After acquiescing to his mate’s request, he reminded her that, depending on how things went, he might well be gone until sometime the next night. He then vigorously kissed her resulting pout away and rued the lack of time available to truly make it up to her. He then doubled her security before going down to the dungeon.
He strode quickly to the dungeon, his steps pounding with indomitable anticipation of getting this long-awaited mission underway, and stopped outside Silas’ guest room. Once satisfied that he had indeed gotten all the information he could from him, he gave the vampire two bags of good donor blood to enable him to regain his strength for the coming events.
Afterward, even though he would normally have spent a couple of pleasant hours ensuring that his intended victims truly wished for their coming death, he quickly dispatched Benjamin and the other male whose name he hadn’t bothered remembering. Neither was of any further value, especially since he currently had no apprentices needing to be trained in the art of torture, and he had better things to do while he waited for Eric and Wybert to join him.
Possibly tonight, but surely by tomorrow’s night, he might finally be rid of fucking BeauChamps in the eternal sort of way. The thought dropped his fangs and brought an involuntary smile to his face as he contemplated what all he could do to torture the disgusting bastard. Cold shivers ran down Hollander’s back from where the younger vampire waited for instruction near the open door. Seeing that expression on Andre’s face was never a good thing.
With a smirk – truly, inspiring fear in those who needed it or appreciated it was one of his favorite pastimes – Andre directed Hollander to clean up the slight mess he’d made there in the central dungeon, then entered his office to finalize what plans he could. Going with Silas’ “internal mate finder”, he snickered at the term courtesy of his Emma, the mate, and therefore BeauChamps, was apparently somewhere due west, and her location was not close. The poor vampire thought that she was still in the state, but wasn’t entirely sure no matter what he had been told during the threat to gain his assistance.
Andre huffed – he truly hated variables – then ordered the Gulfstream readied. Mates could follow pulls from the faster comfort of sky travel just as easily as from a slow-moving car.
When Hollander completed his clean-up duties and reported back, he sent the younger vampire on to gather the few recon supplies they might want from one of the ready rooms. They were vampire, after all, and so didn’t actually need burdensome accoutrement, but Sigebert did enjoy his “little spy toys”, as he called them. He snorted. Sigebert certainly purchased enough of them.
Due to his own nefarious predilections, they had an ever-increasing supply of gear appropriate for night fighting, namely tough black clothing and leather ‘non-squeaky’ combat boots, from which to choose.
Since he and his underling in this department were of the same mind as Sigebert, they had an abundance of other paraphernalia as well. He particularly liked the middle-ear communication devices and infrared visors, even though they were not all that useful in registering vampires. The TASERs were just for fun. Bodies were simply more interesting when they jumped around.
While he was thinking about it and before he went to change, he placed an order doubling the quantities of his favored gear to have them on hand for when he moved to the new place. He paused for a moment, then tripled his order for gloves. Dried blood was damn hard to scrub out from under his nails, and he refused to touch his Emma with befouled hands. He would just have to make sure to remember to actually use them. He much preferred feeling the life draining from his ‘guests’ and, even though the gloves were thin, they still dulled the sensations.
As he changed and equipped himself, he briefly considered allowing the younger vampire to come with them on their mission, but then decided against it. While he did deserve recognition for performing his duties well and quickly, Andre had no wish to leave the secrets of his dungeon unattended. Granted there was currently a sad lack of prisoners, indeed the emptiness of the cells rang with an irritating silence, but he would not allow his dungeon to go unguarded. He shook his head. Why was everyone so annoyingly well behaved at the moment, anyway, he wondered as he returned to his office. What the hell was up with that? No matter, for the duration of his absence he would order Hollander to stand his usual guard duty.
Steps ringing from the stairs alerted him to incoming visitors.
“About time you two showed up,” he teased Eric and Wybert with rare good nature when they finally entered the dungeon office.
Andre sniffed appreciatively; although the Northman had obviously showered, he could still detect the scent of a recent joining with the Viking’s part-fairy mate. He couldn’t figure out what Wybert had been up to and decided he didn’t want to know what he’d been rolling around in.
“Wybert, gather your three best fighters. According to Silas, BeauChamps is hiding out at his Maker’s house somewhere near the Texas border with an unknown number of vampires and Weres. Silas will follow the pull to his mate – he says she’s due west from here.”
His brother-by-Maker gave a short nod then pulled out his phone. Andre and Eric exchanged a look at the sight of the enormous blond mountain handling the phone that resembled a toy in his huge hands.
With a shake of his head, he turned to Eric. “I hope to have this mission accomplished tonight, but I cannot guarantee that.”
The Northman nodded. “I know how these things go. Sookie will remain upstairs with your Emma for the duration,” he stated with assurance.
Eric was still somewhat surprised yet pleased with how well Sookie got along with the girl. She had many acquaintances, many of whom were little more than apple-polishers seeking an in with The Telepath or The Sheriff’s Pledged…as if she wouldn’t see through their guise in a heartbeat. His Sookie was no simpleton to be deceived in such a crass manner. But, due to the nature of her work and his position, his Sookie also had very few true friends. He suspected the same applied to the short brunette who he still couldn’t believe actively chose to be with The Master Torturer on purpose. To each their own, he supposed.
As they waited for the other three to join them, Andre offered Eric his own mission gear and a change of clothing, which he graciously accepted, and was rewarded with Eric’s faintly impressed expression when they entered that particular room. Although he was highly impatient to get in the air, he knew he would have to wait until Wybert’s chosen were properly outfitted anyway, so he took the opportunity to show the Northman around the store rooms and indulged a bit in his own penchant for spy equipment until the rest of the team arrived and decked themselves out.
Within the hour they were in the air and heading in a westerly direction. Sigebert had stayed back with Rasul and a large team to provide increased protection for not only the Queen, but for Emma and therefore Sookie as well. The roster for the next two days’ Were guards had been re-drafted and doubled, and those listed were already stationed in their quarters on the property. Andre was taking no chances.
Although Emma didn’t know it, before he left he had placed into Sigebert’s safekeeping a large glass-lined metal vial of his own blood to be used on the slight chance Emma was somehow injured during his absence. It wasn’t enough to Turn her, but the amount was more than adequate to at least heal most injuries or to sustain her until he could return to her side.
He had also secured Sigebert’s surprised yet solemnly pleased promise to Turn her should any injuries prove grossly life-threatening. Sigebert was the only vampire he trusted deeply enough to charge with such a precious task, and he knew the blond mountain would take such a responsibility very seriously. His own beloved Maker was currently too busy running her queendom and planning useless parties to provide the necessary time and attention required, and in all honesty he didn’t quite trust her not to issue a certain sexual Command that he knew Emma wouldn’t appreciate. And, alas, Wybert was…Wybert. Emma’s potential Turning was too delicate and important an event to trust to anyone other than himself and, should necessity dictate, Sigebert.
That was when he realized that he had yet to have this particular discussion with his Emma. Fuck. He set aside that viable concern to concentrate on the upcoming task but knew it would return to haunt his thoughts.
Just before they had left for the hanger hidden nearby, Andre had taken a moment to call his quarters and verify that the Were Tracy was on duty. She could prove very useful in a fight if the need arose. He wouldn’t admit that he just wanted to hear Emma’s voice one more time, and that her “good luck and give’em hell, babe” had cause a bit of a grin… and a sweet tingle where his heart used to beat.
Finally en route, while he kept an eye on Silas he quietly pondered the fact that he didn’t know Emma’s wishes regarding being Turned. Since they had yet to have such a conversation, at this point he felt justified in making this decision for her should it prove necessary. However, if she should decide that she didn’t want to be Turned… The thought caused a frozen bolt of lightning to tear through him and he shivered in his seat, earning a glance from the Northman.
“Nothing,” he mouthed as he shook his head, deciding to ask him later if he’d had such a discussion with his mate. If he had, then perhaps he could get some pointers because he had no idea in hell about how to go about talking her into spending her eternity with him.
Resolutely he turned his thoughts to the mission at hand, and discussed in greater detail with Eric and Wybert what tactics they could since they didn’t yet know the lay of the land. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of each male on his team, and counted himself lucky to have Eric, Wybert and Conall on this excursion. Eric and Wybert were both strong, devious, cunning fighters, and Conall had a ‘knack’ for breaking and entering without detection. He figured it was because that was his primary, well, only talent before being Turned by one of the most hapless wanna-be vampire felons in the history of Turns.
The annoyingly good-hearted but ill-trained new vampire had only endured around fifteen years with his sniveling, criminally-inclined Master before said Master had been ‘accidentally’ killed by none other than Rasul. He had gotten heartily sick of the idiot’s annoying and trying manner and blatant inability to follow even the simplest of laws. Afterward he had taken in the now-freed Conall, who was only too glad to leave behind his finally-dead Maker’s ways.
Wybert had included two massive dark haired fighters, Tony, who shifted into a tiger and was all too aware of the joke on his name, and Rupert, a taciturn Estonian silverback gorilla. In the past Andre had been pleased to have the opportunity to fight alongside the two, and knew them to be extraordinarily skilled.
Silas suddenly pointed a trembling finger a bit to the north, and Eric immediately informed the pilot.
“We’re definitely getting closer,” the visibly excited vampire said, his voice louder in his anticipation. “I can feel her more strongly. She’s…she’s scared,” he added, his voice angry, “she’s ok, but she’s scared and agitated.”
Everyone aboard immediately silenced as the male concentrated on following his bond.
“Here! Right here,” he exclaimed loudly after a painfully long couple of minutes.
Eric noted the coordinates on the small device he had withdrawn from his pocket, and Andre ordered the pilot to land as silently as possible at the closest and smallest airfield available. The well-paid and appropriately glamoured pilot quickly landed the small craft just outside of Sulphur, LA, and remained in his seat as everyone else rapidly exited in full stealth mode.