I slipped my phone out of my pocket and hit redial. Cantos picked up on the first ring. “Warlow is here, outside the club. Get them out, send them to Sookie’s until this is done.” I hung up, and looked at her one last time. “I love you, Sookie Stackhouse. Remember that.”
“Right back atcha,” she swore, lighting up beneath me, clothing us instantly in in black battle armor. As I moved, I noted that the plates over my heart were thicker than elsewhere. I was almost there when I saw a vampire burst in beside him.
“Remember, you gave me your word that you would not kill Northman until I get the blood he stole from The Authority,” Russell said as he fell in step with Warlow.
“I remember our bargain.” Before Warlow finished growling out his promise three more vampires fell in line behind them. I shifted toward the woods to get a stake as I recognized Sophie Anne, Nora and Lorena. I heard Sookie’s voice ring out of the field behind me, and pressed myself faster to get back to her with a weapon that could even this out if I could get it before they saw me.
“Just another reason this relationship is never going to work out, Warlow. I hate your fucking friends!” I saw my shadow appear as she lit up, hurling the first fireball at Lorena. There was a very satisfying scream that ended abruptly when she disappeared, consumed by the flame.
Russell and the others rushed her, but I saw her port away before they could reach her. I was almost there, when she came back up behind Sophie Anne, staking her with a piece of wood she had conjured of her own. I came up behind Russell, my mind filled with questions as to why he had betrayed us, even as I tried to process why he wanted the blood of Lilith for his own.
Then I remembered his confession to Cantos, “I knew a fairy once, a long time ago.” Now that I saw them move together like black night toward the fairy club I was sure it was Warlow he had been talking about. When had his loyalties shifted? Had he always been aligned with Warlow in this endeavor against us?
I came up behind Russell, grabbing him by the neck and burying my stake in his dark heart, furious beyond measure that I had let my vendetta go against this murderous fucker who had come again to take away what I loved most. “Not this time, Russell!” I whispered to him as he started to crack and liquefy in my arms. When he exploded covering me in bloody bits I felt a smile light up my face. For you father, I sent out into the universe, feeling such a deep satisfaction that I regretted not giving it to myself sooner.
It was a short lived joy when I saw Warlow wave his hand breaking the spell that hid the fairy club, exposing the entrance for all to see. Some of the Fae were huddled in the door, holding each other as they stared at death coming for them. Then it got worse when Cantos appeared in front of them brandishing a sword, and dressed in his silver armor that Claudine had showed me when I was her prisoner in Fae.
Nora was on him in an instant, tackling him to the ground, holding him close as she worked for this throat. “RUN!” I heard him scream to his people as he struggled with her, rolling with her try and gain the advantage.
“NORA!” I screamed, already moving toward them, but Sookie got there first, hitting her with a bolt of light that knocked her off Cantos. He rose just in time to face Warlow who slashed with his own sword, opening Cantos up across this stomach. There was blood everywhere, so much blood that I feared Cantos was dead when he hit the ground.
Sookie left the ground to fly at Warlow, hitting him in the chest and knocking him back, rolling with him as she blasted him over and over with fire and light. I saw the other fairies popping away as I tackled my sister. She had blood on her mouth. My son’s blood.
Screaming, I ripped her head off her body and threw it across the field, then before she could explode, I ripped her arms off and tossed them as well. From the corner of my eye I saw a flash of light over Cantos. Rising to my feet ready to go to his side I saw Mira kneeling over him.
Staring longer than I should have, I turned back to Sookie and Warlow.
I just needed to buy them time to pass the image of Sookie’s house among them. Once they saw it they could port away, but they were terrified and not thinking clearly. That made it harder to share the image, and slowed their escape.
The fucking vampire was on me, but I could have taken her. I knew that, but in my fight with her I had lost track of Warlow until his blade gutted me. Dimly, I saw my father kill the vampire who had attacked me, ripping her apart in a furious display of rage that made me feel the first true threads of love for this man I did not know.
I had felt that kind of battle rage before. Now, I knew where it came from. I wished I could have felt it sooner so that I could have told him that perhaps we had more in common than I had realized, but to think it to him now would only distract him and lead to his death as well.
My eyes were slipping shut, my limbs heavy and going numb when I felt her hands touch me. My eyes jerked back open as adrenaline flooded me.
*There is nothing you can do for me now, Mira! Please, don’t let him get you, too!*
Her hands rushed over me, stopping as they found the wound that was pouring my life’s blood to the ground. I heard her grunt, and then I felt warmth coming back to my limbs.
“No! Mira, please save yourself!” I managed to get out as I tried to rise, and push her away before she could do what she was planning. Her eyes met mine, and I fell back in the face of her determination.
“I am,” she said, her voice echoing in my mind and my ears all at once, then she lit up and filled me with her Light.
When two Fae bond they exchange light and form a connection that is sacred to all of creation. It was the holiest act among my people, because it tied the two souls together for all of eternity.
It was rarely done, for the Fae could be fickle and miserly with regard to their time. What amused them one moment was cast off, and labeled as dull the next. The first time Mira had told me that she believed we were destined to bond I had sought out the ancient scrolls that spoke of this act. I had left terrified once I understood the repercussions of what she proposed.
There would be no way to hide from her in a bond like that. She would see all my secret hearts and acts that shamed me to even recall them. I had vowed to never let her see me like that. She would never see what Claudine had done to me when I came of age, before I covered myself in buffoonery and escaped her court.
She was supposed to be my mother! She was supposed to care for me, instead she only saw the face I wore and lost herself in the delusion that I was my father. The things that she had done to me, the things that she had made me to do her sickened my very soul. Mira could never be touched by the darkness that had held my mother; the darkness that she had infected me with in her madness.
“Mira, stop please! I can’t. I can’t bond with you!” Like always, she ignored my words, and followed her heart.
“My bond will protect you,” she said as she filled me with her sweet light. “It will heal you. I know you don’t want to bond with me, Cantos. It’s all right. All that matters to me is that you are safe!” Her small body shook with the force and intensity of her magics as she poured them into me. I tried to reach for her one last time, to push her away, but her power was undeniable. Even as her light filled every dark place in me, I felt my consciousness slipping away.
*I love you, Cantos.*
It was then that she let me feel it for the first time. Her love for me was unimaginable in its size and glory, making me feel smaller and darker than I ever had before.
*You could have done so much better than me, little Mira*
I was in that place again. The one I had first fallen into when I thought I had lost Eric. I could kill the world from this seat of heat and power. I would love to kill the world like this. I burned Warlow, loving the sound of his screams as my power removed his skin and dug into him, rending and tearing mercilessly.
It never occurred to me that he was holding back, until he stopped and knocked me across the field when he hit me with a blast of his own. He was on me in a flash, his huge fangs reaching for my neck, in an instinctive vampire response to my attack. When he tried to bite, the dim light that I had shown Eric in the tree burst into a supernova, knocking him back just as far as he had thrown me.
I was up in time to see Eric rush him, his own fangs down, and his hands in bloody claws. He planned to take Warlow’s head, and I felt a rush of joy as I cheered him on in our bonds. Not wanting to take another hit from my bond to Eric, he pushed him away with magic, sending him flying through the night air.
Lost in a battle rage he turned back to the fairy club, blasting a few stragglers who had not already escaped, turning them into dust that rained down on the trampled grass of the field. Then he saw Mira and Cantos and started moving toward them, his face grim and speaking of the death he planned for them.
My chest heaved with pride and love for the girl that I knew must be the one that Eric had spoken of earlier, stand over Cantos, pulling his sword up and pointing it at Warlow. She didn’t have a snowballs chance in Hell of stopping him, but she was determined to protect Cantos until the very end. I wasn’t even sure he was still alive until I saw his hands twitch, and his arms rise so that he could wrap his hands around her ankles as she stood with one leg on each side of him.
There was a bright flash of light as both she and Cantos jerked from what was passing between them.
*YOU WILL NOT HAVE HER!*
The intensity of Cantos’ mind scream made both Warlow and I stumble. I held my hand up to shield my eyes from the brightness of his bonding to her. The sword slipped from her hand as she tumbled to the ground. Even as she collapsed, she made sure to fall to the side of him, still trying to keep him safe. Dazzled from the light show, I watched him crawl to her, covering her with his body before he was still again.
Warlow screamed, and fired a powerful bolt of light at them, only to have it reflected back to him, knocking him on his ass. He exploded up from the ground, screaming in rage, just as I saw a blur that could only be Eric coming in from the left.
He turned in mid-air and held up his hand, freezing Eric above the ground. Because he was not attacking the bond did not lash back at him.
*This stops now, little star. You will come with me, or I will hold your vampire here until the sun rises, and then take you with me.*
I hit him with a burst of light that he deflected with a shield like the one I had used to stop Claudine’s magic. Growling, I hit him again and again, but each time he deflected the blows. He waved his other hand, and up from the ground came four massive tree roots, one wrapping around each of Eric’s arms and legs, holding him spread eagle on the ground. Then a fifth one came up, hovering over his heart.
*Your armor can’t protect him, little star. If I stake him here, the blow back from your bond may end me, but I would rather die than live another day without you, and I would surely take your precious Eric with me when I go. You will come with me!*
The roots had enough play that I could thrash around, but not enough give to let me truly escape.
*I will kill her if I can’t have her, vampire. Is that what you want? Would you rather she be dead than with me?*
“NO!” I screamed out, denial of his words and my impotence to do anything to save her.
*Then you will tell her to come with me, if you want her to live. In exchange, I will spare your life.*
“I don’t believe you!” I felt him invade my mind, pressing into all the places in me that we mine and Sookie’s alone. Suddenly, he laughed.
“You didn’t know!” he said, in between his guffaws. “I was Russell’s maker!” I stopped struggling from the shock of his words. He laughed again as I hung there frozen seeing the spider web that we had been stuck in all this time, never realizing the danger we were in.
Calling on all the strength I had, I tucked my secret away, and buried it in visions of my dead family. The smell of my father’s blood, my mother’s face as she lay dead on the floor from Russell’s wolves. The ripped body of my baby sister, too new to even know fear when she met her end. I kept those horrible images in my mind, breathing life into them to make them so loud and vivid that he could not get past them to the one thing I needed to keep from him.
“Where is the blood of my maker?” Warlow roared out as he pushed at me with his mind.
“I burned it!” I told him, forcing the fake memory to the surface of me in front of the fire the night we had returned from The Authority. Then I hit him right between the eyes with me and Sookie fucking in front of that same fire. He screamed his rage and let me slip past him. Now, I just had to make it real for Sookie.
“After we got back from stealing it, and I let her ride me until she passed out with pleasure from my cock inside her. While she rested, I poured that poison into the fire and burned it up!” I showed him her face as she came for me, a mask of pleasure as I fucked her in the firelight, her hair fanned out on the floor around her head like a corona. Then I showed him again how I had poured out the blood, destroying it.
“You will die for this, vampire!”
“NO!” Sookie screamed appearing beside me on her knees. Her face was a mask of tears as she looked at me. “Spare him, and I will go with you.”
“Sookie?” I stopped fighting as I looked at her in shock. She was giving up on us?
“I would do anything to save you,” she said, her voice cracking as she looked at me with love in her eyes. She turned to Warlow.
“I want your word, Warlow, that Eric will be spared, and I will go with you.”
“Prove it, little star. Come, kneel before me.” She ported to him, remaining on her knees at his feet. He knelt in front of her, and pulled her into a kiss. She did not fight him, and so again, our bonds remained dormant. I fought the roots harder, ripping my wrists and ankles open as I tried to get to her.
When he released her from the kiss he stepped back, and extended his hand to her. “You will fight me no more, little star. I can always return and kill him if you do.”
“I won’t,” she said quietly, keeping her back to me. I could feel her despair as strongly as my own. She didn’t want to go, but she was doing it to save my life. It was not an exchange I could accept. I stopped fighting the roots, and used the play in my bonds to reach into my pocket, deliberately not thinking about what I was doing.
Instead, I thought of her, and how she felt when I was inside he. Warlow’s growl told me he was still listening to my thoughts. I focused on the sweet little sounds she made in my ear as she rode me, and how it made me feel like a god between her thighs.
*You will never feel her again, vampire!*
I refocused, and thought of her that first night on the porch when she opened to me, sitting precariously on the porch banister as I kissed her, showing her in ways clearer than words that I wanted her more than anything else in the world.
“Come, little star. It’s time to go.” She stepped up beside him as my hand found what I was reaching for.
“Remember your word, you will spare him.”
“You will not have to see the death of the vampire you love, little star. You have my word.” She looked at me one last time, her gaze so intense that I thought I heard her in my mind for the first time.
*I will always love you, Eric Northman. Forever.*
As they lit up I popped the cork on the vial of Lilith’s blood, gulping it down as they faded away before me. I finished it just as they disappeared, and the root that had been hovering over my heart pierced my armor and staked me.