(Note: The information below was last updated on 23/11/2010.)
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-damned-if-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, specialising 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 I 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, customised 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 Pruh-MAH-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 realised 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”.