Oh war is the common cry,
Pick up your swords and fly.
The sky is filled with good and bad
That mortals never know.
The Queen of Light took her bow,
And then she turned to go,
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom,
And walked the night alone.
No comfort has the fire at night
That lights the face so cold.
Oh well, the night is long,
The beads of time pass slow
The Battle of Evermore – Led Zeppelin
“More. You must take more,” I beg him.
“No, I will heal, ” he says, pushing me away with no more strength than a human. “I will not make you weak. Go,” he whispers.
“Have we not done enough for him, Master? Let us be done with this. Let me take you to safety,” I beg him.
Those fucking bastards were not supposed to know we would be here.
This was just a chance to pay back a debt, enjoy a good battle, and hopefully feast on some faeries. While I have thoroughly enjoyed hacking away at them with my sword, I have slain a hundred at least, my Maker being nearly staked and then poisoned with a silver dagger was not part of the plan.
Neither was having to depend on a fucking Faerie to save him.
It is akin to being silvered myself.
Whatever those sadistic fuckers spelled the dagger with, it caused the blade to melt once it was embedded inside Godric’s chest. I believe he could drain me again and it still would not dilute the silver enough to heal him. Even with Brigant’s healing magic Godric’s pain is only down to a dull roar and that is with our bond nearly closed. It is a wonder I did not meet my end when his pain hit me earlier, I was a sitting duck for a few moments, writhing on the ground, but somehow he found enough strength to block me.
In my two hundred and sixty-seven years I have never seen my Maker weak, I do not care for it. At all.
It reminds me too much of the night he found me, only it is him who is near death now. We need to leave this place. We have shed enough blood for that bastard.
“The debt we owe him is greater now. It must be paid,” he whispers.
“Then let me drag one of those fuckers in here for you to drain and then together we can kill them all,” I snarl, my fear and frustration giving way to anger.
If he was not so weak I have no doubt I would be feeling the weight of his disappointment at my insolence. Instead I am gifted with a sad stare as he shakes his head.
“No. He did a great service to me in the past. He asks this of us and we will see it through.”
“What could he have done to warrant this? One inch, Godric and it would have been your remains mixing with theirs! There is nothing he could have done worth your true death!”
“Do not speak of things you do not know. Trust me, min son.”
“It is him I do not trust, Fader,” I hiss, jumping to my feet. “He could have ordered this done to you. I will not leave your side and allow him to finish the job. I will kill him and every last fucking Faerie there is before I let them take you from me. Was it not you who taught me that we must do anything to ensure our survival? Let me kill them. Let me kill them all and you will be free of this debt! Free to survive without this hanging over our heads!” I demand, pacing the small confines of the cave, my fangs throbbing.
His disappointment breaks through my anger with that one word and I return to his side, sinking to my knees in shame, guilt forcing my head to bow low.
“Will you never learn?”
“I am sorry, Fader.”
“I know,” he whispers as he strokes my hair. “One night you will know you are more than your emotions. Until then try not be at their mercy.”
“Honor us both by doing what is asked of you. Whatever he wishes, you will do it. I command it. Now go,” he orders, turning his eyes from me, my dismissal absolute.
I bow deeply, properly chastised, then grasp my bloody sword and stalk after the Faerie who now it seems is my temporary Maker for the night.
I find him standing on the hill above the cave that I regretfully must be thankful he brought Godric to. With the entrance being in the side of a cliff, my Maker is as safe as possible under the circumstance. Brigant assured me he was the only Faerie that knew of the cave so no others will be popping there. The only other means of reaching it is by flight and there are very few flying vampires around thankfully.
“Whatever it is you did for him, I want you to ask the same of me. It is time for this debt to be done with,” I insist, landing at his side.
His musical laughter fills the air and I have to force myself not to rip him to shreds.
Seeing and hearing my anger in the form of snapping fangs and a menacing growl he takes a step back and holds a hand up in surrender, “We shall have to come up with something else. I would not be so cruel as to ask that of you.”
“Explain,” I hiss.
He studies me quietly for a few moments as I scowl at him then turns to stare out over the ocean below us, “The love you have for each other has always astounded me. So contradictory to your natures,” he murmurs.
“He is my Maker,” I utter, confused at why he is.
Godric is all to me.
“Yes. He did not love his though.”
“He told you of his Maker?” I ask angrily. I am forbidden to ask about or speak of him. That this Faerie knows more of my own Maker than I do does not sit well with me.
“He led me to his resting place and handed me the stake I used to end him. All to protect his child,” he replies trailing off.
“For me? But why? I do not understand.”
“With Godric as your Maker I would imagine not. And it is not my place to explain why, that is for him to do when you are both ready. All I will say is not all vampires have a Maker such as yours. As for repaying the debt, using your skills with that sword to slay my enemies is all I ask for now.”
“For now?” I growl.
“For now,” he nods. “You are already a great warrior despite your young age and coupled with the fact I do not have to lose any of my numbers because of your unique ability to resist our scent I would be a fool to call us even yet,” he says, his glee evident.
One eyebrow raises at me as my growl deepens, “I saved him for you tonight, or have you forgotten? I could have finished him or allowed any of the others to do so, but I did not. You alone, my dear boy, owe me for that. Now come, we must hurry. There is a war to be won,” he smiles, laying his hand on my shoulder and popping us away.
We land in the shelter of the forest at the edge of the battlefield. The fighting has seemed to increase in our absence, the numbers on both sides growing instead of dwindling.
Fucking faeries. How many can there be?
“You may save two for yourself and your Maker,” Brigant says slapping me on the back, his sword appearing from thin air, just before he vanishes from my side.
My eyes scan the field and find him in the center of the melee his sword swinging in one hand while his light blasts from the other. I take a less dramatic approach, simply walking into the chaos cutting them down as I go.
One hundred four.
One hundred five.
It’s rather easy to discern ally from enemy with the odd looks of the Water Fae. They are still beautiful as all Fae are, but it is a peculiar beauty. It is subtle but if you look closely you can see gills just below and behind their ears. Their eyes are rounder and their noses small and closer to their faces. They look very much like fish. Beautiful fish, but still fish. And instead of turning to Faerie dust as the Sky do, they melt into milky puddles on the ground.
One hundred twenty-two.
Godric is still blocking most of our bond knowing his pain will only distract me. I do not like it, but he is allowing me to know he is still with me so that will have to be enough for now.
One hundred thirty.
He had done the same before he was injured, he always does when we are engaged in a fight with large numbers. He knows his bloodlust mixing with mine has caused me to go berserkers at times, killing anything that crossed my path. He would have been in complete control despite my unrestrained relish to cleave and rend until none are left alive, but I still have trouble containing my emotions and not letting them rule me. Adding his gratification to mine easily pushes me over the edge.
One hundred forty-three.
I was the best warrior my people had in my human life. I was bigger, stronger, and more relentless than any of them, but I became too cocky, too caught up in my rage for revenge to fight with any intelligence. My arrogance would have been my downfall if my Maker had not gifted me with eternal life the night it allowed me to be cut down. Since then he has been honing me into a true warrior, one who fights with intelligence and cunning instead of his emotions, but I know I have a long way to go before I become the vampire my Maker is.
One hundred fifty-one.
I have learned a great deal of control, despite my emotional outburst tonight. In my defense I have never been faced with losing Godric, or him even being injured. He has been constant, unchanging. In my naivety I never imagined him any other way. Other than Brigant he is the oldest being I know. Beings such as them do not leave this world unless they want to.
Why the fuck is there a child here?
It is a good thing I have cut down everyone within close proximity to me, because I am standing in shock.
She can not be more than ten or twelve summers, tiny and slight, but handling her bow as if it is a part of her. She is Sky, of that I have no doubt. She is shining like the sun in the middle of all of this darkness and death. Nothing but light from her wheat blonde head to her nimble feet.
I watch as she takes down three men nearly my size. An arrow to the eye for each. She is amazing for one so young.
She reminds me of myself at that age.
I scan around her to asses her opponents. Most seem to be as shocked as me, few of them knowing what to do with the child warrior. I watch several fade into the clash of bodies, deciding to not stain their hands with her blood. A couple of them have what I can only describe as fear on their faces as they run away.
Then it clicks, the ones running were Sky.
What the fuck? Why would they be running from one of their own?
She shouldn’t be here at all, but the least they could do is protect her. She should be surrounded by her people, not left to fend for herself, no matter how well she is fairing on her own.
My Father and his men never left me to fend for myself until I was at least thirteen to fourteen summers. I was twice her size by then. I was nine the first time they took me with them, I had no less than six guards the entire battle.
If the cowards will not stay with her, I will.
I stay close, but not so close that she knows what my purpose is. I keep the number of enemies she has to fight low, only allowing her to face one at a time. I make sure only the weakest ones are left for her too. I lose track of my own numbers as I tally hers.
Thirty two counting the first three I watched her fell.
As number thirty two falls she yells, “I know what you are doing, vampire! I do not need your help, I was managing quite well on my own.”
The corner of my mouth pulls up as I cut down two more.
I like her.
I look for more threats and seeing there is a lull in the action I vamp to her side and glance down at her impertinent little face.
She is breathtaking close up. I have never seen a child more beautiful. Her huge blue eyes stare up at me and I fear they will haunt me for eternity.
“You are quite skilled with that bow, little one. I only want you to have the chance to be the best,” I smile at her.
“Oh, I will be. Do not worry about that,” she says with more confidence than I have.
That is a feat in and of itself.
“What do they call you?” she asks, as I continue to smirk at her.
“The Norseman. But you may call me Erik.”
“Sookie. Why are you not draining me?” she asks.
“What is a Sookie?”
“Me silly. Vampires love Faerie blood, but you do not act as if you want to eat me,” she rattles off completely unafraid.
“I am a bit different from most Vampires.”
“Huh. I am different from most Faeries,” she smiles brightly.
The sight of it makes my chest tight.
I avert my gaze from her and see another wave of fighters headed our way, “You have done well tonight, little one, but you need to live to fight again. Go home,” I push my will into her, staring into her haunting eyes.
They widen a fraction and to my great relief she vanishes from my side.
I barely have time to push her from my thoughts before they are on me. This is the first time tonight they have gathered themselves against me. They will regret it.
Despite their numbers, I hold my own with ease. The Sky are leaving me to it, not that I need their help anyway. I have my opponents down to single digits when I hear a scream some distance behind me.
The rage I have barely contained most of this night explodes, my sword slicing through three at once before I shoot into the sky, my eyes desperate to find her.
If my heart still beat it would be frozen in my chest seeing her stained with blood as she collapses to the ground.
I fly to her enemy, cleaving him in two with one swing, but I fear I am too late, the damage is done. The air is heavy with the scent of her sweet blood.
Hearing her little heart still beating I scoop her up and vamp us to the forest. I force myself to assess the weight of her wound and nearly lose it seeing he has sliced across her tiny body from shoulder to hip. My fangs are ripping through my wrist without thought, my blood dripping over the gaping wound. Four times I tear into it before I cradle her head and press it to her mouth.
“Drink, little one. Please, drink,” I whisper to her.
She is paler than I and so very still, but I will not give up as long as her heart still beats. She does not deserve death.
My wounds close for a fourth time and again I open them for her. “Liten krigare, why did you not leave as I asked you?” I whisper, knowing she does not hear me.
I am so focused on her I am unaware we have an observer until a blade presses up into my chin, “What the fuck do you think you are doing, bloodsucker?” its owner hisses at me.
My eyes cut to him.
Not Sky, not Water, but Elf. Brigant’s lackey, Bellenos.
I snarl menacingly, “Trying to save her life!”
“She is not yours to save.”
“Since her family can not be bothered to care I took it upon myself,” I growl.
“You have forgotten your place,” he smiles wickedly while sliding his blade from under my chin and aiming to take my head.
I should stand and fight or leave her to him, but I am suddenly filled with waves of determination and boldness that seem to flow along beside my own.
The small whisper stops him and my head, that is still attached thanks to her, whips down to look at her.
She is staring up at me, her eyes bright with pain. Time seems to stop around us as her slender, blood soaked fingers reach for me, lightly skimming down my fangs and then over my bottom lip, “He is mine,” she whispers so faintly I wonder if I heard her right. My tongue is already back in my mouth before I realize what I have done.
Just as I realize she is alive inside of me I am hurled into a tree some yards away, landing on the ground with a painful thump. Bellenos is there waiting and hauls me up by my tunic and begins to drag me.
“Susannah, you stubborn child. Why do you never listen?” I hear someone scold her gently, their voiced pained.
Sookie? Susannah? Whatever her name, she is obviously his kin. He would not be here like this if she was not and that knowledge makes my cold blood boil! How could he care so little for such a treasure as her! To allow her on that battlefield, let alone by herself!
I rip myself free from the elf’s grasp and stand over Brigant snarling, “You dare call yourself Prince yet you allow a child of your blood to fight your wars alone! You disgust me!”
He is in my face in an instant, his fiercely glowing hands burning through my tunic and into my chest. I have never seen such rage from him but I do not back down an inch despite the pain. It does not compare to what she has suffered.
“She was safe at home, protected by four guards under penalty of death if she left their sight,” he hisses just before his fury fades to grief and he kneels at her side again.
I walk back to her other side and do the same. She is once again unconscious and I am thankful for it. “You should kill them, then let me turn them so you can kill them again,” I say quietly.
“They will suffer greatly.”
“I killed the one that did this too quick,” I sigh.
He nods solemnly. “She has had your blood. A large amount of your blood,” he states rather than asks as he runs his glowing hands over her body. What my blood has yet to heal, I feel his magic begin to.
My relief is palpable. She will live to see another day.
“I could not let one with such heart die so young. She would have without it,” I admit to myself as much as to him.
It did not even begin to hesitate or question myself as I saw her bleeding out. Godric has drilled into me that our blood is scared, but I can not imagine a more valuable use for it than to save her.
“I did not know she was yours,” I say quietly.
“She is my great-granddaughter. All I have left of my son.”
“I am sorry. I would have taken her from the battle had I known. I told her to leave, she popped away so I believed her safe. I went to her as quickly as I could when I heard her scream. Her heartbeat is growing stronger though, I feel in my blood she will live.”
“Yes. Thanks to you, she will. I believe the debt with your Maker may be settled this night after all. I will forever be grateful to you,” he nods.
I return it solemnly.
“Sire, there is something you should know,” the elf’s gravely voice travels to us. “He has also had hers.”
I flash my fangs at the cretin, he knows I did not take her blood of my own accord, she gave it to me by accident.
Brigant goes very still, his eyes closed while his hands hover over her heart. I stand as his head suddenly turns to look my way, his eyes glowing. He has me pinned to the ground before I even registered his movement.
“You dare take the blood of my line!” he seethes an inch from my face, all his previous gratefulness gone.
“My fangs never pierced her flesh and it was never my intention to take it. She is covered in blood, she reached for me and her fingers slipped into my mouth. It was a drop, maybe two. The connection will fade. I swear to you I only meant to save her,” I defend myself as calmly as possible.
I have no doubt I could be a pile of sludge in moments if he wished it. Now is not the time for anger.
“She claimed him, Sire,” the fucking elf once again opens his mouth just to cause trouble.
Our eyes pin him down, both of us unbelieving.
“What?” I ask, completely confused as Brigant roars the same.
Claimed me? She is a child. A child can not claim a nearly three hundred year old vampire. The fucker just wants to watch me die.
“She stopped me from taking his head, gave him her blood, and said he was hers,” he says, shrugging as if it was nothing.
Brigant’s hand tightens around my throat and he pulls my face up to his, “I should stake you, you arrogant little bastard. You have no idea what you have done. You have ruined her!” he spits in my face and slams me to the ground.
“I saved…..her life,” I wheeze through my damaged throat. “Whatever he is speaking of….is folly. The tie will fade…. Godric says they…. fade. It was an accident, I only wanted….. to save her.”
“Tell me what she said. Her exact words!” he orders me.
Fuck. I did not want to acknowledge it before, but I felt something when she spoke the words he insists on hearing – a settling deep in my chest. The elf speaks the truth and I will meet my true death for it. I close my eyes and relax as much as I can in his punishing grip. I will not fight it, but welcome it.
“He is mine,” I whisper.
His roar fills my ears as he lets me go, his light exploding around us, singeing my flesh painfully.
“End me. If I have damaged her, end me. All I ask is that Godric survives,” I tell him.
He jerks me up, surprising me with his strength as he shakes me, “You stupid fool! If I end you it will end her too,” he hisses before throwing me on the ground.
“That is not what Godric taught me,” I groan getting to my feet.
“He taught you the bonds of vampires and humans, not the Fae. You will be tied to my granddaughter for as long as you walk this earth. If you meet your true death she will meet hers,” he fumes, reaching down and picking her limp body up, cradling her more gently than I would expect with the anger that is radiating off of him.
He turns and hands her over to the elf and I am surprised by the growl that escapes my throat at seeing her in his arms. He smiles wickedly at me, showing off his rows of razor-sharp teeth, “Enjoy your last moment of peace, bloodsucker,” he sneers.
“Take her home to the healer. I will be there shortly,” Brigant tells him.
My feet move towards them of their own accord, the tie between her and I flooding me with panic. But there is nothing I can do, no way to stop them. Her eyes open at the last second and lock with mine and I know my earlier thought about them haunting me will certainly be true. They vanish before my eyes and her blood threatens to claw its way from my chest the second they do.
I drop to my knees with a roar, shocked by the amount of pain that is now filling me. Brigant’s ominous voice still manages to filter through it though.
“You will never see her again. Maybe I can ease the pain she will suffer from your absence, maybe not, but there is no hope for you. Perhaps it will ease with time, or you will learn to deal with it. I do not care,” he says, walking towards me then grips my hair tightly, jerking my head back. “But you will continue, Norseman, because if you die, she will die and if she does I will hunt down your Maker and torture him for eternity. Do you understand?” he asks, with a deathly calm.
The only acknowledgement I manage is closing my eyes. Thankfully he accepts it, shoving me to the ground by my face.
As he starts to walk away I grasp his ankle. His eyes are slits as he looks down at me. “Please help her, do not let her suffer this,” I beg him weakly, clawing at my chest. “She does not deserve it, she is only a child. She did not know what she was doing,” I pant.
His face is a mask of disgust, “She is no longer any concern of yours,” he says, pulling free of my hold and disappearing.
My body draws in on itself in an attempt to ease the pain. Of course it does nothing. I do not remember ever feeling so empty. The closest I can compare it to is when my family was slaughtered. Unbelievably this is worse. How can the loss of someone I knew for only minutes hurt this much? A few drops of blood and my undead existence is forever altered? Am I destined to feel this loss for eternity? If I do, I will not make it another year, I will go insane. Godric will end me and then she will die. And I have no doubt Brigant will hunt my Maker down and keep his word on torturing him if she does.
I can not stay here, I have to get to him and get us out of here somehow. There is no way we are spending the day in Brigant’s territory.
I force myself to my hands and knees and crawl to where my sword lays. A pool of her dark blood is spreading out beside it, soaking into the forest floor. The sight of it fills me with rage at the unfairness of it all. For her sake and mine. Then a great sorrow washes over me – Did I save her only to condemn her to a life of pain? How could one so tiny with so much light survive this darkness?
A strong need begins to build inside of me and begs for her blood. At first the thought disgusts me. Am I such a base creature that I would scavenge for any drop of her blood I can find in hopes of what?
It will erase this hellish night. No.
Bring her back. No.
Ease my pain.
Yes. Yes, it will ease my pain.
And then maybe I can get Godric and I to safety.
I reach out on instinct and lightly run my fingers through her sweet, sticky blood, bringing it to my parched lips. The second it hits my tongue the weight on my chest lightens. Guilt washes over me as I relish the taste of her, never have I had anything so delicious and pure. How I was oblivious to it earlier, is mind-boggling. But I have no right to enjoy it and I should not have my pain lessened if there is no guarantee hers will lessen along with it.
Gods, please let him help her. Please tell me he would not be so cruel as to let her suffer.
May they hear my prayers because that is all I can do for her now besides keeping my undead life.
And I mean to, for her and for Godric.
I drink all I can that is not spoiled with dirt and leaves until I am confident I have enough strength to get to Godric. I slide my sword into its sheath on my back and begin to follow the bond to my Maker. I risk using too much of my energy, but I stray close enough to the battle to pick off a faerie, knocking him out cold with the hilt of my sword, so we can feed. We will need all the strength we can get to be able to leave this place before the quickly approaching dawn.
I manage to make it to the cave, I only pray I can convince Godric to leave.
He is a ghastly grey color, but his pain seems to be slightly less. I am doing my best to keep as much of my own to myself as possible so I do not add to his. Hopefully this tasty bloodbag will make us both feel better.
“Master?” I quietly call to him, gently pushing him through our bond.
“Min son,” he whispers, his eyes meeting mine. He immediately tries to sit up, “What has happened? There is so much……. Why do you feel this way, Eiríkr?” he asks with deep concern.
Apparently I am doing a poor job of blocking myself.
“I swear I will tell you everything, Fader, but we must leave here. Now. It is no longer safe for us. Please feed, I need you to be stronger so you can help me find safety,” I plead, letting him feel my urgency.
He nods and once I pull the faerie closer to him he latches onto its jugular and I quickly take the femoral. The gnawing in my chest begins to lessen to a manageable level with each pull I take and I can feel Godric’s strength growing as his pain starts to fade slightly. The pain we feel serves us well though, keeping us both from becoming crazed due to our intoxicating meal.
All I can think is that her blood was better.
When there is nothing left but a small milky puddle we waste no time and fly from the cave. Godric takes us along the shore line for close to an hour then turns inland. At the first rocky outcrop he finds we land and begin to dig our resting place.
“There is another in you. You gave your blood and you also took,” he says quietly, halting my work.
Once again I am on my knees with my head bowed in shame before my Maker. “Yes, Master.”
He gently lifts my chin, “This one who has your blood is very far away, why?” he asks calmly.
“Brigant took her to their realm.”
It is muted, but I feel his emotions and mind running riot within him. He knows the weight of what I have done. After a few moments I feel him suddenly go back to his usual calm.
“It is time for our rest, min son,” he whispers, stroking my cheek. “You will tell me everything once we rise,” he tells me as he lays down.