Eric shrugged. “I’m not positive. She does not smell like a fairy though I have never had her blood. Godric never spoke of anything odd about it, but then again,” his voice trailed off.
“As his maker, she could have commanded him not to.”
Sookie mused, “That wouldn’t account for her gift of future-sight. According to Niall, that is not an ability fairies here have.”
Eric thought for a moment. “Niall can mask his Fae scent from vampires, you know. So can Claude. They did it tonight with Pam, though they had no need to do it with me.”
Sookie smiled, “You took Pam with you just to confirm that they could both mask their scents, didn’t you?”
Eric nodded. “I have been developing theories of my own, lover.”
Sookie smiled and lifted an eyebrow. “Niall and Claude have been trying to teach me to mask my scent. Apparently the ability to do so is rare among fairies, and I haven’t been able to manage it yet, but it’s generally a,” she smiled wider, “family trait.”
Eric smirked. “So you are thinking that Niall and the A.P. are related?”
“Yes. Aren’t you?”
Eric’s smirk grew, “Yes. Future-sight is a very rare trait indeed. Jesus’s research confirms what Niall said about fairies not having this gift—at least no fairies in this realm.”
“But demons apparently can,” Sookie smiled.
Eric nodded. “Yes—it is a rare gift, but Jesus has found out through his research that a few demons throughout their recorded history have possessed this ability—though most of their names have been lost throughout time. None of the cases of future-sight, however, occurred until the demons were in their new realm—after they had left this place.”
“Interesting,” Sookie observed.
“Indeed,” Eric continued. “The theory is that the magic within the new realm they settled in somehow enhanced some of their mental abilities and stifled others. According to Mr. Cataliades, telepathy was always rare among the Fire Fae, but no demons have been born with that particular gift in their new realm. Other mind skills have developed, however—with future-sight being the most powerful. Some demons also have the ability to force their own thoughts into the minds of others so that they can stop any magic that is emanating from them.”
“Like Jesus did with Marnie—to free Antonia?” Sookie asked.
“Yes,” Eric nodded. “He has been working on this skill with Diantha and Amelia, but he has not been able to control it without the use of a great deal of human witchcraft as a bolster. It is also extremely,” he paused, “taxing on him and leaves him defenseless for a time. I have asked him not to do it when others are not there to protect him.”
Sookie smiled at her husband. “Because you care about him.”
Eric gave her a little smirk. “Yes. The demon has become one of the closest,” he paused dramatically and gave her a little wink, “associates that I have ever had.”
“Well,” she teased, “just as long as you don’t actually become friends with him, I guess that’s okay.”
“No danger there,” he said with feigned sincerity. She gave him a pop on the arm, and he grinned like a little boy as happiness surged into the bond.
He grew more serious again as he continued his thought from a few minutes before. “Jesus also found out that one of the last major wars between the demons and fairies involved the Water Fae trying to breach and then take over the new demon realm so that they could experiment with the magic that was naturally found there.”
There were a few minutes of silence as they both processed the new knowledge that had been shared between them.
“Could the A.P. be a demon?” Sookie asked even as she was shaking her head.
“I thought so too when Jesus first told me of his findings, but as of about ten minutes ago,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes, “I no longer believe that that particular theory could be correct.”
Sookie snapped her fingers. “See—I knew you would come in handy! You are so much more than just pretty!” She quickly smacked his lips with a hard but chaste kiss. “I think that the A.P. is Niall’s sister. He’s the twin in the story that helped Carlah!”
He thought for a moment. “Yes—you are likely correct.”
Sookie was on a roll. “And, in extra defiance, she took one of the daggers with her, and she passed it along to Godric, who passed it to you.”
“And her bond with her mate allowed for them to share their gifts, so that is how she came to have her future-sight.” Eric paused and his eyes got the faraway look they got when he accessed a memory.
He looked at Sookie a little guiltily. “The A.P. never approved of my,” he paused, “past promiscuous ways.”
Sookie tensed a bit. Eric sent her comfort and love through the vampire bond. He stroked her shoulder, and she relaxed.
He sighed, “The A.P. once told me that she had chosen only one lover in her whole existence.”
“Wow!” Sookie exclaimed.
Eric nodded. “She said that she’d been cursed by the mother of that lover. The curse was that she would not see when her mortal enemy was approaching and that her enemy would keep her from her lover.”
“The vampire that turned her?” Sookie exclaimed, snapping her fingers again. “One of the causes of her long life!”
Eric nodded. “It all makes sense. And vampires and fairies have been—in fact—mortal enemies for a very long time, according to the books Jesus has found. Apparently, wars occurred between us many millennia ago on earth, and after that, they became very good at hiding from us. In fact, they were so good at it that the history of vampires’ interactions with them turned to legend and then to myth throughout the years as the oldest of our number either met the true death or simply kept the knowledge of the Fae to themselves. As Niall said, history―when written―often loses some of its veracity.”
“At a certain point, vampires must have tried to come to this realm,” Sookie mused.
“Yes,” Eric agreed. “That explains why Faerie itself is protected with a kind of shield that will kill all vampires.”
“What do you know about the A.P.’s maker?” Sookie asked with curiosity.
Eric shook his head a little. “Not much. His name was Appius Livius Ocella. He was a relatively young, but power-hungry vampire when he turned her. He had heard of her foresight and went to the temple near Sparta where she had been living. She never saw him coming—not with her gift and not with her own senses.”
“The curse,” Sookie whispered as a tear fell from her eye.
Eric quickly brushed it away before continuing quietly. “I know that Appius was cruel and forced himself upon her sexually. I know that he commanded her to use her gift for him. Of course, he also commanded her to never harm him and to always warn him about any dangers she sensed with her gift of future-sight. I know—also—that she plotted his demise from the very beginning, but it took her several hundred years to maneuver things so that he would be killed without her having to go against his commands and so that the future could progress without too many alterations.”
Sookie tilted her head in the way Eric loved, “Does the A.P. have fairy abilities—like telepathy?”
Eric looked uncertain, “I do not think she is a telepath—at least, she told Hunter she was not a telepath. However, she has never lost a battle, and none who have fought her have lived to tell the tale. I always thought her success was because of her future-sight or her Britlingen, but she has faced many foes throughout the years. One of the legends about her even talks of an army of one hundred vampires and Weres trying to take her and use her gifts—yet she has kept only one or two Britlingen guards with her for as long as I’ve known her. It is certainly possible—probable even—that she has the ability to kill her foes with a light similar to yours.” He smiled. “However, if our theory is correct, hers would be amplified by demon magic because of her bonded one.”
Sookie nodded and smiled, “Whereas mine gets amped by vampire magic—you. When I’m pissed, my light definitely packs some heat, and when it’s mixed with your magic—well, let’s just say that Niall has a couple of uprooted fairy trees that you can take back with you if you want.”
Eric smiled proudly at her.
“That means that the A.P. would have gotten her ability to see the future from her bonded-mate too,” Sookie posited.
“Yes,” Eric agreed. “Just like ours has done for us, their fairy bond allowed for them to share their gifts. I believe that his future-sight was the gift he shared.” He paused. “She told me once that her ability to see the future was not fully within her control—that she saw many things, but not always what she tried to see. I thought she was speaking in a riddle—as always—but perhaps her gift has never been exact because it came via her bonded.”
Sookie thought for a moment and then shook her head a bit. “But it doesn’t make sense that she’s not a telepath too. I mean—Niall has implied that most fairies prefer speaking telepathically. And I know that at least the Sky Fae and the Water Fae tend to be telepaths.”
“Maybe the A.P. lied to Hunter,” Eric mused. “It wouldn’t be the first time she has lied or misled others for her own reasons. And Hunter is extremely perceptive; he asked her if she could read his mind only moments after he had met her. Perhaps he felt her doing it.”
“And she wouldn’t be able to read vampires anyway,” Sookie thought out loud. She shook her head with conviction. “But I don’t see her lyin’ to Hunter. Maybe she lost her telepathy when she was turned.”
“Maybe,” Eric said. A grin slowly spread across his face. “You seem certain about your opinion that she did not lie to Hunter.”
“Yeah,” Sookie confirmed.
“Could that have something to do with why I smell her scent in this place?” he asked with a wry smile.
She smiled sheepishly. “She visited me a couple of nights ago. She told me that I couldn’t tell you.” She looked down a little. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you, but I had the feeling that if I talked to you about it, it might screw things up.”
Eric was thoughtful for a moment. “Then say nothing of it now, min kära. It is best not to mess with the old bat’s plans.”
Sookie smiled. “You know—she’s not really an ‘old bat.’”
Eric chuckled. “I see that you like her.” He stroked her shoulder affectionately. “I’m glad of that.”
They were silent for a couple of minutes as they sunk into each other.
“So—what does the A.P. want with us?” Sookie asked, raising herself up to once again look at him.
Eric shrugged. “I am not one-hundred percent sure, but if we are right about her being the Sky Fae from the story, then she might see us as the couple from her mate’s premonition—or at least a possibility of them. I believe she saw us happening with her sight. She saw a fairy and a vampire falling in love. She saw that you are my compare anima.”
“Your soul mate,” Sookie said, touching his chest.
“Also, she probably liked the idea that a vampire―a mortal enemy of the Fae―would become mated to a fairy. If she is the Sky Fae in the story, she would really like it. She would see it as poetic justice—symmetry to her own case.”
“It’d be another way she could say a figurative ‘screw you’ to her parents too,” Sookie added.
“Exactly,” Eric agreed. “And if we are right, you are of her lineage too, Sookie. She would enjoy the fact that another member of her parents’ line would do exactly what she had done: fall in love with, marry, and bond with an enemy.”
“Niall’s mind talked about her finally getting her revenge,” she mused. “But he also seemed concerned about us surviving this.” She gestured to the dagger.
Eric shook his head and thought for a moment. “Sookie, if the A.P.’s mate made her promise to have a happy life and said she would be forced to live only long enough to see a love like theirs flourish—to see love conquer hate—then she sees us as a possible fulfillment of his prophesy, like I said before. Maybe her revenge is against her parents, his parents, and all of those who would stand in the way of her lover’s prophesy from coming true. But I do not think she would hurt us on purpose.”
“And maybe Niall just hopes that we can survive in order to be the couple from the prophesy. Or maybe he is worried about the power of this,” she gestured to the dagger.
“It is certainly powerful,” Eric agreed.
“If the A.P. is Carlah from the story, then she’s had to be without her mate for so long.” Another tear fell from her eye.
Eric smiled in wonder and captured her tear with his thumb. “I missed how you could be feeling such great love, yet still cry. I never understood that until I let myself experience it too.” He sighed. “I vowed two things to you the night you were brought here. I promised to take care of Hunter and to wait for you to return to me. I would have done both to my last moment of life.”
“As you know,” he continued, “I have arranged for Hunter to always be cared for and guarded no matter what happens to me, and even in my darkest moments without you—when I thought you might be dead—I would have waited into eternity until I was certain you were no more, just as I vowed I would do. However, if you had died or if the bonding sickness had killed me, and my oath could not be fulfilled in this plain, I would have followed you to the next as I have told you I would. My soul would have found yours, or it would have waited for yours to find it. No matter how it had to be done, my soul would have fulfilled my oath to you.”
Sookie grasped his hand as she felt the fervor of his love for her. She held onto her tears as she whispered, “If the A.P. bonded with and loved her mate as I love you, then she would be more than ready to see his prophesy fulfilled. And she has been doin’ everything she can to keep us alive long enough to do it.”
Eric nodded and chuckled. “I think so too. But―of course―the old bat couldn’t just fucking tell us.” He rolled his eyes.
Sookie shook her head and smirked, “Where’s the fun in that? Her mate did tell her to be happy, after all,” she said playfully.
“And nothing makes her happier than her little intrigues,” Eric added.
“Plus, maybe if we knew everything about everything, we’d just get ourselves into more trouble,” Sookie relented.
“She probably had a bet with Batanya or Niall about how long it would take us to figure out this much,” Eric smiled.
Sookie smiled back, “Maybe we can still get into the betting pool.”
They stared at each other silently for a few minutes, letting their conversation sink in and simply enjoying the feel of both of their bonds being fully open and active.
Sookie held up the dagger. “So? What do you think? Should we use this?”