In the beginning, there was nothing, and in this nothing lay only peace and silence. From deep within the void, someone said a word. It echoed in ripples through the fabric of darkness.
The sound was familiar. The call grew more insistent. The air vibrated with agitation.
Suddenly, there was a thread of awareness. The word was a name. That name had meaning. It signified something important.
It…It was her name!
Rosalyn slammed back down into her body and her eyes shot open. Overhead, a canopy of stone glistened in colors she had never before seen. Every angled plane and sheared edge formed a mosaic full of fascinating details. She inhaled and she could smell the sun in the valley and the whispering of the wind against stone and sand. There were animals and insects. And flowers. So many, many flowers.
“Ros,” someone said. She turned in the direction of the voice. Godric stood over her, a crimson tear streaking down his cheek. Her eyes grew wide at the sight of him. His beauty stunned her new preternatural vision. He was an alabaster god with an aura of omnipotent power radiating all around him. The pull to go to him was almost painful. She reached for him and he took her hand. Rosalyn gasped at the electric sensations his touch sent through her entire body. Her skin was hyper-sensitive. He whispered something in an ancient tongue and the blood in her knew it was a prayer.
“My love. My Rosalyn.” She tried to move but she felt leaden and twitchy. “Rest a moment. Your body is still waking. I’m here.” He stroked her fingers and the feeling was divine.
“Godric,” she managed to say. He smiled brightly and it illuminated her from within. She looked beyond him and saw the cave was lit with hundreds of tealights and was filled with bundles of poppies. She suddenly realized they were not alone. Her head whipped to the left. Eric and Pam were holding each other, watching intently. Amleth was there too with a hand over his awestruck mouth. They had gathered to witness the auspicious night of Rosalyn’s awakening. Rosalyn rocketed upright. There was extraordinary power coursing through her veins.
“Feeling a bit more oriented?” Godric said.
“I feel incredible.”
Godric gave a sly smile. She threw her arms around him and nuzzled his neck. He caressed her hair and skin and mouthed kisses on her shoulder. He sat back on his knees. “Welcome to your Turning Ceremony.” The cave danced in the candlelight and the air was filled with the green, earthy scent of poppies.
The four vampires joined hands around her. “Welcome to our bloodline, Rosalyn,” they said in unison. “We swear on the blood to honor you and protect you as you will do for us.”
Godric then spoke as the paterfamilias. “We are one in the blood and being one, we share everything.” They all knelt around her.
“Open your mouth for me, darling,” Godric said. She did and he held a cup up to her. The smell hit her nose and her fangs dropped. She startled in surprise and Godric beamed in ferocious pride. Ros ran a tongue over one fang and shivered. They were long and deadly sharp. Had she not parted her lips, they no doubt would have been badly sliced. He pressed the cup to her mouth and she drank. Never had she known such thirst nor felt it so deliciously satisfied. The liquid was ecstasy. Godric gestured toward Eric. He too gave her a cup and the others each took their turn feeding her newborn hunger. How beautiful it was to have her new family all gathered to care for her first moments of immortality. It was strange how natural drinking blood felt.
“Shall we continue?” Godric said.
“Absolutely,” she said.
“You don’t feel too distracted by your new senses?”
“I’m managing. I think being in an enclosed space helps.”
“Excellent. Then let me explain. It has become a tradition in this bloodline to give sacred tokens from our turnings to the newest member in order to demonstrate that we are all truly one in the blood. We share everything in this family. My gift to you is different from what everyone else has brought tonight, however. There is nothing left from the time when I was made.”
“Except for megaliths and I doubt you’d want one of those, Ros,” Eric quipped. Godric shot the Viking a glacial glare.
Godric pulled out a rectangular wood box from a satchel. The sides were bound by a band of runic script while the looping swirls of a love knot graced the top. He paused before continuing, readying himself for what he wished to say next. “Three days ago I asked whether you would be my companion and share eternity with me. You accepted a ring from me, a symbol of commitment in the human world.” He opened the lid and pulled out a dagger. “Though I do not have the original, this is a replica of the sacrificial oathing knife I owned as a mortal. I was using it to conduct the last of the rites that would have inducted me as a Druidic shaman king. The knife slipped and I accidentally cut myself in a sacred grove. That cut led me to be made vampire. I forged this dagger myself while you were transforming.” He held it with two upturned hands so she could see it.
“Oh Godric, it’s stunning.” The iron hilt and guard were shaped in smooth, clean lines. “It was extremely rare to possess a knife with a steel blade back then. I did make a few additions to it for you,” he adds. The blade was indeed intricately marked. On one side, the steel was etched entirely with stylized poppies surrounded by stars. The other was inscribed with a string of small runes set down the length of the fuller, or center dip, of the blade. “What does it say?”
Godric passed it to her with a deep bow. There were sniffles from the corner of the cave as the other vampires held back tears. Godric bit his lip. “You do not yet know our customs. This rite is one of our most sacred. To pass an oathing knife to another vampire is to pledge yourself in bonded marriage.” Tears escaped his eyes. “Rosalyn Euphrenia Murray, my eternal love, I pledge myself to you for all time. I give you my body and all that I possess, so that you may always be protected and loved. I give you the fealty of my bloodline, so that you may always have the care of kin. I swear this oath to you, or may this holy blade deliver the true death unto me. Do you accept this dagger?”
Tears were now streaming down Rosalyn’s face too. “Yes,” she said almost inaudibly. “Yes, of course.” Godric fell into her arms and they kissed and wept, noses pressed together, and kissed some more. After several minutes, Eric cleared his throat, lest they consummate the marriage right then and there.
Godric pulled away with a huge smile. He dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief. “Your wedding dagger says ‘My muse, my wife, may the stars always be abloom with flowers’.”
Now everyone was crying.
Godric tilted Rosalyn’s neck and bit, tasting his reborn vampire wife for the first time. His eyes rolled back in absolute euphoria and she cried out at the unimaginable pleasure of giving her blood. He then bit his wrist and offered it to her. She drank and her back arched with a loud moan. Eric had been absolutely correct that night they spent at the Sofitel Hotel. She would never thirst for anything like she would hunger for Godric’s blood. It was inconsequential that it did not nourish her body. It nourished her very soul. “My husband. My maker,” she gasped. Godric’s eyes shone with awe and disbelief at his fortune.
Eric reached for her hand, turning her attention to him. She sucked in an unnecessary breath. If he had been handsome to her human eyes, his golden hair and ice-chip eyes were now otherworldly. “Min lillasyster,” he said. His little sister.
“My brother,” she said. Although Rosalyn’s bond with Godric encompassed every fiber of her being, within it she could feel a place where Eric was flipping around with wild happiness.
“Yes. Din bror.” Your brother. He could not wait to teach her modern Swedish. And Old Norse. And sword fighting. And how to drive their cars at insane speeds. And…Eric realized his excitement had overtaken him. He clamped down on his end of the bond and it morphed into reverence. He pulled a necklace from around his neck.
“Hey, is that the little hammer we were looking for in your treasure chest?”
Eric bowed his head solemnly. “Ros, I have had this Thor’s hammer for over a millennium. It was around Godric’s neck the night he found me and gave me this life.”
Her hands flew to her mouth. “No! I couldn’t possibly – “
“You will accept this and know you take a place amongst us. As Godric said, we share in all things. These gifts are ours. They will all end up in a high-security vault, unless you’d like to keep any or all of them for a time.”
“So, it was in Amsterdam!”
“Switzerland, it turned out.”
“How many…nevermind.” He placed it over her head. It rested over her silent heart and she clutched at it. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
Eric took a fat tear off her cheek and tastes it. “Mmm, mmm, mmm. Eleven stars, sis.”
“Oh my god you’re already starting in!” He winked, then he opened his wrist and gave it to her. Their shared bond flooded with joy and gratitude.
“You do taste of the cold sea and frigid air moving through a fir forest,” she said when they were done. He smirked, then pressed a kiss to her forehead.
Pamela leaned forward, her perfect blonde hair and plush red lips shining. “Well I guess this makes me your niece. That’s so fucked up.” Everyone laughed, cutting the intensity of the ceremony. More handkerchiefs came out and there were smiles and happy looks exchanged as the group recovered from witnessing the rarest of marriage ceremonies after the rising of a new vampire.
Pam took Rosalyn’s hand and slipped a gold ring onto her right middle finger. “Wow, this is gorgeous,” Rosalyn said. “Is it bloodstone?”
“Yes. This is Eric’s signet ring from the 19th century. He was wearing it on his enormous pinky the night we met. I had to have it resized ages ago otherwise it would have made for a lovely bracelet.”
“Pamela…” Eric warned.
Rosalyn inspected the ring closely. The intaglio carved in the center of the stone was a Viking longsword flanked on either side with the curlicue initials E and N. She shook her and chuckled. “Thank god for bad opera and a little bit of Chopin.” Pam raised her eyebrows at Eric in astonishment. That he had told Rosalyn about Pamela’s turning while Rosalyn was still human spoke volumes about his respect for the reborn vampiress.
“Thank you, Pam. It is a wonderful memento,” Rosalyn said. Godric told Pamela to offer Rosalyn a token amount of blood. It gave Rosalyn a fleeting glimpse into Pamela’s psyche – enough to see how genuine her vow of protection was without forming a blood tie. Pam tasted of honeysuckle and French country fields warmed in the summer heat. It was amazing how much Rosalyn’s palate could discern.
At last, it was Amleth’s turn. His ethereal beauty was the very definition of ‘vampire’ in humans’ folklore. His long raven locks hung just past his shoulders and his dark eyes bewitched and dazzled. He furrowed his brow as he moved closer to Rosalyn and his full lips pinched into a thin line. He looked down and clenched his eyes, failing to hold back a trickle of crimson. Eric reached over and squeezed Amleth’s shoulder in concern. Amleth almost never lost his suave composure. Rosalyn’s senses were too new to realize that he and Eric were blood bonded brothers. They had tried as best they could to remain so throughout the centuries.
“Amleth, what’s wrong?” she said.
Amleth bit his lower lip and still more tears streamed down his cheeks. He quickly clasped her hand, pressing something into it. He was shaking. He stared her into the eyes for the longest time, his soulful eyes expressing something profound. When he finally released her hand, Rosalyn opened her palm to find a Roman gold piece. Godric, Eric, and Pam simultaneously drew in sharp breaths of shock. Their shock ricocheted through their bonds like the snap of a rubber band. “From my maker’s coin purse,” Amleth explained, still holding Rosalyn’s gaze. “He gave it to me the night I was reborn, but I did not have the heart to spend it.”
“Amla! You could have given her something of mine!” Godric protested, his voice cracking.
“No. You may have brought me to death’s door – “
Ros whipped around to Godric. “You killed him?”
Godric silenced her with a sharp wave of a hand. “Story for another night.”
“Only something from…” Amleth finds he cannot utter the name. “A token from my maker is the only worthy gift for Ros. This is how we honor our kin in this bloodline. Rosalyn saved you, Godric. For me. For all of us. You are my father and I could not bear to lose you. That you allow me to witness her turning is the greatest of honors. She deserves to know how important she is to this family. She deserves to be venerated.” Amleth dropped his head again, then struck his heart with a closed fist – an ancient salute of fealty.
Ros was speechless.
Godric remained very still. Minutes passed. “We lost Amleth’s maker some time ago,” he said in a whisper. “He was my first true friend in undeath. I helped him raise Amleth and I claimed Amleth as part of my bloodline centuries before our great loss. He is your brother, Rosalyn, in every way that matters.” Both Eric and Pam dared not move. “The significance of what Amla has just done, Ros…” Godric was at a loss for words. “Other bloodlines do not have the same egalitarian rules that I insist upon. Quite the opposite. Virtually all lineage heads expect to control and dispose of their blood kin’s possessions when and how they see fit. Amleth has just taken something deeply precious from his maker’s family and though it should be his by rights, he has taken it and given it to you, and therefore us.” He looked at Amleth, who was still bent in supplication. “You are a true Goðríkson, child. May the gods bless you always.”
Rosalyn tucked a tendril of Amleth’s soft hair behind his ear and ducked down to catch his gaze. “How lucky of me to have two brothers.” She ran her knuckles over his bloodied cheek. He gave a shattered smile. Her instincts automatically told her that he was older than Eric by centuries. “Lucky indeed, especially when I know that you can beat the crap out of our Viking brother when I need you to.” He let out a weak laugh and gave her a tight hug, burying his face in her shoulder. “Thank you, Amleth,” she said. “I am greatly humbled by your gift. I cannot wait to know you better.”
Let him drink from you, Godric pushed at her through their bond. He wanted his newborn wife tied to the eldest and most politically powerful child in his family. Pam, well. Godric would reconsider that in the future.
Ros scooted closer to Amleth. Looking at her wrist, she tried to figure out how to make her fangs descend. She thought of the cups of blood and out they popped. She bit into herself and, not knowing any better, really jammed her fangs in and she winced. Offering her seeping arm to him, Amleth glanced at Godric, certain that this was not permitted. Godric nodded with a blink. The distraught vampire’s jaw dropped. It was another great honor to be the first person after her maker to truly drink from her. Rosalyn held her breath, knowing what delicious bliss was coming. He quickly bit his own wrist so they could partake at the same time. When his silky fluid hit her tongue, she made a number of completely undignified sounds. Amleth carefully pushed her back after the wound closed to keep her from snapping at him.
“Oh my god! What is that flavor?” she said, licking as much of his blood off her lips and knuckles as possible.
Godric chuckled. “There’s a reason he’s the vampire ambassador to the Fae, love.”
Amleth shrugged. “I was a bastard Fae hybrid before I was turned.”
“That is what a fairy tastes like! No wonder everybody is after Sookie.”
Within moments, she could feel another bubble of consciousness floating around inside her. Her bond with Amleth had bloomed. She pushed back his curtain of hair again and crooked her head. “Better now?”
“Much. Thank you.”
“No, thank you.” She turned to everyone. “Thank all of you. Your presence in my life is the greatest gift I could possibly receive. You’ve made this such a special night.”
As they are gathering up the burnt out candles and flowers, Eric looked around the cave and chewed his cheek. Godric was carefully packing up the treasures that were shared in Rosalyn’s name. A rage came over Eric. “I’ll fucking kill Thea if she tries to come after you, Amleth. Fuck her! She’s no matriarch. She’s an aberration of nature!”
“I renounced them all long ago.” Amleth sighed in resignation. “They don’t deserve the word ‘vampire’.”
Eric’s face twisted into a bloodthirsty sneer. “They deserve nothing save the true death.”
Godric looked up from the satchel he was arranging. He slowly straightened up and his eyes turned to a murderous black. In his softest of voices, which was his deadliest of voices, he said, “I will decimate them all for what they have done to us.”
Rosalyn went wide-eyed at the open talk of killing people. She was both horrified and more than a little turned on to see her ancient husband so fiercely protective. Godric took a deep breath to calm his temper. “Forgive us, Ros. This is no time to speak of such sordid business on the night of your rising. It is a very deep wound.”
“No, tell me. You’ve initiated me into this family, now treat me as such.”
Pamela raised an eyebrow at Rosalyn’s fiery attitude. She liked her style. She was going to become one hell of a vampiress. Amleth made a weary gesture. “It’s fine. Speak of it.”
Godric looked at Amleth, then at Eric and Pam, and at last to Ros. “Let us wait until we are back home at least. I do not wish to sully these holy grounds with this discussion.”
“Thea and her fucking Greek theatrics. It’s like the worst fucking play you’ve ever seen!” Eric yelled and kicked a loose stone off the cavern ledge as hard as he could. It was probably well on its way to Colorado.
Godric put a hand on his shoulder to calm him and looked up at him. “Holy grounds, child.” Eric clenched his eyes and slumped his large frame.
“You’re right, maker. Holy grounds. It’s a shame this is part of a national monument,” he said softly.
“Eric, you cannot buy every piece of land where a major event in our lives occurs.”
He gave a wolfish grin. “I can try.”
“Oh, for the love of the gods. Are you serious? You’ve already got the ball rolling, haven’t you?” Godric beseeched the heavens for aid with his impossible Viking and Pam snickered at how her maker’s antics bedeviled the old man.
Three days prior, the moment it was decided that Rosalyn would be turned here, Eric, Pam, and Amleth began hitting the stock markets hard. They also began liquidating useless properties and business investments left and right. They needed to recoup funds and fast. Bribing the governor of New Mexico and buying a majority vote in Congress so that the hill with its cave could be quietly annexed out of the park would not exactly be a cheap proposition. If they had not been talking about hundreds of well-guarded politicians, Eric would just as well have sent a team to glamour them all, but such an undertaking was not possible. He really wished he could get them to hand over the slopes in the valley below too, but that would never happen. People would notice.
“So,” Pam said, hands on her hips. “Who’s going to get me down from here?” Eric grabbed her, along with two bags, and leapt off the ledge of the cavern. Godric hitched his arm around Amleth’s torso. “Be right back.” He shot off into the sky.
With a moment to herself, Rosalyn dragged her hands along the dazzling cave walls to memorize them forever and reflect on the momentous things that had occurred here. Never in her wildest dreams did she think that going to a gala one night would lead to finding the love of her life and, as it turns out, her undead life, too. She could now continue her work in safety, for literally as long as she pleased, and at the side and with the aid of her beloved partner and new family. It felt like there was not enough space within her to contain such elation.
A crunch of gravel announced Godric’s return. He had a dangerous, heated glint in his eyes. She bit her lip in anticipation, knowing he did not have to hold back as he once did. He pushed Rosalyn up against the stone wall and began smothering her with feverish kisses. “I want to ravish you right here, right now.”
“Between a rock and a hard place, just as you promised,” she teased. He laughed and she took advantage of his open mouth, licking and sucking his tongue. She let her fangs graze along it ever so slightly and the sensation on her teeth went straight between her legs. “Unf, oh god!” she cried.
“Mmmhmm. Isn’t it amazing?” he said.
“Suck them,” she begged. He twisted a devilishly talented tongue around each one and she came right then and there. He licked and nipped down the column of her throat and she squeezed his biceps as she grew more desperate. He jerked back to look at her.
“What?” she said.
He huffed a laugh and appeared almost confused. “You are quite strong for a newborn, love.”
He started laughing. “Yes!”
“Bah, you’re just pleased with your handicraft.”
“I am pleased with you. You might even be able to get the upper hand in bed if you try.”
“Well, get me on that plane and we’ll just have to see.”
“You think I’m going to wait to have what is mine?”
“Do you think I will?” she countered.
He hiked her skirt up and, hitching her around his hips, sunk deep into her. He closed his eyes and said something in his ancient language. Rosalyn pulled at his hair and tried to get him to move. When he looked at her again, something feral in him had come unchained. He slammed into her and the sound of her ecstasy echoed through the entire canyon.
“More. Harder,” she said.
He took her as he had wanted to all along – with the desperation he felt for her, with complete abandon. They found their release together over and over again until finally, panting, Godric let her slip back down to the ground. “I am going to do this to you every night until the end of time.”
Sighing, she laid her head on his shoulder and they simply hold each other. “I love you, husband.”
“And I you, wife.”
It was with great annoyance that they had to leave. They were going to miss their plane.
“Congratulations to the happy couple and all, but we could hear you all the way out here at the airfield!” Pam hollered when Godric and Rosalyn finally boarded the plane. The entire wedding party had been more than a little privy to their joyful coupling.
Godric sauntered down the aisle and gave Pam a playful smack on the shoulder. “Deal with it, grandbaby,” he said and kept walking. Eric tried to bite down his laughter, knowing exactly how much trouble his maker could be when he got like this. And gods had it been centuries since he had seen Godric in one of his impish trickster moods. Amleth had his face buried in Eric’s arm and he was laughing so hard he had starting to turn pink. Eric punched him in the leg repeatedly and the more he hit him to try to get him under control the harder they both laughed. Pam turned around and looked over the seat at them.
“You two can go fuck yourselves!”
It sent them over the edge. They doubled over, howling, crying blood tears. “You’re just…you’re just….hahahahaha…jealous that you haven’t gotten laid in a month!” Eric managed to bite out before they fell back into peals of laughter.
“The pilot is furious, you know,” she said to her grandsire over her shoulder. He and Rosalyn had gone to the back of the Gulfstream where they could snuggle up together with a tiny bit of privacy. Granted, there were only eight seats, but it was better than sitting next to the laughing loons. “We’ve been sitting on the tarmac for over an hour!” Pam added.
“Oh yeah? The pilot works for me,” he called up the aisle. “You tell him to come back here and fight me.” Eric completely lost it and fell out of his seat and into the aisle in hysterics.
Amleth toppled over and was laughing at him through the armrest. “If I could piss myself I’d totally have done so by now!”
“Ugh,” Pam grunted and pulled out a fashion magazine. Eric was just barely able to claw his way back into his seat before they lifted off.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed this! Please leave a review if you have a moment. Thanks so much! ~M