House of The Rising Sun
Strength does not come from winning...Your struggles develop your strengths... When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
While Tara imperially fought with Paul, Franklin had hurriedly retrieved his severely injured Sire from the woods; while Eggs assisted the badly injured Eric to his feet.
And then, everyone watched in awe as the demigod wrathfully destroyed Paul; so when she began her downward, uncontrolled descent from the sky, the Norse man quickly sprang into action. Although in a substantial amount of pain, Eric caught her limp, comatose body, and prevented her fall to certain demise.
The unconscious deity lay sprawled across his strapping arms. He regarded her close, holding the woman tight as if to never let her go. Carefully, he carried her, gently placing her in the backseat of an abandoned Lincoln Town-Car; he limped his way to the other side of the car and sat next to her.
With Pam’s injured Grand-Sire riding shot-gun, the feisty vampire put her pedal to the metal and rode away from the gory, demolished scene.
After the harrowing ordeal, the exhausted, blood covered group found refuge at Godric’s Baton Rouge residence. The house was less than a mile away and well hidden. Pam phoned a few willing humans and paid them generously to provide blood to the vampires.
Nora and Naomi took on the difficult task of pulling the silver from Eric and Godric’s flesh. Having the flesh burning silver extracted was exceptionally painful for the vampires, but it was the only way the healing process could begin. As daylight approached, Godric made haste to his underground- master bedroom. Pam preferred to slumber in a coffin, so she took his spare. Godric’s coffin was custom-made, plush and enormous, roomy enough for the leggy vamp and her sexy pet to unwind comfortably. Nora chose a room down the hall, and Naomi selected the adjacent room. Their beaus wanted to return to New Orleans, but the witches urge them to stay. They wanted to be near Tara and be of aid to her if needed.
Eric did not hesitate, the moment his silver was removed; he carried his sleeping beauty to a guest room after he fed, Eric fell into a deep slumber.
Cathy, the retired, registered-nurse-practitioner and novice Wiccan, was called and asked to tend to the injured and dehydrated Tara. The reliable friend used an IV to hydrate the sleeping goddess and applied Wiccan healing ointments on her wounds.
Three Days Later...
I have my reoccurring dream and finally, it made some sense to me. The dream was a precursor of my origins. It is a gateway from my world to this one.
I’ve also discovered that Earth represents strength, stability, prosperity, and femininity. Air represents the communication, telepathy, dreams, and rituals. Water represents subconscious, purification, wisdom, and the soul. Fire represents energy, inspiration, and leadership.
And I rule of all these elements, the emotional as well as the physical aspects.
As I began to wake, my internal warning system switched on.
Mercifully, there was no flashing red.
This time, I saw colors I’d never seen before. It started out as a bright burst of yellow, mixed in with waves of blue, flowing into a haze of green.
I felt no reason to fear.
The vivid visuals calmed me, soothing me and warmed me like a blanket.
Suddenly the green swirled into a deep sensual purple that waved and pulsated. In an astonishing response, my inner thighs tingled and I became unbearably moist down there.
It felt so intense, arousing, it was intoxicating me. I instantly recalled the time I felt this way. My eyes popped open and I turned my head slowly...
I breathed out while springing forward. He’s lying next to me! And he’s asleep, very soundly I might add; I noticed immediately that he no longer had his long, shoulder-length locks.
Now, his hair was cut into a very stylish, short do.
And it looks good.
He looks good…So-so good…
He had nothing on but a black silk robe. It’s slightly open too.
And then I look down.
My god, I shouldn’t have looked down.
LORD - there it was - that hard washboard abdomen.
Before my eyes traveled any further south, I quickly jerk my head back up to his face, throwing away all the thoughts the ridiculously hot vampire gave me.
But there was no way I could deny it; I liked what I saw.
My smile is as big as the moon. But not because of Eric’s hotness, I smiled cause all those awful wounds were gone. There was no sign of the pain he endured on my behalf. I was thankful, he was alright. And I was certain everyone else was alright too. And all the cuts and bruises I should have are gone, like they never existed. How’s that possible? Oh hell, did Eric give me his blood? I also notice that I’m wearing nothing but a skimpy, white silk robe that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. No biggie, I’ve never been ashamed of my body. And I’m sure Eric’s naughty ass enjoyed the view. I roll to my side peering over at the nightstand and couldn’t believe it…
My cell phone!
I thought that was gone forever. I wondered how in the hell did he get it back? I reach over and grab my long lost device. The clock on my phone says 8 AM and I have several missed calls from Lafayette and one from momma. I made a mental note to call them both.
That also explains why Eric’s sound asleep. It’s morning...
I decide to get up and explore the new surroundings. But first I need to go the bathroom. Before I could get to the toilet to handle my business, I’m struck stupid by the image in the mirror. My naturally curly shoulder length hair was now much, much longer and wavy, my locks hung loosely down my back. I run my hands through it making sure, it was all mine.
I’ll be damned; it is!
Now I look more like the picture in the Vesica Pisces book. I have way too many questions. So I decided to get dress and seek out the one person who I’m sure can give me answers. But first, I need some clothes. So I go to the closet hoping that Eric has something nice in there for me to wear.
He doesn’t disappoint.
I don’t know how he did it, but my Armani dress, Gucci purse, and pumps are here. My cash is even in the purse. To top that off, the outfit that I left at Godric’s mansion was hanging on the rack waiting for me to put on.
And so I did just that.
I looked great in the white fitted T-shirt, blue jeans, black Nike’s and the bad-ass black leather jacket. Now it’s time for me to leave the hot Viking in his dead-siesta, in the vampire-friendly room. I quietly shut the door and head down the hall, in order not to disturb any other sleeping vampires I try summoning the telepath.
I can believe I can actually summon and be summoned!
‘Hey, Nora... Sorry to bother you in the morning, but’... She cuts me off mid-sentence...
’My Goddess, you’ve awakened!′
Her voice resonated, in my head and then I see a bedroom door down the hall swing open. She ran down the hall in a scanty-pink robe. It looked just like the one I had on. She hugged me tightly and I hugged her back. She’s really sweet and I deeply regretted my rudeness to her when we first met.
“You look beautiful Aether.” She smiled sincerely at me. “What can I do for you?”
“Thank you... First of all, please stop calling me Goddess or Aether. I’m Tara.”
“Of course Tara...”
“Second, thank you, Nora. Thank you for helping me.”
“It was my duty and my pleasure.”
“Where are we?” I ask simply out of curiosity, I felt completely safe wherever I was.
“We are at Godric’s Baton Rouge home, follow me.”
We walked downstairs to the kitchen and she started making me a yummy cup of hot Chai tea.
I grab a spoon from the drawer, and I stir my tea with one hand while scratching my head with the other. I had so many questions; I didn’t know where to start.
“Why did we come here, instead of going back to New Orléans?”
I decided to start from the beginning.
“You, Godric and Eric were in no condition to travel and it was almost morning, luckily Godric has homes all over Louisiana” She said as she began cracking eggs and tossing veggies into a bowl, “It took the vampires a night to recover; but you’ve restored for two...” she grabbed a fork and a knife wrapped in a cloth napkin from a wicker basket.
Next, the telepath set a tray of butter and jam on the counter.
“What do you mean by restore? I’ve been resting, asleep - right?”
“Not entirely”... she nodded, “It’s more like a mind-teleportation to another realm; that is how Aether replenishes after being wounded or exerting a great amount of energy.”
She continued while placing a plate on the counter in front of me, “Vampires need blood and coffins to heal, Aether needs lots of water and days of deep sleep...”
I recalled my younger years, seeing myself sleeping in my bed, as I’m floating off and away to the deep dark ocean I’m all too familiar with. It happened several times after one of Lettie Mae’s beatings. It happened once after Laf and I got into a knock-out-drag-out brawl with two red-necks.
I realize now, that lots of strange things occurred around me. I made the choice to ignore it. I didn’t want to give my mother any more reasons to beat me. I sure didn’t want folks calling me a weird freak like they did my best friend.
Being called an angry-nigger-loser was enough...
“So my mind is able to teleport... leaving my body...that can also teleport...and I can heal myself water and a nap...Well- fuck me running...!”
Nora chuckled at my state of shock as I made another mental note to read the Vesica Pieces book, I can’t wait to see what else I can do.
“The sweetest thing was your vampire; he has not left your side and has been beside himself with concern.”
I rolled my eyes at the ‘your vampire’ comment. Any talk about Eric and I that way was gonna annoy the piss outta me.
She grinned naughtily but didn’t say a word.
‘He’s so in love with you and you know it.’
She said, purposely communicating that part using telepathy, obviously knowing I was eavesdropping on her thoughts...
And I purposely ignore her intrusive opinion.
Instead, I ask, “Why in the heck was he freaking out? What was I doing?”
“Well, after two nights you had not risen from unconsciousness, you constantly tossed and turned in your sleep. Your limp body levitated in midair. He said you summoned the winds that sent him crashing across the room...”
Jeeze, that’s embarrassing! Eric saw me looking like something out of the ‘Exorcist’. I frowned, lowering my eyes in shame.
“...So he dashed to my room and told me that you’re ‘broken’.”
She puts up high air quotations emphasizing on the word ‘broken’ and then snorted audaciously, Eric’s behavior towards me clearly amused her.
I begin to imagine Eric doing that and it tickled me too and I chuckled.
Steely old Eric looks almost human when he’s confused.
Nora then mocked The Vampire Sheriff by standing on her tippy toes, creasing her eyebrows and deepening her voice.
“Nora, come quickly, my Tara is broken.” She rasped, her impersonation of Eric was spot on.
We both burst into a fit of laughter.
Why would he use the word ‘broken’, like I’m some fragile doll?
Why does he flatter me so much? I couldn’t help it; I was flattered. I beamed while fondling the talisman around my neck.
She smirked, “His concern for you was adorable. Every time he ran to our room I would explain to him that there was nothing we could do but anticipate your awakening. By the tenth visit, Franklin almost went mad.”
“That reminds me,” I leaned in and lowered my voice to avoid eavesdroppers, I was curious, “What’s the deal with Franklin and Eric? Do they hate each other?”
She shook her head. “No, they do not hate each other at all, at first they tolerated each other for Godric’s sake, but over the centuries, a mutual respect was formed. However, my beloved merely suffers from middle child syndrome.”
“Oh...” was all I could say to that. That actually seemed understandable, It happens all the time with humans, why not vampires.
“...So, Nora, I’ve figured the clothes I have on were sent here from Godric’s other house, but how did you guys find my other things?”
After taking a few sips of tea she answered, “When Eric and Pam were disposing of Paul’s car, they happened to take a look in the trunk, that’s where he found your things.”
I shuddered at the mention of Paul’s name. If I were not so famished I would have lost my appetite. However the fluffy omelet Nora prepared smelled and looked lip-smacking good.
I dug in and was pleased.
“Tara, would you like to join Naomi and me for a girl’s day out?” She asked and took a big bite of buttery toast.
“I’ve got nothing else going on so why not.” I shrug.
The British woman clapped her hands together. “Splendid! Promise to have you back way before Eric wakes for the night.”
She dashed out of the kitchen leaving me with her unfinished portions of food; so I help myself.
We rode in Nora’s Land Rover to New Orléans. On the way, she and Naomi fill me in on the witch hunters - a secret society of descendants from Salem. Thier numbers are even fewer than ours, only a few dozen or so, but they are very wealthy and well connected. To this day, they hunt our kind. To them, witches are an abomination, pest which should be exterminated from the Earth.
Nora said before Franklin left Baton Rouge that night, he’d captured and interrogated Martin’s partner; forcing the conspirator to reveal Paul’s fucked-up plan.
That twisted bastard wanted to enslave me, and whore me out for my blood, he had buyers lined up by the dozens, and he would have made millions.
He planned on selling other witches to the highest witch-hunter bidder like a cattleman sells meat to a slaughter-house. He tried to buy his way into immeasurable power.
Needless to say, I have no regrets killing his ass.
Naomi told me that although we mostly remain hidden, sometimes a witch is found out simply because of how long we can live. Once a witch reaches a certain age ( I’m guessing late 20′s to early 30′s) our age progression slows down.
Incredibly, Nora and Naomi are both over 75 years old.
Godric wasn’t kidding when he said they are older than they look. I can’t believe, I’ll look just like this for a very, very long time.
It’s like having the perk of being a vampire, without being dead.
The Coven, New Orléans
The Coven was a large, picturesque antebellum house that rivaled Godric’s in size and appearance. In a grand hall stood over a dozen witches, all dressed in black.
Besides all being female, they were a very diverse group. The clandestine society greeted Tara with open and loving arms.
Bearing gifts of rare jewels, magical charms, priceless trinkets, intricate ornaments, pearls, even diamonds and gold, they happily handed Tara bags and boxes of valuable items as offering to their goddess.
Tara was shocked.
She felt undeserving of the beautiful and generous gifts and tried to turn down the offerings.
But the Coven would not take no for an answer.
After a while, she relented and graciously thanked them repeatedly.
She’d never been given anything but raggedy-old hand-me-downs and now she’d just inherited a small fortune, from a group of perfect strangers.
Tara promised to herself, she’d pay it forward, her blessings would be others blessings.
Afterward, Nora and Naomi asked Tara, if the coven could complete the ushering ritual. This would bond her with all her subjects.
Tara whole-heartedly agreed while Jessica shrieked with joy.
She introduced Tara to her best friend Willa Burrell and they assisted their goddess in a black hooded cloak.
The ushering ritual was finally performed and Tara was completely integrated into the Wicca society, literally and spiritually.
The young beauty could feel the transformation, the unexplained bond; a feeling she’d never felt before - love and acceptance.
The newly ushered goddess winked at Jessica and displayed her powers by whimsically tapping her hand at the extravagant fireplace, magically lighting it.
“I totally showed her that!” Jessica shouted out. Some of the girls scowled with doubt until Tara backed her friend up.
“She sure did,” Tara nodded in agreement. “Jessica can barbecue a big bad wolf like nobody’s business.”
Cathy politely interrupted the conversation and laughter, calling everyone into the dining room for refreshments.
Inside the dining room, Tara was greeted with an array of gourmet appetizers. Tara enjoyed the crispy shrimp with a sweet and spicy Chile sauce the most.
While the group noshed on decedent hors-d’oeuvres, Jessica spoke proudly about the skirmish with the wolves. An hour passed when the endearing teen finally finished telling her overly animated re-count.
Now it was time for Naomi to speak about Tara’s clash with the ancient Monarch Paul. Everyone gathered close and silently listened as the olive-skinned High-Priestess, spoke.
“Despite not being fully ushered into her powers, Aether was triumphant in destroying the powerful vampire who had just stolen her magical blood.”
Tara’s will to survive against all odds empowered the women.
They felt assured knowing they are now reunited with their protector.
Holly Cleary, the coven’s Elder, and scribe wrote as Naomi spoke, the battle in Baton Rouge would be added to the Vesica Pisces as a historical event.
The Coven members celebrated harmoniously with Tara, they laughed, ate and drank together for most of the day.
“I’m so happy to meet you all...” Tara radiated as she, Nora and Naomi made their way towards the door.
Jessica and Willa offered to carry Tara’s gifts to the Land Rover, but not before smothering her with several more hugs. Nora and Naomi flanked far behind, saying their farewells to Holly and Cathy; Tara assisted Jessica and Willa, as they packed her gifts into the car and she bid them another jovial good day and shut the car door.
Not a moment later Tara let out a gasp of shock.
The cute little dark-skinned girl, with two puffy, black pigtails had materialized out of thin air onto her lap. The girl’s appearance reminded Tara so much of herself as a child, the fact rendered her speechless; and for a few moments the two exchange silent, cheerful glances. The former barmaid- turned goddess used telepathy to read her thoughts.
“Hi Aether, my names Mavis, Naomi is my mommy and Eggs is my daddy.”
Mavis’s impossibly wide brown eyes innocently regarded her goddess. “I’m so glad you’re here, now mommy won’t be afraid anymore.” and then the child enclosed her tiny arms around Tara’s neck and sweetly kissed her cheek.
She whispered in her sweet southern drawl.
“I have to go before mommy sees I’m gone... Goodnight Aether...” Tara’s heart filled with joy at such loving affection and just like that... the little girl was gone.
Tara vowed that she’d do her best stop any witch hunters or evil vampires or anyone else from ever harming the Coven or any witch again.
Late in the afternoon, the three women arrive back in Baton Rouge. Tara called Lafayette to let him know that she’s well and promised to see him soon. She conversed with him until he had to start his evening shift at Merlotte’s.
The dark-skinned beauty still could not muster the courage to call her mother. She knew her mother would have many questions and she wasn’t ready to disclose all the significant changes in her life, so she sent her a text asking her mother if they could meet for lunch.
Lettie Mae didn’t respond.
It was early evening when Tara took a nice long shower; afterward, she slipped back into her borrowed robe.
She carefully glided onto the bed next to sleeping, Eric. She gazed longingly at him and wished she had the magical power to remove her attraction to him, but the uncontrollable need to be near him compelled her.
With her own personal copy of the Vesica Pieces book, she began to read, curled up next to the blond vampire until eventually, she dozed off.