The searing pain and flames engulfed Eric Northman on the summit of the Swedish mountain top. He knew there was no escape from his end this time. He could not move and pleaded for the true death to take him quickly. Suddenly he was surrounded by a freezing wind and snow storm that poured over the peak in a dark cloud, blocking the rays of the sun. The flames died and Eric laid a charred mass upon the snow. He could hear the sound of bells and hear a voice whisper on the wind, “Northman you are mine and I will heal you for your promise to me. Do you agree?”
Eric could not move and before everything went dark in his mind he gasped, “Yes…”
Eric awoke in the dark on a birch bed covered with furs under what appeared to be a deep rock overhang. From the bed he could see the moonlit, snow covered ground and surrounding woods. As he moved slowly to the entrance of the overhang he could see the stars and aurora borealis dancing in green and pink in the night sky. The trees around the open meadow ahead of him were so tight together in places it looked like walls. To his right, outside the overhang, he could see a fire in what looked like a stone hearth. It was like being indoors and out at the same time. It reminded him of when he made love to Sookie.
His skin felt tight and cold, but he was healed from what he could see. His legs looked normal and his arms, but there was something different that lingered. A vampire had many senses that the normal human lacked and Eric knew something was different and something else was present nearby.
Eric could hear the bells again and it made a memory flash through his mind to his family and childhood. He had been a child when he had climbed the ridge near his families lodge in the winter to retrieve a ewe that had wandered away from their small herd. It was close to sunset when he had reached the top of the ridge and he remembered the beauty of the sun setting on the fjord. He could hear his mother calling and he was trying to urge the ewe down the slope. He had heard the same type of bells and turned to see a beautiful woman in white walking towards him. She offered him her hand and with a voice of honey and milk said, “Eric take my hand and I will help you home.”
As the memory disappeared, Eric turned to see the same woman walking towards him. He could smell her too and she smelled of summer grass, honey, and the air off the fjord. It overwhelmed his senses and desire began to boil in his blood. There was only one type of creature that smelled that good and that was fay or fairies.
“Who are you and what have you done to me,” Eric growled defensively with his fangs down and eyes glaring at the creature.
“Eric I brought you here to heal and you lay in my realm,” she answered. The fairy’s skin was almost iridescent in the moonlight and her hair was the color of fire, reminding him of Jessica.
“Your realm,” Eric was ready to lung at her.
“Yes, to the Saligen, my home between worlds.”
Eric relaxed slightly recognizing the name to which she mentioned and questioning asked, “You’re a fairy?”
“Yes, you may call me Agneta,” she paused and with a devilish smile, “Your people know me by many names including wilden frulein, schneefräulein, or in English, ice fairy. However, you and I have met before. I was bound to help your family by your mother."
Eric relaxed completely and he could hear the chants of his mother in the morning begging Mother Nature to protect and care for her family. He never believed the way his mother had in the mystic power of Mother Nature. Every spring she would do the Dance of Life and sacrifice a young lamb.
"You were there... when I was a young boy!" He immediately thought about the night his parents died. "If you were bound to help my family why did you not save them the night of their brutal slaying by the werewolves?"
"I cannot stop all creatures. Humans are easy yes, but supernatural creatures have various powers and I could not stop them all or their master. Just as I could not come to you until you were in a weakened state."
Eric’s anger and thirst grew unbearable and he lunged into the moonlight to take the fairy. He did not know what powers he would absorb, but he hoped like Sookie or Warlow it would allow him time in the sun and maybe a chance to return to Bon Temps. As he caught her arm in surprise, his fangs went deep in the artery and the blood hit his system fast and hard.
Agneta blasted Eric with an eerie blue light from her palm, similar to the golden light Sookie possessed. Eric reeled away in pain and he felt as if a spike was being driven through his head. His body felt as if it was being pierced by tiny blades and he fell to the ground on his knees. "Ahhh...What are you doing to me!"
"Serves you right! You cannot drink my blood in that way Eric Northman." The wound on her arm healed instantly and she stepped back away from him. "If you are hungry, I can nourish you in a different way."
"What is this? Stop the pain!"
"The pain will go away soon vampire. You see my blood is like the frozen water fresh from the glacier; clean and pure. It does not feed you like a human or other fairies might." Agneta eyed him sideways and added, "I know you have tasted fairy blood before or you would not have been able to be on the peak in the daylight when I found you."
Agneta continued, "You can consume only the very smallest amount of my blood at any time for the purpose of healing. My blood will change you as well...so heed my warning and do not try to drink me again!" She closed her eyes and summoned a red deer. It came trotting out of the woods and stopped near the fire. It just stood there to Eric’s astonishment. Next, Agneta gathered snow from the ground and a crystal goblet appeared out of the snow that she cupped in her hands. She walked to the beast that stomped the ground confused. She reached out and touched the beast as if to comfort it and the deer knelt down to the ground. With her free hand she took another handful of snow and a crystal dagger appeared. She quickly made a small puncture to the neck of the deer and caught the blood of the beast in the goblet. The deer moaned and eventually rose to its feet and left. Agneta returned with the deer blood to Eric, who was trying to stand up now.
"Show me your fangs!" she commanded.
Eric opened his mouth and she pricked her finger on the tip of one fang. A single droplet formed on the tip of her finger and she swirled it in the blood, "Drink!"
Eric hated drinking the blood of animals and it was difficult to take the goblet.
"Drink it and enjoy!"
He sniffed the cup and all he could smell was her essence. He cautiously tasted the blood and to his surprise it tasted of the finest ice wine made from the first frosted grapes in fall. A tingling sensation permeated his body. He felt better and stronger; yet again different.
Suddenly he realized that the dawn was breaking and felt the need to hide from the sun. "I must sleep or I will fry in the sun again and everything you have done to help me will be lost."
"No Eric, from now on my blood is a part of you and you will be able to walk at dawn and dusk and in the fog, rain, or snow during the day as I do. You will not be at your strongest, you will still bleed, but you will be able to see the sunset again as in your youth. Day by day it will be different for you."
"What are you talking about? I am a vampire, or have you forgotten?"
"My blood has begun to purify your vampire blood. A fight has begun in your very cells and one day you will have to make a decision - to be vampire or to be human. I have given you back your humanity. You can feel more now than when you were just a vampire. And now for your promise to me Northman."
Eric stood stunned. How was this possible? Once a vampire there was no going back, but this creature had changed all that. Suspiciously Eric answered, "What must I promise?"
"It will not be easy, but if you break the promise you will turn to ash as my blood connects me to you. You will not feed on humans anymore and only on the blood of animals. You will keep this goblet and dagger with you and feed as you have seen here. I will provide you with an elixir of my blood to make the animal blood more palatable, as was the deer’s blood. Do you understand?"
Eric was almost outraged and began to growl again. The fairy looked him directly in the eyes. Suddenly, his skin began to crack and turn ashen grey. He could not move and was frozen in place. The pain was unbearable, similar to burning, but there were no flames.
"Make your choice Eric Northman - live or die now!"
"Aghh...I...I AGREE!" Eric yelled and the sensation ended quickly and again his skin returned to normal. Whatever power Agneta held over him now there was no going back and he silently wished that he had died than be at the mercy of Agneta. However, as the sun rose, he felt conflicted. To see the sun rise and set and walk in the day, even if it was only when it rained or was foggy, forever could have its benefits. Now he could feel the bleeds coming on. "I have to sleep," he said tired from the torture he had endured.Agneta turned and raised her arms and gently blew. A cloud of snow rose in the wind and covered the sky above the Saligen until it became grey and dark enough that Eric would not burn. He returned to the darkness of the overhang and hid under the furs for nightfall.