Dresden Files
Red Court

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 was 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 travels to Chicago to oversee Bianca St. Claire's ceremony and ball to celebrate her promotion to a higher status in the Red Court. During this visit, Harry Dresden kills St. Claire 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]

At the beginning of the war, Ortega is the war leader of the Red Court.[8] He kills at least six Wardens in South America and plans and executes the attack on Archangel (city).[2]

He is killed in Death Masks after he challenges Dresden 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 its citizens safe from attack.[1] He cheats during the duel, and wounded, manages to escape the city.[9] He travels back to Casaverde in South America to recover. He gathers his strongest knights to prepare for another attack against Dresden, personally. Ebenezar McCoy takes advantage of the situation and drops a deactivated Soviet satellite on Casaverde, killing Ortega and several other vampires.[10]

In the series[]

Grave Peril[]

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

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 Dresden's claim that magic was real on the Larry Fowler Show as a South American university professor. Ortega told Dresden that if he refused the duel, he would kill all of his friends and loved ones before ambushing Dresden himself. Dresden had little choice but to agree.[1]

The duel was to be monitored by The Archive. Ortega was to choose the time, place and weapons.[11]

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 Dresden met with his second, Shiro Yoshimo, Shiro explained to Dresden 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 Dresden had forced them to start the war sooner than they were prepared for when he killed St. Claire. Having lost the element of surprise, the Red Court sent Ortega to duel Dresden 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.[12]

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; Dresden's was Shiro Yoshimo. Dresden asked Ortega to drop the Duel. Ortega told Dresden that the price for doing so was that Dresden 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. Dresden refused, thus the duel was still on.[13]

Thomas, like Shiro, warned Dresden that Ortega would kill him by any means necessary and to expect treachery during the duel.[12]

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. Dresden almost won, but Ortega was concealing a handgun under his Flesh mask and attempted to shoot Dresden, violating the Code Duello rules. He said that he was willing to risk the consequences of death if it meant killing Dresden. 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 Dresden was winning.[14]

Martin came across the field with a rifle, revealing that he was the shooter. The Fellowship knew Ortega was going to kill Dresden 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 Dresden and if possible, take down Ortega. However Ortega escaped to Casaverde.[15]

When Dresden was recovering in the hospital, Rodriguez told him that Ortega had called in his strongest knights and let it be widely known that he was coming after Dresden to kill him. At a nearby diner after leaving the hospital, Dresden 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, Dresden knew that this was no freak accident.[10]

Unbeknownst to Dresden, there were mortals at Casaverde who had died as well as vampires. Dresden was shaken when he learned that Ebenezer has violated the First Law of Magic, but he came to see that it was necessary.[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Death Masks, ch. 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 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. Summer Knight, ch. 5
  9. Death Masks, ch. 30
  10. 10.0 10.1 Death Masks, ch. 33
  11. Death Masks, ch. 8
  12. 12.0 12.1 Death Masks, ch. 18
  13. Death Masks, ch. 17
  14. Death Masks, ch. 29-30
  15. Blood Rites, ch. 30
  16. Dead Beat, ch. 31

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