Silence descended upon the room after The Ancient Pythoness informed Sookie what she was. Confusion clouded Sookie’s mind as the words repeated over and over. She had never heard the phrase before and the words meant little to her, but from the looks on the faces of The Ancient Pythoness and Stella, she knew they meant something to them. Not for the first time that day, Sookie found herself at a loss; she had no clue what a Soul Seer was or why The Ancient One thought she was one. She thought she must be mistaken; how could she be a soul seer when she didn’t even know what one was?
“Sookie,” Stella said softly breaking into her mental musings. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t know,” Sookie answered truthfully. The weight of the last few days was dragging her under; her mind was in danger of shutting down as she struggled to comprehend everything that had happened. She barely had time to breathe before some new information was thrown at her; she hadn’t had time to digest what she had already learned, and she had a feeling she had only scratched the surface. Without anyone telling her she knew there was still a lot she had to learn.
There was still so much she didn’t know, things that she wanted to know, but at the same time was afraid to know. Sookie wasn’t sure she could take anymore, but she knew she needed to know. Being kept in the dark had only made her a target, and she still had the bruises to know that wasn’t a good thing. The Ancient Pythoness had told her she couldn’t run from this, from her destiny, whatever that was, and in that moment Sookie realized she didn’t want to. She was done running because she realized it didn’t matter how fast or far she ran she could never escape what she was running from, eventually it would catch up with her. As she sat across from the Ancient Pythoness, Sookie finally understood that running was not the answer: she could run to the end of the Earth, but she would never forget what or who she was running from, because the moment she stopped, the memory would be there waiting for her.
Calling on the strength she didn’t even know she possessed, Sookie squared her shoulders and stared at the Ancient Pythoness. She blocked the pain that was coursing through her body, both physical and emotional, showing the first hint of the woman she truly was as she stared down the vampire who held the power of the Supernatural world in her hands.
“What or who is a Soul Seer?” she asked.
“You are,” The Ancient Pythoness answered.
“No, don’t give me that cryptic crap; I don’t want that. I want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I don’t want half-answers or excuses; I don’t want to hear the ‘you won’t understand because you’re not a vampire’ bull. I deserve to know what I am, and I won’t settle for anything less.”
A crooked grin spread across The Ancient One’s wrinkled face as Sookie laid down the law. This was what she wanted; she wanted to see the fire, she had seen in her visions, and she wanted to see the fire that fool Compton had tried to extinguish. If she was going to survive what was to come, she knew the girl would need it. In the bible the meek might inherit the Earth, but in the Supernatural world they would be eaten alive.
Turning her milky white eyes back to the ball of fire sitting opposite her, No, she thought. The meek shall certainly not inherit the Earth.
“To understand what you are, you must first understand who you are.”
“I know who I am,” Sookie interrupted rather rudely.
“No, child, you do not,” The Ancient Pythoness replied. “To know who you are, you must know of those who came before you.”
“Before me,” Sookie repeated, confused. “You mean my parents?”
“I mean your grandfather.”
“No, I refer to your real grandfather,” The Ancient Pythoness said. “The man you believed to be your grandfather wasn’t. From the visions I have seen he was a good man, honest and true, but his blood does not run through your veins.”
“You’re lying,” Sookie cried.
“No, I am not.”
“You’re saying my Gran was unfaithful to her husband,” Sookie said shocked. “No, she wouldn’t have done that. She loved him, I know she did.”
“Sometimes love has nothing to do with it…” The Ancient Pythoness paused as she thought of a way to explain what Adele had done without destroying Sookie’s memories of her. From what she had seen, The Ancient Pythoness believed Adele to be a good woman if not a little selfish. She didn’t doubt for one minute that she had loved Sookie greatly, but in her need to protect her own secret she had intentionally kept Sookie in the dark about her heritage and where her telepathy came from. “Mitchell Stackhouse was a good man, loyal and loving, but a childhood illness left him sterile. Your Grandmother desperately wanted children and allowed herself to be seduced by a young man by the name of Fintan Brigant.”
The Ancient Pythoness explained how Adele had met Fintan and the relationship they began. She told her of the birth of her father and aunt, the deal Fintan made with the demon Mr. Cataliades, and where Sookie’s telepathy came from. She laid everything down for Sookie to see, the truth about the death of her parents, her fairy heritage and what it meant, the danger she would face and how people would try to use her because of it.
By the time The Ancient Pythoness finished, Sookie had never felt more drained. Despite being shown no actual proof, Sookie knew everything she had been told was the truth. She felt it, deep down inside. She felt her heart breaking all over again at the realization that the one person she trusted more than anyone else, her anchor, the one she had always sought advice from had purposely kept her in the dark not for her own good, but to protect her own indiscretions.
“I do not tell you this to hurt you, child,” The Ancient Pythoness said breaking into her musings.
“That must just be a bonus,” Sookie mumbled. Lifting a hand, she rubbed her tired eyes, “Why are you telling me this? What do you want from me?”
“I tell you because you deserve to know the truth,” The Ancient One replied. “Keeping you in the dark benefits no one but those who are trying to manipulate and take advantage of you. The vultures are circling you, child, waiting to pick at your bones.”
“What vultures?” Sookie questioned.
“The ones trying to steal your destiny.”
“Are you capable of answering a question normally?” Sookie asked exasperated.
“Sookie!” Stella cried, shocked that anyone would speak to The Ancient One in such a way.
The Ancient Pythoness’ croaked laughter filled the room before Sookie had a chance to reply, “The child has fire, do not try to extinguish it Stella. It will help carry her through. The vultures, I speak of are your fae kin. On the path you have walked away from, I saw them come to you. They lured you in with empty promises, half-truths, and promises of family. Your body was broken and blood spilt due to their duplicitous ways and when they had achieved what they desired, they abandoned you to the wolves. Their selfish behavior caused you unimaginable pain and if they would have learned of your true ability, they would have tried to bind you to them and exploit you for their own benefits.”
“So I guess you’re saying I can’t trust the fairies,” Sookie said almost flippantly. “Although I’m guessing they’d say the same about vampires.”
“They would,” The Ancient Pythoness agreed, seeing no point in lying to her. If Sookie accepted and embraced what she was, no one would ever be able to lie to her again. She would see right through them. “Fairies and vampires are natural enemies. Fairies thrive in the light, while vampires thrive in the darkness. We are almost complete opposites of each other, light to dark. Vampires are drawn to fairies due to their scent, it is very alluring, few can resist it and while their scents drawn us to them, their blood intoxicates us. Fairies avoid vampires as they do not survive long around us.”
“If I asked a fairy about vampires, what would they tell me?” Sookie asked curiously.
“That we are evil. They would paint you a picture of a cruel and vicious race, incapable of love or feelings of any kind. They would tell you our only pleasure comes in the sins of the flesh, feeding, hunting and killing. They would claim you could not trust any of us and that we are only about ourselves.”
“Is any of that true?” Sookie questioned.
“Unfortunately, yes,” The Ancient Pythoness admitted. “It just depends on the vampire. Many of the old ones still have that kind of mentality. They think of humans as nothing more than food. They have not evolved, but just like not all humans are good, not all vampires are bad. There are those who have evolved, we love, we feel, we have learned from our past. I believe you have met one.”
“Eric,” Sookie whispered, her mind automatically going to her Viking Sheriff. So lost in all she had learned, she hadn’t even realized she thought of him as hers. She remembered the last time she saw him, the look in her eyes just before she had rescinded his invitation. The look had warmed her, given her the strength she needed. “He knew I was going to run, didn’t he?”
“The North Man is a smart vampire,” The Ancient One replied. “You do not survive a thousand years without being so. He is wise and strong, but he has one weakness…”
“Eric is not weak,” Sookie said, cutting her off and defending Eric.
“I never said he was, child,” The Ancient Pythoness soothed. “I simply stated he has a weakness, and that weakness is you. He cares about you a great deal, more than even he realizes, and there are those who seek to take advantage of that.”
“The fairies,” Sookie said realization sweeping over her as she connected the dots.
“Yes,” The Ancient Pythoness replied, surprised with how quickly Sookie was piecing everything together. “In my vision, it was through Eric the fairies infiltrated your life. Niall – the crown prince of the fairies and your great-grandfather – is a very devious individual, he knew you would not believe him if he contacted you himself and revealed your ancestry. Niall needed someone you trusted to make the introductions.”
“Eric. I’d have been less likely to question him and his claims if Eric believed him,” Sookie deduced.
“Fairies are devious creatures and even more selfish than vampires.”
“You know, the more I learn, the less I want to know,” Sookie groaned. “So let’s see if I’ve got this right. Gran had an affair with a fairy named Fintan and my daddy and aunt Linda were a result of that affair. Gran also drank a thimble of demon blood and that’s where my telepathy comes from. My great-grandfather is the prince of the fairies and wants to use me for some reason, but I don’t know why, just that it won’t be for anything good. I’m also a Soul Seer, which you still haven’t told what that is, don’t think I’ve forgotten. Did I forget anything? Am I also related to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? Is there anything else?” Taking their silence to mean yes, Sookie let out a sigh. “Of course there is. There is always more. So what is it? You might as well tell me.”
“Are you sure you want to know?” The Ancient Pythoness asked. “It will cause you pain.”
“That seems to be the theme of the week. Hurt Sookie week,” Sookie replied sadly. “You said I deserved to know the truth, if you really meant that, you’ll tell me.”
The Ancient Pythoness stared at Sookie, her milky white eyes assessing her, at times like this she almost wished she had Sookie’s gift. She would have given anything to been able to look into Sookie’s heart to see if she could handle another heartbreak. Having no choice but to rely on her faith and the belief that Sookie could handle everything thrown at her, she opened her mouth. “You need to know the truth about Bill Compton…”