Title: Vampire Mine

Author: Jillian K.

Summary: AU. To settle a blood debt Eric's maker gives the young vampire to the faerie prince. 872 years later Niall has a gift for his vulnerable great-granddaughter. In this one Eric is a slave to the faerie royal family and is very different from the highhanded vampire we all know and love.

Disclaimer: Southern Vampire Mysteries belong to Charlaine Harris and her publishers. This fic is intended for entertainment purposes only.

Chapter 1

Circa 1138

12th Century

The ancient roman vampire was callous in his advice.

"The boy is willful but a few weeks of being silver bound would probably help. Feel free to keep him hungry, in fact I advise it as a way of letting him know who is in charge. A weakened vampire is much easier to control than a fully functional one."

Prince Eochaid of the faeries inspected his prize. The vampire was about a hundred years old and had been a Viking chieftain in his mortal life. He was strikingly Nordic in looks with pale blue eyes and long flaxen hair that he wore unadorned. Ocella had him shed his tunic so he stood tall and unabashed amidst the group of warrior fae that accompanied the prince. Eochaid's young son NĂ©all looked on the vampires with some trepidation. It had been his oldest half-sister who'd perished in the Ocella's arms. She'd gone to him willingly only to die little by little from the bloodletting.

It was because Benia had chosen the vampire that Eochaid could not rightfully ask for Ocella's life. The blood debt was to be settled with a life but not his own. The vampire had instead offered his only child in bonded slavery to the faerie prince who had no better option than to accept. After all Benia had been a troublesome daughter who was a source of embarrassment to the prince. Her early demise would bring a boon to her beleaguered family.

"Kneel slave!" the prince ordered but the Viking only stiffened. His maker's eyes darkened and he addressed him in his mother tongue.

"Do as he says Eirikr."

The vampire was still too young to even put up a token resistance to his maker's command and knelt on the packed earth. He braced his hands on the ground as the Eochaid nodded to the smith. The old faerie approached the charcoal filled brazier and removed the glowing branding tool carefully inspecting it for readiness. The tool was skillfully crafted from fine silver which would permanently mark the vampire's skin.

At the prince's word the smith pressed the searing metal against Eirikr's left shoulder. The skin burned and smoked as the vampire hissed in pain.

Only when the brand had burned deep into the layers of skin it was removed. The newly-marked slave trembled in pain but he did not cry out. His master had forbidden him to ever give voice to his pain.

And it was his master who consoled him by running his hand across Eirikr's pale face. Ocella had kept him close and rarely allowed him to leave the nest on his own. It was only when the faerie girl had entered their lives that he'd been relegated to the outside. She hadn't liked Eirikr and Ocella had done his best to please her. And now it was his life that would be forfeit for his master's pleasures.

"May I inquire as to where you intend to keep him?" Ocella asked casually as if he were inquiring about the weather instead of his child.

Eochaid signaled his guards who immediately flanked the kneeling vampire. "We will be returning to Faerie before daybreak. I have no intention of allowing any more unfortunate dalliances between my people and your kind."

Ocella laughed. "And yet you will take one of mine into the bosom of your royal house? Isn't that a bit imprudent?"

The prince narrowed his eyes. "On the contrary vampire, your former charge will not be embraced but kept at heel where he belongs. He will be made to serve us in every capacity we see fit no matter how demeaning he may find it. I will instruct my people of the inferiority of demons like him. Part of the allure your kind employs is based on our ignorance of how base you truly are. You child will change that." Eochaid promised grimly.

The vampire smiled coldly but did not rise to the insult. "I see. Well there is nothing else for me to do except to say farewell to my child." Ocella turned to Eirikr once more. "Behave and you may survive to see a change in your fortunes. I wish you well my Viking prince." He said and took to the sky. His debt had been paid in full.

Eirikr saw him go rightfully guessing that it would be centuries before they met again. By that time little would remain of the vampire he'd been meant to be.

His new master pulled him roughly to his feet. He was still hurting from the branding but the vampire would come to understand that being treated as a beast was now part of his lot in life. Silently he followed the faerie prince to the canopy of trees that concealed the portal to the land of the Faerie. His fate dangled before him like a grim and terrible specter.