- "Please, come in and join me for dinner. I can see from the way you dress, you are a man of exquisite... taste."
- —Isabella von Carstein, the former Countess of Sylvania.[1a]
Isabella von Carstein, or Isabella von Drak, wife to Vlad von Carstein, was one of the first Vampires of the von Carstein bloodline and the apparent heir to the County of Sylvania. Isabella von Drak was the only daughter of Otto von Drak, the ruler of Sylvania. Isabella was much like many of her noble counterparts. She was vain, immoral and selfish, and cared little for anything that did not affect her personal comfort and standing. Though very intelligent, she had a classical, rather than practical, education.[1a]
She was considered somewhat strange for her love of some of the more male pursuits, such as hunting and falconry, over needlework and music. In fact, outside of Sylvania, the only thing that made Isabella vaguely desirable as a wife was her stunning, cold beauty. This, however, was not enough to tempt suitors worthy of inheriting the throne of Sylvania, and Mad Otto certainly did not wish to give her hand to any of his rivals within the province.[1a]
When Vlad von Carstein arrived on the night of Otto's death, Isabella was pleased that creepy old Uncle Leopold would not inherit, though she was far from happy at having to marry this sinister stranger. As the months passed, however, what had started out as a marriage of convenience developed into something far more. When it became clear that Isabella could not be merely seduced by his charms and rebelled against his will for the first time, Vlad fell instantly in love with her.[1a]
Vlad long resisted Isabella's requests to join him in undeath, he simply loved her too much for her to endure all that, but when she lay dying from a fatal, wasting illness, Vlad realised that he could not carry on without her, and reluctantly inducted her into the ranks of the Undead. As a Vampire, Countess Isabella was forever at Vlad's side, feeding his ambition and teaching him the ways of the Sylvanian court and about the wider Empire. Isabella was Vlad's most valued confidante, and the only person, living or dead, whose advice he trusted.[1a]
When Vlad set forth on his mission to become Emperor, Isabella accompanied him on the road to war. She carried an heirloom of the von Draks with her - a chalice made for her great grandmother, Countess Bathori. Corrupted by Dark Magic, this golden goblet was forever filled with fresh blood, from which Isabella drank even in the midst of the fiercest fighting. Those who dared confront her in battle would stare wide-eyed as her wounds healed within seconds, time seeming to flow backwards for the lithe Vampire Countess as blood crawled back into opened veins and alabaster flesh neatly sealed in its wake. Their hesitation would invariably cost them dearly, for when they returned to their senses, they would invariably find their throats slit or a sword driven right through their chests.[1a]
It is claimed that when Vlad died, Isabella was fighting atop one of the gate towers of Altdorf. Protected by a ring of Grave Guard, she battled against the self-declared Emperor Ludwig and his Greatswords. When the Wights suddenly collapsed around her, Isabella realised that her beloved had been finally destroyed and his necromantic power undone. So stricken was Isabella that she turned from the men battling against her and flung herself from the tower. Isabella's body was impaled on the stakes below, before crumbling into dust.[1a]
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding The End Times, the final campaign that ended with the destruction of the world, which is considered canon by Games Workshop.
During the End Times Isabella was restored to unlife by the Dark God Nurgle, who warped and twisted her into an ideal tool for destroying the undead. Possessed by a daemon, she led a huge army of Nurgle daemons to invade Sylvannia alongside the Nameless.
First they defeated an army led by Mannfred von Carstein and Luthor Harkon, two of Nagash's Mortarchs when the Nameless was able to wrestle control of their zombie hordes. The Mortarchs, joined by Vlad, retreated to an abandoned inn called the Dead and Buried where they and a small number of other vampires fought a last stand against the Nurgle army. Eventually they were overwhelmed; Mannfred fled the battle, Harkon was killed by Isabella herself and all of the other vampires were slain too. The exception was Vlad who taunted Luthor Huss, trapped inside the body the Nameless now controlled. He questioned the priest's strength and faith until eventually Huss broke free in a burst of fiery faith that immolated the Nameless. Together they fought the hordes and Vlad escaped the battle.
Building on these victories Isabella led her forces into Sylvania where she marched on the Black Pyramid, the centre of Nagash's power. The battle however proved only to be a distraction after a Skaven team (who have now joined the forces of Chaos) led by Ikit Claw destroyd the Pyramid, a major repository of Nagash's death magic. This loss forced Nagash to finally join forces with the other Incarnates in Athel Loren. After the battle Isabella travelled to Middenheim to join Archaon's forces there.
During the Incarnate's invasion of Middenheim Isabella once again confronted her husband. They fought but he was unwilling to destroy his one true love. He removed his ring, forced it on her finger and threw them both from the battlements onto the sharpened stakes below, mirroring his earlier death at the hands of the Grand Theogonist in Altdorf. Her death destroyed the daemon, freeing her of its influence while the power of the ring returned her to unlife. After the battle she was found by Neferata who took her to Castle Stierniste in Sylvania where alongside Khalida she waited out the ending of the world.
- Blood Chalice of Bathori - Countless are the innocent souls whose life essence has flowed into this bewitched goblet. Those that drink from it are rejuvenated with new power.[1a]
- Upon awakening as a Vampire, Isabella's first meal was the very Priestess of Shallya who had tended to her sickness. This woman would become known as Elize von Carstein.