We were sitting together on the swing the next night when Russell called to tell us that Roman had reached out to confirm Eric’s accusations against Nora and other Authority Chancellors. He sounded amused that Roman had offered him a position when he rebuilt the Authority.
“Will you accept?” Eric asked, while I listened on the speaker.
“I am considering it. I won’t give up my wolves. That’s bound to be a sticking point. Still, I think I can get around that. The bigger question is will you accept his offer?”
“He plans to ask me?”
“As soon as he commits to not executing you for making him look bad, yes, I believe he does. Roman is pompous, but not foolish.”
“I am still bound in your service.”
“Yes, you are, but if you weren’t what would you say?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Your plate is bit full now, isn’t it? All those guns, all that power, could be helpful in facing Warlow.”
“Perhaps.” Russell chuckled over the phone.
“Not much for politics are you, Northman?”
“Not for extended periods of time. Too much of it wearies me.”
“Better to fight your way through.”
“We are what we are.”
“Still, think on it. I will call tomorrow night for your answer.”
“What does The Authority do exactly?” I asked him as he moved the swing slowly, and stared off into the night, lost in this thoughts.
“In theory they run things, by choosing kings and queens, well more accurately approving their machinations for power. As you saw with Russell, sometimes they get ideas of their own. Roman was the mastermind behind taking us public. He and some hotshots from Japan created the synthetic blood substitute that allowed us to come out of coffin, I believe is how it is referred to.” He smirked a little as he said it.
“What was the real reason ya’ll came out like that?”
“The official line is that we believed it was only a matter of time before human technology made the choice for us, and we thought we could control it better if we did it ourselves.”
“And the real reason?”
“Who knows? Roman takes the credit for the heavy lifting, but truly any one of those Sanguanista loving fuckers could have been running an entirely different game alongside his.”
“I didn’t know you were such a fan of mainstreaming.”
“I am not. I am fan of surviving. The way they would lead us doesn’t bode well for that plan.”
“What if you had the power to make them do what you wanted them to do? Humans and vampires?” He chuckled, still looking out into the night.
“There are too many lining up to play God already, or at least what they think he should be, based on what they see in their mirrors. Their distorted and twisted visions are not divine. If I thought for one moment that I knew how everything should be, the line between me and people like Steve Newlin would cease to exist.” He hesitated before adding, “It’s not a line I would give up willingly.”
“What do you think Russell did with him?”
“Something painful and permanent, I hope.”
“Oh, whatever happened to Lorena?”
“I never thought to ask. I’ve been a bit distracted since we left Russell’s palace.” I let it go, snuggling deeper into his arms, and letting the tension leave me completely. Who knew how long we had before more trouble showed up? I wanted to enjoy him as much as I could. I smiled, my hand coming up to the buttons on shirt, undoing the first one slowly, before moving on to the next.
“Sookie,” he growled my name, as he tilted his head down to watch my fingers. I undid another button before I answered him the same.
“Eric,” I growled out, trying to hit the sounds just like he did. I must have come close, because I felt him shiver as I went for another button. “Do you know how big my farm is?”
“I can’t say that I do.”
“Fifteen acres. I haven’t fucked you on nearly enough of them.” I undid another button.
“This is a problem.”
“Yes, a serious problem.” I slid my hand into his shirt, scratching his nipple lightly with my nails. He grunted, twitching beneath me.
“Where would you like to start solving this problem?”
“Oh, the barn first, I think. I can share my fantasy about the stranger and the farmer’s daughter.”
“Do I get to be the daughter or the stranger?” he made me giggle with his foolishness.
“We can do it twice, and swap roles.”
“Perfect,” he sighed as he leaned down to kiss me, his hand sliding up under my dress, taking its time along my thigh as he teased me. We were never going to make it to the barn. I would have to trade that fantasy for the one about the farm girl and the porch railing. Eric was a good sport, and fast on his feet. I was sure he wouldn’t mind.
“Ahem,” Cantos coughed from the bottom of my steps. I jumped in Eric’s arms, turning so that I covered the front of him, my arms reaching out even as I felt myself light up. “Woah! Woah!” Cantos took a step back his hands raised in the air.
“I love you, woman, but you really must learn to relax a little,” Eric whispered in my ear, without removing his hand from beneath my dress. When it slid up a little moving between my tense thighs, I wanted to blast him, and forget that Cantos was here so that he could blast me right back. When his fingers started to move in just the right way, I sat back against him, knowing he should stop, but not finding the words to make that happen.
I had told Eric I was different, and this was part of it. Human social convention demanded that I stop Eric’s attentions and act like a lady, but I was barely human. That mask had burned away when I had thought Eric lost to me. I didn’t want it back. I understood now hy it had chafed me so very much every day that I had worn it.
Since the truth had been known, there had been a taught push and the pull between us. There had been too little time for me to explore the woman I had become with the man I loved.
*Your timing blows.*
I gasped from Cantos’ sharp wit, and the feel of Eric’s finger sliding deeply into me beneath my dress.
*Your father will whip for thoughts like that.*
Just then I felt Eric’s fangs brush my neck, making my hips rock on his hand. I wanted to just focus on him.
*Doesn’t seem the type.*
I flashed him my image of Eric’s tight ass as he fucked a chained Yvetta in the basement of his club. He laughed.
*Don’t you have your own vampire to fuck?*
He laughed again, and I heard Eric sigh in frustration, but his fingers never stopped their magic.
*I left him blissed out, and tied to his bed. I have at least an hour before he starts to wonder where I have gone, and probably two before he recovers enough to break free and come after me.*
*Why are you here?*
Eric was sucking my neck now, keeping the pressure in time with his fingers. This interruption was most unwelcome.
*I have something to show you.*
*There’s something else I want to see right now.*
*I’ll give you ten minutes.*
I flashed him the memory of Eric claiming to have fucked Yvetta for six hours straight. He must have said something to Eric then, because he released my neck and growled.
“Not fucking likely. Go away. We will call you when we are done.” Cantos was laughing as he ported away. I moved to turn back toward him. “No,” he growled at me, rubbing his face against mine, and keeping his chest tight to my back. “I like you like this.” I rocked my hips back into him, loving the hard feel of him against my ass as his fingers continued to stroke me.
“I thought you were going to play the farmer’s daughter for me?” I felt his lips smile against my skin.
“Help, help,” he whispered to me. “This man has his hand up my dress making me feel the most…delicious things.”
“Fuck yes, he does.” I reached back and up to slide my fingers through his hair.
“If he doesn’t stop, I going to come.” He went on, as his free hand slid down the top of my little yellow sun dress, zeroing on my nipple so he could flick them between his fingers, his other never slowing between my thighs.
“Someone might see us,” I whispered back, my eyes closed, lost in the sensation of him. “If I fuck you slow and hard against the wall like I want to, your daddy might get the pitchfork after me.”
“Let him.” He sucked my neck again, before whispering to me again. “Is that what you want, stranger? You want to take me against the barn wall hard and slow?” I opened my legs wider, placing them on the outside of his, rocking back against him, loving this game with my whole mind and body.
“Yes. Just like that. I want the feel of my hands on your hips as I move deep inside you.” He pinched my nipple and my clit at the same time he growled in my ear. I exploded for him like fireworks.
She stretched in my lap like cat waking from a long afternoon nap, her muscles still trembling from her release. I licked her neck again, in love with the salt from her light sheen of sweat. “Fantastic,” she said before she turned her head to tangle her tongue with mine.
She left my arms, her tongue disappearing from my mouth as she ported to the yard. She was panting, disheveled and gorgeous as she looked back at me. She laughed, just before she turned and sprinted around the house, and out of my line of site. I burst off the porch sure I would catch her before she rounded the corner, but halted when I saw her yards away, moving through the darkness like an arrow lit on fire and shot through the air toward her old barn. Evidently, enhanced speed was also part of heritage.
I watched slack jawed, and blue balled as she leaped, porting herself to the steep roof. “Your daddy will never find us up here,” she whispered to my supernatural ears as she slowly pulled the straps of her dress down, one at a time. It slipped down pooling at her waist, leaving her breasts bare to the cool night air. She raised her knees, sliding her skirt up to gather at the top of her thighs, shifting slightly. Her white lacy panties floated down from the roof, falling into shadow like a single snowflake lost and alone.
I launched myself at her, making her squeal with childish delight when I caught her under her arms, and swept her off the rooftop into the sky with me. I rose above the trees, heading out over the forest that was part of her farm I had never explored. She wrapped around me, kissing my neck, sucking on my skin as I had done to her. I only hoped it had felt as good for her as it do for me. I was careening through the sky, distracted by her touch, thinking of just fucking her in mid-air when she ported away again.
I saw her light beneath the tree canopy, and flew down to land at the foot of the tree she was sitting in. She looked at me with a hunger that made my knees weak. When she jumped, I caught her, spinning around and around with her in my arms before I put her feet on the ground.
She attacked me, ripping my clothes, burning them away in places with her hot fiery hands. The chase had aroused me to near insanity. I decided to go all the way. I flipped her around, braced her hands on the tree, and set about making her words from the porch a reality, shifting the roles of stranger and farmer’s daughter as effortlessly as we had assigned them before.
“Hard and slow,” I told her, as I fucked her against the tree.
“Yes,” she agreed as she squeezed me inside her. “Bite me. Make it last forever.” I was so wound up it would surely kill me to make this last another thirty seconds! I started to pull out of her, thinking I could make her come with my hand while I tasted her, and make this last as long as she wanted. She pushed back following me, taking me deep inside again. “Don’t leave me.” Her words were so much more than what was happening in this moment.
“I never would,” I told her pulling her back against me, wrapping my arms around her tightly. She jerked her head, telling me that she heard me, but I pressed as deeply into her as this angle would allow to drive it home to her that I would never go. Determined to find a way to give her everything she needed I took us to the ground, caging her with my arms as I moved inside in her. She flipped her hair and offered me her neck, arching back to meet me.
I paused my movement to make a shallow wound, and then resumed grinding into her as I sucked it. Her hands braced on my forearms as she rose up slightly to let me drink her better, even as I sank deeper into her from behind.
I could feel her heating up even as I saw her lighting up. Her marks on my back sang with her power. Our blood tie was jerking between us, moving in time with my hard sharp thrusts and long hard sucks at her wound. Make it last forever, she had said, but I couldn’t and neither could she. She burst into waves of heat and light that singed the leaves above us, making them shower down, brushing our skin with their final green kisses before they turned to ash and disappeared.
After a long hot shower together, we called Cantos. Rather than answer, he appeared in the living room and grabbed us, porting away again without any explanation as to where we were going. When we found ourselves in a wide open field beneath the stars I was not sure what to think.
“What’s this place?” Sookie asked, looking at something I could not see.
“Claude called today. He and some others made it out of Fae before I closed the gates, and set up shop here in this field.” I looked around again, still not seeing a fucking thing. “I told him I would bring you both by for a drink and a dance.” He glanced at his watch. “You two sure took your time. I only have time to introduce you before I should get back.”
“Russell keeping you on a short leash?” It was mean, but I was not over what he had asked me when he interrupted us. Do you want to share her? If anyone other than him had asked me that, I would have fucking killed them.
“I am Russell’s guest. It would be rude to disappear after fucking his brains out, without so much as a goodbye.”
*Before you even ask, I like sex.*
*I am no prude. You can have you all want, just not with Sookie.*
*I would probably never do that.*
*We live a long time. I don’t know what might happen in the future any more than you do. I might be easy, but I’m not a liar.*
Yeah, the Fae doesn’t fall from the tree, either, I thought, wishing he didn’t remind me so much of myself.
*What about Yvetta? Are you done with her?* Suppressing the desire to strangle him, I tried to find the words.
*You would be in line behind Mickey and Pam, and if you make Russell jealous I can’t promise it will end well.*
*Russell and I understand each other, and Mickey sleeps all day. Pam, well I can talk to her. Maybe she will be more willing to share.*
*How did you even know about Yvetta?*
I so didn’t want to know.
*What did she say?*
He flashed me an image of me fucking Yvetta while she was chained at Fangtasia.
*She was bragging on your stamina before you two ran me off.*
I was so confused over how to feel about that. I just wanted this conversation to end, now.
“What the fuck are we looking for out here?” I growled at them.
“It’s right here,” Sookie pointed at nothing, and then disappeared into thin air. I moved to where she had been feeling frantic when suddenly her hand appeared and grabbed me, pulling me into a fairy orgy one fuck away from happening.
The music was pounding and their bodies were moving in contorted dance steps that left me agape and more than a little aroused. Their scent filled this room to the rafters, but it was as dull as Claudine’s had been to me in Fae. I knew it was there, but the affect was low line noticeable. I was struck by how much this looked like a scene at my bar, only the fangs were hidden, and magic filled the air rather than blood.
If God made Lilith and Lilith made Warlow, who made the Fae? It was the first time I had ever wondered. Before I could chase that thought, the music and dancing stopped. All eyes turned to us. Cantos popped up behind me, and stepped in front of us.
“This is Eric and Sookie.” He pointed back to us.
“Vampire,” one said, somewhere in the back, sounding scared.
“Vampire,” another echoed sounding more aroused than scared.
“MY VAMPIRE!” Sookie yelled out, making sure they heard her in the cheap seats. That’s my girl, I thought as my lip curled up slightly.
“Yes, yes, everyone knows. I made sure to tell them,” Cantos soothed her before turning an evil eye to his horny kin. “They know what you can do, and they know that if they test it, there will be no more parties for them. We don’t do wakes,” he finished, turning back to her with a wink that reminded me of his mother. It was the first of her I had seen in him, though I had known there must be something since she had stolen him away and raised him alone.
He cut his eyes at me, but chose not to speak to me of my observations on his mother. I suppose some sense of discretion was a necessity in a horde of telepaths. Was it horde? Maybe it was a mingle of telepaths? A torture of telepaths?
*Stop being clever, and say something nice to the fairies!*
A rude of telepaths, yes that was it. I glared at him, and turned on the charm as I looked out onto the crowd. Like a wave at a human football game, they preened and twittered under my smile. I dialed it back a notch, not wanting to start a riot and spoke. “Greetings.”
*I had hoped Sookie would pull that stick out of your ass while she was fucking you.*
*We’re saving it for later.*
He laughed and grabbed Sookie’s hand, leading her to the bar. Again, I thought of my bar as I followed behind, being undressed by hundreds of eyes attached to bodies that pushed and shoved each other leer at us. I wanted to drop fang and growl at them.
*Do it and Sookie will kill half of them before you can blink an eye.*
“Claude, get them each a Water.”
“Good to see you again, Viking,” Claude said before he turned away to grab an old dusty bottle from behind his bar. He was dressed in fine clothes, and looked almost nothing like the rag tag rebel I had met on a desert plain days before. Like every other telepath in the room, he heard me.
“The war is over, and now it is time to celebrate.” He set two glasses down, one in front of Sookie and one in front of me. I didn’t want to be rude, but there was nothing here in this club that I should even try and drink.
“Celebrate what?” I asked, genuinely puzzled.
“Life, my friend. Life!” He spread his arms wide, and motioned to the place and the people in it. “In the moments between the loss and the pain you have to take the joy you can find and hold on tight.” It sounded like something my father would have said, and the attitude of my own ancient people.
“Ah, the Vikings. I remember them well. The only humans I ever met that could drink a Fae under the table, and fuck them into a stupor!”
“Vikings!” the call went up around us, making Sookie spin on her stool to glare at them, just a little.
“Vikings!” One young fairy with bad timing bobbed up in the back, raising a cup, which was all I could see of her above her kin that crowded around blocking her out entirely. She sounded tipsy, and the rock star in me wanted to do something nice for her. I rose off the stool, sending Sookie calm in our bond and pushed through the crowd to find her in the back.
I had seen that she was a blonde when she bobbed up for a second, but had no idea that she looked so much like Sookie until I stood in front of her. She was very young, no more than fifteen or so, and very intoxicated. Her eyes were wide as she looked up at me, a tiny thread of drool on the edge of her mouth. It might have the drink, or it might have me, but she was enamored.
“Can- Cantos!” she hiccupped as she stared at me. “What happened to your lovely ears?” I was a little crushed that it wasn’t me after all.
“Nothing, Mira,” he answered her, bending down to give her a good look, before giving her a smile that set her teenage hormones a flutter. She leaned over, throwing her arms around his neck and planting a big wet drooling kiss on his cheek.
“My Cantos,” she sighed, her eyes sliding shut with an angelic smile on her face. “I’m going to bond to you someday.”
“Oh, you can do better than me, little Mira.” He stroked her hair softly, with a look I had never seen on his face before.
“Can-cannot! You’re the legendary warrior Cantos, son of the Viking King! There is none better in the land!” Her head rolled back as she tried to focus on his face. “But that’s not why I love you. I love you because I know you are supposed to be mine. I feel it h-here.” She hiccupped again as she tried to point to her heart.
*You have a fan club.*
*Do not make light of her feelings!*
I stepped back, surprised by the fierceness of his thoughts.
*You can’t tell because you can’t read her, but she is serious. Her love for me is real.*
*And that bothers you?*
*There is much I have forgiven you for father, but you must remember that you there are many pages to me that you have never seen. Don’t let yourself be lulled into thinking you know me just because I look like you.*
He picked her up in his arms like she precious to him, and moved away through the crowd. Feeling chastised, and more than a little foolish I went back to Sookie at the bar. She slid off her stool and into my arms consoling me.
“You must forgive him,” Claude said. “He has some ridiculous notion that we are all his responsibility.” I looked around at the fairies who were still looking at us. There were probably a couple of hundred of them in the large club.
*Claude is in idiot. You would do well to ignore him when he speaks most of the time.*
He was not in sight, but he was still listening apparently.
*They followed me here, where nothing good can happen, and he treats it like it’s all a party!*
*I don’t understand. Why did they come?*
*Because I am the legendary warrior Cantos, son of the Viking King. Weren’t you listening? I have had the care of them for as long as I can remember. When they are hungry they look to me, when they are afraid they look to me. They can’t remember when I wasn’t there to care for them.*
Now I really felt like shit. He brought us here because these are his people, and he is their sovereign. There is no greater responsibility. I had not handled this properly.
*You should have explained to me. I would have understood.*
*Perhaps you are right. I don’t really know you that well, either. I may have made the same mistake in thinking that you are like me. You are honorable, but it has been a long time since you were the legendary Viking King who had to worry for more than himself.*
That fucking hurt.
*I worry for you.*
*I know you do. I appreciate that, more than you could know. My mother loved me, in her way, but she was fighting her own war, even before the one with Warlow. There was little time for understandings between us. I am used to being alone.*
*Is that why the girl’s love for you is unwelcome?*
*She can do better than me.*
*I believe that even less after this exchange. For all my bravado and bullshit, Sookie scared the shit out of me. I was afraid she would see me, and realize that I was not enough. I saw the way the girl looks at you. If you return her feelings, don’t be afraid to take a chance on love.*
Silence met that comment.
“Ready for your Water now?” Claude asked. Sookie looked at him, but kept her arms around me. The other fairies had moved away, calming to idea of us being among them, they were once again distracted by their own pleasure seeking. The music came back on, and they started to dance as they had been when we arrived.
“What is it?” she asked him.
“Water from the Well of Truth. We brought it with us from Fae.”
“What does it do?”
“Magic,” he told her with a smile. When she just looked at him, he sighed and rolled his eyes. “It’s different for everyone, because it feeds the spark that lives in all Fae. Some see their fondest wishes come true, some just get stoned and dance the night away, high on life and all its pleasures. Whatever you need, the Water will provide.”
“I can’t drink it,” sure that he didn’t understand about vampires.
“Are you hers? Do you hold her light inside you?”
“Then you can drink.”
From the way Eric’s emotions were shifting, I was sure he was still talking to Cantos. I wanted to do something to make it easier between them, but I knew that all I could do was be there for both of them while they worked it out.
“I could use some magic right about now,” I said, stepping back from Eric, and picking up my shot glass.
“You should both sit down first,” Claude said, a mischievous glint in his eye. I slid up on the bar stool, and waited for Eric to do the same.
“On three,” he confirmed, looking cool and confident, but I could feel his uncertainty.
“You don’t have to,” I told him.
“I could use some magic, too.” We counted to three and took our shots.
I felt the Water travel down into the center of me, burning slightly, but in a pleasant way, like hot cocoa on a cold night. Then it traveled out to my fingers and toes making them tingle. I felt a burst of pure love explode through me. It was almost like the sensations Eric and I had shared when we were out of bodies.
I glanced at him, he was stone still, but seemed calm in our bonds. I was energized, wanting nothing more than to dance with all the happy fairies gyrating to the beat in front of me. “Eric, are you all right?” He was slow to answer me. I felt him before he spoke. It was a sense of peace like nothing I had felt from her before.
“I want to dance!” He turned to me slowly, smiling a little.
“Go ahead then.” I knew he wasn’t up for it right now, but I couldn’t sit still another second. I wanted to move! I kissed his cheek as I stood, and moved off into the crowd, keeping him sight until I got to the heart of crowd and started to move, then everything else fell away from me. I was simply alive.
I was stoned. Stoned like humans who smoked pot. I had seen them over the years, listened to them talk about how the doors of their perception were so wide there was no thought they could not conceive and believe they understood. It was a sensation I had often wondered about, but never experienced for myself before.
I could sit on this stool forever, and watch them dance, while I chased my own thoughts around calmly and peacefully in my own mind. I knew that shit was about to go down, sooner rather than later, but here in this pleasant state of mind, it all seemed like something that I could manage.
When Godric spoke to me from the stool that Sookie had just vacated, I was pleased to see him, but not at all surprised. “Hello, my son.”
“Godric,” I answered, feeling so happy that I immediately wanted to embrace him, but found my body unwilling to move.
“Is she looking after you? She promised me she would.” I followed his gaze out into the crowd of fairies and saw her dancing. She was so beautiful as she turned and spun in time to a beat that was distant but quick.
“Yes, she is.” He turned back to me.
“You are bonded to her.”
“In all the ways I can manage yes, but it’s not enough.”
“What do you mean?”
“She was made for another. One who can give her light and dark, while I have only dark inside me. I think I am going to lose her.” It was a truth that terrified me, but here seemed acceptable, if still unwelcome.
“I am surprised that you ever found her, if that is how you feel.”
“She was just Sookie in Dallas. Then, she was just my Sookie. Now, she is the universe’s Sookie, and I am no star, father.”
“She has always been the universe’s Sookie. When you first knew her she was a seed. You made her bloom. She is as much yours now as ever, and will be ever as now, if you fight for her.”
“I have a son. He was made the night before you turned me.”
“What’s he like?”
“A better version of me.”
“Not possible.” I laughed.
“Yes, it is. He cares for all these people, and he risks them all to stand beside me.”
“You have forgotten where I found you.”
“But not that you killed my men, my friends, that night we met. Will people ever stop dying for me?”
“People die all the time. Few die for a cause.”
“And that makes a difference?”
“I believe it does.”
“You know what I am planning to do, it’s why you are here.”
“You’re going to tell me it’s a bad idea.”
“I don’t need to do that, you already know.”
“Do you have any other ideas?”
“Then why did you come here.”
“Because you wanted to see me as much as I wanted to see you.” I looked at him, taking my eyes off Sookie for the first time since this conversation began.
“I did want to see you, father. I wanted to ask you how to not fuck things up with my son.”
“You found him a grown man.”
“As you found me.”
“And what did I teach you?”
“What it meant to be loved and accepted as I was, as I could be, as I might be.”
“Then you can do that with him.”
“It’s much harder than I thought it would be.” Godric laughed.
“Yes, there were moments I wanted to stake you myself.”
“I am sorry about Nora. I wanted to save her for you, father.”
“She had to want to be saved.”
“I feel like I have disappointed you. I feel like losing her means that I will also lose Cantos.”
“He has his own path, as did your sister. I believe in my heart that you will do what you can for both of them.”
“But if I carry out this plan…” I stopped. I had barely acknowledged to myself that I was going to do this thing. Speaking of it with Godric made it seem too real and too definite.
“If you do this, there is a chance you will lose yourself.”
“What good will I be to them then?”
“I cannot say.”
“I won’t do it if I can find another way.” He said nothing to this. I looked at him, so real I could touch him, but I wasn’t sure he was really there; touching him could shatter this precious illusion.
“I will always love you, no matter what happens. She will, too. I knew that in Dallas when I saw her take your hand.”
“I think part of me knew it then, too.”
“Hold on to the hand she gave you, Eric. Hold it tight even when everything tells you to let it go. If you want to come out the other side, you will need her.”
“Can you stay, father? It would make all this bearable to have you with me again.” He looked at me sadly and shook his head.
“I will see you again, my son. I hope it is not soon.” I felt a tear slide down my cheek.
“I love you, Godric.”
“As I love you, Eric.” He did touch me then, I felt him for just a moment before he started to fade away, as I had feared he would. My last image of him was the smile he had given me the first night I rose as his child, with all the world before me, and then, Godric was gone.