Summary: A/U (mostly set in 1010 A.D.—during Eric’s Viking days) After Sookie’s father and brother are killed by a vampire named Appius Livius Ocella, she is taken to Faerie for her own safety. Aspiring to become an angel one day, Sookie becomes a guardian, and her first charge is a young Viking prince named Eiríkr. Will Appius ruin their chance at love? Or will he unwittingly give them the opportunity to be together forever?
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, lines of dialogue, titles, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Only the original plot is the creation of the author; however, no profit has been made from this work. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of the source material. No copyright infringement is intended. The characters and events in this story have been inspired by The Southern Vampire Mystery series. Charlaine Harris is responsible for the people and places that I play with in my story.
Note: This story fits mostly with the history given for Eric in the SVM narrative, but I took many liberties with what was there. And the situation of Pam’s turning reflects the TB narrative.
Beta: The wonderful Kleannhouse stepped in to Beta this story for me! Thank you, Kristie!
Inspiration: Sephrenia, once again, hosted a banner challenge. All three potential banners are wonderful, but this banner inspired me to dream up a Viking story. To see all the banners, go here: sephwritchallenge.wordpress.com.
NOW ON WITH THE STORY!!
“There are no secrets that time does not reveal.”—Jean Racine
Often, a fairy’s greatest aspiration was to become an angel, though there were many kinds of angels in the known universe.
Sookie was only part Fae, but spending time in Faerie had made her spark as powerful as any of her kin. And she’d tried to live her existence “strategically.” Time was odd in the fairy realm—sometimes sped up compared to other realms and sometimes slowed down.
Sookie had been to seven realms during her five-hundred-year life. Of course, that was five hundred years according to the Fae. But that wasn’t constant; she’d first stepped foot onto the Britlingen world not sixty years before—by their standards. The Daemons had first seen her three hundred of their years before. Elves had first known of her in their domain seven hundred years before according to their time.
However, she’d been born on the human realm eleven hundred years before. A vampire had found her—in what was now Denmark, where she’d been born. Though only one-eighth Fae, she’d captured the vampire’s attentions. She’d not known his name at the time, but now she did: Appius Livius Ocella. She’d encountered him a second time too—when she’d returned to the human realm after a hundred years away.
And she planned to encounter him a third time—that very same night.
910 A.D.—ELEVEN HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER: THE HUMAN REALM
Ribe was already an important city for trade when Sookie was born there in 900 A.D. It was a part of Jutland, a portion of modern-day Denmark that jutted upward toward Norway and Sweden. Sookie’s mother had been the daughter of an affluent merchant. And her father had also been quite rich, thanks to the thriving trade he had with some of the more “questionable” merchants from the North. Many of the traders in Ribe wanted nothing to do with the savage Norsemen, but Sookie’s father held no prejudices against those with whom he did business. Her father’s trust was unquestionable.
And always well-placed.
Sookie had grown up idyllically. There was no other word for it.
Her family, including her mother, father, and brother, had a homestead on the coast. And her paternal grandparents had their own home only a mile away. Thus, Sookie was always away from the town proper. And that was a good thing, given the fact that she was a telepath. However, her mother’s thoughts were always kind and happy. And her grandfather began to teach her control of her gift when she was quite young. Indeed, she had a very good life.
She was told that she was part-fairy when she was only ten. Her paternal grandmother and grandfather told her of her heritage. Even her father hadn’t known, but—then again—he didn’t carry a spark. And Sookie did.
Sookie also learned that her name—unknown among her human people—was Fae. As soon as she’d been born, her fairy relative—her grandfather, Fintan—had bestowed upon her the name of his own grandmother.
It was decided that Sookie would stay in the human realm until she came of age. However, before that time—during Sookie’s twelfth year—Appius Livius Ocella entered the lands of her human forebears.
Sookie’s father, though not blessed with a spark, was one-quarter fairy. And his blood attracted the vampire. Appius had struck and killed Sookie’s father within minutes. And then he’d gone looking for more of the addictive blood. Sookie’s brother had been killed as well.
Sookie was alive by happenstance. She’d been staying at her grandparents’ home, which was the equivalent of a human mile from her parents’ home. When the vampire had tracked her trail there, her grandfather had shared a regret-filled look with her grandmother, and then he and Sookie had “popped” away.
Because the time difference between the fairy realm and the human realm was skewed, the years that Sookie spent with the Fae equated to a century in the realm of her birth.
Unlike Sookie, her grandfather, Fintan, had returned to his wife’s side right after he’d delivered Sookie safely to Faerie. Of course, that “right after” had translated to a year at that time. Fintan had returned to Ribe to find that his wife had died, and his daughter-in-law had been forced to remarry. Fintan had mourned at the graves of his son and grandson—Sookie’s father and brother. And he’d mourned over the grave of his beloved Adele.
And then he’d returned to Faerie.
1010 A.D.: THE HUMAN REALM
I’d been training with my cousin, Claudine. We were assigned to guard those from other realms who had Fae lineage. It wasn’t a sought-after job among the Fae, but it was one of the most effective paths to becoming an angel.
Guards weren’t required for all those of Fae lineage in other realms, but some were deemed “higher risk” or “more important” than others. Sadly, the main risk was from full-blooded fairies, who disapproved of any kind of mixing with others. This radical group of the Fae was led by my great-grandfather’s brother, Rogan. Thankfully, Niall had maintained control over the portals that led to other realms; however, occasionally someone aligned with Rogan would slip through and try to track down hybrids to kill.
In addition to protecting our charges from these assassins, guardians also needed to be aware of other factors within the realm of their assignment. For example, the human realm included the danger of vampires—as I knew very well. The Britlingen world included veanders, whose bites would poison their victims. In every realm, it seemed, there were predators.
Claudine liked to refer to herself as a fairy godmother. But those who functioned as guardians and watchers were more formally known as the Bevakare. For my first fifty years in that role, I was only an “intern” of sorts, shadowing my cousin as she worked. However, I’d just been given my first true assignment: Eiríkr.
I’d been told that Eiríkr, like me, was one-eighth fairy. He didn’t have a spark, which was probably why he was my first solo assignment. And he didn’t have a clue that he was part Fae.
Eiríkr was from a land relatively close to my own birthplace. But, truth be told, I was quite ignorant about the geography of the human realm. However, once I was assigned my charge, I could “pop” to him whenever and wherever I felt he was in need—as long as I was in the human realm at that time. Therefore, though time had shifted in the fairy realm to the point that there was hardly any difference between the days of Faerie and the days of the human realm, I needed to live in the realm of my birth in order to oversee my charge.
Eiríkr was from the island of Öland and lived in a village called Gettlinge where his father was the chieftain. Again, since I was “new” to the guardian role, I was paired up with my cousin Claudine, who had been assigned with protecting Eiríkr’s mother, Astrid, who was one-quarter fairy. For the first time, I’d had my own charge, but it was nice having Claudine there for advice and company. We decided to settle near the village of Borgholm where we pretended to be survivors of an attack against our own village. A little fairy glamour of the chieftain there was all we needed to make ourselves believed by all. And a little more glamour ensured that we would not be bothered by the members of the small community.
Claudine and I enjoyed our time in Borgholm. There, we had a small home outside of the town. We raised our own food and were able to trade that for some goats. And, of course, we used our glamour to make ourselves appear to age according to human expectations. Indeed, it was a peaceful time for us, and I enjoyed the simple life I found on the windy isle in the Östersjön—now called the Baltic Sea by humans.
And, of course, we also spent time watching over our charges. Since it was deemed time that I was “tested,” my charge was the more difficult one. While Astrid stayed mostly in the village her husband, Ulfrick, ruled, Eiríkr was an explorer from almost the beginning of his life. When he was only eight years old, for example, he decided to take a small boat to the mainland, Svíþjóð—now called Sweden. The imp managed to get to coast of Svíþjóð just fine. He spent three days there, simply scoping things out. The only real danger he found on the mainland was a snake that struck at him. Eiríkr managed to kill the beast and then ate it.
Trying to return home, Eiríkr ran into a bigger problem—in the shape of a summer thunderstorm. At first, he felt real fear as his small boat tossed on the waves. And I almost “popped” to him. But I felt him calm down, and then I felt his resolve as he successfully piloted his vessel through the storm.
Of course, he met with the wrath of his mother and father when he got home, but I could tell that his father, especially, was proud of his son—no matter what punishments were given.
Like all guardians for those who had no idea of their lineage and who had no Fae spark, I was to stay out of the sight of my charge—unless intervention became needed. I was—for no reason—to have any kind of relationship with the person in my safekeeping.
And I didn’t interact with Eiríkr—until the day that I realized I’d fallen in love with him, that is.
Eiríkr was nineteen when I realized I loved him. He’d been on a raid led by his father, and I was watching from afar, as usual. However, Eiríkr’s anxiousness about the impending fight had “called” me to him.
To say Eiríkr was an amazing fighter would be an inadequate description. More accurately, he was an artist on the battlefield: he had the vision of a master painter, the imagination of a sculptor, and grace of a dancer. I’d seen him fight in battles before, and I’d seen him train many, many times.
But I’d never seen him injured with a sword before. The moment he was, I knew that I loved him. And I knew that I’d loved him for a long time.
Not as a guardian should love her charge, but as a woman—a human woman—loved a man.
Eiríkr’s injury was only a small scratch. But he was cornered by his enemies. I should have kept my distance until I was certain he couldn’t fight his way out of his predicament, but I didn’t. I teleported to him and then popped with him to a field three miles away from the battle.
“Valkyrie,” Eiríkr whispered, as soon as he seemed to get his bearings. To remain unseen, I had popped in and out of the battlefield so quickly that it would have been missed by most human eyes.
I should have popped away from Eiríkr just as quickly.
But I didn’t.
He fell to his knees before me, taking me in with awe.
I couldn’t help but to chuckle a little. His eyebrow rose in question.
“What is funny?” he asked.
I smiled. “You think I am a Valkyrie. Would you not expect one to be more regally dressed?” I asked.
He frowned as he took in my plain smock, but as his eyes raked over my form before they locked once more with mine, I felt my face redden.
“I did always imagine that a Valkyrie would be dressed differently,” he mused. “I had thought that you would be wearing the finest armor and a helmet so that your beauty would not eclipse all else on the battlefield. I had thought that you might have wings, but I see none. Yet I am still certain you are a Valkyrie, my lady.”
“How are you so certain?” I asked.
“I feel that you are—other,” he said, struggling slightly to find the right words. “And your beauty is beyond measure. And then there’s those,” he said, gesturing toward my face.
“Vata!” I said, cursing in the Fae language. I’d forgotten that I’d had my hair up. When Eiríkr’s “call” came, I’d been working in the garden, and my long hair would have been a hindrance to the chore, so I’d braided it. And that, of course, had exposed my pointed ears.
Eiríkr looked at me with amusement—as if he knew that I’d cursed because of my error. But, when he next spoke, it was confusion that ruled his expression.
“Why did you take me?” he asked. “My wound is not mortal,” he added as he looked at the slice to his hip. He was right. The injury wasn’t very deep at all. It was still seeping a little blood, but it wasn’t life-threatening.
“Or do I have other wounds I am unaware of?” Eiríkr asked, trying to check his body. “I have known of men who fought on without feeling their wounds for a long time after receiving them.”
“No,” I assured. “You have no other wounds.”
He looked around. “Where are we?”
“In a field—about three miles from the battle.”
“Why did you bring me here?” he asked.
“You were in danger,” I responded.
He cocked his eyebrow again. “I was not.”
“But three men had cornered you.”
“You are wrong,” he stated with a cocky smirk. “I had drawn them in to kill them.”
I gave him a skeptical look, but he chuckled louder and then rose to his feet.
“When you take me back, I will show you,” he said with confidence.
“You’ll have to make your own way back,” I said, pointing in the direction of the battlefield.
“But the battle will likely be done by the time I get there,” he said with disappointment. “It was already waning.”
I shrugged. “Sorry, but I cannot risk returning you to an even more dangerous spot than the one I pulled you from. Plus, I must take away your memory of seeing me. And I could not pause to do that in front of others. They would see me.”
“Why must you take away my memory?” Eiríkr asked. “I wish to remember your beauty, my lady. I want to tell others of your beauty—and maybe even write an ode to it?” he added with a waggle of his eyebrows. “I promise not to mention your pointy ears.”
Had I not been in love with him already, his rakishness would surely have won my affections.
“It would be bad if others knew of me,” I sighed.
“Then, I will tell no one else. And I will recite the ode only when I am alone,” he smirked. “But please,” he added sincerely, “allow me to remember you.”
“The rules of my kind forbid it,” I said with regret.
He stepped toward me. “Then may I kiss you before you take away my memories?”
“Kiss me?” I asked, certain my blush was now scarlet.
“Yes. Think of it as a way that you can make amends.”
“And what exactly do I need to make amends for?” I asked.
“For taking me from a battlefield where I would have earned much honor.” He grinned. “I am quite sure an ode to my deeds would have followed this day—had you let me complete them.”
I couldn’t help but to chuckle.
“So, you see, my lady, you owe me a kiss.”
I shouldn’t have consented. I shouldn’t have been there at all.
But I nodded to give him permission to take his prize.
He stepped forward again and wasted no time in touching his lips to mine. His strong arms pulled me closer, and when I sighed my enjoyment, his tongue entered my mouth, sending sparks through my body.
It was my first kiss. And, in that moment, I wondered if it would be the best one I would ever have.
I knew that the day would come when my grandfather and great-grandfather would arrange a marriage partner for me, and I was already prepared to accept the probability that my marriage would not contain passion.
However, Eiríkr’s kiss contained more than just passion; my body felt on fire.
He didn’t break the kiss until we were both panting for air. And, even then, he didn’t break our embrace. He rested his forehead against mine.
“What is your name?” he asked.
“Sookie,” I responded.
He smiled and sighed. “One day, when I do meet my end on the battlefield, will it be you who comes for me?”
“Yes,” I said.
His smile widened.
“And will I remember you then?”
“No.” I shook my head even as he kissed me again—this time even more heatedly. His hands roamed my body. And mine roamed his.
“Eiríkr,” I sighed, as his kisses traveled to my neck. “Eiríkr,” I sighed again as he laid me down onto the grass.
“Will you allow me to pleasure you, my lady? Since I have likely missed the battle, it seems a good way to pass the night.”
“I’ve never . . . .” I stammered.
“But you take all the finest warriors to Valhalla or Fólkvangr,” he said, looking a little confused. “You would have had your pick among them.”
I sighed, not wanting to take away his misconception that I was a Valkyrie. Telling him what I truly was would serve no purpose.
“I’m new,” I said.
Understanding came to him, and a smile lit up his handsome face. “Of course, that must be why you took me prematurely from the battlefield.”
I just nodded.
He went to sit up.
“Wait,” I said, “I thought you were going to,” I stammered. “I, mean, I thought you wanted to . . . .”
“But you are untouched,” he said. “I would not wish to take your virtue. Surely, there are worthier warriors of that gift in the halls of the gods.”
In that moment, I made a decision. The Fae had no rules about premarital sex. Whether my virginity remained intact when I married wouldn’t mean anything to my fairy husband. But, suddenly, it meant everything to me. Maybe it was a leftover notion from my humanity.
Or maybe I wanted to—just one time, my first time—make love to the man I loved.
For a guardian, it was forbidden to be involved with a charge. And I knew it would likely prevent me from reaching angel status one day, but I also realized that I would regret not taking the chance to be with Eiríkr all the days of my life. And I didn’t feel the same kind of regret when I thought about not becoming an angel.
After all, was I not already a Valkyrie? And if they were indeed real—which I did not know for sure one way or the other—they seemed like a kind of angel to me.
“There is no warrior worthier of my affections,” I said, speaking to Eiríkr’s earlier comment.
When he smiled, it wasn’t his cocky grin; it was soft and sincere.
“I want you, Eiríkr,” I whispered.
No more words were needed as he lay back next to me.
His touch was gentle as he removed my clothing. Then he removed his own. I frowned at the cut on his hip and used my light to finish sealing it, though a scar remained. He didn’t comment on my ability, nor did he question it.
He started to kiss me again. And then he kissed me all over my face and shoulders and neck. As he did, I enjoyed the feeling of his hot flesh beneath my fingers. I traced his well-defined muscles. And I kissed him everywhere my lips would reach as he started to move his kisses down my body. He worshipped my breasts for several blissful minutes before his kisses trailed even lower. And then he kissed my center. His lips were magical. And then his tongue swept over me again and again—before entering me. My thoughts couldn’t center themselves, and I couldn’t focus on anything but my pleasure.
And when his fingers carefully entered my body, I exploded around them. The feeling was sublime; I had no words for it.
By the time, I could open my eyes, he was above me, looking at me with intensity and love—or maybe just something close to it.
I would take what I could get.
“This will hurt you at first,” he said with apology.
“I know,” I acknowledged. Claudine had told me.
“I will go slowly,” Eiríkr assured.
I nodded as he shifted his body a little and lined his member up to enter me. He did go slowly, pushing in a little at a time. His girth stretched me, though the feeling wasn’t uncomfortable. When his tip pushed through my maidenhead, I gasped, and I felt a warm tear fall from my eyes.
Eiríkr looked like he might stop for a moment, but I didn’t let him. I wound my legs around him and pulled him lower.
“Sookie,” he sighed as he finally moved into me as far as he could. And then he moved out. And then back in. And then out.
My discomfort was over almost as soon as it had begun, and a pleasure even stronger than what he’d brought to me before began to build in my body.
He continued his thrusts, sometimes slow and powerful and sometimes faster. Sometimes deep and sometimes shallow. Sometimes he angled his hips to strike a place in me that made me shake with pleasure. Other times he moved into me as deep as anything could and he ground his pelvis against mine, stroking a place on me which he’d found earlier with his tongue. It was a very good place.
I felt pleasure from every direction. And, even better, I could see the pleasure he was feeling on his face. I could also hear it in his thoughts.
He was thinking about how good our coupling felt to him—how lucky he was to have been chosen by me. He was lamenting the fact that, soon, he would remember none of it. But, at the same time, he hoped that he was making the experience truly memorable for me.
He wanted to bring me pleasure, but he wasn’t shy about enjoying his own. And he’d not completely lost his cockiness either. Even as I neared another release, he hoped that he would be the best I ever had—so that I would seek him out in the afterlife. He certainly thought that I was his best—despite my inexperience. His mind was focused on the notion that we “fit” together in all ways imaginable. And he regretted that he couldn’t come to know my mind and thoughts as well as he was learning my body.
His thoughts were so beautiful, that I didn’t raise up my shields—though Claudine said that she’d always needed to do that when having intercourse. To me, my lover’s thoughts only added to my physical pleasure.
And then—suddenly and wonderfully—my pleasure peaked. My core felt like it was pulsing with small explosions that lit up my soul. And then I felt him exploding too.
I couldn’t stop my hands from lighting up or my light from absorbing into him. Claudine had told me that such a thing was rare for fairies to do, even during sex, but it felt natural with Eiríkr.
My light prolonged both of our releases. But, before I would have wanted, he separated his body from mine and lay onto the grass. He pulled my body against his.
“What was that light?” he asked with curiosity, though he was unafraid of it.
“My people call it solas,” I said. “It comes forth where there is love.”
He looked at me with awe. “You love me?”
I nodded. “Yes,” I answered simply.
“I love you as well,” he averred.
“Please do not cause me to forget you,” he begged, his eyes lighting with emotion. “I will battle often,” he added, “so that I may fall soon. And, then, we can be together in Valhalla or Fólkvangr.”
“No, Eiríkr,” I said. “You must make yourself a life. You will have a wife and children. You will carry on the traditions of your people.” I tried to smile. “You must not attempt to endanger yourself for me.”
“But . . . .” he started.
I stopped his words with a kiss and raised my shields so that I couldn’t hear his sorrow. When I broke the kiss, I broke my own heart by capturing him with my glamour.
“You will sleep now,” I said. “When you awaken, you will dress without wondering why you had no clothing on to begin with. You will recall being captured by an enemy and being brought here on horseback. But you will remember killing your enemy. And you will make your way back to your army. You will not remember me.”
Without a word, Eiríkr closed his eyes and slept.
I rose, dressed, and popped away so that I could keep an eye on the man I loved. I knew that I would never regret my time with Eiríkr, but I also knew that I was leaving my heart with him.
I had felt her attempt to take away my memories of her. Her mind pushed into mine, and the effect was the worst headache of my life. But I didn’t want to let her know that she remained in my mind and in my heart, so I kept my face neutral. When she was done, the pain was enough that I did sleep—just as she’d asked me to do.
But when I woke up, I remembered her.
The second time I could not keep down my food, I knew what had happened. I’d been naïve not to consider the possibility before I’d accepted Eiríkr into my body, but the possibility of my having a child had not occurred to me.
I was never one to hide from the truth. Having lain with Eiríkr would mean that I would no longer be allowed to be his guardian. But—if I tried to conceal my condition and it was discovered—I would also never be a guardian again. And, even worse, it would make it seem as if I were not proud of the child I carried. But I was proud—very proud—of the living symbol of my and Eiríkr’s love.
Part of me wanted to go to Niall and beg him to let me live with Eiríkr in the human realm, but I knew that would not be possible. Though only one-eighth Fae, I had already lived in the fairy realm long enough to look and behave as a full-blooded fairy. My ears were proof of that. And—living outside of a human city was one thing. But living in the midst of one—as the wife of the prince—was another.
My own human grandmother had known about my half-Fae grandfather, and she’d accepted him, but there had been a reason why our family had lived away from the township. In short-term situations, it was easy for fairies to blend in. However, it was difficult to keep up the glamour that made us appear older. It depleted our power. And it also cut into our control. Simply put, a fairy’s light would show. And in the great lodge in which Eiríkr’s family all lived together, I knew that my own light would be visible anytime we made love.
No— Eiríkr and I would not be possible. I could not take him from his family and responsibilities. And I could not live with him without showing myself for what I was. Had Eiríkr been a commoner, things might have been different. We could have lived apart from others. But there was nothing common about the man I loved, nor would there ever be.
Claudine had been making one of our rare trips into town when I realized I was pregnant. But now I heard her approaching.
I took a deep breath, and when she came in, I told her everything.
BETWEEN 1010 A.D. AND 1022 A.D.—THE FAIRY REALM
“You are with child,” my great-grandfather, Niall, said as soon as I arrived in Faerie. Given my condition, I’d had to return there. Meanwhile, Claudine would take over watching Eiríkr, along with Astrid. Such arrangements were not uncommon.
“What?!” my grandfather, Fintan, half-asked and half-exclaimed.
I’d decided to tell them the truth as soon as I’d arrived in Faerie—not that I could hide it from them anyway.
“Yes, I am carrying a child,” I said simply.
“A human’s?” Niall asked.
“It is the child of my charge, Eiríkr,” I answered honestly.
“Did he force himself upon you?” Fintan asked.
“No, Grandfather,” I replied. “I guarded Eiríkr to the best of my abilities. However, I realized that I loved him the last time his emotions called me to watch over him. It was on that day—and only that day—that we came together. And I took his memories of me after,” I sighed. “I will accept my punishment,” I continued, “but I want it known that the child I carry is one of love, and I do not regret creating him or her.”
“Him,” Niall said with a soft smile. “You carry a son. And—from what I can sense—he has been blessed with a spark. However,” he paused, “you are right that you must be punished for your disregard of the rules of our kind.”
I nodded in acceptance.
Niall sighed. “You are to stay in this realm for no less than a century, during which time you will focus on the raising of your son and quiet mediation on the requirements of guardians. After that, you will be given the opportunity to become a guardian again—if that is what you desire.”
“Thank you,” I said, even as a tear slipped from my eye.
“Why do you cry?” Niall asked. “This punishment is not as severe as it might have been; your honesty allowed for leniency.”
“I love Eiríkr,” I said simply. “I wish I could have a life with him, but that is impossible.”
Niall and Fintan looked at each other.
“If you chose to return to the human realm, you could never again be a guardian,” Fintan said.
“I know,” I acknowledged. “And I have already decided against building a life with Eiríkr there. And—especially now that I know our child has a spark—it would be impossible to conceal him from humans. I know better than most that a child with a Fae spark has a difficult time controlling his or her powers. Because of you,” I said to Fintan, “I was able to learn quickly. But I know you used your glamour on my parents and brother to keep them from knowing what I was. And our homes were well away from others’ homes, which was essential to keeping my gifts hidden. Eiríkr will one day be a chieftain.”
“So your lives would be too public,” Fintan sighed. “And you will give up your love.”
“I could take him from his kingdom,” Niall offered, “maroon you both in a new land where you could begin again.”
Part of me wanted to jump at that option, but then I remembered Eiríkr in battle—glorious and proud. He was born to be a leader. And—though he might come to love me again—he would not remember our short time together, even if I told him of it. No—I could not steal Eiríkr’s life. And my priority needed to be my son now. I needed to keep him safe.
“Thank you for the offer, Niall,” I smiled. “But it is best if I stay in Faerie.”
Niall nodded, so I knew he agreed with me, which made his offer even more meaningful.
“You should return to the human realm to say goodbye to your beloved,” Fintan said.
“But I cannot approach him,” I reminded. “He does not know me.”
Fintan smiled, but I could see much sorrow in his expression. “The whims of time between realms can change on the turn of the screw,” he sighed. “Even as we have spoken here, many years have come and gone in the human realm.”
I nodded sadly. The difference in time had already begun to shift during the previous year.
My grandfather inhaled deeply. “I would give much to have been able to see my wife again, but time had already taken her from me when I attempted it.” He looked at his father. “Will you allow her to see him again?”
“If she wants that,” Niall said. “But it might make things harder.”
“No,” I smiled through tears. “I would like to see Eiríkr—just once more.”
1022 A.D.—THE HUMAN REALM
Twelve years had passed since my Valkyrie changed my life. I never spoke of her, and any odes to her beauty were locked away in my head and in my heart. But I thought of her every day.
For a year or two, I had taken chances in battle, hoping to make her come to me again, but she never did. And then I had to stop trying to draw Sookie to me when my father died and my people turned to me for leadership.
I married a good woman in order to strengthen an alliance with a nearby village. But I didn’t love Aude. She was kind and hardworking—a very good wife. And she was good company to my mother, who’d been heartbroken after my father’s death from illness.
My heart, however, would always belong to my Valkyrie. When I closed my eyes, I could see her beautiful body, which seemed to be lit from within. Her blue eyes haunted my dreams. The feel of her skin made my hands grasp into thin air as I thought of her.
My memories of her had only grown in vividness—as if her attempt to erase them had done the opposite.
I was grateful for every second my Sookie was mine, and—though I hadn’t known her for long at all—my love remained true.
Aude gave birth to four children, though only three lived through their first winters. She was a good mother, and I loved my children. It was only they who made my heart lift from its loss of Sookie. And it was for them that I worked to strengthen and build up our small kingdom. Like my father, I eventually learned to try to avoid violent conflicts—unless they became necessary. And I soon discerned that I excelled in trading. Thus, my people prospered in relative peace.
Aude died trying to give birth to our fifth child. The baby was cut from her dead body, but she was also dead. I mourned them both, and I held my living children near.
My mother took over the raising of my children when I had to go away from the village, but a year after Aude had died, I knew that it was time for me to seek out another wife. So that is what I did.
But that was not why I was on the road alone when I came upon the stranger. I had been roaming the night, thinking of my Valkyrie when I saw the heap that I thought must be a drunk man. However, I was also cautious, for thieves could pretend to be drunk or incapacitated. So I pulled my sword from its scabbard as I approached.
I had been wrong. The person on the road was not drunk. He was not incapacitated. He was not a thief.
He was a monster.
I returned to the human realm only to feel Eiríkr’s fear and pain. I teleported to him immediately. I could sense that Claudine was in the area, but she was keeping her distance.
I couldn’t blame her.
Eiríkr was being drained by a vampire—obviously too far gone to save. There was nothing anyone could do. But, still, I moved toward him as close as I dared.
“Eiríkr,” I sighed, taking in the dismal sight before me.
The vampire heard me and turned from his meal. Not being able to conceal my scent entirely—though I could turn it down a little—I was ready to teleport away if he made a move toward me.
He didn’t. Instead, he smiled a bloody smile at me.
“I know you,” he said. “I have smelled you before—tracked you before. In the Jutland—more than a hundred years ago. You are like this one—only more now,” the vampire said, motioning toward his prone victim.
Eiríkr was barely conscious, but still he spoke. “My Valkyrie,” he muttered, managing a small smile, “you have come.”
“Yes,” I said fighting back my tears. “I am here.”
“I have loved you all my days, my Sookie,” he said weakly. “I am ready to go with you.”
The vampire cackled. “You know each other?”
Though I was surprised that Eiríkr remembered me, I nodded. “Yes. I carry his child.”
Eiríkr smiled a little, not questioning how that could be possible, given the fact that my belly was flat and it had been years since he’d seen me.
“My Valkyrie,” he sighed. “Our child.”
“You will never see the child,” the vampire said cruelly, “unless . . . .”
“Unless?” Eiríkr and I asked as one, though his voice was weakening.
“I could make you immortal,” the vampire said.
“Do it,” Eiríkr said. “As long as I can see my Sookie again—and my child.”
“No!” I responded at the same time, knowing that the vampire before me was the same one who’d killed my father and brother. I also knew that he would have ultimate control over Eiríkr if he turned him, and—even if Eiríkr lived forever—my Viking would be lost to me.
And to himself.
“Oh—you will see them again,” the vampire said cruelly.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am Appius Livius Ocella,” he responded. “And I will make you a deal,” he said, looking down at Eiríkr.
“What deal?” he rasped.
“I can turn you into one of my kind,” the vampire responded almost gently. “And that will make you immortal.”
“It would also make you his slave!” I yelled. “Eiríkr, you would have to do everything he commands.”
But Eiríkr didn’t hear me. He’d fainted from lack of blood.
Appius Livius Ocella, the murderer of my father and brother, looked at me. “It looks like I will have to make my deal with you, fairy.”
I shook my head in denial. Yet I still listened to the monster’s proposal.
“I am a fair creature,” Appius started in a conciliatory tone. “I will keep him with me for only two hundred years, and then I will let him loose. Though I won’t release him, I will not interfere in his life for another 800 years.”
“And then?” I asked.
“And then I will give him back his memories of you.” He grinned sinisterly. “You see—I plan to glamour them away before I kill him and turn him, so he will have no recollection of his—what did he call you?” He laughed cruelly. “Oh, yes, his Valkyrie.”
“Why?” I asked. “Why do any of this?”
“I like games,” Appius said with a shrug. “Call it an experiment if you will. I want to see if—after a thousand years—remembering you will mean anything to him. I want to see if any vampire—even one who chose this existence for love—could retain his soul. However,” Appius said with warning, “you must agree not to see him during those thousand years, nor to let your child know him.”
“Why?” I asked again.
“My amusement,” Appius snarled. “Imagine it! A thousand years from now, I will restore his memories. On that same night, in all your Fae glory,” he continued sarcastically, “you will come to him with his child. And then we shall test his love for you.” He chuckled darkly. “Vampires eat fairies, you see.” He inhaled deeply. “Though I have already gorged myself with your beloved’s blood, I would like very much to eat you right now, despite the fact that you are clearly dampening your scent. I wonder what will happen when my thousand-year-old child sees you again. Will he kill you and his child? Will he run to you and embrace you? Will true love conquer all?” he asked cynically.
“Why would I chance it?” I asked defiantly.
“If you don’t,” Appius shrugged, “I will just kill him.”
“What makes you think I won’t go to him sooner?” I asked.
“Because—if you do go to him before a thousand years have passed—I will learn of it, call him to me, and kill him,” Appius replied coldly. “A sire can feel the emotions of his child. When he is happy, I will know why. And—if you are the cause—he will die.”
“What if we pass the test? What if I come to him, and he doesn’t try to kill me—despite the fact that I am Fae?
“Then you can try to win him in battle with me,” Appius said with a grin, “a fair battle. And don’t even think about trying to kill me before a thousand years are over. I will be commanding my child to meet the sun if I die in an untimely way,” he smiled.
“I could kill you now,” I said, raising my hands and feeling the fire within me rising.
“You could try,” he chuckled, “but he would die. He has lost too much blood. He has only minutes left, and you know it.”
I shook my head, not knowing what to do.
“I believe that I will turn him regardless,” the vampire mused, making the ultimate decision for both Eiríkr and for me. “And you will decide for yourself whether you want to play my little game. Either way, it will be amusing for me.”
Appius turned back to his victim, and I knew that I could kill him in that moment, but—if I did—Eiríkr would not be made a vampire. He would die. I lowered my hands and watched the vampire shake my beloved until he woke up.
“You will not remember your Valkyrie—your Sookie,” Appius glamoured. As soon as he was done, Eiríkr passed out once more.
I couldn’t help but to wonder if Appius’s glamour would work. Obviously, my own glamour hadn’t had the desired effect on Eiríkr. Could it be possible that he was immune to glamouring—despite not possessing a Fae spark? It was rare, but there had been some hybrids who had Fae traits without a spark. Perhaps, Eiríkr was such a rarity.
However, questions and answers would have to wait. As I watched helplessly, my hand resting over the place where Eiríkr’s son would grow, Appius finished draining the man I loved.
The vampire opened his wrist and forced it into Eiríkr’s mouth. And my beloved swallowed with his last breath.
“It is done,” Appius said, picking up my beloved.
“What if—in a thousand of your years—I am not alive? What if our child is not alive?” I asked.
“Then his memories will return to him the night before I compel him to meet the sun,” Appius said cruelly. “For that is what will happen if you do not come.” He looked down at my belly. “I’ll let it be your choice whether you bring the bastard child with you or not.”
“You’re a monster,” I said.
“Yes. And if I succeed in making him one, you will die a thousand years from this night,” he said before speeding away.
Fairies could live very long lives, but we were not immortal. Thankfully, time had been on my side—because I had made it that way. After my hundred-year sentence in Faerie, I—once again—became a guardian. I went to realms that ensured that time would pass quickly in the human realm relative to where I was. Thus, my own aging was “slower” than it would have been had I stayed in the human or Fae realms.
Niall liked to say that I was “cheating.”
I couldn’t argue.
My son, whom I’d named Håber, which was the word my human people had used for “hope” made the decision to follow my lead. Though I wanted for him to have the chance to meet Eiríkr one day, I was very careful not to influence him in doing this. I wanted him to live his own life—to make his own choices. I made it known that I would be going to the human realm a thousand human years from the day Eiríkr had been made into a vampire. And I was determined that—no matter what else happened—Appius Livius Ocella would die that day.
Though I’d not remained celibate, my love for Eiríkr had never waned or wavered, and—thankfully—neither Niall nor Fintan had ever asked me to marry another. Håber had been enough to ensure that the Brigant line went forward, so I was “let off the hook”—so to speak. He was the best of both his father and me. However, physically, he was a carbon copy of Eiríkr—tall and strong with hair the color of wheat. Like his father, he also had an adventurous nature, which made him a perfect guardian. And—when he was in Faerie between assignments—he was well-known for capturing the attention of almost every unattached female he met. Hell—no matter where he was, he captured attention.
But it was a Britlingen girl who had captured his heart, a beauty named Batanya. I now had two grandsons, Eiríkr and Finn, named for the father Håber had never known and the chief father figure in his life.
I was proud of my child and my grandchildren.
Eiríkr’s child. Eiríkr’s grandchildren.
Like Håber, I’d spent a significant amount of time in the Britlingen realm. I was an excellent guardian, but I also took advantage of the fact that Britlingen time dragged compared to human time. I also worked in other realms where the time difference favored my quest to live long enough to go to Eiríkr.
And now it was time—a thousand years had gone by in the human realm, and I was ready to face whatever fate had in store for me. Would Eiríkr still love me? Or had he become a monster like his maker? I had faith in the former option. I had faith in my Viking.
I returned to Faerie to say goodbye to my great-grandfather. Fintan had died years before. Niall informed me that the elders had offered to make me an angel.
But I told him I could not be an angel—at least, not without being a Valkyrie one more time.
Sitting on my throne in Fangtasia bored me. I suppose it always had.
In a thousand years, it was difficult to find anything truly new. I’d contemplated meeting the sun more than once after Appius had finally released me. And, during my time with my maker, things had been almost unbearable. The torture I’d endured with him had almost driven me mad, and I’d feared becoming the monster he’d hoped I would be.
But I’d stayed alive and had found a way to protect the man that dwelled within me still. After all, I knew that Appius had agreed to let me go after two hundred years. Even though I’d been unable to speak or open my eyes as Appius had told Sookie of the “deal” he was offering to her, I had still heard.
And I remembered.
Yes—I remembered everything about my Valkyrie, though I had come to hypothesize that she was actually a fairy.
I was so weak when Appius had tried to pull all my thoughts of her from my mind with his glamour, but I held onto them.
Night after night, I clung to the promise of her—and of my child. Sometimes I imagined a girl. Other times, the child was a boy. Sometimes, I pictured an infant; other times, the child was fully grown. But, always, I imagined the child with Sookie’s blue eyes and the hair of both of his or her parents—since my beloved and I shared the same hair color.
I did not remain pure and honorable. Appius had seen to that. I killed and drained humans. I had sex with many, including my maker, who compelled me to “learn to like” his attentions, even though his attentions hurt like a mother fucker—every single time he raped me.
With thoughts of Sookie driving me, I lived through that torment and indignity. And—surprisingly—true to his word to Sookie, Appius had let me leave his side when my 200-year sentence was finally over. I had spent eight hundred years independent from his tyranny.
I didn’t remain faithful to Sookie in that time, much to my shame. But eight hundred years is a long time for a creature of blood and sex to forego one of those items. However, I made an effort to listen to my animal urges only when I had to. I prayed to my gods that Sookie would understand my lack of faithfulness.
I had a lot to atone for. Despite my attempts to control my sexual urges, I’d fucked many people. A thousand years, multiplied by a woman every month or so—and a whole lot more partners during Appius’s direct reign over me—meant that I’d fucked 39,459 women and 39 men. Each one seemed like a marker against me—against my faith in my Valkyrie.
It didn’t help my conscience that they’d meant nothing to me.
Only one of my partners had ever meant anything to me: Sookie.
I tried to quell my anticipation. I’d managed to keep my only secret from Appius for all this time, and now was not the time to lose focus. He’d never known that I remembered Sookie. He’d never known that I still reached out into thin air at the memory of touching her. He didn’t know that I could still remember the light in her eyes and the way she’d made my heart soar. After my two hundred years with him, I’d purposely moved away from him—long distances so that my night would be his day.
And—when he would sleep—I would let myself remember my love.
But—again—a thousand years was a long time. To keep sane, I’d needed to find things to make my undead life worth living. I eventually made a progeny, Pam. And I excelled at business. As soon as it became feasible, I’d moved from Japan, where I’d been for many years, to the United States. I’d actually found Pam along the way—so to speak—in a house of ill-repute in San Francisco after I’d crossed the Pacific Ocean. And my progeny has given me many, many years of amusement.
But, after tonight, all would change. A trap was set for my maker, and—whether my Sookie returned or not—I was determined that he would die. Why hadn’t I killed him before? Simple. Self-Preservation. He’d commanded me to meet the sun if he died before the period of a thousand years. And—that command—I couldn’t disobey. Even his true death wouldn’t have shaken it loose. But tonight—at exactly 8:00 p.m. Louisiana time—that directive would expire.
And I could feel my maker approaching.
I could feel Eric’s anxiousness as I approached. I’d stayed away from him—as promised—for eight centuries. But I had “missed” my progeny. Eric had been extremely amusing for me. A virgin to male-male sex when I’d turned him, I’d enjoyed taking his virginity—night after night. And, when he’d become used to my attentions, I’d given him to other men, sometimes several a night.
I’d enjoyed feeling Eric’s hate and his devotion for me. After all, it was impossible for a child not to be devoted to his maker—no matter what. A maker’s command could ensure that. I’d felt the same way about my own maker. Indeed, I would have kept Eric with me forever; however, I’d given my word to the fairy, and—more importantly—I so wanted to see how my little game would turn out.
The mostly human who loved a fairy and then became a vampire.
The vampire who had spent a thousand years answering the urges of his blood.
Would he be able to resist his little fairy when she showed up again?
I didn’t think so, but I couldn’t wait to see how the story would end.
I was hoping for epic tragedy. After all, that was my favorite kind of theatre.
But—it mattered not. I was confident that I could kill the fairy if it came to that. Or—even if Eric chose her—I could still order my progeny to kill her. Indeed, perhaps that would be best—the most amusing outcome. Then I could order a guilt-ridden Eric to return to my side, and I could play with him until I tired of him.
I walked into my progeny’s prosaic bar as if I owned it, for I did own its owner. Eric had obviously kept the bar closed for the night.
I had felt it when Eric had made his only progeny, Pamela, and I could smell her immediately.
She recognized me too—though we’d never met.
“You are Pamela,” I said.
She bowed her head respectfully—a good sign. “Yes, my lord.”
“Eric told you about me,” I observed.
“He told me you were powerful and not to be disappointed,” the vampiress said.
“He was accurate,” I returned.
She didn’t say anything else, and—of course—I didn’t need for her to tell me the location of my child. Now that I was so close to him, I felt him as well as I felt myself.
He was already on his knees as I approached his throne.
“Master,” he whispered reverently. “You have come.”
I smiled at his prostrate form. He had no idea why I’d chosen that day to come. But, soon, he would.
“You shouldn’t come,” I said to Claudine.
“It is I who let him down,” my cousin said with remorse.
“No,” I insisted. “You could have done nothing.”
Claudine sighed. “Maybe not. But I have always regretted not trying.”
“But you have no ability to control your scent,” I reminded.
“That is why Appius will come after me,” she returned.
“And every other vampire there will too,” I cautioned.
She shrugged. “Let them come. I have been storing up energy and will keep them away.”
I could tell that she was not to be dissuaded. “You will wait?” I asked my son.
Håber nodded. “Yes. I swore to you that I would. I will not come right away.”
I looked at Batanya, begging her with my eyes to keep my son to his word.
She nodded even as I teleported to Eiríkr’s location. I’d never lost the ability to track him, for I was his guardian still.
I smelled my Valkyrie before I saw her.
My Sookie smelled beautiful—of sunlight and just like my homeland. But her scent didn’t spur me to want to attack her. What I wanted to do—what I’d always wanted—was to simply love her.
She was mine—as I had been hers from the moment I first saw her.
Appius had just “ordered” me to remember my time with Sookie, though I didn’t need his command.
“Ah,” my maker said with amusement and a little surprise, “you have come. Where is your child?”
Sookie looked at me. “My and Eiríkr’s son is safe. I will not let him come here until I know it is safe.”
Appius regarded her through narrowed eyes. “That is, likely, quite wise, little Fae.”
She looked at me, though I could tell that she was still keeping an eye on Appius. “It is good to see you, Eiríkr,” she said with caution, no doubt wondering if I was going to attack her or reject her—or both.
“I am known as Eric now,” I said. “Eric Northman.”
She smiled at me. “And I am still Sookie—though I am no Valkyrie.”
“I know,” I sighed. “But you are still my Valkyrie.”
In that moment, all hell broke loose. My words—”my Valkyrie”—had been the signal to my loyal vampires. None of them were as old at Appius, but, combined, I was praying for the best. Thalia, Pam, and Chow flanked Appius from my right, while Indira, Clancy, and Longshadow took positions on my left.
Appius turned to me and hissed. “What is this treachery?”
“It is your atonement,” I said gravely, drawing my sword from my throne.
“As your maker, I command you not to harm me,” Appius said triumphantly.
I sat down on my throne. “You gave me that command for the first time a thousand years ago,” I sighed. “And I obey only because I must.”
Appius looked triumphant for a moment, “Well, then, I command you to kill your fairy lover!” he yelled.
However his command didn’t beat my pushing a hidden button in my throne—one that launched silver chains around my body in order to keep me from moving. I might not have been able to fight for my lover, but I’d be damned if I fought against her!
I looked at Sookie—my Valkyrie—for, indeed, I did hope that she would save me from hell. “I never forgot!” I yelled to her, needing her to know that I’d loved her for a millennia.
I’d known her for only a few hours in the twilight of one day of my human life, but I trusted her more than any other, and—during my thousand years—I’d built my entire plan to get away from Appius around that trust.
I knew in my mind, my heart, and my gut that she would come for me. And I knew just as strongly that she’d not come unprepared.
She gave me a knowing look, and then—suddenly—a sweet scent filled the air, sweeter than the finest nectar. I heard seven sets of fangs click into place, but mine stayed as they were. Next to Sookie, the scent was cloying to me.
All the vampires in the room—with Appius being the fastest—ran toward the sweet scent, even as I saw my Valkyrie unleash light from her hands—light which hit my maker in the chest and seemed to momentarily stun him.
In the next moment, the second wave of my own defense, a pack of Weres led by Alcide Herveaux, a loyal friend, burst into the room.
Appius was more than 2,500 years old. And, though the next oldest vampire in the room, I was stuck on my throne.
But Appius’s frenetic desire to get to the sweet-smelling fairy was his undoing. Again and again, Sookie shot him with her light, even as the other fairy kept the other vampires at bay. Appius, distracted and stunned, was much easier game for the Weres than I could have hoped for. However, even with five of them latched onto his body, he didn’t go down.
And that was when another “pop” sounded in the room.
The newcomer, a man, looked to be about the same age as Sookie, but I’d learned that time could be a tricky thing in the fairy realm. And I knew in a second that the man was my and Sookie’s son. He had her eyes.
And he had a stake.
A female Britlingen materialized next to him, and when Appius turned to face my son, she landed a blow to his chest just as Sookie fired another of her balls of light at his back.
And then my son struck.
I cried out in pain as my bond with my maker was eradicated from my body. It hurt, and it was sublime.
Pam fell down because of my own pain, which was impossible to keep back from her, especially since I was wrapped up in silver as well.
And—for the first time in my life as a vampire—I blacked out during the night.
“Will he like me?” my son asked.
“He will love you,” I assured with a smile. “But remember to keep your scent concealed, or he very well may try to eat you.”
Håber chuckled. “I will. It is lucky that I inherited that ability from you.”
I smiled and nodded. “I will go to him now,” I said. “It is almost sundown. Give me an hour before you come.”
Håber nodded. “I will see you soon, mother.”
I kissed my son on the cheek and then popped to Eric. He was unmoving. No breath filled his lungs. No dream stirred his eyes. No snore filled the air.
But I had never felt anyone that was more alive than he. His eyes opened wide at sunset, and he sat up quickly.
“I never forgot,” he said.
“I didn’t either,” I responded.
“What now?” he asked, hope in his eyes.
“Now—we do as we wish,” I responded.
Often, a fairy’s greatest aspiration was to become an angel, though there were many kinds of angels in the known universe.
After more than five hundred years as a guardian, Sookie Brigant was given the opportunity to become any kind she wished. However, she declined, asking instead that she could spend the rest of her days with Eric Northman, the man she loved and the father of her son.
The elders granted her wish with little fanfare. Her great-grandfather had kissed her goodbye and wished her well. And her cousin, Claudine, had winked and shared the secret that she’d been named Sookie’s fairy godmother.
Niall also placed an object in her hands—a cluviel dor. With it she could make a single wish for love. Following Sookie’s first separation from her beloved, Niall had spent almost three centuries learning how to make the object.
With it, Sookie wished for her blood and her scent to never cause any vampire to want to kill her or own her.
At Sookie’s request, Håber was given a vacation of sorts so that he could get to know his father. Of course, Batanya, Eiríkr, and Finn accompanied him.
And Sookie asked the man she had loved for a thousand years to turn her—if the need ever arose or if time ever caught up to her and she began to age.
For she did not want to be separated from him again.
And their lives began anew.
I hope you enjoyed this story! I also hope that it spurs you to participate in Sephrenia’s banner challenge! She has made three wonderful “Eric-centric” banners that writers can choose from! So if one of them inspires you, have at it! This story, I can assure you, would have never happened if one of the banners hadn’t started me thinking.
I have to admit that I know little about Viking culture, though I have done some research about the geography of the region. However, I know that certain things are inaccurate in this story. For instance—obviously—the story is written in English, and all the characters seem to be able to speak the same language as each other. LOL. Let’s just assume that Sookie and Claudine are much better at picking up other languages than I am! Or maybe the Fae have an automatic translator? LOL. Also, for the sake of “clarity,” I used measurements like miles and years—even though I know Vikings didn’t measure in miles (or kilometers) and their system of measuring years might have been different too. Leap year—anyone? Anyway—I took great liberties with time; I hope that you weren’t too annoyed—or confused.
Again, thanks for reading! I never thought I’d write any kind of story set during the Viking times, so we can blame (or thank) Seph for it! Be sure so write a story and/or vote in her contest! Remember to check out the banners here! sephwritchallenge.wordpress.com
Here are some of the story’s characters. 🙂