Black Dagger Brotherhood Cheat Sheet (Part 7)
(Note: The information below was last updated on 24/3/2011.)
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 neighbourhood, 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 realises 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.
Latest posts by Decadence (see all)
- The King by J. R. Ward - April 10, 2014
- The Shadows – Black Dagger Brotherhood book 13 revealed - April 7, 2014
- Black Dagger Brotherhood: Cheat sheet updates up to Lover at Last - March 28, 2014
- Black Dagger Brotherhood: More excerpts from The King and speculation - March 18, 2014
- Black Dagger Brotherhood Virtual Signing for The King - February 3, 2014