“You can never see the end of the choices you make when you make them.” Warlow’s voice filled my head, though had he had left me alone in his dark home, made of darker stone, right after I had spit in his face, and told him I would never get over Eric.
I had thought he was going to hit me. He certainly could have, and I believe he wanted to, but instead he had unceremoniously dropped me on my ass and ported away. I had tried immediately to port away as well, back to my farm, back to my Eric, back to any fucking place that was not owned by the man who had abducted me, but something was preventing me from teleporting away.
I felt it all around me, like a giant fist, closed just tightly enough to let me know I was being held by a magic strong enough to prevent my escape. After a brief temper tantrum of fire balls that bounced off the stone walls harmlessly, I had collapsed on the floor to regroup.
I had known Warlow wasn’t far, but his voice in my head was unexpected when it came at me, rolling like thunder through my thoughts of Eric and home. “I certainly didn’t know that mine would end like this.” I didn’t ask him what he meant, I was sure he would go on, even if I didn’t ask. He did me one better, he pulled me into his mind, and showed me in images and feelings the events that had set him on the path to this moment.
“The Elders of my tribe had warned of the dangers of your world. They had spoken of creatures who would slay us, or take our Light, but I was barely of age when I arrived there. It was an exciting time because we had not visited this place before, and I was one of the lucky ones chosen for the expedition. We were supposed to stay together at all times, and port back home immediately if we met any hostiles. The lush greenness of this world called to me, and I was intoxicated with all the sights and smells that surrounded me.
“Being creatures of the Light, we gathered at night around our fires and exchanged information of what we had discovered during the day, but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to see more, and I had no patience to wait for the sun, or the organized teams that went out.
“So, I began to sneak out of our encampment, and explore a world that none of the others had the courage to seek. If the world was magical beneath the yellow sun, it was even more so in the silvery cloak of its single moon. So many things in your world only come out at night. She only came out at night.”
I saw her then, as he had seen her the first time. She was tall and majestic with long black hair that hung to hips. She moved like the night itself, taking down game, savaging them as she drank their blood, covering her naked body in a jubilant celebration of existence and her will to live. I felt the desire he felt run through his body when he first beheld her.
“I was new to the ways of the flesh, but not inexperienced. When I grew hard at the sight of her, needing to feel her in the way that only a man can experience, I was frightened and exhilarated. I was overcome by her irreverence and her passion, and it dulled my sense of self-preservation to near non-existence.
“I watched her for many nights, hiding in the weeds as she bathed, the trees as she feasted, the wind as she traveled at speeds that rivaled my ability to port. I listened to her thoughts, and knew how she felt when she caught my scent on the air around us. I felt her desire me, as much as I did her, and that made me even more reckless.
“I started to port to places that I knew would let her smell and sense me, playing a game of tag with the beautiful deadly creature that haunted my dreams during the day and night. I told no one of her. I wanted her all to myself, and I knew that if they did not force me to port him back through the gate they would try and take her for themselves, maybe both. So we played. Looking back, I honestly can’t say who the hunter was, and who the prey was.”
“He came to my resting place, he touched me when I was dead beneath the sun, hidden in cave where the light could not find me.” We were still in my bar as she told me of her time with the one who had taken my Sookie. I didn’t care about their story, and I could tell she knew that, but she made me listen, both with my ears and my mind. She was in me now, and I could not turn her off as I might my own thoughts. I had opened the door when I had taken her blood, and now she walked through the rooms of me as if she owned the house of my soul.
“I had been playing with him for many nights when he breached my sanctum. I was fascinated by his scent, his ability to elude me even as he begged me to come and take him. I could smell his desire for me lingering in every breeze of the night. It was like nothing I had experienced before. Until Warlow, if I saw something I wanted I took it. I crushed it in my hands as I held it to my breast, and fed on the wonders of the night, because they were all mine to do with as I pleased.
“The fact that he held himself from me made him worthy prey. I wanted him so badly it burned into my bones. All other blood tasted less than satisfactory as his scent filled the night around me. I wanted to fuck him and consume him.” She stopped there, looking at the walls of my mind and heart as though she stood in art gallery instead of a man.
“I see that you felt the same for your woman. That you wanted her because she spurned you at first.”
“Do not speak of her!” She reached out with her mind, and brought my body to its knees.
“Remember your place, you invited me in, Viking.” Her scorn of me, and my worth as an individual, were plain in her tone as she called me by the name I had been known by for centuries.
“DO NOT SPEAK OF HER!” I said again, sure that even if it ended me now, my love for Sookie was not something for her to touch. I heard her laugh.
“If only Warlow had been so gallant to his lady fair, we might all be somewhere else right now.”
“I followed her to her resting place,” Warlow went on, showing me his past, letting me feel it in our mind connection. Every thrill, every desire so strong and pure they were like my own. When I felt myself grow wet as he leaned over her hard and aching to touch her. It was a feeling that my mind and body associated only to Eric, and so his memories conjured my own, leaving me trembling in real time as he had six thousand years ago.
“I used my Light to break the darkness around her, and had my first full look at the Queen of my Night. I touched her, letting my hand linger on her face, her arm before I pulled back. I wanted her very much, but not like this. I wanted her awake and willing, but still she held me captivated.
“After our dances in the dark I went back again and again, not staying long, but long enough to take a fresh memory of her lovely face with me when I returned to scout with the others during the day. They smelled her on me, but didn’t know what she was, and so were only curious, but not alarmed.
“I refused to tell them, and eventually, as they looked deeper into their new world they found other things that were more tangible and exciting to them. For me, nothing in the world rivaled her. I could sense she was on the edge of some decision, though all I heard in her thoughts was how much she wanted me, and all I could truly claim is that I wanted her just as much.
“Do you think that we loved them so because of their Dark, little star?” I gasped when the mind images halted and his mind turned to me with his question. I curled around myself, strung out on ancient desire that hung on the verge of fulfillment. It took a moment to gather my thoughts, and before I could answer he went on. “I think so. I think that the Dark in them calls to the Light in us, weaving an unbreakable net of love and destruction.”
“I will not discuss my Eric with you.”
“No, I suppose not, little star. It’s unfair of me to ask. I offer not a bargain or a trade, only a gift that you may know me.”
“I don’t want to know you!”
“Sweet, lying, little star. You do. Your body wants me even now. The connection we share is like none you have ever known. You have seen nothing of how we can truly be.” I growled, but did not answer again. I held on my Viking and waited, knowing that this had to end soon. It was just a dark fairy tale, and eventually they all ended. The witch was shoved in the oven, the bad queen was killed for her wicked ways and the good guys always won. I just had to hold on.
“Funny, I’ve been thinking that very thing for six thousand years. The difference is that you see me as the villain of this story, while I in turn see my happy ending in you. I was never the witch, or the wicked queen, little star. I was a man in love, no different from your Eric.”
“If you think you are like my lover, you are one crazy son of a bitch!”
“He gave his life for you, little star, as I gave mine for her. I don’t see the difference.”
“’I know you are there. Come and speak to me!’ I finally commanded him after many nights of waking covered in his sweet scent. I could stand it no more. He was all around me in the night, but just beyond my reach. There was a blinding flash of light that forced me to shield my eyes, and then I saw him for the first time.
“My night eyes showed me a creature of ethereal beauty, made of flesh and Light in equal parts. He warmed my cold flesh with only his presence. I had felt the warmth of the stone in early night and wondered if it was him that warmed the earth around me. I took a step toward him, but he took one back keeping the distance between us.
“His delicious scent became tainted with fear. I disliked it intensely that he should fear me, and so I sat down on the ground, in an effort to make him stay. ‘What are you?’
“‘I am Fae,’ he told me. “And you?’
“’You feed on the blood of live things.’
“’And what do you feed on?’
“’Plants, sometimes the flesh of animals.’
“Are these not live things?’ He waited a long time before he answered.
“’I do not take the pleasure in feeding that you do.’
“’Then why do it at all?’
“’I feed to survive.’
“’Then we have that in common, even if we do not agree on the pleasure one can take in the experience.’ He sat down then, keeping the same distance between us as he stared at me, turning my words over his mind. I wanted to feast on him in every way, and I was barely able to contain my desire, however, I was curious as well. He was new to me. I wanted to savor him fully before the inevitable happened.
“’I can see in your mind that you want to devour me.’
“’Then you can also see that I will not.’
“For now.’ He said no more, but I think he knew then it was inevitable between us as well. Still, he came back day after day, and night after night. I could have moved my resting place, but I had come to enjoy awakening with the touch of him on my skin, and he came back because he enjoyed the passion that I held for him inside me.”
As much as I hated it, I could see the similarity in their story to mine and Sookie’s. I too had wanted to devour her from the moment I saw her, but had stayed that desire, and found so much more than I had ever thought possible just in coming to know her.
“See, you do understand because of your woman.” I closed those thoughts down immediately, still refusing to let her rifle though my most precious memories. I was surprised when she let it go and went on, but I shouldn’t have been. This was her story, and her time, and she as lost it as I was to being subjected to it.
It was all far more than I had bargained for when I had swallowed her blood. If I had known this would happen I might have made a different choice, but there was no going back now.
“No,” she agreed in my mind as she showed me what happened next. “There is no going back for any of us now.”
“We spoke for many nights like that, coming a little closer until we eventually sat side by side under the stars. I touched her first, I could stop myself no longer. I had touched her as she lay dead in the height of day, I needed to feel her when life animated her form. I was shocked to feel her still cool as she leaned into my hand, letting her eyes close in obvious pleasure from my touch.
“She always fed before we met in the dark. I had asked her why, and saw in her mind and heard in her words that it helped her control the desire she had to feed on me.
That should have been enough to make me run away from her. But her honesty, and her efforts to curb her instincts just to be near me were seductive. I was making similar efforts to keep her secret and safe, and found myself being bound closer to her with each dangerous action.
“We were a love that never should have been, that was against all our instincts and yet still, there we were. We were two lovers that defied rules and laws and nature itself. That too can be seductive, in its own way. I know you know that as well, little star. You cling to your love of the vampire because you believe that I, among others, seek to take it from you.”
The tenderness of his words and emotions were undoing me even more. He was soft here in the dark of my thoughts, so true in his desire for the vampire he found in those long ago nights, that I could not stop myself from feeling that I understood him, even if he was still my enemy. I knew that was why he was telling me all this, revealing himself to me in such brutal honest detail, but the knowledge did nothing to lessen the effects of his truth.
Still, my love for Eric was not something I was willing to share with him, and true to his word he pressed no further before resuming his tale. “I touched her first, I know that. I do not know who kissed the other first. I only recall the feel of her soft lips and the sweetness of her taste to me.
“I had imagined she would be as savage in her passion as she was in her feeding, and she was. She was a wild thing as she rode me in the field beneath the stars. I made her come again and again, feeling pride in my prowess and love for her as she writhed and called for me again. She was merciless in her love that night, leaving me only when the sun threatened to burn her.
“In all my years I have never felt as I did that night as I fucked her. She was a goddess, and she was mine in every way.” He let me feel all that, every pleasure, every time his spine tingled as he buried himself inside her cool wet flesh, filling her again and again with his seed. The intensity of it knocked me back to the floor as my body orgasmed in time with each memory of his release. I was swept away hearing my cries echo on the dark stone as I shrieked and moaned. He even let me feel the emptiness that filled him when she took one final kiss and sped off into the dark toward her cave. He was desolate when she left him.
“I ported to her cave, and held her as the sun rose. When she died in my arms part of me died with her.”
“When he met me at the cave, and held me until I lost consciousness I knew that I wanted him with me forever. It was my final thought when I died, and the first one when I awoke.
“I found him by the river that was near where we had consummated our love the night before. He opened his arms to me, as happy to see me as I was to see him again. But in my eagerness to find him I did not hunt. Before I realized what had happened I had drank his sweet blood to the point of death.
“It was instinct that made me tear open my flesh and feed him my blood. I had no idea what would happen, I was lost in sorrow and grief for my actions, only knowing that I could not lose him to death. I gave him so much that I was on the verge of death, but still he did not awaken. After feeding, I took him back to my cave, unwilling to leave him there alone.
“When I woke the next night he was awake beside me, but I knew immediately that something was different. His smell had changed, now he smelled like me. His Light was gone, now he was only Dark, but more than any of that, he was hungry.
“I took him to hunt, and at first he was elated when the hot blood touched his mouth, but before he was even done feeding, his sense of self returned and he cataloged what was missing as part of his new transformation.”
I felt her sorrow, and her pain as I had felt her passion when she recounted their night together in the field. Her emotions were all overwhelming to me. I had tears on my face, and come running down my leg from the ride she had taken me on in the recounting of this tale, but she wasn’t done yet. There was one more piece she had to show me.
“There was not enough blood to fill the hole that was in me. My Light was gone. I had no way of knowing how horrible that would be until it was. She tried to love me, she tried to show me the beauty of her world, but I could not see it behind all the memories of things I had lost.
“She knew I mourned my family most so she made other children as she had made me, using humans. They were like her, forced to retreat from the sun, but I could still walk in the day. It was a most painful reminder that I was neither one thing nor the other.
I tried to return to the Fae, but was not able to control my rage and hunger, and so I killed them all, except the one you call Niall. In a moment of despair, I bargained with him to make a bride for me. One that could also walk in the day and the night. One that was more than Fae, who could withstand the love of what I had become, and so he made you for me, little star.”
“He was never the same, and I hated him for his resentment of the gifts I had given him. I loved him, too though. It’s a short distance between the two, as they say. I never dreamed he would end me, until he did. He ripped open the walls of my sleeping place and let the sun burn me. I saw him watch me burn. I don’t think he enjoyed it as much as he thought he would.
“He came down into the cave and took my burning body into his arms, crying over me as I died. Even in the pain all I could think of was that one perfect night I had spent in his arms and wonder why he did not love me as I had loved him.”
“Her last thoughts as she burned in my arms were of the night we had together before I lost the Light that made me what I had been. I couldn’t go back, not to that night and not to before I had exposed her to the sun. We were both trapped, but at least she was freed by my actions.”
“He must have hated me so much to do that, but his face was filled with sorrow and I could not understand why he would do this thing if the choice gave him so much pain.
“I have not been able to rest in all these years. I have not been able to move beyond this world. At times I have hated him, and at times I have loved him.
“Now, I want to set him free, because I think that he believes that is what he did for me.”
“I heard later that when the ones who had not burned awoke, they gathered up her remains and placed them in an urn. They continued to worship her, calling her a goddess, saying that she was the daughter of a god, but these are just names that have power because someone believes they do. For a brief moment she was mine and I was hers, and those will always be the only things that matter to me. I did not know her blood was still around until Russell told me you had stolen it from her worshippers.
“I regret not killing them all when I burned her, but when my Light did not return after her death, I was too devastated to even consider it. By the time I did, they had moved, and I didn’t have the heart to hunt them. I wanted to forget. I wanted to be with you, little star.
“I think that when we join, your Light will fill the hole in me and I will be as I was once more. I will give you anything, I will be everything you could ever dream or need, little star. I have waited for you to make me whole again.”