Chapter 14 – Tables Flip

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

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Eric struggled to crawl out from under the pile of bodies on top of him. He was sure the Kansas King was finally dead, but then the King moaned. Eric sympathized. Having silver embedded in you was excruciating. It didn’t stop Eric from clawing and kicking the vampire, though, and the Kansas King moaned a few more times, although he still didn’t move. It was likely that Kansas was badly wounded, but a moaning vampire, given time and blood, would heal.

Eric could see that Freyda was already falling apart. She was so young; her body could not have offered much resistance to the wooden dart embedded in her heart. An older vampire’s magic might have held off final death a little longer, although even someone as old as Eric would likely have been killed by such a direct strike. Eric struggled harder. Although he knew he didn’t love her, although he knew she was already gone, Eric felt the need to touch Freyda one last time before she crumbled to dust.

It was not easy. He had the use of only one leg. Based on the pain and lack of mobility, he thought his other leg was broken. His shoulder screamed with pain as well and he wondered if he’d suffered a hairline fracture in addition to the other break. Already his bones were knitting and the process added to his discomfort. He needed blood and, from the sounds of the screams from the donors, others did, too.

By the time he was free, Eric’s stiff leg was starting to move. He crawled across the floor to where Freyda lay. Their guards arrived at the same time he did, coming from the areas outside the game room. Eric figured Stan had locked down the doors. It would slow down the guards and courtiers in seeking out their monarchs. “The Queen!” one of his guards sighed.

“Go to our quarters,” Eric said quietly. “There is a box there with her jewels. Empty it and bring it back here.”

“It will be difficult, Lord,” the guard replied and confirming Eric’s suspicions, he said, “The Texas King is sealing the doors.”

It was the smart move. All would be prevented from leaving. The next logical step would be to take everyone’s cell phones. Once Stan knew he controlled what information could get in and out, the questioning would begin. Eric had no doubt there were surveillance cameras in the game room. Stan’s security people were probably already reviewing the tapes, figuring out who brought in the bombs and who had fired the crossbow. “Explain your mission to the men at the door,” Eric told him. “Offer them your phone and your weapon,” and he motioned the guard on his way. The other guard stood over them, his eyes moving around the room.

“How bad?” Eric asked. He waited for the guard to meet his eye. Eric purposely kept his voice low. He could hear certain decibels now, but his full hearing was not restored. Eric relied on the echoes in his head and his ability to read lips to be fully understood.

“Most of the humans are dead,” the guard was telling him. “I think whoever it was used percussion charges.” Eric nodded, it made sense. Unfortunately, for humans with their soft, living organs, percussion charges were usually fatal. Even if you didn’t fall at first, the internal trauma would cause you to bleed out. There was no stopping it. Percussion charges would only stun vampires. Since a vampire’s organs were mostly frozen, they could be hit by the sound waves, but suffer little permanent damage. Based on the Kansas King’s appearance, there was some silver shrapnel used as well. The King was sitting up now, and there were guards and others surrounding him. Eric could see places on his skin and body where small tendrils of smoke escaped, signs of embedded silver burning him.

The shrapnel was intended to slow those vampires who didn’t fall at once. Kansas must have been standing right next to the bomb since Eric couldn’t see many more vampires who were ‘smoking.’ Kansas seemed to have taken the brunt of the impact.

The combination of percussion and limited silver was logical. Whoever planned this hadn’t meant to kill vampires. Everyone knew the wholescale slaughter of vampire rulers, frankly of any large number of vampires, would trigger a blood feud that wouldn’t stop until whomever was responsible, their Maker, all their progeny, and human relations were finally dead. It was this more than any other thing that convinced Eric the attack was the work of another vampire. Any other race would have gone for the kill.

Once you accepted the idea that this was the work of vampires, it led easily to the next conclusion; the point of the operation was to stun the vampires attending, allowing a team to execute a precise kill. In other words, this was an assassination attempt. Eric recalled Stan running. It was his brushing across Freyda that had turned her. The dart that killed his Queen had been meant for Stan Davis.

Eric tested his leg. It was sturdy enough to allow him to move into a sitting position next to Freyda. Her skin had gone grey. Her eyelids were flaking. Eric glanced over to see the Nebraska Queen leaning over her human companion. She was feeding from him, draining him dry. She was trying to turn him, and Eric felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. If the human was too badly damaged, the transformation wouldn’t take, but the Queen’s desperation spoke of the depth of her feeling for the man lying before her and, for some reason, Eric thought of Sookie Stackhouse.

The donors had stopped screaming. Eric glanced in their direction. He could see them, lying in bloody heaps. It was likely most were killed in the blast anyway, but the screams he’d heard while he struggled to escape the weight of bodies told him not all had died right away. They were dead now, and that would enrage Stan. If the tapes showed any involvement by those humans, there could be no questioning. The dead made poor witnesses. Eric could see a few waiters in the piles, too, their jackets stark against the bare flesh of the donors. Injured vampires were hungry vampires and as he was thinking that, Stan’s palace guards started moving among those still on the floor, distributing bags of blood.

Eric swung his gaze around the room and was surprised to see Amy Ludwig. She was moving among the wounded. Eric looked around and recognized at least one other supernatural doctor he knew, walking from group to group. Stan must have summoned them.

“Your phone, please,” a guard was saying. He held out a bag of warmed blood. Eric reached into his pocket and handed over his phone, exchanging it for the bag. Holding the bag in one hand, he sank his fangs into it. The blood tasted amazing and he felt strength and vitality flow through him, rushing toward his injuries and helping his healing process accelerate.

“You hurt?” Amy Ludwig was standing behind him. At the same time, his other guard returned, the Queen’s enamel jewelry box in his hands.

“No, I was lucky. I was shielded from the blast by Kansas. If he wasn’t so fat, I would have escaped injury altogether. I’m fine,” he told her. He couldn’t look at the Doctor. He couldn’t stop looking at his still wife lying on the floor, the fletching of the arrow bolt standing up like some sort of bizarre handle from its place in her chest.

“She caught the cross bolt meant for Stan,” the Doctor confirmed. “Stan has the place locked down. He called a bunch of us, but there’s not much for us to do. I’ll probably spend the next hour or so digging out some silver, but, other than that, the butcher bill was pretty light.”

“For some,” Eric replied.

The doctor lay her hand on his shoulder in a rare show of affection. “I’m sorry for your loss, Viking. Freyda seemed to have suited you.”

“Yes, she was a good Queen,” Eric replied. He knew he needed to find Stan. He knew he needed to start the conversation about who would take over the throne in Oklahoma before another did, but somehow he couldn’t find the strength to rise.

Eric decided that Stan could wait. Everything could wait for Freyda to complete her fading. He would gather her dust, according her one last moment of respect from the vampire mate she chose.

Eric nodded, a dismissal to the doctor and the guards, and then allowed himself to slip into downtime. He thought about Freyda. He remembered each interaction, each expression. He could not find it in his heart to return the love she said she felt for him, but he could find affection. It hardly seemed enough, but it was all he had to give.

When Amy Ludwig saw Eric Northman sitting over his dead Queen, she was tempted to tell him about Sookie Stackhouse and the son he didn’t know he had. She imagined his face when she dropped her own bombshell, telling him that now that he was free he could get on with the poorly considered, unconventional life he thought he’d left behind. She walked over, chuckling under her breath, but then she stopped. There was something in the Viking’s face that stilled her laughter. Amy was many things, but somewhere, under her bluster and bad attitude, she was someone who liked Eric Northman. He was a pain in the ass and he thought too much of himself, but he was basically a decent vampire, which was rare.

She could see he was suffering. She had heard that he and Freyda were actually a couple, that it had become a love match. It was the kind of thing soft-headed fools talked about, and Amy had scoffed at the suggestion, telling her source he clearly didn’t know what he was talking about. Now, seeing Eric slip into downtime, holding Freyda’s hand, she wasn’t so sure.

“Well, I’m glad you weren’t hurt,” she said instead, and, turning, walked away to examine others.

 

xxxXXXxxx

 

“It is a pity you lost your Queen,” Stan acknowledged Eric, but then turned away, giving the Viking the clear message that he was being brushed off.

“I would appreciate being included in the interrogations,” Eric persisted. “I don’t dispute the attack was aimed at you, but it was my Queen who paid the price.” Freyda was the only vampire casualty. While there were injuries, no other vampire would be finally dead as a result of the attack.

“As an observer,” Stan agreed, “and so long as you intend to do something with the information.” And there it was. Eric might not like Stan much, but he had to admire his cunning. The Texas King had managed to set aside the stress of his near-fatal accident and already figured out who he could strong arm into risking revenge. Eric was that patsy.

“And if I am successful?” Eric asked.

“Well, there is no question of your assuming the Oklahoma throne,” Stan said it in the most offhand manner, as though it was self-evident. He did go on to explain his rationale, “After all, you were never more than a consort. Had Freyda named you King, or had you bonded, it might have been different. As things are, you had one job, which was to keep her safe, and we all know how that turned out.” Eric couldn’t stop the quick flare of anger, and he realized it showed. Stan’s eyes widened, and then he relaxed, leaning forward as one friend might do for another.

“Eric! You never wanted to be in Oklahoma to begin with. I can understand how you might have become fond of Freyda. She was a charming vampire, but if you return and take the crown you will never have more than temporary reign of a beggar kingdom. Because you didn’t save her, every eligible vampire with an ounce of ambition will think to challenge you. How many will it take? Ten? A hundred before either you fall or the foolish stop trying? And then what? You think vampire monarchs will be clambering to do business with you? You will be shunned, and even those who will greet you as a friend will have something else to say when you leave the room.” Eric listened to Stan’s words and heard too much truth in them.

“You travel under a black cloud,” Stan told him. “You stayed Sheriff when you could have aimed higher. You were at Rhodes. You were the only one who remained in existence following Felipe de Castro’s takeover, and there are those who say you were secretly in league with him.” Eric growled, but Stan held up his hand, “I don’t think that, but it is part of the bad luck that follows you. You married a human! A human, Eric! And you fought for her! Your actions in that Fae business could have cost us all! Felipe would have been within his rights to end you! But he didn’t. De Castro allowed you to continue, and how did you repay him? By murdering his favored Lieutenant, and don’t deny it. Victor Madden was a small vampire with a tiny dick, but he was still your superior. Not exactly the kind of thing that inspires trust in others!”

“Then, you would prefer that I not return to Oklahoma.” Eric prided himself on his ability to read a situation, but today the ground was shifting too fast, even for him.

“I don’t think anyone would object to your returning temporarily,” Stan shrugged. “After all, you would have things to pack.”

“I want to provide Freyda a proper memorial service,” Eric drew himself up, using the words as a cover to his mental scrambling. He was suddenly a vampire with no country, no allegiances. It was terrifying and heady, all at the same time.

“You were fond of her, weren’t you?” Stan asked. His voice was not unkind. “I had heard that, that your marriage was becoming something more.”

“She was an exceptional vampire,” Eric agreed, “As you say.”

“Look, as Clan Chief, I’ll make it known that I expect you to be in Oklahoma for a few months, tying up loose ends. I’ll give it until then to convene a tribunal to name Freyda’s successor. Will that give you enough time to find a place to land?” And with that, Eric knew that Stan didn’t mean Eric to land anywhere within Zeus. It was everything he could do not to hiss in frustration.

Instead, Eric pulled his lips up into a smile, “Thank you, Majesty,” he bowed. “I am sure I will have things well in hand by then.”

Eric was among the crowd who headed down to Stan’s dungeons. The Viking’s thoughts twisted and twirled. It had been many years since he’d found himself in a position where he literally had no one offering him a position. When he was within Sophie-Ann’s retinue, the offers were frequent. When Felipe de Castro took over, the number of offers escalated. Then, Appius returned with his paper chains and the offers dried up. Of course, Eric was contracted, and, by his own hand, he’d doubled his sentence. He lost his freedom and everyone knew it, but it was more than that.

Eric was certain that the offers that came now would be few and far between. Vampires didn’t respect other vampires who showed too much attachment to humans, and that was what Eric had done. He’d made no secret of his anger over his Maker’s arrangement. He was public in his battles to set the contract aside, and, most damning, he doubled the time of what everyone knew he considered to be a sentence as opposed to a favor, all to secure a future for his human.

It was those actions that destroyed his standing with his fellows, but, Eric knew, faced with the same circumstances, he’d do it again. He was sure that other vampires knew it, too. It made Eric Northman a weak vampire, at best, a laughingstock at worst.

Vampires didn’t offer vampires like him a place of honor. They offered vampires like him a grudging favor and made him pay for it over and over again. He would have no more value than Bill Compton, maybe less.

I need something to change my status,’ Eric thought to himself, and he knew that whatever it was, it would have to be a bold stroke to reinstate the respect he’d lost.

The human under the knife was gibbering with pain. Considering the body parts scattered around him, Eric wasn’t surprised. Eric examined the man’s face, trying to place him from the party upstairs. The man’s costume, or lack thereof, didn’t offer clues. In the end, it didn’t matter. The vampire Stan used as his torturer had a deft hand and Stan seemed convinced he had the right person.

The stink in the air explained why the human hadn’t bled out. As quickly as a toe, or finger or ear was removed, the torturer leaned forward and used a glowing knife to cauterize the wound. The method stopped bleeding in humans and Weres as effectively as vampire saliva, but far less pleasantly. Eric could hear the human’s heart galloping in his chest as the knife approached again. There was a slight whine in the man’s blood, which Eric associated with high stress. If the torturer didn’t get the outcome Stan wanted soon, they might be robbed of the opportunity. This human sounded as if he was headed for a stroke or heart attack soon and, if that happened, Eric thought it likely the torturer would suffer for his incompetence.

But the torturer proved he was well-suited for the challenge. “Isabel…” the human wheezed. “Isabel…” and he looked out into the crowd, his bloodshot eyes wild. Eric wondered if Stan suspected someone among them. Usually taking an eye early was a favored method with these interrogations. With both eyes, the human would be able to see his confederate.

It was a fraught moment. The torturer paused, the knife hovering over the human’s face. Every vampire stopped, turning to look at Stan’s Second, and then became more still in that way vampires had.

For her part, Isabel stood her ground. Eric wasn’t sure whether he admired her or pitied her foolishness. She had to know coming down here that the human would betray her and yet, she did anyway, standing where the human could see her. Isabel had been with Stan for a long time, as long as Eric had known either of them.

In an instant, Stan was before her. Guards moved to either side, but no one placed a hand on her. For her part, Isabel stood her ground, a slight smile playing across her lips. “Why?” Stan demanded, his fangs extended.

“I never forgave you,” she said, and boldly met his eye. “I know you can’t understand, that you never will, but you took the only thing that was important to me.”

Stan leaned forward, and, as Eric watched, Isabel’s head bowed and, after a few moments, bowed lower. Her face contorted and finally she fell to her knees. Eric recalled Sookie telling him after an adventure here in Dallas that she was pretty sure Stan could communicate with his retinue telepathically. Eric hadn’t thought much of it at the time, but watching the scene playing out in front of him suggested possibilities. There was no doubt in Eric’s mind that Stan was using his psychic connection with Isabel to punish her.

Stan’s clenched jaw and Isabel’s sudden frown told Eric that the connection went beyond telepathy. It was as though the Texas King was literally digging in Isabel’s skull. “Hugo,” Stan growled. “You betrayed me and all here for a human?”

Eric remembered Hugo. Obsessed with Isabel, he had divorced his human wife and devoted himself to her. Hugo had betrayed vampires to the Fellowship of the Sun, a human hate group masquerading as a religious cult. Vampires were taken and Hugo was sentenced to death. Isabel was punished, too, but, in time, she had been forgiven. Now, it was clear that for Isabel, it was not something she forgot or forgave.

“Hugo loved me!” Isabel gritted out. “He was foolish enough to try and destroy my rivals. I told you I could help him understand, but you wouldn’t listen!”

Stan was furious, “He sought to injure vampires! There is no excuse for that! They are not like us, not equals!” For Eric, the exchange highlighted so much of what he saw around him. Vampires had chosen mainstreaming. For vampires like Stan, it was a way to come out from the shadows and assert what they felt was their natural domination. For others, like Isabel and, in many ways, for himself, it had opened a dangerous door. Through that door was a reawakening of sorts, but it was also sentiment, and sentiment was not tolerated by vampires.

Stan was standing over Isabel. He was using some kind of mental push, punishing his Second further. Isabel was cowering, her face contorted with pain.

“Who?” he growled at her. “Tell me who paid you and I will give you a clean death for all the service you gave me.”

“No…” she whimpered, but Stan was on her immediately, redoubling his efforts.

“Don’t lie to me!” he yelled. “I see it in you! I see you checking the balance! I hear you saying the date! I will make this continue for a long time, this pain you are feeling. Tell me!”

Isabel didn’t say a word, but then, without warning, Stan backed off. “Wrap her in silver,” he told his torturer. “Make it tight. I want the flesh to burn from her bones. Feed her enough blood to keep her alive. Make it last until I tell you otherwise.” The Texas King leaned over Isabel, “You bitch!” and he kicked her. Isabel didn’t resist, the blow landing in her belly, sounding like a shoe deflating a balloon. “You couldn’t just tell me? After everything I’ve done for you? You had to make me scrape it out of your head?”

Eric almost pitied her. Isabel’s end would take a long time and she would suffer mightily until she found it. As Stan stalked toward the stairs that led back to the main palace, he caught Eric’s eye. “Come with me, Viking,” he said stiffly.

Eric fell in line behind the Texas King and followed him into what appeared to be Stan’s office. “So, are you interested in taking me up my offer?” the Texas King sat down behind his desk and gave Eric an expectant look.

“You would give me the name and expect me kill him under the guise of taking my revenge,” Eric didn’t ask. He didn’t have to.

“It would go a long way toward resurrecting your reputation,” Stan shrugged. “Of course, you could end up finally dead, and that would end your troubles, too.”

“I take it the vampire in question is powerful,” Eric watched Stan. The Texas King was practically gloating.

“He won’t be easy to kill,” Stan shrugged, “but, on the other hand, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if you were the one to go after him.”

“Felipe de Castro,” Eric supplied the name. He was the only vampire who could create this reaction with Stan.

Stan sat back waiting for Eric’s commitment. It was the smart move. There was no point in providing further information until the Viking agreed, and they both knew it. Eric nodded a single time.

“I won’t wait forever,” Stan smiled, after all, they were all friends now. “If you can’t get this thing done quickly, I will have to take matters into my own hands. It’s a matter of honor, but, if you have the balls, it may interest you to know that your former King is currently in New Orleans. I’m sure even now he’s waiting for news of my demise, so he can move into Texas.”

“It would seem Felipe is working on establishing a trade corridor,” Eric replied dryly.

“I think you give him too much credit,” Stan scoffed. “He’s old school. He thinks it’s all about the real estate. The vampire with the largest territory wins.” Stan laughed, “Tool!” Stan didn’t offer a chair, and Eric didn’t expect him to. “If you want to move tonight, I am prepared to offer you some support. No guards, of course, but I have a private jet. It could have you in New Orleans in a little over an hour.”

“What is Felipe saying about why he’s in New Orleans?” Eric asked. The Nevada King’s cover story would suggest how long the King would linger once news of the failed attempt filtered out of Dallas.

“His usual tour,” Stan steepled his fingers. “Business audits. Strong-arming for tithes. He arrived just yesterday. I’d expect him to linger for another week or two.” Stan grinned, his look feral, “You’re thinking about it, aren’t you? If you could pull this off, you’d regain ground with many of us. Do you think you still have the assets on the ground?”

“I accept your offer of the plane,” Eric told Stan. It was clear Stan would swing his support to Eric if he succeeded, but the Dallas King had no interest in offering an actual alliance, and certainly not at this stage. Stan didn’t want to be implicated if Eric was taken down, and the Viking couldn’t blame him. “I will consider it a favor to be repaid in future trade deals,” he added. It was better to make the terms of these offers clear from the beginning. Stan was likely to press any advantage.

Stan was laughing, “Well, if you succeed, I’ll expect to collect in the first three opportunities…”

“The first two opportunities,” Eric countered, “and they must be opportunities of advantage to both of us.”

“Since you will probably be dust before the end of the month, I am willing to concede the point,” Stan was all good humor now. Eric figured he was a good diversion for a King who had just found out his Second was betraying him. Stan would have his own reputational shoring up to do over the next few weeks. To not have detected the rot so close to his core would suggest a certain carelessness and Eric was certain it would figure in Stan’s future conversations with Zeus monarchs; it might even cost him his role as Clan Chief.

Eric made his excuses and walked back toward the game room. There were already personnel there, cleaning things. ‘We are so used to violence, we have those who erase its traces on speed dial,’ Eric thought to himself. There was something about the implications of mainstreaming that told Eric that the world they knew, the world of torture and retribution, would change.

His guards were waiting for him. One was holding the enamel box that contained Freyda’s dust and fangs. Eric took it from the guard’s hands. “I will be asking you to take the Queen back to Oklahoma without me,” he told them. “I will not be returning to the capital immediately, but will follow in a few days. I will alert the Chancellor and he will meet you at the plane. There will be a memorial service.” The guards were watching him closely and it was everything Eric had not to smile. He could see their suspicion, their loyalties slipping from him with each passing minute. “For tonight, Freyda will rest with me,” he told them, and then turning, walked away. The guards didn’t follow. It told Eric everything he needed to know.

As he walked, Eric’s mind raced. He thought through what he needed, and how things would have to be arranged. He had thought of this possibility. He hadn’t planned on taking Louisiana until his time with Freyda was served, but it was something he had considered. To be King of Louisiana meant he would not have to be looking over his shoulder. He would be in a place he enjoyed and with a larger population of vampires than most kingdoms had available. He had done well there, and he knew there were many in Louisiana who still pledged their loyalty to him personally.

While this was not what Eric planned, it was hard not to see how Freyda’s early demise was, in some ways, providential. It had not been so many years since he’d been in Louisiana. Most of the vampires he knew, especially those who helped him kill Victor Madden, were still in place. Although he rarely heard from them, he didn’t doubt they would answer his call.

There was the matter of clearing his plan with Amun Clan. Prior to a takeover, and that was how Eric wished this to be viewed, the Clan Chief needed to give approval. It was a formality, but an important one. Eric was sure Stan was surveilling guest rooms, but, in this case, it was probably for the best. Anything the Texas King overheard would increase Stan’s confidence in the Viking, and that might prove helpful later.

Eric booted up his laptop. The top story on the blogs was Stan Davis surviving a failed assassination attempt. The story went on to say the perpetrator was assumed to be a disgruntled human employee and there was a warning to vampires about screening their human staff. There was a line that said there were no reported casualties, although several were injured. The article never mentioned Freyda, and Eric knew it was purposeful. It was well done and, although Felipe de Castro wouldn’t be certain, the story should serve to keep the Nevada King from beefing up his security or fleeing the state, fearing reprisals. He would have no reason to suspect that Eric Northman would be coming for vengeance.

Next, Eric opened the back of his travel coffin and removed one of the row of burner phones. He found the stairs and walked up toward the roof of the palace, Eric acknowledging the sympathetic looks he received from those he passed. He murmured thanks for the kind words vampires gave him about Freyda.

When he reached the door, he told the guard, “I wish to be alone for a few minutes.” The guard nodded and stepped aside, allowing Eric to exit the building.

As soon as the door to the roof closed, Eric took off into the sky, flying toward a dark place in the landscape. As soon as he landed, he texted Pamela Ravenscroft, letting her know the number was his. He followed it by placing a phone call, and Pam answered right away,

“Are you in Dallas?” she asked.

“I am,” he told his daughter. “Can you talk?”

“Wait,” she told him, and the line disconnected.

While he waited, Eric texted Karin, letting her know he’d call her shortly. He texted Thalia, telling her he needed to talk privately with her and that he’d call her within the hour. He raced through his contacts, one after the other, setting up times, and warning them to move to a safe place for their conversation.

The phone rang and the caller ID told Eric it was Pam. “Freyda is finally dead,” he told her. “I am free and I intend to take Louisiana. I won’t order you.”

“You never need to,” Pam answered. “You know I’m with you,” and they worked through the basic plan.

It took many hours and Eric found he felt far better by the end of it. Thalia, in particular, was enthusiastic. What became clear was that Felipe had arrived in the Palace two nights ago, blustering and pushing people around. He had over twenty vampires with him, but that would change. When the news broke this evening that Stan Davis survived, arrangements were made to ship ten of the King’s retinue back to Las Vegas during the day. Felipe would be remaining in the state for another week, maybe more. The current Lieutenant, Emil, was not performing to Felipe’s standards, and revenue was down.

Things in the palace hadn’t changed much since Eric’s departure. The guard corps was more honey-combed with spies for other kingdoms. Victor Madden had not taken care to root them out when he ruled in De Castro’s stead. Emil was, if anything, lazier, and, if a takeover was attempted, Pam assured Eric that most guards in the palace were unlikely to interfere. None of the old passages had been blocked. Some had been discovered, but not all.

Throughout the evening, Eric texted and planned. Karin would head to that section of the state closest to Texas, near Lafayette. There was a strong Sheriff there, planted by Madden and remaining loyal. He had, at best, five vampires. He was young, they all were, and Thalia scoffed when Eric insisted she take back-up. “What if they surrender?” Thalia asked.

“No prisoners, no pardons,” Eric told her. “If they came with Felipe or Madden, they are ended. It will send a strong message and make sure that others think twice before challenging me for this ground.”

Eric could hear Thalia’s delight. It was her kind of fight, no quarter given and none asked.

“I will spread the word,” she promised him. “What about Karin?”

Eric was sending his older daughter to the Area just north of New Orleans. The loyalty there was to their local Sheriff first and De Castro somewhere down the list. Eric knew the vampire in charge, and Karin did, too. Eric trusted Karin to know the right thing.

“Indira can take care of my Area,” Pam told him when she called back with an update. “I’m in the Palace now. Maxwell Lee is here. I’ll be enlisting him.”

“I would like to arrive tomorrow night,” Eric told her.

“We can have everyone in place for rising the next night,” Pam’s voice was fierce. “I can tell you where he rests.”

“I won’t take him when he’s defenseless,” Eric protested. “I want witnesses. There will be no doubt that I defeated him.”

“Provided you do,” Pam teased.

“I’ll need a sword,” Eric was not interested in humor. There was too much at stake.

“I can arrange that,” Pam said after only a moment. “I know where Wybert’s sword rests. It should be heavy enough for your hand.”

“It will be an honor to carry that blade,” Eric replied. Wybert had been beheaded defending Sophie-Ann. He was an honorable vampire who fell in battle and Eric felt an unreasonable sense of optimism. The plan was thin. It relied almost entirely on old loyalties and speed of execution, and, yet, Eric felt he would certainly win.

He flew back to the Palace roof. The guard was standing there, waiting for him. Eric could see him speaking on his phone as he descended. “The King wishes you to wait here,” the guard told him.

When Stan joined him, he asked, “Why shouldn’t I have you staked? I left instructions that I wanted everyone to stay within the walls.”

“You didn’t mention it to me,” Eric waited. If the King intended to follow through with his threat, Eric would make a run for it, or a fly for it, which amounted to the same thing. “By the way, I will be taking you up on your earlier offer. I’d like to leave tomorrow night, if that suits.”

Stan motioned the guard to leave. “So, you will try?” he asked.

“I will win,” Eric assured him. “There is only one thing left to do. I have to call the Clan Chief of Amun. I don’t want any confusion over what I will do, and the outcome when I succeed.”

“King Northman,” Stan was smiling. “It has a ring to it, Viking. The plane will be ready when you are.”

That night as dawn approached, Eric visualized the way the line that separated sky from earth slowly became visible, revealing itself as light approached. Eric thought about the world that lay ahead, a world where he would be made King or finally die in in trying. “Sookie would laugh,” he said out loud and then laughed to hear the words. It was pathetic, how much he’d lost because of his obsession with her. Now, he stood to gain his freedom and secure his future because he was following vampire rules.

It wasn’t lost on Eric that he was now free. He could reach out to her, but Eric knew now that bringing Sookie Stackhouse to his side would defeat much of what he stood to gain. Sookie Stackhouse was a step he could not afford to make.

Eric Northman thought about his future, and his future was a crown, a throne, and a vampire court if he could live to claim it.

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48 thoughts on “Chapter 14 – Tables Flip

  1. I could feel sorry for Isobel. If she had turned Hugo, it would have prevented a lot of problems. But it led to Freyda’s death, which is a huge turning point in the story. I figure some vampires would enjoy the romantic aspects for Eric and Sookie’s story, but still don’t respect it. Stanzas right on that score. I hope Eric has all the support he needs, though he already has some powerful help. I hope they all come through safely.

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    1. I am spending some time on that- the acceptance of humans and vampires in a post mainstreaming world. Everyone has their own idea of what mainstreaming should be- for Stan it’s having a golden opportunity to make more money.

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  2. So sad he’s giving up on Sookie when she could actually make him stronger now that she is willing to work with him . But I am still going to be positive and wish for a HEA. Have a great holiday and thanks for the post.

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  3. Eric will do what he thinks is best and if that is not having Sookie then he will try not to have her. I imagine when he finds out about Rick he will be pissed anyway so I don’t see a reunion anytime soon. Thank you for not making us wait a long time for the death of the old King and the rise of the new one. May you and yours have a nice holiday this year:-)

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    1. It’s funny. I rarely see paternal instincts come rushing to the fore, particularly with old dogs, and Eric’s among the oldest. For now, Eric is a stranger in a strange land and falling back on the lessons he knows best.

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  4. Excellent! Eric has positioned himself well to change his fate, I was nervous for him. Although he is looked down upon for his affiliation with humans he is not without strong vampire(& other supe) allies of his own. Ludwig’s fleeting moment of desire to tell Eric about Rick could have been disastrous if anyone overheard her speaking to him.

    Thanks to you for your fertile mind and to Ms. Buffy for her keen eye, you are truly appreciated. Reading this work has been a pleasure, so excited for the next installment!

    Happy Holidays!

    XOXOXO,
    Joyce

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    1. Thank you! Your continued reading of this wonderful story is so greatly appreciated as well. I’m always just as excited for the next installment as everyone else! 🙂 Happy Holidays to you & your family, too!

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    2. You are quite right about Doctor Ludwig and the timing. It would have been a disaster! Would Eric have gone in search of a throne, or would he have instead gone in search of Sookie? Where would that search have taken him? And to your point, if there were those who overheard, what mischief would that have spurred? Sookie is still a telepath, and with Oklahoma dead, so it the contract that protects her. Find the telepath, they would have found the telepath’s (and Eric Northman’s) son. Bad business all around!
      Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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  5. First of all thank you for this early chapter and I wish you and yours a peaceful and safe Christmas!!!
    Even if I am longing to see Eric&Sookie together with Rick, I agree that Eric must think about his future right now….
    Fingers crossed that he will succeed in the takeover and will become soon King Northman!!!
    Dear Felipe you better watch your back…
    Anxiously waiting for the next update ( can’t get enough of this story!!!)
    Jackie69

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    1. What use finding his love if he has not place to bring her? Eric needs to be in a place where he’s not looking over his shoulder 24/7, and it’s not right now. Of course, he will revert to the ways he knows, and that will have consequences, but who can blame him? Who among us hasn’t done something because it’s how we’ve always done it, only to have it backfire?

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  6. My heart breaks for Eric every time I read this chapter. No, he didn’t love Freyda, but she loved him, and he was building a life with her. He had true affection for her, and had resigned himself to moving on and living out the commitment of his contract as happily as possible. Eric is a smart, pragmatic man who hasn’t survived 1,000 years wasting time on “What ifs,” so he makes his decisions and then lives his undead life to the fullest. Locked somewhere in his heart & mind, Sookie will remain a ghost from a time where he once loved freely. He now has plans and choices to make that may effect not just his future, but the futures of the vampires of Louisiana. He will focus on that, and what is to come. He is a brilliant strategist, a warrior at heart. It shows in the line where he tells Pam that he won’t take down Felipe while he’s at rest; a true warrior would never do such a thing!

    Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and for those celebrating another holiday, may yours be Happy & Good ones, too! 🙂

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    1. I enjoy that strain of what is truly noble that runs through Eric. He is a throwback to another time, but these are traits I wish we still had in this time. We need knights now, more than ever, men and women who fight for right, who aren’t afraid to defend those less fortunate with the strength of their hand and their lives if necessary. Men and women who see the world in all its imperfection, and strive to make that part that is their lives, a model of what is right and true.
      A knight would rather fall in his or her sword than be called a liar or a braggart. They turn away from worldly goods, taking modestly from what is offered for their services, and giving away the rest.
      It’s interesting that there are poems and stories dating back from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, full of lessons for what is needed to become that ideal. It suggests that there were those then who saw the world as being more corrupt, and in need of good-hearted, good-souled people. It would appear we are repeating history again.

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  7. If Eric succeeds, he won’t succeed in trying to keep Sooke away. She was in Felipe’s retinue so I assume she’ll be left over after that take over unless she can manage to make it out of there, which looks like won’t happen. As for Rick, I imagine Eric is going to feel so awkward meeting Rick but I feel like it will be a turning point in his relationship with soookie because he’ll realize that she was never with another man, she never moved on, and that all along her disappearance at the time had to do with protecting their son. And once Eric finds out how special Rick is, it’ll definitely be a rollercoaster ride for him. But I feel like Rick might be the reason he gets back with sookie

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    1. All good guesses! I’d say it’s a safe bet that if he gets her again, he won’t be willing to let Sookie go. I’d think the same for her. Rick will be a puzzle for Eric. It’s been a thousand years since he had human children, and he wasn’t so involved with them then. And this isn’t some baby. This is a tall, gawky, challenging tween. Good luck, Viking! I had moments during that time in their maturation when I wasn’t so sure I wanted to claim my spawn, and I’ve known them and nursed them all their lives!
      It will be a rollercoaster and they will need something (or someone) to bring them together.

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  8. Well I am glad to see that Stan did not kill Freyda. I always likes that cowboy. I think he gave Eric strong advice on taking the throne of OK. He is also very cleaver in getting Eric to do his dirty work in killing King De Castro. It is Eric’s right to take his head. As Eric is the older vampire it should be doable. Yeah he lost status to the general vampire world for loving Sookie. I do not think he did to the vampires in his circle. He was always a fair ruler to them. He never asked for too much. He never took form them for greed. He only ended them if there was no other option. A dead vampire cannot pay tribute. He aided his vassels when they needed it. He has that as the basis of his reputation and I think a lot of vampires will remember that too. I take it, it is not widely known that Sookie is a human fae hybrid. Would it raise his status if the Kings and Queens knew that? That Sookie is not fully human or would it create more problems for Sookie? I know the general population of vampires knowing would be all bad. Any fool would try to get a bite out of her. How will his status be affected by having a damphire for a son? It is not many that can have a biological child. Great chapter.

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    1. You touched on the issue with declaring Sookie’s heritage. If it was generally known, she would be in even more danger than she is day to day. Who wouldn’t want to try and control her, even if the Fae are gone now? In some respects, it would enhance Eric’s standing to have her heritage known, but only if she is bound to him in a way that other vampires can’t set aside. As for some vampires knowing, but others not? They gossip and there really aren’t that many of them compared to other species. The only way to keep a secret with this bunch is if one knows and the other is finally dead!
      Now, the question of Rick will need to be determined. He is unusual, but now totally unknown. Doctor Ludwig was aware of what he was because she’d seen others, just not for a very long time. In some ways it would give vampires an odd hope, but in other ways, the ability to have a child with a human woman will be seen as a nuisance.

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  9. Yes, Eric needs to keep his head clear to take out Felipe, and get his future secured. Then he can turn his thought to other things. Maybe st that point Rick will be revealed and all hell can break loose again! Happy Holidays and thanks for the update present.

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    1. Quite right, first things first! What’s the point of claiming your family if you have no where to take them and nothing to offer? It’s a romantic notion, that you can live on love, but Eric is too pragmatic to do that!
      Happy Holidays to you as well!

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  10. Great chapter! I love how things move fast fast fast in this story and we’re on the eve of a Louisiana take over even as Freyda’s ashes haven’t even been buried… It speaks of a political world that is as ruthless as it comes… In that context, I love how Eric’s vulnerable position is explored in this chapter… Both now as the widower without a bond or kingly status but also his larger reputation having suffered from his (unsuccessful) efforts in his marriage to a human, Sookie… No wonder killing Felipe off and taking over Louisiana in this swift action seems such an obvious move… It does seem like a bit of a rush exercise but in his favour are his loyalists still in place (it’s been barely over a decade which I guess is not a long time in vampire terms) and it always seemed as if Felipe was a bit over-stretched in his running several kingdoms… And he still wanted to add Texas… Sigh… I wonder whether Sookie’s presence in Louisiana is to play a role at all in the skirmish… If Felipe gets a hint of the Viking being in offensive mode, he would probably try to use Sookie as a bargaining chip but let’s see if he gets that much of a chance against Wybert’s sword…
    Very touching (then bitter) moments with Eric trying to mourn Freyda one minute and then the next, for all his affection, looks as if the Oklahoma staff have no time for him…
    Good thing Dr. Ludwig didn’t spill the beans to Eric re: his fatherhood as he is having to deal with enough variables to consider a child… But once he finds out that Rick is his and how special (and vulnerable) he is, he will no doubt be as protective as hell…
    Can’t wait for the continuation and so glad for the extra chapters this holiday season!!! Yay!!!

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    1. My Father once told me that when opportunity stretches its hand, take it, don’t hesitate, because once the moment is over it may never come again. As someone who had lived a long time, I believe Eric understands the wisdom of that advice. Stan cautions him that if Eric hesitates, or even if his attempt at a takeover takes too long, Stan will be coming. Eric knows that if Stan arrives with his own troops, Eric’s opportunity will be lost, so he sets aside any pull to observe the courtesies with Freyda’s remains and pushes things in motion.
      Stan points out it’s not just Eric’s deciding to marry a human, it’s many things. Eric’s failure to accept promotion beyond Sheriff, his being the sole survivor of Felipe’s takeover, the killing of Madden. Each of these things taken individually might not have harmed him, but taken together they paint a picture we know isn’t accurate, but you could see how others would believe it.
      I also believe that if Felipe caught wind of what was coming, he’d do anything he needed, including bringing Sookie Stackhouse close to use as a human shield. Eric better be hoping for surprise in this one!

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  11. Thank you for another wonderful chapter. I notice that a lot of readers are excited about Eric finding out about his son and so am I. I’m excited because Ricky’s is a true miracle his birth was a surprise which is not explicable by nature or by the scientific laws in the human or supernatural world. Eric is a very very old vampire and he has lived so long that life no longer holds much surprises for him and when he was human a birth of a child was just part of life it was expected it was nothing special. Also, Eric’s human marriage was to woman he wasn’t in love, he did cared for her but he didn’t love her not in the way he loves Sookie and as we all know in the Eric and Sookie fanfiction world LOVE does change everything!!! The fact the Eric Northman fathered a child is an unprecedented event but the fact that he fathered his son with his Sookie, his ‘heart’s desirer’, I believe, would bring Eric to his knees.

    I agree Eric is an old ‘dog’ so nothing really moves him or surprised him anymore. Everything that Eric has done in his life has been coolly calculated and timely controlled that is until he met Sookie Stackhouse, she is the one thing that his heart and his feelings can’t control. His strong love for Sookie caught him off guard, however, the child that he and Sookie created could only be view by Eric as a gift by his Viking gods, at least in my thinking. Also, in Eric’s thinking he just one-upped every vampire that has ever lived by having Ricky!

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    1. I suspect once Eric gets over the shock of it, some aspect of gloating will start. It is something that no one else has at the moment, but as Doctor Ludwig told Sookie, it’s only because Eric is so old. In theory, any old vampire could create biological children with a human (maybe even Were) woman. All they have to do is live long enough.
      Now, is Sookie the love of Eric’s life? Oh, yes! He tries, he lies, he tells himself he can move forward, but she is with him, in his thoughts every night. But, will that attachment, which he understands on some level, translate to their mostly grown, smart-mouthed child? Hmmm…

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  12. I had no idea that Eric was no seen weak in the vampire world because of everything that happened. I hope this will help him regain his standing. Stan sure has a powerful gift, wow! Hmmm, I’m remembering that Sookie is in LA, I wonder if this is how they will meet up again. Great chapter. I’m hoping Eric continues to soul search and realizes he needs Sookie in his life.

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    1. I think that Eric will find that his thoughts seem to include a certain telepath, whether it’s him telling himself she is behind him, or him telling himself that by staying away he is saving her, or him trying to convince himself that she is really with someone else. We all tell ourselves lies about things. It’s the actions, sometimes that really count.

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  13. Hmmm
    I see him eliminating Felipe and by default reclaiming Sookie.
    It was interesting the respect and dedication he showed Freyda. Although he was sold into her “service” for 200 years lets not forget that Freyda Forced him to leave his life just as much as Felipe and erics maker. I suppose his attempt to elevate his status was the way to make it bearable but he truly was pimped out and therefore lost the respect of many vampires.
    Hopefully you will “throw us a bone” with the next chapter and read about the long awaited revealing of Rick to Eric.

    You’re doing a fantastic job weaving the story in such a way that is logical and the progression of their lives are getting closer to the finale!

    Happy Holidays….
    Karen

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    1. Good guess. He is definitely marching to Louisiana so a confrontation with Felipe seems most likely.
      It’s the irony of the situation, isn’t it? All that you say about Freyda is true. She forced him to leave his life, she shackled him to her by a contract, but of the two relationships (Eric and Freyda versus Eric and Sookie), it’s the one with Oklahoma that vampires respect more. After all, Freyda was vampire, not human! That, for many of them, was all that counted.

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  14. So much to think about in this chapter. Stan’s attitude seems to be the standard, humans are below them, but Eric noticed another monarch desperate to turn their human. He really is not alone in his feelings. Any vampire who is a maker has seen value in a human, and every single one of them used to be human. I guess Stan was probably just as opportunistic when human, and Felipe probably always was a megalomaniac and Eric was always a pragmatic, honourable warrior. Eric’s thoughts about having ‘cleaners’ on speed dial go a long way to show his difference in attitude to the so-called norm.
    It will be great to get his girls back in his life. and Thalia. Love, love Thalia. I hope his crown has a moment to settle on his head before he has to deal with the baby daddy bombshell. I doubt it, though. With Sookie being in the area, shit’s bound to hit the fan.
    I look forward to an update on Fran and Rick. I’m trying to remember if Fran put any spells on Sookie and Rick, and wonder if her passing will leave them vulnerable at an inopportune time. I worry for poor Rick. He’s at such an awful stage of development and is facing more upheaval than anyone should have to. I hope Eric doesn’t have a vampire reaction to the dhampyr abomination thing. That would be crushing for Rick.
    Well, it’s Xmas eve here, and I should probably finish the last of my preparing. I wish all of you a magical and wonderful season, whatever you believe. It is an opportunity to be with loved ones, eat together, laugh. Celebrate the turning of the year and anticipate things to come (more chapters 😊). For too many, this year has been more than challenging. Let’s all take a moment to focus and send a wish /prayer/ whatever out to the cosmos, god/ess’ for better things to come. Enlightenment, compassion, hope.
    Heartfelt blessings to you and yours 💖 🌠

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    1. Mainstreaming is having its effects on vampires. Where once humans were only viewed as pets and chattel, there are others besides Eric who are willing to demonstrate more than an ownership aspect to their relationships. We will spend some time with Lily and Rubio, a more ‘open’ married relationship and perhaps a hint of what might be possible. Their lives are changing, but for those who are older and more set in their ways, acceptance of change would come slow, and in some cases, might cause them to openly fight for what they would view as their due.
      Fran did place protection spells around Sookie, and one presumes, Rick. What happened to those spells when Fran fell ill is something I’ll explain later.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours. I wish you many happy returns of the season and the best of New Year’s.

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  15. Thank you so much for this extra chapter. This is my special treat every week….and to get multiple chapters is just the best. I was so fascinated with Eric’s vulnerable position and his effort to reclaim his reputation. Excited to get back to reading about Pam, Karin, and Thalia.
    Hoping you have a magical Christmas.

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    1. Merry Christmas to you as well.
      I will release on Christmas, and then again on Wednesday, then it’s back to Sundays (including New Years). Your favorite gals will make their re-appearance during this time.
      Cheers.

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  16. I adore this story and this was another amazing chapter! I had many different thoughts and feelings while reading it. Eric’s sadness is interesting- is it a little guilt that he feels? He admits to himself that he knows she loved him but he’s sad he couldn’t offer her anything more. I found it interesting he sat there with her as she flaked away- like wanting to document her death and final moments. The fact the Dr. Ludwig described what she saw in his face as suffering speaks volumes.

    I loved the explanation Stan gave to Eric about his standing in the vampire world. It was a harsh wake up call. For Eric to be in a position with no major alliances- without a home, with bad luck following him around, as Stan put it- not where we would expect to see the Viking, our hero. I don’t know if I would have put all of that together like he did.

    When Eric was reflecting on how his attachment to Sookie cost him respect in the eyes of most everyone in his world, it made sense and it will always be, as long as vampires believe they’re superior. Yet the part about Nebraska trying to turn her companion… or Isobel not forgiving Stan for what happened to Hugo… Eric isn’t the only one who has attachments to humans. Vampires do feel strong emotions and have strong attachments.

    What I also loved was seeing Eric take steps to write the pages of his future- this is the Eric we know and love and why I CAN’t WAIT for the next installment of this story. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to you, Natsgirl, for your wonderfully creative storytelling and to Ms. Buffy for her expert assistance. Like I said, I can’t wait for more.

    Much love and peace to all!

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    1. Eric has a noble soul. He was married to Freyda, and while he’s honest about his not loving her, he still goes through the motions to honor her. Doctor Ludwig interprets it as suffering and devotion, but we don’t hear Eric thinking that. He is doing his duty, but that is just as strong a motive for him. He doesn’t want to leave Freyda to fall apart alone.
      Of course, we know that most of the things Stan describes were not as he says. Felipe didn’t favor Eric and there were good reasons to kill Victor Madden, but when you string everything together, you can see how vampires with a certain set of assumptions would view Eric as being less admirable. Eric prefers to focus on his marriage to Sookie, ignoring the other things Stan said. That’s understandable too. Eric’s focus, whether he admits it or not, is all about Sookie – always was.
      So, in the end, where does Freyda fall in his priorities? Apparently to the bottom, because he will leave her remains in the hands of her guards, abandon any claim to Oklahoma and her legacy, and go to seek his own future in the place he shared with Sookie. Actions always speak louder than words, and the Viking is moving fast.

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  17. Until Stan pointed it out, I don’t think I ever put it together that Eric was seen as so much less due to his relationship with Sookie and what he did to try to maintain it and her safety. It’s sad really because I don’t think Sookie really appreciated what he really gave up and how much he really cared. She always seemed so willing to write off his feelings for her and cast him in a not so positive light. Hopefully things will be successful with the takeover. I have a feeling Eric will need to be working from a position of power so he can help/protect Ricky, and soon.

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    1. That was the kicker, wasn’t it? Eric took all kinds of abuse from his superiors. He tells Sookie that things are difficult with his new bosses. He tells her that her living apart from him causes problems. He tries to call her ‘wife’ and she just doesn’t get it. Of course, Eric might have just spelled it out for her, and not continued speaking in vampire code, expecting her to understand the subtext. They were both to blame for their failure and the fall-out.
      Eric needs to secure his future and his power or he could find himself ending up like Bill Compton – everybody’s pity object – and that wouldn’t suit the Viking at all!

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  18. it’s kind of unfair to blame Sookie about the failure of their marriage. Eric was very high handed and secretive with her and in regards to the marriage he had with her. When I was reading how Eric was wooing and loving Freyda so that she would bond with him I kept thinking if he’d only put this much effort in his relationship with Sookie I think things would have been different with his relationship with Sookie. Eric wooing made Freyda feel loved and cherished. Eric never wooed Sookie what he did do was make her feel that she was his property an asset for area five.

    I think it’s so sad that in this 11 years Sookie has never had love in her life or any man that made her feel special. And it’s made me sick to my stomach to read that she’s been pining for a man who has been sleeping with Freyda and donors. Granite Eric may not have loved Freyda but she loved him so he had love in his life he had passion in his life. Yes Sookie has her son to raise but just because a woman has a child doesn’t mean she stops being sexual or stop wanting to have a lover and to be loved. In this story I feel that Sookie gets a lot of short ends of sticks and Eric get to have his cake and eat it too.

    I also think it’s very unfair that Eric wanted to change Sookie so that she can be with him forever. I believe that because the story is called Turning Sookie will eventually become a vampire. It”s funny how the very thing we loved about someone, the very thing that attracted us to them is the very thing we want to change in then later. What makes Sookie and Eric so wonderful is that each has what the other does not have but needs. Sookie is Eric”s light she is everything he lost as a vampire he loves her warmth her humanity and that she smells like the Sun and I’m sure there’s many other aspects that he loves about her being human that I can’t remember of right now and for Sookie Eric is her dark the quiet and comfort that night sometimes brings us.

    Thank you for share your story. I think about this story a lot. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas

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    1. I won’t disagree with you. They are, neither of them, particularly perfect. I think that’s what appeals to me so much. They have all kinds of faults, but in the end, they seem to fill out what the other lacks. Where they both fall short is their ability to communicate with each other. They always seem to need some intermediary to call them out on their crap. Pam fills that role most often, but in this story, we’ll see if they can’t find another intermediary to help out.
      As for being without a man equating to being totally without sex? Hmm. I would suggest that’s not entirely the same thing. Making a choice about not bringing someone into your life because you can’t have your heart’s desire, or filling your life with meaningless sex because you can’t have your heart’s desire, is kind of the same thing to me. Now, as for Sookie being lonely? We know Sookie has friends, both male and female, so her life is not empty. As for the sensation? Nothing that a little imagination and a couple of batteries can’t fix – just saying.
      And then, you land on the big issue. Eric wants to turn her because after a thousand years, he’s found something that makes living worthwhile. Sookie has concerns about turning, but she never seems to spell out that it’s a deep-down closely-held belief. There’s some hinting that it’s tied to her religious beliefs, but if she really believes vampires are bad, why did she date them in the first place? She tells us she hates the dark, it makes her feel claustrophobic. If she could see in the dark, would that really be an issue? I think the truth lies closer to something she tells herself, that she worries about so easily killing vampires while killing humans matters more to her. She worries that on some level, she doesn’t hold a vampire’s existence to mean as much as a human’s. That’s not religion or philosophy. That’s something else.
      Have a wonderful holiday. Fun sharing.

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  19. And just like that, the world turns. I see his respect and affection for Freyda as another example of his sense of honor. And the way you wrote her, not the cackling connving villain that is typical. Did she force Eric to her side, yes… yet he found a way to deal with his loss and thrive. Perhaps another indication of why he continues to walk the earth when so many other vampires failed at that. I can’t wait for him to give Felipe what he so richly deserves. The varying views on mainstreaming and humans was enlightening. Stan is obviously the old guard, humans are food and pleasure only. And as was pointed out, another monarch was deperately trying to save their human companion.
    Stan thinks so little of Eric’s love of Sookie (if he even conceives of the idea of love for a human), yet all vampires were once human, with one would think families and people they cared about.
    Very excited to hear you will be giving us bonus chapters, a lovely present for your readers. Hope you have a wonderful holiday, filled with love and really good food (because we all know that Christmas cookies and cakes don’t have any caories, right?)

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    1. Have you noticed that with some people, when they achieve whatever it is that they think makes them better, they embrace all their new friends and kick their old friends to the curb? I think vampires like Stan are like that. He’s evolved now… so much better! Humans? What are those? It’s not like he was meant to be a human, after all, he was chosen by his Maker and make into something so much better.
      I know handfuls of these people! They forget where they came from and would have you believe they sprang out of some brand new place. They will even get insulted if you bring up their past.
      Stan is old guard and it’s easy for him to ignore or protest this idea that species might treat each other as equals. They will never be equal in his book.
      Happy Holidays to you as well. I’ll be releasing Sunday and then again Wednesday and Sunday again.

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  20. I thought Eric crawling to Freyda to hold her hand as she flaked away & then storing her ashes in her jewelry box was a beautiful thing. He didn’t love her, but he did care for her.

    I am sooo happy that he’s finally going for the crown! Very exciting to have Pam, Karin, and Thalia back on the scene!

    I hope you and Ms. Buffy have a very Merry Christmas! ❤

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    1. Eric is, in the end, a good man. He has nobility, which is rare in any person, and so he gives Freyda the respect of someone he has shared his life with.
      I hope your holidays were wonderful and that the New Year brings all you desire.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my review I was not expecting that. I’m writing to respond to your review now because I think you missed what I was trying to say when I was talking about Sookie being lonely I wasn’t equating not having a man to not having sex, although, if it were just about having the big “O” I’d say yeah bring on the Rabbit vibrator!! What I was talking about was for Sookie to have a companion a confident partner to be by her side to love her unconditionally and whom she could back. With every relationship that comes into our life we learn something about ourselves and we grow and change because of it. I think Sookie is still in the same emotional space she was when Eric left her because she has never moved on the way Eric has and don’t say he hasn’t really moved on because maybe in his heart he has not but in his head he has definitely moved on. For Sookie to move on that don’t mean she stops loving Eric but what it means is that she loves herself enough to open her heart and acknowledged that she is worth being loved. I think a lot of the problems that were in Sookie’s life were caused because she didn’t love herself and because of that she let a lot of people walk all over her.

    Sookie has many friends and her friends care about her but Eric has moved on and has made peace to living without Sookie even if his heart said otherwise but unfortunately for Sookie still holding on to the past . Eric lived a wonderful life with Freyda he may have been sold to Freyda but he enjoyed that life with her. Even the way he treated Freyda’s ashes it showed love maybe not the Sookie kind of love, however at this point of the story I’m not even sure what Sookie kind of love is anymore, but Freyda and Eric were true companions his actions towards her always showed that and Freyda loved it.. I see you have painted Eric as having honor as being an honorable man I just can’t help questioning where was his honor for the woman he really loves, Sookie, because his behavior towards her was not honorable he kept her in the dark he was high-handed with her and with their relationship he didn’t explain things to her he put unfair blame on her and then he wondered why she don’t want this marriage with him. I know that their imperfect that both Sookie and Eric are flawed but somehow I feel that she got the wrong end of the stick in this story. Honestly if I wasn’t able to read your reviews notes you give to your review readers about Eric’s thoughts and feeling behind the scenes I think i would have given up on this story. Don’t get me wrong you are an amazing writer and I am enjoying reading your story as a matter of fact I think about this story long after the Sunday updates. Now this is only my own opinion but I can’t help feeling that in some way Sookie is being punished, by you, for marrying Sam and maybe that’s why she deserves a vibrator instead of an actual love relationship.LOL Like I said this is just my opinion it makes me think about Harris and how in the end I think she hated Eric and punished him by sending him to Oklahoma although in your story his punishment in Oklahoma wasn’t all that bad.

    Thank you again for responding to me and I would love to read any original writings that you may be working on you are truly truly a talented Storyteller and writer.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Hmm, we surely come at this from different places! Let me start by saying that I believe that it is possible to live a full life without having a permanent, romantic relationship on an on-going basis. I believe that romantic love is wonderful, and I strongly recommend it, but I don’t think it’s a requirement. I say this from the perspective of someone who is living fully, and is fully single. I have had romance, and the rare privilege of meeting the love of my life. He is gone now, and I find that I am happier with building a life around strong loving friendships with both men and women, than seeking to find a replacement for something that was so profound it will never be duplicated or replaced. Again, I say this from experience. I have had other men in my life – good men, who I loved in my own way, but it is not the same. I apologize in advance, because as you are finding, I am a hopeless romantic in the old-fashioned sense of the word. For me, there will never be another and in that I am content, because I have had the true joy of knowing him and walking with him, for however brief a time. How I feel is not the right path for others, and thank goodness. If we were all the same, how boring this world would be!
    Thanks, and I applaud your optimism.

    Like

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