Banner Believe, a Christmas story

Chapter 20

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 20

 

The Courting King was mentally counting his blessings. It was good to have his son back. It was good to have a daughter-in-law that was expecting. It was good to be the Courting King because this gave him a much needed break and some serious goofing off time. Was he going to pick a bride anytime in the next couple of hundred years, absolutely not. And Erikr was right, Ranger would make an excellent Proxy King!

He pulled his chair out from the pavilion and sat under that stars. The two blue moons were still high in the night sky. When they set and just as the sun crested, he was going out to the Ice Mountains of Endless Dreams. His morning walk always took him there to collect more firewood.

But until then, the moons were lovely things to behold and wish and dream upon.

Shreveport…

Pam took the call from Adele and went downstairs to her stash of glamour proof contacts. She had purchased all he had from her arms dealer, thinking that would keep several hundred humans from making a fatal mistake. “One ounce of prevention is…well,” she smiled, “madness and mayhem is always fun…but…” she nodded to herself as she opened the door and went over to her medical supply locker, “sly and stealthy is almost as much good.”

Going back up stairs, she put the sack on Eric’s desk. When he popped back in, they would be there and waiting.

 

Land of Fae

Sookie was sipping what appeared to be cucumber water. It was tasty and refreshing. From their balcony, she could watch the moons set as the sun rose.

It was also obvious when Eric came walking back. The guards all saluted and some fell in with him as they walked and talked.

“He is somethin’” she smiled. “Born to lead. Warrior in his bones right along with the dragon that lives there. I wish things were simpler for him. But I guess things have never been simple for him.”

Looking up as he approached, he saw her and waved. She blew him a kiss and waved back. With a leap he was up on the balcony. “Things have changed,” he sighed as he drew her to him. “We are off to the Blue Lagoon. Normally it laughs happily at its banks as the fish jump and the purple lilies bloom and hold court over all that enter there. Over night, it is down several feet and the level is still dropping.”

“What?” she exclaimed as she looked up at him.

“Yes. It was all good yesterday Ranger told me as he went swimming in it. This morning as he went running past, it had changed.”

“Ah-h-h, let me throw on some clothes.”

“No,” he shook his head. “Ranger says it reeks of magic. You need to rest. If you don’t wish to sleep here, I’ll drop you off with Dad.”

“I’ll sleep over with your Dad. They have those really cute little fae sleeping tents. I’ll just crash in one of those.”

“Perfect,” Eric nodded in agreement.   “I am going to be taking a couple of dragons. They will work through the magic and tell me what is wrong.  We are also taking a couple of gallons of coffee. Next time I talk to Pam, I want one of our coffee groves dug out and ready to transport. If nothing else while I am here, we are going to give the locals a way to right some of the wrongs and restore some balance.”

Sookie stroked his cheek and placed  a small kiss there.

“This gets really old,” Eric ‘s voice held a little heat. “But we are going to fix what we can.”

“I’ll pull on some clothes. Give me a second and I’ll walk with you.”

 

In the dark, Sookie sat with her dad under the blazing and twinkling stars and watched Eric walk off with the troops.

“What’s up with the Blue Lagoon?” she asked, “and why are folks so upset?”

“Many believe that we first came here by entering through that pool. That one portal allows us to work all the other portals. That if it should end,  so would the other portals and so would our travel.

That is a sacred place for us. I don’t know if any of the old stories are true, but we hold that as a place of reverence. And now someone has thrown their magic into it. This sits well with no one!” he stressed.

“Any idea?” she asked.

“Could be any one of the families whose female we picked up last night. Or it could be anyone using that as a cover to do their worst elsewhere. Or it could be that when the blue moons set as one, it happens.

The dragons will determine today if it is purposefully being drained. And if so, actions will be taken. Now, my lovely daughter, go rest. There is a lovely sleep chamber that has been prepped just for you, here beside me. No one will bother you.  And when Eric returns, you will be right here so we can notify you.”

“What about your walk?” she asked. “I know this is part of your routine.”

“I’ll adjust,” he smiled at her, “and go later.”

 

Eric could see movement at the bottom of the pool as the depth dropped.

They stood looking at the lagoon and watching the giant slug that was now exposed, called a Wee Willy, normally no bigger than your middle finger, get bigger as he continued to soak up the water.

“Fishlock,” they called out, “what is going on?”

“I have no idea! Please, help me! I woke up and here I was and here I am and I just keeping absorbing the water! I don’t know how much more my skin can stretch until I explode! Please, help me! Please!”

“Give me the coffee,” Eric said holding out his hand for the container. “I’m coming out,” Eric shouted. “I will have something for you to drink. It is important that you consume all of it!”

“Please hurry my Proxy King!” he yelled. “Please!”

Grabbing the container, Eric leaped and was on top of Fishlock. “Open you mouth,” he said. “We’ll start with this.”

A very small slit opened and Eric tipped the jug over. As soon as the slug began swallowing, water began gushing from his pores, leaving Eric standing on the water with a worm thrashing about as the waves hit the banks and then crashed back out into the middle of the lagoon.

Picking him up, Eric headed for land with the small fae  safely in the palm of his hand.

Eric looked at the dragons and then at the slug.

“Nothing there, our Proxy King,” they were sadly shaking their heads, “to track back to the criminal.”

“Fishlock, where do you live?” Eric asked.

“In the Mossy Greens. That is located in the lowlands before you get to the Ice Mountains of Endless Dreams.”

“My father walks that way everyday, for his morning exercise.”

“Indeed he does. He often stops by and we chat.”

Eric was watching the small fellow in the top hat and with perhaps two dozen felt shoes on his feet, intently. “You going to be okay?”

“I am a little soggy, but I seem to have shrunk back to my original form. It will take a bit for my clothes to dry, but by the time I reach my home, all should be well.”

“We are going to accompany you home and do some checking around.”

“Most excellent my Proxy King,” the small fellow bowed. “And I thank you. We all thank you,” he said with a shudder. “Ranger knows the way.”

 

It did not take long before the valley came into view. Indeed it was covered with moss. And it was green. How many different shades of green, Eric could only guess. As far as the eye could see, there were wee homes, all built to slug size.

They very small and intricate and ablaze with detail and precise wood working skill. They were beautiful in their form and function.

“Interesting,” Eric smiled as they approached. “What…what is your village built of?”

“Unspeakable Oak,” Fishlock grinned. “It is forever green and shifting color with the sun. It makes for a very handsome residence. The burling in the Unspeakable resembles that of dragons’ eyes.”

“Yes it does,” Eric responded. “And the layout! If you are not standing just so, it all blends in together. Perfect camouflage.” Eric put the small fellow down. “Oh, well yes, you change color as well and blend right in.”

“Yes, my Proxy King,” his voice was most serious. “At one time in our far away past, we were hunted. Just as you saw today, we would be tossed into a body of water and absorb all of it, then pulled out and left somewhere to explode. The village would then have to move because we are toxic on the inside and we would poison whatever the foul water went.”

“Chemical warfare,” Eric noted. “Nasty business.”

“Yes,” Fishlock nodded. “Very much so. So we worked our magic and adapted and King Sookiehawk, when he came to power punished the wrong doers and righted this wrong. We can still hear, when the wind is just right, those granted the Living Death. It is most satisfying to know justice was truly served.”

“My father is good and honorable,” Eric smiled, “and loves this land.”

“Yes, he is and yes he does,” the small fellow nodded. “He built the village for us from cast aside limbs that he found.”

That gave Eric pause. What else, he wondered did his father do that held the respect of his people? “We are going to put dragons down on the ground and see if they can sniff anything out. Do you remember anything at all?” Eric asked.

“No my Proxy King, sadly I do not. I hope the dragons have better luck. Maybe someone heard or saw something.”

Eric sat down on the ground and watched the business of finding the perp take place. The Scimitar dragons were making their way through the village while other residents came up to speak to Eric.

“Are the water fearsback?” One ancient grandmother asked. “Are we once again fearful for our lives and our innards destroying villages?”

“Honored Grandmother,” Eric bowed his head to her, “I wish I could tell you that all was going to be well. But I have no answer for that. But please know we are searching for this being that has set loose their hate upon this land. When we find them, there shall be justice and another one in residence in the Ice Mountains.”

“Thank you our Proxy King,” she bowed and the next in line stepped forward.

Eric spent the morning listening to tales and whisperings and that several saw a shadow pass over in the night.

“Was pulled from my sleep, it was so big,” Jacker nodded. “By the time I was at a window, it was gone.”

“Was it dragon big? Sookiehawk big?” he asked.

“Can’t say,” he shook his head. “It blocked out the stars and then it was gone. I thought maybe it was a rain cloud but it did not rain.”

“A cloud?” Eric gazed at the small fellow.

“Yes,” he nodded.

“Thank you,” Eric bowed his head. “This is noted and carried forth.”

The village was interviewed.  Several commented on the cloud but had nothing else. By lunchtime, they were through.

Ranger approached Eric. “Something blocked the stars. If it was a cloud, there was no rain. Such a thing is unheard of in this valley.”

Eric looked around the area. “Anything else?”

“Some of the old ones asked if the water fears were back?”

“Yes,” Eric nodded. “I got that question as well.

Who ever it was will not be back this way but let’s post a couple of guards out here before nightfall.”

“Will do,” Ranger nodded in agreement. “Anything else my Proxy King?”

“No,” he replied.

“Form up,” Ranger yelled across the valley. “Move out.”

 

When they returned, Eric sat down next to his father and explained what they had found.

“I believe,” Er-erikr sighed, a deep heavy one. “That the appropriate word at this time is fuck.”

“Sounds right,” Eric nodded in agreement. “We are bringing the coffee shrubs back. We’ll plant them first here on the castle grounds and then spread out from there. Maybe the Moortufels would not mind being in attendance to make sure all goes right with them.”

“Well, that changes my plans a bit,” he gave Eric a rueful smile.

“What?” he asked.

“I thought I would put Ranger in charge and at least for the next couple of hundred years and dance the night away. Looks like the terrorist is back.”

“Back?” Eric echoed.

“Yes, when I first came to power. There was some of this nasty business. We found the followers but not the leader.”

“When you came to Earth…and stayed…” Eric’s voice left him as his father took on a new persona. One far more threatening then he suspected. Before him sat a master chess player. Then he had a moment. Well someone had to teach the Vikings to play chess!

“There were rumblings and ill winds coming out of the Crowded Mountains. One night we could hear the cursing’s  gusting through on a storm. We arrived in time to listen to the magic as it winked out, but could never track it back to its owner.

Whoever it was lost control and the fact that we came that close, I think that scared them.

All went quiet for an age. So to stir the pot, so to speak, I left Ranger in charge and went to Earth.” His voice became very still and could barely be heard.  “Where I fell in love and..and..then fell in love all over again when you were born,” he smiled at Eric with tears in his eyes. “And so I did stir the pot and they poisoned your mother.”

“Father…” was all Eric could say when he took his hand.

There was a grim smile on his father’s face.

“But no one has deliberately tried to shut down the Blue Lagoon. If the old legends are true, it sounds like they want to lock us in. That would include you my son and your family,” he said shaking his head and the unhappiness radiating out from him.

“This evening will be another round with the librarians and so shall I shall begin smiling at Fairly. Give me a week and either she is true and my lady wife or she is screaming the Living Death in the Ice Mountains.”

There was now a hard outer crust that his father wore. Eric thought he probably looked the same whenever anyone threatened what was his. “What do you think she is doing in the godmother’s library?”

“I think she laying the pattern for her magic and you are to be the sacrifice that brings something unholy into our world and all types of putrid things come to mind. We saw what she did with Godric’s blood. Just what my son, could she do with yours, you are dragon in our bones?”

“Resurrect her dragon husband?” Eric was thoughtful.

“That does come to mind,” he nodded.

“So what if it is not Farily?” Eric asked.

“Then I am married and the terror is still out there. At which point I shall send you and Sookie, along with O.I. and  S.I., home. And close all the portals.”

“But…” Eric began and was cut off.

“No,” he shook his head his voice firm, his eyes unflinching. “I will not have my family put in harm’s way. Not again. I am capable of learning from my mistakes.”

As much as Eric wanted to argue, there would be no point. There sat the man who had given him birth. Eric thought he was a hard ass.  He had just met the king of them. “I will contact Pam. We’ll get the contacts and the coffee plants here.”

“Thank you my son,” Er-erikr smiled at his and gripped his hand. “Thank you.”

 

Dear Readers,

Short chapter.

I am giving the tours in Crazy this week. If you stop by there, ask for me by name  and I can hook you up with a most excellent shot of tequila! Ole!”

As always, thanks for reading!

Be blessed and be the blessing,

CES