Peter Threadgill had been the King of Arkansas for only thirty years; he’d taken over the state from his maker, whom he’d dearly loved—and whom he’d always suspected had been killed because of the machinations of Sophie-Anne Leclerq.
Peter had been a vampire since 1835, and that made him young for a vampire king, but he’d been determined to take over for his maker, and he’d done well in the role of monarch—so well that Roman had asked him to take over his maker’s role in the Authority too.
Despite his relative “youth” compared to many monarchs—even in the New World—Peter felt as if he could take on anyone.
But not necessarily in a fair fight.
Raised in the wilderness of Tennessee by parents who could barely make their farm yield enough food for the six children they’d borne, Peter—as the eldest—had quickly learned that survival could be painful. He worked on his parents’ farm and did extra work on neighboring farms, picking crops next to slaves—not for wages, but for food that he could take home to his family.
Hell—he often wondered if the term “redneck” had originated with him, but he wasn’t ashamed of his past. He fucking owned it!
Eventually, he’d worked just hard enough to be noticed by Davy Crocket himself, who paid ten dollars to secure Peter’s services for a year.
Peter’s parents had never seen so much cash at once.
And that was why Peter had been at the fucking Alamo! He was only glad that his maker had chosen him to transform into a vampire—chosen him out of all of the great men who died in that horrible place.
Peter had never looked back at his human life—beyond sending his family a fucking fortune! He’d followed his kin enough after that to know that they’d bought one of the plantations he’d used to work on. All of his brothers and several of his nephews had died within thirty years of his own “death”—during the Civil War. One nephew, however, had been too young to fight. And that boy’s mother had been just stubborn enough to drag the family through the war and then through Reconstruction.
Thus, Peter’s human family had gone on, and they were doing well for themselves.
Not surprisingly, given his background, Peter was clever when it came to finding ways to survive.
Even though he’d not learned to read until he was taught by his maker.
No—Peter didn’t need a fair fight. Hell—he preferred an unfair fight, which was how he’d managed to take out many vampires twice or three times his age. And if people didn’t like his tactics, they were fucking welcome to suck his fucking balls!
Even as he stuck his specially-made silver-tipped Bowie knife through theirs!
Usually an excellent judge of character due to his frontier instincts, Peter had surrounded himself with loyal people—or so he’d thought. It seemed that he’d been wrong—very wrong—when it came to Jade Flower.
And, ever since Roman had told him about her true allegiances, he had wanted nothing more than to chew her fucking neck apart with his blunt teeth in order to take her head off in the most painful way imaginable. He’d fucking done it before!
Sadly, that wasn’t to be.
“You know that you will need to be patient—right?” Roman asked him.
“Yes,” Peter agreed gruffly, even as he continued to sharpen his Bowie knife. Having known the man that the weapon had been name for, Peter was proud to wear it.
Roman chuckled and looked at the others in the room. “Okay—so you all know your targets. When the first signal is given, make sure that you put on your pins so that your followers will know to do the same. Do this as quickly and inconspicuously as possible, and then—when the second signal comes—attack your targets.”
He looked at Peter. “And don’t take your time with them.”
The Arkansas king frowned.
“There will be plenty more people to kill—other vampires, Weres, other shifters. Hell! There’s even a tiger,” Roman offered.
Peter’s expression lightened a little. “So quantity over quality?”
“This time,” Roman smirked.
“I suppose that will have to do,” Peter remarked with an answering smirk, even as he continued to sharpen his knife with his well-used whetstone.
“And the rest of you?” Roman asked the other Authority members.
All nodded in affirmation.
“So I am still unknown?” Queen Lena of Quebec asked.
“Yes. You and Isaiah,” Roman clarified, nodding toward the King of Kentucky. “For this reason, you will present yourselves last. Russell might attack right then—so be prepared—but we think he’ll want to wait for the Ancient Pythoness to arrive before he strikes. After you have presented yourselves, I will inform those gathered that my maker will be arriving within the half hour.”
“And that is the first signal?” Isaiah asked.
“Yes. The attack will begin exactly one minute after that announcement. Make your way off the stage and toward your targets. Bubba will be taking the stage at the same time. His first note is the second signal. If we are right, Russell has made your own targets his very instruments to kill you too—though they will be hoping to take you by surprise. Thus, they will likely be trying to stay close to you anyway.”
“Ah—this we, the one who has helped you make this plan,” Dieter commented, his German accent thick. “Is it your maker?”
Roman looked at the younger vampire and growled.
The Arkansas king rolled his eyes as he put his knife into its scabbard. “Pull your panties out of your ass, Roman. I’m not reacting in disrespect to your creator; she is one bitch I’d never go against.”
“I’m sure he meant bitch as a compliment,” Lena offered.
“Absolutely,” Peter said with a nod, obviously not concerned about Roman’s fangs being down. “There isn’t a creature on the planet I respect more, but I still don’t think she’s the one responsible for this plan. Don’t forget—I was Northman’s neighbor to the north for years. This plan has the Viking’s stamp all over it.”
Roman’s expression neutralized and he put his fangs away. “Yes,” he confirmed, looking around the room. “That is the last bit of news I needed to share with you tonight. Northman is leading this attack, so don’t kill him.”
Dieter stood. “I will admit that I did not believe that the Viking killed the old Magister; however, he is a fugitive for that crime. How did it come about that he is leading us?”
“Who better?” Peter asked bluntly.
Dieter looked down at him. “There are older vampires in this room than the Northman.”
Peter rolled his eyes. “Riiight,” he intoned, elongating the word. “But I’ve had the opportunity to watch Northman’s actions pretty closely over the years. After that bitch Sophie-Anne killed my maker, I would have taken her out—if Northman hadn’t created a buffer. None of my spies got past him,” Peter chuckled, “not even the best of them. It was frustrating as hell, but I came to respect him. And—now that he is no longer in the bitch queen’s employ—I can even tell him that to his face.”
Used to Peter’s bluntness and—for lack of a better term—”abrasiveness,” several of the people in the room chuckled. Most of them were old enough to remember Eric’s exploits as an enforcer to many a king in Europe. He had been almost as strong as Godric, and his battle craft had been viewed as second to none.
Agnes, Queen of California, voiced the thoughts of the older vampires in the room. “I have no pause following the Viking into any battle.” She shrugged. “Hell—I can remember a time when I was second to the Queen of Spain, when that old bastard in Germany thought he might take over,” she said, winking at Dieter.
He scowled back. “I am no bastard. And even you have to admit that the queen was a cunt—and much too young to be the ruler of such a large kingdom.”
Agnes chuckled. “Yes. Though I worked for her because of her maker’s relationship with my own, she was quite a cunt. However, she was good at choosing her general.”
Dieter growled. “Northman.”
“He certainly laid you on your ass back then,” Agnes chuckled.
“I recall,” Dieter admitted.
“And—if I remember correctly—you didn’t attack Spain again until after Northman had moved on?” she teased.
“Don’t make me regret letting you live back then,” Dieter growled.
Agnes laughed. “You were just taking your cue from the Viking sparing your life—and the lives of most of your people. Of course, you had to vow not to attack him again.”
Dieter smiled. “Yes. He did,” he paused, “convince me to agree not to attack him.”
“A lovely loophole when he left the queen’s service,” King Edwin laughed, taking the hand of Agnes, his pledged and beloved.
“Indeed,” Dieter chuckled.
“Well—as enlightening as this history lesson is for us young’uns, we should return to our rooms and prepare for the Masquerade,” Rosalyn Harris said. “I, for one, need an hour and a bucket of Crisco to even get into my dress.”
“Just make sure you can fight in it,” Roman chuckled.
“Fight—yes,” she responded with a laugh. “But I am very glad I don’t have to breathe.”
“It is secure for us to return to our rooms—yes?” Lena asked.
Roman nodded. “This suite is warded—as I told you before—and our people control all the cameras. No one will know you were here. And, of course, your own rooms are warded too.”
All but one of the Councilors took their leave.
“Is there something more, Peter?” Roman asked.
“I want Sophie-Anne,” the monarch said. “She is the one behind my maker’s death, and you know it. Doesn’t matter that it couldn’t be proven,” he growled.
Roman sighed. “You know that you are needed to take out Jade Flower.”
“Oh—I intend to do that, but I want Sophie-Anne too,” Peter growled.
“Greedy?” Roman chuckled.
“For the blood of my enemies? Yes!” Peter exclaimed.
“Pam, the Viking’s child, has been given the assignment of Sophie-Anne. I will tell her that you want to play with the queen. I will tell her that you wish to share in the queen’s death and will try to convince her to toy with her target for a few moments until you can join her. But I won’t have her risk herself, so—if you can’t take out Jade right away—I cannot guarantee any additional fun for you.”
Peter chuckled. “Pamela? Perfect! She likes to toy with her opponents anyway. Let her know that I look forward to battling beside her,” he added, licking his lips.
“You know that she prefers women—right?” Roman chuckled.
“Prefers—yes. But I also know that she makes exceptions,” Peter grinned.
“And you think she’ll make one for you?” Roman smirked.
“In the midst of bloodlust? Abso-fucking-lutely!” Peter responded roguishly. “And I can work from there.”
A/N: First of all, I hope that you enjoyed meeting the Authority in this story. You will notice a few of the characters are the same as the show. However, my Authority is more of a hybrid between the Vampire Council from the books and the Authority from the show. Remember that in Season 3, the Authority members were obscured from Eric when he talked to them with Nan. That’s why I decided that their identities would be secret in this story; however, I actually liked the vision of the Vampire Council we got in the books—especially at Rhodes. It seemed that the positions rotated among the monarchs. I liked the idea of the Authority evolving to be more “democratic” as a contrast to what Russell (and Appius) ultimately plan, which is a dictatorship/tyranny.
I’m sure that book fans will notice that my Peter Threadgill isn’t a “bad guy.” In the books he was obviously a threat to Sophie-Anne who is a more likeable character than the one we met on the show. Given all this, I had already decided to change Peter, but I hadn’t expected to “like” him so much when I started writing him. It was fun rethinking all of the Authority, but Peter—I think—became my favorite. I hope that you enjoyed my re-conception.
Thanks to Kleannhouse for the beta work. And thanks so much to Seph for all the wonderful banners related to the Authority!!!!