(Note: The information below was last updated on 24/3/2011.)
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.