CH owns it all … I just like to play with her toys!
What the hell am I doing here again? I questioned myself for almost the hundredth time.
I am vampire, and have not lived this long by being stupid. These summits have cost my people enough, in not only time and money, but in their undead existence as well. Did we not learn four years ago what could and would happen at these mass gatherings?
I learned quickly that day, and now my people and I are staying in a hotel adjacent to this one. No one would come after us there. My guards would make sure of that. I have both daytime and nighttime guards with us, and I could go to rest each morning without worry. These other kings and queens are ridiculous to put such trust in the same type of people that almost brought our governing system to its knees not too long ago.
Though many of my kind will remember that day as the worst in our existence, I will not. No, that was the day that sweet wife came back to me, and rescued my companions and me.
Four years is not a long time to me, but every day since I hoped to see my beloved again. Who other than my angel wife would save a lowly sheriff and his crew from our final deaths? When others were perishing, burning, and left out in the sun to die we were saved by my Aude. Now, here we are again, but this time I am well aware of the dangers that surround us.
This is one summit that I will enjoy no matter what has happened in the past. This is the night that I, Eric Northman, King of Louisiana and Arkansas will bring the Fae Prince to his knees. I may not have forged this contract with him, but I will have all of the gain. Yes, tonight will be a good night, indeed.
My crew and I awoke early. We fed and dressed quickly. I noticed many of my kind staring at us as we made our way into the shithole of a hotel, and into the main conference room. We were led to one of the front tables that sat just in front of the dance floor.
Both of my seconds in command were with me. Pamela Ravenscroft, my second, child, and business partner was seated on my left. Godric, my maker, brother, and more, pulls my child's chair out for her. My two seconds were my most trusted confidants. I would trust them each with my life, and have no fear that everything will be alright as long as they are by my side. I will not allow fear to hasten what I have been given by my former Queen.
Sophie-Anne Leclerq had been my queen for close to one hundred years before she meet the true death. She had met her demise almost four years ago, not long after that hideous bombing in Rhodes. She had lost her child and most trusted advisor there, and with her physical injuries it was too much for her to fight for the state or for her own life.
The Fellowship of the Sun, FotS, had claimed that they had orchestrated that attack. They were proud to take out so many of my kind with their hidden and unknown bombs. Unknown to the vampires in attendance at that summit, some humans and Weres alike had become part of the hate filled group. Their main mission was to spread the word to all mankind that vampires were ruthless, uncaring creatures that would rather kill your children for dinner than to drink the new synthetic blood. It was true in some sense that we vampires would rather taste our blood straight from the vessel, and if one were to offer their self to us willingly, who were we to turn them away.
Yes, tonight will be a good night. This is the first Summit that I have attended as King; I was but a laughingstock after the summit four years ago though that now seems to be a thing of the past. I watched as Quinn, the Were-tiger, walked to the middle of the stage. He was wearing his usual Aladdin's outfit that no one in their right mind would be seen in, with maybe the exception of on All Hollow's Eve.
The talking around us stopped instantly as the tiger opened his mouth, "Vampires, Fae, Weres, Ladies, and Gentleman it is my honor to introduce your hostess for the night, the Ancient Pythoness," I watched as he bowed deeply to the side of the stage.
Two of the AP's handmaidens made their way to the middle of the stage. The AP, wearing a rather humdrum gown, walked in behind them, followed by two more of her handmaidens. They carefully helped the old vampire into her throne-like chair that sat center stage, then they melted into the background.
"Thank you all for coming tonight. It is a night that I have foreseen many times, and each time the vision's ending is better than the last," she said quietly. Her voice but a whisper to most humans, but with the enhanced senses of the assembly it was louder than if she were talking into a microphone. "I would like Eric the Norseman to step forward."
I looked at my seconds, nodded my head in their direction, and quickly made my way to the stage. I knew better than to piss the AP off as she has her own power over my kind. After approaching her, I knelt on one knee in front of her, bowing my head low, as a show of respect.
"Did you do as I requested, Norseman?"
"Yes, your Highness. I brought the drawing that you asked for." Why the AP wanted a drawing of my late wife I will never know, she only grunted in response to my statement.
"You may rise, Child," I did as she requested and stood before her. I was humbled when her clouded eyes meet my own. I watched as she seemed to slip into one of her trances, and I knew that she was seeing a future.
A slow smile spread across her face, and I hoped that whatever she'd just witnessed would lead to my every hope coming true. There are simple few things that a vampire as old as I have come to wish for. Freedom, trust, to live to see another moon rising high in the sky.
"I know that you do not understand my request regarding the picture of your late wife, King Northman, but it is my hope that by the end of this summit some of your questions will be answered." All I can do is bow to the AP's wishes. She is the most honored vampire in our world, and her will most be obeyed. I would stand in the Louisiana sunshine at noon if that is what she needed of me. Her wish is but my command.
I know that this is my cue and I have been dismissed. As I stood, I bow low in her direction before retaking my seat at my table. I noticed that not one of my party moved as much as an eyelash as I turned towards the stage to see what the AP's next move would be.
Yes, she'd contacted me months ago to have a rendition on my late wife's portrait commissioned. I knew that it was somehow important though I could not discern even after all of this time what the circumstances might entail. I was hoping that tonight I might get a glimpse into her thinking. One could never be certain exactly what the AP's words really meant. She has always talked in riddles, some of which will never fully understood by most until it was too late.
That was one of Sophie-Anne's biggest mistakes, and I will not be ended in the way that she was. I needed to take every advantage that I can. If the AP saw fit to have me do something, especially something I've had done many times before, then who was I to balk at the idea of having a simple artist's drawing done.
"You will all rise," she suddenly bellowed from the stage. Now, this is something that vampires do not do. Especially royal vampires. Others stand for us and it is never the other way around.
I knew that my eyebrows were retreating into my hairline as the back doors of the conventional hall opened quickly, and everyone watched, transfixed by the three fairies making their way down the center aisle towards the stage. The AP bowed deeply, and each vampire in attendance did the same. She is the leader of this show and we would not mock her, not without meeting the sun soon after.
I smelt them before they even passed my table. I was standing towards the end of the table, and I would remember that scent for as long as I was able to awaken each night. Niall Brigant, ahh yes, it is good to be me. His and his comrade's scents were not as potent as I had thought that they would be. He must be masking not only his scent those that are with him as well.
"Your Majesty," Niall addressed the Ancient Pythoness, bowing as he spoke. The AP quickly stood straight before addressing him.
"Prince Brigant, I hope all is well?" I could only see the back of the fucker's head, but I watched as he bobbed his head in her direction. She moved her hands to let the audience know that we could be seated, and Niall quickly made his way to the side of throne, much in the same way that I just had.
"Everything is well, your Majesty, but I do not believe that the wellbeing of my people is what you have had me come here to ask this night," he all but sneered, causing more than one vampire to growl at his disrespect. The AP shoots those among the vampires a quick glare before continuing her conversation with the fairy.
"No, I believe it is time that you tend to your agreement with the Late Sophie-Anne Leclerq. Don't you agree, Prince Brigant?" I watched as his eyes, which had been twinkling, suddenly became dark as night.
"I believe you are correct. May I introductions to your Majesty, my grandson, Claude Crane," he said regally with a nod towards the male fairy standing at his side.
The male fairy gave a rather smug look towards Niall, but then bowed from his waist towards the AP. A male fairy? He must be joking. I thought to myself. The Ancient Pythoness glanced towards the younger Fae, and looked back at Niall quite pointedly.
The Fairy was tall, maybe, six feet one inch. His hair was coal black, and half way down his shoulders. His eyes were a bright green, and his attitude was written all over his face. He had an air of mirth about him that one could see even without our vampire enhanced vision. He was definitely batting for the other team, as the humans now say.
I watched as the AP scrunched her pointed nose at the male fairy, and then gave Niall a rather questioning look. She may not be able to see with her eyes, but I was completely confident that with her gift of visions she could see the fairy that Niall was trying to associate with the vampires, and I already knew that this was not going to happen.
Sure, I have had my share of male lovers over the span of 1,000 years. Some were chosen by me to fill a certain void in my life. My oldest companion was seated on my right. Godric was just one of many of my male lovers, but he was the first for me, and my feelings towards him have grown beyond bounds in our time together.
I was brought out of my musing when the AP herself bent over, now reseated in her chair, and started laughing like a loon. I know that once again my eyebrows were up into my hairline, but seeing someone so venerated become lost in laughter was something that neither I nor anyone else in the room was expecting. I was sure toward the end of her little fit of laughter that she snorted, but that is something that no one will ever bring to her attention.
"Oh, Niall, how you amuse me! You are truly one of the most comical creatures alive," she wheezed out in between laughs. "I know that this is not the one intended for the Norseman, as do you. Maybe it's time to give up hoping that you can get around the contract as it was written." The AP seemed to be staring a hole through the fairy's head.
I was grateful that at least she knew how this night was going to play out. I am not saying that I have never been the lover of a man, I have been many times. But I am not willing to associate myself or my retinue with this smug Fae presenting himself to the audience.
"Excuse me? Ancient Pythoness, you must be mistaken. When the contract was written it was written so that the Late Sophie-Anne Leclerq would be receiving 'a' fairy. The contract never stated that the fairy involved would have to be the opposite sex, now did it?" Niall asked, now looking just as smug as his grandson. Fucking fairies!
"Where is our girl, Old One?" I could hear the annoyance in the AP's voice, and I for one was happy that is was directed at someone other than myself. Then the meaning behind her words caught up to my vampire hearing; she'd clearly said 'our' girl, not 'his' girl.
I watched as Niall turned and raised his head from the Ancient One. He was clearly trying to hold off on granting her request though everyone present knew that denying her was fruitless. He was acting like a 5 year old when his mother asked him to do something. I could almost imagine him with his fingers in his ears pretending not to hear while singing La-La-La-La-La. My imagining almost made me laugh out loud before my thoughts sidetracked me once again.
I wonder if the oracle personally knew of the one Niall has for me or if the she is just speaking of her visions. Either way I knew that this night would lead me to great things, and that Niall would lose something much closer to his heart. I on the other hand have nothing to lose, only many, many things to gain. Keeping the smug grin off of my face was proving harder and harder as the moments passed.
While lost in my amused thoughts I noticed that the AP's eyes never left Niall's. She must know more than she is letting on or she would not be acting as such.
"Very well, I will send for her now. Please, allow me a few moments, my dear," Niall all but snarled out, bowing deeply for his waist towards the Ancient One. He was trying to be gracious but his words and posture were vibrating in anxiety and hatred. It was rolling off of him like the rain into a raging river.
I noticed that his Claude was not looking as smug or arrogant himself now. If Niall were truly calling for another, this Claude would have been brought here for naught. Again, I find myself reveling in the Prince's disgrace.
"Norseman, all will be set to rights quickly," she proclaimed with her milky eyes fixed onto mine. I nodded to her, and watched as her head tilted to the side as if she were fixated on more than just a simple phone call that the Prince was placing.
I could not take my eyes from hers, and I found myself once again wondering if there were more going on at this moment that even she knew of. There are times like this when I find myself wondering why took it upon myself to stop the attack that should have given the state of Louisiana to the Nevada King. Though I know that fighting fate was impossible, and it was unwise to second-guess past actions, I cannot seem to help myself. I am fully aware my time would be better spent in the here and now, but regret is something one as old as I have in plenty.
I was half listening to the Prince's phone call, and could only decipher he was communicating in a language I knew not. His call was ending when the AP's face light up, her entire being radiating what I could only interpret as optimism. Yee gads, I hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew. (Pun intended)
"It is done," Prince Niall stated while hanging and shaking his head in the AP's direction. Her eyes did not leave mine until his voice broke her concentration off of me. She knew more than I did, as did the Prince, and I am never one to be left out of the loop. Finding myself in this state is more unnerving than I am letting show, but unnerving nonetheless.
"We should break for a while. Our guest will take some time in joining our gathering," was the AP's reply. I turned in my seat to look at both Pam and Godric. If I knew no better, I would have to stay that they were both impressed with not only myself but the AP's standoffish contempt towards the Fae Prince as well.
I was still reeling from the concept of marrying a male heir of the Fae. I do prefer a female companion. Both of my seconds knew of this of me as well as everything else in my long life. As I thought one of the vampire waiters set a new bottle of True Blood in front of me, and it held nothing of what I was wanting at this moment. I enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, not this bottled monstrosity that was set before me. I found myself hoping that my new companion would see fit to feed me this night. I mean, I am old enough to keep from draining the Fae female.
"Master, why do you believe the Prince wanted you to be married to a male? He knows that even I go after women, just like my Master," Pam snickered as she downed her bottle of blood. Godric chuckled at her ill-fated joke, but I was still on edge, thinking on the predicament that I have found myself in this night.
This is not how I envisioned my evening going. I had planned to meet, bond, pledge, fuck, and NOT drain my bride tonight. Not sitting here waiting while I had to endure the lackluster humor of one Fairy Prince and my child. I was huffing at Godric and Pam's lack of humor as I overheard the Prince and his grandson talking to each other. I wish I knew the language in which they were talking! After for living so long, one would think that I had at least caught a bit of it before.
Trying to stay calm was presenting me with enough of a challenge that I am unable to fully come to terms with every twist and turn that will be happening within a few short hours. I am finding myself happy that this evening started too early. Most of these meetings would not start until 9pm at the earliest. The AP once again, has proven herself as one that I hold my trust within. Looking at my watch, I am pleased to see that is not quite 7:45pm yet, and things are going as smooth as one could hope with the Fairy Prince.
Quiet conversations were going on around us, and I was trying to keep my thoughts and emotions as calm as I could. I must have been failing miserably when my maker and Pam, both tensed at the same moment. My eye caught Godric's, who was slowly shaking his head back and forth, while a sly smile spread across his face.
"Eric, you need to calm yourself. Everything will work out as the Ancient One has predicted. You need to have a little faith in our most trusted and knowing leader." His face contorted in a knowing look. Yes, Godric is over 1,000 years older than I, and he has seen and done things which I could never begin to realize.
I let out an unneeded breath, and nodded my head in his direction. Godric has both read the contracts and heard stories of this night with not only my perspective but also that of my former Queen about tonight's dealings. That thought allows a sliver of hope to rise within my chest. If my maker can be so at ease with this situation, why can't I?
I close my eyes, to regain some calm to form within, and try to picture what my fairy will be like. Will she be full fairy? If so, what will her powers include? Who has known her before I? What will she look like? How will I keep her from leaving me once this night is over, only to return to me once a year? I must have been more distracted by my many questions than I thought.
I was checking my watch for what seemed like the millionth time when Pam grabbed my wrist, and looked into my eyes. "Master, soon she will be here, and you will have that which every vampire in this room with covets most." Her smile reached her eyes, and I knew that she was hoping that I would be willing to share my newest toy, once it was finally mine. I was getting ready to respond to my child when the AP spoke.
"Attention, please! I would like the drawing of King Northman's late wife to be place on the wide screen behind me please," she stated, waving her hand towards the movie sized screen behind her.
There for the whole room to see, my beautiful Aude was pictured as I remembered her from the day of our wedding. Her long blonde braided hair was past her waist. Those wide blue eyes were looking at the artist. Her slight frame was covered in the traditional wedding attire of our day. She looked more like an angel than one man could ever hope for.
Aude had been married to my older brother before me, and most people in my village thought this would be just another arranged marriage to keep our two families interlocked for countless years to come. Little did those fools know how I had loved her, ever since the time I was a small boy. She was the only woman who has ever held my heart, and to her I would always be thankful.
Aude and my brother had tried to have children together, but each time she was blessed with child the pregnancy would fail. In my heart of hearts, I had hoped that her body knew that any child that was to come from her loins would and could only be mine.
As time passed my brother would leave Aude while out scouting for new territory for our father to take over. When he would return home, Aude would welcome him back into their home and her bed, hoping that this time the powers that be would see fit to give her what she wanted the most. It was hard for a young man such as me to watch your one true love hope for something that you wished away.
As a young Viking I found myself leaving home upon my brother's returns. I told those around me that I would start where my brother had left off, in hopes of winning both my village's and my father's favor. Though really, I was mostly trying to keep the pain within my heart from being shown to those around me.
Little did I know then that my dreams would one day come true, and my love would be mine. My brother caught ill on one of this trips abroad, and never made it home. I hope the Valkyries saw fit to take him to Valhalla, but it left me to marry Aude and Carry on our Alliance. She was unable to produce a child with my brother, but for me my wife bore six children. She bore me three healthy happy children and three that died within hours of their birth, two boys and a girl.
With the last birth, not only did the child die but also my Aude, leaving me grief stricken, and both father and mother to our fair-haired brood. That is how Godric found me, and brought me over to vampire. I was unable to live without my love. Her loss made me not only a fierce warrior but a on a mission towards death. The pains of her loss lead me to become the vampire that I am today.
"Remember this face, and do not attempt to know all that is coming within this night," the AP announced to all in the room bring me back from my human memories. "Please, bring the picture down." As I watched the picture of my love go away my sharp eye caught the looks of disbelief and fear from Naill, making me wonder once again what was truly going on. I watched as Niall's male heir left the stage and headed out the back doors of the conference room. Only minutes later did I notice the Ancient One looking at me.
The AP looked both smug and satisfied at the scene around her. I looked at my watch once again, and noticed the time. It was 9:27pm. "Vampires, Weres, Fairies, all rise!" her majesty bellowed as the back doors to the conference room opened once again. Three hooded figures came dancing down the main aisle to stand in front of the stage. As they passed I swear for only a brief moment could almost smell the scent of my Aude surrounding me once more.
The look of pure defeat crossed over the Prince's face, just seeing him in such pain made me sit taller in my seat. Yes, tonight I am the luckiest vampire alive…
Thanks to Balti K, for being a wonderful Beta! Thanks for all of you hard work!