Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6) - US edition

Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6) - Australian/UK editionLast updated: 1/4/2016 — new information in italics

These cheat sheets summarise what we know so far about the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Click here for a round-up of BDB-related posts on Book Thingo.

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Note that the cheat sheets have not been updated to include information from The King to avoid accidentally spoiling readers who have not yet had a chance to read the book.

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(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 couldn’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, the Iron Mask.

When he learned that the king was returning to the field to fight the lessers, Phury rejoined the Brotherhood, but he had to promise Z that he was okay and not going to fall off the wagon under the pressure.This is the first time in history that both the king and the Primale fight.

Phury escorted Layla into the training room to protect her from Throe as she feeds him. He went overboard in the protection department by letting her believe Throe is an honourable warrior who serves his race every night. This bit Layla in the arse when Throe summoned her to feed Xcor, for whom she felt attraction before she learned that he was really her enemy.

He officiated Wellsie’s Fade ceremony, possibly because Wrath’s blindness would have prevented him.

Phury noticed Qhuinn and Doc Jane rushing to Layla’s room and when he smelled that she was pregnant and bleeding, he saw red and was ready to kick the crap out of Qhuinn, not because of his ‘defective’ eyes, but because he has a reputation for being in it for a good time, not a long time and Layla deserves better because she is a female of worth and Phury believes she is in love with Qhuinn and most likely agreed to the pregnancy to please Qhuinn.

He demands that Havers tell Layla what is happening to her body and accord Qhuinn the same respect due the Primale as father of the young.

In The Shadows, when Cormia saw Selena in the mansion’s medical centre, she knew immediately that Selena had the Arrest and was horrified that another of her sisters should suffer from this incurable disease.

After Selena’s passing, while a lot of the household was building her pyre or preparing food, Phury led the Chosen in private mourning rituals.

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