“I’m telling you, it’s true,” Sookie said, trying to fight back the hysterical laughter that was threatening to overtake her. “We were staying in one of the larger populated areas of what’s now known as Ireland. Faeries were known to be drawn to that area back then. The war had been raging for almost forty years, and the faeries were slowly becoming extinct, or so we thought,” she added bitterly. Her hatred for faeries was plain to see, and Eric wondered what the full story of that hatred was. “Anyway, we found a small village of them; there weren’t many, maybe just under a dozen, which should’ve been a warning in itself, but we were too full of ourselves. We killed them all, feeding on them…” Sookie arched a brow as she trailed off and looked at Eric, silently asking him if he knew what happened next.
“You got drunk on them,” Eric guessed, smiling as he imagined an intoxicated Sookie and Roman.
“Totally off our faces,” Sookie replied, laughing. “Somehow we managed to make it back to the place we were staying in one piece. We thought we were safe, so, of course, a couple of hours after sunrise the rest of the faeries attacked. They set fire to our house hoping to send us to our final deaths. Obviously we escaped, and instead of dying in the fire we had to fight a group of faeries. There we were in the middle of the town fighting the faeries, completely naked, while the town folk watched. Once we were finished we had to glamour the entire town, which wasn’t easy as Roman kept zipping around at vampire speed scaring everyone. He kept shouting “Boo!” in the town folk’s faces…”
Eric couldn’t help but laugh as he pictured the Head of the Authority running around at vampire speed shouting boo at everyone. From the few times he had met Roman over the years, Eric had always thought of him as straight laced, which was the image he portrayed. “So what happened next?” Eric asked, genuinely curious.
“Well, we…” Sookie began when alarms sounded through the building, interrupting her. She chuckled when she heard the sound of people running through the corridors. “Looks as if they finally realized you’re out of your cell,” she added with a smirk. “The security here really is terrible…”
Leaning back in her seat, Sookie listened as the guards started to panic about their missing prisoner. The fact that she had broken him out of his cell hours ago and they were only now just realizing it didn’t exactly fill her with confidence about the people Roman had guarding him. I really am going to have to have a chat with him, she thought.
It was only minutes later when the first vampires had risen that they finally entered the room. She smirked at the look of shock on their faces when they saw Eric sitting on the sofa opposite her. “You do realize we could have killed every single one of you during your rest, don’t you?” Sookie said, a hint of censure coloring her tone. “We have been sitting in here for hours and no one ever noticed Eric was out of his cell…”
“How did he get out of his cell?” Salome asked through clenched teeth, not appreciating being made to look inept.
“I broke him out,” Sookie replied with a shrug. “It was rather easy actually; very disappointing.”
“What right did you have to break him out of his cell?” Salome questioned. “For what purpose?”
“Why did I do it? Because I was bored and he was the only one awake,” Sookie answered while she reached for the almost empty bottle of Tru Blood. “This tastes like shit, by the way,” she added after finishing the bottle. “Seriously, could no one think of a way to make it taste any better?”
“Why did you release Northman?” Salome asked again, her fangs peeking out from behind her lips at the seemingly disrespectful way she was being treated. She was used to being the center of attention when it came to the Authority, and she didn’t like that she was being ignored because the prodigal child had returned. She had charmed her way into Roman’s bed in Sookie’s absence and she wasn’t going to give up that position now. It was bad enough that he was already overlooking her and the help she could provide him just because his Maker was back. Prior to Sookie’s return, Roman would have turned to her for assistance in uncovering what Compton and Northman knew. He would have relied upon her charms, and she would have been more than happy to use them for his benefit. She would have loved nothing more than to have seduced the two vampires and gain their affections. It would have only worked to her advantage. “What right did you have?”
“I told you,” Sookie replied, the corner of her mouth lifting into a smile. “I was bored and he was the only one awake. So I broke him out, grabbed us some Tru Blood, still fucking awful, and we chatted…”
“You chatted?” Salome repeated skeptically while she eyed the two of them.
“Yeah, we chatted. We exchanged words, talked, communicated, conversed… You get the picture?” Sookie said, not bothering to hide her smile. “We chatted. You see, we are old friends. We’ve known each other, what…?” She looked to Eric and saw he was just as amused as she. “A couple of years? Yeah, a couple of years, so we thought we would take the time to catch up. I mean, we hadn’t seen each other in…” Sookie made a show of thinking it over, “a day…two, a couple of days? Well, if you don’t count the talk we had earlier in the night. As for what right I have… Well, no one told me I couldn’t… not that I would have listened to them; never have, never will.”
“Guardian, this is not right!” Salome said, turning to Roman who was smirking at his Maker. There weren’t enough words to describe how much he had missed her in the years she had been human, or rather, mortal. She was never really human. “She cannot be allowed to waltz in here and do as she likes…”
“Who is going to stop me?” Sookie questioned, interrupting Salome as she rose to her feet. “I am the oldest thing in this room. I am older than the rest of you combined. I walked this Earth before the Bible that made you famous was even written. I have fought vampires, faeries, and angels. I have caused wars and ended them as well. So tell me, Salome, who is going to stop me?”
Salome shivered when she felt just a small dose of Sookie’s power wash over her. She had never felt such raw power before and she couldn’t help but to cower before it. As much as she liked to believe she was strong, she knew she was nowhere near as powerful as the child of Lilith. That power was only rivalled by the vampire mother herself. Lowering her head, she averted her gaze, showing her submission to the stronger woman.
“Perhaps instead of asking me why, you should be asking me how,” Sookie continued once she had asserted her dominance. “I walked through this compound unchecked or questioned. I entered the area where the cells are with ease, and pulled open the door to Eric’s cell. Not once were we stopped or questioned, and it was not until just minutes before you all rose did the guards finally realize Eric was out of his cell, and even then they did nothing but run around like headless chickens. The security here is laughable and it is a miracle that you all haven’t been staked in your rest.”
“Our Lady makes a good point,” Dieter said, joining them all. He had been content to stand back and watch while Sookie had her fun and put the biblical vampire in her place. In his opinion Salome had grown far too big for her boots. She was under the mistaken belief that because she shared Roman’s bed, she shared his power in the Authority. She seemed to miss the fact that she wasn’t the only one who shared his bed. Dieter knew for a fact his Maker had taken both Nora and Molly to his bed as well just in the last week. “The security here has been proven to be inept. Anything could have happened to us while we were down for the day. We should be grateful that it was only our Lady who broke Northman out of his cell and not an attack by humans or other Supernatural factions.”
“I agree,” Roman said a thoughtful expression on his face. He was ashamed to say he had become complacent when it came to security. The headquarters hadn’t suffered any direct attack since it was built, and he foolishly took that to mean the security was solid. His Maker had easily disabled one of the cells, helped a prisoner escape, and not a single person had noticed until the vampires were rising. He had to wonder what the security guards were actually doing all day. They certainly weren’t doing their jobs, the jobs for which they were paid handsomely. “Dieter, I want you to handle it personally. I cannot think of anyone more qualified to deal with the weaknesses and turn them around. You have free rein over it, guards, surveillance, and alarms. I want this compound secure again and the security personnel to actually do their jobs.”
Dieter nodded in reply, accepting the order and understanding the real reason behind it. With the return of Sookie and a war on the horizon, Roman needed the Authority headquarters to be breach-proof and defensible. His Maker wouldn’t trust anyone else to oversee it. They both knew there were spies within the Authority. Some of them were easy to identify while others were much more deeply entrenched. The compound was a good base, and one that could be well defended in the face of an attack if it was planned, assembled, and erected properly. Dieter knew whom he could trust without suspicion or fear of betrayal, and they would only aid him in his duty.
“Well, if that’s done, shall we move on to business?” Sookie asked, bringing the focus back to her. Since she had regained her memories, she had been yearning for some action. For twenty-eight years, she had been restrained in an almost-human body. The bloodlust she once revelled in had been tempered by human ideals and beliefs. She was free now, free to be who she was. She had cast off the shackles the people in that small town had forced upon her. “Eric and that poor excuse for a vampire down in the holding cells have an ancient and deranged vampire to capture. I’ve got some loose ends up to tie up, and you have…” Sookie frowned as she trailed off and looked at the Authority members. “I’m not actually sure what all of you do. What is it you do?”
“We govern the vampire race to make certain they follow the Authority mandate of mainstreaming,” Rosalyn said, having joined the little party. Like Dieter, she had been content to hang back and watch while Sookie went toe-to-toe with Salome. Anything that discredited the biblical whore was only a good thing in Rosalyn’s mind. All the vampires at The Authority craved power, and she was no different. If the return of the Vampire Daughter could unseat Salome from her place at Roman’s side, Rosalyn was more than happy to stand back and watch, and then slip into the vacated place when no one was looking.
“Seriously?” Sookie questioned in disbelief. “That’s what you do? Well, I have to tell you, you all suck! I’ve only been back a day and I can already tell you no one actually follows that mandate. Vampires are on the brink of war with each other and, as far as I can tell, you members of the Authority do nothing but hold meetings over it.”
“That is not true,” Rosalyn replied, a hint of bite in her tone. She may have wanted to take Salome’s place, but like the older vampire, she didn’t like having to take a back seat to Sookie. After all, she was a chancellor on the Authority. She had pushed through many changes in the European countries. So what if a few vampires didn’t follow the mainstreaming program? As long as they weren’t discredited, she didn’t care. “I have made many remarkable changes in Northern Europe. Due to my work, the governments and people over there have welcomed us all with open arms…”
“Yeah, but they pretty much welcomed us before we even came out of the coffin… And whose stupid idea was that? No one could think of a better, less clichéd saying?” Sookie asked. She eyed the redheaded vampire with amusement. There was something about Rosalyn that rubbed her the wrong way and always had. Sookie believed her to be a sheep. She followed the flock. She held no beliefs of her own; she just followed whatever the person in power believed. She had dealt with countless Rosalyns over the centuries. They would turn on a dime. “I remember the last time I was in Northern Europe, Sweden to be exact,” she nodded to Eric, and flashed him a quick smile. “It would’ve been the late sixties, early seventies. The country had underground vampire bars then where willing humans worked as donors.”
Eric couldn’t hide his grin as he once again listened to Sookie mock The Authority and its mandate. He had often wondered himself what it was they actually did, or if they believed their own bullshit. The strict new laws after the Russell Edgington fiasco told him they were so out of touch with the vampires on the street, so to speak. Eric realized they had to do something after Russell had killed that TV anchorman on live TV, but their response had been poorly thought out. In an attempt to appease the human authorities, they had ostracized many of their own kind. It was no wonder The Sanguinista Movement had gained so much power over the last year. It was as if The Authority had hand gifted them the very means. That certainly gives credence to Sookie’s belief that there was a traitor within The Authority, Eric surmised as he put it all together in his mind.
“The people over there have always proven to be more liberal,” Salome agreed, joining the conversation. “I spent a few years there myself in the fifties and was welcomed wherever I went. As Our Lady said, they had underground bars with willing humans.”
Sookie arched a brow when she heard Salome agree with her. Sookie knew the biblical vampire didn’t like her, and the feeling was more than mutual. Their rivalry, be it one-sided, went back almost two thousand years. Salome had been jealous of Sookie or Eve as she was more widely known at that time, from the very moment they met. Salome might have been a biblical entity, but Sookie was a child of light and dark. The blood of the angels themselves flowed through her veins. She was heaven-touched… And Hell claimed as she often liked to say. Salome’s dislike only grew more fiercely after Sookie had killed her Maker by cutting off his head. Salome might not have had any real feelings for her Maker; in fact, she didn’t even like him but the pain still lingered. The only thing the two of them ever agreed upon was their dislike for religion.
Salome might not have liked Sookie, but she could respect her power and from where she came. Unlike Rosalyn, the biblical vampire didn’t have to exaggerate her accomplishments to make herself look better. Getting a vampire-friendly law passed in Northern Europe was akin to getting blood from a virgin… easy. It was the United States and the Middle East that proved to be so difficult; places where religious fanatics were widespread.
Rosalyn fumed silently while she listened to Salome agree with Sookie. So what if it was easier to get a vampire-friendly law passed in Northern Europe? It was still an accomplishment she could brag about. She had done a lot for The Mainstreaming Movement. “At least I have managed to do some good,” Rosalyn replied stiffly, fighting the urge to hiss at the other female vampires. “I did get those laws passed. What have you done?”
“I got the Vampire Rights Amendment passed through Congress,” Salome countered, reminding the redheaded vampire of her own accomplishments. She might not have gone about it in the most moral of ways, but she was a whore at heart. She used her talents to advance the vampire cause. “Nan might have been the spokeswoman, but it was my hard work that got that passed.”
“I once slaughtered a whole village of Faeries,” Sookie said with a grin, finding the little competition amusing. “Although…” She frowned as she trailed off. “That did start a war, so I’m not sure if that can be classified as an accomplishment.”
“We dined on Fairy blood for decades after that,” Roman interjected, just as amused as his Maker. “I definitely think that counts as an accomplishment.”
“True,” Sookie said with a nod. “Fairy blood trumps all. Now, as much as I would like to stay here and continue this little exchange,” she added, sarcasm dripping from her lips. “I do actually have some work to do…And, oh, how I wish I didn’t,” she sighed. She couldn’t say she was looking forward to what she had to do. Well, she was looking forward to returning Tara to Pam. That should be a great deal of fun for her. The other stuff she had to do… Not so much. She had to pack away her life in Bon Temps, face her old friends, and her brother.
Casting her eyes over the vampires assembled, Sookie planned out her next moves and orders. Roman might have been the Guardian and in charge, but she would always be Our Lady and the power behind the leader. Her child would take orders from her. “If Eric and Bill are going to deal with Edgington, someone should really go and get Bill… Feel free to slap him around a bit if you like,” she continued, only half-joking as she slipped effortlessly into the role as leader. She thought a good beating might actually improve Bill’s disposition. At the very least, it would amuse her. “I’m sure you all have rules or rituals you follow in events like these,” she waved her hands around, gesturing to the whole group to send the younger vampires to kill an older vampire plan. “So I’ll leave you to them. I’m going to take a shower.”
Taking a step forward, she paused, meeting Eric’s eyes as she tried to wordlessly convey to him that he wouldn’t be alone. She would be returning Tara to Pam and meeting up with him later. Due to those present who weren’t of her bloodline, she couldn’t say it aloud. She couldn’t tell him that she would be with him on his search for Russell. Eric would soon learn of their connection and the connection he had with others in the room, but it couldn’t be right then. They needed privacy for that meeting… Sookie needed the time to contact her other children because as soon as Russell was dealt with, her bloodline would be having a family reunion.