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.
They all applauded.
“Samuel, that is a very fine idea,” Ian nodded as he admired the happy couple that sat across from him. “Will our help be required?”
“It will possibly be an all hands on deck moment,” he grinned, his green eyes brimming with good cheer. “Eric and I will draw up a blueprint of her castle so the fae will know where to pop into and out of with us in attendance. By the time she goes to her day rest, everyone will think she has become so damaged with grief from missing Eric that gladly will she push a stake into her own heart just to get out of her misery.”
“Dead by a case of the bat shit crazies. I cans sees the wisdoms in that,” Lafayette nodded.
“That sounds like some plan,” Cedric was wiggling his eyebrows.
“Should be the party of the century,” Eric’s eyes were mere slits. “She always has an out with the old and in with the new gala the week before Winter’s Solstice and invites the world. Today is what? The tenth? If she wants me there with her to see in the New Year, she has got to get going on this. That gives her three days for me to be found and to haul my ass there, undamaged, no less. Just who thinks they are going to take me in unscathed?”
There was laughter from around the room.
“Exactly,” Eric grinned. “I think that now would be the time to just get this out of the way so we can move forward. It is a real shame I just can’t pull her head off, but that would be a little hard to explain.”
“So,” Sookie looked at the two royals from the islands, “do you guys have your invitations to this yet?”
“Who us?” Ian actually laughed. “No. Because we are kings in our own right, she mocks us, ridicules us, and calls us bad names in general and does not include us.” “Yes, Eric’s Mrs.,” Cedric put in. “We are not and never have been welcome and she lampoons us with her sharp wit and tongue to the others at court so they eschew us as well and taunt our old fashioned ways of handlin’ our stocks and investin’ our coin. Plus, she suspects that we are Eric’s friends and we would do whatever we could to help him escape from her evil and wrong doin’ clutches, she just can no prove it.”
“Since we are limited on time,” Eric mused, “we have to get going on this. We are going to need clothes. There shall be many costume changes. And as much as I would love to have the fae dress us, she cannot suspect anything amiss. So I need to contact Madame Vedo to make dresses for Sookie. We are going to need a spectacular wedding dress for my bride and something this side of extravagance gone wild for me. I see expensive Viking dress in my future and for the Northman Clan, there shall be no expense spared on jewelry that is in good taste that can be seen from the moon. It is time to take a visit to The Vault!”
“Mo’ fo’n,” O.I. grinned. “It is a party!” And then poof, they were gone.
Pam had experienced better nights, she just could not remember when. N.O. was always fun, but eventually that fun gave way to staying out of Eric’s way because there was always something not so fun that he could come up with for her to do.
So she had taken herself back to Fangtasia, just as any good child should. When she was here, she was the Queen of her universe and Eric left her alone to run the bar and any other mischief that she could get into and keep him from knowing about.
For the last ten minutes she had worked behind the bar and watched the two newest vampires to walk into their establishment. Even Chow had raised an eyebrow when they strolled in with their pelvics pushed out with their dicks leading the way and sat down. She had merely winked at Chow and went back to washing glasses. They were hilarious to watch. They had glamoured every waitress that passed by, asking to see their boss. The reply from the staff was sure and steady. “The master is not in this dark.”
Pam hit 911 and the prerecorded message was gone.
Watching them from the copper mugs that hung from the side of the bar was not a bad way to survey the crowd. The two newest were getting restless. Tonight just might be good for a grin after all. Oh, here they came now.
They were not even going to follow protocols by introducing themselves in Eric’s and her place of business. Well yes, their body language said just eat shit and die and know who we are. Standing on the other side of the bar, they planted themselves squarely in front of her. Blocking her from view and also blocking her view.
“Where is your maker?” the Asian asked. With his blue eyes, light completion and short up the sides and long on the top bouncy red hair, there was no mistaking The Hun. In vampire circles, he was legend and ranked right up there with her maker. Not only in lore and fame, but in height as well. His daddy might have been an Asian bad ass with good political connections but his momma was a Viking warlord princess who believed in killing first and never asking questions. Her son had inherited her personality and his striking good looks were enough to separate him from the handsome vampire crowd. There was no way in hell a human could compete with him.
It was interesting that they knew who she was. Must have been a hell of a briefing they received, or maybe they just Googled her. Pamela de Beaufort, Eric Northman’s bad ass child.
“Eric is not here,” she replied in a soft drawl.
“We know that,” the equally tall, curly brown haired and brown-eyed male responded. Vlad Drac was not as striking as The Hun but he was not short on looks, either. Damn, Eric had run with the in crowd back in the day.
“And you think he checks in with me?” she responded in her best fuck you voice.
“I think,” The Hun leaned across the bar and was in her face. “That you had better let him know we are looking for him.”
“And you would be?” she asked raising an eyebrow.
They both smirked.
“We heard that about you,” Vlad replied placing both hands on the bar. “That there is no risk to big or bet to small. Right now, I am betting that you are taking a risk that is not going to end well for you.”
“Is that even money?” she raised the other eyebrow. “I don’t bet on anything where the odds are even money. I like something with more of a risk.”
Both of them dropped their fangs and because they were so old and cocky they lost sight of the fact that Pam was The Viking’s child. Which might not mean anything to them, but had made a great big impact on her.
Pam queued up the song and then cranked up A Whole Lot of Rosie over the speakers. As the song blared, there were cries of agony when a silver spike went through the bottom of one palm of each of their hands. The shiny silver tip pushing up out of the bar.
“You were sayin’?” she asked sweetly.
“Child,” she heard in her ear and her periphery vision gave her a good look at Eric pulling on gloves and then with one blow, knocking the silver spike out of their hand and through the bar as they clattered to the floor.
“Gentlemen,” Eric smiled. “I believe you have met my child. I understand that you wanted to speak to me.”
“Northman,” Vlad grimaced as he rubbed the wound.
“My office,” he replied as he led the two away. “We can talk where it is quieter and perhaps safer,” he grinned.
Pam bowed her head to the two her glared at her and growled.
“I don’t do guys, no matter how much you sweet talk me,” she winked at them and went back to washing glasses as Eric used his key to unlock the door and took them into the back.
Opening his office door he showed them in and then leaned back on his desk. “What brings you out on such a cold, dark, snowy night?”
“We are looking to even the score with you,” Attila began. “You killed our makers, we come with news to save you life.”
“You mean that Catherine wants to know where I am…” he laughed and made a grand sweeping motion with his hands, “and that she is hiring bounty hunters. They just cannot bring me in damaged.”
They both sat down on the couch and glared at him. Eric walked back to his chair and sat down with his feet up on his desk.
“Or is it that she still calls me her Prince Regent? That she is pissed that I shall soon be celebrating three hundred years of being gone from her? Or perhaps she has heard about my encounter with The Twins from the deep and wants to have my perfect skin tones and beating heart all for herself? Or maybe she just wants my beating heart in a jar? After all, her Winter Solstice party is about to start. My heart on her mantle would certainly be a showstopper. But she loves me, she hates me, she can’t live without me, she can’t live with me so just bring him to me and let me decide. If he will just fuck me once, he can live forever, he would fuck me twice, I would crown him king of all.
Let me see, she also wants my wife either dead or turned, she cannot make up her mind from one dark to the next. She wants you to bring her back my child so that she may have the pleasure of calling me home and forcing me to end Pamela myself so that my wife might live. Have I missed anything? Because if you want more, I can talk plot lines for cheap, disgusting B grade movies with what remains of the old dark.”
“You don’t know,” Vlad smiled, “who she is going to use to betray you.”
“Bill Compton and his red-headed and blind child. Both have met the true death. Once she believes that to be true, she will sob and scream and beat her breasts and then beat every other persons breasts in her throne room that dark and will call Boris up out of the dungeon and tell him if he wants his freedom, he will fetch me home.
Oh,” Eric raised his hand. “I see you both smirking…and of course, there will be Weres. Because truly, you can’t have all of this going on without howling in the background.”
The Hun looked at his counterpart. “I think that covers it.”
“I think you hit all the major players,” Vlad nodded in agreement. “So I guess we still owe you.”
“I guess you do,” Eric smiled sweetly.
“Fuck,” Attila ran his hair through his curls. “I thought for sure we had you this time.”
“No,” Eric sadly shook his head. “Not even close,” as Eric hit the floor and the wooden stake The Hun had pulled out of his hair went whizzing past as Eric pushed a button on the bottom of his desk and silver spikes pushed up out of the bottom of the couch and The Impaler and his friend were now held fast to the leather divan that would have to be replaced.
“Gentleman,” Eric was sadly shaking his head as he stood and they cursed him in their mother tongue. Both of which Eric spoke fluently. “Now why don’t you tell me what this is all about? I told you not to trust her. Not to ever to get close to her and to never tell her your secrets.
Attila, you care to start?”
“She has Chan,” he groaned as blood dripped out of his nose.
Eric nodded in understanding. “Your baby brother. He also took after your mother. Tall, handsome blue-eyed fellow. More of a politician, though, after your father.
Vlad? What? You could not help yourself when you escorted Cici through Paris? Told someone that she was not only your child but had been your wife when you were still human?”
“Eric, please…” was all he said, his tear soaked voice speaking the truth of what Eric had said.
Hitting another switch on his desk, the silver stakes sank back under the couch and Pam was at the door with a couple of willing donors.
“Four pulls,” was all Eric said as the males sat down on their bloodied laps and offered their necks.
When they had finished, the vampires took out wallets, passed the money to the humans and Pam escorted the meals back out front.
Eric sat and watched them heal. This just might be the answer.
“You both know I want nothing to do with the Old Empire. I live in the New World and here is where I am content to stay.
However, this Winter Solstice season, there is going to be an upheaval in the power structure. As is Catherine is going to meet the true death and I am going to need someone of a strong will and no bullshit disposition to put in her place. And I think I am looking at two someones. Once you are both crowned, if you choose to try and kill each other so that one may rule supreme, that is on you. Please do not call me or otherwise invite me in to your showdown of power because I will not give a fuck or back one instead of the other. But I think the two of you together could pull this off and work your way through dismantling the Old Empire. Unless you really do want to spend the rest of your undead lives ruling there. And I am just fine with that as well. I prefer my very small piece of the American dream. Russia is just fucking cold in the winter, even for a vampire. Even for a vampire that can afford to heat his dacha.
Don’t look too hopeful. There will be no money…as in no money in her treasury. Nothing to sell off because she will have worked that venue. So whatever you bring to this, better do it with good will and a snarl in case things start to look like they are going to go south and you have to step up and remove a few heads.
The good news is, I am going to give you a heads up. As in right now, take out your phones and dump BitCoin. It is going to be tits up by the time we have a sunrise event. When Catherine wakes with the New Dark, she is going to have to sell off her assets because she has some very big loans that are going to become due. As in, folks will come knocking on her doors and carting things off.
Now, I know while we are sitting here chatting, unknown to you, Catherine has sent someone to take Pamela. I would be deeply hurt and offended about this if it did not provide great amusement and entertainment for my child. The music out front just got louder. When she plays Highway to Hell at that volume you know she is being entertained. She is having her fun in front of everyone and no one but her, and perhaps Chow, knows it.”
“You mean Catherine had us followed…” Vlad’s voice rose in anger. “Having our children was not enough for her? She thinks what? That we would just go our merry way and let her destroy them?”
“Now you know how she thinks,” Eric replied. “That is what she would do therefore she thinks that is what you would do. Truly, you have no idea of the monster that dwells within her.
I would recommend that you return and report in. Tell her you know where to find me but you are going to need more help if she wants me unscathed. Her party this year starts on the 14th? Is that correct? Be prepared with the rising of the sun on the 16th to be in power. The evening of the 15th shall be one of fun and frolic.
So layer on the bullshit and planning phases, talking about me and how handsome I am and keep yourselves alive until the new dark of the 15th.”
“Eric…” Attila began, his voice low. “We can see for ourselves your skin tones and hear your beating heart. She knows this as well. Not that we doubt you, but are you now more human than vampire?”
“I have this,” he smiled at both of them as his fangs dropped and his claws stretched out before them. “Truly. Since my meeting with the Twins of the Deep, I am a bit more than I was. And I am very content with the bit more. So much so, that I just might be the new big bad.”
“Sophie-Anne told her about you wife…” Vlad’s voice was full of sorrow. “That you are expecting? A human child? Catherine has screaming fits about that.”
“Yes, you can call my daddy and my bride can take care of herself.”
“You marry a witch?” The Hun asked, interested. “The ones in America are supposed to be spectacular. That their ancestors survived the scourges of Europe, came here, and their power passed to those of present day.”
“I married a mage,” Eric replied, “complete with her hand stitched and self-illustrated grimoire. And you should see her familiar. I do not worry for my wife. I pity any and all who would think to take her on.
Gentlemen,” Eric drawled out the word. “You are stalling. There is one more something. What is it?”
“Eric, please do not fail,” Atilla whispered. “She has had built for you a cage…a…” he shivered. “There is no way to rest. It has protruding from everywhere sharp, glass like silver with…with…”
“Chains to attach to my genitals, my nipples, my eyes, up my nose and ass. In my ears. But nothing in my mouth. She wants to hear me beg for mercy. She did not just have this built. It has been in her rooms for three hundred years. That is where she kept me the last time she pulled me back into her hell.”
Attila and Vlad said nothing. Just sat there, staring at him. Horror etched onto their faces.
“Now, if you will excuse me, the child calls. She wants to know what do with the Weres and their keeper. When you are finished with your money, I strongly suggest you leave out the back door. That way no one can say what condition you were in when you left.”
“You are a good friend,” they both said as they took out their phones to begin arranging their finances. “We’ll see you in Mother Russia.”
“Until then,” Eric saluted and closed the door.
The fangbangers continued on, too intoxicated on alcohol and the close proximity of vampires to notice the four dead Weres upright at the bar or the vampire with the silver stake that had been struck through his hand and had him pinned at the bar. Missy Pam had nicely covered it with a bar towel and told him to keep quiet if he wanted to live.
Here came part owner of the bar now. Would you just look at the scowl on his face! Some one just might be getting ready to meet the true death!
“Here comes the boss man,” she winked at Donegal who was doing his best to maintain but the way his left eye kept twitching he was obviously having some pain issues. “You have some explaining to do. And maybe some dying. Eric does not like to be away from his wife and family. From the looks of him, the best you can hope for is that it will be quick. Because when he looks that pissed, you could be whimpering for decades. So just tell him the truth and die with dignity.”
At three O.I. came fluttering into the bar by the back door. Stopping to kiss Pamela’s hand and compliment her on her new boots, he flew to Eric’s door and knocked. Hearing “Enter,” he did just that.
“Mo fo’n my prince,” the king of the dragons looked impressed. “I gots your hail and come on down. Who is this and how is it he came to piss you off so mightily?”
“He escorted four Weres into the bar. Will you glamour the hell out of him so that I might send him on his way? Please?”
“Pleasure is all mine,” he bowed deeply and turning to the vampire he smiled. “You was run over by a truck…a big assed truck. You was not payin’ any kinds of attention cause you was too busy makin’ the ugly with those four Weres. Yes, right out there by the road in the snow. It was shockin’ and amazin’ and seemed to be so right at the time. But nows you is all fucked up. Say it with me. I ams all fucked up. And laugh like a drunken sailor.”
“I ams all fucked up,” he repeated and then went into uproarious laughter.
“What did happen to him?” O.I. asked.
“He was run over by a truck,” Eric replied. “Multiple times.”
“Good enough,” O.I. nodded. “What else my prince?” he asked watching Eric.
“The Weres were killed by the truck.”
“Where are the four Weres that came with you?” O.I. asked pleasantly.
“They were killed by the truck,” and he laughed again.
“Goods. Now gets back to yous hotel, Donegal. Hunker down and then haul your ass on back to Mother Russia.”
“Back to Mother Russia,” he sighed. “She has great tits,” he sighed again. “Perfect tits. So perky. So pink. So full of bounce and wiggle and I could squeeze them until they dripped blood to suckle our young.”
“What?” O.I. and Eric both said together as they regarded the vampire that was either extremely brave or horribly stupid.
“Donegal?” Eric raised an eyebrow. “Are you fucking Catherine?”
When he his laughter turned to tears they both knew the answer.
“All she can talk about is her Crown Prince. The love of her life. Her one true love. What chance have I?” he sobbed. “I but admire her from afar and when she is in her bath fucking another and I am required to take photos for blackmail. Those perfect globes of woman flesh resting on the bubbles that float so poignantly on top of the water. Their sadness crying out that they have not and never will suckle our child, nor will I ever pillow my head there upon her bosom or caress that rosebud with my finger and then my tongue. Licking it to my hearts content as she sighs and speaks softly my name against the wings of bats that bring forth the night and the light of the moon for a sacrifice that would doom their fate and seal out love.”
“Mo’ fo’n,” O.I. shook his head in disgust. “Did he act like this earlier?”
“No,” Eric leaned in closer and took a whiff. “Donegal,” Eric said his name and the vampire perked up. “When was the last time you fed?”
“I…I cannot rightly remember.”
“When was the last time you fed?” Eric asked again.
“None of your fucking business,” the damaged vamp managed to growl.
“Donegal when was the last time you fed?”
“I…I…” he looked confused for a moment then replied, “It was while I was still in Russia.”
“He’s been spelled,” Eric said as he looked closer. “I don’t sense a talisman on him. So it must be with words and smoke.”
- I. flicked out with his tongue for a taste of his blood. “He’s been drugged as well. Interestin’, someone in fae is doin’ a not so nice variation on The Deaths From Above. Some squatter, druggie and shitter on life is making drugs of the most inappropriate type and is actively lookin’ for you my prince. Possibly the same squatter who poisoned your momma’s jewelry.”
“Well now,” Eric leaned back against his desk. “So basically, what we have here is a Kamikaze attack. He has been drugged, spelled, and told to come and get me at any cost. And Catherine is doing business with a fae who is passing herself off as an enchantress, witch, sorceress…? Actually, I believe enchantress would appeal the most to Catherine. She believes witches to be disposable and of not much worth. She certainly rotates her stock of them often enough.”
“Someone has been keeping track of you, my prince, through the ages. And sees now as the best time to move against you.”
Eric’s eyes shot out sparks as his fangs and claws grew to dragon length!
So-o-o-o-o, looked like his prince was furious and gunnin’ for revenge of the dragon sort! Would not do to show that hand until the last possible moment. It was time to step in. O.I. patted Eric’s hand and with a smile dripping with poison said, “I gots this.
Donegal,” he said turning to the vampire. “When you see Catherine again, tell her what you just told me. How muches you admires the wings of bats, spyin’ on her from afar and wanting to feel up her perfect tits and how she could be the mother to your children.”
“I have dreamed of doing so,” he sighed.
“Make it a reality,” Eric nodded. “Now haul your ass on out of here.”
“I’ll see him out,” Pam said as she opened the door and Donegal went out into the dark so that he might return to Russia where he would declare his lust and experience a one of a kind homecoming that was sure to be his last.
When Eric and O.I. popped back in the story was told.
No one looked happy and all of them wore a pissed off expression.
“We will find this fae,” Eric said. “But for now, we need to end Catherine. And to do this, we need clothes. I have called Vedo. Tonight she is coming to take measurements. Tomorrow we shall go to her shop during the day and pick out materials and styles. When she rises, we will spend the evening with her. We all need to be spectacular according to the time frame 300 years ago. Vedo will make this happen and Catherine will appear to be bat shit crazy. Driven to insanity by her disappearing wealth.”
Samuel was nodding in agreement. “Catherine’s money is being leveraged, even as we speak,” his voice was low and threatening. “Hormack has been notified. He will take several of his trolls and start removing things of value from her main residence. If anyone gives him any grief, he will have his small army start taking down walls and knocking out brains with their sledges.”
Eric chuckled. “No one comes between a dwarf and money owed.”
And she has been borrowing from him for a long time,” he grinned, “while hording her own. And it is just not money that she owes for services rendered but not yet paid, but for things as well. That gold statue she has of Mercury in her throne room, that is his. She rents it. As well as the suits of armor she has in the niches that ring the ballroom.
Anything she has of value that is publically displayed, chances are good it belongs to him. When she rises, her palace should just about be stripped. But not to worry, her good time is only starting. The rest of the Old World will be there to greet her, wanting their money in gold.”
“BitCoin,” Samuel rolled his eyes, “shall be her downfall. All shall point to this moment and say that is when her insanity for self-destruction started. This will make for a very good story and keep peace in the Old World.”
The family slept a little, ate a little and Eric and Sookie sexed a lot.
As the morning wore on, the family slept a little, ate a lot and then it was time to get up and go shopping at Madame Vedo’s.
Exiting her chambers, Catherine noticed that several of her lovely things were missing. There were also about a dozen dead Weres. They were all stuck to the wall with an iron sword through their hearts, pinning them in place.
“Hormack,” she smiled sweetly as she watched him supervise removing the gold tiles out of the floor that led to her throne.
“Catherine, my lady queen,” he bowed, “it is good to greet you this new dark. And this…” he gestured, “this is business,” he said as he inspected the latest tile that had been carefully removed, inspecting it to make sure no gold was left behind. “BitCoin has crashed as in it is worthless. I can use the paper the transfer is printed on to wipe my ass, but why would I want to use something so rough on my delicate ass? I am here collecting what is mine before the angry hordes show up, which I believe they are now banging on your gates, wanting their money. And I do not want them taking anything of mine by mistake. That would just get ugly in a hurry.”
“What? BitCoin has dropped in value?” She sounded shocked, horrified and wondered who had been fucking around in the money markets. Vamps loved BitCoin because she told them, too.
“Dropped in value?” he laughed out loud. “Did you not hear me? I would not wipe my ass with the paper registers you so handily passed out.”
Turning back to his crew, Hormack’s voice cut through the bullshit that was beginning to smell like fear. The continent would be looking for her.
He would have perhaps stood by her, but Catherine had overstepped the bounds of good taste and decorum. He could have forgiven her much, but when she had insisted that in a show of good faith he also purchase BitCoin from her….he was done with this charade. “Let’s get this last tile secured,” he said to his workmen. “Then we will call it finished here.”
Turning back to her he just shook his head. “We had some good times, dear one, but you know nothing comes between a dwarf and his gold. And I am willing to forgive this month’s rent of these lovely things. Just consider that a small gift from me to you for old times sake.”
“But…but…” she stumbled over the words as her party guests began to rise and appear.
“Sweetum’s,” he picked up her hand and kissed it. “Charge them for attending,” he said pointing with his head to the crowd that was watching from a distance. “And tell those at your gates that you have their gold in your vaults…” he paused and eyed her. “You do, don’t you…?”
When she did not reply he merely nodded his head at the ugly, riot filled thoughts that were flashing through his mind and said, “Hurry this up lads. We need to be gone.”
Mercer, her gnome accountant and Homer, her dwarf accountant were both listening in and were looking at her in a state of alarm.
“No not get foolish on me now,” she glared at them. “Get yourselves down stairs. Set up some sort of system and deal with them one at a time. Pay the top ranking nobility first. I can hear Crestfield down there, demanding to see me. Give them half of what their paper is worth.
Once you work through the nobles, pay everyone else a third.”
“What if we run out of gold?” Mercer asked.
“Do not. Get my jewelry out of the vault.”
Homer cleared his throat. “My queen, you know some of that is just plate and the jewels are paste.”
“What…” she felt her voice catch in her throat. Oh yes, gambling debts. Well drat. “What about the deeds to my land holdings?”
“Does that include the home in Paris?” he asked.
“No,” she sobbed.
“If they threaten to torch the residence?” Homer whispered.
“Yes…maybe…” she felt the terror in her soul! Her agreement with everyone in this part of the world human or supernatural was that she could hold things together, peacefully. She owed, she owed, she owed…
“Start with the Paris residence. Offer that to Crestfield instead of gold. If he agrees, sign it over to him and move on. My villa on the Bering Sea can be most charming during the summer months. Yes,” she nodded, “do what you can to save the gold. When my Prince Regent arrives, I am going to have it melted down and cast a life-size statue of him.”
As she walked off the two accountants linked arms and started walking.
“When the Prince Regent arrives?” Homer tightened his grasp on Mercer’s arm. “When he arrives? Here? When he arrives here? She thinks The Viking is coming back here? To pose for a statue and then be locked in a cage when she is not beating him with a silver-riding crop? What kind of over the top crazy Were shit is that?”
“In the New World, I have been told, they call it the bat shit crazies. A whole different level. I don’t believe we have seen it in the Old World, that this dark is the first. I believe this is what she has. Do not worry my friend, for what it is worth, I have your back at all times, this dark,” Mercer said as they headed out. Their feet not carrying them fast enough! “Go set up the table and chairs in the antechamber outside the vault. Where we pay the above stairs staff not the below stairs,” he hurriedly corrected himself. “Pull in some nicer furniture. And stash a few swords while you are at it. And be charming. Please…please be charming. Promise me.”
“I promise,” Homer nodded in agreement. “But I will not grovel.”
“Of course you will not grovel,” Mercer nodded in agreement. “Everyone knows dwarves do not grovel. Let me straighten you jacket and tie. Now, do the same for me. I will bring in Crestfield.”
“What about the gold we have stashed for a rainy day?” the dwarf whispered.
“I would say it is pouring. But we cannot be seen leaving here with it. We will wait until things have returned to normal. Whenever that might be. Then, we can retire to the Bahamas. We have time on our side. We just have to be alive to see the plan, through.”
It was coming on midnight and this was the first dark of Catherine’s grand gala for the winter season. Her dress was low cut and her diamonds were well…man made, but diamonds none-the-less.
From her suite, she could hear her guests beginning to arrive. Those that had appeared at her gates demanding their money had been pacified for the time being and some were in attendance, tonight. Yes, she could be generous, flirtatious, and even a bit dangerous, she smiled to herself as she bit down on her lower lip. The throne room had been blocked off and rugs now covered areas where any golden tiles had previously been laid and replaced by wood. “All I have to do is maintain a party atmosphere and then, pull the fire alarm at around two and that will end this evening on a break even note. I will have to torch the east wing but it will be cheaper to demolish it then to remodel as I had planned.”
As much as Catherine tried to be merry and bright, all everyone could talk about was how BitCoin had tanked and had taken just about everyone down with it. It was dull and depressing and she was dumbfounded at the thought that those who had been the richest among them were now treading the boards of poverty. She had been poor and she hated it. Hated being around those that were poor. Listen to these poor, poor bastards! This trash had to be gone from her residence!
There was no waiting until two. Catherine torched the east wing at one and amidst the screams of fire and the fire horns sounding, her palace rooms cleared out.
She could hear her footmen in the grand foyer helping people with coats and apologizing for the inconvenience and the party would still continue on as planned so please come back with the new dark.
Oh yes, she knew they would be back…this was grand entertainment.
With her head resting against the wall, she heard the front gates closed and bolted. You could still smell smoke, but the fire was out. Besides, Donegal would be here with the new dark. And he would have the best of news because he would have Eric with him.
“I am surrounded by cowards,” she sighed as she walked to her chambers, waving off any and all who wished to accompany her. “Donegal is one of the best bounty hunters I know and not even he would risk his life to bring me back my crown prince. Well,” she grinned as she regarded her meal exchange alcove. “Turkish,” she thought then shook her head no. “If I have carbs I cannot have dessert. Asian,” she nodded as she pointed to the male who was preening and hoping she would notice him.
“It is good to have a enchantress,” she silently congratulated herself. “One that can divine true knowledge and paint a vampire with symbols so that he knows no limits of bravery and fear does not live within him.
I will need to be fresh and lovely for when my Eric arrives with the new dark.
Come,” she smiled at her meal. “Come and know the sublime and while you nourish me, we shall make history. You will know true love and all else shall fall away.”
The young man was pleased when she began to feed and then knew fear as he felt his life force ebbing from him.
Hollingsworth was in the basement along with the rest of the supernatural crew that ran the palace.
“My gawd,” he said to no one in particular, “she set the fire. I mean, she set the fire herself!”
“Eric is returning to her with the new dark,” Homer said, his new suit now filled with tiny holes from where the embers had hit him while he had helped to put out the fire.
“Yes,” Mercer nodded his eyes speaking his disbelief. “We both heard her. Her prince regent returns to her with the new dark and she is going to have created a statue of gold in his likeness to celebrate his arrival.”
“Fuck me running,” Hollingsworth mumbled. “Crazy,” he said out loud and then looked around, wondering if he had signed his death warrant. From the agreeable looks on the faces of those around him, maybe not.
“Is it true?” a young Were asked. “About the way she treated him The Viking? The cage…everything else I have heard whispered?”
“Yes,” Mercer’s voice held horror. “I was here at that time. They brought him to her bound in silver and then…then it started. Her demanding that she tell her that he loved her while she…did unspeakable things to him.”
“And she thinks he is coming back to her?” Boris choked out a laugh then whispered, “I was here during that time also. She really is crazy.”
“For this extreme show of…of…” Mercer was at a loss. “This is a pervasive, radical sort of crazy. We have no words for it. But in the New World, it is called the bat shit crazies. I have heard this for myself.”
All regarded Mercer. This gnome was sure and steady and would stand fast in the worst of circumstances. Night after night, they had watched him patiently and carefully explaining to their queen why she could not purchase lower Saxony, Canada or a new Rolls because she was out of funds. She would hiss the entire time at him and threaten her two accountants with imminent torture, but they stood firm and always told her the truth and they yet lived.
“Bat shit crazies,” they all tasted it and liked the way it fit on their tongues.
“Yes, something this big,” Hollingsworth was looking around the room, “needs something big to define it. Something from the New World is only fitting. We of the Old World, we define ourselves by words we have known and used for thousands of years and are comfortable with. Words we understand. This…this is something we do not understand. It is only fitting that this skewed situation we are now in, that the New World should explain it.”
“Hear! Hear!” echoed around the chamber. Looking at each other they nodded in agreement. Things were going to get out of control and deadly. Things were going to get bat shit crazy! They would stick together. And whoever was left standing to lead the ranks of the palace, they would bend their knee and swear fealty. Otherwise there would be chaos. And no one benefitted from chaos. Because from chaos had risen Queen Catherine.