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Eric used to play near the seaside as a child. His father was a Viking King. Although his parents wished that Eric would choose a wife, he was more interested in enjoying the pleasures of unmarried life. In the winter of 919 A.D. while Eric was having sex with a servant, werewolves attacked their home. They killed his mother and baby sister and managed to overpower his father, taking his crown. The crown was handed to a cloaked figure who walked off into the snowy night, leaving Eric to tend to his dying father. Before Eric's father died, he declared Eric a king and made him promise to avenge his family. ("Trouble")In 930 A.D. Eric was wounded in battle while searching for his father's killer somewhere in Scandinavia. Against his wishes, his Viking companions decided to stay with him. They told Eric tales of glory and of women waiting for him in Valhalla. During the night, an unseen force murdered his comrades. A mysterious young tattooed boy appeared and introduced himself as "Death" to the dying Eric. Having seen Eric's strength on the battlefield, the 1,000 year old vampire Godric offered him immortality through life as a vampire. When Eric asked what he would get out of it, Godric said "Life". With the lust for life for which he was renowned, Eric agreed and Godric turned him into a vampire. ("Never Let Me Go")
By 1665, Godric and Eric were living in London, England during an outbreak of the plague. While doing a favor for King Charles II, Eric came upon a young woman, Nora Gainesborough, who had become infected by the plague whilst caring for victims of the epidemic. Intrigued by Nora's courage, Eric brought her before Godric, who turned her.
In 1905 Eric was in San Francisco. He rescued Pamela Swynford De Beaufort from an attacker in the street by killing her assailant. Her lack of reaction to his appearance impressed him and he decided to visit her brothel the next night. Here he discovered that the vampire Lorena Krasiki and her progeny Bill Compton were responsible for draining several of Pam's employees. Eric confronted them and drove them away. He stayed with Pam for a while afterwards, at which time she asked him to turn her. Eric refused, saying that she had no idea what being a maker encompassed. Out of desperation, Pam slit her wrists and forced Eric to turn her or watch her die. Eric acquiesced and became a maker at last. ("Whatever I Am, You Made Me")
During World War II, Godric and Eric posed as Nazi Schutzstaffel officers in order to infiltrate "Operation Werewolf". In 1945, they tracked a werewolf down to a house in Augsburg, Germany. The werewolf attacked and killed an American soldier before turning on Eric, but Godric stabbed her in the arm with a bayonet, pinning her to the wall. Eric demanded to know whom her master was, but the werewolf said she would tell them only if Eric let her drink some of his blood. Godric was deeply offended by the idea, as Vampire Blood is sacred. Eric, however, did not care. He bit himself and allowed the werewolf to feed from his wrist. She then revealed that her master is a vampire, which shocked Eric. The werewolf took advantage of his distraction, pushing Eric to the ground and attempting to stake him. Godric intervened and snapped the werewolf's neck.
Godric lectured his progeny about maintaining control of his emotions before promising to hunt the blasphemous vampire down. ("Beautifully Broken") Shortly after this confrontation, Eric and Godric parted ways and would not meet again for many decades.
In 1986, Eric was with his progeny Pam in France. During their stay, Eric became enamored with a beautiful human woman named Sylvie and was unusually fond of her. However, Eric's waywardness and disobedience to his Sheriff put him into conflict with the Authority and was confronted by Nan Flanagan, revealing the synthesis of Tru Blood and the possibility of mainstreaming. Eric mocked both, much more interested in Sylvie than the concerns of the AVL.
A short while later, Eric's fun was put to an abrupt end with the appearance on the Yakuza. They kidnapped both Pam and Sylvie, giving him an ultimatum to only allow one to live if he came with them. Eric refused, offering himself instead, but they needed him alive. In the end Eric reluctantly chose Pam and is forced to watch as Sylvie dies. ("Fire in the Hole")
That same year Eric was relocated with Pam to Shreveport, Louisiana. The two are punished for their public activities by The Magister to run a run-down video store that would eventually become Fangtasia and 80% of all the money must go to the Authority. Eric was elected the new Sheriff of Louisiana Area 5, but only as a means to keep tabs on him and keep his waywardness in check. Eric and Pam are disgusted with this arrangement and run the video store for twenty boring years.
Two years before the series' pilot, just when vampires "came out of the coffin", Eric and Pam are still running the video store with help of vampire groupie Ginger. Ginger pitched the idea of turning the store into a vampire nightclub called Fangtasia. Pam would relay this to Eric and the two create and operate Fangtasia, though Pam had told Eric it had been her idea. ("Death is Not the End")