“Ah, it seems the young one is still able to sense you in his blood despite the pain,” Niall muses as he continues down the path.
I’m still stuck to the spot I was in when I first heard Andre’s screams, my blood running cold. I care nothing for the little pissant, but knowing he can sense my blood….
That fucking terrifies me.
Gripping my wife tighter in my arms to give myself a sense of peace, even if it is false, I growl at Niall, “Fuck the pain he is in. How can he still feel me now that Sookie and I have such strong bonds? If Andre can feel me, then that sadistic fucker I must call maker can too. And if he can do that he may still be able to command me.”
Sookie wraps herself tighter around me as her fear spikes through the bonds. I barely hear the chant she is whispering against my neck.
“He can not, he can not, he can not……”
Niall stops and turns around, looking at me with a grave expression, “I do not know for certain whether Appius will be able to command you or not. Unfortunately the blood that runs through your veins still has a fair amount of his in it. Since your transformations, the same may be said of her blood too,” he says quietly, waving his hand towards Sookie.
It is what he leaves unsaid that stops my heart.
No, it can not be! He can not command her too!
Thousands of memories flash through my mind of the tortures he has subjected me too, then suddenly it is Sookie I see he is raping, beating, and slicing into with his silver knives.
I nearly fall to my knees when my panic takes hold and threatens to consume me. I manage to catch us despite stumbling when Sookie drops to her feet to help hold me up. She whimpers as we cling to each other desperately, our bonds falling into chaos from my fear.
We have to go back.
We have to stay in Faerie.
We can not go after him. Confronting him will be nothing but a fool’s errand. A pathetic attempt that is all but certain to end in our slow, excruciatingly painful deaths.
Her unspeakable pain.
Her death that will linger in agony.
He will never know she exists, never lay eyes on her, never destroy the light she carries inside of her, or touch her perfect skin with his evil.
I will not risk her life just to get my revenge. I will never do anything that could put my bonded at risk of being tortured by that malicious monster. My stomach nearly revolts at just the thought it.
The fact that Andre is still screaming in agony only solidifies my decision. He reminds me of myself those first years with Appius before I learned he liked it better when I screamed.
“We must go back,” I whisper to Sookie.
She looks up at me with wide eyes full of fear and nods her head.
I hold her close and look up at Niall, “Whoever is up there with him, tell them to end him and be done with it. We are going back to Faerie and there we will stay. It was foolish of us to ever believe we could defeat Appius. It can not be done if he has even a single thread of control over us,” I tell him, picking Sookie back up in my arms.
I turn and take us back down the path, hoping between the two of us we can figure out how to return to the castle. The sooner we are back there the sooner I can breathe again and calm my wife’s fears.
I have taken no more than three steps before Niall blocks our way.
He must want to die today.
The anger I have felt towards him over the last days flairs into a fury and my fangs slam into place, “Unless you wish to die in front of your Granddaughter, I suggest you move the fuck out of the way,” I hiss at him with a deathly calm.
He takes one step back and over, holding up his hands. Maybe he does not want to die after all.
I brush past him and continue on my way.
“You did not let me finish,” Niall says to our backs.
I stop but only turn my head to look back at him, “I do not care what you have left to say, faerie. I refuse to risk her life. I will die before she gets anywhere near that monster.”
“You are both forgetting what we discussed in my study,” he say calmly, “Think granddaughter, separate yourself from his fear and think about what She said.”
Seconds before I put her down to go kill the faerie bastard Sookie tugs on my tunic while pushing her pleads of understanding at me. I turn and look down at her and do not like that the caution has faded from her eyes.
“Listen to him. Please?” she begs me softly.
Moments ago she was terrified, now she wants me to listen to him?
“Sookie, no! This folly is over and done. We will go back to your home where you are safe. I have made up my mind,” I tell her with a scowl and start to walk again.
She wiggles and squirms against my hold then finally pops from my arms when I refuse to let her go. She stops me with a hand on my chest her other one firmly on her hip.
“We are a team, Eric. It is not just you anymore and not just me either. We have been over this before. It was you that said we were two halves of the same whole a week ago. Nothing has happened since then to change that for the worse, only the better. We are a fated pair, eternal mates, husband and wife, Eric! We make our decisions together. Not separately,” she scolds me gently.
When I only stand there and continue to scowl at her, because I can not believe she is on his side rather than mine, she tries again.
“Eric, my love, please listen to me,” she begs taking a step closer and grasping at my tunic. “I know you are scared, I am too, but did you not say less than an hour ago that you do not question The Ancient One and the fates? That to do so meant certain death?”
I almost hate how she always manages to be the voice of reason in our relationship.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath letting it out with a sigh, “Yes.”
Sookie wraps me tightly in her arms and floods me with love and comfort, “She said we would conquer all our foes and live in peace for eternity with our children, Eric,” she whispers against my chest then looks around my side at Niall, “Did she not say that to you?” she asks him.
I do not bother to turn around and look at him, but I hear his answer clearly.
I gently hold her in my arms and pop us several yards away from him. I know I could speak with her telepathically but I just feel better being away from the bastard right now.
I do not give her time to fuss before I whisper in her ear, “That is what he told us The Ancient One said. I’m sorry, kära en, but I do not trust him. How can we be sure he is telling us the truth? He has put you in danger more times than I care to remember. What makes you think this time is any different?”
I feel a flash of anger then a steady stream of determination from her as she pulls out of my hold and crosses her arms over her chest, “Alright, if you think that is the case then I guess that means Godric was lying too. We can not trust him either.”
I’m not able to suppress the growl that erupts from my throat at her disrespect of my maker.
Sookie raises her eyebrows at me, not backing down an inch. Of course she knows I would never hurt her, so I’m not surprised at her cheekiness, but I quickly control myself when I realize the point she is trying to make with it.
Almost everything Niall told us was in Godric’s letter.
Niall could have read it though and made up the rest. But why would he do that? Yes, he wants Appius dead, but would he go so far as to let his beloved granddaughter bond with and marry a vampire to make sure it happened?
Possibly, but he could not have known Sookie and I would find each other all those night ago.
Any other vampire would not have done, it had to me and it had to be her for all of this fuckery to fall into place as it has. Even Niall could not come up with the twisted fuck of a mess that is our lives. I trust Godric’s words without question and if I trust his, I must trust Niall’s too it seems, as much as I hate it.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
I just want to take Sookie to safety and forget the rest. I do not care if we are stuck in faerie for eternity. As long as she is with me and safe I will be fine.
Looking down into the face of my wife as she stares up at me, somewhat patiently, I know I must make a choice here and now.
Do I defy The Ancient One and keep Sookie safe or trust her visions of us were true and end Appius at the risk of Sookie’s life?
I have a feeling my feisty lover is not going to just let me take her back anymore, she will fight me tooth and nail until she gets her way. So not only do I risk defying the Ancient One and fate, I will also suffer the wrath of my wife.
My mind is swirling with thoughts of ways to end all of this fucking mess without risking the woman I love. Only one of them seems to be nagging at me to listen to it though.
The Ancient One told Godric and Niall we would defeat our foes and be happy, but she did not say how. She never said we would end him together. So just as I thought the night Sookie and I made the decision to bring Appius his true death, I again make the choice to do it alone.
Somehow, someway I will keep her in Faerie then leave to end this on my own.
Getting a tight lock on my emotions and shields, so hopefully she does not figure out my plan, I take her back in my arms and let her think I have conceded.
“You win, min ålskling. I will try to put my fears aside and trust we can do this. But please be patient with me, every fiber of my being is screaming at me to keep you safe at all costs. Putting those feelings aside will be extremely difficult for me,” I tell her softly.
She pulls back from my arms and looks up at me, “I know exactly how you feel, my love. The last thing I want is you anywhere near him again. But we must do this if we want to finally be free of him. With everything falling into place as it is I believe we can do it. I have to believe it,” she says with conviction.
I kiss her forehead and pop us back over to Niall.
Giving him a look that could kill him where he stands, I threaten him, my fangs on full display, “If I find out you have played us for fools or even one hair on her head is damaged during this I will make your death very long, and very painful. You will beg for death before I finish you. Do. You. Understand. Me?” I growl through my clinched jaw.
He stares back at me stoically for several moments before finally giving me a small nod, “Understood.”
I get my anger under control as best I can then flick my hand towards the castle my illegitimate waste of a brother is wailing from, “Take us to him. I’m sick of hearing his screams.”
Niall turns and makes his way swiftly down the path. Grabbing Sookie’s hand in mine we follow him. None of us speak another word until we are inside the castle and standing at the door behind which Andre is being tortured. His howling and shrieking have become all but deafening now that we are so close.
I can hear the taunting and laughter of two others in the room, his tormentors I suppose. They sound as if they would get along famously with Appius.
Sookie’s trepidation and the sickening nausea she is feeling knowing what we are about to see is making it harder for me to steel myself against my own dread, but I push it down deep within myself and slam the door on it. Now is not the time to falter.
“You may wish to stay here, Granddaughter. Neave and Lochlan can be very creative when given free reign to practice their craft,” Niall warns my wife.
Despite her pale face and shaking hands, Sookie insists on going in. “No. I can handle it,” she says with more bravery than I know she is feeling.
“Sookie, please wait here. You do not need to see this. It serves no purpose at all for you to see him,” I gently plead with her.
“I’m not some shrinking violet, Eric. Stop treating me like one,” she frowns harshly.
“You are too stubborn for your own good, wife,” I mutter under my breath.
“Speaking from experience are you?” she sasses right back.
As we scowl at each other, Niall opens the door. Andre’s cries turn to pitiful whimpers as his tormentors halt their attention and bow to their Prince.
“Sire,” the female hisses as she bows low.
The male stands tall but nods his head deeply, “My Lord,” his voice sounding like gravel grinding against itself.
They are unlike any faeries I have seen before. Instead of the ethereal beauty most faeries have these two are terrifying to look at. You would never mistakes them for anything but supernaturals.
They are each as tall as me, if not taller, and their exceptionally lean, but muscular build is very evident in their skin tight clothing. Silver hair that is short and spiky, covers their heads and shows off their long, pointy ears. There is no white in their eyes, only huge soulless orbs as black as the darkest night, staring at the three of us. When the female turns those orbs on Sookie and I she grins evilly showing off her mouthful of gleaming silver fangs that look sharper than my own.
Like I said, terrifying.
The fact that they both are covered in blood does nothing to add to their appeal.
“Leave us,” Niall orders them his voice sounding as authoritative as I have ever heard it.
Lochlan makes his way out the door, his movements smoother than any vampires, but Neave decides to say goodbye to Andre first.
She leans in close to his right ear, causing him to squeal in fear, “Goodbye little froggy. I had fun playing with you,” she hisses quietly to him just before sinking her fangs into his ear and ripping it off.
“Neave! Leave, now!” Niall booms over her malicious laughter and Andre’s renewed screaming.
Sookie lets out a tiny squeak and tightens her grip on my hand but other than that she stays calm and detached from what she is seeing.
Neave flings Andre’s ear at our feet just before she stops in front of us, her ghastly grin in place along with one arrogant eyebrow raised. She eyes me up and down slowly before looking over at Sookie. “I could have fun with you two, I bet he is as tasty as he looks,” she hisses at her.
“Over my dead body, bitch! He is MINE!” Sookie growls.
Neave laughs at her, looking at me this time, “Mmmmm, she’s feisty, I bet she likes it rough. The things the two of us could teach her,” she purrs.
I grab her by the throat, my hand red hot from my anger, “Lay one finger on her and you will die. Slowly,” I snarl.
She sighs as her eyes roll back in her head and her whole body shudders in pleasure, “Please, make it hurt,” she whispers.
I instantly drop the disgusting creature to the floor not wanting any part in bringing her pleasure.
“Sister! Leave them alone! They are royalty you idiot,” Lochlan yells, as he appears at the top of the stairs.
Even though she smiles at us, Neave pops away, thankfully.
“Where did you find such detestable beasts?” Sookie asks Niall repulsed.
“They serve their purpose,” is all Niall allows as he waves his hand towards Andre.
Now that his tormentors are gone we are left to view the damage they have inflicted on my so called brother.
It is not a pleasant sight.
He is strapped down to, what is now, a very bloody table, with silver chains on his wrists, ankles, and neck. Nearly every inch of his skin from those chains inward has been stripped off in small sections.
One by one and very slowly, if I was to guess.
I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
“Eric, please help me brother! Save me from these monsters!” he cries out to me, shuddering and shaking from the pain.
I look down at Sookie, my expression telling her in no uncertain terms to do as I say, “Stay put,” I bite out.
Her eyes widen and she swallows deeply, but she also nods her agreement so I let go of her hand and vamp over to Andre, leaning down to peer into his face.
Every time he ignored my pain, rubbed my humiliation in my face, and laughed at my misery comes rushing to the surface of my memory.
Any pity I may have felt for him disappears. I hate this little fucker and he deserves every once of pain he is experiencing.
“Now you want me to save you? You laughed at my pain, Andre. Relished in it even and now you ask for my help? I do not think so little brother. I will not lift one finger to help you,” I tell him quietly with no small amount of glee in my voice.
I stand back up when he starts to beg and plead some more, spewing his apologies into my deaf ears. I ignore him by taking a closer look at the damage the siblings gifted him with. I notice his puny cock is missing from its usual spot and on further inspection see it has been shoved up his ass. I can not help my laughter.
Neave and Lochlan may be sick and twisted, but they certainly are creative.
“I was going to tell you to go fuck yourself, but I see you already are,” I smile down at him.
I feel a burst of disappointment in the bonds and my eyes find Sookie across the room. Something snaps inside of me at seeing that disappointment in her eyes. My anger flares to life knowing she has any sympathy for one of my tormentors so I vamp across the room and drag her back to his side.
“You feel sorry for him? Let’s see how sorry you feel when he answers a few of my questions,” I growl at her, ignoring the fear and guilt in her eyes.
I grab Andre’s jaw in a painful grasp and force him to look at me, “How many times did you laugh as Appius raped me? Smile as he forced me to suck his cock or yours? Stood by and watched him slice the skin from my body or break my bones over and over and enjoyed my every scream? How much pleasure have you gotten from my pain and humiliation you little shit? Tell her! Tell her how the reveled in my misery for a hundred years! TELL HER!!!” I scream at him and almost rip his head completely off his body.
Niall grabs me, but it’s too late. I drop Andre’s head onto the table and stumble backwards when I realize what I’ve done.
He’s dead. Finally dead.
And my wife is in a ball on the floor crying in fear and pain that I caused her.
I sink to the floor beside her, slowly reaching out for her. When she flinches at my touch, my heart nearly shatters.
I back off and give her space trying to figure out how I can possibly fix this. I look up at Niall for help but he only stares at me emotionless before turning and walking slowly out of the room.
I push my sorrow and guilt to Sookie’s side of the bonds in hopes she will finally look at me, but I’m only met with numbness.
Knowing what I have to do, I lean close to her ear without touching her, “I’m so sorry, min fru. I never meant to hurt you this way. I hope one day you can forgive me. I love you, Sookie. I will always love you,” I whisper to her then stand to my feet.
I close my eyes and picture the last spot where Sookie and I made love in the earthly realm and open my eyes once more to look at my wife before I leave.
Just before I pop away I see her look at me in shock and hear her screams.