But I digress.
The last few weeks of my existence have been quite a “clusterfuck.”
It began- as so many things do- with @RomanLucious. After two years spent shuttling between Mississippi and New York, my prodigal Deputy has finally returned to Shreveport. The two years were not without news, though seldom did Roman and I exchange words or information directly. Vampire politics always has been and always will be a dangerous and deadly game, so volatile the board it is played upon threatens to be turned over at any given moment. Being Sheriffs of different Kingdoms hardly allowed for Roman and I to remain on cordial terms when Kings and Queens are quick to assume treachery for far lesser sins. Sources and allies delivered word of his movement to me, and I would be naïve- something I most assuredly am not- to assume the same was not true for him.
My sources did little to prepare me for his abrupt arrival at @BarWithABite, however. I hadn’t received so much as a whisper that he might be venturing to my corner of Louisiana, yet there I was, dressing for another wasted night spent being gawked at by the worthless fangbangers that flock to Fangtasia, when I felt him as clearly as I would feel one of my own progeny. Though I trust my blood with everything that I am, I doubted it in that moment until I laid eyes on him. Once more, my blood had not led me astray. When I arrived at the club, there he was with the witch @MenaGrazie, as if it hadn’t been more than seven hundred nights since he had last entered it.
I believe humans would refer to those first few moments as “awkward.” Personally, I would prefer to think of them as having been tense. Bonds and blood mean more than most could ever fathom, yet no vampire who has survived as long as the pair of us have is quick to drop his guard without just cause. I was curious, doubtful, incredibly suspicious, and- I’m not too proud to admit- relieved to see him.
There is good reason @fangtastic_Pam is my Second. After exchanging greetings with Roman, she wisely decided to shut the two of us away in my office to sort through his reasons for returning to Area Five. Granted, she likely regretted that decision before the night was through, but it was necessary in the moment.
I should have known I wasn’t going to enjoy the reasons for our reunion the moment he pulled out the flask of fae blood. Not that Roman has ever needed an excuse to gorge himself with fae, but he drank first, and I appreciated the act for what it was… a sign he hadn’t come to betray my trust or to end me, so I indulged in turn as a measure of good faith. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have. It made me much too open to accepting his reasons for being in Shreveport, which, naturally, were solely because of @PrinceVladTepes. The deputy’s long standing feud with The Prince is the sort of thing legends and nightmares are made of. It’s woven throughout history like a bloodied tapestry. Every time the pair cross paths, nothing but destruction, devastation, and death lay in their wake.
As much as I would like to at times, I cannot fault Roman for feeling haunted by The Prince. If anyone is, it is most certainly him. With the Prince residing in New Orleans, he has returned to Area Five to finally end the feud and unshackle his eternity from that of Dracula or meet his final death once and for all. It’s a noble quest, even if entirely delusional. A large part of me would like nothing more than to see Roman free from the clutches of the Prince, yet another part of me knows it would never be so simple as that. Should he succeed, vampire law would demand he be ended, along with anyone who might have helped him, living or undead. Knowing his intentions, just agreeing to allow him into Area Five could be deemed punishable with Second Death.
So, of course, I gave him permission. Now it’s just a game of distracting him from his quest for the sake of us all.
Fortunately, there has been a fair amount happening to keep him from rushing head first into his self-appointed suicide mission. The same night Roman arrived in Shreveport, his adopted child @VampyJo sought me out at Fangtasia with news of her husband, @were_lucian. For months, the Werewolf had been suffering from a Stage 4, inoperable brain tumor. Specialist after specialist had been unable to do anything for the pup, and while JoAnna’s blood eased some symptoms, it was incapable of reaching the root of the problem in order to cure it. Though my knowledge and understanding of modern medicine is extremely lacking, once I was handed Lucian’s medical files, it took me very little time to determine he was dying.
I had no doubt JoAnna intended to turn him, and she was quick to confirm it, though she had no shortage of reservations. Lucian had expressed his desire to be turned, but given JoAnna’s own experiences with her mad Maker, she questioned her capability and sought advice. I was willing to provide it, and quickly agreed to be present for both Lucian’s death and his raising. I may not have been her Maker, nor even her adopted Maker, but JoAnna has always been loyal to me and has proven herself trustworthy time and time again, and I was honored to take on the role of her mentor for such an important turning. Begrudgingly, I could even admit to a slight fondness of the Were, even if he did stink of dog. Seeing him turned, though many would not approve, was preferable to a mortal death.
Death was in the air, it seemed, though I wouldn’t learn of @NiftyJenny’s passing until she told me of it herself, and with a beating heart, no less. To say that I was fascinated by her story would be quite the understatement. Jenny had died in Bon Temps a few nights before she sought an audience with me at Fangtasia. After reading her obituary in the paper, @BiancaNorthman’s bonded witch @LiamDelancy and her homosexual dayperson witch, @OscarBrooks, exhumed her body with the intention of returning her to this world, something they succeeded in doing with @TisaMoreno and a necromancer, @WitchyHannah. To say that I was intrigued to learn @TeacherHalleigh’s sister raises the dead in her spare time would be putting it mildly, though I maintained a well-practiced air of disinterest.
A vampire can never let a human know when they hold more cards than they realize.
Jenny had not returned from death the same as she had entered it. Whether it was from her time on “the other side” or from the witches, I know not, but she has returned to this world mortal, yet other. She is able to discern races by smell, not so unlike a vampire, but perhaps more intriguing still is the damage she can cause when angered or threatened. I am naturally curious of her abilities along with the potential they hold, and since she has long been a human I found worthy of their existence, it seemed only natural to offer her a position at Fangtasia. She is now a bartender for the club and has invented a drink called a “Totally Tits Martini.” I have no idea what goes into it, but quite frankly, she had job security at the very mention of breasts.
Seeing Jenny at Fangtasia nightly naturally led me to thoughts of @BrierFerrior. It had been some time since the WerePanther had left Fangtasia for pursuits elsewhere in the world. I hardly make it a habit to contact former employees of the bar- not that there are many former employees who aren’t dead- but I had always thought of Nolan as “mine.” He may not have been bonded to me, but he had always been more bearable company than any other slave of the moon I had known and seemed to prefer the company of humans and vampires to that of his own kind. He had long been fiercely loyal to me, and I didn’t require an exchange of blood to know he was trustworthy.
It turned out that Nolan had pursued a career in shoveling sodium. Prior to this, I had no idea salt required shoveling, and I’m still uncertain as to why it does. I assume it’s a cat thing, but I don’t really know why. Though his choice in replacement profession was questionable, he proved his intelligence by jumping at the chance to return to Fangtasia. Nolan belongs at the bar in the same way Pam or myself do. It is simply not the same without him, and he was happy for the opportunity to return (not that anyone could blame him when he would otherwise spend his mortal existence shoveling a seasoning).
While Nolan’s professional life left much to be desired, his personal life seems to have flourished. Nolan is now a married man, not to mention an expectant father. @BrookeFerrior is a WerePanther as well, currently pregnant with their child, and who has a half-fae child from a previous relationship. Nolan introduced us his first night returned to Fangtasia, and she is a good choice in woman for him. She is attractive and quick-witted and considering she is mother to a half-fae, smells surprisingly good for one of the two-natured. She will keep Nolan on his toes and help me make sure his existence is filled with surprises and “coincidences” that happen to amuse me to no end. Needless to say, I approve.
Another former employee of Fangtasia has “tied the knot,” as they say. At least, I think that’s what they say. Human idioms have always evaded me. @MelissaHiggens invited Roman and I to her nuptials to another vampire, @KyvanRus. I had never met Kyvan before, but it is obvious he makes Melissa happy, and for two vampire to pledge themselves to one another for eternity is no small thing. The ceremony was pleasant and I am pleased Melissa is happy.
Considerably less happy throughout the ceremony was Pam. I could feel her significant discomfort throughout the wedding, and had to excuse myself shortly after the reception began. Pam’s progeny, @Pams_firstboy and @TaraThornton_ had fed upon donors who had been drugged in some manner, and were weakened to the point the slowest of humans could have ended them with ease. I may not tell her often, but Pam truly is a good Maker. She knows when to discipline and when to offer compassion. I have never seen her take away their freewill, though it would be easy for her to do. She allows them great freedoms and shows significant amounts of trust. I can feel that she cares for her progeny, and she suffered for their pain then. After giving blood to Tara, Pam was too depleted to offer Colin the healing he required if he was going to last the night, so I provided Colin with my blood. It took them a few nights to fully heal and replenish from the ordeal, but they recovered, and I am relieved for Pam that they have.
There would be no recovering for Lucian, however, and in short order, it was time for JoAnna to turn him. I ordered @VaughnBrennan to dig the hole in which Lucian would spend his three days death to spare JoAnna the task, and after quite the fiasco with my youngest child and fueled by @winnieYTM that I refuse to get into, it was time for Lucian to be turned. @WereLily and @SpencerColtTB had left the Maxwell residence prior to Roman and I arriving to bear witness to the event, and that was certainly for the best. It was the first time I had seen Lucian in some time, and his condition was dire. It was no small gift of Fate that he had managed to last as long as he had.
It was a difficult turning to witness. Lucian and JoAnna had exchanged blood more times than could be counted, and in order for the Were to be made a vampire, the bond had to be severed. JoAnna’s pain was obvious and abundant, and it was more than apparent the three days waiting for Lucian to rise would be the longest and most agonizing of her existence.
It may be selfish to confess, but I am a selfish vampire, and in those moments, I could not help but think of @BarmaidSookie. My bonded has made me feel more things in the brief time I have known and been with her than I can recall experiencing in centuries before. Though Sookie has expressed no desire to be turned and though I have no interest in ending her humanity when I enjoy it as much as I do, I cannot fathom my existence without her in it. Should I ever face a night when I no longer feel her very life force within me, I don’t know what I would do. It has become something I need as desperately as I need sustenance. I refuse to believe there might be a future without her in it, and if there is, I would rather destroy the world than exist in it.
Let it never be said JoAnna is weak. I have little doubt she handled the situation far better than I would have.
Roman and I buried them together, since JoAnna refused to leave Lucian’s side, even though she felt nothing from him, and he was locked into the death that accompanies our transition. I checked in on her over the following nights, making certain she wasn’t losing herself to the agony of the severed bond, but she held up impressively well for a vampire of any age, let alone one as young as she is. On the third night, I unburied them alone and was there to offer my congratulations to JoAnna on being a Maker and to assess the now youngest vampire in my territory.
Lucian’s situation is a delicate one. Making vampires out of Weres is not an embraced situation on either side of the Supernatural fence (fuck fences!). Lucian is left with a foot in two separate worlds, on both sides of a battle and rivalry that has been raging for all of time, and neither side will be quick to accept his allegiance nor to trust it. Even I will admit to being leery and acknowledge I am watching the situation closely. Because I advised JoAnna and value her, I am invested now in Lucian’s existence, though whether or not the newborn appreciates that remains to be seen. I wish to see him flourish as a vampire, and embrace this existence, one he is fortunate to have been given, but his struggle with his new nature would be obvious, even if JoAnna hadn’t confessed there have been issues.
Of course, I’m sure part of that is because the Were side of the ongoing feud has been making its presence and feelings known. JoAnna told me both the @WereAlcide had the bathroom befouler @WereTDawson have voiced their opinions on the matter. I can only roll my eyes at that. Where is a damn newspaper to smack them in their noses with when you need one?
The first few full moons following his turning will be the true test of Lucian’s future. If he is able to accept and embrace his new nature, it will be made apparent then. For JoAnna’s sake, I hope he does not destroy himself. Considering the first time he properly fed on one of the living, it was that of his adopted son, Spencer, I fear Lucian’s experiences thus far have not been ideal. I don’t truly believe he would destroy himself intentionally, but if he does not learn, adapt, and embrace what he now is, his taste of immortality may be brief, especially since many odd things seem to be afoot.
And nothing is more odd than what happened after the Deputy finally returned to Fangtasia after vanishing for a week following Lucian’s human death. I had suspected Roman’s claims of chasing fae in Monroe was all a clever ruse in order for him to secretly pursue the Prince in New Orleans. His witch was able to track and locate him there, and after I demanded he return to Area Five, she insured his arrival. I was less than pleased he was foolishly entering the Prince’s territory on his own, and JoAnna proved she has no fear of her adopted Maker and had no qualms offering her own opinion on the matter, but none of that was truly bizarre.
What was odd was who arrived in the middle of what was about to become a bloody battle. Fangtasia has always attracted a very wide spectrum of clientele, but the one Supernatural family we fail to lure in is that of the fae. I suppose those delicious tasting beings have enough sense of self-preservation to avoid our little slice of Shreveport. All except for my bonded’s cousin, @ClaudeCrane, that is. He demanded entrance into my office and after Sookie allowed him admittance, he began ranting and raving with news I still chuckle at the reminder of.
It seems Roman hadn’t been entirely dishonest when he had claimed he was visiting fae in Monroe. At some point in time between the two of us burying JoAnna and Lucian and his witch retrieving him from New Orleans, Roman married the fruity fae. Claude had a signed marriage contract, written by @SkyPrinceNiall himself, and signed in blood by both Claude and the Deputy. The news was enough for a centuries old vampire to seemingly lose consciousness (I didn’t think such was truly possible, yet I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done the same had our positions been reversed), and I was tasked with seeking out the demon Cataliades to see if the contract was as true as it seemed to be upon first sight.
It was. Roman and the fruity fae are man and… man, much to the Deputy’s dismay and to the amusement of all others.
As amusing as I find it (and I most certainly do find it amusing), I also find the union troubling for so many reasons, a number of which I’d rather not think on now, or ever. Just as we are not fond of fae beyond the blood their bodies offer, Niall Brigant of all fae is no friend to the vampire. My relationship with his bonded has, as far as I am aware, never been accepted by him, nor embraced, and my lover is only one-eighth fairy. Claude is the only pure-blooded male heir in Niall’s line, and Roman is nothing short of a fae blood addict. I cannot imagine it is Niall’s intention to see his only grandson drained until he is nothing more than fairy dust, even if seems that is the most likely outcome. Fairies are deceitful, manipulative, and always with their own agenda. I refuse to underestimate Niall’s cunning, and can’t imagine there isn’t some significance to this union that hasn’t yet been realized.
Figuring out what it might be seems unlikely, however. The contract is written and worded in a cryptic way that seems likely fairies might understand, but it is impossible to decode without some knowledge of the intention behind it. Mr. Cataliades offered no insight, only saying he refused to be involved with any interference we may attempt concerning a contract written by Niall, which is far from promising. I suppose I will simply hope the fruity fairy or one of his kin spills the secrets of it before Claude is drained.
I hate hoping. It never tends to end well.
Since hope is unreliable, I’ve begun taking matters into my own hands, or at the least, gathering support where I might. Between arranged fae-vampire marriages and @DakotaARyan informing me Dracula may be aware of more than we realized, I’ve began moving my own pieces on to the board, just in case. As I always say, I fucking hate witches. There is no such thing as reiterating that enough. Still, after being nearly drained only to have my bar burned down around me a few years ago, I can admit they have an impressive amount of power for mere mortals. Reluctantly, I can also admit not every witch has been a proverbial stake to my side. Bianca has long been fond of her witches, Roman’s witch Mena has proven useful to him, and the school teacher’s sister has even proven herself useful.
So I’ve decided to find myself a witch. Yes, I still fucking hate witches and will continue to do so, but I refuse to not possess a weapon I could find use for. Finding one to trust is difficult, however. I kept an ear to the ground and learned of a witch out of New Orleans who has been punished for being a witch (including by other witches) nearly as much as I have been punished by witches. @JadeChiara_ had no ties to the vampire community whatsoever, which was another point in his favor. After taking a meeting with him in Fangtasia, I have decided to hire him for my uses. He could prove to be quite useful, especially if he could succeed in tracking down that ginger-menace @BrodyKeyes where all others have failed.
In an odd twist of fate, Jade operates a tattoo shop out of New Orleans with @DareDevilDestin. He has used his magic to create inks that can be used to tattoo even vampire skin without quickly vanishing. I find myself strangely tempted to indulge, despite the fact that Sookie was less than fond of the last time I did such a thing.
@AppiusOcella has been extremely quiet as of late, and I fail to know whether I should appreciate such or be concerned. My Maker has seemingly made it his eternity’s purpose to see me and what I hold dear suffer for the night Roman staked Alexei, and in the past, quiet has meant he is up to something. What he might possibly be up to, I cannot imagine, but it has me slightly on edge. Perhaps that is my own paranoia, however, since I have begun planning my own treachery against him.
Planning is perhaps an overstatement, since I truly have no idea how I will go about doing such a thing, but I intend on freeing Vaughn from his clutches. Turning and giving Appius the drug-addled busboy in exchange for not taking Roman’s life for Alexei’s second death has long been a source of much contention between myself and Bianca, and remains so to this day. She loathes the fact that I surrendered my blood so easily, despite the fact that I truly had little choice in the matter, and uses any mention of Vaughn to express her dissatisfaction with me. What she doesn’t seem to realize, however, is I despise myself enough for both of us for having done it in the first place.
Since the incident with the hole at the Maxwell home I refuse to discuss, I have realized how dire my youngest child’s situation truly is. In the few times I have seen Vaughn since the night he rose, he had always been with Appius, and he was hardly allowed the permission and freedom to speak, especially to me. I have often felt his suffering and loneliness strumming through the bond we share, but nothing could have prepared me for what Vaughn has become… or hasn’t become, would perhaps be a more accurate way of putting it. My child, despite having been a vampire for a few years, is practically human. He barely seems to grasp the fact that he is undead and seems to have no knowledge of our abilities and strengths, nor how to use them. From the look and manner of him, I suspect he has never so much as fed upon human blood.
I expected Appius to torture or simply end him for the inevitable ache it would cause me. I didn’t expect him to do this.
I don’t know how I will accomplish it, but it is my responsibility to free my child from my Maker once and for all. Hopeless as he may be, Vaughn is mine, and he deserves at least a chance at this existence. I will teach him and introduce him to his true nature because it is his right, and if he remains as hopeless as he was the night he defiled JoAnna’s lawn, I will do the kind thing and end him. Now, I just have to figure out how to obtain him without drawing the ire of my Maker. Bianca’s anger (and petulant, infuriating furniture rearrangement) is more than enough.
Through it all, Sookie has remained my island of sanity throughout the storm of chaos that wages around me. I would be lost without her.
On a related note, I owe her a new kitchen table.