Eric winced as he sat down in the plane’s seat, the evidence of his latest ‘punishment’ still fresh on his flesh. Just like he had suspected, Appius had shown up not long after Eric had heard from Sophie-Anne. To say his Maker was furious would have been an understatement. Appius had been incensed that Sophie-Anne was fighting the contract he brokered and that the Council had put the contract on hold until it until a hearing could be held. As far as Appius was concerned, as Eric’s Maker he had full control over his child and didn’t have to answer to anyone.
It had only taken two nights of the contract being stalled for Appius to show up at Fangtasia. He had demanded Eric withdraw his objection to the marriage and get Sophie-Anne to do the same, something Eric had refused. Appius had done everything in his power to make Eric change his mind, short of using a Maker’s command, as the Council had forbid him to do so. When Appius realized Eric wouldn’t do as he demanded, he became enraged. All his plans were falling down around him, and he turned his anger onto Eric.
Appius had taken great pleasure in asserting his control over Eric. In an attempt to destroy Eric in the eyes of his area vampires and leave him with no choice but to accept his position in Oklahoma, Appius had embarrassed and humiliated Eric. During the first week he resided in Area Five, Appius took complete control over his child. He controlled every aspect of Eric’s life, making all the decisions for him and beating him down whenever he felt like it.
The sadistic vampire took great delight in chaining Eric in silver and whipping him while the area vampires watched on. He took extra pleasure doing it in front of Pam. He loved seeing the horror on her face as he brought her Maker to heel over and over. It was only the constant presence of Thalia that prevented him from turning his attentions to Eric’s child. Oh, how he would have loved to tear her apart or make Eric do it. Appius hated Pam with a fiery passion. He hated that he hadn’t been able to beat the emotions out of Eric. When he turned Eric, he wanted to mould him in his image; he wanted Eric to become like him. A monster. Instead, Eric surpassed him completely; he gained power on his own, and he still had the ability to care for others, something Appius himself wasn’t capable of. Deep down Appius hated Eric because he couldn’t break him.
For the past six weeks, Appius had done everything in his power to make Eric’s existence a living hell. With the exception of his Sheriff duties, there was no part of Eric’s life that Appius didn’t control. He decided when Eric fed, and if he fed. Appius would forbid Eric from feeding for over a week, wait until he aching with hunger, and then give him nothing more than a thimble of blood. Then he would make Eric watch while he fed deeply. Appius used every trick he learned over his fifteen hundred years to try to break Eric. Appius abused Eric emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually. He might have not been able to issue a Maker’s command that Eric honor the contract, but he could use it to bring him to heel in other ways, and he did nightly.
Appius also enjoyed debasing Eric in front of the fangbangers that visited the club. He was well aware of Eric’s reputation and the following he had, and Appius sought to destroy it. Just like he tried to destroy Eric in the eyes of the area vampires, he desired to take everything away from Eric. The few times he permitted Eric to feed, he refused to let him feed on women. Appius knew that women were Eric’s preference, and he took that away from him again, just like he did when he first turned him. He placed a Maker’s command on Eric to never feed on anyone without his permission, and he never permitted a woman.
While not needing to, Appius would feed nightly and always in front of Eric, and depending on his mood, he would either make Eric watch while he fucked his dinner, or, if he was in a particularly cruel mood, he would make Eric service his dinner. He refused to let Eric have any kind of pleasure or physical release, but he took great satisfaction in making Eric suck off the fangbangers he despised.
To add to Eric’s punishment, Appius invited Freyda down so she could witness Eric’s humiliation first hand. Like Appius, she had also been furious at Sophie-Anne and the Council’s interference. She was a Queen in her own right; she shouldn’t have been forced to explain what she wanted and why she brokered the contract with Appius. Freyda was determined to win the case and force Eric to honor the contract and marry her. With Appius’ help, she was convinced she could tame the Viking. His shame at what she witnessed at his bar would certainly help her, she believed. Freyda had been grateful when Appius allowed her to play with Eric herself. Between the two of them, they had cooked up many humiliating punishments for her future consort. Appius had explained he had forbidden Eric from any kind of pleasure, but she had managed to play with him in other ways. All it took was a command from his Maker, and Eric was on his knees before her. She had thoroughly enjoyed making him spend hours with his head buried between her legs. And once she got him back to Oklahoma, she planned on making him, with Appius’ help, greet her every morning in the same way.
As a bonus for the delay, Appius had offered Freyda the ability to own Pam as well. As soon as they were away from Louisiana, Appius promised Freyda he would use his Maker’s command to force Eric to hand over Pam to her. She could have them both, one as her consort, the other as her whore. Their playtime with Eric had only ended when Sophie-Anne had gotten wind of it. While she couldn’t prevent Appius from asserting his control over Eric, Sophie-Anne could and did put a stop to Freyda’s fun.
Two weeks earlier
Excited whispers followed Sophie-Anne as she stepped inside Fangtasia. The fangbangers parted as she made her way through the bar; like always Andre was to her right and the Bert’s stood behind her, guarding her back. She kept her eyes fixed on Eric, who had been forced to kneel at his Maker’s feet; her anger was growing with each step as she spied Appius sitting in her Sheriff’s throne. It wasn’t common knowledge, but the throne was actually a present from her to her favorite Sheriff when he opened the bar.
“Good evening, Sheriff,” Sophie-Anne greeted as she stepped onto the dais.
“Good evening, your majesty,” Eric replied as he rose to his feet and bowed before his Queen. He smirked at the hiss of displeasure he heard coming from Freyda at the respect he gave his Queen. “What brings you to my area this evening?”
“Business, I’m afraid,” Sophie-Anne informed. “I had heard some most vexatious news, and I needed to investigate it for myself. I couldn’t believe it to be true, but as I stand here, I see that it is.”
“Sophie-Anne,” Appius started believing she was referring to his punishment of Eric. “As his Maker, I have…”
“Silence,” Sophie-Anne ordered as she turned her gaze to him. She glared at him with hatred burning bright in her eyes. “I didn’t give you permission to speak.”
“Permission?” Appius growled, affronted. “I am Appius Livius Ocella, I am a member of the Roman Empire…”
“The Roman Empire no longer exists,” Sophie-Anne interrupted. “It hasn’t for many a century now. And even if it did, it wouldn’t matter. You’re not in any land owned by the Romans. You’re in Louisiana. You’re not King here, Ocella. But I am the Queen, and you will do well to remember that. I rule this state and while you reside in it, and you will follow my rule. Now be silent.”
Snapping his mouth shut, Appius rose from Eric’s throne and made a move towards Sophie-Anne. He glowered at her as he prepared to strike her down for her blatant disrespect. He was a legend, feared on all continents; he wouldn’t let a little slip of a Queen speak to him in such a degrading manner.
“Oh please do,” Sophie-Anne purred as she watched him approach her.
Seeing the threat to their Queen, the Bert’s stepped around her and blocked her from Appius’ sight. They drew their swords and stared down the fuming Roman vampire.
Appius eyes widened slightly as the Bert’s blocked his path, and he flicked his eyes from them to Andre who had also drawn his weapon. Looking around the club, he realized he wouldn’t have any help from any of the vampires in the place. None of them would attack their own Queen for him, especially not after how he had been treating their Sheriff. Having no choice, Appius took a step back and conceded defeat.
“A wise decision,” Sophie-Anne chortled as she tapped the Bert’s on their backs, getting them to stand down.
Seigbert and Wybert moved as a single unit as they stepped back behind their Maker and Queen. Keeping their swords in their hands, they kept their attention on Appius, ready to defend their Queen again if they had to.
“Now, like I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted,” Sophie-Anne continued. Taking a step forward, she turned and sat down on Eric’s throne and crossed her legs. “Sheriff, please join me,” she added as she pointed to the chair beside the throne, where Freyda had been sitting when Sophie-Anne entered the bar. She waited for Eric to sit down next to her before she continued. “I received some most vexatious news. It seems some people think they can do whatever they want, and no Ocella, I am not referring to you, at least not this time. Oklahoma,” Sophie-Anne growled as she cast her gaze on Freyda.
“Yes, Sophie-Anne?” Freyda replied with a smirk. She refused to show the Louisiana Queen any respect. Freyda was a Queen herself and didn’t have to bow down before anyone, especially not someone who was standing in her way of getting what she wanted.
“What are you doing in my state?” Sophie-Anne asked.
“Visiting my future consort,” Freyda answered smugly.
“I’m sorry, you misunderstood me,” Sophie-Anne said with a small laugh. “I meant, why are you in my state uninvited and without announcing yourself to the reigning Queen?”
“Appius invited me to come and play with my future consort,” Freyda replied arrogantly.
“Appius is not a resident of Louisiana; he doesn’t have the right to invite anyone into my state,” Sophie-Anne said. “And even if he did, as a Queen you still have to inform the states monarch, otherwise it looks mightily suspicious. It does look suspicious, doesn’t it, Andre?”
“It does, my Queen,” Andre agreed. “You could even argue she is here with nefarious intentions.”
“A scouting party,” Sophie-Anne gasped in mock shock.
“It is one theory,” Andre replied with a shrug.
Rising to her feet, Sophie-Anne stalked towards Freyda and stared her down. “I want you out of my state and for you to never return. You’re not welcome here, and the next time you enter my state without announcing yourself to me, I will consider it a declaration of war and act accordingly,” she threatened.
“You can’t treat me like this,” Freyda argued shrilly.
“I’m the Queen; I think you will find I can,” Sophie-Anne replied with a small smile. “Seigbert, Wybert?”
“Yes, my Queen,” Seigbert said.
“Please escort the Oklahoma Queen out,” Sophie-Anne ordered. “In fact, please make sure she leaves my state completely.”
“Yes, my Queen,” Wybert said. Sheathing his sword, Wybert reached forwards and grabbed Freyda by the arm and dragged her out the bar as his brother watched his back. Freyda’s cries to be unhanded could be heard as she was bundled out of the bar.
“Now that the little bit of unpleasantness has been dealt with, Eric,” Sophie-Anne said, turning back to face her Sheriff, “I require your presence in New Orleans. I have much to do before the conference in New York and I am in need of your services.”
“Of course, my Queen. I give my services to you freely,” he said adding a little dig at Appius who was silently fuming next to him.
“Good. The Sheriffs’ quarters are all ready for you,” Sophie-Anne informed him. “I’m afraid I will be keeping you busy for the next few weeks.”
“That is not a problem,” Eric replied, realizing what she was doing and grateful for it.
“You can’t keep my child from me,” Appius said, interjecting himself in the conversation.
“Hmm, I forgot you were still here,” Sophie-Anne said absently as she stood up. “I’m not keeping your child from you. I’m simply expecting my Sheriff to assist me in some state matters. If you don’t like it, you can always take it up with the Council.”
“I shall be accompanying him to New Orleans,” Appius growled.
“You’re free to visit New Orleans,” Sophie-Anne offered. “You won’t, however, be accompanying my Sheriff as he will be travelling with me. Neither will you be able to stay with him while there, as I demand his presence at my court, and I’m afraid you’re not welcome there.”
“You cannot do this,” Appius spat.
“I think you will find I can,” Sophie-Anne replied. “As Queen I can ban anyone I want from entering my palace. And if you push me Appius, I will ban you from my entire state.”
Realizing he had no choice but to go along with her, Appius backed down again. His hatred of Sophie-Anne was growing with each second, and he couldn’t wait for the night he could finally end her.
“Well, if that is all, we will be leaving,” Sophie-Anne announced. “Eric, don’t forget to bring your child.”
She had been unable to prevent Appius from calling Eric to him at times, but she had certainly limited his access to her Sheriff.
The night before they were due to fly to New York, Appius called Eric to him and once again demanded he withdraw his objections to the contract. Once again Eric had refused. Realizing it was his last chance to avoid going before the Council, Appius had done everything in his power to get Eric to change his mind. He had been particularly brutal to him, chaining him in silver and tearing into his flesh; he had stripped him bare, leaving him bloody and battered before selling his body to any man who desired it. Appius sat back and watched while one man after another took his child in any way they desired. He only released him when the threat of the rising sun demanded it. He hadn’t given Eric any time to cleanse himself before he returned him to Sophie-Anne’s palace. Eric had been forced to go to rest covered in his blood and the cum of his many ‘customers.’
Closing his eyes, Eric rested his head on the back of the plane’s seat. His body was slowly healing from the abuse he had suffered the night before. He felt Pam sit down in the chair beside him, her concern flooding their bond. He sent her a burst of reassurance as he cracked open an eye. It wasn’t the first time Appius had punished him, nor was it the worst; especially compared to some of the punishments Appius had given him in the early days, the last six weeks had been a walk in the park. But he knew it upset Pam to see him in such a way, and he sought to reassure her that he was fine.
“Good evening,” Sophie-Anne greeted as she sat down in the seat opposite Eric.
“Your majesty,” Eric replied with a nod.
“It’s just us here now, Eric,” Sophie-Anne said as Andre took the seat beside her. “You can drop all the formalities. Now we have a few hours without the interference of your wretched Maker, and I suggest we make the most of them.”
“Sophie-Anne?” Eric questioned unsure of what she meant.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I informed Appius there wasn’t enough room on the plane for him to travel with us,” Sophie-Anne explained with a smirk. “Poor dear had to arrange his own travel to the conference.”
Eric chuckled as he heard Sophie-Anne’s words; he was grateful she had given him a few hours respite from his Maker.
“Now down to business,” Sophie-Anne announced, her voice taking on a serious tone. “Mr. Cataliades has informed me that we are one of the first cases to go before the Council. We shall go before them an hour after sunset tomorrow evening. We will also be going before the full Council, which in itself is unusual. Normally, a vampire-only jury deals with vampires business. Mr. Cataliades was honest and admit he doesn’t know what to expect. He was confident that if it was only Freyda who we were facing, he could easily defeat her and get the contract voided, but as Appius is backing her that makes it more difficult. As your Maker he does have the right to make any contract he wants and make you honor it. I will argue that as your Queen I have certain rights as well. You still have fifty years left on your contract with me, and I intend to demand that be honored. You have been loyal to me for many years, Eric. You protected me and my Queendom after the events of Rhodes. With your assistance we managed to resist the takeover attempt by Nevada and force de Castro back into the desert. I owe you for that, and I intend to pay it back one way or another…”
“Sophie-Anne, what are you saying?” Eric asked. She couldn’t be saying what he thought she was. If she was planning what he thought she was, he didn’t know whether to applaud her or try to stop her.
“I’m saying that one way or another this contract won’t be honored,” Sophie-Anne answered firmly. “If the Council approves the contract and forces it to be honoued then I will take Oklahoma. I will destroy Freyda and claim her Queendom as my own.”
“I do not wish for you to do anything that will get you in trouble,” Eric replied, choosing his words carefully. “I appreciate all your assistance so far.”
“Don’t get all sentimental on me now, Eric,” Sophie-Anne said, adding a bit levity to the serious talk. “I’m not doing it solely for selfless reasons. Losing you to Oklahoma would weaken my Queendom and strengthen Freyda’s, and I can’t allow that to happen, for the simple reason that I don’t like her.”
“No one does,” Pam snorted as she joined the conversation. “Her own subjects despise her.”
“True,” Sophie-Anne agreed. “The only person who seems to like her is Appius, and I find that curious. She is not Appius’ type, and I can think of no reason the two of them should have ever met. Appius has never resided in Oklahoma; has he Eric?”
“Not that I am aware of,” Eric answered truthfully. Like Sophie-Anne he had been trying to work out the connection between Appius and Freyda, but without any luck. “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Appius has travelled to the United States. He prefers the comforts of Europe. He was a King there for a short while.”
“Mmm,” Sophie-Anne mused. “Freyda is only a little over two hundred years old and has been Queen of Oklahoma for the last twenty-five. For the fifty before that she was the second of the King of Georgia. She rose through the ranks quickly, but like all contracts, she would have been bound to Georgia for one hundred years. So that leaves around seventy-five years unaccounted for. Do we know who Freyda’s Maker is?”
“I can have Compton look it up when we get to New York, Sophie,” Andre offered. “I have instructed him to be there waiting for us.”
“Oh yes,” Sophie-Anne huffed. “I forgot the snivelling little weasel would be in attendance. If I could find someone else to manage the database I would be done with him once and for all. He is scheduled to present his newest additions to the database, right?”
“He is. And he is so excited about it,” Pam chortled as she recalled how Bill had been bragging around the bar about his invitation to the supernatural conference.
“Right,” Sophie-Anne said as she tapped her finger against her seat armrest. “Andre, try and find the information yourself; I don’t want Compton involved in this matter at all. His dislike for the Sheriff is well known, and I wouldn’t trust him not to try and use the information to better himself in some way. He has shown in the past, he is not above undermining his Sheriff and Queen if he thinks he can benefit from it.”
“Yes, my Queen,” Andre replied.
The plane descended into silence, each vampire lost in his and her own thoughts. Eric feared the Council would decide in Appius and Freyda’s favor. He knew if he was forced to go to Oklahoma, he would never escape, at least not without the final death of both Freyda and Appius. The contract might only be for a hundred years, but he knew Appius would renew it every century. He would be bond to Freyda for eternity, a fate he did not want. He could fight Freyda since physically she was no match for him, but he was powerless to fight his Maker. All it would take would be a simple command, and he would be on his knees before he could blink. As he thought it over, Eric offered a prayer to his Gods that the Council would vote in his favor.
Pam could feel Eric’s turmoil through their bond, and she cursed Appius and Freyda for the thousandth time. Neither of them was worthy of being anywhere near her Maker as far as she was concerned. Freyda was a weak Queen, relying on the strength of others to cement her power. The contract with Appius proved that. If she was any kind of a real Queen, she would have approached Eric herself instead of involving his Maker.
As he did with everything, Andre stood with his Queen. Her desires were his, her wishes were his. As the others made plans of what they were going to say before the Council, he was making plans for a possible takeover attempt. Louisiana was once again strong, and they held the upper hand over Oklahoma. He had already taken the initiative to scope out Oklahoma; he deduced it would be a hard fought battle, but he was confident Louisiana would come out on top. His only concern was with the Roman. Appius would prove to be a threat, but between himself and the Berts, Andre was sure they could take him down.
As she told Eric, Sophie-Anne’s motives were not entirely selfless. She didn’t want to lose a strong Sheriff; it would weaken her state to lose someone of Eric’s caliber. She owed him a lot as Eric had protected Louisiana after the bombing at Rhodes. He had stepped up and helped run the state with Andre while she recuperated from losing her legs. It had been Eric, who guessed the takeover was coming and deduced the vampire who would be behind it. Andre had managed to protect her from the assassin that de Castro sent while Eric protected her state. But one of the many reasons she was fighting so hard for him was because she despised both Appius and Freyda. Appius reminded her too much of her own Maker. He would abuse her in much of the same way Appius abused Eric, and it revolted her. Despite all her power, Sophie-Anne had never done the things those two did.
She hated Freyda because she thought her unworthy: unworthy of being a vampire and definitely unworthy of being a Queen. Freyda was a Queen by default; she hadn’t won her throne in battle or been awarded it because she deserved it. She was only Queen because she had been the first one there when the former King of Oklahoma had chosen to meet the sun. And Sophie-Anne despised the way Freyda treated her children. In Sophie-Anne’s eyes, being a Maker was an honor and a privilege. She respected her children and cared for them a great deal, but Freyda saw them as nothing more than a means to a end. They were toys to her that she could play with.
So lost in their thoughts, none of them realized they were approaching New York until the pilot’s voice came over the PA system.
Thirty minutes later, the four of them arrived at the hotel Algonquin Hotel where the conference was being held. The Berts were waiting for Sophie-Anne has soon as she arrived; the two of them had flown up earlier to make sure everything was safe for their Queen. No one wanted a repeat of Rhodes.
“Eric,” a shrill voice called out as they mingled inside the foyer.
Eric groaned as he realized who it was. Blanking his face, he turned to face the Queen of Oklahoma. “Freyda,” he greeted blandly, refusing to show her any respect.
Sauntering up to him, Freyda placed her hand on his chest and batted her eyelashes at him. “It’s good to see you again, darling,” she purred. “I have missed you. Have you missed me?”
“Like I would miss silver poisoning,” Eric replied as he took a step back.
“Oh, don’t be like that, darling,” Freyda chided. “We had such a good time when I visited you.” She trailed her hand down his chest as she smiled coyly at him. “I find myself thinking about that talented mouth of yours often. In fact, I request your presence in a private meeting now. Follow me.”
“You really are rather pathetic, aren’t you?” Sophie-Anne snorted as she pushed her way between Eric and Freyda. Grabbing Freyda’s wrist, she yanked her away from Eric and pushed her back. “Maybe no one has ever told you this, but we don’t touch what doesn’t belong to us.”
“He does belong to me,” Freyda snarled, baring her fangs at Sophie-Anne.
“Not yet he doesn’t, and if I have my way he never will,” Sophie-Anne replied.
Freyda snarled at Sophie-Anne, her fingers curling into claws. “Appius gave him to me,” she spat. “You have no say in this. He’s mine.”
Cocking her head to the side, Sophie-Anne pursed her lips. “Andre, is she throwing a tantrum?” she asked mockingly.
“I believe so, my Queen,” Andre replied.
“Tut-tut,” Sophie-Anne said as she shook her head. “My dear your age is showing. For God’s sake, you’re a vampire Queen, not a human toddler crying over a lost toy.”
“I demand Eric’s presence in my room this instant,” Freyda replied.
“You don’t make demands of me,” Sophie-Anne growled. “I am five times your age and was a Queen while you were still suckling at your mother’s teat. Eric is still my Sheriff and doesn’t answer to you, and before you think about getting Appius to command him, I suggest you remember where you are. We are surrounded by our peers and all you’re doing is showing how pathetic you are.”
“Is there a problem here?” a soft voice asked interrupting them.
“Who are you?” Freyda snarled whirling to face the young woman who had approached them.
“I am Cahira,” she introduced as she offered both Queens a small bow.
“Do you work here?” Freyda asked.
“No, Oklahoma Queen,” Cahira answered, her tone soft and welcoming.
“Then this has nothing to do with you,” Freyda snarled.
“I am here as part of the Ancient Pythoness’s party,” Cahira added, her lips curling into a smile.
“The Ancient Pythoness,” Freyda spluttered unable to believe she had insulted one of the Ancient One’s servants.
“Yes. In fact, I bring a message from our Lady,” Cahira said. “The Ancient One is ordering that both the Louisiana and Oklahoma parties remain in their suites this evening. Until tomorrow’s hearing, Oklahoma and Louisiana are to have no interactions.” Turning her gaze to Eric, she added, “That includes those between you and your Maker. Appius Livius Ocella has been classified as a resident of Oklahoma for the duration of the conference, so he cannot demand your presence either. Now, I have arranged for you all to be escorted to your rooms. Good evening.”
Watching as Cahira walked away, Freyda snarled, “They can’t do this.”
“’They’ is the Ancient Pythoness you brain dead poor excuse for a vampire,” Sophie-Anne replied. “She can do anything She wants. Andre, spread the word that Louisiana is retiring for the night. I want all my vampires in their rooms immediately.”
“Yes, my Queen,” Andre said with a nod.
Having no choice, Eric and Pam followed Sophie-Anne into the elevators and up to their suites. Settling into their suite, Eric wondered what the hell was going on. It was unusual for the Ancient Pythoness to interfere like She just had. As he closed his eyes, preparing to die for the day, he wondered what the Council would decide.
Eric rose the next evening with a sense of anticipation. He could feel his blood singing in his veins, signalling a change was in the air. He just hoped that the change wasn’t his relocation to Oklahoma. Dressing quickly in a silver-gray tailored suit he headed out of his suite and to Sophie-Anne’s.
Meeting his Queen, the Louisiana party made their way down to the room that had been set aside for the hearing. He wasn’t surprised to see Oklahoma already there, nor was he surprised to see Appius sitting with her. Taking his seat with Louisiana, Eric waited for the Council to arrive.
It was barely twenty minutes later when the doors to the room were closed and a side door was opened. Staring up at the front of the room, Eric watched as the were tiger Quinn stepped onto the raised platform where the Council would sit.
“Everyone stand for the Supernatural Council,” Quinn said, his voice booming over the room. “The representative of the Were community, Langdon James Barton.”
Eric watched as a wiry man stepped on the platform, his hair graying around the edges. But despite his frail appearance, Eric could tell he was a man of power.
“The representative of the magical community, Athena Rodgers,” Quinn continued as a middle-aged woman stepped on the platform. “The representative of the daemons, Kynan Tolmach. The representative of the shifter community, Stefan Lawson. The representative of the fae, Aine DeMichaels.”
Eric bit back a groan as he heard more than one set of fangs snap down as a fiery redhead stepped on the platform. Even with her scent masked many vampires still hungered after her. Even with all their supposed superiority some vampires still couldn’t control themselves, they showed themselves to be nothing more than a set of fangs.
“The representative of the vampire community, the Ancient Pythoness,” Quinn announced.
As one, the vampires in the room dropped to their knees as the Ancient Pythoness was led onto the platform by her handmaidens.
“Rise,” the Ancient Pythoness said as she settled into her chair. She cast her white eyes over the room, and her withered lips curling into a smile as she ‘saw’ a few familiar faces. “Tiger, read out the case information.”
“First on the docket is Louisiana vs. Oklahoma,” Quinn said. “The Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq is challenging the pledging contract between her Sheriff, Eric the Norseman, and the Queen of Oklahoma, Freyda. The contract was arranged by Northman’s Maker, Appius Livius Ocella.”
“Who is representing each party?” The Ancient One asked.
“Desmond Cataliades for Louisiana, your Grace,” Desmond spoke up.
“Johan Glassport for Oklahoma,” Johan said as he stood up. “And I would like to put forward a motion to have the case thrown out.”
“Denied,” The Ancient One replied, not bothering to even hear his reasons. “Do Oklahoma and Louisiana both agree to abide by the Council’s decision?”
“We do, your Grace,” Desmond agreed on the behalf of Louisiana.
“We do, your Grace,” Glassport said on the behalf of Oklahoma.
“Good. Oklahoma, prepare your case,” The Ancient Pythoness said.
“Your Grace we argue that…”
“I said prepare, not speak it,” The Ancient Pythoness interrupted, turning her gaze to Glassport. “The tiger hasn’t finished introducing the Council yet.”
A murmur spread through the room at the Ancient Pythoness’s words. For as long as many of them remembered, there had only ever been six members on the Council. There were junior branches of it, if you will, vampire-only juries, Were ones, and other species did report to the Council, but none sat on the Council itself.
“Eric, there are seven chairs,” Pam whispered, noticing what everyone else had somehow failed to realize.
Looking up at the platform, Eric noted she was right and there was a still empty seat. He frowned as he saw the placement of the chair; it was to the left of the Ancient Pythoness’ chair. From the placement of them chair, Eric deduced whoever this new Council member was, they held a lot of power.
“Everyone rise,” Quinn said.
Shock spread through the room as everyone saw the Ancient Pythoness stand up as well.
“The seventh member of the Supernatural Council, representing the Earth…”
“The Soul Seer,” the Ancient Pythoness voice boomed over them all.
Eric felt his heart clench as the door opened again and a very familiar blonde entered the room. He couldn’t take his eyes off her as she stepped onto the platform and took her seat beside the Ancient Pythoness.
“Sookie,” Eric whispered.