Chapter One Hundred and Fifty
Over the next few weeks Eric and I zigzagged across Scandinavia where he showed me the places etched in his long memory and told me about the events that had forged his life. The best part was the stories he told, stories of bravery and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal, victory and defeat. All these events were woven together like threads in the elaborate tapestry we call history. From this new perspective I began to see the big picture, far beyond the little world of Louisiana and my family and friends.
Most of the time we were within range of a safe room but on a few memorable occasions we took to ground, burying ourselves dozens of feet under the earth for the day. Eric showed me how to pick a spot like under a fallen log or large rock that would not look like the soil was disturbed or that anything was buried under it.
Of course we were in such remote regions in white out conditions I seriously doubted if anyone would wander by in a coon's age. I found out animals and insects would not eat us, we were sniffed at and rejected as food. That was probably another factor that gave vampires the label of being unnatural beings or the undead, something unfit for man or beast even as dinner.
I thought going to ground would be horrible but I did not find it so. It was refreshing and relaxing, communing with nature in a very up close and personal way, like camping for vampires. It reminded me a little of Bible camp and how much fun it was to rough it for a few nights. I found out I could run down a deer or bear and feed from it. They froze still at my touch making it easy to feed, and I never took enough from them to weaken them or hurt them. We found a bear in a trap, I freed it and healed its poor paw, sending it lumbering on its way with our blessing.
I saw more snow than I thought possible. Eric never grew tired of the frozen landscapes but I began to feel homesick. We circled around and ended up where we began in Uppsala where Vagn Åkesson threw us a good bye party in his club. After so much time in the wilds I thought the lights were too bright, the music too loud, the room too crowded. Part of me missed the silence, the stark white peace, the crystal cold sky.
"Can we come back?" I asked my vampire husband.
He looked so happy at that. "Yes, we will come back." He loved pleasing me and this place was now in both our hearts.
Vagn threw another huge log, as big as a man, on the open fire. Sparks flew everywhere making the crowd shriek and laugh. Eric and I held hands and were it was like we were still alone together even in the midst of this merry gathering.
Late that night we packed and left on the same Air Annubis jet that had brought us. We rose the following night to find ourselves in the small private Shreveport airport we used. Eric tipped the Air Annubis security agent very well for staying with our containers. We hadn't told anyone exactly when we were getting back because we wanted a little wiggle room if the mood hit us to do something more. Eric called Pam and asked her if she could send someone to bring us home.
"I will come myself Master, I have news," she said. She loved having some juicy piece of information and we both knew she wouldn't tell us what it was until she got here.
While waiting for Pam we called the girls and told them we were back. Then I called my answering machine, the official one at the house and got the strangest message from Merry Dixon.
"Hi Sookie, it's Merry here. By now you must have heard what happened. Of course now that she's back she wants a hearing immediately. I told her you are out of the country but we will schedule a trial as soon as you're back. This isn't something we can postpone. Everyone is in a tizzy as you can well imagine. Hope your trip went well. Call me as soon as you can."
I felt the bottom drop out of my world. Was she talking about Celandine? Is that who was back? I shared my fears with Eric.
"This might be the same thing Pam is referring to. Let us hear what she has to say before we start worrying," he advised. Eric was a big believer in not jumping the gun on worrying.
My stomach clenched with apprehension as Pam's latest big Dodge Ram truck pulled up, sounding like the rumble of doom. We threw the suitcases and travel containers in the back and got in the extended cab with her. Pretty and pink from feeding, she was also glowing with excitement. This was big news.
"Nobody told you right?" she asked, starting the truck. Her mufflers actually made the sound louder so she had to raise her voice to be heard.
"No, we are waiting to hear what have to tell us. Could you turn the truck off until you have shared your news?" Eric asked her.
"Oh, sure," she said. She cut the engine and the silence that followed was a relief. She half turned to face both Eric beside her and me in the back seat. The dashboard lights gave the left side of her face a green glow.
"Well, remember when King de Castro took over? He thought he was so clever but he missed something. Sophie-Anne Leclerq's body was destroyed in a fire but her guard Ziebert, brother of the twins Wybert and Sigebert? ...." she stopped to see if we knew what she was talking about.
"I remember the twins," I said. Eric just nodded, grim faced. Eric had had a bad experience with Sigebert.
"Ziebert took her heart before the fire destroyed it and has been tending it all this time. Drop by drop he fed it every night until it began to regenerate. Now Sophie-Anne Leclerq is back, alive and angry. She wants her Kingdom back and she wants revenge. She has troops and is stationed outside the Palace. She is demanding a trial and to have her property restored to her. I'm glad you're back, Sookie. She's a powder keg of rage ready to blow. Only the Pythoness can settle this." Pam looked pointedly at me.
"You may take us home now. Thank you for the news, it is of great importance. You were the first to tell us of this momentous turn of events," Eric said calmly, making her night. She started the massive engine and peeled away from the curb. I heard our luggage shift in the back and hoped my travel container wasn't scratched. If Gran was still alive she would have crocheted it a cozy to keep it shiny and new looking.
It was indeed momentous news. I was so relieved it had nothing to do with Celandine returning from the past. I spent a few seconds with that relief before I turned my mind to what had happened. Sophie-Anne Leclerq had been the Queen of Loisiana and after the death of her husband Peter Threadgill she had become the Queen of Arkansas too. That trial was where I first met the Ancient Pythoness.
King de Castro had been the King of Nevada and he killed, or thought he killed, Sophie-Anne and took her two states as his in a hostile takeover. He had the "might makes right" defense as well as the comfort of knowing dead queens can't sue. But the queen wasn't dead. I would need all the legal advice I could get on this. And whichever way I decided there was going to be one very angry Vampire monarch.
Pam chatted to Eric about the Club, the research center and her decision to Turn my brother. Finally! She complained about the color of the office and how she couldn't find anything in the files because it was all on computer now. She mentioned that our geriatric barmaid Ginger had finally decided to go live with her brother, a relief to everyone at the club. She said that Taryn and Lingza were getting married and going to have their reception in Fangtasia. She said a lot of things while my thoughts drifted away from the sound of her voice.
I couldn't settle the trial here in this truck tonight. I thought warmly of home, our beautiful daughters, our wonderful grandson, and the wedding Linda would want. I thought of my brother getting what he wants and of the possibility of Daynight becoming a reality. Things that had seemed impossible, or so far off as to seem impossible, were coming true.
The future had arrived, and whatever it brought, Eric and I would face it together. I reached forward and took his hand, giving it a squeeze.
This concludes "Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman look to the Future". Next week I will I will give you my thoughts on continuing this story. Thank you so very very much for sticking with me on this epic journey, it has meant everything.