The candles on the birthday cake give off a warm golden glow as they flicker in the darkened room. The people nearest and dearest to Sookie surround her and sing happy birthday; some more in key than others. She smiles and looks lovingly at the people surrounding her, though her smile falters when she glances at the empty chair at the far end of the table. Sookie had requested that chair be left empty in remembrance of those that could not be with them. It still tugs on Sookie’s heart strings to think about her beloved friend no longer here with them. Eric sits beside her, his cold hand grasping her warm one as he feels the melancholia slip through her.
“I miss her too, Lover,” he whispers pressing a soft kiss against her temple as the well-wishers end the song. Sookie turns her head to give Eric a watery smile and he smiles reassuringly at her. “It’s time, Lover. Make your birthday wish,” he says encouragingly.
Sookie lets out a shaky breath. She had thought long and hard about what she wanted most for her birthday this year. The telepath had no need of anything of a materialistic nature; she’d been raised a country girl with simple needs. Sookie still had trouble adjusting to the fact that she would never want for anything ever again thanks to Eric’s limitless fortune and her own sizable income thanks to her time as a lawyer with Desmond Cataliades.
The things Sookie valued most were the friends and family she had in her life. As she looked around the room, she smiled at the sight of her father embracing Francesca. The brothers, Edward and Richard Plantagenet (though they have shortened it to Page), had been adorable years ago when they questioned Corbett about his intentions with their mother. Sookie had to hand it to her father; he’d remained unflappable under the rapid-fire questions from the would-be English kings. Now the boys laughingly refer to Corbett as their step-father and Sookie as their step-sister, a fact Eric is less than thrilled with since they keep interrupting his ‘Sookie nookie time’. But Eric knows the boys will be gone soon; they have to get back to the Northern Empire where Jenny and Misty are stuck because of assignments for their college education. They had Skyped with Sookie earlier in the day to wish her a happy birthday, wishing they could be at the family party. The boys (Sookie still hates calling them that since they are older than her) agreed to wait to turn the girls until they finished university. Misty would have been turned a few years ago, but she kept taking courses and getting as many degrees as she can. Jenny, however, has been working towards a duel doctorate in child psychology and classic literature. Her own experiences and Francesca’s influence were the driving forces behind that.
Sookie’s gaze falls on her beautiful daughter Lindy who stands with Gawain’s arm around her shoulders. Things hadn’t always been easy between Lindy and Sookie; Lindy’s teenage years had been especially hard because of Alleck’s sudden death when she was fourteen. No matter how much reassurance Lindy had been given, she always suspected foul play in her father’s death. There was too much bad blood between Sookie and Alleck not to think that someone would have retaliated against Alleck on Sookie’s behalf. After all, she was Queen Benelux, though she despised that title. Only the twins ever called her by her title, usually shortening her name to ‘Queen Bee’. How could Lindy not suspect foul play when both Eric and Gawain had wanted her father dead for the way he treated Sookie?
The relationship between Sookie and Alleck had deteriorated rapidly once Sookie began her relationship with Eric. Alleck couldn’t accept that he had lost his wife, even though they had already been divorced by the time Sookie and Eric met. He was increasingly belligerent with Sookie and once he’d attempted to get physical with her. The human had barely survived; Eric would have ended the pathetic man’s life if it hadn’t been for the tears and pleading of Lindy. From that point on, Eric had put a stop to all contact between Alleck and Sookie. Even Alleck’s meetings with Lindy were in public places under constant supervision. Never would Eric allow Alleck the opportunity to hurt one of the girls he considered his daughters.
Alleck’s death had been a single car accident while driving back from visiting Lindy in Eijsden. There were no skid marks on the road indicating that Alleck had tried to break, nor were there any other witnesses to verify what had happened. All the police could tell was that he had lost control of the vehicle and it went over the edge, plummeting to the ravine below. Extremely suspicious to the fourteen year old girl.
After Alleck’s death, Lindy rebelled against her mother, pushing the boundaries of what she could and couldn’t do. Lindy fought against Eric’s jurisdiction, trying to do everything she could to get in trouble. It was difficult to be a rebellious teenager when her stepfather was King Benelux and her personal guardian, Gawain, was the king’s most skilled warrior. No Supe would allow her to get away with anything, unless of course that Supe had a death wish.
Lindy finally changed her ways when she was ironically in a single car accident at the age of nineteen. She’d been driving while under the influence after having slipped away from her shadow as she had taken to calling her bodyguard. Well, she hadn’t so much as slipped away from Gawain as incited a riot inside of a bar to distract him. She’d been driving through the streets of Bern when she’d lost control of her car and slammed into a brick building. Gawain, having had Lindy’s blood to keep better track of her, found her, unresponsive and covered in blood thanks to all the shattered glass. However, the injury that worried him the most was the piece of metal that had been lodged in her abdomen. Gawain had been in the process of extracting Lindy from the smashed vehicle when Eric had arrived, ready to destroy whoever had injured the girl he viewed as his dotter. It took careful maneuvering from both ancient vampires to keep Lindy from bleeding out as they tried to get her out of the car. Too much blood would have turned her, a decision neither vampire wanted to make unless there was no other way.
As Lindy recuperated, it wasn’t her mother’s tears and pleas for Lindy to change her ways that made the teenager wise up, nor was it the angry decree of her vampire step-father. Friends and family alike pleaded with Lindy to give up her destructive path, but she heard none of them.
That is until Gawain came to visit her.
He was the one person who had not visited Lindy while she was convalescing. The teenage girl refused to admit it, but it hurt to know that her guardian couldn’t be bothered to visit her. It wasn’t until three nights after her accident that Gawain finally showed up. Lindy stubbornly refused to acknowledge his presence, and Gawain refused to speak. The silence stretched between them for nearly an hour until Gawain shifted from his stance by the door to sit on the bed looking at Lindy. The Welsh vampire told the stubborn flaxen-haired telepath that he refused to watch her try to kill herself anymore. Gawain vowed to leave that night, disappear from the Benelux for as long as Lindy lived. He couldn’t bear to watch the woman he’d grown to love more than anything destroy herself for no reason. He vowed to love her for the rest of his days, but he couldn’t watch her die and that was the path she was walking if she continued her life as she had lived it.
Gawain’s quiet, yet impassioned speech had shocked Lindy. She’d thought he looked at her like a little girl, that he couldn’t see the woman she had become. Part of her anger stemmed from the fact that she’d been in love with Gawain for as long as she can remember and felt betrayed because she thought he might have had a hand in hurting her father. When Gawain had moved to leave, Lindy clutched at his arm, begging him not to leave her too. She loved him too much to lose him.
“Blow out your candles, Mom, and make a wish. The babies want some cake,” Lindy teases as she rubs her pregnant belly. Sookie grins happily at her daughter, thankful that the dark times with her daughter are behind them. Gawain and Lindy had begun the bonding process the night he threatened to leave so that they could feel the truth of the others words. They completed the bond quickly, though Gawain waited until she was twenty-one before they married. Everyone has teased Gawain mercilessly in the five years that they have been married because Lindy always seemed to be barefoot and pregnant thanks to the new technology allowing viable sperm to be harvested from vampires. Two of their children are drooling over Sookie’s birthday cake while Pam holds the third in her arms, waving a Tiffany’s rattle to keep little Angelica entertained.
“Go on, Lover; it’s time,” Eric reiterates as he smiles at Sookie encouragingly, knowing what it is she plans to do. It is something they have discussed at great length since the idea first came to Sookie. They have researched as much as they can, exhausted every lead in the hope it will shed some light on the situation for them. Their findings, though few, have all been consistent.
A Cluviel Dor is one of the most powerful magical objects to exist in the Supernatural world. It can only be created by the Fae race, and it is a gift created only through true love. A great deal of magic is required to make such an artifact, and not all of those that try are successful in its creation. Although the Fae are the only ones that have the ability to create a Cluviel Dor, the magic harnessed inside the object may be used by anyone. It is a single wish with the power to grant the one making the wish anything their heart desires.
The potent contained inside a Cluviel Dor makes it a highly coveted item. People have killed to possess such an item. The problem is that Cluviel Dors do not look the same; they are an object of significance to the receiver of such a gift.
It is quite difficult to find something that can be disguised in something as innocuous as a hair pin or as grandiose as a piano.
Sookie had never even heard of such an item until after her beloved grandmother’s passing. It was during the settling of Adele Stackhouse’s estate that Sookie learned of the existence of a Cluviel Dor. Sookie had thought her grandmother’s estate had been settled by the will filed with Sid Matt Lancaster Jr. in Bon Temps, which divided everything equally between Sookie and her father Corbett. Jason and Hadley, although both still alive, had only received one hundred dollars each; needless to say, the two selfish members of the Stackhouse family had been furious and demanded to get an equal share of everything. The will was ironclad, however, and there was nothing Jason or Hadley could do about it.
A month after Adele’s passing, Desmond Cataliades had shown up in Benelux asking to speak with Sookie in regards to her late grandmother. The demon lawyer produced a second will belonging to Adele Stackhouse, though this will differed in its contents. The will Mr. Cataliades had in his possession dealt with the distribution of the magical items that Adele Stackhouse had in her possession. Sookie knew that she was part Fae, but had never known how close the Fae kin were in her family tree. It turns out that her grandmother had an affair with a half-Fae man named Fintan, which resulted in both Corbett and Linda. It was Fintan that crafted the fairy love token for Adele after the birth of their daughter, knowing that he would no longer be able to visit her in this world. His enemies were too great, and Fintan wanted to keep his family safe; to give them a chance at a normal life.
What’s so great about normalcy anyway?
Fintan gave the token to Adele on their last night together. He didn’t tell her what the item was, merely that it would grant her heart’s most fervent desire if she only wished for it while holding the item. There were many times over the years that Adele thought about using Fintan’s gift, but she never did; it never seemed like the right time, so she tucked the item away, intending to save it for a rainy day.
When Sookie had been a little girl and her telepathy became noticeable, Adele had contacted Desmond Cataliades seeking his advice. Desmond knew as soon as he met Sookie that she had the essential spark of the Fae, which had activated the gift of telepathy the demon had bestowed on the family of his closest friend. Adele knew Bon Temps wasn’t the place for an extraordinary child like Sookie to grow up. She needed to see the world, but more importantly, she needed to be accepted for who she was without having to hide her abilities.
That is why Adele called in her favor with Desmond. He’d promised to come to Adele’s aid if ever she had need while she had been pregnant with Corbett. She’d never taken advantage of the lawyer’s offer until her extraordinary granddaughter was a child. Adele asked Desmond for help with Sookie. What was she supposed to do with a part-fairy telepath in Bon Temps?
Desmond’s solution had been simple, though it hurt both Adele and Corbett to hear. Sookie left the comfort of her familial home, the security of her family, to become the ward of Desmond Cataliades, her godfather. It was the best solution possible; Desmond could teach Sookie how to use and control her telepathy while protecting her from those that would seek to take advantage of her. The demon lawyer was as respected in the Supe world as he was feared; no one would dare cross him. It was the perfect environment for Sookie to grow up in. Not only was she protected and taught about her abilities, but she received the best education possible while seeing the world. She knew that she wanted to be a lawyer from having watched Desmond while growing up. Plus it seemed like a great way to put her telepathy to use without others realizing she had it. It was while she was studying in Germany that she met Alleck. What was supposed to be a fling turned into something more when Sookie became pregnant. Rather than return to America, Alleck convinced Sookie to stay in Europe and the two married. It wasn’t ever a love match, but they tried as best they could to be a normal, happy family for Lindy. The problem was that Alleck didn’t like that his wife was a strong, intelligent, and independent woman; he wanted her to stay at home, raise their children (since Jenny and Misty had come to live with them due to Hadley’s incompetence), and depend on him for everything.
The qualities that had attracted Alleck to Sookie when they were studying at the university were the very things he hated about her as his wife. He didn’t like that she was more successful than him; he struggled to keep his family’s hotel afloat while she opened a highly successful law firm, the European office of Mr. Cataliades’ firm. Their marriage quickly deteriorated and Sookie ultimately divorced Alleck. It wasn’t long after the divorce that Sookie was asked to act as a negotiator for the newly established Queen of Louisiana, Pamela Ravenscroft, to hire Mee and Teague away from the King of the Northern Empire, Eric Northman, who was also Pam’s maker. If there was one thing Pam had learned from her maker, it was to surround herself with those she could trust, or more importantly, those her maker trusted. The negotiation was a success; the Queen of Louisiana gained her two sheriffs, but King Benelux got the better end of the deal; in Sookie Stackhouse he found the woman he wanted to spend eternity with.
For nearly two decades, Eric and Sookie have ruled Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern Germany, and Denmark. They are beloved by both Supes and humans the world over. Their kingdom is one of the most prosperous in the world for both humans and Supes. The reign of Eric and Sookie Northman has been extremely peaceful though it hasn’t been without its share of loss. The most recent loss had been Adele, who lived to be over one hundred. Her passing, while expected, still cut deeply. Sookie had just been coming to grips with the pain of her loss when her godfather had shown up with the additional will. Desmond came with deeds to properties, stocks, and other assets totaling over half a billion Euro.
But all of that paled in comparison with the Cluviel Dor. The ability to do anything she wanted with the magical love token was both awesome and fear-inducing. Sookie knew instantly how she wanted to use the Cluviel Dor, but she took her time, weighing all of her options, making sure her decision was being made for all the right reasons and not for her own selfish gain. Sookie discussed her decision with Eric at great length, and he agreed that keeping a Cluviel Dor hidden away was a waste of a precious gift, and would only bring trouble to their door.
But how to use the Cluviel Dor had been the question.
Sookie and Eric desire nothing of a materialistic nature. They have family and friends, yet there are some they have lost along the way that they miss, some whose loss is still fresh no matter how much time has passed. There is one such loss that still stings for both Eric and Sookie. This person had not been in their lives long, but her effect was extremely powerful. She helped shape their world, guide them along their path.
“Lover?” Eric raises an eyebrow at Sookie, silently asking if she has changed her mind about her decision.
Sookie smiles at Eric reassuringly as she rubs her thumb across the smooth surface of the Cluviel Dor. “I wish Angela was still alive,” Sookie utters softly before blowing out the candles on her cake. The Cluviel Dor in Sookie’s hand glows and hums with energy as the magic inside is unleashed. Gasps fall from the lips of the others in the room as the light swirls around the empty chair sitting at the end of the table as voices chanting in the language of the Fae grows in intensity.
The light fades and the chanting ceases. All eyes focus on the now occupied chair at the end of the table.
“It worked,” Sookie whispers as tears of joy stream down her face. Sitting in the chair at the end of the table is her dear friend, the creator of the braid, the one who made all of this possible.