Maya Hearth-Woman † (ancestor)
Ash Redfern is an 18-year-old lamia vampire, a member of the Redfern family, and a major recurring character of L.J. Smith's Night World series. He first appears as the antagonist of the first book, Secret Vampire, then as the deuteragonist in the second book, Daughters of Darkness, eventually joining Circle Daybreak. He is the soulmate of Mary-Lynette Carter, younger brother of Rowan and older brother of Kestrel and Jade.
Physically, Ash is described as very handsome, resembling a "big ash-blond cat", with the feline motif being used often when showing his appearance and actions. However, when angered, rather than a cat, he has been compared to an "elegant, pale tiger". He is depicted as having long, ash-blond hair, and a lanky build. One of his most notable and striking features is Ash's "tilted", ever changing colored eyes, which can alter iris color continually within minutes - this is a trait inherited from his ancestress, Maya.
In his initial appearance, Ash has a notorious reputation for being a selfish, manipulative menace, and as a vampire fully immersed in the philosophy of the Night World, holding a deep hatred for human beings. Surprisingly, even so, most consider him a liberal, as he is tolerant of the presence of werewolves and shapeshifters (even having dated some), along with maintaining a wicked sense of humor. He additionally is fond of toying with human girls, being known for his promiscuity, and is noted as a formidable fighter.
However, when things fail to go his way, he is markedly "ruthless", cunning and willing to kill when his own interests are not met or if his family honor is at stake. It is hinted that he had participated in some fairly dark doings against humans in the past, though the extent of his sinister activities is unknown, aside from his attempt to have the newly made vampire Poppy North executed, and his record of broken hearts. Prior to meeting his soulmate, Mary-Lynnette Carter, he also did not believe in the soulmate principle.
In Daughters of Darkness, Ash's character is explored further, revealing some hidden depths; despite his endless partying, he has sharp mind and a strong appreciation and affinity for classical literature, quoting Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and a mild interest in astronomy, though not as great as Mary-Lynnette's. He also has some care for his family, particularly his sisters, and is truly shocked by the knowledge that his great-aunt Opal has been killed. His elder sister Rowan also mentions that most of Ash's bravado is for show, stating that his confidence is a front to conceal his own vulnerability and fear, referring to him as once being a "nice little kid".
When exposed to the soulmate principle, both he and Mary-Lynnette are disturbed by it and seek to ignore their bond, which translates to mutual irritation and discomfort. Ultimately, the two slowly come to an understanding, and Ash is shown to truly love her despite her humanity, at one point even wishing he himself was human to be more suitable for her. Nonetheless, she sends Ash off to atone for his past, and eventually rejects his offer to make her a vampire as well.
After the events in Briar Creek, he works hard to keep his promise to change for his soulmate; for her sake, he joins Circle Daybreak, helping various people, including Gillian Lennox, and trying to make amends to the people he has wronged, though he retains his sarcastic humor and his lazy, catlike behavior.
Ash was born around eighteen years prior to the main events of the series, the second eldest in his family. He was born and raised on the Redferns' island enclave, but, as a boy, was given greater freedom and allowed to live outside the enclave, unlike his sisters, Rowan, Kestrel and Jade. Ash was reportedly closer to his sisters as a child, with Rowan stating he was "nice", but as he grew older, the influence of his extended family and Night World society made him turn into a more arrogant and self-absorbed person, with a disdain for humans. It is mentioned that, at the age of just 12, he killed a vampire "twice his size", a notable feat. Shortly prior to the events of Secret Vampire, Ash had arranged to visit his 'Aunt Maddy' and intended to stay with his cousin, James Rasmussen, despite James' dislike of Ash.
Night World seriesEdit
Ash first appears, unnamed, in Poppy North's dream as she is undergoing the transformation into a made vampire. Strolling along a beach, Poppy notices the boy with her, who she at first thought to be James, wearing a mask. Upon removing it, Poppy realizes it is not her soulmate, but someone else: a boy she describes as having "ash blond hair", and eyes that periodically change color. Unwilling to identify himself, Ash gives her a black-hued poppy flower, smiling at her and stating that "Bad magic happens", before walking away, leaving no "footprints in the sand".
When Poppy is revived as a vampire and is smuggled into James Rasmussen's apartment, he attempts to prevent Ash from coming to the apartment, but James is unsuccessful; his mother had already given Ash the keys. He walks in on Poppy, who recognizes him from her dream, and greets her, although he admits to not knowing about her vision of him. Calling her "little dreamer" and appearing to take a liking to Poppy, he chats amiably with her on the terms of a Nightperson, even admitting he is "bad".
However, Poppy is unaware that Ash is covertly probing her mind and has discovered she is an illegal vampire until he reveals this to her. Feigning concern for her and James, and protectiveness for his relations, Ash convinces Poppy that both she and James would be safer if she left him as if they were discovered it would mean death for the couple.
Ash steals his aunt's car, saying she would want him to have it, insisting he will "take care" of Poppy, though his manipulative nature is beginning to show through his acting. He brings her to his cousins Thea and Blaise Harman, introducing her as a friend, as witches will not realize she is a newborn and renegade vampire. Noticing Poppy's need for air, Thea scolds Ash for his insensitivity, and kindly acts as a blood donor for her. She accuses Ash of being irresponsible, but Ash ignores her comment and wickedly asks if she'll be a donor for him, a question which Thea rebuffs.
However, Blaise astutely realizes Poppy is an illegal vampire and hints to Ash to bring her to Thierry Descouedres's summer solstice party. However, Ash has other plans for Poppy and brushes off Blaise's comments, insisting on taking Poppy out.
He informs Poppy that he has no intention of taking her to the party, telling her Thierry is an Elder and that "it would be too dangerous". He tries to seduce Poppy, but she rebukes him, elbowing him in the stomach. When he tries to convince her to get to know him better, Poppy angrily tells him of her soulmate bond with James, which Ash reacts to with disbelief and disdain, calling the notion "garbage". Realizing the gravity behind Poppy's conviction, Ash convinces her to come with him to the solstice party, telling her he had lied about it being dangerous.
When they arrive, upon seeing Thierry, Poppy quickly realizes that Ash brought her here to be killed, due to rejecting him. She flees from him to a balcony, but Ash is able to grab her wrist. Relaxing slightly, she confronts Ash, who confirms her suspicions. He tells her his motive for doing so was because she had once been human, "or [she] should be". She finally realizes the extent of Ash's self-absorption and, after he admits that Blaise also deduced the truth about her, Poppy begins fighting Ash.
Managing a grip on her arms, Ash tries to drag Poppy back inside, but the girl uses a telepathic attack to harm Ash, causing him to stagger back and lose his hold on her. At this point, James and Poppy's brother Phil arrive and reunite with Poppy. James tries to fight Ash, who accepts the challenge easily, insistent on battling his cousin.
However, Poppy, believing Ash is awaiting guests of the party to discover them, tells James they should just leave. Noting Phil's arrival, Ash tauntingly mentions how there is now "a human in an Elder's house". When Phil mentions "knock[ing] [Ash's] head off" though, Ash loses his antagonism and regards Phil with disbelief, asking the chuckling James if Phil actually "understand[s] about vampires".
Reassessing their number, Ash surrenders, insisting they "scram" and promising not to reveal them to the Night World elders. Before leaving, James promises Ash that one day he'll love someone...and that it will "hurt". However, in response, Ash hints Poppy's true, original nature as a lost witch to his cousin before the trio departs.
Daughters of DarknessEditIn Daughters of Darkness, Ash's part begins with him having a conversation with a made-vampire named Quinn. Quinn is telling Ash that his sisters Rowan, Kestrel and Jade have run away from home and that Ash has to persuade them to go back. Ash believes they're staying with his great aunt Opal in Briar Creek and heads to the town to find them. He decides to make a tab of all the people his sisters have met to see how well they are managing to keep their Night World secrets.
Ash is next seen at Mary-Lynnette Carter's house questioning her step-mother. Mary-Lynnette then questions Ash in return. Not wanting her to get suspicious, Ash tries to flirt and dazzle Mary-Lynnette. He tickles her under her chin but the skin-to-skin contact shocks them both and Mary-Lynnette kicks him in the shin. He leaves the house planning to never see her again.
But Ash's wishes don't come true when he meets Mary-Lynnette on her way to go star-watching. She bosses him around and shows him the sky through her binoculars. He pays attention but doesn't seem to mind being bossed around by Mary-Lynnette. He leaves her and goes to spy on his sisters.
Mary-Lynnette and her brother Mark, now knowing about the Night World and its laws, perform a kinship ceremony with Rowan, Kestrel and Jade. Back in the girls' house, they try to figure out who killed the girl's Aunt Opal. Ash breaks into the house and is found by the Carters and his sisters. He tells them he knows that the Carters know all about the Night World. He tells them he didn't kill Aunt Opal and he doesn't know who did. At this point, a goat from the barn out back is thrown onto the front porch and the group inspects it. The goat has been staked over and over with tiny pieces of wood and in the goats mouth is a black iris. They think it represents the Black Iris Club, a vampire club that welcomes various members from the Night World. Ash also belongs to this club.
The next morning the sisters, Ash and the Carters go into town to ask the local gas station employee, Jeremy Lovett if he saw anything suspicious the previous night. Mary-Lynnette, who has been friends with him since childhood, figures out that Jeremy is actually a werewolf. Ash knows this too and verbally abuses Jeremy, as werewolves are considered low-class citizens in the Night World. This makes Mary-Lynnette angry and she pulls Ash behind the gas station to tell him so. She says she is embarrassed that Ash can say those prejudiced things to Jeremy. Ash feels bad and realizes that he cares what she thinks about him. He stops making unkind werewolf jokes.
Ash and the sisters realize that they need to hunt so they go and Mary-Lynnette and Mark play "List the Suspects" to determine if they have a lead on who killed Aunt Opal. Ash and the sisters return and Mary-Lynnette decides to clear her mind by going star-watching. Ash joins her and Mary-Lynnette leads them to a discrete place. There Ash asks her if they can stop fighting and admits he loves Mary-Lynnette. Mary-Lynnette is in denial until she kisses him and asks to be made into a vampire. They do the first exchange of blood and head back to Aunt Opal, but they are cut off.
Mary-Lynnette's station wagon caught fire and was blown up, so they decide to walk back when Ash is hit in the head with a club made of yew wood (wood hurts and kills vampires) and is knocked out. Mary-Lynnette is tied up by Jeremy who reveals that he was the one who killed Aunt Opal. Mary-Lynnette gets free and kills Jeremy with a silver knife. She checks Ash and they both go back to the house.
Quinn returns and Ash covers for the whole thing saying his aunt betrayed the Night World Law so he killed her and that he found a rogue werewolf and killed him too. He also says that Rowan, Kestrel and Jade only ran away because they wanted to learn to hunt. Since Ash is head of the family on the West Coast he says the sisters can stay there as long as they like. Quinn accepts this story and leaves.
But there's still Mary-Lynnette. She says she's not as ready as she thought she was to become a vampire. Ash also realizes that his past is too dark for him to be with Mary-Lynnette. He leaves telling her that he will make up for all of his faults before he returns the following year.
Ash appears this story briefly, when Gillian Lennox (a lost Harman witch) is led by the spirit of her cousin, Gary, into a Black Iris Club in Pennsylvania. However, despite her new knowledge of the Night World, Gillian's growing fear when faced by the menacing Night People present puts her in danger. Ash, who had happened to be at the club as well, grabs her and leads her out of the club, warning her to not come back, and disbelieving her claim of being a Harman, knowing she doesn't know the significance of the family, nor his own as blood-relatives to the Harmans. When asked why he would help her, Ash tells Gillian significantly about meeting a human girl the previous summer (obviously referring to Mary-Lynette). Grateful, Gillian obeys Ash and departs.
A member of Circle Daybreak by now, Ash is present alongside the other soulmate couples of the previous books, and is met along with the others by Hannah Snow (he is introduced last, with Thea pointing out that "if [he] is going to sleep", the group has every reason to forget his presence). When Ash tells Hannah that the Night World is after all of them, his cousin James grins and mildly gloats over the fact that Ash has finally admitted to being one of them; the two have apparently reconciled their differences since their last encounter. Hannah takes to Ash but finds him mildly disconcerting at first due to the resemblance his ever-changing eyes bear to Maya (whom Hannah had just learned had been stalking and killing her in each of her previous lives).
That night, anxious over the unexplained disappearance of her own soulmate, Thierry, Hannah is met by Ash. She notes that he is the only one without his soulmate, and, when she tentatively questions this, he confides his own course of redemption to her for Mary-Lynnette; this knowledge comforts Hannah. He additionally tells her she, like Mary-Lynnette, is "wise", before walking off, whistling.
Ash and Mary-Lynnette: Those who Favor FireEdit
- Main article: Ash and Mary-Lynnette: Those Who Favor Fire
Ash, now living at the town of Harmony, is established as a full member of Circle Daybreak, even having received a pendant of honor from Lady Hannah Snow herself. However, Ash's main concern is for his soulmate, Mary-Lynnette, who is currently off at college. He reminisces about his early life, including becoming an adult after killing a vampire twice his size at age 12, his former promiscuity and finally his meeting with Mary-Lynnette, whom he refers to as his "angel". He is implied to be mildly jealous of Quinn, whose soulmate accepted him more readily despite Quinn's mistakes.
As the world is coming under attack from Night World forces, and in particular Mary-Lynnette's college, Harvard, Ash seeks out Thierry to find her. Kneeling and regardless of who sees him, he begs the vampire lord to allow him to go retrieve Mary-Lynnette, citing that although all the military helicopters are off battling the dragons laying waste to the world, Thierry's private helicopter is still available. However, Thierry sadly informs Ash that he has given the helicopter to Sarah Strange. Shocked, Ash recalls that he had previous insulted Sarah, as well as her soulmates Mal Harman and Kierlan Drache. Disgusted with himself, he approaches Sarah, and asks if he can explain why he wants the helicopter, which Sarah allows; Ash is briefly impressed by the girl's beauty and although he could try to use charm on her to get his way, he decides against doing so. Ultimately, realizing Sarah's fear over what's happening, Ash walks away, intending to save Mary-Lynnette another way, but Sarah stops him, insisting he will have the helicopter. Sarah ultimately asks Ash to tell her about his soulmate; he describes Mary-Lynnette's love of forests and plant life at night, and how she refused to allow him to make her a vampire as well.
Apologetically, Ash tries to explain how he had been raised at a vampire enclave, but this only serves to frighten Sarah, appalled at the idea of human servants, even with Quinn trying to defend his friend. Briefly wishing his sister Rowan were there, Ash tries again to explain himself to Sarah. He tells Sarah about his soulmate in great detail, citing her as being "kind and brilliant", and how he feels she needs him now. Sarah agrees to give him the helicopter after hearing this, especially as Ash never described what Mary-Lynnette looked like; she feels this is proof that Ash is truly Mary-Lynnette's soulmate. Exceedingly grateful, Ash departs the sanctuary; Sarah requests that he call her and let her know if Mary-Lynnette is all right. Ash appreciates Sarah, but he mentions that her companion, Kierlan, is a fellow "rogue" like himself, and dislikes him.
Ash boards Thierry's helicopter, musing over its luxurious interior. He is joined by a fully equipped ex-Coastguard crew and two werewolves, Lupe Acevedo and Remy, both bearing silver collars; Lupe's styled with Iliana Dominick's flower symbol for The Wild Powers and Remy's styled with a silver rose for Thierry Descouedres. Also joining them is a shapeshifter, Georgie Douglas, who informs Ash that if Mary-Lynnette is captured, they will likely bring her to an island enclave in the Atlantic Ocean, hence the former Coastguard members. Ash remembers helping clear out those enclaves; Georgie hears his thoughts and mentions it as being a "proud day". Ash is concerned about this. Contacting the pilots (two vampires), he explains to them the experimental S.S.O (Soulmate Search Operation); the soulmate with them will use the silver cord to pinpoint the other soulmate's general location. Although never done in an actual search before, the pilots Kourtney Raleigh and Tracee Simms agree to use this method to find Mary-Lynnette. Although Ash is at first doubtful due to their ages, the two pilots reveal they have won "the Distinguished Flying Cross", humbling Ash.
The helicopter arrives at the ruins of Harvard and, seeing Mary-Lynnette and another girl, Devi Srinivasa, surrounded by Night World thugs, Ash throws down a rescue basket. Mary-Lynnette is then pounced on by one operative, Mannie, as she screams for Devi to get into the basket. Ash descends and knocks Mannie away from her. Mary-Lynnette boards the basket, while Ash grabs and throws Devi into the basket as well despite her yells for her disk. To Mary-Lynnette's horror, Ash remains on the ground to fight. Overwhelmed, Mary-Lynnette passes out.
Ash is able to fight off the operatives and boards the helicopter with Devi's disk, climbing up a swinging rope. Ash, worried, attempts to awaken Mary-Lynnette, but she is not revived until splashed with water. Despite her weakness, Mary-Lynnette manages to sit up and question Ash, who after a moment embraces her.
The soulmate homing had worked, allowing Ash to find Mary-Lynnette, who proceeds to yell at him for being reckless. He soon drops his bravado however at Mary-Lynnette's irritation; she, in turn, thanks him for saving her and Devi, although Ash reveals they are short on time. Devi then reveals that her mother had sent her images and faxes from Antarctica that may help Circle Daybreak against the Night World. Ash instructs the pilot to be informed, and that Sarah will soon be getting the helicopter back.
At Mary-Lynnette's insistence, the two retreat to a screened-off area to talk. Ash asks her if his time making amends was enough, whereas Mary-Lynnette reveals that Thierry has been keeping her up to date with Ash's reformation; she herself forgives him, although she admits true forgiveness needs to come from his victims. The two quibble, with Ash demanding she give him back his "heart"; the two proceed to reconcile telepathically. Ash admits that he loved her enough to do anything that would ensure her safety, even if she didn't end up with him. When Mary-Lynnette berates herself for sending him away, Ash stops her, insisting it was "the best thing [she] could have done for [him]". He then presents Mary-Lynnette with a ring, shaped like a "white flower" with diamond-encrusted petals, and proposes to her. Mary-Lynnette happily agrees to marry him, providing Ash with her father's wedding ring, which she wears around her neck. Ash decides to have the helicopter pilot marry them right there, and the two kiss passionately, Ash revealing that he gave up human blood consumption for her. However, they are interrupted by an alarm and then Georgie, who informs them that they have orders to land or even abandon the vehicle: the helicopter is being tailed by a dragon. However, despite the odds, Ash is determined not to give up.
Strange Fate (Preview)Edit
- Main article: Strange Fate (Preview)
Ash makes a brief appearance in this excerpt: he appears by helicopter to rescue his cousin James and his soulmate Poppy, from being killed by a tri-horned dragon. He also had brought along with Poppy's twin brother, Phillip, although Ash terms the lost witch "a liability". The twins manage to use a heavy psychic attack on the dragon, stupefying it. However, the effort involved in the attack, called the Syngery Yell, causes Phillip to become overwhelmed and pass out, due to not having as much discipline with it as his sister.
With the dragon is too stunned to follow, the helicopter is ordered by Ash to return to Circle Daybreak; Phillip is wrapped in a shock blanket while Poppy is given tea for comfort. Ash reveals, when questioned by James, that the dragon was in fact targeting James himself, as foreseen by the Maiden, Aradia; "for some reason the dragon doesn’t want Redferns or Harmans—especially ones with human or ex-human soulmates.” Poppy quickly observes that Ash is doing this for Mary-Lynnette, to which Ash replies quietly: "Everything I do I do for her."
Strange Fate (Chapter 1)Edit
In a second edition of the first chapter, in a dream Sarah Strange witnesses Ash in a cemetery, attempting to apologize to a girl named Madison Adams, for using her a year before. At first, Madison reacts with fury, but when Ash tries revealing to her the truth about the Night World, she begins to think he's lost his mind, and even go so far as to harm her.
Worse, as he speaks, Madison witnesses a dragon appear behind Ash, who also senses the creature. He warns Madison not to move or scream, but the terrified girl nearly maces Ash and runs. Seeing her, the dragon unleashes a wave of Power and black fire, which burns Madison to ashes and narrowly avoids hitting Ash as well. He is devastated by Madison's death and turns to face the dragon. However, the Redfern boy instead sees Sarah in a kind of "dream" image. He tries to touch her but sighs when he realizes Sarah is just a vision. As she disappears, Ash vows unspoken vengeance for Madison's demise.
This vampire is wickedly charming and - well, just plain wicked. Ash acts as the head of the Redfern family on the West Coast and is quick to defeat Night World laws, but the Elders believe he is "too liberal" in his associations with people on the Outside and in befriending werewolves. And that's before Ash discovers his soulmate is human!
- Both Ash and his ancestress Maya are the only ones of Maya's bloodline who have ever-changing eye color.
- Despite his selfishness, Ash is surprisingly sharp in mind and a strong telepath. This is shown when he deduces Poppy North's identity and status as both an illegal made vampire and lost witch, as well as his knowledge of English literature and stars.
- Ash was the first person to realize Poppy North had been a lost witch, asking if she was a "psychic" when they first met.
- Technically, barring his aunt Madder Rasmussen, Ash is the first member of the Redfern family introduced in the series.
- Although his sisters made a blood-tie with the Carter siblings, despite being cross-relatives, Ash and the Carters are not direct blood-siblings, as he was not present for the ceremony (similar to the way Hunter Redfern is blood-kin to the Harmans, but not the blood-brother of each one).
- Ash has appeared or been mentioned throughout the series more than any other character, in six out of the nine novels (seven out of ten if counting the upcoming Strange Fate), and three out of five of the short stories.
- Ash shares his name with a species of tree related to the olive tree; these trees are often mistaken for rowans/mountain ash trees. In Norse Mythology, the first man was crafted by the gods out of, and named after, an ash tree. In Celtic folklore, ash trees are associated with people born between February 18 and March 17.
- Ash has many traits in common with one of his cross-cousins: the late Gary Fargeon. Both were Nightpeople, embraced the laws of the Night World and once viewed humans as vermin, were responsible for killing at least one person and harming members of their families, boasted good-looks and a teasing sense of humor, were admitted party-goers, and both had to ultimately work to make amends for mistakes made in their pasts. Interestingly, Ash aids Gary's cousin and protégé, Gillian, against Gary's urgent opposition. Additionally, both of their names translate to mean "spear" in Old English and Germanic, respectively.