Banner Believe, a Christmas story

Chapter 16

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.

Believe—Chapter 16

 

Sookie knew the sun was up because their was a stray beam of light tickling her nose.  She was in a bedroom. It was a very nice bedroom. Lots of paintings on the walls with battle scenes and righteous living and it appeared to be The Death from Above in that beautiful crystal mug. Dragons worked into the wood and carved dragons were supporting the beams.

“Eric must have brought us downstairs,” she wiggled around a bit and snuggled back into the pillows as she continued to look around. “That is a huge honking canopy over this bed and where is my stud?”  And just like that, the door was opened by an arm wearing chain mail and in walked her lover, carrying a tray of what smelled divine!

“Is there a potty?” she asked.

“Through that door,” he smiled at her.

“I will be right back,” she got out of bed, gave him a kiss and headed that way.

“Eric,” she called out and then stuck her head back into the room. “I…I just looked out the window and there are…” she crossed her eyes and threw her arms around, “about that many folks and then a million more standing around outside in a line. Some have pitched those little cute pavilions and…and…what are they doing out there?”

“Oh, here on business of the castle type. Have forms that need to be filed. Visas that need to be blessed. Asses they need to kiss.

Hoping to catch a glimpse of you,” he smiled. “The two blue moons set as one this morning. Their Queen Sookie has returned to them. Apparently, this upper floor proves it.”

“What?” she eyed him.

“This floor can only be seen sometimes…I am told, on the night of the two blue moons and the stars all align and a few other mystical things. Ranger tells me it can now be seen from below. Their Queen Sookie is in residence in her Dragon’s Lair, it was called back in the day and apparently present day as well.”

“No,” she said. “I have never been here so how can I return? Eric, you have to help me out, here. This floor has just been spelled, or whatever. Spread that around. I am not their queen Sookie and someone whammied an invisible spell on this, oh,” she gasped, “as she stopped to admire the bed now that she was a distance from it. It appeared to be a dragon in flight!

 

“More than happy, too,” he grinned at her. “Take care of business, then some breakfast and then some sex and then…a whole lot of waving to the crowds as we move on to the next house in search of the murder of the moorteufels.”

“Not their Queen Sookie,” she said again, this time with quiet determination.

“My queen,” O.I. had a pained expression on his face. “Many doubted that you were. You heard that yesterday. You were,” he stressed, “just a Halfling, that had the very good luck to be named Sookie. Mo’ fo’n, the blue moons were not to suppose to rise last night. And yet they did. And mo’ fo’n, they never set as one. As in never! And yet they did. Sookie the First was a human, after all.  And those unrighteous fools are now thinking that she could would return as a Halfling…” O.I shrugged. “ And this room…this floor, it does not exist. Has been rumors that it appeared  when the blue moons showed up casting shadows of dragons, but I coulds not confirm or deny. Now here it is.”

“Oh come on! This is fae. All kinds of strange comes and goes here. What?” her voice lowered and she was watching O.I. “So just what does this mean?’

“Sookie the First was married to a dragon. All powerful, his stuff topnotch. When she passed on, he put a gaes on their floor or room or whatever,” O.I. said looking around. “Yes, your room takes up the entire floor,” he said nodding to himself.  “So that it would disappear and only open to his Sookie. Or so the story says. There are recordings of what she wore and how she wore it. Simple drawings of her things. Her closet in particular.”

“So this floor just portaled in? Last night?”

“Looks to be that way,” O.I replied, his voice serious.

“That is something I cannot begin to deal with,” she shook her head. “Moving on and lets look for the good in this.

So the kingdom is set to rights and all is good, now that I have returned?” she replied with doubt in her voice. “Will someone or someones throw themselves down and admit to the killings and beg for mercy?”

“Oh no,” O.I. shook his head. “Everyone still wants to rule and side steppin’ you will give additional braggin’ rights. It will be killin’s as usual.”

“Good to know,” she sighed, “mo’ fo’n.

Nice room, though.  Sookie the First, she had exquisite taste.”

 

There was breakfast, sex, shower, clothes…

“Clothes,” Sookie was looking in what was now her closet. “Everything looks like stardust in here,” she walked out of the closet that was bigger than the entire first floor of her home and waved Eric over. “I could use some help. O.I., you chime in any time as well. What do I wear today?”

“Queenly,” both males said at the same time.

“It all looks queenly in here to me. Besides, I thought this Sookie the First was a bad ass. It is a little hard to be whacking on people with whatever is at hand in all these ruffles and trains that go on forever.”

“Good point,” O.I. nodded. “After alls, today we is on the hunt. But not too muchy muchy of the whacking look for you my queen. That is why the Proxy King is here. To take care of business for you. That is his job. Whack, whack, whack.  You just smiles and nods and tells your Proxy King who to whack on.”

“Hm-m-m,” was all she said when she stepped back inside. “There is a blue dress in here the color of Eric’s eyes. Simple flowing lines but a really nice fabric with what looks to be a velvet…oh yes, a velvet belt that has a lovely little sword attached to it. And there are some darling little what looks to be leather boots. Killer tooling on them.”

“Sounds good,” Eric grinned. “You do know, Lover, that you shall set the fashion trends from now on.”

“What-t-t-t-t?” she looked out at him. “No,” she shook her head. “Now, on with the dress, tighten the belt, oh how cute.

Oh look, a little chain mail topper over here in this to-war section. Hey this is really lightweight. I am so going to wear this.” They could hear the metal sliding on, “And now on with the boots. Oh…look at this scrunchy! I am wearing my hair in a pony tail! I am loving this!

What do you think?” she asked stepping out.

“Trend setter,” Eric grinned as he offered her his arm. The  simple lines of the dress hugged her curves and the chain mail just accented everything else! “And gorgeous,” he kissed her as they walked out of the room with O.I. gliding along above her head.

“Where we headed first?” she asked as they went down the steps.

“First stop, check on Father  and then out into the land of Fae. I hope today goes better than yesterday. But that is apparently doubtful.”

“Mo’ fo’n,” O.I. nodded, “very doubtful. Hopes there is somethin’ left in the keg. Coulds be the very best part of this here day. Just in case there is not, once we arrives, I will survey the situation and act accordingly.”

 

They could hear the music off in the distance once they stepped outside the castle.

You could see the line that snaked around to the front of the castle steps, with an occasional guard looking over paperwork and there were people everywhere relaxing and enjoying the party atmosphere.

“The King’s Own,” Ranger sounded out, “fall in. We are on the move.”

With Eric and Sookie in the center, the guards cleared the path they were to take. There was no waiting on anyone as those standing in the way saw that the guards were not going to give and they scattered out to give them room.

Some called out to “Queen Sookie!”

Sookie looked in their direction and waved as those around the offender told them to “Shush!”

“Watch this,” O.I. chuckled as they continued on their march. “Now you see them, now you don’t,” he smirked and sure enough, where before there had been folks standing in a very long line to take care of king’s business, the only ones that were left were taking down their tents and packing up.

“Here to see you, my queen,” O.I. was all business. “And they saw.”

 

“Did you see what she was wearing!” was being absorbed, tittered about and by one or two, fainted about!

“Which clan of the small ones collects the two moon dust?”

“They have not spun that in an age and an age!”

“Did they do that for her last night?”

“She was wearing dwarf mail? By the light! Dwarf mail! They live now in the Cloudless Mountains and are never seen!”

“I could just puke,” one lady was sobbing. “I mean just puke and never stop! How am I supposed to manage anything like that? And what color is her hair?”

“Her hair,” one just sat down and cried. “Did you see what she was wearing in her hair? I cannot fathom it…” as the tears ran down her face and she curled up into the fetal position and bawled.

As the Proxy King’s entourage approached the Courting King’s Pavilion, there were indeed many ladies camped out in the tree line. Not on the king’s property, but not so far away from the Courting King, either.

“I am willing to bet,” Eric was shaking his head as he saw his father being led in a dance step by one of his guards, “that the keg is open for business.”

“’Tis gonna be the best of days,” O.I. grinned. “Hopin’ there is still some to share. If nots you two should be just fine if I stepped out for two seconds to fetch some for toastin’. After all, is a new day.”

“It is always a new day,” Eric raised an eyebrow at O.I. “How much of that do you have stored?”

“Hidden, my Proxy King,” he chuckled. “And last batch was made before the Unholy Wars. Been agin’ nicely in those whiskey barrels I been pilferin’ from earth.”

“Wooden cask…” Eric arched his other eyebrow. “Would you happen to know anything at all about the wooden mead barrels that would go missing from our village from time-to-time? Sometimes with the mead in them.”

“What?” the dragon looked shocked and then grinned as he settled back around Sookie’s neck.

“Scoundrel,” Eric breathed out only loud enough for those around him to hear.

O.I. looked extremely pleased and winked back.

“Father,” Eric called out as they approached. “I see you have advanced to…what century is this?”

“This is a two and one couplet and it was popular three ages, ago. I like this dance very much. I had already come to power and I did not have time to learn to dance. Seems to be my tragic fate, until know, for a courting king must know how to dance.

My lovely daughter,” he nodded in approval. “Most excellent. I very much approve of your choice of wardrobe. And especially what you are wearing in your hair.”

“We call it a scrunchy,” she smiled at him. “Very useful for keeping your hair back out of your face.”

“Yes,” he laughed, “yes it is.

If I might,” he took her hand and had her sit. “There are other ways for it to keep the hair from your face,” he said taking out her ponytail. “It can also be worn like this,” he smiled at her and placed it around her head, the thickest part  with the jewels intertwined, resting on her forehead. “It is a warring crown. Queen Sookie would wear it as she deemed fit. She was not partial to crowns either, but would wear it as you do now, with her hair pulled back out of her face so that when she killed her enemy, she could watch the life drain from their eyes and know that they had passed on.”

Taking it off her head, he once more pulled her hair back and made her a tail.

“I…I did not know,” was all she could think of to say.

“Well, of course not. There are legends about her things. Her room. Her clothes. Her closet. No one has been able to find the door, let alone breech it. And here you stand dressed in her things.”

“What?” she gasped.

“The blue moons rose last night out of season. The two became one moon and stayed that way, even as they set.  I do believe that the magic the moons  spun last night has unlocked the floor where she and her dragon husband lived. Just as was promised. There have been reports of that top floor being seen on some nights when the moons are first coming up. But I have never witnessed it.”

“Tis there my king, with the banners and the Dragon and Sookiehawk flags flying from the windows,” O.I. nodded. “Sorrowfuls I am that you will not get to perceive it until your Courting is finished. To see the Dragon’s Lair unfurled as it sits on top and abides, tis a wondrous site. Truly finishes off the castle.”

“Drat the luck,” Er-erikr sighed. “I would love to take a peek inside the Dragon’s Lair, as it was called back in the day. I hear it is filled with wonders. But my time is not yet to do so, so I shall just abide until it is my time.

These things you wear, my daughter, they are our history. There is a sketchbook in the library along with an inventory of Queen Sookie’s closet. That is how we are so familiar with what you are wearing.”

“These things really are hers?” her  voice was a whisper. “O.I. was spinning some dragon tall tales, I thought.”

“Yes, they are hers,” he nodded. “Who found the room?”

Sookie looked at Eric who just shrugged back at his wife.  “I went down the steps from the roof. Father said to pick any room. This door was open, it looked inviting, and you were asleep. There was a fire and the bed was turned back along with a tray of small bites to eat and a beautiful crystal carafe. It looked like a lovely place to wake and greet the day. I thought someone in the castle had prepared it for us. Maybe a dragon. There is in the room a very heavy dragon motif.”

Sookie said nothing, just watched the tree line. “Looks like you have quite the gathering. You think your bride is out there?” she asked she turned and looked at her father-n-law.

“No,” he shook his head and smiled at her. “No, she is not. Nothing comes easily to me my daughter,” he sighed and then took her hand. “So this will not come easily either. Besides, I am in no hurry. The Proxy King is going to right many wrongs and will show them just how blessed they are to have me for a king. No one,” he grinned at his son, “is going to want him to come back around.

Daughter,” his attention was back on her as he smiled and squeezed her hand. “This is your life.  Yours. It does not belong to the fae. You live it the way you see fit. I know it is not here. You belong on earth, with your friends and your family. This…this will see its way through. It always does.”

“Thanks,” she smiled at him, took a deep breath and said, “Let’s get this show on the road and give them something to talk about.”

 

Fairly was making her way to the basement to straighten out the books in the Homesteader section. House blessings, baby blessing, blessing for the gardens. She had lucked into finding about fifty volumes just right there! They had not been kicked around or destroyed in any manner, or so it seemed. That was a real find and she was going to clear off a shelf that was on the floor, buried under parts of books it looked like, and actually make progress.

When she opened the door it looked like the wall torches inside the library, on the far backside just winked out. There was the light that pushed in past the door from the hallway and that was all. The darkness held sway in the room.  Just as it should.

“Odd,” she said as stepped in and then smelled smoke. “A..a…not wood fire smoke but something…and for a moment that sounded like the rustling of wings. Or…or…a leather cloak of some sort!

Who is here?” she called out.

When she got no answer, she beckoned for the torches on the wall to light. When they did not, “That’s odd, my magic can usually work that,” she mused and she stuck a flint to the wall and pushed the spark into the torchwood. When it caught, she took it out of its holder and walked from torch to torch until the antechamber that greeted you to the library was lit. The work that she had done in here was undisturbed. She had righted the desks, grouped the chairs and had organized what was left of their card catalogue system and the in-house lending books that were always available.

Looking out past the light into the dark…this was now her domain. She feared nothing that walked here!

There it was, that smell of smoke, again. She was beginning to think that someone was coming down here and practicing their magic that was possibly forbidden. Stepping out into the hall, she picked up her broom that she had brought. Holding the it by with handle with the straws up in the air, “Light,” she said and a blue glow shed enough light for her to see as she proceeded into the deep, dark, ever on going room.

“I have the king’s blessing and you cannot scare me out of what is now my life’s work,” she frowned.  “I will not allow it! We shall once more have a library!” she said as she walked back inside and made her way into the dark cavernous chamber, brushing aside new cobwebs. As she went along, it became obvious that someone had pushed over a shelf she had neatly catalogued and set a fire. That was the smoke that she smelled. “What ignorant, opinioned, lower than harpy shit for brains animal did this?” she hissed.

“You will not drive me away,” she said out loud as she turned around and went back to the anteroom. “You will not,” she added with venom! “I have the blessing of the king!” she said to herself, her voice was angry. “We will have a library,” she hissed to whoever was listening and then her foot hit on something on the cleared path she swept daily and it went scooting across the floor and into the anteroom. “More odd,” she thought as she followed her path with books balanced on either side of her.

Picking up the tome, it was the Inventory Of Queen Sookie’s Closet.

“Where have you been?” she asked as she smiled at the book and ran her hand over the dragon skin tooled leather. “Perhaps most important,” she tucked the book under her arm and walked to the door, “who dropped   you in their haste to leave? And I guess I should just be thankful they did not lock me in,” she said with a shudder as she closed the door and started up the stairs. “Although they could hear me yelling in several different rooms upstairs, The Light knows it would be a while before someone came and let me out. I need to remove that door,” she nodded to herself. “All the doors in the library. We shall have open stacks, literally!

And on one…no one will be locking me in!

I know what needs to be done,” she set her shoulders and steadied her nerves. Her mission was now clearly defined and its path lay before her! It was time to have a chat with what was left of her house! With each step up she grew bolder and angrier and by the time she reached the main level, she had thought about what she wanted to say. “Destroy knowledge, not on my watch!” she seethed.

Her broom was still lit with a blue glow that she held upright as she entered the room. The spider webs she had walked through left a veil on her head and the smokey ash from the recent fire now clung to her clothes, giving her an effervescent appearance as she shimmered in the morning light.  Her appearance was not that of the clean and tidy godmothers. Instead, it looked like an avenging guardian just dug out of the dirt of old!

“With the Chancellor dead, I am no longer  held under her gaes,” she spit out as she stormed into the main floor meeting room where this morning on the lawn of the castlewas being discussed. “I do not know which one of you,” she snarled, “has been down in the library undoing my good work, but know this, if I catch you, I shall nail you to my family tree that you have poisoned! I am off to see the king and ask for help in straightening out our stacks. After the destruction I just found, no one here can be trusted and we shall have a library!

I shall return when I have finished my business with the king!

Glory in this day and the one to follow,” she gave them the parting litany that was always said as one left the grounds.  With a grand sweeping bow, she continued on. “Ha! No one thought I would ever be able  to say that! Ha!”

“And to you as well,” they replied as she stormed out of the building and set off to find the castle.

“I have heard everyone say that you just follow the golden path,” she nodded her head once she was past their gate and stood out under the trees. “Oh, there it is,” she smiled. “They said that there was a path from each major residence to the castle’s road. Well good for me. I shall use it to my advantage and be there and…and…” the tears started. “Please let me keep it together,” she sighed. “Oh,” she felt the book pressing into her side. “Well, you just come along with me and keep me company. If we must wait, at least I will have something to read and to admire.”

Once she was on the castle’s road, there were plenty to keep her company! Many were heading towards the residence and there was gossip a plenty! As she walked, she listened and was just a little aghast at what she heard.

“The Dragon’s Lair,” was said over and over, “it can be seen now. It sits there, on top of the castle with dragon banners flying along with the Sookiehawk banners and not a blue moon in sight!”

“Fairy tales,” one old woman laughed. “The stuff we put our children to bed with. How the dragon king will swoop in and feed you to his human bride! We shall see,” she cackled “what all this fuss is about!”

“My sister saw it, she swears, and came running home to tell us.

When she took to her broom and rode for a closer look. The closer she got to the top, the heavier she became until she could go no higher and the weight of herself took her crashing down below. Frightened out of her mind, she is, as she still cowers at home under the bed sheets.”

“Seriously,” another spoke up, “she is under the extra bed sheets she stores under her bed.”

“Not her bed,” was said in a whisper, “but our ma’s and pa’s. Says she is never coming out!”

There was laughter of the desperate sort. “Well, she will when the Proxy King comes around and wants all accounted for.”

“Does she travel with him?” A small child asked. “Does our Queen Sookie travel with him, the Proxy King?”

“Hush child,” her mother picked her up and hugged her. “Do not speak the lie, or we will give it life.”

“Do not speak it,” was whispered among the crowd. “We need the Proxy King to be gone and take with him what would terrify us all.”

“Up ahead are the blue trees,” one woman was giggling. “I am not married and I wish to dance with the Courting King. Queen Sookie may have her bower in the clouds while the Proxy King keeps watch; I can perhaps have the Courting King in my bed and if I please him, his heir in my belly! I shall have a throne on the main floor! Tally ho!” she cried as she broke off from the crowd and was joined by several other females.

“She is very ambitious and knows not what she desires,” Fairly shuddered at the thought. “I want to see the bower,” she regarded her broom. “But only from the ground. After I see the bower for myself, then I shall be off to gain an audience with the Courting King.

No need to mark the path to find my way back here,” she thought as there was now a well defined track that the women were taking. “If I cannot get my bearing from the castle, I will just come back and begin here.”

Hopping onto her broom, she pulled out of the crowd and was off to the side, levitating along as she continued to listen to the gossip and was receiving a thousand year plus education in court intrigue, espionage, and just the very dirty and dishonest dealings of the fae in general.

“No wonder the Proxy King is busy righting wrongs. We have truly perverted what was once grand and glorious about us.

I wonder if there is any coming back from this? Not that it matters, I shall live out my days in my library.”

 

It was a party out in the trees as the ladies waved to each other and cast brilliant smiles at the Courting King and his family. When Fairly floated in she observed what was going on around her. Which was not much as they all stood watching and waving at the people who were sitting, standing, and dancing under the pavilion.  They were also at length discussing what the Proxy King’s wife was wearing.

Fairly took a good look at Sookie and then started thumbing through her book. “Yes,” she nodded as she compared what was on the page to what was on the person.

“The blue Sookiehawk dress that she wore when she went gathering. Yes, there, the dwarf made chain mail that she wore when she brokered war or peace treaties.  Damn, even the leather dragon boots. Her husband killed his own brother and had them fashioned for her.”

When Sookie turned her head, she could see it, “The Hunting Crown,” she gasped.

“What?” a woman standing next to her said and leaned in to see what she was looking at.

Fairly turned to the front of the book and showed her the cover.

“By all that is unholy?” the woman screeched. “Where did you find that?”

“Our library,” she replied. “All the clan libraries should have one. And there is nothing unholy about this. She wears Queen Sookie’s things.”

“What is not unholy,” another woman stepped up. Then another and another as Fairly thumbed through the pages and verified what she now knew was the truth.

“Leave me be,” Fairly shouted as she was pressed by the crush of women as they tried to take the book from her. There were so many clinging to her that she could not elevate on her broom.

Everyone heard the drawing of steel and the rough voice, “What is amiss here?”

All the women shrunk back as the Proxy King towered above them, his eyes blazing and his sword at the ready.

“My Proxy King,” her broom settled to the ground and she dismounted, bowing. “I have come to call on the Courting King, or perhaps yourself, I am no longer certain about who I am to speak too, about putting our library back to rights.

I found this tome while I was shelving manuscripts and thought I would come and see for myself what everyone could not take to heart or could take to heart. Once these women saw it, they tried to take it from me.”

Eric glared back into the crowd and they shrunk back even further.

Showing him the book, Eric said, “Interesting, come with me.”

Together they walked across the field and up to the tent where there was food, early wine, and song. Along with a concerto of musicians , a choir of dragons and several opened casks that smelled of alcohol and was a beautiful purple color with a silver cosmos of stars mixed into it.

“Tell us,” Eric motioned for his father to come over. “What is amiss and why you are here.”

Eric handed the book to Sookie who began to look through it as Er-erikr came over and sat down and Fairly began her tale.