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
“What does he mean if I do not make it to the New Year?” Gaddy said out loud as he watched the two kings walk away. “Why would I not make it to the New Year? What does that abomination of a peasant know?” And in his voice was a note of fear.
When he turned around, his guests were watching him. Perhaps he owed one or two of them money and favors. Maybe they wanted to collect tonight before they left. After all, they would point out. Macbeth was doing so well!
“Stop it!” he yelled. “I invited you here to celebrate the success of Macbeth. Stop looking at me like I am some pile of Were shit that has been left in the woods. Besides, none of you were even at Macbeth last night.”
“Yes,” came a yell, “and you were not there either. Everyone knows you were at Wet Willy’s gambling.”
“Stutter, you bastard!” he shouted. “I know that is you.”
“Well of course you do,” a vampire hovered in the air. “I saw you there. We exchanged words you dumb ass.”
The Count drew himself up. “Really? Has it come to this? You are calling me names in my own home? Well just fuck all of you.”
His voice took on a whine. “You cannot politely lie and tell me how grand the play was regardless if you attended or not…so just go ahead and get started on the gossip!” Tears were starting. “Spread it around the world! Gaddy was plagued by ghosts!” he wailed. “And…and tell the world about the royals that don’t get announced and then that fucking Northman shows up with his bride! Just what the fuck!
With…his…bride! And his child still wants my blood and my money!
So let’s just get started,” he yelled, jumping up and down. “Why wait! My party has gone to Were shit and my house in not blessed and for some reason British Isle thinks I won’t be alive to see in the New Year!
Get out, all you sorry bastards! Get out! All of you! I want the band and the blood whores gone as well! Leave me to my ghosts, misery and cursed aloneness!”
When he looked up, he was standing alone in the middle of the room. “Might have cost me some dignity, but what the hell,” he sighed, “so far tonight has been a freebie.
Custer,” he yelled down the stairs, “show me the recording of tonight’s party.”
“What recording?” the small vampire appeared and bowed. “You got rid of the techs and they took their equipment with them. That was a couple of months, ago.”
“Well then tell me, what did you observe?”
“What did I observe?” he sadly shook his head. “You had me in your play room making sure all was at the ready for the after party. I have been scrubbing away down there since I rose.
And just where are the blood whores? You promised me one.”
Gaddy stopped pacing. “So you did not see the haunting?”
“Haunting?” Custer screeched. “The ghosts are back? You are impossible when the ghosts are back!” he wailed. “Who did you piss off this time? And do not lie to me.”
“Child,” his voice became stern, “that is no way to talk to your maker.”
“Yes,” Custer rolled his eyes, “and you should be acting like a maker instead of some preteen that gets a school age crush on the newest flavor of whatever it is,” he said with disgust in his voice, “to hit the market. I could certainly use an adult as a maker. Instead I got cheap assed and hauntings.
And you can’t fool me. I know the only reason you keep me around is because you don’t pay me and you need someone to check your room for spooks before you retire at the end of each old dark. Otherwise, you would want to tax me for the space I occupy in this architectural nightmare you call a home.”
“You are so cruel,” Gaddy sniffled. “I have had one abomination after another heaped on me tonight and here, my own creation, has just dumped another load of Were shit on me. I swear, I am done with London and am moving back to France. But not before I have for my very own that luscious Bedazzler and Northman’s wife. She was wearing Eric’s mother’s crown jewels. I could not see them because she was dressed all in furs. But I want those as well. And to be able to sit at the feet of Sir Scully and The Da’vid.”
Custer took a step back. “Sire, you are just bat shit crazy. First of all,” his voice was very gentle. “A Bedazzler? You want one for your very own? You do know they do more then charm ghosts. They can charm you as well.
Secondly, Sir Scully? Who the fuck is that? And you know that Samuel Da’vid is just a myth. An urban legend used to scare us into submission. Spun up probably by The Viking so that everyone wants to be his friend.
And thirdly, The Viking is married and you want his wife!” he screeched. “Are you out of your mind?” he yelled, flailing his arms around. “The Viking will not only kill you but he will come after me as well! And since we are coming into some money, I want to survive! I am tired of having your nasty seconds and cleaning up after you. I would like to have a first, and a night off just once in a while!”
“Well, you are certainly testy, tonight!” Gaddy sighed. “And I am sorry about your evening meal. I got into a huff and because I could, I ordered everyone out. You know how I get,” he stroked Custer’s face. “I needed to feel good about myself so I played the lord of the manor card. I am sorry. But on the flip side, I did not pay them. So we are too the good. Perhaps…” he took Custer’s hand and they both sat down on a love seat. “Perhaps we could use that money to hire Weres to storm British Isle’s home. Kill them all and take what I want.”
“Do you mean the King of British Isle?” Custer was staring at his lover in disbelief.
“Well yes,” Gaddy was now drawing hearts on Custer’s hand with his finger. “If anyone could manage that, I know it could be you. Wion refuses to talk to me because he says I am bat shit crazy. But,” he looked pleadingly at Custer, “I know we could over run Buckingham Palace and Downing Street and Parliament and I could really be the King of England.”
“Fucking…Were…shit…Gaddy,” Custer was shaking his head. “You have got to get past that. You know when you suggested that the last time, Wion shit himself. It was not much in the way of shit, just enough to put a mark on his pants, but I could smell it.”
The Count of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes began to cry.
“Don’t…please…” Custer pulled his head into his lap and stroked his hair. “Please don’t cry. I’ll call Wion and see what he says.”
“Have them do it today, please,” he pleaded. “The ghosts will return and I want to wear The Viking’s mother’s crown jewels to see Macbeth. We should attend, together. You as my handsome escort and me as perhaps the newest king of British Isle.”
“Where is your phone, your majesty?” Custer asked kissing him on the forehead.
“I don’t know, maybe my dressing room. You know how I hate that thing. But your majesty does have a much nicer sound than Count, don’t you think?”
“I will find it and make the phone call. Not one peep out of you.”
“My lips are sealed,” he said zipping his mouth closed, locking it and then tossing the key away.
The phone was not in the Count’s dressing room. Custer finally found it in a powder room on the third floor. “What the fuck was he doing up here?” he sighed as he picked it up and punched in the number as he took the stairs back to the main floor.
“Custer, this had better be you or I am hanging up,” Wion snarled.
“Tis I,” he replied. “I need a favor, a huge one. Money is no object. Gold if you prefer.”
“You know I do,” Wion replied. “I am listening. Tell me.”
“We want the King of British Isle’s home overrun. Today. There is a black male inside, a Bedazzler. We want him alive. Along with a small blonde. She is Northman’s wife. In her possession should be Viking crown jewels. We want those as well. Blow up whatever you have too to make this happen. Kill anyone who gets in your way.”
Custer grimaced as laughter came from the phone. “You don’t want much, do you?” the Were chuckled. “I cannot do this because I am presently the guest of The Troll. You know how Max gets when he thinks he has been cheated. And perhaps he has been, but Compton and his skank of a maker are dead so I have been doing a lot of explaining. I just might know someone, though, who can make this happen. And for a contact fee, I just might be able to make this happen for you.
And it has to be today?” he stressed. “That really ups the price.”
“Yes, when we rise, we want this done,” Custer replied, his voice serious.
“Well, either it will be or it won’t. But for twenty-five million in gold bullion, my cut,” Wion stressed, “I will work it vigorously from this end. I will get back with you in ten minutes.”
Hanging up, Custer nodded to his maker. “He will make it happen. No matter what he says, the pull of gold on a Were is like that of the full moon. You just have to howl and make it your own.”
The Were and the Troll and were both smiling at each other.
“I would go in with witches as my point men,” Max said to Wion as the Were put the phone in his pocket. “Then follow on with a couple of trolls that can smash their way in. Maybe a couple of your boys with some heavy automatics with the big rounds of ammo.
That twenty-five million would square you with me.”
Wion shook his head. “Those millions would square you with Compton. I warned you about his maker. I had been watching that bitch Lorena for a while. Figured her child had to be just like her. I was not wrong,” Wion said as he poured himself another brandy. “I warned you about both of them. I am not responsible for their fuck ups. As to witches, the Krasiki Coven wants nothing more to do with me. So I will not be making that call and seeing if they want to be my first line of defense.”
“They started here in Budapest,” Max was thoughtful. “They needed absolute privacy and I had some underground dwellings I was not using and we struck a deal. I know King Hat. You give my boys some work and I could maybe put in a phone call. Spread a little cheer around and some gold. How much do you think we can get Gaddy to pay?”
“A hundred million,” Wion nodded. “Tell him it took one hundred to make it happen and they all wanted one million apiece.”
“Very nice,” Max nodded in agreement. “That kind of money is a powerful draw.
Now, British Isle lives in one on the oldest parts of town. There should be abandoned sewage systems and underground water tunnels. His day chamber will be down there, along with those for his guests. I know just the trolls to use. They specialize in sniffing out underground passages.
So I am figuring five witches, two trolls and maybe ten Weres,” Max smiled, “would be all we would need. Let the witches do their enchantment thing, my trolls with some big hammers. Your Weres with the big guns for anyone who might be up and moving. We could make a handy profit off this fucked up deal yet.
I will tell Hat we will give her a million for five of her own and I’ll give the trolls some time off and all the fresh beef they can eat and you can pay the Weres a million apiece.”
Wion nodded. “That sounds good and workable. A million apiece is what it would take to entice them on such short notice. They are going to have to be local and get paid per diem along with the million so we will have to budget that in. Get them there as soon as possible. That is going to cost a bit.”
“Can’t go local?” the troll asked, picking his teeth.
“I have been abjured from the London pack.”
“Naughty and then some,” Max laughed. “You been licking your own balls in front of them?”
“Something like that,” he replied. “I should have been less cocky and more humble.”
The troll let go of a deep belly laugh. “Not ever known a Were to be humble.”
“Yeah,” Wion shook his head. “We are not born with that gene. I should have been playing the centuries long revenge game like vamps do instead of thinking like a Were.”
“Vampires,” Max nodded. “Revenge is your middle name. Which is why we will do a very thorough job.
Any idea who we are killing?”
“British Isle and Northman, for sure.”
Max took a deep breath and blew out a lot of air and other bits of a left over meal.
“Northman,” he held the word in his mouth as his eyes narrowed. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Wion nodded. “Is there a problem?”
“Maybe,” Max closed his eyes and bit his bottom lip. “I owe Northman a big one. As in favor,” he said tapping his fingers on his leg. “In gratitude for him saving my skin, I made him a promise that we would not war from that day forth and there was other various poetic prose, grand flourishing ribbons and my signature on this spelled document.”
Wion shrugged. “So are you going to war?”
Max became very still, his body taking on the cold, grey, look of stone. Only his eyes were alive. “That is walking a very thin line,” the troll said. As his mouth moved, his body once more resembled life as color flooded his features. “If Northman survives this, he is going to see this as the ultimate betrayal and will burn the document and I will turn to stone. If he does not find me first and rip my head off and watch as I turn to stone.”
“You willing to take the risk?” the Were asked.
Wion watched the handsome, blond haired, blue eyed, for all the world to see, a human—contemplate the future. And since this anomaly could pass for human and you had to do business with the smaller, weaker, human vermin, the trolls in their greed and round-about kiss my ass I do what I damn well please outlook on life, made Max king. Which worked to everyone’s advantage. They had a mover and a shaker to walk amongst the hairless, meatless others and make things happen.
“I mean,” Wion hedged his bet, “you have not declared war on The Viking. And this is not his home. And he could just be considered a causality in the fog of war kinda deal.”
“Why do I have the feeling I am saving your ass and sacrificing my own?” Max asked as he picked up a club and thumped it lightly against the ground.
“Just a yes or no,” Wion shrugged. “I need to call Custer back before he goes to ground.”
“Yes,” Max nodded as he looked around his lovely underground domicile. “Yes. Let’s put this into action. If Northman lives, he will be coming after you after he kills me. Just keep that in mind.”
Max could read the change in the Were’s body posture and chuckled. “Honestly, you think you are walking away from this unscathed. No and no. Fog of war…who believes that shit. Certainly not Northman. Eric will find you and pull your head out through your ass, heal you just enough to keep you alive and then do something else equally as unpleasant to you. So let’s make sure this happens. You call Custer, I’ll work the coven and let’s walk away with Gaddy’s gold.”
The vampire band Gone to Ground was sitting in their light tight hotel room and pissing and moaning about their lack of revenue from tonight’s gig and what a lower than Were shit the Count turned out to be.
“Once more,” Larry grumped, “we were stiffed.”
“Knew that was going to happen,” Moe replied. “I don’t think anyone on the continent or of that land origin has ever paid us.”
“Fact,” Herman said looking up and out at his friends. “This is what happens when you have hopeful hearts and bills that need to be paid. We don’t seem to ever learn.”
“Sorry, my fault,” Jules acknowledged. “I was just a bit homesick. It was the pull of once more being in England, for me,” he sighed. “To gaze upon London…”
“Yes, nice view of the Thames,” Curly snorted. “Not. Instead of a nice hotel with room service, we are once more sharing a room.”
Shep looked around at his brothers in the musical arms. “Royals suck the big, ugly, hairy, dirty one. Complete with grave rot and worms and maybe a rat or two thrown in chewing off their junk for good measure. We have been together for how many centuries, and we still have no retirement plan. And I love playing with you ass holes, but I would like a retirement plan. As in…having enough money so I do not have to be on the road all the time with you assholes.”
The room went back to being quiet as Larry went over to the small fridge and started sorting through the bagged bloods.
“How many times are you going to put that blood in alphabetical order, Larry?” Moe asked. “Look at us. There is an elephant in the room and it is not,” he stressed looking at Larry, “in that fridge. So I guess I’ll just be the male in this group with a great big pair and say it. The Viking took a wife.”
“And the cheese stands alone,” Curly hooted. “You honestly believe that? The Viking married? Announcing it to the Supernatural world like he does not give a fuck? Eric could have anyone…in multiples…and all their sisters and relatives, to include the males.
And you think he is going to settle with one woman?
And then tell the world what he has done by painting a great big bulls eye on her back and his as well.
That is just sheer folly and madness. Northman has done some outrageous things that we have witnessed. And actually I am surprised he has not pulled this stunt earlier just to see the look on their faces…but no one…and I mean no one of the vampire society would announce that they have taken a human wife.”
“Well,” Jules shrugged, “she is not completely human. Sir Scully is her blood grandfather and she cannot be glamoured. And did you hear how she oh so politely and with charm and wit made fun of Gaddy, those that report the fashion news, and just white trash in general while paying Eric’s mother her due respect. All very gracefully done. So there is some vampire floating in her blood stream and she knows how to use it.”
“Hey H-man,” Moe addressed the oldest vampire in the group. “You have been around the longest. You ever heard of a Sir Scully?”
“No,” he shook his head, his eyes still closed as he jammed on a new tune. “But then, what the fuck would I know? You think I ever traveled in those kind of big money circles? Hell no, because if I did, I would have a retirement plan. Which I had not before now considered the lack of. Thanks for nothing, Shep. You get the mega asshole award for this old dark. I was going to give it to Gadfly, but I am now reminded just how bad off I am.”
“Hey Herman,” Shep’s voice was low. “Do you really think there is a Samuel Da’vid?”
“You know, in my undead, unbeating heart, I want to say yes, and hallelujah, I believe. I do know that Eric was working with someone during the war. Someone that was a vampire and a daywalker.”
“No fucking way,” Moe hooted. “I can believe that someone like the story of the Da’vid has run the money since time began…but don’t ask me to believe he day walks.”
“Which is why I write music and don’t spend my time exchanging words with idiots, fuck wads and lower than Were shit individuals,” Herman replied as he closed his eyes.
“No—come on, please,” Curly pleaded. “Moe is an ass wipe. We all know that. I want to hear the story. Come one H-man, please. Yours are just the best. And I know they are not bullshit. The Scottish lad in our band is the bullshit king.”
Moe made a face at Jules and started to say something but Jules threw a pencil at him.
“Fuck wad,” Moe muttered as he caught in with his hand. “You could have staked me with that.”
“If that was my intent,” Jules hissed back, “you would have met the true death. Now shut up. H-man is telling a story.”
The room settled in and Herman continued. “It was the Christmas Season during WWII and the French Resistance had passed a message to me to get my ass out of Paris and to get to Amsterdam. There I would be met by The Viking and The Jew.
I thought nothing of it at the time. We all had code names. I was called the H-Man.”
All the boys in the band went, “Oh-h-h-h-h-h.”
“Yes, listen and learn,” Herman eyed them. “It was a cold and snowy December of 1939. Hitler would not invade the Netherlands until the May and Paris was due to fall in June.
As a matter of fact, that was my message to get to the allies. That had been gleaned from a high-ranking German officer while under the power of alcohol and maybe some vampire glamour. I was trusted with the message since I could haul ass on foot and not leave a trace and did not need much in the way of nourishment to sustain me. On such short notice, there was not much we could to do stop it but we could step up evacuating the Jews and getting out as many as possible.
So I get there and the old dark is fast fading away into a cold and sunny morning. I slip into this hotel on the waterfront and knock and Eric answers the door.
I was a bit flabbergasted. I had met him once or twice after he had paid me for singing. So my reality was that The Viking really was The Viking. And sitting with him is a short, young, very handsome vampire.
I give them the news and all the alerts and some sort of bond of understanding flashes between the two. You can see them talking to each other with their minds by the way their eyes are moving.”
“No foolin’,” Moe breathed out. “Like a maker and his child?”
“Fuck, maybe,” Herman replied. “I have never made a child so all I know is hearsay. And I certainly never had that type of relationship with my maker. All he ever said to me was hey fuck wad. Congats. You are now the undead. Have fun with that and he vanished into the night.”
There were similar nods from around the room. None of them had had a father figure maker. Herman did not think any of them regretted it. They had the heard horror stories of maker and slave child…!
Herman was brought back to the present by the noise out in the hall. Someone had brought a small yippee dog.
“But these two are talking without any words I can hear and The Jew stands up and says ‘This cannot wait. I am taking it to London, today.’ He gets up and hugs The Viking and just like that without a hey, look out! Here comes the sun! He walks out the door.
Eric looks at me and says, time to shelter.
When I woke that new dark, Eric was gone and there was a bag full of money left for me. All denominations and currencies and even some gold along with instructions on where I was to go next and to whom I was to pass the money along too, etc.”
“Etc.?” Curly asked, questions in his voice.
“Yes, a great big etc.,” Herman rolled his eyes at him. “As in et cetera….as in similar things are included on a very long and very tedious list too numerous to mention of the same fucking thing on perhaps different days and varied colors.”
“Oh,” Curly looked sheepish. “It was just that I did not know you could et cetera in a war situation. I though it all had to be spelled out.”
H-man sighed. “You are correct Curly, of course. But for brevity’s sake in the story, I thought I would just etc.”
“Oh well yes, of course,” he nodded and smiled. “Sorry to interrupt. Please continue.”
Herman looked around at the faces that had seen him to hell and back through the centuries. Some of them might not be the smartest, but they were the bravest lads you every wanted to stand and fight with!
“I have not seen Eric since, only at a distance or at a party where he is in attendance. Certainly not ever to speak to him. But if he says his granddaddy-in-law is having fireside chats with The Da’vid, and that name certainly sounds Jewish, who I am to question that.”
Death silence filled the room as they all sat staring at the ceiling. The grave had seen more activity and liveliness. The six musicians sat as one and something that felt like hope that perhaps they were not all bat shit crazy permeated the room.
“Somebody just fucking say it!” Moe yelled out. “Come on! Man up! We all have the bat shit crazies from time-to-time! Just speak up! We are all thinking it!”
“Fine then,” Larry sighed. “I have a pair of great big ones. So here goes. We were all,” he stressed and looked around the room “at Macbeth that old dark. We may have been standing in The Pit but that did not stop us from seeing the wedding. And the bride and groom looked a lot like The Viking and Mrs. Eric Northman. And that dragon rider, fuck me if that was not the Bedazzler.
And just where the fuck!” he cried out, “do you get a dragon?” he asked beseechingly as he looked around the room at his friends.
“We have what? About thirty-five hundred years of living between the six of us. Have any of you ever,” he stressed, “seen a dragon? Or know anyone who claims to have seen one? Hell, I’ll run with I knew someone who knew someone who claimed to have seen one.
And did you see the purple eyes on the Bedazzler’s escort. I swear on my mother’s grave, same color eyes that dragon had.”
“Purple with starlight in them,” Curly nodded in agreement. “That look is hard to replicate. Nothing fake about them. They were alive, living tissue on both the dragon and the Bedazzler’s escort.”
“So that takes us back to Eric’s granddaddy-in-law,” Herman opened his eyes and looked out at his friends. “To have the balls to have a modern day blood family, you have to be an old one with a basement or two of gold and have at your disposal someone who runs the world’s money system and invests your money. This gives you the power to not give a Were shit what the ruling council thinks of you as you live your undead life anyway you see fit.”
“Woof,” all of them sighed out together.
“Now there is a retirement plan,” Herman added for good measure. “And apparently The Viking has enamored himself of Sir Scully’s only granddaughter. As is marring and bedding the lovely lady who knows our ways and our wiles.
And don’t you know Northman was vetted,” he said with a low whistle. “No one would be taking her hand in marriage without Grandpapa knowing all his bona fides. And who better to check with than The Da’vid.”
“Just damn,” Jules sighed. “How do you even go about meeting a woman like that?”
“Well certainly not at Gaddy’s to do,” Herman laughed. “Or anyone like him. You would have to move in those circles. As Eric said,” as he mimicked his voice, “‘Of course, you have not heard of him.’”
“So where the fuck do you find a dragon?” Larry asked.
“The Vikings used them as their talisman,” Moe said. “Carved them onto everything. There was a reason they called them dragon boats.
Fuck, maybe The Viking has kept one all along.”
“Bat shit crazy,” was muttered by more than one as they all nodded at the pronouncement of Moe’s lack of sanity.
“Fuckwads,” he snarled. “Let’s hear your reasoning. Where the hell did that dragon come from? That was no one’s special effects magic cooked up on a computer.”
They all looked at each other and shrugged.
“Well okay. The Viking knows dragons. That could work,” Curly said. “I mean, I’ve got nothing. So until one of you comes up with something better, I’m in. Northman knows dragons. Well why the fuck not. He knows everyone else.”
The lights were still on in the King of British Isle’s domicile. The women had gone to bed. The men sat up looking over the layouts of Ian’s town home and discussing the up coming battle.
“Gaddy has always thought he should be king,” Cedric snorted. “After all, he is a count. He has more experience being a royal then me fine boy’o Ian. His diplomatic skills may suck but he is just the best at kissin’ ass. There was that Christmas in Paris with him on the wrong side of the law. That bein’ Eric’s law of course.”
They all chuckled at the memory.
“They are not walking up to the front gate,” Ian said as he touched the screen on his computer and moved the diagram to 3-D.
“Which leaves the sewers running past and the old water supplies. I have seismic equipment down there along with a few surprises for who wants to come calling unannounced.”
Eric looked over the schematics carefully. “Gaddy is going to be paying for witches, Weres and Trolls. They will send in the witches first casting their spells. Samuel is out right now laying down his blessings and salt. I would bring in guns with big caliber bullets. Ian, all your guards carry silver bullets and they will need the heavy bomb body armor. And Trolls,” he nodded. “They would be asked in. Trolls for knocking though the ground to get to the basement walls. This is what I would do.
Samuel and I will be down below,” Eric said. “We have both killed trolls and removing their heads just seems to be the fastest way to make that happen. O.I. will be wherever he deems to do the most damage.”
Ian eyed Eric. “You think King Max would consent to this? He is taking a very big risk.”
Eric’s smile did not reach his eyes. “Well yes I do. Max has been running weapons for a long time and beating the odds and doing very well for himself and his tribe. So he might be feeling lucky enough to take on the King of British Isle. If a troll shows up at this party, Max and I are going to be having more than words. Because before he commits his troops to this he is going to ask just whom it is they are killing. My name will come up and he will have to weigh the money against the possible counterattack and his death.
That is the way he does business; because of their long lives trolls understand revenge. You always want to know who is going to come looking for you, even if it is ten thousand years later.
When we are finished here later today, we shall be moving across town to The Count’s domicile. Gaddy is dead. As in when he rises, we will be there to greet him. In Paris I let him live. I will not be doing that again. King Max will not be alive to greet the New Year. Time to set the example. You go after what is mine and that will be the very last painful thing you do.”