Sooner or Later

Okay, so previously, I put up my theory of why Freyda wanted Eric in particular. This is an update with some more support for this theory. CH is pretty good at giving some hints that I think support all of this well, as well as the release of the Companion, which gives more information.  As I’ve discussed before, my premise is that Freyda wants Eric because he comes bonded to a telepath. This is her motivation for the marriage – a reasonable husband with a tasty telepathic benefit. Making breaking the bond absolutely hilarious. This is a big long torturous road to the end game, so bring some coffee with you to refuel. 😀

Before I go on, the requisite disclaimer. Yes, I am aware that Eric is a catch – a good fighter, an attractive man, a good worker. I know he’s not a total dud, and does have some things working for him. But this is vampire politics people. It’s not ruled by what you find attractive, or who you think is hot. That’s why vampires have casual sex – you do not bind yourself to someone for a hundred years because they have a wonderful peen you get to visit once a year. That marriage prevents other marriages so a Queen has to have a reason to marry beyond “horny”. I shake my head every single time someone comes to the quickest conclusion which is “It’s all about the sex!” because that’s a lame reason to marry someone for a hundred years and believe it or not, not everything is about sex.

Eric is not a King with which Freyda can ally herself. He’s a Sheriff – a good one – but still a Sheriff, who holds Felipe’s lands for him. He can’t gift Area 5 any more than the Mayor of New York could give New York to Canada. It’s not his to give. It’s never just a simple obvious answer.

I’d also like to point out that what I said about Eric not being an ally (and not keeping Area Five) is further bolstered by a newer quote:

But from what I understand, she may not be your wife for much longer, Consort.
The Secret Dialogues of Bill and Eric, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 209

Eric will NOT be King of Oklahoma – he’ll be in the same position as Hadley was. He will be a consort, not the King. He won’t be an ally – he’ll be Freyda’s subject. He’ll be doing what he’s told, not ordering things to his specifications. A consort has no ability to really effect policy unless he intends to use the powers of peen persuasion and Freyda is an idiot. For those British and British colony subjects, we know what a male consort does – as opposed to our American citizens who sometimes don’t have a great grasp of royalty – in the form of Prince Philip, consort to Queen Elizabeth II. Notice how she’s the power broker, and the dude is not the leader? See how the wiki page points out how he “supports” the Queen? Eric’s job will be the same.

So, to start us off, I’d like to point out yet another reiteration of why the bond sucks from Sookie’s side (and probably doesn’t help Eric think too clearly) and why it would be the mechanism Freyda is relying on:

When we were all together, I discovered that being close to them relaxed the tense
thread inside me, the thread that bound us all together.

Dead in the Family, p. 237

So, if Sookie wants to relax at any time, she has to go and spend time with Eric. This is not really anything Eric is actively doing to Sookie – or Appius or Alexei. Throughout the text, Sookie talks about the bond “stretching” when she goes to Texas with Sam, and the constant pressure of the bond itself.  Even though the bond is quiet during the daytime, it doesn’t go away – it’s always there, and the minute Eric wakes up at night, it comes in full force. When Appius and Alexei were there, Sookie tells us that they were constantly pulling on her – and even Dermot detects that going on.

Eric doesn’t actually need to control her through the bond – the bond is made to draw the human and the vampire together. That’s what Eric says when Sookie broke it – that without the bond, Sookie would be free to leave him. As I’ve discussed before, this is not really conducive to having a relationship – the idea that even if it all sucks, you just can’t leave. But the bond is a mechanism for vampire control – as always it was intended to be by its forced creator, Andre. Freyda doesn’t have to do any asking if Sookie wants to come to Oklahoma – she’ll trot along because she misses Eric and hates being tense all the time.

As for the idea that the bond doesn’t work to control Sookie, that’s absolute horse hockey:

Appius Livius’s eyes flickered past me, and I felt him tell me to move.
Dead in the Family, p. 306

This is Appius using the blood bond to give Sookie orders. This is feeling not hearing – so it’s not the telepathy that’s given her the information – it’s the bond. The bond is all about conveying feelings – that’s what it does all the time. Since if when Freyda and Eric marry and have to perform blood exchanges, then it’s entirely possible that Freyda would have some sort of control over Sookie like Appius was able to have – through Eric’s blood. Eric might not be able to stop Freyda calling Sookie through their now mutual bond. Freyda might not have to wait for Sookie to get sick of being tense all the time – she may just end up using the bond to call her quicker. By all that is holy, thank goodness the bond is gone. It is just a surfeit of badness.

So that’s how Freyda hopes to get Sookie to her state – that would be the easy part. In truth, Sookie is one hell of an attractive asset to vampires. Not only is she famous amongst vampires – and Freyda was at Rhodes herself, but among weres and supes in general:

“You’re kind of famous in the supe community, Sookie.”
“What?” This made no sense at all.
“You’re unique.”

Small Town Wedding, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 36

Sookie is unique. As much as some readers want to make out that it is Eric who is unusual – it is Sookie that gets gossiped about. No website covers when Eric leaves the state – Stan Davis didn’t know who the hell he was when he turned up as Leif. Eric has to force people to do favours for him – Sookie just gets people rallying round to help, because she doesn’t try to keep a tight reign on debts. Sookie is the one who people gossip about and want around – she draws people to her because she’s willing to help each community. Eric is just the guy who’s lucky enough to date her – not the other way around.

On top of that, there’s Sookie’s use as a telepath – the selfsame reason Eric wanted her in the first place. She can discover thieves and traitors, spy on the daytime guys of any vampire (which she did for Eric with Mustapha Khan but could easily do to spy on rivals – a vampire hobby), uncover Fellowship plots, and make sure that the Fellowship doesn’t get too many blows in, and make sure that all of your business deals go your way. A telepath when put to work for vampires would save them a whole heap of time and money. So far, Sookie has saved Eric and his Area numerous times – from discovering an embezzler, to making sure to help him out by bringing in the Weres over the Witch War, to figuring out a plan to kill Victor.  Her telepathy, and willingness to do something about what thoughts she hears – she has made Eric not only a shit-ton of money, but she’s saved his job and his life.

Furthermore, apart from the cachet she has with weres, vampires and shifters – having done these communities favours and saving lives left, right and centre; there’s also fairies. Sure, with Niall as her great-grandfather it’s a bad idea to hurt her, but at the same time, there’s insight into fairy politics and their financial machinations. Sookie is also a bargaining chip – if Sookie likes you, Niall might help you against enemy vampires, and may fail to kill you. While vampires can’t deal directly with fairies, they can make nice to fairies through Sookie. Since the fairies had a war over her life, all of the supe community would come to know that Niall does stuff to make Sookie happy.

This isn’t something you can buy – you have to have a plethora of telepaths in order to do that. And we have Barry, Sookie and Hunter in the territory of Amun. No one knows about Hunter, and the other two telepaths have employers. You don’t just run across telepaths every single day. In the whole of Louisiana, the vampires have been able to find ONE they can get to work for them – because Mr. Cataliades won’t play ball. On top of that, it’s not something one buys for exorbitant amounts of money – a telepath is to save you money, not be a useless drain on resources who asks more for her fee than she saves you. Victor didn’t get himself a telepath to counter Eric’s telepath – because there just aren’t that many telepaths available for vampire use. On top of that, Sookie has way more value than Barry does, because of that cachet that she’s built up.

Even though Freyda would be forcing Eric to be with her – making it less likely that Sookie would help her out – all she’d have to do is manipulate it to look like she’s helping Sookie out. Or require Sookie to get into debt for the favour of living in Oklahoma and work it out, or just plain old force her like Eric himself did the second night they met. Threatening to hurt Eric would get Sookie to comply quick smart. It’d be as simple – once Sookie is in Oklahoma – as keeping Eric by her side. If Eric’s under threat from the Fellowship, then Sookie would save Eric’s life, and by default Freyda’s because Freyda’s by his side when Sookie tells him there’s danger. It’s not as if with the pledge in place that you can get to Sookie any other way but through Eric.

It’s also important to remember that while we (or most of we – some readers love Doormat Sookie who does as she’s told) don’t think Sookie would comply with Freyda, we have the advantage of knowing her better than gossip would tell us, because we’re in her head. We know that Sookie wouldn’t follow Eric – but Freyda doesn’t know Sookie that well. Freyda doesn’t realise she’s in a book, and has millions judging her, and I highly doubt that she cares about the feelings of the woman whose marriage she’s trying to break up. All she knows is what she’s heard from other people, which is considerably less reliable than those of us who are in her head with Sookie. Which begs the question of what sort of stuff Freyda might have been hearing.

What one vampire “owns” in that kingdom is theirs to command – and Sookie is a private asset now with the pledging – she belongs to Eric and not the Kingdom. And he’s been putting it around that Sookie does what Eric tells her:

“You aren’t, though Eric pretends to Victor that you obey him in all things.
Two Blondes, Death’s Excellent Vacation, p. 38

Do you think that Eric qualified that with a whole heap of conditions? Cause I sure don’t. So supes gossip and Freyda has heard that Sookie heels well and does what Eric tells her. He has sole ownership – as he pointed out with the pledge, no vampire can touch her but for asking him. Eric was already “mine”ing Sookie way before the pledge was in place – he already believes that he owns her without a marriage. It’s just that the marriage makes her Eric’s asset, rather than the asset of the Kingdom. In order to get to Sookie, you have to break the pledge. And whaddya know? Freyda has a way to do that, and through the bond, a way to get her to Oklahoma where she can obey Eric…who obeys his new wife and Queen as consort.

When looking at who is more valuable to a vampire Queen, Eric seems to be a bit of a short-change – but Sookie would make any politician and business woman rub her hands together with glee. Whereas Eric is one sword amongst many, and one vampire amongst many, and brings a probably small fortune with him, he doesn’t do the same damage politically that Sookie does. He doesn’t even have the potential to do that. If Eric could rally the weres to his cause, then he would have used them to fight Victor – but Sookie is the one with links to Hotshot, the Shreveport pack and weres in Dallas, not Eric. He’s not the one the sole remaining fairy Prince wants to coddle.

If Eric was really what Freyda wanted, and only what Freyda wanted, she’s doing it wrong. He doesn’t bring anything real to the table – a small amount of money (compared to her considerable oil money) and no territory that he’s the King of. His physical prowess isn’t really that big of a deal to want Eric himself. Consider when Sophie Anne was looking for another marriage, now that Peter Threadgill was dead:

“Marry anyone: Kentucky, Florida, I would add even Mississippi, if he were not negotiating
with Indiana. But you need an alliance, someone lethal to back you up. Otherwise jackals
like this Baruch will circle around, yipping for your attention.”

All Together Dead, pp. 149-150

An alliance is what a smart Queen would marry for – and Eric will be a subject, not an ally. Sophie Anne didn’t consider marrying down to make Christian Baruch’s life better and help him build a hotel empire for vampires. She considered other royals, and was even going to make Andre a royal (of Arkansas) and marry him. If all Oklahoma wanted was a physical presence – to fuck or fight for her – she’d have been better served in getting Appius to call Eric to Oklahoma herself, and having his Master order him to perform. Instead, she wants shot of Appius, but to keep Eric. I just don’t believe that Appius was that good of a negotiator to get Freyda to give part of her kingdom to a Sheriff who’ll bring relatively little, based on Appius’ recommendation that Eric was fantastic enough to marry for a hundred years.

No – it’s not Eric that Freyda wants – it’s the power vacuum he leaves behind, and his tasty telepathic slave. Think about what Louisiana would look like if Eric was gone. No Victor any more. New Orleans has been abandoned. The power structure there is absolutely empty, and according to Victor’s underlings:

We’re badly overextended. He needs to settle in New Orleans,
building back up the vampire structure there.

Dead Reckoning, p. 86

So apart from Eric, where exactly is the power structure in Louisiana? That would be nowhere. Eric is the only sure thing in Louisiana. Felipe can’t instantly produce new vampires to take over old positions – and what do you know – Eric just killed a whole bunch of the existing vampires and Victor. Felipe may not be able to even afford to lose Eric without the bunch of vampires Eric has already killed:

He’s setting up Red Rita in Arkansas, and she’s never ruled, he knows Victor
is sulking about being appointed regent rather than king in Louisiana, and
he is busy himself in Las Vegas, which he’s running on a skeleton crew
since he’s sent people out to both his new states.

Dead Reckoning, p. 186

Without Eric in Louisiana, Felipe’s situation is looking so much worse off. If Eric’s not there, Louisiana is relatively empty – leaving Felipe with even less of a skeleton crew, and the formerly strong Area Five without a leader. Area Five is the only area at this point that has had any continuity. If Felipe loses that, even with Victor alive, he just would have two states struggling to get on their feet, and one state with a skeleton staff to keep it going until the other two states pull it together.

Felipe would rather eat glass than allow a rival’s consort to keep and rule one of his areas. Felipe has brains – and one does not allow a vampire with an marriage contract with another rival royal to rule in your area. Consider what we know of the rules of vampire marriage:

The welfare of Russell’s kingdom shall come second only to his own in Bart’s sight, and the welfare of Bart’s kingdom shall come second only to his own in Russell’s sight.
All Together Dead, p. 166

While these two Kings had kingdoms of their own (as opposed to Eric who will have part of Freyda’s kingdom as caretaker) the first loyalty is to yourself, and then your spouse – before everyone else. Felipe would have to have a screw loose keeping someone who’s been shown to be loyal to his oaths, in charge of his Area, while married to a rival Queen. And Felipe doesn’t have a screw loose.  That would be an invitation for Eric to run Freyda’s agenda in his area and let her make money instead of paying Felipe his due. From Freyda’s viewpoint, the weaker Felipe is, the better for her. Eric would not be allowed to stay Sheriff in Area Five – he’d have his own bailiwick in Freyda’s state anyway – and Felipe wouldn’t want a spy installed for another queen ruling one of the biggest areas of a Louisiana demolished thanks to Victor’s stupidity.

It’s not about Eric’s value to Freyda, who is already strong enough – it’s about taking that value from Felipe. If Eric left, Pam would also undoubtedly leave (as his second – although we readers know that Pam could take off elsewhere because of Miriam’s death, there’s no guarantee that Freyda or Felipe know this) and who would be left? Maxwell Lee the accountant? Indira, the relatively young female vampire, child of Indian immigrants to the US? Bill Compton who has no interest in politics? Eric is absolutely indispensible when it comes down to it, merely because there is no one to take his job if he leaves. It isn’t Eric she wants at all – it’s what comes with him – his telepathic slave, and taking something from Felipe. When it comes down to it, Eric is relatively small fry compared to a big fish like Sookie.

And that’s Sookie’s value as a pivotal individual without the broader vampire political spectrum. That’s where I think we have some more evidence that not only is Sookie exactly what Freyda wants, but that Sookie is one of the stepping stones. Freyda has her eye on a long term prize, and there’s a reason Sookie is pivotal to that.  So, I’m sure you’ve all seen the zones map I made. Well, I had to make yet another map for this explanation. Behold:

Now one of the key pieces of information we’ve been sort of missing is the state of Texas. We last had an update that Stan was very injured, and that Joseph Velasquez, Stan’s second was trying to run the state for his King, and that Rachel might overthrow the pair of them. Things were looking a bit dodgy in Texas. But now we get an update (which is one thing we can actually rely on Eric for – always with the juicy political tidbits):

..and Eric said, “That would still be in Joseph Velasquez’s territory. When
Stan became king, he gave Joseph the sheriffdom.”

Small Town Wedding, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 22

So whoever is King/Queen (and my money is on a recovered Stan Davis) Joseph Velasquez holds the area that Sookie travelled to for the Merlotte family wedding – Wright. Now as far as I can tell, the town of Wright is a fictional one made up by CH. But, Sam and Sookie went through Dallas and Fort Worth and went west, which gives us a general area and direction for the little town. They were coming from Bon Temps, and headed through both places – giving a general area of where fictional Wright is; and therefore, where Joseph Velasquez’s area is.

Unlike Louisiana, we don’t have any hint as to how many areas there are in Texas – while Dallas is called Area 6, we have no way to understand how it’s divided. Based on population, there are certainly enough people in Texas to have that many areas if not more – while Louisiana has 5 areas, and the population is much smaller. I would say that since Joseph was Stan’s second, and that Joseph was such a loyal second while Stan was injured from Rhodes, that giving him a prominent area would have been a good idea. As seen above – Joseph has Stan’s old area – which includes Dallas. So the approximate area for Joseph Velasquez is lightened above, and has his name in white.

Now, it’s unknown what area Stan as King would have – but my money is on Houston.  It’s the biggest city, meaning that it’s the most lucrative – even if Austin is the capital like Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana, the vampires care about head of cattle people per vampire population and making money. That’s a similar set up to Louisiana – one considerable power at the top, the royal at the bottom of the state, with the sea at their back. So like Eric, Joseph was an excellent backup for Stan, and so he got the Area at a vulnerable point with importance to holding the state.

But looking at the location of this critical area, it’s probably the closest big city to Oklahoma City – which would be politically smart as well. You wouldn’t want to take your eye off the ball around Freyda. She made it into Bossier City in Louisiana, so I’m sure she could casually move into Dallas and Fort Worth. Whoever is King of In Texas would need to have someone paying attention in Dallas, and all along the upper border. The fact that she made it into Bossier City:

Two summers before, a small group of vamps from Oklahoma had tried to
set up a rival bar in adjacent Bossier City.

Dead to the World, p. 87

She’s made it into Louisiana – and that was back when Peter Threadgill was alive. I’d say that vampires do this as a matter of routine, and do it often. That’s why Eric had to ask permission to send vampires to other states – Mississippi, Dallas and Texas. I’d say that rival royals try to poach bits of state regularly – and so Freyda chose Area Five in Louisiana because it’s closest and if she could crack Area Five, then she could take Areas 2, 3 and 4 easily, and set up an assault on Area One (where Sophie Anne is).

This shows that Oklahoma has possibly had expansion plans that have been in the works for a while – in the area of Louisiana. She’s been making incursions for a while into other areas – and even has her eye on Nevada. However, as you can see from the map, Vegas is quite a bit further away from Louisiana and Arkansas. It’s physically far away from Oklahoma as well:

“Two other monarchs in Zeus. The Queen of Oklahoma, for one. And the King of Arizona.”
Dead Reckoning, p. 187

So Freyda is eyeing up Nevada. But that doesn’t mean that Las Vegas is one of her primary desires. The King of Arizona also wants Nevada. Arizona is right next to Nevada, so it’s possible that Arizona would have a much easier time keeping the state. Part of Felipe’s problem is that he’s had to break up forces. Sure, he can send Victor over to Louisiana, but in order to keep things going well, he has to be able to recall vampires easily. With the vampires being so far from home, they can’t drive over to Las Vegas – they’d have to fly so Felipe doesn’t have to ask permission for a constant track of vampires driving through other areas. Not only that, but Felipe relies on Victor for whatever is happening in Louisiana. That relies on Victor’s honesty and loyalty – two words I don’t think are high on Victor’s priority list.

But the key is that Nevada also owns Louisiana and Arkansas. If Freyda were to take Nevada, then she’d get Louisiana and Arkansas as well – nicely adjacent to Oklahoma. While the Queen may not be able to hold Las Vegas forever, she doesn’t need to. She’d keep the closer and more convenient states, who make considerable money and are meccas of vampire tourism. Unlike Felipe, she’ll have the two states she’s trying to consolidate right next door. Felipe has the two states he’s trying to consolidate another couple of states away. There’s a tactical advantage to having Louisiana and Arkansas – the very same tactical advantage Arizona is going for in trying to get hold of Nevada, Louisiana and Arkansas. And the same tactical advantage Felipe was going for:

“Our new masters have been chipping away at Edgington’s control of Mississippi,” Pam said.
Two Blondes, Death’s Excellent Vacation, p. 33

Look at what a powerful bloc say Nevada-Louisiana-Oklahoma-Arkansas would make (for Freyda) – OR Louisiana-Mississippi-Arkansas-Nevada (for Felipe) – OR Louisiana-Arizona-Nevada-Arkansas (for the King of Arizona). I’ve conveniently coloured them so you can imagine that sort of bloc. I’ve skewed it more towards what Freyda would want, because that’s relevant to our interests in this post.

Okay, you say, what’s the big point of having a big bloc of vampire states? Well apart from increased revenue, and increased power, there’s the tactical advantage of having a huge bloc of states. It means that not only do you have more power, but you’re more of a rival for one of the biggest states in the South – Texas. Look at the size of the Texas population – meaning vampires per head of cattle humans – vs. Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nevada. Texas is way bigger than surrounding states – all of them – as you can see here. So of all the states, Texas is the most valuable. Unlike, for example, California, that does have a larger population, but as Eric points out:

“California is in thirds – California Sacramento, California San Jose, and California Los Angeles.
Dead in the Family, p. 158

The Kingdom of “In Texas” – the Texas state is huge. It is a worthy prize – one that many leaders would want. It might be a whole heap of territory, but you could build a gigantic army of vampires if you had Texas. In order to take Texas, you need a gigantic army of vampires, and you need to have a power base close by. I think Louisiana-Arkansas-Oklahoma bloc – or any of the other blocs under Felipe or Arizona – could actually pose a threat to Texas.

So why do I think Freyda’s angling for Sookie as part of the wider vampire power structure? Oh, this little quote that’s been bothering me for a while, because it’s kinda extra information we didn’t really need at the time:

“Stan has one,” the queen said to her husband, as if vampires collected telepaths
the way dog fanciers collected springer spaniels.

“So you’re now trying to match your entourage to Stan’s?” Peter Threadgill asked
his wife, in a distinctly unfond kind of way.

“If Stan can see the advantage in employing such a person, I can certainly
consider it – especially since one is easily available.”

Definitely Dead, p. 211

CH does love “sowing seeds” as she calls it. See, I think that Peter Threadgill saw a threat in this – a reason to take out his wife. It wasn’t just that he’d been planning that from the start, but if Rhodes hadn’t happened, and Katrina hadn’t happened, then Sophie Anne would have had one of those state type blocs by taking out Peter. Observe this quote from Sophie Anne herself:

Due to many circumstances, he didn’t get to pick his best moment to go after me,
and as a result, his people died and most of mine lived.

All Together Dead, p. 217

If it wasn’t the best moment to go after her, why rush it? I think it’s because Peter Threadgill decided that either way, he had to get out from this agreement wherein his wife could easily shape up to rival Stan in Texas. It’s not that I think if Sookie didn’t exist, Peter and Sophie Anne would have made goo-goo eyes at each other, but rather, the pushing up of the timetable. Either way, Peter wanted to take her out that night. It is that weird little interaction about matching Stan’s entourage that gives us a hint as to why the pressure was on Peter Threadgill to take Sophie Anne out quickly.

Peter Threadgill would have seen Sophie Anne shaping up to take on Texas – and in order to do that, she’d have to gain more territory. One of those ways to gain more territory would have been accidentally killing her husband and inheriting his everything and she could have chipped away at other areas, just like other royals are attempting to do all the time. Peter Threadgill saw that his days were numbered as soon as she mentioned matching up to Stan. She probably would have chosen Mississippi, just like Felipe has – Russell is unattentive, with a constant throng of men all through his palace – and Eric has been lucky enough to spy under the auspices of helping Sookie.

The real end game is having a bloc to rival Texas. And if Texas has a telepath, then it’s sooo much better if the rival bloc has a telepath as well. If Freyda were to take away Area 5’s Sheriff, in an already demolished Louisiana state, get Sookie to come along to Oklahoma, she’s weakened Felipe considerably. Who would be left in Louisiana who knew what the hell they’re doing? What would Felipe do with his already stretched skeleton crew, further weakened by the killing of Victor, Luis, Antonio, Bruno Brazell and Corinna? The answer is “Crash and Burn”. And Freyda would happily scoop up the remains. Once she has Louisiana, Arkansas and Nevada, she can shore up her authority and make a play for Texas.

That’s where Sookie’s importance plays into the whole deal. You can put Eric on any one of the front lines – send him in to take the risk and capture the state, just like Felipe did with Victor. But Eric in that scenario is rather expendable. If he gets killed trying to take over Texas, I’m sure Freyda could take the loss on the chin, and she would be free to marry again. But the brilliant thing about having Sookie for a Texas takeover? She could make sure to send Sookie – famous supe commodity – in to do all her reconnoitring. Sookie could come back with all the information that Stan Davis’ day man can give her, all the information from the weres, and if there are fairies in Texas, possible data from them. Sookie could go in and glean every single strategic advantage.

In the meantime, Freyda has a telepath at her disposal who’s saving her money on business deals, making sure the Fellowship plans are foiled, making nice with the weres, making sure all her people are loyal. Even before Freyda would gear up to take out Texas, she’d have Sookie saving her money hand over fist. Better still, Sookie herself is friends with the telepath that works for Stan, and has a reasonable relationship – enough to get close to them – with Stan Davis and Joseph Velasquez. A little threat that Freyda will hurt or ruin Eric (who is now her subject) and Sookie would be sure to comply.

With a telepath as her spy – when there are so few telepaths, Freyda could have just about any state in her sights. Sookie has proved her worth over and over when it comes to making sure that the King or Queen who has her will win out. She saved Sophie Anne from Peter Threadgill and helped Felipe escape from Sigebert. She’s proven over and over that she can do damn amazing things. Sending her in to smooth a takeover, make sure the weres and shifters ally with Sookie, rather than the vampires they don’t particularly like or trust would be pure political gold.

Felipe probably took these particular states because he had the self same plan – otherwise he wouldn’t be trying to chip away at Edgington’s control of Mississippi…also using Sookie to see if that meeting at Two Blondes was on the up-and-up when they were trying to chip away that control. Victor did insist that Sookie went along – and Eric had to do what his leader told him, just as he’d have to do if he was in Oklahoma with a new wife and Queen. If Felipe could get his hands on the centre of vampire tourism, and these states with mucho casinos, he’d be able to shore up his authority thanks to Sookie and then make a play for Texas with Sookie as his advance forces. He’s also been trying desperately to get his hands on Sookie – hence Eric’s need to surprise marry Sookie. Of course, Felipe was probably relying on Victor being better at this than he was. But CH points out that Felipe was playing the long game with Louisiana, and had an agent at Rhodes. There’s no reason to think that acquiring Louisiana is the end game. After all, if Felipe hired the weather witch, then he had his eye on Louisiana before it was vulnerable, and probably around the time it became one of those bigger blocs.

The positive benefit to all of this is that it’s not in Felipe’s interest to send Eric away to Freyda unless he’s been making busy creating business dynamo vampires. He can’t afford to lose yet another valuable member of his empire to a rival – leaving himself weak. As long as Eric decides to fight hard, Felipe will have his back. In fact, the entire board of Narayana might even have Eric’s back when they see the implications of what could happen:

The kings and queens of Narayana wouldn’t want their territory weakened if Felipe
failed and Sophie Anne managed to take Nevada. So he had to outline his plan.

Dead in the Family, p. 155

Even if Felipe wants to be spiteful over Victor – and shoot himself in the foot – it may not be up to him. Eric may be able to take his case higher up to the board of Narayana. I’d say that Felipe isn’t that spiteful and stupid, and will back Eric up, but there’s still higher authorities. Sure, Eric played a part in demolishing the state of Louisiana, but that doesn’t mean they have people to replace him. It’s a case of not being able to get rid of Eric, because he’s so much more indispensible now that he’s killed a whole heap of vampires in Louisiana, and taken out what remnants there were of Victor’s power structure. Only Ana Lyudmila is left alive. If Eric leaves Area Five, Louisiana could fall – and who knows how well Arkansas is doing.

If Louisiana and Arkansas fall, Felipe’s Nevada may fall too, because he’s stretched thin. But it’s up to Eric to fight hard to stay where he is rather than acquiesce to Master’s wishes – not anyone else. Just to reiterate again:

I even respect that you still wish to honor his word. Nevertheless, Sookie
will see it as a betrayal. And your treatment of her tonight didn’t help.

The Secret Dialogues of Bill and Eric, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 209

Bill understands that Eric’s wanting to do what Appius wanted for him, and that Eric’s been an arse to Sookie. The decision at this point is on Eric. If he goes to Freyda, he may find himself warehoused because what she really wanted was to weaken Felipe and get her hands on a telepath. Eric might not find himself so very rewarded if he comes with one, but without the other. He’ll have to decide – and decide right – Sooner or later.