Chapter 63 – Even Pledgings are Bigger in Texas

Chapter 63 – Even Pledgings are Bigger in Texas

September 10, 2004

The weeks following the blood bond spell were especially difficult for Sookie.  She moved like a robot trying her best to not feel anything; observing the horrors of court with complete detachment.  Ever since Barry had driven by the week after Cynthia disappeared, her hope was gone.  It was ironic really, now that Barry informed her that the rescue would be after Finard announced her pregnancy to Felipe, she despaired.  When she analyzed it, she realized that every night she’d been leaving her room with the hope that Eric would show up ready to save her.  The spies had given her no reason to think that; rather, she believed, that hope had become her coping mechanism.  These nights between now and the rescue were simply to be tolerated, endured or really, she thought, suffered.  Now when Bill entered her room or when she was paraded into court for her nightly submission, she barely thought about her actions and instead let muscle memory take over.  The plates of food she received were picked at never really tasted knowing it was all bland anyway.  Her only happiness was two additional visits from Bon Temps friends:  Reverend Collins and his wife came and an old friend from High School; JB DuRone.  Sookie had been assured by Quinn and Barry that these folks were safe since Benito and Russell arranged for Were guards at all times.  Their chatter in her head provided comfort including updates on her family, friends, and small tidbits of information about the rescue.

Now, they were only about a week away from Stan and Liz’s pledging.  She wished she was attending, even if she would have needed to travel with Felipe and Freyda to go, but she also realized what a good opportunity it was for them to strategize.  Perhaps Barry would make a trip after the pledging to update her.  While she was thinking about Barry’s next trip, she was startled by an unscheduled visit from Ludwig.  “What’s going on doctor?”

“Felipe is permitting another bagged blood exchange between you and Eric, I’m here to collect.”

She simply put her arm out and said, “Fine.”

Girly, this is almost over; you need to get a grip.’  “Is there anything you’d like to discuss?  You’ve been especially depressed lately.”

“I’m not depressed as much as I’ve just decided to become nothing.  It helps me endure each day.”

“Well, I’m worried.”  ‘We all are.  Your spies have reported your moods back to Eric; he’s beside himself over all this.’  With that statement, a few tears fell from Sookie’s eyes.  ‘He’s worried that you’re getting depressed like you were last fall.’  “OK, I’ve got your blood here.  I’ll be back shortly with your giant’s blood and you can drink.”

Ludwig exited Sookie’s room to head outside the palace where she could teleport to Bon Temps.  As she walked towards the courtyard nearest Sookie’s room, she was attacked by a new Were guard.  Sookie’s blood fell out of her open medical bag, split open from the force and spilled its contents into the grass.  Quinn came running since he was close and pulled the Were off Ludwig.  “What are you doing, you idiot!”

“She was leaving with blood.  I was told that was not permissible.”

“When did you start as a guard here?”

“Yesterday.”

“And before that you lived under a rock?”  A crowd had gathered and Frannie was helping Ludwig to her feet.

“What do you mean?”

“You don’t touch the doctor here.  Ever.  She was transporting blood at the request of the king you fool.  I’ve got to hold you until I hear from the king.”  He turned to Ludwig, “Can you take more blood from Sookie or will that be a problem for her?”

“I should wait a day.  I’ll speak to Felipe about a special diet for the next day to replenish her quickly.”

“No need.”  Felipe’s voice entered the conversation.  “I’ll tell the cook to accept whatever menu you decide for the next 24 hours.”

Ludwig brushed the dirt off her skirt.  “Very good.  I’ll provide a written menu to Frannie for the cook.  For now, I’ll be with Sookie until court starts.”

“And we’ll be escorting our friend here to a cell.”  He grabbed the Were roughly.  “You risk my undead life spilling a bonded’s blood while she is under my watch?  You will pay severely for this crime.”  The Were paled and was led away by two vampires to the cells.  With a final thank you to Quinn for catching the Were, Felipe left for the cells following his new prisoner.

The Were was placed in a cell and Felipe made a show of roughing him up.  He looked at the guards and told them to leave for a while.  “I plan on enjoying his punishment.”  Once they were gone, he made a cutting motion and knew his wife was ensuring the cameras were off.  Finally, he turned to the Were in the cell.  “Were you successful?”

“Yes, I was able to toss a donor bag of blood to the ground and hide the real blood in my jacket as we discussed.”

“Give it to me.”

“After you let me out of this cell.”

“You won’t be killed and you’re getting paid enough to tolerate the public punishment that I will need to have for show.  We discussed this when you took payment for your actions.”

“Fine, here it is.”  Felipe opened the cell to accept the blood.

“Excellent.  My maker will be very happy.  And now, I must remove the evidence.”

“What do you me. . .”

Felipe attacked the Were and drained him before he could even finish his sentence; then he ran with the prized blood to his maker’s play room.  He walked just into the entry way and noticed his maker was already busy:  Andy was in chains being whipped as Felipe liked to do.  “Master, I’m sorry to interrupt your playtime, but I have the . . . package we’ve been awaiting.”

Appius dropped the whip immediately and approached Felipe.  “The telepath’s blood?”  Felipe nodded.  “Tell me how you got this without repercussions.”

“I paid a Were to tackle Ludwig after she took blood from the telepath.  The Were actually threw a donor bag of blood to the ground and that spilled.  He concealed the telepath’s blood until I could meet with him in private.  The Were has been killed so there’s no evidence.”  He eyed Andy indicating his concern about Appius’ pet hearing the information.

“I will glamour him to forget.  Let’s taste this blood.”

Felipe produced two goblets and then poured some of the blood.  Appius allowed his child the same amount as he was drinking; a move that for him was overly generous.  After all, his child did risk repercussions of spilling a bonded’s blood to obtain this meal.  The blood was as he suspected:  Sweet, sweeter any almost anything he’d ever tasted.  It reminded him slightly of fairy, but fairies weren’t telepaths so he never gave it more than that one thought.  “Felipe, this is truly a treat.  I cannot wait until we have the pregnancy test results next week to learn if we are on our way to enjoying this on a regular basis.”

“Well, either way it can be viewed as good news.”

“Explain.”

“If she’s pregnant, our plans are really well on their way.  If she’s not, we can break the bond and start drinking from her right away.”

“We cannot.”

“WHAT?”

“She needs to give birth and choose to stay with us, we need the babies for her to make that choice, otherwise her bonded can take us to trial at the next summit for breaking the bond.  The babies first, then break the bond Felipe.”

“Of course Master, you’re right.  I’m surprised he hasn’t tried anything besides his constant official letters to me and the Ancient Pythoness demanding the return of his bonded.  No matter though, since I have loyal vampires and Weres patrolling his property he can’t leave his compound without being spotted and followed.  I’ll know if he’s trying something.”

“Indeed.  Perhaps he doesn’t care for her as we thought.”

“I don’t know.  His lack of action makes me suspicious.  The spies in his area has proven worthless since they have no access to the Bon Temps property, they can only report on Fangtasia comings and goings.”

“Relax.  We have the pregnancy results and your anniversary party next week.  I can’t wait to see the Gaul’s reaction to her pregnancy and that we will be keeping the babies.”  His gaze moved off Felipe to his wall, like he was lost in his imagination.  “We have much to look forward to for next week.  All hinging on her pregnancy of course.”

“Of course Master.”  He held up the bag of blood.  “I’ll divide the rest of this into airtight vials that we can enjoy for the next week or so, they won’t last much longer than that and still taste as sweet.  I have a refrigerator for this room; It’ll be delivered once we’re done here.”

“Excellent planning Felipe.  You have redeemed yourself with your successes these past few weeks.”

“Thank you Master.  It pleases me to please you.”

OOOoooOOOooo

Ludwig returned Sookie’s room to give her an update.  She had explained the attack to Sookie verbally: Then in her thoughts told her what she really saw.  ‘Sookie, he switched the bags.  A regular donor’s blood was in the bag that broke.  Your bagged blood was hidden in his jacket.  You must expand your telepathy and trace what happened.  This could be the evidence Eric needs to kill Felipe for a blood offense.  I know he’s coming to kill Felipe regardless, but this will make it more seamless.’  “I will be back tomorrow afternoon to take more blood.  In the interim, I am ordering some food that you really must eat so I don’t deplete you from taking another bag so soon.  Will you cooperate and eat?”

“Are you ordering chocolate cake?”

Ludwig smirked.  It was nice to see that Sookie was still ‘in there’.  “You know damn well it’s not going to be chocolate cake.  I’d love to order that, but you need nutrients, not sugar and at this point, that would likely make you sick since you rarely eat fats and you never eat sweets anymore.”

“Tell me about it.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow girly.”  ‘I’m off to fill your husband in on this blood offense.

After speaking with Ludwig, Eric couldn’t decide if he was furious or pleased.  That Felipe and Appius were drinking her blood made his own boil with rage.  However, the spilling of her blood was a serious offense which, if proven, could justify his attack on his own king.  He would attack anyway, but this twist would make things easier.  Since the damage was done he decided to focus on his anger about the incident on the positive part:  Complete justification to go in and take Felipe’s head.  No other monarch would question his claim.

Now they just needed to get it done.

OOOoooOOOooo

In Texas, Eric’s plane landed and he, Alcide and Pam were greeted by Godric and Toni.  Eric was pleased to see Toni since he had some drawings from Cecelia for her.  Even knowing the separation between mother and daughter was going to be hard, Toni had returned to Godric’s side after she was healed.  To get her out of the house without suspicion, she left in a delivery truck of construction materials hiding in a hollowed out snap-on tools chest.  “Eric, Pam, I trust you had a good trip?”

“I’m sure it was more pleasant than the snap-on way to travel.”

“It was worth it to keep Cecelia concealed in the event they saw me and drew any conclusions.”

“Her father’s pack is still reporting rogue Weres in the area?”

“Worse, unregistered vampires glamouring for information on Cecelia’s whereabouts.”

“Then it’s good only her father knew and no humans in the area can give away any secrets.”

“Agreed.”

Godric wanted to move the group off the tarmac for any further discussion.  “Let’s get in the car and drive to Stan’s.  There is quite a gathering in place already.”

Once in the limo, Toni asked for an update.  “Eric, how is my little girl?”

He pulled out a large envelope, thick with some photos and the drawings Toni had made.  “She’s doing well.  Angie and Gran keep her occupied in the afternoon and Hunter plays with her at night.  She chose to move back to Gran’s room after you left – even though we have the ability to let her sleep in her own room.  Her father’s death has impacted her, though she rarely talks about it.”  He didn’t discuss the fact that Hunter and he continued to share a room as well, both believing they were doing it for the other.  Nobody at the house discussed it either knowing they were both right.

“Yes, she told me on one of our calls that she’s staying with Gran.”  She grabbed Godric’s hand and they shared a look.  “I really wish she could be with us.”

“But with Stan’s pledging and the anniversary party next week, she would be just with guards too much.  I know it’s hard, but I think she’s better off with the consistent group – even though it’s not you my beloved.”

“I know Godric, I know.”

They arrived at Stan’s compound and went directly to the secure meeting room for their strategy meeting.  “Eric, Pam, it’s good to see you.  We’re down to the final days.  How are you holding up?”

“I believe the human phrase; ‘ready to jump out of my skin’ applies.  Do you have word from Barry?”

“I do, he’s on his way.”

“Is the item I purchased delivered?”

“It is.  We can go to the courtyard after you talk.”

“Sounds good Stan.”  Eric stood when Barry entered the room and walked to shake his hand.  “Thank you for your help.  I’m certain Sookie appreciates your drive-bys.”  He smirked at Barry, “And don’t you look attractive as a red head?”

His hand ran through his longer red hair.  “Yeah, red head this week.  Last week it was black, my boyfriend is enjoying himself way too much.”

They shared a chuckle before Eric asked the question he was anxious to ask.  “Do you have news?”

“I do.  She was able to find Appius’ pet, Andy, thinking about the ‘telepath’s blood’ – then while she was reading him, the thoughts left his mind and were replaced by the black spots she sees as glamour.”

“Interesting.”

“She got glimpses of them separating the blood into vials; we may be able to get our hands on it as physical evidence.  Even if we can’t find the blood she can read the glamour; she just needs to be in contact with the person.  But honestly, it’s like the evidence is tucked away for now.”

Eric smiled.  “That it is.  This just gets better and better.  I was going to take their heads off anyway, but now we have no possible repercussions.”

“Correction min son.  You can have Felipe but Appius is mine.”

“Certainly Father.”  They shared a look before her turned his attention back to Barry.  “You told her the target information – after Stan’s pledging right?”

“Yes, though she wanted the details, I’m pretty glad you didn’t give ME the date, she would’ve read it.”

“I need to keep her protected, she would want to fight and I am not going to risk her and Roo.  Quinn is staying away from her now, only Frannie and Harold see her and they don’t know the exact date.  I know from Quinn that on the night of the party, she’s being held out of the throne room until ALL the guests arrive so Felipe can parade her in and humiliate her as much as possible.”

Godric growled.  “He won’t live long enough for that to happen.”

Eric agreed then asked if Barry had any other news.

“I shared the usual gossip and she asked about everyone and sends her love.  That’s about it.  The visit was targeted on the spilled blood.”

“Understood Barry.”  Eric extended his arm to the side.  “Would you join me outside for a moment?”

A confused Barry looked to Stan who nodded.  When they left the room, everyone else followed at Stan’s invitation.  In the parking area of the courtyard was a brand new, 2005 Maserati GranSport Coupe in royal blue.  Eric addressed Barry, “I understand this is something you desire?”

His mouth hung open for a moment until he got his wits together to ask, “How did you know?”

Stan laughed.  “You leave car magazines all over the place Barry.  I just had one of the staff ask you some questions when Eric called for gift ideas.”

“Eric, this really wasn’t necessary, I would have gone to Vegas anyw. . .”

“Barry, I want you to enjoy the car. You earned it.”

Barry turned to Stan just to be sure and he nodded again.  “Ok Eric, thank you, it really is a dream car for me.”  With a final shake of his head, not believing Eric’s generosity, he addressed the group.  “Now let’s go back and talk about getting her home.”

“Agreed.”

They settled back into the meeting room and Stan announced, “Benito and Russell will be here within the hour.”

“Let’s get the basics started then.”

They planned for a short while then broke when Benito and Russell joined, just to catch them up.  Pam left to assist Liz as promised with the wedding and Stan offered.  “That’s not a good pairing right there:  Liz and Pam.  I know your Pam, she’s going to want to add things now and Liz hates shopping and really anything materialistic.  She’s even gone so far as to remove her laptop from the room where they are meeting so Pam has no way to shop.”

“She has her phone and has memorized all my credit card information.”

Stan was perplexed.  “How much shopping can she do on a phone?  It’s hard to see the details on a blackberry.”

“Details?  She doesn’t worry about that.  If she wants black shoes for example, she orders a dozen, inspects the details upon arrival and decides what she wants – usually all of them.”

“If you spoil a grown woman like Pam, what are you going to do when baby Roo arrives?”

“I’m going to have as much fun as Sookie will allow.”  The group chuckled and wished him luck with that.  “Ok, let’s get back to the details while we still have the Packmasters awake on the phones.  I know it’s getting later for many of you.”

During the meeting, they made notes on a master of the floor plan indicating key starting positions, known weapons caches (based on Quinn and Frannie’s work), rooms for infiltration, alternate routes (just in case), and escape plans.  “The ill will wards on the east side of the palace will be down for the night since many guests wouldn’t be able to get into the throne room with them up.”

“But the entrance you have planned for us via the outbuilding is the west side.”

“Originally, Octavia was to be in position to assist us, but we’ve made a deal with Ahmed, the witch responsible for the wards.  We’ll be granted access, no problem.”

“Can the deal be trusted?”

Stan cut in.  “Barry participated in the meeting telepathically with Dario and Ahmed.  His position with us is secure.  His family is to be saved and Glad and Diantha,” he gestured to them as they had just walked in, “will handle that task for us.”

“Excellent planning everyone.  Eric, how are you using the spies you know Felipe has in your area?”  Russell inquired.

“Pam and Eamon are going to Fangtasia as if they are staying there for the night and a fairy is popping in to take them directly from the office – after they’ve made a show that they are there of course.  Malcolm and his friends report to Victor within the first 15 minutes of seeing one of my key staff at Fangtasia.  By the time Malcolm realizes they aren’t coming back out of the office and there is something amiss, we’ll be in attack position in Vegas.  Since Felipe was so kind to invite Godric and me directly into the palace, I have the extra fairy resources for this.  Malcolm reporting that Pam is in Shreveport will have Felipe believing that nothing is happening.  He knows I won’t fight without Pam.”

“Too easy.  And New Orleans?”

“One of the fairies is paired with Arthmael and after they pop to New Orleans, Rasul is getting Arthmael and his fairy into the palace before dawn the morning of the battle.  There they will meet up with a small group that is loyal to our interests and they will take down any of Victor’s followers at precisely 10PM.  I expect with a vampire as old as Arthmael and a fairy from their Royal Guard, the fight will be over quickly.”  He flipped to another page on the table.  “Let’s review all the travel plans:

*Alcide, Hoyt and I are traveling via plane the night before the anniversary party.  Hoyt is posing as a glamoured human donor.

*The other Bon Temps helpers, our powder monkeys, are traveling at different times over the next week.  Actually, the Bon Temps Detective is already in place.

*Russell, Bart, Stan, Barry – you and your designated palace fighters will be picked up by fairies the night of the battle.  Pam is handling the location coordination.

*Benito – you and your palace fighters are meeting your fairy transport in San Francisco; Kat, Odair and their fighters will meet up with you.

*Antonia, you and your maker with fighters will be travelling as invited guests to the anniversary party.

*Our other willing vampire fighters who have been emigrating to Texas and Mississippi have been slowing traveling into Vegas.  They are staying in a remote part of Felipe’s private airfield in an abandoned underground storage area.  Quinn has been making the place as comfortable as possible for their stay.  They are all wearing a cloaking pendant so they can make it to the outbuilding for deployment without being seen.

*Fighters for the Utah and Arkansas locations are also slowly making their way and staying hidden until they have confirmation to start.

*Some fighters who would be missed if they left their locations early will be part of the fairy transportation method and Pam has been mapping the named fairies with these fighters and their locations.  They will be transported within the last 30 minutes before the fighting is to begin.

So those are our travel plans.  Are they accurate?  Any changes or questions?”

The group all affirmed the travel plans but Russell had questions about the cloaking pendants.  “Are they really that powerful?”

“We didn’t know it until recently, but Amelia has been cloaked by her coven leader since before the Summit.  You can see her up close, but if she walks across the property in Bon Temps for example, you can’t see her.  I personally believe this was why Amelia was missed in the visions the Ancient Pythoness had.”

“Impressive.”

“Indeed.”  Godric added.  “I have sent word to my maker about this.  She confirms your theory that the cloak was so powerful it is what prevented her from seeing Amelia as the reason Roo was saved.”

Seeing a look of concern on Benito’s face, Eric turned to the king and inquired about it.  “You need the fighters that are arriving early to Vegas.”  It was a statement, but Eric nodded to confirm it anyway.  “Some of them will be in the underground storage for a few days.  How are they being cared for?”

“Quinn is using some of his event’s staff to transport blood.  They have the large vans to move their own equipment, which also happens to be stored in those units.”

“But can the workers be trusted?”

“Well, since Quinn proposed that Sookie read all his workers – for the benefit of the kingdom of course – we’re all set.  She did find three problems; two Fellowship leftovers and one being paid by Felipe as a spy.  He reported all three as Fellowship loyalists and Felipe added them to his ‘disposable’ donor pool.”

Benito laughed.  “Yes, she read them for the benefit of the kingdom.  Just not Felipe’s kingdom.”

After a moment of chuckling, Stan interjected.  “Our time tonight is short, and we have other topics to cover.  Let’s confirm the floor plan and I’ll have copies made.”

“Thanks Stan.”

After everyone had their copy of the floor plan, they agreed that tomorrow the order of the attack would be nailed down and that would be the end of the planning.  From there, the weekend would be spent enjoying the rehearsal party and pledging of Stan and Liz.  Eric regretted that Stan’s ‘honeymoon’ would be cut short, but they all agreed it was the perfect ruse:  Stan had declined the invitation to Felipe and Freyda’s anniversary party citing his honeymoon.  Now their Vegas enemies would consider him to be out of the country.  Lookalikes for Stan and Liz had already been hired and would be receiving a lovely trip to Paris to have it appear that Stan was there.

OOOoooOOOooo

In the middle of planning on the second night, Quinn entered the room hidden in a laundry cart.  “Hello Quinn.”  Eric stood to greet him.  “Sorry about the 2AM wakeup.”

“I can handle the wakeup, but the laundry cart was a rough ride.”

“Had to be sure there were no spies tracking your movements.”

“I get it, I get it.  So, are you ready to fill me in on my details?”

“We are.  We have the entire attack planned.  But if I may have a word with you privately first?”

They moved to a smaller meeting room provided by Stan for the conversation.  “How is Frannie?”  Quinn’s brows rose up, unsure of why Northman was asking the question.  “I’m asking out of concern, Sookie has grown attached.”

“Same for Frannie, she’s scared but still doing everything she can.  She hates the vamps there; what they’ve done to her, to me, to Sookie – she wants freedom for everyone.”

“Please tell her how much all of Sookie’s family, me especially, appreciate what’s she’s been doing and the risks she’s been taking.  When this is all over, I want both of you to have whatever you want.  Just ask.  Wherever you want to live, however. . . It’ll be my thanks.”

Quinn was speechless.  He hated vampires, and when he met Sookie he hated Northman even more so thinking he’d stolen Sookie.  Now, he was looking at a vampire, a man, he thought he could almost like.  “Frannie has already said she wants to be near Sookie if we can do that, I’m not sure what we’ll do though.  I’ve been under Felipe’s thumb for so many years, other options have never been considered.”

“If that’s what you want, we’ll buy or build you something in Bon Temps and your debt to Nevada will be gone when Felipe dies.”

“It’s not just the debt.  While Frannie loves Sookie, she’s still unsure about vampires and may not accept help like that from one.”

“Then I’m hoping you’ll be able to help her through that – with Sookie of course.  Based on what I’ve heard from Sookie via Barry – Sookie loves Frannie too, they’ve helped each other.  She’ll want to have her as part of our ever growing family.  I’m sure of it.”

A million thoughts went through Quinn’s head.  A family for Frannie?  Normalcy – not cleaning up and bandaging her brother after pit fights?  Not sleeping on a cot on the floor of a room that while it didn’t have bars, was no better than the cell they had been keeping her in.  Friends.  He wanted that for his baby sister.  “I’ll do everything I can to help her see beyond the vampires that have abused her and be open enough to maintain a relationship with Sookie.”

“Thank you Quinn.”

“No thank you Eric.  You’re not what I thought.”

“Before we get to the point of hugging, let’s go to the group and review the floor plans.”  They exited the meeting room and Eric was relieved.  He wanted to be sure that Frannie was rewarded, Quinn too, but he suspected as Quinn suggested, she would resist.  The talk went better than he thought since Quinn agreed to help Frannie along.  Sookie would be pleased.  Barry had told Eric several times that she asked about her new friend’s future all the time.  He was taken out of his thoughts by Quinn’s exclamation.

“HOLY SHIT!  You really have the secret plans – I never got to see these in Boston.  Dario told me you did, but really, I thought maybe you had a portion of the tunnels or something like that.  This is the WHOLE DAMN THING!”

“It’s good to have friends.”  Eric smirked.  “Isn’t that so Alcide?”

“And deep pockets.”

“Ok, Quinn we’ve got your focus tasks for the attack:  The first is weapons.”

“I’ve got the same method in place that we had in Boston:  Fake panels under the tables in the throne room for the reception.  You’ll find swords and knives when you pull the panels down.  That night, Sookie’ll be wearing four stakes, two hidden in each of her spike heels.”

“My goal is to keep her out of the fight.”

“Understood, but you can’t be too careful or prepared.  You guys planning on any guns or other items?  I can’t get those into the throne room and loaded ahead of time and I know some younger vampires prefer them.”

“We’re planning to use Felipe’s inventory from his weapons room, which will prevent us from needing to travel with weapons and deplete his guns when his guards are called into battle.”

“But how will you get them loaded?  He uses humans for that.”

“That’s the role we’ve given the humans from Sookie’s home town.  We had a dozen volunteer, four are coming with us.”

“Incredible.”  Having been pacing since he got to the room, he finally moved to the table to sit.  “And my next task?”

“It’s Andy.”

“ANDY?  As in Appius’ pet?”

“Yes.  Per Sookie, Appius starts with Andy before sunset and is finished shortly after since he has round two in the morning.  You need to abduct him right after Appius has his fun with him and get him to a holding cell here.” He pointed to a small building near the airplane landing strip.  “He needs to be secured until I notify you to bring him in.”

“I don’t understand.”

“There was an incident a few days ago, a Were attacked Ludwig?”

“Yeah, I saw it.  Felipe killed the Were for spilling Sookie’s blood, he was trying to prevent the blood offense from landing on him.”

“The blood that was spilled was a donor’s blood.  The Were hid Sookie’s blood and gave it to Felipe later.  It was an intentional way to get Sookie’s blood.”

“THE FUCK?!”

“Ludwig knew right away, but saw this as the opportunity to have a blood offense against Felipe and Appius.”

“You would’ve been within your rights to kill him; nobody would argue your right just from the lengthy separation of bondeds.”

“Agreed, this is just the cherry on top of the sundae as Hunter would say.  I don’t know if Appius has more children that could cause problems.”

“So if Ludwig knew the Were hid the blood, how do you know the rest?”

“She told Sookie to listen for any conversations about the blood, she heard Andy thinking about it – just before or rather just AS Appius was glamouring the memory from him.”

“And since she can read glamour, you’re covered.”

“Exactly.”

“OK, but surely you’re planning to put me in the fight somewhere?”

Eric looked at Godric then answered.  “Your protecting Andy until we need the evidence is your role during the fight.”

“Eric . . .”

“Sookie has made several things clear to Barry during his drive-bys.  You are not to be hurt because Frannie needs you.”  When Quinn looked to argue again he stopped him.  “Look, Sookie hasn’t made many demands like this.  There are a few chosen friends she wants protected no matter what.  She picked her battles and you’re one of them, as are Harold, Octavia and obviously your sister Frannie.  I’m not going against her wishes.”  He almost chuckled remembering that Barry had relayed that information trying to imitate Sookie’s southern twang including some of the more colorful words she used in her head for Barry to relay as a warning to Eric.  “Ask Barry, she was quite. . . zealous about this.”

“Yeah Quinn, I wouldn’t try to defy her.  She loves Frannie; she wants you around on the other side of this for her.”  Barry added.

“What about Frannie.  Should I try to get her out of there?”

“We have a special plan for Frannie.  Someone we can sneak into her room to stand guard in case anyone comes in.”

“Oh yeah?  Who?”

“Merlotte.”

“Explain.”

“The spa manager, she’s sympathetic?”

“Completely.”

“Well, a ferret is going to make its way to her car and she needs to bring it into the palace in a purse or something.  Can you warn her?”

“She carries one of those huge purses.  That won’t be a problem.  The spa is actually not under surveillance for some reason.  I think it’s because Freyda is in there all the time.”

“You’ll need to get him to Frannie’s room.  This will happen the day of the battle, hide Merlotte in her closet or something, then text her to not scream and call Merlotte out quietly.  He’ll need a couple of guns.  Can you get several into her room – between the mattress and box spring or something?  Oh and pants.”

“The closet will have to do.  She has nothing better than a cot from one of the cells a table with a lamp and the closet in her room.  You better believe I’m leaving pants in the closet for him.  Wait, he wants a weapon rather than shifting to something big?”

“We discussed that.  He can hide Frannie in the closet and shoot off rounds faster than shifting and fighting.”

“Speaking of fighting. . . “

“Quinn.  She loves Frannie; she wants you to stay alive for her.  Don’t make this more difficult for me.”

“Ok, I get it, I won’t push anymore.”

“Thank you, you don’t want to see Sookie mad.”

“Oh, I see her mad all the time, she just can’t do anything about due to Felipe’s threats of punishment.”

“Well then, imagine what damage she can do when she’s mad and there are no restrictions.  The receiving end of that is no fun.”

“I can only imagine.”

OOOoooOOOooo

On the podium, Don Brennan, Liz’s Packmaster announced, “As Liz and Stan have pledged before all of us, they now drink from the chalice of their mixed blood to seal their vows.”  He handed the chalice to Liz first and she took a drink; then handed it to Stan who finished the blood and placed the chalice back on the table.  “I now pronounce Liz and Stan Davis pledged for eternity.”

The room was full of Weres who expressed their happiness through quite a bit of hooting and hollering.  The vampires in attendance either laughed at the enthusiasm, or tried their best to ignore it.  As was tradition, Stan and Liz started the first dance to open the floor to their guests.  Eric reminisced about his Pledging to Sookie as he watched.  ‘Down to five days now.  I can make it and I know she can.  Five days.

“My child, what is going through that mind of yours, such determination I am feeling.”

“Just counting down the days until we go.”

“Let us go to the back of the room.”  After they moved, Godric continued in a faint whisper.  “It has been hard I know; and right after you will have a kingdom to run.”

“Sookie and I will run it together and heaven help anyone in the kingdom needing coddling.”

“Yes, I gather that.  You will need a strong second.  Will you ask Pamela?”

“Already done.  Arthmael is staying on as an enforcer for me.”

“That is excellent; it will help you balance the kingdom and your family.”

“And how will you balance your new life?”

“I am still reeling from Russell’s . . . gift to Toni and me.”

“Yes, it’s not every day you receive two states as a gift.  Though I gather you will have problems with Toni as the Queen of Kentucky until you pledge.”

“Given the large Were population in Kentucky and the fact that Toni was raised in that pack, it has not been a problem.”

“Maybe that will help Kat and Odair in the Great Lakes territory.”

“Yes, it is a shame that it not settled and it requires a wait until the next Summit – almost a year away.  Why do we have such ridicules practices?  Why do we not have some governing group?”

“You sound like Sookie.  One day we were talking about the planning group for the reveal and she asked me why we created the rules for vampires without a plan to enforce the rules.  I explained that the Sheriffs had that role but she correctly pointed out if the monarch doesn’t care why would the Sheriff?”

“Wise beyond her years, min dotter is.”

Eric nodded.  “Do you remember in Boston, you had an epiphany about your maker’s thoughts?  That she wanted all the old belief regimes gone?”

“Yes – I mean, I do not know all the details outside the US, but here that seems to be what she is doing.”

“I think that’s PART of what she’s doing.”  Godric’s eyebrows raised in question.  “I think she wants that governance over the monarchs, maybe just the US, maybe globally.”

“She said she challenged some of the older vampires in the world – not just the US when she mentioned this – you remember – when she visited us after you left Sookie earlier this year?”

“Don’t remind me of that time.”

“Oh, I do not think you get off the hook on that mistake so easily.  You should remember that time so you treat her like the gift she is.”

“And I can’t wait to start doing that again when I get her home.”

Stan and Liz were making a show of getting ready to leave and since Godric and Eric were witnesses, they moved to say goodbye to the couple.  “Enjoy your honeymoon Stan.”  Eric offered.

“I will Eric.  I think it’s going to be a very good week.”

“Yes, a very good week indeed.”

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11 thoughts on “Chapter 63 – Even Pledgings are Bigger in Texas

  1. Pingback: Look what I’ve got for you | magsmacdonald

  2. Oh wow. Glad Ludwig caught that the blood was hidden. Appius and Felipe are such morons. Can’t wait for them to be taken down. Would love Sookie to be able to have the honors of killing Scumbill maybe since A and F are claimed? Or is he for Pammy. Hope Sookie can hold out a little longer. Hope Ahmed doesn’t betray them. Nice present for Barry

  3. The anticipation is killing me! Fantastic chapter, as always! So sad how Sookie is slowly giving up, don’t worry! Only a few more days and then the wait is over! So glad that Ludwig caught the fact that it was donor blood that was split. Hurray for getting off with a clean slate after they kill Appius and Felipe! I can’t wait for the next chapter! Hopefully it’ll be the battle we’ve been waiting for! Even if its not, still looking forward to getting my fix! Love this story. Update soon!

  4. Most excellent! Of course the Viking has quite ambitious battle plans; I would expect no less than perfection! I have to ask about the blood spill…why would those Supes familiar with Sookie’s blood not be able to smell/notice (other than Dr. L.)? Why hasn’t Quinn smelled Sookie’s blood in Felipe or Appius? He’s a shifter! I wonder what those two have up their sleeves… They have to know as soon as they come in contact with Eric, he’ll know immediately they’ve had Sookie’s blood, and call Felipe out on it. Appius didn’t make it this far on pure avarice unless he’s become completely unhinged? Can. Not. Wait. For. The. Next. Chapter.
    Love your responses, but you’re so busy! Hope you’re all staying warm, but get to play in the snow before it melts! Rain’s heading your way; it’s pouring here now. No more snow! 😦

  5. I can’t wait for the battle. I’m loving how everyone has pulled together to take down McCapes a-lot and his devious depraved butt munch of a maker. (That what I sometimes call them in my head as I read about them). Excellent chapter as usual but the anticipation is killing me. Are you sure you didn’t want to take a day away from RL and lock yourself in a room to pump out those wonderful words you turn in to crack?? Oh…sorry, for some reason I could have sworn you whispered that was your secret wish. LOL just kidding, I’ll happily wait for my fix. Thanks for the update!

  6. Excellent chapter! Lots of well thought out devious plans in place. Don’t know how you kept it all straight. I absolutely cannot wait for the battle scenes this weekend!!
    There are so few authors updating stories any longer, I truly have loved and appreciated your stories.

  7. Oh man.

    I am just… Bouncing… Bounce bounce bounce…
    So excited. Everything falling together. Poor Quinn. A big tough fighter like him being kept out of the fight.. I’m guessing Sookie must have been Very, Very adamant lol.

    Go ferret Sam 🙂

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