Chapter 53: Trial, Part 1

ERIC POV, CONTINUED

“Please calm yourself, Queen of New York,” Russell said firmly. “We are well away from taking a vote. We have not even heard all of Eric’s case yet!”

Michelina scoffed. “I have no doubt where you will fall—Mississippi king—when it comes to adjudicating the murderer of Felipe de Castro!”

I responded as Russell growled at his fellow Council member. “I committed no murder; I defended myself and my bonded. And let us acknowledge facts. Vampires may be an ambitious group, but most of us have celebrated our honor for longer than I have existed on this earth. Rhodes was a tragedy which would have been ten times worse if not for my bonded, yet Felipe took advantage of what happened in Rhodes—just as, I believe, someone recently wished to take advantage of the King of Texas’s vulnerable situation. This kind of taking advantage—by a king no less—demonstrates a decided lack of honor. Humans attacked us. Felipe de Castro ought to have rallied around his fellow monarchs—not plotted to steal one or more of their territories,” I commented.

I noticed that Stan had sat up a bit straighter at my words. “You are right that many were,” the Texas king paused, “disabled by Rhodes, but had Sophie-Anne been stronger before that, Felipe might have failed.”

“My queen was not lacking in strength before Hurricane Katrina, and you all know it.” I stared unwaveringly at all the monarchs in my view. “I know that many of you have had to help recovery processes following hurricanes or earthquakes, but there has never been a natural disaster that took the number of Supernatural lives and livelihoods that Hurricane Katrina did. Sophie-Anne—while dealing with a trial because King Peter Threadgill tried to kill her in her own territory, I might add—was trying to help this state thrive again. Felipe took advantage of that fucking hurricane, my queen’s injuries from Rhodes, and the death of Andre. And he conducted a successful takeover. Whether he should have done that sets up for an uncomfortable precedent—don’t you think.”

“Are you trying to imply that you killed your king out of some kind of allegiance for your slain queen?” Russell asked helpfully.

I had hoped for such an opening.

“I will admit that I wished to fight on for Sophie-Anne, but—since she was already gone—I turned my attention toward me and mine. And their survival,” I informed. “That is why I agreed to serve de Castro when Madden made the offer.”

“It is unusual,” Agnes of California said, contributing for the first time, “that a new king would keep on anyone of power from the previous regime, especially a vampire as strong as Sheriff Northman.”

“But de Castro was wise in some ways,” Russell remarked. “He would have known the kind of profit made by Area 5 under Eric’s tenure. He would have speculated that losing that income would have been a massive detriment.”

“Is it not true that you were found—on the night of the takeover—at Sookie Stackhouse’s home?” Michelina asked snidely.

I could feel my bonded’s temper rising, but I also knew that she was in control of herself.

“Of course, I was there,” I responded, instead of becoming defensive. “Where else would I be—but with my bonded?”

“Is it not true that your story about de Castro’s so-called murder plot against you is a lie? Why—I would bet that you killed your king only for a mere bloodbag!” Michelina sneered.

Now—my temper threatened to rise up to the surface.

It was Sookie’s injection of calm into our bond that stopped me from lashing out.

Luckily, Desmond chose that moment to reinsert himself into the proceedings. “Ah,” he said, “I believe I should speak upon this point. And,” he added, “glaring toward the part of the screen holding Michelina’s image, “I would advise you not to use disparaging language against Miss Stackhouse.”

“Why ever not?” Michelina asked with a haughty sneer. “Why would you care about how I address a human, demon? You are only Northman’s counsel in these proceedings.”

“I am also Mr. Northman’s father-in-law—of sorts,” the part-Dae said with an incline of his head. “And even if Sookie were 100% human—which she is most certainly not—her behavior in Rhodes ought to be enough for an honorable queen—which is what I know you to be most of the time, New York—to speak of her with respect.”

“Are you questioning my honor?” Michelina charged.

“No,” Desmond returned. “Just your objectivity in this case.”

“How dare you!” the New York queen yelled.

“Micky, please,” Agnes soothed, using the New York queen’s nickname, which I knew was reserved for only her closer friends.

“The demon is right,” the California monarch said gently. “Miss Stackhouse saved many of our kind in Rhodes, at great personal risk. Mr. Cataliades’s request that you speak of her with respect is a reasonable one.”

“What did you mean when you said that Eric’s bonded is not completely human?” Stan asked when it was clear that Michelina was done venting out her displeasure.

“Sookie Stackhouse has my blood flowing through her veins. In addition, she is of the Fae house of Brigant. I am her guardian—instilled in my position by Fintan Brigant, son of Niall, and Sookie’s paternal grandfather,” the lawyer informed. “From this day forward, Sookie Stackhouse requires that the vampire world acknowledge her as a Fae princess and Dae ward.”

I felt Sookie squirm slightly next to me at the word “princess,” but she did nothing to deny Desmond’s words.

“What?” Russell asked. “But—as far as we all knew—Sookie was just a talented human!”

“I am sure that you can understand the desire of Sookie’s family to be discreet, given the ongoing conflict among the Fae concerning those who are not of full blood,” I said diplomatically. “Of course, Felipe knew that Sookie had Fae blood. I can produce recorded phone calls that demonstrate that I was upfront with my former king about Sookie’s lineage.”

“And the Dae connection?” Stan asked.

“My blood was a gift to any of Fintan’s descendants who possessed the Fae spark,” Desmond proclaimed.

“And my brother’s blood is my blood; thus, Sookie is my blood,” Nargal said from behind me.

“And Sookie’s blood is Northman’s,” Desmond added. “So, the vampire, Eric Northman, is also family to all of the Cataliades clan.”

And all of our kin,” Nargal added.

I fought to keep my eyes from opening wide at that proclamation. Basically, Desmond and Nargal had both just promised that they would wage a war for either Sookie or me!

“Are you threatening us?” Michelina asked tersely.

“Of course not,” Desmond said with a toothy smile, his teeth looking as deadly as a vampire’s fangs. “I am merely indicating why I am here on behalf of my goddaughter and her bonded. And—of course—I am a witness too.”

“A witness to what?” Agnes asked.

“To the fact that de Castro entered this bar with the intention of killing Sheriff Northman. To the fact that Felipe wanted Sookie Stackhouse for his own. To the fact that he allowed Victor Madden to run this state into the ground and undo all the good that was being done by Sophie-Anne—despite the dire situation—before her death!”

“I can attest to that as well,” Octavia said.

“And you are?” Agnes asked.

“I am Octavia Fant, coven leader of New Orleans and supporter of Eric Northman’s regime.”

“Whether or not Mr. Northman has a regime is still a matter of argument,” Michelina said unpleasantly.

“You seem to have a collection of eclectic allies, Eric,” Stan said with some amusement—though some caution.

“There are none here that do not believe that Eric Northman would be a worthy King of Louisiana,” Desmond said confidently, “if you will let him.”

“What of Nevada and Arkansas?” Agnes asked. “Would you desire them too, Mr. Northman?”

“I never desired to be a king at all,” I answered honestly. “But—to protect me and mine—I find that is my only option at this time. As for Nevada, I would put forward Sandy Sechrest, who was Felipe’s second-in-command. And—in Arkansas—I would defer to the Council.” I bowed my head.

“Oh—how deferential of you,” Michelina sneered. “But we have lost focus on the fact that you killed your king! If I had my way, Council representatives would—even now—be converging upon that little bar of yours to make sure you were finally dead by morning! But I have been blocked in this and forced to endure this needless call when we all know What should be—must be—done when a sheriff kills his king,” she said, seeming to sneer at her fellow Council members.

“But we must not kill a new king either! And I see Eric’s actions as completely justified. The gods know that Northman will be a worthier king anyway—better for us all!” Russell proclaimed, making his position clear. “Felipe was a lit fuse intent upon blowing up a power structure that has worked well for us for years! Gods! He was trying to strip Louisiana and Arkansas from Amun!”

“Narayana was upset by Felipe’s ideas of expansion as well. There have been rumors that he was spreading himself too thin—much to the detriment of his people,” Agnes sighed. “Pity—he was once such a promising king.”

Felipe’s character is not in question!” Michelina glared.

“Isn’t it, Micky?” Agnes asked. “Should it not be? As much as I hate the thought that a sheriff killed his king, I must entertain the possibility that Felipe had broken a law even more sacred than the one Eric did.”

“What law?” Michelina practically spit out.

“The law of bondeds,” Agnes said softly.

“Yes,” Russell nodded. “Long before this Council formed, the protected status of a bonded was recognized. I have no trouble believing that Felipe would have ignored that status.”

“But they are bonded no more!” Michelina yelled out.

“Whatever your source is—you are incorrect,” Desmond said.

You are biased!” Michelina sneered. “And that is why I have sent one to you who is not!” she added triumphantly.

Just then, my attention went to the door of my bar as I heard several vehicles approaching.

“What have you done?” Agnes asked Michelina.

“I have simply asked Nan to be on hand in case Northman is found guilty of treason,” she responded innocently.

At her words, the tension inside of Fangtasia grew. The magic of the witches practically cackled in readiness. The Dae all seemed to flex their hands at once, ready to cast fire at enemies if needed. Calvin and the others of two-natures in the room seemed to shimmer. And my loyal vampires all dropped fang.

“Nan is a Council representative,” Stan said almost soothingly. “She will not act without a consensus from this body.”

I nodded and looked at my bonded, who had also tensed up.

“Six vampires,” she whispered, alerting me to the number of potential enemies who had arrived.

I nodded and then turned back to the others. “Stand down.”

The energy in the room abated somewhat right as Nan Flanagan entered; she was wearing a cat-suit that made her look about as un-sexy as any vampire could, and she was flanked by four guards.

I could tell that one of her people had waited by the entrance.

“Lovely little gathering you have here,” Nan said, looking around the room.

“Nan,” Russell said from the live feed. “I assume you are there to observe only.”

“And to act if need be,” she said, sounding bored.

“You can begin by determining whether a bond still exists between Northman and the . . . .” Michelina paused and did not complete the insult she had been surely planning. “And Miss Stackhouse.”

Sookie and I had both risen to face the spokesperson for the AVL.

Nan strolled over to us and smirked before inhaling deeply. She seemed somewhat surprised for a moment. Clearly, Michelina had a spy or a confidant in Felipe’s circle—or perhaps Freyda’s. Either way, it was obvious that the New York queen had been informed that Sookie and my bond had been broken. And she had contacted Nan with this information.

I had never been more thankful for Ludwig in my existence! Had she not created an antidote that would reestablish Sookie’s authentic scent—which included our bond and an abundance of Eau de Eric—the premeditation of my action against Felipe would have surely been discovered! I was determined to give the little troll another bonus!

I’m sure she’d expect it.

“So?” Michelina asked insistently.

Nan looked at the screen almost apologetically. “The telepath reeks of Northman. The bond is inarguable and strong.”

Michelina frowned. “But I was told . . . .”

“Rumors are often incorrect,” Stan said.

“Let us get back on point,” Russell said. “I believe that it is to the Viking’s credit that he even attempted to serve Felipe! And all that I have heard before tonight indicates that Eric served him well! Thus, it is de Castro’s failings that have led us to this point—that led him to his death.”

“But consider the precedent if we accept Eric as king,” Agnes said contemplatively. “I agree that de Castro had become a prick. Hell! Nevada was part of my own clan, so I’ve had to work with him for years! As I indicated, he began as a good and visionary king. But—during the last few years—he became so hung up on his personal ambitions that he all but ignored his people’s welfare. Still—the overthrowing of monarchs—even bad ones—has never been sanctioned by this Council.”

“And allowing a monarch of summarily kill his sheriff without cause—especially with the intent of stealing someone with whom that sheriff was bonded—should not be a policy of this Council either,” Russell said firmly.

“But to what should we give the most weight?” Stan asked his fellows.

“If Felipe intended what he has been accused of, then I cannot help but to believe that Mr. Northman was justified,” Agnes observed.

“But how can we even know Felipe’s true motives?” Michelina asked. “I still say that Northman is likely lying about his king’s intentions in order to cover up his own ambitions.”

Russell muttered. “What ambitions?”

“Northman is not lying,” Sandy Sechrest averred, stepping forward so that she was in the frame of the camera. “Sheriff Northman has been being wronged for as long as Nevada has been the ruler of Louisiana. I had hope that Felipe was turning a corner from a selfish phase to a selfless one when he ordered Madden to allow Eric to live on the night of the takeover. But—after that—Felipe let Madden have free reign in squeezing every penny possible from Area 5. He allowed Madden to interfere with Eric at every turn—once the king decided that he wished to have Sookie for his own.”

“You are betraying your liege,” Michelina accused.

“I was loyal to Felipe for a very long time, but he is dead and gone now,” Sandy said. “My loyalties—now—are to the vampires who remain in Nevada. They have been straining under Felipe’s unfair taxing. Instead of building up his existing kingdoms, Felipe had been looking outward—overlooking his people—and scheming to take even more states in Amun, Zeus, and Moshup! He had designs on all of the Mississippi River states! And upon New Jersey too—since he felt best suited to run Atlantic City! And I can produce proof of that if required. He wanted the telepath, Sookie Stackhouse, to aid him with his ambitions!”

“What?” Russell asked. “All states bordering the Mississippi?”

Sandy bowed her head. “Yes—you were on his list of conquests, King Edgington.” Sandy looked steadfastly toward the camera. “Honestly, if Felipe had remained a good king, I would have fought at his side until my true death, even if he expanded his territories to include the whole world! But he was not—ultimately—equipped with enough honor or restraint to be a just ruler, so I told Eric of Felipe’s plans to murder him and steal Miss Stackhouse. I stand ready to accept punishment for that if need be,” she said with pride.

“So, you were Cassius to Northman’s Brutus,” Michelina sneered.

“Don’t forget that Caesar was a fucking tyrant in the end. I should know; after all, I am old enough to have seen that cluster fuck firsthand,” Thalia muttered from behind me. “Everyone who stabbed him deserved a fucking medal.”

“Let us not get off track,” Agnes entreated. “Do you have more to say, Miss Sechrest?”

“Yes,” Sandy said, after glancing at me. “I have not yet told you—or Eric—about the full extent of Felipe’s interference into his life—or the true reason why Eric was allowed to live on after the takeover.”


A/N: I hope you are not finding the trial too tedious. I found myself fascinated as I wrote it. I was trying to imagine myself as every character in the scene (and there are TONS at this point-LOL). Especially fun was trying to imagine the world from the perspective of each of the vampire monarchs and infusing their words with their motives and personalities. BTW, even though Kleannhouse hated Michelina and was calling for her death at around this point (LOL), I actually found her backstory interesting and could understand her bitterness since Karin had slain her maker. It’s always really interesting to me imagine characters that might be “likable” on their own, but are “anti”-Eric and Sookie. I actually thought that de Castro would be interesting in this regard when he was first introduced in the books, but-like many things-CH didn’t use these characters to their full worth. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this; the trial will continue next week.

Best,

Kat


Thanks to Kleannhouse and Seph!



28 thoughts on “Chapter 53: Trial, Part 1

    1. Happy mother’s day to all one day early. I told my family all I want is to hear from each of my kids, no cards or flowers or gifts. In fact, we are taking our son, his wife and their 8 month old son to brunch, our treat. They are working hard to pay off her grad school loans and I have more than enough possessions. Packing up our home of over 20 years proves that! Time with family is priceless.

  1. Excellent chapter…..
    I’m finding this trial so interesting, every council member has his/her perspective of Felipe’s motives about his “wanting” of Eric’s “human”.
    I’m glad that Sookie’s heritage came out.
    Gosh what is Sandy going to say!?
    Jackie69

  2. Yes you are portraying the trial very well. Michelina is very biased and show her hand too soon. It makes her look guilty of something. She has some knowledge of De Castros dealings. I love how all these people who are known for protecting their own necks are stepping up to be on Eric’s side. Nan is ever a tool. I wonder who’s agenda she is on the side of or if she is getting played also. You left us with a cliffie too. Tomorrow is Mother’s day and I am a mom. Can I have another chapter as a prezzie?

  3. I, too, am fascinated by the trial and the case you’re building up for Eric. Great stuff! And at least you update more frequently than George R.R. Martin -)

    1. LOL. Yeah, he takes several years per book, the HBO series has passed the part the books got to, but he had so many sub plots going in the last book, I couldn’t figure out how he could ever wrap in up, short of discovering nuclear arms and staging Armageddon. I did predict well in advance the parentage of Jon Snow!

  4. Dang, it ended too quick. I can understand Micheline’s desire to avenge her maker, but it sounds to me like he was ready to go. She needs to let it go. Felipe’s plotting went beyond what any of them thought. If any of the others had known he would have been killed sooner. He had lost the loyalty of his subjects, most all of them. Now that Nan has confirmed the bond is strong, that’s another strike against him. I always thought his taking of Louisiana when Sophie Anne couldn’t fight back was a cowardly act. I am looking forward to more.

  5. And the plot thickens. Wonder what else Sandy has to tell? The scales should be tipping toward saving Eric since she was able to inform the council about Felipe’s plans to basically take over everywhere. Can’t wait for more of the trial. Love the different perspectives.
    Happy Mothers Day!!

  6. Loving the trial, and can’t wait for what Sandy has to say about such ancient history as the night of the takeover!
    I wish you could update more often, but I do understand that life and health must come first. Besides, we can only GET the updates if the author (you) is healthy enough to do so!

  7. The trial is fascinating reading. You’ve made very clear the different personalities of the council members, and their different points of view…and I agree with Kleannhouse, Michelina needs to go! 😉 But she should watch herself, her prejudice is obvious I think and she’s using every opportunity to voice it. I suppose as long as she doesn’t ACT on it, she’ll just have to pout in private when Eric is acquitted of any wrongdoing 😋
    Mind you, Russell is pretty openly in Eric’s court and Agnes seems fair and thoughtful. Stan could go either way. He hasn’t really said much.
    Can’t wait for the next chapter to see what happens next!
    Happy Mothers Day to everyone with little (or big) kids out there! 💝

  8. Oh, this is a fascinating read! So many valid points being brought up even without Michelina’s bad attitude. On edge of my seat waiting to hear what Sandy still has to say.

  9. dang you are telling them my secret yelling comments to you as I BETA… oh well you should post a book of them.. they, the reader, would get a kick out of them i can be very naughty sometimes loved the chapter and i still say off with Micky’s head….. KY

  10. This is very good. I think Michelina knows something more. Did she know Bill? Or of Lorena? And what is Sandy going to say? !
    ( It’s been awhile since I’ve read the books, Nan wasn’t in them right? Also Quinn killed Andre if I remember right).
    Happy Mom’s day !

    1. Quinn definitely killed Andre. I don’t think Nan was in the books, but I have taken some liberties to insert her here b/c she works in the context. I actually sort of liked her at times. LOL.

      1. Quinn killed Andre, but later Quinn turned out to be a spy for FDC and helped with the takeover. The question is, when did he start working for FDC. In the books, he owed Nevada because his mother escaped her home for supes with psych issues, killed people and the vampires covered it up. Or was that just the story Quinn gave Sookie. Just a thought.

  11. Really compelling chapter! Can’t wait to see what Sandy has to say next… and this is so spot on: “It’s always really interesting to me imagine characters that might be “likable” on their own, but are “anti”-Eric and Sookie”

  12. I’m dying to read what Sandy knows. My guesses are 1) that he already knew of Appius’ contract with Freyda, maybe even helped broker it and wanted a cut of the bounty, plus Sookie available, 2) he knew about Sookie’s fairy nature and tipped off Niall’s enemies, planning to split the couple up either by rescuing Sookie himself or undermining her faith in Eric, or maybe the water Fae were to give him Sookie but they betrayed FDC, 3)he knew of Sookie’s abilities when she saved others at Rhodes and thought if he spared Eric, Eric would “share” Sookie with the king out of gratitude, 4) FDC helped set up the amnesia spell on Eric to weaken QSA, 5) FDC helped the FOTS to blow up Rhodes to cause chaos so he could take over more states in Amun, but Sookie saved some he wanted finally dead, 6) FDC sent Quinn right from the start to seduce Sookie, 7)there was a weather witch that was at Rhodes that predicted Katrina, maybe FDC had a witch coven bring on or strengthen Katrina or even a deal with Lucifer, or maybe he had the levees in NO undermined. If he did, that was mass murder of humans and vampires. 8)FDC got Appius to come to America so Alexei would get into trouble, and finally reenter Eric’s life. I can probably think of others. Obviously they can’t all be true at once, but thinking back I can think of all sorts of unfortunate events that came between Sookie and Eric, or undermined Eric. If FDC was enough of a megalomaniac to want to take over all the kingdoms along the Mississippi and NJ, he could be capable of anything. I just hope that Sandy has evidence to back up her accusations. She seems to be efficient enough to do just that. I wonder if NY was in on the plot to take over NJ, though it sounds like she wanted Sookie for herself. At this point, I can imagine that just about any bad thing that happened in the books was FDC. Book 1, FDC WAS behind Longshadow stealing from Eric, book 2, FDC encouraged Godfrey to kidnap Farrell and the maenad to come to Eric’s area. Seems like a maenad would love Las Vegas. Book 3, FDC encourages Lorena to call Bill to her to get the data project. Book 4, the spell on Eric. Book 5, Eric calls Salome to rein in Micky, she runs a casino I think. But, like I said, there needs to be evidence. Interesting that Nan just happens to be close enough to get to Fangtasia in a couple of hours. She was most likely tipped off by one of the principals or supporting players like FDC, Freyda, Eric, the demon lawyers, Ludwig, the AP, someone who knew what was going down tonight so she could be close by. The question is, who is Nan truly acting for, probably not the council, but is she for or against Eric and Sookie. I never liked Nan on the show, is she a good guy or bad guy in this story?

      1. Good grief, don’t give me any encouragement. I’ll have spreadsheets and probabilities and matrices and all kinds of obsessions. Then you will completely surprise me, which is best of all.

  13. I can’t wait to hear what Sandy has to say about what else De Castro was doing. Great chapter, no better great story. Looking forward to the next chapter which by the way can never b to long you write great.

  14. Hearing from the different characters is fascinating, each revealing a bit more of the puzzle. Quite an impressive and eclectic array of supporters backing Eric and Sookie. I imagine some members of the councils might find that a bit threatening, while others admire it.

  15. So good, I’m super curious what Sandy has to say! I always thought Felipe only kept Eric alive to pacify Sookie until the perfect time.

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