“Are you going to escort me from the premises?” Bill asked the queen’s eldest child with an air of arrogance he’d kept from Sophie-Anne herself.
“Yes,” Andre grinned, showing his fangs.
In truth, the queen’s Lieutenant felt ambivalent about Bill Compton and about his maker’s actions in regards to several things, including the telepath and the Sheriff of Area 5.
Andre thought that Miss Stackhouse should have been secured—and bound by blood to the queen—immediately.
Regarding Eric Northman—Andre did not believe that a vampire as powerful as Northman didn’t have aspirations of a loftier throne than the tacky one in his pathetic club.
Andre frowned slightly, but not at Bill Compton. Sometimes the most difficult part of Andre’s existence was looking out for his maker’s best interests when she made decisions that seemed to go against those interests—as he felt she was doing now.
“I had planned to feed before leaving,” Bill stated sourly. “Or am I not even allowed that curtesy.”
“Tsk, tsk, Bill,” Andre returned coldly. “Do not try my patience as you have the queen’s. And—by all means—feed. In fact, I will accompany you to the donors’ lounge.
Bill sneered, but walked with Andre toward his promised meal. Given what he’d been through the last several nights, he needed to feed from a “live” donor. Thus, he would suffer Andre’s surveillance.
“You know, I am right about Northman,” Bill spit out.
“What about him?” Andre asked with interest.
“He is not a true subject to our queen,” Bill ventured. “He thinks of himself first.”
“The same seems true about you,” Andre posited.
“I am loyal to Queen Sophie-Anne,” Bill said insistently.
“It seems you will have to prove that again,” the elder vampire observed.
“What if Eric is planning to use Sookie to help him stage a coup?” Bill ventured.
“Do you have any evidence of such a claim?” Andre asked tersely, a violent edge to his voice.
“Not yet,” Bill admitted.
“If you do find evidence, you will bring it to me directly,” Andre ordered.
“Of course. I would do anything to protect our queen from the likes of Northman,” Bill stated, his tone suddenly conciliatory. “That is my main priority, after all. And I know that—once the queen looks into the matter—she will agree with me that Sookie is better off in my company.”
“The telepath seems more trouble than she’s worth,” Andre spit out.
“She would not be if Eric had not entered her life,” Bill contended.
“Feed,” Andre said, pointing toward a group of bored-looking donors. “And then leave. I hope, for your sake, that you do prove to have the queen’s best interests in mind.”
Bill nodded and then selected a lovely blonde to see to his needs. The queen’s second backed off a bit, but kept one eye on Bill Compton, wondering if there was any truth to his suppositions about Eric Northman.
What was true was that Andre had never much liked the Viking—and had even tried to talk his maker out of selecting him as a sheriff. There was a level of confidence—arrogance—in Northman that rubbed Andre, who was used to being the alpha-male in any given situation, the wrong way.
He also didn’t like the amount of freedom Sophie-Anne allowed the thousand-year-old sheriff to have. From his little serfdom, Northman was in position to go rogue very easily, and—despite Sophie-Anne’s ability to select effective spies—planting a good one in Northman’s territory had been downright impossible! It seemed that the Viking could sniff out subterfuge like a Were could sniff out a bone. Andre also suspected that Northman had a number of powerful allies, vampires who could help him with a coup.
Andre frowned. He’d always been of the philosophy that Sophie-Anne should have no sheriffs capable of overthrowing her monarchy. But he knew that Eric Northman could—if he wanted.
When he wanted.
His maker and queen, on the other hand, relied on her instincts—sometimes a little too much for Andre’s comfort. Although those instincts had not been inaccurate in any “un-life-threatening” way—yet—there was always the possibility that it could happen.
A possibility that—to Andre’s way of thinking—became more probability with each passing decade.
And it was his job to keep his maker safe in case of such an eventuality.
Lately, he’d become more and more concerned that such a situation might be stirring. Call it his own instincts.
He frowned. His concern had begun the year before when his maker had allowed herself to become enamored with Hadley to the point that he questioned some of her decisions.
The situation with the telepath was only one of them. Andre had gently—and then more strongly—suggested that he be the one to make contact with Sookie Stackhouse himself. Sophie-Anne, he knew, would not allow him to force the woman to serve at court, but Andre knew well that every human had a price that was just short of force. And he was not above using—and following through with—threats to get what Sophie-Anne needed.
And what he felt that she needed.
As Sophie-Anne’s protector, he didn’t give a fuck if he had to step on toes to achieve whatever was required to keep people from stepping on his maker’s toes! He felt confident that he could have secured the telepath and arranged for the entire Stackhouse family to visit the court within hours of approaching them.
But—due to Hadley’s yarns—Sophie-Anne had become enamored with the idea of matchmaking for the “poor, lonely telepath.” Though tired of Bill herself, the queen had posited that he’d be perfect for Hadley’s cousin, based upon everything the simple girl had shared. So happy and “in love” herself, Sophie-Anne had decided that an “in-love” Sookie Stackhouse would readily move to court to be with her vampire.
Andre had dropped his preferences on the matter for the most part—though he had been able to convince the queen not to tell Northman about the telepath’s existence. Andre figured—and it looked like he’d done so correctly—that Eric would claim the telepath as an asset of Area 5, which meant that Sophie-Anne would have to go through him to get access to the telepath.
Andre scoffed. He had always had disdain for the conventions that allowed sheriffs (or Lords—in the Old World) to have their own “independent” retinues. He was a believer in the idea that all subjects in the state should—by right—belong to the Queen first! But the Vampire Council thought differently.
He frowned as he recalled just why his plans to keep the knowledge of the telepath from Northman had failed: Compton’s incompetence. But—as the younger vampire finished feeding (and receiving a blow job)—the Lieutenant decided that Compton might still have a purpose left in his miserable existence. Indeed, Andre resolved that he would use Compton for his own benefit—and as his spy—for as long as Compton remained in the queen’s realm.
Oh—Andre wasn’t foolish enough to believe that Compton’s “spin” on things would be completely accurate. However, he was also not foolish enough to deny the usefulness of a self-serving puppet. After all, vampires like Compton were nothing if not predictable.
Andre knew how to exploit.
And—unlike his maker and Queen—he had no qualms about doing so.
As soon as Sigebert left the throne room with Hadley, the queen looked at—looked to—Wybert, who was, in many ways, her most trusted child.
Andre sometimes had his own agendas, though he generally kept them in check enough to not be “checked” by his maker.
Sigebert was an excellent child, but lacked much humor or self-motivation, having looked—during his human life—to his brother for guidance and having looked—during his vampire life—to his maker.
Hadley, Sophie-Anne speculated, would turn out to be a wonderful child, but she’d been turned for love and companionship, rather than as any kind of asset in business or politics.
Yes—Wybert, of all of her children, was the one she could count on as a sounding board.
A completely honest one.
“I think Compton is full of horseshit! And I also believe that he’s obsessed with Sookie Stackhouse,” she shared.
“I agree,” Wybert responded.
“But he is a subject of Louisiana, and I cannot kill him without cause. Or even torture him,” she pouted.
Wybert chuckled. “Unfortunately, I agree with that assessment as well. His not informing you that he was leaving Louisiana could be punished with a fine, but it would not justify torture or death.”
Sophie-Anne frowned. “I have a feeling that Bill will push things with Miss Stackhouse—that he will attempt to continue his relationship with her, even if she is unwilling.”
“Ah, yes. But—at that point—he will have disobeyed a direct order,” Wybert observed.
“And then we can silver him,” the queen giggled. “But—for now—I worry that his antics might be causing the wrong people to get the wrong idea about me.”
“Northman,” Wybert said with a nod of agreement.
“Him and—perhaps—Russell Edgington,” she sighed, even as she took a secure phone out of her pocket. She smiled to herself, recalling how she’d glamoured her favorite dressmaker so that he would begin putting pockets into her gowns. Indeed, pockets in dresses was quickly becoming a trend—one that Sophie-Anne felt certain that she was responsible for.
She dialed King Russell’s direct line.
“Hello?” came Talbot’s cheery voice.
Sophie-Anne smiled to herself. She knew that—as she’d done with Hadley—Russell had found a long-term companion with Talbot. The only question she had was whether or not the king would turn his lover.
“Talbot, dear, this is Queen Sophie-Anne,” she greeted. “Is your master handy?”
“Oh, he’s all hands right now,” Talbot giggled, even as Sophie-Anne heard the king growl playfully in the background.
Not a moment later, Russell took the phone.
“Dearest Sophie-Anne! To what do I owe the pleasure of your call?”
The queen sighed. “I’m afraid I have news that you might not find welcome. In his debriefing tonight, William Compton admitted that his maker had begun a V-distribution business in your territory. She was using a particular group of Weres—a clan of nomadic, feral bikers—to do her dirty work.”
“That is troubling news,” Russell said. “I appreciate your letting me know.”
“Well—we are allies,” she responded carefully. “The giving of such news is a given between us.”
“Yes, of course,” the king said evenly.
Sophie-Anne looked at Wybert and shook her head a little. Her instincts told her that she needed to put a bit more work into her relationship with her neighboring king.
“I hear that you recently met Louisiana’s telepath,” she ventured.
“Yes, though I was unaware of what she was while she was here. Otherwise, I might have tried to poach her,” the king laughed.
Sophie-Anne’s eyebrow lifted. “Fair game?” she asked him.
“Not really. It seemed evident enough that she had been claimed already—by more than one vampire,” he returned somewhat guardedly.
“Has she claimed anyone in return?” the queen asked.
“Why ask me?” Russell challenged. “She is in your state, after all.”
Sophie-Anne looked again to Wybert, who nodded slightly. Through their telepathic bond, he “tapped” out his support for her continuing on with Russell.
Ambitious on her behalf, Andre would have encouraged her to end the call without acknowledging that she was at a disadvantage to her neighbor. However, Sophie-Anne did not agree that allowing a little vulnerability to show with Russell was necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, the elder king had no designs on her state and would be less likely to develop them as long as relatively open lines of communication and free trade existed between Louisiana and Mississippi.
Thus, she volunteered some information that Russell wanted—in order to fish for some information that she needed. “I believe that it is possible that—in sending Mr. Compton to assess Miss Stackhouse in Area 5—I may have caused a few unintentional problems.”
“Oh?” Russell asked.
Sophie-Anne rolled her eyes at Russell’s own obvious fishing, but she gave the king what he desired: gossip.
“Miss Stackhouse is my new child’s cousin, and I’d hoped to provide the telepath with a love interest that might convince her to give court life a try,” she said honestly. “Bill seemed to fit the bill—if you will forgive the bad pun.”
“Bad pun forgiven,” Russell chuckled. “And mazel tov on your new child. I’d intended to send a card.”
“And plan a party!” Talbot added excitedly.
Sophie-Anne smiled slightly as Wybert nodded; the queen knew she wasn’t “out of the woods” with her neighbor yet, but she was getting there. As for how the king knew about Hadley? Well—she wasn’t an idiot. Sophie-Anne knew that Russell had spies in her court; in fact, she even knew who they were, but—since he was an ally—she didn’t mind them.
Indeed, she only limited the access of her allies’ spies within her court. It was her enemies’ spies that she dealt with violently. Such tolerance versus intolerance was par for the course among the vampire monarchs. All knew of the possible losses to be suffered or the “open-mindedness” to be found within the courts into which they sent their spies.
“Russell, since you are aware of the telepath, I could use your counsel on a delicate matter,” the queen ventured.
“I am at your service,” the king responded with interest.
Wybert gave his queen another encouraging “tap.”
“I was initially persuaded to circumvent Eric regarding the telepath’s existence, though I am now,” Sophie-Anne paused, “second-guessing that decision.”
The line was silent for a moment. “One such as Northman might view such a slight in a negative light,” he finally said.
“Might?” she asked.
“I would,” Russell returned firmly. “And I believe that the Viking feels slights of honor as I do.”
“That is what I thought,” Sophie-Anne sighed with resignation.
“Did Andre convince you to sidestep your sheriff?” the king asked knowingly.
Sophie-Anne did not respond directly to his question; instead, she took on a lighter, more joking tone. “What can I say? Sometimes I’m a greedy bitch!”
Russell laughed loudly. “Yes. But it’s clear that you know when to stifle that part of your personality.”
The queen chuckled along with the king. “Yes. It also seems clear that I will need to speak with my sheriff to clear up any misunderstandings.”
“I cannot speak to that with certainty,” Russell responded diplomatically. “But it is better to be safe than sorry with someone like the Viking.”
“I’m still not willing to sell his contract to you,” Sophie-Anne said with a wicked grin, even as she relaxed. Her instincts and Russell’s tone told her that she’d nipped in the bud any issues that the Bill/Lorena debacle had created with the king.
“Goodnight, Sophie-Anne,” Russell said, intuiting—correctly—that the purpose of the call had been accomplished.
“Get back to your dinner,” the queen returned, hanging up the phone.
“That went well,” Wybert observed, even as the queen dialed again.
“Yes. Let us hope that this next call goes just as well.”
Hi all! I hope you are doing well and enjoyed the chapter! I appreciate how many of you wrote your support about how I have decided to portray Sophie-Anne in this piece. I was surprised by just how many of you indicated a preference for the more temperate, ambiguous Sophie-Anne from the books, as opposed to the childish portrayal in the show. I actually liked Evan Rachel Wood (I think that’s her name) as Sophie-Anne, but the characterization she was given was just so one-dimensional. This was not unlike what happened to Russel too. It was just sad how the monarchs we got to see seemed more like inept, unadaptable Bond-villain rejects, as opposed to creatures capable of living hundreds (or thousands) of years. Anyway, I hope I’m doing “right” by Russell here too. Because of the very different portrayals, I am also picturing different actors than the shows, which leads to me needing to give a shout-out for Seph for always making character banners for me! The one of Andre is a brand new one! Love it and her! And, of course, kleannhouse, who betas pretty much everything you see from me so that it’s much less likely to have those little mistakes we can all miss.
Please let me know what you think about this chapter and/or the character portrayals if you have the time and inclination. And-if you are watching tonight-happy Oscar night! I’m cheering for The Shape of Water, Get Out!, and Call Me by Your Name.