Ancient - are the vampires who around year 850 realised that in order to slow down the petrification and keep being human for longer they need to drink blood. In 2017 on Terra's territory there are less than 400 Ancient as - logically - they're slowly being replaced by Heirs.
The Heirs themselves are two kinds and only one can infect on their own.
Because with time the virus evolved and started to show up as a gene as well this allows for two Ancients to breed an Heir into existance.
All Heirs are much more resistant to sunlight and sudden temperature changes. In addition they can get sharpened senses and improved basic physical abilities (speed, strength, sight, etc.) Vampire - borns cannot transfer the virus with a bite but they can infect someone if they donate blood and that blood gets given to a non-vampire. Vampire-born Heirs consider themselves nobles and would not drink human blood as they consider it "dirty" and under their level.
The other kind of Heir is born from an Ancient and a human. In this case the child is closest to being a normal human but they need to drink blood once every few months. If they don't their immune system will crash which can lead to fatal results.
This kind of Heir is considered most dangerous among humanoid vampires as it was proven that especially on fullmoon nights, especially teen-agers, can get highly aggressive and easily hurt a human being. They can transmit the virus with a bite, have high endurance to heat and direct sunlight and are often much faster and more agile than a human.
The third category - Dragula - has given the name of the virus but also has its own meaning - animals that got infected with it. In animals infected a curious effect can be observed: their size increases significantly, their intelligence gets to impressive levels /as in - some would become able to hold a basic conversation AND understand the replies to it/ and - in some cases - they would go after a human or humanoid creature attempting to infect them. They would not try to bite and infect a non-infected animal as they consider it "one of their own".
It's a pretty common practice to see Ancient vampires tame and train their Dragula pet so that they can use them. The myth that vampires can turn into bats comes exactly from witnesses seeing a vampire-born Heir getting on their Dragula bat and flying away in such speed and agility it almost looks like they turned into a bat in mere seconds.
Extremely rare (almost legendary) is the phantom vampire kind. Those are Heirs born from a mixed couple who were then bit by a dragula. The result resembles a walking & talking gargoyle - gray and cold skin, big pale eyes /often glowing in the dark - like a cat's eyes but can't really see well in daylight, especially in sun/, flexible massive wings and quite often - tails. Phantoms are attracted to cities as - unlike Ancients and Heirs - they can only feed on human blood. /Due to them having a double dose of the virus. It's also why they cannot infect with a bite/ Despite their heavy bodies they are very agile and silent when they swoop down on homeless people or anyone out on the streets in the night, strike them to knock them unconscious and bring them to the closest dark building where they'd consume them.
If any kind of vampire is left to live their full lives and reach the end of their days naturally, it /the end/ will come as a full petrification and upon exposing the "statue" in direct sunlight it will turn into dust.
Despite it not being true for the mass many of the vampires are allergic to garlic but wearing silver presents no problem. They can breathe/eat/sleep/reproduce like normal humans/animals as in most cases they ARE ones.
Transmission & Vectors
The virus is transferred via the blood or saliva of the vampire mixing with the blood of the chosen victim.
Complete healing from the virus is only possible with the mixed-parent Heirs as they have more human in them than any other variant.
Through the years an antivirus has been developped and it's distirbuted around all hospitals of cities with vampires registered. In the form of an injection it's applied once, it's free for whoever wants it and causes intense pain, fever and even hallucinations. What happens is that the cells that were already infected get coated in a helpful layer of - pretty much - magma /or at least it feels like it/ that burns off the parasyte's cells and extracts and removes anything remaining in he body conneced to them. The process can take up to a week and is extremely painful but if the treated individual survives it they walk out as a regular no-blood-drinking human.There is a throey that if one gets infected and the injection is done on him it's possible his "transformation" to be cancelled. That theory was never tested.
Any creature can get infected
To prevent vampires from going "medieval" and attacking everything and everyone they see the blood stores were created. The stores are being loaded with lood from volunteers, people who passed away but gave their permission for their blood to be sold and from animals who were either already used for their meat and will not need it again or - if in case of an accident - they bleed too much. Stores sell the blood in non-transparent bottles and with a sraw attached and often have a small bowl of special chewing gum that can be taken for free - it removes blood stains from teeth and eliminated blood smell in the breath. Some Blood cocktails are also sold in the blood stores.
When moving into a town any and all vampires get registered as such.
About 700 years after humans moved onto Terra as they were openly building and destroying naturally sealed caves and gas pockets in the earth, a new - for the time - virus was released. The first known case of a human infected with it is from 735y. Supposedly until then it wasn't detected because of its slow parasytic-like action.
The infected started to keep away from sunlight and when forced to stay in it for longer than a minute he suffered extremely fast and fierce burning of the skin.
[from scientists' translations:] "On his hands and body a labyrinth of crimson lines was bubbling into view. The skin around them quickly darkened reaching shades of blue that reminded of wet stones" [...] Because the crowd was too shocked by what they were witnessing none came to aid the man and the changes progressed: "The lines /most likely the venous system/ fell down and under the skin which changed to gray and roughly textured. At this time (his) hair got longer and started resembling a tree's roots, his eyes bulged and got a sick shade of pink and his expression was barely holding on his skeletal-revealing face. All the muscles had given up on the poor guy in minutes and as he was trying to cry out with pain the only audible sound was said to have been similar to " ra...gul..." Left where he fell by the end of the day in the bright sunlight his skeleton got exposed and with the winds in the night when next morning came there was no trace of his existance."Following that first case the virus was named "Dragula" for easier pronunciation and any following infected patients were taken from their social groups and studied.
In 803y. it was discovered that if someone infected is kept within specific conditions (soft sunlight, temperature under 25oC and normal social contact) he could live up to 20 years with no physical /or mental/ changes.
In 843y. an individual who became 20 years old in 803 and stayed practically the same during the years started complaining from stiffness in his shoulders and increased sensitivity of the skin on his back. Upon being examined the patient's back turned out to have gotten in early stages of petrification.
- Chronic, Acquired & Congenital
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