Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eric, Bill and Pam tell Sookie about maenad

Book 2

"Why a maenad?" I asked, startling all of them. I hoped I was pronouncing the word correctly. "Naiads are water and dryads are trees, right? So why a maenad, out there in the woods? Weren't maenads just women driven mad by the god Bacchus?"
"Sookie, you have unexpected depths," Eric said, after an appreciable pause. I didn't tell him I'd learned that from reading a mystery. Let him think I read ancient Greek literature in the original language. It couldn't hurt.
Chow said, "The god entered some women so completely that they became immortal, or very close to it. Bacchus was the god of the grape, of course, so bars are very interesting to maenads. In fact, so interesting that they don't like other creatures of the darkness becoming involved. Maenads consider that
the violence sparked by the consumption of alcohol belongs to them; that's what they feed off, now that no one formally worships their god. And they are attracted to pride."
That rang a chime. Hadn't Bill and I both been feeling our pride, tonight?
"We had only heard rumors one was in the area," Eric said. "Until Bill brought you in."
"So what was she warning you of? What does she want?"
"Tribute," Pam said. "We think.""What kind?"
Pam shrugged. It seemed that was the only answer I was going to get.
"Or what?" I asked. Again with the stares. I gave a deep sigh of exasperation. "What's she gonna do if you don't pay her tribute?"
"Send her madness." Bill sounded worried.
"Into the bar? Merlotte's?" Though there were plenty of bars in the area.
The vampires eyed each other. "Or into one of us," Chow said. "It has happened. The Halloween massacre of 1876, in St. Petersburg."
They all nodded solemnly. "I was there," Eric said. "It took twenty of us to clean up. And we had to stake Gregory, it took all of us to do that. The maenad, Phryne, received tribute after that, you can be sure."
For the vampires to stake one of their own, things had to be pretty serious. Eric had staked a vampire who had stolen from him, and Bill had told me Eric had had to pay a severe penalty. Who to, Bill hadn't
said, and I hadn't asked. There were some things I could live quite well without knowing. "So you'll give a tribute to this maenad?"
They were exchanging thoughts on this, I could tell. "Yes," Eric said. "It is better if we do."
"I guess maenads are pretty hard to kill," Bill said, a question in his voice.
Eric shuddered. "Oh, yes," he said. "Oh, yes."