Red Court
This article is for the husband. For the wife, see Arianna Ortega.

Paolo Ortega was a Duke of the Red Court of Vampires. He first appears in Grave Peril and again in Death Masks.


Ortega was about of average height, medium build, had dark hair, a wide chest and shoulders, a sturdy jaw and strong features. He wore a well-tailored stylish grey and silver suit.[1]

Cunning and deadly, Paolo Ortega was a Duke and warlord of the Red Court vampires.[2] Adept at hand-to-hand combat, as well as a highly skilled strategist, Ortega was a formidable opponent in any avenue of combat.

Ebenezar McCoy described Ortega as "the Red Court's wet works man", an assassin, like himself and Jared Kincaid.[3]


Ortega was born in Spain at the end of the 15th century. He sailed to the New World as one of Cortez's conquistadors. During his time in South America, he fell in love with a local princess, Arianna, and married her.[4] She turned out to be a Red Court vampire, and turned Paolo into one as well. Paolo's abilities allowed him to rise through the ranks, and he became a Warlord of the Red Court.[5]

He was quite devoted to Arianna. She was equally devoted to making his life miserable.[6]

In Grave Peril, he traveled to Chicago to oversee Bianca St. Claire's ceremony and ball to celebrate her promotion to a higher status in the Red Court. It was during this time that Harry Dresden killed Bianca and several other Red Court vampires, breaking the terms of the Unseelie Accords and starting a war between the Red Court and the White Council of Wizards.[7]

During the war, Ortega proved a highly efficient and very deadly soldier, killing more Council members than any other enemy in their history.(reference needed)

He was killed in Death Masks when he challenged Harry to a duel to settle the matter. Under the terms of the duel, should Ortega win, the Red Court would agree to peace with the White Council. Should he lose, Chicago would become neutral ground and it's citizens safe from attack. He cheated during the duel but escaped back to South America to regroup and prepare for another attack. Ebenezar McCoy took advantage of the situation and dropped a Russian satellite on Casaverde, killing Ortega and several other vampires.(reference needed)

In the seriesEdit

Grave PerilEdit

Main article: Grave Peril

In Grave Peril, Ortega appeared at Bianca's Ball, claiming that he was monitoring the situation as a representative of the Red King, as well as to make sure that Bianca did not break the Unseelie Accords. He and Bianca told Harry that treachery in her home will mean War between the White Council and the Red Court.[7]

Death MasksEdit

Main article: Death Masks

In Death Masks, Ortega arrived in Chicago to challenge Harry Dresden to a duel under the pretense of wanting to end The War between the Red Court and the White Council under the pretense of debunking Harry's claim that magic was real on the Larry Fowler Show as a South American university professor. Ortega told Harry that if he refused the duel, he would kill all of his friends and loved ones before ambushing Harry himself. Harry had little choice but to agree.(reference needed)

The duel was to be monitored by The Archive. Ortega was to choose the time, place and weapons.(reference needed)Susan Rodriguez later revealed how dangerous Ortega could be; he had killed half a dozen of the Wardens in South America since The War started and that he had planned and executed the attack on Archangel.[2]

When Harry met with his second, Shiro Yoshimo, Shiro explained to Harry that the war was not his fault. The Red Court had been quietly building their resources for years. They were planning on attacking the White Council and Harry had forced them to start the war sooner than they were prepared for when he killed Bianca. Having lost the element of surprise, the Red Court sent Ortega to to duel Harry because this would allow the Red Court to end the war and continue pooling their resources. An end to hostilities would mean that they could wage war again on their own terms later to bring about a quick and decisive victory over the White Council.(reference needed)

The negotiations between the seconds and the emissary were held on accorded neutral ground: McAnally's Pub. Ortega's second was Thomas Raith, a vampire of the White Court; Harry's was Shiro Yoshimo. Harry asked Ortega to drop the Duel. Ortega told Harry that the price for doing so was that Harry had to agree to become a Red Court vampire. This way the Red court would be appeased and, though Ortega did not say it, they would gain a former wizard of the White Council to aid in their future offensive. Harry refused, thus the duel was still on.[8]

Thomas, like Shiro, warned Harry that Ortega would kill him by any means necessary and to expect treachery during the duel.[9]

The duel took place at Wrigley Field. The Archive was present to judge the duel. The weapon was a sphere of Mordite, to be pushed towards the opponents by their wills. Harry almost won, but Ortega was concealing a handgun under his Flesh mask and attempted to shoot Harry, violating the Code Duello rules. He said that he was willing to risk the consequences of death if it meant killing Harry. However before he could fire, Ortega was shot in the chest and leg. Red Court vampires appeared and attempted to attack all sides. However the Archive was able to end the attack. Jared Kincaid informed Ivy that Harry was winning.[10]

Martin came across the field with a rifle, revealing that he was the shooter. The Fellowship knew Ortega was going to kill Harry to end the war, allowing the Red Council to attack again at a later date. Martin was sent to make sure Ortega didn't kill Harry and if possible, take down Ortega. However Ortega escaped to Casaverde.[11]

When Harry was recovering in the hospital, Susan told him that Ortega had called in his strongest knights and let it be widely known that he was coming after Harry to kill him. At a nearby diner after leaving the hospital, Harry saw on the news that an old satellite fell on Casaverde in Honduras, destroying Ortega, his base and several other vampires. Having gotten a call from Ebenezar McCoy earlier advising him to watch the news, Harry knew that this was no freak accident.[12]

Unbeknownst to Harry, there were mortals at Casaverde who had died as well as vampires. Harry was shaken when he learned that Ebenezer has violated the First Law of Magic, but he came to see that it was necessary.(reference needed)


  1. Death Masks, ch. 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 Death Masks, ch. 4
  3. Death Masks, ch. 35
  4. Proven Guilty, ch. 26
  5. Ghost Story, ch. 38
  6. Changes ch. 38
  7. 7.0 7.1 Grave Peril, ch. 38
  8. Death Masks, ch. 17
  9. Death Masks, ch. 18
  10. Death Masks, ch. 29-30
  11. Blood Rites, ch. 30
  12. Death Masks, ch. 33

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit