The warm breeze rustled the leaves in the trees around me and blew into my face causing a stinging tear to flow down my cheek. Those trees served as my cover, and the wind blowing toward me hid my scent. I crouched behind a large tree trunk, hugging the bark as if it were my shield.
I peered through the trees that hid me, and looked out into the manicured lawn in front of Edgington’s mansion. I felt a sense of foreboding. Eric and Pam stood in the center of the lawn alone as the silent night held its breath. They waited while the night stilled in anticipation, as if every creature and every creepy crawl knew the significance of this moment.
As the minutes passed, my heart beat in brutal agony. I took shallow breaths, afraid that the noise would alert our enemies who had yet to show themselves. I was far away, across the lawn and behind the trees, but I was painfully aware of how heightened a vampires senses were.
This was the plan for me, to wait in the trees while Eric and Pam confronted Edgington to make the trade. I was the secret weapon and would only come out if the moment required it.
I silently gasped as the door to the mansion opened and four figures stepped out into the night. The first to step out was Russell Edgington. He was smiling as if this was a happy occasion and he was merely meeting old friends.
My heart beat heavily in my chest and my stomach twisted into knots when I saw Godric behind him. Oh god! He looked awful. His clothes were clean but he was covered in dried blood and grime. I wanted to look away, the pain was palpable, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
I don’t how he knew, there was no way he could smell me, but for a fraction of a second our eyes met and I saw a deep sadness sweep his features which was soon replaced by raging anger. He was angry that I was there! He was afraid I’d be harmed. It was no secret how protective Godric was, but it only strengthened my resolve. I would do anything to save him and that included putting my life at risk.
Behind Godric was Alan Nut-sucker, walking onto the lawn as if he was his own personal god. That man was responsible for everything that has gone wrong since I came here. He had been meddling in our lives since I first stepped into his office, feeding information to Edgington and serving as his lackey. I blamed him just as much as Russell for Godric captivity and torture.
My heart beat rapidly when I saw a woman come out last. That must be Angur! That must be his host! She was the one I had to blast to knock Angur out of the body and send him back to hell! It made sense he would have a woman as his next body. According to Eric, he was a perverted pig who preyed on boys and men.
I heard the crumpling of leaves behind me, and I quickly turned ready to fight whatever was sneaking up on me. My face turned pale as I saw who it was. I pressed my back against the tree trunk and raised my hand, ready to smite!
“Sookie,” Nora whispered walking up to me slowly, her hands raised in the air. “I’m not here to cause trouble.”
“Why are you here?” I whispered angrily.
“Godric is my maker. Eric might not want me here, but I have as much right as him to help free Godric.”
I raised my hand higher as she took another step towards me. I didn’t trust that woman. She had tried to manipulate Eric, violated him, and she was a Sanguinista.
“Sookie, please. I know I’ve made mistakes and I regret that. Please give me another chance. Please hear what I have to say before you form an opinion of me.”
“You have two minutes,” I hissed under my breath.
“You have to understand I was with Godric and Eric for two centuries. We had a very close relationship. It was hard for me to accept that they found a bonded. But I have thought about it and I realize now that I must accept this change. I just want them to be happy. I should have never done what I did to Eric last night. I’m so fucking stupid.” She put her face in her hands and started silently sobbing. “It’s just that I love him and I was scared for him, but it’s not the kind of love you think. I have my own lover, Sookie. I love Salome. I was in such an emotional mess when I thought Godric had met the true death. I wasn’t thinking properly. Please forgive me, Sookie. Please give me another chance to prove to you that I can be a worthy ally.”
“I just don’t know if I can trust you, Nora. Not after everything that has happened.”
“I know it will take time. But I’m willing to earn your trust if you are willing to give this a try.” She had blood tears covering her face as she spoke. “I want to help save Godric as much as you do.”
I didn’t say a word. I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t sure I could take the risk.
She took another step towards me. “I have information.” She said desperately. “A vampire approached me last night who is named Lorena. She is Bill Compton’s maker.”
“I know who she is,” I said as my heart skipped a beat.
“She knows that you killed Bill Compton. She wanted me to help bring you down, Sookie.”
“What did she tell you?” I asked, my eyes going wider.
“She wants to kill you. She has it all planned out. I know everything she is planning. I pretended I would help her so I could find out what she was going to do. She wants to lure you away from Eric during the day and capture you. She told me about the torture she has planned. She has lemons and iron and knows you are part fairy. Why would I come to you and tell you this if I wasn’t on your side?”
I nodded and lowered my hand. “Thank you for telling me about this, Nora.” I remember Claudine telling me last time we met at the safe house for a training session that I was most surely allergic to lemons and iron now that I was part fairy. Too many of my enemies already knew about this weakness. I still wasn’t sure if I could count Nora as one among my friends.
“She has something really big planned for you, Sookie. I don’t know all the details yet because she didn’t trust me enough yet to tell me. That’s why I’m here. I want to help save Godric and see what he wants me to do. I figure he’ll want me to go back in under cover and figure out what Lorena is planning. But we have to save him first. I’m leaving this in your hands, Sookie. If you tell me to leave right now, I will. You are his bonded and I will respect your decision, but you and I both know that you need me to help save Godric tonight if something goes wrong with the trade.”
“Okay, Nora. I will trust you tonight. But I’m warning you if you try anything, Godric and Eric will never forgive you.”
“Don’t worry, Sookie. I want to make this right. I want their forgiveness and I believe helping tonight will earn it.”
“We need to watch the exchange from here. We need to make sure that everything goes smoothly. If it doesn’t we will intervene.”
“Got it.” She said stepping up beside me and peering out towards the gathering on the lawn. I turned and followed her gaze.
“Why are they standing so far apart? They are practically standing on opposite sides of the lawn.”
“They’re talking at this point. Trying to agree on how to make the trade.”
“You can hear them talking? They have to be 100 yards away from each other. Damn vampires have good hearing.”
“Edgington is telling Eric that if he tries anything funny he will kill Godric.”
“Oh god.” I whispered.
“Don’t worry,” Nora said. “It is idle posturing. He wants that stone. You can tell by his body language. He’s very nervous.”
I looked over at Nora who was staring out at the proceedings with a look of determination on her face. She wanted her maker to be okay as much as I did. Despite what she might think of me or her jealousy, we were bound by a common goal and I knew she wouldn’t screw this up. I still didn’t trust her though.
I stared at Edgington across the lawn, and my lip curled in disdain. Once we got Godric back we would hunt him and every last one of his underlings until the world was rid of them. He knew this too. That is why there was no doubt in my mind that this would not be as easy as I hoped.
I looked over at Godric and was appalled at the state he was in. Not just physically, but I saw how dejected he looked. He stared back at me angrily. He was angry that I had come to save him. He wanted to face the true death without bringing any harm to me or any of our blood-line. But then I saw his eyes soften. He knew that Edgington would be an eternal enemy, and I had made the right choice. If there was going to be a war, I would need Godric fighting at my side. We needed his strength to win. This would be the first of many battles unless we managed to end it here, tonight, once and for all.
My eyes fell to Alan Nut, and I immediately knew that he was not Alan Nut at all. He was the host. His face was partially crushed in from the beating Godric had given him when we called last night. I only hoped that Sookie knew the same thing. But I knew there was no way she would be able to see his face from her position, or if she would even be able to realize that this was a sign that he was Angur. There were other signs too that Sookie would never be able to know. The manner in which Alan now carried himself was imperious and pompous, complete opposite of the uncertain and frightened way that the previous occupant of the body carried himself.
“You, Northman, will approach the center point of our positions and hand the stone to Godric who will bring it to me. Once the stone is in my possession I will release the Gaul,” Edgington said across the lawn.
I knew that Godric’s connection with Angur had successfully been re-established. If it hadn’t Godric could easily fly away with Pam and I close behind. They had nothing else to hold him there. Things were going to get very ugly, but I had no choice. My options were limited. I could either leave now with Pam, or we could see this through and try to kill Angur. My secret weapon still lay in wait in the trees. If she is able to blast Angur, who resides within Alan Nut’s body, then they will have no hold over Godric.
“Very well,” I called across the lawn.
“I don’t like this, Eric,” Pam said, grabbing my arm as I started to make my way forward.
“There is no turning back now,” I told her quietly. “We knew this might happen. That is why Sookie is here.”
I turned and began walking forward. My eyes were on my maker as he stepped out and made his way towards me, his expression stoic and calm as ever. I had no idea what he was thinking or feeling. It felt so empty without the bond between us.
My heart soared at the sight of Eric, but then anger overwhelmed me. He took it upon himself to come here, to save me. If he met the true death because of me, I would never forgive myself. I had felt a presence in the woods to the side of the property, and when I looked my face darkened, for in the woods lay in wait my true love, Sookie. I became enraged that Eric had been so careless and brought her. How could he put her in such danger? She is but a fragile human who required our vigilance and protection. Bringing her should not have been an option. Then, I remembered that she was now immortal, fae magic running through her veins, and it occurred to me that she had as much right to be here as I had to save her if she were in danger. But my protective nature was unrelenting, and my love for her was endless.
After a short exchange of words, it was decided that I would meet Eric in the middle to retrieve the stone. I started to hope that things might go well indeed. So far, no aggressive moves had been made by Edgington or Angur. The witch Kate also stood with us in her glamour state, compelled to protect Edgington if need be.
As I stepped away from my captors towards Eric, Angur grabbed me by the arm and whispered in my ear. “Once you have the stone within your possession, I command you, Godric, to destroy the Northman. Deliver him a death of both pain and slow agony. Kill him with your bare hands. You are not to speak a word until I give you permission.”
I frowned. I had expected something of this nature from Angur, but for him to not even allow me to apologize to my child for the harm I was to bring him was truly cruel in the most sickening way. I must convey with my eyes the danger Eric is in. My child will know of the plot against him if he only reads the signs. We have inferred each others thoughts for centuries.
I began walking towards Eric, he had already taken a few steps in my direction. I saw his eyebrows raise as I looked upon him, willing him to understand what was happening. He knew something was wrong and he stopped a few feet before the middle, painfully aware of the danger that vibrated in the air. I continued walking towards him, compelled by the maker command, my face etched in regret and apology.
That is when he knew, knew that I was set upon him. He took a quick step back, and I tried with every bone in my body to fight the command, my face contorted in pain as I fought it. It was no use.
I was on him in an instant. He fell backwards to the ground, his eyes widening and his lips parted. I ripped the stone from his palm and put it in my pocket. I tried to speak, to tell him to go, to flee. But no words would come, Angur made sure of that. I heard them laughing behind me.
I lifted my fist high in the air and it came crashing down…