This article or section contains spoilers for 2021 novel Rafael.
Proceed with caution.
- "She was the primordial dark made real. She was why humans feared the dark, just the darkness, not what lies in the dark, not what hides there, but why we fear the darkness itself. There was a time when she walked among us, fed on us, and when the darkness falls, somewhere in the back of our skulls, we remember the hungry dark."
- —Anita Blake[src]
Marmee Noir, was known as The Sweet Dark, Mother Of All Darkness (in Cerulean Sins, Anita dubbed her "Mommie Dearest") and Dark Mother to Vittorio. She was the queen and leader of all vampires and the head of the Vampire Council. She is both a vampire and a lycanthrope at once, and is apparently a were-saber-toothed tiger. According to several of the vampires, she was the first vampire, which means that, like Mr Oliver, she predates the evolution of homo sapiens. However it has also been hinted that she is the Mother vampire in a metaphorical, rather than literal sense, having created the rules and culture that governs the vampire race.
It has been suggested that she was a unique type of vampire, distinctly different and more powerful, from all later descendants; perhaps not even a vampire, per se, but a unique type of monster with vampiric traits. Her powers included control over several species of vampire/lycanthrope mixes, the ability to project her attention and mental powers, and a deep control over darkness.
In her first meeting with Anita, she is "seen" as a silhouette on a bed, under a silk sheet. In The Harlequin she appears as a shadow woman in a thin dress and slippers edged with white pearls.
In her were-saber-toothed tiger form she is described as a animal with a huge head and long teeth, with fur, golden and tawny, and reddish, shaded rather than striped, more lion than tiger, with eyes like golden fire.
Marmee Noir and her vampire/lycanthrope followers had been "sleeping" for centuries, for unknown reasons, in a underground tower that looks out on a wide open space. They were beginning to awaken, spurred at least partially by Marmee Noir's interest in Anita.
Merlin was turned by Marmee Noir, and appears to have some idea why she went to sleep, but has not revealed his theory to Anita. Anita believes that Belle Morte was gathering her power to challenge Marmee Noir for leadership of the Vampire Council, but Belle appears to be naively underestimating Marmee Noir's true nature and powers. Belle Morte claimed she was the reason why some of Mother Dark's followers had woken, but it was later thought by some familiar with Marmee Noir to be merely coincidental.
She tried to possess Anita Blake multiple times, because she could not wake up in her physical body anymore. In Skin Trade, when the other Council members start preparing to destroy her body, she cast a spell and abandoned her shell.
She gives Anita a rainbow of metaphysical tigers, wishing that Anita "feed all of the colors of their rainbow" and send the energy to her so she could survive until she could find a new host. When Anita refuses she planed to make her pregnant with a weretiger, believing that a child part weretiger and part necromancer would be easier to posses. She was stopped by the appearance of Vittorio in the dream. Before the two can battle she disappeared from the dream. Vittorio notes that the assassins had used modern explosives to destroy her body and that "She is dead."
In Bullet it is revealed that she had survived the destruction of her body by giving her essence to members of the Council. Once the Council members took in her essence, Mother Dark found ways to possess some of them and feed through them. By promising more power to Belle Morte and revenge for Padma she used them to attack Anita and Jean-Claude. With the help of her lovers and allies Anita survives the attack and succeeds in freeing Belle from Marmee's influnce. Like the Traveler, Belle goes into hiding and Marmee Noir retains control only over Padma and Morte D'Amour. She promised more death to Morte D'Amour, so that they can both feed on it, and tries to make Anita and her people kill Noel. When Anita transforms the bloodlust into the Ardeur, Morte D'Amour makes all vampires that are from his bloodline go on killing sprees and feeds on the death that results. By the end of the events of Bullet, Padma has also been freed from her influence, leaving only Morte D'Amour as her puppet.
She returns one final time in Hit List, when her Harlequin succeed in kidnapping Anita while she was investigating the weretiger murders done by her servants. She possesses one of her Harlequin and tries to forcefully posses Anita. When Anita connects to her two triumvirates, and is joined by Ethan and Domino who together carry all flavors of tiger, she uses her power to drain the life-force of the Dark Mother, permanently destroying her.
Later books tell us that although she is truly dead, her power lingers. Anita inherits a significant portion of it, but she isn't the only one. In Crimson Death we learn that Moroven gained her fair share of that power, and she tries to steal Anita's share as well, unsuccessfully.
In Rafael we learn that Marmee Noir came to the wererats once, pretending to be Santa Muerte. The rats didn't believe her and knew she wasn't a goddess, even if she was powerful. They called her Madre de la Oscuridad. It's unclear just how long ago that happened, but now that same power is lingering on Padma and his new rat to call, Hector, indicating that Padma also gained some of the leftover power. It doesn't attempt to battle against Anita, however, but simply moves aside when she goes to attack Padma. The rats also mention that Hector smells like a different variant of a vampire, a tlahuelpuchi, who are born, not made, and only start hungering for blood at puberty. As we already knew that Marmee Noir was a different type of vampire, it's likely that the source of that smell is her power, not Padma himself.
Powers & Abilities
As one of the oldest vampires/lycanthropes in the world, Marmee Noir is extremely powerful. Her powers have increased during her sleep as has been collecting power from other vampires; she is the most feared supernatural creature in the world.
- Lycanthrope Powers: Marmee Noir is both vampire/lycanthrope hybrid, and her animal form is that of the extinct cave lion.
- Vampire Powers. She is a master vampire as old as Mr Oliver
- Sourdre de Sang. Vittorio admits that at one point in history all vampires were descended from him and Marmee Noir.
- Psychic Projection. Although asleep, the Mother of All Darkness, can project her mind over immense distances. In all her appearances her presence is signaled by the scent of jasmine and rain on the air. She can send her "spirit" animal in the dream of others to harm them.
- Animal to Call: She can call all the cat lycanthropy strains. In one instance she used Anita to 'call' all the male weretigers in the US.
- Sever Metaphysical Ties
- Necromancer. In life, Marmee Noir, was a necromancer. Later in life, after becoming a hybrid, she uses this power to create "hordes" of undead for her armies. She is also the one who gave the order that all necromancers should be killed because of their power over the dead.
- Spirit Possession. Before Marmee Noir went to sleep, she had the power to take control of a human/vampire body in the same way as The Traveler does. After her body is destroyed, she gives her power to the Council members, and is able to possess Belle Morte, Padma and Morte D'Amour.
- Power Theft. She had the power to take the powers of other vampires and sever their connections to their human servants and animals to call.
- Skin Trade, Chapter 69, Sebastian describing Marmee Noir's powers: ""The Dark Mother did it centuries ago. It was one of her specialties to be able to break bonds between masters and servants. She would strip other masters of their power, and keep that power for her own."
- The Queen of Nightmares -- It is nowhere explicitly stated that the Queen of Nightmares and Marmee Noir are the same vampire. However, they are both referred to as the dark queen of vampires and the leader of the Vampire Council (in Burnt Offerings and Blue Moon), so the conclusion seems inevitable. The only time anyone else is referred to as the Queen of Nightmares it's Moroven in Crimson Death after she drank down the essence of Marmee Noir and hence temporarily inherited both her power and her titles, just like Anita. Moroven as a Night Hag might fit the image that a name like "the Queen of Nightmares" brings to mind, but Moroven has most certainly never been the leader of the Council in any incarnation of her we've been told of. Hence it's more likely that Hamish actually refers to Marmee Noir's essence rather than Moroven herself, as an attempt to remain factual while misleading Moroven.