There he was, standing in front of the fighting crowd, staring into it as if what was taking place in front of him didn’t affect him at all. He was tall, had long black hair that framed his face and was wearing only black. He was a medium build, tattoos decorated his skin from his entire sleeve to the corner of his eyes. As if all this wasn’t enough, he also had piercings on his ears, nose, eyebrows, lips and even through his cheeks. He must have sensed I was watching him because he looked up straight at me, his dark eyes revealing nothing of the anger he felt inside. He emanated such a violent rage; the spectacle in front of him seemed to match what he was feeling on the inside. I couldn’t breathe under its weight, it was too much to bear. It was anchored in him, the only thing that he could possibly feel and it was hypnotizing yet crushing.
In that split second where our eyes met, it suddenly all made sense. The Order’s true leader, the one that orchestrated the horrors I had witnessed during the past few months, was standing on the stage with his sole focus straight on me. It was clear now how the leader had been able to hide in plain sight, how he had been able to move from state to state without any notice at all. It was because he had the best cover anyone could ever ask for, he was mainstream, he was part of the band, he was…
As words began pouring out of his mouth in some sort of chant, the crowd grew in its violence. There was nothing natural about the whole scene. There was an eerie feeling coming from the stage, the singer pointing at the crowd while singing in a language I did not recognized. I heard glass breaking; someone had jumped over the counter of the bar and had smashed Lexi’s head with a bottle of beer. Things were escalating quickly, as Kim reached for the attacker who seemed to have some kind of strength that was not natural to him; she was propelled to the other side of the bar. She stumbled to her feet but nothing could have prepared Kim for what was to come next.
Lexi, getting off the floor, blood flowing into her eyes reached her and grabbed her throat. With the strength I didn’t know she possessed, she raised Kim off the floor while choking her. I screamed to stop and began to run in their direction but a man grabbed me from behind, holding me at the waist. I looked back in Eric s direction but could not see him through the crowd. I ended up biting the arm that was holding me and kicked him with my heel so hard, he must have taken a few step back but I couldn’t be sure because I was already moving forward. Another man launched at me but I moved quickly enough out of the way that he ended hitting the wall. I tried to find Lexi and Kim but was not successful. Everything was going so fast, I couldn’t seem to focus.
Pam was now in the crowd too, as well as other vampires I had seen around the Queen. As I tried to process what was happening around me, a woman made her way to me and stared at me for a split second. It was dark but some of the stage lights were moving through the crowd and illuminated her face for a moment. Her eyes were blood shot as if she had taken some kind of drug.
The band, the singer, this had to be connected somehow. She shoved me to the side and kicked me. I reciprocated the move and pushed her to the floor before running away into the main crowd. I got punched, kicked and cut so many times; I was only going on adrenaline.
I tripped over a few bodies, some were the Weres, and others were clearly humans. I tried to take a deep breath to calm my nerves but I was fighting against my nature to turn around and run away. I heard a scream beside me and I turned just in time to see one of the Queens Bodyguards get staked by what I assumed was a hunter.
I gasped, but didn’t stay to extend any greetings, I headed for the stage. I needed to cut off the awful music, that was what was driving everyone mad I was so sure of it. The body count was growing higher, I had to step over so many I had stopped counting. In the corner of my eyes, I saw a glimpse of Eric. He was fighting at vampire speed like most of the other vampires but something was lethal in the way he moved. I did not need a drawing of what era he was from; it was evident in his fighting skills. For some reason though, he wasn’t killing every man and woman that was attacking him. While he snapped the neck of a few, most of them he simply knocked them out of consciousness and placed them on the floor. It dawned on me that perhaps not the entire crowd was guilty in this shit show.
I was able to take a few steps more but something caught my attention. It was a scream, it had come from somewhere within the crowd. I recognized it right away and snapped my head in its direction. My Gran was standing near Eric and was calling to me. Bill was behind her, holding a knife to her throat. I had no idea when and how my Gran had appeared in the crowd but Bill was now signalling me with his other hand towards Eric who had been oblivious to what was unfolding. As if most of the crowd had decided that Eric was their target, a vast majority kept on fighting him or at least trying to.
“Kill him.” Bill yelled and I saw my Gran standing still as if all the stress and the helplessness she felt were gone. She mouthed I love you and I suddenly remembered her words; that I would get my chance to kill Eric and break free. If only I had had time to explain to her that it wasn’t like that.
I walked over to them but Bill buried the knife further into her throat, I saw the blood it drew sipping through the sides of the knife and down her throat. He shook his head and pointed at Eric who was now fighting 3 men together. I had to think fast, if I didn’t comply, it sure looked as if Bill was ready to kill my Gran and she was happy to die trying to save me. She was no longer fighting him anyway.
A body was shoved in my direction and I lost my footing. I didn’t have a chance hit the floor; Eric had caught me between his arms. He held me in place for a split second and stared into my eyes. He was so damn beautiful, like an angel fighting hordes of monsters, no matter how much blood was covering him, it did not matter. His hair was soiled with the red liquid, his face splattered by it too but all I could see was his piercing icy blue eyes.
I clutched to the knife between my fingers, shaking from the reality that if I did not kill him, I was killing my Gran. My lips trembled under my mental debate. How could I possibly entertain the idea? I could never hurt him; I loved him and would never be able to live with myself without him by my side. He frowns, as if realizing something was wrong. Did he see it in my eyes, the hesitation? Or perhaps he smelled Bill on me? He looked down at the blade I was holding and back at me.
“Now you little cunt!” I heard Bill yell in my direction.
Eric’s head snapped in his direction. He could see him now, he could hear him. It also meant he could see my Gran. He looked back at me at vamp speed, disbelief in his eyes. He made no move, as if frozen in time. Seconds passed before I was able to move. I pushed him away, trying to get back to my feet while hanging on to the blade. There was no way I was going to stab him, I’d rather die myself. He stumbled backwards a few step completely taken by surprise. I leaped in my Gran’s direction screaming NO at the top of my lungs but Bill slid the blade from left to right, and my Gran fell to her knees holding her throat between her fingers; her eyes wide open.
I ran to her but Pam was quicker. She grabbed my Gran and disappeared in the crowd. I yelled but it was in vain. I looked in Eric’s direction again, but he was no longer near me. Instead he had launched at Bill. I couldn’t see them fight; my eyes were not fast enough to register their movement.
I took it as my only chance to go turn off the music. I ran to the stage and I finally made my way to one of the speakers but one of the band’s bouncers grabbed me by the waist.
“Oh no you don’t!” he said but I didn’t give him enough time to secure me, I used the blade I was already holding and that was destined for Eric, and plunged it into his stomach. He gasped for air, looking at me with wild eyes as I saw the life leave his eyes in an instant. The smell of burnt flesh made its way to me and I looked down at my hand holding the blade in place. I took it out realizing that it looked as if his flesh was burning from the inside out. I screamed and took a few steps back still holding the bloody blade but I didn’t have time to ponder, another man grabbed me from behind ripping a part of my dress in the process. I fought him, kicked him as much as I could until he caught his hand on the blade trying to take it away from me.
He yelped in horror as his hand turned black and screamed at the obvious pain he was experiencing. I moved past him and climbed the stage. The guitarist saw me, his eyes bloodshot as well. As he ran to me, I kicked one of the speakers off the stage, breaking it in the process. When he reached for me, I plunged the blade into his instrument making a loud noise in the process.
Eric’s eyes narrowed onto me, I saw him in the crowd. He was standing on top of Bill, he was about to deliver the final blow but as if he felt he needed my approval, he stared at me without moving, waiting.
“Enough!” the singer shouted before grabbing me from behind and twisting my arm behind my back as I screamed in pain. It felt as if he was going to break it! As he kept on twisting, he reached for the knife that was secured on my hip with his other free hand and placed it somewhere on his waist. He then pulled my hair which caused me to fall to my knees.
Eric bared his fangs at him but having no choice, he let go of Bill before he could deliver the final blow that would end him. He stood up in the middle of a now silent crowd. When the music had stopped; everyone had too, staring up at the stage at the singer. He was very charismatic, there was no denying it but it had seemed as if something else was involved, some kind of magic.
I held Eric’s gaze. I tried to make myself look strong; to show him that I was fine, that he should kill the son of a bitch anyway, but my efforts were not enough. He dropped the weapon he was holding as if brandishing a white flag. Bill laughed, got back up and pushed Eric to the stage while my brother surfaced from the crowd and asked where Gran was. The singer pulled my hair so hard I couldn’t answer.
As Bill guided Eric to a chair, the singer let go of me pushing me down to the floor and preceded in securing Eric using silver chains. I didn’t dare to move, having barely stopped myself from hurting my arms to break my fall. The singer eventually returned to me and brought me back to my feet using my hair once again. I screamed in pain but when I saw Eric’s face distorted by pure violence and rage, I stopped. I had to make it easier on ourselves. He whispered to behave in my ear or he would kill Eric himself. Who would argue with that?
I tried my best to ignore the pain and looked around scanning the crowd for a sign of Pam and my Gran, or for any sort of help. There were so many bodies on the floor it was hard to make out anyone. I saw Kim lying over the bar, unconscious, and something told me Lexi and Nathalie were in the same state. The desolation, the destruction that the riot had left behind was a terrible sight I knew I would not soon forget.
The singer was fixated on Eric, as if internally debating what his next move should be. My brother asked again where our Gran was. The singer responded that she was probably in the back and was fine, which, of course, was a lie.
“What about my sister?” Jason asked pointing at me.
The singer looked at me for a few seconds before gently approaching his hand to my face as if I was a wounded animal who would bite it off. Eric let out a loud roar and for a split second I thought he would have taken his own arm off just to break free. The singer ignored him.
“Because she is one of us, she was not affected by the spell.” He stated as a matter of fact, clearly intrigued by something. His skin was so hot at the touch of my skin. I was breathing deeply and hard. What was I going to do, what the hell did they want?
“Yet she fights us as if we are her enemies?” he continued and then frown. “What really puzzles me though, is that, while you” he said pointing at Jason, “might be one of us, I had never felt the pull from you that I feel from her.” He looked at me again and quietly said “I would recognized my bloodline anywhere”
Bloodline? What the hell was that supposed to mean? How could I be related to him but not Jason, that made no sense. I exhaled deeply trying to control the rage that was bubbling up inside of me. I looked over at Eric, the sight of him captured; the silver burning his skin gave me shivers.
It was all my fault. I remembered Pam’s words about me; I made him vulnerable, weak. I was a distraction. Without me, Eric would have seen this coming and would have never allowed himself captured. If I had not been here, Bill would have been killed and the rest would be history, yet, here I was and now he was captured, vulnerable and in danger and I had no one else to blame but myself. My heart sank at the realisation that it was because Eric truly loved me and had wanted to protect me that he was in this bad situation.
I looked over to my brother, my eyes filled with tears. He looked so angry, and spit when the singer had stated I was fighting them as if they were my enemies. How could I have not seen this in him? The hatred and the disgust? It wasn’t the spell I was staring at, it was him, his true self. He hated vampires with everything inside of him. I didn’t recognize him, as if the person doing all this was not the brother I knew or perhaps it meant I did not know him at all. We had been raised in love and acceptance, what had happened to our values?
“ You cannot kill her Fintan!” My brother said between his teeth but the singer; Fintan, motioned to silence him.
He signalled something in the air and the humans in the crowd, who could still walk anyway, made their way to the exit, only a few of them stayed behind.
I didn’t recognize his name, Fintan didn’t sound like a lost uncle or cousin but somehow he thought we were related.
“Where is she?” he demanded as he walked over to Eric. I had no idea who he was referring to.
“Fuck you!” is all Eric responded. I couldn’t help but find amusement in his tone. It wasn’t the time to laugh but whatever worked to calm my nerves, I’d take it.
“Now now, that is not a nice thing to say,” Fintan said. He gestured at one of his man who was guarding the entrance. A few minutes later, a group came in dragging an inert body behind them. The body was wrapped in silver chain, most likely a vampire.
“Sophie-anneeee” he said placing an accent on the e. “Come get your child before I kill him with my bare hands.” He said between his teeth as the group dragged the body onto the stage.
“Bill, go fetch her and try not to stake her.” He said in Bill’s direction. “The Queen is mine and mine alone.” He added with a chilling smile.
“She is probably in the basement,” he began pushing my brother to take a knife he was handing to him. “Cut Eric’s finger off, you will need it.”
Jason nodded and grabbed the knife. He then crouched down and looked at Eric’s hands that were held just by a tiny little silver chain. He opted for the one that had just recently grown back and was fully formed.
“You will regret this breather!” he shouted at my brother who just laughed it off before cutting it off.
Eric didn’t even yell, instead I heard him exhale very loudly while he never took his eyes off my brother.
“Why aren’t you killing him?” Bill asked but Fintan brushed him off.
“Don’t you understand how useful he is to our cause? He is stronger than any of you, controlling him means we have the upper hand.” He offered which seemed to have bruised Bill’s ego. “With the Queen of Louisiana gone, we still need to kill 2 other monarchs to ensure this fucking accord never goes through and that these bloodsuckers never come out of the coffin.”
“Sure Fintan, if you can control him, he would be very useful, but how exactly do you plan on doing that?” he growled in protest. Was Bill really this stupid, what the hell had this guy promised him to turn on his own people? Fintan slowly pointed at me. The chilling smile that slowly curved his lips told me I was not going to like the next part.
“Oh Bill, If only you had half my brain. All you need to control a man is to hold his weakness. Do you really think the great Northman would have allowed himself to be captured like this if it wasn’t for her? He fucking loves her.” He said in an icy tone.
Jason had been staring at me but at the words, his head jerked in Fintan’s direction. Something had change in his eyes, he seemed confused. Fintan didn’t miss it. He held his gaze for a few moments.
“You said they were not capable of love” Jason began but Fintan silenced him again with a flick of the wrist.
He then whispered something in Jason’s ear that both looked like an order but also some kind of explanation as my brother nodded and went back to his angry expression.
He left the stage seemingly satisfied by the explanation. I stared at Fintan, trying to figure out how on earth I could be related to someone so terrible. I tried to remember what Hadley had said to me about our family history. It had something to do with Fae blood or something.
“So all this was all a plot to get the Queen of Louisiana?” I said breaking the silence.
Fintan looked at me, considering what I had asked.
“Well that is what we do here Miss Stackhouse.” He replied coolly. “We are hunters, we are born to fight the evil of this world and ensure balance.” He said looking at the remaining people in the crowd. My guess was beside the people that were unconscious on the floor, whoever was left here, were all part of the Order.
“Vampires want to come out of the coffin, to make it harder for us to hunt them and to kill them. They say they will stop hunting humans because of some synthetic blood but we all know that is not the truth. Trublood is just a ruse to get us to believe they are no longer killing humans. We can tell they are glamouring their way around the higher offices of this country to get the law in their favours. Bringing them out of the shadows would allow them to breed uncontrollably and it would be the end of humanity. They must be stopped. If they rebuild their numbers to what they were before the Great War, we can’t guarantee another victory. We simply cannot allow this just like the rest of the supernatural world must stay hidden to ensure the humans safety.” He continued. “Being in this band gives me great protection against the vampers because they can’t simply kill the front man of one of the most popular bands on the planet. I can easily move from state to state without detection and I am pretty sure most vampires don’t even know who the leader of the hunters is.”
I guess we had all thought it was strange that the band had wanted to come here for a private show. It is not like Shreveport is a huge city on the world map. What still didn’t make sense is why Eric would allow it and not see this little twist coming.
“The only thing stopping their reveal right now is that signing of the accords. They absolutely require Louisiana to get things moving and since Sophie-Anne Leclerc is known for her approval of the great reveal, it only make sense to take her out first. It sends a message.”
I looked around the room again trying to figure out if there were any of the bouncers left. Most of them were on the floor and were not moving. I wondered if they were dead or just knocked out. I looked back at Fintan feeling as though I should encourage him to keep talking, it was distracting him.
“That’s clever” I responded and he smiled. “I am surprised Vampires didn’t try to glamour you.”
“They would have to get to me first. Besides, anonymity has been a blessing in our quest. Not many know who I am and I intend in keeping it this way.”
There was a man who came from outside and entered the bar, he was clearly a hunter.
“Merlotte is not here.” He said to Fintan after making his way through all the bodies on the floor.
Fintan nodded and seemed to pause for a second. He was thinking about it, had he expected to find him here?
“The mutt must be around here. He follows her like a lost puppy.” He replied pointing at me.
Eric was now staring right in front of him, listening, as if waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on its prey. I wondered about Pam. She had left with my Gran and had not returned. Had she saved her life? Was she communicating with Eric somehow? Was she his weapon?
“Sam doesn’t follow me.” I replied in defiance.
“You are truly oblivious are you?” Fintan smirked. “Of course he follows you around. We know this because we follow him around.”
“What do you mean you follow him around?”
“Merlotte is not behaving. We have to reinforce the rules. That simple.” Jason said looking at Fintan for approval.
“You’re like the mob!” I screamed, having no longer any control on my anger. “Did you burn down his bar because he wasn’t following the rules?” I exclaimed and he nodded with a faint smile. It pissed me off even more.
“There is a lot you do not know about the battle of goodness and evil Sookie Stackhouse,” Fintan began, his finger on one of my cheeks. “Some creatures, like shapeshifters, are good. Others like vampires and werewolf are not. We have been fighting them for centuries. We won the Great War but vampires are like a pest, they multiply. Without us, humanity wouldn’t be what it is today. Humans wouldn’t be able to live peaceful lives. We established ground rules for all that are supernatural to allow that. But what is a rule without an enforcer?”
I was blinded by my anger. These people saw the world in black or white which it wasn’t everything but. I was angry that such a group existed, I was pissed off that I was somehow a descendent and that my family believed their lies but most importantly, I was raging at the thought that I had played a part in them capturing the love of my life.
“How can y’all be so fucking blind? You think you are the good guys but the only people killing here, aren’t vampires. The Order ruined Sam’s business for what exactly? You make the rules and enforce them and report to no one else but yourselves. No one can defy you except vampires who you portrayed as selfish, violent and incapable of love. Eric is the proof that it is all lies.”
I saw Jason’s hesitation in his eyes but one look to Fintan and he was lost again.