The sudden disappearance of your tumors was unfortunately not the miraculous cure we had hoped. The tests confirm it: vampirism. I'm afraid there is nothing further I can do to help you. Security will now be escorting you from the premises.Vampirism is an infectious viral disease, resulting in higher iron consumption requirements, slowed metabolism, increased Imperium production, and improved healing and immune responses in its victims. Individuals afflicted with the haemovapira virus (HVV) are typically outcast from their communities due to fears of violence or infection.
Transmission & Vectors
Transmission of HVV requires an exchange of bodily fluid. Blood remains a well-known vector, but vampirism can also be transmitted through other, more intimate fluids. There have been no known cases of transmission by sweat or saliva. The virus requires a vector into the body of a new host. Protection is important when handling fluids suspected to contain the virus, and health experts recommend those with open wounds avoid possible exposure entirely. Vampire hunters don special armors and protection spells to protect their skin and therefore limit opportunities for their quarry to infect them. Most also don tight face masks in an effort to prevent inhalation of HVV-infected blood, in the chance they sever a vampire's artery. Of course this method of infection has also resulted in the collection of blood and other fluids from suspected vampires. Those who wish to become a vampire themselves have been known to periodically consume these fluids until successfully gaining the infection themselves. Some vampire families encourage these hopefuls, allowing the hopeful to consume donor blood from one of their own before adopting the newly-afflicted into their family. Most families of vampires abhor this practice and condemn its practicioners as the reason vampires have not succeeded in gaining trust and acceptance from the general population.
Various attempts at Agrokinetic Gene Therapy have successfully reduced the effect of vampirism upon the afflicted, at least for a little while, but none have yet eliminated all traces of HVV and therefore the disease will eventually return to full strength. Heat does weaken the haemovapira virus, but due to the nature of HVV this heat also detrementally impacts its host. As a result heat-based treatment attempts have been largely abandoned due to the dangers to the patient. The most effective treatments revolve around living with the disease and reducing its impact upon the quality of life of the Vampire. To that end iron tablets have become a staple for vampires, and many rely upon specially formulated food bars to consume their daily nutrient requirements. Due to its high iron content and lack of vitamin D, antheduum has become a staple ingredient. Since vampires lose all sense of taste these bars are considered unpalatable by the general population, but they are available in an assortment of textures to provide at lease some semblance of variety.
Nutrient Requirements and MetabolismOnce infected, an individual will begin to crave foods rich with iron. HVV will slowly dull their sense of taste until all they can taste is the iron within each meal. Those born without fanged canines may find those teeth developing points to better assist in tearing or puncturing their food. The afflicted individual otherwise maintains their original dietary requirements, except in smaller quantities. The haemovapira virus slows metabolism of its host by lowering their body temperature, maintaining just enough warmth to prevent freezing. This does allow the individual to survive comfortably in cold requirements but makes them particularly vulnerable to heat sources, including direct sunlight. Vampires also tend to avoid sunlight and certain foods such as egg yolks and fatty fish due to their susceptibility to Vitamin D toxicity. Their lower metabolism, coupled with the virus' hijacking of their immune system with its own defensive methods, means they require much less of the vitamin and will therefore experience adverse effects including digestive issues, nausea, weakness, and kidney stones if too much Vitamin D builds up in their bloodstream.
Attunement and Imperium ProductionAs HVV inserts itself into the DNA of its host it will also rewrite portions of their genetic code to enhance certain functions for the benefit of the virus. Individuals who were originally Naturally Unattuned will one day discover they are now Naturally Attuned. The additional iron consumed by the afflicted is used to boost Imperium production, to provide for the haemovapira virus' additional Imperium needs.
Health and HealingVampirism also boosts the healing processes of its host. Initially this manifests as a heightened immune system, wiping out other infections even as HVV strengthens its own hold upon the afflicted. Soon, old wounds and then new ones begin to heal more effectively as the haemovapira virus works its way into the new Vampire's bone marrow. Upon full strength the virus will repair any damages caused by aging, leading to younger appearances and an extended and possibly immortal lifespan of the host.
TransformationOnce HVV has spread fully throughout its host's body the afflicted will possess greater magical powers than before their infection. With these powers comes a new transformation ability, allowing the vampire to instead adopt the form of a Nighthunter. This transformation requires training from another who has already mastered the skill. During training the tutor also stresses the importance of maintaining the secret of the transformation. As a result the truth behind the Nighthunter is known only to vampires, plus a select few members of the Goldaming Family working secretly with Pollination by Night to help ensure the health of their employees by analyzing the strengths and limitations of the Nighthunter transformation.
ComplicationsThe haemovapira virus requires an elevated iron intake to allow for an increased Imperium production rate. HVV requires the host to use large quantities of Imperium to fuel its direct effects on its host, and to feed its own replication efforts. This is also why a Vampire can safely consume raw Imperium, suffering only a mild digestive discomfort. If enough Imperium is not available to the virus, however, it will direct its host to find other sources of energy. As a result someone who does not consume enough iron will eventually suffer Transitory Ungrounding followed by cascading organ failure as HVC forces the afflicted's cells to cannibalize what energy it can to support the virus' needs, unless the lack of Imperium is corrected quickly.
Vampirism can infect any attunable individual or creature. As a result only those with Unattunable Disorder are immune, as their disorder also blocks HVV's effects. Unattunables with a compromised immune system or a predilection towards the consumption of raw Imperium products may serve as asymptomatic carriers, if their immune defenses are not strong enough to expel the weakened vampirism virus, but most are able to fight off the disease quickly.
The iron requirements of vampires can easily be met through the consumption of iron tablets, or by ingesting meats and even certain vegetables. Additionally, a diet rich in Vitamin C will help the afflicted to metabolize the iron they do consume, ultimately requiring less. As a result the option of whether or not to drink blood has become very much a matter of choice. Rather than assuade fears this has increased the hostility towards vampires from the general populace. Vampires who partake of the blood of others have either chosen that lifestyle or resort to it due to desperation, resulting in escalating crutality in vampiric attacks. It is difficult to gain acceptance when the public face of vampirism revolves around selfish brutality. A few corners of hospitality remain for the afflicted. The Goldaming Family willingly welcomes the talents of vampires dedicated to the betterment of the world through magic, while Pollination by Night strives to provide gainful employment and a guaranteed source of iron to everyone on their payroll. Outside of these pockets of acceptance, vampires risk abandonment and expulsion from their communities if their condition is discovered.
The only trustworthy vampire is a dead one! I don't believe all this "haemovegetarian" nonsense, they'll turn on us the moment they get hungry, just wait.