Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters in True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. So neither copyright infringement nor offense is meant. I simply want to make the characters do what I wanted them to do for a while. I am especially “unownerly” when it comes to this story. You will recognize a lot of the dialogue throughout as being quoted from Season 5 of True Blood, though I’ve tried to use Eric’s thoughts to make this story “different” from its source. That said, I claim no ownership to the quoted material and have placed it in bold so that it is set apart from my own words.
It seemed that she truly was a Sanguinista.
“Fuck me,” I muttered.
“Nora?” I said uncertainly, saying her name as if it were a question, for she looked so unlike herself.
I’d seen her confused and hungry right after her turning. However, even then, she had looked like “herself.”
The woman now in front of me was a stranger.
She made no reaction, beyond raising the volume of her prayers and increasing the speed of her rocking.
“Nora!” I said more sharply.
“She’s been like that since nightfall,” Nigel informed from the cell next to hers. “Maybe even all day.”
I looked at him in question.
“I can’t be sure—since I died for the day, but it started last night,” he supplied. “After Russell Edgington was taken past us. Now that’s a psycho!”
“Nora,” I tried again.
“I’m telling you; she’s not going to answer,” Nigel said like a tattling child.
I glared at him. “Thank you, child-eater, for the information. But unless you have another helpful contribution to make, you should go to the corner of your cell, sit quietly, and pretend you cannot hear me,” I said in a steely tone.
Nigel had wisdom enough to look scared of me as he retreated.
“What has happened to you?” I asked, though I was no longer expecting a response. “Who led you down this path? Salome?” I sighed and ran my hand through my hair. “I mean—I knew that you were hurting after Godric died. I was too. His death was so,” I paused, “abrupt.”
I shook my head. “But you had your work. I would have come to you, but you said that it would be too difficult to conceal who we were to each other.” I paused. “Nora, you are my sister. Please—for fuck’s sake—let me help you!
For Godric’s sake!”
Again there was no response. I sighed and let my mind slip back to the last time Godric and I had spoken of Nora—the only time our maker had ever visited me in Shreveport.
It had also been the last time I’d seen him before that fateful trip to Dallas.
[Flashback: Shreveport, Six Weeks before the Great Revelation]
“It is,” Godric paused, “an interesting idea.”
“A profitable idea,” I said as we walked around the room that was to become my nightclub.
“Perhaps,” he said as he paused to study the blueprints for the building. These showed everything—including my secret room and the “dungeon.” Of course, the ones on file with the city showed neither of these “improvements.”
“Or—perhaps—there will be trouble after our reveal. You must be careful. Humans can be,” Godric sighed, “unpredictable.”
I nodded in agreement—and in deference. “Yes. They can be. However, they are predictable in their unpredictability—especially in this part of the country.”
He looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
“All of them will react with fear of some variety,” I said, answering his unspoken question.
“Explain,” he requested, sitting down on the raised platform that was to become the stage where my “throne” would sit.
I sat next to him, not liking to tower over him any more than I already did. It didn’t feel natural to me.
“Well—some will react with the kind of fear that the KKK demonstrates toward black people in this country. They will hate what they fear. They will attempt to suppress any efforts made on the behalf of vampires. They will try to destroy us—through rhetoric and then through violence. They will pronounce us as the children of Satan—the enemies to God.”
Godric considered for a moment. “You might be right. However, I do not see how any of this will guarantee your success in your vampire nightclub venture.”
I frowned, surprised that my maker wasn’t faster in picking up the wavelength of my thoughts. But—then again—I’d noticed that Godric had been distracted during his visit. Of course, his area in Texas was much more heavily populated with humans and vampires than Area 5; thus, I was certain that he was having to exert more energy in planning for the Great Revelation.
“I am counting on another kind of fear to make my club a success,” I shared.
“And what is that, min son?”
I smirked. “The kind that drives humans to horror films. The kind that makes them ride rollercoasters, even as they scream out in terror.”
“Ah,” Godric said with understanding. “You will make them afraid without putting them in real danger.”
“And you plan to be a spectacle on this stage?” he asked.
I frowned a little. “That—I suppose—will be the price of the profit.”
Godric nodded. “So—you are bringing Pamela into your venture?” he asked with a certain amount of distaste. Sadly, my maker had never completely warmed to my child.
“Indeed,” I confirmed. “In fact, the throne was her idea—and the name of the club.”
“Fangtasia,” Godric said evenly. “I suppose it evokes the fantasy you are hoping for—the entertainment aspect.”
“Yes. It will be like an amusement park ride—just frightening enough to make them want to ride again,” I chuckled.
“And where is your progeny now? I cannot feel her nearby.”
“She’s in Oregon—tying up loose ends.”
“She has been successful in the Northwest?” he asked.
“Very,” I said, my voice full of pride. Indeed, Pam had been successful in the decade since we’d separated. She’d started an upscale boutique called Night Life, and—though she had a crew keep the business open during regular business hours—Pam’s true profits came from exclusive, appointments she made with the extremely wealthy. Her clientele was mixed: Supernatural and human. And it included countless actresses as well as most of the vampire queens in the U.S. Hell—even Sophie-Anne had flown to Oregon for an appointment six months before. Pam’s genius was in her preparation. She would painstakingly research each customer and then personally put together a “show,” which complemented and expanded her client’s tastes.
In many ways, it was what she’d done as a Madame. However, instead of selling sex, she sold fashion.
“And she does not mind changing her profession?” Godric asked. I was certain that my maker knew of her success. Despite his reservations, he kept track of her because she was mine.
“I was reticent to ask her, but she has become bored with her current business—despite its success. She has trained an understudy to keep the boutique going and will maintain ownership.” I shrugged. “It is possible that she will change her mind after a few months here; however, she seems genuinely excited about the club and about functioning as my second.”
“You do not feel that she is too young for the latter role?” Godric asked cautiously.
“She will learn; she is a promising vampire.”
“She seems to be,” Godric said thoughtfully, though I could still sense a slight doubt in him. I looked forward to the day that my progeny proved him wrong. I missed that feeling of family I had when Godric, Nora, and I were together.
“Is she still,” he paused, “outspoken.”
I chuckled. “Of course! I’m sure that she will test my patience at times, but I find that I,” I paused, “miss the closeness of having one who shares my blood nearby.”
Godric considered this for a moment and then nodded. “Yes. I have felt similarly in the past.” He looked at me and smiled. “Which is why I have often called you to my side throughout the years.”
“And I will always come when you call,” I averred.
“I know, min son,” he said, standing up from the stage and walking toward where the bar was to be installed. “But you have your own niche of the world carved out, and it suits you. I would not be so selfish with your time now.”
“You are my maker; my time is always yours first,” I responded.
Neither of us spoke for a few moments.
“Speaking of family,” Godric said, his back still turned to me, “I have heard from Nora.”
“Oh?” I asked curiously. Since Nora had become a Chancellor, she was not often in contact with us.
“She is well,” he informed as he examined the paint swatches I had out on a table. “She’s excited about the mainstreaming movement and is hopeful that humans will take our coming out well.” He chuckled. “She has a more idealistic notion of how the humans will react than you do.”
“Of course she does,” I intoned as I got to my feet.
“She hopes for true partnership with humanity, but I wonder . . . .” His voice trailed off.
“Wonder?” I asked.
“I wonder if we deserve that kind of acceptance and partnership with humanity.”
“What do you mean?”
“The number of deaths vampires have dealt to humanity is staggering,” he said reflectively. “The deaths that I—alone—have been responsible for would be damning enough to condemn all vampires in humans’ eyes.”
My eyebrow shot up. “What is this kind of talk, master?” I asked. “You have no need for this . . . .” I stopped—not quite knowing the word to use.
“Guilt?” He sighed. “I have been alive a long time, min son. A very long time. I was your age when I turned you. And—in my early years—I did not think of humanity as anything more than food. I banished all thoughts of my own human roots and became a true monster of the night.”
“That was your maker’s fault,” I said stiffly. Godric did not often speak of the vampire who made him, enjoyed his new child sexually for a few weeks, but then abandoned him before Godric had gained any real control over his appetites.
I frowned. Godric had not even known the name of his own maker, and the two hadn’t shared a language either—at least, not beyond instinct. Godric knew only that—about five hundred years later—he’d felt their bond burn and then die.
“Yes, my maker had some culpability in my baser actions,” Godric said in a considered way. “And I was young at the turning—and brash.” He smiled at me. “Arrogant—like another I know.”
I smiled back, glad to see—and feel—my maker’s mood lift a little.
Unfortunately, the lightness I felt did not last long. “Perhaps I would have gained control and compassion sooner had I not joined Appius’s nest. I did not—then—understand the power of corruption that was to be found in nests.”
I couldn’t help but to growl. Appius Livius Ocella had been a notorious “disciple” of Lilith, the supposed first vampire. In actuality, he’d simply been a madman. He’d used religion to justify the massacre of entire human villages. In fact, Appius’s actions had fueled most of the myths about vampires in the world, though there was nothing “mythical” about his actions.
It had been Roman who’d finally “put down” Appius about 800 years before when the ravager continuously refused to cover his own tracks. Indeed, the fact that he’d ended Appius had ensured Roman’s position as Guardian when his precursor decided to step down.
I knew that—five hundred years before I was born—Godric had seen Appius as a mentor and had participated in the mass drainings of the time. Only once had Godric told Nora and me about that stretch of his existence, using it as a cautionary tale of what religious fanaticism could spawn. Eventually, Godric had begun to question his own actions and his mentor. And, for that, Appius had almost ended Godric—using silver to secure my maker to a tree so that he would burn when the sun rose.
It had been a human who had saved Godric. After that, Godric had roamed Northern Europe, slowly gaining control over his emotions and vampiric urges. And—eventually—he’d run across me.
Godric picked up a paint swatch. “I like this one,” he said, indicating that our conversation about his past would go no further.
“Yes,” I agreed with his choice—both of color and of topic change. I did not like the guilt that was stirred up in my maker when he thought about his first millennium. The Godric I had always known was controlled and compassionate in a lot of ways—though he was lethal when he needed to be. He had taught Nora and me to embrace our new nature without allowing ourselves to be ruled by it.
“So—you plan to open the night after the reveal?” he asked.
“No—the night of the reveal.”
He chuckled. “I am glad that time has not changed that brash spirit within you, min son.”
Once again, I was glad to feel the lightening of his spirit—and something akin to playfulness from him.
“I have a secure resting place in the basement,” I ventured. My maker had not been my lover for more than half a century, but I knew that he still desired me. I could feel that much in our bond, given our proximity to each other. For my own part, I preferred women to men, but I enjoyed having sex with Godric. It made me feel closer to him.
Godric smiled at me and placed his hand softly on the back of my neck before pulling me toward him. I bent my shoulders so that my lips could make contact with his. However, he pulled away only moments into our kiss.
“I must get back to my area tonight, min son,” he said.
I nodded, though I was sure that my disappointment was clear.
He placed his hand on my shoulder affectionately. “Good luck with your new venture, Eric,” he said before zipping away.
I sighed as I stared at the paint swatch Godric had preferred and pulled my phone out of my pocket. I dialed a number I rarely dialed. It rang three times before I hung up.
Ten minutes later, my call was returned.
“Brother, I cannot speak for long,” came Nora’s voice. “I’ve got a meeting with Roman in a few minutes.”
“That is fine,” I said. “You’ve talked to Godric recently?”
“Yes,” she shared.
“He visited me tonight.”
“Yes—he said he wanted to see your new venture. A nightclub—correct?” she asked with some disapproval in her tone. “And—if I know you—it will aim to exploit humans.”
“They will objectify us and we will feed from them; it will be exactly the type of coexistence you would approve of,” I intoned.
She scoffed. “I doubt that very much. But I’m sure you are not calling for my advice with your business.”
“No.” I sighed. “I am worried about Godric.”
“Whatever for?” Nora asked, surprise in her tone.
“I believe him to be,” I paused, “depressed.”
Nora was silent as I continued. “More and more when I see him, he carries the weight of his past deeds on his shoulders.”
I heard Nora sigh. “I’ve not been near Godric for a while, and you know how he shuts himself off to us.”
“Yes,” I said softly.
“But I do know that he is working tirelessly to make sure mainstreaming goes smoothly. Roman was speaking of him just the other day!” she said more brightly.
“Yes—but I am still concerned,” I shared.
“Wait a few weeks, and then ask for a visit,” Nora said. “Your proximity has always cheered him—when you aren’t being an ass,” she added.
“Bitch,” I smirked.
“Listen, Brother. I must go, but—after things settle down with the Great Revelation, I will try to visit him too. You know him; he will adapt to the changing times better than anyone, and then his spirits will brighten.”
“I hope that is true,” I said before hanging up.
“When I called Godric to ask if I could visit him, he denied me—as he denied all of my other requests thereafter. And then—eventually—he muted our bond altogether and no longer even took my calls. It was Isabel who had to tell me that he was missing.”
I sighed and moved closer to the silver bars. “I will always wonder if I could have done more to try to rally him from his depression. Perhaps similar feelings caused you to become susceptible to the influence of the Sanguinistas?” I asked, bending down a little to catch her eyes; however, they were blank as she continued her prayers.
“This is not you, Nora. These beliefs, these thoughts—they are not yours!” I said angrily.
I schooled my features as I heard vampires approaching. One of them was Russell, who—in my opinion—looked a little too “pink” to have just been silvered.
“Roman has decreed Russell’s execution tonight,” she said meaningfully. And—in that moment—I saw something of my sister return into her eyes.
Some kind of recognition. Her eyes trailed Salome as she left the detention area. Mine did too.
“They’re executing him tonight,” Nora said, her voice sounding hopeful. She was looking at me for confirmation.
“Oh, so now you’re acknowledging my presence,” I said bitterly.
“God’s plan—made manifest by Her.” She looked up toward the ceiling and smiled. “Oh, thank you, Lilith. Thank you, She who transcends death.”
“No,” she responded. “It’s a miracle. It’s all part of Her plan. She was right. She’s been right all along!” she added excitedly.
Despite her mad fervor, I believed Nora when she said that it wasn’t her who had released Russell. But I had to speculate that she did know who had freed him, which meant that she’d known that he was out.
I thought about my sister’s last lucid words. “She was right. She’s been right all along!” I didn’t think that she was talking about Lilith with those words. I closed my eyes; that had been the last confirmation I needed. Just as I’d thought, the true leader of the Sanguinistas was Salome—the very person who had shaken Nora momentarily from her feverish praying.
“Fuck!” I sighed as I turned from Nora’s cell and sped down the hall.
Nigel’s laughter echoed behind me.
A/N: I really liked the idea of adding a flashback with Godric, both to show how he was on Eric’s mind and also to indicate how/why Eric took so long to really believe that Nora had fallen in with the Sanguinistas. In the books, it’s clear that Appius doesn’t give a f*ck about humans, so I decided to make him the past incarnation of the followers of Lilith taking things too far. But I didn’t want another “super-villain,” which is why I had Roman kill him long ago. Hopefully, this new scene and the extension of the existing one add to the overall story between Eric/Nora/Godric.