He left me chained to that wall for the whole day and the next night, never allowing me to go to my rest. After carving his initials into my chest, he had rubbed silver powder into the wounds. He did this again and again throughout the day and following night, never letting me heal. He meant to scar me for as long as possible so I would know whom I belonged too. He finally pulled me down just prior to the next dawn so I would have some time to heal before he sent me out to procure another meal for him. Of course he did not want me so weak that I could not find food for him.
When I wake the following night I am still in a considerable amount of pain. I am also starving. The bastard never allows me to drink. I only get to eat when I am out looking for his meal. He likes me best when I am angry and starving. I am much more vicious and in less control of myself that way. The less I control myself, the more he gets to punish me.
So without any blood to drink, only one day rest, and all the silver in my system I am not healing as I should. The skin exposed to the silver chaining me to the wall is only half healed. The letters carved into my chest are still open, swollen, and oozing blood. I feel like I am back on the battlefield dying from sword wounds. I have to get out and find food before I even think of going near Sookie tomorrow night. In this condition I would drain her dry and rip her to shreds within a heartbeat. My animal instincts cause me to groan just thinking about the idea of her sweet blood. NO! Not Sookie. I will never hurt her, never.
She is the only thing I thought of to get me through this last round of torture. Every time he would come back with the silver powder I would close my eyes and remember her gorgeous face as she smiled. I would hear her laughter, or see her in the throws of passion. I would remember her smell, how she tasted, or the feel of her skin beneath mine. I went over our night in my head countless times while I hung there. I could have easily given up, but I knew if I held on I would see her again. I promised her I would be back, I could not let her down.
She is also the reason I am dragging myself up from the rags Appius left me on and getting myself ready to leave. I gently pull on some pants, making sure they hang below my tender waist and grab my boots. My ankles are in too much pain to wear them right now. Putting on a tunic is also out of the question.
I make it into the hall without an audience and look around for a piece of vellum to take with me. I do not want to show up with no information for Sookie. I hope to draw her a map of the lair and the general area around it. Before long I find an old book and tear out one of the empty back pages. I stuff it in my pocket and head to the tunnel entrance.
“Eric. Are you leaving without saying goodbye?” I hate that his voice makes my blood run colder than it already is. I steal my expression then turn and face him.
“I will have to travel far if I am to find you a good meal, Master. I thought it best that I leave tonight,” I tell him, trying to keep my voice calm and smooth.
“Very well, but I would like you to bring us two this time. Your brother pouts that he must always share. I should stop spoiling him so. Anyway, you know what we like. Be back four nights from now. That should be plenty of time.” He dismisses me with a wave of his hand. I nod, gritting my teeth and then turn to leave.
“Oh and, Eric,” he says pleasantly, stopping me in my tracks. I turn to face him again. This will not be good.
“Your chest,” he says walking up to me, waving at his handiwork. You may heal it, but not until the evening before you return. You will ruin our appetites if you come back looking that way,” he says, acting as if it is my fault I look like a shredded piece of meat. “I can feel your pain and I will know if you heal too quickly. So unless you would like more unpleasantness when you get back, I suggest you do as I say. Here,” he places the bottle of silver powder in my hand. “This may help.” His smile is pure evil. My fangs pop, but I manage to keep my mouth closed in front of them. That does not keep him from hearing them or feeling my bolt of rage though. He walks off, his maniacal laughter resounding through the hall.
Malicious fucker! By the gods, I will see him to his end! I shove the powder in my pocket with the vellum and get out of there as quickly as possible. I am through the tunnel and in the air in moments. I must find a meal and fast. My body is screaming at me in rage, pain, and hunger. I suppose I will have to glamour my meal to rub the powder into my wounds while I feed to keep them from healing. Fucking Appius and his sick sadistic mind! I must not risk him coming after me if he feels my pain subside though. The bastard is now finding ways to torture me even when he is not there to do it. The sooner we can end him the better.
Speaking of we, what am I going to do about Sookie? She will be the one in a rage when she sees my chest. I should have brought my tunic with me. Finding a blood bag as large as me to steal one from is going to be difficult. I decide to try the same village I stopped at last time. I really do not care if it is too soon to go back. I do not have time to look further. My speed is already so slow I am hardly staying in the air as it is.
The gods are with me it seems because I am able to find a farmer out checking on his livestock. He is a hefty fellow too, all the better. More blood for me and a tunic to that will fit. He is shocked by my presence but I have him under my influence quickly. I bite back my rage when I have to glamour him to rub the silver into my chest. I drain as much from him as I can without killing him, doing my best to ignore the searing pain coming from my chest. I can feel the silver burns from the chains healing and my strength returning after the first few gulps. The silver powder did indeed keep my chest from stitching back together though. I do not know whether to be furious or thankful. Both, I suppose. I pull the tunic from the farmer and lay him against the outside of his livestock pin. I would hate for the hogs to get him after he helped me. I slip the tunic on, gritting my teeth against the pain, pull on my boots, and shoot into the sky. I have a long way to go before I see my golden faerie again. I land in a forest close to dawn and dig my resting place. I picture Sookie’s beautiful face as the sun takes me for another day.
I rise from the ground as soon as the last rays of the sun disappear and shake the dirt out of my hair and clothes. Much to my pain and frustration the tunic is stuck to my chest wounds, it is better than dirt I suppose. Maybe if I beat Sookie to the lake I can loosen it if I have a good soak. I think I just have to accept she is going to see it, but I will try to keep it from her as long as I can.
I make it to our spot soon after, but decide to go to the far end of the lake to wash first. I dive in, clothes and all, and slowly swim to our shore. When I rise up out of the water, there stands my goddess. Her smile is enough to warm my cold dead heart. I am in front of her before she takes another breath.
“Lover, I can not believe how much I have missed you.” I grab her beautiful face in my hands and kiss her before she even has a chance to speak.
“I missed you too Eric, so much,” she breathes against my lips the first chance I give her.
Our hands are everywhere as our lips battle for dominance. We only stop when Sookie needs to breathe. She begins to giggle, and I can not help but laugh with her. It is so good to be here with her again.
“Why were you swimming?” she asks, “You are getting me all wet!”
“I needed to wash all the dirt off from my day rest before I saw you. I did not think you would like to love on a dirty viking vampire,” I tease.
“You would be correct, Sir,” she grins.
“How are you, min lilla? Are you well? Did you have any problems at home?” She seems well, I just want to be sure.
“I am fine. I only had one small problem, but it is under control, so there is no need to worry. How about you? Was he terrible to you?” I can tell she is afraid to ask, but she wants to know all the same. She must have seen the wary look in my eyes because she flings herself into my arms landing roughly against my chest. I am sure it was meant to comfort me, but there is no holding back the sharp hiss of pain. Fuck! I had hoped to keep this a secret for much longer.
She jumps back quickly, “What is it? What is wrong, Eric? Did I hurt you?”
I can hear the fear in her voice.
“You did not hurt me, min lilla. Appius did,” I assure her.
“But…..how? Why are you still in pain? Why have you not healed yet? Show me, Eric. Show me now!” She is getting more agitated by the second.
“Lover, please. I will heal in time. There is no need to upset you,” I try to reason with her.
“Eric, if you do not take that tunic off right this minute, I will do it for you!”
Now she has angry tears threatening to spill. There is no use fighting with her. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, even though I do not need one, knowing this is going to hurt like a son of a bitch. I figure ripping the tunic down the front will be the easiest and least painful way to remove it, so I use my vamp speed to get it over with quickly. I still am not able to hold back a roar when half of my skin leaves with the tunic.
Her gasp and the curse that follows it are almost as loud.
“Oh Eric! That fucking monster!!” She is just staring at what is left of Appius’ handy work. Soon the hot tears are spilling over and down her cheeks, but when she looks me in the eye, all I see is pure hate.
“I am going to kill that fucking blood sucker if it is the last thing I ever do! First my family and now you. It is time for that bastard to die!” she seethes.
Wait, what did she just say? Her family? What the fuck is she talking about?