Reviews for Fairest of the Fae
1SouthernBelle chapter 14 . 1/23
WOW...

I have no words.

Thank you!
Megan Consoer chapter 14 . 7/6/2012
I really like this story alot. Can you please write some more chapters?
Debbie37 chapter 14 . 7/17/2011
I wasn't sure about the story in the beginning, but it was at least well written, so I kept reading to see if I started to like it. It was a really heartfelt story and the ending, while sad, was great. I don't understand why you labeled it Eric/Sookie when it's really Eric/OC.
Lady Sibyl chapter 10 . 6/3/2011
As I said before, I have no problem with Eric loving Rio. As I also said, I too am not "down" with people forcing or compelling other people to do something.

As with the previous chapter, I love how you continue with this one, going from Eric staring at Rio in disbelief and asking, "You are the Fairest?" to Rio's confirmation ("'Yes,' she whispered. 'My grandfather ordered me made, to become queen to the fairies.'")

It seems that mixed with Eric's confusion is awe; he is genuinely fascinated by the fact that "a mystery that had puzzled him for decades was resolving right in front of him."

I don't take any particular pleasure in seeing the confirmation of my own little idea (that Niall sent Preston to Sookie deliberately, so Rio could be conceived on that day, under those circumstances).

I love the detail of Eric's grief and anger on Sookie's behalf when he learns how Rio was made.

I love the amusing exchange between Eric and Rio about how "when a fairy wants sex, there is no stopping him. Or her"—it seems fae like sex just as much as vampires do.

"Rio waved an impatient hand. 'Did you say he stole me? From my mother?'" Oh, dear, I can hear that Ominous Foreboding Music...I love the description of Rio's anger, "frightening and exhilarating," simmering and growing "like...a tornado spinning in the distance" coming closer and closer until it destroys everything in its path. Also coming closer is that foreboding music...

For some reason, I love the line "'So she did not give me up?'"

"'How old was I?'

Eric silently cursed Niall—*I will find him and I will kill him*—before saying, 'You had not yet been born.'"

Oh, hell, no.

The music crescendos into a wall of sound.

The manure impacts with the oscillating blade.

Rio explodes.

"Rio's blinding light leaked out from around her eyes, which glowed like molten copper. The light bulb in the corner popped and shattered, and the room was plunged in darkness. Eric could still see the strangled expression on her face and when she spoke her words sounded choked, 'He took me from my mother before I was born.' She repeated the words, sounding stunned and amazed, and not in a good way." Then, shrieking and caoining (keening) like a banshee, she calls for the death of Niall, a cry of such force that "the house itself groaned at the sound." The whole paragraph is excellent and wonderfully vivid. I'm right in the room with them, closing my eyes against the brilliance of Rio's blinding light and putting my hands to my ears against the deafening force of Rio's cry. I am reminded of an excerpt of a review I read recently, about the episode "Evil is Going On", found at Television Without Pity ( show/true_blood/evil_is_going_ ?page8). It describes Sookie, but I think it describes Rio also: "you can see the shiny scary Faerie self there under the surface for the first time, hard and wild and angry and joyous in destruction..."

Is it cowardly of me to admit that I'm scared of Rio right now? She's terrifying.

I love the detail of how, after a minute or so of hesitation in which he tries to decide whether or not it is safe to do so, Eric takes Rio in his arms, and even though Rio is wild and feral and terrible in her anger and beautiful in her rage, truly a force of nature, "as soon as he touched her, she relaxed." That's a marvelous detail. She could have failed to recognize that it was Eric holding her, she could have lashed out at him, done him harm, but she has enough of her wits about her to know him and know he is safe and so she calms at his touch.

I adore this exchange: "She pressed her hand against his chest. 'Northman...I can't...right now I don't...' then he shushed her. 'Fairest, you don't need to move. Let me take care of you.'" It's so simple and yet so tender. Rio doesn't wail and thrash around; her grief is quieter but stronger than if she had thrashed around; she is softly broken; and Eric doesn't make grand overly dramatic proclamations; he very sincerely and very softly offers to help her and care for her, and that simple statement is made all the more strong and meaningful and real than if he had dramatically stated he would help her.

I love how he kisses each finger-and-toetip, the soles of her feet, kissing his way up her legs "softly as a moth lighting on a night blooming cereus." I love the wonderfully vivid image and I've loved that particular flower ever since reading The Bean Trees.

For some reason, the image of Eric tenderly comforting a broken Rio reminds me of a few lines from "Angel", a Sarah McLachlan song: "In the arms of the angel far away from here/From this dark cold hotel room, and the endlessness you fear/You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie/You're in the arms of the angel; may you find some comfort here."

I don't know if you did it deliberately or just by accident, but when Rio cries out, "Do it! I want you to!" it reminds me of the end of the episode "Cold Ground" in which Sookie cries out those same words to Bill.

I adore the description of Rio's blood inside Eric, that blood which "leapt into his mouth like it wanted to be in him", all the wonderful beautiful images of birds and spider's silk and clouds and plants and newly-born fawns. She is alive. She is life. Her blood is life life life surging through him and filling him up, making him feel light and heavy and large and small, whatever she needs, however he needs to feel so he can best help her. The lines describing him "as large as the universe and as tiny as insignificance" (which is utterly perfect) sound like something right out of a Madeleine L'Engle book, which is a compliment.

And then, when he has filled and she has filled him and he is full to bursting with her blood he lifts his mouth from her shoulder and laughter bubbles from his lips, pouring and surging forth like a river "in an unstoppable flood." He laughs and laughs and laughs until he has no more laughter, "until he was drained" and then, because he cannot laugh, he begins to cry. "Eric cried for his father who had taught him and his mother who had loved him, for his maker who had turned him, and his bonded who rebuffed him—he cried as though he'd never stop, and Rio held him to her, rocking him in her arms and crooning a tuneless song." Oh G-D, I want to hug Eric. Actually hug him. Stroke his hair and dry his tears and tell him everything's going to be all right. I also love the flow of "crooning a tuneless song."

I love the line "time had lost all meaning". While Eric weeps, time melts and slips away; he has no knowledge of minutes or hours. He just weeps until he has no tears left and then, gradually, comes back to himself. It's a perfect description. I also love the image of Eric and Rio together, close as two spoons, "his head on her shoulder, their legs entwined, her hand stroking his hair" as she quietly comforts him.

I absolutely adore this exchange: "Without moving, Eric said softly, 'Stay with me, Fairest. I will protect you. No harm can ever come to you if you are with me.'

'Northman,' Rio sighed, 'I wish so much that were true. I want nothing more than to be with you. You complete me.'" It's beautifully tender and wonderfully simple. It's romantic without being overly sentimental. It's perfect.

I love the detail of how Eric doesn't ask questions, he makes statements: "'Then you will be with me.' It was a statement. How like Eric."

Rio's protests that Niall will certainly find her because Eric has "quite literally, turned me on. Our pleasure in each other is like a beacon" reminds me of her statement in Chapter 8: "He hasn't been able to find me because I haven't been having sex...I guess you changed all that, Northman."

"Eric clutched her to him, burying his head in her. 'No,' he mumbled his desperation against her skin, 'let him make himself another queen.'" I ache again for Eric. I want to reassure him that he’ll be able to protect Rio, that their pleasure in each other was simply that, pleasure, not some GPS signal, not some homecoming beacon. He's only just found her. He doesn't want to lose her. He can't. "I'll talk to him. I am a great negotiator. I am the best." He can talk to Niall, convince him to find another...

I love the detail of Rio's warm fingers against Eric's cold lips.

Wait a minute, wait a minute...Niall not only wants to find Rio, he also wants to be king?

No. Not king.

Father.

Oh my G-D.

You mean he actually wants to...

No. No.

I feel sick. I don’t want to offend you, but I truly feel sick. Sick at my stomach, my head is pounding...I don't know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn't this.

Swallowing back the sickness, continuing to read...

I don't know if you did it deliberately or by accident, but Eric pleading with Rio ("I don't understand. I don't agree. I don't accept. And I won't allow it") reminds me of Eric pleading with Godric in "I Will Rise Up", the scene on the rooftop: "I can't accept this. It's insanity...Please, please!"

"For once, Rio did not try to argue." That is a wonderfully flowing line and a wonderful detail, but why do I get the feeling that Rio is planning something? "Her face was infinitely sad." With such a look on her face, I imagine she looks more lost and alone that she's ever been. Like she had something precious but it was stolen away, and she didn't have a choice in giving it up. I know Al is her friend but the way she looks and the way she instructs Eric to find Al makes me wonder if there's something else she wants, that is, if she's going to do something else while Eric is out looking for Al. Your last line is also wonderfully flowing ("Then she motioned with her head that he should go") but it seems so final. Why is she so anxious for him to leave? What is she planning to do?
Lady Sibyl chapter 9 . 5/25/2011
I like how you figuratively pick up where you left off, with Rio answering Eric's question to tell him about her: "There is too much to tell."

I adore this exchange: "I have time."

"How much will you give me?"

"As much as I have."

I love it. I also love how Eric can say something romantic and then figuratively do a complete 180 and turn romanticism into practicality: yes, I love you and I’ll give you all the time I have, but it’s not that much since I have to report to Sandy in an hour. Only Eric can be romantic and practical in the same breath. That's a compliment, by the way.

I love the simile about Eric relaxing and snuggling up to Rio "like he was waiting for a bedtime story."

I love that Rio begins her story like a fairy tale ("'Once upon a time,' Rio began with a smile, 'there was a fairy princess...'") I also love how Eric figuratively fractures the fairy-tale style by telling the next lines of the story, revealing how the fairy princess "ran away from home so she could play guitar for boozed-up patrons in a bar in Nevada" and then how Rio continues the fractured fairy tale story by revealing that since Nevada was "a rough and tumble kind of place" the fairy princess found "a big bad vampire" as handsome as a god "to protect her and make mad passionate love with her"!

I like how Rio explains that since most vampires "are not necessarily up on fairy politics and survival issues", she's going to tell Eric things he might already know.

For some reason, Rio centering herself reminds me of that scene in BOD where Sookie centers herself, right before she tells Bill about Niall and Preston, "gathering herself" and mentally steeling herself to say what she has to say.

I had a momentary chill when Eric said that Sookie had no grave. The mood has turned serious, indeed.

I like the little lesson on how fae power works, controlling all the natural elements: earth, air, fire, water (as well as examples of same), and also how Eric thinks to himself that his Viking upbringing "followed the presence of those same forces." I like the line "He had seen a millennium of those forces at work and knew their power."

I love the line "Sex for the fae is the ultimate act of creation." It supports my own little idea, written of in the chapter 8 review.

It's strange, considering that I am a "fade-to-black" girl, but I love the lines and the idea that "From sex comes all things. There would be no stars, planets, trees, fish, fairies, vampires...nothing in the universe would be created if not for sex."

I chuckled at Rio's recognition of "how very much vampires love sex"!

I absolutely adore the line "For the fae, there is no sex without love, no love without sex; these two acts are inextricably linked." I love love love that idea.

The talk of how sex is pure and complex and revered and so bound with the idea of love that one cannot tell where one ends and the other begins reminds me of Plato's talk of soul mates, as well as one of the Egyptian creation stories in which Geb, the earth, was originally locked in an eternal sexual embrace with Nut, the sky, until they were separated by Shu, the air. It also reminds of me of the ritual of hieros gamos ("holy marriage") which symbolizes the sexual union of a god and goddess, as well as the Jewish commandment that a man must "know" his wife (have sex with her) on the Sabbath.

I love the little detail of how Eric "could listen to her low, melodic voice forever." It's wonderful!

I adore Rio's speech ("As the world has changed, the very heart of creation-—the sex and love of it-—has weakened and faded, taking the fae with it. The ways of the world, and in particular humankind's impact on it, has made it all but impossible for the fae to reproduce." First of all it's an absolutely brilliant speech, and second of all, it echoes Rio's earlier statement about how love and sex are the same for fae but often completely separate for humans. The old ways are dying out, and with them the fae.

The way Rio speaks of Niall's quest for a queen to right the wrongs done the world reminds me of a fairy tale, rather like the beginning of Rio's story (Once upon a time there was a fairy princess, and the old ways are dying out, and "for more years than there are minutes in a day" the fairy king has been on a quest for a queen to revive them and set things right.) This whole chapter has sort of a fairy tale feel to it.

"The Fairest" is a wonderful, lovely, fitting name for the queen of the fae.

For some reason, Rio's description of The Fairest ("healer, procreator, teacher, leader") echoes Sookie's description of Gran in BOD ("parent, teacher, counselor, and friend").

Let's see if I have this right. The Fairest controls all the natural elements (air, fire, water, earth) and uses those forces to create fae. She is both mother and ruler over these fae, and the fae she creates would be many, many multitudes. However, the creation of all these fae would weaken and wither her and once she was so weak as to be dying, all those natural elements would leave her body and return to the earth so the fae themselves can, "for the first time in centuries", bear their own children, and The Fairest would be dead. Is that right?

Given the supreme importance the fae place on sex and love and the old ways, it is not surprising that The Fairest "must be made." I do wonder, however, whether Niall forced other humans to couple with fae in the hopes that this time, this day, this moment, they would make The Fairest. I wonder if he sent Preston to Sookie on purpose, whether he knew that she (Sookie) would be the one to create her. I'm reminded, interestingly enough, of the novel Dune, particularly how the Bene Gesserit (a matriarchal sisterhood with superhuman physical and mental abilities) conducted a breeding program, carefully manipulating relationships and people with specific genes, with the goal of producing the Kwisatz Haderach, a messianic figure.

I absolutely love the paragraph detailing how Rio and Eric look at each other, as if Rio "was flowing into him through the connection of that shared look", how the world turned and the sun set and the moon waxed and waned and time had no meaning, passing in either "minutes or years", Eric doesn't know or care how much, lost as he was in her eyes, listening to her but not comprehending...

Then he knew. He knew, "and the knowledge was a like a thousand mirrors shattering, waves pounding rocks to sand, mountains uprooting trees, and rivers carving stone to nothingness."

He knew, and probably wished for all the world to stop, to reverse, so Rio would unsay what she just said, so he could unknow what he now knows.

Rio is The Fairest.
allbookedup chapter 14 . 5/21/2011
Another excellently written story. Thank you...

Ann in SC
allbookedup chapter 4 . 5/21/2011
I like Eric too but prefer Bill and Sookie as a couple. Eric's fascination with Sookie's daughter shows that he did love Sookie and probably still does. What could any reader possibly find wrong with Rio and Eric together?

Excellent writing...thank you.

Ann in SC
allbookedup chapter 1 . 5/21/2011
Oh Wow, Sookie's daughter!

Meant to comment on the last story that you should have more reviews for this excellent writing!

Best,

Ann in SC
Lady Sibyl chapter 8 . 4/8/2011
As ever, I love the flow of your opening line. I love Eric's chivalry—and from what I've seen on the show he is not usually chivalrous. It just shows how Rio has changed him. I can see Alex-as-Eric helping Rio out of the car, gently leading her like a small child, like something fragile, to the front door of her house. Rio is certainly awakening feelings in him: love, gentleness, protectiveness, and now chivalry. It is very believable.

I love how Rio tilts her head "to inhale the night."

I adore the line about the moonlight and the premonition and how Eric quickly holds her hand to assure himself that it’s a real flesh-and-blood hand, Rio’s hand, not some silly trick: "He saw the moonlight on her skin, turning her to silver. He shivered at that—was it some sort of omen? Vampires could be badly hurt by silver—and held onto her warm hand to reassure himself…" Wonderful, wonderful lines.

And then, almost as though his thoughts of an omen have shaped reality, something goes wrong. *Rio* goes wrong. "Her eyes were flat solid black, her face stark white…her lips curled back from her teeth and she began snarling…"

I love the detail about the door opening to allow Eric entrance; I love the idea of it and I love that you followed through with it, that in an earlier chapter you had Rio enchant the house to recognize Eric and then demonstrated that recognition in this chapter. It would have been easy enough to forget that detail, but you didn't. It reminds me of something Chekov said: "If there is a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it must fire in the last."

Oh, I can see Alex-as-Eric looking helplessly at Rio after he puts her in the chair, wondering what to do next. I can picture the look on his face: worry, love, protectiveness, and even traces of rare vulnerability. Perhaps his fangs are out in his worry; perhaps he mentally wrings his hands. Perhaps he wishes there was an enemy to fight, a physical foe to slay. Perhaps he is genuinely afraid—he doesn't know what to do and he usually knows *exactly* what to do. I love the way you write Eric, how he's more complex than just some stoic pragmatic Viking warlord. He's like an onion and you're slowly peeling back the layers. It's positively wonderful!

I love how Eric wonders about epilepsy.

I love the detail about Rio's eyes, "the electric green of a jaguar's and filled with wildness." I love how you keep the jaguar theme, how Rio easily and gracefully leaps and pounces on Eric, biting him and clawing him, growling, always growling, before letting out a roar as Eric claims her. And it’s always been intense but now it’s almost primal. Animalistic. Instinctive. Raw.

And then, just as the ferocity began, it ends; Rio blinks and comes back to herself, her eyes no longer the "electric green of a jaguar's" but the "teal green, almost turquoise…like a peacock feather." But with her new self-awareness comes fear; her pupils dilate and she holds Eric convulsively, trying to burrow into him for safety and assurance. I love how Eric comforts her, holds her, gently asking what's wrong.

A single note of Ominous Foreboding Music plays as Rio says, "It's Al."

Oh, I ache for Rio as she tells Eric about Al: "I…saw him…through my eyes…like I was…eating him."

Forgive my morbid-ness, but I love that Eric "felt more intrigued than revolted…" It makes a kind of sense; someone has just told him they see one of their dearest friends through her own eyes—and admitted she felt like she was devoured said friend—and of course his first thought is how in Hlin's name is that even possible. I wonder if he feels guilty for feeling more curious than shocked. I think he does, if he's able to admit that "now was not the time to express that."

I don’t want to disrespect the dead, so is it wrong to feel pleased that I guessed the coyote was really Rio? I mean, I know Al is just a character, but you write him like a real person—I have all these pictures of him in my head, and he seems real, you know? That’s why it’s like he really—in real life—died.

I like the little argument Eric and Rio have about her fae heritage: "I *am* a fairy, Northman." "Part fairy, Rio." "I am *mostly* fairy. And I am powerful, part fairy or not." For some reason, I love that last line: "And I am powerful, part fairy or not."

I also love the detail of how "Rio's anger took over her distress".

I love the flow of "her misery swept back to overwhelm her." It's a wonderful image, it feels true, and it reminds me of that passage in The Scarlet Pimpernel, the one I used in BOD, about how the sound of the ocean waves is either good or bad depending on our thoughts; when the thoughts are happy, the sound reflects our happiness, "but when they are sad, then every breaker, as it rolls, seems to bring additional sadness, and to speak to us of hopelessness and of the pettiness of all our joys."

Hee hee, I can see and hear Alex-as-Eric saying, "I, um…enjoyed every second"!

I like the questions Eric asks about Rio's vision, about whether it is in "real time" and if it's a "premonition of some kind" and does she think it's a vision "about something attacking *you*?"

Hmm. Notwithstanding the lovely layers of complexity, and except for the bit about working for the king, Eric's description of Sandy's feelings about humans could be a description of how *he* feels about humans. Yes, he loved Sookie, and yes, he’s coming to absolutely adore Rio, but they are technically only part-human; also, I'm remembering a line in your first chapter where he refers to humans as "gawking cows".

Pardon my langauge, but oh, *hell*, no. I *really* hope Niall doesn't come looking for Rio; I'm remembering Sookie's description of his anger as "a cosmic force". Hello again, Ominous Foreboding Music…

"He hasn't been able to find me, because I haven't been having sex." Somehow that doesn’t surprise me as much as it should. I mean, both Rio and Niall manipulate or control natural elements: water, fire, earth, &c. There have been numerous examples comparing Rio to water, her hair to fire and sunlight, her eyes various shades of green, the color of life (plant life, anyway.) I’m remembering some lines from Chapter 4, in which Rio describes both Niall’s power and her own: "Niall…is one of the rarest of the fae; one who can channel all of earth’s elemental forces. He can move through them, flow with them, even direct them. My teachers were each master of one force or two; by the time they were done with me, I was master over all." Well, if both Niall and Rio are masters over life-forces, it makes sense that he can track her through sex if one views sex as a very powerful life-force because it is, essentially, an act of creation. Please-G-D-please let that make just a little bit of sense.

I love Eric’s line, "You chose me. Even though you didn't want to be found—yet you knew he could find you—you chose *me*. Why?" I love it for its own sake—it is a wonderful, beautifully descriptive and revealing line. I can *hear* Alex-as-Eric say, "You chose me." Is there wonder and awe in his voice, as well as certainty?

For some reason, the line also reminds me of the episode "Burning House of Love" where, after they have just made love for the first time, Bill tells Sookie, "I am honored that you chose me." It reminds me, too, of the episode "Plaisir d'Amour", where Sookie says to Bill, "Bill, all this trouble I'm in…I chose it. I chose it when I chose you." I know I keep referencing Bill when I’m reading about Eric, but I can't help it; it seems that Eric is rediscovering his…well, for lack of a better word I'll say "humanity". He's rediscovering laughter and love and silliness and tenderness and protectiveness and all the rest of it. He's not just this stoic pragmatic warrior, he's…again, for lack of better word I’ll say "humane."

I love the description of Rio as "maddeningly elliptical."

I absolutely adore Rio’s reply: "I recognized you….I’m not sure how else to explain it; part of me was known to part of you." This brings to mind earlier references to Plato and his talk of soul-mates, of other halves, and also of Wuthering Heights: "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…Nelly, I *am* Heathcliff" and correspondences: like calling to like, blood to blood, magic to magic, strength to strength, love to love.

I love the ending. It's in-character and it's suspenseful. Eric's had enough of questions, enough vague replies…enough. Now it is time for answers. Now it is time for the truth. I'm looking forward to reading the next chapter and finding it out!
Lady Sibyl chapter 7 . 2/20/2011
I love the opening line. It flows wonderfully. The opening phrase ("The next night just after sunset") sounds like a line from a poem.

Here comes the Ominous Foreboding Music, sort of a mixture of the theme from JAWS, Beethoven's Fifth, Bach's Toccata and Fugue, and Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain. Very foreboding…I have a horrible horrible horrible feeling that Lander showing up just as Al is opening the club, alone, is not a coincidence and will not end well.

Why exactly would Sandy want to speak only with Al? Surely if she got the fax she would want to discuss it with Eric as well? But maybe…oh, dear…maybe since Lander knew about the fax in advance, he got to it first…

"[Al] stepped slowly around the car and got in…Lander pulled away fast..." And the music strengthens…Lander, if you even *think* of hurting even a hair on Al's head Rio will *vivisect* you. While you are *conscious*. Very slowly. With silver instruments.

And now Al realizes something's wrong; Sandy "has never met [him] anywhere but at Diablo's"; the king never meets humans, and Lander is driving in the wrong direction. Oh, Al, stay safe and alive, please…

I like the detail of Al keeping his voice calm and "even", even though he's probably terrified (or at the very least uneasy) about what's happening.

Your simile of Lander's grip being tight as "a hungry grizzly's on a salmon" is a very strong, descriptive, and good one; I imagine that few things are tighter than that. Also, grizzlies tend to be big and broad, towering over normal humans, and Lander's physique is very bear-like (I believe when you first introduced him he immediately reminded me of Emmett Cullen, another bear-like vampire) so the simile is even more appropriate.

As I watch Al try to yell and Lander prevent it by crushing his neck and then dragging him and unceremoniously dumping him to the ground, I alternate between holding my breath and chanting, "No, no, no, no…" Seriously, I can see the fight. You use a lot of good adjectives and verbs and similes here: Lander doesn't just hit Al, he "whomped" and "grabbed" him with not just speed but "with head-spinning speed", and Al doesn't merely try to talk, he "croaked" as Lander frees him and drops him "like a bag of garbage."

I love the use of the word "raucous".

And Al is sitting there, trying to catch his breath, hoping and praying that someone, anyone, will come and save him, and Lander…Lander *laughs*. Enjoying his mastery. Demanding that memory stick. Redoubles his laughter at Al's puny attempts to get free. Swells and puffs himself up like a bullfrog at his own cleverness, boasting about his treachery and dreams of glory, promotion, prestige.

And Al, dear Al, tries to mislead Lander even as he tries to protect Rio—and I absolutely adore that detail ("If he could get Lander to take him back to the bar, someone else would be there…Rio! No, he couldn't endanger the girl!")

And then things happen at what seems like lightning speed: Lander knocks Al to the ground and is on him "before he could roll over to face [him]," ripping Al's shirt and sinking his fangs into him almost simultaneously, Al unable to do anything but "howl his pain and his fear." I like the repeated simile of the bear-like grip. While I am curious that you didn't stay with the grizzly-at-a-salmon kind of a bear, I certainly agree that a polar bear's grip is just as ferocious and just as vice-like. A good, strong simile. For some reason it makes me think of that moment in BOD where Bill is teaching Sookie how to feed fresh and his mouth is, in one instance, "clamped" and another instance "in complete, blood-tight suction" at his victim's neck.

I love the last sentence of this first part: "As Al's vision dimmed, he thought he saw a coyote in the distance watching the proceedings with interest." I love how it flows, I love the fact that there's a witness, I love the fact that it's a coyote and that it's not just observing, it's "watching…with interest." I thought of all pictures I've seen of coyotes, especially how their eyes gleam at night, and that got me thinking about all the instances you have Rio's eyes gleam or glow and…and I think the coyote might be Rio. I could, of course, be wrong, but that's what I think.

I love the first line of the second part, how easily it flows and how it figuratively drops me in medias res. I like the range of emotions Rio experiences, from sadness to frustration to a sense of heightened, fearful urgency; I like the little mystery you pose there: "she was angry at herself for trying to grab what little joy she could, now, before…" Before…? Before what?

I like the flow of "abruptly interrupted".

A single menacing note of that Ominous Foreboding Music sounds when Rio notices the telltale "worn red karabiner" denoting Al's keys, still in the lock, and Al nowhere to be found.

I love how Rio slowly but thoroughly looks around for Al or any sign of where he is, listening intently and slowing down her breathing so as not to miss a sound. I love these two sentences: "She stood in the darkness, breathing slowly and fingering Al's keys. Then she stepped swiftly into the office." They flow wonderfully and they show me that she's had enough of standing around and thinking, puzzling. Now is the time for action.

I smiled when I read that "of course" Eric recognized Diablo's phone number. Is that because of his orders or because of Rio?

It's odd how strange and menacing two simple sentences can sound: "I wish it *was* Al…He's missing."

I love that Eric immediately asks what it means that Al is gone; no pleasantries or banal chat, just brisk and businesslike, straight to the point as usual. I wonder if he's worried, *truly* worried. I know he asks what it means but I wonder if he asks it as more than a mere formality, if he is genuinely concerned. Al is important to Rio and therefore should be important to him. He should not be just another human. Maybe I'm overthinking this or reading meaning where there is no meaning…

I also like the detail about Eric not complimenting Rio on her cleverness; it seems very true and in-character; it seems to me that when something is all business for him, it *stays* all business: no compliments, no flattery, just the task at hand.

I love the line, "Rio stared at the phone like it was Eric." I can picture her expression: anger, irritation, and exasperation first and foremost, but also love. Eric is very good at masking his emotions, hiding his true feelings. On the show, Sookie seems good at figuring out what he's really feeling—and so, it seems, does her daughter. "He was pretending he did not ache for her as she did for him…" I chuckled when I read the next line; it reminded me of a similar line in BOD where Sookie sweetly tells Bill, who's glaring at her for making light of the Civil War, that she intends to "fuck that look right off your face."

I like the detail about Rio wanting to help the staff get the bar get ready to open.

The first line ("When he walked into Rio's right after midnight, Eric found Rio sitting up on the bar") flows like the line of a poem.

I love the simile of Victorian bell-pulls in relation to Rio's braid.

The image of Rio's eyes "glowing like a feral animal's in the bar's half light", besides being a beautiful, vivid image, reminds me of the line several paragraphs back about a coyote watching Al's murder "with interest."

I love how Eric wants time to compose himself but is helpless against the force of Rio's gaze.

I adore the reference to Hlin!

I love how Rio checks to see if Eric's fangs are out and Rio smiles when she finds that they are. It feels very in-character.

I like Eric wondering if some outside force is compelling him to be near Rio. It's a great detail.

I agree that Sandy would frown on Eric having sex with Rio right there on top of the bar!

The line about Eric's urgency "belied how very much he had missed her" reminds me of the line in the previous part: "He was pretending he did not ache for her as she did for him."

I like Eric's admission, even if only to himself, that "[he] had been stupid to think he could shake her," and I love Rio's "slight, knowing smile" because she knows that.

I like the detail about Eric's "annoying confidence"; it sounds and feels very in-character.

I like the line about how "Eric could not escape the accusation in [Rio's] eyes" when she asks about Lander.

I like how Rio teases Eric with a turnabout of his own words.

With all respect to Eric, I believe that Lander would have *absolutely* "bypassed Sandy and given [his] report straight to Filipe." To me, at least, it is a Lander-like thing to do. It is completely within his character to do so.

I love the fact that Eric "reads" Rio just as well as Rio "reads" Eric, figuring out her emotions even though she doesn't consciously express them.

I adore this line: "I need to know you are safe while I look for Lander." It's more than just looking out for his interests or an investment. He really loves her, or is starting to, and needs to know she is out of harm's way. It's strange, but as I read it, it was like I was hearing something Bill was saying to Sookie. Eric is very, well, for lack of a better word, *human* in this instance. He loves this woman and therefore wants to—*needs* to—protect her.

With everything Rio knows about vampires, with all the knowledge she has, it's absolutely wonderful that Eric can still surprise her!

I love that Rio reveals another aspect of her character: shyness, something "[Eric] never would have associated with her". I wonder at the feeling, the why of it. Perhaps she didn't expect flight—or perhaps she did and is shocked to hear it confirmed. Either way, even with the strangeness of it, it still feels in-character.

I love Eric's smile. I can picture it: smug and superior, yet full of warmth and promise.
Lady Sibyl chapter 6 . 1/3/2011
I chuckled as I watched Eric struggle to focus on business, not pleasure. I also like how he gets defensive—-it is in his character to do so; he has plans and worries and as much as he is coming to care for Rio, he prefers to keep them to himself, on a "need-to-know" basis—-and as I said, Rio, as much as he is coming to care for her, maybe even loves her, doesn't really need to know.

I love the idea and image of Rio blatantly teasing him. The way she eats the melon and the grape, very slowly and seductively, is a wonderful erotic image, like the dinner scene in Tom Jones: eating as sex.

So Eric is at Diablo's to find out how well it does, to help the king decide whether or not to add it to his collection of acquired buildings. That makes sense; no use acquiring something unless you find out beforehand if it will be worthwhile investment. Although I wonder what the king is actually going to do with all the buildings he's acquiring: will they still run, only figuratively under his management instead of the actual owners’?

I like the fact that Al and Rio care for each other. It fits with what I've learned so far, of both Al and Rio. Plus, it's a lovely little mini-story Rio tells of how Al took her in and gave her a house and a job and food. He's a real mensch—a good person.

I love the concern Rio has for Al. It feels very natural and real.

Oh my gosh...is Eric feeling *guilty* about his part in Al's possible "destitution", as he calls it?

I like Rio's simple, heartfelt little speech about all the changes she's known—vampires and were-animals and the shift from human traditions and ways of life to non-human.

I ached when Rio lamented the loss of so many old, human ways.

I like the line detailing Eric's "thrill" at being able to surprise Rio.

I love that Eric posits a solution which, to him, seems perfectly simple and logical, but which totally pisses Rio off. After all, as she says, she's free from Niall, and she doesn't want to jump from working for a prince to working for a king. I adore her retort: "I did not escape from a prince to work for a king!" I just love love love it! It's perfect. And I love how her retort sparks Eric's memory of his blood-bond experience with Sookie.

I love the detail of Rio comforting him as well as Eric allowing her to do so. On the show he seems such a tower of strength who despises showing any sort of weakness, and so for him to allow Rio to comfort him, to press her hand into his without chastisement or retort, is a very great feat, indeed.

I love this line: "Eric's eyes glowed as if he was looking at some far away, lovely memory." It flows so beautifully.

In my opinion, Lander and Andre would get along very well.

Seems to me I read someplace that Sookie is a nickname for Susan.

I chuckled when Rio interrupted, saying she understood Eric "lusted after" Sookie. Trust Eric to list all of Sookie's physical attributes. It fits his character, and it echoes what you said of him in the first few chapters, how he is most comfortable with physical things.

I love that Rio says, "Tell me why *I'd* like her."

I love how Eric then proceeds to list Sookie's non-physical-but-still-likeable points: her spontaneity, her intelligence, her humor and courage –- and cannot resist sneaking in another physical attribute: her attractiveness when he teases her—-and again Rio makes appropriate sounds of disgust because, hello, he's speaking of her *mother*.

I love the use of the word "recalcitrant"!

I like Eric's uncertainty when speaking of Sookie's psych practice; since he himself is so comfortable in his own vampire skin, it makes sense that he wouldn't know or understand how or what other vampires need help in adjusting to these times.

I love how Eric worries over the king finding out about Rio. It makes sense and it shows how much he's come to care for her. Also, while it is a wonderful detail on its own, it also reminds me of how, on the show, Bill tried so desperately to keep Sookie out of Sophie-Anne's reach or knowledge. Rereading their exchanges ("It's not me I'm worried about." … "…you are safe there. No one can get in.") makes me see how much he really truly cares for her. He sounds very frightened, almost panicky, even though he speaks strongly and with great resolve, even though he "practically hissed" his words. It's absolutely wonderful!

Oh my gosh, I can *hear* Alex-as-Eric insisting, "Silly is one thing I *never* am."

I like the reminder of Rio's-shall we call them her cloaking powers?-the way she can seem invisible without actually vanishing.

I like the detail of Eric's jaw set in a way that brooks no argument or refusal, and how Sookie would give neither, but Rio is either oblivious or deliberately ignorant. I can see Alex-as-Eric's jaw set in such a way, deliberately trying to keep calm, perhaps a muscle in his jaw pulsing like a heartbeat as evidence of the trying, his voice like flint as he warns her about the king and his possible use and torture of Al to ensure her obedience.

I’m not entirely sure what the yellow flag signifies (unless it, like a traffic light, means "slow down"), but I do love the detail of Eric recognizing that, yes, he does have feelings for Rio and no, he can’t think of them now because he has to figure out a way to neutralize a potential threat. I love the line about how he is "letting his feelings for Rio get the better of him" because it sounds like Eric thinks that feeling is an opponent, a physical foe that he has to subdue, as like as take his sword and slay it. I mean, he started out as a Viking warrior and it seems like he's kept that mentality for the thousand or so years he's been in existence, so…I don't know, maybe that's just me.

Wow. I confess I thought Rio would react sympathetically, too—do whatever she could to keep Al out of danger, so like Eric I was surprised she reacted in anger. Well, maybe "anger" is too strong, not the right word. It almost sounds like she's mocking Eric. I love it! It's very refreshing. And I love the image of Rio's eyes gleaming "the illuminated green of a traffic light." That's a good, strong, vivid detail. And I love how she taunts Eric. She's so much like her mother…I can see Sookie teasing Eric that way, figuratively lashing out-I'm remembering a line from BOD: "Or did you not protect me from Niall because you can't? Because you aren't the all-mighty warrior you think you are?"

I love how, even though Eric is furious or perhaps beyond furious, he includes Rio in his promise of protection: "I will not endanger either of us..."

The confusion Eric feels about Rio seems very real and true. To him, caring for someone like he's coming to care for Rio *is* alien. He's spent so long comfortable in his own skin, confident he can survive on his own without figuratively letting anyone else in, even Pam, and now here's Sookie's daughter figuratively turning his mindset upside down and inside out and questioning everything he's thought or been taught or practiced. And now he not only cares for her, he has to protect her, and it sounds like he's running over protection strategies in his head, trying to decide on the best one. I love how, mixed in with protection for her, is protection for *him*-I suppose the sense of self-preservation is even higher in vampires than it is humans, and *especially* high in Eric. But considering and forming a plan that will protect them from the king and still keep both of them alive is a very pretty problem indeed.

Oh damn it, Eric...Of all the stubborn, mule-headed...OK. I understand you're confused and maybe even frightened at the intensity of your feelings for Rio. You think you can love her and you want to protect her, and this depth of feeling hasn't happened with anyone, not even Sookie, not even Pam. Those feelings were just shadows and Rio is the substance. I understand you want to sort everything out—how you feel about her, how you're going to protect her, protect you, keep both of you safe. But how the hell does that excuse you storming off like that, especially after she tried to apologized? This is very strange, because storming off like that fits his character—on the show, at least, I can think of several times where, without explanation, Alex-as-Eric turns silent and stoic and just "takes off", leaving whoever he's talking with completely flabbergasted and nonplussed, wondering what, exactly, has just happened. So it's expected but not understandable.

Here endeth the mini-rant. Looking forward to reading the next chapter and seeing what develops!
CelticGlamazon chapter 14 . 12/29/2010
Brilliant! I think I'm speechless...amazing storyline...solid characters...and I love rio. Cudos
Lady Sibyl chapter 5 . 11/16/2010
Wonderful opening line that figuratively drops me in medias res. It's nice that it's a question because it makes me want to find out the answer—why exactly is Rio calling out to Eric; what does she want and what will he say?

It's like Eric to try the hearing experiment. It's interesting—but, as Eric says, not at all unusual—that Rio should be able to hear him when he speaks in a normal, low tone.

Rio's invitation reminds me of BOD where Bill offers to scrub Sookie's back.

I like that Eric starts out thinking of Sookie and ends up thinking of Rio. He might have loved Sookie once, but that is done, and now he has Rio, who is more his match than Sookie was.

I like the image of his hair "fanning out" like a halo and a "wicked grin" playing on his face.

I love the image of Rio standing in the "claw-footed tub" with the water streaming like "steaming rain" around her, turning her hair into a river of "burnished bronze." For some reason, I love the image of Eric "with water dripping from his eyelashes". And I adore Rio's answer to Eric's question about why the water streams around her but keeps the floor "dry as a bone": "The water loves me, so it stays as close as it can."

I like how Eric's expectations of the finished shower are not met: instead of moving to the bed, they take turns drying each other, which sounds like a very intimate act. It also points out yet again how different Rio is from her mother, and that's a good thing, I think: Sookie might have surprised him, but Rio challenges him. Or maybe, Sookie might have surprised him, but Rio surprises him even more.

I like the simile that Rio "was as lithe as a belly dancer."

I love all the water-images you give me: Rio's voice is like "the cry of seagull", the completion of their coupling is like "waves on a wind-drenched beach", Rio's hair "tendriled over his knees like seaweed tossed in the storm", Rio's eyes "sea glass green, clear and sparkling." Traditionally water is a symbol of life and fertility. Rio is most definitely alive and it sounds like she's bringing Eric back to life, figuratively speaking. She's reawakening long-dead or suppressed feelings in him: love and care and tenderness. And I never read the books, but to me it seems like he feels these things more with Rio than he ever did with Sookie. It seems to me that Rio's earlier statement about the water, which loves her and therefore wants to be as close as it can to her, can be rewritten for Eric: Eric loves her and therefore wants to be as close as he can to her.

I like the detail of Rio leaving the room "like a gazelle." It seems, to me, like the perfect way to describe her step, quick and light and graceful.

I love the way you describe Rio’s dress, "the color of a glacier, covered in delicate embroidery," and I absolutely adore this line and this image: "He could swear he saw the colors of the rainbow swirling in her wake."

I like the quick glimpse of Eric in "CEO mode", carefully examining the data.

I like the details of Ailling saying that Eric should "just holler" if he needs anything and plopping into the chair "like his feet hurt."

In keeping with the water imagery, but also for its own sake (it's a very evocative and accurate description), I love how you describe Rio as a siren.

I love how Rio echoes herself, lifting her face out of shadow and singing directly to Eric.

I like the detail that Rio is supporting the bar all by herself. It sounds like something she would do. I also have the feeling that that fact—Rio IS supporting the bar all by herself—is going to be important later, but it could be just me.

I like the line about all the men wanting Rio and all the women wanting to be Rio.

Oh, no, Lander *again*? Grr…

OK, I have the utmost respect for Eric as a warrior and a CEO and a strategist, but something tells me that telling Lander about something intended for Sandy, particularly about the bar, particularly about *revenue* for the bar, is a Very Bad Idea. Something will go horribly wrong, I just feel it. Lander doesn't care about the bar; Lander cares only for Lander. But again, that could be just me.

Ooh, nice. I like Rio's power to go unnoticed. It makes sense that she'd have something to help her hide like that.

Fruit and honey sound absolutely delicious.

I chuckled and shook my head because of *course* Rio would tease Eric by eating provocatively.

I like how Rio accurately and efficiently sums up what's been happening and then directly asks Eric, "What's going on?" I also like that you end on that question. Makes me want to read more to find out what's going to happen. Not that I wouldn't read more anyway…Please-G-D-please let that sound like the compliment it's supposed to.
Jazminblu chapter 14 . 10/31/2010
Beautiful Story
Lady Sibyl chapter 4 . 10/28/2010
Personally I have no trouble or problem with Eric loving Rio.

As always, a wonderful opening line. I especially like the use of the word "delectable."

I love the flow of "With great tenderness, he kissed her eyelids." Plus, it's wonderful to think of Eric being so gentle, and it's a beautiful image.

I love the way Eric touches Rio: gently, softly, as though she might break, as though she's not real. As though he can afford to take his time – which I suppose he can; last time had been primal and passionate, mere rutting, but now it is slower, more exploratory. He wants to savor this, savor *her*.

OK, "snuzzled" has officially become my new favorite word. May I have your permission to borrow it and, as with the phrase "crazy invisible vampire speed" from BOD, use it with wild abandon in my daily life?

I love the detail that Rio calls Eric "Northman" because no one else does.

I love that Eric says he feels "lucky" that he found Rio.

I like that Eric says Sookie challenged him. That's an important, very true-feeling detail. After all, when someone has lived (in a manner of speaking) for one thousand years, I don't imagine there are many things that can challenge him. The fact that Sookie has makes her very interesting and important indeed.

I love how Eric says Sookie made him miss the sun "for the first time in my existence as a vampire."

I like the line about how vampires in general "had never been much known for their caring about humankind." That's an important detail.

I like how Rio knows about everything involved in a blood-bond, how she senses Eric's narration to be more than just a mere story. This is important. Pay attention.

I like the detail of Rio's directness. In this she is like Eric: no wasted words, getting straight to the figurative heart of the matter.

I love the line about how Rio seems to know everything about vampires, not only common knowledge but secrets as well. I especially love this line: "He found himself wondering yet again if it could be true that magic recognized magic, in all its forms." I love that line. First of all it is a wonderful, beautiful line all by itself, but it also reminds me of something Jane Yolen wrote: "Correspondences…It is the first rule of herbalry. Like calls to like. Like draws out like."

Rio's question ("Why share your regrets with me?") reminds me of the episode "Everything is Broken", where Pam asks why Eric never told her about Russell and the wolves murdering his (Eric's) family, and Eric says, "What good would it do to share my pain with you?"

I adore the word-picture of Rio's eyes, all green and gold, with her glitter-dusted lashes. I love the detail that "in a millennium of lovely things", the loveliest things Eric has ever seen are Rio's eyes. I also love the flow of "a millennium of lovely things". It sounds like a piece of music.

I like how Eric tells Rio that Sookie is her mother, calmly and quietly, holding her and hand and looking into her eyes.

I love the line "he was beginning to realize he would wait for her forever."

I ached for both Sookie and Rio when I read that Rio has "never wondered" about her mother, that her father may have wished to discuss her but Niall "kept him silent." It made me think of Sookie, aching for her lost daughter, wondering where she was, how she was doing, what she looked like; made me wonder if Rio ever thought of her, ever tried to get her father to talk, to break the silence. Probably not, since Niall presumably quelled any such reflection, but I still wonder what it was like for Rio, to not wonder about her mother when her mother wondered about her. I ached when I read that Rio said she has never wondered "as if she'd never thought to question it." To never even think of wondering why you never wonder why you have no mother…

"I have always been able to tell what Niall is doing." How? How can she? Because she is his great-granddaughter? Because they are both fae? Or is there some other reason?

I like Eric's question about children with mothers; it shows me he is learning to be not so self-serving and taking an interest in someone other than himself and please-G-D-please let that sound like the compliment it's supposed to be.

Rio's comment about how her father "wasn't around…much" made me ache for her: no mother, no father, no other children, only Niall and her teachers. I know it seems she wasn't all that lonely, but it made me lonely for her. Hope that makes even a little bit of sense.

It just now figuratively struck me: the way Rio reacts whenever Niall is mentioned (looking "momentarily scornful" and speaking "with controlled calm") makes me wonder if her relationship with him is as…easy, I suppose is the best word…as she wants Eric to think. To me, it seems like she's talking of him as casually as she is only by visible effort. Is that right, or am I reading things into this that aren't there?

I love the detail about how Eric asks if he can ask a personal question, how this fact is a "concession" because he had never before bothered with, to him, such trivial matters like what questions are, to use your word, "appropriate" or not. Rio is changing Eric for the better, and I think he likes the change. I know I do. He's becoming an actual person, if that makes any sense at all, instead of just this cold heartless pragmatic, self-serving being. He's becoming more…human.

I love Rio's simple explanation: Eric is not enthralled because Rio doesn't want him to be enthralled.

I love the line about the "alien emotion" of fright. First, it is a wonderful and true detail, and second, it seems that since meeting Rio Eric has been full of alien emotions as he learns to truly care and love and worry and wonder about someone other than himself. I do believe he's falling in love instead of simply lust, and that he does care for her. It is a transformation that is wonderful to watch.

The description of Rio's blood ("like wine, like meat, like oxygen, like pepper") reminds me of something Patricia Polacco wrote of her husband: when they were engaged, he gave her a bouquet which included gold, bread, flowers, salt, and wine: gold so she would never know poverty, bread so she would never know hunger, flowers so she would always have love, salt so their lives would flavor, and wine so she would always have laughter.

I absolutely adore this line: "With a start, Eric realized he could love this girl."

I like the detail about Rio going completely still to summon her power.

I love the image of Eric lying on Rio's bed "smiling at the ceiling." He can love Rio. He does love Rio. He has every reason to smile. He's in love. It's wonderful.
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