Throughout history, Vampirism has plagued Veska in many ways. Many strains of the disease have caused changes across the course of history, though the most recent and prevalent strain is known the effects it carried over Human nobility. Though it was relatively recent, the disease granted immortality in exchange for the need of blood, which lead to the nobles feeding upon their subjects in order to quench their thirst. It is a refined strain of Sahali Vampirism; which carried a few notable symptoms and traits that were different from the vampires known throughout the world of Veska.
Vampiric ThrallsVampirism is somewhat difficult to spread directly due to the nature of the curse. Despite what rumors might say, simply biting a victim does not spread the vampiric curse, but leads to a state of enthrallment that turns the victim into what vampires call thralls. Thralls are subconsciously linked to whoever bit them, and urged to serve them regardless of what danger it may present due to a link left between the vampire and them. Put simply, when the bitten victim is allowed to live, they're left afflicted with a permanent mark that brands them as the vampire's thrall. They are also given subconscious thoughts and imagery that forces them to perceive their vampiric master as a dangerous predator, which inherently drives them to serve their master out of fear for their life. Failure to serve their master causes immense psychological distress that can cause mental trauma, due to the thrall's incapability of perceiving themselves as anything more than prey to not just vampires, but their superior. This is what keeps a thrall so eager to die for their master, for even if their vampiric lord is known to show kindness and mercy, they're always left with the subconscious perception of a monstrous predator leading them. Thus, it is often seen as a great kindness and gift in vampiric culture, to actually grant the 'blessing' of vampirism.
Vampire's BlessingWhen a thrall drinks the blood of the vampire that bit them, then they themselves are not only free to cast off the shackles of enthrallment, but become vampires themselves. This leads to vampirism to be a very easily controlled thing; even the boldest of thralls wouldn't ever dare to attack their master, and vampires are fully capable of deciding whether or not their thrall should be granted not just free will, but the dark powers that come with vampirism.
Vampires possess a variety of weaknesses and strengths from their newfound power; with the most notable trait being immortality. Immortality is granted at the expense of others, which encourages them to drain the life force of a victim in order to prolong their own. They grow a set of sharp, hollow fangs that are capable of puncturing flesh with ease, and produce a dangerous venom that thins the blood for ease of drinking. Vampires are also naturally inclined to kill. With their newfound power, they are left with a subconscious thought that life itself is meant to be prey harvested, a sentiment carried on from the old Sahali race. This only drives them to grow more distant as they make the sacrifices necessary to prolong their immortality. Vampiric Regeneration: Perhaps the most well known trait of a vampire is their inability to die through conventional means. Injuries afflicted to them close as fast as they were made, and drinking blood only expedites the process. Bright yellow eyes: Predatory, reptilian eyes. Bright yellow irises with long slits; this only occurs while in the dark. While this trait certainly causes their nature to be more than apparent, it also allows them to see their surroundings perfectly, regardless of lighting.
WeaknessesSilvered Weapons: Due to the usage of silver by the faithful of Aine, Silver has become a lethal weapon to vampires. It sears the skin and halts regeneration, making any wounds caused by a silvered weapon to be dealt as normal. Stake: A stake through the heart paralyzes the vampire entirely, but does not kill them outright. Nocturnal Mindset: Sunlight weakness is actually a myth, vampires remain capable of treading through sunlight as normal, but are generally inclined to act at night due to their predatory nature. The sun DOES However, make them naturally lethargic. Cravings: A vampire will always be inclined to drink the blood of a mortal, sapient being. Animal blood does not satiate them, and simple meals, while still tasting the same, do not fill them. They are also always inclined to kill those that they feed from from their predatory urges, but self restraint can allow them to break this habit.
It is impossible to treat vampirism, though it is possible to treat enthrallment simply by slaying the master of that thrall.
Hosts & Carriers
Vampirism is exclusive to sapient, mortal races. It does not affect animals or creatures incapable of intelligent, rational thought.
There is no way to prevent vampirism through technicality; as the spread is truly up to the whims of the original vampire.
Sahali VampirismAlso frequently referred to as Wendigo Sickness. This strain of vampirism is incredibly rare, but is considered to be the ancestor of the vampirism found throughout Veska today. Put simply, ancient vampirism was created by a cult surrounding an entity by the name of Zzath; a massive serpent that promised immortality in exchange for service. Zzath was credited with the creation of life that can be found on land, while his brother, Zzithraeliach, ruled the creations of the ocean. Zzath granted his worshipers the privilege of drinking his blood, and in exchange, they were given the first ever documented strain of Vampirism. Sahali Vampirism works somewhat different, however. While the predator and prey nature are both key components to its function (and shaped Sahali society as a whole), it was far more mild initially, with drinkers still capable of dying through conventional means. Symptoms of Sahali vampirism are relatively the same, however; and grew more pronounced as their worship of Zzath continued. Survivors would develop scales, matching their serpentine God. These scales would harden and thicken to form sharpened claws, while their faces deformed with patches of scaled scutes and wide mouths filled with sharpened teeth. Devout followers of Zzath found their legs fusing, elongating into a proper tail to match the image of their god. This is why common depiction of the Sahali people is often done as the so-called 'Lizardmen' that they're known as today. Unlike modern vampirism, Sahali vampirism was much more barbaric. Blood, as prominent and important as it was to Sahali culture, was not the focal point of the vampires that lived back then. Instead, it was living flesh itself. Those afflicted with the curse evolved into flesh-eating predators, devouring their prey live so that they could prolong their eternal lifespan.
Modern VampirismIn time, Sahali vampirism refined itself as a much more sinister and 'pure' curse to hide the more obvious symptoms. It's unknown as to why the disease mutated into what it was today; though the few scholars that know of ancient Sahali history claim that it was the cult's attempt to leave the curse more subtle, allowing their influence to spread through human nobility without causing immediate alarm. Modern vampirism was discovered when the human lords across Tregaron demanded to learn the secret of immortality carried by many of the Elves that still called it their home. This immortality was, indeed, granted to them, but the repercussions lead to a full societal collapse once the nobility discovered the nature of the vampiric curse. They were capable of living relatively normal lives, initially; However, with the Blood Curse ravaging Mordencrast and vampires left with no choice but to sup from the blood of infected peasantry, they were inevitably exposed, leading to the Crusades that marched across Tregaron to purge both vampirism -- and the Elves that were blamed for bringing it into humanity.
For the most part, Vampirism is often considered taboo due to it relying on the sacrifice of another's life to prolong its usefulness. In spite of that, some cultures; in particular the Vanks, welcome vampirism and allow it, so long as the afflicted in question does not abuse the power in question. The Vanks strongly encourage the use of vampirism and darker magics, believing it to be a test of morality in using it for good; those that use it for good are seen as true heroes, while those that use it for evil are seen as victims to temptation.
If I'm reading this right, vampirism has in essence a divine origin, is that right? And turned its vampires, eventually, into lizardmen/snakepeople? That's a new take I haven't seen before - very cool :D Usually Vampirism is a curse or disease, but rarely a "gift" like that. Thanks, Zzath.
Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.