I stood motionless in the meeting hall, the acrid smell of dead vampires stinging my nostrils. The deafening echo of the gong rang through the Great Hall in a clamor of theatrics, a chilling symbol of the chaos that had just been reigned down on our most sacred of places.
I closed my weary eyes, though it did not matter, for these milky orbs have not been blessed with the vision of the physical world for centuries. I sighed heavily. It was a sacrifice that must be made to ensure the success of Godric’s expedition. I am a prophet of the second sight, but I am not a defiler of destinies. In spite of this, the blood tears flowed upon my face, for I have allowed my own daughter to be faced with a terrible danger beyond all inate sensibility. It would seem she must pit her wits and will against the darkest of Earth’s creatures after all.
The Wraith have spirited her away unto the lair of the damned, and there was nil I could do to change the course of history now. I must hold faith that our hero will prevail and not only save us all, but save the daughter of my flesh as well.
Sookie was the key to holding the rift from hell open. Without her, the Jewel of the Underworld was useless and the Wraith have realized this as they festered and wallowed in their desperate attempt to slither upon the world again.
They are like foul, rotten bodies without the Jewel, unable to withstand the pure air of Earth for more than a short time. Though they didn’t require breath, the air stung their skin as the sun stings mine. It was a safety measure created by the gods to keep them in their place, just as the sun keeps the vampire in theirs.
“Chancellor!” A young vampire guard bellowed as he ran up to me. “Pythia, Oracle ma’am.”
“Speak young one, for my bones are weary and my heart is heavy.”
“Titus was spotted in the Great Hall when the attack occurred. One of the vampire guards on my team confirmed his identity.”
“Where is the guard now?”
I sensed the guards movements as he looked down at the ground in sorrow. “I am sorry to report that he sustained heavy injuries and succumbed to the true death.”
I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder in a silent gesture of comfort.
“Then it is settled,” I said sighing. “Titus is working with the Wraith in an attempt to amass power.”
The pieces of the puzzle were all falling in place now. The draining of Roman boys and leaving the bodies upon the streets to be found by humans at dawn. It threatened our race, teetered on the fine line of exposing us to mortals. It was all part of the plan to discredit vampires in the supernatural community, causing in-fighting among the races as other factions vied for the revered position to lead the council. While our factions laid blame to each other and looked inward, darker forces were free to surround our flanks.
The assassination of Caesar—though he did not have knowledge of the supernatural world he was working with me indirectly. He knew too much and they needed him out of the way to take over the supernatural council. The dictator of Rome kept a tight reign on all that occurred in his domain and he was already honing in on suspicious characters such as Titus.
The abduction of the girl Alia—they mistakenly thought she possessed fae abilities, and that she might be able to unleash the power of the Jewel. That obviously had not worked since they had come for my daughter. For Alia was no fairy of the Otherworld, only touched by the hand of a druid-maker.
I now realized that if Sookie had never journeyed to the past, events would have played out differently in history. The Wraith’s attempts would have failed without Sookie’s ability to unleash the Jewel. Caesar would have still been assassinated, and the girl Alia would have died, her death pawned off as an insignificance, maybe even blamed on the blood lust of her master in order to not rouse questions from her brother Godric. And as my vision foretold, the Wraith would try again in the third era—the era where Sookie grew up in the future. She was the key. They needed her.
But now that Sookie was here, history was playing out quite differently, at least in the supernatural community.
My assistant Ass announced the last council member into the meeting hall and I stood, staring out over the creatures who stared back at me as they looked for answers.
“Is it true?” Grenhelda asked. “Has the chosen one been taken?”
“It is true,” I answered.
There were gasps around the table.
“Then we must prepare for the incursion of the Wraith,” Raven yelled in disgust. “She will be forced to unleash the Jewel’s power and the rift will be held open for them to enter our realm.”
“Is your faith in our hero so misguided that you believe he has no chance of success?” I muttered. “His destiny has not changed.”
“Look,” Crax said. “I know he’s 2000 years old, but he’s not a vampire anymore. He has no more strength than that of a human boy.”
“It is true,” Roman agreed. “You can have all the knowledge of the world within your mind, but without strength, you can be struck down as easily as a child squashes a bug.”
“I disagree,” Niall pointed out. “This mission will require more cunning and strategy than strength. The lair will be crawling with Wraith and even the strongest of us are no match for a horde of vermin such as them piled upon us.”
Scar had remained quiet up until this point but the shape shifter stood to his feet and began to speak. All eyes turned to him. “Yesterday had you asked me if we had a chance in hell of surviving this with a human such as Godric sent to save us, I would have laughed. But even I must admit, there is something about the boy. His eyes hold more knowledge and experience than anything I have ever seen—more than me, more than any of you, even more than the chancellor. Yesterday when he sat here in this very chair, I looked into his eyes, and his soul spoke to me. I felt fear. I felt awe. I felt… I do not know how to describe what I felt. But I will admit that he is not your average human boy. I choose to have faith.”
“If you are wrong,” Raven said. “Then gods help us all.”
Bill – 2000 years in the future
I paced in my room at Hotel Carmilla, leaving tracks in the floor at the end of the bed. Sookeh was gone when I rose from my daytime slumber. Surely she didn’t leave me just because I slept with my maker? I didn’t have a choice. Lorena was relentless like a crawdad on bacon.
There was no way a human has left me! Bill Compton, a vampire of my caliber! This was absurd after everything I’ve done for that woman. The only reason she wasn’t a blood slave for the Queen was because I chose to protect her. I chose not to go through with my mission and hand her over. I was like a white knight riding in on my mighty steed. How could I turn her over? She’s full of so very much goodness, she’s so sweet. She tastes amazing and she has telepathy. She’s the perfect pet. What am I saying? Sookeh wasn’t my pet, I love her. Well, she was sort of like a pet but I choose not to think of her that way. I like to think of myself as her protector.
No, she couldn’t have left me. I couldn’t detect her presence. She’s had enough of my blood that I should be able to find her anywhere. Something wasn’t right… I needed to find her and make sure she was safe. There had to be a perfectly legitimate reason why this unkind state of affairs has interrupted my evening.
To make things worse, both Eric and Godric were missing too. I assumed Godric met the sun. Good riddance. But where the hell was Eric?
“Sir,” the front desk clerk said in the lobby of the hotel. She was typing furiously on her computer and glancing up nervously at me.
“Anything?” I hissed.
“Sir, it looks like Mr. Northman hasn’t checked out. Have you tried knocking on the door?”
I hissed inwardly. “Of course. There is no answer and I could sense no one in the room. It’s empty.”
“I am not sure what to tell you, sir. Perhaps you should try his cell phone if you have the number.”
I grumbled. Why didn’t I think of the cell phone? But then again I didn’t expect him to answer. “My companion is missing. Where might I find the whereabouts of the Sheriff?”
“They have set up temporary headquarters here at the hotel after the bomb incident. You can file a report with Mr. Godric’s office.”
Maybe I could find Eric in the temporary headquarters. “Where are they set up?”
She pulled out a slip of paper and started writing on it. “There is a basement level where they have taken up temporary residence. Here is the location of the only elevator that will get you there.”
“Much obliged,” I said taking the piece of paper.
I walked across the hotel and found the elevator indicated. There was a human man waiting inside. “Going down, sir?”
“Yes, take me to the Sheriff’s office.”
“Very good, sir,” he said punching on the elevator buttons.
If I found Sookie down there with Eric I would be livid. Curse that damned Viking and his little maker too. It was bad enough that she insisted on going up to them on the roof. My human was out of control, but things were fragile with her. I had to give her a bit of freedom if I wanted her to be with me willingly. It wasn’t like another human. I couldn’t glamour love from her. I had to earn it. It was actually one of the things that attracted me to her so much the night I met her at Merlotte’s. Everyone likes a good challenge. Then like the fool I am, I have fallen in love with her as surely as a master loves his hound. She reminded me of my dog Old Blue from my human days. She stirred the nostalgia in me like a festering storm of contentment.
In light of these circumstances, I found myself walking a fine line to which I could end up on the receiving end of a wooden stake if I wasn’t mindful. It wasn’t easy juggling a demanding Sheriff like Northman and a child Queen like Sophie-Anne. Both of whom wanted my human. But who could blame them? I was the envy of some very powerful vampires and that thrill made the danger worth it.
I exited the elevator and spotted Isabel.
“Compton,” she said turning to me after handing a clipboard to someone. “What can I do for you?”
“My human is missing.”
“Your human? What human?”
“Sookeh! Sookeh is missing!” I growled.
“Miss Stackhouse?” She paused. “Oh right. Your human. You can file a report with the missing companion’s desk. But I’ll warn you they have their hands full after the bomb.”
“Where’s Eric?” I demanded. “He’s missing and he always seems to have his fingers in knuckle deep when it comes to my Sookeh.”
“How should I know?” She hissed shortly. Something was off. She knew something and she wasn’t going to tell me.
I never understood why Eric seemed so taken with my Sookeh from the moment he met her, as if he had been waiting his whole 1000 years for her to walk through those doors at Fangtasia. Then to make things worse he was desperate to get her to Dallas. Something stunk and I didn’t like it.
She was mine! That little fact was what kept him at bay. He couldn’t take her away from me. He couldn’t force my human to do anything unless she agreed. She didn’t know him and he didn’t know her, thank god and I preferred to keep it that way. Once this Dallas bullshit was behind us we’d go back to Bon Temps and continue business as usual. I’d feed from Sookeh for the remainder of her life and live in perpetual bliss while Eric watched from the sidelines, seething in jealousy.
“I swear to you my love, we shall see each other again.”
“I don’t think you should go.” Sookie looked at me with tear-filled eyes. “They should send one of the vampires. These Wraith sound dangerous.”
She launched herself at me and threw her arms around my neck. We stood silently for the longest time. I could feel her warm tears on my skin.
I opened my eyes back up, remembering my farewell to Sookie. I reached up and touched my neck where her tears had fallen from her silent sobs. That was yesterday and I had been traveling the better part of the day with a pack of provisions strapped to my back and several weapons holstered around my body.
Now that Sookie was mine, nothing would keep me from her. I would tear the world apart, make any sacrifice, and even kill to be with her again.
Despite the looming uncertainty that was approaching, I had never felt such a sense of peace and contentment in my long immortal life. The only regret that I had, was walking away from her, leaving her back at the Great Hall in a state of worry and sadness at my possible demise. That look in her eyes told me one thing—I must survive this so we can be together again. I must seek out the Jewel and save my sister Alia from the unknown so I can return to Sookie and quell her aching heart, for I never want to be the cause of any unpleasantness when it came to my love.
I have happily consigned myself to living my life out as a human with Sookie at my side. The feeling has been weighing on me but I knew that the one thing I wanted as much as her, was a child to grow within her womb, a child mixed of our essence. Nothing in the world was more desirable and beautiful than that thought. Yes, I would be human. I would give up my strength and my immortality to walk at her side until we grew old together and ascended to the afterlife as one.
I smiled to myself as I walked along the barren landscape towards the location of the rift that the Pythia had provided me with. The idea of a child seemed so magnificent, so wondrous and inspiring, as if my entire life had culminated to this point, to this juncture. All of my experiences, and deeds (good and bad) had been preparing me for this life with her, with a child, with a family. Family…
I felt as if I had been blessed by the gods themselves, or the spirits as Alia would say. But first I must save the world, so to speak, before I can return to Sookie and begin this new life.
I squinted my eyes as something in the distance came into focus. The sun had gone down hours ago and the night was thick and heavy, but the ground glowed tan from the dead, dirt-covered landscape that reflected the faint moonlight, the ground cracked and parched from eons of drought. There was not a living thing in this forsaken place for which no human dared to dwell. No plants, no animals, not even a solitary insect, as if the land was made for the unclean to take their first footsteps in paradise. Even the life giving water that came from the heavens dared not touch this place. The wind whistled around me blowing dust in my face and causing me to labor in my breathing.
I pulled the cloth back over my face and my hood tighter over my head as I strained to see. Something had gotten my attention. There was an outcropping of rocks in the distance, and I knew I had found the entrance to the lair that hovered between this world and the next. It was the closest the creatures of the damned could come until the power that culminated in the Jewel of the Underworld was unlocked.
I ducked my head into the brutal winds and trudged forward with heavy steps, fighting the gale that was desperate to keep me at bay.
My destiny awaited me in that desolate place…
A/N: I’d like to thank my husband for inspiration to write this chapter. Here is his picture…