Headnote: This “INNER-Lude” should be read after Chapter 29 of From the Inside Out. However, it begins about thirty minutes after Ian spoke with Eric in Chapter 28.
FOUR HOURS BEFORE SUNRISE, CALIFORNIA TIME
“Where the bloody hell are you going? Again!” I asked Ian as he exited the Chancellors’ private elevator into the parking garage.
“Wherever I please,” he smirked.
I frowned at him. I knew I should never have accepted him as a Chancellor—Eric’s recommendation or not. Ian Bowles was older than I was. And he was richer than sin—a businessman/playboy with “nothing” to do.
Nothing to do but fucking annoy me—that is!
Ian had jumped at the chance of being a Chancellor, but he’d already proven himself to be unreliable in my opinion.
“At this critical time for the New Authority,” I said firmly, “we all need to be available.”
“I will be available,” Ian said snidely, “by phone. Or text. Or email.”
“Not good enough,” I returned. “And I’m sure the others would agree.”
“Are you?” he challenged. “Sure?”
“Actually, it wouldn’t matter—would it?” I said back. “I am the Guardian of this Authority, and if you want to stay a member, you will defer to my wishes.”
“Will I?” he commented musingly.
“Yes,” I returned firmly.
“Hmm. Perhaps, you should fire me?” he smirked. “Because I know you won’t be able to order me.”
I growled. “Where are you going? And why were you in Rhode Island?”
“A dear friend of mine was marrying his soul mate in Rhode Island,” Ian grinned.
“Eric?” I asked, working hard to keep my countenance calm.
“Yes,” he returned, his grin widening. “And let me tell you—his bride was glowing.”
I shrugged, trying to feign indifference. “Well—I hear pregnant humans often ‘glow.'”
“Ethereally,” he added triumphantly.
“Well—good for Sookie. I don’t supposeyour latest departure has anything to do with Eric and her again—does it?”
“It might,” Ian responded, tilting his head as if to challenge me.
The cocky fucker!
“Recall that Eric chose not to be one of us,” I responded, approaching Ian with my hips swaying enticingly.
Ian didn’t seem enticed.
“Eric chose his little corner of Louisiana and his human over us all,” I continued.
“No,” Ian said, looking at me with derision. “He chose love.”
I scoffed. “The temporary kind. He will have to witness Sookie’s death—unless she allows herself to be turned. And—what then? If he is her maker, it is only a matter of time before their relationship fizzles. And—if someone else turns her—what will he think about her inevitable physical joining with her maker?” I smirked. “And their children? He will have to suffer their loss too.”
Ian didn’t immediately respond, so I went on, feeling the momentum of my argument. “From where I’m standing, it looks as though Sookie Stackhouse will bring nothing but prolonged pain to Eric. But I’m sure that his true friends will be there for him—when it all comes apart.”
Ian’s eyes narrowed as he looked at me. “Have you no idea of how happy Eric is—now?”
“It is a happiness based on a false promise,” I returned, through narrowed eyes of my own.
Ian shook his head critically. “Are you going to give me leave to go, Guardian? Or are you going to fire me? Or—perhaps—you want to try to stop me using force,” he growled, his fangs clicking down.
I vowed right then and there that I would be using force to end Ian Bowles—just as soon as possible. But in a face-to-face battle, he outmatched me.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” I said, maintaining a neutral tone with difficulty. “Your leave of absence is granted—just as long as you are available via phone and email in case there is an emergency. Having a pair of boots on the ground in Louisiana will be useful anyway; you will be able to make sure that the Burrell situation concludes as it should—given the fact that Eric will likely be distracted by his new bride and human children,” I added.
Ian nodded coldly.
“Feel free to take one of the Authority planes,” I smiled.
“No, thank you,” he responded. “I’d thought to store my private jet for a while, but I’ve rethought that idea, given the fact that you basically spied on my movements the last time I used a company jet,” he sneered.
And why wouldn’t I?! I was the fucking Guardian!
Despite my anger, I simply nodded. “Your choice, Ian. Do you know when you will be back? For planning purposes only,” I added sarcastically.
“I’ll keep you posted,” he said simply before turning away and proceeding to a black Porsche which had been delivered to the compound earlier that day.
Talk about ostentatious!
Before he’d even left the parking garage, I had zipped back into the building. Ian might have been good about being close-lipped, but Jessica Hamby was inexperienced and naïve, though I figured she would turn out to be the perfect Authority receptionist.
She would immediately put human visitors at ease, and she wouldn’t ask too many questions about what the “grown-ups” were doing.
THIRTY MINUTES LATER
I had to give Jessica some credit. It had taken me about ten minutes to “warm her up” before she began gushing about Eric and Sookie’s wedding—and pledging!
I scoffed as I made my travel arrangements.
Eric had gone too far.
To bond with the human was one thing. I had accepted that. After all, her blood was part-fairy, and my brother had always been an opportunist.
To have children with Sookie? Again, I’d forced myself to accept that. Eric hadn’t exactly chosen to get Sookie pregnant. No. He couldn’t have known that she would “trap” him in that way.
I’d even offered my verbal “support” for both the bonding and the parenting. After all, they were simply phases that Eric was going through. Clearly, he was trying to reclaim some humanity—or some shit like that.
But it wouldn’t last.
As for a human marriage with her? Even that I could accept. Human marriage was finite. In fact, in modern society, it was fleeting at best, lasting just long enough for one of the partners to dream up a reason for getting a divorce.
I figured that—at most—Eric would last a year with Sookie before he tired of her. The presence of the children might extend his time with her by another year, but then I figured he’d work his way back to me—as he always had before.
As he would again!
My brother was right that we never stayed together for very long, but I truly wasn’t willing to fathom the notion that he wouldn’t be available to me when I did need him. After all, I’d always made myself available to him when he needed me.
Case in point: when his new human wife had rejected him less than a month ago!
She wasn’t worthy of him in my eyes—not at all!
That’s what made his pledging with her so fucking difficult for me to swallow! A pledging was a sacred act!
A vampire act!
Moreover, it was an act that I had seen occurring between Eric and myself within the next decade or two. Or three. It would take him that long to accept being a king and to turn into one of the most powerful American monarchs. After all, anything that Eric focused his energy upon had always flourished.
As Guardian, I could certainly align myself with a powerful king. Plus, I felt that Godric would have celebrated such a connection between Eric and me. And, once we were pledged, then Eric would be mine—just as I would be his.
Our arrangement would then be formalized for at least a century. And that thought made me feel “safe” in a way I wanted to feel all the time.
Obviously, I wouldn’t require Eric to stop fucking others if we were bonded; we were vampires, after all! However, I did want his loyalty. And I wanted his focus—on me!
But now Eric had ruined the purity of my dream; he had desecrated the sacred rite of pledging by bringing the mostly human woman into it! And that I would not allow! Eric simply needed to be taught that such things weren’t done, and—even though I no longer followed the teachings of Lilith—I still believed that vampire rites were sacrosanct and should be practiced only by vampires. And I knew that even my maker would have agreed with me on that point!
My phone beeped, and I looked down to see that my assistant had finalized my travel arrangements. I would be leaving for the airport in twenty minutes. Conveniently, General Michaels had requested a meeting with me for the next night.
And he happened to be in New Orleans.
Who was I to turn down a meeting with our new ally in the human government?
In fact, my meeting with the general was the “official” excuse for my travel.
However, that was not the main reason why I was going back to Louisiana. No—I planned to ensure that my brother saw sense and reason—even if I had to use “tough love” to do it. He needed to recognize that human life was limited, finite.
On the contrary, what he and I had—and what we would continue to have in the future—was as infinite as the life spans of the greatest and oldest vampires in history. In fact, if we were together, I doubted that anything could kill us.
Hell! Not even Lilith had managed!
I hurriedly packed a bag with enough clothing for several nights and then opened the trunk in which I’d personally packed the oldest and most important texts which had been housed in Roman’s library. I took out the two I wanted and then went to meet the limo waiting for me.
I made it to my plane in plenty of time for it to take off on schedule; it was still two hours before dawn (California time), but I knew that—as I flew east—I would sense dawn coming toward me. Still, I figured I would have an hour or so before I would feel compelled to enter my coffin, and, like all Authority aircraft, the one I was in was light-tight by design—except for the cockpit, of course. But the cockpit door stayed locked throughout all flights—another safety measure Roman had once insisted upon.
As would be expected, given my new post, several vampire guards would be accompanying me on my trip. I made sure to choose those whom I knew were loyal to me. In addition, three Were guards would guard us during the daytime. Again, I was careful to choose only those whom I trusted from before.
I settled into a comfortable seat near the back of the plane and took out the first volume I’d brought with me. It was basically an encyclopedia of all types of creatures ever encountered by vampires. Generally preferring more “mystical” reading, I’d rarely used the reference book, but now I had need of it. I opened it up to the section on fairies.
I quickly skimmed the information I knew about.
There were four kinds of fairies, each corresponding to one of the four elements, which were apparently as common in the fairy realm as they were in the human one.
According to myth, the four types of Fae evolved based upon their geographic regions of origin in the fairy realm, for their bodies literally absorbed the magic from their world.
I read more carefully about the different “gifts” that fairies could have. The main one discussed was a “light power” which would manifest as circular orbs shot from the palms. The more magical the fairy, the stronger the light.
Over time, different kinds of light had evolved among the Fae.
The white kind seemed to be the most common. It was a weapon, which could stun an enemy. However, with continued use, it could also kill.
A step up from the white light—at least in my opinion—was a red light. That kind was much more lethal. If honed, it could kill with a single blast.
Rarer to manifest in fairies were other “colors” of light.
Silver light could be used to banish a foe to another realm. This kind of light often took a group of fairies to accomplish; however, some individual fairies had learned how to produce such a light through discipline and training. Or age.
It seemed that—like vampires—a fairy’s power grew over time.
An emerald green light, according to the book, could be used to heal.
A light blue light could be used to strengthen another fairy’s gifts.
“Handy,” I said to myself.
A yellow light was able to control the workings of water.
An orange light could manipulate the dust and the air to create tiny tornado-like phenomena which could be used to disorient or even kill enemies—if the fairy was strong enough.
Finally, there was a kind of light that was described as “dynamic” in nature—”multicolored.” It was the rarest of all. This kind of light was possessed by only the most powerful of fairy families. To the “uneducated” eye, it looked like “regular” white light, and it was often confused as such since the user most often employed the light to incapacitate or stun an enemy. However, the light was “cunning” according to the description. Based on the purpose of the user, the light could alter, taking on another hue. Fairies who possessed this kind of light could do many things with it depending upon the situation.
After the various forms of light were outlined, a few other fairy gifts were mentioned in the encyclopedia. It seemed that telepathy was common among half-bloods or more. I scoffed. Sookie Stackhouse was only one-eighth fairy. Likely, she exaggerated the power of her gift. Still—she’d somehow bred with my brother. I scoured the entry for information on that phenomenon, but there was nothing beyond the fact that a fairy woman could mate with a human man by “sharing her light.” This would produce children who had many fairy traits.
By contrast, if a fairy male bred with a human, the results were more varied. Often, the fairy spark was not passed along past the second generation. I frowned. I had no idea whether Sookie got her fairy genes from her mother or her father.
I continued reading, and the entry transitioned from fairy gifts to history.
I already knew that fairies were a group originally from another realm; however, I hadn’t known that it was a civil war in their own realm which had prompted some fairies to settle on earth over the years. And I certainly hadn’t known that there had been full-fledged fairy colonies on earth even when the human race was in its infancy!
In fact, the Fae were thought to have dwelt in the human realm as early as the first vampires.
“I had no idea they’d been here so long,” I mused to myself before reading on.
The encyclopedia described the Fae as helping humanity evolve past the hunting and gathering phase. The Fae taught humans agriculture. They also taught them a fair amount of civility.
I chuckled, finding it funny that the Fae had helped to “mother” humanity.
Of course, eventually, the vampire population had risen, and we discovered fairies. The entry described how vampires and fairies had fought several large battles over the years. However, treaties were impossible for many vampires to keep, given the enticing scent of the Fae.
Still, several pockets of fairies had been able to survive in refuges hidden by magic and existing somewhere between the human realm and the fairy one. From these refuges, fairies could travel freely from realm to realm. And vampires could not find them.
Thus, the entire species had fallen into myth, and most vampires had believed them to be make-believe. Only the eldest of vampires—and those with access to books such as the one in my hands—were aware of the “children of the light.”
I gasped as I read that phrase.
“Children of the light,” I said to myself as I pulled out the second volume I’d brought with me: the Book of the Vampyr.
The ancient text mentioned the name Warlow two times. The first one was attached to the myth of Lilith itself. The text mentioned that Warlow was a “child of the light” and that he had become one of Lilith’s children. Thus, he was generally recognized as being one of the earliest vampires. “Child of the light” had been translated to mean “human,” given the fact that vampires could not exist in the sunlight.
“Child of the light,” I whispered. “Fairies?” I asked myself.
Another passage in the book claimed that a “child of the light” had caused Lilith to burn in the sunlight when he’d destroyed part of the cave she’d been sheltering in. Again, that being had been thought to be a human.
That passage also claimed that the loyal children of Lilith had collected her blood—which had not perished when her body had turned to ash—into a holy vessel. According to the bible, the last remaining “once-human” child of Lilith had eventually given the vessel to the first Guardian.
“Once-human,” I gasped.
I took an unnecessary breath and closed my eyes, even as I resisted the impulse to think of Lilith as anything other than a false god. Still—no matter how my views of her had changed—I certainly believed that she had been a real being, both in history and in the recent past. Eric had assured me that she’d been destroyed along with Compton. Because of what she’d done to Godric, I hoped that was the case.
I looked back down at the text. Given the fact that the phrase, “child of light,” was used only to describe Warlow and then, later, to describe Lilith’s killer, I hypothesized that they were one in the same person.
It also stood to reason that “child of light” could mean something other than “human,” since other words and phrases had been used to indicate humans in the vampire bible.
Could Warlow have been a fairy before Lilith turned him? Could it be that he was the one who caused Lilith’s “first” death? Could it be that the word “loyal” had been used to describe the children of Lilith who had collected her remains because one of her children had been disloyal? Could it be that this child was still a “child of light?”
I turned forward in the Book of the Vampyr. A section called the “Tome of Pythia” had been written by a prophetess about 1500 years before. The compilers of the book claimed that the prophetess was an ancient, who had been turned into a vampire by Sebastian, who was Lilith’s most beloved child. According to lore, the prophetess had been an Oracle of Delphi before her turning. However, after she’d written the sum of her visions, she’d disappeared.
Many had sought her since then, but she’d not been found. Legend had it that she had despised being a vampire, for it had sentenced her to an eternity of enduring her visions. Most believed that—once her maker died—she met the sun. Others posited that she was in exile somewhere—driven mad by her visions but kept alive by a human family sworn by blood to protect her.
I, for one, had never really cared about her fate.
Many years before, the section written by Pythia had been discounted, for—though her initial prophesies had all come true—the latter ones had become less and less accurate. Given the fact that the prophetess herself had written a preface of sorts which described the future—especially the long-away future—as a pond that could ripple unexpectedly, the veracity of her later prophesies was highly suspect. Thus, the section she’d written had stopped being “required reading,” even for the most devout followers of Lilith.
In fact, neither the “common” version of the Book of the Vampyr, nor the more recent published copies of the Book of Lilith contained Pythia’s section at all!
However, I’d been no ordinary follower, and I’d devoured every word of the original text, which was how I knew that the Prophetess had mentioned a person named Warlow. According to the passage, Warlow would—in the future—lead Lilith into the sun and also save vampires from extermination. Salome and I had studied the passage for months. First of all, it seemed to confirm that Lilith could be brought back into existence, something we both dreamed of making happen. However, the passage also listed a seeming threat to her—a threat which would, ironically, save all vampires.
Eventually, Salome and I had begun to interpret the passage differently, however. Believing that all of Lilith’s children had been lost to time, we discounted the name Warlow as a coincidence. However, ironically, we posited that the prophesized Warlow might be a fairy, who would “lead” Lilith into the sun because a fairy’s blood could help a vampire walk in the sunlight. We hypothesized that it would be the combination of Warlow and Lilith—maybe inhabiting one body—who would save vampire-kind.
That interpretation had fit the narrative we’d wanted to believe, of course. For it returned Lilith to us.
What had actually happened had been different—much different.
However, that didn’t mean that the prophetess’s vision had no validity.
What if the Warlow who was Lilith’s child was the same one destined to somehow save vampires? What if that Warlow was also the same one mentioned by both Jason Stackhouse—and Jessica Hamby.
Indeed, Jessica had made an offhanded comment that Ian had to go out of town to help Eric and Sookie deal with the “Warlow thing.”
And I knew from my interactions with Jason Stackhouse that Warlow was “after his sister.”
Perhaps, Warlow had made his presence known at long last!
I felt the sun pulling at me from the east and put away my books before climbing into my coffin and locking it from the inside.
“Warlow,” I whispered.
All roads seemed to lead to him. What if I could help him take Sookie? If I did, he would owe me a favor—if it ever did become necessary for him to “save vampire-kind” as the Book of the Vampyr had suggested.
Maybe I could even arrange things so that Warlow could take Sookie before she had the brats. That would free Eric from them all!
It was that wonderful thought that put a smile onto my face as I succumbed to my day-death.
A/N: Hi! First of all, I have to say that I’m not planning to bring the A.P. into his tale; however, I wanted to introduce some of the ideas that actually took place in Season 6 as a “possible future” once written about by the A.P. However, that’s not what happened in this story, so the future won’t be the same. The important thing is that Nora now believes that Warlow could be the key to the survival of the vampire race (Yes—she is exchanging one “crazy” belief system for another: Lilith for Warlow.). And it doesn’t hurt that she thinks that Warlow could be a means to an end when it comes to Sookie too.
On another note, this is my last “banked” chapter in this series. I am hoping to have a lot of time (and inspiration) to write in the coming week. I’m currently behind on more than just this series. I really hope that there won’t be a delay, but my writing muse hasn’t been too cooperative lately. I know why. I’ve been tired from work, and I’m still not quite out of the “headache zone” that I’ve been in lately, so I’ve not been writing as quickly. Added to that is the fact that I’ve had a stomach virus for several days, and I’m even more bushed that usual. When this is added to the fact that I’ve been working on other fics, it probably won’t surprise you that I’ve been derelict on my longer pieces. The good news is that I’m not behind on Not Without Action at this point, so you’ll still be able to expect a chapter next Saturday.
All that being said, I’m going to really try to be good and work on this series and Earned this week, which I have off from work! Yeah me! But I also have to do a deep cleaning on the house. Boo! Anyway, I hope there won’t be a delay with having a chapter of this series next week; however, I did want to warn you of the possibility.
Many thanks to Kleannhouse and Sephrenia–as always!!!!