The second Godric heard the high-pitched roar of the Ferrari Berlinetta’s engine coming down the road, he locked up the house and went outside to wait in the driveway. Eric pulled in, tires screeching. He practically leapt out of the car. Godric stood there with a grim look and Eric’s sword, Grendl, slung over his shoulder.
“Where is your sword?” Eric asked.
“She took it.”
“What in the hell is going on?!”
“If I knew, I wouldn’t be carrying this stupid Viking longsword that weighs as much as me,” Godric shot back. He put a hand on Eric’s shoulder. “I do not know what we are facing, but I fear it may be the worst.”
Eric was silent for a long moment, staring straight past his maker at nothing. “Me too,” he said quietly. “But we will face it together.”
Then they took to the skies at rocket speeds.
Outside, the Metairie compound was quiet, save for a wet ditch of peepers peeping their night songs at each other. Two crimson lines of Lillian’s unmistakable blood trailed across the pavement towards the warehouse entrance. Eric immediately ran to the large reinforced doors. He couldn’t hear anything inside. The doors were thick.
Godric was wary and observant and he studied the contours of the rivulets of blood. He noticed someone had wiped their fingers through them. He knelt down to sniff the smeared spot. The scent was alarming. He did not like what he found there. Some pieces about what might be happening here were starting to come together.
“I don’t get it,” Eric said. “I can feel that she’s in pain and weakening, but she is calm. Almost happy. What clusterfuck are we running into?”
Godric sighed. “We’re about to find out.” Reaching behind his shoulder, he drew Eric’s sword from its sheath and handed it to him.
They both pulled on the heavy doors together. They didn’t budge. “By the gods! She’s locked in there!” Eric said. He panicked and pounded the doors in futility, screaming Lillian’s name. He grew more frantic by the second. “How the fuck do we get in? How do we get in, Goh!?”
Godric stood with his hands on his hips, a pose he most certainly had picked up from his grandchild Pamela. “You tell me,” he said impassively. “You’re the one who designed this fortress to keep an ancient monster locked inside.”
“Jävla helvetes,” Eric cursed in disgust at himself. “I am not thinking clearly.”
“You don’t say,” Godric remarked.
Eric reached into his pants pocket and pulled out his keys. Godric raised an unimpressed eyebrow at his child and shook his head in dismay. When this was through, they were going to yet again have ‘the talk’ about keeping a cool head in times of total crisis. Eric had nearly mastered it, but when it came to loved ones, he still basically lost his damn mind.
Eric slid the large brass key into the door and was about to turn it when suddenly Godric grabbed his arm with an iron grip.
“What’s the problem?”
“Wait. Lillian just told me to wait again.”
“What? Why should we wait!? She’s injured!”
“I am telling you that she just sent me the thought to wait through our bond. She knows we are here. If she wants us to wait, we wait. She’s the prophetess, not you.”
“No, Godric, she’s a mortal who is capable of error and is entirely vulnerable!”
“Child, be patient. She will tell us when it is time.”
Eric growled in complete frustration. He jerked the key out of the slot and kicked and beat at the doors again, calling desperately for his Lila.
“Eric, stop. You are going to hurt yourself.”
Eric ignored him and continued taking his rage out on the doors, slamming his fists into the metal until they bled.
“Eric, I said to stop…Eric?…Eric!” Godric narrowed his eyes at his child’s insolence and idiocy. “Eiríkr Goðrìkson!” he barked in fury, using his progeny’s true name and raising his voice louder than he had in a century. “As your maker, I command you to stop this pointless tantrum and calm yourself!”
Eric slumped in defeat, stunned by the command. It was a power his maker virtually never exercised. Godric took his hand and led him to sit down next to him on the ground. They leaned against the building. Godric let his head fall back against the stucco and closed his eyes to meditate on how they should proceed. Eric rested his head on his maker’s shoulder, feeling repentant, and Godric immediately put an arm around him and pulled him close. While Godric was lost in thought, Eric nervously picked at a little patch of weeds pushing up through a crack in the pavement. He chucked the shreds of dandelion greens and bahiagrass into the air, bit by bit.
The two waited.
Eric’s weed clump had long since been destroyed. They waited more. They did not speak, but they held each other, hoping Lillian would give them some sign of what to do.
Suddenly, when dawn was not but an hour away, Godric shot to his feet and grabbed his chest.
“What? What is it?” Eric asked.
“I feel something odd in the bond.”
“She seems the same to me.”
“No, not Lily. The bloodline.” Godric gasped, then stumbled and fell to his knees.
“Take my blood! Here!” Eric offered a pale wrist. “Maker? Goh?!”
Godric started shivering violently and behind his eyes there was a blinding explosion of white light, accompanied by the sensation of being pulled apart inside and put back together. He shouted, then collapsed completely. Eric was instantly at his side, begging him to speak, begging him to tell him how he could help. Tears started streaming from Godric’s eyes. He was laughing through them with a huge smile. He rolled onto his back and grabbed Eric by the shirt. “Oh Lillian. Oh my. What have you done? It is impossible!”
Eric stared in utter confusion at his wildling Celt maker and could not make head nor tails of his behavior or the bizarre twisting and spinning in their bond.
He then realized that while he had been entirely absorbed in helping Godric, he had stopped monitoring his connection to Lillian. He mentally searched for her bond and was suddenly gut-punched with absolute horror.
“Oh my god. Godric, she’s gone. She’s gone! The bond is gone!” Eric pulled at his hair and was about to go berserk. “Fuck it. I’m going in. I’m going and you cannot stop me.”
Actually, he could. Godric circled two fingers around Eric’s wrist and halted him completely. “Listen to me first, child.” Godric was still wiping his blood tears of joy off his face. “Will you listen?”
“Lillian told me long ago that she would tell me something critical when the time was right. She’s just told me. It is time.”
“So you can still feel her?” Eric asked, his hope renewed.
Godric gave him a mysterious smile. Eric shook his head at how absolutely intractable this man could be.
“Do you mind letting go of my arm so I don’t lose a limb?”
Godric released him and Eric stormed off toward the doors. He quickly unlocked them and even with his strength, had to put a bit of effort into opening one.
Godric was still splayed out on the pavement, woozy and overcome with light and happiness. By the time he gathered himself together and got up, he heard a horrific scream from inside the building.
Godric stumbled inside the jail cell to find Eric on his knees, cradling and rocking Lillian’s limp body in his arms, sobbing hysterically. He was nuzzling her hair and making an absolute mess with his blood tears.
The entire room was covered in a fine grey ash.
Eric looked up to see Godric staring at him. His eyes gleamed with absolute awe. It was so disgustingly wrong, Eric could not even find words violent enough to hurl at his maker. Such agony had no definition. He crumpled back over the lifeless body of his bonded and cried harder than he had in centuries, if ever. The clever little human woman had walked into his bar one night and changed his life forever.
After long minutes, Eric carefully laid his dead bonded lover down on the ground as gently as possible. He went to Greysolon, who was still tied to a chair in the corner of the jail cell. He was, without a doubt, a half-step away from a gruesome silver-poisoning death.
“Wake up, asshole.” Eric smacked him in the face with the flat side of his sword. Greysolon could barely crack his eyes open.
Even after being inside this silver hell jail for only twenty minutes, Eric was nauseous and close to vomiting. He needed to get out soon.
“I said WAKE UP!”
“My maker’s blood,” Greysolon managed to creak out. “She said I could have my maker’s blood.”
“Oh, not a chance.”
“Daniel Greysolon, you do not deserve, nor have you earned, the aid of your elders. This is your reckoning, you piece of shit. May your name be forgotten and all your progeny be destroyed!”
Grendl’s steel blade, over a millennium old, had been oiled, polished, and kept immaculately sharp since Eric inherited it as a young human man. In a clean swipe, Daniel Greysolon’s head toppled to the ground and he splashed into a pile of bloody goop.
Godric simply stood there and watched. He knew his child would take his anger out on the worthless vampire who had caused such enormous trouble. It was going to make Pam’s work subduing Greysolon’s flock far more difficult, but in the end, it was actually a mercy. Mercy was most certainly not something he had taught Eric, but Greysolon would never have recovered from this much silver exposure. Ultimately, it was Sophie-Anne who had given the order to put him in here. It was her crime, not theirs.
Eric threw his sword down and fell back to Lillian’s side. Her pallor was sheet white.
“Give her your blood,” Godric said.
“She’s fucking dead.”
“Do as I say. It will be your third large exchange and will seal your bond permanently.”
“Do you hear a heartbeat? No. We have lost her. What the fuck is the point?”
Godric took a step forward and pointed a terrifying single finger at him. “You swear at me one more time, child, and as the gods as my witnesses, I will beat your insubordinate ass worse than I did in Baudobriga. You will do as you maker tells you and you will do it RIGHT NOW!”
Eric bit into his wrist and squeezed his forearm to force his sluggish vampire blood into her mouth. Godric knelt down and tipped Lillian’s head up to massage it down her throat.
To Eric’s total surprise, Godric repeated the same action with his own blood, giving her far more than he had. Eric stared at his maker for the longest time, trying to parse why they were giving their blood – the blood Godric insisted was so sacred – to a corpse.
When Eric was certain he was going to barf a sheet of crimson from the silver, Godric finally spoke. “She’s not dead.”
“Please, maker,” Eric whispered, unbidden tears flowing again. “Do not be cruel to me. Please. Not now.”
“Eric, she is not dead. Look around you. What do you see?”
“I don’t know. A dead asshole who had it coming to him, our beloved bonded with your gladius sword still strapped to her back like a slain Valkyrie…” His voice cracked and he fell into sobs again.
“And what else?” Godric demanded. “Look.”
“I don’t know. A hell of a lot of dust.”
“Yes, young one. Think.”
Eric furrowed his brow.
When Eric finally understood what his maker was trying to point out, the realization was so shocking that he fell back onto his heels, covering his mouth. “It’s…no. No. No, no, no! Oh holy Freya and the gods protect us!…It’s…It’s ash…ash! Like when….” He couldn’t finish the sentence. The compulsion Godric had placed on him long ago silenced his words.
Godric remained calm. “Please collect the 6 pints of blood bags she left on the floor. They are for her. I see that there is a cooler under the table and this blood must absolutely be preserved correctly. It is vampire blood. Do not add anti-coagulant into it. Do you understand?”
Eric nodded, still stunned.
“I will gather some of the ash for us. Could you find me an appropriate container?”
Eric hunted around in the back storage closets until he found a large Ball jar. “This is the best I could manage.”
Godric screwed off the lid and smelled it to make sure it was clean. With great respect, he scooped up as much of the remains as he could off the floor.
“Fader, please tell me what has happened here.”
“We have less than half an hour before sunrise to get Lily out of here and get on a jet to Sweden.”
“I’ve got one on standby. We are going home. She’s not turning in the accursed bayous of Louisiana. We are taking her home.”
“She’s…She’s what?!” his voice grew octaves higher. “She’s been turned?!” Eric could barely process Godric’s words.
On the jet, Eric held Lillian in a soft blanket and would not relinquish her to Godric or set her down. They’d had to do some very quick damage control as they sped to the private airport next to Lake Pontchartrain. In Eric’s grief, he’d bloodied himself, Lillian, and all of their clothes. It would not do to show up at the security check blood-soaked with what otherwise appeared to be a dead woman.
It was a long flight and they were barreling directly into the deadly embrace of sunrise. It was an unnatural and unnerving way to travel. Godric kept awake without issue, but several times Eric found himself dozing to conserve his strength and then suddenly startling back awake only to pull Lillian closer to him. He checked on her constantly and shifted her against his chest to ensure her limp body was arranged comfortably. Fighting the urge to sleep – even at his age – he found himself getting the bleeds. Godric quickly handed him a handkerchief across the aisle so that he could mop up the evidence before the human stewardess saw. She had been a longtime employee and it would be a shame to have to glamour her to near stupidity in order to cover up their true nature. It was easy enough to lie and say that Eric’s “new wife” was, according to his total bullshit cover story, “completely exhausted after their honeymoon.” The stewardess had blushed at the innuendo, clearly a bit jealous. Dripping blood out of his ears, nose, and eyes, however, was not something that could be so easily explained.
Sensing how on edge he was, Godric suggested multiple times that they put on a movie or listen to some music. Eric just growled defensively, not bothering to hide his dropped fangs.
“It is going to be okay, you know,” Godric said.
“You know what isn’t okay? That you haven’t given me a god damned explanation.”
“Child – your language. I swear…”
“My language is literally the last of your fucking problems. I am sorry if I have been rude, but you haven’t given me any clue as to what the actual fuck is going on right now.”
“Lillian will explain everything when she rises.”
Godric’s typical caginess set Eric further on edge. “You had a plane ready. Do you have a car for us to get to Grottan Huset?”
“I called and arranged transport as we were boarding.”
Grottan Huset, or “The Cave House,” was the home Lillian had envisioned the night Eric took her flying. It had all glass ceilings to allow the Arctic auroras to flood the entire second floor with splendorous colors. It was built on a large tract of land that Eric and Godric had bought long, long ago, when land titles first became available. Eric had designed and constructed the house himself a decade ago. Through a bit of architectural genius, it sat nestled against a cliffside near the Baltic Sea and sat over the very cave where Godric had turned Eric over a millennium ago. It was the most sacred place they owned.
The jet wheels squealed on the tarmac as they landed at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. Eric turned and glared at his maker. “When we get into the car, you had better start talking and talking fast. I want some motherfucking explanations.”
Godric placed a hand on his child’s cheek. “When our dear one wakes, she will reveal all that has come to pass. I know the wait is tedious. Gather your patience,” he said in the softest voice, which was his most dangerous voice. “But right now? You ought to be grateful that this hand on your face has not smacked your mouth across the runway for yet again speaking to me in such a disrespectful fashion. I will not warn you again, boy. Do you understand? You have grown brazenly ungrateful to the one who gave you eternity. I deserve more than that. Much, much more. And I will not have you set such an example for Lily.”
Eric clenched his eyes and nodded. They were still rolling across the runway and had not yet reached the gate. Eric unbuckled his seatbelt and for the first time in hours, finally let go of Lillian and settling her into the seat next to him. He knelt down in the middle of the aisle.
“Please forgive me, maker. I have erred in fear and wronged the one whom has taught me all I know and given me everything I have.”
Godric gave him a patient smile and ran his knuckles over his nerve-wracked child’s cheek. “Eiríkr, let’s go home with our bonded love. I want her to wake in the same place you did.”
Eric clenched his jaw to smash down the hundred questions he still had caught in his throat.
In the hour just before dawn, one could already hear the calls of seagulls. The two vampires and the one soon-to-be vampire had arrived and the thick forest surrounding the Cave House was swathed in a foggy, cold sea breeze. The combination of sea salt and wind moving through pine forest made Godric look at his child on the doorstep of their house. He stroked his hair, fully caught in ancient nostalgia. Eric gave a conciliatory smile, knowing exactly what his maker was thinking. These were the elements embedded in his very being.
“All we’re missing is a good blizzard,” Godric said. Eric also possessed that magical smell of snow. There was no mistaking the scent of Eric Northman.
“I want to apologize again to you, Maker. This has not been an easy time. I know I have been difficult. It is good to be home.”
Godric hugged his child and kissed him, then kissed the dead woman in his arms.
Down in the house’s ‘basement,’ which was in fact a cave, Eric lighted candles and set them in the nooks and crannies that he knew by heart. On their way to this remote place, they had stopped at a hospital and ‘borrowed’ a steel table from the morgue, which, while unpleasantly clinical, would make for a much cleaner, modern turning process. Godric gently removed her clothes and rubbed his favorite oil into her skin. Eric brushed her hair until it was shining and he filed her nails so that they were even and lovely. He carefully shaved her legs and underarms twice with an olive oil and sugar mixture that Pamela swore by. He plucked a few stray eyebrow hairs too. They debated at length whether some of her scars should be healed. During his own making, Godric had been ruthless about perfecting him, removing every blemish the human Eric ever possessed.
Yes, they decided, there was at least one scar which needed repair. Godric bit the flesh and healed it with his blood, making it silky smooth. Deliberating further, he suggested Eric fix the other one they had considered. They were determined that she would be eternally exquisite.
For Eric, being down in this sacred place changed his mood entirely. He had been fractious and taciturn in Louisiana while facing such life-threatening drama. But here, this was a holy place. He was made here. Eiríkr and Goðrìk began here. More than a millennium of life and love and companionship clung to the jagged walls of this cave and in the sloping hills surrounding it.
At dusk, Lillian lay on the table in flickering candlelight, beautified and covered in a fine cashmere robe. They had already washed her of the fluids that were naturally expelled during the transformation and re-anointed her skin. Long gone were the days when newborns rose buried in mud and their own filth, desperate to find a way out of the ground and no food nearby. No, Lillian would wake in delicious comfort smelling of sandalwood and vetiver oil and orange blossom water.
Godric and Eric were entering yet another epoch. It was thrilling.
As they waited for Lillian to rise, Eric paced. “Whose ash is in that jar, Goði? Whose blood is in those bags?”
“Eric, sit down. I can feel you are struggling.”
Eric took a seat in one of the Danish modern chairs they had brought down from upstairs to witness the turning.
Godric reached over and set a soft hand on his arm. “Min son, mitt blod [my son, my blood], it is rare these days that I cannot explain something. I believe Lillian destroyed Marduk and saved us all, but I do not know how, or what, precisely, took place. Let us watch over her and see her wake. We will see our bonded rise and feed her. I am sure in due time she will have many things to say about her choices and actions, which – we must never forget – have likely protected us all.”
“But the ashes…”
“Eric. Let her explain. She knows far better than us. I simply do not know.”
“Do you think her gift of vision will transfer?”
Godric rested his elbows on his knees and shook his head. “Again, I have no answer. I’ve never met a true prophetess who was turned. We must wait and not begrudge it if her gift of vision was the cost of her sacrifice.”
The gag echoed off the walls. Lillian sat up, desperately sucking for air, only to realize she no longer needed it.
Godric was at her side, smiling with the fondest eyes. “Welcome, bonded one.” He kissed her forehead and then her cheeks and mouth.
Eric too hovered over her, kissing her as well. “Welcome, lover,” he whispered into her temple. “I didn’t think you could be more gorgeous, but here you are, more splendid than a goddess. Welcome to eternity, my reborn love.”
Lillian tried to respond, but her throat felt sticky and ached. Eric saw her fail to speak and he immediately put a warm glass of blood to her lips. She balked at first, knowing what it was, then smelled its heady aroma and her fangs dropped.
Godric and Eric looked at each other in absolute pride.
“Drink sweetheart. You need nutrition immediately,” Godric explained.
Lillian drained the glass, then guzzled three more without hesitation. The onslaught of sensations, smells, colors, and her new sensitivity to movement was overwhelming.
She looked around at her surroundings. The desperate urge to feed had distracted her from taking in where she was. “This is…Oh my gosh…You bought me to the cave. This is where you were made,” she said, looking at Eric properly for the first time. Her jaw dropped. He had been radiant to her human eyes, but now…He flashed a smile and nodded, blinking his pale blue eyes which held every color of ice in them. His golden hair illuminated the night. She turned to Godric and could only shake her head in amazement. His skin was opal, his sagebrush eyes were etched with the knowledge of millennia, and the ancient aura of power surrounding him was astounding.
“Seeing things a little differently?” Godric said with a knowing grin.
“You are both impossibly spectacular beings. Thank you for bringing me here.”
A tear escaped Eric’s control. “Only the best for my bonded. You have been born in the most auspicious conditions we could conjure. I can get you more to drink. Or do you feel stable enough to get up and go upstairs?”
Lillian spun her legs off the table, immediately stunned at how her body could move so quickly, as if it were no effort at all. “There’s an upstairs?”
“Lila, we’re not total savages. We’re in the ‘basement’.”
“Oh. Yes. Okay. I do think I might need more to drink. But let’s go upstairs. Is there more O neg? It was really good.”
Godric and Eric looked at each other again in glowing pride and Eric chuckled. “Come on love, let me show you our home and I’ll get you more breakfast.”
They walked up the stairs past a large windowless ground floor and kept going up until they arrived at a wood-floored living room with a soaring ceiling made entirely of glass panels. Lillian sunk to her knees, unable to control the sudden rush of emotions. She clapped a hand over her mouth. Overhead, streaks of green, violet, and blue swirled and lit up the room with a paint-brushed, impressionist sky.
Eric sat down beside her.
“It…It is so beautiful.”
“It is what I foresaw.”
Eric looked at her and smiled so brightly it hurt his cheeks. He grabbed a pillow off the couch. “Lay down.” He curled up next to her and, stroking her cheek, began singing an ancient Viking song to help soothe the strangeness of being a newly awoken vampire. It was a warrior’s song welcoming a glorious death, the very one he had sung the night Godric took him. His eyes filmed in red tears that threatened to break yet again.
She laid there, fingers tangled in his hair, absorbed in the magic of his deep voice. “So, how did we get here? How long have I been dead?” she finally asked.
“It only took a nighttime flight and the daylight hours before you rose. Maker always has layers and layers of extra plans. He had a jet waiting in New Orleans if we needed to run.”
“Um…about that. We need to talk. I know you have questions.”
Godric had been waiting in the shadows of a doorway, hands piously held behind his back. He stepped forward, letting the northern lights fall across his features. If he had appeared like the king of the night underground, he now looked like a ruler of gods, truly befitting the meaning of his name. He was simply ethereal. “Lily, you’ve just come through an enormous physical challenge. Are you sure you feel up to it so immediately?”
“Yes, I’m alright – if Eric gets me another two bags of blood.”
Eric burst out laughing and went to the kitchen.
On two opposing couches, they sat down together.
“This does not leave this room. I don’t think Pam should be told just yet, but it is up to you to make that call. Some of what I am going to say is going to be disturbing, but before either of you freak out, you need to hear out my justifications.”
She took a deep breath. “Godric is not my grandsire, technically.” she replied.
Eric looked at Godric in puzzlement.
“Technically, I’m your granddame.” Godric ran his hands over his face. It was as he feared. Good god what had she done?
“What?!” Eric screeched. “But you’re a night old! You aren’t be head of this lineage!”
“Obviously Godric remains our family’s great pater familias.”
“I know you can feel it – an ancient, dark power radiating off my aura.”
“We do. You also feel like you’re about a century old, but it’s clear you’re a newborn,” Eric said.
“Godric leaned forward on his elbows and hung his head. “Who was he, Lily,” he said in a barely audible voice. He felt nauseous.
“This gets into the terrain where I need you to keep calm and just listen.
“Three things. One, he was not your great-grandsire, Godric. Two, you are not going to get dementia. Three, Bel Marduk, the great lord of Babylon, was ….” The words wouldn’t come out. Apparently glamours still held in undeath. “Godric, I need you to remove the glamour you put on me.”
He groaned, knowing where this was headed. “Ragnarok,” he whispered.
“Thank you. Marduk was the blood brother of your maker, Gaël. He was obviously made millennia earlier. I will tell you everything about our bloodline from what I could get Marduk to remember. But first and most importantly, no, you are not going to go mad. But you must stop whatever archaic punishments our kind deliver that involve long periods of starvation. It is what broke Marduk and it is what broke your maker. Abolish starvation punishments and I guarantee you won’t see any more of these cases. But what I learned…Oh Godric, what I saw of your…our…bloodline. Much of it is images, so you can see them when we share blood.”
Godric shook his head in dismay, his mouth pinched into an angry line to temper his rage. “Lillian Choate, after everything I told you.” He slammed a balled fist into the couch to make his point. “How could you? You killed your maker!”
“You yourself explained that poor Gaël only deteriorated as he aged until he was a shell of a vampire. But I saw in the blood that he was sweet and good-natured when he was younger. Marduk has always had a penchant for extreme violence and destruction. He was only going to follow the exact same fate as well, but in the meantime, he was going to destroy us all and wreak havoc on the world unchecked. He had to pass on.”
“And who will control this orphaned vampire child that is sitting before me?”
She smiled warmly, looking first to Eric, then back at Godric. “You two are.”
“How, pray tell? Baby vampires are notoriously difficult to control without a maker to command them.”
“Godric, you are forgetting that both you and Eric have the extraordinary power to glamour other vampires. Think about it. You’re also both a hell of a lot stronger and faster than me. You can always just wrangle me to the ground if I get out of line. Plus, I knew you were going to seal our bonds when you found me so that we would all be eternally joined. Even without a maker’s call, we will be able to communicate. It was the only way any of us were going to survive this. It was the only way Marduk wouldn’t slay half of New Orleans, kill hundreds of good vampires trying to stop him, and burn the city to the ground.
She launched into a long explanation of the visions she had been plagued by. How every single iteration of the future left them and a great many others dead. Then she recounted what took place inside the warehouse. It was a huge gamble, she told them, but she had to try.
“I thought for a long time, Godric, that you were going to turn me. I know you were thinking about it and I hope you’re not too disappointed.”
Eric looked at his maker, wide-eyed. This was certainly news to him.
“This course of action was the only way to stop him and save us. Neither of you were going to be able do it. And Marduk wanted to be released from his madness. I gathered everything I could from his mind – information about the bloodline, your maker, the madness, our history. In the blood he instantly knew I was a prophetess. He understood my intentions and he consented – verbally. He also sensed your blood in my veins and realized you were his bloodkin. And when it was time, he thanked me and blessed me and he left the world in peace.”
Godric didn’t move. He looked like he was about to cry. He was silent for a very long time. “You did the right thing, Lillian. It was a hard thing, but the right thing. You risked yourself and sacrificed much. I see that now. I do not begrudge you for taking the knowledge of my tragedies and turning them into your – all of our – saving grace. Because it did do something profound for me.”
“But the ash. I still don’t understand,” Eric said.
“It was all of our blood in her system,” Godric grumbled, annoyed to be interrupted. “The blood knows its own. She was already part of our bloodline and was becoming more so with each draft from Marduk, so when he was drained…well, that same strange death happened to him as my maker.
“There is something I need to share,” Godric said in a softer tone. “It must have been the moment he died. I collapsed seeing a blinding white light and was overcome with a sense of peace and joy. The darkness that exploded around are bloodline on that…that day I committed heresy. It has haunted me as a constant reminder that my bond with my maker was broken and that I then shattered it completely. You healed our bloodline, Lillian. You healed me too, from the pain it has always caused me. It is odd to feel you upstream in the line and yet also equal to me as my fully blood bonded mate, but you brought the light back in. You truly are my moonbeam.”
Eric smiled. “Perhaps you are not a Lila after all. Maybe I should call you Ljusbringaren [The Lightbringer].”
Godric huffed a laugh. “A good honorific title. But what of your vampire surname?”
“I promised I would honor him. Got your tablet handy, Godric?”
He hunted it down and Lillian tapped at it for nearly 10 minutes, searching through a phonetic Babylonian dictionary.
“Mmm. Couple options. Lillian Martu-ina-bel, which means ‘daughter of Bel’. Or simply, Beltu Lillian, Lady Lillian – kind of like you, Goh, no surname. I like it. It’s simple.”
“I finally just took Northman,” he looked at his son and rolled his eyes.
She passed back his tablet.
“I learned something else important while we were in the blood. It’s going to be a real stunner, she warned. “Marduk had the fire gift.”
The look on their faces was one of pure shock.
“Goh, if the fire gift is in our bloodline…Do you have it and just kept it secret?” Eric asked in awe.
He shook his head. “I’ve felt something a few times. Like a strange warmth that I wanted to push out of me. But no. If that is it, it’s not developed yet. It could be a powerful weapon if wielded with restraint.”
“Lily, do you still have the vision?” Eric whispered.
She gave a sly grin.
“Holy shit,” he exclaimed.
Godric frowned. “We’re going to have to keep that one very closely guarded. You could still be used.”
“Yeah, but in about 200 years, I will be strong enough to use it to court the favor of powerful vampires and they will flock from every corner of the earth, heaping riches at my feet for the honor of my predictions. You think you have money now?” She eyed Eric. “You’re not even going to know what to do with the amount of wealth I will bring into our family’s coffers. There aren’t enough cars, planes, ships, tracts of land to buy, fashion week collections, or shoes that could put a dent in whatever squirrely accounts you keep.”
Godric hummed in thought. “We do not speak of the fire gift to anyone beyond our own blood. We will never reveal that Marduk was in our bloodline; we would be shunned for all time with a black stain of shame upon our house. We will withhold the truth about Lillian’s visions until she tells us otherwise. And above all, we will not EVER speak of the nature of her turning. Eric, as your maker I command it.” He took Lillian by the shoulders. “Same password?” he asked.
“Sure. Keeps it easy.”
Godric glamoured her hard with the same order.
“We will say I turned her. People will buy it. I’m ancient and haven’t made another child in over a millennium.”
“Then I am secretly Beltu Lillian in honor of my maker, but for the rest of the world I am now Lillian Goðrìksdottir.”
“Lílían Goðrìksdottir, Ljusbringaren.” Eric corrected with a smirk. “And you can be a Northman on paper too, if you want.” Lillian reached over and whacked him on the thigh. He just howled in laughter.
“Goði?” she asked.
Godric was momentarily stunned to hear Lillian use Eric’s nickname for him in Old Norse. It pleased him greatly.
“Please tell me that you still have that old oracle’s charm somewhere – the one that absorbs one’s powers?”
Godric gave a secretive smile. “I do. It is at just south of here at my cabin in Lunsen. I nearly came back before so I could give it to you as a token of my affection. It seemed like a new Pythia ought to have it. But now you are definitely are going to need it. We can retrieve it tomorrow.”
“Ooh! Can I see the restaurant and meet Magnus?”
“Probably not a good idea just yet, sweetheart. You’re a baby vampire and I really need my chef alive.”
“Ah. Good point. Well, I know you’re probably both antsy to ask more questions. I say we all curl up in bed with a nice fire and talk about all this ancient history under the covers.”
“That does sound like a pleasant way to hear revelations,” Eric said, waggling his eyebrows. “Race you to the bedroom!
“Oh the ways we will race through the fabric of time.”
“Go!” he shouted and sped off.