Vampires are presumably created by converting living creatures through a blood exchange. A vampire drains a victim to the point of death, only to offer them some of their own immortal blood to drink. This seals the bloodline and begins the conversion as the victim's body expires. According to Vatican lore, it isn't unheard of for younger vampires to congregate around an older, stronger vampire to form a coven. This ensures both strength in numbers and that the elder will discipline their followers in how to hunt safely and control their inhuman bloodlust.
The precise origins of vampirity remains unclear. The only published account of their beginnings is found in Father Francis del Guidice's 1734 bestiary, the Book of Demons and Other Preternatural Beings. This writing draws upon the Book of Genesis to explain their earliest years. According to this account, the first vampire was Cain. After being expelled from Eden for murdering Abel, Cain wondered in solitude until he met Lilith, Adam's first wife. Having been similarly banished from Eden for disobeying Adam's mastery, Lilith became a witch under Lucifer.
God sent the archangels Michael and Gabriel to warn Cain of her corruption. However, he rejected them and welcomed Lilith's magics, mingling their bloodlines. Thus the angels cursed him in death, afflicting his descendants with their weaknesses, eternal life, and their bloodlust. As this text was written by a priest of the Vatican, it can be assumed that this account is at least partially untrue due to theological biases coupled with preexisting superstition and folklore, as vampires have shown no detrimental reactions when exposed to Godly paraphernalia.
Coven Hierarchy Edit
- Master, Leader: The overseer and usually the founder of the coven, the master is their undisputed leader and parent. The eldest and most experienced of all the members, with at least three or more centuries within the bloodline, the master is entrusted to guide their followers in how to survive. As the head of the coven, the master distributes responsibilities to the adults and ensures that that all fledglings are fed and strong to fortify the overall security of the group. The master is also the final authority in all matters of penalty and can be appealed to for mercy.
- Adults, Soldiers: Adults are those members who've lived for at least a century as a vampire. Due to their tampered discipline as well as their raw experience with their abilities, these members serve as protectors for the coven; defending their territory from intruders and looking out for slayers. Adults also serve as disciplinarians to keep the fledglings in line and thus enjoy secondary feeding rights; feeding upon familiars after the master and before the fledglings at each commune. They also perform assassin duties for the master as well as oversee the fledgling hunts.
- Fledglings, Members: Fledglings constitute the main body of the coven. These are the vampires who are either recently-sired or who've had at most a century within the bloodline. Fledglings may be the progeny of the master himself, that of an adult, or even (although rarely) that of another fledgling. Most masters set strict rules regarding the number of progeny allowed and who is permitted to sire a human. Those who break this law (including their resultant progeny) are usually put to death to maintain their low numbers. Fledglings also constitute the coven's hunting parties.
- Familiars, Servants: Familiars are humans who follow the coven and act on their behalf, including offering themselves as willing hosts for them to feed upon. These individuals may serve out of fear, some leverage the coven has over them, or because they've become addicted to the intimacy of feedings. Others serve in hopes of being sired. Those who prove their worth, and if the coven's ranks are depleted sufficiently, are converted. Covens may mark their familiars with tattoos or other paraphernalia such as jewelry. A familiar may also be close with only one member or 'owner'.
Raised beyond death by supernatural forces and driven to consume the blood of the living by animalistic instincts, vampires are a potent bloodline of creatures endowed with several enhanced attributes to give them an advantage over their prey as well as an edge against intruders. Because of this power, professional vampire slayers must be both exceptionally physically fit as well as rigorously trained and armed with the necessary weaponry and manpower in order to stand a chance against a vampire.
- Immortality: As a resurrected corpse, vampires are clinically lacking in a natural life cycle. Each vampire has the potential to endure infinitely; their physical appearance effectively frozen in time while their bodies only become stronger and their minds more disciplined with every century. Beyond their unchanging appearance, this attribute also extends to a preternatural ability to recuperate from virtually any injury. Wounds from most weaponry - even bullets - knit together in seconds without any discomfort or scarring. Even amputated appendages can be reattached.
- Inhuman Strength: As predators of humans, vampires are considerably more powerful than any mortal; a single one can lift a car over their head or out-muscle a dozen strong men at once. Only a small battalion of trained slayers or a superhuman may challenge a lone vampire in a physical altercation. Their augmented muscle performance also expands their mobility; allowing them to leap from rooftop to rooftop or jump with great force to catch fleeing prey, as well as giving them greater agility and balance. It also makes them difficult to contain as they break most restraints. However, their strength is no match for that of a Darkness, Witchblade or Angelus host.
- Enhanced Speed: As an added feature of their predatory nature, vampires can accelerate their movements and reactions to speeds faster than the eye can follow. They can easily outrun any prey, as well as catch projectiles such as arrow or crossbow bolts with their bare hands if they can see them. This ability is also useful for hunting and hasty escapes, as they can appear and disappear from a scene almost instantaneously. However, they are not faster than a speeding bullet. This gives slayers an edge, as they always carry firearms with sharpened wooden-tipped ammunition.
- Animal-like Senses: They have heightened senses (hearing, smell, sight) which enables them to sense enemies and makes them highly efficient hunters.
Despite their preternatural strength and resilience to injury as well as total exception from diseases and poisons due to their dead tissues, younger vampires often exaggerate their own abilities. Vampires do have certain limitations and vulnerabilities that give slayers an edge. As believed by the Church, vampires are susceptible to objects such as the crucifix as well as holy ground or water. These were alleged to cause them great pain, although it would not kill them. This has since been disproven as a vampire was seen to walk unhindered in a cemetery.
- Beheading: The most effective means to disable a vampire is by severing their head. Unlike other appendages, vampires cannot reattach their head as their spine has been severed and thus their body is rendered immobile. While it will not slay them, this is paramount in the killing of undead. For vampire slayers, it isn't uncommon to decapitate an impaled vampire to ensure that even if the stake is removed, the vampire will remain paralyzed. This makes it easier to cremate their bodies. Thus, the main technique for slayers is to stake them, behead them, and burn them.
- Impalement: Besides beheading, another means to immobile a vampire is to pierce their heart with a stake or spear. While any sharp and long object will do, slayers often use wood as it is inexpensive and easy to carve. The staked heart cuts off the blood-flow in their body, desiccating them.