The Consul

Q and A # 52

Question 1: I really liked Masks and felt like it gave me a much better sense of Mircea’s character.  I don’t want to spoiler those who haven’t read it, but given his history with the Consul, where is her paranoia about his loyalty coming from? Yes, he’s powerful, but it sounds like he’s proven himself and his value to her many times.

But it’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Someone powerful enough to be a major asset is also powerful enough to be a major threat. And the consul hasn’t stayed in control this long by ignoring threats. Plus, there’s the burning question Mircea either doesn’t answer or answers in such a way that isn’t convincing: why was he at Tony’s for a year? He has charmed first level masters who hate the senate in a week, yet he needed a year with this child? Why?

He said it was because he wanted to ensure that Cassie would be on the senate’s side if she was to grow up and inherit the pythian power, which sounds good on the surface. But then again . . . a year? A year away from his court, a year of putting up with Tony, a year in a run-down farmhouse outside Philly? And a year in which he never got around to mentioning that he had found a possible pythia until Marlowe discovered it himself. Why a whole year? And why the secrecy?

It bothers her, and it bothers Marlowe, because Mircea is not the kind of man to do something for no reason. But she doesn’t believe his reason here, or doesn’t think that’s all there is to it, and that’s a problem. That is potentially a big problem considering that Mircea has a very powerful family, has a gift for making allies, has mental abilities that she doesn’t know the full extent of, has a close tie to one of her greatest rivals (Ming-de) and now . . . he also has a pythia. Who is loyal to him, and not to her.

Wouldn’t you be worried?


Question 2: I love the Marlowe character and his interactions with Mircea and Dory!  I was wondering, if a master’s child ends up committing a major crime (e.g., high treason), is the master ever punished for not having managed his/her child better / not having known?  Is it a spoiler to ask how Marlowe reacted when he learned about Lawrence’s betrayal?

I explained this already in a question that came up on the sidebar, but I’ll do it here for those who may not have seen it. By the way, asking questions that have short answers works okay in that format, but any that require a lengthy explanation (as in more than a couple sentences) are better submitted as part of the Q&A. It gives me more space to answer.

Anyway, a master is responsible for his children until they are emancipated. After that, they are considered to be responsible for themselves. That is one of the main reasons why masters tend to emancipate powerful servants; they become harder to control, and the master doesn’t want to answer for anything they may do that is outside his control. So Lawrence was responsible for himself, having been emancipated from Marlowe years before. As for Marlowe’s reaction, he was furious. But by the time he realized what had been happening, Lawrence was already dead.


Question 3: In that near-death scene in FK, Radu seemed shocked by Dory’s outburst. Was he surprised because he wasn’t used to Dory showing so much emotion or because of the topic of Dory’s mom (how much did he know about that anyway?)

Dory always maintained the façade of not caring, either about Mircea or about a past she couldn’t remember. Radu is intelligent but not perceptive, at least not about people, and it had never occurred to him before that she might be lying. Or how much hurt, anger and resentment she had built up over the years that he didn’t know about. He was also surprised that she would speak to her father that way as he lay dying, and dying because he had just allowed himself to be savaged in order to save her. But Dory knew Mircea better than Radu, and what he needed then wasn’t tears and sympathy. He needed to be reminded of what he once told Rafe: Life isn’t a gift, it’s a challenge. Rise to it.


Question 4: In DM, Mircea told Dory that he couldn’t give her memories about her mother back to her. In Fury’s Kiss however, Lawrence was able to show Dory a previously repressed scene from her memory (the pier), and she has also shown signs of mental abilities later on (projecting). Presuming Mircea still has his memories about his wife, couldn’t he share them with Dory that way?

Lawrence isn’t Mircea, and Dory at the pier was not Dory as a child. To elaborate: Lawrence tried to remove Dory’s recollection of that night, but when he got into her mind, he found it to be a scary, scary place. He didn’t know what the hell was going on, and was interrupted before he could try to figure it out (not that he was all that enthusiastic about it, frankly). But the result was a hatchet job of a mind wipe that didn’t actually wipe much at all; it mostly just covered things over a little. If it hadn’t also resulted in the fall of a barrier that fey wine had already weakened to the breaking point, it might not have worked at all.

The memories of Dory’s mother, on the other hand, were removed when she was much younger and much more vulnerable. And the wipe was done by someone both more powerful and more careful than Lawrence. Mircea had to do a good job, or shards of returning memories might have caused the destruction of the barrier that was the only thing keeping her sane.

As far as sharing his own memories, yes, he could. But he can’t give her back her own because he doesn’t have them. He never saw Dory and her mother together, so how can he return what he doesn’t have? Also, when Mircea said that to her, it was in DM, before the barrier came down. He would not have dared try to show her anything at that point.


Question 5: How did Tony give Sal orders from Faerie when Tomas got relieved of having to obey when he crossed over?

Who said Tony gave them to her from Faerie?


Question 6: Marlowe mentioned that Mircea’s interest in Pythias couldn’t be on the behest of a consul he did not know at that time. Shouldn’t Mircea have already known the consul(s) due to his experiences in Masks? Or do they kinda keep that their dirty little secret, even from the chief spy? What does/did Anthony think of Mircea anyway? Can’t imagine him being overjoyed at him coming to Paris after all…

It wasn’t considered a dirty little secret. It was considered an honor, especially for one as young as Mircea, to be noticed by someone in her position. But it also happened long before Marlowe was even born and, to most people, was not a major incident. Mircea’s part in the old consul’s fall was not made generally known, as the new co-consuls needed the admiration that killing him on their own provided (vampires respect strength). It also didn’t take place at court, where the gossips might have been more likely to keep it alive, and was overshadowed by far more important events in most people’s minds. So not too many people even recall that she had a young Romanian lover for what was, after all, a very short time.

Q and A #49

1) Is the Jerome in Masks is the same Jerome, senator and master of Elyas, in Death’s Mistress? 

Yes, Jerome was Elyas’ master–good for you! I didn’t know if anyone would catch that. But it was nice to be able to flesh out the European Senate a little. 


2) In one of your other Q&A you wrote that when Mircea tried to separate Dorina’s two natures in the beginning he got a little help, as we would have seen in ‘Masks’. Did you mean the other ‘Masks’, the one about Mircea from the present and Cassie traveling back to Venice to gain blackmail material on another senator? I admit that when I first read that I thought maybe it was Mircea from the present that helped is past self.

In answer to your questions, I started writing Masks several times over the last few years, only to have to put it away due to deadlines for other projects. And when I would go back to it, I would often find myself working on a different storyline. Basically, Mircea has a LOT of backstory and it kept intruding. I finally told myself to just concentrate on one story or I was never going to get it finished, so that’s how we ended up where we did. And why, at different times, different storylines were discussed (because when I was asked the question, that’s the one I was working on). I hope that makes some kind of sense!


3) Somewhere, I don’t remember where I read it, you explained that at some point the differences between Cleo and Anthony became such that they could not co-exist in the same territory and senate so Mircea and Marlowe persuaded her that North America deserved a Senate too and they all went across the pond. How long after they became co-consuls did it happen? And, if it’s not spoiler, why did it happen?  

It happened in the late 18th century. You’ll recall that, when Cassie and Mircea were visiting Paris in 1793 (in Embrace the Night), they were able to stay at his Paris home because the Mircea of that time was away in North America. That’s why he was away—scouting out the possibilities for a new senate.

As for why it happened, there’s an old saying “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” that pretty much sums up Cleo and Anthony’s relationship. When they’re apart, they miss each other; when they’re together, they frequently want to kill each other. It’s complicated. So, the togetherness all the time thing wasn’t working, and in fact, was not working to the point that something had to give soon or there was going to be another challenge.

Mircea and Marlowe pointed out that the natural resources of NA were likely to make it an economic, and therefore political, power one day, and that its population was already exploding after the Revolutionary War. It was ready for a senate, and if they didn’t establish one, somebody else would. So she and Anthony split the blanket to stay allies rather than destroying one another.


4) In modern vampire law (Cassie and Dory books) a Master is responsible for the vampires he/she sires, right? When was the law introduced and does it mean that what happened to Sanuito would be punished if it happened again?

It was always tradition that a master was responsible for those he sired, and was in fact the law elsewhere. The info on “Cathay” that Bezio had in Masks was skewed by his own prejudice.  He assumed that because other senates didn’t have a “safe haven” such as Venice, it meant that they hadn’t made any accommodations for their strays. In fact, they didn’t have a Venice because they didn’t need one. Masters were held strictly accountable for any children they made, something that wasn’t true in Europe because the old consul didn’t enforce it. Anthony and Cleo changed that after they took over, something that was helped by the rather large number of old masters they slaughtered putting down rebellions.

As far as Sanuito’s fate, though . . . technically, it could still happen. It probably wouldn’t, because the master vamp would then be stuck with a useless servant, and killing too many of your servants for no reason gets you the reputation for instability/weakness (because if you were strong, you wouldn’t need to kill them to control them). And that can end up costing you your own life, if another master decides that you’re ripe for a takeover. And that’s assuming that the senate doesn’t go after you themselves. Auria’s master, for example, would not have been tolerated after the events of Masks. But a master still has life or death control over those he makes as long as he keeps it within reason.

The main difference brought about by the change of power you saw in Masks was better leadership, which held masters more accountable. And so greatly cut down on the numbers of masterless vamps running about. Afterwards, if you made a vampire, you were pretty much stuck with him. And if you made one by accident and he thereafter went on a tear (like a revenant) you had to track him down or hire someone to do it for you. It’s why Louis-Cesare was in trouble over Christine, and why Dory was able to eke out a living chasing down mad vampires.


5) Are there any penalties if a Master forces the change on an unwilling person?

Changing someone who is fighting it, or sick, or otherwise in less than optimal condition, is tricky, and can land you with a dead servant or one like Horatiu. Mircea doesn’t mind about Horatiu, of course, because he loves him and feels indebted to him. But someone else would not be so happy to have a servant like that!

In the case of Martina, the character in Masks who had been forcibly changed, her master didn’t care whether she herself was useful or not, because he was only after her property anyway. All he cared about was that she live long enough to sign it over to him. But most of the time, a vampire has enough willing persons to change that he doesn’t need to change the unwilling. It’s also a factor that you can only change so many vamps, because you can only control so many, so are you really going to risk wasting one of your limited number on someone like Horatiu?   

Q and A #44

1. Do Antony and the Consul ever shoot the breeze together about the good old days? Do they ever reminisce about their children? Along this vein (hehe), do vampires who had children while still human keep tabs on their surviving bloodlines as the years go?

Not really. Most vampires tend to lose track of family after a few centuries, if not before. Your new family takes precedence, and as a young vamp, you have very little chance to do your own thing. By the time you could just take off for personal reasons, your kids are probably dead, along with their kids and possibly another few generations. The only people you would meet would be distant relatives. Who, of course, wouldn’t know you at all.

Anyway, human lives seem so ephemeral in comparison to the ages you have and will live. What is the point? If you’re going to discuss children, it’s normally your immortal ones who dominate the conversation.

2. Was Julius Caesar ever a vampire, in the CP/DB universe?

No. He was dead long before Anthony and Cleo were ever bitten. Plus, god damn, can you see Julius as a vamp? He was bad enough as a human!

3. Did Alphonse know that Sal had turned traitor, or what she was planning to do, in CtD? If so, was he punished by Mircea? What has he been up to?

No, she didn’t tell him. Sal’s opinion of Alphonse’s intellect wasn’t high, and she didn’t trust him. Tony had acquired him for his killing ability, not his smarts. As for what he’s been up to, what would you be up to if you’re a trained killer and your old boss just basically offed your girlfriend?

4. Why did Pritkin and Mircea warn Casanova off Cassie when it’s a hotel full of incubi and vampires? He doesn’t seem to like her much anyway!

But they didn’t know his attitude at the time. And Casanova’s rep had preceded him.

5. Cassie often seems surprised when everyone else wets themselves in fear of Mircea and they seem surprised that she doesn’t fear him at all. This is quite funny and intriguing. Who is right about how dangerous Mircea is?

Everyone else.

6. Why did Louis Caesar only lose his cool in Touch the Dark when Cassie told him how many people they were facing (in the car park) I would have lost my head way before that!

Louis-Cesare would like me to inform you that there must be some misunderstanding. He never loses his cool. Cassie was under considerable stress, and must have misinterpreted his competent, calm and capable reaction to the matter.

7. How did Mircea know about the present Cassie sent Ming de? (lamia skin) I can’t help laughing imagining her face when she got that present.

Presumably, Ming-de mentioned it, possibly in one of their already tense negotiations over the new treaty alliance. Although, with Mircea, you never know, do you?