With the barrage of information given by the Fae and Isis inside Jason’s home, Eric feels as if he is suffocating. The walls are closing in on him, his vision blurs, and he feels crushed by the enormity of the evening’s revelations. Without a word to any of the others inside the house, Eric flees as if the devil himself is chasing him.
Once outside of the house, Eric takes to the sky, trying in vain to fly away from the re-writing of his history. It is true what they say, history is written by the victors, and in this case, the victor was Godric. Since the night Eric was made a vampire, he has believed the version of history written by Godric. Eric absorbed all the teachings of his maker as gospel and sought to honor him by being the epitome of what a vampire is supposed to be. The few times Eric failed to follow Godric’s teachings resulted in self-loathing and a redoubling of Eric’s efforts to be the ultimate vampire. Having Godric meet the sun, watching his spiritual being killed by Lilith, and now learning that the events that led to Eric’s turning were a lie send the once proud Viking spiraling.
Eric flies haphazardly through the sky, roaring with anguish. His pain is drowned out by the violent thunderstorm sweeping through the area. The suddenness and harshness of the storm fit with the roiling emotions inside the ancient Norse vampire. Eric flies aimlessly through the storm, letting the rain drops pelt his skin. He cares not for the danger associated with the lightening flashing across the sky. Eric wants the violence of the storm, it reflects the violence inside his soul. He does not know how to contain the emotions he feels, and he does not have any hope of stopping them.
A thousand years of existence have been undone by the actions of the last few days. Everything Eric believed in, all that he was, is now gone. The hollowness that settles inside him is like that as when he was cursed by Marnie. During his amnesic state, at least Eric had Sookie to stick to as his anchor. Now, he has nothing to hold on to.
Eric longs for peace, comfort, to have something feel normal. The only thing he knows that will give him that feeling, even if only for a few moments, is in the form of a tiny human child. The vampire stops mid-air, using his senses to determine where he is. He adjusts his course to head towards the Compton homestead. Upon his arrival, Eric hovers outside the window of the room where the miniature version of Sookie sleeps soundly in his bed. At least for now, the nightmares that have been bothering the child are held at bay.
Jessica is inside the room with Sookie’s son. She had been moving around quietly, cleaning up the toys and clothes strewn about the floor. Her head whips towards the window with her fangs descended, prepared to defend the boy against the unexpected intruder. The redheaded vampire’s fangs quickly disappear when she sees it is Eric hovering outside the glass.
Moving to the window, Jessica stares at Eric with concern. “Is everything alright?” Her tone of voice is low, but Eric can hear her just fine through the glass of the window and the sounds of the storm.
Eric nods once, though his eyes linger on the sleeping child. “There has been no change in the situation.”
Jessica looks uncertain as she stares at Eric, the vampire. She glances back over her shoulder to stare at the Eric, the boy. “He’s been sleeping for about an hour. Did you want to come in and sit with him? I can get you some towels to help dry you off.”
Eric shakes his head no. “It is better for me to stay out here. I know he has not been sleeping well. Let him sleep while he can. I will only stay a few minutes.”
“OK. I ah… I’ll leave you two alone.” Jessica offers a small smile before slipping out of the boy’s room.
Being in the toddler’s presence is enough to soothe the rough edges of Eric’s spiraling emotions. It does not make the feelings go away, but it lessens the intensity of them somewhat. Eric can compartmentalize the worst of his emotions and once again think rationally.
Eric shakes his head with a wry smile. How often had he lamented Sookie’s inability to think before she acted? Ever since her abduction, Eric is guilty of the same crime. Sookie needs him to think rationally, to analyze the battlefield from all angles to determine the best plan of attack. He needs to gain the upper hand in this battle. For too long, de Castro has had the power. Now it is time to turn the tables on him.
After re-centering himself, Eric leaves the sleeping child. He finds himself drawn back to Willa’s resting place where he kept the letters and journals Sookie wrote. Before touching the precious texts, Eric swiftly changes his clothes and dries his hair. He will not thoughtlessly damage the written words Sookie left behind for him. They are all he has left of her.
For now, he vows.
Exiting Willa’s resting area, Eric vamps to the porch of Sookie’s home. He finds himself drawn to the wooden porch swing, sitting down to read the musings of his beloved. Flipping open the most recent journal, Eric turns to the entries beginning a month before her abduction. Skimming the entries at vamp speed, Eric finds little in the way of clues. His eyes rest on the final journal entry. He read it the night he discovered her hidden writings, but he stops to read it again.
For weeks, I’ve felt as if there are extra eyes watching our every move, but I don’t hear anything with my telepathy. Maybe I am being paranoid, but I’ve learned not to ignore my paranoia. Being naive and unaware is what caused me so many problems in the past.
I’ve tried to reach out to Niall, but he’s never been reliable about coming when help is needed. Sometimes I think all the moving back and forth between realms has scrambled his brain a little bit.
When I told the vampires in my life what I suspect, they all promised they will look out for me and my son. I appreciate their offers, but they can’t put their lives on hold to protect me every night. Not to mention the fact that they can’t do a damn thing for me during the day if something were to happen.
I feel like I am a sitting duck. Everywhere we go, I keep my shields down, listening for some small clue as to what the hell is going on. I won’t let Eric out of my sight unless we are inside the house. I know he senses my unease, no matter how much I try to shield him from it. We’ve been practicing again, what he is to do if something were to happen to me. My poor son started sobbing at the thought of someone taking me away from him. I held him fiercely and did everything I could to soothe him. I promised him that everything will be alright.
I hate that I lied to my child, because I have no idea if everything is going to be OK.
I know I will do everything in my power to make sure my son is safe.
It’s been seven years since I went to Fangtasia to see Eric Northman. Every time I went, Pam made sure I never made it past the parking lot. I doubt if I go this time I will be successful in seeing Eric, but I must try.
At this point, it isn’t about me loving Eric or him loving me. It isn’t about us trying to be together.
This is about protecting my son.
“Did you know Sookie went to Fangtasia the night before she was abducted?”
Eric rises suddenly, hissing with his fangs out at the unexpected intrusion of his solitude. Isis stands on the porch with her hands raised in a sign of submission. Eric’s fangs slide back up in his gums, but he remains standing, warily gazing at the ancient Egyptian vampire. Though they may be of the same bloodline, Eric cannot relax in the presence of Isis. One, she has at least three thousand years on him, giving her an advantage in strength and speed. Two, he doesn’t trust anyone he just met.
Godric and Sookie were the only exceptions to that rule.
“Eric, I mean you no harm,” Isis vows. “Truthfully, if I wanted you dead, or any of the others, it would be done by now,” she adds honestly.
Eric nods acknowledging her words. “Why now? You’ve never intervened before when the two sides of your bloodline were fighting. What suddenly interests you to choose a side? You don’t know me or Sookie, so you cannot possibly have any allegiance to either of us.”
Isis looks up at the sky. During his time reading, the thunderstorm ceased, and the clouds parted to reveal the moon and stars once again. The brown eyes of the female Egyptian vampire lose their focus as if she cannot see the majesty of the celestial bodies. Her voice floats gently across the space between them. “Thousands of years have passed, and yet the stars remain my one constant in this existence. Yet they too shall one day fade out. I hope I do not live long enough to see it.”
Her fathomless eyes turn to face Eric. “Though I made Ramesses, I did not mourn his ending in the traditional sense. My child changed much during his existence. He once was a good ruler; those traits were why I gave him the gift of never-ending night. Unfortunately, his time as a vampire corrupted him. Ramesses thought he had absolute power, that he could enforce his will as he desired. Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Isis offers mournfully.
She exhales loudly as she unburdens her psyche of a secret that she has carried for over a millennium. “I watched as Godric drove the stake through Ramesses’ heart to save himself and the world from his depraved vision. I should have ended Ramesses’ existence, but I could not. As his maker, I was responsible for his actions. After he met the True Death, I exiled myself from the world, not because I mourned the loss of my child, but because I mourned my failure as a maker.”
The focus of Isis’ eyes shifts sharply to Eric who has remained motionless during her soliloquy. “A feeling I am sure you can empathize with.”
The only concession Eric makes acknowledging the remark is the flaring of his nostrils. He will not discuss the pain that continually stabs at him from the loss of Pam. Perhaps with time he will be able to reflect on the shared times that were happy between he and his eldest progeny. For now, though, all he can think of are the ways he failed her as a maker; that somehow, he is responsible for the obsession that corrupted her. Eric resents the attempt by Isis to create comradery or a sense of kinship between them.
Knowing the younger vampire will not speak, Isis continues her tale. “I should have ended the feud between Godric and Appius centuries ago. If I had not sequestered myself, I would have been there to stop Appius. I knew both Ramesses’ children; I knew the cruelty and brutality that existed in both. Despite that, I always felt a sense of morality from Godric that Appius lacked. Not to say Godric was a saint,” Isis says with a quirk of her lips, “but he was honorable.”
Eric scoffs. “Honorable? Godric stole me from his brother. How was that honorable?”
Rather than let Eric’s words bait her, Isis’ lips curve into a challenging smile. “And how is tricking a naïve telepathic girl into sucking the silver bullets out of your body honorable? How is chaining her in a basement and then feeding her to Russell Edgington honorable?”
If it were possible, any color in Eric’s face would have leached out hearing Isis’ words. His fangs snap down and his hands clench into fists. “I am tired of being a fucking pawn in other people’s fucking games,” he speaks harshly. “How do you know any of my history with Sookie? How did you know Sookie went to Fangtasia the night before her abduction? How were you able to arrive here without me detecting any trace of you? How did you enter Jason Stackhouse’s home without an invitation? Why does Niall Brigant trust you? If you know so much about what’s going on in Nevada, then why haven’t you rescued Sookie? What the fuck do you want in all this? How do I know you aren’t working against us?”
Each question from Eric was punctuated by a step forward that ultimately brought Eric in front of Isis. He towers over her shorter stature, but she is not intimidated by him. She understands his anger and resentment. In fact, Isis admires the control Eric must be exerting to prevent him from going berserker.
Isis ignores Eric’s threatening questions, instead steering the conversation back to the topic of honor. “Do you not see the honor in Godric’s actions? Do you not see how he nearly destroyed himself to save you from an eternity tied to Appius? Godric saved you from a fate worse than death. Look at your own actions regarding Sookie Stackhouse before you judge your maker,” Isis advises. She presses on hurriedly, “Though your actions may be viewed as underhanded, did you not give Miss Stackhouse your blood in Dallas to loosen the hold Bill Compton had over her? Though you used her as bait, were you not planning to sacrifice yourself to make certain Russell Edgington burned in the sun? Godric may have been a thief, and you may have been a selfish bastard, but do not deny that both of you acted in the best interest of others.”
“Just because you do not know me, Eric, does not mean that I haven’t made it my business to know you and Sookie Stackhouse. You want to know how I know so much about you, it’s because Godric asked me to watch over you before he met the sun. I knew for years that Godric was unhappy with his existence. I did not want to accept that he would leave this existence. After the bombing, Godric called me, asking me to look out for you. He told me of an extraordinary human girl that helped him, the same girl he said captured your heart. I watched both of you stumble and fall, struggle to find your way to each other. For a moment, I had hope,” Isis offers with a small smile. “Hope that you were traveling the same path together, but it was short-lived.”
Isis laughs sardonically. “You two had the worst luck in the world. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. So many times, I wondered if the two of you would survive. It became harder to keep track of you as your lives drifted further apart. I hated that I was not with you at the Vamp Camp, but I thought it more prudent to guard Sookie. Every time you left Louisiana, I stayed to watch her. She is as Godric said, extraordinary. I am honored to have befriended her.”
At Eric’s incredulous look, Isis smiles again. “Don’t believe me; read the journals. Sookie left all the answers you will need in them. I swear on Godric.”
“Now, where was I? Oh yes, it was during the fifteenth century that I found Appius. He was traveling through the Sacrum Romanum Imperium. We encountered one another in Prague. He was embittered by what he saw as Godric’s betrayal. He’d spent nearly a year regrowing his arm, and by then all traces of Godric and you were gone. Appius searched for years, but finally gave up. He was a cruel vampire to begin with but his anger with Godric made him worse. By the time I found him, he already turned five vampires, but only one survived under his tutelage: Victor Madden.”
Eric’s eyes close in dismay. “Madden is de Castro’s second in command,” he acknowledges.
Isis nods. “Madden was an attentive pupil, doing everything he could to please Appius, but Appius never cared for any of his progeny. He made them all for sport, enjoying making, and then subsequently breaking each one. Victor Madden is the only progeny Appius ever made to survive beyond a century. Most met the True Death at the hands of their maker. Others sought the True Death to escape Appius. So, do not think Godric was dishonorable in stealing you from his vampire brother. He gifted you with immortality and prevented your enslavement at the hands of that monster.”
“A monster that now wishes to enslave me by making me barter my existence for Sookie’s,” Eric retorts bitterly.
Isis looks thoughtfully at Eric. “I am not sure. When I left Appius in Prague, I made it very clear to him that I would not tolerate his interference with Godric or any of the vampires in his line. I reiterated the same warning to him when I learned of Godric’s final passing. As of now, I do not understand what motivates Appius in all of this. He knows that I will not hesitate to end him or his progeny.”
“Logic has no place with those that are delusional, self-righteous, or vindictive. Vampires like de Castro and Madden want to watch the world burn for their enjoyment.”
“Then they shall burn with it,” Isis declares confidently.