A/N: For teachert99, who wanted more and inspired me with her kindness.
The rehabilitation of our first true house proceeded quickly. Some years prior to our arrival in Baudobriga, a group of Christian missionaries had arrived and used the old Roman watchtower as a makeshift monastery while they attempted to convert the locals. The monks publicly denounced the solstice celebrations and were promptly run out of town – but not before the self-righteous lot had the good foresight to rebuild the tower’s roof.
As for the walls, Godrik showed me how to mix and cure concrete in order to repair the worst of the crumbling mortar in the building’s joints. Thinking at first the material was little different than the mud daub I had used to construct my own longhouses, I slopped the concrete all over myself and the floor. Godrik laughed himself sick when I discovered how hard the substance became when let dry. He was still laughing in fits while we spent two nights working side by side scraping up the mess. It would be weeks before I got the last of it out of my hair.
Once the structural issues were addressed, I retrofitted the basement with false paneling to conceal its existence. Beneath it was ample space for sleeping quarters and multiple exits connected to the forgotten Roman aqueduct passages underneath the valley. The third floor was left in shambles as misdirection, though it was necessary to bar the windows and add a stronger iron gate on the stairwell to keep out unwanted intruders.
I commissioned furnishings from a reputable workshop in Bonn and when they arrived I was pleased to discover that Godrik approved of their craftsmanship. He had left virtually every detail to me and seldom voiced an opinion, even when prompted. It came as a surprise, then, when I found him hammering a long string of swirling lines and markings into the stone lintel of the stairwell. He avoided my curious gaze. I moved an oil lamp closer to his tools and let him be. He spent several more nights incising the house with Druid symbols. The result was stunning. That he should also feel possessive of our tower was deeply moving.
After three months of effort, we lit the small hearth for the first time and pulled up our chairs. The sheer normalcy of it felt surreal, given I had woken up in half-frozen dirt for so long.
“Will you miss our nights living like the wind?” I asked.
Godrik pondered the question. “We will always live like the wind, even if we settle for a time. We will pick up. Drift away. Settle again.”
“But together,” I insisted. “Always together.” He stared into the dancing flames of the fireplace and smiled.
It is difficult to express how delicious the comfort of a soft bed was after years of sleeping in the ground. Godrik struggled to understand. “What does it matter where you sleep if you cannot feel it during the day?” he protested.
“It’s the falling asleep and the waking that I enjoy – especially when you’re next to me and you haven’t tracked mud all over the sheets!”
“Safety is the greatest comfort. You’ll never be safer than when you are buried inconspicuously in the earth.”
“You just miss your little mole den up in the hills,” I accused. Godrik glared at me but didn’t argue. He remained uneasy with the arrangement and often checked and rechecked the locks on the gates before sunrise. Months passed and I noticed that he made a concerted effort to leave his boots by the entryway as I did. He also lingered in bed at sunset, waiting for me to wake for the evening.
Just when I thought I had perhaps made some headway civilizing him, I rose one night to find the spot beside me empty. I went up to the first floor, only to see that the hearth lay cold and the house was silent. Godrik was gone. He never left without a forewarning.
I immediately checked our bond. He was nearby and calm. Did he want me to go to him? He pushed back at me, asking for distance. I didn’t press further and went about my business, first feeding quickly on a farmer out looking for a stray cow who had escaped her pen. Sated for the moment, I sat down at my desk and penned a letter to Amleth. The distraction proved helpful. Now that I could actually write, I enjoyed our correspondence greatly, especially the anecdotes my friend relayed about life in the far-off places where he traveled.
Amleth taught me so much about a world I had yet to see and he teased me relentlessly about anything and everything. I happily added fuel to the fire by sharing my latest foibles and was appreciative for the pointers he would offer in return. Even on paper, his scorching wit sent me into stitches. I could just imagine how he would raise a suggestive eyebrow and dryly insult me in his perfect diction. I missed him. It seemed hard to believe that I had ever found his jokes to be mean-spirited.
Godrik returned near dawn without comment. For the next week, he continued to leave me each evening and return late. I grew increasingly concerned. One night, I finally reached my breaking point.
“Is there something specific I should be working on while you’re away?”
“No,” he said. He suggested that I continue filling my journal and practice my German and Latin.
“Are you brooding?” I countered. “I think this is you brooding.”
“Then are you unhappy here?” I was grasping at straws. He ignored me and disappeared downstairs.
My worry deepened when I discovered him snipping off his locks one night. The matted brown bits lay strewn like overfed caterpillars around his bare feet.
“Your hair!” I cried.
He offered me the shears. “Can you even this out?”
He shrugged. “If I am going to pretend to be tame, I might as well look the part.”
After all the grumbling I’d done over hygiene and the forced baths I’d given him each Saturday, those years of struggle between us lay in ruins on the floor. I should have rejoiced, but instead I felt devastated.
The damage was already done. I sulked silently while I cropped his hair close to his skull. It wasn’t an especially bad look for him. Just different. When I was finished, I threatened a thick hank of my own long mane with the scissors. “Perhaps I need a change too?”
“Don’t you dare,” he hissed.
“Admit it. The legendary Godrik is vain about his progeny.”
Godrik laughed at the accusation and tugged one of the thin braids at my temple. “More like I prefer having a convenient handle on my insolent child’s head.” He tussled my hair and took the scissors. They disappeared and, oddly, were never seen again.
Winter began to creep back into the land. A courier arrived unexpectedly one evening. Unbeknownst to me, Godrik had ordered new garments for us, and not just any clothing, but finery such as we had never before owned. For himself, he had selected a long, wine-colored leather doublet and a shirt of pure white linen. My packages contained a similar ensemble in all black, as well as a tunic in black velvet with gold embroidery and piping. The cut and materials were exquisite.
“These are too nice for the Rhinelands. Are we going somewhere?” I asked.
“No. Do you want to go somewhere?”
I ran my fingers over the sumptuous fabric. “Godrik, please tell me what is going on.”
He gave me a gentle smile. “They are just clothes. I have to spend Kaspar’s money on something.” His end of the bond remained unchanged – as placid and smooth as an undisturbed lake. I began to suspect he was muting it somehow.
Not long after, another shipment arrived. This time it was more furnishings. Chairs and rugs and furs and -quite improbably- drapes. Drapes, of all things!
“You bought curtains,” I stated flatly, pulling the gauzy things out of their paper packaging.
He blinked innocently. “For the sleeping niches downstairs.”
“I am so not even having this conversation with you right now.” I slammed the door, slid down the tower’s ladder, and went out to feed.
I had nothing against beautiful possessions. Absolutely nothing. When I looked around our abode and saw the creature comforts and minor splendors that my maker had provided, I marveled at how well we lived. But these changes seemed so contrary to Godrik’s character that it put me wholly on edge. How often had he warned about the flighty nature of things? Had he not promised to teach me a lesson about the human values to which I still clung? Giving me a crown and calling me his prince – was that a warning? It seemed only a matter of time before my maker might smash it all to dust, simply to prove a point.
A few weeks later, a wagon pulled to a creaking halt outside the tower and someone whistled loudly.
“What now? Drapes for the hallways?”
Godrik’s eyes narrowed. He carefully set his book aside. “Go downstairs and put on your new tunic.” Alarm shot through my spine. “Remain unarmed and stay by the door here until you are called.” Godrik adjusted several cushions and added wood to the fire.
I changed as fast as I could. When I returned to the first floor, Godrik was descending the staircase with several people.
Blood drinkers, my senses supplied. Every muscle in my body grew tense.
A rugged man in light armor and laced boots stopped at the foot of the stairwell. His red wool cape pooled on the stone floor. There was a light dusting of snow feathered around his shoulders. He gazed about the accommodations, looking past me as though I was something ornamental. It was immediately clear that he wasn’t old enough to be Kasper, but it did not mean he wasn’t one of his henchman. The stranger had a lean, hard build and his eyes were quick and calculating. My hands felt empty without a sword or knife.
Godrik invited him to sit. The man took my usual seat closest to the fire. He scraped the chair across the slate floor and slammed his metal-clad rump down carelessly. My fangs snapped down unbidden. One of the women lingering at his side snickered.
“Thea, enough,” the man said. “Take Sibyl and go feed.”
“Stay north of the river,” Godrik added.
“Keeping a low profile these days?” asked the one named Thea.
Godrik turned in his frighteningly slow manner, as if offended that something so young would even dare to speak to him. “We keep no profile here. Understood, little underling?” Both women curtsied deeply, acknowledging Godrik’s authority. My mind raced to parse the situation.
The elders exchanged a few words in a form of early Latin I couldn’t follow. The stranger’s gaze drifted back to me. He gave a tight smile. The slit of his mouth was too broad for his face. “Let us not beat around the bush, Godrik. Let us get down to introductions.”
My maker gestured at me. The man stood, nearly as tall as me, and I left the safety of the basement door frame to stand before him. Everything about the vampire’s countenance radiated an imperious strength. He had been turned later in life and the creases in his otherwise perfectly smooth preternatural skin were unsettling.
“Turn,” he ordered. I obeyed.
His eyes crawled over my skin. He leaned in uncomfortably close and scented me. I gripped my hands behind my back to keep from striking out. The man asked to see my palms and I prayed that I could remain compliant. Godrik eyed me in a strong warning. The guest had me lift my tunic. He inspected my nude chest and back and – to my complete horror – asked to examine my teeth, as though I were a slave or a beast on the auction block.
“Name?” he demanded.
I took a deep breath, feeling that Godrik was about to throttle me if I failed whatever test this was. “Eirikr, sir.”
“Far younger than you, sir.” Godrik had instructed me never to reveal anything personal of this nature.
“And your maker?”
I gritted my teeth. “Shall I not have the pleasure of knowing your name first, sir?”
“Who is your maker!?” he barked.
“Surely you know already.”
He moved to backhand me and I stilled myself for the blow. I did not flinch. He stopped mid-strike and began to laugh. “Oh, my, my. He is well-trained, Godrik! Well-trained indeed.” The man gave a toothy grin that did nothing to soften his features. He grabbed my forearm by the elbow and greeted me vigorously in the Roman style.
“Welcome, son. Welcome, truly, to our ranks. You cannot imagine how long I have waited for you.”
“Try me,” I quipped.
He snorted and shook my arm more, apparently amused by my acidic tongue. He then embraced Godrik in a crushing hold, thumping him on the back with a heavy paw. He whispered something inaudible and my maker nodded.
“You psychotic little devil!” he declared. “Not even a scar on him. How did you manage it? Amleth swore his descriptions could do no justice to your handiwork but –”
“Amleth?” I blurted out, stunned to hear the name.
He gave his shark’s smile. “He was adamant that I had to see you for myself.”
“Eirikr,” Godric said, bringing me to his side. “Allow me to introduce you to my oldest friend and ally. This is Lucius Tarquinius.”
Time stretched out uncomfortably, slowing and warping its contours around me. Godrik’s mouth was moving and Tarquin was laughing. I heard nothing. I said nothing.
This was Tarquin.
The longer I stared him down and sized him up, the more I came to the disconcerting conclusion that he was uncommonly handsome. It was a severe, unapologetically masculine sort of beauty, and so not very beautiful at all. His broad shoulders screamed of a soldier’s brute athleticism, while his compact torso gave his movements a decisive energy. As if he heard my thoughts, Tarquin met my stare with a knowing smile. A knot of dread coiled in my stomach. Dread – because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this man could kill me.
Only the light jogging tap of soles against the stair risers drew me out of my daze. In a swirl of black, there at the doorway, though I could hardly believe it, stood Amleth.
“Sorry that took so long,” he said. “The horses were terribly thirsty.”
I tried to say his name, but nothing came out. He held his arms wide and I rushed into his embrace and into his scent and softness. I had never needed his friendship more than at that moment. I refused to let go of him.
Amleth sat on the stoop looped in my arm for the remainder of the evening. The two women returned and the blood drinkers held a lively conversation about the state of politics much further south. Tarquin recounted how he had delivered the true death to three royals in the last year. His booming laugh and animated hands made for riveting storytelling and, much to my chagrin, I could not help but enjoy listening to him. Thea too had tales from the Slavic lands in the east. She had gone on a diplomatic mission to negotiate a treaty between our kind and ‘the dogs.’ Even the unassuming Sibyl spoke about traveling on the Nile River in a place I had only vaguely knew existed. She had been a guest of honor at an important wedding. Godrik was especially keen to hear more.
“Thalia?! Married into the house of Senusret?” he said, nearly choking. “Egypt will be torn asunder before the century is through!” Everyone exploded into laughter.
Everyone, that was, except for me. The whole scene in the living room felt like a punchline I had missed out on.
“And what about you, son?” Tarquin asked, finally acknowledging me again and leaning back into my chair. “How are you liking your new life?”
“I like it very well,” I replied.
“Oh come now! Spare us the meaningless court talk. How do you like it? What has your maker had you doing?”
I swallowed. “Godrik has taught me many things. We practice game strategy. I train-“
“- He is trying to depose the neighboring king,” Godrik interjected.
Tarquin burst into laughter. “Surely not Kaspar?” he said, hurling over in hilarity. His female companions laughed and their laughter sent Tarquin laughing harder. He slapped his knee repeatedly. The guests’ amusement bounced off the walls. Godrik sat stone-faced and motionless. When Tarquin realized I wasn’t smiling either, his guffaws stuttered. Then he grew very serious.
“You jest, Godrik,” Amleth gasped.
Godrik made no reply.
“Jesus Christ!” Thea exclaimed, clapping a hand over her mouth. My maker set his laser-like gaze on her, daring her to speak of that dead god in his house again.
“Godrik, this is insane, even for you, old friend,” Tarquin said.
“It is his punishment for playing with his life and that of Amleth’s. He must learn the game or he will fail to become a child of the millennia.”
The room fell oppressively silent.
“Can I speak with you alone?” Tarquin asked Godrik. They excused themselves and went upstairs.
Within minutes, we heard shouting. Thea rolled her eyes. “And so it begins.”
“They fight more than they talk,” Sibyl explained.
I got up and Amleth pulled me back down onto the stairs. “It is best to let them go at it, Eirikr. They’ll tire eventually. You do not want to be in the middle of two quarreling elders.” I shoved him off and tromped upwards.
On the third floor, Tarquin and Godrik were practically at each other’s throats. They quieted when I reached the landing.
“What seems to be the problem?” I demanded.
“Go downstairs. We will rejoin you shortly,” Godrik said.
I turned to this ‘cherished’ friend of Godrik’s, who had not been in our house for more than an hour. “Tarquin, I realize you have just arrived and the journey was taxing. You are most welcome and I am honored to meet such a steadfast friend of Godrik’s. But you are in our home now. I do not like how you are speaking to my maker.”
“Run along, young one, this is makers’ business,” he replied.
I took a step forward. “Yes. I can see that. It is my maker’s business – which you are openly questioning under my maker’s roof.”
Tarquin gave a surprised snort and put his hands on his hips. The slightest hint of a smile creeped over Godrik’s mouth. He turned and walked out, leaving me alone with the imposing Roman. “Kaspar is a renegade,” he said. “He will kill you – slowly. Amleth said you were bold. Are you also stupid?”
I went to a window and rested on the ledge. “I know well enough that I have hardly begun to understand the task that Godrik has set before me. But a stupid man would fear remedying his ignorance. I, on the other hand, do not.” I turned back around.
Tarquin’s gaze was hard and unwavering as he tried to figure me out. “At this rate, Godrik is far more dangerous to you than Kaspar. We shall speak more about your task in the coming nights, you and me.”
I crossed the distance between us and dared to settle a hand on his shoulder. “Tarquin, my new friend? I will listen to your advice without prejudice, if that is what you mean to offer. But let us be perfectly clear with each other. As young and stupid as you might suppose I am, no one ever needs to protect me from my maker or his choices. Ever. Do you understand?”
We stared each other down for a long, tense minute. He finally nodded and I went to leave.
He caught me by the upper arm. “My loyalty to Godrik is nearly a millennium old. You are barely out of the ground.”
I looked at the pale hand gripping my arm, then at him. “Then take your loyal hand off what is his.” Tarquin’s nostrils’ flared and he grinned ferociously. He was still all too pleased by my resistance and he released me.
Daybreak could not come fast enough. When I finally crawled into bed, I had only two words for Godrik.
“You knew,” I spat and let the sun pull me under.
“Go on. You two catch up.” Godrik shooed us out of the tower. He wanted to discuss private business with Tarquin.
Tarquin. Godrik’s oldest friend. His oldest ally. The thought made me nauseous.
I held onto Amleth and my feet followed mindlessly. We walked a short distance until I petulantly collapsed against a tree.
Amleth sighed and rested his head on my shoulder. “Godrik did not tell you we were coming, did he? Always so perfectly stubborn in his ways. Just like you.” He laughed at his own joke and toyed with the gold embroidered hem of my tunic. “This is very lovely. I might steal it.”
“You will not,” I retorted.
“Yes, I will. And your cozy bungalow. I’m going to live in it.”
I guffawed, feeling more like myself.
“And your bed. Do you have a bed, you vagrant?”
I did. Quite a luxurious one, in fact.
“Well, I am going to sleep in it too,” he declared.
“That, I will allow. But only if I am in it with you,” I said and felt a slight shock at my own daring words.
I grabbed him by the back of the neck and I kissed him hard. He stiffened in surprise. I pulled his long raven hair and I forced him to kiss me back. I kissed him until he was breathless. “Four fucking years and you didn’t tell me you were finally coming.” I was outraged and ecstatic and everything in between.
“You know I can’t reveal our movements.”
“That you were all coming! Those women – they are your blood sisters?”
“You utter asshole.”
He laughed at me and I smothered his beautiful, full mouth with my hand and bit his neck. Not enough to draw blood, but enough to make him writhe. I couldn’t stop biting and licking him. He rewarded me by moaning and shivering louder each time. The slim whip of his frame was so lean and long underneath me. Two of my fingers slipped past his lips and he sucked them with a lusty, dark look in his eyes. Without thinking, I yanked his leggings down around his hips and flipped him over.
“Eric!” he barked. I pushed up his tunic, exposing his smooth, porcelain rear. I slapped it and jerked his hips against me.
“You’re going to sit on my cock, Amla. Right now,” I whispered in his ear harshly. I had him by the throat and the waist. He began to melt into my hold.
“Right now,” I told him. He nodded and ground against my throbbing erection. He sunk onto me and fell forward, overwhelmed. The globes of his buttocks were perfection under my hands.
“You want it,” I said.
He sobbed something incoherent.
“Tell me yes or I’ll stop.”
“I want it. I’ve always wanted it,” he cried and slammed back on every inch I had to give him. I felt him let me take possession of him, opening to me, begging me for pleasure. I took him there in the dead winter grass, rough and hard, pounding his firm frame with a domineering abandon that I desperately needed. He called out my name over and over in a frenzied chant and he came fast and hard around my swollen cock. I fucked him through his orgasm and through another still, until I filled his beautiful body with a flood of seed.
We were spent and sticky and lay in a heap. I threaded a long tendril of his silky hair between my fingers and ran it over my lips repeatedly.
“Holy shit,” Amleth said, breaking the silence. “Godrik is going to castrate me!”
“Was it worth it?” I asked.
We both laughed hysterically.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this wasn’t supposed to be funny, but I couldn’t remember why. I held Amleth close and inhaled. “I cannot tell you how glad I am that you visited with him.”
We both knew who I meant. I was not at all equipped to deal with Tarquin’s presence or how I felt about it.
“Just keep your bullshit to a minimum,” he advised.
“I’m going to give him as wide a berth as possible.”
“A wise choice.”
We lapsed back into silence, Amleth’s hair still wound in my fingers, my sea scent wreathed across his body.
My eyes snapped open. I felt startled and extremely disoriented. My body was sluggish and heavy. Next to me in bed, Godrik was watching me curiously. “The sun has not yet set,” he explained. I had never awoken so early.
I pulled aside the scrim of curtain that closed off our bedroom nook from the others in the basement. The rustling grunts and panting sounds from Tarquin’s berth suggested that we weren’t the only ones awake.
“What did you dream?” he asked as quietly as possible.
I wasn’t about to share the perverted weirdness my mind had concocted.
“The dreams of our kind are rare, Eirikr. They are to be savored, revisited.”
Since being reborn, I had not ever dreamt once that I could remember. And like my waking senses, I was reeling from how vivid and palpable this first experience of my dreamlife could be.
“I’ll tell you later,” I whispered, hoping he would forget.
“Eirikr,” Godrik repeated. “Are you listening to me?” He was lecturing me while we hunted. Tarquin’s brood would be staying with us for several weeks, he had explained.
“I heard you. I should watch out for Thea.”
“Yes. She is the eldest and I was not around when she was made. I do not know her as well as I should. Do not go off by yourself with her.”
“And Tarquin?” I asked coldly.
“Watch and learn from him.”
“Do I have to obey him?”
Godrik smirked. “Would you?”
“Then I shan’t waste air. Just be considerate. That is all I ask.”
I wondered if pegging Tarquin’s prized fairy hybrid progeny in the ass fell under ‘being considerate,’ but what the fuck did I know. Godrik was still talking and all I could think about was my dream.
“Maker,” I interrupted.
“What?” He pulled his cloak tighter around his shoulders. A storm had blown in from the west and the snow whipped around us in icy gusts. We were trying to get back home before it grew worse.
“I dreamt that I had sex with Amleth.”
He looked at me blankly. “Okay.”
“It was hot. Fast. Very rough.”
“Don’t you care?”
I wanted to rip out my own hair. “Nevermind,” I muttered.
He stopped me with a hand and looked up at me. “I told you, child, living in a nest has this effect. It riles everyone up and amplifies our instincts. But you are upset by this dream. Why?”
“Because you don’t seem upset! I am giving serious thought to doing it for real just to spite Tarquin and you don’t even care!” I growled in frustration.
Godrik actually grinned at my outburst. For a split second I contemplated slapping him.
“You want me to be jealous.”
“Yes! Of course!” Now I really thought about taking a swipe at him.
He looked thoroughly pleased. “Which is why I know I do not need to be jealous. You are mine, Eirikr. Mine.” He squeezed my shoulder and I felt immediate relief. Leaving a ghost of a kiss at my temple, he added in a whisper, “Plus, if you ever tried something like that with me? I’d break your neck.”
I quickly learned why Godrik warned me about nesting with other vampires. A bland evening started out tamely enough. Everyone separated off into pairs to feed. As we all reconvened at the tower, Tarquin convinced Godrik to perform an old play he liked. Ignoramus that I was, I had never heard of it and was excited to see it acted out. We cleared the furniture in the living room to form a stage. Sibyl expertly folded spare sheets and pinned all of the actors into makeshift togas. The play was an amusing tale about a troublemaker faun – half god, half goat. Godrik was hilarious in the lead role and everyone but he laughed and broke character. I couldn’t stop laughing either.
By the second act, however, things disintegrated. The two muses, Sibyl and Thea, began to make out. Tarquin made an impromptu revision, subbing in as the god Hermes, who apparently went clad in nothing more than an upturned bowl on his head and a cape. The faun abandoned the play entirely and without his attempts to keep to the script, the play devolved into an outright orgy. Sibyl was servicing a spread-eagled Tarquin while Thea loudly critiqued her sister’s techniques. Amleth started to disrobe. Tarquin crooked a finger at me in invitation. I smiled and stood, then very purposefully turned my back to him and went downstairs.
Godrik was in bed, hidden behind the curtain. I crawled in and found him still wearing his faun costume. “Tarquin hijacked your show,” I said.
“I expected nothing less.”
“He is a complete jerk. He is loud and brash and self-centered.”
“He is a lot of things.” Godrik pulled off the goat horns tied around his head and put them on me. My transformation into a Greek demi-god amused him.
“I don’t like it. This is your household,” I said.
“Did he just proposition you?”
Of course Godrik had heard. Nothing got past him. I nodded.
“You refused him.”
“You’re god damned right I did.”
Godrik smirked. “He’s done nothing to deserve your scorn.”
“Oh? He marches in and acts like he has a right to everything.”
Godrik seemed so calm. He ran his knuckles over my cheek. “I will tell you a secret – but only if you tell me one in return.”
“Sure.” I snuggled closer to him, pulling the covers up around our necks.
“Tarquin had not been reborn to darkness more than 30 years when I met him. He didn’t know up from down. I was already something like 300? Probably older.”
“You brought him up too?” I said, astonished.
“I wouldn’t say I raised him. Not like Amleth, at least. And it is incomparable to you, my beloved child. But I have saved Tarquin’s life more times than I care to remember and he has always looked up to me.”
“Do not be fooled by his posturing. He is wildly intrigued by you. Odds are three to one that he’ll be overthrown for having left Constantinople just to meet you. He could not resist staying away. It galls him that he cannot impress you with his gaudy palace and his hordes of servants and all his useless finery.”
“Why do I feel like I’m caught in some screwed up power play between you two?”
Godrik gave me a funny look. “Because you are. All of us are tangled in webs of power. That is life.”
“Is that why you made everything so nice for him?”
Godrik laughed and shook one of the goat horns on my headband. “Silly child. Is that what you think? I did it because it makes you happy. I would have taken great pleasure at making the whole lot of them sleep in the frozen ground up in the hills. But you are proud and I wanted you to be surrounded by beauty. I did not want you to feel dishonored by your maker in the company of others.”
I bit my lips to hold back the tears. “So long as I am by your side, I always have beauty.”
Godric gave an embarrassed smile and pulled me to his chest.
“I don’t mind being spoiled, though,” I added. He chuckled and nuzzled my neck.
“I thought not. Now, quid pro quo. Tell me a secret.”
I hummed in thought. “I will tell you, but you cannot laugh.”
“Oh? You have me intrigued.”
“I am serious. It is something that I hate that I like.”
“Out with it, then.” He was genuinely excited to hear something new about his progeny.
“You truly promise you won’t laugh at me?”
Godrik became quite grave. He put his hand on my neck in the final place where he had finished turning me. “I swear on the blood and the blood of my blood.”
Eirikr sighed, still mortified he was about to admit this to anyone. “You’ve heard my name in the tongue of the Angles?”
I shivered and buried my face in a pillow, it affected me so deeply. The ‘ayer’ of the ‘E’ became an ‘air,’ like a gasp of pleasure, a whisper, a promise. “Say it again,” I whispered through the down feathers.
He did, fascinated by how greatly it impacted his Viking. The sound of those consonants on his tongue, rolling in his accent, and lilting into the air…
My body was helpless. I flushed with pleasure at the sound.
“Oh goodness,” he said, and grabbing my horns, jumped on top of me.
I had never seen Godric so ravenous. He stripped me in seconds. The beautiful clothes he had given me were in ruins on the floor. Before I could even comprehend what was happening, he was sucking my cock like a starved man. I came three times before he would even let me loose.
“Quite some time ago, I promised you something, Eric.”
I clutched the sheets for control, dismayed at how I had been probably been loud enough for all of the city to have heard and how my maker was wielding my name at me. “What?”
Godrik grinned conspiratorially and kissed me again. “Tomorrow, you will talk with Tarquin. He’ll have his advice, but you will also have your own.”
“Oh Frey’s dick,” I swore. “What am I supposed to do now?”
“This is an important lesson. I want you to convince Tarquin and his girls – absolutely not Amla,” he said, giving me a ferocious look to make sure I understood, “- convince them to take out Kaspar and his court.”
I must have laid there, unmoving, for a very long time.
“Eirikr? I command you.” The order shuddered through me and I pitched forward. Godrik held me and he spoke sweet things into the shell of my ear while I tried to right myself from the shock of the command and how mad it sounded.
He pushed me back so he could look deep into my eyes. “Eirikr? Eric…” A bizarre calm fell over me and I could have sworn it felt like a compulsion. I had only once before felt it – the night he glamoured me when I was human.
“Use your handsomeness. You are very persuasive when you want to be. It only appears that you bother to employ it for women and your own pleasure. Use it. Should you succeed, I will tell you more about how I will give you the promise I made to you and Amleth in Roskilde.”
My eyes widened. Godrik rolled over, pulling half the furs off of me. He had declared the conversation over and soon he was fast asleep.