Chapter 10: Castling

Nuclear Winter

Chapter 10

Castling

**

The only problem with Sookie’s brilliant plan was a caveat that didn’t occur to any of us until Lord Mee was seated in front of me.

Language.

Sookie may have been proficient in English and German, perhaps even French, but I was almost certain she hadn’t learned Mandarin… And since Mee and I usually spoke Mandarin when it was just the two of us, trying to use another language could have raised eyebrows.

In spite of the setback, Sookie’s plan was still ingenious. Mee and Bronya were the only possible linguistic hurdles of the nineteen Lords and neither of them were from the old regime. Since I’d chosen them, and they’d both exposed traitors to me, I had less reason to be suspicious of them. Not only were they both still honored to have been appointed, but they were amused every time I offered to abdicate to them.

Having just ended Alexei, I had the perfect topic to discuss with my Lords. My reason to summon them was to explain that the Vampire who’d revived the moniker Der Butzemann had been found and ended.

**

Mee was furiously typing notes about Alexei into her phone so she could contact the Eindhoven authorities for information on cases in her district, when the front door opened without a knock.

Even though I could feel she was in perfect health, it was still a relief to see Misty appear in the doorway of my office.

Puzzling to see her with straightened hair, but still a relief.

She quietly removed her coat and scarf and walked over to bounce onto the corner of my desk as though she wasn’t interrupting a meeting. Mee fidgeted, unable to decide if she should react or not. It was amusing to say the least.

The first of my instant messages that weren’t smiles or angels was, “Little turd hid in your mind. I didn’t know she was back until Ian saw her.”

I couldn’t help myself. I took a lock of Misty’s straightened hair and asked, “What’s this?”

Misty’s eyes rolled as she growled, “Racial cleansing.”

“Racial cleansing? How is that?”

“Onkell’s aunt is a straight-up bigot. On top of a lot of other things she’s wrong about, she thinks I’m ‘filthy Roma’. She makes jokes about hiding her wallet when I visit. And since we were going out to dinner, she wanted to make me presentable.” Ignorant cunt… So much for Swiss neutrality.

“Allecks allowed this?”

“He doesn’t know. She’s a sneaky bitch that way. As far as he knows, she thinks he’s a saint for taking in Sookie’s trashy relatives and feels sorry for him that his wife won’t give him more children… He even tried to shut her down tonight, tell her that Sookie’s tried and it isn’t anyone’s fault she can’t carry more children… Lisia just thinks the accident is Sookie’s excuse not to have more children, even told Onkell that Sookie’s having abortions behind his back to keep her figure. Onkell knows better, but…”

“So you returned to Eijsden because you want me to drain the cunt, yes?”

Sookie messaged, “Don’t encourage her.”

Misty’s nod was completely serious. “Sounds good, but the cow probably bleeds mayonnaise…”

Sookie’s message demanding, “Don’t laugh,” was too late.

Misty continued, “I just needed to get out of there before I blew up… I mean, I’ve never met a Roma so it’s not like I know whether or not to be offended. I know that if the woman had an IQ worth mentioning she’d be smart enough to pick on me for real stuff. I barely know what my father looks like because he’s been in jail for selling drugs most of my life. My mother’s a junkie and Sookie and Onkell could be doing God-knows-what and she wouldn’t care because Sookie sends her money whenever she asks for it… I could take it if she called me white trash… God knows I’ve been called that plenty. Curly hair is what had her going? Seriously? Where’s your brown shirt, Lisia?

“How did you travel more than a hundred kilometers?”

“I ended up giving a lady a few Euros to call a cab and act like she was my mom, sending me to my father’s house.”

So adult in so many aspects… her little stunt was almost refreshing; a reminder that there was still a child in there in spite of everything she’d been through.

“You’ll owe me a favor for not telling Daan about what a hypocrite you…”

She gasped, “I’m NOT!”

“When he wanted to run away you berated him… Leaving somewhere uncomfortable, yet safe. Terrifying loved ones…”

She hid her face in her hands and growled, “What kind of favor?

“We’ll discuss it later… Allecks is alarmed. It isn’t as though your sisters can explain Der Butzmann isn’t a threat any longer. You need to call him to let him know you arrived safely and apologize… and wash your hair. You don’t look like yourself.”

She smirked. “That’s it?” What exactly did she expect from me?

“From me? Yes… But you left your phone in Allecks’s glove box…”

She growled as she hopped from my desk. “That means I have to use Sookie’s… Gawd… alright…”

She pecked my cheek on her way out of my office, leaving Mee to gape.

Sookie messaged, “Way to make me the bad guy, Majesty.”

I replied, “How silly of me to not interfere. You have access to the flatware.”

Sookie sent a face with its tongue out and, “Details, details… Mee’s so curious she’s making me dizzy.”

“The look on her face was enough for me to know that. When Simza arrives, introduce Misty to the ‘filthy Roma’.”

“LOL you’re bad.” A moment later the second message read, “Thinking about it.”

**

While I finished my meeting with Mee, three more Lords arrived. Jaro, Carlyle and Cornelius…

Of the first four Lords, Sookie was only concerned about Carlyle’s mood. His initial irritation seemed to be caused by the summons. He was missing a football match to find out something he could have been told over the phone. The rankling fuck had the balls to say as much though.

All of them brought a donor that Sookie corralled in the dining room and eventually sent messages that cleared them of suspect thoughts. It seemed to be unanimous that they didn’t mind traveling since they were being offered food rather than being expected to idly wait in a parlor.

‘Snacking’ from each one of the donors as a courtesy became more of a chore as time went on. Four AB-negative donors. Even if the type was boring me, as much as a Human would be bored by the same fucking meal night after night, their blood should have been sufficient. Every drop made me want to feed from my mouthy little ‘maid’ that much more… The more I fed, the more I wanted something more exotic.

With a lull in traffic, I went to the kitchen and found Misty sitting on the counter cross-legged with a large butcher knife. She’d showered and changed into jeans and a T-shirt… Her hair had been restored to its normally bouncy state and she was wearing a deadly glare directed at Ian.

“What’s this?”

Ian looked at me as though I would help him. “She’s threatening me.”

Misty offered, “He’s being a pervert… Funny thing… you know some horses…”

I chuckled and took the knife from her to return it to the block. “He isn’t getting a gelding demonstration in the kitchen. He’s working. Use your shields to ignore him.”

“Can I punch him then?”

I shook my head. “No… Have you eaten? I’m sure Sookie made plenty.”

“Like a pig… I want to go for a ride, but Sookie won’t let me go alone.”

Lie.

“You want to go for a ride, but Sookie won’t let you go because of your disappearing act.”

She smirked. “Ask Ian. She said alone too.”

I leaned closer and did my best to impersonate Sookie’s pitch and accent. “As if I’d let you go riding alone, you want me to let you do something fun after that stunt you pulled?”

Misty cackled, “That’s just scary! You’re spending too much time with her!” Maybe.

“And you’re bored because she’s taken your computer from you as well, yes?”

She winced. “And it hurt.”

“I’m sure… Why don’t you do something normal for a child your age? Draw a picture Sookie can hang on the refrigerator? Play with dolls?”

She narrowed her eyes and shook her head. “You’re soooooo not funny.”

“What’s wrong with behaving like a 9-year old?”

She raised her eyebrow to give me a wicked look before hopping off of the counter and leaving the kitchen…

Whatever she was up to… feeling how mischievous she was didn’t bode well.

All I could do was hope 9-year olds didn’t draw on walls or… Van Goghs and Rembrandts.

Or urinate in beds…

Or light fires…

Fuck… the more I thought about it the more I second guessed what I said.

The noises coming from the foyer made me curious… I wanted to see, but I was concerned Misty could have been building a bomb given all of the determination I was feeling from her.

All the while, Ian and Sookie were endlessly amused… Apparently, I’d asked for it.

Eventually, Misty called, “You started it, now you have to humor me. C’mon.”

Sookie giggled and nudged me towards the hall. “It’s not bad.”

“If I walk out there and she’s expecting to give me a make-over…”

Sookie laughed and began pushing me. “You aren’t scared, are you?”

“She’s cheeky enough to have called me an ass and taken a cab across borders to get away from a cow who bleeds mayonnaise. I’m not sure I want to know what she’s been up to.”

I made Sookie work for it… she laughed as she shoved, sliding back in her heels as I inched towards Misty’s surprise/trap…

The girl was sitting on the floor on a sofa cushion borrowed from the media room… She’d collected shoes from everyone’s rooms… The stone tiles of the floor had become her chess board.

She tilted her head and offered, “From what I hear, 9-year olds do weird crap like this all the time. I’d rather play with the onyx set you have in your office, but…”

“You want me to play chess with shoes?”

“One of the kids I knew in daycare called it ‘chest’, but yeah. I refuse to gnaw on the pieces like I have pica… Pull up a cushion.”

“Better question… Am I supposed to let you win?”

She snorted, “Your boots are kings. Sookie’s heels are queens. Cowboy boots are knights. Sookie’s riding boots are rooks. Your dress shoes are bishops. Our sneakers are pawns. Think you can keep it straight?

Sookie snorted as she left me with the little monster.

Misty stared, unbudging and impatient for me to join her.

As I sat on the cushion, I asked, “You realize I’ve been playing chess for centuries, yes?”

Sookie whispered from the kitchen. “She’s no slouch, Eric. She made a grandmaster cry.”

“Maybe because she cheated by reading his mind.”

Misty giggled and moved a blue Adidas to E4. “Maybe because he was too busy being cocky about ‘playink bufoor mahthur wuz born’.”

I chuckled at her Russian accent…

And moved a black Reebok to E5…

She snorted, “Challenge accepted.”

**

Sookie and Ian had brought chairs to the foyer to watch, and two fucking stalemates later, Richard and Edward walked in on the third game.

Sookie and Ian jumped to their feet in an effort to seem professional.

While I tried to decide which move to make, I told them, “You can relax. These two are old friends. Richard, Edward, meet Sookie and Ian. And the little brat with a smile glued to her face belongs to Sookie. Misty.”

Edward sat next to me and practically bumped me from my cushion. “Something wrong with your onyx set?”

“Nothing. It seems I put my foot in my mouth by suggesting Misty do something normal for her age.”

Richard joined Misty on her cushion and offered, “Normal for Bobby Fisher, maybe… Gawain’s on his way too. He was curious about our summons. Do we have enough boots for a tourney?”

Leave it to Richard.

“I doubt it, but you can try your luck against her when this game is over.”

Edward blurted, “She’s won? Against you?

Misty growled, “Only stalemates.”

The boys’ eyes widened as though they were looking at a fucking unicorn.

Edward chuckled, “You better let him win one, Misty. Sore loser, this one.

I growled, “Prick. She’s cheating.”

Misty scowled and pitched one of my pawns at me. “Am not!”

“You’re reading my moods.”

“You’re reading mine too. That sounds completely fair to me!

Richard turned his head to sample Misty’s scent and raised an eyebrow at me.

“Don’t look at me like that… Der Butzemann was in Eijsden last night. No sooner than we discovered who he was, he paid a visit.”

Edward snorted, “That takes balls. Did we know him?”

“Not personally. My Maker brought over Alexei Romanov. He’s been unsupervised for years. He acted as though he wanted me to roll out the red carpet for him and when I didn’t fall over myself to bow at his feet, he attacked. Misty nearly lost her arm.”

Richard raised his eyebrows in Misty’s direction and offered a high-five.

I shook my head. “You were in the States for too long.”

He rolled his eyes. “Your head’s been in your ass too long. You need a holiday.”

“Really? How nice of you to offer to act as King in my absence.”

Misty blurted, “Don’t do it! He’ll never come back!”

I growled, “Traitor,” while she giggled.

Edward laughed and nudged my elbow. “Clever little thing knows you well…”

Richard offered, “If she stays pretty, she’d make a fit Vampire if she can already out-maneuver…”

I cut him off. “That’s enough.” It wasn’t that Misty was afraid of the idea… She didn’t mind the concept at all.

Misty captured my bishop and argued, “No. Wait. If I’m a Vampire can I kill some people?”

Sookie gasped and swatted the girl’s hand.

I shook my head and captured her knight. “No. We’re public now. We can’t exactly get away with killing sprees. There’s proof of that just over there in the grout.”

“What about just two?”

Edward joked, “Unrequited playground crush?”

Before Misty had the chance to shake her head, there was a stabbing pain in my gut through my connection with Sookie.

Misty huffed, “No… One of my stepfathers nearly killed me and my sister, and my mother let it happen. If I was going to kill anyone, they’d be it.”

Edward and Richard bared their fangs at Sookie…

I ordered, “Stand down, boys. Sookie is Misty’s cousin and guardian… Besides, Misty won’t have to become a Vampire to settle the score. She just needs to be patient. It won’t be long before a Vampire owes her a favor or two.”

When I winked at Misty, she gave me a sinister little smirk…

Sookie was less than amused. She growled, “Eric,” through clenched teeth.

There wasn’t any point in arguing the point with her. If Misty was serious, it was better the tasks be carried out by a Vampire with practice. Sookie introduced a clever little telepath to the world of Vampires. There was no way she wouldn’t capitalize her ability when she was already enjoying so many of its perks.

**

As though Gawain was designed with the sole purpose of helping me avoid the debate, he waltzed into the castle on cue.

“What’s this? No marshmallows?”

Misty snickered, “A Vampire who likes marshmallows, huh?”

They smell phenomenal. Who are you?” He turned to the quartet of donors he’d brought and directed them to wait in the parlor.

While Misty answered him, Sookie stood and offered, “Lord Gawain, there’s refreshments in the dining room for them.”

He shrugged and directed them to follow ‘the maid’ and took Sookie’s vacated seat.

“So… chess with shoes?”

I shook my head and captured a measly pawn. “It’s a long story.”

“I have forever.”

“I’m trying to concentrate.”

“Not hard enough. If I’m not mistaken, Richard has you.”

Fuck.

“Richard isn’t my opponent. Misty is.”

Misty giggled and captured my rook.

Gawain sighed, “Oh… You’re letting her win. How sweet of you.”

I said, “Fuck you,” but I’m not sure he heard me over the laughing hyenas.

When Sookie rejoined the group, she leaned against the wall, but Gawain reached back to take her hand and lead her onto his lap.

She sat on his knee awkwardly while he offered, “Nothing against sweet little Saskia, but I like the replacement… this is an upgrade.

“Sookie isn’t my housekeeper. She’s a friend posing to be my housekeeper to help me suss out my undesirable Lords. Ian can view any location remotely. Sookie is telepathic. They’ve observed a few meetings tonight and cleared Mee, Jaro, Carlyle and Cornelius. We’re entertaining ourselves until the rest of them arrive. Misty discovered Der Butzemann last night while we ran an errand, so I’m using the news of his execution as my excuse to meet with everyone.”

Gawain leaned back slightly and studied Sookie for a moment before tucking a lock of her hair behind her ear. “Sookie, is it? How do I know that you aren’t an agent sent by someone conspiring against my old friend?”

“I don’t guess you can know that, but since I’ve had Eric’s blood I’m sure he’d know if I was trying to fuck him over.” I couldn’t decide if he was flirting with her or trying to scare her… It didn’t matter either way since she was completely unfazed.

“Fair enough.”

She raised her eyebrows and offered, “Fabulous. Now that I’ve passed your little test, do you mind letting me up? There’s another Lord here.”

“Which one?”

Sookie didn’t break eye contact to ask, “Ian?”

“Willem… but Rubio, Bethany and Connelly aren’t far away. They’ve all got donors with them too. Is this like a Vampire’s version of a keg party? And why wouldn’t you sit on my lap?”

I suggested, “If I remember correctly, your greeting included grabbing her ass and bombarding her with graphic imagery…”

Misty rolled her eyes and finished, “And Gawain was being skeptical instead of skeezy… Eric, I’m still pushing for gelding him.”

I chuckled, “Noted,” while the boys and Gawain either covered their mouths or bit their cheeks.

Sookie slid off of Gawain’s leg and grumbled, “If he keeps it up, I’m going to whoop his ass. Don’t think I grew up with a pack of Weres and missed out on how to throw down.”

Ian followed her into the kitchen, taking his chair with him. “You’ve got me going back to the body stocking…”

I’m not sure what she did, but once he was around the corner, he dropped the chair.

As I began standing up, I started, “Misty, we’ll have to…”

I stopped when she laughed, “Do you see it now?”

She had me in checkmate. Fucking shoes.

I growled, “If I’m not mistaken, 9-year olds clean up their messes.”

Edward called, “Next,” and darted to my office and back to the kitchen with the actual chess set… Richard carried the cushions back to the sofa they were stolen from.

I shook my head and asked Gawain, “Don’t you want to claim your place in line?”

“No… I think I’m going to watch your friend in action.”

“Telepathy is curious, I’ll give you that. I watched Misty functionally speak Dutch with nothing more than a few cues. They only get moods from Vampires though.”

Gawain snorted and turned for the kitchen. “That is curious, but I didn’t mean the little friend…”

I thought about warning him that Sookie was aggressive, that her threat to Ian wasn’t empty, but thought I’d have the extra fun of listening for the inevitable confrontation.

**

Just as with the first wave of Lords, Willem, Rubio and Connelly offered AB-negative donors, took notes on Alexei as Der Butzemann and were graded with angels, smiles and curious faces… Even though I was leery of Willem he sincerely congratulated me for catching Alexei because he was bored by the media coverage… and Connelly jokingly complained that he’d lost a bet. He and a few associates had been tracking Alexei ‘like Floridians track hurricanes’.

They were perfectly content to respond to their summons and be on their way after they were fully informed. None of them seemed to notice that there was a chess tournament in the kitchen in spite of the complaints from Edward and Richard every time Misty proved I hadn’t been taking it easy on her.

Of course, Bethany would be a problem.

And just when Edward bet Misty a ‘favor’ too…

Sookie appeared as emotionless as possible to present ‘Lord Bethany of District Nessensassen’… But her heels hadn’t hammered all the way into the kitchen yet before Sookie sent a message…

An angry face followed by, “Something is VERY off about this one. The others were mildly annoyed and curious. She’s about to rattle apart.”

My eyes were still on my monitor when Bethany asked, “Did I arrive at a bad time, Majesty? The message I was given didn’t include a specific time.”

“I’m aware. You’ve just interrupted some surprise entertainment. As it turns out, my housekeeper’s daughter is a chess prodigy. She hasn’t lost a game all night and Edward is her current victim.”

“The Princes are here?”

Sookie messaged, “Electric chair. Mention Gawain.”

I answered Bethany, “They’re in the kitchen… preoccupied by a chess board and a 9-year old even though Gawain brought a buffet of donors.”

Bethany’s eyes widened, and Sookie sent, “TERRIFIED.” A moment later, “Her mind- picture a blender full of tar and needles,” appeared on the screen.

That imagery was nothing if not indicative of suspicious behavior, but I had to reply, “Out of curiosity, how do you know that’s fear?”

While I waited for an answer, Bethany shifted in her seat to cross her legs and sighed, “Boys will be boys, no matter how old they are… So they were summoned like I was, and distracted by a game, yeah?”

Sookie sent, “She’s focused on you so much she might as well be in your lap.” No doubt trying to discern my poker face.

I shook my head. “No. They weren’t summoned like you… We’re having an unrelated party.” A ‘keg party’.

I knew Bethany didn’t like my answer before Sookie warned, “Be careful. Her mind is starting to hop around. Like Alexei.”

I explained, “I summoned you to explain that the Vampire poaching under the pseudonym of Der Butzemann has been discovered and executed…”

The text explaining how Sookie knew what fear felt like appeared and immediately distracted me. “I’ve known Selma since before Vampires came out. She had a scare and stayed with me while she was looking for a new house. She was paranoid for more than a month…” Then there was another message, “Bethany knows something about Alexei. Looking something up. Gimmie a minute.”

When Sookie mentioned looking something up, I opened the spread sheet she’d put together while she was ‘helping me to death’.

Bethany fidgeted while I scanned the document and finally offered, “Are you texting chess moves to the kitchen?”

Insolent little cunt.

Sookie messaged, “She’s fucked…” A moment later, I received, “Two robberies. One in Oldenberg, one in Grasberg. Both listed looted Romanov antiquities. A month apart, but…” The next message came through immediately, “She was either feeding Alexei or she covered his trail. Her District is the only one in your Kingdom without Der Butzemann victims.”

While I continued scanning to find more data, I offered, “Oh, this is a different game… you see, when a chess match is over, one can put the board away and forget it…”

Before I could continue, Gawain appeared behind her to take her hair and hold the same chef’s knife to her throat that Misty was wielding earlier.

He offered, “But you need to keep track of all of the pieces or you won’t be able to play again.”

Sookie arrived a moment later. She folded her arms and leaned against the wall, making herself available to give instant commentary from the sidelines. She had a complete lock on her face and mood.

“She knew who Der Butzemann was all along. She’s been trying to scrape together a cover-story ever since you mentioned him.”

I chuckled, “Uh oh… Where does a pawn move when the knight, the queen, and the king have it cornered?”

A smile crept out of Sookie’s façade, but she bit her lip to keep from laughing.

I asked, “Care to explain why you were harboring a Vampire fugitive, Bethany?”

She whimpered, “The problems… The climate… I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Sookie shook her head.

“Why were you protecting him, Bethany?”

“He’s young. I wanted to give him the chance to grow out of it.”

Sookie shook her head again and Gawain pressed the blade into the side of Bethany’s throat undamming a steady flow of crimson to cover her chest. Bethany only had so many more lies before her remains ruined the antique chair she was sitting on.

“You thought you were protecting the Vampire image while giving a mad Vampire the time to amass more victims… Why not mention it to your King so he should decide how the rogue could be dealt with?”

“You’d only just taken the throne when he came to me. I didn’t have the choice but to protect him.”

“You could have ended him.”

“I thought…”

I was waiting for her to finish her thought when Sookie piped, “Appius. She just had a very clear image of Appius. She met with him… She knew Alexei was your brother. She knew you’d end him. She was protecting Alexei from you. She didn’t care about PR… And now… if Vampires could shit, that chair would be ruined.”

Gawain chuckled and pushed the blade deeper, leaving Bethany’s voice box intact, but nicking her spine. “I think it’s too late for the chair.”

“Bethany was protecting Alexei as a favor to Appius?”

Sookie shook her head and held up her finger. She began pacing along the wall of my office to stay out of the way and offered, “Not exactly… She was friends with Appius… One of Halfdan’s gang… She was going to be appointed as a Lord after the coup… She was part of the inner circle, a principal player…”

Sookie stopped pacing to approach, joining me behind my desk to look at Bethany.

She hissed, “You knew… you knew Appius was part of it too… You and Appius were going to be rewarded with Lordships to fill vacated French positions…” Sookie nodded to confirm her accusation was correct. She pressed, “You know who ended Liz, don’t you?”

Bethany squirmed as much as she could, only forcing the knife further into her own neck. “Appius… it was all part of the plan… Appius ended her himself. He acted too soon. He thought Eric was finished. He knew Eric would go berserk and go after Halfdan. Eric was supposed to be ended in the process. Appius fucked everything up… but I didn’t care. Not for long. Why would I? Eric offered me a Lordship.”

Sookie growled, “She’s finally telling the truth.” She was feeling a miserable combination of hostility and sympathy and I could feel where each were directed.

I’d clenched my jaw so tightly, I’d cracked my own teeth… But I had to signal Gawain to keep him from taking Bethany’s head before I could get all of the answers we could.

I hissed, “What was Alexei’s part?”

She wailed, “I sent him to South America so he could lay low for a while. Alexei managed to resurrect the Cucuy legend there. I called him back once Vampires revealed themselves. He stayed in my District for a while, but then he went rogue… That little prick… so selfish… He wanted to appeal to Eric… he had an axe to grind with Dmitri for not protecting the Romanovs once he heard Tyson helped the Plantagenet boys. He wanted a Northern Lordship so he could network and find a way to end up taking Dmitri’s throne. That was his endgame. I was just repaying Appius for an old debt. That’s it. I didn’t know the little prick had another agenda and Appius only wanted the Lordship so he could cover Alexei’s insanity in an official capacity. He hated that he owed favors all over Europe because of him.”

My Maker ended my child and intended to sacrifice me to protect that little fuck… I’d killed them both too quickly.

Sookie opened the top drawer of my desk to remove a stake she must have put there, but she held onto it. “Who else?”

Bethany snarled, “Who else what?”

“Who else was part of Halfdan’s plans?”

“Me and… Francois has been playing both sides. He’s why Clovis thinks Eric took the throne out of greed… He’s why everyone thinks that… There were two more… Sidney and Lance, but… when Eric gave me the Lordship, they tried to blackmail me. I ended them years ago.”

It was a very good thing Sookie thought to ask. I would have ended Bethany before she revealed another mole that needed to be taken care of… And it wasn’t lost on me that if Sookie hadn’t been helping me to death, I might not have ever known Bethany’s hands had Liz’s blood on them.

Sookie offered the stake to me. “She’s feeling relieved, like someone who just walked out of a confessional… I just cleaned the floor, so would you mind killing the cunt outside, Majesty?”

Gawain yanked Bethany off of the chair as he snorted, “Who’d want to upset such a valuable asset?”

I took the stake from Sookie and agreed, “Definitely not me,” and waited for Gawain to move the knife away from Bethany’s throat…

The fresh gash in her neck made a perfect handle… the way she screamed when I yanked her from her feet and dragged her almost made up for the fun I’d missed while dealing with her.

Since I’d already wasted enough time with Bethany, I barely passed the threshold with her… but I did make sure to specify that her part in Liz’s death was my reason to push the stake into her chest slowly and leave her dregs next to the steps.

I wanted Francois to see his immediate future…

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43 thoughts on “Chapter 10: Castling

  1. *sighs* I love Edward and Richard. I think they are fast becoming my favourite “original” characters 😀
    And how awesome is Misty!?
    Another amazing chapter from our lovely Queen. You’re so good to us Brats 🙂

    • Completely agree with everything Bec says!! Edward and Richard and the chess game were inspired!! And misty wanting to gelding Ian!! Funny! I live. Misty but missed the other two a bit!! Misty is becoming a mini Liz so quickly it’s dizzying!

  2. Wow, Sookie has made herself more than useful, and perhaps has saved Eric again. Love the chess game, and it’s time Eric got back into his tactical game. Very glad that Misty arrived safely. thanks for the update.

  3. Very nice!! Love the throat handle. Hope Misty gets her favor. Glad Eric is able to exact some revenge for Liz. Bleeding mayo…that’s a favorite! Love you, love your writing!

  4. Loved this that Eric is finally getting his pay back for Liz’s death and out all your Erics this one has my heart the most, because he had to fight his way back to becoming whole again with the help of Sookie and her crew. I LOVE Misty to pieces and I LOVE the connection between her and Eric. I’m really looking forward to another update for this one.

  5. This was great! I have been in a crappy mood trying to get everything done. I love that Misty is beating everyone at Chess or ” chest”. She would make a terrifying vampire! So glad Eri is letting Sookie help him to death. Maybe this will also give home the closure he needs about Liz. Can’t wait til ore arrives.

  6. Fantastic chapter! It is so good to see ‘Eric’ resurface from his personal hell, and fabulous to see him gain some vengance. I’m so anxious to see what happens with Francoise! Oh! And I adore the interactions between the Lords and Misty…the chess game was too funny!!!

  7. This could have been called ‘Return of The King’ if that hadn’t already been taken ! The knowledge of Liz’s death and vengeance for it will maybe allow him to move forward. If he can’t quite do that yet, I’m thinking Misty will drag him along anyway ! I love that the humans are making friend with the Lords and earning their respect.

  8. Wonderful thing to wake up to this morning. Poor Misty. Allecks needs to reign in his relatives. Go little chess prodigy. Woo Hoo for ferretting out the nasty conspirators

  9. It’s wonderful to see that Eric is making progress. Loved the way the Richard and Edward bared their fangs in Misty’s defense… and the way Eric jumped to Sookie’s defense to clear up the misunderstanding… and he finally learned new info about Liz’s death. favorite *lol* line “No. We’re public now. We can’t exactly get away with killing sprees. There’s proof of that just over there in the grout.”

  10. love Misty and that she was able to out manuver Eric in chess and i am assuming the other lords too…. shit Sookie is good and gaining the respect of Gaiwain, looking forward to the next chapter… and i am liking that Eric is coming out of his shell…… Kristie

  11. That was quite the exciting chapter. I wonder when the two guys will realize that she saw Appius’ image in Bethany’s thoughts?
    I am a diehard E/S fan but I really like this Gawain character, especially since in a skip he tried to help abused Sookie get away from a perceived threat to her even though Eric has been a long time friend. Eric’s not ready for a relationship but I don’t think Sookie should be held back!

  12. Now Eric can close the chapter on how Liz/Pam was killed and how did it. Hopefully this will be the beginning of the “return of the king”….my bet is that he was stalemated by Misty in chess was that his tactical skills have been so rusty since Pam’s demise –he just hasn’t given a damn in so long that he’s forgotten how to plan…
    Now…another weasel to weed out —
    Pat

  13. This couldn’t possibly be more awesome! Misty is freaking priceless and…damn, there is just too much to say so I’ll settle with “Jaysus!! Give me more!”

  14. Misty will not only have banked vampire favors but a line of vampires willing to turn her whenever she wants. He almost has Liz’s death avenged, perhaps now he can move forward.

  15. the murder of liz was solved and another was found out. eric now realizes how perfect sookie is for him, she can do and handle the things he can’t. i still don’t trust ian, he seems like he’ll turn on you quick.

  16. I can certainly see why Misty would want to become a vampire, and why there would be any number of vampires ready to do the honors. She’s a wonderful character. I don’t know how you keep up with all your characters, but I love all you original characters. I love the young princes, and Gawain, even Ian is interesting even if he is on the edge of being gelded. I’m glad Eric found out about more vampires involved in Liz’s death and is able to take care of them. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Yeah, I’m being repetitious, but I can’t help it.

  17. Wow what a great chapter. I loved the playfullness of the chess game. Misty is too smart for her own good. She will have the vamps eating out of her hand. i bet they will come around more to “see Eric”. In reality they will be looking to see Misty. Can’t wait for them to meet the other girls. Ian is a hoot. Pure comic relief. He needs to tone things down around the girls. I think the vamps will have a “come to Jesus” talk with him. I am not sure if Eric did so poorly against Misty because he has not been thinking in a stragic way for a while or if Misty is that good. I am glad that Eric is seeing how benificial it is to have Sookie on his side. In her helping him to death she has found out 2 vamps that had conspired against him and helped ended Liz. Now we just need for him to skip to see another Pam and him get a little closure so he can begin to move forward with his life. I love the new lords (the boys) and of course Gawain is hotness.

  18. Wow! Great chapter! LOVE Edward, Richard, & Gawain. They all rock! And now Eric knows more of what happened to Liz/Pam. I hope knowing and dealing with those who were involved somehow and are still “alive” helps him move on some more.

  19. The Gash in her throat as a handle?!? That’s awesome! Love all the EP Lords arriving in this one. When does Gawain reveal who he is? Was Sookie reading the vamps mind? I was a bit confused there that she apparently was reading the vamps mind and nobody seemed surprised at all. Maybe I read that wrong?

  20. Shoe chess! How original is that?! That Misty is too smart for her own good. I love how she is endearing herself to the vampires in Eric’s kingdom. Loved the introduction to the Lords. More Gawain and the Princes 🙂 Sookie and Eric are making quite a team 🙂 Lord Bethany didn’t know what hit her. Sounds like the real King Eric is on his way back. Loved this chapter!

  21. Fantastic to see Sookie and Eric at work as a real team and wonderful Misty annoyed at being treated badly and going where she knows she’s appreciated for herself. I’m loving this verse and can’t wait to see Francoise taken care of. Fantastic, fun, and fulfiling work as always 🙂 It’s always a treat to get an update.

  22. Misty is hugely entertaining. Shoe Chess is ingenious. I have to agree with Pamela Thornton when she mentions Eric’s lack of strategic thinking may have impacted his chess match against Misty.
    But Eric is making a comeback, which is good to see. The “helping to death” in combination with simply shocking him out of his stasis is doing him worlds of good. Can’t wait to see it continue.
    Cheers, Balti K

  23. “Sookie introduced a clever little telepath to the world of Vampires. There was no way she wouldn’t capitalize her ability when she was already enjoying so many of its perks” >3
    I LOVE Misty & the relationship she has with Eric is just the best. It almost feels like she’s singlehandedly responsible for the bit of growth Eric’s made so far in accepting and moving forward after Liz/Pam’s death. Two peas. These last 2 chapters were awesome.

    It took me longer to read these 2 chappie’s because the imagery of of Beiber with FANGS had me rolling on the floor. Everytime I thought I’d overcome the giggle fit it started again. Seriously, out of all of your casting…the Beibs with fangs 🙂 ROTFLMFAO Frickin’ Priceless

  24. The chess games are awesome!! Misty as a child genius that can beat a thousand year old vampire king at chess is too much for my brain! Not that her aunt is much of a slouch at stradegy, the way she led Bethany’s confession the way she did. Which I guess makes YOU the true genius for writing it all!!

  25. The second case regards feelings and therefore calls for subjective. Were is correct for that tense. I’ll concede the “neither was” point. 🙂

    Whoop-ass is the American colloquialism, making whoop just fine. Slang is flexible, it’s not like formal speech. Urban dictionary is a more appropriate source than the Oxford dictionary.

    I enjoy a grammar debate, so thanks for that.

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