Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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

Chapter One Hundred and Six

I went in to check on Linda after I heard her brush her teeth. She was sitting up in bed, without make up, looking like a bigger version of the little girl that had grown up in this room.

"When is Char coming back?" she asked, pulling her knees up under the blankets and hugging them.

"We're working on that, hopefully before she has the baby. Your father has offered them a house and a place for their company. It's not far from here."

"I miss her," Linda said with a sigh.

Char and Linda had always been closer than Linda and Adele. Char was more sympathetic and a better listener. Adele could be kind of opinionated and bossy while trying to be helpful.

"You could call her," I suggested.

"I don't know what to say right now. Jure has issues and so do I. Until I figure out what mine are and what I want to do about them I don't want to hash over all Jure's faults. I don't want to complain to her so much I turn Char against him in case I wind up deciding to marry him." She gave an impish smile.

More seriously she added, "Plus it might be stressful for Char to hear about my problems and she only has a few more months to go. I want her to have a happy pregnancy."

Linda sighed again, perhaps thinking about her own chances of having a happy pregnancy.

I changed the subject since there didn't seem to be a lot more to say about Linda's future plans. Those were up to her.

"Before you hear it from anyone else I wanted to let you know that I have been appointed as a sort of judge for a while. I won't have to hold court very often.  I will only hear the most important cases and they're few and far between."

I sat down on the end of the bed, smoothing the blue blanket to give Linda a moment to take this in.

"Are you a vampire judge, I mean, a judge for vampires?" she asked in tones of astonishment.

"Yes, not that I'm really qualified. You know how vampires do things, they just decide and that's that. I wasn't really given a choice. I took over from a very old woman that was ready to leave her life."

"You mean this vampire judge woman died of old age?" She looked horrified.

"Not exactly, she just went into a state of hibernation where she's rejuvenating to get her ready to take back her job as judge," I said. "It was a peculiar circumstance specific to her own metabolism."

I didn't tell Linda where or who the old Pythoness was now. I wasn't sure if the King would want people to know that his new baby daughter was the infant Pythoness. I didn't want to put Linda in danger of saying something to the King or Queen that would displease them.

"Holy cow Mom, how is this going to work? You're not a lawyer or anything...." her brows knit, trying to see me in a position of judicial power.

"I was told I would have helpers. After I tuck you in I'm going to try to begin assembling my court room staff. I was promised that my family would be kept safe. I hope that's true. Keep your guard up anyway until I feel sure all our safeguards are in place."

"Oh no .. I'm not going to have some big were-creature following me around night and day, am I?" Her face was squinched in horror at the thought, like I was trying to force some bitter medicine on her.

I always thought she liked her guards. Now I saw that she craved the freedom to be an ordinary young woman, coming and going as she pleased. If she truly was under a protective spell it might turm out to be the best thing about my appointment as Interim Pythoness.

"It's a spell, so let me find out when it goes into effect. If you do need a guard it will only be for a few days."

"Maybe I could get Jure to come and watch over me," she said with a mischevious gleam in her eye.

"Would he come?" I asked.

"In a nanosecond. He can't stand to be without me, yet when he's with me he acts formal and cool .... most of the time." She looked down, color coming into her cheeks. I thought she might be thinking about their more passionate moments. I stood up, Linda needed her space to think her private thoughts.

"Can I get you anything, some warm milk?" I asked her, placing my hand on her shoulder. She felt so vibrantly alive in the way humans did.

"Nope, not a ba-ba or a binky either," she laughed. Her binky was our name for her pacifier. She was kidding me about trying to return her to her infancy where I could fix every problem.

I bent down and hugged her, kissing her petal soft cheek. "Sleep well, babygirl." I whispered to her.

She snuggled down into her cozy bed, her eyes almost falling shut on their own. "G'night Mom. Kiss Dad goodnight for me too."

Her voice faded out as she fell asleep almost instantly.

I left the door open a crack and the hall light on so she wouldn't wake up in the dark, just like when she was seven.

more to come ..... (So glad we all made it through the hurricane. Has everyone checked in? Your kind words and support are the life blood of this story, thanks for being here. See you Saturday unless there's a volcano or something, lol.)


Saturday, October 27, 2012

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

Chapter One Hundred and Five

Over dinner Linda had enthusiastically conveyed to me the enjoyable part of her travels with Jure, the sights, meals and gifts. Her cheeks were pink, her eyes glowed when she spoke of Jure and all his many charms.

But there was a lot more to her trip than that. We went back into the house to the living room to light a fire in the fireplace, let Linda warm herself, and hear the rest of the story.

After we were settled on our sofas Simona brought in a pot of peppermint tea and some home made oatmeal cookies and set them carefully on the coffee table. She was staying over in the old nanny's room. 

I popped into her mind as she set up the tea and was reassured to hear her thoughts. She was fully aware we were a Vampire household, she expected to be paid well, she had no problems with vampires and their lives.

On the contrary, in the back of her mind was the tentative thought that she might like to become Vampire too if it looked like we were normal people. She wrongly believed, as many humans did, that nothing would make a vampire happier than to find a human willing to Turn.

She thought the offer would be met with astonished gasps of gratitude. Little did she know how hard it was to find a vampire that hadn't Turned anyone in the last hundred years.

Simona was a pleasant looking woman of about thirty. Nothing unusual or eye catching about her, nothing that would make her a real prize for a vampire Maker. I saw it was going to become an issue, but not right away. In the meantime she was honest, hardworking and glad for the job. She could stay.

She retired to the kitchen to wait and see if we were going to need anything else.

Linda took a sip of tea and asked her father a question.

"Dad, how do you stay interested, stay in love with Mom after so many years?"

She turned to me and added, "Not that I don't think you're wonderful but vampires live so long. How does he stay so loyal and contented with his choice year after year?"

I waited for Eric to answer, interested in what he had to say. I was pleased we had modeled a good relationship for her. At first I had been concerned that having a vampire for a father might not have been optimum for our girls. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Eric was an awesome Dad.

He sat back, at ease with this question. "It is not up to your mother to keep me interested, it is up to me to stay interested. I pay close attention to your mother and I find her fascinating. She grows more interesting, more desirable as the years pass. As an oak grows to become mightier each year, so my love towards your mother strengthens."

She thought this over. Then she changed directions. "You married Mom before she decided to Turn. Jure won't marry me until I Turn. Why is that?"

Her chin trembled with the effort of not crying. I wanted to put my arms around her and comfort her like she was a child. I waited, hoping Eric could explain the heartbreak waiting for a vampire that marries a human.

"If he loves you ... really loves you ..." Eric said slowly, looking for the right words, "He could not bear the pain of losing you to your human mortality. He would be a fool to enter into such a contract. He will wait until you are ready to Turn.  If that day  never comes then it would be best if you both were honest and moved on."

"It's such a big decision," she said, wringing her hands.

To me she asked, "Do you regret giving up your human life?"

I thought about it before I answered. She needed to know the truth. "No, but I had fulfilled all my human desires before I Turned. Your father did not pressure me at all. I had a lot of fears before I Turned. Those fears are gone now. There are inconveniences to being Vampire. Hopefully some day those will be overcome."

Her eyes narrowed in the way she had when she was thinking. "I think you hit the nail on the head, Mom. I haven't fulfilled all my human desires. I need to make a list and figure out what I want to do while still human. If the list is too long then it won't be possible for me to marry Jure."

"Do you love him?" I asked. I knew she had a crush on him, he was certainly glamorous and worldly. That wasn't the same thing as true love.

"I love him as much as I can with him holding me at arm's length. He doesn't want to get in over his head in case I decide to stay human. I understand that. And I don't want to get swept off my feet if I'm not going to change. I need to make my decisions with my head, not my heart. That's the same thing he's doing. We're a lot alike in so many ways. Maybe we're too much alike."

She sighed and sipped more tea. "I thought this trip would solve all our issues, that he would become so crazy about me he would marry me even if I never Turned. He won't do that and that makes me wonder if he loves me enough. Shouldn't he be willing to risk everything for love, even heartbreak?"

A tiny flash of anger showed in her eyes. She wanted Jure to be willing to do anything to win her. His caution was like big wet blanket on her fantasy of how absolute true love should be.

Eric put my thoughts into words. "There is imagined love, then there is the night by night reality. Could you stand having Jure marry you and watch you age? You would become old enough to be his mother, his grandmother. Would you want him to care for you in your declining years while he is still young and strong? Putting aside Jure's wants and needs, how would that effect you?"

Her eyes got big, she hadn't thought of that. "Wow, that's sure a mental image I don't want."

She sat and thought a bit more, reminding me so much of Eric in her utter stillness. "That's what he's thinking about, isn't it? To me old age seems like so so far away. It doesn't seem like that to him."

Eric said, "The arrow of time is swift. It seems like just a moment ago I looked at you for the first time, your tiny fingers curling around my thumb. Every parent, vampire or not, knows how fast the years fly."

So much love came from Eric's voice and expression that Linda was moved to tears. We stood and had a group hug while Linda cried over the many paths her life could take. I said a silent prayer that she would be shown the way, the right way, for her to go.

She looked at us, smiling through her tears. "I knew I could count on you to help me sort all this out. I don't know what I think but at least I know what I need to be thinking about. Jure can't answer these questions for me, neither can you. I'll let you know what I come up with."

She yawned, worn out from emotions and travel. "I can't think anymore tonight. I'm going to bed in my old room. I'll be in the office tomorrow to try and sort out the pile of papers I know will be waiting for me." She gave a laugh. "Sorting out the invoices seems like the real vacation right about now."

We hugged again and she toddled off to her room. It was still unchanged from when she was a teenager.

"I wish I could fix everything for her," I said, putting my arms around Eric's waist.

"I could stake Jure," Eric offered.

I looked up at him in alarm.

"Just kidding," he said with a small crooked smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.

more to come .... (Greetings Fanpires! Welcome to our nest, Yvonn. This is the best place to be ever! There's a hurricane threatening to blow through here in a day or two, hope that doesn't stop me from posting on Wednesday but if I'm not here I'll get online as soon as possible. Please stay safe too. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, it means the world to me!)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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

Chapter One Hundred and Four

I woke the next night to a flurry of activity happening right outside our safe room door. Eric, already up and dressed,  ran interference for me, preventing anyone from seeing me until I was fed.

I still woke up very hungry and looked wild, fangy and savage, until I was full. Eric liked me that way but I knew I would appear unsettling to humans. Pam had arranged to have ten bar patrons, eager donors, sent over from the bar for me to choose from.

Eric brought in the three best ones by the back entrance, the one that came underground from the garage.  I ate until stuffed, then I glamoured them to believe that they had never left Fangtasia and had experienced the vampire sex whoop-de-do of their lives, whatever that meant to them.

At first I had supplied the fantasy, then I discovered that donors were donors because they spent a lot of time dreaming of a close encounter with a fanged lover. Their elaborate intimate fantasy was tailor made for their particular psyche. All I needed to do was give them permission to immerse themselves in their dream, to experience it as real. This saved me time and gave the donor exactly what he or she was hoping for.

Ridley, one of Fangtasia's human bartenders, brought eight of the donors back to their homes. We kept two big strapping ones for later, glamouring them and stashing them in the spare safe room under the garage until they would be needed.

After eating I showered while Eric filled me in on who-all was waiting to see me or speak to me. First and foremost was Linda. She had arrived without Jure. She wanted to have a talk with both of us, we would do that later, though of course I would greet her and make sure she was comfortable until we had a time to really chat.

I had a conference call on hold about setting up my court officers, a request from Augustus and fourteen of his friends, royals and royal wanna be's. Thay were asking the vote against Vampire Liberation be declared null and void because they were rendered unable to attend by the upset caused by the destruction of Augustus's troops. No surprise there.

I had a request for a hearing from the Queen of California, something to do with a motorcycle. I had fourteen other messages, most of them congratulations on my new position as Interim Pythoness. Eric had stopped printing them out when he saw our inbox ran to more than a hundred pages.

The most flattering message was from King Felipe de Castro and Queen Trinity. It was also signed with the name of their new baby, the reborn Pythoness, Pythia. I took that to mean that their other baby, the one being born to the surrogate, hadn't come along yet. I bet the King and Queen thought I would now be in their back pocket, ready to rule in their favor on whatever issue they might take to the high court.

I was familiar enough with small town politics to know how that worked - a favor for a favor. One hand washed the other. Good thing the Pythoness didn't have any hands, her being a snake and all.

My old housekeeper had sent her neighbor's niece, Simona, to apply for the job of our live-in housekeeper, something I would need more than ever. Rowena, the lady sent by Adele, had done a good job getting the house ready for Linda, then Simona took over for the evening.

Eric said she seemed all right but he wanted me to meet her and check out her thoughts before we hired her. She was in the kitchen right now making chicken for Linda's dinner.

I groaned at the thought of the stink that would make in the house. Good thing I had installed super powerful exhaust fans for Eric's sensibilities. I had learned not to test the air routinely.

As I dressed I pointed to the stack of messages and asked Eric, "Are you alright with this? I went from being a full time housewife to being swamped with official business. I don't want you to end up feeling like my assistant."

"That is why you need to assemble your court as soon as possible. They will handle all your appointments, screen out frivolous demands, assign lesser cases to lower courts and set up all the information you will need to rule. You need your own office, email, and secretary. No one will expect you to sit on the bench until these things are in place. Even Kings and Queens must await your pleasure," he said, coming up behind me to kiss and play bite my neck.

"You don't have to await my pleasure, it's yours anytime you want," I assured him, turning to kiss him. Oh he smelled so good, his muscles hard under his burgundy silk shirt.

"As tempting as that offer is, we must postpone our own concerns until we have seen to our daughter. She seems troubled and tense," he said.

That got me hustling to get out of the bedroom. Linda needed us.

"Mom!" Linda squealed as I entered the living room, running to hug me. I sensed the same thing Eric had, an insecurity and neediness that only a parent's love could fill. Nothing made me happier than to know we were here for her.

"Dinner," Simona called  from the doorway.

I held Linda's hand as we went into the kitchen. This is where we ate when it was just family. It was cozy, familiar and full of good memories. It was also full of reeking chicken. I didn't inhale at all, just nodding as Linda related the details of her journey with Jure on his yacht. She ate like she hadn't eaten in a week.

She had three envelopes stuffed with photos. I looked through them while she had fresh baked apple pie and ice cream for desert. Eric hadn't even come into the kitchen, preferring to wait on the front porch until the house was aired out.

"You're so quiet," Linda said, finally noticing I hadn't said a word once her monologue slowed down.

I pointed to the chicken, then to my nose.

"Oh my gosh! You mean you can't stand the smell of chicken either?" she asked astonished. It hadn't occurred to her that my new vampire condition would change my perception of food.

I wrinkled my nose and shook my head "no".

"Then let's go to the porch," she said, jumping up and turning on the huge exhaust fans. They would draw out the bad air in a matter of minutes.

She got her jacket from the front hall closet and we went out to the edge of the tree line where Eric was standing, looking up at the night sky.

We looked up too and I saw millions of stars. I saw many more stars than Linda could see and I heard a celestial hum that I knew Linda couldn't hear. I hadn't missed those things when I was human because I hadn't realized how much more there was to experience that was outside the range of human senses.

Was Eric just admiring the night or was he looking for my relatives to return? Those would be Linda's relatives too. Eric put his arm around Linda's shoulder, cuddling her close to him. I could see her relax into the comfort of her father's embrace.

I would need to tell her about what was happening in my life, what I had found out about our origins but that would come later.

Right now I wanted to know what Linda wanted to talk about. I thought that her future might have taken a new turn just as mine had.

more to come .... (Greetings dearly beloved Fanpires! Thanks for your visit and for the time you take to leave a note when you can. It is always very much appreciated. Enjoy the rest of your week - see you Saturday!)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

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

Chapter One Hundred and Three

Eric and I made our way to the vampire lounge contained within our hotel to see what the King had to say to us. Perhaps he had questions about his new daughter. I wouldn't be able to tell him much. I wasn't sure how much he was supposed to know about the baby's origins. Surely he would know he was raising a baby Pythoness, wouldn't he?

We stopped outside the swinging half doors and looked at the place. The Sanguine Saloon was a small dingy attempt to weave a Western theme with Vampire kitsch and failing at both. Fangtasia appeared so much more sophisticated and lively by comparison.

The requisite Bauhaus song played over the tinny speaker system, the scantily clad dance hall girl waitress ran from table to bar and the leather clad bartender wore cosmetic fangs.  He looked at us over the top of the bar doors. I saw he was wearing special contact lenses to make his eyes look bright red and creepy.

Eric and I entered and stood, scanning the smattering of patrons for the King. The dozen hopeful donors raised their heads and tried to make meaningful eye contact with us. I was already fed so we were only looking for the King. He wasn't there. We headed for the side exit to catch our ride to the airstrip.

The side door flew open and Vito came rushing in with Augustus close behind him.

"There they are, your Majesty," I heard Vito say to Augustus.

Eric and I flashed over to him. I heard a woman in a pleather bustier gasp at our speed and another woman drawl knowingly to her table mates, "Ah heard they could do that."

"Is this the king you meant?" Eric asked, looking down his fine Nordic nose at Augustus.

He didn't wait for Vito's answer. He said, "He is not my King. He is the king of nothing."

Instead of going into a rage at this intentional slight Augustus smiled a sickly sweet smile at me and said, "Mrs. Stackhouse, please allow me to apologize for the misunderstanding with my lawyers. That subpoena was sent in error. Just tear it up and pretend it never happened. I would not consider a law suit against you for what was a Fellowship of the Sun attack on my legion."

Obviously Auggie had already learned I was the Interim Pythoness. Probably through the wonders of the Internet. Now he wanted to curry my favor. That meant he was planning some legal action I might end up ruling on. Since we were in a hurry I decided to be gracious and let him off the hook.

"Consider it done," I said. "Now if you will excuse us." I was already taking a step towards the door as I said this.

"And may I congratulate you on your appointment as Pythoness," he said ingratiatingly to my back.

I gave a slight nod without turning around. Eric was by my side, he looked back and also gave a slight nod, a tiny reward for Augustus's improved attitude towards me.

"Come Vito," Eric said to our driver.

Vito bounded ahead of us, opened the side door, opened the doors to the car, shut the car doors once we were inside, and waited until we were safely buckled in before heading to the airstrip.

I gave Eric a little satisfied smile, meaning, "Hey this Pythoness thing might turn out to be a really good deal, it got that clown Augustus off our case."

He smiled a devilish smile and ran his hand up the inside of my thigh, meaning, "I can not wait to get you alone."

I took his hand firmly and held it sandwiched tenderly between both of mine, meaning, "I appreciate your ardor, Husband of my Blood, but not in front of the hired help. Besides, we just trashed our room making love."

He crinkled the corners of his eyes at me in understanding, brought my hand to his lips and kissed it long and lovingly, meaning, "I adore you Wife of my Blood. I can not wait to get you alone."

Then we were at the airstrip where our chopper was waiting, its rotors turning slowly in standby mode.

After our luggage was loaded into the hold we thanked Vito and got in the helicopter. While rising in the air we watched the limo lights drive away. Maybe that would be our last bodyguard, at least until the baby Pythoness grew up and I was able to return to my regular life.

We both loved flying at night like this. The stars were glorious and sang a celestial harmony that was like a mighty choir of infinite joy. We were above the city pollution where the air was fresh. If it wouldn't have churned my hair into a rat's nest I might have wanted to fly with the doors open.

I was getting really good at tuning out everything I wasn't interested in. All the dramas in the tiny glowing houses below, the thoughts of our human pilot, the smells of land and sea, the amazing glow of the atoms and particles in the air, the sound of bats flying, other aircraft, even the pounding of the rotors, all faded into a background hum like a giant fan on somewhere in the room.

This gave me time to think about my plans for when our lovely human daughter Linda came home tomorrow.  I had to think for a second on what she would need. I knew there was no food in the house and the guest beds were stripped bare.

I texted Adele because the noise level in the chopper wouldn't allow spoken conversation. I asked her if she could send over one of their house staff to stock the fridge, make the beds and air out the guest room for Linda and if she could wait around and help Linda in with her luggage, make her tea and a meal and do whatever else Linda might require until Eric and I rose.

Adele wrote back right away and said she would send Rowena Cleven, the woman that cleaned her and Lachlain's house and looked after their dogs while they were away.

I invited Adele to come join us for dinner tomorrow night but she wrote back saying she believed Linda had something very important she wanted to talk to me and Eric about and would probably want us to herself the first night. She asked about the following night and I said sure, asking her to be sure and bring Lachlain. I hoped she would leave the dogs home though I didn't say that. 

By the night after next I would be able to get my old housekeeper's niece back in to prepare a meal for us and clean the house. We had a service come in once a week but I knew they would miss all the little details like the tops of the picture frames and how to fold the dish towels in thirds like Gran did.

It was a comfort to me to keep my house like Gran kept hers, though I had help and was now Vampire. It was one more way of holding on to the human part of me.

Eric and I would be locked securely in our spacious safe room, the comings and goings of hired help in the rest of the house didn't worry me. We had surveillance cameras around the house and a few actually inside the house, left over from when the girls entertained boys in the living room. There were no cameras in the bedrooms or bathrooms of course.

I told Eric what Adele had texted and asked him if he knew what Linda wanted to talk to us about.

"She has a lot going on in her young life. Her feelings for Jure come with some big decisions. It is good she can turn to us for advice," Eric said.

"Maybe not advice so much as a sympathetic listener," I suggested, recalling how testy the girls could be if they thought I was trying to manage any aspect of their lives.

"Yes, we will take our cues from her," he said.

The perfect answer.

I leaned my head against him and shut my eyes, enjoying this moment of peace with him.

more to come ..... (Wow, it's the weekend again! Sending you thoughts of health and peace and my gratitude for your visit. See you Wednesday!)


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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

Chapter One Hundred and Two

I woke the next night with Eric staring down at me in the bed.

"I was thinking," he said without preamble.

A knock on the door interrupted what he was going to say. Vito announced my room service donors were here. Eric let them in and I fed as fast as I could. The woman kept telling me how pretty I was and the man wanted Eric to feed from him so I think our donors had their own agendas. The glamoured suggestion that their wildest fantasies had just come true left them to make up their own memory of the encounter and allowed me to get them gone quickly. I wanted to talk to Eric before we left New Orleans.

We were taking a flight back to Shreveport tonight to be in our house when Linda showed up the next day. Of course she would have to wait until sunset to see us but at least we would be there. She sounded eager to speak with us. Our flight didn't leave for a few hours, that gave me time to find out what was on Eric's mind.

"You were thinking," I reminded him when my donors left.

"You must be a direct descendant of Anna Hita and her husband, one of our Founders. That's why you look like Tabula."

"Unless that was just a projected image. I don't know if you noticed but Tabula had a Louisiana accent. What are the chances of that if he comes from another planet?" I asked. I was convinced no one had ever seen the Founders true appearance.

"They must look somewhat human if they were able to reproduce with human women and make babies," he pointed out.

He was in his silk pajama bottoms and nothing else. I still had on my satin lounging pajamas. We were sitting in bed together, I was snuggled up to his chest.

"True, I hadn't thought of that. Anna Hita and her husband had fourteen children while she was still human. That must have made him very happy considering his fertility issues on his home planet."

I thought of something that had been worrying me. "Now that I'm the Pythoness, am I going to shrivel up and get old and molt my skin like she did?"

Eric smiled down at me. "The Pythoness was not human when she was the Oracle at Delphi. She was a shape shifter, a were-python. Her transformation to Vampire would have been tempered by her shape shifter nature. What you saw was the result, an immortal python that shed her worn out body for a new one as a snake would do."

"Could she have been a talking snake?" I asked, thinking of the many stories and folk tales where a talking snake had been the catalyst for change.

"I doubt if she could have talked while in her snake form. She could have shifted from snake to human form and been called a talking snake by those that witnessed it."

"So is she going to be a were-python or a vampire? Or both?" I asked. I didn't think vampires could make little vampires, but if she was Turned by a Founder maybe she could be a baby vampire too.

"I do not know. This is a unique occurance. She will be Vampire when she resumes her role as Pythoness."

"And how long is that going to be?" I asked.

"I hope not right away. I find being near a Pythoness to be very enticing." He kissed me long and deep.

"And you are partial to fairies too," I reminded him.

He looked thoughtful. "I believe it is not a coincidence that your fairy grandfather Fintan sought out a descendant of the Founders to breed with. Your grandmother would have appealed to his fairy desire to unite with the Founders."

"Why is that? I thought all Vampires ate fairies like they were bon-bons."

"Not the Founders. In the beginning a truce was arranged between the fairies and the Founders because the Founders had no interest in fairy blood. It was only after the Founders mated with human women and finally left that fairies became prey. An alliance, or better still, a union between descendants of the Founders and the fairies would have allowed the fairies to live on this plane without fear of being consumed. Anyone the Founders protect is safe. Unfortunately the fairy leaders overestimated the power the descendants of the Founders would wield. Their trust was rewarded with treachery."

"Until now. Couldn't I order all vampires to leave the fairies alone or else suffer the consequences?" I thought about my great grandfather Niall, the Prince of the fairies, now gone from this plane of existence. Maybe he could come back if he felt safe.

"Wait until the members of your court are assembled, they can advise you on what has happened in the past. "

"At least our family is safe," I said. "That's the biggest perk of being the Interim Pythoness."

"You just get more exciting as the years pass, My Pythoness," he said, kissing me with passion.

I noticed a shift in his mood from last night to tonight. Last night he had been mulling over the situation. Tonight he had apparently accepted it.

His kisses got hotter and hotter. It was like he was on fire for me. He had not only embraced my new status, it really turned him on. I had heard power was an aphrodisiac and here was proof. As his intensity grew we made love all over the room, knocking things over, shredding the rug and pounding a good sized hole in the wall after the bed collapsed. Since I Turned I could keep up with his vigor and inventiveness, the furniture couldn't.

At one point Vito knocked discreetly on the door and said in a near whisper, "The King is here, he wishes to speak to you,"

"Go away," Eric bellowed, completely ignoring his duties to his monarch in favor of paying full attention to his husbandly duties.

Good on him! My new title gave me courage to put the king where he always belonged, after Eric and I had some private time. After all, I might be ruling on something near and dear to his heart someday. Let him try to stay on my good side for a change.

Finally, finally, we were both spent, happy and satisfied, cuddled together on the floor. I was in kind of a post-coital daze, my eyes drifting over the wreckage in the room when they fell upon the clock, one of the few things left undamaged in the room.

"Get up!" I said urgently, "We only have an hour to get to the airstrip!"

I absolutely had to shower and so did Eric, so we showered together. There was no time for hanky panky which suited me fine because I was just about hanky pankied out. Eric had always been an attentive, tender and frisky lover, now there was a new edge to his lust that seemed to be triggered by my enhanced status. Well, whatever floated his boat, as long as he stopped kissing on me long enough for me to pull on my travel outfit.

Aside from almost buttoning Eric's tongue into my sweater as I dressed, he behaved. We opened the door and found Vito standing there, a strained expression on his face, shifting from foot to foot like he needed to use the restroom.

"Sorry to bother you but the king is still waiting to speak to you .... I have him in the Sanguine Saloon ..." he looked at us anxiously.

Vito didn't want to be caught in some conflict between two powerful vampires. The Sanguine Saloon was a wild west reproduction bar in the hotel that catered to vampires and donors. It was as tastelessly decorated as any theme bar with girls in short cowgirl costumes serving drinks and True Blood.

I suddenly realized I wouldn't need Vito or any bodyguard from now on. With the protection of the Founders no one could mess with me, not even the Founders themselves. The ones that might have wanted to study my reproductive organs would now be protecting me instead. And all without Anna Hita having to tell them she could time travel.

Eric looked at Vito like he might regard a puppy that just piddled on his favorite rug, then he relented, the good sex mellowing him out a bit, I'd guess.

"We will pass through the saloon on the way out. You can bring the car to the side entrance. Take our bags."

more to come ...... (Marvelous Mid-week minions of mirth ... hope things are going well for you. Thank you for your visit and letting me know you stopped by. Life wouldn't be the same without you!)


Saturday, October 13, 2012

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

Chapter One Hundred and One

Once we were in our safe room and locked in Eric called Vito and told him to stand guard during daylight hours. He was so curt on the phone I was sure Vito would think Eric was still royally PO'd about the lawyers sneaking up on us.

I figured Eric had that whole episode on the back burner. He was tense about the new situation we had been thrust into. Eric hated to be caught up in circumstances that were beyond his control.

We changed into our sleep wear in silence. Eric sat on one of the chairs, as still as a marble statue. I could feel the furious whirring of Eric's thoughts as he went over every aspect of my status as Pythoness. There were pluses and minuses. Eric would want to weigh them all in his mind.

I had on my lounging pajamas when Vito tapped on the door discreetly and let me know the human I had ordered sent to the room arrived. He was an eager beaver, a first time donor, I made sure he had a nice memory to take away with him. I was surprisingly hungry, so the blood from the AP hadn't been very filling. It had changed me but maybe just a little.

After feeding I sat down across from Eric on the comfortable chairs in our seating area. Eric looked at me long and hard.

"So tell me, do I stink?" I asked. Might as well get that part over with right away.

He looked surprised. "Stink? Like what?" I could see his fine nostrils flare slightly as he sampled the air.

"Like a very old, very tired Oracle."

 "No, on the contrary. You smell like power."

 "What does power smell like?"

 "Old bloodlines, money, ancient books, hoards of gold ... Hard to describe, I know it when I smell it."

"Then wouldn't that be a good thing?" I asked, moving to sit in his lap.

"It is a good thing that you smell like power. It harmonizes with your fairy smell. My objection to all this is as your Maker. Protocol dictates that any approach to you about anything should be made through me."

 Going over his head to deal with me directly was like spitting in his face. Vampires set great store by tradition and custom, something I understood, coming from the South. Any slighting of that tradition was an insult that needed to avenged.

"I completely understand. When folks get on in years they can get set in their ways. I got the feeling that the AP was a protocol all to herself by the end of her days. Her life was so long, her power so absolute I bet she lost touch with what was proper vampire etiquette. She ran out of time, Eric. If you could have seen her, you would have seen she already had one foot in the grave."

"You mean she was withering fast?"

"She just didn't have any more time left. It was now or never."

"Is that why you agreed?"

He wrapped his arms around me. I took that as a good sign. I laid my head on his shoulder.

"I don't rightly know why exactly it is I agreed. She told me I wouldn't be a weakling anymore, that was big. And she told me our family and friends would be protected from harm. That was bigger. I don't have to sentence anyone to death. She said she wasn't needed very often."

"That is true," he said, kissing my forehead.

"I plan on doing my best if I ever am called on to rule on anything," I said with conviction.

He turned me in his lap so I was facing him, straddling his knees. His eyes looked into mine with kindness and love. Little crinkles of mature appreciation appeared at the corners as he smiled at me with his eyes.

"I know you will do your best. You always do. That is what I admire most about you. You are fair and insightful, goodhearted and brave. I understand why the Pythoness chose you. It is just difficult for me to accept that you are now paramount in our relationship." His eyes flickered away from mine.

He was hurt, diminished by my new title. I had read of this happening in human relationships when the wife became the breadwinner and the husband felt he wasn't the head of the family anymore. I tried to recall what I had read was the way to deal with it.

This was more than a paycheck issue, I was now the grand poo-ba of vampires. There were women on the human Supreme Court, did their husbands feel like second fiddles?

"Paramount? Is that like saying I wear the pants in this family now?"

"Sookie, you 'wear the pants' over every vampire on Earth," he said, sounding surprised I didn't know this.

"I might rule in the courtroom but in this relationship we are equal partners. I will always look up to you and not just cause you're taller than me."

He laughed at this and a certain slight uplift to his chin let me know my words were reassuring to him.

"Nothing has changed here, Eric. You're my husband and my Maker, the father of our children, the older wiser one. I want a man I can rely on and turn to. If I need to sit in a trial now and again, so what? That doesn't change anything between us. You and our family will always come first. I told the AP that. She knows where I'm coming from and she still went with me. We're a team, honey."

I leaned forward and kissed him, feeling the first tingling of dawn coming closer. We were running out of time.

"Kiss me again before I go down," I said. Our lips touched, then, as usual, the lights went out for me.

more to come ..... (Super Saturday! Hope this day dawns on something good for you. Thank you for stopping by, your visit is always a treat. See you Wednesday!)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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


Chapter One Hundred

I looked over at Eric and saw him staring, stars in his eyes, in a state of awestruck wonder at the presence of one of our Founders. He got down on one knee and bowed his head out of respect. Sometimes Eric could be real old school.

Me, not so much, especially when Tab looked like a guy from my family reunion back when there were more of us to get together. And when I recalled that some of these space guys might want to dismantle my girly parts to see what made me fertile.

"Stand Eric. You are a good mate for Sookie and we appreciate the way you look after her," Tabula said graciously.

He was using the royal "we" so he must be speaking for Jagula and Dracula too. I remembered there were three Lightning Brothers depicted in the ancient rock wall drawings. He left on his space suit except for his helmet, which he tucked under his arm. I got the feeling he was uneasy being here and was ready to pack up and leave as soon as he could.

Eric got to his feet in a flash. "Thank you, my liege." He stood straight and tall, like a soldier waiting for his general's orders. I was so proud of him.

"Why do I look like you? We could be kin," I asked. I hoped I wasn't being too pushy but I didn't know how long Tab was going to be here and I wanted to find out about our connection.

"We are kin," he said. "When we arrived here our reproductive powers were almost but not completely gone. We met and mated with human women hoping the native human fertility would give us the best chance at natural conception. We had a few successes though not enough to replenish our home planet. Our vampire reproduction was much more reliable."

I recalled something in the Bible, something about the 'Sons of God' that were mating with the 'daughters of men'. Could this be what was it was referring to? I imagined a guy showing up in a spaceship would seem kind of godlike to the primitive tribes back then.

"After all this all time I'm surprised we still look so much alike," I wondered aloud.

He laughed. "We have dominant genes."

"So that's what makes me a good bet to be the next Pythoness?" I asked.

"Having the bloodline and endorsement of the Founders removes any chance your judicial authority will be challenged. By next week every vampire on Earth will know that you are the next Pythoness and that you are to be protected at any cost. Anna Hita will be given the ingredients to cast a spell on all that matter to you, a spell that will keep them safe. You can live where you want, have anything your heart desires." He chuckled and looked up. "You might say the sky's the limit."

"Does having the bloodline and endorsement of the Founders mean my family and myself are safe from being used as some kind of science experiment to solve whatever fertility problems you-all might be having?" I asked.

I saw Anna Hita stiffen slightly, she hadn't expected me to come right out with my information, but I needed to know if my "protectors" were poised with scalpels to take me apart.

"Oh absolutely. Besides, we now know the truth about many things that were unclear to us in the past." He was one of those guys that could talk without really saying anything.

I made a point not to glance at Anna Hita. I hoped very much she wasn't in trouble with the Founders for keeping her ability to time travel a secret. And who knows, maybe it wasn't a secret anyway, except in her own mind. Those kinds of secrets are hard to keep.

So was my new identity. Every vampire on Earth was going to know about me. There went my hope that I could hide behind a computer monitor and pass judgements over the Internet.

On the plus side I wouldn't have to put up with anyone's guff anymore. And maybe now Eric could stop looking over his shoulder all the time. Maybe we could just live in peace with our family.

"Are you still making new vampires?" I asked, changing the subject. I was thinking about Jason.

"Not on this planet. Your sun has some strange atomic abberation that makes it dangerous to us if it shines on us directly. We dislike coming here except for important occasions such as this."

This seemed to remind him he wanted to be gone before dawn broke. He consulted a complicated watch-like gizmo on the arm of his space suit. It had numerous hands and dials, kind of like those fancy underwater watches they sell on the shopping channel late at night.

He said something to Anna Hita in a language I didn't understand and from the slight frown touching Eric's brows I didn't think he understood it either. I had been taught that it was rude to speak in another language in front of guests but maybe Anna  Hita and Tabula were just treating us like kin. There was a lot more wiggle room in how you could treat kin.

Anna Hita answered him in English by saying simply, "Of course" and giving a gracious bow to her head.

"I must be going. It was very nice meeting you," he said to Eric and me. "Try not to worry about anything, I'm sure you'll do just fine. We'll keep in touch. Just tell Anna Hita if you need anything." He pulled his big helmet over his head and tightened the latches that held it on, not easy to do with the bulky gloves he was wearing. 

He was already starting to glow and I thought he was going to do his entrance thing backwards. Instead he just wavered a bit and blinked out, like a TV picture being shut off. For the first time I wondered if he had really been here at all or if what we had been looking at was some kind of hologram.

Did Tabula really look like a Stackhouse or was he really some hideous being that just projected the image I expected to see?

I hadn't thought to try and smell him while he was here. I sampled the air to find there was absolutely no trace of him, not the tiniest whiff of anyone or anything that wasn't here before he showed up. I stopped when the residual smell of the baby's milk hit my nostrils. It was like having hot yogurt pumped into my sinuses, not a good thing at all.

Tabula was right about one thing. Dawn was coming and Eric and I needed to get somewhere safe for the day. Besides I wanted to talk to Eric in private. I had so much going on in my mind right now I didn't know how long it was going to take me to get it sorted out.

First and foremost I needed to find out how Eric was dealing with all this. I wanted the truth about the effect of the Pythoness's blood on me. At least I could take comfort in the fact that this wouldn't be the first time I reeked of something that made Eric stay away, if that was the case.Jure had messed things up for us a while back. Fortunately it wore off in time.

Mercy, mercy me, I hoped I wasn't repulsive again. I needed Eric near me, now more than ever.

"Honey, can we go back to our room. I need to digest all this," I said, inwardly cringing, as soon as the  the word "digest" was out of my mouth because I had fed, however minimally, from the Ancient Pythoness. I didn't need to be reminding Eric of that.

"We are leaving," Eric said to Anna Hita. He turned and strode away.

I could tell by his tone and rigid body language he was still miffed with her and the way she got us here. I thought she probably did her best to smooth out the plans the Ancient Pythoness had made for me. Who knows what abrupt and traumatic summons I might have gotten if Anna Hita hadn't intervened on our behalf.

"We'll be in touch," I called to her as I ran to keep up with Eric.

We were outside and in our car in the wink of a bats eye. Eric was silent on our drive back to the hotel.  I wanted to wait to hear what he was going to say about all this before blurting anything out that might make things worse.

more to come ..... (Can you believe it's Wednesday again? Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to let me know you're there, it makes a cloudy day bright! See you Saturday ...)


Saturday, October 6, 2012

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

Chapter Ninety Nine

The nurse took advantage of the situation and whisked the sleeping baby away. She was taking her across town to the palace. I could just imagine Trinity's joy at receiving this surprise. Did she know who the baby is, I wondered, or was this just being presented to her as an illegal adoption?

In previous cases the human courts had ruled against the adoption of babies by the few vampires that had tried. Of course this might not be a human baby. I couldn't even guess at what kind of a baby it was. It looked mostly human, but looks were deceiving in the world of supernaturals. I remembered those purple eyes.

After the baby and nurse left, Eric and I both turned to confront Anna Hita about the smoke snake thing. She had brought us here under false pretenses and we didn't appreciate that one bit.

Eric asked Anna Hita. "Why did you put me under a spell?" From the way he said it the question was clearly an accusation.

She looked mildly surprised at Eric's tone. "I did not put you under a spell. The Ancient Pythoness sent the Mist of Morpheus to subdue you."

"He didn't need to be subdued, he could have come with me," I objected.

Anna Hita asked Eric, "If you had known the Ancient Pythoness chose Sookie as her replacement, would you have accepted it?"

"I would have needed time to consider it. The whole idea of Sookie as the Ancient Pythoness is so bizarre. It does not make sense."

This evasive answer led me to believe that he might not have gone along with the idea. The old Pythoness was clearly on her way out. She might not have had time for Eric to think it through.

"The Pythoness chose Sookie as her heir from the first time their paths crossed, long before Sookie became Vampire or became your wife. Sookie was not yours when the Pythoness chose her. From the Oracle's point of view this was between her and Sookie when Sookie was a free human. You were never part of the equation."

Anna Hita said this with a tone of gentleness, realizing it would be difficult for Eric to accept that there was a part of me he didn't have complete rein over.

He bent down and sniffed me. "Sookie has taken the blood of the Oracle. I would never have agreed to that."

I hadn't thought of that. Did the Oracle's blood make me repulsive to Eric now? I felt sick inside at the idea of Eric finding me icky.

I had seen it as a way to overcome my weakling status, to not be such a burden to Eric. I didn't want him to have to be with me every minute of every night or fret that I might wither away and die. I thought having a weakling as a wife would get old fast, with Eric worrying every time he was away from me.

I wanted to be a strong vampire wife, not a weakling. Eric was all about strength, he couldn't have been happy with a weakling for a wife. Even Jure had leaked contempt for my weakling status. Other vampire makers let their weakling progeny die. I was lucky Eric had loved me enough to keep me going.

Anna Hita said, "You must accept this, Eric. This was an agreement between the Oracle and her replacement. Time was of the essence. The Ancient Pythoness had been holding on to the thinnest thread of life, waiting for Sookie to Turn. I thank Isis that she was in time. If the Ancient Pythoness had succumbed to her age before appointing a successor ..."

Eric was nodding. "I see that it was vital for her to pick someone to take her place. I just do not understand why it was Sookie."

 "Me neither," I said emphatically. "I pointed out that I wasn't qualified to take the job, but she insisted. She convinced me .." I broke off, wondering if I had truly been convinced or if I had been under some kind of glamour. I thought she had talked me into it, but had she? Or was I just super vulnerable to her suggestions due to some chicanery?

"Did you agree to become the next Ancient Pythoness?" he asked me, genuinely puzzled at my decision if I did. He knew I didn't like to take on the problems of the world, to make life and death decisions about others. He was most likely having the same doubts I was about the free will of a person in the presence of such a powerful and magical being.

"It seemed like I did ... yet thinking on it ... I just don't know ...," I shrugged, feeling it was pointless to try and figure out. I had to move forward. I surely couldn't go back and rework the deal with the old Pythoness in her crib.

I didn't think I would ever know how much free will I had. Whatever was done in that cavern was signed sealed and delivered by blood, the Vampire iron clad guarantee. Blood was a contract no Vampire would consider breaking.

Also I needed and wanted the protection promised me. All my loved ones would be safe. The world would not spiral into chaotic warfare between Vampire rulers on my watch. The ones with less power would not be trampled by the more powerful. Might would not make right in my courtroom, if I ever had a courtroom.

"Let me show you the main reason why Sookie was chosen," Anna Hita said, walking to the mantle. She placed her hands on either side of the golden pyramid and said something in her chanting singsong language. Was this another spell?

She stepped back and a dot of light appeared in front of the fireplace. The dot grew larger, rounder, shining like a miniature sun. I had to step back and shield my eyes, though I tried to peek a little to see what was happening. A humming noise grew and the air in the room began to vibrate.

Between the noise and the light I didn't know whether to cover my eyes or my ears. I shut my eyes and covered my ears until the humming abruptly stopped. I looked at Eric and he was doing the same thing. I felt like I couldn't move from the spot otherwise I would have held his hand.

I opened my eyes and saw a hideous monster with one round glowing eye. Then I realized it was some kind of special suit, like the kind divers wear to go deep underwater or astronauts use to go out into the vacuum of space. The being took off the helmet and my jaw dropped open in shock. This was no bug eyed monster.

The handsome blond man in the space suit looked just like me and Jason, near enough to be a brother or first cousin. This person was a Stackhouse!

"You look like me!" I blurted out.

"I surely do," he laughed. He even had the Stackhouse dimples. "Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Tabula, and I have come to congratulate you on becoming the interim Pythoness."

He gave a Stackhouse laugh and a Stackhouse wink with his Stackhouse blue eye. I wished Jason was here to see this.

more to come ..... (Super Saturday nestmates! Hope this day finds you well and moving in a good direction. Your continued presence and comments are greatly appreciated!  Thank you so much. See you Wednesday.)


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

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

Chapter Ninety Eight

She cackled again, sensing my hesitancy but not understanding that I was mostly afraid of hurting her or killing her. I had already concluded that I would take the title of Pythoness if it meant my weakling blood would be overcome with her strength.

 Besides, I knew I would be a fair and impartial judge without a political agenda. I didn't know who her second choice might be, and truth be told, I wasn't willing to find out.

The wrong person could completely screw up the equilibrium in the dynamics of roiling ambition in the hearts of powerful rulers. We had just voted against vampire world domination, I didn't want someone in favor of it to get all this power. The Pythoness might be on her way out of this world, we who remain were going to have to live in it.

"This is not so onerous a title as you might fear. You will have helpers and you will only be Pythoness until your replacement comes," she coaxed. "Come now, drink and end this torture for me. I have waited too long already to rest. I hope you never get as weary as I am." She released her breath in a sigh.

Then I thought of a problem that might disqualify me. This was the time for full disclosure.

"I have children and soon will have a grandson. Anyone that wanted to change my verdict could threaten to harm them. I would do anything to keep them safe. I could not put them in that danger."

She nodded slowly and shifted her position. I could almost hear her old bones creak. "Good point. And that is why all your friends and family will be under the protection of the Founders. No one, vampire, human or other will be able to harm them. They will be safer than they are now. My promise to you is this - pass judgements to the best of your ability and not one hair of their heads will be harmed."

"I won't pass a death sentence on anyone," I said. "I just couldn't have that on my conscience. If I made a mistake it couldn't be rectified." I hoped this wouldn't disqualify me but she should know everything.

"Do as you wish, rule as you see fit. The position offers the greatest latitude for your discretion," she said with a shrug.

She had promised me my family and friends would be safe. I believed her. If she tricked me I could simply refuse to sit on the bench and then chaos would destroy the vampire world, maybe the whole world. I knew I would do my darnedest to be fair.

If I agreed Eric would be released from his sleep and I could get back to my life. Maybe I would never need to rule on anything. Sometimes just the knowledge that a court could impose a dire penalty was enough to keep people in line

Nobody had to know who the new Pythoness was, only that there was one and she was ready to rule. I might well remain an anonymous figurehead, a symbol in name only. With computers I might be able to simply post my verdicts. This was a new age, light years beyond anything this worn out oracle might have imagined.

That just left the feeding from this ancient woman. She sure sounded ready to go on. She was suffering as she was. If the situation was reversed I would want someone to help me out, to put my mind at rest that justice would go on.

"I will do it, Ancient Pythoness. I am humbled that you chose me. I hope I can live up to your expectations."

She gave a groan of relief. "Thank you."

She looked at me then and for just a second the milky cast cleared and her eyes glowed lavender, then they reverted to their white blindness, almost lost among the folds and wrinkles of extreme old age. That brief second cost her almost everything she had left. I saw her sag almost double.

I tenderly took her arm and kissed the inside of her wrist before very gently and carefully inserting my fangs. She smelled like violets and baby powder and cinnamon and vanilla and old books. I drank a few drops and stopped, healing the powdery skin with my own blood.

I could feel the strange blood coursing through me, changing me. It was like I was being rearranged on a molecular level to be something I had never been before. I thought of Alice in Wonderland drinking from a bottle that made her as tall as the trees. Would I be the same, just not a weakling anymore?

She stood, teetering, and whispered in a voice like the wind over the ocean, almost too faint for even my vampire ears, "Thank you, child. Bless you."

Then she simply collapsed like a balloon with a slow leak into a limp pile of her purple gown and boneless skin. I looked at the remains of the Pythoness and said a prayer that she might be at peace.

The pile of clothes and skin moved, a tiny movement. I stared at it and it moved again.

There was something alive inside the mound of remains.

I bent and cautiously opened the robes. The skin underneath, now dry and thin as tissue paper had split. Inside the husk of the Pythoness a tiny pink arm raised up towards me and thrashed.

It was a baby!

 I scooped up the naked baby and she started to wail, kicking her little plump arms and legs. She was probably cold.

I took off my silk suit jacket and wrapped her in it. She quieted down, then made sucking noises and whimpered, looking up at me with large tear filled violet eyes. She needed milk. She needed a mother.

I ran up flight after flight of stone steps with the baby pressed to my breast until I came to the back of the armoire. I pushed it open. Anna Hita was waiting for me with a warm baby bottle, soft flannel blankets and a middle aged human woman dressed in white uniform and starched white cap like nurse from the 1950's.

"Nurse Henderson will take the child," Anna Hita said.

I handed the tiny girl to the woman who immediately diapered and dressed her on a special padded mat right on the fancy marble coffee table, all while Eric lay slumped unconscious on the nearby sofa. I went to him and held his hand, hoping what I had been told was true, that he would come awake and be good as new.

"Eric, can you hear me?" I kissed him full on the lips and his eyes opened. He immediately rose to his feet, muscles tense, ready to fight.

"What has happened here?" he asked, taking in the human woman who was now sitting in the brocade side chair, giving the dressed and swaddled baby a bottle, me, and Anna Hita. He frowned, trying to make sense of it.

"Is the baby ours?" he asked, going over to look down at the pretty little face. The baby sucked contentedly, eyes closed.

He didn't know if he had been unconscious ten minutes or ten months if he thought I had time to give birth to a baby while he was out.

"No, I don't think so," I said, coming to stand beside him.

"The baby is going to Queen Trinity," Anna Hita told us.

"But she's already expecting a baby from a surrogate," I said, recalling how Trinity had arranged for a donor egg from a family member.

"Yes, she will raise the girls as sisters. You have done the right thing tonight, my generous daughter," she said, smiling at me.

 In a more formal voice she said, "I honor you, Great Pythoness." She did a little curtsey to me.

Eric stepped back and looked at me in shock. "You? You are the new Pythoness?" His eyes glowed bright blue. Was he angry?

"Yes, I agreed to take the job temporarily until I could be replaced?" I was unsure how this news was going over so it sounded more like a question than a statement.

He stared at me for a moment longer then bent his knee to me and kissed my hand. "My Pythoness, I honor you."

Then he hugged me and kissed the top of my head. I sagged against him with relief.

The nurse quietly and sternly cautioned us. "Shhhhh, the baby's asleep."

more to come ..... (Wonderful Wednesday everyone! It was lovely hearing from you and having you here. See you Saturday. Hope you are happy and healthy.)