OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The characters of the Southern Vampire Mysteries belong to Miss Charlaine Harris. No infringement on my part is intended. The characters on True Blood belong to Mr. Alan Ball. No infringement on my part is intended.

I have no BETA, editor, or other such charming person. All mistakes are my own.

 This story is rated M.

 Chapter 23

“First stop, the basement,” Eric smiled as he was vamp speed past the humans working furiously at getting everything set up.

Leaving his files and a change of clothes, he made his way back to the outside.

Eric stood at the rear service door, dressed in a tux. Because it was daylight and he was at the service entrance, all knew that he was here to work and not party.

“We need more flowers,” what appeared to be the wedding coordinator was yelling at the florist that had just arrived. Her nametag said Marla. “Did you get my message?”

“Yes, Sopohie-Anne’s day walker called me also,” her shirt said Flora’s Flowers. “I emptied my shop and several others on my way over.”

“You,” Marla looked at Eric and snarled, “pick up those boxes, loaded them on that dolly and follow me!”

“Yes ma’am,” he nodded his head and balancing the boxes of flowers, pushing the hand held truck, followed her to the main hall.

“How is it I have become the mistress of this fucked up nightmare?” Marla said into her head set.

Eric heard the reply. “Because you wanted to put it on your resume, you fucking bitch. Something about planner to HRMs. At this moment, I hope we all live to have dinner, no matter how fashionably late it is.”

“Vampires take over once they start to rise,” she hissed back. “Her second is an early riser. Come on sundown. You think I am sticking around for this? We are out of here just as soon as we get the last of these flowers in place.”

Beckoning to Eric, she said, “Unload them here.”

“Rachael,” she smiled sweetly at the woman who was approaching her at a fast clip carrying a clipboard, eyes on everything and stopping to correct the workers who were placing candles in the chandlers. “That is not white,” her voice carried. “They must be white. That one is an almond color!”

Eric turned his back at her approach and continued working. He had not met Rachael, but he also knew Sophie-Anne had photos of all her Sheriffs. Undoubtedly, this day walker had seen his face. He could always glamour her, but he was on a time schedule.

Marla put on her brightest smile. “This is the last of the beauties. There are over a thousand cut stems in water in these boxes. I suggest that they stay enclosed until the latest possible moment. There are cool packs within and this will help them to maintain to their fullest. HRM’s guests may each have a flower if they so desire to remember the occasion.”

“Thank you,” Sophie-Anne’s day walker still had her head bowed over her clipboard writing notes. “I will be sure and tell her royal majesty of your kindness. And if they are not as fresh as can be,” she looked up and frowned, “she will want to have words with you.”

“Of course,” Marla bowed her head. “Do not show fear,” she reminded herself. “This bitch’s neck is on the block as well. She hired me.”

In her very best business voice she continued on. “Our crew is finishing up, all the best to her majesty on this grand and momentous occasion,” Marla smiled.

With a nod of her head, Rachael turned around and walked back to where the altar was being set up.

“Bitch,” Marla grumbled.

“You,” she turned to Eric. “This day has been a fucking abortion! I want to fuck! If you ever want to work again, you will just smile and nod and please me. I have a condom, this way,” was all she snarled.

Eric followed her around a corner and she pulled him into a dark niche.

“Damn,” she looked Eric up and down, “so today is not a total waste after all.”

“But I am married,” he caught her eyes. “And I have never in my long life fucked skanks. My wife and my son would not approve if I started now. Nor would I for that matter. What you are suggesting I find most repulsive and odious. You repugnant creature,” his voice held contempt, “the first thing I want you to do when you return to your office is to give all of your employees a very nice raise. I think twenty-percent across the board would do for starters. And if that does not raise them from poverty level, then you will need to pay them more. As for yourself, your salary does not need to be that big.”

“Of course,” she replied.

“Now,” Eric glared at her, “gather up your crew and haul your ass on out of here.”

“Of course,” she nodded.

“Walk back to the kitchen,” Eric smiled, “congratulating yourself on these fine ideas you have.”

Eric pushed her in the right direction and she started walking. Pushing on the rock in the niche, the passage way swung open and he was in the passages.

 

Changing from his tux, he put on a suit. After all, he was here on official business. “And that is to officially put all of them out of business,” he smiled as he started up the stairs to Attila’s room.

When The Hun woke, he saw Eric sitting in a chair next to his bed.

“This must be good,” he said as he sat up. “I am not even going to ask how the fuck you got in here.”

Eric tossed the files onto the bed. “Time to talk. First of all, you have been undercover here, to once and for all prove that there are no such things as fairies.

Second of all, this,” he indicated the walls of the room with his hands, “this all ends tonight. Could I interest you in being king of Louisiana?”

Attila arched an eyebrow.

“How about if I throw in Edgington and the state of Mississippi to sweeten the deal.”

“You can get me Russell?” and Eric thought maybe he saw the beginning of a smile.

“I hear you are enamored of Cindy Smith,” Eric pointed with his head toward the files on the bed. “Read through that then I will fill in.”

 

Attila did the read through and then thoughtfully regarded Eric. “Hadley was an addict. Cindy is an addict. Apparently has been one for years. All those of HRM’s private stock are addicts.”

“Yes,” Eric responded. “I suspect Sophie-Anne was one as well as a human. On whatever the opiate of her day was. Which is why she likes addicts.”

“You think she is trying to get high?” Attila was fully engaged.

“Yes, and who knows, maybe it does buzz a bit in her blood after feeding from one.”

“And Hadley Savoy? The original? Where is she now?”

“She died of an overdose. One of my spies offered it to her as a way out. Sophie-Anne knew she was not fae and had something far more hideous in store for her. After all, she could just keep replacing her with a shifter fae; HRM owes a fucking boat load of money to everyone that is here.

Attila nodded. “So why Stackhouse?” he asked.

“Hadley had a cousin, Sookie, of whom she was jealous. Sookie also happens to be not only my bonded but my wife as well,” Eric pointed to the dragon ring on his left ring finger. “So when Hadley saw the pretty lights and the tiny winged creatures that would snort right along with her, Sookie, who was bonded and married to a vampire and was loved and cherished, could be whatever she could imagine.

And since Sookie had a vampire lover, Hadley had to have one as well. And not just any vampire. Hadley went looking for Sophie-Anne and wiggled her ass into court. Probably with Compton’s help, although I cannot prove that.”

“Did HRM know that Sookie was yours?” Attila asked.

“No,” Eric shook his head. “I am sure she sent Compton into my area looking for Sookie. The fucking asshole turned Sookie’s grandmother, Adele, hoping to gain entrance into our home that way. He did not go to ground with Adele and she dug out after the first night.”

“Oh fucking Were shit,” Attila exhaled.

“Yes,” Eric’s voice was full of anger. “I found her and had to destroy her.”

“I have heard that when they are not made properly…” his voice trailed off.

“Worse than you can imagine,” Eric responded. “She was killing animals and rolling in their decaying carcasses. There were mounds of them everywhere though out the woods.

What Compton did to my Sookie’s grandmother is immoral. And it does not matter if he did or did not do it with Sophie-Anne’s blessing. She sent him into my area unannounced.

And with my blessing, I would like to offer you this deal, to include Cindy if that is what you desire.”

“She is just a blood bag, an addicted one at that…” he began.

“Whatever,” Eric shrugged and pointed to his wedding band. “But my spies tell me differently. However, they can always be wrong…” Eric’s voice trailed off. “And it does not matter to me if another addict dies or lives.”

Eric watched as Attila pushed all types of sobering thoughts around in his head. “This is all very well and good, but how do you propose getting in and me getting out with Cindy.”

“I have a Ritus Ostium.”

Attila laughed out loud. “The bullshit Eric, you have been known to shovel.”

The Viking only arched an eyebrow at him.

“Seriously Eric, you have a rite of entrance? The Wizard King Sygmunt only bestowed so many of those. I hear they are steeped in magic.”

“Yes,” he grinned, “they are. And that is correct I was a recipient. I received the last one he wrote before he vanished into time.

And I am coming in tonight to haul Compton out. During this time of great commotion with Bill pleading and screaming for his life and Sophie-Anne screaming and dancing around in joy, that would be the time to make your exit. One of mine will have Cindy.”

“There are passages between the walls…?” The Hun said, motioning with his head.

“Yes,” Eric replied. “During the commotion we will be walking out of here with Compton. Then get in a boat and motor off. Pamela knows the drill. Once out of sight, haul ass to shore. There is a big storm coming. If you stay, chances are most excellent you will meet the true death.”

“Why would you do this for me Eric?”

“Because there was a time, Attila, I could trust no one. But I could trust you.”

“Yes,” he nodded, “but you offered me that same advantage.”

“Yes, and here we both still stand today.”

“If you seriously want me to consider this,” Attila smiled, “I want Compton. He lied to me to my face. Embroiled me in such a great embarrassment, if not for you, I would never be able to save face and I would have to seek my own death.”

“Consider him yours,” Eric grinned. “He may come to you damaged a bit, Pamela wants to have her fun. I only ask that you do not keep him alive for the years to come. Torture him accordingly, then the true death, please. I want this part of my life put to rest.”

“Myself as well,” he nodded in agreement.

“Now,” Eric leaned in. “Russell will take a couple of weeks. He is embroiled in something very unseemly on the political front. Much lying and political intrigue. He will voluntarily go missing on his own. No one will be suspicious when he does not surface for the next decade or so.”

“Most excellent,” The Hun nodded. “I can wait.”

“And speaking of lying,” Eric chuckled. “When I come into the grand hall, there shall be a great and prolonged question and answer period. Just agree to whatever I say. Remember, you were sent in by me to spy after what had happened to Adele.”

“Oh,” he smiled, “I can do that.”

“Most good, now, I must be gone. I understand the music starts at ten sharp and HRM shall be escorted down the aisle. I shall be here at ten-ten. Let Sophie-Anne sweat it out a bit that this just actually might happen.”

Eric pushed on the wall, the door opened and out he went. Attila sat on the bed, grinning. “If history has taught us of the vampire persuasion one thing, it is to never piss off The Viking.”

 

Sophie-Anne was waiting on her bath. The water was being carried in by slaves. They had been filling the tub since before dark fall. She had not seen William yet this dark. Bad luck and all that so she had no way of gauging his condition. But she knew he had fed and was still in his chambers. The wedding dress was on her mannequin. It was a beautiful thing! A very modern, very chic, pencil dress that just hit below the bottom of her hips. Why, if she bent over, just a bit, you could see all of her girly parts! Front and back because she was not going to wear any undies. Why note at all! Just exactly the type of dress that was sure to piss Compton off.

Her tiniest bit of a hat had the cutest birdcage veil. Oh, most good, her bath was ready. Her slaves were already in the tub. What promised to be the most forgettable night of her life was at least going to start with a frolic!

 

Bill was still in bed. He saw no reason to rise. His meal had been sent to him and it had been lovely. He was a bit concerned that his penis had not even began to grow back. Not the tiniest bit of a nub…well drat!

“A man’s wedding night should be one of lust and desire,” he sighed to himself. “The world knowing that you are a man. That you did not spare the rod on her fine, plump ass.

Then, after her weeping and sobbing and promising you that she will do your bidding… breaking the wife’s barrier, rutting to completion and you filling her often and repeatedly all through the night.

The next morning a proud strut to your walk while the little woman walks meekly behind you.

Oh Caroline, the love of my life, how I miss you!”

On his bedside table was a hand-blown Venetian glass bowl that had belonged to Maria Antoinette. It was a wedding gift to them from the King of Southern France and he had insisted on keeping in in his chambers. Throwing it, a wall of mirrors shattered into millions of pieces.

“Instead,” he whimpered, “I get something used. And older than me so she will always be faster! I have a child that is lost to the ages and will never follow in my footsteps! And I am beginning to think my wife-to-be has silvered my food sources,” he hissed as he sat up. “Fucking bitch,” he screeched as he lay back down, the silver having settled in his heart. “I need to drain someone to heal but I cannot trust any breather here!

But that is just fine,” he brought himself under control as he massaged his chest. “Tonight, when she places the crown on my head, I am draining her and then all shall be right in my world!”

 

Eric, Pam, the Aunties and Samuel stood behind the wall of Compton’s chambers.

It was all Pamela could do to keep from laughing out loud! She had her hand shoved into her mouth as she listened to Bill rant and rave about his lost manhood and crying about not having any good times.

As they walked, away, Eric smiled at his happy group. “We have about an hour. Let’s move back to the mainland. I’ll call Sookie from there and then we will make our presence known!”

 

News of Bill’s meltdown traveled quickly throughout the castle. The human guests all commiserated among themselves. “Know what that is like,” more than one said. “She married me for my money, not for love,” they sighed. “HRM and Compton, just a marriage of convenience,” they all sighed again and nodded their heads.

“Anyone giving odds on who kills whom first?” the question was asked.

“Is that before they make it to the altar, during the ceremony or just afterwards? You know there will be no kissing, she silvered his mouth last night.”

“Oh!” eyebrows perked up everywhere. “Where is Carl? He is the one keeping the books!”

 

At five until ten, all the guest were crowded into the main hall and on all the balconies. No matter how much money you offered, it would not purchase for you a chair. Standing room only. There were many who wished to be in attendance and HRM wanted all of her friends to be there.

“Reminds me of Mr. Shakespeare’s plays,” old Crankshaft nudged the vampire standing next to him. “Very excitin’. Standing elbow to elbow, someone’s cock pushin’ into your backside.”

“How did you get in here you old geezer?” The human standing on the other side of him asked in a snarky voice.

“Was invited, I was,” he replied. “HRM says to me she says, Old Cranky, how many royal weddin’s have you seen?”

“And I says to her, why eleven, your majesty. And she says, make it an even dozen. Here is your invite.

So here I am, standing with the rich and famous.”

The human rolled his eyes and moved off.

The vampire standing to left of Crankshaft looked him over a couple of times. “You are a vampire. Why do you look like an old geezer?”

“Been used and abused. My maker liked to play rough. Had my fangs pulled more times than I can remember. My maker, he made a necklace out of them to give to his favorite whore. They still have not grown back in from the last time that HRM had them pulled so I drink anyone’s leftovers or bagged. True Bloods on payday.”

The out-of-town vamp made a face. “What do you do for HRM? I can’t see she would have a use for you.”

“I open doors, make myself useful,” he responded, “and live to greet a new dark.”

“Fuckin’ Were shit,” the vampire chuckled as all eyes went to the back of the room as the music began to play, “if you want me to end you, just let me know.”

 

“Oh fucking Were shit,” Sophie-Anne hissed as she heard the music that was to start the processional. “This is really going to happen! Why does Compton not have the good grace to just lie down and meet the true death?”

Checking herself one more time in the mirror, she adjusted her veil, admired her new shoes, “Killer shoes,” she smiled at them and went out.

 

Bill was standing. Feeling better now that he had fed. Bagged blood was not the best nor was it the worst. His source in New Orleans was impeccable and carried only the finest. Later tonight, he was going to make Sophie-Anne take a fine mesh strainer and stick it into the hole where his penis used to be and stain that silver out of his body! Then he would have it made into something for her to fucking wear every day until he brought her the true death!

As he approached the great hall, his bride-to-be was standing outside the doors that once he entered, was going to change destiny. Good, she got here first and was waiting for him.

“I am glad to see you are feeling better,” she smiled. “I heard about the mess in your suite. All those broken mirrors. How many years of bad luck is that?” honey dripped from her mouth.

“How could I possibly be plagued with bad luck when I have you,” he raised her hands to his lips. He could see the glitter, there on her hand. It had to be glitter! He paused for only a second before he kissed it. No way in hell would she silver her own hand!

“Well come,” she nodded her head and the doors opened. “Let us not keep our guests waiting.”

“No,” he smiled at her. “Let us proceed. I have decided that right after you crown me, that is when the caning of your sweet ass shall take place. I see no reason to delay.”

“Oh,” she smiled as she seethed silently to herself. “You are not going to charge them! Why William, so you are not pandering to your basic self. I like it,” she winked at him. “But while you are beating me, you just let your rage flow, my dearest. That silver that has settled in your heart, why, with that type of physical and emotional upheaval, I think you’ll be dead by the end of the fifth stroke. That would be with the wooden rod,” she smiled daintily. “You could not keep an erection after the fourth stroke.”

Placing her hand on his arm, they entered the room and smiled and waved and blew kisses! Flowers were thrown down upon them and onto the aisle that would lead them to the altar of married bliss.

“Would you just look at our queen,” Old Cranky smiled to himself. “A tastier tart I have not seen in a bit. Why,” he chuckled, “I just saw her nether regions,” he waved at her madly and she flashed him, again. “What a tasty tart our queen is,” he sighed “Just wait until I tell Mistress Pamela about how the queen blessed me,” he chuckled. “All Mistress Pamela shows me is her girls!”

 

The boat was taking them across the open water. Eric could see the silhouette of the castle. He would have preferred his black jeans, black t-shirt and black leather jacket but he was going to be in the presence of his queen…for one last time. “Might as well make a good, lasting, impression,” he licked his bottom lip as the salt spray hit it. This was not his favorite Armani suit so he did not mind if it ended up with blood spatter all over it and burned. Pamela, however, had come dressed to kill. Literally. Her black leather pants, t-shirt and black leather jacket. Most importantly, her gloves…they allowed her to pick up that silvered cage and juggle it. Which he had watched her do earlier.

Eric could see them from a distance. The guards. He was ready. And if they gave him any shit, they were dead.

The boat docked and out stepped Eric.

Good, here came Felix, the captain of HRM’s outside guards. He was a known factor. This should be easy.

“Sheriff Northman,” Felix called out to them and was there vamp speed. “Tonight is a closed function.”

“Felix, I do not give a fuck. Who here has seen a Ritus Ostium?” he said as he flashed his credentials and addressed the crowd.

Those vampires that were approaching him stopped. Felix stepped forward. Reading the document and with shaking hands he kneeled and handed it back. “It is a Ritus Ostium, granted and signed by King Sygmunt. On it bears the name Erikr The Viking, child of Godric.” Felix’s voice stuttered just a bit. “It is Sygmunt’s blood on the seal, I can smell it along with the blessing and the curse he placed on it.

What do you need us to do, Sheriff?”

Eric could hear the fear and also desire in his voice. In vampire lore were legends about the blessings that had been visited upon the ones who helped the vampire who bore the Rite; Sygmunt appearing to them and granting their boons.

And there were just as many horror stories told about the curses that were rained down on those who refused to help or mocked the one who held the Rite.

All the others stepped back and started whispering among themselves; a Ritus Ostium! They had all heard the rumors, but apparently Felix had actually seen one! Just whom had the Sheriff come for?

Pamela hopped out with the silver cage and eyebrows went up!

“You heard my maker,” she barked. “He does not give a fuck that you are opened, closed or lost in the Bermuda Triangle between a woman’s legs. There is a traitor to be removed and will receive justice.”

The guards stood a little straighter! Boring just went too brilliant! They were going to get to see some excitement after all!

“Where is that cocksucker Compton?” Eric asked.

“Fucking Were shit,” they all snickered. “Compton…” they hooted. “He who will never be king…” one laughed. “King of Were shit,” another slapped his hand against his thigh.

“Sheriff,” Felix rose and gave him a grand bow. “If we might be your escort inside.”

“I have just deputized all of you,” Eric’s eyes met each one’s. “Fall in. I am not leaving here without him, I don’t care who that fucker thinks has his back.

Pamela,” he said as he started walking. “Give them their bona-fides.”

Setting down the cage, she opened the bag attached to her belt and began tossing out badges.

“Anyone tries to stop you,” Eric snarled as he turned his head to look at them, “true death. Silver bullets, they work on humans as well.”

“Yes Sheriff,” they all switched out their magazines, pinned on their badge, moaned about not having a phone so they could talk a selfie, and started toward the castle.

Eric could hear the whispers in the crowd. They wanted a souvenir.

“Aw-w-w, hm-m-m-m, Sheriff,” one of them called out.

“Yes,” Eric called back, “the badge is yours to keep.”

“Sweet!” was echoed through the group as they all attached their bayonets.

“Now that is something you don’t see everyday,” Samuel grinned as he stood atop the tower roof pretending to pull guard duty. “Normally Eric is running from the villagers with pitchforks, tonight he is leading the crowd!”

 

The orchestra continued to play. Sophie-Anne wept in her heart as her feet continued to take her closer to her doom! She was sure she would never be able to listen to Moonlight Sonata, again. Or any other of Beethoven’s works.

“Oh gaw-w-w-w-w-d,” was the only thought she was able to form as she cried silently along to the nostalgic voice of the piano, “I am going to miss Beethoven,” she sniffled.

Then she was hissing to herself as they advanced down the flower strewn aisle. “I am actually going to marry this moron! How is this possible? Why has he not met the true death?” The tears were going to form in her eyes. She had been sure of victory…! But now…here she was…as everyone watched and most snickered and winked, wondering still what Compton held over her.

Attila was watching her and caught her eyes. He pointed his index finger at her and thrusting an imaginary stake through his heart, he shook his head and smiled, with his fangs peeking down.

“Please,” she mouthed at him, “please, rescue me!”

Laughing, he shook his head no.

If she had a stake, she would kill her groom right now! William was smiling and waving to the crowd. Of course he was rejoicing! He was going from Were shit to king and he was reveling in his triumph! She was forgotten by him as he walked with her toward his victory! The reality was too much to comprehend! There was no way around this, her mind screamed! The biggest piece of Were shit that had ever walked the face of the earth was going to be her husband and her king!

As the first tear began to trickle down her check, there was a horrible ruckus out in the passageway and when the doors blew open and the wind rushed in and scattered everything around and blew over a few humans, she knew her savior had come in the person of the Sheriff of Area Five!

“William T. Compton,” Eric’s voice carried across the hall, “I have come for you with a Ritus Ostium. Your ass is now mine.”

“Your ass is now mine,” she laughed out loud as she took her hand from William T. Compton’s,VI, arm! Sophie-Anne thought she just actually might have peed herself as tears of joy flowed from her eyes!

“Deputies,” her savior’s voice carried authority and true death, “secure the room and make sure that cocksucker Compton does not try to escape while I read the charges that are brought against him.”

“You,” Compton sputtered, “you cannot enter here. This is the home of your queen and soon to be king!” he shouted.

“With a Rite, for this moment, there is no queen and certainly no king, here,” Eric responded. “The Rite cries out who I am and that justice is here to be served. It matters not if the criminal wears a crown or not.”

“My momma did not raise a fool,” Sophie-Anne was vamp speed away, pulling the sumptuous covering from the altar, wrapping it around her and tying it around her waist, she gracefully sat down on the altar. She was a pillar of the community! “I can sit quietly and keep my mouth shut until called upon by the holder of the Rite. I have heard stories about these…!” she giggled, “my maker told me about the Rite she had witnessed!

And whatever Eric accuses Compton of, well…he did that and a lot more! I will swear to it!”

 

Bill stood there with his mouth open. Catchin’ flies, his momma would have said to him and then reminded him a gentleman never drank till he pissed his pants or stood around with his mouth open. It was not polite and he had not been raised in a barn and he knew better and then she would make him clean the front porch, with a bucket and a rag, while the house slaves looked on just so he would remember not to do it, again.

“I wonder if my daddy caned my momma on their weddin’ night?” he said out loud.

Everyone who heard it took a step back. “He’s gonna plead insanity,” Bill heard someone snicker.

“The Sheriff is not gonna’ care,” someone else laughed. “Eric Northman is one mean fucker. Holds area Five without a thank you or a fuck off from anyone.”

“Just with his strength of will and berserker rage,” was added. “I saw him go berserker one time, I was about five miles away, standing on top of a hill. I still feared for my undead life.”

 

Eric let the chatter die down before he began. “My bona-fides,” he said, holding up the document. “Who here has seen a Rite?”

“I have, Sheriff,” Crankshaft spoke up.

“Let him to the front,” Eric called out and with a leap was hovering in front of the balcony.

“Yes,” Old Crank looked carefully at the document. “Yes, there is King Sygmunt’s signature and the name Erikr, The Viking; child of Godric, as the legal holder. All is in good order, here,” he said with pride. “The Sheriff may proceed and bring justice to one and all.”

“Justice to one and all,” was echoed back.

“Good, I am impressed,” Eric bowed his head to the crowd. “So there are still a few of you around who know what the fuck I am about.”

“Justice to one and all!” was called back to him with a lot of raised fists.

“Excellent,” he nodded his head. “And so I shall begin, the rest of you, keep up.

Eric walked back to the center of the hall, “I have been,” Eric began, “in the middle of an on going investigation for the past several weeks.”

Eyebrows around the room were raised and The Hun nodded his head in agreement. That was noted by one and all. Things were now not only going to get interesting, but just damn interesting!

“I am here to level charges against William T. Compton. They are numerous and fall under the final death.”

There was a lot of chatter from the crowd, along with twittering and “I knew that Compton was blackmailing her!”

Eric let the room continued for a few more seconds. When he began to speak, there was absolute silence. “I still have not determined if he was sent into my area with the Queen’s permission or if he just thought that up on his own.”

“What?” Sophie-Anne gasped. “Sheriff, you know that is forbidden! I risk my own life by doing such an outrageous act! You are always contacted by me, personally! You know this to be truth!”

“Yes,” Eric nodded his head. “You have been very diligent in this area and I thank you,” he smiled at Sophie-Anne who bowed her head.

“So,” he stared at Bill, “of your own free will, you entered my area,” Eric shook his head slowly back and forth.

“Never!” Bill shouted back. “I act only when told to do so by our Queen!”

“Did the Queen tell you to make a vampire?”

“What?” Compton and HRM both said at the same time.

“Adele,” Eric said her name softly. “She was a fine woman, loved her grandchildren with all that she was…”

Eric looked out over the crowd. “Loved her granddaughter with all that she was…” Eric let his voice fade as he felt his fangs slide down. “He came for my bonded,” Eric let his voice flow gently over the word. “He sent a Were with a cage to get her. There was even a list of what this Were, could and could not do to her.”

“What?” HRM looked truly horrified.

“And to get to my bonded, he turned her grandmother, Adele Stackhouse.”

“What?” HRM and Compton both gasped and you could hear the name Stackhouse being echoed around the room.

Eric’s attention was now on Compton, hatred in his eyes. “You turned this woman and you left her as an embryo vampire to her own devices,” he snarled, “and for me to then hunt and destroy this poor, feral, abomination!

You left her and she stayed in the ground one night,” he hissed, “one fucking night!”

There was an uproar throughout the vampire community! They were calling for his blood, his fangs, his undead life!

Eric held up his hand. “Let me just state at this point in my investigation, I was not happy. And then, odd things continued to happen. I am also receiving phone calls,” Eric said and the room was once more silent, “from neighboring kingdoms, asking me, my Queen, where you are. It is urgent that they speak to you and they cannot contact you and they are asking me if you are plotting a war and wondering if I was interested in advocating overthrowing you and backing them.”

“What?” HRM screamed in terror! “War! My great kingdom! At war!

And they were shamelessly soliciting you, my Sheriff?” Her voice was shrill and worried.

“Then,” Eric nodded his head yes, at her, “I received a call from The Hun,” Attila was once more nodding his head yes,

“saying that he is in New Orleans at a invitation only gathering and that my Sookie is a fairy…a fucking fairy…! I cannot believe what I am hearing!” His face was all scrunched up. “Who…” he looked out at the crowd, “makes this Were shit up? And who the fuck believes it?” he hissed.

Righting himself he continued. “And that she is being looked for throughout the Louisiana kingdom so that my bonded may be auctioned off to the highest cocksucking bidder!” Eric was yelling and in full vampire mode, his fangs extended all the way down and his claws, long and lethal, as wind began to blow through the chamber scattering small items and blowing out most candles.

When the gale force wind died, clothes were righted and hair smoothed as all leaned in, not wanting to miss anything.

“So Attila agreed to play along. Yes, oh yes, shifter fae,” Eric rolled his eyes. “Most delightful…tasty, so splendid…” Eric rolled his eyes, again. “At this time, I would like to publically thank The Hun for taking one for the team,” Eric bowed his head to him. “I know how much you dislike nasty leftovers. I owe you,” Eric said and bowed his head, again.

Attila bowed his head in return and Eric’s monologue continued.

“Placed before me,” Eric’s voice was once more calm and rational, “were many mysteries that had to be attended before I could claim the cocksucker Compton for the true death and any other who participated in this little tawdry scheme.

This,” Eric bowed, “is my position. This Rite is now open to the floor.”

“Lies!” Bill shouted in a fury! “It is all lies! I am innocent! The only thing I am guilty of is being a proxy for Sophie-Anne! I have not been in Area Five! All knows The Viking’s reputation, I am not that stupid,” Bill snarled. “And there must be proof!” He added bringing himself under control.

“So there is no such thing as a fairy?” the question was called out. Eric did not laugh. So Samuel had decided to join in on the fun.

“No,” he shook his head. “Or at least, not that I am aware of.”

“So, how did this lying Were shit get started?” was shouted for all to hear.

“Hadley Savoy,” Eric sighed, “a small, petite blonde, at one time HRM’s blood source, was a junkie. She liked drugs and being high. Always has.

Miss Savoy was cousin to my bonded and always jealous of her. So when my Sookie told her about me, Hadley needed a vampire for herself and went in search of HRM. Someone had to introduce them, and since Compton is her procurer, I believe it was him.”

“Lies,” Bill yelled!

“It was Sheriff,” HRM called out. “Compton brought her to me, saying that she had fae blood. I realize…” she sobbed, “This has all been a lie…” she wept, looking about the hall. “I also was duped!”

“Lying fucking bitch,” Bill screeched.

Eric’s fist made contact with Bill’s mouth and he landed on the floor. “She is our Queen and you will show respect or I will rip your head off right now.”

Eric’s eyes rested on Bill for a moment and then continued on.

“When Attila called me and informed me of what was being planned, I ask him to play along. He said that the blonde Hadley was gone and that the present Hadley Savoy was a shifter fae and had to be kept high on drugs or she would shift and fly away,” Eric cleared his throat and rolled his eyes.

“The Hun gave me her physical description and sent me a photo. Cindy Smith is her name. She used to be a dancer at my club. She likes vampires, very much so, and also enjoys being high.

So,” Eric addressed the crowd, “if any of you would like to bid on a fairy, well, I am more than willing to put Compton on the auction block because he is just as much fae as you or I. And if you believe, he could be one for you, I am sure,” Eric chuckled. “I would also,” his voice was conspiratorial, “like to speak to you about purchasing the Eiffel Tower and one or all of the pyramids in Egypt.”

That brought a few gaffs and Eric let his eyes wander over the crowd.

Good, they got it. No fairies.

“Now,” Eric was thoughtful, “my brain keeps pushing thoughts at me…and I cannot help but to wonder why? There is a lot of energy being expended. For what? Why go to all this bullshit?”

Eyebrows quirked up. Some were asking themselves the same question. Good.

Eric took the pose of a historian explaining a crucial fact to his students. “There is a rumor that General Lee traveled through Louisiana before the Civil War ended, with a wagon load of gold. Please note: Lee was never in Louisiana. Now, do we all have that? Yes? No? Look at your neighbor and say Lee was never in Louisiana.”

Eric was a little surprised when they did just that, turned to each other and said, “Lee was never in Louisiana.”

“Most good,” Eric nodded his head. “Now, many people, since this time, have looked for this gold all over Louisiana, but particularly in the woods that runs behind Compton’s and my Sookie’s house. Oh yes,” Eric gave the audience a small, tight-lipped smile, “they are neighbors. The Comptons and the Stackhouses have been since before the U.S. Civil War. And Compton was a thief, then. He even tried to steal money from a three year old,” Eric hissed. “And when the small lad would not give it up, he killed him.”

“You can’t know that!” Bill screamed. “And that is a lie! This is all a lie! I am not responsible for any of this! It was all Sophie-Anne!” He was starting to froth at the mouth. “How dare you say such a thing about me!”

“The lady of the house, Martha Stackhouse, she kept a journal,” was all Eric said, contempt in his voice. Turning to the crowd he continued, “What he could not steal from them when he was a human, he wishes to take now that he is vampire.

I can only surmise that Compton is desperate for money. So he turns my bonded’s grandmother, vampire, only he does such a fucked up job; she is not vampire, but some abomination of one so that he can get to my Sookie and in turn, get the deed to the land.

Because someone,” Eric’s voice slithered over the word, “has been telling the neighboring kingdoms that there is a wagonload of gold buried in those woods. And with that much money, you could start a war and win, against anyone.

And this actually might have worked, except of course, Sookie went to visit her gran and they talked about this lovely lady keeping time with a vampire in my area without my permission and there is no gold and Sookie Stackhouse is my bonded and she certainly knows how to make contact and complain about unseemly vampire behavior to the Sheriff of Area Five.”

“It’s all a lie,” Compton hissed and took a step forward. “Sookie was living with Adele, certainly not with you! Your bonded,” he snarked, “I think not. She was a virgin when I met her. Oh so sweet and innocent,” he smiled as he licked his lips. “I could have ridden her and Adele, both.”

Eric took a step toward William and then another until Eric was standing on Bill’s feet and staring down into his eyes, his force of will battering against Compton, pushing him backwards.

“So William,” Eric smiled sweetly and batted his eyelashes. “Just what part is the lie? I thought you said it was all a lie and did not come into my area unannounced and yet you seem to have met both of these women.

Child,” he called out, “if you would please, run the feed.”

The monitors that were positioned through out the castle came to life, streaming Compton standing on Sookie’s porch and yelling about Adele into the night. When it stopped, Eric smiled and said, “Now, I believe we can see who is the liar.”

“Yes,” Sophie-Anne was sobbing. “Yes, he told me he had found a fairy. I had no idea her blood tasted different because of the drugs. A junkie!” she wept. “I have been feeding from a junkie! Then later, when she overdosed, with The Hun standing right there, Bill made all that up about shifter faes and Cindy was brought in. Bill went and got her! In my heart I sorrowed and feared…for it all had been a lie…and now I am frightened for my life!” She clasped her hands to her bosom. “I am so sorry to have perpetuated the lie,” she was crying, slipping down to her knees facing the crowds.  “And then things got out of hand. William blackmailed me and he started spending money and wanting, always wanting and that if I did not agree, he would tell everyone that this was just a great ruse. And I knew my life would then be forfeit if you found out so William bullied me into marrying him and crowing him king.

I have been denied access to my money accounts and after what my Sheriff has said, I now believe that he has taken all the money that was held in escrow so that he might war with our neighbors!”

Bill knew he once more stood there with his mouth, open! Just what the fuck?

“No,” he bellowed, “no. That is not what happened at all! There was no money there when I looked at those accounts. You cannot accuse me of stealing that money!”

“William,” Eric smiled at him, “I believe we have established who the liar is here. And you just admitted your could access the accounts.”

“I will,” Sophie-Anne beseechingly held out her arms, “I am willing to make a full restitution. I do not have great wealth and now apparently, no wealth at all, but I do have a willing heart. Gladly would I offer the crown of king to anyone who would be willing to take me and now, my many, many debts,” she sobbed.

“Damn,” Eric did not smile, “that was nicely done,” he chuckled to himself.

“No,” Compton screamed. “No!”

Eric glanced over at Pam. Her eyes cut to him and making a fist with her left hand, she began sawing the index finger on her right hand in and out of the hole.

Eric nodded yes and turning to Compton said, “What have you to say?”

Bill stood taller and straightened out his clothes and addressed the crowd. “I have been wrongly accused.”

There was hooting and catcalls from the crowd.

“Sheriff,” was called out and Eric looked up. All eyes were now on Attila. “You said you owe me. Give me Compton and our debt is clear,” The Hun said.

“No!” Bill’s voice was high pitched. “No!” he screeched even louder.

“I want him finally dead within a week,” Eric replied.

“Done,” Attila nodded in approval as he hopped down onto the floor.

“No,” Bill screamed again as he started to vamp speed out. Eric caught him by the scruff of the neck and held him up off the floor. “Not only a liar but a coward as well.

Child,” Eric turned to Pam. “Open the cage door.”

Pamela had fully assessed the situation. What was coming through the bond from her maker was something she had never experienced, before. This was going to be total annihilation! The time had arrived to haul ass so Eric could bring down the house, literally, and she was having a moment. Old Cranky was not supposed to be here. He was supposed to be opening doors at the primary residence.

“I require assistance,” was all she said.

Eric just nodded his head and said, “Choose.”

“Crankshaft,” she called up, “your aid is required.”

“Of course Mistress,” he called back as he made his way to the balustrade and jumped down.

Eric scanned the crowd. Samuel was gone. Good, he and Cindy would be waiting for them at the boat.

“You will not cage me,” Bill hissed as he tried to hit Eric with his fists as he dangled in the air to amusement of the crowd.

Pamela lifted the lid and Bill was tossed in. He struck the silver and began to burn and screech! Carefully, Pamela put the lid back into place and locked it.

“Follow me,” was all Attila said.

“I am going to need you to sign the paperwork,” Eric said above Compton’s screams.

“Of course,” Attila replied.

“Your majesty,” Eric made a grand bow. “I shall return to get your signature once I see them off.”

Acknowledging him with a bow of her head, she stood.

“Cranky,” Pamela smiled, “have a glove. You take the back, I’ll take the front.”

“Rightly so, Mistress,” he grinned as he pulled on the glove and they were away.

“Oh my,” Sophie-Anne fanned herself as she looked out at the crowd. “Let us pause for some refreshment and perhaps the band would play for a bit. I see no other way out of this. If one of you will have me and by debts, gladly I will crown you king.”

 

The boat was waiting at the dock. Samuel and Cindy were already on board.

Eric looked at the guards. “Crankshaft,” he addressed the older, somewhat battered vampire. “What say you? Are they worth saving?”

“Those are some good lads, Sheriff,” he replied, pulling his for’lock. “Some good lads. They have brought me blood from time to time and would never laugh when HRM would order to have my fangs pulled for her amusement. Good lads. They would see to me afterwards.”

Eric regarded the fifty vampires that stood around the boat. “If you rise tomorrow,” Eric began, “you will have a new king.” Eric pointed with his head to Attila. “The choice is yours. Swear fealty to The Hun or stay and die with Sophie-Anne.”

“We swear fealty,” they all kneeled on the beach, “to Attila The Hun. Long live the king!”

“Haul ass,” he said to Pam.

“Let’s go, vamp speed,” Pam snarled at the group. “We need to get underway. In the boat!

Your majesty,” she began, bowing her head to Attila. “Old Cranky is your best bet in the uncharted fuckery that is Sophie-Anne’s main residence. Now your main residence. He can tell you who can be trusted and who cannot. The feuds, the truces, the ones that will try and bring you the true death, the humans poisoned with silver. He is a wealth of information and he can be trusted.”

“Why thank you, Mistress,” Crankshaft wiped the tears from his eyes. “I just do the best job I can.”

“Cranky my love, I just wish the fuck we would all do that,” she sighed as she put the boat in reverse, opened the throttle and sped toward land.

Samuel looked at Eric. “Where do you want to begin?”

“Best way to move those foundation rocks is with water,” Eric replied, his eyes on the ocean.

“I will kill the rest of the outside guards,” Samuel said. “I did not see any human workers on the inside. They are off the island. We have a clear rein.”

“Good,” Eric nodded. “We can start by removing all the sand from around the bottom of the castle. Flood the island and then create enough energy the size of a small atomic bomb in that water…”

“Or the energy of a pissed off vampire,” Samuel chuckled.

Eric grinned. “Or stir the water with the energy of a pissed off vampire that has been sitting on his rage for several weeks…”

“A most excellent place to start,” Samuel smiled. “Throw in some wind and the walls, they will come tumbling down.”

Samuel was thoughtful. “What about lightning? Vampires hate lightning. Humans also. I am most excellent at tossing around lighting!”

“Good thought,” Eric agreed. “That will keep them inside while we work on the outside incase someone wants to go for a midnight stroll. Now, let me get my paperwork to HRM so she can begin auctioning off the position of king. No one is going to want to miss that.”