(Spoilers up through Shadow’s Fall.)
Queen of the Southern United States
Born: Rio Verde, Texas – 1982
Apparent Physical Age: 27
Hair: Red, curly
Other Physical Characteristics of Note: Scar above eyebrow from assault while still human. Aversion to sunlight explained to the public as erythropoietic protoporphyria; founded the Miranda Grey Porphyria Research Foundation.
Weapon of Choice: Shadowflame (sword)
Outstanding psychic abilities: Extremely strong empathic gift invoked most easily via music, but can also be weaponized. Secondary gift, precognitive (Consort-level strength, mostly untrained); tertiary gifts include telepathy (weak), telekinesis (strong, partially trained); able to Mist
Achievements: Won two Grammy awards (Best New Artist and Album of the Year), four People’s Choice Awards (Best New Artist, Song of the Year for “Bleed,” Album of the Year, Best Female Artist), the Austin Musician’s Guild Golden Bat Award for favorite local Austin artist, Favorite Local Musician in the Austin Chronicle’s Best of the Year poll. First album, Bleed, certified Platinum
Sire: David Solomon
Favorite literary work: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Favorite Musical Artist: Tori Amos
Favorite Non-blood beverage and/or food: Margaritas (or straight tequila on a rough night), Milky Way bars
Is Often Seen With: Martin acoustic guitar, Bösendorfer Imperial Grand piano. Wrist com; platinum wedding band.
Wardrobe: On the job, mostly black, lots of leather and corsetry with serious boots and belt. Onstage, glammed-up version of same. Off duty, favors jeans, ratty t-shirts, yoga pants, a pair of blue Chucks that are about to fall apart. Paints toenails (usually purple).
How She Took her Signet: Beheaded Ariana Blackthorn, who had stolen the Signet while it was still unclaimed.
Personality/History: Miranda is a survivor. She came back from the brink of insanity after being sexually assaulted by a group of men in an alley. She spent the next year fighting depression and despair, learning to control her empathic gift, and generally putting herself back together. She is an independent young woman, courageous, and somewhat hot-headed; she leaps before looking sometimes and has little patience for injustice, assholes, or stupidity. Years of depression have left her with a tendency toward melancholy and occasional bouts of self-pity she struggles to overcome.
Her empathy forces her to care deeply for people and to understand their motivations even when she’d rather not. She has developed a surprising capacity for forgiveness to keep her empathy from driving her mad again. She lives in a low level of fear that one day she will lose control again and not be able to regain it, thereby following her mother’s footsteps into the hell of a broken mind.
Miranda is estranged from her human family due to their treatment of her mother Marilyn (deceased).
Her only major romantic relationship has been with her husband and Prime, David Solomon, who gave her the following for her birthday to help her grow her own t-shirt collection:
David L. Solomon, PhD
Prime of the Southern United States
Born: England, 1643
Apparent Physical Age: 30
Hair: Black; short
Other Physical Characteristics of Note: Tattoo of hawk covering most of upper back. Left-handed.
Weapon of Choice: Sword (name unknown)
Outstanding psychic abilities: Telekinesis
Achievements: Formerly co-Second of Prime Arrabicci’s Elite in the West; then Second under Prime Deven. PhD in Engineering from MIT. Got filthy freaking rich investing in Apple and Intel when they first hit it big. Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. Dissertation on touch-screen and voice recognition software published in 8 scientific journals; holds 12 US Patents; designed Signet communications system, territory-wide sensor network to monitor vampire activity, and solar power system to run entire Haven complex off the grid. Working on new camera technology to provide better recorded images of vampires. Also developing SigNet, a worldwide communication system for the Council. First Prime to institute territory-wide no-kill laws. Has met all eleven Doctors.
Sire: Lydia, second-tier priestess of the Order of Elysium
Favorite Literary Work: Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson
Favorite Musical Artist: The Rolling Stones
Favorite Non-Blood Beverage and/or Food: Dr Pepper, ice cream
Is Often Seen With: iPhone, wrist com, various techno-toys, platinum wedding band. Two Friesian horses, Osiris and Isis.
Wardrobe: Mostly black, hand-tailored expensive garments; long black trench coat with lots of pockets for gadgets and weapons. Off duty wears jeans and a wide array of geeky t-shirts including the following:
How he took his Signet: Assassinated Auren, the former Prime.
Personality/History: David is not exactly an open book to most people. He tends not to react emotionally to situations and has earned his reputation as heartless and cruel through his history both in California and Texas. His hard shell begins to crack, however, once Miranda comes into his life, and after having resigned himself to a lifetime alone suddenly having a Queen throws him into a bit of a tailspin that results in a Very Big Mistake.
David, though older than many Council members, has a very modern outlook on progress and technology, and is determined to bring vampire kind into the 21st century to ensure their survival. Though he was born in England and traveled extensively for several decades, he emigrated to America quickly and fell in love with its spirit.
David has a long and painful track record with lovers; his human wife, Lizzie, was burned at the stake for witchcraft. His next major relationship was with a human woman, Anna Hausmann, whom he killed in an abortive attempt to bring her across. Shortly thereafter David became Deven O’Donnell’s lover and the two were inseparable for ten years before Deven dropped him like a bad habit upon meeting his true Consort, Jonathan Burke. David, heartbroken, left California and finished his doctorate, meanwhile preparing himself to make a play for the Southern Signet, which he won from Auren in 1995.
Prime of the Western United States
Born: Ireland, 1300s (exact year unknown)
Apparent Physical Age: 17
Hair: Varies (originally dark brown)
Eyes: Lavender/Violet/Blue depending on mood
Other Physical Characteristics of Note: Facial piercings (number and location vary from night to night); full sleeve tattoos on both arms: angel with sword on one arm, demon holding dove on the other.
Weapon of Choice: Ghostlight (sword)
Outstanding Psychic Abilities: Can heal most diseases and injuries in both humans and vampires.
Achievements: Founded a vast network of assassins/spies called the Red Shadow. Expert in over 14 schools of martial arts and synthesized one of his own out of parts of the others. Invented several forms of vampire weaponry including metal-core wood throwing stakes with replaceable shafts.
Sire: Eladra, High Priestess of the Order of Elysium
Favorite Literary Work: Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri
Favorite Musical Artist: Massive Attack
Favorite Non-Blood Beverage and/or Food: Bourbon, peanut butter milkshakes
Is Often Seen With: An alarming array of weaponry, including various knives and throwing stakes.
Wardrobe: Mostly black, mostly goth; usually has hair dyed black and streaked with other colors (natural color is dark brown). Wears eyeliner, black polish on nails. Imagine what a vampire “should” dress like, add some punk and some glam, and there you have it.
How he took his Signet: Unintentionally. The former Prime and Queen were assassinated and the Signet chose him immediately after.
Personality/History: Much of Deven’s past is unknown to anyone but him, but what is known is that he was born in Ireland and raised to be a monk; then when his uncle, the Abbot, discovered him in bed with one of the other novices, several years of harsh punishment began designed to “purify” Deven of his homosexual tendencies. Eventually the Inquisition came for Deven; they had heard of his healing talent and wanted to interrogate him regarding satanic activity. Deven spent two years in the dungeons of the Inquisition, tortured and starving, and nearly died before a strange woman came to the prison and paid to free him: Eladra. The High Priestess rescued him, then turned him into a vampire, believing he was meant to succeed her as High Priest of the Order, but apparently she got her stars crossed.
Deven has had to be a tough little bastard for a very long time, but underneath, he is essentially a falldown mess. The accumulated pain and exhaustion of being 700 years old is slowly taking its toll, which he tries to bury by drinking heavily (among other things). Deven feels guilt for every year of his life on Earth – for dumping David over Jonathan, for shagging David and hurting Miranda, for meddling in the Awakening, for massacring the Order including his sire. It is questionable whether there is any way back for someone so old…if there is anything, or anyone, that can heal the healer.
Consort of the Western United States
Born: Southwark, England, 1864
Apparent Physical Age: 35-40
Other Physical Characteristics of Note: Physically imposing compared to the others. Slightly crooked nose from an assortment of barroom brawls. Jonathan is a good looking guy, he’s just not what you’d call “beautiful” the same way as, say, David or Deven. Jonathan looks like the kind of man you’d want on your side in any situation.
Weapon of Choice: Deven O’Donnell.
Outstanding Psychic Abilities: Precognition
Achievements: Jonathan spent many years in the Queen’s Service (That’s the Queen of England, not a Signet) acting as a bodyguard and all around tough guy – he’s pretty wretched at the kind of fighting his friends all seem to favor. He’s all martial, no art. Jonathan is also a great organizer, and acts as the point of contact for the Elite; Deven handles weapons training and the rest of his time goes to the Red Shadow, so Jonathan runs the Elite most of the time and has a brilliant head for strategy.
Sire: Unknown. In the late 19th century vampire transformation salons (sometimes called BloodBaths) briefly became popular, offering transformations by the gentle, unconscious method for a fee. Within ten years they were all shut down by the Signets, but in that time Jonathan attended one.
Favorite Literary Work: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Favorite Musical Artist: Amy Winehouse
Favorite Non-Blood Beverage and/or Food: Tie between Woodford Reserve and Boddington’s.
Is Often Seen With: A book. Jonathan is an avid reader. His favorite books are literary works in the original French; he loves the French language.
Wardrobe: Fairly typical for a wealthy man in 2010 California; mostly Deven picks out his clothes because if Jonathan had his way he’d wear the same ratty sweater over plaid pajama pants every day.
How he took his Signet: Was chosen immediately upon meeting his Prime.
Personality/History: Jonathan came to California in the 1950s upon hearing a new young regime had taken over after the old Prime’s assassination. He wanted to be part of something that was just beginning, so he could find his place…which is exactly what happened, just not in the way he intended. He and Deven had the “look across a crowded room” moment, and instantly knew who they were looking at; moments later before they could even speak an attempted assassination of the Prime ended with Jonathan wounded in the act of tackling Deven to protect him. A few hours later Jonathan woke at the Haven in Deven’s bed and that was that – all without even knowing his Prime’s name.
Given the emotional wreck he’s bound to it stands to reason that Jonathan is a calm, well-adjusted man without a lot of issues of his own; he doesn’t have a tragic history to overcome. Jonathan isn’t without his fears and sorrows; he just knows how to shift the spotlight back onto his Prime.
Queen of Eastern Europe
Born: Italy, circa 1890
Apparent Physical Age: 18
Hair: Dark brown
Other Physical Characteristics of Note: Extremely bendy due to yoga practice.
Weapon of Choice: None
Outstanding Psychic Abilities: Unclassified form of clairvoyance based primarily on touch; other abilities still unknown.
Achievements: Walked out of Prime Hart’s harem despite threat of sexual torture/death.
Favorite Literary Work: The Book of Psalms
Favorite Musical Artist: Unknown
Favorite Non-Blood Beverage and/or Food: Red wine
Is Often Seen With: Vrana, her Nighthound companion.
How she took her Signet: Upon meeting her Prime
Prime of Eastern Europe
Born: France, 1790
Apparent Physical Age: mid 20s
Other Physical Characteristics: Described as a “young hippie Jesus.”
Weapon of Choice: long knives (2)
Outstanding Psychic Abilities: Telepathy
Achievements: Is fluent in 17 languages and has a working grasp of 9 others.
Favorite Literary Work: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R Tolkien
Favorite Musical Artist: John Williams. Jacob has a bit of a thing for movie soundtracks.
Favorite Non-Blood Beverage and/or Food: Beer
Is Often Seen With: Owns several Friesian and other equine breeds. Wears a gold cross on a chain along with his Signet.
How he took his Signet: Succeeded Prime Horak upon the Prime’s assassination by unknown attackers.
Second-in-Command of the Southern United States’ Elite
Born: Edo, Japan, 1801
Apparent Physical Age: early 20s
Hair: Dark brown
Other Physical Characteristics: Rarely seen out of uniform.
Weapon of Choice: Sword
Outstanding Psychic Abilities: None observed
Achievements: Lieutenant under two different Primes in California, then Second in Texas; redesigned Southern training protocol and led Elite to win the Council tournament.
Favorite Literary Work: Secret devotion to Jane Austen
Favorite Musical Artist: Adele
Favorite Non-Blood Beverage and/or Food: Guinness
Is Often Seen With: Wrist com, concealed weapons beyond the standard Elite issue.