I can still recall the very first vampire film I ever watched. To say truthfully, it terrified me beyond belief. It was when I was only twelve years old, if my memory serves me correctly, and at that age no child should be witness to such horrorous atrocities. And that is my firm belief! I do not know how long it took me to reject those initial memories from my mind or get past the awful image with which I first came to understand vampirism, but for many years I did not even consider the subject to be an enlightening one. It continued to terrify me and plague my dreams.
It was not for quite some lengthy count of years that I actually began to consider vampires as possible character figures. The biggest reason for this was that, while as I said the subject terrified me, I also had troubles imagining how I could implement such a terrifically horrendous concept in such a way that would be short of vile and demonicly disturbing. In short, how could a vampire possibly be portrayed as a good guy? All the things that I had ever heard about them consisted of horrendous bloody stories of demons whose souls were so evil and possessed that only by crucifixes and holy water could they be cleansed. Yet it was not that I was appalled by the horror of it. On the contrary, I can appreciate a good horror—good, I say. The trouble is that I wanted more than anything that the vampire should be the good guy. But what’s more, I have never been a strong believer in Catholicism, or a believer at all for that matter, and it just seemed far too spiritually wrong to me to make any sense. Do not get me wrong, certainly, I do believe in ghosts and demons and evil spirits, and even curses, but the subject of vampirism struck me as something that should not be confined to the religious realm. So long as it was a vampire could never be a good guy. And so I began to piece together such an idea as would be reasonable in the world of today, but would also account for the myths and legends of our superstitious forefathers.
Basically, there are two views concerning vampires. Since the time of Dracula they have been regarded with superstition and feared as cursed souls spawned of the pit of hell, evil in every respect. Indeed, the name Dracula which Bram Stoker used in his novel is derived of the Romanian family name “dracul” which can mean either “the dragon” or “the devil”, neither of which is very attractive. And Dracula actually means “Son of Dracul”. Son of the devil… Since then some have speculated that vampires are indeed the progeny of the demonic means, released upon the earth to generally wreak havoc and harvest souls. I have never been very fond of such an idea, but, while it seems a little farfetched, a curse does not exceed my limits, and in this way vampires are not so dissimilar from werewolves. They are but blighted souls who must endure and carry on the curse. Certainly, this does not make them inherently evil; at least no more so than any human, for I have never heard any such source as would say that to be bitten and turn into a vampire is to lose one’s conscience and reason of thought. Therefore, a vampire is only as evil as the person from whom it was turned, and certainly, there are plenty of evil people in the world to account for the dreadful tales. Vlad II Dracula, from whom Stoker borrowed the name was best known as Vlad the Impaler for his custom of setting those he did not appreciate on pikes.
Another interesting point to note is that vampires are not so different than us, for while they have been cursed with the need to consume blood in order to maintain their own existence, we likewise have been cursed with mortality and are doomed to walk alone.
The second view on vampirism, while based upon mythology, has brought a rather literal light to the subject. And I find this no surprise, for it is actually the result of an alteration in human thinking; more specifically, religious conversion. People today do not like the idea of a god. In fact, they are terrified of anything they do not understand, and they certainly do not want to admit the existence of anything they cannot see or touch, and so in desperate vane they are disposed to explain everything in the most logical way possible, often turning in their eagerness to insanity. This factual attitude has brought the rise of many new ideals that very simply did not exist centuries ago. As far as vampires are concerned, it means that no longer are they the offspring of the devil, or even the consequence of some dreadful curse. They are simply the effect of a very nasty parasitic virus, as much a part of this world as are we, and are therefore completely and rationally explainable. For my part, and as is usually the case, I have come to the opinion that the truth is actually somewhere comfortably in the middle. Vampirism is both a virus and a curse.
Over the years I have carefully constructed a concept of what I have come to believe vampirism is, often aided and abetted by various fictional works of other authors. I have come across various ideas which I have promptly discarded as absurd, but also many I have found to be enlightening and quite sensible.
Firstly, vampires are the soul existence of living death. All other forms, such as zombies and ghouls (if in fact their existence should be proven, and I am not saying that it is) are but by-products. A vampire walks in death, and no single piece of evidence could be of more proof of this to me than the simple and unvarying fact that they must consume the blood of creatures that have not died in order to survive. They are essentially forced to take life in order to retain their own. And why is this? It is because vampires age very quickly; in fact their age has come and gone. Now I am sure that would seem quite wrong because vampires are immortal, right? Then certainly, they must not age. But the fact of the matter is this: a human body breaks down gradually over time from ultraviolet radiation and the slow decay of cells, and we too would be gone before we knew it if our bodies were not designed to maintain cellular structure through the sustenance that we consume; however, a vampire, already being essentially dead, simply does not possess the ability to maintain its cellular structure for even that long, and so its body breaks down in a matter of hours and it will die if it does not have some source from which to renew those cells. Therefore, it must take them from other living creatures, and as “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” (Leviticus 17:11) then a vampire must take blood in order to survive. Yet even this presents a problem, for if a vampire is essentially dead then what precisely replaces the decaying cells, or gives life to its consciousness? The answer lies in the second of the two theories; a virus. Quite some years ago I had heard of the possibility that the real culprit behind vampirism was actually a virus, and so I began to consider this option as a reasonable substitute for the superstitious curse. Long I thought about it, and the more so I did the more it began to make sense. Everything about a vampire seems to point toward the existence of the virus. And so I concluded that vampirism is a viral infection that effectively destroys the life in a body and replaces said life with its own essence. It then maintains the body’s consciousness and its cellular structure in preservation of itself, much as any parasitic organism would. It cannot survive without a body, nor can the body survive without it once it has taken hold. They become dependent upon one another.
And that is essentially the basis of the concept that I have created, and while I am certain I am not the first to put it so, I feel a definite pride upon it.
But enough with history and unexciting explanations. Here is what you should know: Vampires can seem quite human. In fact, unless you catch them at a bad time, they might not look any different than you or I. So how do you spot them? There are a few signs. If you should happen to be taking a stroll through the countryside with a friend in the early hours of the morning, and then the sun comes up and over the hill and they are reduced to a smouldering charred corpse before your eyes it is fairly safe to assume that they are—or were—a vampire. Also, should you happen to be carrying a stake made of silver, or a gun with a silver round in the chamber, and should this friend of yours trip and fall on said silver stake, or were you to accidently put the bullet through their heart, and then if they were to immediately be consumed by fire from within it would be quite safe to assume that they were a vampire. But often the first sign of vampirism is the thirst; if your friend had viciously attempted to sink his, or her, teeth into you as you were about your stroll, then they are likely a vampire. Yet even so, there are more subtle clues that do not result in death for either yourself or the vampire in question. Often vampires appear to look quite ill, or even deathly. When they are still quite young it might not show as much, but as they grow older and spend more time beneath the hold of the virus they will begin to exhibit a particular appearance that is the result of the digression from life; they begin to appear very inhuman. The skin begins to turn first very pale, and then quite ashen, stretched across bones as rigid as the teeth of a saw, hair grows coarser and loses hue, and their eyes too will change color, usually to white, yellow, gray, or black. Fingernails become long, but not unkempt. On the contrary, vampire’s nails are rather likened to those of a cat; quite deadly, as are their teeth, which they require to draw blood.
Yet, while it certainly is good to know how to easily identify a vampire, probably the most important thing you should know is how to easily dispatch one, for when an already evil person becomes an incarnation of death with a bad attitude and a need to feed nothing could be more useful than the tricks of the trade that is vampire hunting. There are several different ways to kill a vampire, just as there are with any creature. But vampires are unlike most creatures in that when they receive physical harm, if they can acquire a source of sustenance in a hurry, then they are none the worse off for it. They are capable of healing in remarkable time, for they have only to replace the cells that they have lost. And so, if you harm a vampire you must ensure that it cannot recover. And two ways there are to accomplish this. You can bleed them until they die, in which case they will decay before your eyes much as an elderly person would in years, and possibly even freeze as a lake in the dead of winter, or you can cause the virus within their blood to react by either turning the sun on over their head, introducing a fragment of silver into their bloodstream, or alternatively (by some accounts) you can substitute the silver with garlic, in which case the blood will become volatile within the vampire’s veins and it will be consumed by internal fire. But whichever route you choose should kill the vampire, from which it will never recover to bite you, and you may go on about your day in relative peace, unless of course the vampire has a brother…
Finally, above all else, the one thing that you should know about vampires is that, as I have said, they are but the result of a wretched curse or disease, and not all of them are upset and only wanting to scratch and bite like a girl at the wrong time of the month. Certainly, there are many who only desire happiness and to live just like the rest of us. And so, as a final word about vampires before I move on, I must warn you to be certain of intent before you try sticking those about you with a silver stake, or dragging them out into the sunlight. If we were all so suspicious of one another we would never have crawled from our dank little caves to build cities, or even stopped hitting each other on the head with sticks, and so we must strive to maintain our civility.
So, now that we have established what exactly a vampire is I must inform you of how they find place in my world. Henceforth I must warn you that everything beyond this point is merely the product of my creativity and is applicable only when concerned with the fiction that I create.
Sometime in the early history of man’s civilizations on the earth there appeared what people called the nephilim. And what were they? Well, many theories have been proposed, but none could be anything like the truth. In those very early days, the dawn of humanity as we would call it, great warriors and giants they were, and they became mighty heroes, and even today legends are told of their great deeds. But probably the most important to note is that they were called the sons of God because from the stars men said that they came. The very word nephilim means fallen ones, for such was what the Hebrews forenamed them after their descent from the heavens. And yet another meaning the word bore, for it was not willingly that these peoples came to earth. They had been cast out and their names cursed.
Then many centuries were to pass, and quite some time later into the Middle Ages an order of knights was to appear with the purpose of serving the temple of Solomon and guarding the Holy Land and the pilgrims therein. They were called the Order of the Temple, and for nearly two centuries they were among the most elite militia within the Old Kingdom. But then they too all but vanished, remembered only in legend, and no more. Yet by the 58th century legends had arisen anew that would equal theirs in renown. These consisted of bloody tales of creatures from the pits of hell were spawned and that preyed upon men’s souls and devoured their flesh. Vampyria, they were called, and it was said that if you received their taint you would become as one of them, cursed to walk the lonely night forever. But of course these stories were but the product of fear and superstition; ghost stories, as it is said. Yet some merit they certainly bore. However, not until the late 60th century was the word vampyria given a face. The Order of the Temple rose once more, however, it was but an institute of learning, not so dissimilar from its opposition, the Order of Knowledge. But it was driven by a people who were feared and rejected for the sinister tales that had been told, for they were called the vampyria, and men did not understand them. Yet still there were those who could recall the legends and what part the Order had played in the Middle Ages, and they rejoiced at its return.
For the better part of a decade the Order of the Temple was to serve the people once more, though it did so for the most part discreetly. It was not until the collapse of world government and the rise of the New World Order that the Order of the Temple would play a greater role in worldly affairs, and then mainly to combat and thwart any and all effort of the Order of Knowledge to gain power. Until the Second Fall the invisible war would not die, nor even subside, and the Order of the Temple was to fight for the freedom of humanity.
Throughout the 65th century the Order—or more specifically the vampyria—for the first time in their history on earth began to feel a certain sense of autonomy separate from humanity, and so they began the construction of a city of which they could be proud once more. Morac it was called, and it was hidden away, for the vampyria had always been strong with genia. And they crafted it in likeness of such as they could recall.
But events were to take a turn for the worse, for the vampyria through the Order of the Temple had supported the New World Order and helped it combat the Order of Knowledge, but when once the catastrophe had once more upset all form of world government and annihilated most of the people therein, the vampyria found themselves alone against a foe that would not retain any form of civility any longer. They were branded as traitors of the people, and hunted down and killed as the Order of Knowledge now rose to power in the New World. For some time they managed to escape within their hidden city, but only too soon there too they were found and persecuted. The new Order would suffer no rival, nor their existence, but neither could it exterminate them, and so a solution was surmised. Every vampyria was incarcerated and laid to rest within the walls of their own city to lie for a thousand years if none should awake them, and there they would sleep until one came. All save one…
This work is written by AD Bane and published by adbane.com. It is solely the property of ADBane.com and may not be reproduced in part or in whole for any reason except at the exclusive permission of the author.