After feeding Eric fought need to rest for the day. He felt too pressed to start the search for Sookie. Kissing Pam goodbye he went back to the mirror, and using his power to walk between the worlds, he passed back through the mirror to Paraspejl.
It was daylight there, and at once the need to go to ground fell away. Here he was just a tired man, who missed his bonded and not a creature of the night defying his very nature.
He immediately searched the house the beach and in no time the whole island for her, but she was not there. He went back to the basement and called up the mirror from Uppsala. He could see daylight there as well, so he could not pass through. Looking at the way the room was set up though there had been no change.
Eric, unsure what to do next, sat on the beach and forced himself to think. Somewhere in all that had happened there had to be some clue something that he could use to get him to Sookie.
After a few minutes he gave up and fell back onto the beach. His mind was in a loop repeating Sookie’s name over and over and he kept reaching for her but she wasn’t there. Rinse and repeat. He was still exhausted from his fight with Russell and after a few minutes, the warmth of the sun warmed him and his eyes closed for longer and longer intervals.
When they finally closed, Eric found himself sitting back in the library with The Dwarf he had seen once before. This time, he knew that The Dwarf was The Keeper of the Master’s Horses. This time Eric spoke first. “I know now what one does with Horses.”
The Dwarf nodded. “Tell me.”
“Horses are ridden. Horses are bred.” Eric’s tone was ice cold and as he spoke he leaned forward and dropped fang in The Dwarf’s face, sending a very clear message that he did not approve. Not at all. The image of heavily pregnant Sookie filled his mind and he pushed his anger toward The Dwarf, a snap away from ripping his head off and drinking from his brain stem.
The Dwarf waved Eric back. “You and I can help each other, Viking. Once, we were friends, perhaps we could be again.” Not pulling back Eric looked at him. He would have liked to hear the story of being friends but that wouldn’t get him to Sookie.
“What is it you want, Dwarf?” Leaning in closer, Eric looked deep into his eyes, demanding the truth.
“I want to stage a palace coup.” He seemed so pleased when he said those words out loud. His voice had a sing song quality that made Eric think that he had been chanting them in his head for quite some time. Cutting to the chase, Eric grabbed him by the throat and squeezed.
“You would be The Master then, Dwarf? You would depose and replace him?” The Dwarf nodded. “How would you do this? To what end?”
“Doesn’t concern you, Viking,” he managed to squeak out around Eric’s hand. He let his grip loosen and pressed him to answer with his gaze. “All you need to know, is that I don’t want your woman, you can have her when I am Master.”
“Why does he want her?” The Dwarf rolled his eyes at Eric’s question. They both knew from Eric’s earlier comment that he was asking a question he already knew the answer to. “Why does he want to breed with her?” Eric’s anger flared again.
“He can’t breed with her, Viking. He can only take advantage of opportunities created by circumstance.” Relief and anxiety for her safety swept through him. The Master couldn’t impregnate her himself, but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t find a vessel to do it.
He wants the child. Not sure if he had figured that out himself or if someone else had just told him he stood there holding The Dwarf by the neck and let his mind process that for a minute. Shaking himself back to the present.
“What do you need from me to carry out your palace coup?”
“First, fucking let me go.” Eric growled, and then roughly dropped his hold on the man’s neck. After making a show of brushing off his clothes, and straightening the wrinkles that Eric had placed in his person and his outfit he resumed his seat and looked smugly at the vampire before him.
“Second, just be you, Viking. Be who you are in all your glorious nature. You being here will be enough to get me the window I need. He hates you. Did you know that?” Eric thought about the peek he had had into The Master’s mind and nodded. He did know. That was me at your knee…
“Why does he hate me so?” The Dwarf laughed.
“Really, all this time, and you still don’t know the birthplace of hate? Don’t make him more than he is. He could be as big as all of time and space but hate is a simple tiny thing whose nature never changes, only its bearer. Why does anyone hate?” Eric thought of all the obsessed hate driven people that he had ever met. They all did have one thing in common.
Jealousy. The Dwarf saw it dawn on Eric’s face. From the way he laughed it must have looked like a sunrise.
“Bingo, Boingo! Imagine how it must suck to be jealous of a being so far beneath you that it barely even registers on the food chain. The fact that he even noticed you is beneath him.
“You are everything he longs to be. You have everything he has ever wanted. You are everything he never was, could be or will be. Oh, how he has hated you.” The Dwarf cackled in glee now, smacking his knee in joy and triumph.
“I will call you if I have need, Viking,” the smile disappeared from his face as continued to speak. “I hope you find her, Eric.” Eric heard the sincerity in his voice, and even though finding Sookie would be a blow to The Master, whom this creature wanted to depose, there was also genuine concern in his voice.
“Tell me, how do I get to her? Where is she?” he demanded ready to wrinkle The Dwarf again if needed. The Dwarf raised both his hand in the air, eyes round and large.
“Truthfully, I do not know. Once I assume the place of The Master, I will know such secrets and mysteries, but for now, I only care for the Horses.”
“Exactly, she is Horse, so you know where she is!” Eric was growing tired of these games. He would tell him where she was or he would kill The Dwarf.
“But she isn’t his Horse, Eric. I only care for his Horses. Why do you think I am here talking to you?” There was a sonic boom in Eric’s mind. That’s the sound Sookie wants to make when she flies, his mind randomly told him. It was nonsensical and designed to slow down his thoughts and prevent him from being damaged by the realization that he was The Master’s Horse.
Eric sat up on the beach screaming his denial. Immediately he contained himself, and fought to press back his rage and his fear. After several minutes he had himself under control and was able to note that there was a new smell in the air, the scent of someone who had been near him while he rested. He looked down and saw a note pinned to his shirt.
You can come see me when you wake up. If you bring some beer I will talk to you. Otherwise, don’t bother. You should tell The Dwarf to fuck off. He’s usually nothing but trouble.
Persona Non Grata
PS. Don’t fucking forget the beer, I mean it!
Where the fuck am I supposed to get beer? I could go through the mirror and get some from Fangtasia? Maybe I should try and manifest some beer? What kind…
Really? Your bonded is missing, you were caught napping by someone who is likely a part of this and very likely your enemy, and you are trying to figure out how to get some beer. Really?
Yes, really, he answered himself. If you bring some beer I will talk to you. Folks weren’t lining up to give him information and he needed to know his enemy, plus this guy didn’t sound like a fan of The Dwarf. An alternative view could be useful.
So, Eric went back to Fangtasia, grabbed a case of imported, a case of domestic and a case of Tru Blood and arriving back in Paraspejl, took to the air headed toward Persona Non Grata.
As he flew he promised himself, that if he didn’t like what David had to say he was going to eat his fucking face off for wasting his time. He was smiling when he landed.