So no more talk ’bout Talbot, right?”
He nodded, soaking our bond with agreement and acceptance, before looking at Godric, stating, “But that leaves just one idea. As much as I hate the fact that Sookie’s blood will run through Russell’s veins, I can’t see a way around it, master.”
“Then it’s done. Sookie will use her blood,” he whispered before looking back up at the board. I slowly turned back around while they spoke, facing Godric too. Eric gently wrapped his arms around my waist so that my back rested against his chest as he thought through all the angles of the plans we were setting into motion.
“So we capture him and take away the risk that he could gain an army, letting Salome believe nobody is onto her yet,” Eric said thoughtfully before asking, “but do you have a plan on dealing with Russell inside the Authority?”
“My blood will help there too,” I reminded them, “so I’ll be aware of Russell’s pain, or lack thereof, during his interrogation. I’ll also be able to alter his level of focus again.”
Godric nodded slowly, turning to face us, and said, “This is where the real risk comes into play. I know you are hesitant to glamour vampires, Sookie, but there’s a chance you may have to glamour everyone by the time we’re done.”
I knew I was a lucky a vampire when Sookie agreed to be mine, but I didn’t realize just how lucky until this very moment. A part of me had known she would risk her life to save those she loved, but I hadn’t yet realized that applied to me as well. I just recently found out that she loved me, so it came as a surprise when I discovered what lengths she would go to for me and I found myself extremely humbled by her. This beautiful creature was willing to bleed for me and I now knew without a doubt she would also go to the ends of the earth for me.
She was willing to open herself up to someone we all despised just to help me.
If I wasn’t whipped before, I was definitely whipped now. Strangely, I found myself okay with being whipped. If this was what Sookie was willing to do for me, how much she loved me, then she could crack that whip at any time and I would welcome it with open arms…
Hell, I’d even purr while she did it.
The second I realized Sookie had picked up on the plan I was picturing earlier, I knew I was once again in deep shit. I made a vow to myself the night she returned to my area that I wouldn’t manipulate her anymore, yet the first time I had difficulty coming up with a plan, I lapsed back into the urge to do that very thing. I already knew the second I started to think it that I couldn’t actually do it, not when her life had already been twisted up in so many manipulations. Acting on that plan would hurt her and I loved her too much to hurt her in such a way. I dropped the thought instantly, afraid I’d lost her the second it entered my mind. Instead, she took my foolish idea and enhanced it, coming up with a way for us to disable Russell without literally letting him feed on her. Using glamour was another option, but we couldn’t confidently make that plan because Sookie wasn’t sure if she could glamour someone so old.
If I had bothered to finish playing out my earlier idea, Sookie would’ve realized that if Russell fed from her, I would’ve had to as well. I would’ve enticed him with the idea of daywalking and met the sun with him while Pam and Godric revived her with blood. I would’ve sacrificed myself to end Russell and keep him from being taken to the Authority, keep him from starting another war or killing anymore innocents like my family. If Russell ever realized just how unique her blood was, though, he would’ve targeted her from that point on. Ending him would’ve been the only option, so I would’ve embraced the sunlight happily to keep Russell from ever having the opportunity to go after her. My only hope would’ve been that, someday, Sookie would forgive me for the manipulation after I met the true death.
Sookie would bleed for me and I would burn for her.
What she came up with was fucking brilliant. I knew Godric was hoping Sookie could learn strategy from me, but that very notion cracked me up. From the moment she came back to my area, Sookie had proven herself every bit as strategic I as I was, she just specialized in the behaviors of others instead of ploys of manipulation. Her ability made her uniquely suited for recognizing people’s true motives and her thought processes had evolved to the point where she didn’t even need to hear their thoughts anymore to recognize them. All she needed was a pattern. She then combined those motives with creativity, thinking outside the box whenever she made a decision. By doing that, she saw things Godric and I couldn’t. She found solutions Godric and I couldn’t.
Neither of us had seen what Sookie had when it came to Salome. We would’ve ended up turning Russell over, right into Salome’s eager hands, unknowingly tipping over a domino that would’ve ended in one hell of a mess. We would’ve sealed our own fate.
Godric took over from there and helped us form a plan to get around Salome’s hold on Nora. He had a knack for seeing the bigger picture, a skill he had perfected by watching countless battles firsthand over the years, including the one that led to my turning. We listened carefully to his ideas and started planning out the finer details involved in capturing Russell and dealing with the Authority.
With a tentative game plan in mind, Godric cleared the Smartboard and turned back to us, “I brought the evidence home with me when I left the bar. I will make another copy and write a letter to Chancellor Braun. You two call the Magister.”
We both nodded and Godric retreated to his office. Sookie turned around to face me as she reached into her pocket and pulled out the business card the Magister gave her. She read it and snickered, “His real name is Jorge.”
I grinned, loving how amused she was by it, and pulled out my cell phone. Sookie’s cell was still upstairs, so I quickly dialed the number and waited for it to connect.
“Sherriff Northman, what can I do for you?” he asked as soon as he picked up.
“Magister, I’m with my sister, Sookie. She says she needs to call in a favor,” I said, biting my inner cheek to keep from laughing at her when I felt how much she fucking loved hearing the Magister owed her.
The other line fell silent for a second before Jorge chuckled and asked, “Calling in a marker already, is she?”
“Yes, she is,” I admitted with a chuckle of my own and winked at Sookie, smirking when she blushed in the blood. “I have a feeling you’ll want to hear this one though. We’re meeting with the Authority tonight at midnight. She would like to know if you can meet with her afterward.”
“Yes, Magister,” I replied.
“I’ll be there,” he said and hung up.
Sookie muttered something about vampires having poor phone manners and asked, “Ever have him owe you a favor, Eric?”
“I can honestly say I haven’t, Sookie,” I admitted, slipping my phone back into my pocket. Actually, it was astonishing that Sookie had managed to garner even one from him, let alone the two he promised her; one for gathering evidence from the wolves and one for retrieving Bill Compton.
“There’s no way he could be a Sanguinista, right?” she asked. “He likes his power. He wouldn’t have it if the Authority fell.”
I nodded in agreement, confused for a second about why she would even consider it, before I realized where she was coming from, “You’re worried he may be one because of Jessica.”
She bit her lip and nodded, “It was a callous thing to do, kidnappin’ a teenager like Jess and forcin’ an unwillin’ maker on her. I just wonder if he can do that, can he be a part of the Sanguinista movement too?”
She did have a point. What the Magister did was extremely callous and in his position, I would never have done such a thing. The vampires in our bloodline took the role of a maker very seriously and we believed only the willing should take progenies. We also followed the belief the best progenies would be ones we felt the pull to.
On the other hand, the Magister needed to try something different with Compton. Bill had caused too many problems already in his vampire life and the Magister thought forcing him to become a maker would settle him down. Jessica had not been chosen on accident, though, and she was obviously picked for her potential. Her gentler nature and concern for others showed me the Magister chose carefully when he selected her, purposefully avoiding someone with more violent urges. I had a feeling he hoped her younger age would inspire a fatherly side in Compton, one that would push him to take care of her. He failed with Compton, but he unknowingly succeeded with Sookie.
“He’s not a Sanguinista, Sookie,” I promised her. “I’ve known him for many years and I assure you, there’s nothing he hates more than a traitor.” She smiled tentatively and pushed me trust, willing to take my word for it. “You are right, though. It was a callous thing to do, but I know she wasn’t picked on accident. He thought carefully before he chose her.”
She tilted her head slightly, considering my last statement. Understanding then rose in the bond and she came to the same conclusions I did, “He hoped Bill would treat her like a daughter.”
“He failed with Compton, Sookie, but he was right when it came to Jess. You feel a pull towards her, which means she was meant to be vampire,” I pointed out. “Are you ready to be a maker?”
She grinned, her excitement literally pulsing in the bond, and replied, “To be a maker? No. To be her maker? Yes, I am.” My lips kicked up and I pushed her pleasure. She then muttered, “That reminds me,” and vamped out of the room.
I didn’t even have a chance to raise an eyebrow at her disappearing act before she reappeared and tucked a folded piece of paper in my hand. I opened it, confused to see a check for over $50,000. Then I remembered I told Sookie she could pay me back for all the work done to fix her house and said I’d stick it in a trust fund for Jessica. She must’ve gleaned the amount I spent from my thoughts and dug it out of a memory.
Godric came back in while I thanked her and tucked it into my wallet, sticking a sealed envelope inside his inner jacket pocket. He paused a moment, sliding the black leather jacket on, and asked, “You two ready to head to Merlotte’s?”
“Yes,” I answered, thinking about whether I could get that fund set up before the ceremony tonight, and asked, “Can we head over to the club an hour early? I’m going to call Cataliades and have him meet us there.” He raised an eyebrow at me when I said the daemon lawyer’s name, so I added, “I need to set up a fund for Jess.”
I was seriously tempted to push him one of Sookie’s emotional eye-rolls when his expression morphed into a shit-eating grin, realizing I wanted Jessica’s gift to be ready for when they rose. He nodded, still flashing me that irritating grin, so I gave him a warning push that told him to be wary because I knew where he lived. He chuckled, turned to a giggling Sookie, and asked, “Can you teleport us both upstairs at the same time?”
Sookie nodded. Godric turned around and pulled on a light fixture on this side of the wall, shutting us in, before turning back and offering her one of his hands. She quickly laced her free one with mine and popped us into her foyer. When she let go, she said, “I just need to grab my cell,” and popped away again. Back a second later, she led us both outside.
Godric reached into his jacket pocket for his keys while Sookie shut the door, pausing to look up at me when I slammed our bond with mischief. I slowly grinned and asked, “Why drive, Godric, when we can fly?”