Three vampires sat in my living room while one stood guard outside the house. After the attack last evening we had been extra wary of further assaults. It’s not that there hadn’t been a few of them since the summer when Karin began guarding me, but if Freyda had indeed decided to up the stakes we needed to be on our toes. I couldn’t afford to be taken. Our plan was conditional upon all of us being available for the fight, which I would definitely not be if I were locked up in some dungeon cell in Oklahoma. Karin and Bill had spent the evening before combing through his records in attempt to reveal the identity of our mysterious vampire.
“It took some searching, but luckily there aren’t many vampires named Harrison in the US. It appears that he was turned by Freyda in the late 19th century. Evidently they spent most of the next couple decades together, but they had some kind of a falling out and parted ways for most of the next eighty years. He rejoined her in 1992 and has been with her ever since,” Bill was explaining to Pam, Bubba, and I.
Pam’s face scrunched up as she tried to puzzle through a thought. “It really doesn’t make sense that she’d use someone so close to her to get to Sookie. She wouldn’t want it to be able to be traced back to her.”
“Well I don’t really think she’s got an overabundance of brains, so maybe she just didn’t think through her plan completely. Or maybe she just never expected that I’d escape and so she wasn’t all that worried about being caught?” I said though I did have to agree with Pam, it seemed out of character for Freyda. She had to know that if she broke the contract that we would be able to get Eric back.
Pam continued working through the problem at hand. “What else do we know about this Harrison?”
Bill studied the notes he had made and proceeded. “Well, at the time of his turning he was,” and here a wry smile broke through his usually calm demeanor, “a cowboy. Not like nowadays which involves a lot of fashion and not so much of anything else. He spent much of his time driving cattle across the open spaces of Texas. He was part of the mythology that created the hero who pushed the boundaries of the US as we knew it then. A man and his horse, free from the confines of the city and left to his own devices.” He cool, composed voice spoke as if he knew firsthand, which, of course he did. He would have seen that part of history played out like I grew up with the technological advances of the late 20th century.
“Do we know anything about why they parted?” I asked, a thought beginning to form, but the more I tried to grasp it, the further it slipped away.
“Unfortunately no, the only information I gathered was that they parted ways suddenly in,” Bill glanced down as he checked his notes, “1911. No reason was given as to why.” He lifted his gaze back up and gave us a slight shrug.
We all sat in silence for a while, lost in our own thoughts. I chased the idea that was poking at the back of my brain, but it wouldn’t stay put.
I broke the tense air that enveloped and smothered the room. “Well, so at least we know that it is indeed Freyda who is trying to take me. So I think that our next step would be to call Mr. Cataliades and let him know that Freyda broke the contract. I’m not sure that there is much that he can do without proof, but at least if we gave him the heads up he could get to work on it.” I looked at the three of them, including Bubba in the discussion even though he played more of a muscle role than anything else.
They nodded and I picked up my cell phone, scrolling through my contacts to find the one that belonged to the semi-demon lawyer who had helped me on more than one occasion. The conversation went quickly as I filled him in on everything. He said he’d look into it, but also decided that he and Diantha would make the trip up to Bon Temps to speak with us in person. He definitely had a sneaky lawyer brain so any help he could offer would be more than welcome.
I passed along the information to the rest of the group and Bill decided to take his leave of us for the evening. Bubba went to join Karin outside, he had taken a shine her since we’d all started on our planning and he would be leaving us tomorrow to head up to Oklahoma. The Queen expected him to spend some time with her before the big party. I imagined that she really just wanted to show off her newest acquisition and I worried for the big guy. He was sweet and easily rattled. It seemed that hanging out with us had been good for him, but maybe I was just reluctant to let him go. I had assured him that he was welcome to come and spend time with me whenever he liked, but I would miss his cherubic demeanor and steady presence.
It was just Pam and I left in the living and she filled me in on more of the happenings at Fangtasia since I wasn’t able to go there myself. It seemed that Mustapha had become Pam’s day guy, since she was now Sheriff of Area Five. She needed someone who could go around accomplishing what she couldn’t when the sun was up.
“He wants to fight alongside us,” she began.
I looked at her absolutely stunned. “But he doesn’t like me!”
She laughed at me. “No he doesn’t, but he does like Eric and was quite upset when everything went down. Now that Warren is healed, he is ready to fight to free him. Warren will also be joining us, against the wishes of Mustapha. Eric treated both of them with respect and Warren feels that it is only right that they both are in our Viking Hail Mary plan.”
“I say the more the merrier then. I’m assuming they haven’t received invitations to the party, so they’ll be going in with the cover of darkness contingent.” She nodded. “Okay then. So that leaves you, Karin, Bubba, and Bill with invitations. Have we figured out why she sent them to you all yet?”
“Not officially no, but I suspect she wants to show off her subjugation of Eric as a warning to the rest of us. You know, the idea that if she’s done it once, she can do it again type of thing. It’s one thing to consider something of that nature, it’s quite another to see it firsthand. You, luckily, were not present for the ceremony where she paraded Eric around like a puppy. From what I understand from Win, things have not been pleasant for him living under her constant surveillance. He has much better self-control than I do, I would have ended up in her dungeon within the first month, but he’s better at playing the game until he sees his chance.”
I snorted. “That is undoubtedly true Pam.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Watch it Princess, I can still kick your ass. Now let’s get a move on. You need to continue your sparring practice and I have a gift for you tonight. I’ll grab it from the car and meet you in the backyard.”
I changed quickly, intrigued by Pam’s present. Throwing on a pair of black yoga pants and a baby blue tank top, I headed out to the backyard and sat with Bubba for a minute while I waited for her.
She called from around the corner of the house, “Close your eyes and hold out your hands Sookie.”
“Are you serious Pam?” I couldn’t believe she was going that route.
“Quite little fairy, so close your damn eyes or I’ll just keep it for myself.”
“Oh alright. Okay. They’re closed. Come on out.”
I stayed there in that position for a short moment and then felt a smooth weight lowered into my hands.
“Okay, now you can open them.” When I did I looked down and I held a beautiful katana in my hands.
I blinked at her, tears rising to my eyes. “This is stunning Pam. I don’t know how to thank you.”
“The handle is made of rosewood and wrapped in leather, and the shirasaya, or the scabbard is made of the same wood, but you must be careful when drawing it so as not to slice through and take off a few fingers in the process. But you don’t need to thank me. Eric had it made for you a while ago. He had always wanted to teach you to fight, but was hoping you would approach him for lessons. When you asked about me teaching you to fight with a sword, I immediately realized that he wouldn’t want me to wait until he was back with us to give this to you. I didn’t think we would have made as much progress as we have, but with your increased fairy powers, I thought the timing was appropriate. We’ll have to find a way to get it to Quinn so that he can sneak it inside to you. I don’t know that you’ll be ready to use it by then, but I figured you would like to have it with you at least. ” She took the blade back from me and pulled the sword from its sheath.
What I saw was a finely crafted weapon that was intricately engraved with a sun and moon over a field. I could see flowers dotting the scene. I held out my hand wanting to hold the finely crafted blade for myself.
“Eric had this made for me?” I was overwhelmed at his gift. I stood and she showed me the appropriate way to wrap my hands around the handle. I could feel his love emanating from it despite the fact that he was hundreds of miles away. I gazed at the curved blade feeling stronger with it in my grip. I wanted to get started training immediately, but Pam took it back from me explaining the proper way to care for and carry it, as well as the history behind it. It was a samurai sword and I felt proud that Eric had thought so highly of me. She had one of her own, tucked into a sash at her left side and though it was late by the time she allowed me to start learning how to use it, I wasn’t even remotely tired.
Karin and Bubba stood by and watched with interest. I could tell that Bubba didn’t think it was such a good idea that I had such a deadly weapon in my hands, but the fact that was I was at a disadvantage being that I didn’t have the built in fangs or the speed of a vampire. I would practice so that I could at least use it competently if I needed to. I knew that I would be much better off using my firepower when we attacked Freyda and Felipe, but I wanted Eric to see me carry it into battle to defend him.
Shortly before dawn, she left me to seek her daytime rest, while Bubba and Karin watched as I went through the series of kata that she had taught me. It wasn’t until Karin was leaving to stay the day in Bill’s extra daytime space and Bubba headed into my house to get into my hidey-hole that I also decided to head in for the night. If I didn’t know that I would need my rest for the fight ahead I would have stayed out longer, determined to learn as much as I could before we left for Oklahoma.
In less than a week we would infiltrate Freyda’s stronghold and, god willing, would bring Eric back home to us. I knew that I would have much groveling to do after the battle in an effort to get him to not only forgive me, but also take me back, but I was willing to whatever was necessary.