Saturday, April 28, 2012

63 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part 2

Chapter Sixty Three



"What have you done to her?" Eric sounded as mad as a hornet in a jelly jar. He still had on his nice convention suit.

He flashed to the bed and tenderly picked me up, protectively pressing me to his cashmere covered chest. He smelled wonderful, like a moonlit garden on a fall night near a pine forest. Heavenly.

"Tell me now!" he bellowed at Jure, startling me, and Jure too.

"Nothing! I assure you, I did nothing to her."

Jure said this in a tone of hurt astonishment as if the very suggestion he did anything to me was preposterous and unthinkable, though it really wasn't. He already had one incident chalked up against him, though that was years ago and his memory of the event had been erased by his Maker, Anna Hita.

"That's just the point isn't it, boyo? You did nothing you were supposed to do to keep her well," Pam snarked at Jure.

I knew they didn't get along but she was really pushing it considering how much more powerful Jure was. Feisty little Pam, my fang-sister.

Eric looked at me, his brows furrowed together in worry, trying to understand why I looked so bad.

"I'm a weakling," I whispered to Eric. I could barely keep my eyes open.

He looked at me more closely, surprised I was even conscious. I must really have looked out of it.

"I just need to eat," I told him. My fangs slowly erupted now that he was near.

"Get out!" Eric ordered both Jure and Pam. Instantly they were out the door.

"Pam - bring more humans," he added.

Eric put me back on the bed and positioned the man's arm so I could feed. Now that Eric was back I could feel my hunger returning. The grey haze that fallen over my mind lifted and I saw the room, Eric, and my donor with clarity. Every drop restored me further.

"Wait now until Pam returns," Eric said, tenderly removing the man's wrist from my mouth.

He healed the man while we waited. I reached out to the man's mind and discovered he was completely unconscious from glamour. I told Eric.

"Jure never bothered with nice dreams, he only blots out their mind," Eric said. "Can you talk?"

"Yes, I feel much stronger now," I told him, sitting up. I could smell the open bottles of True Blood and they smelled edible to me now, so I had Eric hand me a bottle and I gulped it down. Hunger made the taste tolerable. I downed the second one too.

Pam opened the door and shoved a drunken apres-skier wearing an unzipped blue down parka and wool stretchy pants into the room. He only had one of his ski boots on, the other foot wore a thick wool sock with a hole in the toe.

He looked around blearily with red rimmed eyes, his right hand clutched the handle of a huge glass beer mug that must have held half a gallon of beer when it was full. It was empty now with only a trace of white froth in the bottom that sloshed back and forth as he stood there weaving, trying to get his bearings.

"Hvor er jeg?" he asked us, then belched mightily. He took a lurching step forward then had to steady himself on a chair back.

He could hardly stand up he was so plastered. His hair stood on end, though whether that was styled with hair gel or the speed of Pam's abduction from some local bar I couldn't tell.

"Sorry, this is all I could find," she said with a shrug. "Any port in a storm, right?" She winked and left again.

Eric looked at the unappetizing soused human and said to me, "Wait, I will feed you."

Instantly he had the man on the floor and fed vigorously from his wrist, glamouring the man unconscious to top off his stupor. Then Eric washed out his mouth in the tiny sink and returned to me, stripping off his jacket, blue on blue brocade silk tie and crisp white cotton dress shirt, draping them carefully over the cheap hotel chair arm before sitting down on the bed.

From the waist down he still had on his dark blue cashmere suit slacks and leather belt. From the waist up he was naked and about as beautiful as a man could get. His long hair had come loose and it flowed down over his elegant collar bone and sculpted shoulders, golden against the alabaster of his skin.

He took me up in his arms and cradled me in his lap. "Drink from me, my love, it will restore you."

After a little kissing and nipping I fed from his silent chest, moving from one side to the other, something he loved. I could feel him getting all worked up. He brought my lips to his and kissed me long and deep, his passion unmistakable.

I was all all all into that steamy kiss, then I remembered where I was and ... Jure. Oh clots! What if he came back? I wouldn't want him to walk in on us in flagrante vampiro.

Eric stopped kissing me and smiled down at me, looking like a vampire angel with his sweet loving expression and halo of golden hair back lit by the bedside lamp. "Do not worry, precious Sookie. I know this is not a good place to consummate these feelings. I am just so overjoyed to have you well again."

Had he read my mind through our bond or did he just know me well enough to understand that I wanted to keep all our private moments private?

I got off his lap and he put his shirt back on, leaving it open. He stood there looking first at the door and then at me.

"What is it?" I asked. I was really feeling like myself by now.

He sat down again. "I should get back but I fear leaving you. Obviously Jure is not able to keep you safe."

"Am I really a weakling?" I asked Eric.

"No, no, you must not think that," he reassured me. "That is an old notion, one we do not enforce these days."

"Enforce?"

"In the old days a Child that could not thrive in the absence of the Maker was let go," he said, not quite meeting my eyes.

"By 'let go' do you mean allowed to starve, to die?" I wondered how close I had come to being a pile of ashes.

"Yes, that was because of the way vampires were forced to live back then, on the run and in utter secrecy. A weak member, unable to feed alone, would be a liability. In these enlightened times a Child and Maker can be together as long as needed."

"Except in this situation," I pointed out.

"I only need one more night for the vote, then we can melt into the night and leave all these problems behind," he assured me.

"Why do you need to be there?" I asked, hoping I didn't sound whiny.

"I have ten votes, one for each century of my life. That is a lot of votes on an issue we both care about."

"Do I have a vote too?" I asked. Every vote counted, I learned that in my high school civics class.

"No. Only those more than a century old or recognized rulers have votes."

"How about Augustus?" I asked. "Is he the ruler of something?"

"He says he ruled Thracia, a land that no longer exists. Since he has only become known to us in the last hundred years his claims can not be validated. There is no way to tell how old his unpleasant legion of slavelings are. Thracia was divided up over the years and finally disappeared completely in 1878."

Eric buttoned his shirt, did that mean he was going to leave me again tonight?

"Augustus is a legend in his own mind but that is all. He boasts he is a direct descendant of Thrax, something no one believes. He changed his name so long ago no one knows who he really was, probably a Thracian nobody. It does not matter, he has no country. He believes that Vampire Liberation will once again restore his beloved Thrace to him, though King Aleksandar, the ruler of Bulgaria, has vowed to never give Augustus an inch of his land."

"Really, tomorrow, Anna Hita and Jure should cast their votes then," I said, thinking of all Augustus's glowing eyed gang. If they all had votes that could really swing things his way. I told Eric my concerns.

"That is what will be decided tonight, whether those hundreds of slavelings are actually eligible to vote. This is the first convention they have attended, though not all are here, the ones left behind will vote remotely, if it is even allowed. Augustus brought them here in a cargo plane packed in like freight. I have heard that Augustus usually keeps them locked in huge pens inside a cave. He cages them like wild dogs because there are so many and they are so unruly. Fortunately for him he can keep them fed on rodents and insects. Supplying humans would be an impossible undertaking."

Eric looked disgusted as he told me this. I understood, I pictured a big box of rats or bugs being dumped into their cages. Ick! No wonder they all looked weak and sick, they were badly Made and underfed. Augustus must be the worst Maker ever. It was a wonder he was allowed to keep all those unfortunate vampires, yet, who would take them off his hands? We had a hard enough time finding someone to take our own unwanted slaveling.

"That puts me in mind of Preston," I said, remembering a man that had become a slaveling and now lived with Jure.

Preston was a half-turned vampire that had eventually been brought over incompletely. He had evolved over the years, perhaps due to periodic infusions of Jure's ultra-powerful blood.

Even though Preston still lived on insects like Renfield in the Dracula novel, he was fine to play cards and watch TV with. Jure told me he enjoyed Preston's company. Eric shuddered at the sight of him. Most vampires were grossed out by slavelings, or at the very least, shunned their company.

I wondered what Jure would do with Preston if Linda agreed to marry him. I couldn't imagine her sitting around with her new husband and Preston, the glowing eyed slaveling, of an evening. Jure owned Preston outright, a gift from Eric. I knew for sure Eric would never take him back. Was there a home for unwanted slavelings? I doubted it.


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more to come ...... (Greetings fanpires! It's a rainy day here but the sunshine of your visit shines in my heart. Love you! See you Wednesday!)

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

62 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part 2

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Chapter Sixty Two


Jure glanced at me, then did a double take, something I had never seen a vampire do. It made me smile, though I felt too weak to laugh. I was used to feeling really strong and energized, when had this weakness descended on me?

How long had it been since I had eaten? I still wasn't hungry, in fact, I felt kind of nauseous. The thought of feeding revolted me.

The giant Croatian vampire went to his closet, dug around in a box, and retrieved two clinking bottles of True Blood. There was no microwave in the small room so we were going to have to drink it room temperature, making it doubly yucky. My stomach heaved at the thought.

"You must drink this immediately," he said, opening and handing me both open bottles.

"Aren't you having any?" I asked, smelling the ingredients which hadn't gotten any more appetizing since the last time I smelled them. My stomach turned over again, clenching itself against the idea of food.

"Me? No, I have already eaten," he said, taking a small defensive step back as if I might try to pry his mouth open and make him take a swig.

"I don't want anything right now," I told him, putting the bottles down on the small fake wood Formica table.

"You must eat, immediately," he said, picking the bottles up and holding them out to me.

"I think I'll wait for Eric to get back." Just saying Eric's name made me feel better, though my voice sounded faint.

"He might be hours," Jure said, sounding stressed. "I need you to eat right now before he sees you."

"What's wrong with the way I look?" I made the effort and went to the mirror over the dresser. I needed to brace my hands on the top of the dresser to remain upright.

Holy Scarecrow!

After the little black dots stopped swirling in front of my eyes I saw a shocking sight. I looked like a victim of extreme starvation .... cheeks sunken, neck spindly and ropy, cheek bones sticking out, eyes sunken into deep blue hollow sockets. Even my lips had receded from my gums, making my teeth look big. I tried to lick my dry lips with my swollen tongue but it was like rasping a cheese grater over them.

When had this happened to me? I was light years beyond slender, way past gaunt, I was emaciated. Yet I was not at hungry, in fact, the thought of eating made my stomach roil.

I turned slowly back to the room to see if Jure knew what was happening to me but he was gone.

How had I missed his leaving? I was going to try to go to the tiny bathroom to see if Jure was in there for some unknowable reason but I found I couldn't move.

The black dots began to gather and clump together obscuring my vision. I felt like I was floating gently to the cheap rug but I landed with a jarring thud. At least I hadn't killed anyone except maybe myself ......

I felt large hands holding my head, opening my mouth and scalding blood, real fresh blood, pouring down past my cracking tongue to my closed throat. I was too weak to swallow.

"Eat! You must eat!" Jure was yelling at me in his big booming voice but I was not able to. His hand milked my skinny neck trying to get me to gulp. No go.

"Jebem moj sreću," he growled in the deepest octave possible before he put his mouth over mine.

Using the force of his exhalation he pushed food down my gullet and I gulped reflexively. It hurt to swallow like I had a strep throat.

Almost at once the blackness began to lift. He poured more blood in mouth and again used his mouth to force it down my throat. His mouth did not linger on mine for a split second longer than was absolutely necessary. He seemed revolted by this whole procedure.

Even in my delirious and weakened state I was glad for that. This was Linda's fiancee, it would be unthinkable to kiss him!

"Well, well, won't Master be surprised to hear about this," I heard a silky sardonic voice purr. I tried to focus my eyes and saw a white blond haired vampire woman in four inch heels and a crimson cloak.

It was Pam!

Pam was here and had just caught us in what must surely look like a compromising position.

Jure stood up . "He will not be as surprised as I was to discover I had been left with a slabić."

Pam asked, "What is that?"

He answered, " You know, a krake, a faible, a schwächling, a swakkeling."

I heard a note of desperation in his voice. He didn't want to end up on Eric's bad side. He was my babysitter, anything bad that happened on his watch would count against him.

"Feel free to take over, Pam, she is all yours." He sounded relieved.

From my position on the floor Jure looked about twenty feet tall.

"What's a swackling?" I asked up at them, trying unsuccessfully to rise.

"It is a weakling, Sookie. Are you still going to be so much trouble even now?" she asked, but there was kindness in her tone.

She knelt down to me and lifted me up like I was a baby. She placed me on the bed next to a glamoured human, putting his neck right near my mouth.

"Can you eat?" she asked me gently, smoothing back my hair from my face. My fangs were not out.

I shook my head no. I already felt like I was going to heave, more would just make things worse.

"You better call Eric," Pam told Jure.

"Me? No, you must call him," Jure countered.

"This is not my problem," Pam said testily, "It is yours. You were supposed to be keeping an eye on her."

"She went bad all of a sudden," Jure said defensively. "One minute she looked fine, the next she looked like .... that."

"Be that as it may, Master left you in charge of her ..."

"I am not going to call him," Jure said stubbornly, folding his arms across his massive chest.

"Yes, you are," Pam snapped right back with a voice as sharp as a cracking whip.

"No one needs to call me," a beloved voice said, "I am here."

Eric, my Eric, was here!

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more to come ..... (Greetings all! Hope you are well and peaceful. I am always delighted to see you have been able to stop by. Thank you for making the time to visit this little corner of the internet. See you Saturday :-)

61 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Sixty One

Evelyn Hopmann made her way back to the podium. "Now we will hear from our science expert, Nikola Tesla," she said, again looking off stage.

Eric sat up a little straighter, looking too. He was there to insure Tesla had his say.

Vampires were big fans of direct action. If those in favor of Vampire Liberation could silence Tesla and keep him from giving an unfavorable report they would. I was relieved to see the scientist stride quickly from behind the curtain.

As Tesla approached the podium Evelyn Hopmann again left the stage. She was efficient, spoke clearly and didn't want to hog the spotlight, all things you want in a moderator. I had seen some events that just made you want to scream at the chair person for dragging things out.

Tesla cut a trim, dapper figure in his high collared white shirt, crimson silk tie and jet black suit cut to the standards of a century ago. He had neatly center- parted silver hair over a large forehead that fairly bulged with brainpower. His face tapered down to a pointed chin.

There was a hypnotic energy in his deep dark eyes that bespoke of vast knowledge and insights beyond what us ordinary folks could understand. His triangular face scanned the room until he was sure each and every mind was prepared to focus on what he had to say.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I have come to give you the results of my computer generated forecast. These predictions depend on the information given the computer. I gave the least and simplest information possible, the passage of Proposition One. I also included basic known behaviors of humans and allowed the programs to run covering various lengths of time. I have a written report which will be available after this meeting giving details of each result. Even though the program uses the randomness of the chaos theory, the results all clearly fall within certain parameters."

He held up a thick sheaf of papers, as thick as an old city phone book. "The summary is this: Proposition One was not a success. The end of each completed run was a worst case scenario for us. Not one of these final outcomes predicted a viable future. My conclusion is that it will not work, not in the short run nor in the long run. It would be an unmitigated disaster."

Jure looked at me and nodded as if to say that this is what he had been expecting all along. I had been so riveted to the screen I had almost forgotten he was in the room. We were both leaning forward, on the edge of our seats, watching history unfold in front of our eyes. Jure had seen much more of this kind of thing than I had, it was nerve wracking waiting to hear the fate of the world being discussed like who would win the World Series.

Faintly, through the headphones, I heard the hip hop music that was still playing out loud in the room blocking out the very slight sound from our headphones. I couldn't imagine the Bishop brothers with their big heads pressed to the wall listening for secret vampire business, they would just be listening for any sign that I was being mistreated.

Nikola stepped back from the podium, looking for Evelyn Hopmann to introduce the next speaker. I don't think she knew Tesla's presentation was going to be so brief. She stood up and rapidly went to the podium.

"Thank you Mr. Tesla. Are there any questions?" She looked around the room at the stony faces of the audience. For some this was a relief, for others a disappointment. For Augustus it was taken as a challenge. He stood and spoke.

"I have a question. You said you gave the computer simple information, yet we know that the outcome of any endeavor depends on many variables, some we can not foresee. Isn't there a very good chance that some factors were not taken into account, factors that would completely change the outcome?"

"Are you referring to the completion of Daynight?" Tesla asked.

"Yes, among other things," Augustus said grudgingly. I don't think he expected Tesla to pick up on his trump card quite so fast.

"I took that as a given. The perfection of Daynight was added into the basic equation. Proposition One was still a complete failure."

I knew he was also depending on the reconnaissance mission Anna Hita had gone on, visiting the future in parallel universes and seeing how things turned out. This ability was her big secret so it was not mentioned. Tesla had an eye witness account to back up his computer predictions so he spoke with utter conviction. It was very convincing.

There was a murmur among the audience. This was very disappointing news for some of them but it put a cap on Proposition One. The plan, cherished in the hearts of some power seeking vampires, was being squashed for once and all. I hoped.

"Any other questions?" Ms. Hopmann asked. looking around and seeing no one rising. "If not, we will adjourn until tomorrow to give you a chance to read the full report. At that time we will take a vote. Good evening."

She left the stage, as did Tesla. The audience filed out quietly and without discussion. Vampires were the quietest folks around. I thought of what good neighbors they would make if complete integration of humans and vampires ever truly took place. They were quiet and kept to themselves. On the other hand, wasn't that what was said about serial killers too?

Jure and I took off our headphones and he killed the music. The room was silent. There seemed to be nothing to say. Jure turned off his computer, took out a flash drive and closed the lid, putting a period to what we had just learned.

He held up the flash drive. "Without this we would not have been able to connect," he said. "Bill Compton developed it for those who did not attend but wished to share in the vote."

I nodded, it made sense Bill would be involved in that. He was a past boyfriend of mine, a genius with computers. I thought that Bill would probably enjoy meeting Darren. Maybe Darren could use him in his company if they moved back to Shreveport.

That flash drive explained why the conference was broadcast. I had wondered how they were going to keep anyone on the outside from tapping into the webcast.

I still did not know if Daynight was perfected but I wasn't going to ask Jure about it, he probably knew even less than I did. Augustus had hinted that Daynight might be ready for use but I doubted if that was true. Eric would have told me if there were new developments unless he didn't know. He had always been kept in the loop before, there was no reason he wouldn't know everything now unless he was suspected by the King of having a hand in the laboratory fire. In that case we were in big trouble.

Before I got upset I told myself that we were fine, the Queen had even chosen me to confide in about her happy event. That didn't sound like anything was wrong, on the contrary, it meant we were in favor. Now I was glad Queen Trinity had sent for me, it gave me one more way to stay on the King's good side.

Eric would tell me what was really going on when he got here. I hoped that would be real soon.

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more to come ..... (The hands of the clock seem to spin so fast these days! Hope you are in a good place right now. Thank you for your visit here, if I could hand out tea and cookies I would!)

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

60 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Sixty

Jure let the Bishop brothers into his room.

Robert had a crossbow, cocked but aimed politely at the floor. Richard had a wicked looking automatic weapon of some kind. The burly brothers loved guns and weapons. I had no doubt they had a complete arsenal in the other room.

Although the original crossbow dated from sometime B. C. it was deadlier than the modern gun to us vampires due to the wooden shaft. A stake is a stake no matter how it finds its mark.

The huge were-Bigfoots eyed Jure suspiciously, as if he was not on our team. I didn't blame them. I too saw Jure as a wild card, not to be our first line of defense. Richard asked me if everything was alright, looking pointedly at the overturned chair.

I really wasn't alright because I was missing Eric terribly but that wasn't something they could do anything about. You can't shoot desperate loneliness with an Uzi, you can't stake a massive heartache with a piece of wood. Well, maybe you could, but it would be a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

"I'm doing OK," I said with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Without Eric everything seemed flat and dull, purposeless. I didn't even have an appetite.

A phone played something that sounded like the tune from a Gregorian chant. Jure said, "That's me." and took his cell phone from his pants pocket, opening it and putting it to his ear.

He said, "Good, good" a few times then handed me his phone.

It was warm from his body heat and felt good in my cold hands. Since I had Turned I was surprised at how warm the older vampires actually are, warm, that is, relative to my chilly newbie status.

"Sookie?" Eric said.

There was a burst of static on the line. Was it being bugged or was the static just due to the heavy insulation in the safe room? No matter, I knew Eric wouldn't say anything that could not be overheard. Neither would I.

"Eric, yes I'm here!" I was as excited as a three year old. Just hearing Eric's voice made me feel better. I felt as if we had been apart for months and months.

"The conference is going to start. You can watch it on Jure's computer. I have to go. I love you and will be there as soon as possible. Are you safe?" he asked.

"Yes," I said, wanting to tell him I missed him like the dickens but holding my tongue. Eric didn't need to be worrying about me, he needed to put his full attention to matters at hand.

"I love you too," I said quickly but he had already gone. He knew I loved him. I handed the phone back to Jure. He closed it and returned it to his pocket.

"We are going to watch the conference," Jure said to the Bishop brothers. They didn't move a muscle. "This is a private vampire conference," he added.

They looked at me for guidance and I said, "I'll be fine. I'll come back to the room after the conference."

The brothers lumbered slowly out of Jure's room and closed the connecting doors. I thought they would probably be able to hear the sound, making the "secret" conference not so secret. I figured Jure just wanted them out of the small room since they seemed to take up most of the space in it, the space that was left after Jure's large presence.

He got his laptop set up, put in a flash drive, and logged on to a website called ZaBomb! It featured up and coming rap and hip hop artists. A rap song blasted from the speakers, something about a gang gang gang that went bang bang bang. It was awful. I looked at Jure questioningly.

He held up a finger to tell me to wait. Then he produced two headsets, plugged them in to the computer and we put them on. Jure's headset barely fit over his big cranium as he opened it to the maximum size it would go. The earpieces were oversized, comfortable and puffy, completely enveloping my ears and fitting snugly to my head.

The music faded into almost nothing as the noise cancelling feature of the headsets did its job. He clicked on a link to a rapper named Crazy Two and instantly we were looking at a sedate and almost motionless audience of well dressed vampires.

It was like the Oscars but without the glittering sequins or recognizable movie stars. I saw Eric in the front row wearing his best navy blue cashmere gabardine suit, his hair pulled back neatly. The King and Queen of Louisiana was on one side of him, the King of Texas on the other. No humans in this audience, just the vampires.

A dignified grey haired woman in a modest grey suit stood at the podium in the front. She did not have to wait for the crowd to quiet down because no one made a sound. No coughing, shuffling or whispering. If it wasn't for the slight rippling of the burgundy fabric curtains on either side of the stage I might have thought I was looking at a photograph.

Then Eric looked up at one of the cameras and winked. I knew that was just for me and I almost swooned with happiness at the sight of his handsome face. I winked back at the screen, though I knew he couldn't see me.

The view shifted to a camera placed to show the stage from the front. I had a very good view of the proceedings.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen," the grey haired woman said. "I am Evelyn Hopmann and I will be your moderator. First of our presenters is Augustus Antonius." Vampires usually didn't waste a lot of words and Evelyn was no exception.

She looked to the side of the stage and Augustus came out, replacing her at the podium. No one clapped. Evelyn Hopmann went down the few steps to a seat at the far end of first row, ready to resume her role as moderator when Augustus was done.

"Before our vote tonight I have a slide show to reinforce why we need to vote in favor of the matter before us." His voice was strong.

He held up his arm theatrically to indicate a two story high screen being lowered into place behind him, as if anyone could miss it. The lights dimmed, the rows of stark white faces standing out in the gloom.

Some people moved slightly and a few adjusted their seated positions. This was the vampire equivalent of a mighty groan and a collective sigh. Apparently I wasn't the only one that found Augustus tedious and overblown in his manner.

A slide show began while very somber and deeply emotional music began to play on stringed instruments. Slide after slide showed gruesome oil paintings of vampires caged in silver prisons, bound vampires shrieking in pain from silver chains that burned into their flesh, vampires beheaded, staked, tortured, starved and burned alive.

These were paintings by the old masters - Goya, Rembrandt, daVinci - paintings that had never made it into human museums. Because vampires had to keep their presence hidden for so long all the depictions of the atrocities vampires had suffered at human hands were never made public. These paintings were in private collections, vampire collections, and were being shown here together for perhaps the first time ever.

Although the music was beautiful and powerful, it didn't add to the point of how vampires had suffered. The paintings were more than enough.

One or two might have been an illustration but when scene after scene of vampire agony and murder was flashed before the audience's eyes, it aroused a deep feeling of anger in many of them. I saw tears being wiped away, a few fangs came out. I was sure that some of the vampires being depicted were actually known to some of the audience members, perhaps their spouses, Makers or Children.

How would I feel seeing a painting memorializing the degrading and painful death of one of my own family? I would want to kill those responsible.

The last painting - "The Massacre in Rome" by Titan - showed coils of thick black oily smoke rising against the pink and mauve morning sky, smoke from Rome's ancient catacombs where vampires must have been sleeping. The music reached a crescendo of pathos.

Then the last note slowly died out as the lights came back up. This massacre was probably a famous event in vampire history though it would be a history no human child was ever taught about in school, including my own girls.

I wondered if there was a history book that included vampires and their passage through time. Probably not. Vampires had been forced to remain hidden in the mists of legend and folklore to survive until the great revelation where vampires came out of the coffin to mainstream into human society. It hadn't been a smooth transition.

I glanced over at Jure and saw he looked sad. I thought I saw pinkish tears rimming his eyes, though none fell. Had one of the slaughtered vampires shown been someone near and dear to him?

"Let me read something," Augustus said, bringing my attention back to the screen. "This is a recent publication from The Fellowship of the Sun, now claiming almost a million members world wide and growing."

He looked around the room, sure of his audience's attention.

"These are their exact words. 'Unless and until the last vampire is eradicated from this beautiful God given world, none of us can sleep in our beds at night in peace. Until the last vampire monster dies our innocent human children will not be safe, our planet will not belong to the human race as God Himself has ordained in His Holy Word. What more important or noble work can we do, what more righteous act, than staking and bringing to the sun every last one of these evil abominations?'."

He put the pamphlet down.

"How long must we hold back before we end this?" Augustus asked slowly, forcefully. "If we finally have the formula for success, why should we not grasp it? We have the wisdom and talent to make this world a better place. Do we not have a responsibility to step in and put things right? I ask you to vote the only way possible, in favor of Proposition One. Thank you for your attention."

He walked off the stage, going back a few rows to sit with his glowing eyed faction. I wasn't sure who had votes and who didn't. I hoped all the ones that were here with Augustus wouldn't have votes. Even without them, the rest of the audience looked grim, disturbed by what they had just seen. I was glad the vote wasn't going to be taken right then.

We still had to hear from Tesla. I had my fingers crossed he could undo the anti-human sentiment roused by Augustus. It would be a tough act to follow.

Beside me Jure stared unblinking at the screen. I thought he was looking right through the screen, seeing something awful buried centuries in the past.

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more to come ..... (Greetings and salutations Fanpires! Hoping the day brings you peace and something wonderful to enjoy. I'm still very excited about this story and hope you are too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming by!)

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Monday, April 2, 2012

59 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Fifty Nine

"I knew this would be your response," Jure replied. "Let me explain my reasoning. I am speaking from my head as well as my heart."

He reached out and took my right hand in his much larger hand. He turned my hand until my pink diamond caught the light from the overhead fixture, an uninspired pull down lamp shaped like a flying saucer.

He asked, "Is this a pink sapphire?" He was partial to sapphires, he had an impressive collection of them and wore them like a peacock wore its glamorous tail .

"No, it's a diamond, a gift from Eric," I said.

His heavy brows lifted as he leaned to look closer at my ring. I half expected him to whip out a jeweler's loupe and appraise it.

"Nice, very very nice," he said approvingly. "Do you believe this is the only pink diamond on the planet?"

"Of course not," I answered, wondering where he was going with this. Was he going to tell me he could offer me greater gems than Eric could?

"And you know this is not the most valuable pink diamond on earth. Yet you wear it, you enjoy it, you would not trade it for any other," he said.

"All true. It has meaning to me because Eric gave it to me and because he loves me." I felt a pang of pain inside, either the beginning of hunger or missing my Maker like crazy. Time would tell.

I removed my hand from his light grip. Whatever he wanted to say he could say it without us holding hands.

"You are special, beyond special, you are a unique convergence of elements that have the greatest appeal for a vampire. It is a complicated mixture, one I have not come across in centuries. I know I can not have you. I accept that. But your gift to the world is your beautiful daughter Linda. She too is a jewel beyond price."

I agreed with that. "You mean she has the same mixture I do?"

"Yes, in her own way, of course. When I met you I realized that my life was not complete. All the things I had acquired were substitutes for what really mattered, a life mate. Eric had what I could not have and that distressed me. For decades I have waited to see how your daughters would turn out. From the three I have chosen Linda, she is the best match for me."

"And you glamoured her to be attracted to you?" I shot out angrily.

Finding out he had been stalking my girls for decades made me real mad. Had he been grooming them like a predator so that he could bend them to his will, whatever that was?

He laughed outright , a big booming sound that echoed around in that small featureless basement room. I heard a drawer slam in the adjoining room, most likely one of the Bishops letting me know they were aware I was here and they were available should I require assistance. It was a reassuring sound and I appreciated it.

"You do not think I would have any appeal to her besides my trickery?" Jure asked, humor now appearing in his slightly slanted eyes. That was new, he usually looked like such an ominous sourpuss.

"Well, no," I allowed, realizing that I myself might have wanted to take the big guy for a test drive if Eric hadn't been in the picture. Jure was certainly ... impressive.

"I did not glamour Linda. How depressing it would be to have a woman love you because you compelled her to. Would you have a man on those terms?" he asked.

I sure wouldn't. I saw what he was saying. Having a slave of glamour would remove the personality, the free will from the person. Maybe a good thing in a minion but who could have a long term relationship with a mindless robot? It would be like having a blow up doll. Some men might do that. Not a man like Jure. He would want it all - heart, head and body. Maybe even soul.

"No. I see what you're saying. You just swept my little girl off her feet with gifts, travel, sophistication and a display of your wealth. It doesn't seem exactly fair since you have so many years of experience over her," I said, still feeling slightly hostile to him even though I bought his story that he hadn't glamoured her.

I didn't even bother to mention his good looks. He was vain enough, I didn't want to inflate his ego any more than it already was.

"Do you really believe she is so shallow that those things would buy her affection?" he asked in the gentlest possible way.

That stopped me cold. He was right. None of those things would matter to Linda. Her heart was in the right place and Eric and I provided very well for her. She would be looking at Jure the man, not Jure the potential jackpot. If the man didn't live up to her standards all the money in the world wouldn't fill the gap. Just the good looks wouldn't do it either.

"No, Linda's not like that. She must really be taken with you ...." I could feel the wind going out of my sails as Jure pointed out the obvious.

"As I am with her," Jure said. "It is difficult for us old ones to fall in love. That takes a level of hope, of enthusiasm for the future it is hard to arouse. Vampires that fall in love with humans are doomed to torment. It was only when she told me she would Turn that I allowed myself to feel all I could for her. I will not embarrass us both by describing my intense feelings towards her. She has opened like a glorious flower and I am the ardent bee. As long as you and Eric do not forbid me I plan on marrying Linda after she is Turned."

He looked at me, waiting to see what I would say. He did really seem to care about Linda. I had seen them laughing together. She certainly wasn't afraid of him. I didn't think he was bullying her with some kind of vampire mojo. Still, the age difference .....

Who was I to bring that up? Or that Linda was human and he was Vampire? Or that he wanted to take her human life and give her Vampire longevity? Wouldn't I be the pot calling the kettle black?

"It's just that she's so young, she's been sheltered all her life ...." I said weakly. My objections were being eroded away.

"That is why I want to show her the world, as much as she can stand to experience with her telepathy issues. I do not want to take advantage of her innocence, that way lies heart break and disaster." He said this in the certain tone of someone that had been there, done that.

"What did Eric say when you told him this?" I asked.

"He was open to my suite of Linda. I told him that we could form a powerful alliance, that if I joined his nest I would defend him and his family with all my might, which is considerable. He would accept this alliance if it was Linda's wish. It is all up to Linda. I wait trembling in the shadows to hear her answer. First I wanted to deal with the objections of her parents. I want union, not division. If you object, if you would oppose this, I would not persist in my attentions. It would put Linda in an untenable position to have to oppose her mother."

His words had the ring of truth. After who knew how many centuries of being alone Jure had finally found a woman he could love. I could wish Linda found a human man but would I feel the same way in eighty years? No. I had to see things in the long term now. Linda would not have to stay with him if things didn't work out. Once Turned she would remain Vampire. If she was alright with that then how could I, in good conscience, object?

"If you hurt my little girl I will hunt you down and kill you," I said to welcome my potential son-in-law.

Jure bellowed in laughter again, slapping his knee in merriment.

"You think I'm too puny to take you on? Is that what's so funny?" I asked hotly, rising to my feet so suddenly I knocked the chair over.

"No, ..no.." his hearty laughter subsided into chuckles. "No, that's exactly what Eric said, word for word."

It was good to know my husband and I were on the same page, at least. I managed to smile.

There was a heavy knock on the connecting door, blows that shook the door in its frame.

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more to come ..... (Wow, where does the time go? It's so good of you to stop by and take the time to leave a comment. I get much joy out of your thoughts , you give me confidence in my writing, for that I thank you the most. I want to be able to tell this story and you listen, bless you for that! See you Wednesday, kisses til then ....)

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

58 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Fifty Eight

In the car with Anna Hita, heading towards my hotel in Kloster, I remembered I had wanted to ask Eric what the Queen meant when she said Daynight was almost perfected. I didn't bring it up to Anna Hita though, she was busy going over some kind of document, moving her ringed finger down the page as she read. Maybe this was the report Tesla was going to read to the assembly. Her brow was furrowed in concentration as if she was having trouble understanding some of what she was reading.

I was having other problems.

It seemed like every inch further away from Eric I got caused me to lose more control of myself. I began to elongate, to bend. I grew wicked talons, my fangs came out and dripped down my chin, either saliva or venom, I couldn't tell. In another second I was going to begin clawing up the interior of Anna Hita's fancy Rolls. I feared I might even attack Anna Hita in a frenzy of fear.

I looked at her with panic in my eyes. I simply could not calm down. I felt like I was going to explode. I made a weird sound, half growl, half croak. I think I was trying to ask her for help.

"Oh my dear, you are missing your Eric," she said, looking up and focusing her dark eyes on me. Maybe she had seen this before. I hoped she knew what to do with me before I had a total meltdown. She certainly wasn't flustered by my appearance.

She moved to sit next to me and took my clawed hand. In her sweet voice she sang a song in an ancient language, a calming song. It sounded like a lullaby. Even though I couldn't understand the actual words the song spoke to me saying, "Don't worry, everything is fine. It will all be OK, Eric is safe, you are safe, Eric will return to you."

Whatever the actual lyrics the song had the desired effect. Like a lifeline thrown to person being sucked down into a whirlpool, and I managed to grab hold and be dragged back to reality. My nails and fangs retracted, my form returned to the usual Stackhouse hourglass, my feelings shrank until they fitted the actual situation - I was safe in Anna Hita's limo heading towards Jure and the stolid Bishop brothers. I was going to be OK and so was Eric.

Once I was calm Anna Hita said, "It is cruel you must be separated from your Maker so soon. Jure will take exceptional care of you but it will not be the same as Eric. If things were not at such a critical phase I am sure he would have skipped this conference. I will keep watch over him and bring him back to you as soon as possible."

I was glad for that, glad she realized I was having a hard time with this, even gladder she had a way to soothe me.

Soon we were at the hotel in Kloster, a quaint old three story boxy structure with a more modern two story addition on the right side. Window boxes and shutters had been put on the modern addition to match the original building, but it didn't have the same timber and stucco charm. There were no flowers in the window boxes this time of year, a frigid wind made a howling sound as it whipped around the hotel and tore at the dried remains of the summer flowers.

The room lights glowing through the antique glass multi-paned front windows were sort of cheerful, but the vampire safe room entrances were around the back where one lone bulb on a short timber pole cast a sickly light on the parking lot and field behind the hotel. Our limo made its way slowly around the building on the rutted blacktop drive and stopped.

There were no windows on this side of the hotel, all the nice touches were in the front. Before the safe rooms had been added under the new wing this back lot and entrance would have been for staff and trash removal, something the paying guests weren't expected to see. It was the same way in Fangtasia, the part of the club for the employees and staff was plain and shabby as opposed to the fancy lights, vivid colorful decor and well maintained club area for the paying customers.

Jure stood outside one of the three grey metal safe room doors waiting for me. I got out of the car but Anna Hita didn't, she had to go right back. A look passed between Anna Hita and Jure, then with a little graceful wave her car turned and sped off towards Davos, Eric and maybe the fate of the entire world. I watched the tail lights until I couldn't see them anymore.

"Do you need to hunt?" Jure asked me in his deeply baritone voice.

I felt sick inside, not hungry. I knew I would need to eat, just not now.

"No, I'm feeling kind of sad without Eric," I told him truthfully.

I know it is a bad policy to show any kind of weakness, I just didn't care at that moment if he knew how I was feeling or not.

"Let us go inside then. We can wait in my room to hear the outcome of the conference," he said.

I was a little leery of entering Jure's room but I felt that he would not do anything untoward while under so much scrutiny from Anna Hita. I followed him down concrete steps through a second metal door to a small windowless room in the basement. Most safe hotel rooms for traveling vampires were just that - safe, not luxurious or opulent. This room had been chosen for invulnerability, not lavish comfort.

"Your room is next door," he said, indicating a connecting door. "Your guards are there now. May we speak in private before letting them know you have arrived?"

"Sure," I said, now feeling apathetic and depressed. Why did this stupid convention have to happen while Eric and I were having such a good time?

We sat down across from each other at a small round fake wood Formica topped table in the only two chairs in the room.

"This may be an inopportune time," he said, "But I wanted to tell you that I am planning on asking Linda to marry me."

Well, he didn't beat around the bush, I'd give him that.

"Is she planning on saying yes?" I asked him.

"I believe she will accept my proposal."

I thought so too, Linda had been crazy about Jure since she discovered boys, about a week after she discovered Barbie had a Ken doll that went with her. I had a quick memory flash of Linda and Pam sitting on the playroom floor playing Vampire Barbies and Linda calling her male vampire doll Jure.

I considered what he was telling me. I had some misgivings, but what mother didn't have some misgivings about the man that courted her daughter?

"Jure, I need to know something," I began.

"I will answer any of your questions to the best of my best ability," he said, sounding sincere, looking me straight in the eye.

I noticed he didn't say he would answer them truthfully. I sure could use a little of Adele's ability to read vampire minds right about now. I went on.

"I know you were pursuing me years ago, even after you knew I was with Eric," I said non-accusingly.

He smiled. It lit up his otherwise brooding face. His smile was kind of sideways, looking a bit like a sneer. I just chalked that up to the way his face was made.

"You can not blame me for trying. I would not be the first man hoping to temp a married woman away from her lawful husband."

I thought the term "tempt" was a little too mild for the erotic romantic dreams he had sent me, the kidnapping (though he most likely had no memory of that since Anna Hita had erased it from his mind) and all the other little tricks he had played over the years to get my attention. I let it stand so as to move the conversation forward.

"Well, since Linda is my daughter, the one that looks the most like me, I can't help but wonder if you are truly taken with Linda or if you are simply trying to get the next best thing to me." Even as I spoke I realized I must sound like the most vain and self centered woman in the world. I modified my question.

"I mean, Linda is perfect and wonderful, any man could count his lucky stars to have her, but it does occur to me that out of all the women in the world you are choosing my daughter. You are so old, so worldly. Are you genuinely taken with her for her own qualities?"

I hoped Linda never learned of this conversation, she would hate me if she knew I had these worries and worse, expressed them to Jure. But I had to know, was he just using Linda as a surrogate of me? That would never bring her the happiness she deserved. She needed a man to love her for herself, not because she reminded him of someone.

Jure frowned then, his black eyes narrowing as he considered how to respond.

Oh good heavens, had I just thrown a monkey wrench in Linda's happiness?

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more to come ...... (Howdy Y'all! Even though it is overcast and rainy here the sun shines in my heart and birdies sing because you are here. Your comments and visits are the high point of my day! See you Saturday, wishing you well and better than well til then ....)

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57 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Fifty Seven

Eric took me back to the King's suite and into an office off the main reception room. He closed the door.

"We can speak here assured of privacy. The King's private rooms have no surveillance," he said, taking me in his arms.

"You are shaking," he said, holding me close. "Did they frighten you? They are all talk."

"What frightens me is being apart from you. I know I have to go, but ..." I felt close to tears.

"Yes, you do need to go where you will be safe. With you out of danger I can help to protect Tesla until he gives his report. There are those that would wish to silence him."

I had so many questions before I left but I knew our time was short.

"Why is Anna Hita here? I thought she wasn't involved in the Conference."

"She is here because Tesla is here. They are .... an item as you would say," he said with a smile. We sat down in leather chairs across from each other, still holding hands.

"Tesla and Anna Hita?" I could scarcely believe it.

I tried to picture the sultry exotic Scryer with the dapper precise Tesla and failed.

"He says she is the most fascinating woman that ever lived. She can travel to other dimensions and times."

I saw how that would be a big plus for a guy like Tesla. His dating standards were pretty high if his date night included time travel.

I jumped to my next question. "Why were all those vampire's eyes glowing like that? Why did they look so weak and malnourished?"

"They, and many more, are all Augustus's Children. He once tried to create his own army of vampires. His frequent Turnings left his Children with defective powers. They are more like slavelings than true vampires, though no one would say so to his face."

"Are they dangerous?" I asked him. After all, he would be here alone with them after I left.

"Not to me. But they are interested in you, in your blood, and that is troublesome. It is best not to leave candy within the reach of greedy children." He stood.

"I must get back. This might be the deciding vote and I want the assembly to hear Tesla. Anna Hita will bring you to Jure and then she will return here to support Tesla. You will be safe. I will join you as soon as possible," he said in his most reassuring tone.

"I might be safe, but will you be safe?" I asked worried. I had a momentary flash of me waiting forever for a husband that never returned. My danged imagination was not being my friend right now.

He gave me his beautiful confident smile. "Perfectly safe, I have a few tricks up my sleeve."

His cell phone rang and he answered it, his smile growing. "Wonderful, keep them there until I arrive," he said.

"Who was that?" I asked, smiling because Eric was smiling.

"That was Pam. She has arrived and is keeping my guests in our suite until the assembly convenes."

"Pam is here? What guests?" I asked Eric as he walked towards the door. I knew we had to leave but now I had twice as many questions.

"She has brought Merry Dixon and the Narlock sisters to tally the vote," Eric said. "They will be impartial."

We kissed like we were going to be apart, a dizzying experience for me. Then we left the office and suite. I knew not to talk any further about matters that must be kept private.

Merry Dixon and the Narlock sisters would be impartial, Eric had said. Impartial and distracting, I thought on our way back to Anna Hita.

Merry Dixon and the Narlock sisters were blue elves, legal elves, and vampires found them delightful and romantically appealing in a hands-off sort of way. I had to smile at the thought of all the vampires coming to attention at the sight of Merry Dixon, a no-nonsense short stocky lady of a certain age. I was sorry I was going to miss this.

I patted Eric on his broad back to congratulate him for thinking of this and then we rejoined Anna Hita where she was still giving Augustus the stink eye.

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more to come ...... (Ah the Merry month of May - hope the nicer weather puts a song in your hearts. I can't thank you enough for stopping by, it means the world to me. See you Wednesday!)

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