There was a moment of collective silence as everyone allowed the tiny girl time to visibly collect herself. She may not have liked pouring her heart out but in a way, she’d already done it. It was, Richard mused, strange to see a usually emotionless person suddenly so animated. When vampires were emotionless it never got to him quite the same way because they seemed dead. Artificial. Elisabeth, cool and controlled, did not. And yet, beneath the hard exterior there had to be a lot more than met the eye.
“I’ve got an offer,” she finally broke the silence. Jean-Claude waved a negligent hand for her to go on.
“There is no way in hell I’ll call you Master. Nothing personal but I serve no-one.” There was story behind that and everyone heard it. “But to make up for my…faux pas, I can offer you my alliance. You call and I’ll fight for you as long as no innocents are harmed. I’ll be your bloody dog of war if you need one. And feel free to use me as a threat if you want to. I find that the term ‘slayer’ always works for intimidation purposes.” She didn’t like it though. Didn’t like that her name was that of the bogey man. “In exchange, you leave me and mine alone.”
Executioner and vampire exchanged quick glances. It galled the Ulfric just a bit that he was not included in the silent conversation but not enough to object. Finally, Anita shrugged.
Jean-Claude turned back to Elisabeth and rattled off his own conditions. Not that he ever rattled because he was all grace and sex and seduction but still… ”You will obey my command, you will swear and oath of loyalty and you and your people will serve as pomme de sang for my Kiss at least once a month. If you do not comply, I will kick you, as you say, out of town. And I want to know what you are capable of.”
Her only reaction was to cock her head to one side thoughtfully. Then she answered, “No, no, no, perhaps, no and yes.”
That earned her another raised eyebrow. Anita was stroking her gun in that maniacal way of hers.
“I already told you I will not call you Master. No oath, no commands. Ask and ye shall receive but I don’t obey very well. My blood is out of the question as it has some…interesting side effects on vampires. I will have to ask my people if they are willing to serve as snacks, so that’s a perhaps. You can kick me out of town if I harm you or yours directly or indirectly. I see no other reason why you would have to get rid of me.”
“I am afraid, ma cheré, that I have many enemies. Enemies who would see a weakness in letting you run unchecked in my territory.” Of course, it always came back to the Council these days. The Ulfric should have known that.
Elisabeth shrugged. “I don’t care what you tell people. Make them believe whatever you want. I’ll keep my complaints private.”
Now there was a new concept, not giving a damn about what people thought about you. There was a mile wide gap between ally and servant and yet…
“That is acceptable.” Jean-Claude was backing off. For now. It seemed he was actually heeding Richard’s advice not too push too much. Still, everyone in the room knew that this wasn’t the end of it.
Everyone relaxed visibly and the three submissives in the room crawled back to their respective masters, seeking contact once more now that they knew they would not get underfoot of a potential fight. Elisabeth smiled briefly as Jay pressed his head against her thigh.
The smile however, was short lived as Jean-Claude demanded, “I believe you have one more condition to fulfil, ma cheré.”
At her questioning looks he elaborated, “Your power, ma cheré. I want to taste your power.”
Pulling a face, Elisabeth nodded, suddenly tense again. “I will if you stop calling me ma cheré. I have a name, you know.”
He laughed. It was a bad laugh, filled with power and seduction. Richard hated these laughs because they always made him squirm.
“Tres bon, Miss Summers. Now, if you would.”
Jay was on his feet faster than you could say ‘huh’, crossing the room to stand as far away from everyone as possible. He pressed his back into a corner, wrapped his arms around his middle and closed his eyes like a child expecting the monster to come through the door any second.
Anita gave him an incredulous look. “What’s wrong with you?” She asked.
He didn’t open his eyes as he answered, “I’d rather not lose it, thanks a lot.”
Before any more could be said, the blonde in the middle of the room spread her arms and let go.