06 October, 2015

#Drawlloween #Inktober 4 - Vampire

To gain power over the other survivors in the hive, many individuals are willing to take extreme measures. Some call it a curse, some call it a dark power, some claim it is a mutation or one of the more obscure forms of symbiosis between the living and "something else", generally it is referred to as "vampirism".

Unlike Ghosts, who seem to be a spontaneous manifestation of psychic energies, Vampires are deliberately infected. This infection has links to blood, as those who become afflicted start to desire blood as a form of sustenance, this desire gradually becomes a need as the infection's host ages. From a scientific perspective, the vampiric infection mutates and transforms a host's white blood cells into "something else". This change varies depending on the specific strain of the infection, and the interaction with the host's DNA, but one thing remains consistent... If the vampire does not regularly imbibe fresh blood, the red blood cells are gradually eaten by the mutated white cells. Thus the need for regular intake of fresh blood.

Subsidiary effects of the transformed white blood cells typically include gradual mutations to other parts of the body, often leading to distended canine fangs (or even jawline), necrosis of certain internal organs, and bleaching of the skin as the mutated white blood cells settle in the host's cell structures over the course of years or decades. Hosts also develop a latent psychic potential, but this seems more linked to the mutated cells rather than anything inherent in the host's biological makeup. As long as regular blood feeding occurs, the host will not age and their body appears in a state generally resembling it's maturity at the time of infection (known as the prime form). When the host has not fed recently, their body starts to change depending on the strain of infection... some strains age the host prematurely as the body is eaten away by the transformed white cells, others result in bestial and primal forms, ad then there are those which seem to turn to stone. As soon as fresh blood is administered to the host, the body begins a rapid regeneration into it's prime form.

There are said to be many statues and skeletal corpses scattered around the Darkhive which are in fact vampires, just waiting for the faintest trickle of blood to be shed near them.

Common other abilities for Vampires often require expenditure of psychic potential, or a rapid haemophagic reaction (the white blood cells eating the red, and thus inducing a weakened state requiring a new infusion of blood soon thereafter). Such abilities include limited shapeshifting (with a return to the prime form after a short time), telepathic communication and hypnotic suggestion, and even an ability to speed up or slow down time (thought this is rare).

Vampires, see to be natural enemies to Ghosts, Devils, and Lycanthropes, but the reasons for each of these enmities are different in each case.

The infection that renders a Vampire immortal and regenerates them into their prime form induces a field of stasis around them, which naturally collapses probability waves and thus is detrimental to ghosts. Ghosts are only stable around them when a Vampire is weakened or rendered into a state of primal bloodlust due to hunger, at such times Ghosts will often descend on a vampire and rip them to shreds with ectoplasmic appendages reaching into the physical world.

Devils also seem to have a natural hatred for Vampires, though there is nothing particularly supernatural about this. More often, a vampire will have acquired some type of relic or artefact to enhance their power even further over the communities around them, such items naturally draw the devils to them.

Lycanthropes see to be another type of infection altogether, far more chaotic and primal in nature. Perhaps they were once the same infection, simply evolved in different directions, but now they are very different. The tiniest drop of Lycanthropic blood in a volume of water renders it acidic to the skin of a Vampire (but does nothing to those uninfected), the quasi-mystic ritual that is performed by Lycanthropic priests when this occurs may be the origin of rumours about "holy water".

In most cases those who are infected remain hidden, and only survive through careful subterfuge. Throughout recorded history in the Darkhive, there are known to be only a dozen vampires who have revealed themselves, most of them as tyrannical leaders of blood cults with power akin to demigods, and two specific leaders who tried to lead their people to enlightenment through gifts they attained from the infection. Vampirism affects males and females equally, and in many cases it is seen as a reliable method for a male to attain power on an equal footing with the females in the hive.
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