Ch. 11: Ritual (Re)Union

A/N: This chapter title was inspired by Little Dragon’s “Ritual Union.”

Eric landed softly in a mossy patch of yard at the side of the house.  Pam released her death grip around his neck and slid to the ground.  Looking inside the house, Eric saw the downstairs flickered with the soft glow of a fire.  He walked up the slope of the yard to see more clearly.  His bonded and his maker were sprawled out in front of the fireplace, playing cards.  Blackjack, it appeared.  His Lila said something and they both began laughing. He felt his spirits rise immediately upon seeing her lovely features dance in the firelight.  Across from her, Godric stilled then smiled again.  He’d felt Eric’s presence.

Silently Eric slipped in the door.  He settled on the couch behind Lillian; his maker made no movement to betray his little game.   

“Godric, I say fold.  If you hit again you’re going lose!” 

Suddenly a deep, rich voice spoke from behind her.  “I play winner.”  Lillian startled and whipped around. 

“Eric!”  She tossed her cards into the air and jumped into his arms, smothering him with kisses.  “You sneak, how long were you there!?”

“Long enough to appreciate the view.  Your derrière is most gorgeous in those tight jeans.”  He caressed her face and shoulders. 

“I missed you,” she whispered, pressing her face into the soft wool of his suit. 

“And I you.  I see you have met my maker.”  Giving her another kiss, he released Lillian and went to Godric.  Eric threaded one arm around his shoulders and Godric did the same.  They embraced in this way of theirs, touching foreheads.  Eric’s emotions skipped around in Lillian’s chest.  Words like ‘happiness’ or ‘overjoyed’ seem feeble and unworthy of such emotions, almost base in the face of their mutual respect and love.  How Eric felt to have Godric beside him simply went beyond the pale of what language could capture. 

“All is well, Master?”

“Yes, child.”

He paused for a breath, then chided, “Then perhaps you want to explain why you were suppressing your end of the bond?  Maybe you meant to steal my territory and take my bonded from me…” he joked. 

“Yes, I am afraid you’ve found me out, Eric,” he played along dryly.  “I can’t stand the beauty of Lunsen any longer, and my culinary project has been utter catastrophe – that damnable boy couldn’t boil water if he tried.  All I can think about is how badly I want to live off gator meat-flavored, French fry grease-tainted blood and spend my nights in a soulless strip mall in bum fuck Louisiana.”

Eric snorted in laughter and clapped Godric on the back.  Lillian loved seeing their repartee.  Brothers in arms who had together walked the arch of history, and then some.  Pam came in barefoot, her hair thoroughly windswept and carrying a single pump in one hand.  Without a beat, she reverently curtsied before Godric and gave him a loving and chaste kiss on the cheek.

“It is an honor to have you back again.  You have been greatly missed.”  He gave her an affectionate smile and stroked her chin. 

“As have you, my child.  Come, tell me what news you bring.” 

They chatted casually.  Lillian gathered that when faced with eternity, there wasn’t really a rush to get to the point outside of an immediate crisis, even if matters were, in fact, dire.  She indulged her inner Martha Stewart and played the good hostess, fixing everyone a drink.  Opening the small “vampire-only” fridge she’d insisted they get and keep in the garage, she frowned, seeing it was rapidly emptying.  Much to her dismay, she found herself wondering where, exactly, one could restock on O pos (Eric and Godric’s go-to) and Pam’s favorite AB negative.  Back in the kitchen, she waited for the water to heat and was half listening on the conversation in the living room.  Lillian was fascinated to hear about Godric’s restaurant and his human chef friend.  It sounded like a nice, quiet life.  She felt her stomach grumble hungrily at his mention of a new gravlax he had invented– a wild caught salmon filet cured in pink Himalayan sea salt and served with Szechuan peppercorns, fresh fig slices, and a chiffonade of green scallions.  Lillian was licking her lips when the conversation took a turn for the serious.

“You have flown all the way from Minnesota,” Godric observed.  Lillian’s eyes widened.  He could travel that far?  She thought they must have come from New Orleans and skipped the limo in favor of the sky.  No wonder he’d asked her to heat up two pints for him.

“Yes.  Listen, Godric, I am relieved to find you here.  We have big problems.  If you hadn’t come on your own accord I would have called to you the moment I returned.”

“But you have been calling to me, my child.  In fact, both of you have.”  He turned to look at Lillian. 

“What do you mean?”

“I believe it was the moment you bonded.  Your blood sung out to me so loudly it woke me from the middle of my day rest.

“How is such a thing possible?” Eric asked incredulously.

“I’m starting to think it is the effect of your combined blood.”

Everyone was staring at the human in the kitchen. 

“Don’t look so worried, dear.  Come,” Godric held a hand out to her.

“Lillian has obviously had an unusual reaction to your blood, Eric.   That she is receptive to your thoughts is rare enough, and even then I’ve only ever heard of this happening to a fully bonded mate.  But for her to hear all of us in the bloodline…I’m not really sure what to say.”

Eric had been equally unsure of what Godric would say.  If not in front of everyone, then later.  He felt the bond tenuously for the signs of Godric’s displeasure, but found nothing but calm. 

“She doesn’t act like any human should around our kind.  Regular people have a deep-seated instinct to recoil from us, Lillian.  It’s like the lizard brain part of you knows we are predators,” Pam explained.

“It’s more than that,” Godric pointed out.  “Eric, the blood draws her to me…as if I was her maker…as if she were vampire.”

Lillian cast her eyes down in utter shame.  Oh god, she could only hope he wouldn’t tell Eric how nearly out of hand she got! 

“I can only assume it precipitates from the unusual tie we have.  It’s intensified by physical touch.”  Eric was about to interrupt him.  “There’s more…”

“Her scent,” Eric automatically filled in his thoughts.

“Yes.  It is extraordinarily uncommon.  Tell me of her flavor.  She was embarrassed to discuss it with me.  As if I’d lay a fang on one you’d claimed!” 

“As if!” Eric snorted. 

“Guys, I’m right here.  Can you not talk about me like a side of aged beef?”

Eric was quiet for a moment.  “She is indescribable, Master.  I’ve never tasted anything of the like.” He gave Lillian a sidelong glance and smirked, recalling how she’d undone him so entirely the first time he’d sunk his fangs into her.  Laughter, just us, he pushed at her. 

“Can you identify it?” asked Eric.

“I have my suspicions.”

Need to taste her, Godric pushed at Eric.  Then, he changed the topic. 

“But now, tell us what troubles you.  How serious is it?”

“Epic clusterfuck bad.  May Odin guide us.”  Eric hung his head.  Lillian had never seen him even remotely flustered.  It scared her to death.  Pam’s face was tense with worry.  Godric frowned.

Eric ran a hand roughly over his mouth and began.  He quickly went over the events with Longshadow – Godric had already heard Lillian’s version.  He recounted how he and Pam had bid their time at Greysolon’s, carefully observing him and his entourage, gathering as much information they could about how he was organized before putting the screws to him.    

“Finally, I was able to identify his lieutenant.  There were so many young underlings milling about, it just wasn’t clear.  Godric, I’ve never someone – a Lord of the Land no less – keep such ridiculous company!  When I cornered the woman alone, I couldn’t have guessed what she’d tell me.  But when she started talking it suddenly started to make sense.  Daniel Greysolon has been turning people left and right.  Pam and I had seen the missing persons stats for his territory spike, but we were reading them the wrong way.  We assumed he had a couple young vampires running wild.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that people were going missing because he was turning them.  His wallet has been desperately stretched.  You know the economy up there is crap.  Other vampires are fleeing his area because it has been so unprofitable.  Greysolon, despite his frontiersman trader background, has gained a taste for the expensive and doesn’t have a good head for more complex economic work.  Plus, supporting all these younglings has been costly.” 

“This is indeed troubling.  Why do this thing?”

“The underling wasn’t entirely certain.  He’s trying to create a small army of vampires loyal only to him.  It has something to do with something that happened when Greysolon was still human.”

“Well that at least explains why the pompous little dork prattles on about his human years so bloody much,” Pam interjected.

“It sounds like he’s planning a war.  But with whom?  What of Longshadow’s role in it?” asked Godric.

Eric put a protective hand on Lillian’s leg.

“Godric, what do you know of Daniel Greysolon’s maker?”

Godric shot up and in a blink was at the glass window, looking out, quietly murmuring something in an ancient language.

Eric continued, speaking in a low voice.  “I have only heard rumors, whispers really.”

Pam was now trembling. 

“What?” Lillian urged him on.  The tension ripping through the room, not to mention their bond, was too intense. 

“Longshadow was sent here to find Greysolon’s maker.  He was stealing money to fund the search, since his own maker is broke.  Greysolon has sent another of his older children to the Everglades, and he has his newborns combing through the Boundary Waters looking for him.  He’s not yet been located, thanks be to the gods.”

Godric began pacing the room, and Eric pulled Lillian into his lap, as if to shield her from whatever threat now faced them.  The proximity relieved her of the angst zinging through the bond, and she felt safe in Eric’s long, cool arms.  

“As I said.  I’ve only heard rumors.  That Greysolon’s maker was very, very old.  That he long ago went entirely mad.  If there is war brewing, a crazed elder could be unstoppable.  And if he is in my territory, this could bring whatever war Greysolon’s plotting to our doorstep.  What do you know, Godric?” Eric asked his maker.

“Greysolon was turned by an ancient one, of that much I am sure.  Some years ago he lured away one of Lord Edgington’s lovers, a silly flirt of a Greek named Dimitris.  When he tried leave Greysolon and go back to Edgington, Greysolon went into a rage and nearly killed him.  At the time, the Greek was already significantly older than him, and I’ve never known Greysolon to have a reputation for being good at fighting in hand to hand combat.  Only someone with a truly ancient maker would have the strength to get the upper hand.”

“Why didn’t Edgington do us all a favor and kill the little puke for his interference?” Pam asked.

“Meh.  Sex and politics never makes much sense,” Godric waved a dismissive hand.  “What concerns me is that Greysolon must be very weak after making so many in such short succession…….What concerns me even more is that he thinks he’ll find his maker where waters meet.” 

“What’s there?” Lillian asked, still curled against Eric’s chest.

“Not what.  Who.”  There was a long silence and the tension began to build in the bonds swirling through the three people in the room.  Godric poked at the fire and added another log to the blaze.  He stood there, a hand against the mantle, looking old for the first time since Lillian had met him.  Eric slipped her off his lap and went to him, placing a hand on his shoulder.  The light in front of them made them appear as darkened silhouettes. 

The anxiety hung thickly and it started to make Lillian nauseous.  “Won’t you tell us, Godric?”

“In the old world, there is a place where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet.  The ancient city of Babylon once straddled those waters, the pinnacle of human civilization.  For hundreds of years, the patron god of the city, Marduk, was worshiped and revered.  Kings took his name, vestal virgins happily devoted themselves to him.  Marduk was, of course, no god, but a very old, crafty vampire.  He was served well by his followers until the city was seized by foreigners and he was captured and bound, carried to a city far from his temple, and locked away for a seeming eternity.   When he was finally freed some 500 years later by a daring young Persian named Cyrus, I believe his mind was already entirely warped.  That long…without proper feeding…”  A shiver ran through the vampires in the room.  “Cyrus returned to Babylon with him, hoping to have his aid in capturing the city.  I was just a very young vampire at the time, I’d not even left Britain.  But news of the fall of Babylon reached every corner of the known world.  Marduk returned to his beloved city only to find the lords using his name to gain their own power.  He destroyed Babylon single-handedly.  I do not know of his fate, or whether there is a kernel of truth to it.  But that Greysolon would be searching for a vampire obsessed with a place where strange waters run together….”

Lillian lurched forward, suddenly feeling a flush of nausea.  The heavy wood-scented air felt oppressive. 

Godric went to her, stroking her back gently.  “I know, my child.  I know.”

“What is wrong with her?” Pam hissed vaguely in the background.

The rotten, sulfurous stench of mud hit her nose.  The world suddenly spun around her and she fainted.

When she came to, Pam was daubing her head with a damp washcloth and Eric and Godric were frantically calling to her.  Her mouth tasted bitter.  She’d vomited. 

“Water,” she croaked.  Pam held a glass to her lips to sip while Godric propped her up on his lap.  “Thanks,” she smiled weakly.  “I’m okay.  I don’t know what happened.  I think the stress over the bond was too much.  I felt dirty all the sudden and it smelled horribly and I passed out.”

“Did you see anything?” Godric asked urgently.

“See?  No, I just…I dunno.  Checked out.” she laughed weakly.  

“Come, it is late.  Eric, help Lillian to bed, she’s exhausted.  Will you stay here?”

“Of course, master.”

“I’ll stay too, if you don’t mind,” said Pam.

“Good.  I think we should all stay close.”  Godric stroked Lillian’s hair and let his hand graze across Eric’s arm, giving him a meaningful look. 

We need to talk, he sent to his progeny. 

Eric lifted Lillian up and carried her to the bedroom.

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to seem weak.  Your blood is doing all sorts of odd things to me.  It’s hard having so many of you in my head at once while you’re all freaking out,” she apologized and slipped out of her clothes.

Eric pulled the sheets up and slipped in next to her.  He nuzzled into her neck, breathing her scent and let his hands roam her curves.  “I missed you.”

“Stay here with me.  I want to feel you next to me while we sleep.”

“Oh lover, I wish I could.”  He began running circles on her neck with his tongue.  It sent shivers down her skin.

“Then let me sleep where you sleep.”

“Perhaps tomorrow.  Godric wishes to speak with me more tonight.  You understand.”

Did she understand?  She suddenly felt jealous.  What would she ever be to someone whose ties ran so deeply through the course of time?  She felt like an insignificant blip. 

“Sure.  I’ll see you tomorrow night then,” she said curtly, rolling over.

Eric felt her agitation in the bond.  “Lila…don’t be that way.”  He wrapped his massive arms around her and pulled her close.  Dragging his fangs across her neck, she couldn’t help but let out a moan.  “There isn’t time enough left tonight to do all the things I wish to do to you,” he breathed huskily in her ear.”

She turned over, facing him once more, and he kissed her passionately.  She felt his fangs slide out slowly.  She caressed them with the tip of her tongue, making him groan in pleasure.  Then, much to his surprise, she pushed her tongue against one of their points, drawing blood.  She winced and the hot liquid began to flow.  Eric’s instincts took over and he growled and sucked at her delicious mouth.  She roughly ran her hands over his back. 

“My lover,” he cooed to her, surprised by her voraciousness.  “There will be plenty of time tomorrow.”  He extracted himself from her embrace, kissing her several more times for good measure.  “Sleep well now.  I’ll see you at first sundown.”

Eric left her then and headed downstairs to the library.  Godric had left the hidden passageway behind the bookshelf open for him.  He walked down the steps that led to their underground lair and into the corridor that held their daytime rooms.  Pam was already in one of the guest rooms and by her silence he judged she was already fast asleep.  He wasn’t surprised to find Godric’s room empty.  In his own room, he found his maker already sprawled out on the pile of fur blankets that covered the bed.  While Godric never could be bothered with creature comforts, he also never seemed to pass up Eric’s indulgences in luxury.  Some habits really do die hard.  Shedding his suit carelessly onto the floor, he slid next to him and gave an unnecessary sigh.

“I’ve missed you,” Godric offered simply.

“And I you.” 

“Pam seems well.”

“I believe she is.  She’s taken to Lillian.”

“So have you.”

Eric grunted in response.  He was waiting for Godric’s fury.  He hadn’t yet sensed his disapproval, but keeping Lillian near him, he knew, went against everything his maker had taught him.  He was surprised by what Godric said next. 

“I understand your fascination with her.  To be perfectly honest, it’s a miracle she wasn’t already discovered and claimed by another vampire.”

“Then you aren’t going to glamour her away?”

“On the contrary.  I think you should bond with her further.”  He chuckled, “If you don’t, I will claim her for you.”

Relief swept through him.  Eric wrapped his arms around the tight body of his maker and buried his nose into his hair.  It was cropped close to his head, much shorter than its natural length.  Godric’s scent flooded his senses, calming him. 

“You have had her blood tonight.”

“Just a taste.  Little imp cut herself on my fang purposefully,” he said smiling devilishly as he recalled his lover’s gift.

“May I?”

Eric parted his lips and Godric swirled his tongue along the ridges of his mouth.

“Hmmm,” he hummed in concentration, savoring the minute traces.  “I’d need more to be sure.  But I must tell you, I now firmly suspect she may be a seer.”

“A what?!” Eric gasped, sitting back upright.

“Your blood has opened some gift within her.  She admitted to having a kind of sixth sense already, to being the kind of person who has hunches that turn out to be true.  Then tonight I tested her under the pretense of playing cards.  She thinks she’s only guessing and getting lucky, but it’s more than that.”

Eric had trouble wrapping his head around this revelation.  There were plenty of charlatans in this world who claimed prescience, but a true seer.  That indeed was rare. 

“If what you say is true, that Greysolon is planning something, then Lillian may be our secret weapon.  Eric, she’s been feeling the danger around us.  She feels it is already here.” 

Eric wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer to the question he was about to ask, but he also knew it couldn’t be avoided.  “Do you believe Marduk is Greysolon’s maker?”

“I fear it could be the case.”

Eric sighed again and swore in his ancient language.  Curling up into the furs, he let the sun take up down into his day rest.

“Never a dull moment,” Godric mumbled, kissing Eric’s forehead and letting the sun take him under.

♦♦♦
Night creatures squawked and chirped.  Lillian found herself wading through stagnant swamp water that came to her waist.  The heavy bow of cypress trees overhead bent down menacingly.  Vile things slithered and stirred under the thick carpet of duckweed that floated on the water’s surface.  Mud sucked at her shoes, keeping her pace at a slow trudge.  The air was rank and humid, everything dripped in decay and rot.  Something deep in the waters called to her.  She continued, terrified, unable to resist.  Have to know.  Have to know, she thought.  Nearby she heard an alligator make its hollow, threatening grunt.  She squeezed the tears from her eyes on forced herself onward.  Something brushed against her leg and she gasped in horror.  Ahead she could see the slightest bit of embankment on which an enormous bald cypress sat.  In its deeply shadowed folds, she could see a large opening at its base.  As she approached, a hush fell over the swamp.  In the inky black, she heard something stir.  Slither.  Hiss in laughter. 

“Hello?”  she called into the darkness, her whispery voice echoing.

She edged towards it, slipping in the foul muck.  A black-grey claw suddenly shot out from the darkness and snatched her into the depths of the tree, breaking her neck and killing her instantly.“Ah!!”  Lillian shot upright in bed.  She was trembling and covered in her own sweat.  Tendrils of her hair stuck to her face and neck.  Her heart pounded thunderously in her chest and she couldn’t catch her breath.  Only a dream, just a dream!  she reprimanded herself.  But she was still shaking fearfully.  It had seemed so real. 

“Oh god.”  She said out loud.  She glanced at the bedside clock.  It was just past 5 pm.  She slid out of bed unsteadily and pulled a silk robe over her nightgown.  Bracing herself against the doorframe, she took several measured breaths, trying to reel in her anxiety.  She hadn’t had a panic attack like this in years.  And all because of a lucid dream?  Ridiculous.

Downstairs she rifled through her purse, hoping she might have an anxiety pill somewhere in her little traveling pharmacy.  No such luck.  She cracked open the fridge instead.  Well, hell.  It was after five, right?  She pulled out a carton of strawberries and a bottle of wine.  The sweet fruit was wonderful.  She’d meant to only have one glass, but her heart was still pounding and her hands shaking.  She poured another.  It didn’t help.  She wanted to feel safe, wrapped in armor…like she did when she was near Eric.  It gave her an idea. She let herself wander the living room, running her fingers under surfaces and along the walls.  Somewhere her vampires had a secret door.  She went into the library.  Most of the shelves were sparse.  She stopped at a bookcase that had a few more volumes than the others.  She reached behind the she shelves to feel for a catch or a button.  Nothing.  No, it was too obvious.  This was the bookshelf that most drew your eye.  She looked around the room and headed to the case directly opposite it.  It contained nothing but a dull encyclopedia set.  She felt around the backside.  Nothing.  Squatting, she tried the shelf below.  Bingo.  A lever.  She tugged at it and heard a click in the wall behind.  Pulling the bookcase with all her might, it lurched forward.  It was set on tracks, but still heavy.  Lillian tiptoed down the stairwell revealed behind it and into a hallway, dimly lit by recessed floor lighting.  She tried the first door.  It was locked.  The second room was open and unoccupied.  She tested the handle of the third room and found it was unlocked.  Opening the door slowly, she found Eric and Godric passed out on a large bed.  The wood frame was elegantly carved in Viking motifs.  She went back to the bookshelf and managed to close it, and herself, in.  Hiking up her long nightgown and robe from around her ankles, she crawled in between the two dead asleep vampires.  She lifted Eric’s heavy arm and nestled underneath it, wiggling herself against his chest.  Lillian sighed in relief.  Godric’s face was before her.  Whereas everything about Eric’s features was so stunning it was impossible to focus on just one aspect, the lovely arch of Godric’s full lips stood out.  She wanted to run a finger against them, but she didn’t dare.  Instead, she settled her hand in his open palm.  Touching them both, the anxiety finally started to dissipate and her heart slowed to a normal, steady rhythm.  The silence of her newfound bloodkin surrounded her and she let herself drift away into a peaceful slumber.

An hour later, Godric stirred.  He slowly gained consciousness and stretched lazily.  Moving, he realized something warm was in his hand.  His eyes shot open.  Directly across from him, not a foot from his face, lay Lillian, her breaths measured and sweet. 

“How the devil…” he said, not meaning to speak aloud.  This brazen human had broken into their daytime lair to…to snuggle!  He didn’t dare move again, for fear of waking her.  Shortly he began to feel Eric’s life begin to buzz in the bond. 

Quiet he pushed at his child.  Eric’s eyes slid open, bloodshot.  He wasn’t quite awake yet.  He took in a long deep breath, scenting the creature in his arms.  A smile snaked across his mouth.

“Your human has taken it upon herself to join us,” Godric hissed so quietly it was nearly inaudible.

“I can see as much.  Naughty imp.”  He nuzzled into her hair and stroked her face.  Lillian let out a contented sigh.  Eric ghosted feather-light kisses down her temple and behind her ear.

“Mmm,” she moaned happily.  Yawning, she opened her eyes to find two very curious vampires staring at her. 

“Good evening, boys.  Sorry to intrude,” she purred, rolling towards Eric and planting a kiss on his very surprised mouth.

“What is the meaning of this, Lillian?” he asked.

“What?  You think you get to give me your blood, make me feel all weird and lonely, then hide?  I had a truly terrible dream last night.  I needed you.”

Godric started laughing.  “Or maybe you’re just here for breakfast?” he teased, eyeing Eric.

Godric’s hand latched onto the fingers than had been entwined a moment ago in his own and playfully lunged at Lillian’s exposed wrist with blunt teeth.  “Ack!!” she squeaked.    

Eric grabbed her and held her tightly, nipping at her neck.  “Ah!” she screamed, struggling uselessly as the two men broke into laughter. 

“That will teach you to break into a vampire’s lair!”  Eric said, still pinning her to the bed.  He began smothering her breathless mouth with kisses.  Godric looked on with a smirk.

“Mmmeric…” she broke off his kiss.  “I really did come in because I had a bad dream.  It was awful.  I couldn’t calm down.  I tried everything, the only thing I knew would help was our bond.”  She recounted the dream, blow by blow, and explained how unsteady it had made her feel.  A look of concern grew in Godric’s face.  Eric stroked her hair, attempting to comfort her. 

Godric eyed Eric and Eric nodded very slightly.  They were silently discussing something through the bond.

“Dearest, Eric and I have a theory about what you might be.  It might explain why you’re having bad dreams,” Godric said. 

“What do you mean, what I am?”

“Lila, you know Godric is very old,” Eric explained.

“By my count something like 2500 years old.”

“Yes, a little more than that.  It’s hard to know, really.  You understand in that time he’s seen a great many things.”

Eric hesitated before making his request. 

“Why do I get the feeling you’re about to ask me something I’m not going to like?”

“Lillian,” Godric continued, “I’ve only ever once scented anyone similar to you.  It was quite a long time ago…in Delphi.”

“Delphi,” she said, turning the word in her mouth as if to conjure its meaning. “Like Mount Parnassus Greek gods smiting upon the ruins Delphi?”

Godric laughed.  She could be so unpredictable in her responses, her view of the world.   It was delightfully refreshing.  “Yes, the very one.”

She sighed.  Hanging around vampires was like a constant history quiz that one was doomed to fail.  “Go on.”

“The family that served Apollo’s temple was old and scattered by then, but there was still a daughter among them worthy of the name Pythia.”

 “Pythia…”  It rang a bell, but she couldn’t quite place it.  “I’ve never been much of a Classicist I’m afraid.  I was always more interested in the people the Greeks and Romans thought were ‘savages.’  Go figure, given my present company!”  She slapped Eric’s perfect, tight rear.  Suddenly the absurdity of lying in a bed of furs with an actual Celt and an actual Viking struck her as immensely funny. 

“You would know Pythia more commonly as the Delphic Oracle,” Eric offered, trying to keep her focused on the issue at hand.

Before Lillian could respond, Godric elaborated.  “The high priestess and I were close for a time.  She was truly a phenomenon.  And her abilities, my dove, were not unlike yours.”

One of your lovers was the Oracle of Delphi!?” she screeched, pushing Godric’s firm flesh as if to get him to admit his lie.

“I didn’t say that.”  A smile wove its way across his boyish features.  “But now that you mention it, I seem to recall we did more than just consult her library.”

“Lover, what Godric is trying to say is that it is hard for him to tell from your scent alone whether you may share something similar with Pythia.”

“Wait, I’m completely lost.  My family isn’t Greek.  We were all northern Europeans.  Hell, you could be my long lost ancestors for all I know.  How messed up would that be!”

“I’m not saying you are related to her, but that your blood – I suspect – has the same qualities as someone I knew for certain to be a seer,” Godric said, becoming frustrated.  He’d never wasted so much time beating around the bush to convince a human to give him his blood in all his years.

Lillian couldn’t quite wrap her head around what the two men were trying to tell her.  Why were they being so obtuse?

“Lila, since you took my blood, you’ve been feeling more aware, having more hunches that are spot on, having dreams that seem too real, yes?”

“Yeah, I s’pose so.”  It was true, she had to admit it.  Things had changed since she’d bonded with Eric.  In so many ways.

“Lover, let me bite you so that Godric can taste you.  Only for a minute.  Only with your permission.”  Eric looked at her with soft, pleading eyes.  It was hard to believe sometimes that he was the same cold warrior king she knew from Fangtasy, glaring at everyone with disdain from his throne.  Behind closed doors Eric was playful, sexy, maddening, intense…and joyful.  He was truly happy.  Happy being himself. 

Then she broke her sentimental thoughts, annoyed at how they’d been beating around the bush.  “Oh for crying out loud, Eric!  Why didn’t you ask straight away?  Your blood makes me…feel all your sympathies.  If Godric had asked me to dance on the roof and act like a monkey, I’d be swinging from the ceiling fixture right now.  I couldn’t deny him anything even if I tried.”  She jutted a hand in Godric’s face.  He took it, kissed her knuckles, and passed it back to Eric, flipping it over to expose her wrist.  She was Eric’s, not his.  Not his to sink his fangs into, no matter how much he might like to.  Eric licked the veins on the tender skin there and, holding eye contact with her, let his fangs penetrate her ever so slowly.  It pinched and she felt pressure, but he massaged the skin next to where he bit with his thumb and his mouth quivered over the spot.  His flawless technique made it virtually painless, even without the orgasmic fireworks that had accompanied this act before.  He took one pull at the wound, closing his eyes as he swallowed in ecstasy, then passed his prize to his maker.  Godric lapped up the tendrils of crimson that flowed from the two marks and traced them to their source with his tongue, latching on.  The instant her lifeforce flooded over his tongue he moaned a feral sound, squeezed his eyes shut and lurched forward, running his strong hands up and down the length of her arm.  Eric watched his maker’s pleasure and it set him ablaze.  His hands ranged over the silk of Lillian’s gown and he began licking the most sensitive spots on her neck and jaw.  He was already dragging his fangs over his preferred spot on her neck and was ready to give in to his wanton desire to drink from her while his master did, when Godric peeled himself away from her arm and began slowly licking the wound to heal it.   

She could feel Eric’s arousal pushing into her back.  In his thin linen pants, Godric was in no position to hide his own, although as he collapsed onto his back he crooked a leg in a rather hopeless attempt at modesty.  There was something immensely exciting about having two ethereal creatures utterly possessed by your body, prostrate and worshipping before you.  Godric lay there staring at the ceiling with a glazed look, a droplet of her blood trailing from the corner of his mouth.  Eric was still caressing her and grinding his massive erection against her.  She reached over to Godric and wiped the little stream of blood away from his mouth.  He looked at her in surprise.  She withdrew her hand slowly, as if to show him her intentions.  She sucked the liquid off her middle finger and watched as Godric’s grey eyes turned black with desire.  Waste not, want not, right?  She rolled over and offered her mouth to Eric, who began devouring her tongue the second he caught on to her game.  Wild with desire for her, he pulled her on top of him, hiking her nightgown underneath her robe and sliding a finger secretly into her.  She was so receptive, her wet folds squeezed around him. 

“Eric!” she gasped in shock.  

He couldn’t resist her any longer.  He violently slashed his tongue against his own fangs and pressed his frenzied kiss against her mouth.  Tasting the divine liquid, Lillian lost all sense of space, time, and self.  She clawed at Eric’s boxer briefs, desperate to have his body.  He quickly obliged, replacing his thick finger with a very thick member, her robe and long shiny hair pooling around them.  She cried in relief and exploded on him instantly, biting down on his tongue to seek more of her lover’s gift even as waves of pleasure swept her away.  She’d utterly forgotten Godric.  Eric had not, however, and she realized this from the corner of her eye.  He’d offered his arm to Godric, who was now feasting greedily upon it.  She leaned her head down and raked her teeth across one of Eric’s nipples, pushing her own wrist into his mouth.  He bit, although less delicately than before.  The taste of her again made him bellow and he pumped into her mercilessly.  She reached out and wound her fingers around Eric’s outstretched hand, offering Godric her wrist alongside Eric’s.   The growl that issued from Godric was fierce and untamed, and the vibrations it sent through her as she ravaged Eric’s mouth and body set her off again.  Eric was nearly there, and when he began to shoot his seed, Godric savagely bit him in the crook of his arm and they both roared in release and pleasure.

Minutes passed.  Lillian was the only one breathing, quietly laying curled on top of Eric’s frame, her head to his silent, cool chest.  Eric’s blood coursed through her, and she floated weightlessly in ecstasy. 

That was, until she realized what had just transgressed.  “Oh god, Eric!”  she panted, burying her face in his chest.  A contented laugh rumbled out of him. 

“How did that just get so out of hand?!” 

“Was that out of hand?”

He felt her distress through the bond and rolled over, sheltering her with his lanky body and covering her with kisses.  “Shhh, darling.  It’s alright!  ” 

He tried vainly to calm her.  “Lover…” he whispered.  “My love…”  That got her attention.

Godric ran a hand down her arm in comfort, “Lily, this was a good thing.  You are more Eric’s than ever before, he more yours.  That is beautiful, is it not?”  It was true, this meant they had now twice blood bonded.  “Perhaps you only wish I hadn’t been privy to it?  I can leave…”

“Oh Godric, it’s not that…”  What was it that she was feeling?  “I guess…I dunno.”  She felt incredibly inarticulate.  She let her eyes wander over Godric for the first time since she’d lost her damn mind.  Drinking from Eric must have allowed him to feel his excitement as his own and he’d exploded as hard as Eric had.  He was going to need a change of pants.  She started giggling.  “The last time I even remotely did something this wild was in college.”

“You must tell me of these college years!” Eric said enthusiastically.

“Oh boy, I don’t think I should give you any ideas…”  More seriously, she added, “I guess I just don’t know how I fit into all of this!  Eric, you call me your love and that melts me inside.  I feel the same about you and it’s just confusing.  It’s hard to know how much of what I feel comes from you or is really myself, and then when your blood makes me care for Godric as you do…I…I don’t even know what I can ever be to you when you have ties as strong as the ones you share with him or Pam.”

“Lila, calm down.  You are thinking about this like a human, and I don’t begrudge you that.  But you’re forgetting that you’re not talking about human relationships, or the rules and boundaries and emotions that are tied up in them.  Perhaps you’re thinking that since Godric made me, he is my father, or since I made Pam, she is my daughter.  This isn’t the case.  I had a father, after whom I am named, and several daughters – sons, too – whose short lives I outlived many times over.  Godric is a man who found me seaside, mortally wounded, and chose to give me life again.  Pamela was an iconoclastic woman who wasn’t even suited to an iconoclastic age.  I chose to rescue her while Paris burned its revolutionary fires yet again.  What happened after those decisive moments was entirely up to us.  We simply aren’t constrained by the chains of predetermined relations.  All we have is an eternity of experiences with a person and how we choose to treat each other.  I am extraordinarily fortunate in my maker and my child – most can’t stand each others’ company for more than a few centuries. 

“This much Godric has taught me, and if there is any secret of immortality, it is this: if we are lucky, we have many loves, every one different to the core, from beginning to end.  Why compare yourself to my maker or my child?  You aren’t them, but why would you want to be them when you are you to me?”

Afraid his response would shatter her, she asked shakily, “What am I to you?”

 “Min hjarta [My heart],” he said simply but with passion, his eyes blazing into hers.  “With you my undead heart beats again, I know my humanity once more.  Never in a thousand years did I think I would or could let a human in, or even more, be accepted by one knowing what I am.  You are extraordinary, Lillian, more extraordinary by the day.  You give me hope for the unknown, and the unknown is all eternity really is when you get down to it.  I love, love you.”   

His confession left her breathless.  She searched his eyes desperately, afraid something would reveal he didn’t mean what he’d said.  But there was only earnestness and desire in his face and across their now fiery bond.  She exhaled in relief. 

“I love you too, Eiríkr.”  She called him by his human name, pronouncing it as Godric had.  If she was his human heart, then she ought to speak to him as such.

A red film misted over Eric’s eyes.  He was overwhelmed.  He wrapped himself around her like a cocoon and kissed and nibbled at her, nuzzling and rubbing himself all over his love. 

“You are mine,” he said forcefully.

Not breaking his gaze, she responded.  “And you are mine.” 

Godric was buttoning into a fresh shirt from the dresser and interjected, “I might also add, Lillian, that while you are certainly his, you are also most definitely an oracle.”

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