Fangtasia Stories: Wendy – Mistress of Pain

Set during Club Dead

Pam arrived at the bar later than usual. She parked up next to Eric's Corvette, and as usual whenever she saw his car, she started singing Little Red Corvette by Prince, in her head first, then out loud. Just the chorus, over and over. It was an annoying habit, and one which she just couldn't seem to shake.

She let herself in via the back door, and wandered down the corridor to Eric's office.

"Baby you're much too fast... yes you are... doo di doo Corvette..."

Eric's office door was closed, and she could hear that he was on the telephone. She carried on through to the bar.

"You need a love that's gonna Dee-di-dee, doo doo."

She went into the bar and did her rounds, checking in with all the staff and acknowledging all the vamps, making sure all was well on the floor, and outside, where a line was already forming. She homed in on a group of rowdy, annoying-looking guys, obviously first-timers, and she threw them a cool glare as she walked past, to ensure they knew who was boss around here. One of them wolf-whistled at her, and she stood at the door beside the human doorman, Malcolm, and waited for them. Pam had little interest in humans, and tended to ignore them wherever possible, but boys like this just needed bringing down a peg or two. Pam knew their type, and she wanted them in her vault. It soon became their turn.

"Well good evening gentlemen, welcome to Fangtasia. Can I see some ID please?"

The four of them laughed and muttered some little jokes between themselves, before checking their pockets, and fishing out their wallets. She took the driver's license from the first one, whistling boy.

"Michael Wachowski," Pam read. "Wasn't that the name of that little green blob in Monsters, Inc? Mike Wachowski?"


His friends laughed, and one of them pushed him. The shove was hard, and pushed young Mike very close to Pam, which was not a good move. She pushed him backwards with a finger.

"Excuse me, are you invading my personal space?"

"Sorry, he pushed me." Mike turned to his friend and shoved back. "Idiot."

Pam turned her attention back to the license.

"Hmm. 21, huh? You barely look like you've made it through puberty yet." She gave his body the once over, as if she was studying him for further evidence of his age. Finally satisfied, she handed the ID back.

"Is that enough for you? Did you want to check whether my balls have dropped?"

Ugh. Pam was very unimpressed. There was some giggling from his other friends, and one of them muttered "huh huh, balls," which amused Pam in it's idiotic infantile simplicity, but she didn't let it show.

"Well, that is a very sweet offer, but no, such a detailed examination will not be required. I have exceptional eyesight, as it happens, and can see through those horrific tight pants you're wearing. Your testicles are indeed at a mature stage in their development, in fact, I can see that they're quite large and hairy. Your penis, however..." Pam looked down and shook her head in a sympathetic kind of way.

Michael Wachowski looked astonished.


"Well, I suppose you can't have it all. You have very clear skin though, hardly a blemish on your pretty little face. Who's next? Come on, hand 'em over, boys."

Mike was still looking at his pants, wondering if Pam could actually see through them.

"That's fucked up."

"No, honey. 'Round here, that kind of shit is normal. If you want to see something really fucked up, you just try making some trouble for me this evening." Pam flashed some fang. "I guarantee you'll be sleeping with the light on for the next 10 years."

She handed back the last ID card, and stood aside to let them in.

"And remember gentlemen," she tapped the side of her head, "you're in my vault."

They scuttled in, looking decidedly less smug and troublesome than they did a few moments earlier. Pam nodded to Malcolm who smirked at her, and she left him to deal with the rest of the line. She trailed in after Mike and his friends, and resumed her rounds.

It was a reasonably busy night, and her thorough scan had revealed no further problems or anything unusual. The music was pumping, and Prince had soon found his way out of her head. She wandered back down to Eric's office, and knocked, before entering.

Eric looked like he might snap at any moment. He was sitting at his desk, and he'd just put the phone down on one of his from Jackson. No news on Bill. No one had seen or heard of him. He'd apparently vanished into thin air. Eric wasn't sure whether he should be reacting badly to this turn of events and throwing a huge Viking-sized fit, or celebrate by throwing a party. Mostly, he just didn't want the queen to get wind of it, and start with the agonizing torture.

"Any news?" Pam asked, after closing the door, and sitting down.

"No, nothing," Eric growled. "Our most reasonable option right now is to send Sookie to Jackson, and hope that she can utilize her skills and infiltrate the were community there." Eric looked like he was about to burst with rage.


"No Pam, not alone," he snapped. "I have a were contact in Jackson who just so happens to owe me a favor."


"Alcide Herveaux. He's filthy were scum, but as they go, he's quite honorable, and well respected. He's going to accompany Sookie around the were-bars. He'll be picking her up and they'll be leaving tomorrow."

Herveaux... Herveaux... Pam was sure she'd heard that name, but he wasn't in the vault. She'd have to do some research later.

"Well then, I suppose there's nothing more to be done right now. Why don't you sit out in the bar?"

Eric sat back in his chair and closed his eyes.

"I am too tense," Eric grumbled. "I'm quite likely to harm someone."

"Oh, come on. They love it when you look extra mean and lethal. It's good for business. Humor me."

"Pam..." Eric groaned.

"Just for an hour. Let's play a game."

Eric stared back at her defiantly.

"I am quite obviously not in the mood for games, Pamela."

Pam stood up and went around his desk. She put her hands on her hips and looked down at him. He seemed adamant, but Pam was determined to have some fun, and cheer him up. She grabbed his arm and tugged. It was a struggle, even for her, but his chair moved a little, since it was on wheels. She gritted her teeth.

"Come... onnn!"

"All right, all right. God, you are such an annoyingly persistent cow." She let go of his arm and he rose from his chair. "Let me get changed first."

Pam grinned and headed for the door.

"Five minutes, and if you're not out there, I'm coming back and you're going to force my hand into using more brutal measures. You have been warned."

Eric shook his head as he opened his closet door. He knew that Pam could not overpower him physically, of course, but she had other ways of getting what she wanted out of him. These included loud, off-key singing, the worst attempt at lap-dancing he had ever encountered, and her sad panda face. His least favorite was when she repeated everything he said and copied his every move. She once persevered with this for 4 nights, before he had been forced to bind her and lock her in a closet.

He pulled his t-shirt off over his head and surveyed his array of outfits. Pam tended to take care of his Fangtasia closet; getting items dry-cleaned, rotating the outfits, buying new ones and ditching stuff she decided didn't work for him. Mostly her choices were spot on. Occasionally, Eric thought, as he ran his fingers over a tasseled belt, she got it horribly, horribly wrong. He was hoping this particular item was one of her sick jokes.

Finally, he settled on a billowing white shirt and a deep burgundy embroidered tail-coat, with black breeches and leather boots. He was feeling historical and rather theatrical today. Dressing in such elegant finery might elevate his mood, he thought.

When he'd finished changing, he considered the possibility of accessorizing with a sword, but decided not to go over the top with it. He hated the thin, little, useless dangly swords Pam kept in here, and anyway, his own personal sword, which he kept at home, would hardly look appropriate with this outfit, even if he did have it with him.

Incidentally his sword, or Wendy, as he preferred to call her, was some years older than he was. Nothing had ever come close to defeating the awesome lethal power combo of himself and Wendy, in human or vampire battles. At one time Pam was actually jealous of his relationship with Wendy, and used to mock him when he was cleaning or sharpening her. The jealousy turned to a sort of attention-seeking sibling rivalry within a few years after their relationship changed, and Pam still resented Wendy, even to this day. Most recently, her mockery had taken the form of a Gollum impersonation - "My Preciousssss..."

Wendy was over 40 inches and almost 4 pounds of pure, unadulterated Viking joy. She was his sexy, double-edged, razor-sharp iron mistress of pain, and she could still slice the head off an Anglo-Saxon, if required to do so. Wendy wasn't really Wendy, of course, that was her modern name, just as Eric Northman was his. Her true name was Gæierlaug. Vacker, gullig Gæierlaug.

His mind flashed briefly on Sookie in skimpy, furry Viking attire, wielding Wendy, running a finger down her shining blade.

Eric was getting hard, so he pushed the Wendy/Sookie threesome idea to the back of his mind to be pondered on in more detail later, and began to concentrate on his hair.

Since he was taking so long, Pam came back to see if he'd changed his mind, and had decided to stay hidden in his office. He could hear her well before she entered the room.

"Eric, do I have to sing Careless Whisper to you? Or maybe some Celine Dion?" She opened the door. "Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feeeeeel you..."

"Pam, stop," Eric said firmly. "As your maker I command you."

Pam smirked before continuing. "That is how I know you... goo-wooon..."

"Stop, at once, before I inflict severe punishment. I am dressed."

"Near... fa... oh yes, so you are. And very dashing, too, I might add." Eric was struggling to braid his hair with the thick sleeves of his coat getting in the way. "Are you trying to braid it? Sit down, I'll do it."

Eric huffed and sat on one of the smaller chairs his guests used, so she could reach properly. Pam took the brush and began working.

"I wish you'd get a new car."


"Every time I see your car, Little Red Corvette by Prince pops into my head and I'm humming it for ages. It is really quite annoying."

"I cannot sell the 'Vette. What song by Prince?"

"You know. You must have heard me sing it."

Eric turned his head slightly to look at her. He gave her an 'I dunno' face.

Pam rolled her eyes, as she continued with her braiding.

"Little Red Corvette. Baby you're much too fast..."

"Pam, will you stop with the singing. You have the voice of a corporeal demon."

"Do you know the song?"

Eric thought about little purple Prince, and tried to remember the song.

"Mm-m-mm-hmm-hm... guess I shoulda known by the way you parked your car...da da da da..."

"Yes, something like that! Da da...oh..." Pam had lost the tune again.

"Da... da da... But it was Saturday night..."

Pam smiled and joined in. "I guess that makes it all right, and you said, baby..."

"La la da du boo bah."

"Something about gas? Hmm..." They both got stuck again.

"Mm." Eric raised his eyebrows. "Yes, I never made the link. I like the 'Vette, I don't want another car."

"I'll buy you a new one. A nice big shiny one."

"You'll buy me a new car just so you don't have to have a Prince song stuck in your head on a regular basis? Pam, that is extreme, I have to tell you. Just try to think of another song, or focus on something else."

"I've tried, it's not that simple."

Pam finished tying off Eric's hair and stood in front of him to check out her handiwork. Satisfied, she went to put the brush away.

Eric went over and had a quick check in the mirror. Pam had on occasion given him some quite random style for a joke, and he'd not realized until it was too late. One time, he went into a particular relaxed state of downtime while she was doing his hair, and she backcombed it into a huge bouffant. He hadn't thought to check and it was like that for hours. Pam got some serious punishment for that one. He'd had pig-tails, ringlets, corn-rows. Eric sometimes felt like some sort of huge doll, that Pam loved to dress up and mess with.

He didn't mind it, really.

This time around, anyway, she'd done an excellent job with the hair. He took one last look at his reflection before heading out to the bar.

"Come on then, Pam. Amuse me."


Eric was soon sprawled on his elaborate throne, looking mean and bored, and Pam came over and thrust a menu under his nose.

"How about one of Chow's new cocktails?"

"I saw the menu the other week. Why would I want a cocktail?"

"No, not the human alcoholic beverages. He's created a vamp cocktail menu, blood-based concoctions. He's been waiting for you to approve them."

"Oh, really? Well then, let's see what's on offer."

Eric read through the selection.

Virgin Bloody Mary

Fairy Godbotherer

Screaming Telepath

Harvey Fang Banger


Royally Fucked

"What's in a Fairy Godbotherer?" Pam asked, over his shoulder.

"AB positive TrueBlood," Eric read, "a shot of fairy blood, and a shot of blood taken from one of those Fellowship idiots. Hmm. I am assuming that they were a willing donor, Pam. We don't want any nasty legal battles on our hands."

"Oh, I'm sure they were very willing," Pam smiled. "This is a vamps only menu, by the way, humans and other beings don't get to peruse the vamp cocktails."

"I see. Where the fuck did he get the fairy blood?" Eric's fangs ran out a little. "Chow."

Eric hardly raised his voice at all, but Chow heard him, even over the booming music. He came over and gave a small bow.

"This cocktail menu is very interesting, but frankly I'm a little concerned about where and how you might be obtaining the ingredients. A Screaming Telepath." Eric held up the menu. "Is that some kind of joke?"

Chow smiled, then saw the look on Eric's face, and he swallowed hard.


"I am not amused by it. At all. Take it off, before I go fetch Wendy and take off your head." He threw the menu at Chow. "And bring me a Royally Fucked."

"I'll take a Plasmapolitan," added Pam.

Chow retreated back to the bar. He would pay for his little dig later, Eric decided, but he wouldn't let his underling see how truly offended he was. One of their human employees, Belinda, soon came over with their drinks. They both took a sip.

"Hmm. Not bad."

"Mine's a little sour," said Pam, making a face. "So, how about we play a game or something?"

"Like what?"

Pam thought about it.

"How about..." She smiled and leaned down to Eric's ear, whispering. "We have to get someone to say a certain word, without actually telling them to say it, or by going 'give me another word for so and so' or 'what's that word that means what not'. First one to get the person to say the magic word wins."

"What's the word?"

"How about cock?"

Eric shook his head. "Too easy. Every other word is cock in this place."

"Shrimp?" Pam whispered.

"What? That's too difficult."

"It's supposed to be difficult."

"How about muffin?" Eric whispered back. Pam shook her head. "Plumage?" Eric offered.

"That's way harder than shrimp!"

"Fine, well just choose a more obvious one then, whatever, and we'll go with that."

Pam thought some more, and then leaned back down to Eric's ear.


Eric rolled his eyes. "I swear you have penises on the brain."



"The plural. Penii. And I certainly do not have them on the brain."

"The plural of penis is not penii, Pam."

"Whatever. I think it is. English is not your first language, but it happens to be mine."

"If I didn't know your sexual leanings better I'd say you were cock obsessed. Or perhaps you have penis envy?"

"Oh please. Not everyone has to be obsessed with penii. Especially yours."

"At least 75% of the people in this bar are obsessed with my penis, actually. At least. Right, shall we begin? What does the loser have to do?"

"If I win, then you have to sell the 'Vette. You have to replace it with something boring, like a nice reliable blue hatchback."

Eric groaned. "No way."

"Oh come on. What, are you scared you're going to lose?"

"I do not lose. What about when I win? What do I get?"

"Whatever the fuck you want, because you're losing, looooooser."

"OK. Tomorrow evening, you have to wear a fake beard all night and you have to slide across the floor all the time, pretending you are ice-skating. And every sentence you utter you have to finish with the phrase 'I'm a cheeky monkey. I want banana'. No exceptions. Oh, and you have to do a dance, perhaps the running man, or some sort of body-popping, on the bar."

Pam rolled her eyes. "I only had one thing, you should only choose one."

"Yes, but I have more to lose, since I love that car, and I will have to replace it with an embarrassingly dull one. My forfeit is much worse." He smiled faintly at her pouty face. "Scared are you? You were very confident before."

"As if. Bring it on, Daddy-O. You're going down to Loser Town."

Eric gave a slight smile.


The grouchy yet elegant vamp wandered over, and bowed.

"Why don't you sit by me." Eric gestured with his hand. "We have not spoken for a while."

Thalia stepped up and sat in the chair to Eric's left.

They began conversing, and Eric soon swung the conversation in the direction of sex. For vampires, talking about sex was like humans talking about what they had for dinner last night, or what new show they saw on TV. It was a perfectly natural topic of conversation, and they didn't spare the details. Pam knew she needed to act quickly, or she'd be having a very embarrassing evening at work tomorrow. She excused herself and stepped down, away towards the bar. They would still hear each other, so there was no way either of them could cheat.

"Chow, give me another one of those cocktails. I'll take a Fairy Godbotherer."

"Coming up."

"Oo, coming up!"

"What?" Chow pulled a confused face.

"I don't know. Sounded rude, didn't it?"

Chow shook his head and reached for a bottle. Pam scowled. She could hear that Eric and Thalia were already talking about the benefits of tantric sex. She needed to work fast.

Chow placed Pam's cocktail in front of her.

"One Fairy Godbotherer."

"Chow, is that a stake in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?"

He looked down, checking himself.

"I don't have a stake in my pocket, Pam." Just to make sure, he dipped his hands in, and pulled out nothing but loose change, some fluff, and a little scrap of paper.

"I didn't mean it literally, Chow. I meant, you're packing a, erm..." She raised her eyebrows and nodded her head in the direction of his man bits.

He looked down again, totally confused. Pam sighed.

"A big weapon."

"Do you mean my cock, Pam?"

Pam gritted her teeth and screwed her eyes up. Why hadn't they gone for cock? It wouldn't have mattered, she admitted to herself. Eric would've got Thalia to say cock by now.

"So, Chow," Pam wiggled her eyebrows and looked at him conspiratorially. He leaned on the bar and moved in a little closer. "I saw you looking at that fang banger with the purple hair earlier. She was hot."

Chow smiled. "She was, very hot, yes."

"She had very pouty lips, like Angelina Jolie. Are you a fan of the big pouty lips?"

"Oh yes, I like big pouty lips."

Pam smirked and nodded her head.

"Mm. I'll bet you were thinking nasty stuff while you were looking at those lips. Am I right? Am I right? Huh? I am, right?"

"Er, I guess I might've been," Chow shrugged. "Probably, yes."

"Hm-mm. I'll bet she turned you on." Pam's eyes widened, and she nodded her head at him, urging him to disclose more information, say the word. Erection. Erection. "I can see even now the thought of it is making you excited."

Chow gave her another confused look, and shook his head at her odd behavior. He briefly looked down at himself again.

"Are you suggesting I look like I have wood, Pam? Is that why you believed I had a stake in my pants?"

Pam gritted her teeth. Oh, come on, come on, say it, say it.

"I'm sorry?" Pam said, innocently.

"Do you think I have a hard on?"

Chow, you fuckwit, say erection.

"A what?"

"A hard on."

Pam cast a brief glance at Eric, who smirked and gave a slight shake of his head. Hard on was not acceptable. She turned back to Chow.

Say the word, say the word.

"I don't know what that means, Chow, sorry."

"You don't know what 'hard on' means? Somehow, I doubt that very much, Pam." Chow began to wipe down the bar. She was losing him.

She turned to check on Eric and Thalia again, just as she heard her say "he could keep his erection for more than 3 hours."

Pam's fangs ran out as she let out a roar, and all heads turned in her direction. Eric smiled triumphantly.

"Thanks a fucking bunch, Chow, you idiot."

"Huh? What did I do?"

"You were a waste of space, as always. Absolutely useless!"

"What? You just keep suggesting I have an erection, I've done nothing."

"Oh, now you say it! You are so going to pay for this, Chow." She threw the dirty bar cloth in his face, and turned on her heel.

Eric dismissed Thalia, and Pam resumed her position by his side.

"I think I deserve a celebratory cocktail," Eric smirked. He held up his glass and nodded to Chow, who got onto it right away. "Oh, Pam. Pam, Pam, bearded, ice-skating, body-popping monkey Pam. Victory is sweet."

"Can't I just wear the beard?"

"The beard, and the body-popping. I will be merciful."

Pam downed her Fairy Godbotherer, just as Belinda dropped off Eric's Royally Fucked. She placed her empty glass on the tray.

"Another one, Belinda. And keep them coming."


"So, Alcide is..." Pam had never met Alcide, but she'd seen pictures, after she'd been checking up on him on the web last night. "He's interesting."

They were in Eric's office, and Pam had just removed her fake beard (a tasteful little Cavalier one). She'd done her dance on the bar at the end of the night, when there were only a few drunken stragglers left. Eric had been incredibly amused, and Chow had laughed until he cried bloody tears of joy.

Eric look at her confused.

"No, he's not interesting at all. He's a fucking were."

"Perhaps I should have said he was... striking."

Eric shook his head a little before responding.

"I suppose, if you like that sort of thing. As weres go he might be almost tolerable."

"I'm sure he will take care of Sookie."

"Yes, he better had."

"Of all her needs."


Pam sighed.

"Her lady needs."

"Hmm. What?"

"Oh come on, Eric. Do I have to spell it out for you? Single, vulnerable, emotional Sookie. On her own in a strange town. On the rebound. Yes, I'm quite sure he'll look after her."

Eric stared at Pam for some time.

"She will not be there for long. She has a job to do, and she will do it."

"I hope she will." She sat back and sighed. She looked at her nails, which were perfectly manicured as always. "All on her lonesome, with Alcide, all big and rugged and hot."

"He has a girlfriend doesn't he?"

"No, he doesn't, they broke up. It's all gotten a bit messy between them, so I hear, and she's shacked up with some new guy. In fact I think she might be engaged to him. You know what weres are like. Fickle dumb-ass psychos."

"How do you even know this stuff?"

Pam looked away, slightly embarrassed.

"I lurk in some of the were blogs." Eric responded with a low grumble and a shake of the head, which added to her shame. "I like to keep abreast of supe-business. Ignorance can be very dangerous, you taught me that. Look, the point is, they are both on the rebound. Alcide is quite attractive, for a were. Did you really think this one through?"

"I... of course I did."


"Sookie wouldn't do that. She isn't like that."


"Stop hm-mm-ing, Pam. She can read were minds, you know. He's bound to think rude thoughts about her, like, how great her breasts are and how perfectly they would fit in his large hands." Eric gestured with his own, making a 'honking' motion. "Or how fantastic her lips would look wrapped around his cock, something dirty and uncouth like that, and that will put an end to any of his nasty little ideas." Eric grinned triumphantly.

"Sure, if it makes you feel better. You should be thankful she can't hear your thoughts."

Eric growled. "Indeed."

"You don't think she can, do you? Like maybe she can read vamp minds but she just doesn't tell us about it, for fear of retribution?"

Eric considered this, but then shook his head. "No. There's no way. If she had heard my thoughts, she would either have succumbed to me by now and jumped me, or she would have slapped me, on numerous occasions. There would have been some sort of strong reaction, either way. She might have done something similar to you, and she would surely have dumped Bill long ago."

"Perhaps it's just Bill she can't read, since he doesn't have much going on in the brain department anyway. Maybe that's the reason she likes him."

Eric thought about it and shook his head again.

"No. I've tested this by thinking very rude thoughts while speaking with her, purely for experimental purposes..."

"Of course."

"...and she doesn't flinch. Well, her response is no different to that when I am not thinking these things at her. If she could read me, or if I had spoken these things out loud to her, she would have yielded. I would have at the very least, smelled her arousal." Pam shook her head. "No one can resist my seductive sexy talk, Pam. I am the ultimate panty-soaker."

"Well, like I say, I'm sure Alcide will take care of her. Even if they do have sex, that's no big deal, right?"

"Of course not." Eric shrugged dismissively, but didn't do a very good job of looking nonchalant. "Sex between consenting adults is perfectly normal. As long as he is good to her, and gentle, and treats her with respect, unlike that idiot Bill. And so long as he doesn't impregnate her with some awful hairy were baby."

"She's a modern, independent woman, after all." Pam looked at him, anticipating his eruption.

Eric was suddenly feeling incredibly anxious.

"I should not have trusted a were to look after our telepath. She is far too valuable to me." He corrected himself quickly. "To us, to the area. I'm going to check up on her."

He shut down his laptop, and stood, reaching for his jacket.

"I didn't mean... Why don't you just call her?"

"Because I can hardly protect her from here, can I? You can handle things from this end, I will phone you when I get there."

"But you will be unable to announce yourself and follow protocol, you will be trespassing in another area. Think rationally, Eric. You are not considering the consequences."

"No one will even know I'm there," Eric smiled. "I will go undercover, and simply blend into the background. Like a stealthy vamp-ninja." Pam still looked unconvinced. "Hairy Herveaux will be of no help to her at all, and if things go wrong, then Bill is dead, the queen is royally pissed off, and we are at best growing new limbs for a year or so."


"Do you remember when you lost the tip of your pinkie to that were-cheetah? How painful it was, how long it took to grow back?"

"Oh, the itching!" Pam whined.

"So uncomfortable. Well, imagine losing a leg, or two."

Pam had a pained look on her face.

"You should get going now. I can handle things here."

"I'm gone."

Eric made it to Jackson in super-quick time. In fact, it was a new personal best.

A/N: So, don't mess with Eric, or he'll get his massive weapon out. Yes, I did do some research on Viking weaponry this week! Most Viking warriors had axes or spears, apparently, and only the wealthiest had big impressive swords like Wendy. What happened before Wikipedia, and the internet in general? I would've had to go down the library to find that out!

In case you were wondering, "Vacker, gullig Gæierlaug" roughly translates as "Beautiful, sweet... er, Wendy." In Swedish, hopefully. Blame Google Translate.

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Ericizmine for being so lovely and recommending this fic on her website yesterday. If you haven't had the pleasure already, please check out her fabulous stories! And if you have already had the pleasure, well, why not go back for more? Thanks also to Northman Maille/AlisonbyNumbers, seastarr08, nycsnowbird and the betalicious RubySun03 for recommending the story via the forums and Twitter (where I can sometimes be found trying to figure out how to tweet properly). Hugs to everyone who has read, reviewed, recommended, or alerted. You make this eleventh century Viking weaponry enthusiast feel all squishy and warm : )