|Spoilers: Crimson Death
This article or section contains spoilers for 2016 novel Crimson Death.
Proceed with caution.
This article or section contains spoilers for 2018 novel Serpentine.
Proceed with caution.
- "One to keep, and one to burn."
Moroven or Morvoren, also known as Nemhain, is a pale blond sadistic vampire, described as beautiful but terrifying. She is a Sourdre de Sang of her bloodline, and rules over the whole Ireland until her death. She has Fey origins.
The spelling of Moroven's various names has varied over the series.
Likewise the capitalization of "M'Lady", which is what her people in Ireland call her in Crimson Death, is given in Serpentine as "M'lady".
Moroven's true name is Nemhain, so she is presumably related to the mythical figure Morrigan (Irish War Goddess, who in some instances is also known as Nemhain), whose name means "frenzy" or "panic."
Moroven is taller than Anita by more than a few inches, and naturally slender to the extent seen in models. She has high cheekbones, and is beautiful, although her chin is a bit too pointed and nose a bit too sharp for Anita's taste. Moroven's skin is pale, and her blond hair is long and straight and falls past her waist. Her eyes are pale blue, although when she projects herself into Anita's dream, Moroven makes them even bluer and gives herself an otherworldly air of perfection that she lacks in real life.
For some unspecified reason Moroven is very insecure about her looks. She likes to collect beauty around her, but more than that, she wants to collect destroyed beauty, or destroy it herself.
Powers & Abilities
- Daywalker. Moroven can walk in daylight, and was able to share this power with Damian and a fellow viking-turned-vampire, Perrin.
- Nighthag. Moroven can generate and draw power from fear. She can also project fear over great distances, sometimes enough fear to kill. In some cases, mentioning her name will draw her attention and her fear.
- Dreamwalking. Moroven can cause dreams and nightmares in others, and visit the dreams herself if she so chooses.
- Flight. Moroven and her bloodline are all good fliers, whereas it's a rare ability in other bloodlines.
- Power over wild magic. Moroven's Fey origins allow her to thrive on Irish soil where wild magic is still strong, whereas most vampires fear even going there and if they do, they might not wake up again after they die at dawn. Moroven is also able to create some vampires of her own on Irish soil, although not all she attempts. The vampires of her line tend to be more lifelike than vampires in general, at least while they are still new to their unlife (it's not very apparent in Damian). It's unclear if Moroven is still able to actively use Fey powers, or just has some resistance to wild magic and ability to cohabit among it, although her ability to alter her appearance in dreams might be an extension of Fey glamour.
- Unlike most master vampires, Moroven cannot tell when someone is lying. This may suggest that she's too self-deluded to recognize real truth in others either.
We learn most of Moroven's early history in Crimson Death, although there are small references to parts of it earlier in the series as well.
Once upon a time Moroven was one of the Tuatha Du Dannon, the high courts of fairy. She is the only full-blooded Fey we've seen turned into a vampire. She was once worshiped as goddess, although it's unclear whether that was before or after she was made vampire, or both. Her seat of power is underneath the Black Castle of Ireland, which is nowadays mere ruins above a cliff.
Moroven was already an established ruler of her land when she made Damian, and so is well over a thousand years old. She is a nighthag and tortured Damian and Perrin for centuries. She eventually destroyed Perrin by forcing him to stand in the light, and then withdrawing his resistance to sunlight. The idea was planted into her mind by a representative of the Vampire Council.
At some point in history Moroven visited Belle Morte's court and was given Jean-Claude and Asher for a few hours of terror (theirs) and amusement (Moroven's). Later, after Asher's beauty was marred and Belle Morte no longer desired him, he was sent to Moroven for months. The experience was horrible enough that Asher and Damian vowed to never talk about it even to each other.
As one of the very old and traditional vampires, Moroven doesn't believe in the new human acceptance of vampires as legal citizens, and as such has kept her court small (never more than a dozen vampires, usually less) and hidden from the Irish authorities through the centuries, although back when the Black Castle was still in active use she was the real power behind the men who ruled it. She keeps her own vampires in tight leash, and is powerful enough to keep outsiders from wreaking havoc in Ireland as well. Consequently, until Crimson Death Ireland is believed to be the only country in the world without any kind of vampire presence.
In this novel, when we first hear about Moroven (but don't yet learn her name) Damian claims that he and Moroven are descended from Belle Morte's bloodline. Jean-Claude confirms this in Narcissus in Chains, and Belle herself reiterates it in Cerulean Sins. However, in Incubus Dreams, both Damian and Jean-Claude claim that Damian is not of Belle Morte's line. We later learn that Morvoren is a Sourdre de Sang in her own right, which might theoretically mean that she once was of Belle Morte's line, but grew powerful enough to begin her own line of vampires (just like Jean-Claude). However, Jean-Claude never claims not to be descended from Belle Morte, even if he does have his own line now, and he did claim the lineage for Damian earlier, so a more likely explanation is that the author simply hadn't come up with Moroven's backstory before Incubus Dreams and originally made Damian just another vampire of Belle's line because that's what most of the others we've met are as well.
We get to see Moroven in person in this novel, and Anita visits her castle as a prisoner. We learn that when Anita killed Marmee Noir in Hit List, all the power didn't go to Anita. As a desperate attempt to save herself Marmee Noir tried to flee to Moroven's body, and even if the attempt ultimately failed, it gave Moroven a significant power boost and made her another potential heir to the seat of the Queen of All Darkness. Consequently, some of the missing Harlequin have turned to serve her instead of Jean-Claude.
Probably thanks to the new powers, Moroven no longer fears the human authorities, and starts a systematic series of vampire attacks in Dublin in order to lure Anita to Ireland. As a Fey, much of Moroven's powers are tied to the land, and it's not so easy for her to go after Anita in person -- not to mention how much easier it is to get to her when she's outside of her own realm and the full protection of Jean-Claude's court.
Moroven also wants Damian back, and wouldn't say no to ruining the beauty of the various other people near and dear to Anita either. To serve this goal Moroven starts sending Damian nightmares and blood sweats heretofore unknown to anyone but those who have drawn the displeasure of the Mother of All Darkness. The plan succeeds, and Anita does indeed take Damian along when she travels to Ireland, where it's only a matter of causing enough mayhem and distraction until their group separates enough that the Harlequin who now serve Moroven can kidnap Anita, Nathaniel, and Damian from their guards.
Unfortunately to Moroven, in the process of kidnapping Anita, one of the Harlequin, Rodrigo, accidentally fulfills the weretiger prophecy that seals Anita as the rightful heir to Marmee Noir. It limits Moroven's powers over Anita, and when Moroven tries to leave Anita and Nathaniel manacled to contemplate their upcoming fate in order to make them more afraid (and as such give Moroven a more tasty meal, as she can feed on fear), they manage to escape with the help of Rodrigo and his siblings whom Anita takes over. Damian makes his own escape a bit later, killing Moroven's seal to call, Roarke, in the process. This is probably done with Roarke's own assistance, as he already offered his life to Anita earlier in order to free his people from Moroven's clutches.
Roarke's death doesn't kill Moroven, and she follows the escaped prisoners to a nearby village with the full force of her vampires and animals to call. Anita and her company manage to fight their way to the old village gaols, where Moroven's people have feasted through centuries, leaving the location brimming with angry ghosts. Anita manages to harness and direct the ghosts to aid in the fight, and after Rodrigo sacrifices himself in order to save Anita and to kill Moroven's human servant, Moroven is weakened enough that she isn't able to defend against the angry spirits anymore, and they drain her of life.
In this novel Moroven's death and ability to call seals is mentioned again when Anita thinks Rodina refers to M'Lady as their previous Dark Queen, when Marmee Noir is actually meant. Moroven's death is mentioned to have happened "a few months ago, less than a year". It's again reiterated that Moroven believed Marmee Noir's power was scattered to different people at her death, and killing Anita would have been the way to collect the rest of that power to Moroven herself. However, since Anita killed Moroven instead, Anita ended up with all of the power. Anita argues that she didn't feel any rush, but admits she might not have noticed it on the edges of controlling thousands of ghosts with her necromancy for the first time.
Later Moroven is mentioned as having forced Rodina to curtsy instead of bow, and not allowing her up from the curtsy until her legs ached.
- Incubus Dreams, chapter 19.
- Crimson Death, chapter 66.