joyeux-noel

Chapter 29

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

Joyeux Noël

Chapter 29

 

Eric and Samuel were on O.I.’s back when they landed at Gaddy’s front gate. It was just not every day during a snowstorm you saw a thirty-ton dragon land, belch flames destroying said gates and ask in what could only be called a ghetto accent,

Needs to be speaken to the mo’ fon’ mo fo’er in charge. If you ain’ts him, trot his unhappy asses on out here. Gots words that we needs to be exchangin’, gots limited times to be makin’ shit happen.”

The guy in charge just stood there with his mouth open.

“If the man in charge is not available,” Eric asked, “the next one in charge will do,” he said in Celtic then German, Swedish, the Old Norse, Dutch and French. Their faces were still shell-shocked and all three heroes swore they now smelled Were shit.

“Perhaps,” Samuel stood regarding them, “they don’t speak those languages. Let me give it a try.”

Samuel then asked to speak to the next guy in charge in Farsi, Yiddish, Egyptian Arabic, Bedouin Arabic and several tribal dialects spoken throughout the Middle East. He looked at Eric and O.I. and shrugged when he got no response.

“The Queen’s English?” Eric asked with a grin.

When a small female Were finally stepped up, and stuttered, “I speak American.”

“Close enough,” Eric nodded and began his litany of demands. And actually, there were not that many.

Eric gave them two options. Live or die.

Looking at the two vampires that were fangs down and the bigger than life dragon, who looked like his fangs were always down and he was smiling and licking his lips, the Weres offered no opposition.

“Call your brothers-in-arms,” Eric said. “Tell them if they want to live, they need to run, now. If we find them, they are dead.”

Radios squawked and O.I., that charming rascal, just to make his point, let out a roar that shook the ground!

There was yelling and running from several different directions as doors opened and gates closed, leaving their weapons where they fell and footprints in the snow.

Eric took out his phone as he watched the snow continue to fall. There was thirty minutes until sundown. More than enough time to take care of one more piece of business.

 

Max picked up. Northman was the name on his screen. “Please oh please let this be Wion calling on Northman’s phone,” he chanted before he answered.

“Max,” the troll heard the soft accent. “You made a bad mistake. Pick what you wish to wear for eternity and think about the pose you wish to take. Find your second and call together your tribe. Just as soon as I am finished with Gaddy, I will be back to Skype with you.”

When his phone went dead, Max sat down and thought about his long life and how it now did not seem long, enough.

Eric was many things. At this point, he was very fair. No troll would have offered him this deal. He certainly would not have. His throne room bore that testimony. His newest cathedra was his latest enemy, his middle brother. His footstool for this particular chair was his latest wife who had cheated on him, with his middle brother. Both were stone for eternity. He had not offered them the nicety of being dressed in their finest or allowing them to pick what expression they wanted on their faces.

“More than fair,” he muttered as he thought about the few hours, if that many, he had left. Time to explain to the tribe and get dressed. But he still had one last official act as king to do. With pleasure the dossier was going to The Viking!

 

Wion was sitting at a café in Budapest sipping his coffee and thinking about transporting the gold. The warehouse that he had found in London would do for starters. It had a coal furnace and a couple of beds and a bathroom. Nothing first class but it did not have to be. First class would come later.

Grayson would be able to tell him who could and could not be trusted. They would move the gold to the lorry and then take the men’s payout over in the Rover to the warehouse.

This was going to work and he would never have to work, again. He lovingly ran his thumb across the top of his scarab ring. It had been the luckiest day of his life when he killed his old commander in Cairo a hundred years ago who swore this ring had been taken from the finger of a powerful mummified priest who had been buried with Cleopatra. “This,” his commander had stroked it with his finger also as he confided to him, “this is the secret to my long life.

“Now it is the secret to my long life,” he smiled at it fondly and then motioned for a second cup of coffee. His phone vibrated inside his jacket pocket and taking it out noted that King Hat was wishing to speak to him on this spectacular and glorious day!

“Yes,” he said when he picked up.

“Have you seen them? Did you see them today?” she asked.

“Who?” he asked.

“My five witches.”

“No,” he planted good cheer in his voice. “They were finished by zero-nine. We did not arrive until three. They are to be commended for the fine service they performed.

Have you not heard from them?” he asked, keeping his voice neutral as something like fear began to eat at him.

“No,” King Hat sighed. “I know the storm is keeping all at home and The Tube is not working in some parts of the city. So they walked to keep their appointment with their fate so that they might influence yours. I am sure they are trudging their way home through the snow drifts.”

“I am sure,” he put a smile in his voice. “Blessed be,” he said as he hung up and went though his contact list. Finding Grayson’s number, he hit call. The phone rang until it finally rolled over to voice mail. “This is Grayson. Eat shit and die.”

Wion watched as the sun skimmed along the horizon. It’s rays streaking up into the sky, like fingers pushing into a blue frozen Curacao daiquiri. It was now dark enough for old vamps to be up and moving. Northman was an old vamp. And Max had warned him about pissing that particular vampire off.

His phone vibrated on the metal table which caused him to jump. “Were shit,” he whispered as he saw Max’s name on the screen. “I am beginning to believe that I just might be fucked.” It was time to bluff.

“Max,” he said picking up. “I just got a quick text from my men. The fighting was more fierce than they anticipated. They are still doing some sweeps and have just broken into the King of British Isle’s chamber. They are killing vamps as we speak.”

Max stood staring off into space wishing he had the ability to reach through the phone and rip out of this lying Were’s mouth one tooth at a time, so he might have a necklace he could wear as a statue for the rest of his days. How he would delight in listening to him scream in agony as he broke every bone in his body. And while he brought agonizing death to this liar he would look fabulous in his Were-wolf’s tooth necklace. Such was the stuff of dreams. His life was now a nightmare. Eric would see to that.

“Wion, I hope you are on the run you stupid fuck. I just got off the phone with The Viking,” Max chuckled. “I am dead. Which means you are dead. Fuck whatever it is you do for pleasure because Northman is going to be looking for you. I just wish I had the time left to end you myself.”

When Wion’s phone went dead, he sat staring at it, willing the conversation to continue. “Must be losing my touch. I thought my bullshit was just the best. Time to haul ass,” he said as he motioned for his bill. He would just stand up and walk away but a Were owned this establishment and he was on enough shit lists the way it was. No need to have the local brotherhood looking for him as well. This little set-back meant he was done in Budapest and maybe this part of the world. Trolls had good noses and abounded in the most unlikely locations. The pushing out of civilization had caused them to adapt in the most unusual localities. Places that he liked as well. He would like to call in a few favors but Max had more money than he did and he was sure there was a small bounty on his head even as he sat there contemplating his future.

“Well Were shit,” he sighed as he left money on the table, wished he could stick around for the change, decided against it and walked off into the gathering dark that very possibly would hold his death.

 

“Eric,” Samuel was catching a snowflake on his tongue. “We have about fifteen minutes. You ready to go inside?”

“Indeed I am,” he grinned. “I can still hear a couple of heart beats in the building. They are not moving about and have increased in speed.”

“Probably Gaddy’s meal for this evening, chained,” Samuel replied. “We find them and Gaddy’s chamber cannot be far away.”

“Correct my brother,” Eric nodded in agreement. “Gaddy is notoriously lazy. O.I, if you would like to lead the way. Push through whatever you feel is necessary, just please don’t bring the building down on us just yet.”

“Does that mean,” O.I. grinned, “that I can bring the building down not on top of us?”

All three of them laughed.

“Just depends on what we find,” Eric replied. “Let us be on our way. Sun is going down and vamps will be rising.”

 

It was easy to locate the two humans that were being terrorized. Gaddy liked his blood excited and Custer was doing a fine job with the riding crop. His intent was not to bring blood, which would be a waste; just to assure the maximum amount of pain and make some lovely welts.

“I am not amused,” was all Samuel said when he ripped off Custer’s head, unchained the women and glamoured them into a feeling of peace. Opening doors he found a room full of clothing. They had belonged to victims that had not been back around to claim them. Leading them in, he told them to get dressed in warm clothing. When they came out he escorted them to the front door, gave them some money and calling one of his men, they were taken out and into a Rover and driven away.

 

Gadford LaRue, Count of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, was beginning to twitch. He hated waking up until it was full dark. Midnight seemed to work best for him. It was fine for his child to do so, to get up and hustle around. After all, it was his job to see to his maker! But this fringe waking business just sucked! And not as well as he did!

His slumber was to be sure and complete. Leave him feeling well rested and refreshed and ready to climb up out of the grave!

When he was in residence, here, he always congratulated him on this resting chamber which was the most secure place on the grounds. Maybe the most secure place in the world! This is where he kept things that were important to him. He could sleep anywhere and most days he slept on top of neatly stack bars of gold and his rest was superb!

Some of the gold was covered in blood. That really was not his fault, no no no! There were times, he would lock onto all the wealth that was in his chamber and a feeding frenzy would grip him and he could not stop until his meal was dead. Yes, not his fault. It was just the nature of the beast!

It did not happen often but when it did, Custer bitched nonstop for days about the mess, the blood smell and just who the fuck was going to wash down all that gold?

“Custer is such a good child,” he smiled to himself. “He needs a raise. Perhaps in another one hundred years I will offer him a bit more. And I really will try to do better about leaving him a meal and just not a mess to clean up.

Speaking of meals,” he sighed as he twitched his nose. “Things smell a bit different. Something a bit odd for me, tonight! How exciting! The same old same old does get boring after a bit. I do so wonder what has been procured for me.

Custer,” he smiled and fluttered a hand upward, “have you a tasty surprise for me? I can be very grateful!” He giggled.

“Mo’ fo’n,” was heard.

Wait! That could not be correct. Why not correct at all! Who would dare to use such language in his presence? And that certainly did not sound like Custer. Why, his beloved child would never set up that type of encounter for him. He did not do rude and vulgar! After all, he was noble by birth!

“When I open my eyes,” Gaddy trudged bravely on, “you are dead.”

He heard laughter times three. They all sounded just a bit scary and dangerous!

“Who is there?” he shouted. “I demand to know. And who let you into my chamber? And where is my child?”

“I am O.I., King of the Dragons,” came a throaty chuckle. “Understands you thoughts you could go after The Viking. Take his Mrs. Viking…and our Miss Sooks is a fine lady of the light, too good for the likes of your Were shit ass to even be lookin’ on. And you wanted our Mr. Eric’s momma’s jewels. That his Mrs. now proudly wears! And I understands you has a thang for my bonded,” he hissed. “His La La Fineness is finer than all this here gold. His heart is pure. Yous is just nasty.

Just a mo’ fo’n thief and murder and low life Were shit in general.”

“How dare you…!” he spit out and sat up and opened his eyes.

Pushed into his chamber was a dragon…and his body fit because the walls were gone and so was part of the roof! Rubble littered the floor and fear now screamed out of every pore of Gaddy’s body! Then fear screamed out of his mouth!

“Yous was sayin’,” O.I. eyed him, fire coming out of his mouth.

Screams bounced around in the room as fear registered on every part of Gaddy! Even the hair on his head was sticking straight up!

“Mr. Erics, you gots anythin’ you want to be sayin’?” O.I. asked.

Gaddy then turned his gaze away from O.I. and saw Northman in the background. The screams got louder!

“No,” Eric grinned. “Can you capture him with all that fear showing. Ian will love it.”

“Can do,” O.I. grinned as he turned his gaze on this despicable creature. “Look into my eyes,” he said in his best Bella Lagosa voice.

Eric was not for sure how long they stood there and watched Gaddy turn to stone.

“Like the Medusa,” Samuel said. “Your gaze can turn someone to stone.”

“Correct,” O.I. nodded. “Medusas are descended from dragon. Vampires also. So are trolls. Only they is the ones that turn to stone, not their stare.”

“Nice statue,” Eric smirked. “Gaddy all pushed back upon himself, his face terrified. His hair on end. When we get Max, Ian can use them for bookends.

Samuel,” Eric smiled at his brother. “Let us move the gold and get ourselves home with our newest prize. Gaddy has never looked so good.”

“Mo’ fo’n Eric,” O.I. sighed as they began to shift things around. “I am a mighty fine lookin’ dragon. Not one like me to be seen. And Gaddy, bless his stone ass and other parts, he screamed louder when he saw you then when he did me. What’s up with that?”

“Well your majesty,” Eric bowed at the waist. “Yes, you are fierce and all dragon goodness. But I am Eric Northman. I known by many and feared by those who have any good reason. My reputation precedes me.”

“So, I’m an unknown…” O.I. mulled that over while they loaded gold onto his back.

“Yes,” Eric nodded.

“Mo’ fo’n…” he sighed. “Just mo’ fo’n…”

 

There were more hugs and kisses as the heroes were welcomed home! The family had been busy! There were flower petals to throw and glitter and lots of confetti! When Gaddy was brought in, Ian chuckled and said. “I have just the place for him. And you say we’ll have Max as well. When we move out to the castle, we’ll have them positioned so they can hold either a drink or an hors d’oeuvres tray.”

“Clever,” Gran smiled. “Very clever. He looks so scared, what ever he is holding, no one will want to try it,” she chuckled.

“Or,” Eric laughed, “everyone will recognize it as Gaddy and will think that he is terrified of actually doing something useful that they will all be back numerous times.”

“Brilliant,” Ian nodded in agreement. “We shall put him to work. Make him doing something worthwhile. Maybe others could pose with him and take selfies.”

“Yes, I can see that,” Sookie grinned. “Act like you are coming at him with your vampire fangs or maybe you are handing him a broom and dust pan.”

“Broom and dust pan would do it,” Eric nodded in agreement. “Now, one last bit of business. Time to deal with Max. He has had time. I hope his house is in order.

I will retrieve the agreement we signed and then I will Skype with him and he shall live on as a stone butler. I am sure he will be more dignified than Gaddy.”

 

Eric sat in front of the monitor watching the troll filled cave.

Max was indeed dressed to the nines. Complete with tux, walking stick and top hat. He sat in a chair and said nothing while Eric talked to the room-at-large and specifically to Max’s heir apparent.

“Our King has told us what has transpired,” Maxus said into the camera. “My father attempted to side step the agreement between the two of you. I understand this. I was one of the witnesses that stood by as he declared that there would be no warring ways between the two of you. That you had saved his life and if ever he broke this agreement, his life was forfeit. He told us that he did, indeed, willingly and knowingly break this agreement between the two of you. No matter what the reason, he perjured himself and admits he must pay the agreed upon consequences.

A life for a life is the troll way. And no matter how noble the reason or selfish, his life is yours to take, Eric Northman. We hold no grudges against you. And because my father and my king have betrayed you, I have sworn out and signed the same document that you have against my father. If I were to declare war against you, it is yours to burn and I shall turn to stone.

I can think of no other way to right this wrong against you.”

“Thank you,” Eric bowed at the waist. “Truly, you are wise and fair and just. As we have discussed before, I require the statue. I want it crated and sent to me immediately. You may ship it to the King of the Vampires, British Isle, London. I want it delivered to the house, no later than tomorrow, midnight.”

“This can be done,” Maxus nodded in agreement.

“Max,” Eric said and the King of the Trolls stood. “You look very dashing. At this time, please take whatever position you wish to spend the rest eternity.”

Max put his walking stick out to the side in front of him and placed one foot slightly forward.

“Now Eric,” he said with a small smile.

“Now it shall be,” The Viking replied as he threw the document into the roaring flames of the fireplace.

The paper sizzled and multitudes of different colored flames and sparks shot up and out. Something resembling a small fireworks display lit up the fireplace. When the document was no more, the fire went out, not even leaving embers glowing.

Eric did not have eyes for what was going on in the firebox. He was watching Max as all the color drained from him, fleeing from him like a sheep from the wolf. By the time the fire went cold, there stood a stone statue.

Max, the King of the Trolls is no more,” Eric’s voice held respect. “Long live Maxus, the King of the Trolls,” he shouted.

“Long live Maxus, the King of the Trolls,” was thundered back.

Eric bowed from the waist one more time and then Samuel shut down the connection.

“That was actually very dignified,” Sookie said regarding her husband. “I am very proud of you.”

“Thank you,” Eric was thoughtful. “But that was not all me. I learned from the best. My grandmother was many things. A diplomat was one of them because you could not always muscle your way through a crowd of angry Vikings wanting to kill you.

The trolls have a real sense of right and wrong when it comes to their own kind.

Max did a good job of laying the groundwork. His son did a good job of accepting the debt of honor. Trolls, for their unseemly ways, hold deep respect for treaties drawn up on paper with all the ribbons and flourishes.”

“So the peace will hold,” Sookie said.

Eric shrugged. “I knew Max. I cannot speak for his son. So until we have them coming knocking with a big hammer upon the walls, we are believing it to be a Joyeux Noël.”

“We is coming up on Christmas Eve Eve,” Lafayette said nodding.  “We still planning on Midnight mass on the twenty-fourth?”

“Yes,” Ian nodded, “and I have tickets for Handel’s Messiah, being conducted at the Church of St. Bart’s here in London for the evening of the twenty-third.

After the Mass, we shall motor on to my castle that is just out in the country a bit. There the family shall have Christmas in the castle complete with tree, stockings and all manner of good things to eat. The following evening, we shall have the masked ball.”

Gran smiled. “That sounds wonderful. Scully and I have been working on our costumes with Madame Vedo.”

“She rocks,” Sookie nodded in agreement. “The holiday season is upon us and I am here, in London, with my family, to include my husband,” she picked up Eric’s hand and kissed it. “Who would have thought this possible? Certainly not that poor kid from Bon Temps, Louisiana. I don’t know that I could have dreamed this big.”

“Lover,” Eric, “dream bigger. The world is yours.”

 

The Orient Express was leaving tonight from Budapest. Trolls hated the rumble of the trains and did not build their homes anywhere around them. Wion congratulated himself for making the train station in record time. He should be safe enough until he reached his destination.

He did not believe his days were numbered, but just in case they were, he would one more time take the train where he had so many times traveled in luxury and where he had committed his favorite murder.

His phone chimed. Max had blind copied him the dossier he had sent to Northman.

“Fuck,” he sighed.

There would be no time this trip for a copy-cat murder of his favorite one because he was out of time.

 

Pam was in the basement of Ian’s dwelling organizing the newest gold hoard. “I love being Eric’s child,” she smiled at her reflection in the gold tray. “And who the fuck needs a gold tray?” she shook her head in dismay. “You can’t exactly carry anything on it because it is so soft. Dumb asses trying to impress,” she rolled her eyes. “Reminds me of King Tut. Now there was a dumb ass,” she shook her head in disbelief. Still.

“That priest had been so proud when he told me that he had personally been selected by his king to help guard the boy king’s tomb and how I needed to bow down and worship him and while I was down there to unwrap his dick and suck him off. Just dumber than Were shit,” Pam rolled her eyes again. “He was not very proud when I dosed him with a blessed salt enema. One that started at his mouth and blew off his penis before it blew out his ass. Oh my, the very best of times,” she chuckled as she went back to her notations. “I will get this inventoried, then those numbers to Brother Samuel and let him put our investment to work. I just love being Eric’s child,” she smiled as she hummed Greensleeves and joyfully went about her newest task. She was building her version of the Eifel Tower with the gold bricks.

From time to time she would stand back and admire her handiwork as she kept on sorting and building and tracking the pieces. “Much better in gold,” she nodded. “My taste is exquisite. Everyone should just agree to put me in charge,” she sighed, “and we would all have a Joyeux Noël with presents under The Eifel Tower instead of a tree.”

Stopping, she thought about that for a moment. “Hm-m-m-m,” she considered that as she took out her phone. Dialing a number, she smiled when the woman picked up. “Martha, what do you think about a golden Eifel Tower instead of a Christmas tree? Just think of the decorating possibilities. I mean, if I could sell the idea of an aluminum tree with that rotating color wheel, with your pull, I think we could make this a go.”

 

Dear Readers,

When I was a child, I remember when the aluminum tree came out. One of my friends had one set up in their living room. Complete with rotating color wheel.

At five years of age I cannot begin to tell you how shocked and appalled I was! To this day I remember thinking just how ugly that thing was!

That image has stayed with me for all these years…that would be well, six decades.

Now it all makes perfectly good sense to me…vampire’s idea. No fresh-cut tree in the home to make a wooden stake.

That Pam….

As always, thanks for reading!

Be blessed and be the blessing,

CES