Song I listened to for this chapter: Ho Hey by The Lumineers
However, Sookie’s attention is soon captured by the view outside. “Wow….” There is a castle coming into view over the water, lit up and extremely beautiful to her from her seat.
Eric chuckles. “Welcome to your new home, my lover. Akershus Festning.” He kisses her as he watches his home from his human days appear.
As Sookie looks at the city, and especially at her new home, she thinks back to the comments the brothers had made about Pam’s insistence on not living in “the windy shit hole”, and realizes that the last thing she had ever thought would happen is that they would be living in this castle!
She just stares at the picture-perfect scene in front of her; it is beautiful. The castle is all lit up, but not blindingly so. The lights reflect on the black water and on the surrounding town so that it, too, is lit up, making a great impression on the approaching Queen. As they pull closer, the blonde telepath notices that the city is made up of small islands, the lights being reflected up from the water giving the view something unique as they pass over the bridges. Sookie is simply taken with the whole idea. All in all, she is looking forward to her new home.
As they make their way into the city, while listening to Arathorn quietly giving him updates, Eric is tenderly observing his Mate with much fondness and love. On the other side of the car, Arathorn is watching them both and moving the chess pieces in his head. He knows that what he has been informed about is true and that their new Queen is to be protected even more than the King now by Fader’s own orders. However, he can also see that if they do this, then as Sookie will be more protected, so then will Eric. Fader’s mind will always be on this precious being and her safety. The less he worries, the more likely he will be able to protect himself.
Arathorn looks up at his Queen, and he can tell that he will be falling under the same spell that has captured his brothers who have spent any time with her. He can see the appeal, and of more importance to them all, they can tell how happy Eric is. That alone will have many of them falling for her. Anything that makes Eric so happy that Arathorn himself is even wanting to smile from the overflow, well, that is something they never thought to see.
His eyes focusing only on her but with his senses on high alert as they travel, Eric smiles and sends love to his Beloved. When she turns back to him he pulls her close and wraps an arm around her. A low purr erupts from him as he asks Arathorn, “The Castle is ready for its Lady?” He can’t wait until their second bonding.
Tearing his eyes back to his tablet, Arathorn chuckles. “Yes, Fader. Brandon called and talked to the human part of the Clan, and they even redid your rooms for her.” He had been highly entertained as the ladies and some of the men had overhauled the rooms at so fast a speed, all from one phone call.
Sookie blinks. “Redid his rooms?” She doesn’t want any trouble caused on her behalf – she is nervous enough without having to make them do extra work for her. This is Eric’s family, and they, as well as she, will be around each other for a long time.
Chuckling at the look she gives Eric, Arathorn informs her, “They made them more human friendly. Knowing Fader, he will not be a happy camper unless you can stay with him. It was easier to make the rooms more human, as in adding toilets and so on, before your arrival than it would have been to wait until he’s here to order it done. It is amazing what can happen when you have a castle full of motivated people.” And even more amusing to see them all look like they are running around doing nothing and then have the room pulled together in the last second before they leave the castle.
Listening to them, and knowing how his Mate and Clan will react to each other, Eric just grins as he looks down at Sookie. “We need to do some things, my lover, but as soon as I can, I will get us to bed and we will be able to spend time together alone.” He is concerned since he can sense her fatigue, and he knows his Mate and how she doesn’t like to be fussed over. Eric plans to help her become accustomed to her new life as easily as he can, but he can see it will not go as slowly as he had wished, though he is happy that she can rest in his chambers.
While they are all conversing, the vehicle comes to a stop, and Arathorn is the first out, with Brandon and Carter quickly appearing on either side of him. Eric gets out, and only after scanning the area, he reaches in to hand out his Mate. Once she is out, they start moving towards the doors that are opening for them, Frey falling in behind them to make sure they are safe. All this happens without a command from anyone.
Coming into the foyer, Sookie slows as she sees the people obviously waiting on them. Her nerves ratchet up upon hearing the minds of so many different people thinking in a language unknown to her.
Knowing his Queen’s, or as they had referred to her in the car, Mother’s, reactions, Brandon looks at her. He does his mental equivalent of a knock, then waits her to look at him. “It’s ok. Think of it this way, no one will do anything to make their King mad. They love him too much for that. He is one of the most powerful vampires on the planet, and a lot of that comes from the love of his subjects. They will do anything to protect him, and he is the same way towards them. He is also the ultimate Patriarch of our line. To us, that is everything. He personally takes care of us, and even when he was in the States, he still took care of them.” He tries to put her at ease, but he can tell it doesn’t work.
She nods, but looking at all these people, she is still unnerved. Then she notices that the majority of these people have blue eyes and blond hair, and even the rest have some feature of her Eric in them. She blurts out without thinking to Eric, “Are they all related to you?”
Not able to help it, Eric just laughs, his head thrown back in pure enjoyment. The crowd can’t help but fall in love with her just a bit for the huge change in him. He is now free in a way he hasn’t been in centuries.
Sookie flushes, but Eric pulls her to him, her back to his front as he wraps his arms around her, and tells the crowd with a huge smile on his face, “This is Sookie, my Mate. My Queen. Whatever she asks for or tells you, she tells you as in my voice. Is this understood?” He rests his chin on her head, surrounding her in him. His Clan will become used to the sight of the two of them together. Eric wants them to never be apart.
Sookie sends panic but when she goes to shake her head against it, he leans down and softly informs her, “Trust me.”
With that one comment, she stops.
Brandon, though, is the one who helps her understand what he means. “Fader is making you his equal from the beginning. He is honoring you, Sookie. Being our Queen is a huge thing, but he also plans to have you with him in everything, not as a normal Queen to hide behind the throne, no, he wants you as a helpmate. You are not meant to be his arm candy; you are to be his Mate, his Wife, his Other Half. Starting off by telling this to the group as his first official words is setting a needed precedent. You come first. And we admire that. It is what should be. Thank you, Sookie, for bringing back our Fader.” And he bows to her.
All this takes place in seconds, and on the outside, the crowd bows to her. She is rigid in Eric’s arms, and he nuzzles her, telling her softly, “It is ok, Min Älskare. I am making it where you are not only wanted by my side, but expected to be there. There is no ‘Eric’ without ‘Sookie’ in the same breath. That is how it should be. It is what I wish for us.” He sends his love, want, and need to the woman who is to be by his side for the rest of their lives, to the one who he belongs to.
Who could resist the words coming from this man when he says things like that?
Feeling her emotions, Eric chuckles and holds her closely for another moment. When he feels his Queen calming down, he lets her go to look around and ask, “Who is going to be my Lover’s bodyguard?”
A petite blonde steps forward and drops to her knees. “I am, Farfar. I pledge my soul, my heart, and my body to the two of you.” She waits for his approval, but there is no doubt she will work for her Farfar.
Glancing down to the woman who has sworn her life to his Mate, Eric nods to her, a fond look on his face. “Rise, Aisling. I should have realized Haldor and Brandon would choose you.” She is one of the few he knows on sight from this generation.
The blonde grins up at him. “Who better to guard a woman than a woman, Farfar?” She has the same blue eyes as he does, and her attitude is very similar as Eric’s. In fact, she is closer than Pamela would ever be in mimicking Eric as a female.
He looks down at the petite woman in his arms. “My lover, this is Aisling Northman.” He grins, hoping the two will get along well.
Sookie’s eyebrow raises up. “Northman?” She thought she had been done with the name, but to find out that it is still being used surprises her.
He chuckles. “Yes. She is of my line, and will be Changed at some point. We will talk about it soon, and once she is Turned her last name will change. But for now, I think having humans around you will be for the best since they can also help. Brandon is yours, too,” he apprises her of her staff. He had thought about it, and mainly it came down to the fact that Brandon knew her better and that he was still human…not much, but enough for her to be able to hear him.
She looks up with her brow furrowed. “Brandon is mine?” Sookie is not sure about this whole “giving her someone” thing. What if Brandon doesn’t like her?
Brendan chuckles. “Along with Aisling, I will be with you all the time as I’ll be the one handling all your appointments and so on. We will talk more about this later. But yes, I am yours.” He had agreed with Eric’s reasoning when he had told him. He has watched over her more than any other, and he knows this world better than any other. He is the wise choice for Sookie, and will help her transition as he has been doing.
She snickers, and she can hear his laughter. Yes, these two will be fine once they are more settled in with each other. Sookie has known of Brandon only for a relatively short time.
Eric shakes his head at them, and then looks out over his Clan as they watch the interactions with the woman who is now their Queen. “Thank you all for being here. Unfortunately, I fucked up. The murderer of our Clan is now loose and is a danger to all of us. I want the word spread to those out away from my protection to be careful, and for anyone vulnerable to come home. I don’t want to take a chance that the monster will come after our children, our elders, or anyone else who is out there and wants to come home. Get the word out. And I want guards on those suspected to be ours.” He is serious, and shakes his head at his own stupidity. He will do what is needed to protect his people.
A woman steps out of the crowd and bows. “Farfar, the word has gone out, and I will tell you now, the children are on their way home, and there are homes waiting for all of them. We know you, and know what you will worry about. For now, all that can be done is being done. What we would like to know is when are you going to assume your throne, and show us the crown that has been missing, as well as when you will crown your Mate?” She cocks her head to the side, waiting for answers so she can plan accordingly.
Not able to help it, Eric chuckles. “Sookie, meet Aude, the woman who rules my household. She will be reporting to you, and will make sure your wishes for the household are carried out. As you can tell she is a take-charge kind of lady, and one of the few females of my line who was changed by someone other than me.” He grins down at the woman below him. He knows she wants answers, but she can wait – it will do Aude some good to wait for once.
Frey laughs as Sookie looks from the woman to Eric. “She is my Child.” He is enjoying watching the interactions between Mother and the rest, especially with his Far. The woman in front of him will make life much more interesting for all. Yes, Frey will be sticking around this time.
Shaking her head Sookie asks, “How many of them are there?” There is no way she will be able to know all these people. There is just no way…
Everyone in the room chuckles, then Aude tells her, “Many. There is a reason no one messes with our line. Not only does Fader have many Children, and his Family Line is the ruling family in these parts, but then there are the ones his Children have Changed. To mess with one Mäninorr is to find yourself facing all of us.” She eyes the woman their Fader is enamored with. In fact, they have heard that he has risked his life many times for the tiny woman in his arms. They are waiting to see what they think of her since they all are aware of how Pamela is, and she was the one complaining about their Father’s Mate.
Nodding her head, Sookie looks up at Eric. “Is it safe to have everyone in one area? I hate to say it, but what happens if he has a group or what if he gets in with a bomb?” She frowns, trying to think of ways that the children would be safe. The people, too, of course, but to her children are precious and cannot take care of themselves like adults can.
Proud of his Mate, Eric looks up at Arathorn. “You understand better?” He lifts an eyebrow to the one of his Sons who he knows questioned the control he was giving to his Mate. But, that is Arathorn’s job after all.
The man smirks as he answers. “I never doubted you, Fader.” Then he turns to Sookie, explaining, “I will take your concerns into my planning, Mother. I will admit we are still thinking of people facing us directly, but as your country has found out, anyone can be attacked. I will go over the plans with Haldor and get the other two you have not met on this issue.” He makes a note of it, and contacts the other two, surprised that they are not here already.
Eric too is surprised that the younger two are not here. Well, maybe not exactly younger, but they are in their actions, and are the two who are able to shift much easier with the times. However, he suspects it will not be too much longer until he can introduce his Sookie to the two troublemakers besides Carter.
Thinking of all he still has to do and what all he needs to think of for his Mate, Eric looks out and asks, “Are there any other issues that need to be addressed tonight?” He knows Arathorn will be making notes of the meeting as he usually does.
A voice calls out, “The coronation of the Queen, our Mother?” The crowd makes noises of agreement. To finally have a Queen… This is something they wish to have settled quickly since it may let them have their Fader here for a longer period of time. He has been gone for so long…
Sookie groans out at the name as well as what they are wanting, as Eric just chuckles. “Once I have finished Bonding with my Queen, then I will hold the Pledging and Coronation as soon as I can. But first, we need to get the Bonding done.” He will not budge on this. To him the Bonding is more important than a ceremony to make official all he has already decreed. The past was so much easier in many ways.
The family in front of them nods. They talk among themselves, and Eric waits calmly. Then Aude, who had been turned around the entire time, faces him. “Fader, we are done for tonight. I suspect you will be available for meetings tomorrow?” She lifts an eyebrow at him as Sookie tries not to laugh at the signature move from Eric.
He looks down at his Sookie with a smirk. Searching her eyes, he lets them know, “I suspect that it may take an additional night. I am fully prepared to hit the ground running, but I will do so only with my Queen at my side. There is no need to have meetings unless she is with me.” He is serious about her being at his side. He knows there are traditional duties for her to take care of, but her abilities are better at his side rather than being wasted elsewhere.
The crowd chuckles, and as they start moving around, Eric takes her hand. “Lover?”
She nods then allows him to direct her up the stairs, and wonders aloud, “Not in the ground?” She had been sure that she would have to get used to being buried in the ground to spend time with Eric. Instead he is leading her upstairs?
Glad to be able to answer this one, Carter chuckles. “There are too many of us to have us all in the ground. Instead, we use the fact that the castle is well guarded, and that we have some of the most advanced weaponry of any military or other organization. All in all, it is harder to get to our rooms, where we have them, than if we were in the ground.” He is proud of that fact since it is one of his jobs to ensure that they have the most advanced defenses and weaponry in the world, a job he does diligently since it his home and family that he is guarding.
Sookie examines the hallways as they move along, her telepathy helping her map out the castle with the brains moving around her. She notices that ability is getting stronger, and wonders idly if it is because she is with Eric or because of all the time spent in Fairy.
Feeling the exhaustion sneaking up on his Bonded, Eric quickly ushers his Mate toward their rooms. He turns to Brandon, but sees him already on his phone ordering her a meal to be delivered in their chambers. He smiles. Brandon will do well as Sookie’s assistant. Aisling will be fine, also. She will take her queues from Brandon until she learns her Lady’s quirks.
When they enter his rooms, he smirks at the modifications his people have completed. Even he is having issues trying to catch the scent of the new work. He approves of it all; it is a blend of his style and what he hopes is Sookie’s. He acknowledges that he needs to let her know she can change whatever she wants, whenever she wants. They will be around for a long time. Those that can adjust with the times seem to do better.
Haldor and Carter are quick to spread out through the rooms, with Brandon heading to the bedroom to check the air. Aisling guards Sookie with Arathorn and Frey covering both them and Eric from the rear while waiting for their input. Soon, they are back in the room, Haldor telling them, “The air system is on, and as normal, the bedroom is in the middle of the castle. Brandon checked the quality of the air, and says it will be perfect for Mother.” He grins at the sound from their Mother, knowing the reason for it.
Sookie groans. “I take it that will be my name now?” She looks up at Eric pleadingly.
Frey just laughs. “With Fader known as his position with us, why wouldn’t we call you ‘Mother’? You are his Mate, and he has waited for you for a very long time.” He watches her with amusement making his eyes twinkle just like his Father’s.
The rest are smiling, and Carter is beaming, thrilled that his own name for her is the one that will stick.
Brandon is still smiling as he tells them both, “The rest of the brood will be here tomorrow when you are ready. Jack is already eager to see what he can spill on Mother, and both Griffon and Gainor are pissed that they have been working too hard to meet Mother yet. Though, Gainor seems to think she is merely resting so that she can meet the best of Fader’s brood.” He grins as the brothers all snort their opinion of that.
Sookie groans. “They are all like you. God needs to help, since there is no way I am going to survive your entire line of Eric Mäninorr.” She falls against her Mate, but her amusement is clear in their Bond.
They all laugh, and Frey closes the door to the rest of the castle as the group moves in to get comfortable. They all know the storm will be coming, but for now, they will take these slow times.
Final count: 3,860 words.