Clan White Raven:
The Silent Partners of the Greys
Jana Ivanovich works for the Latvian Consulate in Edinburgh where her official title is Security Coordinator. Unofficially, she is attached to the Latvian Intelligence but refuses to divulge any information that might compromise Latvian national security. She agreed to speak with me on the proviso that certain questions be removed from my list. She did however agree to talk about her vampirism and certain aspects of her official role here in Britain.
You stated that you were willing to speak about your vampirism. When did you become a vampire and what were the circumstances?
Jana: I was turned in the year, 500 AD on the banks of the Volga River. I was one of the four human sacrifices our people gave to the people of the White Raven every four years. According to tradition three were killed after twelve months and one was spared. They would meet at the winter solstice to cast their votes. This was not explained to any of us at the time, but but I was always keen to learn new ways so that influenced the vote I would say now. It sounds cruel and you would be right in this time but it was seen as part of the cycle of birth, life and death. In the months leading up to the vote the White Ravens attended to your every need.
So the White Ravens were different to the Grey Ravens?
Jana: We were all vampires but yes, you would be correct. The Greys did not have this tradition and we regarded them as heretics or traitors. Our king, Marius the White forbade us from speaking to any of them. We would see them travelling through our territory on their way to the east and sometimes we would fight them. Some fights we won and others we lost. One time Morganna nearly killed me when she had me at the point of her sword but then let me go
Was that why you befriended the Greys?
Jana: No, that was a matter of honour and respect. She saw that I had fought well and spared my life. I became friends with the Greys through my mentor, Julia. She was one of the few who openly defied Marius’s orders but because she was an elder herself he did not have the power to subdue her. I do not think he even had the strength now I think about it. We went to meet Morganna and Boudica in Constantinople in the summer of 1060. Julia wanted to know if the Greys would help Marius defeat the Kieven clans who had united under a vampire warlord. Morganna agreed and we met them in open battle and defeated them. After that battle Marius lifted the ban on relations with the Greys and signed a peace treaty between our two clans. So to answer your question it was not until afterwards that I became friends with the Greys. They would stop off at our camps and come into our homes whenever they passed through our territory.
When did you decide to follow the path of the Greys?
Jana: To clarify your question, I did not follow the path of the Greys. In 1250, Marius called the White Council together and they decided that if any of their members decided to feed on animals instead of humans then it would be permitted, as long as they didn’t become Grey Ravens. I can see what you are trying to say and while it might look as if we followed their path, there were subtle differences. We still had our sacrifices on the banks of the Volga but we were not bound to vote or to even take part. I did at first but when Julia went to Britain in 1290 I went with her and stayed in London with some of my people, I did go to a vote in 1313 but by then I had changed my views. Marius saw it as well but said nothing at the time. By then some of us had developed alliances with certain mortals and we did not want to compromise our allegiances.
But you did in the end all follow the way of the Greys in 1920.
Jana: Yes we did but that was a gradual process that began with the Black Death and continued through the Reformation, the religious wars, the Counter Reformation and the witch hunts. All the clans came to see the wisdom of Morganna’s teachings. I admit we were the first of the clans to see it and experience the value of befriending humans simply for its own sake. The Kievan clans were the last to come into the fold but they always were different.
In what way?
Jana: Cruder, wilder, they would say they were closer to nature but that’s not true. We Whites were an officially sanctioned clan. The Kieven clans were a mixture of vampires from different clans who had banded together to try and make a new clan. The problem with the Kievans was their inability to choose one leader. As soon as one vampire became leader, he or she would have to defend their title against others. When the Amalthean Proclamation was issued in 1920 there was a second edict passed unanimously and given to the elders in Kiev. They were told to choose one leader by the next full moon or they would be at war with the entire vampire nation. They chose a leader a day before the full moon. He retains office for five years and then steps down for a new leader. We have the same system for our Central Council, Julia was a queen for two successive terms.
So to clarify, Marius is your king?
Jana: He was until he was killed by a mob led by a witch finder. Towards the end of his life Marius had become what you call a recluse, he had lost a lot of his influence with the clan and Julia had been slowly gathering support. It has been said with some truth, that if he had not been killed then he would have been toppled in a coup. It was a terrible death of course, he was pinned down with silver spikes and then skinned alive and roasted over the fire. Julia issued the death sentence on the witch finder and I was one of the ones who killed him in the forest.
How did he die?
Jana: When we cut his head off.
So Julia is your leader now?
Jana: That is correct. Julia is the White Queen and for over five hundred years we have moved forward as a people. She was one of the first to make a pact with Morganna and she has become one of her closest allies.
Moving on from the subject of vampires. What is your role at the consulate?
Jana: I am Chief Security officer for the Latvian embassy. I have a second in command in London, he was living here but I decided to move up here to be close to my god-daughter. We perform a variety of functions like passport checks, investigating businesses that want to set up in Britain or Latvia and we also work with your CID to stop people traffickers. Those last two are sometimes linked, we recently conducted a joint operation with police forces in London, Manchester and Glasgow to break a people trafficking ring that was smuggling girls out of the Baltic states. We were the liaison between Russia’s FSB and the British police.
What is your view on prostitution and pornography?
Jana: There is nothing wrong with it providing it is regulated and the sex workers are protected under laws that guarantee their safety. Banning prostitution does not work, I have been alive for fifteen hundred years and I have seen all kinds of bans for all kinds of things and they never work. As soon as you ban something there will be those who try to get past the ban.
So the Swedish solution is not something you would advocate for Latvia or Britain?
Jana: Many things get lost in translation. I think that particular rule is one of them. It sounds like a good idea until you pull it apart and then you cannot put it back together. To allow women to sell sex services to men but prosecute men who buy the services is a circular argument. There is no end to it and no one will be helped. Legalising it and providing safe working premises, condoms, security and mandatory health checks is a solution. If it is out in the open you can see what is going on and if some kingpin, for example starts a brothel then the government can shut him down. In this way you can use your police forces more efficiently because you only have to crack down on the illegal operators and street prostitution.
How do you view our modern view on sexuality?
Jana: It is a very broad question but I will try to answer it. We were more open about it in Europe and even Britain. Sex was not hidden away until the church in Rome became too powerful. It was the church that corrupted sex. It is a natural act that happens when two people want to make a baby or if they just want to feel good. You cannot put rules on it because everyone is different. Women have always made themselves look good in front of men because we know that men like to look at women. It is completely natural and we saw it that way even when the church began its crusade against sex. Even when it came to homosexual acts we were very open. We understood that if you wanted to make a baby you needed a man and a woman, but if you wanted just to make heaven then it could be heterosexual sex or homosexual sex. It did not matter. But once the church became the dominant authority on everything it changed.
When it comes to your modern view I would have to say you are hypocritical. You will not talk about it in the media but everyone can download sexual images and videos. Your children have questions about sex but you are not willing to talk about sex. If you are not going to answer their questions then they will get their own answers from the Internet and their own experiments. This is wrong and should not happen. They are your children and they are your responsibility. I have a god-daughter in Glasgow and I have answered all her questions about sex. There is nothing she cannot ask me. Now she knows what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. If a man wants to put her underwear on his head while he has sex with her, then she knows that is not normal because we talk about it. This is a matter we could talk much upon but I think that answers your question.
I have two daughters myself but they’re not old enough.
Jana: But they will have questions and you are the father are you not?
Jana: Then you should be prepared to talk.
I’ll certainly keep that in mind. On the subject of Samantha, you were involved with her in New Orleans. You also knew that Cat was still living even though officially she was dead. Was that hard for you to do?
Jana: That is a long question but yes, it was hard to do because I knew the truth. She called me at the school two days before her flight and told me what she was doing. We arranged that I would pick Samantha up from school and take her back to my place. I wanted to tell her very badly but we knew that would put her at risk. After some of the Frat crew were terminated there was a discussion about bringing Cat back but there were phone numbers and names in diaries at the house. The master of the North New Orleans guild let me make the final decision and I was right, there were more Frat boys. I killed one outside of Yekaterinburg three years later. The fool thought he was safe hiding with a Russian mobster. I killed the mobster as well to stop him talking about me.
Couldn’t you have just turned the mobster over to the police?
Jana: For what? So he could call his accountant to hand over a bribe? Victor was better off dead. To be honest the police would have thought him crazy if he told them about the vampire woman who killed his friends. He was a mobster who had killed many innocent people. It was good I took care of Victor because when I took his phone and laptop to our local guild, they discovered evidence of a people trafficking ring. We used that information to arrest the ringleaders recently but if I had left him alive we would never have known he was kidnapping girls and selling them.
Well at least the information you got was useful.
Jana: It was very useful.
So what do you do with your leisure time?
Jana: I have mortal and immortal friends that I see. It is important to have a good balance between work and home. I am also involved with the Morningside guild in Edinburgh, one of my tasks is finding new speakers for our monthly meetings. Next month we will have Anna speaking if you are interested in coming along.
I could come to a Gathering?
Jana: Of course you can come, these are Open Gatherings where mortals, who know we exist, are welcome to come. Afterwards we go out to a cafe to drink coffee we cannot taste and sit and watch the world go by. We talk about many subjects, nothing is taboo in the vampire world. There are also Closed Gatherings where only vampires can attend, but the other kind of Gathering is quite entertaining. I can arrange it if you would like?
I would like it very much.
Jana: Then it is arranged. We will see you soon and thank you for speaking to me as a human being.
Jana Ivanovich is a security consultant and intelligence analyst for the Latvian government and finds her work interesting. An old school intelligence agent, she firmly believes that the best intelligence comes from humans. “People rely on computers too much, they are great tools but for up to date information you need people and contacts on the ground.”
When my stepmom’s plane went down a part of me died, Cat was my world. In her place she left us to her friends, the Grey Ravens. Over the years I slowly came to realise her death was a mere facade. When we were reunited I learned the truth about Clan Grey Raven and her remarkable history. Some people will always love. Some people never lose hope. Some people never die…
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