AN: If you are hesitating to read this because I am the author and I've horrified you in the past DONT. This Eric will of course be dark but not as dark as my others. Meaning there will most likely be no rape.

I was born in the year eighteen thirty in my family's plantation home outside of New Orleans. Near the house beyond the fields of sugar forests swelled where swamps sat like romantic monsters. My childhood was idyllic. I was the apple in my father's eye and a pretty adornment to my mother. My mother died when I was ten of malaria. It was a sickness that was to creep through my life felling those around me for years to come. No one was safe from its skeletal grasp. Not even my mother with her bubbling vivaciousness and her jewels and the privilege that she'd been born to and married into.

My father poured the contents of his great heart to me. Showering me with all affection and rights. The years passed and if things were savage I knew it not. That the slaves were happy in their labors was an idea that nothing contradicted. It was only later that I saw the sorrow behind their brilliant smiles. I was a princess of sorts. A gem in the ruling classes crown. My beauty had been with me it seemed since I could first realize the effect that I had on those around me.

My hair was an odd mixture of red and gold mingled with light brown. It had never been cut and fell well past my knees when unbound. A boy once told me it was like the coat of a fox his father had mounted in his study. My eyes are hazel with gold and green and light brown. My lashes are long thick and dark. My mouth is so full that there have been rumors of colored blood in my veins for years.

I first saw my husband to be on the eve of my fifteenth birthday. He moved through candle light his face lightly outlined by it. He was taller than any man there, towering over them. His hair was a blond so light it seemed as if moonlight shrouded him. His eyes were the color of the stone that you find in the shadows of mesas out west.

I flushed and looked down at my plate. It wasn't till later that I found out that he was my intended. My father had his back to me and he was speaking to the man who was merely pretending to listen to him. His eyes cut through the gathering and I felt as though they hunted me.

Who was this rake who watched me so closely?

My father turned his handsome face flushed and sat down next to me giving a slight gesture to the blond haired man to sit across from me. "Sookie dear this in Eric Northman he hails from New Orleans," he beamed first at me then the silver haired man.

I bobbed my head to him "How do you do?" my voice was low and hesitant. Eric simply sat there for a second and I could see he was actually thinking about my nonsensical politeness. "I do well thank you," he said at last. His voice was southern and deeply masculine.

He had an air danger that hung about him. It seemed to seep from his eyes and the pores of his flawless skin. "Do you have a middle name?" the question was odd and I blinked up at him. "No."

Eric leaned back and turned to my father " After dinner you will tell her," the order was clear in his voice.

My father smiled weakly at him "Yes."

I knew not of what they spoke but something in the words made dread crawl on my flesh. "Tell me what?" I asked father not looking at the man across from me.

Father loosed his cravat and took a sip of wine with a trembling hand. "I have been meaning to tell you of this for some time daughter," his eyes met mine "After our repast we will talk."

The icy beauty of the man across from me was hard not to look at. My very eyes desired a taste of his perfection. He said not a word to me, instead he conversed with Mary who lived in the neighboring plantation. His manner towards her was one of vague boredom and amusement. Mary was beside herself with excitement at his attention. His eyes occasionally drifted in my direction whence a faint smile would touch his lush mouth.

That a man should have a woman's mouth was odd to me but then I noticed the cast of cruelty to it that made it masculine. His laziness was apparent in every languid gesture. When he reached for his glass he curled a finger and had one of the house slaves fill it.

The meal passed and I kept my eyes on my food that I'd scarcely touched. My father beckoned me and I lifted my heavy skirts and followed keenly aware that he was behind me.

We came to my father's study and he turned to Eric who loomed behind. "I would tell her in private," his tone was stern.

I half turned to look at Eric and saw a smirk cross his face "And I would see her reaction," he pushed past me and father and into the study. We trailed after and father closed the door.

A fire was roaring in the hearth and I will never forget how the flames seemed to rear up and flicker in time with his expressions. "Sit down Sookie," father said gently.

I did and folded my small hands in my lap. I gazed up at him with a feeling of doom. "Eric Northman is your intended," he said quietly. I felt his turquoise regard upon me. I moved to stand and his hand went to my shoulder "Stay seated," I should have known that it was the first of many commands.

"But father I am not yet fifteen," I protested.

Eric lounged against the edge of father's vast walnut desk and watched. Father cleared his throat "Mr. Northman is willing to wait until you are fifteen, you will be married in September."

I rose to my feet and ignored the flash of amusement in my intended's eyes. "I will do no such thing," I could hear how disrespectful and strident I sounded but I couldn't seem to help it.

Eric Northman moved like a big cat towards the fire and with his back to me he said fateful words. "It seems your father has quite the gambling problem, a few letters carefully written has brought the issue to light," he turned to me and his hair was glowing with the light of flames.

"I of course will settle his debts…" he trailed off. And father's face burned with shame. "Sookie you must be married soon in any case and Mr. Northman will give you a life of luxury that most could only dream of."

I ran from the room leaving the door open behind me. Into the grounds I fled. Slaves watched me from the shadows and the moon boiled me in its uncaring radiance.

I heard a tread behind me though how I still don't know. He stood there in a shaft of light and watched me. "I will come for you in a fortnight, my love," his last words were mockingly given as if the idea of love were the most amusing thing in the world to him.

Days passed like the rough knots upon a hangman's noose. I considered running many times but father had my mammy with me at all times. We were in the garden behind the house when she spoke. "Sookie child you needs to calm down, there's no sense in this caterwauling. You said he was nice looking didn't ya?" my mammy asked.

I nodded and stared forlornly into the heart of a rose. "He's bad though Minnie, maybe even evil," lifted my head our eyes met.

She clucked and her black braids swayed in the heat "Now you can't be knowing that already, you jest met the man, give him a chance."

I shivered though it was late August and the sun was baking me. It's was the chill of his eyes that made the shiver crawl down my spine. I remembered everything about him. Each gesture was burned into my mind.

He came for me in the middle of September. In a coach of black wood gilded with gold. A slave drove his carriage.

Our butler answered the door and my intended saw me coming down the main stairs. A smile flickered across his mouth and I froze halfway down. "Come down little one, we must be about it," he called.

I said goodbye to my father and Minnie my mammy was to accompany me. I had had a trunk packed for weeks in readiness. I knew that the time for begging had long since passed. My Father's face was carved in his sorrow. But he forced a smile and hugged me sharply to his breast. "You will write me of course," he whispered in my ear. "Yes," I replied as I stepped back. I was too angry with him to give him the kiss on the cheek I knew he wanted.

I had changed into a traveling gown of gold and brown. My betrothed flicked his hand imperiously to his slave who helped me into the conveyance. Minnie was forced to get herself in since Eric showed no signs of helping her.

He climbed in and sat across from me "Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly," he drawled his heavy lidded eyes gleaming in a shaft of sunlight.