A/N: The title of this chapter comes from lyrics from Bryn Christopher’s song, “The Quest.”
Claude was careful as he led Russell’s Weres in circles. His aim was to entice as many as possible to follow him; then he would lead them straight into the trap that Tray had planned for them. He’d not yet sensed any vampires, but he tried to keep his senses sharp and searching. He had a large group of Weres on his heels now, most of them having already shifted. He knew that they would need to keep his scent, so he slowed a bit in order to allow the fastest of the pack to stay close to him as he popped from place to place.
The minds of the transformed Weres were all snarls, and they all had only one thought: “Capture the fairy.”
“Where is he?” Alcide asked, the air around him already starting to shimmer a little as his body ached to shift. In their excitement, many of the other Weres in the Shreveport pack had already shifted, but all were disciplined enough to stay in the confines of the privacy spell.
“Sookie signaled only five minutes ago,” Tray whispered.
“Yeah—well how long does it take to run a block and a half?” Quinn asked, somewhat snidely.
“He’s trying to draw as many here as possible—just as we talked about,” Jarod answered stiffly, even as he looked pensively into the dark.
“Y’all need me to bring you some black hair dye and eyeliner?” Pam drawled from off to the side. “‘Cause if the angst gets any the fuck higher with you Emo boys, my menstrual cycle is gonna start again, and I don’t wanna have to deal with that after more than a hundred fuckin’ years.”
Alcide glared at her. “What the fuck, Pam? We’re just a little worried about Claude.”
The vampiress rolled her eyes. “He’s not as fragile as he looks,” she said, though the others had a feeling that she was trying to convince herself of that too.
The sounds of Russell’s Were pack suddenly filtered into the range of the hearing and scent of the Weres and vampires in the group.
“See? I told you so,” Pam said as Claude’s scent began to draw closer and closer.
Claude ran past the parking lot where he knew that his comrades were lying in wait within the privacy spell. He needed to allow himself to be cornered against the old warehouse that was next to that lot. As soon as he was, then Russell’s Weres would be corned too. Claude retreated into place. The Weres closed in on him—first ten, then twenty, then more than he was able to count.
As the first Were moved to take Claude, he prepared to “pop” back to the fairy pool where he planned to regroup and figure out where best to rejoin the fight.
However—before he could leave the human realm—he felt a stabbing sensation in his neck. The pain was so great that he couldn’t move. He registered only agony and shock as the vampire who had managed to sneak up on him began to drain him. Claude knew that he wouldn’t last long.
“Stop Mickey!” the vampire shouted.
But Mickey did not; the taste of the fairy was too intoxicating. Plus, Russell was waiting for a girl, and the deliciousness traveling down his throat was from a male.
“No,” Mickey grunted. “Russell said he was looking for a girl.”
“Then share him,” the other vampire snarled.
Mickey paused in his feeding and looked at the beautiful vampire standing next to him; Freyda was the only vampire king or queen who’d never publically disavowed Russell, and she’d accepted the vampires who’d remained loyal to Russell’s ideals into her court when it was thought that he was dead. Mickey had always wanted the beautiful vampiress, and he had always been an opportunist.
“For one night with you, I would do anything, my queen,” he purred.
“Agreed!” she said after a few moments. “Just give him to me!”
“Yes, my queen,” Mickey relented as he passed the weakened fairy toward her. She licked her lips gleefully.
Pam did not see Claude go down, but the smell of fairy blood filled the air.
“Send Sookie the fuckin’ signal now!” Pam yelled as she jetted out of the circumference of the privacy spell.
Duncan and Jessica were on her heals, for their vampire eyes had seen the others of their kind zoom onto the scene.
Tray thought at Sookie—telling her that it was time to move.
And it was.
Then he quickly shifted and led his pack against Russell’s.
As chaos erupted around her, the smell of fairy blood almost overwhelmed Pam, but there was something deeper driving her through the hoard of Russell’s Weres than bloodlust. However, she didn’t want to name that impulse. She didn’t want to admit that she actually liked a fairy.
What she wanted to do was to kill Claude herself—for worming his way into her affections. For getting himself hurt on her watch.
Amelia and Jesus watched the fight from inside the privacy spell; in fact, Tray had asked that they stay inside the van since it was officially Sookie’s property, and the protection spell would cover it.
Neither one of them complained as their grips on each other tightened.
It was difficult for them to know exactly what was going on, for they couldn’t tell many of their own wolves from Russell’s wolves now that they had all shifted. The melee was a swarm of animals clashing. And only a few of their group were easy to spot.
Sam, Luna, and Jarod had all shifted into lions and had worked their way through many of Russell’s Weres, leaving only a wake of dead or dying naked men behind them. They seemed to be in the center of the battle now; however, the sounds of their roars as the made their kills continued to fill the air. Quinn—also—was a magnificent sight. Every once in a while he was seen leaping into the air and bearing down upon another Were. And even from thirty feet away, his eyes glowed bright yellow.
Alcide stood out among the Weres for two reasons. The first what that his coat was lighter and thicker than most of the others. He was also positioned right next to Maria-Star throughout the fighting, and she stood out like a sore thumb. Maria-Star was smaller than the other wolves, but fierce. She shifted into a beautiful arctic wolf, and her white fur glistened in the dim streetlights.
Tray was the largest of the wolves, and Amelia kept her eyes fixed on him most of the time. He fought gloriously and stayed near the perimeter of the privacy spell as if guarding the space. Amelia loved him even more because of it. She placed her free hand tenderly on her belly, hoping to find the right time to tell Tray that he was going to be a father very soon.
Alcide and Maria-Star also stayed close to the privacy circle, as did two other Weres that were clearly on “their side.” Jesus was pretty certain that one of them was Scott Cusmano. And the other one stood out from among the others because of his red pelt: Henry.
Amelia and Jesus didn’t even try to watch the vampires anymore. Every once in a while they glimpsed a whirl or heard a whoosh, but that was all. They both knew, however, that Russell had at least some vampires in the fray as well.
Tara had long since abandoned her post inside the van and was now standing on top of its roof casting protection spell after protection spell around any of their people that she recognized in the fury of the battle. What Tara’s spells may have lacked in strength, they made up for in good timing. She’d already saved Quinn’s life when five Weres had him surrounded and knocked down. She’d also protected Henry from injury—twice—mostly because he continuously placed himself into the most difficult fights.
Claude had brought the pasty redhead back with him after his first “pop.” And even though the “Sookie-glamoured” Were was supposed to stay relatively catatonic, he’d jumped into the fray after the first onslaught of Russell’s Weres. And—even more surprisingly—he’d been fighting on their side—fighting more ferociously than anyone except for Tray and the lions. Tara figured it must be Sookie’s Jedi-mojo that had caused him to fight for them, so she’d been keeping an eye on the ruddy Were.
In fact, she kept two eyes on him at times. He was quite impressive―actually. His Marine training―added to the fact that he was a Were―made him formidable and cunning. And though some of the others seemed to be fighting by instinct, Henry obviously fought by craft.
From her higher vantage point, Tara saw one of the lions go down. It was either Sam or Jarod; she couldn’t tell which. Quickly, she sent a protection spell to her fallen friend and prayed that the injury was not bad.
For their part, Amelia and Jesus had been chanting since the action had started. Neither one of them was particularly good with protection spells, but they both excelled at spells that obscured. Every time they saw a Were that they recognized being threatened, they surrounded their ally with smoke.
“How are they doing?” Amelia asked as her fingernails once more dug into Jesus’s palm.
“Okay—I think,” Jesus said just as nervously. “But I haven’t seen Claude yet.”
“I know,” Amelia whispered. Suddenly to the right, they picked up Batanya’s form as the Britlingen’s sword sliced through the heads of two Weres at virtually the same time.
They both cringed a little as the Britlingen licked her lips of her preys’ blood.
“Glad she’s on our side!” Tara yelled from the top of the van as Duncan came out of nowhere and laid a huge kiss onto Batanya’s lips. Just as quickly, he’d swirled back into the midst of the fight.
“Almost sorry I didn’t hit that,” Tara added from the top of the van.
Jesus chuckled even as he chanted out another spell to surround Maria-Star, who was being pursued by two larger Weres.
As soon as he saw that Maria-Star was okay, Jesus once more began to scope out the area within their vantage point—looking for more places to help. At that moment, Amelia clawed into him with a grip that even Miranda would be envious of. He followed her eyes and saw that Tray was down and had shifted back to human form. Jesus gasped. Tray’s body was in two pieces; his arm had been cut off.
A vampire stood over him in triumph.
“No!” Amelia screamed into the night even though only Tara and Jesus could hear her.
Jesus felt his demon magic building within him at the sight of the vampire getting ready to finish off his friend. He pushed Amelia back and jumped out of the van as he felt his fingers tingle. He’d not yet gained complete control over the fire that could shoot from his hands, and when it rose, Jesus knew that it had to be released before it consumed him. Luckily, he had the perfect target.
Jesus thrust his hands forward and let the demon fire within him loose. To the vampire standing over Tray’s prone body, it seemed as if the fire ball had come out of nowhere, and he didn’t have time to try to guess its origins. Within seconds, Jesus’s light had burned the vampire from the inside out.
Now drained of energy, Jesus tried to catch his breath.
He couldn’t hold back Amelia as she ran outside of the barriers of the privacy spell. He slumped to his knees, even as Amelia threw herself over Tray’s barely conscious body. Jesus passed out just as he saw a Were leap toward Amelia.
A/N: Following is a special story to my fans. 😉
California Kat ducked as Duckbutt threatened to turn her into a rug for her living room.
Chipndalegal tried to “understand” why Kat insisted upon her damned cliffhangers as others took up rotten fruit and vegetables. Needless to say, their aim was very good.
Sephrenia yelled, “How dare you? After all the reading I have done! You dare to leave me like this?”
Kat cowered behind her couch to avoid a particularly well thrown head of cabbage. She wasn’t sure but it seemed like Tynee 23 or Kleannhouse has thrown it.
Bearygirl panted off to the side, “There’s more where that came from!”
Scorp seemed to be coming to Kat’s aid, but suddenly she slapped her with her scorpion tail.
“Ouch!” yelled Kat. “I’m sorry! I’ll give you another chapter as soon as I can!”
It was gunnymom who spoke up. “One day, Kat! You have one day to give us what we want!”
“But I have to work tomorrow,” Kat stammered.
“No excuses!” peppermintbark yelled.
A chorus of voices echoed her remark, with jewelpearl yelling the loudest, “Agreed! You will not leave us hanging here more than a day!”
NCMiss12 glared at Kat, “If you don’t give into our demands, we will retaliate!”
“What will you do?” Kat stammered.
Erin1705 stated evenly, “You will think that Russell got off easy after we are done with you Kat.”
Millarca66 added, “And don’t think that you are the only one who can write a torture scene Kat. You haven’t seen anything yet.”
Kat nodded at the large group that circled her. They usually supported her, but they now looked more like rapid Weres than sane human beings.
She promised, “As soon as I can.”
Njg1rl growled, “It better be soon!”
Balti K chimed in, “Very soon!”
Kat only nodded and went back to her editing.
Hello all—I know that the ending of this chapter was cruel, but you know me—I am unkind. 😉 Forgive me if I didn’t mention you in my little story above. There are too many of you who regularly commented and complained about my cliffhangers! I’ll catch you later, as I’m sure you’ll be throwing rotten food at me for the next several chapters.