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.
“Existentialism is about being a saint without God; being your own hero, without all the sanction and support of religion or society.”—Anita Brookner
Bill had read the Book of the Vampyr until dawn—when he fell asleep with it on his chest. I removed it—just in case the process of diffusion worked with words. He already seemed to be a bit to taken with the volume in my opinion.
For that reason, I had been glad when dawn came to pull him into his death-sleep. I took the opportunity to spend a little while “alone” with my bonded.
Sookie was asleep, though she was restless. I could feel our bond pulling at me again—now that we were once again separated by a good deal of distance.
I closed my eyes and spoke to myself, not wanting any audio surveillance to pick up what I was saying. “If I live through this, min kära, I will find a way to make your life easier,” I vowed. “My own mountain is, perhaps, insurmountable. But I will keep the avalanche from you as long as I can.”
For a moment—though only that—it felt as if Sookie were resting easier. And I indulged in imagining that my words—and the feelings behind them—may have bolstered her.
That our bond may have bolstered her.
That she was dreaming of me.
And then I fell into my death.
[Context Reminder: Having learned that her fairy power can be “run out,” Sookie is trying to decide whether to “get rid” of her supernatural side so that she can be “normal.” She’s having a conversation with Sam, who is at the hospital with Luna (remember that the shifters were targeted by the so-called “Obamas.”). Sam talks about how he would like to be a “regular” person so that the people he loved wouldn’t become targets. Of course, however, that is impossible for him. Sookie knows that it’s possible for her.]
I awoke to the feeling of intense turmoil—specifically, Sookie’s turmoil. She was still troubled about something.
I sighed. “An existential dilemma,” I said so quietly that no ears would be able to pick up my words.
What is it exactly that I want to be? What is it I need to be?
Sometimes the answers to those two questions about existence simply didn’t line up, and when they did not, pain was the byproduct.
I concentrated on nothing but my bonded until sundown—when Bill sat up. His bunk was across from mine, and it didn’t take him long to look at me.
“We’re still here,” he said, sounding almost surprised.
“Not dead yet,” I confirmed with a chuckle.
Not long after that, Bill and I were led back to the large meeting room we’d become too acquainted with—in my opinion. And then we were led through the doors at the end of it—the doors that I’d always felt held an unknown watcher. It turned out that the “watcher” was a flask of blood.
There was a square shaped pool in the middle of the space, and in the middle of that there was a mountain of rock with a glass container on top. In that container was the flask.
It turned out that Salome was no less theatrical than Roman.
She began the proceedings. “The Book tells us that to stake a Guardian is to turn your back on Lilith herself. But what to do,” she paused, “when that Guardian has already turned his back on her? I believe,” she paused, “Lilith forgives Russell Edgington for what he’s done. And so I do, too.”
Nora looked ecstatic at this “news.” I studied the other Chancellors. Kibwe’s look was detached, his true opinion unknowable. Dressed in yet another bad suit, Rosalyn looked surprised and cautious. Dieter responded to the idea that Russell had been “forgiven” with both shock and disgust.
“Thank you, Salome,” Russell said to his “savior,” even as he brought his hands up as if in grateful prayer before turning to speak to everyone in the room as if he were a performer. In fact, I knew he was acting; I just wondered how long the performance would last. “I want everyone here to know just how awful I feel. Not so much about Roman. That was for the greater good. But for what I said about Lilith.” He paused dramatically. “I, universally, disavow myself of my statements. I love Lilith. Praise her!” he declared.
“Praise her,” Nora and Salome echoed reverently, followed more dutifully by Rosalyn and Kibwe. Of the Chancellors, only Dieter kept his mouth shut. I did not think his silence boded well for him. I figured that he had less than five minutes of life left—if he didn’t refine his reaction to the new regime.
Nora took over speaking—a trained dog doing exactly what her master had bid her to do. “How many times over the past decades have you heard Guardian Zimojic imply that we owed our very existence to humans?” she asked.
I held in my scoff, but just barely. Nora was obviously forgetting the fact that I’d seen her as a human! She did owe her very existence to humans. Hell—it was a human king who had sent me to her! Not to mention her human parents. To separate ourselves completely from humanity was to forget our roots, the ideas which had first framed us. Yes, after our turning, we could—and should—be vampires “first.” I certainly was! And most of us were vampires “longer” than we were human, but had we never been humans, we would never have been in the position to be turned in the first place.
Vampires didn’t just spring out of the dirt after all!
And we’d not been farted from Lilith’s ass either!
Nora continued her spiel. “That we evolved from them? We didn’t evolve from them. Shamefully, Roman believed we did. Roman believed that this blood—Her blood—the blood this very Authority was created to protect . . . .” She paused as if she were reluctant to say her next line.
I didn’t believe that for a moment.
“He called it symbolic. It is not symbolic,” Nora said insistently. “The Book tells us that Lilith met the sun by the hand of Man. That on the ensuing night, her progeny collected her remains in an Earthen jar. The blood has since been transferred, but this blood which Salome holds in her hands right now—it is the blood of Lilith. Nothing could be less symbolic. Whatever doubts any of us have will be erased,” she added, looking at me as she said her last sentence.
By this time, Salome was, indeed, holding the glass container. Both awe and ambition brightened her eyes.
It seemed that Russell was in good company as far as madness went.
However, Dieter clearly didn’t have Rosalyn’s self-preservation skills—even if he did have better suits.
Bye, Mr. Braun.
The challenge didn’t last long as Salome’s pit bull went into action. In the next second, Russell had ripped off Dieter’s head and had thrown it against the wall. Then, he kicked a large piece of Dieter sludge into the pool.
Religious tolerance, indeed.
Bill was surprised by what had occurred, though I was not.
“She does,” Nora assured quickly. “Anyone else?” she asked, her tone smug and her threat clear.
I sighed. In that moment it struck me again that the woman who had been my sister was not in that room with me. This Nora was an addict—an addict to religion and maybe even the blood in Salome’s grasp.
It was then that my anger really did turn to pity.
“Give it to me,” Rosalyn said, clearly focusing on self-preservation, given the fact that her only remaining close ally on the Council was now sludge floating in the pool. “I’ll drink it,” she added.
“The blood of Lilith?” Nigel asked excitedly. “Why not?”
Kibwe, Bill, and I didn’t state our agreement, but none of us denied Salome’s directive either. Clearly, we were not anxious to join Dieter for a swim.
“We are of Lilith. Lilith is of God. May she reveal herself to us tonight,” Salome said as if in prayer. She drank a drop of the blood.
Bill leaned toward me. “Are we really gonna do this?” he asked.
“It’s vampire blood,” I responded. “We’re vampires. It’s not gonna do anything,” I said in a whisper so faint that only he could hear it.
I was wrong.
A/N: Most of this chapter stays very true to the scene at Lilith’s “altar.” However, I hope Eric’s thoughts helped to explain why he would take the blood. Also, I wanted him to transition from anger to pity with Nora. Finally, I added the “deleted” scene between Bill and Eric as a transition with a few little details thrown in-such as that Eric was concerned about Bill already.
Hope you liked!