Why I love the Blood Council by Gail Z. Martin

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle series, there is a ruling council of vayash moru (vampires) called the Blood Council.  At least in the seven lands of the Winter Kingdoms, the Blood Council forces vayash moru to play relatively nicely with each other, at the risk of sanctions including permanent destruction.

Not surprisingly, every now and then, some vayash moru decide that immortality means never having to follow the rules.  That’s when it gets interesting.

The original Blood Council had five members:  Gabriel, Rafe, Uri, Riqua and Astasia.  Each of the Council members was chosen for the Council because (at least for now), they represent the strongest and eldest of the immortals.  They and their broods agree to abide by Council rulings and to punish those who go rogue or refuse the Council’s discipline.

It’s a good idea; too bad it doesn’t work as well in practice as it does on paper.  The seeds of conflict are sown right in the personalities of the Blood Council themselves.

Lord Gabriel, one of the Council’s eldest members, a one-time war lord who is also a mystic and a man of many interests, and who has deep devotion to Istra, the Aspect of the Sacred Lady who is the patron of Those Who Walk the Night.  The Blood Council also enforces the Truce between mortals and the vayash moru that enables the vayash moru to exist with relatively little wide-spread persecution in five out of the seven of the Winter Kingdoms.

Lord Rafe was an ascetic and a scholar in life.  He thirsts for knowledge, and tends to favor the rational even when circumstances prove that rationality is not going to carry the day.  Rafe has retained his idealism, which is both a good point and a flaw.

Lord Uri gained his wealth and title after his death as a card sharp who lost money to the wrong vayash moru and took blood as a substitute for gold.  Uri is cynical, jaded, motivated by money, and yet intensely loyal to his own brood, even when they go astray, as several of his get did during the insurrection (Dark Haven/Dark Lady’s Chosen).  Uri likes being underestimated, but there’s more to him than meets the eye, including a dollop of thieves’ honor.

Lady Riqua was the wife of a wealthy merchant, and she retains a bourgeoisie practicality after death.  She is fiercely protective of her brood, and has been known to adopt the get of other vayash moru if she believes they are being mistreated.  Unlike Uri and Rafe, Riqua sees value in continued interaction with mortals, and sees value in peaceful coexistence beyond the terms of the Truce.  She and Gabriel willingly create vayash moru-mortal alliances out of practical considerations, regardless of the scorn this earns them from Uri and Astasia.

Lady Astasia is the youngest of the Blood Council, and the most unpredictable.  Having gained her title, power and wealth through highly questionable means while alive, Astasia plays by her own rules after death.  Seduction, betrayal, and games for the sake of games amuse her.  She loves intrigue and politics, as well as the sheer excitement of setting mortals against each other just to watch the outcome.  Astasia bet on the vayash moru Insurrection and lost.  Much of her brood was destroyed, either in battle or by the other members of the Council who became Bloodsworn against her and her get.  In the Fallen Kings Cycle, Astasia allies with the Temnottan invaders, hoping to see the thrones of the Winter Kingdoms fall in flames.

Really, with all of those personalities in the same room, how could I not love writing about the Blood Council?  (Maybe I’ve been on too many nonprofit and corporate committees.)  Just among the five of them, you get the best and worst of immortality, the promise and the failure of human nature.  I have a blast writing about the Blood Council, even though they aren’t actually main characters, because they’re so deliciously “real”, and they give me the sandbox to explore the good, the bad and the ugly parts of immortality.  But don’t take my word for it—take a look at my books and get to know them for yourself!

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