Chapter 53 – Change is NOT good
July 19, 2004
Sookie woke the next morning and snacked on the crackers and soda that Hunter had left for her. She wasn’t sure if it helped because every day she still vomited shortly after she left the bed and she figured today would be no different. While she lounged in bed, enjoying that if she didn’t move she didn’t puke, she replayed her party in her head. Well, she didn’t replay the PARTY; she replayed what happened after Eric arrived. Since he needed to return to the Palace before dawn to attend a meeting, he only had about an hour to stay with her. She marveled at the fact that he flew all the way from New Orleans to spend just one hour with her only to need to turn around and fly back. She didn’t mind that she needed to quickly say goodnight to her guests so she could give Eric all her attention for the hour. None of the guests minded either – even Hunter – they all knew the situation and were happy that Eric could get away even if his birthday visit was short. Everyone agreed: Sookie needed the reunion.
When they were alone, Eric had explained that like any future visits, he needed to surprise her tonight. In fact, only The Queen, Rasul and Desmond even knew he left the palace. Rasul was spending the evening in a conference room making it appear that he was meeting with Eric. They even had some of Eric’s voice recorded to solidify the ruse. They were both thankful for the secret passages within the palace that allowed for the deception.
They enjoyed a frenzied reunion with some very exciting sex and several blood exchanges. Lord knew she would be sore now if they hadn’t exchanged. He also presented her with the charm he’d saved to give her personally. She toyed now with the Freya charm that Eric had created with the help of his metal worker. ‘It must be nice for him to work on something for Eric that’s not a weapon,’ she giggled to herself. Eric wanted her to wear this Goddess calling upon her magic for fertility. She cried, of course, when he gave it to her but he knew he would spend some of the hour consoling her so he just held her and said nothing except words of comfort. He’d warned her that he would not return until some of his reinforcements arrived and Sookie took that news well. After enjoying her mental review of the visit, she knew it was time to start her day, so she prepared for the nausea and stood from the bed.
An hour later, she was finally ready for breakfast and greeted Gran and Potts in the kitchen.
And so began the routine of her life without Eric.
Eric rose about 2 hours before sunrise and spent a moment enjoying the scent of Sookie on his sheets. Feeling depraved, but not caring about it, he flew to his room immediately upon his return to the palace after visiting Sookie and rolled in his sheets to cover them with her scent. Then he reluctantly showered before his meeting with the Queen. The Queen knew he was gone, but not where and he didn’t want her or anyone in the palace to know he’d left for Shreveport. If she suspected that his story about checking in with the local pack was a lie, she smartly kept it to herself. Their working relationship deteriorated every day and the Queen was struggling with that. The bottom line was; she had more to lose than Eric did if he left the state.
He checked an email from Arthmael, an old friend from Europe, and was pleased to see he would be arriving the first week of August. Arthmael was 1200 years dead and a formidable fighter. Even his name meant warrior prince and Eric had high hopes he would like Louisiana enough to marry his Queen. If not, he had already agreed to provide his arms and blade as needed. The delay for his arrival was just the necessary contract closure since he was currently employed by the King of France as an enforcer. Eric had already arranged for the payment needed to end his contract to be wired – all at the Queen’s expense of course. He looked forward to his friend’s arrival so he could reconnect AND have another opportunity to go home.
The final thoughts of home had him calling his beloved for their nightly call. For Eric, this was his new routine of life without Sookie.
“We were able to observe the party and discovered that the attendees were limited and the witch needed to greet each one personally at the barrier for entrance. We don’t believe there is a way on the property, though the witch has agreed to do some research. We do, however, have a method for causing the miscarriage.” He stopped only for a second to give Appius a chance to interject, and when he did not he continued. “She receives soup and pastries everyday. These items are picked up in Shreveport every morning and transported by the Northman’s dayman. The witch has indicated that putting a spell on the soup is the best method.” Again, he paused only for a second. “I have the witch in Shreveport prepared to do this whatever day we choose. The timing is not exact, but the witch believes once the soup is consumed, she will miscarry about 6 hours later. We will need to be in position near the palace.”
“Excellent. What of our spy in the palace?”
“His ability to report to us has become limited. He is confined to his room with no electronics – as a precaution – they have no evidence of his treason. Only information given to his glamoured donor is available.” He pulled out his printed report from the donor. “He reports that Northman is present at all times in the palace though there is some discord between Northman and the Queen. Wybert guards the Queen personally, and her new child has her own guard only about 200 years dead – so that is not a problem for us. He suggests sparing only Rasul as he will be able to immediately continue with day to day administration for the state. No others are worthy of being spared. The wards are a bit tricky, but according to the schedule he received from Northman, these wards need to be refreshed weekly by blood draws IN PERSON. He believes Fridays, when they plan to do the draws but before the ward is refreshed, is our only window of opportunity. This refresh is scheduled for 10PM in court.”
“The wards are down during this time?”
“No, but they are at their weakest. We will need a witch to assist with bringing them down.”
“I have a half daemon half witch on staff Master.” Felipe spoke for the first time during the meeting. “Victor, share all the information you have on the wards with him so he can prepare.”
With a bow to Felipe he responded. “Your Majesty, I took the liberty of sharing the information already. He has departed for New Orleans so he can be close while trying to test the ward until we select our Friday night. He has Lorena’s blood.”
“Why does he need Lorena’s blood?”
Since Appius asked, Victor turned his attention to the older vampire. “You’ll like this. Lorena can actually get into the palace since her child is inside and his blood is part of the ward. The witch/daemon believes he can use her blood to break the ward and will test this next Friday.”
“Why would Northman leave a whole like that open? Couldn’t they just have invited him into the ward?”
“This wasn’t Northman’s decision. He argued to have Compton’s entry be by invite only. The Queen insisted that Compton could be trusted and she only agreed to keep his access to the palace in general; he does not have the ability to participate in key meetings. They’ve disagreed several times over what Sophie-Anne called Eric’s paranoia.”
“Further proving that Andre ran the kingdom.” Again, a tidbit spoken by the actual King of Nevada who was uncharacteristically quiet at this meeting. Victor REALLY didn’t want to know what happened to him at Appius’ hands for the failures during the Summit.
At least Appius agreed with his child’s comment. “It appears that way.”
Still keeping his focus to Appius, still very much in control of the state even if it was behind the scenes, Victor continued. “I suggest Friday July 30th. It will be the last Friday we have before another older vampire joins Eric at the palace as reinforcement, according to our spy’s limited information. With Eric gone, the oldest vampire we have to deal with is Wybert, and he is only 600 years dead.” His focus switched again back to Felipe. “Your Majesty, at 700 you will have no problem besting him and we have Appius’ army as well.” He did not mention Appius being at the fight. Appius had clearly assigned the fight to his child expecting a victory; he had no intention of making his presence in the states known – yet. Victor longed to know the purpose behind the ancient vampires need for this dethronement. The telepath would be a prize, but certainly not worthy enough motivation for all this planning. No, Victor was positive there was something much more personal involved.
“How reliable is the information on the arrival date of this new vampire? If your spy is confined, how would he know?”
“The maid staff was told to prepare a room for this vampire, and the fools talk in the hallways.”
“Excellent. July 30th it is.”
“UGH!” Sookie cried from her room.
Gran made her way to the door. “Everything OK baby girl?”
“Hmph! Not really. I’m not showing at all, but I can’t get my jean shorts buttoned!” She tried to pull the button to the button hole again. “You can come in if you want Gran, see this for yourself.”
“What about Pam?”
“She wouldn’t care if you were in here, but it really doesn’t matter since she started sleeping downstairs last night. She and Amelia needed some alone time.”
Gran entered in time to see Sookie flat on the bed trying to get her jean shorts buttoned. Her lip almost bled when she bit it to stop from laughing at Sookie. “Why don’t you just put on a dress?”
“Hunter and I are practicing for t-ball today.”
“Don’t you have any shorts with elastic?”
“BE CAREFUL GRAN! Those words could wake Pam from her rest.” They both chuckled. “I don’t, but I guess I’ll order some and just play t-ball in a dress today. It’s too hot for yoga pants.”
“Well baby, this is all to be expected and all wonderful. Roo is getting bigger and expanding your waistline You keep enjoying your pastries and just accept the changes in your body. That’s my next great grandbaby you’re growing in there.”
“I know Gran. Can you believe it?”
She shook her head. “Sometimes I can’t. Well, if you promised Hunter play time, you best get going. Where are you playing? I’d like to watch.”
“Gran, it’s up the hill, on the flat spot. I don’t know if you should make that trip.”
“I’ll ask Michelle for help. She can get me up there.”
“OK Gran, I’ll meet you up there in about 20 minutes. I just need to pee one last time before I get dressed and gather the equipment with my little man.”
“How about a picnic lunch up there?”
“That’s a great idea. Let me get Potts and Michelle on that. Let’s meet in 45 minutes so I have time to pack lunch.”
With the help of Potts, Michelle and a few Weres, the group enjoyed the afternoon at the top of the hill with a picnic and an impromptu ball game.
After their game, the gang started heading towards the house. She’d texted Eric that she’d be back in the house for their daily call around 7:00PM, which still gave them plenty of talk time before his meeting at first dark.
Alcide was commenting on the game while they walked. “Sweets, you’ve got quite a pitching arm there.”
“Played in high school. I guess it’s just muscle me . . .” That’s all she got out before she collapsed; Potts was next to her immediately. The pain was too great for Sookie to talk so Hunter spoke for her in disjointed sentences like her thoughts. “the baby . . . hurts where the baby is . . . like a knife . . . call Ludwig.”
Alcide had already started dialing and the group froze until he was done. As soon as he hung up, he was in command mode: “Remy and Peter get Gran back to the house. Hunter, I know this is upsetting, but I need you to stay close to Potts and Sookie in case Sookie can’t speak for a bit – at least ‘til we get her to Ludwig. Can you do that?” His head nod was wild as he was upset for his Aunt Sookie and Roo. “Potts, you and Michelle are with me. I’m going to carry Sookie to Gran’s room. Mustapha and Jason – you run ahead and set up the ultrasound equipment.” Just as the group broke, Sookie’s cell phone rang. Alcide handed it to Potts who told Eric what was happening. The group walking Sookie carefully back to the house could hear the growl from Eric through the phone, and Sookie started crying harder. “Sweets, I need you to calm down – please?”
By the time they made it to Gran’s room, Ludwig was already there and ready with the ultrasound. Alcide’s heart broke for Sookie when he placed her on the bed and noticed that the arm he had under her bottom was coated in her blood. He thought he smelled it, but seeing how much it was had him losing hope for the baby. Taking Hunter with him, he backed out quickly. He didn’t want to accidentally see anything inappropriate if he could help it, but his bigger motivation was to remove his hopeless thoughts from Sookie’s ability. That would not help her at all right now. He could hear Potts telling Eric she was putting him on speaker so she could help Ludwig undress Sookie. The Viking was not going to be happy. Sookie was in pain and it was a while before full dark. There was no question he’d be in the air the minute he could: Queen’s safety be damned. He removed his shirt and washed his arm while Hunter stared at his actions with wide eyes. He told Hunter to keep the fact that he’d seen all that blood quiet before they joined everyone. Even without his Were senses, he could feel the living room was thick with grief. Gran spoke to him. “You aren’t fooling me.”
“What’s that Gran?”
“You had to take off a bloody shirt I guess.”
He nodded and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
Back in Gran’s room, Michelle helped Ludwig position Sookie for an ultrasound quickly. With all the blood they saw on Alcide, none of the women held much hope for the baby’s survival. Sookie screamed in agony again. With her nose up, Ludwig sniffed the air. ‘I smell magic.’ “Get me the witch! “ She ordered to Potts. Going on instinct, she ignored the ultrasound for the moment and placed her hands firmly over Sookie’s uterus. After 5 minutes of silence, she looked up to Sookie in between what she now knew were contractions. “Sookie, you’re having contractions – hard ones. I’m giving you some medicine to stop them and I need the witch to help me determine if magic caused this. I’m hooking up an IV now.” The process took about 30 minutes before she was hooked to the IV and asleep.
Ludwig proceeded with the ultrasound even through Sookie’s sleep. The room was silent as Ludwig examined the uterus and baby on the screen. If seemed like forever that Eric waited for news as he paced in his room. When he couldn’t take it any longer, he barked into the phone, “WILL YOU GIVE ME AN UPDATE?”
“Northman, I’m working as fast as I can.” She turned to Potts. “I want that witch!”
“She was asleep with Pam; she’s coming in from the other house. She’s on her way now.”
Finally, after a few more looks at the monitor she reported to the anxious father. “I can see the baby is intact and the contractions appeared to have stopped as well. We need to find out if this is magic so we can reverse it since the miscarriage could start again any minute!”
Amelia ran into the room “What’s going on?”
“I need you to determine if a spell is causing this miscarriage.”
“What spell, what’s happening?”
“What’s happening is I’m concerned that a spell may have made it onto or into something in this house and it’s causing a miscarriage. I stopped the process for now, but if the magic is still present it could start again. DO SOMETHING DAMMIT!”
“Fine fine. I need to know about Sookie’s day.”
From the speaker phone, Eric gritted out. “Search for a spell and if one is present, reverse it, NOW!
“I need to know what could have been spelled. I can’t just start trying spells willy nilly. Potts, come out to the living room with me please.”
“Fine – do your research. Ludwig, I’m getting into the air and will be there as soon as I can.”
“Isn’t it too light yet?”
“It’s dusk; I’ll have some minor burns that will likely heal on the way after the sun sets. I’m filling up from a donor on the way out. If she wakes. . .”
“She won’t wake before you’re here. Should we call you with an update?”
“It’ll only slow me down.”
Once in the living room, where everyone who wasn’t on patrol was waiting for an update, Amelia asked her questions. “I need to know about Sookie’s day today. Can you guys give me a rundown?”
Their faces showed confusion and at first they said nothing. Hunter broke their silence. “Guys, Ludwig thinks this was done by magic to Aunt Sookie, she needs to investigate how so they can reverse it. I delivered ice, soda and crackers to Aunt Sookie’s room before she woke up. Gran, when did she come out for breakfast?”
“Hang on Hunt, I need details. Were the crackers new, just delivered or something? How about the soda?”
Potts sped up the investigation. “Amelia, the only new things in the house today are the same new things we have most every day.”
Alcide groaned and added with a look to Mustapha, “the soup and the pastries.”
“FUCK!” Mustapha exclaimed, “I’ve had a TAIL?”
“It would appear that is the case.” Alcide confirmed then spoke to Amelia again. “The container is in the fridge, she only ate half. Can you detect a spell?”
“I can try. This whole house is so full of magic it might be hard though. I’ll go check.”
Amelia bolted from the kitchen, and went directly to Gran’s bedroom. “I have the spell, I know what to do.”
An hour later, Potts emerged from Gran’s room with a wide smile. “The baby is alive and still in the womb. It looks like everything is Ok.”
Gran was the first to break down. She was sure the baby would be lost and couldn’t believe their blessings. Jason who was feeling very emotional since he’d lost his own baby not too long ago actually moved to Gran and clung to her. He didn’t cry, but he couldn’t speak either for fear the slightest action would have him blubbering. There were just too many men in the room for that.
Amelia joined everyone in the living room, guilt written on her face. Gran called to her. “Amelia, what is it?”
“It was magic. If I hadn’t spent time with Pam this morning and then slept with her while she rested, I could’ve detected it. Sookie could’ve lost. . .”
“Hush now. Come sit with me.” Pam had since come into the house after rising and pushed Amelia towards the seat next to Gran. “This was not your fault. Nobody is expecting you to be a 24X7 magic sensor. Somehow something made it in here that was spelled, right?” The witch nodded. “Your ward is for PEOPLE with ill intent, right?” More nodding. “Last night was the first night you and Pam had private time, right? The first night Sookie felt good enough to sleep alone, and you deserved that time. I don’t want to hear anything about this being your fault again. Understood?” Gran’s voice had turned forceful at the end, and Amelia got the point. Gran then turned to Mustapha and told him to knock off the pouting because it wasn’t his fault either and we needed everyone’s head in the game.
Jason, clearly confused at the new layer of tension spoke up. “Gran, what do you mean, everyone’s head in the game?”
“Jason, the attempted miscarriage was a distraction. Eric’s already in the air I guess?” A nod from Pam confirmed that. “So we can’t warn him that we confirmed this was magic – but I believe this is part of a bigger plan.”
As Eric said he would, he stopped in the donor room and fed from two donors to provide as much fresh blood as possible to heal. He left a message for the Queen, who did not answer her phone, and took off into the air flying faster than ever before. He made it to Bon Temps in about 2 hours.
By the time he’d landed, Sookie had been moved to her room so Gran’s could be cleaned. As Ludwig said, Sookie was still asleep from her medicine and Pam was sitting beside her in the bed, simply holding her friend’s hand.
“Eric, Roo is fine. We did confirm . . . this wasn’t natural.” She stopped to take a breath. “This was a spell delivered via her soup today.”
“FUCK! Now the Queen is at risk. I focused on getting to Sookie; I got in the air. . .”
“Of course you did, and even if we knew this was malicious, you would’ve flown here anyway.”
“Yes, but I might have hidden the Queen, or done something to protect her. Get to Fangtasia.” She looked horrified at his request. “Pam, I know you want to be here, but we are all in danger. We MUST appear strong. Stay in the office making an appearance every 30 minutes. Call Rasul on the drive to warn him.”
She excused herself immediately and he joined his wife on the bed. Finally, in the comfort of home and family he relaxed knowing Sookie and Roo were safe. It was an indulgence given their circumstances, but the damage was done. He’d left the Queen with only the protection of the ward and some weaker vampires. It was exactly what ‘someone’ wanted.
His indulgence over, he called Godric. “I think we’ll need asylum, can you arrange that with Stan?”
“Yes. What is going on, you’re angry and were near heartbroken.”
He quickly explained the situation and Godric ended the call to inform Stan that his child and the extended family would likely become residents of Texas – possibly before the night ended.
“The ward is down.”
Felipe raised his sword and commanded his army. “Engage!” With that order, Felipe and several dozen vampires moved into the Palace with ease: only a few guards were in position outside and the ward was in fact down. They made their way easily to the throne room, where they finally met some resistance. The communication devices on all the guards had alerted those in the palace that an attack had commenced. The Queen saw the amount of vampires flooding into her throne room and knew she was done for. Due to Sookie’s miscarriage, her oldest and strongest vampire protector was her own child, and he was still younger than Felipe. One unselfish moment was spent realizing that Sookie’s miscarriage was part of the ploy, but given the circumstances, she truly only did give it one moment. She didn’t miss that Bill had switched sides for the fight since his maker arrived with Felipe. She also cried out when she witnessed her newest child being taken as a captive in chains. That likely meant torture in her future. As she scanned the room, a vampire from Felipe’s entourage was binding Rasul in silver, she guessed they knew he ran the daily operations and would be tortured to continue for the new regime.
The Queen had never been a fighter, always counting on Andre and her Berts to fight for her. When she saw her precious Wybert fall at Felipe’s hands, she stood tall and accepted her fate. All other warriors for Louisiana had fallen or were being bound by vampires. Felipe approached her with a knowing smile on his face. Behind him, Lorena and Bill stood as well. She looked at Bill. “What did you do?”
“Not much, I had a glamoured donor serving as a spy, you recall you didn’t take their phones like Northman wanted. A witch was also able to use Lorena’s blood to break the ward since you insisted that I be part of the ward, not just an invitee. Again, Northman argued against that, and you chose to ignore him. If you had listened to him, the takeover wouldn’t be happening. Of course, if he was here, this might also have prevented the takeover. Alas, he needed to be with his precious blood bag since they’re losing their little baby Roo. So sweet don’t you think?”
“But why Bill? You offered me your fealty, I saved you from your situation in Seattle years ago and I spared your life when you took Sookie. Why?”
“My fealty was a debt to you – not loyalty Sophie-Anne. You still had me for almost 100 years. When you die, my debt goes with it. I will be free.”
Felipe cackled from his position. “That’s not true Bill.”
Bill’s head spun towards Felipe quickly. “What do you mean?”
“Your debt was to the State of Louisiana, not Sophie-Anne. You’re mine now.”
Sophie-Anne enjoyed that last bit of information while Felipe raised his sword. She spent a moment thinking she would be with her Andre in a moment as she stood – eyes open and ready for the blade. It was over quickly, her head still rolling while disintegrating as Felipe moved to her throne and claimed the state.
He demanded fealty from the remaining Louisiana guards and Weres. Those who didn’t comply were killed. Once the swords were lowered, he asked for the assets in the room to be secured. In the throne room, that included two individuals: Octavia and Desmond. Desmond had quickly sent a text to his nieces sending them directly to Dallas as soon as he heard the attack start in New Orleans. At least they would be spared from an immediate trip to Vegas for what he was certain was an assessment of assets.
Once Felipe had established that he was collecting all assets from the state, he called all the armies he had positioned in each area, ready to order fealty or death from each Sheriff and subject from Louisiana. For those regions he also called for the collection of any registered assets. His last call was to Victor and it was the one he was most anxious to make. “Secure Fangtasia and collect the assets in Area 5. Remember my Master wants Northman and his progeny still undead.”
Victor smirked from his waiting location, about 20 minutes from Bon Temps. He turned to the tiger. “Drive to the Farmhouse.” While they drove, he sent a message to his minions in and around Fangtasia. A quick text confirmed they were prepared for their mission.
Quinn hated being part of this situation, but he would do it for his sister Frannie. The least he could do was try to make Sookie’s transfer to Las Vegas as painless as possible. He couldn’t risk his sister by disobeying Felipe. She was only 15 and currently locked in a cell in Vegas to ensure his compliance, but he would do whatever he could to help Sookie. With reluctance, he started the lead car in Victor’s caravan and drove to Bon Temps.
From the living room at the farmhouse, Hunter rose suddenly and ran to Sookie’s bedroom. He didn’t bother knocking and simply shouted through the door. “Uncle Eric, there’s bad men at the end of the driveway I can hear them and feel some voids. I heard them saying they have some soldiers at Fangtasia as well.”
‘FUCK! They’re here? Did the palace succumb already? What could they possibly wan . . .’ A look down at the woman in his arms had him cringing. They were here for his death, his fealty, Sookie or some combination of all three. “Hunter get Thalia and tell her to go check it out.” While he waited, he called Pam’s cell, Fangtasia’s main number, and when he got desperate, he tried Ginger. Nobody was answering.
What he did get was a call from Ron Flannigan, a loyal vampire from Area 5. “Sheriff, I just drove near Fangtasia. It’s been taken. We didn’t see your car, and you haven’t been there so I figured you didn’t know. There must be 100 vampires outside – an Army. We kept driving by.”
“Wait for instructions; we seem to have an envoy where I am.”
Only 15 minutes later, Thalia was in the farmhouse and met Eric who had taken position in the living room. “Master, it’s Victor. Sophie-Anne has fallen. They’ve taken Fangtasia as well.”
“What does he want? Do you know? Is it my death or my fealty?”
Completely out of character, Thalia shifted nervously before answering. “He wants your fealty and the state’s assets.” His eyes widened in realization and he gazed back at Sookie’s bedroom. “Yes, he . . . is here to collect Sookie, Potts and Alcide. All those you have registered as assets.”
“He can’t get within the perimeter, but he knows we can’t stay here forever. You’ll have to come in and if you delay, there will be penalties. He has an army with him, one we cannot defeat Eric. I can’t even imagine where he got all the resources.” When Eric said nothing, Thalia put a hand on his arm. “We have to be smart Eric. They won’t kill her and with your bond, they can’t even touch her. If we engage, we will be defeated. If we appear to comply, we can live to fight another day.”
Truthfully, he needed that guidance at the moment. Thalia was right about needing to live to fight. “I’ll meet him at the edge with Alcide.” He looked to his friend who nodded his acceptance. “Thalia, you stay here with the family.” Before walking out, he briefly explained the situation: That Potts and Alcide, both registered as state assets, were likely going to be taken to Vegas for an assessment. They readily agreed and offered to leave immediately. Then he dropped the bomb on Gran, Jason and Hunter. “I know you don’t get involved in our politics, but Sookie is a registered asset to the state. She will need to go as well. This is standard practice at a takeover – an assessment of the assets. I’m going to delay this so she can recover but the next day or two will be tense as Felipe will likely place guards all along the perimeter until I emerge with Sookie. I need you all to be strong; I need you to help Sookie recuperate while we figure out our next moves. Felipe and Victor tried to make Sookie lose the baby – I am NOT revealing that Ludwig was able to save Roo.” He knelt down to Hunter’s height. “I need you to stay – literally stay – in this house until I tell you otherwise. You also can’t go near the windows or the door. If anyone does discover you Hunter, you tell them you’re just the child of one of my construction workers.”
Jason spoke for the family, “We’ll stay put and go with the story for Hunter if needed Eric.” With a nod, Eric turned and left the house.
Eric approached Victor; his face betrayed nothing, but the constant flexing of his hands showed the duress he was under. “Victor.”
“I am the Regent of Louisiana, bow to me Northman.” Eric complied and bowed. “Well, we’re off to a good start. Now, turn over your three assets.”
“Packmaster Herveaux and his mate are available to you now. You will need to wait for my wife to heal. She’s not even out from the anesthesia she was under due to an emergency procedure she needed at home tonight.”
“Put her in something and carry her.”
“No. You will wait. For the moment, you can’t get onto the property and she needs to mend before she can travel. You don’t want a dead asset because she bled out, do you?” He moved just a hair closer, but still within the ward. “After all, it’s your fault she’s in her current condition. Consider it a consequence of your actions.”
Victor also moved closer, still just on his side of the barrier provided by the ward. “Consider the punishment you receive at Felipe’s hands for this delay the consequences of your actions Northman. Learn to play nice, or you won’t be playing at all.” He reached for his phone to share a picture of Pam, currently impaled by silver in the basement of Fangtasia. Other loyal vampires from Area 5 could be seen in restraints behind Pam. “I’ll consider this collateral. As I am heading to New Orleans to secure my position as Regent, my agent will be here tomorrow at first dark. You can keep the wolf and the daemon until you’re ready to hand over all three.”
Eric’s stance was tall and strong as he walked back into the living room, but his eyes told a different story. Gran could see, he was a man defeated. “Can we get to Texas or Mississippi Eric?”
“They have Pam, Indira and several other Area 5 vampires restrained as collateral. I need to strategize before we make a move. Alcide, can you join me in the kitchen?”
Before the moved from the living room, they heard a loud POP and turned to see the Ancient Pythoness in the living room. Eric ignored all protocol and moved toward her aggressively as it dawned on him: She’d known all of this was going to happen and she didn’t warn him.