Ethereal Redemption Chapter 29

ERIC’S POV

Centuries passed and still the same, war in our blood, some things never change
Fighting for land and personal gain, better your life, justify our pain
The end is knocking, the end is knocking
We’ve all been lost for most of this life
(Lost for most of this life)
Everywhere we turn more hatred surrounds us and I know that most of us just ain’t right
(Most of us just ain’t right)
Following the wrong steps, being led by pride, how many lives will we take?
How many hearts destined to break?
Nowhere to run, can’t escape, full of ourselves, tied to our fate
The end is knocking, the end is knocking, yeah
~ Lost, Avenged Sevenfold

The sound of my Childe’s drawl pulled me from my duties. I was no longer assisting the Egyptian vampire, his brother had taken him off somewhere to feed and rest up, but I had been in the process of feeding. All the blood and violence around us was waging war with my instincts, and the last thing I wanted was to accidentally drain someone dry. Even with my thousand years of control, it would be difficult to rein in my thirst given the circumstances.

I had turned Pam all those years ago due to her loyalty, her bravery and her lust for life. She reminded me of myself a very long time ago, and given that those were the very same qualities that Godric had seen when he turned me, I felt like she would be an excellent choice. While at times she tested my patience, she was, in fact, a good Childe, her timing left something to be desired, however.

“You think of this as fun?” Ata’s tone had taken on an icy edge as she stalked over to Pam, squaring up to my Childe who looked down at her like she was mud on her favourite Louboutin’s.

“Death and destruction? Why yes I do believe that’s fun,” she responded in her usual drawl.

In a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ move Ata had Pam pinned to the ground, a hard expression on her face and a mixture of both gold and white light surrounded the hand that was holding Pam down. Instinctively I went to move to my Childe’s side. “Eric,” Godric’s command settled over me and I found myself unable to aid her. “Let them sort this out themselves,” he finished. I could understand his thought process, I couldn’t go wading in every time Pam needed help and had been disrespectful, but at the same time, it was difficult for me to sit back and watch, as my Childe was rendered helpless. I was stunned at the power and strength that Ata seemed to have and how easily she had brought down my Childe, it also gave me hope that Sookie would be able to defend herself in such a manner if she could control her abilities too. At least that way I would know that she would be able to hold her own for a period of time.

Faces inches apart, I heard Ata hiss at Pam, ”My home and livelihood was just blown up by a fucking Werewolf for God knows what reason and you find it funny? I’m spoiling for a fight right now and if you don’t keep those pretty little lips of yours firmly shut I shall do far worse than pin you to the ground. You picking up what I’m putting down?”

I watched as Pam’s wide eyes moved from Ata’s face to the hand holding her in place, observing the pulses of light, before moving back up to look into the Egyptian Queen’s eyes once again. I could feel Pam’s inner turmoil – her rage at being spoken to in such a manner, her confusion regarding Ata’s strength and her embarrassment that she was so easily rendered useless. I could also feel her attempts at glamouring Ata. “Pam, no,” I murmured under my breath, wincing as Ata’s hand tightened around her throat.

“That shit doesn’t work on me sunshine, so I’d stop right there,” she spat, finally letting go of Pam and taking a step back. The moment Pam was free the command issued to me by Godric wore off and I was able to go to her side.

“Another fucking faery?” My Childe asked in disbelief. I growled lowly in warning at the mention of Sookie and Ata’s heritage. Does Pam have no discretion? This is not the time or place to discuss this. “What is it with you two; do they have magical vaginas or some shit? She absolutely reeks of you, Grandsire.” She looked at Godric and me, quirking a perfectly shaped eyebrow in question.

My growl was becoming louder, and I contemplated raising a hand to Pamela to silence her like a naughty child, but Godric explained instead, “She’s my twice bonded, Pamela, and please show some respect towards both of our mates,” he chastised her, gesturing to both Sookie and Ata who were now being cared for by a paramedic. They were sitting on the back step of an ambulance, an oxygen cylinder between them and one mask for the pair of them. Sookie took a few deep breaths before handing it to Ata who in turn took a few deep breaths herself before handing it back. They continued the process as two of Ata’s vampire guardian’s, one I didn’t know the name of and the other was Egor, wrapped a blanket around them to keep them warm in the slightly chilled night air. The scene reminded me of just how fragile Sookie was, something I often forced myself not to think about.

“Both of you are twice bonded to fucking faeries? Ha, that’s just priceless!” I growled again as Pam shook her head. Even though no one was paying attention to us, my Childe needed to learn some discretion.

“I was attacked, by the way, a couple of Weres broke into my home looking for me. I led them out to Monroe before turning back towards Shreveport to get my flight here. I’m guessing the wolves already know where we are, though,” she informed us nonchalantly.

Although I was still annoyed with Pam for nearly blowing up Sookie, I was still concerned for her welfare. “They didn’t harm you, did they?”

“Of course not. I outran them.” My Childe’s fabulous smug smile fixed itself to her features and I couldn’t help but be proud of her.

“How did they find your resting place, Pamela?” Godric asked in a disapproving tone.

“I have no idea, I assume they bugged my car or something. I had to leave it behind and now I’m going to have to destroy it,” she pouted, clearly frustrated at having to ruin her minivan. When she had first informed of the vehicle she was after, I had been struck with how obscure it was. Pam was a woman of fashion and glamour so I’d assumed that she’d want a flashy and expensive car. Sure, her van was expensive due to the modifications, but it was in no way flashy. When she’d sat down and told me it was to hold all of her shopping, I had finally understood why she wanted one so badly. If there was one thing Pam did better than anyone else, it was shopping.

Turning back to my lover and her cousin, I watched for a moment as Ari approached, looking a lot pinker than he had before, all visible marks from his ordeal having been healed. Crouching down before the two women he placed a reassuring hand on Ata’s knee and turned his attention to Sookie. Thankfully vampire hearing enabled me to listen to their conversation.

“Thank you, Miss Stackhouse, for helping to free me from the rubble. If you ever need anything please feel free to ask me, I am in your debt.” The Egyptian vampire dropped his head a little in a show of both submission and respect. I could feel Sookie’s gratitude and affection and I couldn’t help a little pang of jealousy. Sensing my emotions, my lover pushed her affection for me through our bond and it eased the green monster inside me.

The Egyptian turned to Ata, “How are you, amisi?” He asked her gently, rubbing her knee affectionately. I could feel Godric’s growing irritation yet he made sure to retain a mask of calm.

“You do realise another vampire is feeling up your faery, right?” Pam broke our silence, giving Godric a pointed stare.

I finally reached the end of my patience with my progeny and hissed at her quietly enough that only the three of us could hear my words, “Watch. Your. Tongue. Pamela. What have I taught you about discretion?”

Her eyes grew wide, but before she could reply Godric answered her, “I know, Pamela, but he has taken care of her for the past 2000 years while I have not, he is entitled to care for her. Just because she is claimed as mine doesn’t mean I am going to force her away from those who love her,” he explained in a monotone voice.

“If you overlook the fact the front of our home and our casino have been blown up then I’m perfectly peachy,” I heard Ata respond, her words were sarcastic, yet the sarcasm was missing from her tone. I could feel how tired my Sookie was so clearly Ata was worse for wear too.

“You two go on back up to the penthouse and try and get some sleep, the main structure of the building is fine thankfully. I’ll sort out the clean-up crews down here and get in contact with the insurance company to start getting the place fixed up,” Ari instructed, rising back up to his full height before dropping a kiss on the top of Ata’s head and giving my Sookie a respectful bow. Handing the mask to the paramedic, I watched as the two girls rose to their feet, still cocooned in the blanket that Ata’s guardians had given them.

“Our women are tired, my Childe. Shall we get them settled for the evening?” My Maker turned to me, an affectionate smile on his features.

I turned my attention to Pam. “Do you have your belongings? We can take them up to your room for you.” I offered, knowing that the sooner both fae princesses and Pam were settled, the better.

Examining her perfectly manicured nails, Pam sighed. “Don’t they have a porter for that kind of thing?”

“Pamela.” I addressed her sharply, tired of her attitude. “Not only have you not answered my question about your lack of discretion, and you will answer me, quite soon in fact, but the front of the building was just blown up, and the casino as well. I do not think a porter is the most important thing at the present moment. Now, where are your belongings?”

“In the limo that picked me up,” She responded quietly, I could feel her guilt through our Maker-Childe bond. Although I wanted to patch things up with my Childe, I still wouldn’t stand for her attitude, especially not at a time like this.

“I have a few things in the limo that Sookie and I bought earlier this evening, if I go and grab those could you please get Pam’s things?” I asked Godric, who nodded his consent and disappeared off to gather Pam’s bags from the car. We reconvened in front of the hotel and started to make our way down the narrow path that had been cleared through the rubble.

Silently the three of us entered the lobby, the two faery women were standing together, looking over the rubble. “I vow to drive a stake through the heart of whoever was behind this,” Ata’s voice drifted towards my ears.

Sookie pulled her into a sideways hug, holding her close. “I vow to be the one to sharpen the stake for you, cousin.” She added, earning herself a small laugh from Ata.

Pam’s low whistle caused both girls to turn in our direction. “I’ve seen a few explosions in my time, caused a few myself, but this takes the cake. Sweet lord someone must want something from you, little faery.” I sighed in temporary defeat. My Childe was refusing to use common sense and discretion! Something would be done, and soon, to make sure she learned and remembered her lesson. She turned her head to Ata, forcing a small smile. Clearly, my Childe was still angry with my Maker’s bonded for taking her down so easily, yet she was trying to clear the air between them. Ata’s face remained expressionless as she turned back to face her destroyed lobby, letting out a long sigh before moving towards the stairs.

“Elevators are out of service, fucking health and safety,” she muttered by way of explanation as she started to ascend the staircase with my Sookie by her side. Following up behind her, Godric, Pam and I trudged upwards, arms laden with bags and luggage.

Upon entering the penthouse, we were instantaneously bombarded by three vampires, all of whom I had never met before. “Ata, my dear, are you okay?” The shortest of the three inquired, worry etched on his face. Come to think of it, they all looked worried. Ah, these must be the other three vampires within her ‘nest.’ Of course, we had been introduced to Egor, Ari and Khai but I could remember clearly that Ata had informed us that she had six vampires taking care of her.

“I’m fine, Riei, honestly,” she reassured him, giving his arm an affectionate rub.

“I’ve left the windows open in your room, the hot air from the explosion downstairs travelled up here and it was unbearably warm,” the vampire named Riei explained.

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“I’ve doubled security for the foreseeable future, Ata. I won’t rest until we can find whoever did this,” The tallest of the three spoke, and I realised then that he looked similar to Egor, except that his eyes were a dark green.

“Thank you, Agmund,” I heard Ata sigh, noting that she leant into Sookie a little more. My lover was a strong woman, but I could tell she was struggling to keep both herself and her cousin upright.

The vampire named Riei turned to take in both Godric and me, noting our ruined clothes. His attention then moved to Pam and he observed her completely, from the points of her designer shoes to the top of her perfectly coiffed hair. “You dress very well. Come; let me show you to your room,” he complimented before heading off down the hallway. I felt Pam’s pride, she’d always been up-to-date with the latest fashions, and if this vampire knew a thing or two about fashion I could see them becoming firm friends.

Godric and Pam followed the short vampire, and I took off towards the room Sookie and I were sharing, placing our bags down on the bed before zipping back to the living room. By now everyone had moved to the sofas and Godric and Pam were back in our company. A somewhat lanky vampire was crouched in front of both Ata and Sookie and he had obviously just finished speaking to my lover as she chuckled lightly, a smile on her features. What was it with female fae and their ability to charm every male vampire around them?

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“Are you hurt, my dear?” He asked Ata, and I found it highly amusing how so many vampires were clucking over one woman.

Stifling a yawn, Ata responded. “Just a little battered and bruised, and a little tired too. I should feel better by tomorrow afternoon, though.”

“Are you sure you don’t need any of my blood?” The lanky vampire offered.

That happened to be the last straw for Godric, who had sat quietly and allowed other men to tend to his bonded for most of the night. He was up off the sofa, standing defensively in front of Ata, and was looking down at the other vampire. “The only blood my bonded will be taking, should she require it, is mine!” He snarled, baring his fangs at the other male in a show of dominance and possessiveness.

The other male was up on his feet too, holding his hands up in a surrendering posture, a calm expression on his face. How on earth could all these vampires remain so calm after everything that had happened this evening? “I meant no disrespect. For the last 2000 years I have been Ata’s personal physician, so it’s second nature for me to offer her blood to help her heal,” the vampire explained, dropping his hands to his sides.

In a show of authority, Ata batted Godric’s side, pushing him out of the way. “Thank you for the offer, Oeri, but I’m afraid I’ll have to decline. While I’m grateful that for the past 2000 years you have shared your blood with me when I’ve been hurt, I’m afraid I can only take my bonded’s now. He just didn’t give me a chance to explain before he barged his way into our conversation!” She graciously declined and gave Godric a scathing glare, defusing the situation.

“If I cannot aid you with my blood, then let me aid you with advice. You need to rest, and it would be best if you were to sleep beside your cousin this evening. The fae has the ability to heal one another emotionally when they are close together, by sleeping beside one another your bodies and minds will be eased, allowing you both a pleasant night’s slumber,” he informed Sookie and Ata, both of whom looked surprised by the information. Exchanging a glance, they both nodded. “May I also suggest that your respective mates stay beside you until you fall asleep? An influx of calm will help ease you both into your sleep,” he added as an afterthought, glancing from myself to Godric and back again.

Giving a nod I rose from my own seat as both my Sookie and then Ata rose from their seats. Glancing to Pam I gave her a small nod which she returned before sliding over to Riei, no doubt about to start a conversation with him about fashion or, God forbid, Dear Abby.

“We’ll stay in my room; the bed is bigger,” Ata murmured under her breath, leading us all down the corridor. Upon entering the room, I was hit by the smell of blood and sex, it would be mighty difficult to restrain myself this evening. However, I stopped my fangs in their tracks, forcing them back into place. My Maker’s fangs were still down and I watched as he inhaled deeply, a smirk of satisfaction weaving its way onto his lips. Ata grabbed a pair of shorts and a tank top before rifling through her wardrobe and handing a similar pair to Sookie. Without saying a word both women slipped into the bathroom together to get changed.

As the door shut I turned to my Maker. “They’ve both been too quiet. I don’t know if this is normal for Ata but it certainly isn’t for Sookie,” I expressed my concern, knowing Godric would understand.

“It isn’t normal for Ata either, but then our women have been through a lot, not only this evening but these past few weeks. Miss Stackhouse was caring for you in your amnesic state and, after having attended a dispute session earlier this evening, it seems Felipe is interested in Ata in an unhealthy manner. I believe the explosion here is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back,” Godric explained with a small shake of his head.

“Do you think the events downstairs are connected to Russell?” I had to ask, if I planned for the worst possible scenario, then anything else would be good news.

Godric seemed to contemplate my question for a moment before grimacing, “It could be. The brand matches those from Russell’s pack, however, he hasn’t been free for long, he wouldn’t have had time to gather his forces.”

“Who else could it possibly be, though?” I asked in exasperation, not knowing who the enemy was certainly wasn’t my favourite thing in the world. I had always loved to be prepared; I’d won every battle so far in my 1000 years, all because of preparation.

“I attended a dispute session earlier, which I will talk to you about in more detail once our women are settled and asleep, and Felipe seemed highly interested in Ata. He was offering her the title of Queen of Nevada and promising her riches and such. Come to think of it, he was pretty much begging,” my Maker growled out. Instinctively I growled quietly too, Felipe had no right to try and take my Maker’s bonded away from him.

I was about to inform my Maker that I would stand beside him should Felipe attempt to take his mate from him, but the sound of both women exiting the bathroom drew us away from our conversation. Both girls were spotless, with damp hair, having clearly showered. Had they showered together? The thought was rather enticing, however, I reined in my lust as my lover’s head snapped in my direction, a light frown on her features. Heck, this bond would be the bane of my undead life!

Sookie was first to climb into bed, Ata followed directly afterwards, with a medium-sized fluffy teddy in her hand. Wasn’t she a bit old for teddy bears? They lay facing one another, locking their hands together for comfort with the teddy between them. Both Godric and I stripped down to our underwear and slid in beside our respective women. Sookie’s slight tinge of embarrassment crept into our bond and I had to stifle my chuckle. Another male was down to his underwear in bed with her and she found it a little strange. Bless her innocent human morals. Ata seemed to pay no mind to my nearly nude frame; clearly having grown up with her six vampire guardians around her all the time had all but removed her embarrassment over nudity.

The bed was only just big enough for the four of us and, even then we were all on our sides, as close together as possible. “Night Sook,” Ata yawned, leaning in to press a kiss to her cousin’s nose. I could feel a little bit of shock from Sookie at the gesture. Clearly, she wasn’t aware of the fae’s touchy-feely nature yet. However, she kindly returned the gesture.

“Night Eric,” Ata spoke quietly once more, freeing one of her hands from Sookie’s. She kissed her fingertips before reaching over Sookie to press them to the tip of my nose in an innocent and almost child-like gesture. Godric could clearly feel my amusement as he smiled over Ata’s head at me.

“Goodnight, Ata,” I responded, returning the gesture just like Sookie had.

“Night, cridio,” she finally added, turning her head towards my Maker.

He shifted slightly to press a chaste kiss to her lips, a smile on his features as he smoothed her blonde hair back from her face. “Goodnight carissimus, and goodnight to you too Miss Stackhouse,” He addressed both women safely lodged between us.

Leaning down I brushed my lips across Sookie’s ear, and in a light whisper, I wished her goodnight too.

It took no time at all for the breathing of the two women to even out and become rather shallow, signalling that they had both slipped into slumber. “What’s with the teddy bear?” I asked quietly over their heads, slowly starting to disentangle myself from Sookie’s body.

“We went to the fair earlier, I won it for her,” Godric explained as he disentangled himself from Ata, his emotions told me how pleased he was to see her cuddling the stuffed toy.

“I guess we need to go and speak with the others, find out exactly what happened this evening and start planning for the future,” I sighed quietly as we made our way to the door. I hated the fact that once again Sookie’s life was in danger.

With a remorseful look, my Maker glanced back to the sleeping faeries safely tucked into the bed. “Yes, I’m afraid so, my Childe.”

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