I looked up from my desk expecting to see Pam, for she was the only one who had leave to disturb me unannounced. But seeing the Prince of the Sky Fae before me instantly brought me back to another time and place.
When a debt had been formed.
And his silent guest – I assumed – was the repayment.
The sight of her made me realize why I’d felt Pam’s lust skyrocket and her subsequent amusement right before my door opened.
It was like Barbie and GI Joe had a night of hard and dirty fucking and she was the end result.
“Brigant,” I acknowledged, though my eyes had yet to leave the tasty looking treat he’d brought with him.
The deference normally due my station as a King wasn’t necessary. Brigant was a royal in his own right and I imagined this day finally coming to fruition was both a relief and a thorn in his side.
Truthfully I hadn’t given much thought to the Fae guard I’d been promised. It had been at his suggestion this kind of payment be made. I’d barely been two hundred years old at the time. And it was at a time when the relationship between vampires and fairies were tumultuous at best.
Lethal, at worst.
But I had neither the gumption nor the balls to attempt to barter for anything else. Refusing a royal the likes of him, something so powerful and personal as pledging one of his own kin to my service, wasn’t something I could do.
So I’d given him my near silent agreement.
As the centuries passed by, my mind had been filled with other things and his debt had settled in the far recesses of my memories. Just surviving had been a hardship, but as the humans continued to evolve, so did we. My child and I eventually traveled to what had become the United States at the beginning of the last century, picking a portion of the country to settle in. And I’d been content there in my position as Sheriff of Area 5, in what had been the state of Louisiana, until that fateful day when everything changed.
On October 27th, 1962 an American U-2 plane was shot down by a Soviet missile crew off the coast of Cuba. That action set off a chain reaction of events that was quickly felt around the world in the form of a global nuclear war.
New York City, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles were annihilated. As were Cuba, Moscow, and Berlin.
London. Paris. Rome.
Within forty-eight hours millions of lives had been lost.
Our kind had been forced to reveal ourselves to the human race in order to save it.
In order to save ourselves.
Before they could send us back into the stone ages, we took over running whatever was left of the governments across the globe. While putting ourselves into positions of power, we did so in a humane fashion, taking into account the humans’ needs and wants as much as we could. We’d met very little resistance. Their utter shock over their self-inflicted devastation made glamour nearly unnecessary.
Most of them viewed us as saviors.
But the landscape had been irreparably changed forever. The fallout after the bombs had detonated could still be seen in the cities and towns closest to the devastation. Nothing grew there. The water table beneath the land’s surface was still contaminated now, decades later. Deformities in humans and animals weren’t uncommon.
The United States was no more.
Now we were the North American Territory, split into the same clans vampires had been adhering to for centuries.
And I had been thrust into the position of King of the Amun Clan.
All kings sat on The Council and lived and ruled by a defined rubric drawn together at the start of our reign in order to keep the peace. There was still the occasional subterfuge, of course. The sporadic attempts by the small human militias scattered throughout the territories to overthrow our monarchies, one town at a time.
For the most part, they were easily dealt with.
Our popularity was at an all-time high. We treated our subjects well. They were loyal in return.
For the most part.
But eying the young girl in front of me, I couldn’t imagine what value she would hold to me as my personal guard.
As my personal donor, however, she was more than acceptable.
Brigant turned towards her, as if to introduce me to my – hopefully – future Lolita, but before he could say a word, she took a single step towards me and bowed down, saying, “Your Majesty. My name is Susannah Brigant. From this night forward I pledge my life to your service. I will protect you at all costs and hold your survival above all others, including my own.”
Never mind her pledge. It had been expected. What hadn’t been expected was that she’d said it in Old Norse.
“You speak Old Norse?” I asked, too stunned by that little surprise to speak anything other than English.
Rising back up and straightening her spine, her head cocked to one side as she explained, “Our information indicated it was your preferred language when conversing around others. Do you prefer Swedish instead?”
And of course she’d given me her explanation in Swedish.
If I hadn’t known for a fact the date was July 1st, I could’ve been convinced it was April 1st.
Or perhaps October 31st, given the trick or treat standing before me.
“My great-granddaughter is fluent in every language,” Brigant spoke up. “It was yet another way to ensure she would realize a threat to you was imminent by making sure she understood the language of any attacker. She is knowledgeable in all forms of communication and in many forms of combat. I assure you she has been trained well and her knowledge and aptitude for learning is quite prolific.”
Up until she’d opened her mouth, I’d been toying with the idea of forgiving him the debt without taking payment. I was much older now and much less hesitant to stand up to the royal. In truth, I hadn’t envisioned how she would be of any use to me – clothed, at least – but now I was truly fascinated.
And given the way the leather clung to her hourglass figure, I knew I would be just as fascinated seeing her unclothed.
At any rate, I could always cut her loose later on. Tell her she had fulfilled her family’s debt to me and release her from my service. She could return to whatever bunker they had raised her in to live her life however she chose.
But for now…
“She is acceptable. Your debt is settled.”
I didn’t know what I had been expecting. It was obvious he cared for her in the way he looked at her, so I thought maybe there would be a few kind departing words. A hug between them. A tear shed by the girl perhaps.
But upon my verbal agreement, she took a step back and silently left her great-grandfather’s side. Walking around my desk, she came to stand just behind me to my right. Showing no emotion at all, she removed the small broach on her collar and replaced it with another she’d retrieved from her pocket.
It was my royal crest, now residing where her kin’s had just been.
“Very well,” Brigant nodded and without a single word exchanged between them, he teleported from the room.
I wasn’t sure what I should do with her. Generally my guards didn’t stand watch over me when I was secured away in my office. But before I could suggest she see Pam about being assigned her living quarters, I saw her hand gently brush across the holstered pistol strapped to her thigh as she said, “Your next appointment has arrived.”
Considering I was only now hearing him enter the outer offices, I was impressed.
But if she was going to be staying for any length of time, I would need more than her pledge to assure me of her loyalty and informed her, “You will drink some of my blood.”
Blood sharing wasn’t a part of the deal I had negotiated with her great-grandfather. Nor was it something I would even consider doing with any of my other guards.
But she was different and it had nothing to do with the fact I had never wanted to fuck Herveaux.
With my preternatural senses, I could both hear and smell the others before they even entered the room and react – if need be. For all I knew, this one would be able to teleport – part-fairy or not.
I expected at least some opposition from her, but instead she nodded once and asked, “Shall I have it now or would you prefer to wait until after your meeting has concluded?”
“Which would you prefer?” I asked.
“Your will is my own, Your Majesty,” she replied.
If she could have read my mind, she would’ve known better than to make herself so entertaining.
If she kept this up, she could very well be old and gray by the time I decided to cut her loose.
“Later then,” I replied in English. “Perhaps we can find the time for you to show me how well you know how to use those swords strapped to your back, or if they are the only things keeping your spine straight.”
It was the first time I’d seen a crack in her expressionless facade. A small tightening in the corners of her eyes. The slightest upturn of her lips.
But it was there.
I’d simultaneously amused and pissed her off.
“As you wish, Your Majesty,” she nodded. “But if I may ask a question before your guest arrives?”
“I will not speak out of turn, but if I must address you in the presence of others, what would you prefer I call you? Master? Your Majesty? King Northman?”
Letting my eyes trail over her form, I couldn’t help but think of many other things I would prefer her to call me. But my smaller head was getting ahead of my larger one, so I focused on the present and replied, “Master is acceptable.”
Pam would have a fit. As a King, only she was able to address me as such, with everyone else using the others Susannah had voiced.
I would pay to see a throw down between my child and a Princess of the Sky Fae.
Perhaps even put it on Pay Per View.
Of course my child would be more apt to throw her down on the nearest flat surface in the hopes of having her way with her.
Pay Per View would work in that scenario as well.
Looking at her, one would think she was just another beautiful young woman. Dressed as she was, one would assume she was in costume over being a guard, but if she was as proficient as Brigant had claimed, her looks could work to her advantage.
She would be underestimated.
The Fae’s debt to me wasn’t widely known. Only my child and those involved on that night eight centuries earlier had any knowledge of it. Only one of those involved, other than Brigant and myself, still existed today and I had no reason to believe the Ancient Pythoness had spoken of that night to anyone else.
The circumstances surrounding it all was a highly guarded secret.
“You should change your attire,” I eventually said.
“Master?” she questioned.
Yes. That had been an excellent decision.
A small smile appeared unbidden on my lips as I explained, “While I appreciate the fit of your ensemble, you look as though you’re prepared to battle the world.”
“I am prepared to battle the world if that is what is needed in order to keep you safe.”
“Be that as it may,” I began, shifting in my chair slightly thanks to the effect her words had on me. “Your greatest advantage is in your appearance.”
No longer questioning, her tone had more grit to it.
I had offended her.
“Your appearance,” I repeated, adopting the same tone, “is your greatest advantage. You look like any other beautiful young woman. If you play into their misconceptions, any who seek to do me harm would consider your presence inconsequential.”
Taking only a moment to consider my words, she nodded once and removed the weapons that had been strapped to her body, setting them just beside where she stood. Sweeping her hand down the front of her body, her leather dominatrix outfit transformed into a just as eye-catching red silk dress.
Business appropriate and yet provocative just the same.
The silver jewelry had disappeared as well, but the pin of my royal crest was attached to the thick strap draped over her left shoulder.
Neither one of us said a word while she returned the holstered pistol to its place on her thigh underneath the skirt. When she was satisfied with the fit, she carried her swords towards the back of the room, positioning them beside a chair in the back corner of my office where I assumed she would be choosing to sit.
A silver dagger appeared and then disappeared into yet another leather sheath strapped to her opposite thigh and she removed the leather binding from her hair. Twisting the flaxen strands into a loose knot at her crown, she held it in place with two thin silver-tipped wooden sticks.
I wasn’t sure what I found so fascinating about her. Perhaps it was the knowledge she was part-Fae. Perhaps it was her pledge and her purpose for being there at all.
Perhaps she would live long enough for me to figure it out, if she was to have any chance of having a life of her own.
My intercom buzzed with Pam’s bored voice coming through the speaker informing me my next appointment had arrived. Normally I wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of allowing Susannah to stay for any meetings I had. I didn’t know or trust her to keep my confidences, no matter whose blood ran in her veins or what pledges she’d made to me. But this meeting was insignificant, so I saw no harm in it.
Looking her in the eye, I explained, “This shouldn’t take long. We can go over your duties and any questions you may have when the meeting has concluded.”
She nodded and moved to take a seat at the back of my office in keeping up with her inconsequential-ness. To anyone else, I suspected Susannah would appear to be relaxed, but I could see the tension in her muscles as the door to my office opened.
I assumed she was wary of the human now walking into the room, but he was just a minor player looking for face time with me in order to bolster his political clout. The humans maintained their smaller local governments, with a vampire in my retinue acting as an advisor.
“Your Majesty,” he greeted, with a deep bow. “I am honored you have agreed to meet with me this evening.”
Waving my hand, signaling he could rise, I gestured to the chair in front of my desk and got right to the point by asking, “What can I do for you, Mr. Newlin?”