J. R. Ward
The seventh book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, 2009
DEDICATED TO YOU:
Good and bad have never been more relative terms
than when applied to the likes of you.
But I agree with her. To me, you have always been a hero.
With immense gratitude to the readers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and a shout-out to the Cellies!
Thank you so very much: Steven Axelrod, Kara Cesare, Claire Zion, Kara Welsh, and Leslie Gelbman.
Thank you, Lu and Opal, as well as our Mods and all our Hall Monitors, for everything you do out of the goodness of your hearts!
As always with many thanks to my Executive Committee: Sue Grafton, Dr. Jessica Andersen, and Betsey Vaughan. And with much respect to the incomparable Suzanne Brockmann and the ever-fabulous Christine Feehan (and family).
To D.L.B.-to say I look up to you would be self-obvious but there you go. Love u xxx mummy
To N.T.M.-who is always right, and still manages to be loved by all of us.
To LeElla Scott-who owns it, baby, yeah, she so does.
To Kaylie-girl and her momma-’cuz I love them so.
None of this would be possible without: my loving husband, who is my adviser and caretaker and visionary; my wonderful mother, who has given me so much love I couldn’t possibly ever repay her; my family (both those of blood and those by adoption); and my dearest friends.
Oh, and with love to the better half of WriterDog, as always.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND PROPER NOUNS
ahstrux nohstrum (n.) Private guard with license to kill who is granted his or her position by the king.
ahvenge (v.) Act of mortal retribution, typically carried out by a male loved one.
Black Dagger Brotherhood (pr. n.) Highly trained vampire warriors who protect their species against the Lessening Society. As a result of selective breeding within the race, Brothers possess immense physical and mental strength, as well as rapid healing capabilities. They are not siblings, for the most part, and are inducted into the Brotherhood upon nomination by the Brothers. Aggressive, self-reliant, and secretive by nature, they exist apart from civilians, having little contact with members of the other classes except when they need to feed. They are the subjects of legend and the objects of reverence within the vampire world. They may be killed by only the most serious of wounds, e.g., a gunshot or stab to the heart, etc.
blood slave (n.) Male or female vampire who has been subjugated to serve the blood needs of another. The practice of keeping blood slaves has recently been outlawed.
chrih (n.) Symbol of honorable death in the Old Language.
the Chosen (n.) Female vampires who have been bred to serve the Scribe Virgin. They are considered members of the aristocracy, though they are spiritually rather than temporally focused. They have little or no interaction with males other than the Primale, but can be mated to Brothers at the Scribe Virgin’s direction to further propagate their class. Some have the ability to prognosticate. In the past, they were used to meet the blood needs of unmated members of the Brotherhood, and that practice has been reinstated by the Brothers.
cohntehst (n.) Conflict between two males competing for the right to be a female’s mate.
doggen (n.) Member of the servant class within the vampire world. Doggen have old, conservative traditions about service to their superiors and follow a formal code of dress and behavior. They are able to go out during the day, but they age relatively quickly. Life expectancy is approximately five hundred years.
Dhunhd (pr. n.) Hell.
ehros (n.) A Chosen trained in the matter of sexual arts.
exhile dhoble (n.) The evil or cursed twin, the one born second.
the Fade (pr. n.) Nontemporal realm where the dead reunite with their loved ones and pass eternity.
First Family (pr. n.) The king and queen of the vampires, and any children they may have.
ghardian (n.) Custodian of an individual. There are varying degrees of ghardians, with the most powerful being that of a sehcluded female.
glymera (n.) The social core of the aristocracy, roughly equivalent to Regency England’s ton.
granhmen (n.) Grandmother.
hellren (n.) Male vampire who has been mated to a female. Males may take more than one female as mate.
leahdyre (n.) A person of power and influence.
leelan (adj.) A term of endearment loosely translated as “dearest one.”
Lessening Society (pr. n.) Order of slayers convened by the Omega for the purpose of eradicating the vampire species.
lesser (n.) De-souled human who targets vampires for extermination as a member of the Lessening Society. Lessers must be stabbed through the chest in order to be killed; otherwise they are ageless. They do not eat or drink and are impotent. Over time, their hair, skin, and irises lose pigmentation until they are blond, blushless, and pale eyed. They smell like baby powder. Inducted into the society by the Omega, they retain a ceramic jar thereafter into which their heart was placed after it was removed.
lewlhen (n.) Gift.
lheage (n.) A term of respect used by a sexual submissive to refer to her dominant.
lys (n.) Torture tool used to remove the eyes.
mahmen (n.) Mother. Used both as an identifier and a term of affection.
mhis (n.) The masking of a given physical environment; the creation of a field of illusion.
nalla (n. f.) or nallum (n. m.) Beloved.
needing period (n.) Female vampire’s time of fertility, generally lasting for two days and accompanied by intense sexual cravings. Occurs approximately five years after a female’s transition and then once a decade thereafter. All males respond to some degree if they are around a female in her need. It can be a dangerous time, with conflicts and fights breaking out between competing males, particularly if the female is not mated.
newling (n.) A virgin.
the Omega (pr. n.) Malevolent, mystical figure who has targeted the vampires for extinction out of resentment directed toward the Scribe Virgin. Exists in a nontemporal realm and has extensive powers, though not the power of creation.
pherarsom (adj.) Term referring to the potency of a male’s sexual organs. Literal translation something close to “worthy of entering a female.”