They created this fire and fanned it, and now it's out of control because I am the fire, and I will take everything from them.Chapter 46, The Crown of Gilded Bones
Queen Isbeth, also known as Ileana and often referred to as the Blood Queen, is the former lover of King Malec and the current ruler of the Kingdom of Solis. She is responsible for Penellaphe Balfour becoming the Maiden.
There are no known information about Isbeth's former life. She had been the lover and confidant of Malec, who in turn was the father of her deceased son, which she had before she was poisoned by Eloana Da'Neer, and who is believed to have been killed by the royals of Atlantia. Due to the poisoning, Malec gave her his blood not sure of what would happen but he was desperate to keep her alive. Since Malec was not an Atlantian but a god due to his bloodline, his blood is more powerful he did not turn her into a vampry but something else. After her ascension, the people of Atlantia started trying to ascend their mortal loved ones as well, ending up creating the vampry. Isbeth did not have the same limitations as the Ascended and is able to walk in sunlight and has some form of abilities.
Malec had been planning to pretend to side with Eloana and the Council to eradicate the Ascended as he knew they could not continue due to the threat of their bloodlust. Isbeth had to leave Atlantia alone as it was too risky for her to escape with others, including her son since the Atlantians were hunting Ascended. Malec promised he would find her when he was able to leave, so they could escape as a family, not wanting the crown but instead to live out their lives in Iliseeum. Years passed and the war continued. Since Isbeth looked like an Ascended, she choose to stay with them to keep safe. While doing so, she ended up meeting Jalara of the Vodina Isles, who was gathering forces to fight Atlantia. She joined them to fight and learned that her son was gone and something had happened to Malec as King Valyn Da'Neer had been crowned and now lead the Atlantian armies. She ended up taking Solis and leading the Ascended, mostly because she hated Eloana and Valyn due to the lies told about both her and Malec, who was framed as the murderer of her son. Isbeth claimed that they could have stopped all of it if the Da'Neers had told the truth, that she was not vampry, that Malec was wrongly exiled, and they should have had given back the crown to the rightful king. She then vowed to take everything from Eloana and Valyn, starting with their sons Malik and Casteel Da'Neer.
From Blood and Ash
Poppy and others talk about Queen Isbeth, then known under ther disguise of Ileana, but she never makes an appearance. She only sends a request for Poppy to return to the capitol for her safety.
The Crown of Gilded Bones
Ileana makes her first appearance in Oak Ambler where she meets with Poppy and Casteel to discuss the fate of the kingdoms. She taunts and teases the group from Atlantia, taking some of Poppy's anger and sass but also warning not to push her. She seems surprised at how Poppy has turned on her and they argue. It is revealed that she was planning to marry Poppy to Prince Malik in order to merge the two kingdoms and control both, this was to be the Ascenion of the Maiden. Malik has been in her court for close to a century but appears unharmed. Throughout the discussion, she baits and taunts Casteel pushing Poppy to defend him. Isbeth reveals that she was told by Alastir Davenwell that their plan was to issue an ultimatum to get Malik back and provide lands east of New Haven to Atlantia, she does not agree to these terms. She says that she'd rather see the whole kingdom burn before allowing Atlantia to seize even one acre of land.
Instead she proposes a different offer, for Poppy and Casteel to claim Atlantia in her name and swear sovereignity to herself. They would retain the titles of Prince and Princess but some of the Ascended dukes and duchesses would establish Royal Seats in Atlantia. They would have to dismantle their armies and convince the people of Atlantia to follow the new rule. Lastly she would want them to hand over King Valyn and Queen Eloana, so they could be tried for treason. She then informs them of the numbers in the Solis army and shows them the Revenant and provides a demonstration of their abilities. Casteel questions why she hasn't seized Atlantia already if she has such large armies and Isbeth explains that she wants to avoid losing soldiers and gain the respect and loyalty of Atlantian people rather than stealing their kingdom. When told that this won't happen, she says that feelings change especially when people realize that Poppy is her daughter. She goes on to explain that Coralena Balfour was a Handmaiden and Revenant that took Poppy and her family and ran from Solis as soon as she found out the queens' plan to marry Poppy and Malik. Ian Balfour confirms the truth and that he is not Poppy's blood relative but isntead her adoptive brother, the true child of Cora and Lion. Isbeth then proceeds to reveal that is not a Vampry, and that her true name is not Ileana, but Isbeth. She also informs Poppy and Casteel about her background before leaving Atlantia and coming to Solis.
She claims that Malik is not a prisoner and he appears not to be, standing at her side, seemingly wiling. This angers Poppy and fights back, telling Isbeth that what happened was wrong. Poppy admits that can't blame the former rulers of Atlantia for what she has done to the people of Solis and to her by sending her to Duke Dorian Teerman. She proceeds to ask Isbeth how giving her Atlantia will solve anything, like ending the Rite or keeping mortals safe from vampry's. Isbeth claims it won't change anything, but that they have no room to negotiate. She then orders the death of Ian, at the same time claming that she loved Ian, pushing the responsibility for his death on Poppy instead. Following Ian's death, Poppy loses control and attempts to attack Isbeth, but is stopped by the Queen using an invisible ability. Lyra, who accompanied Poppy and her entourage, tries to defend Poppy and is then killed by Isbeth as well. Casteel calls off the group and begs the Queen not to kill Poppy, offering himself as a hostage instead. While Poppy is unconscious, Isbeth leaves with Malik and Casteel to return to Carsodonia, expecting Poppy to turn over Atlantia in exchange for her husband.
In her disguise as Ileana, Isbeth is remembered by Poppy as being both kind and gentle. She'd brush Poppy's hair when she was younger and she would hold her when she woke from nightmares. On the other hand, Casteel hates the Blood Queen as she was the one in charge of his capture and torture.
She comes across as intelligent, cunning, heartbroken, ambitious, heartless, and cruel. She doesn't hesitate to kill and threaten others and is aggressive towards anyone that threatens her. She doesn't take responsibility for her own actions and blames others for what she has done.
Isbeth is described as beautiful in a sultry way with warmth to her features that few Ascended could master. She has pale skin, lush lips, a turned up nose that is pierced with an onyx stone, and high cheek bones. Her eyes are described as black, but not as dark as normal Ascended. She has arched, deep brown eyebrows and thick dark auburn hair that falls in loose curls to her waist.
- Since the release of The Crown of Gilded Bones, the fandom notably refers to Isbeth as "Isbitch".