pleasures-of-a-dark-prince

Pleasures of a Dark Prince – Immortals After Dark #8 – Kresley Cole

Lucia is a Valkyrie and Skathi warrior which means she vowed to live a life of purity to the Goddess Skathi in order to be an expert archer. Lucia rarely misses her target but when she does, she experiences agonizing pain.

 

Skathi saved her from a life of unimaginable horror. Well, actually, her sister Regin saved her and then took her to the Goddess Skathi. Lucia was tricked by a gorgeous man into marrying him just to find out he wasn’t a gorgeous man but a deformed evil monster named Crom Cruach who wanted to breed with her and take over the world or rather cause an Apocalypse by infecting humans who would then kill the ones they loved the most. Lucia spent nine horrifying days with Crom Cruach and when she couldn’t take it any longer, jumped from his cave high up on a mountaintop to the sea below. She didn’t expect to live but her twelve-year-old sister Regin found her broken body and took it to Skathi.

 

Lucia and Regin are the only ones who know about Crom Cruach and spend most of their time looking for a dieumort, a weapon that will kill a god. Crom Cruach sleeps for hundreds of years but wakes every five hundred or so years and he’s about to awaken again. Lucia knows because she has started having nightmares and they will only get more frequent as the time approaches his awakening.

 

Lucia and Regin have heard of a golden arrow, a dieumort, so they set off to find it but things are made more difficult by a Lykae named Garreth MacRieve determined to make Lucia his own. He follows them across the world but Lucia and Regin don’t make it easy for him. They are brutal in the things they do to stop him like shooting arrows into him and unloosing the logs from an eighteen-wheeler to roll on top of him. In the end, Regin was sent home and Garreth caught up to Lucia. She’ll need all her strength to resist him to keep her Skathi archery skills so she can kill Crom Cruach when he awakens.

 

I enjoyed this book but I think it is one of my least favorite from the series, not because the characters were lacking but the background story-building wasn’t as busy as most of the other books in this series have been. Lothaire, the mysterious vampire, was in this book but not much more until the epilogue. Don’t get me wrong, this was an outstanding book. Everything Kresley Cole writes is exceptional but it was just my least favorite of the series so far. From here, the series explodes. There won’t be a moment of dullness from here on out.

 

I Apologize for lack of reviews

I haven’t writtena review for some time now. I was in the middle of re-reading a book and a series in November but became overwhelmed with anxiety from certain events to where I was unable to even able to read, which is odd because reading is what I do to escape. I finished the book a few days ago and will have a review up soon.

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Kiss of a Demon King – Immortals After Dark #8 – Kresley Cole

I am re-reading this series and it is just as exciting this time as it was when I first read it but now I know to pay attention to certain things that I didn’t realize were important to the storyline the first time around. This series is about the Lore which is exactly what it sounds like, a bunch of creatures from folklore and myth like Valkyries, Vampires, Lykae, Nymphs and Demons. It is an ongoing story but each book can be read as a stand-alone even though I think a lot of the story would be lost on someone who just picked up a book from the middle of this series.

This book followed Rydstrom and Sabine.

Rydstrom is a Rage Demon who lost his kingdom to an evil Sorcerer named Omort the Deathless. He has been trying to get his kingdom back for hundreds of years and he may have found a way. Omort’s brother, Groot the Metallurgist, has made a sword that will kill Omort but is demanding the Vessel in trade. The Vessel is a female from the Lore who will have a child who will either be good or evil. There is a Vessel in every Accession which is a war that happens about every 500 years in the Lore. Not all Vessels make it to have a child because factions of the Lore will be vying for her either to breed with her or kill her. But that story played out in the last book. Rydstrom’s brother was sent to Groot’s stronghold with the Vessel who happened to be his fated female.

In the last book, Rydstrom was racing to meet his brother, Cadeon, to make sure he would he actually traded the Vessel to Groot who happens to be just as evil as Omort but Rydstrom wants his crown back. We know he gets imprisoned by Sabine, the Queen of Illusions who happens to be another sibling of Omort and working with him. We, the readers, just didn’t get all the details from the last book.

This book starts out telling the story of Sabine and her sister Melanthe or Lanthe when they were little. Their mother and father were Sorceri who worked evil magick according to some beings called Vrekeners, winged beings who police the Sorceri and execute them if they are doing evil. Apparently, Sabine and Lanthe’s parents were evil because one night, the Vrekeners came and killed their parents and were going to either take the girls or kill them. Sabine took a sword and cut one of their heads off. Lanthe, who had the power to command people, told them to fight each other and to a boy Vrekener who was with them, she told to jump out of the tower window without using his wings to save himself. They escaped but for thousands of years, the Vrekeners have been after them. The boy lived and has spent his life trying to capture them.

Omort offered a safe haven for them. For some reason, the Vrekeners cannot follow them into Rothkalina, the realm that used to be Rydstrom’s kingdom but is now ruled by Omort, but Omort has an unnatural attraction to Sabine and wants her for himself. The only reason he hasn’t forced himself on her is because of a prophecy that says Sabine is Rydstrom’s fated mate. Her child will open the secrets of the the Well of Souls which is in the castle.

Sabine captures Rydstrom and tries to seduce him into vow to marry her because that is the only way her child would be recognized as the heir to Rothkalina but Rydstrom is having none of it. Well, that isn’t entirely true. He is attracted to her and his body knows she is his fated mate but his heart and his mind think she is evil.

Rydstrom is known for always being honest and it is said that a lie has never left his lips so when he finally vows to her in Demonish, which she does not speak or understand, that he will get revenge on her, she believes that he vowed to marry her.

Sabine was so selfish and into herself but I couldn’t help but like her. I could tell by the way that she loved her sister and was loyal to her that she had to have some kind of redeemable quality.

Rydstrom was your typical holier than thou hero whose only goal was to get him kingdom back which I thought was pretty selfish because he expected his brother to give up his female so Rydstrom could be happy.

What I like most about these books is the ongoing storyline and all the background stories that are going on at the same time. There are characters who I want to get to know better like Lothaire the Enemy of Old, a vampire who seems to be evil but helps the good guys once in a while…for a price…to serve some hidden agenda. He’s up to something.  Then there are the twin Lykae who keep showing up, Munro and Uilleam aka hot and hotter. And, of course, there is Nix the Ever Knowing, the soothsayer who seems to be manipulating everything from behind the scenes. They call her Nucking Futs Nix because she is barely lucid most of the time because she has so much going on in her mind.

I love this series. The characters are far from perfect which makes them that much more lovable to me and the storyline is just getting more complex and more interesting. This is one of those series that I’ll never get enough of.

I’ve already started reading the next book.

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Deep Kiss of Winter (Untouchable) – Immortals After Dark – Kresley Cole

This book had two stories in it. One by Kresley Cole and one by Gena Showalter. This summary is about the Kresley Cole story.

Daniela is part Valkyrie and part Icere. The Icere are Fey who need to keep cold so they live in a place called Iceguard where there is plenty of ice and snow to go around. For two thousand years, King Sigmund has been sending out assassins to kill Danii because she is the rightful heir to the kingdom. He stole the crown from her mother.

Murdoch Wroth is a Forbearer Vampire which means he does not drink blood from the source ever. Previous books in the series have featured all three of his brothers but we have only had brief glimpses of Murdoch. We know he is in the Forbearer army under Kristoff who wars with the Horde Vampires, born vampires who drink from the flesh and usually kill their victims which makes them mad because they get the memories of each victim. Too many memories in their heads make them crazy.

Murdoch comes upon Danii when she is running from Icere assassins in the French Quarter in New Orleans. He helps her fight them off and during the fight, he becomes blooded. Blooding is when a Vampire meets his Bride, the one female who makes their heart beats and brings back their sexual desires. Vampires are impotent and have no sexual desires until the meet their Bride.

Danii was shot full of arrows laced with a poison that heats her body to the point where she could die so Murdoch quickly traces her to a mill outside New Orleans where he sometimes stays and puts her into a bath. He traces to a gas station and steals ice to put over her to cool her down. He put on gloves and pulled out all of the arrows.

Unlike his brothers or any other Vampire who meets their Bride, he is not happy. He does not think he has to be a slave to his desires or to a female just because fate says so. He watched his father slowly wither after the death of his mother and never wants to be like that. Plus, he can never even touch Daniela. This is a nightmare to him.

Danii secretly wants romance and to be touched but only one of her kind could touch her and that is not an option. Murdoch gave her hope when he and she shared a sexual moment but then he doused those hopes by telling her that all he could do with his Bride is freeze and he told her to go.

Even though he had spurned her, she agrees to help him when he asks her to help him find and evil Vampire named Ivo. When she overheats, he traces her to his hunting lodge in Siberia which is perfect for Danii. He lets her stay there to hide from the Icere while he goes back to find Ivo and to serve under Kristoff.

Murdoch is hot and cold throughout this book. He wants Danii but he is afraid of being like his father and he gets frustrated that he can only touch her with gloves and never make love to her. They decide to give their relationship a try but Murdoch made it difficult with his fears and frustrations.

The cold in Siberia is transforming Danii into a stronger person and it changes her visage. Her hair has turned white and she is turning icier. She has decorated the entire lodge in ice and has begun to carve strange symbols into the ice. She is compelled more and more to carve and it worries Murdoch but as long as it makes her happy, he won’t interfere.

I have to say that there were some weird sexual moments in this book. I had a hard time thinking sexy thoughts because everything was so cold. Brrrrr!

As always, Nix the Ever Knowing is manipulating things from behind the scenes. I can’t say what without spoiling the story but she was definitely manipulating things to go her way for the Accession which is a war that happens every 500 or so years in the Lore where factions go against each other and one faction will come out on top to be more powerful than the rest…or something like that.

There were also background stories and hints for things to come. There was a mention that Kristoff dispatched some of his soldiers to look for the Dacia, a hidden group of vampires. I missed that the first time I read this series, not knowing that it was important. There was also mention of Lothaire the Enemy of Old but it was brief. We have heard of him a few times so far in this series and know that he is dangerous or powerful but we know nothing else about him.

I’ve already started reading the next book in the series.

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Dark Desires After Dusk – Immortals After Dark #6 – Kresley Cole

Cadeon Woede has been keeping tabs on a woman who he knows in his soul to be his fated female but she is forbidden to him because he is a Rage Demon and she is a human. He can’t seem to keep away so he watches her from afar…the rooftops of nearby buildings and such.

Holly Ashwyn teaches at Tulane University in New Orleans. She has her life planned out and everything is on a schedule. She has severe OCD and does not like change at all.

Cadeon has carried the guilt of losing his brother’s crown for nine hundred years. His brother, Rydstrom, never lets him forget it either. Cadeon had been raised away from brother, as royals often are, so when Rydstrom called on him to come to the castle to be there while he went to fight a vampire threat, Cadeon ignored him. Unfortunately, an evil sorcerer, Omort the Deathless, took over the castle while Rydstrom was away. He blamed Cadeon for not being there to protect the castle. Cadeon has been trying to make up for it ever since and has vowed to get Rydstrom’s kingdom back for him no matter what it takes.

When Holly is kidnapped by a demon cult, Cadeon goes after them. Rydstrom calls him while he is driving like hell through town to find Holly and tells him that he has found a way to defeat Omort. Omort’s brother has forged a sword that will kill Omort but he asking for the Vessel, a female from the Lore who will have a child who will either be good or evil but will be powerful beyond belief. Omort was a child from a Vessel. Rydstrom orders Cadeon to find the Vessel and take her to Groot in exchange for the sword. Cadeon gets a bad feeling.

Holly had woken up on a stone slab in some sort of cathedral with what looked like men in robes and costume horns. Her glasses were missing so she couldn’t be sure but one thing she was sure of was that they were chanting and one of them was about to rape her. Lightning started flashing outside above the glass dome above her she shrieked so loud the glass cracked. Lightning hit her in the chest but it didn’t kill her. It invigorated her. She grew claws and fangs and went into a fury.

Cadeon finds Holly crouched naked in a corner with twelve dead demons around her. She had killed them all. Holly had transformed into a Valkyrie. He knows that she must have a human father and a Valkyrie mother since Valkyrie are always female. She’s confused but they don’t have time for explanations because more demons are after them and vampires start shooting at them. He runs with Holly and they barely escape.

Holly is the Vessel.

All factions of the Lore will be after her either to use her for breeding or to kill her. Cadeon explains to her what she is and what is happening to her. When she asks why he is helping her, he tells her he is a mercenary hired to do hard jobs, which is true but he doesn’t tell her why or that he may end up having to betray her. How will he ever give up his fated female to an evil sorcerer?

I had a hard time liking Holly at first because she was so prudish and judgmental. It drove me insane but I also had a hard time with Cadeon who seemed more like a horny teenager than an ancient demon. It bothered me that he kept trying to get in Holly’s pants when he knew he was going to betray her in the end. But as Holly began to open up a little more, I started to like her more. I still called Cadeon, “Cad” though.

As always, Nix the Ever Knowing was manipulating events to help her in the Accession. The Accession is a war between factions of the Lore that happens every 500 years or so. Nix is trying to get allies and she seems to be a romantic at heart.

The only background story that I saw going on was about Rydstrom being kidnapped by Sabine, the Queen of Illusions and Omort and Groot’s sister. She kidnapped him to try to have his offspring who would be the heir to his kingdom but the only way for that to happen would be if she was his fated female. That would such for Rydstrom since she is Omort’s puppet and evil.

I am eager to start the next book which I already have in my e-reader since I have read this series before but I have not been able to sit down and read it yet. I still keep being amazed about how much I have forgotten and it’s like reading it for the first time again.

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Dark Needs at Night’s Edge – Immortals After Dark #5 – Kresley Cole

This is a heart-rending story about two beings who may never be able to be together. Néomi Laress has been a ghost ever since her crazed ex-fiancé murdered her and then himself at a party celebrating one of her ballet performances. She rambles around Elancourt, her beloved home, day after day…year after year. The highlight of her day is reading the daily newspaper that the last tenant must have forgotten to cancel.

Then four vampire brothers move in. One of them is in chains. He is violent and out of his mind and he is the first person who has seen her in over eighty years. Too bad he thinks she is another one of his hallucinations.

Conrad Wroth has spent the last three hundred years killing for hire and running from an ancient order of vampire slayers which he used to be part of before he was forced by his two oldest brothers to be a vampire himself. He drains the blood from his victims which gives him their memories which has made him confused and quite mad.

Néomi’s presence seems to calm Conrad and make his mind clear. He begins to think she is his fated Bride but since she is a ghost, there is no way to know for sure. Brides are the one female who can make a vampire’s heart beat again and give them back their sexual feelings that they lost when they became a vampire. Conrad vows to find a way to make her corporeal.

This brings about another problem. Conrad has been marked by a Dream Demon who has cursed him and will hurt anyone he cares about. The curse is his dream will become his nightmare. Up until he met Néomi, that hasn’t been a problem. His dream is that Néomi become corporeal but his nightmare is that she dies again.

I liked Conrad more than any of the protagonists in the previous books of this series. I have a thing for tortured heroes but it was also because the other males were too overbearing and kind of raperish. All they wanted to do was have sex with their females and would almost force themselves on them. It creeped me out. Conrad was an angry muffin but didn’t try to force himself on Néomi…not that he could with him being impotent and her being incorporeal but I don’t think he would have been like that in any case.

One of the things I love about this series is that Kresley Cole is always setting up the future story or plot which is getting more and more complex. There are a lot of background characters and stories going on in every book and it is getting harder to keep track of it all but I take a lot of notes. That is why it takes me a while to read a book. As always, Nix the Ever Knowing is manipulating things to go her way in the Accession, an immortal war that occurs every five to six hundred years in the Lore where factions will choose sides and seek power to be on top of the food chain. I think she is a romantic at heart too but the couples she brings together also serve a purpose to her to bring her allies. In this book, she is the one who suggested Elancourt to Conrad’s brothers to keep Conrad prisoner while they tried to get rid of his bloodlust. She also told Rydstrom and Cadeon how to find Conrad…sort of. They are looking for Conrad because he killed a demon who knows how to defeat the warlock who took Rydstrom’s crown. Conrad would have that demon’s memories somewhere in his mind. Nix also is working some strange deal with Rydstrom regarding Cadeon behind Cadeon’s back. We’ll have to wait for Rydstrom or Cadeon’s book to find out.

It is sad that I cannot remember all the details of these books. I’ve read the series before but because I read a ton of books in between each release, I forget a lot. But reading these books one after the other keeps it all together and helps me remember things better. But re-reading this series is just like reading it for the first time except I know how some things end and I can pay more attention to details that I may have not thought important the first time around.

Now, I’m off to read the next book which I already have in my e-reader. This is saving me so much money because I don’t have to buy anything.

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Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night – Immortals After Dark #4 – Kresley Cole

Bowen MacRieve was briefly introduced in the second book of the series, A Hunger Like No Other. We, the readers, learned that he was the cousin of Lachlain MacRieve, the king of the Lykae. He lost his mate over a century ago when she ran from him on the full moon and she died. In the last book, No Rest for the Wicked, he was one of the competitors in the Hie, a contest for immortals similar to the Amazing Race but more brutal and bloody. Bowen was ruthless in the game but I found myself feeling bad for him at times because I knew that he was fighting to get the one thing that could bring his mate, Mariah, back but some of the things that happened to him were his own fault for being so ruthless.

This book begins in one of his first competitions of the Hie. A lot of the books in this series run concurrent with the other books. We get a lot more details on what happened to Bowen because he is the protagonist in this book. Bowen chose to go for the prize of a Mayan headdress in the Guatemalan Jungle which would get him a fair amount of points in the contest He was in a giant tomb or temple along with a few other creatures from the Lore. He ended up behind the witch, Mariketa the Awaited. Bowen absolutely hates witches because an evil witch had played a horrible trick on his father. His father had wished that he could be the strongest of his brothers. She killed them all which made him the strongest. For this reason and more, he does not trust witches at all.

He and Mariketa are in the lead to get the headdress but come across a small tunnel where they must crawl through to get to the prize. Mariketa wears a red cloak to hide herself from the world. She also uses a glamour over herself to disguise her appearance because of a prophesy that foretells of a creature locking her away because he believes she is his mate. Of course, she and a handful of others know this is why she wears the cloak. Bowen has to crawl behind her and gets frustrated because the cloak is slowing her down so he reaches beneath her body and cuts off the cloak. Then he tells her there is a scorpion in her hair and tosses it in front of her which freaks her out so she backs up against him which makes him get aroused.

They end up in a room at the end of the tunnel and they make out. This pisses Bowen off because he thinks she has enchanted him. It is the only thing that makes sense to him since he has always been true to his mate and he is in this contest for the prize, Thrane’s Key, which will allow him to go back in time and save his mate from dying. Bowen snatches up the talisman and puts it up to his heart. It disappears and goes to the Riora, the goddess who is sponsoring the Hie. He then races to get out of the tomb. Mariketa isn’t too far behind but he reaches the portcullis first and closes it, sealing her and the other competitors into the tomb. Before Bowen closes the portcullis all the way, Mariketa threw a curse at him that would make it impossible for him to regenerate without coming back and getting her so she could reverse the spell.

What Bowen doesn’t know is that Mariketa has not yet frozen into her immortality. She is in transition but she is mortal. He saw the other competitors before he sealed them in and believes they will all be able to get out sooner than later but he will still have a head start to get to the next event. He did not know that Rydstrom and Cade, the two Rage Demons no longer had their ability to teleport due to some punishment for something they did long ago. He figured they would get everyone out of the tomb.

Mariketa is stuck in the tomb with Rydstrom and Cade who are brothers and three elves. They ask her why she can’t just use her magick to open the door and she tells them the truth. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred times when she uses her magick, she blows things up and that is when her magick works at all. If she tries to use her magick, the whole tomb might explode. The spell she used on Bowen was a simple spell that even a baby witch could accomplish. One of the elves starts reading the markings over the portcullis where they notice ominous looking scratches dug deep into the rock. It says that this tomb has been the prison of some evil ancient incubi for 11,000 years. And the incubi are still there.

The incubi, who used to be beautiful, are now hideous creatures with rotting skin. They fly over the competitors and aim right for Mariketa. The others try to fight them off but one of the incubi grabbed Mariketa by the ankle and flew up to their nest a hundred feet above, knocking her head against the side of the tomb as they went. Mariketa is scared to death of heights so when the others tell her to jump down and they will catch her, she just can’t bring herself to do it. She spends the next two weeks in the nest of the incubi where they forced her to drink their blood and eat things she couldn’t identify. She becomes weak and can barely function to stay alive.

Meanwhile, Bowen goes on in the competition. He gets minor injuries that won’t heal and realizes that Mariketa’s curse worked. He goes up against Kaderin the Coldhearted and ends up landing on a mine which blew off one of his eyes and part of his forehead. A rusted piece of metal went through his ribcage and he won’t heal but he keeps on with the competition. He ends up in the final against Sebastian Wroth. Sebastian’s Bride had just died in the fiery pit below so he needed the prize as bad as Bowen but the only way to get to the tunnel where the final prize lay, was to have Sebastian trace him there. Sebastian’s arm was stuck under a boulder so Bowen agreed to lift the boulder if Sebastian would trace him to the tunnel. Sebastian traced him but grabbed the prize first. Bowen used his whip to stop try to get the prize from Sebastian but Sebastian cut off Bowen’s hand and traced away, effectively winning the contest and stranding Bowen for two weeks. This all happened in the last book so I’m not giving anything away.

When Bowen is rescued, he learns from Nix, the Valkyrie soothsayer, that a lot of people want his head for stranding Mariketa, the Rage Demons and the elves in a tomb where only Bowen knows the location. Riora knows it but she won’t be heard from for another 250 years when she hosts the next Hie. Nix tells him that Mariketa is not doing well because she is mortal and has been without food and water for three weeks.

One of the reasons Bowen entered the Hie was because Nix told him that through the Hie, he would have his mate. He asks her why he didn’t get his mate. She tells him he will. She also tells him that he was ensorcelled and that Mariketa would remove that from him. He believes she is talking about the curse Mariketa put on him and the spell that she enchanted him with to believe that she is his mate. She tells him that he has until the full moon to retrieve Mariketa and have her call to tell her coven that she is okay or the factions will go to war and take his head.

Bowen barely gets to the tomb in time to save Mariketa. She’s barely breathing when he gets to her but when she hears his voice, she gets some sort of adrenaline rush to try to kill him. She floats up and pushes him against the outside of the tomb and would have killed him if Rydstrom wouldn’t have interfered. She does, however, annihilate the tomb, killing the incubi inside. Then she loses consciousness again. They all run uphill when trees and rocks start sliding towards the tomb. The tomb held so much power that it created a vacuum when it blew up, sucking everything into the void.

This is where they start a long journey to get out of the jungle. They must avoid the two warring groups of guerilla soldiers in the area and try to get Mariketa to safety.

Mariketa takes the curse from Bowen and he heals immediately. But he still wants her to lift the enchantment spell that makes him believe she is his mate but Mariketa doesn’t believe she enchanted him. She can’t say for sure because her magick is wonky but she is pretty sure she did not enchant him.

Rydstrom asks Bowen if he’s sure that Mariketa isn’t his mate, maybe she has been reincarnated. Bowen takes this into consideration. He strikes up a bargain with Mariketa that in exchange for his protection and the comforts he can offer, (he had gone back to her wrecked vehicle and got her suitcase full of clean clothes and toiletries) she would allow him to treat her as he would his mate. She agreed as long as there was no sex. Oh, and she couldn’t use magick.

There were so many things that seemed off about certain things happening to Bowen and to Mariketa that they just seemed to ignore or not get like when Mariketa saw a reflection in a pool that handed her an apple and told her to take a bite. Then it told her that she is the Queen of Reflections and could use mirrors to help her with her magick. I kept thinking that something was up with this especially since she seemed to have a little addiction to using her compact mirror. Then there was Bowen’s mate, Mariah. Bowen’s memories of her are of a spoiled Fey princess who didn’t like that he was a Lykae or his personality. It struck me as odd and I kept wondering if a witch had made him think Mariah was his mate or maybe that Mariah was a witch.

I wanted to shake Bowen half the time for how stubborn he was but I liked him at the same time. I loved Mariketa. She made me laugh quite a few times.

Nix confirmed that the Accession has begun. The Accession occurs every five hundred to six hundred years in the Lore. It is a war between factions where allies will be chosen and enemies will rise up to fight for power. Power of what? I have no clue except for to be on top of the food chain in the Lore.

I’m off to read the next book in the series.