*Chapter 8*: Chapter 7
AN: Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback and constructive criticism. Also, a big thanks to my beta, Lady Doughnuts for her unending support and encouragement. I tweaked this chapter after she had edited it, so any mistakes are mine.
When we left off, Freyda and Felipe had taken Sookie and Pam down to an underground jail. Pam was cuffed and put into one of the cells and Eric found out that Bill had betrayed him, telling Freyda of his plans to take over her kingdom. Sookie was “given” to Felipe and Eric was beaten unconscious by several guards at Freyda’s command. At the end of the chapter, an explosion blasted in the tunnel near the jail…
Sookie squealed in fear and pulled away from the mysterious stranger but paused when the lights suddenly flickered back on. A ginger-haired vampire dressed in black grabbed her shoulders. The woman spoke urgently to her in an Irish accent, “We don’t have time for this, blondie! Come on, now!” She began pulling her further down the corridor.
Sookie quickly regained her composure. “Wait, Eric and Pam are back there!”
The woman turned to her and smiled. “Not to worry, lass. I was told to get you to a safe place. Bodvar and Dragos are helping them.”
As if in answer to her statement, a loud bass roar echoed in the hall and was followed by the clanging of metal.
Sookie heard Pam yell, “Get these fucking cuffs off of me! I have to help my master, damn it!” Sookie heard cursing and more clinking metal noises. Pam’s low murmurs were barely audible, but then she heard Eric answer her.
She screamed out, “Eric, Pam!”
In the blink of an eye, Pam appeared by her side and grabbed her by the hand. Pam turned to the woman. “I’ve got her, Grace. Bodvar says to meet back up with the Jesuit and Miyamoto.” She smirked. “And oh, by the way, good job with dispatching these fuckers. They didn’t know what hit them!”
Grace smiled and bowed. “Aye, looks like we arrived just in time. The Viking got himself into a bit of a fix, hasn’t he? Well…I owed him a favor, so this makes us even.” She winked at Sookie before taking off down the corridor.
Sookie shot a questioning look at Pam, who shrugged and headed back towards the jail. Sookie stumbled along after her. At one point, she tripped and nearly fell on a severed arm. She gulped when she saw a dismembered guard who was trying to crawl down the hall. Pam turned and jabbed her heel into his back, causing him to burst asunder. Pam cringed as she looked down at her pants, no doubt trying to figure out if she could salvage her designer suit.
Once in the jail, Sookie saw a giant, heavily muscled man with a beard and a smaller, swarthy man with a thin moustache who was bending down to examine Eric. Both men were wearing militaristic looking clothing and gear.
Sookie saw that Eric was awake but still sprawled on the floor. She fell heavily to her knees beside him. “Eric, oh my God, are you okay?” she said breathlessly.
He raised his head and put his mouth to her ear. “Lover, I am well. I am sorry that…”
Sookie interrupted him. “Shh. No apologies. I am just glad that none of us were killed. We’re still alive-that’s all that matters to me.” She kissed him softly, ignoring the blood that was starting to congeal on his face. She leaned her forehead to his and whispered, “God, you have no idea how much I’ve missed you!”
He caressed her face and stared into her eyes. “And I you, lover.”
They embraced without speaking for several moments before Sookie bared her neck to him.
“I want you to drink. You need to replenish your strength. Take enough to heal your injuries, and then we can get some of the True Blood out of that cabinet to supplement my blood if you need it.”
Bodvar was watching them. “Brother, she is right. We must hurry. Freyda and that de Castro bastard escaped down a side tunnel when we broke through.”
Eric cursed softly. “It figures. They have an uncanny knack for self-preservation, above all else. It appears that her additions to the tunnel system were not reflected on the blueprints I had obtained. Fuck.” He paused for a moment before he said, “I want all resources directed into finding them both. This ends tonight.”
Dragos answered with an evil smile. “And I have a special favor to return to Hans. One that I have been waiting a long time to repay.” He had never forgotten Hans’s role in the death of his child.
Eric sat up as he gently caressed Sookie’s face. “I will take you up on your offer, but only a mouthful or two.” He nuzzled Sookie’s neck before gently piercing her skin. Sookie gasped and Eric moaned softly while drinking from her. He pierced his finger and rubbed his blood into the tiny wounds and then gently licked her. He whispered, “Thank you, lover.”
He turned to Pam. “I could taste a faint trace of your blood in her.”
She smirked, “Yes, we did an exchange before we came here, to help convince Freyda that Sookie was now mine…fat lot of good it did, huh?”
Eric shook his head in disgust. “Well, it would have, but we didn’t count on the traitor in our midst.” He rose up, pulling Sookie with him. He stared grimly at Bill, who remained slumped in the chair in his cell, though the door was left ajar and his chains had been removed.
Eric said, “This is the last time that you betray me and mine.” He flashed into the cell, placing his hands on Bill’s neck. However, before he could wrench his head off, Sookie screamed.
Eric turned to her with a peeved expression, his eyebrow raised in disbelief.
Bill leaned back heavily and stared at Sookie with a pained expression on his face. “No. Eric is right. End me now…I deserve it after what I have done…everything I have done…”
Sookie shook her head. “Just shut up, Bill…” She sounded tired as she spoke. “Why…why would you fall for their bullshit? Why didn’t you trust that Eric would come through? It doesn’t make sense.” She gazed at him, the myriad of emotions she was experiencing flashing across her face. She sighed and turned to Eric. “Please don’t kill him. Can’t you just…I don’t know, banish him or something once this is all over?”
Eric looked exasperated. “Sookie, you don’t understand what it means to overthrow Freyda and Felipe. I will be king of several territories. Bill is a traitor and what he has done…” He shook his head. “He deserves death.” He added under his breath, “I should have known better than to trust such a duplicitous piece of shit.” He turned to Bill.
“Against my better judgment I will honor Sookie’s request not to kill you immediately. But-you are going to help as a lookout for Pam and a shield for Sookie.”
Bill weakly replied, “Eric, my arms are gone…I am not able to…”
Eric interrupted him. “I don’t give a fuck that your arms are gone. You will shield her with your body, with your life, if necessary.”
Bill nodded and spoke to Sookie. “I’m so sorry, they threatened to kill you if I didn’t talk. I didn’t tell them, I held out and they…cut off my arms. I told them I would rather die. But…Freyda said that you would be given to Felipe, who would keep you safe…otherwise, she was going to have you assassinated before Eric even-.”
Pam interrupted. “Shut the fuck up.” She turned to Eric. “Screw him. We need to hurry up and get out of here.”
Eric continued staring at Bill while he answered her. “Yes, but first I need more blood.” He turned to Sookie and whispered, “Are you sure…you want me to spare him?” She nodded and he sighed before continuing.
“Compton also needs some blood. I don’t want anyone burdened by him. If nothing else, he can be used as a decoy or meat shield.”
Pam rolled her eyes but went to the cabinet in the corner, tossing Eric two bottles of True Blood and taking a six-pack into Bill’s cell. She took the cap off a bottle and narrowed her eyes at him before smacking his head hard.
She sneered in his face. “Open up. You need to drink so you’ll have enough strength to walk on your own.” He obeyed and she quickly poured the bottles into his mouth while he gulped. She nodded when he was able to stand without support. She threw a disdainful look his way as she walked out of the cell. “Make yourself useful. You are lucky my maker spared you. I’d have ended your sorry ass.”
Bill slowly walked out of the cell. He didn’t look up at Sookie as he muttered, “I’ll make it up to you. I swear it.”
After drinking the bottled blood, Eric sought out Bodvar and Dragos, who stood together and were speaking rapidly in low tones. Eric stiffened when he heard that Freyda’s guards had ended Francois and gravely injured Lozan, who was forced to pull back.
Eric addressed them. “And the others?”
Dragos answered. “Grace entered the tunnels with us but is now with Aloysius and Miyamoto while they secure the perimeter. We had Stan and some of the others help with setting off the bombs. Most of the guests and Freyda’s staff have fled but there are some who remain. I don’t know where their loyalties lie.’
Eric nodded. “Well, I suspect that if they didn’t flee, they are not necessarily sympathetic with the current regime. And if that’s the case, we will have more support and if not…we end anyone who directly opposes us.” He mused for a few seconds. “The bottom line is that Freyda and Felipe must be accounted for. If they are able to escape, they will garner the Council’s support against me for the crime of high treason. I have to usurp the throne through force, and have Cataliades file breach of contract against Freyda in order for my ascension to be formally recognized.” He sighed. “As it is, I am going to have to answer to the Council anyway.”
Sookie looked at him, aghast. “The Council…Oh my God, Eric. Are they going to come after you?”
He shrugged. “I trust Desmond to have the legalities covered in this situation. Actually, her imprisonment of Pam and Felipe’s attempt to take you will help strengthen the grounds of my moving against her.”
Pam spoke up. “Yes, Felipe insisted that a clause be included in our contract that would revert ownership of Sookie to him in the event of my true death. He had much to gain from my assassination.”
Sookie interrupted. “What about Felipe? How will you explain his death?”
“Regicide in his case will be done in retaliation for his move against the new monarch of Oklahoma-yours truly.” Eric gave her an evil smile.
Sookie looked at him and shook her head. Vampire politics were dizzying. She frowned and rubbed her temples, trying to will away a headache that was starting to take root.
Eric turned to Pam and continued. “Bodvar, Dragos, and I will secure the tunnel. After it is safe, I will call to you to bring Sookie out. Take care of her, Pam.” He gave her a level stare while cupping her face in his hands. “You cannot allow yourself to be cuffed or jailed again.” Pam winced, managing to look both embarrassed and pissed simultaneously.
He then turned to Bill. “And you…you owe Sookie your life. It is because of her that I don’t end your sorry ass right here and now. You’re not worth much, even when you had arms, but you proved yourself once before with the water fae. But you have made a fatal mistake. Had you kept your mouth shut, Sookie would have been safe and my position secure. You have endangered her further while trying to “protect” her.” He glared at Bill without pity. He still had every intention of ending him, though he would keep up the ruse for Sookie’s sake until after the coup.
Bill nodded but didn’t meet his eyes. “I swear, I’ll do what I can, whatever I can.”
“Protect Sookie and do exactly what Pam tells you to do,” Eric snapped. He walked towards the door with the other vampires without another word.
Sookie ran to Eric and grabbed his hand. “Don’t leave me. We shouldn’t be separated. Never again. Bad things happen when we’re apart. Please, let me come with you.”
Eric shook his head as he smoothed her hair back. “No, lover. You are safest here right now. I have been told that there are still some of Freyda’s guards further down the tunnel and unfortunately you are not immune to bullets. Pam,” he paused as he grimaced at Bill, “and Compton will protect you until I give the signal that you can come above ground.” She began to cry, silent tears streaming down her face as she shook her head.
He held her chin in his large hand. “Listen to me. I need to end Freyda and Felipe. Otherwise, you and I cannot be together in peace.” He bent down and kissed her head.
Sookie closed her eyes for a moment but then nodded her head, reluctantly agreeing with him.
Bodvar motioned him over. “Come, brother, let us swing our swords together as of old.”
Eric cursed, suddenly remembering. “Fuck…They took my sword!”
Bodvar smiled. “Then it is good I brought a spare!” He pulled out a sword that was sheathed across his back and threw it to Eric.
Eric caught it and tested it’s weight as he made some practice cuts through the air. “It’s not as good as my Zweihänder, but it’ll do!” He grinned.
Bodvar burst out laughing as Eric clapped him on the back while Dragos shook his head.
“Really, you two are going to rely only on your swords? We have grenades and look around, there are automatic assault rifles at our disposal! They are better than the ones we were using.” His eyes glowed as picked one off the floor from a dead were guard. He nodded his head in approval. “These are not even in mass production. They are Belgian produced, made for U.S. Special Forces…they are quite impressive weapons.” He popped out the ammo magazine and inspected the rounds. “Silver, of course. Freyda is a resourceful little cunt, isn’t she?”
Dragos walked around the room and out in the corridor, hunting for more guns. He called out to Eric and Bodvar. “I found some that aren’t too coated in shit.”
He came in and tossed guns to the two men and to Pam, who caught them easily. They quickly familiarized themselves with the weapons.
Once again, they spoke rapidly in a language that was unfamiliar to Sookie. Eric nodded his head and seemed to be giving them orders. They began to file out of the room.
As Eric turned to go, Sookie ran to him and they met in a passionate embrace. He bent down and she whispered in his ear, “I…I love you. Come back to me soon.” She swallowed back a sob.
He gave her a chaste, gentle kiss and said, “And I love you. I had hoped for a different outcome tonight, but events didn’t quite unfold as planned.” He glanced down at her dress as he murmured, “I knew that the dress would be stunning on you…but unfortunately it hasn’t held up well, has it?”
Sookie looked down at her dress, which was torn and covered with splotches of blood, while shaking her head forlornly.
He hugged her close and said softly, “Not to worry, I will have another made and you will wear it when we pledge ourselves to one another.” He looked her in the eye. He appeared unsure of himself, which was unusual for him. “I never asked for your hand before…the pledging we did in front of Victor was not as I had initially intended. I am not yet King, but I ask you now, lover, will you be my wife? As I told you before, you already were…in every sense of the word, even after I was forced to send the divorce decree to you…”
Sookie laughed, with tears in her eyes. “It’s not all candlelight dinner and roses, but I’ll take it!” She gazed in his eyes and whispered, “Yes, I’ll marry you.”
He bent down and picked her up, kissing her in such a way that it left her breathless and a little dazed when he put her down. He beamed at her and caressed her face before he hardened and stood up to his full height. “Lover, I have to go. We will secure the tunnel and then come back for you.” He embraced her one last time and then vanished down the hall with the other two men.
As they followed the underground corridor, Eric saw that the ceiling had collapsed from one of the blasts. The way was partly blocked with broken rock and debris. He paused and listened and then turned and nodded to Bodvar, gesturing with his hand. Bodvar silently passed him a grenade. Eric pulled the pin and launched it with perfect accuracy through a small opening in the rubble. A few seconds elapsedbefore an explosion reverberated through the tunnel, followed by the sounds of men cursing and screaming in pain.
As soon as the grenade detonated, Eric and the others thrust their way through the rock. Bodvar and Dragos crouched and quickly dispersed to opposite sides of the tunnel, pressing into the walls. Eric had flown unseen in the smoke to the top of the ceiling before dropping down upon the stunned guards, who had been focused on the other two men.
Eric was deadly with the sword, beheading several of them in the blink of an eye. While Bodvar cut a similar swath of death with his sword, Dragos sprayed the rest with silver bullets, using controlled, accurate blasts from his assault rifle.
Soon, there was silence in the tunnel. The three friends looked at each other and Bodvar let out a great booming laugh. “Well now, brother…That went well! If the rest of your coup goes this easy, we will have plenty of time to celebrate before dawn!”
Eric chuckled and walked around the grisly remains on the floor, heading back in the direction of the jail. The other men waited by the stairwell that led up to the room Eric had descended with Freyda earlier that night.
Eric called to Pam that it was safe to bring Sookie up and flew to meet them. He caught Sookie in a heated embrace. “Lover, now it is safe to go above ground.”
She frowned and said, “I heard an explosion and gunfire…I was so worried.”
He carried her bridal style and kissed the top of her head. “Don’t worry. All is well, for the moment.” Eric carried her the rest of the way up the stairs, followed by Pam and Bill.
He put Sookie down as soon as they entered the room. The group made their way into the main corridor and sought out the north salon, where the wedding ceremony was to have been held. There they saw Stan Davis, Thalia, and Mr. Cataliades. There were also some other vampires who were members of Freyda’s court. He approached Stan and clasped his shoulder and nodded to the others in greeting.
Mr. Cataliades came up and hugged Sookie, his typical calm and stately demeanor marred with concern. “Child! Thank goodness…I am relieved to see that you are safe!”
She nodded and returned his hug. “I’m okay, just a little rattled by everything that’s happened since we got here. Freyda had Pam cuffed and took us down to an underground jail.” She turned to look at Bill, who had slunk to stand in the back, but didn’t mention his role in their capture.
Eric turned to the group. “My friends, thank you for your help. I see you’ve been…busy.” He looked around the room and saw dead were guards and piles of bloody tissue on the floor indicating where vamps had fallen.
Stan nodded his head. “Yeah. I don’t think Freyda was expecting an early attack in this room. Took them by surprise.” He smiled but then told him how Palomino had met final death as she pulled Thalia to safety after she had been shot.
Thalia was bloodied, and although she was healed, it was obvious she had sustained multiple bullet wounds given the condition of her clothing, which was ripped and stained. She looked fierce as she bit out, “I will avenge her.”
Eric nodded but said, “Remember our objective here.”
Stan playfully punched Eric’s arm. “Where were you, man? We were waiting for the signal and when you didn’t show up with the queen, everything went to shit…her guards started swarming and we had to set off the bombs anyway and hope that you guys would show as we planned.”
Eric nodded his head. “Yeah, things got fucked up. Compton sold us out and Freyda had taken Sookie and Pam as collateral. She had my balls in a vice.” He looked at Sookie and said, “She targeted my only vulnerability but now there will be no stopping me.” The vampires turned and glared at Bill, while Thalia hissed and began to advance on him.
Eric held her back. “I am sparing him…for now…with the understanding that he is to help Pam and Sookie.”
Eric turned to Cataliades, who he noticed had a large blood smear down his head and dust on his suit. “I am surprised to see you here, Desmond. I thought you were planning on staying a “neutral” figure until after the coup. I hope this won’t compromise my and your credibility with the Council.”
“I am afraid I cannot remain a neutral party in this situation. Not when my goddaughter is at risk. I will help protect her. I am prepared to handle any legal ramifications that arise from my, uh, active role in the outcome of tonight’s events,” the demon said with a polite smile.
Eric clapped him on the back. “Good man. I feel better knowing you have our backs.”
Mr. Cataliades bowed slightly and said. “I saw a room near the lobby that would be perfect for us to take shelter in while you claim your kingdom.” He gave a polite bow to Eric and took Sookie’s arm and began heading to one of the exits, followed by Pam and Bill.
Sookie turned to Eric and said, “Please be careful. And come back to me soon.”
He smiled at her. “I will. Stay close to Pam and Desmond.” He ignored Bill, who shuffled awkwardly along after them.
The smile immediately vanished from his face as he turned to address the small group of Freyda’s retinue that had stayed behind. They watched him warily as he spoke. “You understand what is going on here?”
Several nodded their heads and a familiar man stepped forward and bowed. Eric recognized him as Merrill, one of Freyda’s top advisors.
“Northman. We wish to pledge our allegiance to you and will help you if you grant us clemency.”
Eric gave them an appraising gaze. “If that is true, then you must prove your worth. Help us secure the rest of the estate. You do this for me, and clemency will be granted.”
Merril nodded his head and said, “Please give us a moment to confer.” He then turned and briefly conversed with his group. After apparently reaching consensus, he replied, “Agreed. Tell us what to do.”
Eric nodded to Dragos, who went over to give them directives.
Eric turned back to Bodvar and Stan and said, “The primary objective now is taking out Freyda and Felipe. Understood?” He motioned to Dragos with his head. “Dragos has dibs on Hans, though…old grudge.” The man turned and caught his gaze, his eyes glittering as he nodded.
Eric addressed Stan. “Is it possible that they escaped during the confusion? Perhaps out of the tunnels, near the infiltration points?”
Stan shook his head. “It’s possible, but I don’t think so. I had some of my and Francois’s men planted around the gate and out by the lake. We basically covered the whole perimeter of the estate so they wouldn’t have been able to leave through the front entrance, even in the confusion with all the guests running out. I think that bitch and de Castro are still here.”
Merrill was listening intently and spoke up. “I can tell you where she may be hiding, with some certainty.”
Eric turned to him. “Where?”
“She has a panic room inside of her private chambers. Only she and a select few of her inner circle know of its existence and the entry code.”
Eric smiled and said, “Do you know the code?” When the man nodded he said, “Then you come with me.”
As Sookie made her way down the corridor with Pam, Mr. Cataliades, and Bill, she couldn’t seem to shake a heavy sense of dread that dogged her steps. Despite the near victory of Eric’s coup, Freyda and Felipe had still not been accounted for. It felt like she was walking in a house where she knew dangerous animals were roaming freely.
Her feelings intensified as they turned the corner. Her eyes widened when she heard Freyda’s voice.
“Take the girl. Kill the rest of the them.”
Eric, Bodvar, and Dragos entered Freyda’schambers, with Merrill pointing to her enormous walk-in closet, which was large enough to be a small bedroom. Merrill had said that the back of the closet was a false wall and actually hid a small door that led to the panic room.
Eric was immediately suspicious that the queen’s suite wasn’t guarded. Had she been in the panic room, they should have encountered resistance of some sort, preventing them from entering. Something wasn’t right…he smelled a trap.
He stopped in his tracks when he heard Sookie’s screams and Pam’s call to him through their maker/child bond.
Without hesitation, he turned and was about to take flight, but Bodvar and Dragos grabbed his arms and pulled him back.
Bodvar hissed, “You must be smart about this…they will try to use the women again as tools to control you. This time must be the final blow. We must use this to our advantage—we have them where we want them, brother.”
Dragos agreed, “Yes, hold while I contact the others.” He pulled out his cell phone and began speaking rapidly. He put the phone back in his pocket and said, “Miyamoto and the others are coming. They will come from the front entrance. I advise that you approach them alone and stall while we gather Stan and the others.”
Eric gritted his teeth but nodded in agreement. “All right. But I can’t guarantee I will be able to wait for long. Not when they have Sookie and Pam.”
Without another word, Eric turned and flew in the direction of the screams.
He smelled the rank copper smell of blood before he saw the piles of viscera. His eyes rapidly scanned the room. Bill was missing, but he saw that Pam was pointing a gun at Hans. Hans was holding his sword in an offensive stance, poised to strike her at a moment’s notice. Mr. Cataliades had his arms held up as red electrical currents shot from his fingertips. There were piles of ashes around him.
Eric took all the information in coolly, but his eyes narrowed as they zeroed in on Sookie. Once again, he saw that Freyda had her captive, her hands gripping her cruelly by the throat. This time, however, Sookie did not appear frightened. She looked furious. Felipe stood beside them, a smug look on his face.
Freyda spoke directly to Eric. “I declared a state of emergency hours ago, well before all of this…waste of time and resources took place. My backup should be here any minute. I recommend you cease this foolishness immediately. If you comply, the life of this human will be spared.”
Felipe looked him in the eye. “Yes, Northman. I also have reinforcements coming. It is over for you and your conspirators. You must surrender immediately.”
Eric threw the sword and the rifle he had slung across his back on the ground and stood with his hands held out: a gesture of compliance. He planned on stalling for time until his allies showed.
Without warning, Sookie reached behind her head, grabbing the silver comb out her hair. She brought it down quickly across Freyda’s face, ripping a deep wound across her cheek while stomping her heel into her foot. She spun free and ran towards Eric.
Freyda grabbed her face and screeched, “I will kill you for this!” She leaped at Sookie, knocking her to the floor. Sookie turned and instinctively grabbed one of her shoes. Freyda bared her fangs and descended upon her in a blur. Her eyes widened in shock when she looked down and saw that Sookie’s heel had pierced her chest. Freyda stilled and looked up, straight into Eric’s eyes as she burst and rained blood and gore upon Sookie, who sat up sputtering and coughing.
Eric did not waste the opportunity. In the blink of an eye, he turned and grabbed his sword from the floor, flying faster than a bullet towards Felipe. In a smooth arc, he swung his sword straight through Felipe’s head and body, cleaving him neatly down the middle. Bodvar, Dragos, and Stan jumped into the fray while holding the stunned guards at bay with their guns.
Hans let out a strangled, grief stricken groan. He dropped his sword and fell to his knees near the spot where Freyda had met her end. He grabbed her gown and pulled it to his chest as his head hung down and shoulders shook in silent sobs.
Dragos approached him. “I have waited a long time for this, Teuton. I have a blood debt to repay you.”
Hans raised his head and looked at the former voivod. Recognition briefly glinted in his eyes before he bowed his head again. He did not make a sound when Dragos pulled out a wooden stake and stabbed him in the chest. Dragos looked at the pile of blood and tissue dispassionately. He whispered, “As you took my child’s life, so have I taken yours.” He dropped the stake and then walked away.
Eric had gone immediately to Sookie, who clung to him as she wept. He looked at her with concern. “Lover, are you okay?” She nodded her head and gazed at him wide-eyed. She whispered, “Bill…they killed Bill.”
Eric remained silent, but pulled her closer while she cried softly.
Pam said dryly, “Ding dong the wicked bitch is dead. Good job, Sookie.”
Eric stood and gently pulled Sookie up with him. She took off her other shoe and held it up to Pam. She gave a tired laugh and said, “Yeah…Lucky for me I was dressed to kill.”
Suddenly, Miyamoto, Aloysius, and Grace raced into the hall. The three scanned the room, assessing the situation immediately.
Grace chuckled. “Well, it looks like we missed all the fun here, didn’t we?”
Miyamoto smiled and said, “Yes, but we did not miss greeting the new King! It is good to see that your plan has come to fruition, old friend.”
Eric pulled Sookie to his side but kept his arm around her waist. He glanced down at her, concerned at the shell-shocked expression on her face. He would see to her as soon as he could, but in the meantime he would need to assume the mantle of King.
He smiled at his friends and allies and responded to Miyamoto. “Indeed it has. With all of your help.” He gazed around the room, acknowledging each ally in turn with his eyes. He noticed that Freyda’s guards had been disarmed and were looking around nervously, no doubt worried about their status in the new regime. He sighed inwardly. One thing at a time…
Merrill approached Eric and knelt on one knee, holding in his hands Eric’s Zweihander. His voice rose in the hall. “All hail King Northman!” Eric accepted his sword and gazed at the crowd.
There was a pregnant pause as people began kneeling to the floor. As one, their voices echoed in the hall. “Hail King Northman. Long live the King!”
AN: Thanks to VAlady for the “dressed to kill” line. ; )