Black Dagger Brotherhood Cheat sheet- Series by JR Ward
THE SCRIBE VIRGIN AND HER SINGLE ACT OF CREATION
We’re not sure exactly who the Scribe Virgin is, other than the mother of the vampire race. Her father (don’t know who he is either) gifted her with a single act of creation, which she used to create a race of beings who:
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cannot walk in the sun must drink the blood of a member of the opposite sex within the race (to supplement a standard human food and drink diet) live for almost 1000 years dematerialize to different locations (but are trapped by heavy metals like steel or lead and cannot carry large or heavy objects) are stronger and faster than humans and are often quite beautiful and may have unusually colored eyes and hair & have no body hair below
When males fall in love, they bond with their female, making them feel possessive and extremely protective of her, their eyes glow in her presence, and their bodies also emit a dark, spicy, sensual fragrance used to mark the female during mating as a warning to other males that she is off-limits. Mating ceremonies for bonded males include the female’s name being carved into the male’s back and sealed with salty water to show her ownership of him. She becomes the primary focus of his existence. Vampires can breed with humans and half-breed offspring will inherit any or all of the above characteristics, depending on the strength of the lineage of the vampire parent. Humans cannot be made into vampires—you either have vampire blood or you don’t. The biggest issue facing the vampires is extinction. The vampire population is under threat from the Lessening Society, created with the express purpose of wiping out the race, and also faces difficulties with procreation due to infrequent fertility cycles and high mortality rates. The Scribe Virgin likes to play a meaningful role in the race’s traditions and there is a very definite code of conduct when in the Scribe Virgin’s presence. First and foremost is no questions. Be extremely polite and respectful. If you want something, make sure you include the phrase, ‘If it would not offend…’ She has been known to melt vampires who offend her. She also believes in balance, so a request granted often requires a sacrifice. Wrath’s father had a good relationship with her and was even allowed to call her by her name, Analisse. She is small and beautiful in appearance and usually wears black robes with a white glow spread out on the floor around her. But lately, the glow is dimmer and the force of her personality has diminished. The Scribe Virgin is at a loss and feels as though she has no purpose while her race is in trouble, partly due to her traditions. In a last ditch attempt at survival, some of those traditions have changed, leaving her feeling more superfluous to her race. In addition to creating the vampire race, the Scribe Virgin wanted children of her own bloodline. She took vampire form and made a deal with the strongest, most cunning male she could find. She would bear him a son who would be given to his father at the age of 3 for the next 300 years. Her son would be hers again at 303. She also had a daughter who would be raised as a Chosen. Because she had broken the rules by creating life outside of the initial gift she had been given, her children would suffer and so would she in watching their pain. Her son Vishous grew up in the harsh environment of a warrior camp, where he fought for and stole everything he ever ate. When his father deemed him a threat after his transition, he had V tattooed and partially castrated before banishing him from the camp with nothing. V eventually became a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Out of honour for the deal she’d made with the Bloodletter, or maybe because she didn’t want to risk inflicting more pain on her son, the Scribe Virgin had no direct contact with Vishous as his mother until his 303rd birthday approached. She had decided he would live a life of comfort as the Chosen’s Primale. He angrily and reluctantly agreed, but then fell in love with a human doctor who was later murdered. She sacrificed the birds who made her happy to restore the life of her son’s mate. She then revived her daughter from stasis. Payne was too wild and aggressive to truly embrace the Chosen’s traditions. At some stage, she left the Other Side and killed her father. She believed her twin brother to be dead. As the Scribe Virgin wanted to spare everyone more pain, she kept her daughter in a froze state for who knows how long. Although Payne has been released from that frozen state, she is not allowed to leave the Other Side. Could it be because she believes more pain will result from her children being reunited, or does she fear losing her son as a result of having withheld all knowledge of his sister? She held fast to her decision not to release her daughter Payne, despite the damage it does to their relationship until Payne is injured while sparring with Wrath. Her daughter refuses to allow her to repair the injury, so Wrath demands she release her daughter to be cared for on his side. It is a sign of her emotional state that she doesn’t even bat an eye at Wrath’s demand when before she was offended by the slightest question. She was also absent from JM and Xhex’s mating, when tradition states that couples from within the Brotherhood or the Chosen intending to mate must be presented to her for approval.
WHAT IS THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD?
Under threat from the Lessening Society, the vampires as a race began to breed their strongest warriors with their strongest bloodlines to the point that they evolved into a subspecies of vampire warrior, with more physical strength and extra mind powers than the average civilian. This subspecies formed the Black Dagger Brotherhood, named for the daggers Vishous calibrates specially for each Brother to stab lessers through the heart and send them back to the Omega. A notable exception is the Dhestroyer, who can absorb a lesser’s essence, preventing his return to the Omega. He has the potential to absorb all of the Omega’s power, which makes him a huge threat to the evil. All the Brothers have a star-shaped scar over their left pectoral caused by being punched in the chest with a spiky glove by the rest of the Brotherhood during initiation. There used to be 20 to 30 Brothers at a time, but as of the end of Lover Enshrined, there are only four fighting Brothers. Due to decreased numbers in the Brotherhood, for the first time in history, the Primale has joined the fight against the lessers, bringing the total to five. Although they are not actually Brothers, John Matthew, his ahstrux notrum (bodyguard) Qhuinn, Blaylock and Xhex have joined the war. Even though the race has scattered after Lash’s raid, the Brotherhood remains based in Caldwell, NY, as the Tomb is located there.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: WRATH, SON OF WRATH
Born around 1664, Wrath is the last purebred vampire and for over 300 years, he was the race’s absent king. Before his transition, he lived a sheltered life until his family was betrayed by a servant to the lessers. He was hidden away while the rest of his family was slaughtered. He then worked as a stable hand in the human world until his promised shellan (or wife) Marissa tracked him down and fed him her blood to see him through his transition. He also went through the change, which transformed him from a scrawny bag of bones into a 6’6 brick shithouse in a matter of hours. His eyesight was already poor, but worsened after his transition. Instead of stepping up to rule his people, Wrath decided to fight against the lessers, as a way of compensating for his pre-transitional weakness while his family died. He viewed his father as someone who sat on a throne and was adored while he fights for his people, but really carries around a load of survivor’s guilt. One of his Brothers, Darius, kept trying to reach out to him because he believed Wrath was needlessly making himself into a loner, having very little contact with anyone (particularly his “fragile” arranged shellan, Marissa). When Darius discovered that he had a living daughter who would be old enough to go through her transition, he asked Wrath to help her as his blood would ensure she had the best chance of survival. Wrath went to Darius’ daughter, Beth Randall out of obligation to his fallen Brother but soon found himself becoming attached to her. She warmed him up and by guiding her into the vampire world, she showed him that he wouldn’t have been able to help his family and that staying safe was the best thing he could have done. Marissa released him from their mating and Wrath felt free to take Beth as his shellan (even though males are allowed to take more than one shellan, bonded males typically only have eyes for one female). He sought permission from the Scribe Virgin who demanded a favour (yet to be named) as well as for Wrath to take the throne and live up to his duty, something he wasn’t prepared to do until his love for Beth opened him up to love himself and see himself as worthy of leadership. After the lessers wiped out most of the glymera, Wrath secretly joined his Brothers in fighting, with only Butch aware of this. With his civilians dying, Wrath felt he should be more active in keeping them safe rather than sitting on a throne and passing laws. Beth wants to try for a young during her first needing, which is only a couple of years away, if that. Wrath has refused for two reasons: first, many females die during childbirth and second, if his young is male, he has no choice but to become king and inherit the mess Wrath has left behind. But with no heir, the race cannot afford for Wrath to die because there is no royal to step up and take his place. The next king would have to come from the next most pure bloodline. Wrath lied to Beth about going out to fight, but on V’s advice, he came clean and officially rejoined his Brothers in the field. Wrath’s lie put a strain on their relationship, not just because of his ongoing deception but because he risked making her a widow while refusing to start a family with her. They reconciled and Wrath told Beth about the upcoming Council meeting that was even more vital for him to attend after Rehvenge told him of the failed assassination attempt. He must show strength. She compromised by asking him to wear a bulletproof vest. Following a long series of headaches, Wrath lost the remainder of his sight and is now completely blind. Mary helps his rehabilitation and he has a guide dog called George. Wrath must now work even closer with Beth in ruling the race. During his visit to the Other Side to find out that The Scribe Virgin had nothing to do with his blindness, he met Payne and they sparred. Although as a male he normally would not try to hit a female, she instigated their sessions and her smaller size and relative lack of strength is balanced by Wrath’s blindness. She gives as good as she gets and their matches are good for him. He realizes that the world is still there even if he can’t see it and he still has his muscles and fighting skills.
When the Brothers went to rescue Rehvenge, Wrath stood outside in the cold. Beth asked him if he wanted a coat, reminding him of what he loves about her: she hadn’t asked him to go back inside—she asked how she could make it easier for him to be where he wanted to be. She told him that fighting doesn’t make him courageous, he has to live and rule from the heart. Wrath then began to see himself as a king in his own right, not just a fighter pushed into a desk job by his blindness and inheriting his father’s obligations. He moved in the royal desk and throne that Darius had brought across from the Old Country. He asked Rehvenge to remain symphath king to quell any instability and, despite Rehv’s protests, he pointed out that destiny has something in mind for people like them. During a sparring session with Payne where she really forced him to defend himself, he broke her back. When Payne refused to allow the SV to heal her, he demanded she be allowed to go to the Other Side (our side) to see a doctor. He was shocked to hear Payne call the Scribe Virgin her mother. When the SV released her, he got Jane, who was stunned to see the obvious physical resemblance. At JM and Xhex’s mating, Wrath declared them a good match, instead of having the presentation to the Scribe Virgin.
CLASS STRUCTURE AND CIVIL UNREST
In the vampire world, the king is on top (well, answerable only to the Scribe Virgin) and the First Family (the king’s family) is ranked directly below that. Wrath’s bloodline is in charge because their lineage is pure and should anything happen to Wrath before he can beget an heir, the kingdom is transferred to the male with the next strongest bloodline as females cannot rule in their own right. The Brotherhood is also way up there, along with the Chosen (female offspring of the union between a Brother and a Chosen—basically their bloodline makes them the female equivalent of the Brotherhood). However, the Chosen spend most of their lives on the Other Side worshipping the Scribe Virgin. Above the average Joe or civilian vampire, there is also an aristocratic class, referred to as the glymera, which has a lot in common with the ton of Regency England in terms of wealth and snobbishness and is largely a patriarchy. The usual double standards concerning female behavior definitely apply, especially relating to sexual behavior and political power. Homosexuality is okay, but only if a vampire is mated to a member of the opposite sex and keeps their lifestyle hidden. If a gay vampire is caught out, he (or she, assuming the same rule applies to females, which it may not) and their family is ostracized. The upper echelons of the glymera are the Princeps. The Princeps Council (chaired by a leahdyre, was set up to advise the king, but their decisions or rulings were more like recommendations than actual law. Although the doors have opened to more aristos, only the six founding bloodlines can vote. Not everyone is eager to embrace their king after he spent so long shirking his royal duty and letting vampire civilization deteriorate. (For example, there are no longer any soldiers to act as vampire police and the race’s traditions and festivals aren’t really being observed anymore.) The glymera in particular have tried to be helpful by making recommendations to suit only themselves, and Wrath has put their noses further out of joint by (quite rightly) filing them in the circular cabinet. Legally, Wrath cannot be dethroned, but confidence in his leadership ability can be jeopardized. There was an attempt to either force Wrath’s hand into complying with the Council or undermine public confidence in him by passing a motion to protect and shelter (read: oppress) unmated females from the lesser threat. Given that Wrath outlawed the keeping of blood slaves; he would be highly unlikely to uphold a ruling to strip away females’ civil liberties, despite the argument presented by recent lesser activity. In the end, the motion was blackballed by Marissa (who had control of her family’s vote by being older than her brother, Havers) before it reached Wrath’s desk. The war against the lessers has reached a turning point where most of the ruling class was wiped out and Rehvenge was made the new leahdyre. Although Rehv has his own problems, Wrath has found him to be an asset. We haven’t seen the full effects yet, but I believe that the latest massacre may undermine confidence in Wrath. A member of the glymera, Montrag, son of Rehm, approached then-Princeps Council leahdyre Rehvenge about assassinating Wrath on the grounds that he had done nothing in response to the raids on glymera houses. He did not prevent them, was not investigating the property losses and had not assured the glymera that the raids will never happen again. Montrag’s plan was to install a state of democracy, limited to the glymera, with all other classes being ruled by them. His ultimate goal was to rule the race himself, arguing that as the Brotherhood’s prime duty is to protect the race; they would be forced to follow where the race leads. (Do you really see that happening?) Best of all, he would get to keep his role in the conspiracy hidden, leaving Rehvenge to take the fall. Rehvenge instead had Montrag killed and told Wrath of the attempted assassination, but not before Montrag had a sworn statement from Rehvenge’s father denouncing him as his killer and a symphath. At the next Council meeting (which the glymera refused to attend on the grounds that Montrag’s assassination was reason enough for them to remain safe at home), the statement was delivered by a glymera lawyer.
Then the symphath princess emailed the Brotherhood with the old news that Rehv is a symphath and, unless he is delivered to the colony, she will email the glymera telling them about Rehvenge and that the king did nothing about it. Rehvenge defanged the princess by faking his death in the human and vampire worlds and going to the colony. Wrath also rules the symphaths, claiming he has the power to take away the symphath colony and that the king rules only because Wrath lets him. As Montrag committed treason, upon his death his estate legally goes to the king, unless Wrath chooses not to exercise that right. A document sent to Wrath for approval came from glymera lawyer Saxton, who asked him not to exercise his legal right in seizing traitor Montrag’s estate, but to pass it on to Montrag’s next of kin, a nurse called Ehlena and her father, who have fallen on hard times and had nothing to do with Montrag’s treason. Wrath agreed.
WRATH THE FAIR
Unlike the Brother Hharm, Wrath the Fair King loves his son. When he brought Wrath the younger to Brotherhood meetings when he was as young as seven, he was proud of his son’s lack of fear of his warriors. Wrath remembered his father being adored by his subjects.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: ZSADIST, SON OF AHGONY
Zsadist, the firstborn son of Ahgony and the Chosen Naseen, was kidnapped by his nanny when he was seven months, and after the nanny’s death he was sold into slavery. After his transition changed him into a large, powerful looking male, his mistress kept him in a cell ready to be used for blood and sex and even shared him with other males. It took his twin Phury a century to find and rescue him, but their escape via the ocean sealed a scar on Z’s face. He later added body piercings, possibly because he liked the pain. The slave band tattoos around his neck and wrists are also permanent because salt was added to the ink. He returned to the mistress’s home because he’d heard that she had taken another blood slave, and killed her, taking her head as a reminder that she is dead and he will not be used again. Z and Phury lived a nomadic life until they met Darius, who then introduced them to Wrath as potential Brothers around 90 years ago, but neither of them were in the right place to become warriors. Fifteen years later Z brought a dying Phury to Darius, who then called Wrath to perform last rites. Wrath noticed that although Z’s body was sweating and shaking from the thought of losing Phury, his face and eyes were completely disconnected from it. Phury lived and they joined the Brotherhood not long afterwards, but no one was really all that comfortable around Z because he was unpredictable and hostile. Even though he was no longer a slave, he never bought anything, slept beside the skull of his former mistress in a pallet of blankets on the floor of his unheated room, and lived off apples and human blood. There were also rumors that he had a habit of killing females, which made it easy to believe that, when the lessers were laying out bloodied humans to bait vampires, Zsadist was responsible for the human deaths. He was also misheard saying he’d be willing to kill Wrath for free. He seems to take special pleasure in keeping females at a distance. But his singing voice is pure heaven to hear. He met Mary’s neighbor and friend Bella at Mary’s party at the mansion. She was instantly attracted to him, but his experiences made him afraid of closeness and he ultimately rejected her. He was so rattled by the encounter with Bella that he asked Phury to hit him until the pain drove out all other feelings and he could move on. Very soon after the party, Bella was kidnapped by then-fore-lesser Mr. O, who wanted to recreate his last abusive human relationship with her. Zsadist became obsessed with rescuing her—even though it didn’t seem likely she would still be alive six weeks after her abduction—and tortured lessers for information before killing them. A civilian male escaped with information on Bella’s location, and Zsadist rescued Bella and saw to her immediate care. Bella didn’t want to leave him because she remembered how fierce he was and decided she needed someone that strong to save her. Z was attracted to her but hated himself for his reaction—his shame over sex was so strong that he referred to his penis as the ‘it’ or ‘the bastard’. Because his care of Bella was so out of character for him, Phury was instructed to watch over him and developed feelings for Bella as well. Z saw Phury as the male he could have been if he weren’t so contaminated from what had been done to him, so he tried to push Bella onto his twin. But she knew she only wanted Zsadist, and her need to feed brought out his protective instincts and enabled an intimacy he wouldn’t be able to stand with anyone else. Their relationship seemed to stem from a need to be free from the effects of their captivity.
Although Zsadist bonded with Bella, their sex life reached a block, but conveniently enough Bella became fertile, which required Zsadist to alleviate her intense suffering with his body. It’s only then that he was able to let go of the past, but he still believed that Bella will change her mind about being with him because he saw himself as largely worthless as he doesn’t know how to read or cook or do anything but fight. To get what he thought would be the inevitable breakup out of the way, Zsadist fed from a whore in front of Bella and she left, only to return when she heard that he was injured in a fight with the lessers. He again sent her to feed Phury, who was also injured and wanted her. Mr. O called the Brotherhood and demanded that Z meet him alone, to which he agreed, because if he couldn’t have Bella, then the next best thing was to wipe out the piece of shit who hurt her. He explained this to Wrath and Phury and made Phury swear that he will stay with the Brotherhood no matter what happened to Z. Instead Phury drugged Z, shaved his own head, scarred his own face, and met the lesser in Z’s place, telling Z that he was needed there. When Z came to, he asked Bella to track Phury via her blood and finally understood the impact his pain had on Phury when he saw his twin chained down and beaten, needing to be saved. As a result of the drugs Phury gave him, he was too weak to defeat the lesser, so Bella shot and killed Mr. O. In the clinic, while recovering from their injuries together, Z for the first time reached out to Phury and promised not to make his twin hurt him and to start taking care of himself. He also volunteered to teach the pretrans males how to fight to lighten Phury’s load and asked Mary to teach him how to read. Two months later, Bella returned to the mansion to tell Zsadist that she was carrying his young and noted the changes he had made. They were mated soon afterwards and this time Wrath noted that while his hands were shaking, Z was well aware that he was nervous and was no longer so disconnected from his emotions. Z may never be completely normal, but he is well on his way. Z took John Matthew under his wing when he was being bullied by Lash before their transitions and, to deal with JM’s rising temper, Wrath instructed him to meet with Z every morning before dawn to take a quiet walk together. JM doesn’t realise just how much they have in common. Phury falls into a decline and his addiction to red smoke grew stronger. So along with the fear of losing Bella, Zsadist was afraid that Phury would kill himself with drugs or during a fight and Phury’s broken promises made him angry with his twin because he didn’t know how to help him and felt powerless. He wasn’t always the most sympathetic to Phury, possibly because Phury’s crappy childhood was nothing to his and Phury grew up with the father who had given up on finding Zsadist. They reconciled with the birth of his daughter Nalla and Phury’s mating to Cormia, but Z had trouble adjusting to fatherhood. Nalla’s birth was problematic and, believing she was about to die, Bella asked Jane to save Nalla. She wanted to make sure that if anything happened to her, then Z wouldn’t be alone, but he believed that in her final moments, all Bella cared about was the child, a misunderstanding supported by her dedication to motherhood. His distance led Bella to think he didn’t find her post-pregnancy body attractive. His nightmares included his daughter witnessing what was done to him and he kept his distance from her, as well, to avoid contaminating her with his past. Bella was on the brink of leaving with Nalla when an injury sidelined Z from fighting and they actually talk and shift their focus back to each other and their daughter. Bella and Z were called to Madalina’s death bed and the grandmother is allowed to see Nalla one more time before she died. At the moment of Madalina’s passing, she let out a gasp. Nalla awoke at the same time, reached up and smiled as though Madalina were saying goodbye. After Madalina’s death, Bella took comfort in Nalla, but two days later, she was told that Rehvenge had also died. She learned Rehv was still alive when she overheard the discussion about rescuing him and Z took her aside to explain the situation. I don’t know if he mentioned the drugs. She was the one who insisted Ehlena be allowed to go to the colony, having seen how much Rehv cared for this female and understanding that she may help him recover in ways no one else could. While the symphath version of mhis or camouflage in the form of a feeling of dread started to overwhelm Ehlena, Z put his hand on her shoulder to reassure her, which is the first time I’ve seen him willingly make contact with a female other than Bella or Nalla. When Rehvenge was free, Bella made him tell her the truth about his conception and her father’s relationship with their mother and his death. When she took it all in, she told him it wasn’t his fault that he was born, no matter what happened as a result and that Madalina loved him. After hearing Xhex scream during the day, Z told JM that he had been through the same thing and knows how JM and Xhex feel. Without pushing for details, he suggested talking to Mary because it’s helped him. At JM’s request, Z sang ‘All I Want is You’ by U2 at his and Xhex’s mating.
PRETRANS TRAINING PROGRAM
The old school training program took the form of a warrior camp run by V’s father, the Bloodletter. There was a certain hierarchy to things there. Strength ruled and the warriors in training had to fight for their place in the pecking order. Loss meant the public humiliation of rape by the opponent who bested you. Pretrans got by on whatever scraps were left over or what they could steal from others. No one owns anything. The Bloodletter must have made regular reports back to the king because sometimes a warrior would attract the Brotherhood’s interest. That warrior would be taken from the camp with a group of Brothers and tested. He has only one chance to pass or fail. If the warrior passes, he never returns to the camp and failure means he never leaves. There are few females there, and they are used for cooking, cleaning and sex. The number of fighting Brothers was extremely low when Wrath ascended to the throne, not to mention that there weren’t any soldiers to act as the race’s police force and back up the Brotherhood as and when needed. Tohr started holding classes for pretrans males with warrior blood as they were easier to train, even though they would have to relearn how to move after their transitions. The curriculum covers martial arts and weaponry, explosives, computer hacking and tactics. The future of the training program is uncertain due to lesser attacks on the aristocrats, but JM, Qhuinn and Blay have joined the war against the lessers.
Ahgony was among the Brothers who collected Darius and later Tohr from the Bloodletter’s warrior camp. He suggested that Darius take Tohr with him on the ‘safer’ mission of searching for the leahdyre’s kidnapped daughter. He seemed to be friendly with Darius and escorted his king and prince, but I don’t know if this was his regular assignment. Ahgony and his mate Naseen were blessed with twin sons who inherited their mother’s yellow eyes, but had multicolored blond, red and brown hair, while their father had dark hair and their mother was blonde. But according to vampire tradition, too much good luck meant that sorrow was bound to follow. The nursemaid abducted the eldest child, Zsadist, in the middle of the night. Ahgony followed her, but she was sneaky and the trail went cold. About 2 years later, he discovered Zsadist’s baby blanket among the female’s belongings a week after her death. He discovered that the young had been sold into slavery and even if he found the slaver who sold his son, there were too many children being sold to distinguish Zsadist from the others. He gave up and returned home, where he spent the remainder of his days drunk instead of raising his remaining son, Phury, who took up the search after his transition. Phury was 5 the first time he’d had to prevent Ahgony from committing suicide. Whenever he was thwarted, Ahgony struck out at Phury before promising never to do it again. Except he did. It hasn’t been confirmed, but I think it’s safe to say that Ahgony wasn’t a Brother anymore. Naseen retreated to the basement, where she died of grief years later. Phury cremated her and buried her and Ahgony together in the back yard.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: BUTCH O’NEAL AKA DHESTROYER, DESCENDED OF WRATH, SON OF WRATH, AKA BRIAN O’NEAL
The defining moment of Butch’s life was the day he saw his 15-year old sister Janie get into a car with a group of boys and didn’t tell his parents she was breaking the rules. She was later found raped and murdered. Up to that point, Butch had been treated differently to the rest of the family and frequently beaten by his father, but since then he was blamed for what happened to Janie and virtually ostracized. He was twelve years old. Years later, he found out that the reason his father stopped hitting him after Janie’s death was that the old man believed Butch had killed Janie by sending her away with those boys as revenge for the beatings, and didn’t want to give Butch an excuse to kill any more of his children. Butch went on to become a homicide detective, but didn’t completely belong on the police force either. He didn’t always follow the rules and was well known to rough up the suspects. His life had a definite use-by date: he frequently got wasted on Scotch, had done coke, had empty, meaningless sex, and his job was wearing him down to death. Butch was eventually canned for breaking the nose of a senator’s son who had tried to rape Beth Randall, a young journalist he admired for being gorgeous without using her looks to get ahead. He was with Beth when her transition was about to start, but took her to Wrath, believing him to be Beth’s dealer. After an initial conflict with the Brotherhood, he was allowed to stay because Vishous had seen him in a dream and took responsibility for him. That night he met Marissa, who made him feel like his slate was wiped clean by being around her purity. Marissa had just divorced Wrath after realizing that he would never want her and that he had already fallen for Beth, so Butch’s almost reverent attentions were very welcome. His life began to improve. He worked out, started dressing in designer threads and became tight with V and Rhage, but because he was human he never completely belonged with the Brotherhood or Marissa either. Instead of being able to protect people, he was kept on the sidelines while his new
friends fought and Marissa refused to see him. His life was in limbo—he couldn’t go back (not that there was much to go back to), but as a human, he couldn’t go forward. One night at ZeroSum, the Reverend noticed that Butch kept turning down his girls and offered him someone out of the ordinary to take his mind off his troubles. Butch was about to turn this one down as well until he saw her. ZeroSum’s head of security, Xhex, has the musculature of a male with hair to suit, and small breasts. She looked like she’d make him hurt enough to forget the new life he was trapped in and the female he couldn’t have and he felt self-destructive enough to accept what she offered. On the way back to the Escalade that night, he interrupted a bunch of lessers terrorizing a male, but was captured when their backups arrived. The fore-lesser tortured him for info on the Brotherhood, but he gives them nothing. The Omega cut off the tip of his own finger and implanted it in Butch’s stomach before wiping his memory, in the hopes that he would unknowingly lead the Omega to the Brothers. V found Butch and, under the Scribe Virgin’s advice, removed the Omega’s finger with his glowing hand. V then had him quarantined at Havers’s clinic, where he hovered his glowing hand over the wound and also sent Marissa to help Butch recover. It is impossible to talk about Butch without mentioning V. They bonded over the Boston Red Sox and setting up the compound’s security system with Rhage before moving into the compound’s gatehouse. Maybe some of the closeness comes from Butch being V’s responsibility because he was the one who said Butch had to stay with the Brotherhood (on some not-completely-sexual-but-not-completely-unsexual level a sub to V’s dom?). Butch never treated V as different from the others, and V respects strength and those who help others. Butch stood up to the Brotherhood the night he met them, despite being the undisputed underdog, and was fired from the police force for disregarding the rules that protect the perp. So while V, who had kept himself separate from others for so long, became attached to Butch, Butch was getting closer to Marissa, who hadn’t been aware he’d gone to see her earlier. V happened to see them on a monitor and felt jealous of their closeness in comparison to the hardcore meaningless sex he had. Marissa’s brother, Havers, also saw Marissa getting too close to Butch and ejected him from the clinic at the first opportunity. Havers told Marissa off, and she told her brother that she would be honoured to be mated to Butch. Butch moved into V’s penthouse while V tried to find out if Butch was evil. At the next Princeps Council meeting an anonymous motion was submitted, using Bella’s kidnapping and Wellsie’s murder (her poor cousin Sarelle wasn’t mentioned, strangely enough) as justification for locking away all unmated females so that their only contact with the world would come via a male relative who would has the right to admit or deny whenever he felt like it. Although Marissa had been mated to Wrath, everyone knew she wasn’t really his shellan, so she was the only member of the Princeps Council who would be affected by the motion. Immediately after the meeting, Havers threw Marissa out of his house and washed his hands of her. With only half an hour until dawn, she materialised to the Brotherhood compound, humiliated and hoping Wrath would take pity on her. Beth welcomed her and Wrath extended an indefinite invitation to stay. Butch returned to the mansion and his relationship with Marissa developed further until she needed to feed. Butch offered himself, but was turned down because she would drain him. She went to feed from Rehvenge while Butch met V for a drink at ZeroSum after walking in on V having sex with a bound female. When the Reverend arrived, Butch instinctively attacked, smelling Marissa on him. When V and Butch left, they found some lessers and Butch instinctively inhaled one, but started smelling like a lesser again and worried that the Omega made him evil. Marissa returned to the mansion to find Butch drunk and bruised. She tended to him and they had sex, but it didn’t live up to her expectations. As she dressed the next evening, all of her clothes reminded her of her old life, trapped in the glymera’s contempt, so she burned them in the backyard and was saved from burning by Wrath. Butch was overwhelmed and told V that he wanted out, even if it meant V had to kill him. V told him that they can find out if Butch has any vampire blood in him and Butch decided to go ahead with it. Marissa didn’t want him to because there was a high risk that Butch would not survive the investigation, and when they learnt that Butch is actually descended from Wrath’s line, Marissa wanted him to forgo the transition for the same reason. He gave in to her, but after he explained about his family and never having anywhere to belong before he met her, she realised that he needed to go through the transition or he’d never be happy. After the transition, he went through the change and became as big as a Brother, but the rule is that his mother must be a Chosen. The dream V had of Butch came true when V got drunk, stripped to his glowing skin, and before Butch can stop him, jumped off his balcony penthouse. Partway down, he dematerialised and embraces Butch. When Butch wondered why he felt soothed when V’s glowing skin should burn him, The Scribe Virgin appeared and told them it’s because Butch is the Dhestroyer and he and V are two halves of a whole.
Once Marissa found out that Butch intended to fight for the race, she left him and focused on the Safe Place, her new house and female vampire refuge. The Princeps Council met to vote on the mandatory sehclusion motion and Marissa informed them that, as the eldest of her bloodline, she rather than Havers held her family’s vote, which she cast against the motion, preventing it from being taken further. Butch, V and Rhage disrupted the meeting to tell the leahdyre that Lash was busted dealing drugs. Outside, the Omega told Butch that he is the Omega’s son and to find his family because blood is important. Butch realised that he had a hero complex because he wanted to be forgiven for what happened to Janie. Marissa conveniently came to the conclusion that she left Butch for pretty much the same reason that Havers kicked her out and that she should go back to Butch, moments before the other shellans arrived to tell her basically the same thing. Butch was inducted into the Brotherhood, but the event was hollow without Marissa. He returned to find Marissa waiting at the mansion for him. She proposed and they were mated immediately.
THE OMEGA, LESSENING SOCIETY AND LASH
The Omega is the Scribe Virgin’s brother and like his sister, spends most of his time in another realm. Dhundh (hell) is actually well-decorated and has candelabra everywhere. His company consists of these black, oily beasts of indeterminate gender that are constantly looking for sex. The Omega is a misogynist, so the creatures are most likely male. Unlike his sister, he was not given the gift of creation. Out of jealousy over this gift, he takes humans (serial killers, sociopaths, etc.) and inducts them into the Lessening Society (the members are called lessers). The heart is removed and placed into a jar and the recruit gets some sort of infusion from the Omega. From then on, they don’t eat or sleep and can’t get it up, so that nothing distracts the lessers from the Omega’s mission. Lessers are identified by their last initial—e.g. David Ormond would be Mr. O. There is usually a leader known as the fore-lesser, who commands the troops and gets a few extra powers, such as the ability to paralyse other lessers, but in return the fore-lesser is the Omega’s special little bitch. So power in the organisation is a double-edged sword because no one wants the Omega’s attention. The longer a lesser has been in the society, the paler he becomes. A veteran has albino-white skin, pale eyes and white-blonde hair. They all stink of baby powder. The conventional method of killing lessers is stabbing them through the heart, which causes the essence of the Omega that kept them animated to return to the Omega; however, the Dhestroyer is able to inhale the lesser and the Omega’s essence, which theoretically would lead to the Omega being consumed, one lesser at a time. So once he worked out that he had potentially brought about his own demise, the Omega went back 25 years in the past and impregnated a vampire female, who died delivering his spawn. The young was then adopted by an aristocrat family and raised as a vampire. Lash seemed to have a lot of behavioural problems growing up and basically thought he was better than everyone else because his father was the Princeps Council leahdyre and the family was loaded, but any time he actually faced trouble he folded like laundry. He specifically targeted John Matthew for being mute and raised by humans, as well as his cousin Qhuinn for having mismatched eyes, and was suspended from the Brotherhood’s training program for dealing drugs. After his transition he returned with a military-style makeover and a new attitude. To paraphrase John Matthew, his whole bearing told you he didn’t feel the need to pose anymore because he now had what it took to back himself up. Instead of being a mostly verbal pain in the arse, he became a physical threat to John, especially when his work at Havers’s clinic gave him access to John’s file and details of his rape. He threatened to spread the word (and prevent John from ever being respected by vampire society) but when he tried to rape John, Qhuinn slit his throat. Lash was taken to Havers’s clinic immediately, but the lessers found him and took him to the Omega. The Omega suffocated Lash, removed the vampire heart and blood, which he replaced with his own fist and blood. Instead of feeding from female vampires, Lash now feeds from lessers. He still gets to eat and have sex, but unlike vampires, he can walk in the sun. He unknowingly picked up an underage girl at a bar and used her sexually (I don’t care that it was a random bar pickup, I’m still calling it: Lash is a dud lay!) and since he left her feeling dirty and unsatisfied, she ratted him out to the cops. Lash was arrested and taken to a holding cell where he met some gangbangers who might make good recruits. He also killed his vampire parents and had his old house looted. He also sent lessers out to other glymera households to kill the vampires and doggen (servants) and pillage the valuables, which will be very useful to the society because it’s hard to keep track of funds with so many changes in leadership.
John Matthew saw Lash as he was returning to his father, but isn’t sure that he hadn’t hallucinated, so the Brotherhood still believes Lash gave up the glymera under torture before dying. Lash called a meeting and declared himself king of the lessers, while the fore-lesser seems relegated to right-hand man and Lash’s personal bitch. The Lessening Society is going broke, despite the raids on the glymera as emptying those bank accounts and selling the valuables has proven difficult. To save on rent money, Lash has ordered the lessers to live together in small groups. Their usual weaponry against the Brotherhood is very basic and doesn’t require maintenance and consumables like bullets and oil. Lash was able to buy guns off some bikers he met in jail but Wrath located them and had Butch confiscate them. He also hoped the bikers would provide great recruitment opportunities, but if he recruited one, he’d tell his friends about his new role as a lesser. If he took them all on, he risked an attack on his authority. In addition to recruits and resources, Lash is also in the market for allies and set up a meeting with the symphath king and was surprised to not only feel creeped out but strangely attracted at the same time. He needed the symphaths onside because although he was a sleeper in the vampires’ upper echelons, he has no idea how to find those who have gone into hiding or belong to the lower classes. As symphaths can sense vampires’ locations, they would make an invaluable ally. They made a deal: Lash will kill a male for the symphath king, who in return will find vampire targets for Lash. Meanwhile, Lash abducted Grady, the drug dealer with the eagle jacket he met in gaol, who was the same lowlife who beat to death his girlfriend, a ZeroSum prostitute. Grady set up meetings with other dealers, where Lash had them killed and their stash confiscated. The last couple of dealers were taken for lesser-style persuasion to give details of their suppliers. It then didn’t matter that Xhex butchered Grady. Lash came to realise that Rehvenge was most likely the big supplier in town, so he will have to be taken care of, but ZeroSum was blown up overnight, apparently with Rehvenge inside. Only after he sees for himself how lucrative drugs are, Lash returned to the symphath colony to fulfil his obligation to the king. Rehvenge was there but called the king ‘princess’, which made Lash feel relieved that he is not gay. Taking the opportunity to rid himself of the competition, Lash fired at Rehv, but the princess pushed his arm away to protect Rehvenge. The battle ended when the true symphath king arrived. Rehv was imprisoned, while the princess was given to Lash to use as he saw fit as a gesture of goodwill from the king and to punish the princess for her attempted treason. He was only able to hold onto her for a month before she escaped and he followed her back to the colony, where he encountered the Brotherhood for the first time since his death. His fireballs knocked them all down except for Rhage’s beast, but the beast’s fire did nothing to him. The beast only went down when fired on at close range. Lash took advantage of the beast’s unconscious state to find his princess. She was clearly fixated on Rehvenge, but when Xhex took her down in a hail of bullets, Lash cradled her gently until he saw that she was still reaching out to Rehv. Then he slammed her into a wall, hoping that he was the one who actually killed her. Lash believes Xhex owes him big for killing both his drug contact and his sex slave (he blames Xhex for the princess’s death even though he hoped he was the only who actually killed the princess for rejecting him). He cast a shadow across the floor and threw it over Xhex’s head. One punch knocked her out and he escaped before the other symphaths entered Rehvenge’s cell. Lash holds her captive behind his force field in the bedroom of a nice house in a nice neighborhood for around four weeks. What starts out as punishment and revenge becomes addiction as Xhex fights back. (Before his transition, Lash had a rottweiler and decided to pierce its ear with a pin. The dog bit him and left holes in Lash’s arm, earning his respect and love.) Recognizing that the society needs both soldiers and salesmen, Lash recruits an up and coming dealer and realizes that he needs to establish a relationship with the big supplier. After returning from Dhundh to ask the Omega to induct the dealer, Lash felt sick like he was getting a cold and noticed a grey patch of skin bordered by black on his arm that oozed after he washed it. During the transformation, he noticed his ooze getting worse and discovered more black sores on his body. Unwilling to interrupt his father, Lash fed from his fore-lesser. He felt stronger for having fed, but refuses to feed from males on a regular basis. His new recruit is currently keeping the Omega occupied, so Lash rested and saw a vision of himself at the house where he was raised by the vampires. He looked down and saw that his arm was no longer solid, which horrified him. He’d had the foresight to cancel his meeting with the major drug supplier, but couldn’t have known that decision would result in the Brothers following his fore-lesser home and decimating him. When he returned home, he saw Mr. D’s car in the driveway and immediately knew something was wrong. He drove around to the front of the house to check that Xhex was still there. Lash still does not feel 100% and believes that since lesser blood helped, what he really needs is a female lesser. Luckily he still has Xhex.
He asked the Omega to turn a female into a lesser for him, without her needing to become part of the society. His father replied that he’d never turned a female before, but never directly refused. Lash pushed ahead and made plans for Xhex that night. He noticed his skin becoming worse. With Xhex gone, Lash picked up a prostitute, but when he arrived at the farmhouse only he knew about, the new recruit had left and his father hadn’t appeared. He tried to go to Dhundh, but was shut out. His cell rang and the new recruit told Lash he was his new boss and he was going to kill him. Bringing up a female to his father was a mistake. Lash made good his escape and after hiding himself behind a force field that would keep him hidden from other lessers and hopefully the Omega, he turned the prostitute into a lesser. The next night Lash woke, horrified to find his skin was coming off, with only oily black covering his muscles, organs and bones. He has to use all of his powers to keep himself together and hidden, so is reduced to walking. He found a party at the farmhouse and his replacement arriving in style. Killing his replacement has become a higher priority even than being with Xhex because he wants to send a message to his fickle father. His replacement had put the word out about the party to gather bodies for a mass induction into the society. Lash had been based in the vampire world, so didn’t have the sheer number of human connections to be able to impress his father like this. He decides that the enemy of his enemy is his friend and calls the Brotherhood to give them details of the new induction. He puts the prostitute lesser out of her misery and the power he’d driven into her returned to him, explaining why Butch is such a threat. He found another pro to feed from, but her blood tasted bad. He noticed that his hand had turned to black fog, but his wrist was still corporeal. This time he’s not horrified to see his transformation because he realizes he’s becoming like his father. A would-be mugger with a muscular build gave Lash the idea to create his own lesser army. He also plans to resume establishing a relationship with the drug supplier and usurp his replacement. He also uses coke to keep himself going when his strength is low and has the power to temporarily influence humans for a second or two, like mentally giving one the suggestion to crash his car into his neighbor’s house. He turned three more after interrupting their drug deal and forces the supplier Benloise to give him an advance. His bodyguards deliver but he quickly returns to his car to see what set off his alarm. Xhex is there and he ignores everyone else to focus on her. Benloise’s bodyguards return to shoot him and everyone but JM takes cover. He tried to kill him with an energy ball but Xhex tackles him. This is the perfect opportunity to take her and use her as a shield. He can’t throw a force field over them because he is too weakened by his slow transformation and his bullet wounds. Tohr shoots him directly in the head, forcing him to let go of Xhex. The second shot lands him on his back, but he still gets his knife into Xhex’s stomach. As JM comes to her rescue, Lash taunts him with how he raped her and that Xhex would always be HIS filthy female. JM knocks him in the head with the hilt of his dagger before passing it to Xhex who makes the kill, sending him back to the Omega, just like any other lesser.
THE SAFE PLACE
Having Havers evict her from his home shortly before dawn and the threat of the mandatory sehclusion order (which would make unmated females unrecognised as an individual by society—all contact must be made via a male relative who has the right to grant and deny as he sees fit) made Marissa realise that unmated females have nowhere to go in an emergency, and given their sensitivity to the sun, this could easily mean the death of these females. She sold a necklace and used the proceeds to buy a house in which she was planning to live, but inspired by a young patient at Havers’ clinic and her mother, she instead turned it into a shelter for females and their young who have no place to go. Many of these females are victims of abuse who had no other options. Marissa sought Mary’s advice on setting up the shelter, given her work at the suicide hotline and Mary also acts as a counsellor. Jane regularly makes rounds there as well, as many of the females are more comfortable with a female doctor. Havers also refers cases of abuse to the shelter, but they have no other contact. Marissa’s discussions with Butch (who has seen his share of abuse as a homicide detective) about the shelter has brought them even closer.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: RHAGE, SON OF TOHRTURE
In the years immediately following his transition, Rhage was extremely cocky and went wherever his mood took him. He got drunk, did drugs, fought a lot, and had a nasty habit of sleeping with other males’ shellans. He became interested in a female who didn’t want him until he joined the Brotherhood, so he showed off his weapons and his gun went off in her hand, killing a barn owl. The Scribe Virgin considered this a special offence as she loves birds and the barn owl is her own symbol, so to teach Rhage responsibility for his actions, she sentenced him to 200 years with the beast. If he lets his mood get out of control, the beast would break out of his body, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake and Rhage with a hell of a stomach ache. Rhage learned to control the beast by regulating his moods with regular fighting and sex wherever he could get it. His Hollywood-perfect looks ensured he had no problems getting it and his exploits became legend, but inside he hated what he had to do and frequently worried that the beast would eat his brothers. To deal, he tried to keep things light and goofy, but this kept his brothers from recognising that he can be serious and is a male of worth.
While recovering one day from the beast’s visit, Rhage heard a lovely female voice and feels compelled to listen to it speak. He tracked down the human woman, Mary Luce, who was brought to the compound to interpret John Matthew’s sign language, and set up a date. He discovered that the lovely voice belonged to an unremarkable looking woman with warrior eyes and wanted to get to know this woman of quality who wasvso different from the onenighters who just looked at his body or his Rolex. His attachment to Mary brings out his responsible, selfless side. He decided to give up all the other females he had sex with and feeds from one of the Chosen in Mary’s presence. This, along with the sacrifice he made in taking punishment from the Brotherhood to keep her at the mansion, eventually wore down Mary’s determination to be strong and let Rhage go. (Mary had watched her mother die from cancer and later battled the disease herself. When Rhage learned that she has died and come back, his respect for her grew even more. He finally managed to convince her that he genuinely wanted her, regardless of her quiet looks. However, much to his frustration, she continued to hold him at arm’s length emotionally because her cancer had returned and didn’t want to have someone watch her die the way she watched her mother a few years earlier.) When Mary found lessers at her vampire neighbour Bella’s house, Rhage dematerialised as soon as the sun went down and having Mary so close to the line of fire brought the beast out. The beast saved the day and Mary stroked it and thanked it for protecting her and distracted it from eating the Brothers. When she asked to have Rhage back, the beast receded because it wanted to please her as much as Rhage did. Being on the same page allowed Rhage and the beast to live together more harmoniously. Mary’s doctor told her to put her affairs in order. To save her, Rhage made the ultimate sacrifice to the Scribe Virgin: he would keep the beast indefinitely and give Mary up—only he would remember her. But Mary appeared at the mansion and the Scribe Virgin explained that since Mary was unable to have children, she won’t force Mary to give up Rhage as well. Mary is allowed to live without ageing as long as she chooses, although the Scribe Virgin suspects that will only be as long as Rhage lives. Rhage and Mary are looking at alternative methods of having kids, but Rhage refuses to do anything that requires him to actually inseminate another female. Rhage’s beast is the only one who can remain standing after being hit by one of Lash’s fireballs, unless it’s fired at point blank range. Then the beast is knocked out cold. Unfortunately, the beast’s fire has no effect on Lash.
REPRODUCTION AND THE NEEDING
The vampire population has a high infant mortality rate, and females face a high risk of death during pregnancy and delivery. Furthermore, females are only fertile every ten years. The needing is a female’s fertile time. It happens five years after her transition and then every ten years after that. Her body becomes wracked with painful cravings that can only be relieved by full, penetrative sex with ejaculation (her orgasm alone just won’t cut it). The needing can also cause fights to break out among nearby males as they are programmed to respond to a female in her need. For up to two days, the female needs constant sex and feeding. As Wrath points out in Dark Lover, the needing can wear a male down to complete exhaustion, but damn if any male has ever complained. How selfless of them. For some reason, conception only works via the traditional method; IVF just isn’t successful. But even after all that, conception still isn’t a certainty. But if it does happen, the pregnancy lasts for 18 months and delivery can be problematic for both the mother and young due to high incidences of blood loss, pre-eclampsia and stillbirth.
Tohrture was among the party who collected Darius from the camp. He assigned territories and tasks to the Brotherhood, much like Tohr did before Wellsie’s death. Rhage told Mary on their first date that his parents were old when they died.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: VISHOUS, SON OF THE BLOODLETTER
V. My personal fave. I could just rave about how beautiful he is, with his diamond hard heart, absolutely incredible intelligence (not to mention smart mouth), dominant sexuality and uncompromising masculinity, but that wouldn’t get us anywhere except teaching me yet again that my keyboard is not drool-proof (picture Homer Simpson around any non-vegetable based food). So to avoid another costly lesson, I’ll try to just stick to the facts. Vishous is the direct, biological son of the Scribe Virgin, which has been more of a curse than a blessing. The gift she was given allowed for only one single act of creation, which she used in creating the vampires. Her taking on vampire form and reproducing disrupted the balance and has cursed everyone involved.
When the Scribe Virgin was shopping for a baby daddy, she decided to pick the most cunning and aggressive male she could find, a warrior known as the Bloodletter. She doesn’t know how, but the Bloodletter knew who she was and what she wanted and cut a deal with her: their son would spend the first 3 years of his life on the Other Side, the next 300 with his father, and the following 300 with his mother. The years before V’s transition sucked. He grew up in a warrior camp under pretty Spartan conditions and often didn’t get enough to eat, unless he was fast and crafty enough to steal from a warrior or got to the leftovers before the other pretrans. His bastard of a father seemed to single him out in front of everyone, which also kept him separate from the others. V was frequently beaten, usually as the result of being set up in damned-if-you-do-damnedif-you-don’t situations. He had two comforts: a diary written by Darius, who had lived in the camp before him, and the ideal of a mother who valued and protected him. Another pretrans busted him reading instead of working and threatened to dob him in to his father. During the fight, V had a vision of the pretrans’s death and warned him. His father saw and made V hand over his books (he managed to salvage the diary) to be burned. V decided to stop feeling, because it changed nothing. About a week later, the pretrans died as predicted and others on the scene banded against V. A few weeks after that, V went through his transition and was only given a female to feed from after he confessed to killing the pretrans. To neutralise V as a threat to his authority, the Bloodletter immediately sent V into the ring to fight (typically a newly transitioned male would have a day to recover), with only a broom as a weapon against a spiky ball on a chain. V won the fight and the Bloodletter tried to discredit him when he made to leave without raping the loser. All the anger V had been suppressing rose up and V had sex for the first time in front of the camp to cement his prowess over the other warrior, but the Bloodletter was able to construe V’s immediate retreat as cowardice after all. V threw himself at his father, leading with his glowing hand. As he watched his father start to die, he predicted, “You shall see your end in a wall of fire caused by a pain you know. You will burn until you are nothing but smoke, and be cast upon the wind.” Another soldier pulled V off the Bloodletter before the bastard could be killed. Instead of killing V, the Bloodletter exiled him from the camp, then had the warnings tattooed on his face, hand, groin and thighs. Then the final punishment (possible to the Scribe Virgin as well?) was castration by blunt pliers. V’s whole body glowed and everyone making contact with him turned to dust before the torture could be completed. V travelled Europe and was eventually taken in by a vampire merchant in Italy. One night in Rome, he noticed a young pretrans male whose mother was being attacked by a lesser. He killed the lesser, but not before the mother died. The mother was a fallen Chosen, and V having saved a young with warrior blood brought him to Darius’s attention. Darius introduced V to Wrath and they clicked, since neither of them was interested in having ties to others. Eventually V was inducted into the Brotherhood. He likes his distance from others because he is constantly bombarded with people’s thoughts and uses rap to drown them out. He still has visions, specializing in deaths, only without such useful info as when and where, so he can’t save anyone. His tattooed hand is always gloved and he has to be careful not to allow anyone to come into contact with it. He became famous within the race for his hardcore sexual preferences; some consider it to be a rite of passage to be bound to his table and dominated. Although one would have expected a reasonable degree of intimacy to be involved when you have such total control over what another person sees, hears, feels and does, V keeps his distance from his regulars. The domination is how he releases tension and wears himself down. It has all the intimacy of a workout at the gym. But that’s not to say he isn’t aware of how his brand of sex is experienced by the sub and he definitely doesn’t cross the line. He isn’t cruel or abusive, but he is cold towards them. But then they know the score going in anyway and are free to leave whenever they want. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, based on his lack of feeling for his subs and how Cormia’s presentation to him left him cold on one hand and the spark of interest he felt at the prospect of fighting Xhex and possibly conquering Jane on the other, V finds submission expedient, but really enjoys the struggle. I think he doesn’t do that with his subs because then he’d have to engage with them more than he is willing to. But V does care for others in his own way. Instead of buying a sports car, he drives an Escalade so that he can drive Rhage home after the beast has been. He sets up security systems for the females his Brothers come into contact with. He makes the black daggers, customized for each Brother. He’s a trained medic. And then there’s this rhythmic rubbing thing he does to calm people down (get your minds out of the gutter, it’s legit). When Butch arrived with a transitioning Beth and was caught getting too close to Marissa, V wanted to kill him, but instead they bonded over their love of the Boston Red Sox and got drunk together. V dreamed of him and told Wrath the human was supposed to stay with them and assumed responsibility for him. They moved into the mansion’s gatehouse and even started finishing each other’s sentences. V respected Butch for not backing down to the Brothers that night, despite or maybe even because Butch would have had his arse handed to him, and became attached to someone for the first time. V thought it was because Butch’s rough edges made everything else in life smoother. There was also a
competitive and banter-ish edge to their friendship (again with the struggle). He let his guard down with Butch more than he had with anyone else and this openness started to become a sexual attraction, which Butch seemed to return to a point, but his number one love was for Marissa. But it was through Butch and his relationship with Marissa that V was able to see what real love and intimacy looked like and hated himself for his “shameful depravity”. Also around this time, V’s visions and mindreading dried up beyond a single imperative to feed Butch (this was how V found him after he’d been tortured and infected by the Omega) and he was plagued by a nightmare of being shot in the chest. So the stress of flying blind for the first time in almost 300 years, lack of sleep, almost losing Butch completely, and finally losing Butch to Marissa brought V undone. Out of self-loathing and disgust, he jumped off his penthouse balcony in front of Butch, but materialised back before he would have hit the ground. When he decided not to commit suicide after all, he broke down in Butch’s arms and their roles were reversed. Butch told V that until he was able to look after himself again, Butch had his back. The Scribe Virgin appears to V and tells him that she is his mother and that he will be the Primale (in an interview Ward pronounced this word as PruhMAH-lee after I was used to Prime male), sperm donor to the forty Chosen on the Other Side. Despite being pissed at his mother’s neglect when he needed her and his unwillingness to beget young and spend the rest of his existence having vanilla sex with so many strangers, he agrees because the Brotherhood needs members (no pun intended) and the only other eligible male is Phury who is heartbroken over Bella. That night Vishous was shot in the chest after killing a lesser and was taken to a human hospital, where he was operated on by Jane Whitcomb, MD. She was fascinated by his 6-chambered heart and took lots of photos, hoping to get her patient’s permission to study him. Jane’s boss, Manuel Manello, MD, was pissed to find out that she had an interview for Chief of Staff at another hospital. He wanted her to stay because she was the best trauma surgeon and because he was attracted to her. The patient had other ideas. When his friends came to break him out, he told them that Jane was meant to go with him. Jane was already unwillingly attracted to V and even though she resented being abducted, she put the Hippocratic Oath first and monitored his condition. The speed of healing, unusual heart and hypnosis convinced Jane that V was not human. She tried to learn more about him and he decided to tell her. After all, she was only there for the weekend and her memory will be scrubbed, so it wasn’t like some stranger would get to keep his private info. Not to mention he was drawn to her. So he’d be free to let his guard down around her emotionally, too. In a lot of ways, Jane is like a female Butch. She’s a fighter who helps people and is a sarcastic smart-arse who V banters with, not to mention highly intelligent. She even orders V around for his own good and doesn’t take any crap. Jane can be very warm and compassionate, which is what V needs to help him deal with everything that’s been done to him, but isn’t sappy and doesn’t insult him with pity. They both know how your life can be affected by crappy parents. V realised that his mating instincts had come to the fore and they weren’t for Butch. Then Jane did the one thing guaranteed to go straight to a Brother’s heart: when Phury was hurt in a fight, she repaired the damage and with much more finesse and skill than even V could have managed. Inevitably the time came for V to let Jane go, but because she was his only shot at love, he took her to his penthouse at the Commodore and offered his submission, giving himself to her in a way he hadn’t done with anyone before and never would as the Primale. Then he scrubbed her memory. In preparation for the Primale’s mating to a representative of the Chosen, V was introduced to Cormia, who was bound to a platform and wheeled in. V was immediately and ironically put off by her submission, probably because he never realized his mate would be as reluctant as he was to complete the ceremony. In a last ditch effort to exorcise his feelings for Bella, Phury offered to take V’s place as the Primale so V could be with Jane. Unfortunately they didn’t have much time together before a lesser killed Jane. Insane with grief, V staged a car accident to explain Jane’s human death and took her body to the Brotherhood’s tombs to reanimate her, Omega-style. The Scribe Virgin interrupted him and said that Jane would be evil—besides which, there would be no balance. V demanded to know what his sacrifice would be and decided to give up his normal, non-glowing, un-inked hand, but was again interrupted by the Scribe Virgin. When the Brothers found Vishous, he still had both hands and a Jane-shaped pile of ash. He was like the living dead until the Scribe Virgin visited him and reunited him with Jane. His cursed glow that was used to heal Butch was also used to give Jane form, so the two people he is closest to don’t need to be protected from his hand. Jane can never be hurt again and, when V dies, she will be able to follow him into the Fade. It’s actually the best solution for them as V would have had to watch Jane age and die otherwise.
Jane had set up the interview with the other hospital because she wanted to be in charge and now she is the Brotherhood’s personal physician with enough of the unknown to keep the geneticist in her happy. This ending has come under fire, but there wouldn’t be a HEA if Jane had lived. I personally have made peace with the mixed feelings I had about it because V wouldn’t be happy if Jane could be taken from him. Once V learned that his mother had sacrificed her birds to give him back Jane, he started bringing birds over to fill her trees again. He later contacted his mother to get her to force Wrath to stop fighting the lessers and be the king his people needed. Since Xhex and Butch had sex, while V had to keep his feelings for his roomie to himself, he was jealous and resentful of her, so not surprisingly, they don’t get along. After the Brothers, JM and Xhex ambush newly inducted lessers, he heals Butch. Seeing why V has it in for her, Xhex sent him the thought that it was only once and it would never happen again. He nodded acknowledgement. Jane was called to heal Wrath’s sparring partner and was stunned to see she looked just like V. She told Payne that V was alive and her mate. V was shocked to learn that he had a sister who thought he was dead while he never knew she’d ever existed. It was even worse that they met when she was in such a bad way. He was even willing to have his former rival Manny Manello brought in to treat her.
V’s twin sister, who he doesn’t even know exists. Payne never fit in with the Chosen because she was considered too aggressive like her father. At some point the Scribe Virgin placed Payne in stasis, but after seeing how unhappy her actions have made Vishous, she released Payne, whose response was, ‘Fuck you.’ So, clearly, no love lost there. Although the Scribe Virgin released the Chosen, Payne was the only one not allowed to leave the Other Side, even to visit the Primale. She believes it’s because she told her mother that if she ever left, she’d never return, but I think she was still hiding Payne from V. Payne approached a blind Wrath after her mother walked away from him, and hit him. Although he is bigger, stronger and a more experienced fighter, she has skills of her own. When he asked her why she picked the fight, she said that she was bored and the Scribe Virgin doesn’t know what to do with her. Before he left, Payne asked Wrath to come back often because that was the most fun she’d had in a long time. Payne considers her sparring partner a friend even though they don’t really talk. He respects her enough not to express an opinion over who he thinks she should be, unlike her mother. Her admiration is purely platonic and she has no interest in being with a male as they tend to take over (this doesn’t necessarily mean she is attracted to females, though, just more a feminist). No’One brings Payne’s feminist instincts to the fore when she assumes her sister’s disability is the result of inbreeding, like Wrath’s eyes. She blames her mother for the standards that an imperfectly formed female like No’One could never live up to, making her an object of embarrassment and pity. She asked the SV to let her leave the Other Side, but was refused, so she took her frustration out on Wrath in their next sparring match. She miscalculated how far she could push away from him, so when he kicked out, not really expecting her to be there, he broke her back. She refused to let her mother heal her, so Wrath demanded the SV release her to be healed at the mansion. Jane immediately noticed her resemblance to V and said his name. Payne hadn’t heard his name in over 200 years and believed he was dead. She cursed her mother for hiding her brother form her and vowed to kill her mother like she killed her father. Payne is surprised to see No’One has asked to come to this side to serve her. Payne inspired her to leave. She sees her brother for the first time and notes his incredible resemblance to her, but is heartbroken when he doesn’t know her. She tells him they are blood and he holds her bare hand in his ungloved one. She feels only warmth. She has a habit of clicking her ring fingernail against the underside of her thumbnail.
DR MANUEL MANELLO
Dr Manello was Jane’s boss and arguably her closest friend until her ‘death’. A human surgeon, he is strong and bossy and if not for V, he might have made a good match for Jane. Out of respect for Jane, V didn’t kill or hurt Manny when he retrieved pics of his 6-chambered heart from the hospital, but Manny’s mind was strong enough to throw off V’s mind control long enough to ask who V was. V had a vision about him in the form of the word ‘brother’. Actually the word was a paragraph on its own, so I don’t know if it’s capital-B ‘Brother’ or lower case ‘brother’. I’m not being anal—there is a significant difference, and Ward’s legal background has made her very tricky. Semantics count with her. When Xhex went to the hospital to identify a ZeroSum prostitute’s body, she briefly encountered Manello and detected something in his scent, but dismissed it before bothering to identify it for us poor, hapless readers.
Havers has been trying to create a vampire blood bank, but is unable to keep samples fresh (I have a pet theory on this, BTW). The vampire blood dies off quickly in all of his experiments so far, so it isn’t a viable option for those who, like Havers, don’t want to feed off a vampire of the opposite sex, or for operating on patients without an immediate donor on hand. In case anyone is interested, vampires have 6-chambered hearts, but I’m not sure why. Strangely, as Beth and Butch are half-breeds, their hearts still have only 4 chambers, even though their bodies went through the transition and Butch went through the change. They also have 2 livers, which Butch could certainly do with. Vampires don’t get cancer or diabetes. They are easier to operate on than humans because, instead of needing someone on hand to give more general anaesthetic when required, vampires become somehow dormant when put under.
The Bloodletter (which may or may not be the name given to him at birth) runs a warrior camp with an iron fist. He is in charge because he seems to be almost unbeatable in battle (I’m saying almost because he lost to Darius and chose to gracefully accept defeat by not forcing Darius to punish his opponents) and has a way of zeroing in on someone’s Achilles heel and knows what buttons to push. For his strength and intelligence, the Scribe Virgin selected him as the father of her young. Even though she had taken vampire form, he knew who she was and withheld his seed until she agreed to give him a son who he would raise from the age of 3. After 300 years, the son would be given back to the Scribe Virgin. He treats sex like a battle and shows no mercy. Instead of treating the mother of the race and of his young with respect and reverence, he was brutal. His son Vishous didn’t fare any better, being singled out frequently. It became clear that V had unusual powers, so once he went through his transition, the Bloodletter forced V into a fight with a trained warrior, armed only with a broom. When V did not lose as expected and avoided public rape, the Bloodletter tried to negate his victory. He feared his son would become a threat to him, especially after predicting his death “by a pain you know”, so he tattooed warnings on his face and glowing hand then tried to have him castrated with blunt pliers, only for the males to die before the job was complete. Then he banished Vishous from the camp. At some point afterwards, his daughter Payne killed him. There is a 4-book series on him in the Temple of Books on the Other Side, however his paternal line was not listed. Cormia hadn’t thought about his maternal line, so we don’t know what it is either. While V’s book was titled “VISHOUS, SON OF THE BLOODLETTER 428”, his was simply “THE BLOODLETTER 356”.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: PHURY, SON OF AHGONY
Vampires believe that the birth of a healthy son is a blessing. They also believe it’s possible to have too many blessings and that misfortune will follow to compensate for the extra prosperity. The warrior Ahgony’s household celebrated the birth of his son Zsadist, but were spooked when Phury was also born. Sure enough, the firstborn was stolen in the middle of the night by his nursemaid and the household never recovered. Ahgony searched for his son and became depressed and turned to drink. Naseen confined herself to her room and young Phury was left to raise himself in a household too consumed with losing Zsadist to remember Phury existed. He wore hats to cover his face and tried to be small and inconspicuous to avoid reminding everyone of their loss. Immediately after his transition he took a private vow of celibacy in honour of his lost twin. I think it was because he never developed his own identity that he never really thought of enjoying anything, not that there was room for pleasure under the crushing weight of The Loss. Also, denial seemed like an appropriate penance. If you believe in the concept of the exhile dhoble (the cursed second twin), then Phury’s birth was the extra blessing that tipped the scales and everything that went wrong would then be Phury’s fault for being born. He left his family home without ceremony and spent the next century searching for Zsadist. A voice in his head (that he called the wizard) started listing all his failings, a clear internalisation of the exhile dhoble superstition, but the more Phury tried to live up to the ideal male paragon, the more he was plagued by the voice and the harder he tried to compensate. During the century it took for Phury to find Z, their parents died and Phury blamed himself for not getting Z home in time to meet them. He sold the property as it wasn’t home for either of them and continued his search.
When he found Z and stole him from his mistress, it was almost dawn and the only way to go was over a cliff. Phury’s foot got caught in the stone and he shot it off so he and Z could make good their escape. He wears a prosthetic leg. It was clear that Z was both physically and emotionally damaged by his experiences and Phury devoted himself to his brother, keeping the peace between Z and others and even hitting Z when he asked for it, even though it was a huge mind fuck to do that to the one he loved. He upheld his vow of celibacy because Z wasn’t really restored to him. The only ease he allowed himself was a muscle relaxant in the form of red smoke as it used to quiet the wizard. When Z rescued Bella, Wrath ordered Phury to keep an eye on him to ensure that Z never hurt her. Her beauty and his protective instincts conspired to make him fall in love with her, but her choice was always clear: she loved Zsadist. Phury suffered living so close to what he wanted but could never have, but was genuinely grateful that Bella was able to save Z in ways that Phury couldn’t. When Phury tasted Bella’s blood and realised that she was carrying Z’s young, he took Z’s place with the lesser so that Z would live to be a husband and father. And that wasn’t the only sacrifice he made, either. For the dual purpose of putting his feelings for Bella behind him as well as giving V a chance at a real love, he volunteered to be the Primale of the Chosen, the vampire world’s Hugh Hefner. He was introduced to his First Mate, Cormia, and was absolutely blown away by her beauty. He brought her over to the mansion while he tried to find a way to do his duty. Five months passed, during which time his addiction to the red smoke became worse and he lied to his Brothers and his king to cover up the true depth of his problem. He carved up lessers before killing them and this almost got him killed. During fights he was seriously hurt and understood why Zsadist asked to be hit again and again, and the purity of the pain that drives out everything else. And even though he wanted Cormia, he still hadn’t completed the mating ceremony. She waited because the Chosen always wait for people or events. After being busted by Z carving up another lesser and almost getting hurt by not focusing on his surroundings while carving up said lesser, Wrath kicked Phury out of the Brotherhood in all but name, so his only responsibility was to be the Primale and produce new little Brothers. Meanwhile Cormia was learning about the Primale’s world. Everything was new to her: weather, TV and other appliances, food that came in colours other than white, flowers, clothing. She discovered a passion for architecture and even came to realise that she was forming independent opinions on the things around her and they weren’t always completely positive. She also came to the conclusion that she wanted to be an individual in the Primale’s eyes and did not want to share him with her sisters. To bring her out of her shell, Phury asked John Matthew to be her friend and Fritz and Zsadist asked her to be Bella’s friend and comfort her during her pregnancy. She was surprised to actually enjoy Bella’s company since she noted the Primale’s interest in the other female when she first arrived. Phury visited the Other Side and the Directrix Amalya suggested that he choose another First Mate as, clearly, neither he nor Cormia were happy under the current arrangement and the Chosen were anxious to have a purpose again. After interviewing several willing and overeager Chosen, Phury chose Layla, who was still hurt and ashamed over JM’s rejection, because they both felt like they were waiting for their lives to begin. The drawings Phury used to do so frequently of Bella were somehow not right, such as drawing her hair up when she always wore it down. Eventually he drew a nude female not based on anyone specific, just an amalgam of feminine attributes most appealing to him. Only when the drawing was complete did he realise it was of Cormia. Z and Phury had a huge argument over the fact that Z never thanked Phury for rescuing him from the mistress. Z wouldn’t do it because he believed it would justify Phury’s self-destructive path, because he was facing the pain of possibly losing Bella as a result of her pregnancy and because he’d never asked to be saved. Phury had believed that having Z back was worth all the sacrifices he’d made over the years and was pissed to have it all thrown back in his face. Once Phury’s feelings for Cormia were free of the weight of having to be the Primale, they had sex and he felt bad for being so rough with her and thought it was rape. It really, really wasn’t, but Cormia wanted him to leave immediately because she realised that sex wasn’t going to get her Phury all to herself and despite the momentous event of losing her virginity, nothing had changed. JM found her and attacked Phury, reinforcing his belief that he’d raped the female he’d bonded with, regardless of anything Cormia said afterwards. But since she could’t have Phury exclusively, she returned to the Other Side to become a sequestered scribe, a Chosen who records life but doesn’t live it. The wizard’s voice was even louder in Phury’s head and he was sure that he’d found the way to shut it up. He found a spare bedroom and shot up heroin in the bathroom. Instead of red smoke’s customary mellowness, the heroin hit him hard and did the opposite of what he wanted. Instead of wiping out the wizard, he wiped out everything but the wizard and loses consciousness.
Doc Jane got Phury breathing again and, when he woke up, Z was waiting for him. Z told him that he didn’t fail to save him because saving him just wasn’t possible and being out of that situation didn’t mean it was over. That’s why he can’t thank him. It was bad enough to risk losing Bella, but he was convinced that Phury would kill himself off soon enough and that Phury had a better chance of survival on the Other Side. Everyone was giving up on Phury because they don’t think there’s anything they can do for him or that he’d even help himself. He goes to Cormia and tells her he loves her and she tells him it doesn’t matter because the race needs Brothers to keep it from dying out so he must go to Layla. On his way, he hears his own inner voice instead of the wizard’s for the first time, and it’s telling him not to take anyone but Cormia. Before he can make a decision either way, he starts going through withdrawal from the red smoke. Cormia stuck it out with him and helped him use his hallucinations to resolve his feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Without the haze of the red smoke he could see the problems caused by following tradition and was determined to be strong enough to make some much-needed changes. The Scribe Virgin already knew why he’d come to see her and was resistant to change. She feared that she was losing her created race. In the end, she was convinced to have faith in them, and when Phury left her, the Other Side was full of bright technicolour. At last he could see something that he had changed for the better and finally felt like a hero. He negotiated the use of Rehvenge’s great camp to house any of the Chosen who wanted to live in the world, in return for an unnamed favour, and believed that he was still the traditional Primale because he would fight to the death for any of his females and he loved them, but Cormia was the one he was in love with. He goes to human NA meetings and has also given up alcohol. Z reconciled with him by singing Phury’s favourite opera after Nalla was born as thanks for the life he has as a result of Phury saving him. Cormia’s interest in architecture led to her designing Rehv’s new goth club. (By the same token, my years of watching CSI should qualify me to work as a forensic scientist. *gasp* What do you mean it doesn’t really work that way? *sigh* Let it go, Decadence.) When he learned that the king was returning to the field to fight the lessers, he signed up as well, but had to promise Z that he was OK and not going to fall off the wagon under the pressure.
THE PRIMALE AND THE CHOSEN
The Chosen are the female equivalent of the Brotherhood, except that they aren’t allowed to do anything fun. They are the product of a Chosen and a Brother and live on the Other Side (sometimes referred to as the non-temporal realm), a white-on-white study in sensory deprivation. They aren’t encouraged to be individuals, yet each individual action carries the weight of the entire Chosen and their traditions. A branch of the Chosen known as the Ehros has been trained in the erotic arts, as the Chosen were traditionally mated to the Brotherhood. Others watch and record vampire events. Another function traditionally performed by the Chosen is to feed the Brotherhood and this has only recently been resumed. There is a Directrix who runs the show in the absence of the Scribe Virgin, but her power is greatly diminished by the Primale and his First Mate. Amalya is the current Directrix (the last one was executed for firing the shot that almost killed Vishous because she didn’t want to give up being in charge of the Chosen). The Primale (Pruh-MAH-lee) is second in power only to the Scribe Virgin. He is their lover and protector and the father of their young. The Primale must be a Brother, to ensure the survival of the race’s strongest bloodlines and, of course, to produce more warriors. He is asked by the Scribe Virgin if he will accept the role and when he answers yes, is presented with a medallion that also acts as a key to all the doors on the Other Side. The First Mate is suggested by the Directrix and the Scribe Virgin approves the choice. The First Mate is advised of the decision and not asked if she wants to do it or not because the role of each Chosen as individuals is to uphold the traditions of the whole. There is a mini ceremony in which the First Mate is bound to a platform and presented to the Primale for his approval and that of his witness (a Brother who sort of acts as a best man at a wedding). The ceremony is completed when the Primale has sex with his First Mate to bind himself to the Chosen as a whole. He is then free to visit the others as he chooses. 75 years ago the Other Side came under attack and the Primale at the time died protecting his females. We don’t know who he was. Phury saw that the Chosen were imprisoned by tradition and the laws pertaining to the Primale’s rights were abusive and denied the Chosen rights over their own bodies. The Chosen had no choices. Phury told the Scribe Virgin that the Chosen must be allowed to make their own decisions and live in the world if the race is to survive. While Wrath gets to decide who can and can’t be allowed into the Brotherhood, Phury believes that courage rather than bloodlines determine a male’s strength, so maintaining the standards of bloodlines isn’t really that important (and doesn’t maintaining bloodlines equal inbreeding?).
The Scribe Virgin was saddened by the prospect of letting them go, but realising that it’s the best thing for the females and the race, she released the Chosen and gave colour to the Other Side. Phury borrows Rehvenge’s great camp for any of the Chosen who want to live in the world. He retains part of the Primale tradition—the females are all his—but Cormia is his shellan and den mother to her sisters. He plans to help the others find mates, with character as a higher consideration than bloodline. Once he learned that the king is fighting lessers again, Phury also rejoined the Brotherhood.
Layla is a beautiful strawberry blonde Chosen with light green eyes, fully trained as an ehros, meaning that she was taught the erotic arts. Because Rhage couldn’t feed from Mary, he reached out to the Directrix and requested a Chosen to feed from. As this was the first time in ages that the Brotherhood reached out to the Chosen, she sent Layla, who was close to her needing, in the hopes that her training would be put to use and the Chosen would start producing new little Brothers. But Rhage insists on being faithful to Mary and only feeding from Layla because he must. Layla quickly adjusted to her new role and helped Rhage and Mary come to terms with the necessity of his feeding from a third party. She is caring and nurturing of others, not just with Rhage and Mary, but also when Cormia was anxious over becoming the Primale’s First Mate, and Payne noted Layla’s non-judgemental friendship. She just really wants someone to share herself with. She was taught with a positive attitude towards sex, but isn’t slutty or sleazy. When JM went through his transition, she fed him and was hoping to become his first lover, but he turned her down because his past made him unable to continue. Without any other knowledge or experience, she assumed that she was somehow at fault and feels the shame of having her naked body rejected and being unable to uphold the Chosen’s traditions. Rhage, V, JM, Blay and Qhuinn all feed from Layla without sex. One night she didn’t leave right away after feeding Qhuinn and Blay and Qhuinn asked her what was wrong. She told him about how she felt emptier and emptier when they use her for blood only and is reaching the point where she needs to stop serving them. Qhuinn was about to tell her why they all feed from her specifically, but was interrupted. He asked who she wanted and she answered that she wanted him. He promised to go slowly. The next day she was happy in the Other Side and told Payne that Qhuinn had only kissed her because he wanted her to be sure that she wanted to have sex with him. She is convinced that she wants more of him specifically rather than just furthering her education and that their passion denotes “a certain destiny”. Qhuinn called her and they kissed. Afterwards, she felt happy and content.
Selena was introduced as the Chosen who had been sequestered to record vampire events before Cormia requested the job. She is also a rare Chosen who, like Cormia, was not afraid of Rehvenge when he visited the great camp in the Adirondacks every month. She fed Tohr for the first time since Wellsie’s death and he nearly killed her in his hunger. She later fed Saxton after he was attacked by homophobic humans. I think the fact that she is still willing to feed males shows she has spine.
REHVENGE, SON OF REMPOON, AKA THE REVEREND
A lot of Rehvenge’s life is secret. Only a few people know that he is half symphath and that he is Bella’s half-brother—most believe that they share a father. (Interestingly enough, in the mandatory sehclusion motion that Marissa quashed, Bella was identified as ‘blooded daughter of the Princeps Rempoon’, while the excerpt of Lover Avenged in the Insider’s Guide identifies Rehvenge as ‘son of Dragor’ in his medical file, but Ward insists that not even Bella knows they have different fathers. He was later identified in Lover Avenged as ‘son of Rempoon’, who was mated to Rehv and Bella’s mother Madalina.) He killed Bella’s father to save Bella and their mother from abuse. Even though he felt ashamed of himself for having taken so long to man up, he took
over as the head of the household and Bella felt the weight of his overprotective nature. After her transition, she moved out into a farmhouse and it was while she was living there that she was abducted by Mr. O. After Bella’s rescue, Rehvenge insisted that Wrath return her to his care and anoint her as a sehcluded female so that he could deny every male who wanted to be near her. While she was with the Brotherhood, she negotiated with him to relax his rules concerning her life and by the time Marissa vetoed the mandatory sehclusion motion, he was strongly opposed to sehclusion. He just wants what’s best for his family, but doesn’t always go the right way about it. Although as a symphath he can be without morals, he also has his vampire side and his mother’s influence. He tries to follow the ‘good’ side but at the end of the day he can either internalise the morals he’s learnt or discard them in favour of his true nature. He went through the transition like all vampires do and discovered his barb then. His maternal uncle brought him a female to feed from and when he had sex for the first time, he thought he and the female would be mated to each other. After she had a good time with him, she left, promising not to charge his family for the sex. He was disillusioned, having learned she was paid to see him through the change. He has 2 red stars on his pec muscles and some as yet undescribed black designs on his stomach. After her separation from Wrath, Rehv fed Marissa. He disagreed with the glymera’s opinion that she was defective and wanted to mate with her. But it was only because of her inexperience that he could feed her because his symphath blood tastes noticeably different to other vampires. Also, she needed to feed from him more frequently. Rehvenge owned and operated ZeroSum, a club that provided some very special services for its VIPs, such as gambling, prostitution and high quality illegal drugs. He looked after his girls and didn’t stand for them being abused. He looked after his patrons by ensuring that they only got top notch drugs instead of cheaper stuff that would kill them. But then dead customers don’t spend much money. The vampire side of him knew that it was a dirty living, but he did it to support his mother and, until recently, Bella, as well as cover the monthly cost of cut rubies for his blackmailer. At the club he called himself the Reverend but also used the human alias Richard Reynolds. He keeps a penthouse at the Commodore that his family doesn’t know about, as well as separate safe houses for his mother and Bella and the great camp in the Adirondacks currently inhabited by Phury and the Chosen. Coincidentally, his penthouse takes up the other half of the floor as V’s penthouse, but since they dematerialise there, they don’t know they’re neighbours. He also bought another block in town that he wanted to turn into a goth club called the Iron Mask. Rehvenge started keeping his symphath nature under control using dopamine soon after he killed Rempoon, but this had some unpleasant side effects. He was cold all the time and couldn’t feel his body, so he often had to rely on a swordstick cane for balance and try to pass it off as a vain affectation. As long as he was was well-dosed, he was impotent, but he regained function when his dopamine levels fell. Unfortunately, his condition was spiralling out of his control. He needed higher and higher doses of the drug and his veins seemed to be collapsing. He was being blackmailed into having sex with the symphath princess on the first Tuesday of each month ever since she found out about Xhex’s unspecified ‘little problem’ 25 years ago. The princess also kept Rehvenge’s continued existence a secret from his uncle, who believed him to be dead. He hated the sex and being forced to service her and tell her pretty lies, but he loved the power it gave him over her. Foreplay consisted of a power struggle between them—her orders versus his charm and seduction. He also liked getting to come inside her because the barb at the base of his penis would emerge and lock him inside her, which he knew hurt her. Then she would bind the area with silk to keep his seed inside her. She wore scorpion venom as an aphrodisiac, but Rehv was slowly becoming allergic to it and after the last occasion, Lassiter saved him from pending anaphylactic shock (in which the body’s systems shut down and the victim dies—not exactly the most fun way to go). I don’t know if the substance itself turned the princess on or if she enjoyed the fact that he hated it or some sick combination of the above. The last time he met the princess, she was two days late because she was needed in the colony. Rehvenge’s uncle (described as a ‘power-hungry, possessive despot’) was crowned king and she wanted Rehv to kill him. And guess what? He was her uncle, too, and her mate. Ick. It got even better— Rehv and the princess had the same uncle because they were half-siblings. By the end of Lover Enshrined, Rehvenge agreed to become the Princeps Council leahdyre, so this, added to his symphath royal status, further accentuated the theme of him having one foot in two camps. It was while he needed more dopamine from Havers that Rehvenge gave his number to his favourite nurse and the only one who didn’t seem repulsed by him, Ehlena, blooded daughter of Alyne, who once served on the council and was a renowned academic. Ehlena (pronounced EhLAYna) was once a member of the glymera until her family was double crossed in business, leaving them without money or position. Ehlena’s intended hellren then dumped and ruined her, claiming that she had seduced him before their mating while he had only the most honourable intentions. Her mother killed herself and her father descended into schizophrenia.
Ehlena worked for Havers to keep a roof over their heads and pay a carer to look after Alyne while she worked. Rehvenge recognised the same loneliness in her that he perceived in himself, Xhex and the Moors, which was why he initially felt a bond with her. They both walked in the world while being intrinsically separate from others. She noted signs of infection where Rehv must have medicated himself with old needles and not sterilised the area first. He refused to tell Havers or let her help because he was deliberately cultivating the infection as a form of suicide. She called him after hours about his arm and their relationship began over the phone. She stole penicillin for his arm and visited him at the penthouse where his vampire bonding instincts managed to overcome even the dopamine, and he got an erection despite being medicated. Rehvenge was approached by Montrag, son of Rehm and a member of the glymera, to kill Wrath. Morag argued that Wrath had done nothing to protect the glymera after the raids or find out how they were found and what happened to the loot. As a symphath, he resolved to do what he felt was in his own best interests, unaware that Rehm had visited his business partner Rempoon, while he was dying, and encouraged him to swear an oath that Madalina was abducted by the symphaths, escaped after she fell pregnant, and later married Rempoon. He also stated that his stepson Rehvenge was his killer. After Rehm’s death, Montrag had possession of the statement and could plausibly deny all legal knowledge of Rehvenge’s symphath status until it suited him to reveal it. Once Montrag had sealed up a copy of the statement in an envelope to be delivered to Rhode Island for verification and returned the second copy to his safe, Xhex killed him on Rehv’s order without ever knowing of the statement’s existence. Rehv then told Wrath about the conspiracy, having decided it was better to be in Wrath’s favour than Montrag’s, not to mention Wrath’s death would affect Bella. Havers confronted Ehlena for stealing the penicillin and she quit rather than get the sack. At least Rehv was taking the penicillin, which in all likelihood he would not have been if it had come from someone other than Ehlena. Madalina asked Rehvenge to visit her and he found her ironing her father’s (the Primale before Phury) handkerchiefs. She left the Other Side because she was in love with a Brother but was kidnapped and raped by the symphath king. Although the Brother Madalina loved also loved her, he died before she was able to escape. The Primale wanted to see her before he died, but she felt too contaminated to see him. The Directrix told her that the Primale refused to go into the Fade until he had seen her. She felt estranged from him and he said, ‘The heavy soul does not pass, though the body is failing.’ He felt that what happened to Madalina was his fault for not protecting her. He was only able to pass after she told him that she loved her son and would be mated to a member of the glymera. Madalina found herself in a similar situation now that it was her time. She told Rehv that she knew he had killed Rempoon and his own birth father and made him promise not to tell Bella or Nalla so that they would never be burdened by the past they cannot control. Bella walked in on Rehvenge injecting himself with dopamine and he told her he was diabetic, which neatly explained his cane and fur coats. (We didn’t actually see it but Z explained to Bella what Rehvenge really is before rescuing him from the colony.) Lash’s scheme to kill the local dealers and set himself up as their replacement threatened Rehv’s position as the town’s biggest dealer as his reputation depended on the perception of stability. He needed to stay in the business as long as he had to provide rubies for the princess, but Lash needed to eliminate the street-level competition in non-organic drugs by taking out the local wholesaler, who just happened to be Rehv. At the glymera council meeting, a lawyer presented an envelope from Montrag before his ‘assassination’, as the glymera saw it, containing Rempoon’s statement about Rehvenge. Before anyone could search Montrag’s house for any other copies of the statement, the princess visited Ehlena to tell her who Rehv really was, not that Ehlena believed her. The princess then emailed the Brotherhood with Rehvenge’s secret and demanded his delivery to the colony or she would email the glymera telling them about Rehv and that the king had done nothing about it. Xhex walked in after Rehvenge got the news from V, and he made her vow to take care of a female for him, not bothering to correct her assumption that he meant for her to kill the princess. To ensure that Ehlena hated him too much to mourn him, he had Trez bring her to the club where she saw the prostitution and the drugs and realised that he must be a symphath. Rehv signed away his property, called Bella one last time and sang a lullaby to Nalla that Madalina used to sing for them, left the club and blew it up before dematerialising to the colony. He found Lash with the princess, whom he used as a shield when Lash took aim at him. He then realised that Lash was behind the glymera massacre and the drug war. The symphath king arrived and took Rehvenge prisoner. He was hung from the ceiling from a bar going through his body under his shoulders. In the light he could see venomous spiders and scorpions. After the king came to gloat and tell him he will only live as long as the princess does, to add to her punishment, the light went and the creatures covered every inch of Rehvenge’s body. He didn’t scream so they couldn’t go in his mouth.
Saxton arrived on Ehlena’s doorstep, telling her that she and her father were Montrag’s heirs, and on his death they inherited his entire estate, meaning that Ehlena never has to work again. Rehvenge’s faked death created a vacuum in the drug community, which was quickly filled by Lash and the Lessening Society. A month later, Ehlena had moved into Montrag’s house, to everyone’s benefit, from her father to the doggen. Alyne was in a relationship with his carer and was thriving in his new environment, but Ehlena felt unsettled, as though her newfound luxury could disappear, and was having second thoughts about her failed relationship with Rehvenge. She had Montrag’s safe opened and found Rempoon’s affidavit dated the last night Madalina had been taken to the clinic. She realised that it couldn’t have been a coincidence that Rempoon died the only night Bella instead of Rehvenge took Madalina to Havers. Then she also realised that it probably wasn’t a coincidence that Montrag, who knew for some time that Rehvenge was a symphath, died only days before Rehvenge. She called Xhex with her suspicions and they visited Wrath, who agreed to send the Brothers with them to rescue Rehvenge. If Xhex took out the princess (unaware she currently belonged to Lash), she couldn’t reveal Rehv’s secret and the king won’t act against Wrath. Rehvenge was his subject, too. Any copies of Rempoon’s affidavit Montrag had would now be in Ehlena’s possession. Their rescue attempt was delayed by the arrival of the princess and the rest of the symphaths, who were looking for their leader after the princess killed the king. The symphaths had chosen Rehvenge to rule them as they hoped having a vampire half-breed in charge will keep the vampires out of their colony. The princess broke his control over them and tried to attack Ehlena. Rehvenge summoned more strength than he would have had for anyone else and drove straight into the princess’s mind, his vision going beyond red to purple. He unleashed her lust for him and power over the colony, then drove her mad by offering it all to Ehlena. The princess stabbed herself repeatedly and Rehvenge called the spiders and scorpions to cover her and bite. When Rehvenge made it to the Brotherhood’s mansion, he and Bella talked. She demanded to know the truth about her parents’ relationship and how Rempoon really died. He apologised to her for being born because everything that happened happened because of him. She told him that he was innocent because it’s not his fault he was born and that Madalina loved him. It was what he’d needed for years to hear. Although it’s the last thing Rehvenge wanted to do, Wrath asked him to remain symphath king to curb any instability and Ehlena agreed. Rehv had no idea how to rule or any desire to do so, but Wrath just said that destiny sometimes has things in mind for people. He felt a kinship with Wrath and decided he was the king Rehv would like to be. He would also take Ehlena’s counsel, and even though she would never be anywhere near the colony, Ehlena will stand by him. They’ve moved into the mansion on a permanent basis.
Xhex (pronounced Hex with a hard ‘H’) is the half symphath, half vampire head of security at Rehvenge’s club ZeroSum, who doesn’t take any crap. She likes busting heads and has previously found job satisfaction in being an assassin. She had a pact with Rehv to stay unattached because they need each other. He fed from her but I’m not 100% sure that he fed her in return. Since the best partner for a symphath is another symphath and they are both half-breeds (although Rehvenge comes from royalty, while Xhex’s father was a servant), Xhex has had sex with Rehvenge, but neither of them liked it. She knew what Rehv did with the princess as a result of the ‘little problem’ she had 25 years ago and wonders how he doesn’t hate her for putting him in that position. She was also disturbed that Rehv seemed to have accepted his fate and wasn’t trying to find ways to negate the princess’s hold on them. Back to the ‘little problem’. In Lover Avenged, we learnt that Xhex was involved with Murhder over two decades ago even though she thought it was a bad idea. She returned to the symphath colony because of her family, but they wouldn’t let her leave. He went mad after following her to the symphath colony believing that she needed to be rescued, only to find that she was not just a vampire. Rehv made his deal with the princess for Xhex and Murhder’s release but her family had already sold her to humans for experiments. Most of them treated her well enough, but there was a sadist in the group. They fed her human blood, but it wasn’t enough to keep her strong and eventually someone let her go. I have no idea whether or not she destroyed the footage they took of her during the experiments. After awhile she returned to burn the place down and killed the sadist. Xhex doesn’t often have sex, and when she does, it’s because she sees something worthy in the male. As a favour to Rehv (that she wanted to do anyway), she approached Butch O’Neal and had sex with him before his transition. She had no idea about Marissa and was saddened to learn Butch was off the market. She’s had her eye on John Matthew for a while and told herself it’s because he’s the king’s ward, so the club would be in deep shit if anything happened to him. She noticed that although his friends picked up chicks, JM never did.
One night she threw out a drunk for harassing a waitress and when she noticed John watching her, she took a peek into his mind and saw him naked on a bed, stroking himself while thinking of her. Even though she saw whim as a kid, she was reluctantly attracted to him and told him to say her name when he came. A few days later she found him drunk in a bathroom and a lot more confident. He hit on her and she realised that he was ‘one fuck of a big male’. Before she left on some club emergency, he handed her a note written on the paper towel to be read later. At the end of the night she rode her Ducati to her cabin on the Hudson River (she also owns a basement apartment in town), where she released the cilices (metal bands with spikes pointing inwards) she wore around her thighs to control her symphath side. Under the rush of the endorphins, Xhex pulled out JM’s note, in which he returns her cheeky comment to him and tells her to say his name when she comes. And as much as she resented the hell out of this young male who obviously had issues, but was also really confident at times, that’s exactly what she did. After killing Montrag on Rehvenge’s order and fucking with his head just because, her cilices weren’t working as well as they normally would. She sent an image of her and JM having sex into his head but decided that wasn’t the outlet she needed. While she was readjusting her cilices, JM barged into her office and only got the picture when he saw her red eyes. He returned to the club alone and told her that he wasn’t planning to tell anyone she’s a symphath. She probed his mind and found that he meant it, which she thought made him one in a million. She also noticed that he was upset about Tohr but didn’t want to talk about it, so she gave him the key to her place, so he can have some space without anyone getting in his way, and told Qhuinn that she hadn’t seen him all night. When Qhuinn warned her not to hurt JM, he earned her respect for having the balls to stand up to her, as not many men do. She had sex with John Matthew, after which she drove home the point that she just wanted sex, harder than she needed to, IMHO. She felt that she already cared about JM more than she should, given how tragically her relationship with Murhder turned out and Murhder was someone she casually enjoyed. JM looked at her with awe, admiration, shyness, compassion and vulnerability. The responsibility of being with someone who wore such an expression for her and the realisation that she was capable of returning his feelings became too much, so she killed his warmth and came to regret it soon afterwards. She was saddened and upset to see JM banging a ZeroSum prostitute with Qhuinn with an empty look in his eyes, knowing that her inadvertent theft of his innocence was a big part of putting it there. A ZeroSum prostitute was reported dead and Xhex immediately looked for the abusive drug-dealing boyfriend, unaware that he had made a new friend in Lash after Lash was arrested for statutory rape. She eventually found and killed him painfully and bloodily. Lash kidnapped her after his failed ‘relationship’ with the symphath princess and decided to extract payment for the trouble Xhex had caused him by killing the man who would give him an in with the drug community. After Rehvenge was told about the princess’s revelation to the Brotherhood that he was a symphath and her threat to tell the glymera as well, Xhex gladly vowed to take care of a female for him, believing he intended to ask her to kill the princess. It was really a promise to look after herself. She works security at the Iron Mask, which, due to its goth clientele and lack of drugs, is less hectic that ZeroSum, leaving her with a lot of time to think about the ways in which she screwed up. At the end of one night, she saw Qhuinn and a girl exiting a bathroom with JM. He had no emotional grid anymore, stank of alcohol and washed the hands that touched the girl with hot water. She asked him how long he thought he can keep going on this destructive path. His only reply was a very deliberate one-finger salute. Ehlena called her to ask if Rehvenge was still alive. They met and Xhex began to respect her for standing her ground against her and bearing up under the revelation of Rehvenge’s life story and his sacrifice. She couldn’t go to the colony for Rehvenge’s sake, but Ehlena pointed out the loophole that Xhex could go to keep Ehlena safe when she went. They went to the Brotherhood for reinforcements. The day before they left for the colony, a drunk JM visited Xhex. Without a word, they had cold, clinical sex, immediately after which JM got dressed and left. Xhex cried alone for hours. When the princess interrupted their attempts to free Rehvenge, Xhex emptied her gun into the bitch. In return, Lash kidnapped her while everyone else’s attention was on the symphaths marching into Rehv’s cell. She is kept in a bedroom at the front of a house in a nice neighborhood, hidden behind a force field maintained by Lash 24/7. Not even the fore-lesser who brings her food is aware of her existence. Lash rapes her frequently and she fights back but he only enjoys it more when she does. First he wanted to punish her for killing the symphath princess, but became attracted to her and wants her to carry his young. She doesn’t know how far into her head Lash can get, she avoids thinking of John Matthew, especially when Lash is around. Although she is sure that JM wouldn’t go beyond his duty to find her after the way she’d treated him, she doesn’t want her feelings to be used against her. Her biggest regrets are that she didn’t tell Murhder she was half symphath, so he wouldn’t have tried to rescue her from the colony and that she hadn’t told JM the problem was her, not him.
JM, Blay, Qhuinn, Rhage and V break into Lash’s house and find the room where Xhex was being kept. Believing they had missed her, JM broke down and the sight shattered Xhex’s heart. She tried to talk to him and wipe his tears away, but he walked through her as he left with her pillow. When Lash drove past to check on her, she noticed that he was weaker than usual and found that the walls of her prison weren’t as strong either. Using all her strength, she threw herself against the invisible barrier and broke through. When she heard someone (who ended up being Blay) in the kitchen, she thought Lash had returned and dematerialised to her basement place where she passed out. She later called Rehv, not John, to let everyone know she had escaped but wanted space. John found her at the basement she’d loaned to him six weeks earlier. JM offered to feed her and she took his vein, but only because she didn’t want to die until she’d killed Lash. She respected JM’s strength because even though his heart was broken, he wasn’t. Doc Jane examined her, despite her fear of medical situations and found blood on the insides of her thighs, but determined Xhex was not pregnant. Xhex was taken back to the Brotherhood’s exam room where she fell apart in fear, but John kept her anchored to the here and now. Doc Jane repaired some internal injuries. JM returned in case she needed to feed again and while she asked questions that would help her find Lash, she realised she felt safe with him and never wanted him to leave. She allowed herself a night off from her mission to kill Lash and let JM take her to the places he had spent his earlier life and comes to respect his strength in having survived. Like him, she’d grown up knowing she was different to everyone else, but he’d had it so much worse. While she felt strongly connected to him, she knew that their connection would break when her past mentally caught up with her and she left to kill Lash. So while they were together, she decided to give something of herself, not in return for what he’d given her, but because she wants to give. She tried to be with him in the bedroom he slept in at Tohr and Wellsie’s house, but her memories of Lash overpowered her. She told JM that Lash hadn’t been impotent and his rage made the windows explode. Later on, her symphath side saw that JM had also been raped and that Lash had found out about it. She felt connected to him in a way that she knew she never had been or would be with anyone else because they each know what the other has been through, how it felt and how it affects them. They had spectacular sex that drove out their pasts. They were called to a meeting with the Brotherhood where they heard a phone message from Lash telling them where to find the Omega’s new bunch of inductees. She argues that she should go ahead during the day to see if it’s safe for the Brothers to go at night. She knows that if she doesn’t get there first, someone else will kill Lash. When she arrives, the place is surrounded by cops, courtesy of the mailman. Trez and iAm show up and refuse to leave, even to follow the new fore-lesser, so she calls it in and settles in to wait out the day when Jose de la Cruz shows up to investigate. She and the Shadows searched inside the place and though there were blurry bits where she noted emotional grids, the bodies weren’t visible. On her return, she found JM who wasn’t happy to see her after being shut in all day while she left him without a backward glance. She was upset at his distance, but convinced herself he was right – they should be partners only until they kill Lash. After successfully ambushing the new inductees (highlights include Xhex going all symphath on the lesser she’d thrown a knife at before he could shoot JM, but the bullet hit his leg instead of his chest), she sees V heal Butch and realizes his true feelings. She silently reassures him that they were only together once and it was over. They return to the mansion where Doc Jane removes the bullet. To help Xhex overcome her phobia, Jane suggests she stay and watch, which she does with some effort. As soon as he comes around, he asks if she’s OK, which melts her. When he leaves to get her cilices, she sees his tattoo for the first time and is selfish enough to be happy about it even though she still intends for them to part ways when Lash is dead. She, JM, Tohr and Qhuinn are hunting Lash when she feels he is close because he carries her blood. She races after him, leaving the others to follow and finds his car. JM smashed the windscreen and Lash comes running. She disappears symphath-style with the intent to snek up on him, disarm and disable him before taking her time with his death. Human bodyguards shoot Lash, forcing everyone to take cover, but her bonded male JM is unstoppable. Lash gears up to throw an energy ball at him, so Xhex abandons her plan and throws herself at Lash to save JM. Lash uses her as a shield.
Tohr fires a miracle shot into Lash’s head, giving Xhex the chance to get away. She doesn’t get far before Lash stabs her, but when JM gives her his dagger to finish off Lash, she’s determined to finish him off. She stabs him through the chest, sending him back to the Omega. She regains consciousness in the mansion as she’s being wheeled to another room to make way for a new patient with a long, dark braid. She calls the female “pain”. .Xhex comes to realise JM’s worth and that in giving her closure with Lash, he’d put her needs above his own again. She told him she loved him and wanted to be his shellan. Unlike Rehv, who gets to exercise his symphath side regularly at the colony, Xhex still wears her cilices. Wrath asked her to fight lessers along side the Brothers. To settle her nerves before her mating ceremony, Xhex went channel-surfing and saw an ad for Paranormal Investigators with a painting that looked like Murhder. Although she was curious, she had no intention of following up because he’d told her he never wanted to see her again. Tohr brings her Wellsie’s mating dress for her to wear for her mating to JM. She has no idea why and can’t get the answer from Tohr’s mind. A female in black robes like the Scribe Virgin’s enters the room and says it was because Tohr was there at Xhex’s birth. Xhex notes that the female’s emotional grid matches hers, so the female must be her mother. She doesn’t blame her for killing herself and agrees to begin a relationship with her. After the mating ceremony, JM gives her a huge diamond necklace so her hands would be free for fighting. She tells him she wants some ink, too.
The origins of the symphath (ignore the extra ‘H’, it’s pronounced sympath—they’re also called sin-eaters, but it’s a derogatory term) haven’t been revealed yet, but it has been suggested that they were bred to be weapons because they have a huge advantage in a fight, namely their ability to enter people’s minds. Rehvenge disabled a lesser by going through its ugly memories of cruelty and bringing them to its conscious mind—Ward’s simile was opening bottles one after the other and letting the contents fizz over the top, scrambling the brain. Lash confirmed that the symphaths were once related to vampires but is unsure if they still need to feed like vampires. Symphaths have fangs, even though Ward has never actually seen them feed, and although they have a compulsion to fuck with people’s heads, they don’t feed from the emotion. On the other hand, Lash noticed that the symphath princess didn’t have fangs, which led him to believe they may not feed very often, if at all. They have no sense of morality and are highly dangerous. For this reason, symphaths live in colonies separate from vampires and humans. If you know about a symphath, legally you must report them or face prosecution. While vampire blood is red, symphath blood is blue, and half-breed blood is purple. They cry blood tears. I’m unsure how true this really is (can you believe a symphath?), but while posing as the king, the symphath princess told Lash that the symphaths chose to be exiled from the vampires because they have evolved so far beyond them that the difference between symphaths and vampires could be compared to that between humans and chimps. As they chose and engineered the separation, they have no interest in acting out against the vampires, but are willing to help the lessers in return for the assassination of an unfaithful royal mate. Symphaths had a tendency to take vampire females from the vampire population, which was a factor in them being sent to the colony. There is a symphath colony near the Canadian border in the middle of some cornfields. The door can be found open but the only type of apparent security in place is a sign reading TAOIST MONASTICAL ORDER, EST. 1982 and a sense that something is not quite right, which is obviously meant to keep the humans away. The security keeping the inmates inside is the strength of the ruler. There are only two symphath classes: The royalty and aristocracy, then the working class, who perform any manual labour required and breed to keep the race populated. The king acts as the hub for the symphaths and the kingdom seems to be passed on by a mix of bloodline and democratic choice. The more ruthless the leader, the more suited they are to rule in the general population’s opinion. Rehvenge’s uncle was the symphath king and while he had Rehvenge imprisoned, he was able to prevent Rehvenge from reaching out to any of the symphaths in the colony, showing that a symphath’s greatest strength is his mind rather than his body. Symphaths follow group behaviour so individuals are unlikely to go out on a limb to cause trouble. When Rehv and Xhex were reunited at the Brotherhood’s mansion, their symphath sides held onto each other.
Physically they’re not that much to look at as they have a certain reptilian appearance with forked tongues and their hands have an extra knuckle in each finger. Both the males and females have long hair piled up on their heads and both sexes appear largely androgynous. Although Rehvenge has a barb at the base of his penis, we don’t know for sure that full symphath males do. I assume they do because Rehv is also half vampire and we haven’t read about barbs on vampires. The barb emerges at the point of male orgasm to ensure he gets to stay inside for the duration. Based on Ehlena’s experience, the barb doesn’t have to hurt. I’ll just take her word on that. *legs staying firmly crossed* I think that, like vampires, symphaths are also plagued with low fertility as Rehv has had unprotected sex with the princess every month for 25 years. But then even if she had the heir she clearly wants, she might still demand the sex because she enjoys it more than the clinical game of strategy ending in ejaculation that makes up a typical symphath mating. Xhex says that there are very few symphaths left (I don’t know what happened to them) so inbreeding happens a lot. If a symphath falls pregnant, her inner walls are no longer smooth. Also like vampires, symphaths can dematerialise. I don’t know how it works, but Ward has said that both Rehvenge and Xhex are ‘of no age’. They see in 2D and in shades of red and have the ability to sense humans and vampires by their emotional grid, even with walls blocking conventional sight. Wrath once said that there’s no such thing as a half-breed symphath, because if you have symphath blood in you, then you have the symphath abilities and that makes you a symphath. It dominates the rest of you. Murders are tattooed on the killer’s chest. Stars mean patricide and circles are for matricide. Red ink is used on the royal family. So Rehvenge’s red stars mean that he is a royal who has committed two counts of patricide (his symphath father and his vampire stepfather). The preferred murder method is getting into your victim’s mind and forcing them to commit suicide. The symphath princess posed as the king in order to get Lash to kill her mate, the real king. She demanded rubies from Rehvenge in order to barter with humans, to the king’s contempt. He believes that fear provides more power than money. Symphaths are motivated by self-interest and enforcing their wills onto others. Although the king likes Rehvenge, he preferred to keep him imprisoned as long as the princess lives before Rehvenge, too, would die, simply as another punishment for the princess who wants what she can’t have, especially the closer she seems to be to obtaining it. For her act of treason, the king sacrificed the princess to Lash, but she escaped a month later and killed the king before trying to rescue Rehvenge. Xhex and Lash disabled her, leaving Rehvenge next in line for the throne, despite his injuries. Because Rehv is also a vampire, the symphaths chose him as their ruler in the hope that he will keep the vampires away from the colony. Rehvenge killed the princess and took over as symphath king. When he threatened his subjects with a worse fate than the princess suffered, it confirmed in their minds that they made the right choice for their ruler. Wrath claims that he could take away the symphaths’ colony and that the king rules only because Wrath lets him.
TREZ AND IAM
I don’t know much about the Moors other than that they are the Reverend’s personal bodyguards and friends. I don’t think they answer to Xhex, as she looks after ZeroSum and its patrons, while the Reverend is their focus. Trez follows Rehv when he meets the princess and is able to blend well enough in the shadows that not even a symphath can find him. Rehvenge can hear Trez’s voice in his head, and I think that he can’t hear Rehv, and that Trez is projecting as opposed to Rehv being attuned to him. He has green eyes and fangs, but I have no idea what he feeds on. When iAm cut his hand to make a blood vow, he bled blue. Trez is a hothead, but if you’re smart, you don’t underestimate his brother iAm just because he’s quiet. He is steadier and more realistic than Trez. They are both royal members of the s’Hisbe of Shadows (suh-HEEB), but I don’t know what that means yet, other than they are both very strong and very powerful. Trez reads The Shadow Death Lexicon, an ancient book more suited to priests than potential kings. iAm runs Salvatore’s Restaurant after the owner ran up some major gambling debts and exchanged ownership of the restaurant for cancellation of his debt to Rehvenge and his continued good health. iAm insisted that the sauce recipe be included in the deal. Under his management, the place actually turns a profit. With Rehvenge’s ‘passing’, iAm inherited Sal’s, while Trez got the Iron Mask. Their loyalty to Rehvenge is so deep that they are offended when JM, Qhuinn and Blay bypass Rehv and ask them questions that would help find Xhex as it suggests that either they or Wrath don’t trust Rehv or believe he’d do whatever it takes to find her. But they agree to help the boys when JM explains that he doesn’t want the Brotherhood to know how he feels about Xhex so nobody expects them to have a relationship when she’s found.
They provide details of drug hotspots and promise to gather info on the big supplier in case Lash targets him. In return, they’re going to tell Rehv the boys stopped by (but not the content of their discussion) and expect to be kept in the loop. Rehv had commanded them to stay out of the search for Xhex for their own safety, but having JM reach out to them provides a handy loophole. And since Rehv was not impressed that Xhex wanted to scout ahead at the lesser farmhouse during the day, he called Trez and iAm, who refused to leave Xhex, even to follow the new fore-lesser. iAm was once in love with a female Trez has never met and it left him feeling miserable. He doesn’t talk about it.
DARIUS, SON OF MARKLON, REINCARNATED AS JOHN MATTHEW AKA TEHRROR, SON OF DARIUS OF MARKLON
If the series can be said to have a central character, it would be Darius/John Matthew, as he has been instrumental in bringing together the Brotherhood and bringing their shellans into their world. Several centuries ago, Darius was trained in the same warrior camp that V later grew up in, and by leaving behind his diary, he unknowingly eased V’s isolation and later introduced him to Wrath. He also introduced the twins, Phury and Zsadist. He offered Wrath a private place to feed and brought over the old king Wrath’s royal desk and throne, which were all that survived the lesser raid. Darius was the son of Tehrror but was raised by Marklon while his mother lived. Upon her death, Marklon’s hidden animosity towards his stepson surfaced and he threw Darius out of his home and left him at the door of the Bloodletter’s warrior camp with only the clothes on his back. Although his wealthy appearance made him a target, Darius proved to be such a strong fighter that the Bloodletter could not force him to rape his opponents. While another fighter such as Hharm kept the camp occupied as he meted out the customary punishment to the losers in Darius’ place, Darius snuck away and wrote in his diary using his own blood as ink. One night the Brothers Ahgony, Throe, Murhder (I think he’s the father of the Murhder we’re getting to know now) and Tohrture came to test him in a one-off opportunity. He was successful and never got the chance to return for his diary. In 1671, 27 years after his graduation from the warrior camp, Darius was sent on a mission to rescue the daughter of the Princeps Council leahdyre Sampsone. He decided to take Tohrment with him, as this would be Tohr’s first mission and Hharm was neglecting him. His self-appointed claim on Tohr offended Hharm, but as Hharm knew he wouldn’t be able to beat Darius, he disowned Tohr. Although Tohr didn’t know, Darius resolved to protect him with his own life. Two evenings later, he and Tohr visited Sampsone and determined that the daughter had escaped with a male. They question the staff, including the steward, Fritzgelder Perlmutter, who was born 77 years earlier and had served the family since he was five. He went against his boss, the butler, to show them where the trees had been cut down the previous week to provide access to the daughter’s bedroom. The next night he found Tohr sleeping in the Brotherhood’s cave, having nowhere else to go after being disowned. Their first stop was Sampsone’s house where Darius ordered Tohr a meal in the guise of putting the doggen at ease and talking to Fritz again. He asked Fritz to store Tohr’s things until they returned. Tohr was angry at the implication he couldn’t look after himself. Darius pointed out that while he would be able to take care of himself, right then he needed a partner who was at full strength and alertness. They investigated the house next door and found it belonged to a symphath. He told the Brothers where to find his son, who had stolen the female to punish him for associating with an inferior being. It would break his heart not only to lose his love, but to lose her to the inferiors looking for her. Darius expected that silence from her and her family would protect her reputation. He took Tohr back to his small, modest house for the day. The next night, they found the symphath at his hideaway with the female. The symphath insisted they were mated and used her as a shield. Tohr shot the symphath, but the female told them he should have killed her instead. Despite her telling him that she was pregnant to the symphath, Darius took the female back home and found that they symphath’s father was already there to ascertain that his son had been killed. He said that losses should be born on both sides equally. His son is dead, and the leahdyre’s daughter is ruined. The father offers him money not to bring his daughter back and Darius tells him he is just like the symphath who would not mourn his son. He took the female home with him and Tohr and refused to accept the leahdyre’s money. He delivered a healthy baby girl who didn’t look at all like a symphath, but when he presented the young to her mother, the female had stabbed herself with Tohr’s dagger. As sad as he was over the female’s passing (who he felt was condemned by others more than her own actions), he had to put the infant first and was determined to do whatever it took to make sure her life was better than her birth. He and Tohr live warrior’s lives, so they would not be able to be there for a young and provide everything she needs, especially a mother, so Darius decides she must be adopted out. He found a vampire family who lost their young during birth. Although their home was modest, they had the means to employ a doggen. The male was happy to be given the young and Darius protected her by not providing any details of her lineage. Instead of being able to visit regularly, he knew he and Tohr would draw unwanted attention to the young with their visits, so he was forced to leave her, even though he knew he was leaving a piece of his heart with her and would never see her again. He named her Xhexania and watched the female of the house welcome her new young.
Darius died when his car exploded at the beginning of Dark Lover, after asking Wrath to guide his daughter Beth through her transition, and Marissa met Butch through Beth’s arrival in the vampire world. Towards the end of the book, the Scribe Virgin rewarded Darius by letting him be with his daughter, except he had to sacrifice the power of speech. John Matthew was born in a public bathroom and was raised in an orphanage. He was good with the younger orphans, but was always different. Every year, the orphans would get a field trip to a rich man’s lakehouse and no matter how much sunscreen he wore, he always got badly sunburned. Eventually he was confined to the shady porch, but wished that he could join the others, not because they were having fun, but because he wanted to be a part of something. He briefly lived with a couple sets of foster parents and went to school until he dropped out at 16. When he was old enough to live on his own, he worked as a busboy and moved into a crappy low rent apartment, where a man raped him in the stairwell. He immediately moved out. He had strange dreams of blood, biting and sex. He wanted to be a strong protector and hated being trapped in such a small form that women either didn’t notice him or wanted to look after him. John began calling the suicide hotline even though he couldn’t speak because he liked the sound of a volunteer counsellor’s voice. The calls were made from a local payphone, so he was able to see Mary Luce as she came and went from the centre. When she didn’t show up one evening, he visited her house. There he met Bella, who noted a bracelet he’d made with the name Tehrror written in the Old Language. Bella recognised the warrior name and contacted the Brotherhood, and she and Mary went with John to the compound. There Mary met Rhage and Bella met Zsadist. Tohr, who was Darius’s best friend, interviewed John and offered him a place in the pretrans training program. John decided to think about it, but after a lesser moved into his building, he contacted Tohr to sign up. Tohr and his shellan, Wellsie, took him in, clothed and fed him and became the first family he’d ever known. John’s blood was tested and Havers determined that he was such a close match to Darius that he had to be Darius’s son. Tohr was happy to see another part of his best friend live on. Havers also sent John to a therapist, and he talked about the rape but refused to go back. John was one of the least coordinated in the pretrans class and was bullied by Lash for being mute, unco, raised by humans, and having the Brotherhood’s star-shaped scar on his chest. He actually wasn’t trying to suck up to the Brotherhood—it was a marking he was born with (a hint that he is really Darius). (Other than the Brotherhood scar he was born with, there were more hints that John Matthew is the reincarnation of Darius of Marklon. The first few times he met his half sister Beth, he fell into seizures until she was taken out of the room. A similar event occurred when Zsadist taught the pretrans class on car bombs. After John’s transition, his moves still weren’t that smooth, so Z handed him a different weapon and suggested that he fight with his left hand, even though he is right-handed. His skill was evident in his left hand, and Z told him that the only other left-handed warrior he’s ever known was Darius.) But despite that, he formed friendships with his classmates Blaylock and Qhuinn. In the lead up to John’s transition, Wellsie introduced him to her cousin Sarelle, to whom he was instantly attracted, and she seemed interested in him as well. Sarelle was abducted by the lesser who killed Wellsie and was used to lure Phury and Zsadist before she was also murdered. Just like that, John’s happy family was destroyed. Tohr disappeared in a burst of energy, and John moved in with the Brotherhood and took over Tohr’s admin duties, even going so far as to sleep in Tohr’s chair at the training centre. John became fixated on avenging his loss on the lessers and was even more impatient for his transition. He became more aggressive, a sure sign that the change was coming. While Beth was concerned that John wasn’t eating enough, Z showed him some tough love and made him start having meals with everyone else at the mansion and stop looking for a chance to hit Lash (even though the prick deserved it). After Blay’s transition, Lash started in on him as well and John puts himself between them. One more comment and John belted the living shit out of Lash until Wrath pulled him off and dragged him out. He told John that he doesn’t need thugs in the Brotherhood; he needs soldiers who will think for themselves instead of flying off the handle. Instead of expelling him from the training program, Wrath had Tohr’s chair brought to his office so that John could sit in and watch the king’s interactions with the Brothers, Beth and Marissa, who is setting up Safe Place. Wrath also decided that John would take a walk with Zsadist every morning before sunrise. The walks have been beneficial because Z doesn’t try to get in his head; it’s a designated quiet time. Qhuinn had his transition before John did and he wasn’t comfortable with being the little guy. To make John feel more equal, and knowing he would kick their butts, Blay suggested they play the video game sKillerz (unaware that V wrote it. We don’t hear about the game anymore, but I wonder if it bears any resemblance to killing lessers?). Qhuinn organised a trip to ZeroSum with the sole purpose of getting laid and John was concerned that his impending change will reopen the sexual can of worms for him. Then Z told him that not only was Lash returning to class after his suspension but he’d already gone through the change as well.
Qhuinn and Blay flanked John like bodyguards at the next lesson, which was on firearms. Although he had trouble in other classes requiring physical action, JM is a damn good shot. At ZeroSum, Qhuinn quickly picked up a couple of blondes and Blay decided to join them, but only after passing his gun to JM. He felt a tingle and looked up to see the female head of security watching him. She hauled him into her office and disarmed him. She demanded to know who he was and he tried to talk to her, which he couldn’t because he’s mute and she misinterprets it as cowardice and JM feels about 10 cm tall. Blay was also hauled in and explained that JM is Wrath’s ward, which meant that he absolutely must be kept safe in the club or the king will rain hellfire down on them. Xhex returned the gun with the warning that it should only be used for defence. On the way back from the club, the troika ran into a couple of lessers. As JM was a pretrans, he passed for human, so Qhuinn and Blay made him escape and he returned to the club hoping to get Xhex to help. He couldn’t make himself understood to the bouncers and they wouldn’t let him back in. He then felt the weight of the gun in his pocket and returned to the scene, took aim and shot the lessers before they could hurt Blay and Qhuinn. He then picked up a roofing spike and stabbed each lesser through the heart and remembered having done it so many times before. In that moment he realised that he wasn’t a puny little weakling, he was powerful. Then the transition hit. Layla fed him and after he’d gone through the change, she stayed for sex. Things started well until he remembered his rape and, not surprisingly, lost interest. He thought Layla would never assume it was her fault and was too ashamed to want to elaborate on why he couldn’t go through with it. What he didn’t realise was that she saw him go soft when she was naked and really did feel rejected and undesirable because she had no reason to think that there might be other factors. After all, there was no other male to convince her she’s attractive. She reported in to Z and Wrath, and Z told JM he knows what happened in the stairwell from the therapy session in his medical file, and he wanted JM to take matters into his own hands to be sure that his post-transitional body works. He assured JM that it wasn’t his fault and he didn’t think less of him for it. An image of Xhex worked for JM. It really worked. While adjusting to his new body, he realised that he had questions about Darius, but didn’t feel like he could ask anyone without reminding them of their loss. When Phury returned from the Other Side, he brought back Darius’s diary and gave it to John. He didn’t read it right away because even though this was what he thought he wanted, he realised that he sees Tohr as his father. Phury approached John and asked him to spend some time with Cormia because she needed a friend. John thought she looked like she didn’t need anyone, but since Phury had helped him in the past, he’d return the favour, and actually found her attractive, even though she’s the total opposite of Xhex. At the club, JM was turned on watching Xhex deal with a drunk and maintain total control. Somehow she knew that he thought of her while taking care of business first thing in the evening and told him to say her name next time. JM, Blay and Qhuinn were in the locker room when Lash walked out from the shower for another round of verbal abuse, but everyone was stunned into silence when he revealed details of John’s rape from the medical file he accessed in his new job at Havers’s clinic. During the fight, Lash pushed JM into the wall and reached for his pants. JM froze, but Qhuinn pulled Lash off and slit his throat. (Lash was taken to the clinic where the lessers found him and took him back to the Omega and the rest is history.) Once JM told Wrath why Qhuinn cut Lash, the king found a loophole that enabled him to avoid sending Qhuinn to the race’s gaol and making him an indentured servant to Lash’s family after his sentence is served. Qhuinn is JM’s official bodyguard, and what do you know, Wrath had the paperwork ready before the attack, but just forgot to mention it. The ahstrux nohtrum is allowed to kill anyone who threatens his principle (who must be a person of interest, and the king’s brother-in-law definitely qualifies), but the principle must pay the fine for said deaths and the $5 million for Lash’s death easily came out of JM’s inheritance from Darius. John made Qhuinn accompany him to see Blay in the hope that they will make up after Qhuinn tried to cut him loose. After a lesser attack on the house, the boys officially joined the war. John found Cormia after she lost her virginity to Phury, mistakenly believed he raped her, and pounded the crap out of him until Wrath broke them up. Cormia convinced him that she was okay, and he felt unstable for having lost his temper again. He wanted a time-out walk with Z, but with Bella’s pending delivery, they weren’t as frequent as they used to be. The boys investigated Lash’s house and John thought he saw Lash for a few seconds before he disappeared to answer the Omega’s summons. The Brotherhood met Lassiter, who returned Tohr to them but ended up moving in, too. John had so much to tell Tohr, but they weren’t connected anymore. John was about to leave the room, disappointed, until Tohr called him back and they grieved together.
John was disturbed by how much Tohr has aged in the eight months since Wellsie’s death and got smashed at ZeroSum. Xhex found him alone in the bathroom and he told her he wanted to fuck her. Before she had to go sort out some emergency, he handed her a paper towel on which he’d written: Say my name. A lot of the time, JM is bound by his insecurities, but then there are moments like these where he shows the self-assurance of a male who knows he’s powerful. Four months after the bathroom incident, Xhex sent JM an image of them having sex, but decided it wasn’t the outlet she needed. JM walked into her office to find her tightening her cilices, and when she looked at him with red eyes, he realised she was a symphath. The same night, Tohr disappeared with Lassiter to the Tomb without telling anyone. JM raised the alarm at the mansion but told Wrath he didn’t care if Tohr came back because he’d been left behind too many times. This separation made him feel like a lone wolf, so he returned to ZeroSum without Qhuinn and Blay and told Xhex that he had no intention of turning her in. His feeling was that she could not be any more of a sociopath than Z and V were before they were mated. He let her probe his mind to prove that he was genuine and, after declining her offer to talk about Tohr, he accepted the key to her place so he could have some uninterrupted time to himself. When Xhex returned, she took his virginity (his mating instincts well and truly overruled the ghosts of his past), but the encounter was hurried and they were fully clothed. When it was over, she refused to let him kiss her and immediately took a shower to wash him off, making it clear that the sex was intended as gratitude for his not turning her in. While he initially contemplated suicide, he realised that a lot of the bad things in his life were done to him and were not the result of his own actions. Instead of killing himself, he would just find a way to not be a victim anymore, starting with sharing a ZeroSum employee with Qhuinn, which marked the beginning of his player phase. He ran into Xhex after a session with Qhuinn and a goth at the Iron Mask. When she asked him how long he can keep up the drinking and casual sex, he flipped her off. The day before the Brotherhood, Xhex and Ehlena went to rescue Rehvenge, JM visited Xhex while drunk and they had disconnected sex before he dressed and left without ever having signed a word. After Xhex was kidnapped, John lay on her bed in the mansion, wishing he’d been kinder to her the last time they’d had sex than she had been to him and that he’d forgiven her when she said she was sorry. His only relief was that she left her cilices behind, which meant she had her symphath side as a weapon against Lash. His hatred of Lash burns hotter than ever. After Xhex was missing for almost four weeks, John gets her name tattooed into his back where her name would have been carved had they mated. To avoid questions from the Brotherhood, he steals V’s ink and gets the work done at a human tattoo parlour. Because everyone is trying to find Xhex, no one but Blay and Qhuinn are aware that he loves her. When the boys leave the parlour, JM feels as though he’s being watched, but has more important things to do than check it out. They then visit the Moors for info on the drug trade that would generate leads on Lash’s location (bypassing Rehv so the Brotherhood doesn’t find out how JM feels and expects either a mating or JM’s depression). The Moors provide information on where most of the drug sales are made and agree to gather intel on the supplier in case Lash targets him. Without knowing who he is, they found Lash’s next recruit, but had to leave to avoid sunrise. When they got home, JM got drunk but couldn’t sleep. He pulled out Darius’ diary and began to read about his feelings of loneliness and homesickness in the warrior camp. JM felt nauseous (maybe the drink, but maybe a reaction to being so close to his old life), but connected to his father. Trez sends the boys to the local supplier in time for Lash’s meeting, but instead, Mr. D leaves as though the meeting is cancelled. JM, Qhuinn, Blay, Rhage and V follow the car to Lash’s place. They find the bedroom where Xhex is being kept, but can’t see her behind Lash’s force field. When he sees the evidence of her abuse, JM believes they hadn’t arrived in time and breaks down in front of her and the others. She tried to reach out to him and talk to him, but he sensed just enough of her to think it was because she used to be in the room and not that she was still there. He took her pillow with him when Qhuinn convinced him to question the fore-lesser. Except that didn’t happen. As soon as JM saw the lesser, he went ballistic, with no memory of tearing him apart. Xhex had escaped just before Blay returned to Lash’s place, but quickly left, thinking he was Lash. The next evening, Rehv told him Xhex had rung to let him know she was OK and he was planning to go see her. Like JM did before the meeting with the supplier was cancelled, she put dibs on killing Lash. Rehvenge offered to take JM with him because he knew JM would go anyway. She wasn’t there so JM returned to the skate park where the new recruit typically worked, but he wasn’t there. He realised that Xhex would have gone to her basement, he dematerialised there. Before he left the park, he felt someone watching him again, but couldn’t be bothered.
He found her almost dead and fed her before texting Doc Jane, who examined her and had her taken to the mansion where she needed care for some internal injuries. He stayed with her afterwards and she told him she’d seen him in Lash’s bedroom while she was hidden behind the force field. She claimed that her internal bleeding was the result of breaking out of the force field, which might have been true, or an excuse to avoid telling him about the rapes. She told him she couldn’t stand not killing him for what he did to her, but he can’t let go of his own need to kill Lash, especially for what he did to Xhex. In return he agreed to show her his past the following night. When Rehv came to see Xhex, JM left to give them privacy. Xhex asked him to come back again soon and he left with a huge smile on his face. He woke up late the next afternoon with Xhex and on the way to the kitchen, he noticed Tohr asleep at his old desk. Instead of feeling anger, he noticed the effort Tohr was making to get himself back into shape and remembered that the Brother had lost his shellan and baby. Part of the meal he brought back for himself and Xhex was for Tohr. JM realised that if Xhex had died, he would have reacted the same way Tohr did. Tohr told him he was glad he and Xhex were together and it made cosmic sense. (He’s noted similarities between JM and Darius in the past, so does he realise they’re the same?) He agreed to show Xhex his life, partly to keep her with him, knowing that one day she was going to take off after Lash. He showed her the bus station bathroom where he’d been born and the orphanage where he’d grown up. Xhex respected him for his bravery in living surrounded by people he was different from. He’d spent his whole life feeling isolated and different from those who should have been the same as him. As they walked through the orphanage, Xhex detected a break in his emotional grid as though there was a separate part. He skipped over the building where he’d been raped and took her to the shithole he’d lived in after that. When he saw his old bodybuilding magazine, he realised that he’d become the huge, muscular warrior he’d always wanted to be. Xhex could tell that he had left something out, but she’d also detected other holes in his story that even he didn’t seem to have answers for. She also felt that he was connected to his father without seeming to have ever met him. Finally they ended up at Tohr and Wellsie’s house. JM felt bad about how things are between him and Tohr, so Xhex told him he should start talking to Tohr again. They started kissing on JM’s old bed until Xhex pulled away in fear and eventually told him that Lash hadn’t been impotent. JM’s rage blew the windows out. He wore out a treadmill in the training centre and was working on the second when Blay found him and swore to help him, whatever it took. Xhex found him sitting under the shower, close to madness. She noted that both his emotional grid and the shadow she’d noticed earlier were active, suggesting that he’d been through more than enough for one lifetime and may also be carrying the weight of another one. Or she surmised that he could have caused the split himself by burying his past and keeping it separate from who he is now. She let her symphath side into JM and saw that he had been raped and Lash had found out about it. She felt connected to him in a way that she knew she never had been or would be with anyone else because they each know what the other has been through, how it felt and how it affects them. They had spectacular sex that drove out their pasts. Later they went to a Brotherhood meeting where they listened to a phone message from Lash telling where to find the newest inductees. Xhex volunteered under everyone else’s protests to scout ahead because the Brothers could be heading into an ambush. John sits with Tohr quietly watching a movie, much like they had done on John’s first night with him and Wellsie. When Xhex returns he is resolved that he is finished with her as soon as they kill Lash. She doesn’t have room for him, so he’s going to move on. JM, Xhex and the Brothers go to the farmhouse to kill the new recruits. In the fight, one tries to fire at JM, but Xhex throws a knife at him and the shot hit him in the leg instead. When JM sees her go all symphath on the guy, he understands why symphaths are feared, but also realizes that she has never done anything like that to him. Doc Jane removes the bullet, and when he regains consciousness, the first thing JM does is ask Xhex if she’s OK after having watched the operation. Without even thinking about it, he turned his back on her and she saw his ink. Z told JM what they have in common and suggests that Xhex talk to Mary because it helped him. JM realizes that the person who was following him silently was Tohr. Tohr believes JM is able to look after himself but still wants to make sure he’s safe. They apologised for how they’d treated each other and JM asked him to be there when he kills Lash. Their relationship was fully repaired. The next night Xhex tracks Lash downtown and JM lures him back from his deal with Benloise by smashing his windscreen and setting off his car alarm. When gunfire forces everyone else to take cover,JM runs straight at Lash and is hit by an energy ball, which doesn’t kill him, but seems to unit the two parts of him that Xhex sees. He flashes back to seeing No’One shielding her symphath captor just is Xhex is being used to shield Lash and the perfect shot Tohr took back then, certain he had done this before. He went into a seizure, but the bonded part of him overrode it and he kept standing. Tohr shot Lash again while Xhex escaped and JM pulled his dagger. Instead of stabbing him in the chest, JM hit him in the head with the hilt and held him open so Xhex could kill him. Xhex told him that she would like to be his shellan and their mating was planned for the following night. He held his father’s diary and knew for an absolute certainty that Darius would have approved of his mating. Tohr told him the same thing. He put on his father’s signet ring and knew he would never take it off. Tohr told him that Darius was there when Xhex was born and JM went into a seizure. Tohr said that he wished Darius could be there and JM said that he was. After the ceremony, he gave Xhex a giant diamond necklace so her hands would be free for fighting.
QHUINN WARRIOR, FORMERLY QHUINN- SON OF LOHSTRONG, AND BLAYLOCK- SON OF ROCKE
I’m doing these two in one go not just because I’d like to see them end up together, but because they’ve gone through a lot together and I don’t want to repeat the same events when their perspectives are so closely related. Both are males from the glymera with warrior blood in them, so they were sent to the pretrans training program where they formed the next generation troika with JM. Blay was the first in the class to go through the transition and since he’s a naturally modest type, he hunches over and tries not to be so much bigger than everyone else. On the other hand, Qhuinn doesn’t have an ounce of modesty in him. He not only got laid (three times) after the change, but was more than ready to share the details with JM and Blay. Qhuinn’s transition was the only chance his body would have to repair the ‘defect’ of heterochromia (one blue eye and one green), so his father managed to get him a female from a really good family, but his eyes stayed the same and his father punched him in one. His father cut off his allowance and denied him the ring that newly transitioned males receive from their fathers. In contrast, Blaylock has a happy supportive family, and Qhuinn compares his mother to Marion Cunningham from Happy Days. He already had a room prepared in his house for Qhuinn to move into when his father decided to boot him out. His parents are unaware of his preferences and even though Blay knows they won’t judge him, he doesn’t want to disappoint his mother by telling her there won’t be any grandkids. His parents don’t care about the glymera’s requirement for perfection, whereas Qhuinn’s parents shipped him off to his wild cousin Saxton’s so he wouldn’t have to be either acknowledged or ignored at a glymera event Qhuinn’s family was hosting. After his transition gave him a sex drive, Qhuinn has sex with anyone, male or female, that he considers hot, and it’s often a group affair. But he wants to settle down with a female of worth someday and hopes he will be faithful to her. Although Blay has had experience with females, he’s discovered that he is actually gay and loves Qhuinn, even though Qhuinn doesn’t understand how anyone could love him. After he slit Lash’s throat, Qhuinn was disowned by his family and thrown out of home. The family also sent an honour guard to beat him just short of death in reparation for the impact his actions had on the family name. Blay called Doc Jane and offered to put Qhuinn up. Qhuinn refused because then Blay’s family would suffer from the stigma of associating with him, but Blay said his friends are all he has. When Qhuinn tried to sneak out to avoid justice, Blay wanted to go with him, but was shot down when Qhuinn acknowledged Blay’s feelings and broke his heart. Qhuinn changed his mind and faced the music as well as the king. Wrath asked him if he had an axe to grind against Lash and was using John as an excuse. The only thing on his mind had been protecting John, because if the story of John’s rape were widely known, John wouldn’t be respected in society and very likely would never be mated. He wasn’t sorry for what he did and would do it again. Wrath was satisfied with that answer and made Qhuinn JM’s ahstrux nohtrum, a bodyguard with a licence to kill to protect a person of interest, such as the king’s brother-in-law. Vishous attached a heavy chain around his neck and inked a red teardrop just below his eye. If Qhuinn fails to save JM from dying, the drop will get a black cross over it to show his disgrace, and the chain will be removed after Qhuinn’s decapitation. Otherwise, the drop will be shaded black at JM’s passing and a link will be broken to remove the chain. Until then, he’s in for life. He also got V to tattoo the date on the back of his neck: August 18, 2008. John made him go to Blay’s to mend their fences, when the house was attacked by lessers. Blay’s parents escaped to their safe house. Then they got the news that Qhuinn’s ex-family had been killed, but his brother was missing. The boys were allowed to join the war. Blay’s father used to be a soldier before he was mated and wants Blay to be a male of worth, while his mother is worried he’ll be killed. They all returned to the compound and, while patching up Blay, Qhuinn said that if he could love a guy it would be Blay, but he knows he wouldn’t be faithful and treat him right, so he’s not going to do anything about their attraction. There was a very hot, very sweet kiss, but Qhuinn won’t let it go further for Blay’s sake. He said he’ll kill the guy who hurts Blay. Since becoming JM’s bodyguard, Qhuinn has been celibate, even while he, JM and Blay feed from the same female at the same time. He’s only prepared to have sex if JM is as well. Blay has started smoking, which Qhuinn doesn’t approve of. I think it’s a combination of stress relief, petulance from being rejected and a demand for Qhuinn’s attention. While John was getting his Xhex tattoo, Qhuinn screwed the receptionist in the back room, separated by a thin curtain that let Blay see everything until he went outside for an extended smoke break. Their eyes had met so briefly that Blay was sure Qhuinn had only meant to check on JM, but Qhuinn was thinking of blay.
While Qhuinn was feeling left out of JM’s conversation with the Moors, his cousin Saxton arrives on legal business and is more interested in becoming reacquainted with Blay than catching up with Qhuinn. Blay is more modest than Qhuinn and is more used to watching than being watched, so Saxton’s attention initially discomfits and confuses him. The next evening Qhuinn confronts Blay, realising that something is wrong between them. Blay asked Qhuinn what the receptionist’s name was, but Qhuinn didn’t remember or care what her name was. Because Blay couldn’t tell Qhuinn that he’d been deeply hurt by something that meant nothing to Qhuinn, he lit up and told Qhuinn to deal with it referencing his (Blay’s) smoking. Qhuinn encouraged Blay to feed because they’ve been through a lot, but he’s not all that enthusiastic because he knows Layla is attracted to Qhuinn and stands a better chance of having sex with him than Blay does. After she fed them, she confided in them about her growing emptiness over not being wanted sexually. Qhuinn was about to tell her why they all feed from her specifically, but was interrupted. She told Qhuinn she wanted him and Blay left the room. He was reaching the point where he couldn’t take any more either and called Saxton. Qhuinn saw him getting ready for his date and told him Saxton was a slut. Blay told Qhuinn to just say the word and he would cancel on Saxton to be with Qhuinn. Qhuinn kissed him passionately but too damn briefly before letting him go. He told Blay to go on his date, but not to fall for Saxton because he would break Blay’s heart. Blay enjoyed being on a date (his first) but Qhuinn was always in the back of his mind. Saxton kept him on the back foot with his compliments and by acting on his interest. They had a meal in a private room at Sal’s and went to a cigar club, but left early after being harassed by a table of homophobes. The date ended in the alley where Saxton asked Blay if he’d ever kissed a male. He shook his head to clear out the image of Qhuinn’s kiss and Saxton kissed him. Qhuinn had left JM and Xhex at Tohr’s place and materialised downtown outside the cigar club and watched Blay and Saxton’s date, misinterpreting Blay’s shake of the head as denial that Qhuinn had kissed him. He got drunk in his room and called Layla because she’s a professional, so she knows what to expect and she wants to have sex with him. Blay returned to the mansion and Layla accidentally appeared in his room. After sending her to Qhuinn, he escaped to the training room, where JM was wearing out treadmills in his desire to destroy Lash. After learning the truth about what Lash did to Xhex, he swore to help with whatever JM needed. Remembering that Qhuinn was with Layla, Blay called Saxton. He sounded strange, so he materialised to his place right before sunrise. He had been beaten by those homophobes after kissing Blay in the alley, so Blay spent the day with him. Qhuinn taught Layla how to kiss, but left her a virgin. He initially thought she was only interested in mechanical knowledge of sex, but realised that she wanted more from him and he wasn’t prepared to offer her that. On paper, she is the perfect female for him: high-ranking and willing to accept him despite his flaws, but he realised she isn’t what he really wants. He sees her as the embodiment of everything he’s ever wanted to achieve, but instead of crossing the finish line and mating with her, he pictures Blay instead. He thought of the receptionist whose name he can’t remember. If she would have sex with a stranger in semi-public with little to no privacy, she’s not someone he’s willing to have a relationship with. He doesn’t see this as a double standard because he sees himself as being just as filthy as she is from all the sex he’s had that led to him being able to pleasure Layla. Blay brought Saxton to the mansion so he could feed from Selena and heal from the beating. Qhuinn resented his cousin and reacted pettily, demanding to know if Blay had been with him. Blay told him it was none of his business without blushing, so Qhuinn knows nothing happened. But the voice in his head told him he wouldn’t leave Blay alone for a long time, if ever. After Selena fed Saxton, Blay went to check on him and they had sex. Qhuinn couldn’t sleep and went looking for Blay, but his room was empty. He went to Saxton’s door, but instead of knocking, he listened and heard them doing more than sleeping, which broke his heart. The next night he saw Blay but after making sure that Saxton had treated him well, Qhuinn couldn’t think of the words to say that would take them back to how they used to be, so he just told Blay to take care of himself, which is what he says to all his one-nighters when he’s finished with them. He thought about the difference between all the anonymous, quick sex he’s had and Blay’s intimate sex.
SAXTON, SON OF TYHM
Saxton is Qhuinn’s wild older cousin who he’d looked up to before his transition and was the one he visited while his family was celebrating his father’s promotion to leahdyre.
He is now a lawyer best known to Wrath for preparing bloodline reports. The late Montrag’s lieutenant sent him to the Princeps Council meeting in the Council’s stead following the failed assassination attempt on Wrath, possibly as an insult because Saxton isn’t so much as a Council member’s son. Saxton is beautiful with a lean build, blond hair cut short in the back and longer in front and a Great Gatsby-type style. Any questions about his sexuality were answered when he checked out Vishous at the Council meeting. He accidentally meets his cousin Qhuinn at Sal’s where he has business with the Moors and notices how much Blaylock has grown and how attractive he’s become. Before Blay leaves, Saxton slips him his number, hoping he might be gay. They go on a date to Sal’s and then a cigar club, so it’s likely that Saxton made the arrangements. He is the older and more experienced of the two and seems to enjoy keeping Blay off balance and getting involuntary responses from him. Blay appeals to him with his scholarly face and well-muscled body and classic sense of style. After kissing Blay in the alley next to the club, Saxton is beaten up by the same group of homophobes who’d harassed them on their date. Blay spends the day with him, but Saxton is not at his best. Although Blaylock insists that there is nothing between him and Quinn, Saxton believes otherwise and even though he wants Blay, he also doesn’t want to push him into a bad situation with Qhuinn. Since Wrath believes he owes Saxton, he let him into the mansion to feed from Selena. When Blay came to check on him afterwards, they had sex. Qhuinn believes Saxton’s family accepts his homosexuality.
Instead of going through puberty over a span of years like humans do, vampires get it all in one go, and this happy little process is referred to as the transition. It usually happens around the age of 25. Prior to transition, vampires are typically small, weak, sexually unresponsive and can go out into the sunlight, but cannot dematerialise. Signs of impending transition include:
• • • • • •
Fatigue Constant hunger with no weight gain Indigestion Headaches Eyes become sensitive to light Aggression
The transition is extremely painful because internal organs are changing. A vampire needs the blood of a member of the opposite sex to complete the transition, and some vampires actually die during the transition. Then comes the change and this affects males more than females because they grow so much in such a short time. It’s even more painful than the transition. Bones snap and lengthen, muscle grows—just a walk in the park, really. When that’s finally over, every newly transitioned vampire seems to want the same thing: chocolate and bacon. Not even Ward knows why. Males in particular tend to want something else right away, too. Their sex drive comes with a vengeance and they can almost set their clocks by the regularity of their erections. The skin becomes hypersensitive for about a week afterwards, and males tend to have to relearn even basic motor skills like walking until they become more familiar with their new bodies. For the first year after their transition, vampires are still legally considered minors.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: TOHRMENT, SON OF HHARM
Tohrment spent time at the Bloodletter’s warrior camp until he attracted the Brotherhood’s attention. For his test, he was assigned to help Darius track down the leahdyre’s kidnapped daughter. His father neglected him, so Darius took him under his wing, stepping on Hharm’s toes in the process. Hharm disowned Tohr. Being now ruined in society, Tohr promised Darius he would be an asset, not a hindrance. Having nowhere else to go, Tohr slept in the Brotherhood’s cave until Darius discovered him and took him back to Sampsone’s house for a meal. Tohr’s pride was dented, but Darius told him he would serve the most use by being strong and well-fed. He spent the day at Darius’ modest house before tracking down the symphath, who used the female as a shield. Tohr took aim and killed the symphath with a single shot to the head. Darius assumed he’d missed, but Tohr told him he wouldn’t have taken the shot if he hadn’t been sure he’d hit his target.
The female lived with him and Darius until she delivered a healthy baby girl who bore no resemblance to her symphath ancestors. She took Tohr’s dagger and killed herself. Full of guilt and pain, Tohr took her outside despite the rain and buried her under their apple tree. He felt despair that the female had condemned herself to an afterlife outside of the Fade. He and Darius took the young to a vampire family whose young died during birth. Tohr is different from the other vampires in that he showed no signs no hint of a tortured past. He was promised to Wellesandra, blooded daughter of the Princeps Relix, and was fortunate enough to have bonded with her. Sheer luck that the one female he would want above all others happened to be the one he was honour-bound to mate. Tohr showed his love by doing small, practical things to show he was thinking of his shellan, such as making sure her truck had snow chains. He was very respectful of her—when she told him off over the phone about his untidiness, he apologised in front of JM and didn’t play the macho dickhead when he hung up. He was together, level-headed, could be tough, but ultimately fair, and was the logical choice to take over as head of the Brotherhood when Wrath ascended to the throne. But misfortune came to him twice. First, he lost his best friend, Darius, in a lesser car bomb. But then a young pretrans going by the human name John Matthew was brought to the Brotherhood, and Tohr and Wellsie took him in and they liked having him as a son. He was really happy to learn that the boy was Darius’s son. Tohr was often on edge since Wellsie fell pregnant as there was a risk that she might die during the pregnancy or childbirth. But what happened was even worse than that. It was just a normal day. Wellsie cancelled the vampires’ order for apples to be used in a solstice festival because the lessers found out about them and the vampires were vulnerable. She and her cousin Sarelle went to visit a spiritual leader, Madalina (who was also Bella’s mother), to discuss options. But Mr O, who was there to find Bella, didn’t miss the opportunity to kill the two females. Tohr felt a sudden chest pain and told himself it was indigestion, but he knew something was wrong and tried to call Wellsie. When the Brotherhood arrived to formally tell him she had been murdered, he lost it. His power created a whirlwind inside the room and eventually he just seemed to implode. For eight months no one knew where he was, although Wrath was convinced he could still feel his brother in his veins. Tohr lived in the mountains, somewhere in the same region as Rehvenge’s great camp. He’d meant to send himself to the symphath colony up north and ended up in the Adirondacks by mistake, frustrated that there were no lessers. He fed on deer blood and waited for death because suicides don’t go to the Fade and he would never get to be with Wellsie again. Eventually he was found by the angel Lassiter and returned to his Brothers, but he felt out of sync without Wellsie and even had trouble connecting with his son, John Matthew. But he stopped JM from walking away and they cried together over their loss. Vishous was making daggers for Tohr because even though he didn’t know it yet, he will start fighting again. Four months later, Tohr was still waiting to die. He dreamed of being with Wellsie every day, and every night he was stunned into waking with all trace of her gone. He ate in front of JM but would throw up when he left. He still showered even though there was no apparent reason behind it because it didn’t advance him to his goal of going to the Fade to be with Wellsie forever. One night Lassiter told him that that night was different and reminded him of when Wrath had been hit by a car while chasing lessers in 1958. Tohr found him and took him to Havers. Although Marissa fed him, Wrath was in a coma for around 24 hours, during which time all the Brothers phoned for updates and the hospital staff prayed for the recovery of the king who refused to be king. Then when Wrath woke up, he didn’t acknowledge Tohr in any way for saving his life, even though Tohr hadn’t expected to be thanked. It made him realise that he was treating his brothers and JM the same way. He decided to go back to the beginning and took Lassiter with him to the Tomb, where the first Brother’s skull is kept and the Brothers’ names are inscribed on the wall. Lassiter tried to tell him that he wouldn’t find any answers there because he’s asking the wrong questions. Lassiter dropped the bomb that Wellsie died exactly one year ago and he can’t leave Tohr because Wellsie sent him to look after Tohr. Hearing someone else say Wellsie’s name woke him up and when Wrath found him, Tohr said that he was ready to rejoin the Brotherhood and Wrath took him back. The Chosen Selena (who is the only Chosen aside from Cormia who will stay on this side when Rehvenge makes his monthly visit to the Adirondacks) was sent to feed him. With her traditional Chosen robes, blue eyes and black hair, she is nothing like Wellsie. Despite not wanting the intimacy with another female, once she offered her wrist, he fed hard and almost killed her in his need. Afterwards, he was hungry for food and on the way to the kitchen he thought about Darius, looked in on Wrath and saw his old office chair next to Wrath’s, who updated him on his adoptive son. He began to realise how his decline had hurt JM.
He dressed and armed for the Princeps Council meeting, but Wrath told him he wasn’t yet strong enough to go. He waited until V turned his head before shooting the cigarette out of his mouth, proving he was still an asset. A month later he was part of the rescue team sent in to save Rehvenge, so he must have regained most of his health. After Xhex’s return, John noticed that Tohr was regaining his fighting weight. He also doesn’t seem to need Lassiter around as much any more. He told JM he was glad he had Xhex and it made “cosmic sense” for them to be together, which makes me wonder how much he knows about the connection between JM and Darius. When he learned John was taking Xhex through his past, he gave JM he keys to his house and Lash’s drug money for the orphanage. In a reversal of his abandonment of JM, he finds himself on the outside looking in when he quietly follows JM to make sure he’s OK on the streets. He realised that you have to take care of those you have left and couldn’t stand to lose JM the way he lost Wellsie. But when Lash is dead, he will dedicate himself to wiping out lessers in her memory until the day he dies. He told JM he and Xhex made so much sense and they apologised for how they’d neglected the other. When JM asked him to be there when he killed Lash, it was like they’d never been apart. When Wrath was late returning from the Other Side, Tor resumed leadership of the Brotherhood and broke them up into teams for the night. Xhex tracked Lash and saved JM’s life but left herself open so Lash used her as a shield. Just the way he rescued her mother centuries ago, Tohr fired a perfect shot into Lash’s head. He returned to the home he shared with Wellsie and repaired the door JM blew apart. He collected an old LV trunk and took it to Xhex. It contains Wellsie’s mating dress and he thinks it;s appropriate that Xhex should also wear it for her mating, but has no intention of telling her why. No’One appears and tells Xhex it was because Tohr had been there at the beginning. Tohr is shocked that the female who killed herself with his dagger should be alive and present on her daughter’s mating day.
Hharm gave Tohr his blue eyes, dark hair, broad shoulders, strong chest and not much else. Instead of being in the party who collected Tohr from the camp, he was having sex and failed to provide quality weapons for his son. When Darius tried to take Tohr under his wing, Hharm took offence and disowned his son as he knew he could not beat Darius (after his loss to Darius, the Bloodletter himself punished Hharm mercilessly). He is a misogynist who enjoys fighting and sex and has a low patience for conversation, including Brotherhood meetings. It’s also been suggested that he was the warrior who raped Darius’ battle conquests in the camp and has a strong taste for mead. He has many sons by many females, but only Tohrment was eligible to join the Brotherhood as the other females were not Chosen.
Lassiter is a fallen angel who seems to be on probation with the Powers That Be because of a plague that decimated a third of the human population in central Europe in the 14th century, and Tohr is his last chance. So, like it or not, he must move in with the Brotherhood. From the BDB boards, we know that he has a not-very-happy history with V and wants to get mated, but his jesses and female are missing. He took a bullet for Wrath and needed the sun to heal. Unfortunately the sun also prevented V from (grudgingly) going to save him. He has black and blond hair and a shitload of metal, which most likely includes a Prince Albert piercing (NSFW). Unless he controls it, he glows bright white. His blood is silver and he smells like a bouquet of flowers when he’s dead. Sugar seems to help somehow, so I take it that angels don’t develop diabetes. V’s hand resurrected him and he now owes V.
MURHDER, SON OF MURHDER AKA ELIAHU RATHBOONE
We don’t know very much about Murhder, except that he was the most recently booted member of the Brotherhood, is still alive somewhere, and that V saved his father as a young (but his grandmother was killed by the lesser) in Italy. Oh, and the very cryptic clue from Ward’s message board: Surfboard. Qhuinn was planning to escape justice over Lash’s murder by joining a faction of vampires out west (largely made up of vampire outlaws), so maybe Murhder is with them and is based near the coast? Maybe there’s a night time surfing culture. Murhder fell for Xhex, around 25 years ago, without knowing what she was, and when he rescued her from the symphaths trying to experiment on her at the colony, the betrayal of finding out she, too, was a symphath drove him mad.
He went in without backup, which wasn’t unusual for him. I don’t know if this was the last straw for him in the Brotherhood or if his mental state when he came back made him an unsuitable warrior. Last time Xhex saw him, he had long dark hair, deep-set eyes and scruff on his jaw. He spoke with an Old Country accent, which suggests he’s older than the younger Brothers like Rhage, Phury and Z, unless he left the Old Country later than the others. He lives in a plantation house turned B&B about 20 miles outside Charleston, South Carolina, run by a Mr Griffin. A crew from TV show Paranormal Investigators bullied their way into his house to investigate the ghostly legend of Eliahu Rathboone, a man who wanted to abolish slavery before the cause took off in the northern states. Until his death, he used to leave his windows lit up to guide those on the run to the safety of his home. The crew consisted of cameraman Stan, the producer Gregg Winn and presenter Holly Fleet. It was only after Holly went to Gregg for comfort after having sex with the spirit they were investigating, that Gregg was able to see how tired he was of his phony LA life and how wrongly he’d written Holly off as a slutty bimbo. He confronted the “ghost”, who was very much real and resembled a painting of Eliahu Rathboone. He has red and black hair and peach-coloured eyes. He promised to leave Holly alone as long as Gregg started treating her right. I know that his father was also called Murhder, but I’m confused about the timeline and which Murhder came for Darius at the warrior camp and which was the pretrans V saved. The pretrans was the father of his brother Murhder, who I believe is the current Murhder. Hopefully this will become clearer as we learn more about him.
Marissa saw them in Lover Revealed while getting the tour from Fritz. I have no idea of their significance and neither does Ward, and when the question was asked in a chat, Vishous blatantly evaded answering. All we know is that they will mean something at some point because Ward saw them and knew she had to include them in the book. John wanted to leave the mansion via the back. He went to the garage, turned left to go to the back door and saw 16 coffins, but wasn’t interested in thinking any further on them, so we don’t know how much he knows about them.
She made a very brief appearance in Lover Unbound as the limping female Cormia wanted to avoid. Her hands were covered, her leg drags behind her, and unlike the other Chosen who wear white, No’One’s robes are black. The only other things I know about this character is that she has her own locked forum on the message board and her little blurb begins with ‘Kyrie Eleison’, which I believe means ‘Lord have mercy’, and she is described as ‘silent’ and ‘forgotten’. She was once the daughter of Princeps Council leahdyre Sampsone. In 1671 (her age was unknown), she was kidnapped and held for about a week by a symphath who impregnated her before he was killed by Tohr. When she was found, Darius noted that he soul seemed to have already departed. When the symphath died, she told Tohr and Darius they should have killed her instead. Despite her protests and confession that she had gone into her needing the night she was taken, Darius took her home. Her captor’s father had already arrived to tell her father she had been kidnapped by a symphath, ensuring her ruin to even the scales of his son’s death. When her father turned her away, she went to live with Darius and Tohr as their family until she gave birth. Once her daughter was born, she swiped Tohr’s dagger and stabbed herself in the stomach. The blood loss during delivery ensured her death. A suicide does not go to the Fade. As punishment, she must serve the Chosen. In recent times, Payne asked her why she hadn’t visited the Primale and No’One said it was because simple decisions here can have surprising and devastating consequences. She prefers to live in the order of the Other Side. When Payne was released to be healed by Doc Jane, No’One was inspired to stop being a coward and she also returns to this side. She reveals herself to her daughter Xhex, who inherited her eyes and says that she prayed for her and would like to have a relationship with her. By the end of Lover Mine, her real name was not revealed.
STORY OF SON
This is a short story, published in the Dead After Dark anthology, about a half-breed vampire trapped by his elderly mother and an insane doggen (species of servant to the vampires). Michael has been imprisoned in the basement since he was twelve years old, and every year his mother, Miss Leeds, lures a suitably biddable young woman to the house for him to feed from over three days. Claire Stroughton is the lawyer who drafts and redrafts Miss Leeds’s will. Her rich client requests a visit right before the Fourth of July weekend, and when she arrives, Claire is drugged and locked in the basement with Miss Leeds’s son, who doesn’t actually have a name but used to be called ‘Son’. He is shy and reserved, having been treated like a monster for most of his 68 years, but a gentleman. Instead of meekly accepting the situation, Claire engages her fellow captive and becomes attracted to him—a feeling that he returns. She names him Michael for the archangel’s beauty and tells him that she will find a way to release him. Michael doesn’t dare to even hope that it could be possible and refuses to risk Claire’s safety, so he obediently erases her memory of her time with him and lets her leave at the end of the three days he is given for feeding. Claire discovers that she is pregnant and returns to the Leeds estate only to find Miss Leeds is dead. She frees Michael and takes him to her friend and ex, Mick Rhodes, for help. The doggen Fletch fights Michael and is killed. Claire redrafts Miss Leeds’s, will one last time, leaving everything to Michael. At the end of the story, they have an eight-year old daughter named Gabriella and a six-year old son named Luke, with another child on the way, tentatively named Michael. Michael has never met others of his kind, but his story definitely falls into the BDB universe and it’s been suggested that we may see more of him.
BOOK 9 IN THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD SERIES…AND BEYOND
If you’re hungry for clues about upcoming books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Decadence has put together what we think we know about what’s coming next. LAST UPDATED: 28/3/2010 This post contains spoilers from earlier books in the series, including Lover Mine, and spoilery speculation about future books. None of this stuff is set in stone, so please don’t blame us if something changes between now and when the books are released. The ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, titled Lover Unleashed, is about Payne, blooded daughter of the Bloodletter, and Manuel Manello, MD. Payne has just been revealed to everyone as V’s sister and you might remember Manello as Jane’s boss at the human hospital, who V thought the word ‘Brother’ about. (Bear in mind that it was a single-word sentence, so it could be eitherBrother as in a warrior in the Brotherhood or brother as in family, so yes, it does make a difference.) We can expect to see Vishous play a larger role in this book as his relationship with his estranged twin develops, and I’m betting Jane will show up quite a bit, too, as support for both her hellren and her old boss and friend. Ward has suggested in a recent chat that V will not be happy to see someone putting the moves on his sister and that Butch will also be a huge buffer. She has confirmed that V will go to a dark place after the recent revelations of Payne, her injury and his mother’s lies. Even though his relationships with Butch and Jane have helped him to open up, his default mode is very shut down and in times of great stress like what he’s going through with Payne, he’s going to revert back to his default setting and it will take something very hardcore to bring him out of it. Because it’s V, it would need to be hardcore because he doesn’t do soft, but I think Ward will get us through it intact. I didn’t think submission on him would work, but I found him even hotter after the penthouse scene, so it looks like we’ll need to keep an open mind. Ward is warning readers on her message board that it may be disturbing for some readers as it looks like it will involve self-harm. It’s not necessarily something Ward is happy with and she’d like to make his journey easier on him and us and this seems to relate to The Lie from the companion. His scenes are giving her a hard time. Again. In this book, something happens to pull the Scribe Virgin out of her depression, but Ward isn’t saying what. Layla and No’One will also appear in the next book, but no details yet (if ever). I’m sure we will see the love triangle between Qhuinn, Blay and Saxton continue, but it looks like Qhuinn and Blaylock’s HEA will be in a novella, which I understand is meant to appease everyone. Those who are comfortable reading a romance (and sex) between two men can happily devour it,
but if their story is completely self-contained, readers who are less comfortable with this plotline can leave it alone. Ward wants to call the novella Blay and Qhuinn so that readers know before buying that it’s about two males. They aren’t yet ready to have a story, a few things need to happen in the series first.
Ward’s publisher has also bought another two novellas: the first is about Rhage and Mary’s desire to start a family (which she is writing now, having finished Crave, the second Fallen Angels book) and the second is about Wrath’s son, Wrath, who will be the future king (the kings are always named Wrath) to be written in the Australian summer, between writing Payne and Manny’s book and the third Fallen Angel book. These novellas will be released together in paperback format around late 2011. Tohr will get his own book at some stage, but Ward is being very tight-lipped about who his heroine will be (No’One?). She has denied that he will end up with Layla, Rhym (she was the female Bella tried to set Phury up with, and later became the Safe Place therapist), Nalla or the Scribe Virgin. Lassiter will also get a book but it will have to be after Tohr’s. Speaking of whom, we will see more of No’One. She is staying to build a relationship with Xhex, although I’m not sure how much of that we’ll get to see with everything else going on. Murhder will come back into the fold, bearing surprises. I had expected more questions on who the symphaths are and what makes them tick to be answered than I found in Rehvenge and Xhex’s books, but since Murhder went mad after going to the symphath colony, we may get more info on them in Murhder’s book. I just don’t know when that will be or whom he ends up with. Somewhere along the line we’ll get to see more of the Chosen as well, with Layla and Selena, the Chosen who feeds Tohr and was the only one other than Cormia to stay at the great camp when Rehv showed up each month, both getting HEAs. Ward has confirmed that Layla will not end up with Tohr, Lassiter or Blay. John Matthew and Qhuinn will definitely be inducted into the Brotherhood, but Ward isn’t saying anything about Blay. We’ll get to meet some new characters in the future, with three males currently in the Old Country (not even Ward knows when they’ll be introduced) and the training program will make a comeback. And people looking ahead to Nalla’s HEA are getting way ahead of themselves. Because she is currently an infant in the books, it will be years—if ever —before her story is written. Z will not be happy about his baby attracting male attention, but Bella will be on Nalla’s side and will allow her more freedom to find a mate. Not that it’s a surprise, but Ward has confirmed that it will not be Qhuinn. SEPTEMBER UPDATE: Lover Unleashed is around 700 pages and has a release date of 29 March 2011. Qhuinn listened to Clint Eastwood by the Gorillaz while running on the treadmill. It’s a song about not being in a good place now,but knowing your future is brighter. I think it’s part of a scene from Lover Unleashed. During a scene between V and Manny, Eminem’s Cinderella Man is playing. The song is about having had it tough but doing the impossible anyway and features a lot of grandstanding and posturing, I’m-better-than-you stuff. Ward has also hinted that there will be a new bad boy. That’s all. She’s not allowed to say more than that, so we don’t know if he’s a villain or a badass. OCTOBER UPDATE: Crave (second in the Fallen Angels series) contains an excerpt from Lover Unleashed, where Jane drives Manny to the Brotherhood mansion to operate on Payne’s spine. We learn that he’s hit the scotch since the events of Lover Unbound and interestingly, it’s the same brand that Butch drinks. Vishous still hates him, even though he’s the one mated to Jane, not Manny. Maybe it’s because Manny’s better able to help his new sister than V is and V really doesn’t like not being in charge (except under certain circumstances with Jane). Manny instantly falls in love with Payne on sight and he doesn’t react like a human. I wonder if Xhex will say anything about what she saw in him or if she will assume they know like she did with Lash. From the chat, we learned that his mother is Italian, but nothing about his father, which is interesting since his surname sounds Italian. Lover Unleashed will have so much of Payne, Manny and V (and by extension Jane and Butch) that there will be room for Qhuay, but not much else. I’m not sure if Murhder will make an appearance in this book, but he will see Xhex again and their back story will be revealed. Manny has changed after V got into his head and his mind can’t handle the interference (maybe this is another sign that he is something more than human) and he becomes essentially useless. There has to be a way out (maybe another forced transition?) because I don’t see Ward giving Payne a broken hellren. Something is going to happen between Butch and V and Ward hinted that they will be giving in to a craving. Butch feels a lot of black, which if V has anything to do with it, is likely to be along the lines of leather or candle wax. The connection to V is purely my speculation. One of the new vampires we’ll meet is called Xcor (pronounced Core). I’m not sure if Xcor is male or female, but would be too surprised if he or she is the badass Ward mentioned earlier since this was the only name she gave us. Lover Unleashed will include the hero of the next Fallen Angel book, Envy. Right now, Ward still doesn’t know whose book is going to be after Payne and Manny’s, but it’s not likely to be Tohr’s because she wants more time to prepare. But I might speculate that her preference could be why she hasn’t been told yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Speaking of Tohr, Ward said in a video for Borders that we’ve met his female in Lover Mine. But knowing that Ward can be tricky, don’t read that as his female was necessarily introduced in Lover Mine, she was in that book. Ward confirmed the silver lining of giving Blay and Qhuinn their own novella—it will focus on them and cover everything. We have not met who iAm ends up with, but Ward knows who that will be. There are such things as female Shadows but she hasn’t said if it’s one of them. Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself—only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can—but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separate them? She is expecting to finish the Rhage and Mary novella in about a month. They start their novella in a hard spot but the story of how they become parents is said to be beautiful and a tearjerker. Saxton shows Qhuinn and Blay how much he loves them in Lover Unleashed and that teaser was finished with a *sniff* so I’m speculating that he walks away to let them be together, but I could be wrong and he sacrifices himself for them in some other way. She gave a KR (Keep Reading) when asked if he will have a HEA. There has been another tease about who Manny may be related to. Someone asked if it was Butch and Ward replied that BROTHER didn’t just refer to Payne. Murhder has another side to him, but Ward left the tease at that. Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz will be included in a scene from Lover Unleashed. Butch cried because his heart was broken over something devastating he did for V, but it’s okay in the end. Let the speculation fly! DECEMBER UPDATE: Ward promised that Lover Unleashed would contain a threesome and that there would be some hot scenes between V and Jane (I don’t know if that’s separate from the threesome) and a scene between Payne and Manny in his Porsche is particularly hot. Vishous posted a link to the video for Aston Martin Music by Rick Ross, ft. Drake and Chrisette Michele. The verses don’t make much sense to me, but the song seems to be about someone who became distant from the one he loves because he needed to get something sorted out or accomplished and he wasn’t able to completely let go of the life he used to live. Ward is writing Envy, the third in the Fallen Angels series, which picks up immediately after Lover Unleashed (Envy’s hero appears in Lover Unleashed). There are more than three males coming from the Old Country, but I’m unsure if they’re Brothers or civilians. I could guess they’re Brothers, but I could equally be wrong. Payne’s feeding arrangements are a KR. If she answered that Payne feeds from Manny, it opens up speculation that he becomes a vampire and maybe also a Brother, as suggested in the November update. Ward has raised her profile on Facebook and is posting quotes from the series, including Lover Unleashed on herofficial page. There is a virtual signing for Lover Unleashed, open worldwide. This is the only way to get a signed book without flying to America. Until Thursday 24th of March (US time), you can place your order with Ward’s nominated store online and let them know how to personalise it. She receives a whole heap of books to sign and personalise, which are then returned to the store for shipping. Unfortunately, even if they know the book is going overseas, they can’t post it until release day, so it’s a bit of a wait. Their system has been upgraded since last year, with two international shipping rates to choose from. To be honest, I can’t remember what the actual difference is in delivery times, but the cheapest international shipping rate is USD21, so the total price of USD50.49 isn’t much different to what we normally pay for hardcovers in Australia. And it’s just awesome to open your new book to a personal message from Ward herself. MARCH UPDATE: Early reviews of Lover Unleashed are out and some spoilers were dropped but even though I’m avoiding the major ones for my own sake, be warned if you decide to read any further. From the Book Reading Gals: V has a breakdown over not being able to help Payne, the sister he has only just found, but is finally able to heal from the abuse he’s suffered with help from Jane and Butch. This is one of the most amazing scenes in the book. Payne really is V’s other half in the way that twins complement each other. As she was raised Chosen, she also has the traditional, innocent Chosen side as well as the warrior. (Since in earlier books she has expressed little to no interest in males, I see her as like the tomboy Chosen if that makes sense. It also implies that she is a virgin before Manny – Decadence) Her relationship with Manny is sweet. When Jane died, his world fell apart and her return to his life isn’t much easier on him. He has some things to work through before he can feel like it was all worth it. Qhuinn hits a low point (“He had to own his shit, even if it made him hate himself to his core..”) but grows from it. We find out who Butch’s father is. Xcor (pronounced Core with a silent X, like Xhex) is a male with a whole bunch of other males who are loyal to him and hold a grudge against Wrath and the Brotherhood, which seems related to his mission. From Rex Robot Reviews:
V has a huge presence in Lover Unleashed and it looks like he and Butch will get together. (I’m not sure how I feel about that, given they are both mated, but we’ll see how it’s handled – Decadence) Xcor and his male posse arrive with somewhat evil motives, but may somehow still be likable. They interact with Payne, but none of the Brothers yet. Ward’s Facebook page will be updated in the lead-up to Lover Unleashed’s release day with videos from her virtual signing and she will be talking about Payne. She has posted a pic of the first page of the book, but be warned, it contains a huge spoiler! If you need a recap of everything that happened in the rest of the series, the updated Black Dagger Brotherhood cheat sheets will soon be reposted with details from Lover Mine. Happy reading everyone! BONUS MARCH UPDATE: Ward announced the launch of her CafePress store where you can get official BDB clothing, jewellery, keychains, covers for iPhone, iPad or your car’s number plate and all sorts of other things. She is giving all of the profits to no-kill animal shelters. Something that really stood out to me was that (with the exception of the mugs, which have almost every main character), most of the merchandise was general BDB, with the occasional “You feel me?” or Fritz reference. But the characters that had more items dedicated to them than any others were Qhuinn and Blay. I wonder if their book is the next to be written?
If you have a Shelfari or Amazon account, sign into Shelfari to read the prologue and first 2 chapters of Lover Unleashed.
Book 10 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series…and beyond – Part 1
BY DECADENCE | 11 JUNE 2011 | 21 RESPONSES
If you’re hungry for clues about upcoming books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Decadence has put together what we think we know about what’s coming next. This post contains spoilers from previous books including Lover Unleashed, so we’re starting over with a new speculation post. It also contains some seriously spoilery info on the BDB. Don’t say we didn’t warn you… For those of you wondering, even with the cheapest shipping option I received my copy of Lover Unleashed from the virtual signing exactly a week after its release.
Here is a summary of the info from the previous speculation post that has not been included in Lover Unleashed:
• • • •
Something will pull the Scribe Virgin out of her funk. As a compromise, J. R. Ward’s publisher is allowing her to write Qhuay’s story as a novella, but she has promised that the novella will be
long enough to satisfy their fans. It will not contain any world building so that readers who aren’t comfortable reading a gay romance won’t miss out. Rhage and Mary will get their own novella (Ward is finishing this now) and so will Beth and Wrath, both of which will be about how they Tohr will not end up with Layla, Rhym (she was the female Bella tried to set Phury up with, and who later became the Safe Place therapist), have young. They may be released together in paperback towards the end of this year. Nalla or the Scribe Virgin. We’ve met his future shellan in Lover Mine, but she may or may not have been introduced in that book. Doesn’t rule out No’One.
• • • • • •
No’One is staying on this side to build a relationship with Xhex. Lassiter will also get a book but it will have to be after Tohr’s. John Matthew and Qhuinn will definitely be inducted into the Brotherhood, but Ward isn’t saying anything aboutBlay. Murhder will come back with a whole heap of secrets. He and Xhex have more in common than she realizes and we will get their back story. Ward knows who iAm will end up with, but isn’t saying anything. There are female Shadows, but it may not be one of them. The Chosen Selena and Layla will get HEAs, but Layla will not end up with Tohr, Lassiter or Blay.
LOVER REBORN — TOHR’S STORY
Since the release of Lover Unleashed, J. R. Ward has done a few book signings in the US, making me wish I lived there. On her Facebook page, she posted a video, where she announced that book 10 would be about Tohr. It will be calledLover Reborn. Ward has finished writing Envy, which has come in at 125 000 words and is 40 pages longer than Crave. She expects it to become even longer, presumably during copyediting. Envy’s release date is 6 September, 2011.
AROUND THE BLOGS
The rest of this information comes from bloggers who were at the signings, not Ward directly, so I especially can’t promise that it will not change between now and when the books actually come out. For ease of reading, I’m going to combine the highlights from Blogging by Liza (thanks to Steph for the link) and theTwilight Lexicon forum with my own thoughts. Manny may go through the transition later. His blood helps Payne, but since he’s an untransitioned half-breed, it’s not strong enough. My question is who will she ultimately feed from? Just because they chose not to explore Manny’s heritage and make him a vampire in Lover Unleashed, doesn’t mean they won’t ever. But will she have to feed from someone else before then? Payne cannot restore Wrath’s sight, but George will live forever. Tohr is going to end up with No’One. I’m just wondering how she’s going to square that with their time together before Xhex’s birth while Tohr was promised to Wellsie. Wellsie will appear in Tohr’s book, but we don’t know what form the scene will take. So it could be a flashback, or a visit from the Fade or something else that hasn’t been thought of yet. Lassiter will appear in Tohr’s book and ultimately get his own book. I believe it will be part of the BDB series rather than the Fallen Angels. (If you noticed that V and Jane hadn’t been properly mated with the ceremony and carving and the whole shebang by Lover Unleashed, even though V was so excited by the idea of Jane doing the carving in Lover Unbound and we got to read about it on the boards, it turns out that the boards can be quite some time ahead of the books, which makes me wonder when Lassiter helped Wrath and V found and saved him. Because there haven’t been any scenes in the books where he’s looking for his jesses and pining for his female. Doesn’t mean it never happened, just that we didn’t get to see it, such as when No’One brought Payne a scrying bowl in a deleted scene, making me wonder how Payne could see that V’s life is better with Jane, but didn’t know he was still alive.) Ward really likes Xcor (Core) and he will get his own book, but he really needs to work out some issues first. He has a really interesting back story and we’ll find out about his true father. The Bloodletter was very bitter about being booted from the Brotherhood. Is that why his book on the Other Side is blank? Is Murhder’s also blank? There is too much conflict between the Brotherhood and the band of bastards for Throe to join the Brotherhood. When asked if No’One was his defiled sister, Ward was prevented by her people from answering. Instead she gave a KR (Keep Reading). Sampsone was the leahdyre—is it possible he was an ex-Brother? Would a warrior have hung around at home crying instead of going out and kicking some symphath arse? She won’t name the 3 cousin bastards, but she loves Zypher. Murhder will be in the books again soon. He and Xhex have something in common even Xhex doesn’t know about, and JM and Murhder will have a confrontation. We will go back to the symphath colony and Ward believes they will become a threat again. (I’m still wondering how Xhex and Rehv can be ‘of no age’ when we witnessed Xhex’s birth. Could it be that symphath is a continuous essence, kind of like the Omega’s power in a lesser, which doesn’t end just because the lesser is dead and existed before their ‘birth’ as a lesser? But even that must have had a beginning. Theories?) We will get to find out what happened to Qhuinn’s (still living, if less than happy and healthy) brother, whom Lash had kidnapped and Ward implied that we may get to see Lash again (because he was staked, not inhaled) before her people put the gag on her. There will always be the Omega because he must balance out the Scribe Virgin. Looks like there may always be lessers, too. We will see in book 10 who the glymera’s new leahdyre is. Things are very different with them now. Makes me wonder what effect Throe’s return and stirring of the pot had. Those of you who followed my #LoverUnleashed livetweet would have noticed that I queried the use of the word ‘wolfen’ on page 2 of Lover Unleashed. Apparently this does actually relate to a new species that will be introduced at a later date.
Again, the Qhuay novella will not have any world building so people who don’t want to read an m/m romance don’t miss out, but those of you who feel that the boys are getting ripped off don’t have to worry. A BDB book is around 140,000 words, while an average romance novel is said to be 100,000120,000. The novella will be 90,000-100,000 words and will be as hot as the threesome in Lover Unleashed. Qhuinn is reinventing himself, and even though he removed a lot of his piercings, the holes are still there. He still has metal down under and I think he still has his tongue stud, too, so it’s interesting that he’s kept the more discreet ones that could be used to pleasure a partner even though he’s celibate. Apparently, Qhuinn’s vision of Layla (which I believe is what led Ward to say initially that she believed Qhuinn would be with a female) means that she will bear young for Blay and Qhuinn, who cannot reproduce together as a couple. Her people won’t let her say anything else about Layla’s HEA. Trez and iAm will get their own books and Trez may perform a special Primale-style duty for the Chosen. Shadowy vampire young? Will they grow up to be Brothers? Jose de la Cruz will never find Butch. JM is never supposed to remember that he was Darius, but Xhex is getting suspicious, which is about time, because I don’t remember the Scribe Virgin’s conditions saying nobody else could pick up on all the hints that have been dropped throughout the series. Ward’s theory on the coffins is that they are the remains of the original Brothers, brought from the Old Country. No idea why they aren’t in the Tomb, which I would have thought is a more fitting place. Dark Lover will be reissued in hardcover and reissuing the rest depends on Dark Lover’s sales. The artwork is unlikely to change. Veck will be the hero of Envy, which will be released in September. Ward plans to release a BDB every autumn (or spring in the US) and a Fallen Angels each spring.
Book 10 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series…and beyond – Part 2
BY DECADENCE | 30 AUGUST 2011 | 3 RESPONSES
If you’re hungry for clues about upcoming books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Decadence has put together what we think we know about what’s coming next. Part 1 | All BDB-related posts on Book Thingo Some you may have seen this cover for Lover Reborn on Amazon, Goodreads and other bookish sites, but I’m not convinced it’s the final official cover because I haven’t seen Ward release it herself on her Facebook page, and it’s not in her photo albums or on her website. But the cover for Envy appeared suddenly as her new profile pic. There are small excerpts from upcoming releases on Facebook from Qhuinn where he’s jealous of his cousin for being with Blay (Lover Reborn), Rhage’s love for Mary (their novella) and the size of a male’s (presumably Veck) appendage inEnvy.
With Envy coming in less than a month, Ward has been devoting her efforts to promoting the next Fallen Angels instalment, with daily quotes and weekly videos posted on Facebook. But the recent Envy signing also produced some amazing BDB spoilers, with highlights from The Obscured Vixen (Click on the link to find out about Layla’s talent. I swear it’s worth it!) and My Secret Private Playground:
• • • • • • •
Unlike the other books, which take place over a short period of time,Lover Reborn spans a year. Tohr is still in love with Wellsie and he needs Lover Reborn introduces a new character, Assail, who is second only to Z in Ward’s opinion. It’s implied he is male. Someone is inducted into the Brotherhood in either Lover Reborn or the next book, but it is not revealed who. (JM? Payne?) Ward has an idea for a third series, but she isn’t saying anything because it may not happen since she is already so busy with the two series Jose de la Cruz will appear in both Envy and an upcoming BDB book where he’ll see Butch, only he won’t be allowed to remember. She already knows who Trez and iAm will end up with, and their stories will be told in the same book as they happen sort of around the same She is three-quarters through Rhage and Mary’s novella, which has turned into a short book. She also saps out over Phury and Cormia’s son
time for his heart and mind to catch up to his body. But still no confirmation of whom he will ultimately end up with.
she’s writing now.
time. We’ve met one of them, but not the other. (Could one of them be Layla? Are they both Chosen? — Decadence) Aggy (Ahgony). Follow the links for the full story. Ward’s message boards made a welcome return last month, but unfortunately Ward continues to focus on Facebook. I find the Facebookpage harder to keep up with, and if you live outside the US everything has hundreds of comments before you even see it, so you can’t tell if she’s answered someone’s question without extensive scrolling. It’s a shame because I had looked forward to the ease of use the boards offer. More of Ward’s earlier Jessica Bird titles have been reissued, with The Rebel (Silhouette Special Edition) and An Irresistible Bachelor (from the same series as An Unforgettable Lady) having been given a facelift.
PRE-RELEASE SPOILERS: Lover Reborn by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 10) – Part 3
BY DECADENCE | 18 SEPTEMBER 2011 | 3 RESPONSES
If you’re hungry for clues about upcoming books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Decadence has put together what we think we know about what’s coming next.
Part 1 | Part 2 | All BDB-related posts on Book Thingo Last week, J. R. Ward signed books in Cincinnati and Bex beat me to posting a link to a blogger who was there and took notes. If you haven’t already seen it, go to Liza’s blog for confirmation of Tohr’s HEA (no surprise) and other news.
CHAT WITH CHRISTINE FEEHAN
This is the J. R. Ward part of the joint chat she hosted for Christine Feehan this morning. She wasn’t able to stay long because she had a migraine and the Christine Feehan portion had run for two hours. It was easier for her to just pick random questions in a free chat format, but it was difficult to keep up and connect questions with answers because with minimal mod intervention, the chat runs really quickly. I’ve tried to stick as closely as I could to what was said, but the questions and some answers have been paraphrased. This is not a transcript. I haven’t noted down everything that has been asked before, like ‘Is Lash coming back?’ (She says that question was answered at the end of Lover Mine.) and ‘Does Wrath get his sight back?’ (No.) And beware: there is one major spoiler on Envy.
J. R. WARD ON CHRISTINE FEEHAN
Both writers have great respect for each other and could found a mutual admiration society. When Feehan mentioned her newest release or convention, Ward posted the links for her. Before the chat started, Ward told us about the first time she met Feehan. It was at a conference a couple of years ago and Wardsaw her across the room and was all like, ‘OMG, it’s Christine Feehan! Don’t be an ass. Just go over and introduce yourself.’ So she walked over and in this mousy little voice said, ‘Hi, I’m J. R. Ward.’ ‘Hi, I like your books.’ Ward apparently fell over in a dead faint, although maybe not literally. Feehan helped Ward get her agent and gives the best advice, especially on promotion. She’s the reason we have the paranormal romance genre and is its reigning queen. Ward: Christine and her family have done nothing but support me and Team Ward and I couldn’t respect her more. Thank you for coming tonight and having my back. I know you don’t like ass kissing… Please know my success is a direct result of so much advice you have given me. Feeahan: You’re making me cry. Your success is a direct result of your own talent.
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD
Lover Reborn includes some very steamy scenes between Tohr and No’One, and the band of bastards will have a huge presence in the book because Xcor is going for the throne. Although he was relatively absent from recent books, Phurywill be in Tohr’s. ‘Assail is a very interesting male. An old school vampire. I love Assail.’ In a chat she did earlier in the week to test the software, Ward confirmed that Assail is his own male and not one of Xcor’s bastards. Nor is he wolfen (no word on when she is going to introduce any wolves). ‘Read the end of Lover Reborn for Layla’s HEA, but don’t jump to conclusions.’ [Teasing Christine] ‘Blay’s been pursuing something else in his down time and fighting. So no playing doctor for real yet. But it’s coming.’ Could this be why she doesn’t see Blay becoming a Brother? He’s going to become a healer? Or does she mean playing doctor in a different sense? She hopes to write Blay and Qhuinn soon. She gave a KR (keep reading) when asked if Saxton will still be around after Blay and Qhuinn have their HEA. Does Murhder cause trouble for JM and Xhex? ‘JM and Xhex are solid, but he could cause trouble for others.’ Xhex has never been pregnant. In future books, we can expect Manny to go through the transition and John to become a Brother. ‘I believe Butch and Manny have other siblings.’ Why are Shadows the only ones who can kill symphaths? ‘You’ll find out more about their powers later.’ Trez and iAm will get separate books. They share intertwining plots but are too big to do together. Will we ever see Butch and V get intimate? ‘Who says they haven’t already? ;)’ Evil, EVIL woman!! This is twice now she’s said that. Was it hard for V to forgive Jane for almost helping Payne kill herself? ‘Absolutely. But he understood it was Payne’s choice, not hers.’ Do the Brothers ever get nostalgic for other music from earlier eras they’ve lived through, like jazz or classical? ‘Good question. I haven’t seen them getting nostalgic, but they’re busy defending rap against Manny’s onslaught.’ What was the inspiration behind the way the Brothers speak? ‘No inspiration, that’s just how they talk.’ Does Lassiter know Eddie and Ad? KR. What’s the Omega’s name? ‘The Omega.’ It’s not as silly a question as it may sound because we learned the Scribe Virgin’s name is Analisse in Dark Lover. Will Michael from ‘Story of Son’ meet the BDB? ‘I’m not sure. I love love love him and wonder about his kids, but he andClaire are happy doing their own thing. But their kids, that’s what’s going to be interesting, LOL.’
She teared up over Eddie. KR regarding Eddie coming back.
WRITING AND GENERAL STUFF
‘As long as I stay out of the way, I’m drafting. I can always pull pages. If I try to impose my own view or influence the storyline, the pictures and voices dry up. So I record what I see.’ Which authors would you recommend while I’m waiting for your next book? ‘Christine Feehan. Thea Harrison rocks. Darynda Jones. Suzanne Brockmann. Jessica Andersen. [In agreement with Christine Feehan] Nalini Singh. I think she has a new book this month…. I love KMM (Karen Marie Moning).’ Would you go to DragonCon at some point? ‘I’d love to, but travel is hard.’ ‘I’m focussed on the books. If the right movie deal came along, sure, but the books are my main focus.’ What inspired you to write paranormal romance? ‘I have no choice. The Brothers are what they are, but seeing the Brothers in leather make me very glad I write paranormal romance.’ Which was the fastest book to write? ‘None of them were fast. They’re like pulling teeth because the Brothers are big and complicated.’ And yes, she was aware of the double entendre there. ‘I don’t read other vampires so I don’t get subconsciously influenced. The Brothers are what they are and the clearer I keep my vision of them, the better they talk to me.’ What is the best and worst advice you received when you were breaking into publishing? ‘The best was not to hurry to send a piece to an agent or editor. Take your time, get it right. And there was something specifically from Christine that changed the trajectory of my career. She knows what it is. I must have blocked out the worst because nothing comes to mind.’ She hopes to finish the Jessica Bird contemporaries.
JR Ward Book Signing Recap
Posted by The Obscured Vixen on September 12, 2011
Anyone who’s read my blog knows JR Ward is my favorite author. JR Ward had a book signing on September 10, 2011 in Cincinnati and had a great Q&A session. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make this signing, but I have some awesome friends that shared the info with me!
Huge shout outs to Angie Stanton-Johnson and Liza!
Here is the recap from this weekend:
Rhage and Mary are having a girl! Can you imagine coming to meet her dad? “Hi, this is my dad… and so is this!!! ROAR!!!” Can’t you just see when she starts dating and Daddy’s dragon tries to eat her dates. JR has written Mary & Rhage’s novella, but still needs to write Beth & Wrath’s. Can’t finish until she finishes Tohr’s book. No date yet for the novellas to be published.
Will Murhder get a book? ABSOLUTELY!!
Will Butch and V ever “get together”? JR smiled and said “who says they havent???”
Will the BDB and FA [series ever] merge? She said not totally but, you will continue to see the Brothers in the Angels. FA is suspence where BDB is an epic story.
What is Dog [from FA]? A small fury animal that likes kibble. Then JR said “That’s all I can say on that subject.”
Does Jim get a HEA? YES!!!!
Does Jim save Sissy? JR jumps up and down and says “I wanna tell!” Then she said, “YES he saves her.” The she sings “lets get it on”!!!
Who is the next [BDB] book? JR draws a heart and wrote a Q and B. She said “I think it’s their time, guys.” Everyone cheered cheer and she said, “WAIT!! I didnt say it was them, but it is time. If everything happens in Lover Reborn that should happen it will be them but LR is gonna PISS PEOPLE OFF!! Be warned! Two things have to happen in Tohr’s book to set it up Team Qhuay. Both must happen for their book to be ready. FYI, this is the first time she called it a book rather than a novella. Not sure if that means we get an actual book, but kind of makes me wonder…
Does JM have issues with Murhder coming back? “Wouldnt you?” He is gonna be much happier with him getting it on with someone else! However it will depend on how Murhder ‘comes in’ and then she laughed at herself.
Do the shadows get a book? “Yes!!” Would have a threesome? JR flipped. “EEWWWW…they are BROTHERS!!!”
Tohr’s mate is No’One. Very complex romance and get your tissued ready. His story will be told in 4 seasons.
Will there be another insider book? Yes but not for a few more books.
What about Lassiter? He will be in the next book TONS!!
Fave quote from Lover Reborn so far? Tohr talking about Rhage: “He is slapping his money maker like bread do.”
Will Layale FINALLY have sex? JR laughs and tells the “coming story” from Saratoga. Then says yes but we won’t be happy with who it is and how it happens. [Yeah! This made me smile inside : ) I was the one that asked the Layla question in Saratoga. I'm famous!!]
Have we seen the last of Lash? “YES. He is a shit. I hate him.”
What about the Scribe Virgin? “She needs a large dose of prozac.”
Will the Darius/JM secret be told? “NO. NEVER!” Cant be told. Xhex knows something is there but can’t tell what. He will still have seizures.
Will there be a movie? JR has no control if their is a movie made. She only has control out of the books. However, she said where will they find men with “attributes” of the Brothers? “You gonna stick a bicycle pump up their ass to blow them up? Casting would be difficult and she doesnt want her readers upset.”
Does the training return at the compound? Yes but people need to return to Caldwell.
What is gonna stop the Bastards? She said 1 of 2 things: humans find them OR the Brothers join with with the sympaths! That would chill them the fuck out!
Will Wrath see again? No.
Why do the Brothers hate Lassiter? “He is a jackass!! He is an ass. He is a dick. He is an angel without compassion.” JR said he was sent back to help Tohr regain compassion but also to help him find some.
The music JR selects comes from what she listens to. “I am not the typical rap/hip hop listener, but I love it. I like Eminem, Tupac, etc.”
Who is your favorite female? JR is a lot like Marissa, but feels closest to Beth.
Will we see Qhuinn’s brother again? Very interesting place is where he is being held. She wonders if he is a lesser now…
Does No’One have a name? Yes, and it will be revealed in Tohr’s book.
Is No’One Throe’s sister? JR smiles and said, “I am sorry. The English language has escaped me!”
Why has the Omega been quiet in the last book? She said he was quiet in the books, but not in activity.
What is the longest book so far? JR said, “Rehv is swinging his dick in pride that his is the longest. The more I play with Tohr, the longer he gets.” Which crackd herself up. Tohr’s book will be at least 700 pages. She is about half way through it now.
Will Qhuinn get his piercings back, or is he done with them? He is still trying to find himself cause he isn’t comfortable in his own skin like Blay is with being gay. She said when he finds himself, the piercings will return. However, she pointed out not ALL his piercings are gone!
Will there be a prequel for Darius? No, because she cant do a happy ending.
Does Layla lose her virginity to Qhuinn? JR smiles and won’t answer the question. She then said that Qhuinn doesnt understand why relationships with females never satisfied him.
How is your relationship with V? It is better after Unleashed but he is a smart ass stubborn SOB so she will always want to strangle him. When someone mentioned how he treated Jane in Unleashed she defended him and said Jane KNEW what she was mated to so she either had to forgive him or move the fuck on!
Which book is your favorite? The book I am working on now cuz I know it isn’t fucked up yet!
Do you have authors or other inspiration for writing? Wrath was the first word out of her mouth. Then said no other authors inspire her. She is a writer and must write each and every day.
How many BDB books will you write? JR will write as many books as her readers will continue to buy.
There will be an awesome new male introduced in Lover Reborn named Asail.
Is Wrath white or African American? First, he isn’t a human. Nor is he or any of the brothers pasty-ass white boys. They are tanned skinned, so not white or black.
Zsadist is her favorite character.
When will Nalla find out about Zsadist’s history and what will be her reaction? She will read about it. This will throw Z back into the world of the Mistress again. Z will always worry about how Nalla sees him now. Also, how any male she would mate with would see him. Never gave a total answer about Nalla’s reaction, but seemed like it wouldn’t be good.
Payne & Manny’s book and Tohr’s book were happening at the same time. There was much overlapping in action that occurred, so Payne & Manny’s book focused mostly on them. Tohr’s book will have more focus on the Brothers. Will see more of the Brothers together in Tohr’s book. (yeah!) Tohr is the last original Brother.
How did you pick a dragon for Rhage? When she first saw Rhage he took off his shirt & she saw the dragon tattoo moving on his back.
Devina & Adrian thing – She is a parasite and she is in Adrian. Must keep reading to find out if she get Adrian.
Who is next for Fallen Angel series? You will know at the end of Envy.
Does Layla losing her virginity have anything to do with Qhuinn’s vision? Big no answer, but again I will guess yes based on body language.