Banner Believe, a Christmas story

Chapter 17

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 17

“Interesting,” Eric said when Fairly had finished. “Someone was in the library before you came down.”

“Yes, I think so. I keep the path that I walk clean. There was no book there when I went that way earlier.”

“Is this book in the library at the castle?” Sookie asked handing it back to her.

“Yes, I believe so,” Er-erikr nodded. “Or at least it should be.”

“In case it is not,” Fairly had the book clasped close to her, “you may certainly take this one.”

“No, thank you, that is very kind, I will just find the one in the library there.”

“Is there anything we can do to help you?” Eric asked.

“No,” she smiled. “But thank you. That is one of those things. Each house maintains its own library. It would not be right for our house to take others from their job. It is our responsibility to maintain what is ours.”

“Ranger,” Eric looked at his captain. “Take some men and go with Fairly and take down the doors and right the shelves.”

“Oh no,” she said, shaking her head. “It will take them…”

“No,” Eric answered.

“Ranger, access the situation then call for as many that are needed. We shall wait here for you.”

“No, no, no….” she was shaking her head. “An invitation has not been extended. There will be chaos amongst the laides…” her voice was pleading.

“They are there at the invitation of the Proxy King. That is all anyone needs to know,” Eric’s voice was stern.

“Ranger, we will be fine here. Until you return,” Eric eyed him.

“Of course, sire,” he bowed. “The King’s Own, fall in.”

“Thank you,” Fairly bowed to him. “There is so much gratitude in my heart,” she sobbed. “Please,” she turned to Sookie, “please keep the book,” she said placing it on the table and as the men moved away, she mounted her broom and flew along beside them.

“Interesting,” Sookie said looking at O.I. “Someone spelled the book.”

“Mo’ fo’n,” O.I. grinned at her. “Good on you my queen.”

“Not exactly,” Sookie grinned, “I cannot tell who.”

“What?” Eric’s voice lowered a bit and sounded lethal.

“My Proxy King,” O.I. sniffed the book. “The spell. It is an old one and very subtle, soft on the nose like a flower in dew.  I would almost say ancient and as old as the book, itself. Perhaps dating from the time of Queen Sookie the First.

And it is bound in dragon. The same dragon family that you wears on your dainty feet, my queen. You can tell by the striations in the leather. Mo’ fo’n,” O.I. chuckled. “Possibly dates from the war, itself.”

“O.I., oh king of the dragons,” Sookie was glaring at him. “Just what does that mean? And keep in mind, I am not Sookie the First.”

“Just maybe things are comin’ on home. Things that belong in the Dragon’s Lair are bein’ returned. Thievery is a nasty habit and some folks make a livin’ at it.”

“Another ruckus,” Eric looked back out into the crowd of females. “Coming this way.”

“Our kings,” they were crying, and you could see the red blisters on their hands. “We have been spelled,” they sobbed.

“You feeling all right?” Eric asked checking out Sookie’s  hands.

“Yes,” she nodded her head. “Not itchy at all. And you touched it as well, how are you?”

“Fine,” Eric was inspecting his hands.

“We need the coffee,” he said to no one in particular. “And a basin. And someone take a cup over to Fairly and have her wash her hands in it as well.”

Those that had scuffled with Fairly were paying the price for their inappropriate behavior. The relief was instantaneous. They dipped their hands in and the pox began to diminish as they sobbed their thanks, bowed to the two kings for saving their lives, and showed a lot of bosom in the process.

Fosser reported in from seeing to Fairly. “She was broken out, my king, but she is now recovering. And the men are making great progress on the reclamation of the shelves. They shall return by the time we should break our mid morning fast at the appropriate hour and then be on our way.”

“Lunch time it is,” Sookie nodded. “Then we shall traverse the land in search of wrong doing and the murderers of the Moorteufels.”

Eric smiled at her. “I wonder how many of them would   put on Queen Sookie’s things even if they would be covered in blisters where it touched their bodies? I am willing to bet all would just to say they did. And there sits my bride, setting fashion trends with spelled clothing.”

“I can see you grinnin’ over there,” she made a face. “Eric, I am willin’ to say I am a descendent of Sookie the First. I guess this sorta proves it. That we share some family DNA.

But that just leads me to other questions. Like, was someone tryin’ to kill Sookie back in the day? This is startin’ to look a whole lot like a feud. And if that is the case, was your mom also a descendent of Sookie the First? And was that one of the reasons they murdered her?”

“Of course she was descended from a dragon line,” Er-erikr replied. “And she would have inherited the clan’s women’s magic  but she died before her mother did. So Granny Woman passed it to Erikr.

I…I don’t know if she was a descendent of Sookie or not. That thought never occurred to me. Of course,  I was powerfully attracted to her. She was strong, no nonsense, a leader and a warrior. Beautiful. The perfect wife. A gifted mother. A woman who could dance. The woman who stole my heart and soul.”

Sookie squeezed her dad’s hand and then leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “Don’t look so sad,” she said to him. “Please. Or I will start to cry. I am so sorry there was nothing to be done to save her. But maybe this helps to explain Eric and I. We have the same color hair. Exact same. Chances are very good we share a common ancestor somewhere in all of this. Since dragon’s don’t have hair, per say, and I have yet to see any dragons with blond eyebrows, I am thinkin’ we have a human in common. Maybe it really is Sookie the First.”

Eric held out his hand for the book. “Pass it to me. I have held the outside of it and nothing happened. This would make sense. If someone came in to straighten up her things, they would need to be able to touch it. Let’s see what happens when I open it.”

Handing it to him, Eric opened the book and thumbed through it. “Oh,” he stopped to admire some armor, “that is nicely made.

And she did have crown jewels,” he let out a low whistle as he turned another page.

“Anything?” Er-erikr asked.

“I do not feel anything,” he said looking at his hands. “Dad, you want to give it a try?”

“Certainly,” he nodded taking it from his son. Running his hands over the outside he smiled. “This is amazingly smooth and soft.”

“Dragon will kill his foe and work the hide so that his babies can be wrapped up all snug and tight,” O.I. was admiring the work. “Same type of work in that went  into our queen’s boots.”

“Yes,” Sookie wiggled her toes. “These are amazingly comfortable.”

“Labor of love,” O.I. nodded. “Sure ‘nuff.”

“Nothing yet,” Er-erikr said and then opened the book. “Well,” he drew his hands back and then slowly started to lower them. “Yes, a spell. I can feel it. The closer my hands get to the pages, I can feel the heat building up. And not just the palms, but the entire hand.

Do I have to touch it?” he asked.

“No,” Sookie shook her head. “I think that clears things up a bit.

Dad, you are a Sookiehawk, through and through.

Eric,” she looked at her husband,  “you and I share some DNA markers. Which means your mom would have carried them also. I wish I believed in coincidence but I do not. This is really starting to look like a feud. Maybe dragon-to-dragon. Fairly did say she heard something like maybe wings or some type of rough leather. Plus, if a dragon had dampened those lights, would she be able to light them?”

“No,” O.I. shook his head. “She would not be able to get past the dragon magic.”

“So, you know any dragon clans that still carries a grudge?” she asked.

“No,” he replied, “since we is not fae, but dragons; no, we do not interfere with the likes of this and that’s and work for the nasty cause we likes it.”

“So, someone wants her to think that it is the dragons?” Eric was shaking his head. “That just cannot be very smart. And why use the godmothers library?

Because it is one of the godmothers…” his voice trailed off.

“One of what is the godmothers?’ Sookie asked.

“A dragon. One that carries a grudge from the very beginning. Tucked herself all up nice and neat with the godmothers.”

“Really?”  Sookie was eyeing him.  “How do you manage that?”

“A little dragon glamour, my queen,” O.I. raised an eyebrow. “Yous would just shift around from time-to-time.”

“Wow,” Sookie was shaking her head. “So how do you find this perp? They have been doing this for countless ages.”

“Let us say for instance,” Eric began, “that it is Fairly.”

“Oooooookay,” Sookie nodded. “I cannot see that, so make your case.”

“Did you see how she was caressing that book? And I do mean caressing it. Like it was a long lost lover. Also, why do you need a vampire to wander through their dark stacks to solve this mystery that her mother left. All dragons can see in the dark. Why not just use a trusted dragon.”

“I’ve got that,” Sookie nodded, “she does not know a dragon to trust.”

“Good answer,” Eric nodded, “and yet her mother left the letter of innocence written in dragon? Really? So her mother could read and speak dragon and did not teach it to her daughter? I find that difficult to believe. I could speak and read five different languages by the time I was ten. My grandmother and my parents saw to this.

And why must it be the son of her king to walk this path? A trap perhaps? And just what does that little crystal do? In the dark? In their library? On the neck of their prince?”

“Produces some sort of band width of light that can kill a vampire, perhaps?” Er-erikr’s face was not pleased!

O.I. was not amused. “All startin’ to look like a mo’ fo’n plan of the ages. Mo fo’n my Queen. A feud!”

“I  found a vampire and fed your mother vamp blood,” Er-erikr’s voice was soft. “Which did nothing. And yet, your blood healed the poison that had been branded into Fairly’s arm. Of course, if she were dragon, she just healed herself.”

“If she is all powerful, as you say,” Sookie looked at her husband, “So why did her magic then not light the wall torches?”

“Maybe there was no wood in them to light?” O.I. shrugged.

Sookie sat back and said, “I am beginning to smell a rat. A very charming rat. I’m still listening,” Sookie looked from Eric to her father to O.I. “So who planted the book there for her to find? I think we would all probably agree it was Queen Sookie’s,” she now had an eyebrow arched at O.I.

“I did,” O.I. grinned. “I borrowed it from your closet. That is where I found it.

My prince and I we been havin’ the same kinds of thoughts and we has been chattin’. I also started the fire in her library. Just enough to get her runnin’ scared to us. Would not do for us to walk in and demand to see her in her lair.”

“You others suspected her?” Sookie was looking at the three of them. “When?”

“When I watched her arm heal,” all three males said together.

“Vampire blood does not trump dragon’s fire,” Er-erikr, sighed. “We tried. Everything we knew to think of for Gretta. Nothing worked. Not even O.I’s blood. We knew then her killer had to be a very old dragon. But we did not know where to look.

And even if we are wrong about Fairly and she is not dragon, her mother was a traitor. Their family tree has been fully examined and coffee poured into the ground as well. Instead of pouring in life, which we know coffee will do to right a wrong, the tree has been withering that much faster. It was not spelled. It just upholds the curse levied upon traitors.”

“And,” Sookie was watching the women in the trees and turned back to her father. “And if she is dragon, that was not her mother and that woman is still a traitor.”

“That is correct,” the older man sighed.

“Treachery, everywhere,” Sookie reached out and squeezed his hand.  “So, O.I., would there be any way of tracing this dragon’s family?”

“No,” he shook his head. “This battle was fought on earth. Queen Sookie’s husband, Ion, lived in fae and was asked to be in attendance when the earth dwelling dragons destroyed this human city. And on an interesting note, it is recorded that Ion made his bride, Sookie, things out of the dragon hide of his brother.”

“Well, there is a reason,” Sookie threw her hands up into the air. “Wow!” she was round eyed and  shaking her head. “That must have been some war and love at first sight between a dragon and a human.

Then to watch your husband killed by his brother and have your husband’s hide tanned, by his brother, for his human to wear…I’d be pissed!”

“All of it unheard of,” the Proxy king said. “So very unheard of. Even today. And the only one way to find out. That would be to marry her.”

“What?” was heard from under the tent as all eyes were now on him.

“Either she is sweet and innocence, which is fine, she will be acceptable to me as a wife because they are not going to leave this alone until I marry.

I am all for ending this charade of the king taking a bride and moving forward. And if she is blameless, I could do that with her, more so than any of the others that are waiting out in the trees that would cut my throat at the first opportunity.

If she killed my Gretta,” his voice was now a low rumble, “then her life is forfeit. We will also have the murderer of the Moortuefels, which will be gifted on her The Living Death.

“How will you know?” Sookie asked. “How will you know if she is the killer?”

“Oh,” the smile on his face did not hide the death that was in his eyes. “We will all know. I have a plan.”

“A plan,” she was looking at her father with respect. “Until this plan rolls around, what do we do next?” Sookie asked.

“We dance,” came his reply. “After the Proxy King sallies forth taking death and destruction with him and then sallies back where peace shall reign until the morrow, there shall be dancing under the pavilion. At that time, we shall see if Fairly can dance. And whether she can or not, on the dance floor, I shall begin courting her for all who cares to watch.”