Chapter 05: Courage

SOOKIE POV, Continued

After I’d cried myself out for the time being, I lifted up my head and continued reading Eric’s letter.


Sookie, I am glad that you cannot hear my thoughts because I want to spare you from the graphic details of my memories, but I also know that—if you could hear them—your overriding reaction would be pity for me and not disgust of me.

In truth, however, you should not pity me. I did not pity myself at the time, nor do I look back upon my centuries with Appius as particularly bad. Yes—he used my body. And, yes, he could be a sick and twisted bastard when it came to sex, but, other than that, my life was not so bad. In current, human terms, one might have categorized me as the kind of being who liked his job, but had a home-life that was shitty.

If he tried to do the same to me now—now that I have changed into the “me” you know—my state would be pitiable. But let us hope that does not occur.

As I was saying before I got off-track (sorry; I did not know I was so prone to rambling), for a long time after Appius expelled me, I continued to have sex only with vampire males who were what would be called “dominant” in this day and age. Or, if I was between the courts of monarchs, I would glamour a human male to give me blood and to fuck me. Though—when he’d sent me away—Appius had lifted all of the commands he’d placed upon me, save for the one that I never harm him, I rarely touched myself or asked others to touch me.

Now, it’s odd—difficult even—for me to think about that time, given the fact that I’ve allowed my own preferences to guide me for so long.

Why did it take me so long to simply choose what I preferred once I was “free?”

Because even away from my maker, I didn’t realize I could.

As I said before, I had been molded. I’d had no choices for so long with Appius—not even the little ones I enjoyed as a human. I suppose I was suffering from what psychologists nowadays call Stockholm Syndrome. Today, what Appius did to me would be called rape; at the time, I thought it was my duty to serve him in any way he wished. And that duty was the only conception of the world that I had. There was no option B or door number two. And, even if there had been, I doubt if I would have been capable of recognizing it.

You would not understand the euphoria and the fear that I experienced when I made my earliest choices, when I began living my life in the way I wished.

How I struggled at first!

But slowly and surely, I changed my way of thinking. I began to choose women for blood and sex. I chose to use my glamouring ability to get an education. I chose to learn about industry and trade. As a human, I’d had an interest in how our people’s long-boats were made, though—of course—I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue that interest since building boats was not an aspect of my duties. However, centuries later, I chose to study how ships were built. I chose to learn how to design them myself. I earned my first legitimate fortune when I chose to open a shipyard.

Maybe, one day, I can tell you about the frigates I designed—if you are intrigued.

The point is that I chose these things because I liked them. I was happy to be doing such things.

Happiness was novel to me. Exciting. Astonishing.

But, even then, I was always under the control of others. I had to pay tribute to the monarchs in the areas where I settled. Since I was known to be a good fighter, I was often called into their service when there were threats. It didn’t matter if I agreed with the fight or not; I would simply obey. Sometimes—at court—I would be noticed for my physical attributes, too. Especially as I became older compared to other vampires—I had much say in whom I fucked. However, if a king or a queen wanted me sexually, I couldn’t deny him or her.

Such practices are still in effect, but—thankfully—older vampires’ preferences are taken into account, and it would be untoward for someone younger than me, even a king like Felipe, to require that I have sex with him. However, if he showed a particular preference for me, I would likely just fuck him and get it over with. There would be many fewer potential problems that way! Trust me—I know.

Again, you are likely wondering why I am blathering on and on in this confessional way. Would it surprise you to know that this is how I have always wished to speak with you?

You think that I want you for your body and your blood and your telepathy. And I do. But, in you, I also see an infinitely more amazing gift!

Vampires don’t often share themselves. We fear that others will learn about and exploit our weaknesses. We covet the lessons we have learned and the knowledge that we have. Indeed, it is rare that we speak openly to anyone. Even with Pamela, I’ve had to hold back, though she is an excellent child! However, as her maker, I must project strength. And, frankly, there are things even within this letter that she would not be able to understand.

Don’t get me wrong—she had her own struggles between duty and independence. But by the time she was alive, the notion of rebellion was robust. She didn’t like the constraints on the women of her time, and she didn’t want to marry the older upper-class man her parents had chosen for her because she found him unattractive. I’m sure that you won’t be surprised that—even then—she was not one to be stifled; in fact, it was her rebellion that put her in my path.

You may be wondering why I feel you will understand my history better than my own child.

It is simple. Like me, you know what it is like to have things happen to you that are completely beyond your control.

Your telepathy, for example.

Yes—I want you to master your gift and find all of its potential advantages, preferably for the both of us. But I also recognize that you hate it and wish there was some way to eliminate it.

Indeed, it was not your choice to be inundated with the thoughts of everyone around you. It was not your choice to be basically ignored by your fairy kin who might have helped you understand how to better use your telepathy.

But, despite not having control, you have adapted. Untrained by anyone else, you conceptualized your own shielding. Where others might have been driven crazy or have been compelled to hate mankind because of hearing all of its sins, you chose to follow the lessons of your grandmother and your god.

I have seen you forced into situation after situation that you would have preferred not to be in. But you survived each one intact; you haven’t let them alter the kind of person you’ve chosen to be. You see—we are the same in this way; at least I hope that I have evolved enough to be considered like this.

Like you.

I have been and will continue to be pushed into situations I don’t prefer, but I can choose how to react to them. I can choose not to let them defeat me.

I can tell you all of the things in this letter because I trust you. I don’t worry about the security of my words because I know you will keep them as safe as you kept me when I was without memories.

How wonderful it is to trust! How rare it is to be understood!

You would have to be a thousand years old to truly understand.

But I need to stop rambling about my life and get to the meat of the matter. Dawn is but ninety minutes away, and Bobby will be here soon to collect this letter and the object which you must now decide how to use.

First, I must tell you more about blood giving and sharing. As I have indicated before, the giving of vampire blood to a human is done almost exclusively as a means of control. Renfield was fictional, but the character was not far off from what reality can be—if blood is given often. Renfield-types are called blood-slaves and are completely tied to and controlled by their masters. After a while, nothing of their former selves remain. However, the vampires do not feed from such creatures because they don’t want to create bonds with them.

You must understand—even one dose of his or her blood will give a vampire an advantage over a human. And a vampire does not need to have the blood of his or her victim for this to be the case. Bobby has had my blood one time, for instance—though I’ve not had his. We have what is known of as a blood-tie; it is not permanent, nor would I ever allow it to be. My blood in him has allowed me to know that he is truthful and loyal to me. I glamour him not to tell my secrets, but if he were to be bribed by a rival, for example, his blood would tell me of his deception. Since I have no desire to renew his contract, I will cut him loose as soon as the blood-tie wans to the point that I cannot feel his attitude.

The basic rule is this: the more blood a vampire has in the human, the more influence he or she will have over the human. Obviously, there is not enough of my blood in Bobby’s body for me to actually control him. Otherwise, he would be more respectful of you, even in his thoughts.

As opposed to a blood-tie, a blood-bond requires that the vampire and human exchange blood, though this needn’t happen simultaneously.

Since you and I have now exchanged multiple times, our bond has become permanent. That is how you are able to feel what I feel. As it stands, my insight into you and your emotions is stronger than ever, and that won’t wane—even if we never exchanged again. In turn, if you probed, I am certain that you could feel my emotions just as much. You will also be more comfortable in my presence—as I am in yours. And—with training—you could learn to track me, as I can you. Finally, now that we are bonded permanently, we can “push” emotions to each other. But, as would be expected, the vampire still retains some control. I should be able to “push” you hard enough to guarantee your compliance, bending you to my will as I could a progeny, but I’ve already covered that I cannot do this. Everything else about our bond seems to be “normal” thus far—except for the fact that you can shield against my “push.”

As you can surely discern, by completing a bond, the vampire and human are on more equal footing in many ways, but that can be dangerous for both of them, which is why completed bonds are so rare. For instance, you would be able to tell others if I were lying to them. You could also be tortured until you would lead enemies to me.

That is why vampires will generally give their blood to humans they wish to claim only once, but will take their humans’ blood as much as they desire. The humans in this category are known as “pets.” A pet is a claimed human that a vampire has an interest in beyond a single feeding. The human might have especially good blood or be good at sex—or divert the vampire with his or her sense of humor. Vampires might choose a pet for any number of reasons. Pets are given some distinction in vampire culture; in other words, they are viewed as more significant than mere foodstuffs. By tradition, the vampire who “owns” the pet (and—yes—it is seen as ownership) has exclusive rights, though he or she often shares with nest-mates. For unique pets, an older vampire can vie to take a pet from a younger one, but the younger will most often give in without much of a fight. After all, an older vampire—if he or she covets something enough—will likely just plan the murder of a younger one should he or she refuse to give a pet up.

The gods know I was considering that with Bill! You were a prize I wanted from the moment I laid eyes on you.

Talk about coveting!

Again, I can just imagine your anger. But this is what honesty looks like, Sookie. It is often dark and unpleasant.

When Bill brought you into Fangtasia the first time and declared that you were “his,” he was, quite literally, claiming you as a pet. A more conventional pet/master relationship was what Hadley and Sophie-Anne had before Hadley was turned.

As I said, you and I are now permanently bonded. However, to most vampires, you are still simply a pet—though you’re at the top of the pet hierarchy. Because of this, an older vampire or a monarch could still try to push me to share you or even to transfer your “ownership.”

Trying to prevent this kind of thing from happening, I told Victor and Felipe that Andre and Sophie-Anne had forced me to bond permanently with you because neither of them wanted the bother of feeling your emotions—let alone the kind of vulnerability that a permanent bond could bring.

This explanation makes sense to Felipe, but it has not worked with Victor. Through a spy I have in New Orleans, I have learned that Victor is already making plans to frame me for treason. If his plan works, Felipe would be forced to execute me; then Victor intends to take you as his own. According to my source, he is obsessed with the idea of having you; he covets you because he has seen through my lies and has discovered how important you are to me.

Make no mistake—I, too, covet you. More than ever!

But my feelings are decidedly “un-vampire-like.”

Yes, I want you for my own. But I do not want to own you. I do not consider you a pet or a commodity because I choose not to.

I have chosen to love you.

Yes, Sookie. That four letter word that you seem to doubt on principle—unless it comes from Bill’s lips.

Love.

In fact, I want you to pledge with me.

There are two kinds of pledgings done among supernaturals: those which are political and those which are based on love.

Pledging is the closest thing that most supernaturals have to human marriage. Those done for political reasons are finite; depending on the species involved, different time frames are employed. Weres and shifters tend not to pledge, but if they do it is for no less than fifty years. Between vampires, pledgings may last for up to one hundred years. Daemons pledge for two hundred years—at minimum. I do not know the time frame for fairies, but I know they recognize the practice among their kind.

You witnessed a political pledging between Russell of Mississippi and Bartlett of Indiana—though the two also have affection for one another. There are ways out of such pledgings. Hell, most monarchs avoid being pledged like a plague! They have seen that pledging is a prelude for assassination about fifty percent of the time when it is made for political reasons. Case in point: Sophie-Anne and Peter Threadgill of Arkansas.

Pledgings between vampires are usually political in nature, as you might imagine. Pledgings among the Dae are almost always for love and are different from their other form of what you would call marriage. Except in rare occasions, the two-natured tend to skip the pledging and go with a human-style wedding. I’ve not been able to find any specific data on fairies though.

Political pledgings can be ended by the death of one of the partners—as I’ve already alluded to. In other words, they allow for flexibility.

Inter-species pledgings are recognized, but the only kind of those allowed are pledgings which are founded in deep devotion and commitment.

Love.

Otherwise, they are deemed “false” and nulled by the Supernatural Council.

They have no time limit. No expiration. Once they are done, there is no undoing of them.

As I am positive you can imagine, in vampire history, most pledgings occur between vampire monarchs. In the studies I’ve made during the previous months, however, I’ve found a few examples of pledgings occurring between vampires and demons, vampires and humans, and even a vampire and a shifter in one case. In all of these “love-match” cases, the pair was blood-bonded, too.

A love-pledge is considered sacrosanct—inviolable. It cannot be interfered with—not by a maker, not by a king, not by a member of the Vampire Council, not by the pair themselves. Not even by the Ancient Pythoness herself!

Anyone who interferes with a love-pledged couple forfeits his or her life, and even the death of one of the pledged pair does not wipe out its efficacy, for the Supernatural Council is obliged to punish anyone who is responsible for the death and—more importantly—responsible for keeping the remaining person safe for the remainder of his or her life.

Human marriage vows often contain the line, “Until death do us part.” It is essential for you to understand that this concept is not included in the concept of pledging for love. In the case of a love-based pledge, it would be unheard of for the other member of the pair to bond, to pledge, or to “marry” again if a death occurred—though a casual lover could be taken for physical release. It is imperative for you to recognize that a pledge is stronger than a human marriage.

I have several reasons for wanting to pledge with you.

First, doing so would help to secure us both. As unlikely as it might be, Appius might come back into my life, and—if he did—he could command me to do whatever the fuck he wanted. I doubt if a blood-bond, even a permanent one, would deter him from taking you from me. Or he might order me to harm you, for that is the kind of thing he would find amusing. Were we pledged, such actions on his part would be met with by swift punishment from the Vampire Council. Similarly, Felipe couldn’t force us apart either; therefore, you couldn’t be commanded to live in Las Vegas and to work for him, which I’ve discovered he is considering as an option. Also, my spy tells me that Victor Madden has already petitioned the king to have you move to New Orleans in order to serve in his territory.

Thankfully, his petition was denied—for the time being. But that is no guarantee that Felipe will continue to respect our blood-bond.

The second reason why I wish to pledge with you is related to the first: I wish for you to be able to retain as much of your independence and as many of your choices as possible. Pledged to me, you could maintain much of your current life. I could make a big production out of “becoming a modern, mainstreaming vampire.” I have already been outlining a profile that you and I would submit to Vampire GQ. In the profile, I would state that—although we cannot marry according to Louisiana laws—we have wed by supernatural tradition. I would explain—using generalities, of course—the sacredness of pledging. I would talk about how I support your decision to continue working and would compare you with the women of my time, who were very hard workers indeed! In short, I would do all I could to justify why you didn’t simply sit by my side looking pretty. I know that you view the concept of the “kept woman” with distaste, but it is exactly that kind of thing that vampires would expect for me to do with a human “wife.” In truth, it is already what they expect—since we are permanently bonded. As I am sure that you have fathomed, most human pets are “kept.”

Thus, according to custom, I should already be taking care of all of your needs, financial and otherwise—because I can. You should be dressed in expensive clothing. You should be driving a new, expensive car. This is the kind of thing that any affluent master would do for a pet. In addition, since we are permanently bonded, we should be living together. It is only the fact that Felipe believes I was compelled to bond with you—but would not have done so otherwise—which has kept him from punishing me for mistreating a permanently bonded pet.

You must understand. Felipe likely views your working for little more than minimum wage not as your choice, but as my disservice to you. And, according to my spy, Victor has been sharing his “concerns” with Felipe about what he is now calling my “disregard for an important asset.”

If we were to pledge, I could present your working as a “husband” indulging his headstrong and/or modern “wife.” And—even if I was privately thought to be mistreating you—no one could challenge me.

Of course, I might also remind you—often—that you need not work for the shifter in order to work. Your potential is boundless; you could do a great many things! It is your family’s economic status and your ability which have kept you from reaching elsewhere. I would challenge you: Are you truly happy being a waitress? Is that the work you really prefer? If the answers to those questions are “yes,” then you need but tell me, and I will never say another word about Merlotte’s or your work there—other than to ask you how your days there have gone.

The third reason I would like to pledge with you is to—ironically enough—limit the political bullshit. Situations like the one with Victor would be less likely to happen if we were pledged. Even if Victor managed to get me executed for treason, you’d be off limits unless he wanted to lose his head too. Yes—at times, we would have to offer your services to the king, but I believe we could do this just once a year—maybe twice. For a couple of weeks, we would visit Las Vegas—or wherever in his kingdom Felipe wished—and you could use your gift to serve him. And then we would go on with our normal lives. Of course, you would also be expected at summits, but those only occur every few years. To help our position, we would offer your service to Felipe at no price—as a gift. He is a fan of courtly behavior; thus, he would like the idea of your working for him because of duty and honor—rather than for money.

The fourth reason I wish to pledge is purely selfish. I want to have the opportunity to convince you to love me, as you seem to have loved the man who lived with you with no memories. I would endeavor to win your heart. And—being pledged to you—I wouldn’t have to worry about the repercussions of doing this openly. I understand that you have valid concerns regarding my interest in you. Therefore, I will offer up examples to support my candidacy as a good partner for you.

In Dallas—when you were initially hurt at the Fellowship church—did I not care for your wounds? Was I not careful and attentive as I took glass from your body? I did this out of concern for you. In fact, the only reason why I went to Dallas as Leif was to keep an eye on you—even though you were not my human at the time. You might believe that this was only because you were an asset, but it was more. I cared about your well-being.

Also in Dallas—after the bombing—did I not put aside my instinct to feed and hunt in order to take care of you? Yes—I will admit that I lost control of myself when I kissed you. But I stayed with you. I did so again in Jackson in the bar when Herveaux left you. You were my first priority in both cases.

That desire to put you before myself is very strong in me. In Rhodes when I protected you from Andre, I wasn’t thinking about myself. And, again, after the takeover I put aside my personal desire to see you in order to try to manipulate Victor and Felipe’s conceptions of our relationship.

I also believe that the sexual chemistry between us makes me a good candidate for your affections. I think that you are beautiful and my desire for you is—I’m sure—clear to you. I believe that you find me desirable in a physical sense. My returned memories also confirm that we are compatible physically.

I think that we are compatible in other ways, too. We used to laugh together. We could, I think, have fun together. I would like to know your opinions about things. I would like to experience things with you and travel with you—as our schedules allow. And, as I have already made clear, I trust you and want to talk about my life with you.

I want to share my life with you, Sookie.

In front of your fireplace, you told me so much about yourself. In a thousand years, I have never felt more intimate with a being. It was nice to listen to you speak—to understand you better by listening to your words and your thoughts. I was grateful to hear even about the mundane things you chose to share with me. Even when I wasn’t interested in the content of your words, I still enjoyed the intimacy of the conversation itself. I would like to experience all of this again—many, many times. But—in the future—perhaps you would do me the honor of listening in return.

Yes—I would like to have these kinds of exchanges with you very much!

And, as this letter teaches you, I am capable of sharing many words—though I’m sure they may be more difficult to say in person.

For a while. But I think we could muddle through—learning together?

However, you must also consider my shortcomings as you ponder whether you would like to pledge with me.

After the witch’s curse, some of my behavior was harmful to us both—especially when I unintentionally harmed you. I can defend myself only by telling you that I was frustrated and confused. I felt as if something had been stolen from me, and it seemed for a while that you were the thief. I know—now—that this was an error on my part.

But, by the time I had recognized this, you had begun a relationship with the Were-tiger. I suppose that some of my behavior during that period of time must be attributed to jealousy. And then I learned of Sophie-Anne’s plan to have Bill procure you. And—given Sophie-Anne’s more obvious interest in possessing you—it became necessary to be more cautious when it came to showing my own interest in you.

All I can promise is to try to behave more attentively if we are truly a couple. Though I cannot promise that I won’t sometimes be jealous, I can vow that I will try to remember that my jealousy would be irrational—given the trust I have in you.

Also, you have called me high-handed before in that sometimes I “do” things without taking the time to consult with you. This is accurate, but—where I can—I will endeavor to evolve if we establish a relationship.

Undoubtedly, I will make errors. I have never been in a romantic relationship like the one I wish to establish with you. I would ask for your patience.

In addition to considering my personal shortcomings, you must also take into account the changes that we would be forced to make.

First, pledging would require that we became involved romantically—or at least seem as though we were. I would, clearly, prefer that this be a real aspect of our relationship. However, if not wanting such a thing is the only reason why you would turn me down, I offer the following compromise: you would, in public, need to pretend that we were a couple, and you would need to do little things to signal affection. For instance, we might share a dance if you were to spend time at Fangtasia. Or you might hold my hand as we walked somewhere together. These small gestures would go a long way toward projecting the idea that we were pledged for more than simple convenience.

Remember, interspecies pledgings can be based on love only. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for you or for me to take another lover—at least not while we are both living. Should you choose a relationship with me, I will endeavor to satisfy you. Moreover, I would promise equal fidelity. Do not worry; it will not be a hardship for me to do so. I was more than satisfied with you when we were together. Regaining my memories merely substantiates my earlier claim that you are the best I’ve ever had.

Next, our living arrangements would need to change. I can see no way around this item. Simply put, we would have to share a home. I would be willing to move to Bon Temps—if some accommodations were made for a resting place for me. The small box in the closet of your guest room would do only for the short term.

Of course, your current roommates would likely be a problem. I doubt either of them would take kindly to living with a vampire, and I do not trust them with my safety as I do you. But, perhaps, a compromise might be made: a safe-room with a coding system built under your home? I think that the water table in your area is adequate to accommodate such a structure. I took the liberty of having a geologist write me a report on the issue, though I realize as I write this that you might see that as high-handed.

I am sorry.

Alternatively, you and I could live in one of my safe houses. I have a home on the outskirts of Shreveport which I believe would suit you quite well since I had you in mind when I bought it.

Wait. That was likely high-handed too.

Sorry again. As I said, I will learn.

Just so you know, the house suits me as well. I bought it after I remembered our time together because it has two beautiful fireplaces—one in the living room and one in the master bedroom suite. I’ve had the home renovated to fulfill all of the requirements I believe you would have, though—you must know that I had no expectation of your stepping foot inside of it. However, fitting the home for my dream of us was something I could do to take the edge off of my longing to come to you or contact you after the takeover.

Anyway, I remember looking at all of the recipes in an old box in your kitchen when I didn’t have memories—or much to do with my late nights. I have outfitted the kitchen with the various implements required for the recipes, though some of the items are quite foreign to me.

A zester, for example. I had thought that the rinds of citrus fruits were always discarded. Obviously, I was incorrect.

I could not find the same model as your beloved coffee maker, though I took care to get something similar. There were more expensive brands on the market, but I felt something more like you were familiar with would be better.

Even as I write this, however, I shake my head. For all my carefulness, I fear that you will see all of my efforts as presumptiveness. Please do not. I saw it as . . . .

“Therapy” is probably the best word.

I cannot imagine that this letter has been the proposal of marriage you dreamed of when you were a girl.

Perhaps, you might imagine me on one knee in front of you—with a diamond ring?

But—then—I’ve not had the chance to win your affections yet, at least not in a conventional way.

Indeed, you are likely fuming right now. I can see your hands on your hips—your lips turned down into a frown.

I’m almost positive that you think that any positive feelings you have for me are from the blood—our bond. It won’t matter that I swear to you that I have never used my blood to influence you. The fact that I might be able to is enough to make you distrust me—is it not?

This is why I give you the following instructions with very little hope. To pledge with me, all you have to do is bring me the dagger. Hand it to me while Victor is a witness. I will kiss it. That is all there is to it.

I began this long letter telling you about my early life, a life during which I did not recognize choice or agency or independence. Why I told you all of that will become even more apparent now.

Sometimes, there are no choices. There is only duty or death.

But, today, Sookie Stackhouse, I offer you the choices I can.

I have done much research since we completed our bond in Rhodes—since I first felt you disdain for the connection. I found a spell that can sever our bond. And likely—even as you are reading this—Bobby has already delivered the required materials to your home.

All but one—the dagger.

Your witches will be able to conduct the spell.

The incantation is, surprisingly, simple. It requires my blood, but there is a vial of that in what Bobby is delivering as well.

However, there are also dangers. If you break our bond, it will be open season on you. You’ll have to leave your little corner of the world, or you will risk being taken by Felipe or—worse—Victor.

I’ve taken the liberty of sending a letter via Bobby to Claudine. It should arrive around 7:00 p.m. Should you choose to sever our bond, I suggest that you do so tonight and then flee to her immediately, lying low for a week or so. With Bobby’s letter to the fairy is information about an account that you can access to help you escape. I have more money that I could ever use—including stacks of cash in Fangtasia’s walls—so you should not feel bad about taking the comparative little I am giving you. Desmond Cataliades can be contacted to arrange for new identification and travel documents for you, for you cannot stay in Louisiana with Claudine indefinitely.

I suggest you seek a home near the equator; vampires tend to enjoy their nights and those places have less of them. Or—you might establish two homes—one in the extreme south and one in the extreme north. The less night, the better. Also, it is essential that I do not know your plans or your new name.

It is safer if I am ignorant.

The one choice I am incapable of giving you is the option for you to continue living as you have been. As your pledged bonded, I can give you the gift of your friends and family. I can attempt to manipulate the situation so that you can retain your employment with the shifter if that is your wish. I can take steps to help you stay in your home—though you would have to accept me as a living partner there.

I am sorry that I can no longer shield you, but the situation with Victor has come to a head.

Sever the bond and leave. Or pledge and stay.

Those are your two viable choices.

Both have merit. Think of the life you might have away from the small minds in this area. I know you love some of the people here, but have any of them ever truly valued you?

All the places you might see if you decided to travel! All the things you might do!

Free, Sookie! You could be free in a way that I could never be! That is one of the choices I offer you. And—in truth—it might be the choice I would make in your shoes. To be unencumbered. To be without a yoke.

The dagger is yours to do with as you wish. Like I said, it is an element needed to break the bond. Or it is the implement by which you could pledge to me. Again, the choice is yours.

Come to Fangtasia tonight at 7:00 p.m. Or make sure you sever the spell and leave the area by tomorrow night. Otherwise, Victor will come for you.

Of course, I would try to stop him. However, I currently have no proof of his machinations against me—beyond the word of a spy. Thus, if I went against him now, I would be signing my death warrant. But I am prepared for that contingency as well.

And, even if I could kill Victor and get away with it scot-free, there would be another regent or Felipe to challenge for you—as long as you are attainable.

I find that Bobby is at the gate, and I’m out of information to share.

I hope that you bring me the dagger tonight—that you agree to pledge to me. That is my preference.

But I am aware that I may never see you again. That thought saddens me more than you may ever know. It is another reason why I have written so much. This may be my only chance to do so.

However, do not consider me when making your choice; make the choice that is best for you.

Your bonded,

Eric Northman


A/N: Well—that’s the end of the letter. I didn’t intend for it to be as long when I started writing it, but Eric went on and on. LOL.

 

Kat


 

Every Contingency backEvery Contingency net

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39 thoughts on “Chapter 05: Courage

  1. Oh my god!! But this was the best way to tell her what she needed. I love that he gave her the choice. After explaining the choices. I look greatly forward to tomorrow’s offering!!

  2. Sigh. Damn , what girl could say no? That Sookie would have to be one hard hearted person or stupid to the nth degree. Great gift for a rainy Sunday. Thank you!

  3. Amazing truly amazing. I loved the letter. I can’t wait for her reaction. I like how honest Eric was. Sookie has all the information, she now needs to decide what she wants. I’m biased I would choose Eric !!!!

  4. Intelligent, practical, protective, infuriating, sweet, jovial, rage-inducing, hormonal, orgasmic, lovely vampire! He surely laid it out for her. This is the truest our boy has ever been, and he must feel both the relief of unburdening his truth to Sookie, and the overwhelming tightness around his chest at the fear she will run away from him at the time he finally got to show her the real Eric.

    Run to him, Sookie! He deserves YOUR truth, and your love! And, YOU fucking deserve HIS!

    Together, you can defeat the fires of hell, let alone Felipe and fucking Victor. Hah! Take that!

    Whew, rant over.

    Epic. Like I knew it would be.

    Thank you, Kat.

    -Meadow

  5. You laid it all out didn’t you? Even using the L word, more than once. I hope she will rise to the occasion and be the mate Eric deserves…

  6. OMG! Loved the note and how Eric put the truth out there and wore his heart on his sleeve. I loved how he explained the good and bad of both choices. As well what he can do and can not do. I also loved that he explained vampire relationships and life, in a way she could understand it! I can’t wait for more! I hope Sookie makes the right choice!

  7. Who ever thought the Viking could ramble like that in a letter!?! I have my fingers crossed that Sookie chooses to pledge. Although I can see her jumping feet first into breaking the bond & regretting it almost instantly after. My hope is that after reading the letter & Eric’s explanations she will choose him & the love that is theirs for the taking. Looking forward to the next chapter!

  8. What a letter! WOW! I can’t see where she would even think she has a choice given all that Eric explained. Can’t wait for the next chapter!

  9. I am so glad you spoil us!!! And not even 5:PM Kat Time (I’m in San Diego so I was expecting this later) 🙂

    Love this! I find that I prefer your shorter stories, not that I do not enjoy the longer ones as well but the shorties tend to be yummier. 🙂

  10. Oh my god. How on earth could any woman say no to that! Good grief. Sookie would have to be one, crazy, selfish, cold-hearted bitch to walk away from that. Damn. He says it’s probably not the proposal of her dreams, but I cannot imagine a more heart-felt love letter. I think it’s an amazing proposal. And so Eric, even if he probably said more in that letter than he did in the entire series by CH. lol

    You spoil us so by getting this to us so early, but…..how am I ever going to make until tomorrow?! 😉

  11. I think everyone else has pretty much said it all but WOW that was some letter. He really opened himself up for her. I hope she really appreciates what he’s doing for her. Giving her what choices he can, even if they’re not him. Mind you, she’d be nuts not to pick him after he’s made himself so vulnerable to her.
    Can’t wait for her reaction. I pray she really thinks things through and makes the right decision.

  12. Eric’s letter is amazing, and I wish my hubby could be even a percentage of that open explaining his feelings with me, sigh.
    Please, please, please let Sookie choose him! Things could be so wonderful between them.

  13. That was the epitome of love – he’s putting her well-being ahead of his own. For a change, Eric has explained everything and made his wishes clear. But he’s also made it clear what her options are and that he wants her to do what is best for her. They say “actions speak louder than words” but in this case I think his words are just shouting how much he really cares for her. Can’t wait to see how she responds.

  14. Wow!
    I appreciated Eric’s honesty…and he has given Sookie two choices!
    He really loves her if he puts her happiness over his own
    Now what will Sookie do?
    Choose wisely Sook.
    I’ll be anxiously waiting for the next chapter.
    Jackie69

  15. Wow what a letter! I believe it was the right way for him to explain every thing to Dookie. Can’t wait to see what she decides

  16. An Eric who pours his heart out is so touching and vulnerable. He always came across as strong and tough, which is what he wanted. I don’t see how Sookie could not be moved by his words. Yeah, his proposal is unusual, but it’s from the heart and it’s beautiful. Tough decisions. I think she and Eric are stronger together. I hope she sees it, too. Finally, someone told her the things she needs to know. I like the idea of the love-pledge. That would have them a lot of sorrow in the books.

  17. That was breath taking – I was hanging on every single word! So very profound too and, for me, spot on with the Eric I feel the books created. I would say she couldn’t say no after that but he did (or you did) portray valid reasons for why she might run and shown that he would understand if she did. That just made the note even more heartfelt and devastatingly romantic.

    As I know you’d never leave us without a HEA (eventually lol) she will have to say yes! Of course you’ve gone and made me want to see the relationship develop now when this is a short story. Damn! You’ve already penned out a formula for a great (and LONG) story of them together dealing with what comes next whilst building on what they have.

    Glad someone gave you the idea, this way could have told the same story in a much different way.

  18. Excellent and wonderful chapter. Run Sookie. His arms are wide open for you. Once again – I wish we had someone like Cat as author for TB.

  19. Wow. That was beautiful.
    I can see Book Sookie riling and saying eff you to both those choices… ‘I’m human…. You can’t do this.. Blah blah blah’ gah. But I have trust in you 🙂

  20. I have read this story several times and I have to say how wonderful this letter is in providing a window into Eric’s thoughts and decision making. In the digital age, so many have lost the art of the written word via letter. My son is very much a devotee of hand written letters, he and his eventual wife spent a lot of their courtship time in different third world countries (he in Nepal, she in Tanzania ) doing missions work and communicated via letters as well as emails.
    In any case, I think that as an American we take our freedoms for granted, we whine about anything that restricts us, when so many in the world have so many limits that we can hardly imagine, especially women. In the present day, there are many places where woman cannot be educated, drive, go out in public. Even in the USA, it has been less than a century since women had the vote.
    So Eric revealing that he spent much of his human and vampire existence not having any say in what he did for a living, who he married, becoming a vampire, who he had sex with, may be a shock to Sookie but needs to be presented to her so she can appreciate how Eric has struggled to give her the choices he can, when he didn’t have these choices in his life. If only CH had done this! Though I think she emphasized the lack of communication between Eric and Sookie to undermine any chance for them to have a real chance to succeed. The fact that Eric has given Sookie the means to sever their bond and flee as well as to pledge to him shows his true love for her, that he is willing to let her go if that is what she chooses.
    Even though you comment that Eric ran on a bit, I think this is an amazing piece of writing that gives such insight into his actions. In the books, Eric and Sookie were both guilty of severe lack of communication. It is ironic, considering that one of the things that Sookie enjoyed about Amnesiac Eric was his listening to her ramble about her life, plus his effusive praise of her attributes. But as soon as the spell is broken, she refuses to be honest with him, as if she thinks while under the spell he not only lost his memory but also underwent a drastic personality change. If he was a good listener and put her first then, does that not indicate how he truly felt about her before and after the spell?
    When TB at least had Eric recall everything when the spell is broken, I had momentarily hoped this was a good sign for Eric and Sookie, but then they blew it with the ridiculous concept that she would not only say she still loved Bill but also dumped Eric, with the irrational rationale that by picking one she hurt the other, so instead of hurting one she hurt three. I suppose they needed to part them from Sookie to drag Bill and Eric off to the Authority, but that season just seemed to be a way to start blackening Eric by immediately setting him up with Nora, plus trying to elevate Bill’s importance past being a monarch to making him a god. That was just horrible, how desperate they were to make Bill more important and more powerful than a thousand year old viking vampire “god” as Pam called Eric.
    So I am way off topic, but in any case, I appreciate how you take a point in the story of Eric and Sookie and rescue them from themselves, usually by them actually communicating, and/or Sookie actually thinking through her decisions. What a difference!

  21. I’m re-readin this for the third (fourth? Fifth?) time and this line still gets me: “do not consider me when making your choice”. It breaks my heart every time. How could that be anything but the purest form of love?

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