Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: The Vampyres

Alright.  #Crux, City of Curses post tonight, all about Vampyres, their nature in the world Crux is set in, and their variety.  I've previous written up a bit of history on the five clans/families that dominate the Blood Quarter in Crux: The Walridr, the Inculti, the Visconti, the Medama, and the Patrizo.

This isn't as extensive as the post on Ursyklon was.  I plan to eventually write up a bit on the Blood Quarter and the Blood Barons, but this is starting point for explaining how the vampyres in Crux work in a broad sense.

Again, thanks for reading.  Comments and the rest are always welcome.  I think I'm going to try to get a post for In Transit Monsters up this weekend, if I can manage it.

Vampyres

Aristocrats, the Vampyres once hide themselves away underground throughout Orphos.  Most lived in or near Crux, as the City of Curses has long had a reputation for tolerating most kinds of monsters, excepting lycanthropes.  Only the werebeasts does the Prince ban from his city.

Vampyres are a kind Cursefolk.  They also are undead.  And yet most show signs of various kinds of different sorts of life.

In the Age of Bloodfire, Vampyres took over several cities throughout Ith.  With the Tomasi Empire's fall, they easily found ways to elevate themselves to rule various domains.  The Darkness came, the year-long night that the Blacksun brings once every few centuries, and it was then that the Vampyres throughout the region first installed themselves.

Ever since, they can be found from Ainesia to Maliph.  Vampyre families always differ in their traits.  But all possess some Curse that drives their instincts, and all possess magic that makes them powerful in certain ways.

There are some traits that carry over.  Most vampyres are vulnerable to certain banes, like sunlight, garlic, fire or running water.  But not always.  These banes don't kill them.  Which complicates things even more for vampyre slayers.  Banes will constrict, pain or even contain a vampyre.  But it can't kill them.

A vampyre must be decapitated, then it's body consecrated and buried with the proper ritual.  If any of those steps get bungled, the vampyre will return.

Vampyres have no pupils in their eyes.  Almost always they are pitch black, but some like the Inculti instead have a gold glow instead of the black of the others.  Dhampyr retain living eyes.  This is perhaps the worse trap for being lured by a vampyre; one can find out they are one by getting close enough to see their eyes.  But once there, one can't simply walk away from them.


Blood Magick

Complicating things is that Vampyric bloodlines carry a sort of blood magic to them.  Those who ingest vampyre blood, or carry even part of it, such as Dhampyr, can be affected by this.  Blood magick can allow a powerful Vampyre to dominate and control others.

Some Vampyre families, like that of the Inculti, oppose the use of such magic.  Others like the Walridr seem addicted to it.  And others, like the Visconti, seem to have trouble even using it.  Like other traits, this seems to vary from family to family.

The Baronies of Crux

During the Age of Bloodfire, four Vampyre families tried, in succession, to take control of the city from the Prince.  None of them went well.

New members came to control the families, and these successors each bent their knee to the Prince.  He granted them Baronies, and they are one of the few beings left in Crux who can claim to have them.  There are rumors that some Icons have baronies the Prince gave them.

These Barons have ruled the Blood Quarter ever since.  The Blood Quarter is like a second city in the deep, vast undercity of Crux.  In time, however, the Blood Quarter has been frequented by bloody conflicts, from the Othebean Crusades to the Ithic Revolution.  A fifth family would join them, the Walridr, from being driven out of their aristocratic homelands in Ainesia by Revolution.

Elite Blood

The practice of Vampyres throughout the Maru Sea was to rule.  In Ith, they helped to form a upper
class that were eager to help overthrow Othebea.  In Ainesia, they ruled their own nations and city-states, right up until the Revolution caught up with them.

To be embraced entirely as a vampyre, that is synonymous with accepting a noble title.  Even though Ith recognizes no such titles, vampyres still uphold the practice.  When one joins them, they receive a title and added to the household of the one who embraced them.

This myriad hierarchy reinforces a central tenet most Vampyres follow.  Their cursed nature makes them better rulers than mortals.  They possess the power, the wealth, the means to be the powerful.  Vampyres consider themselves the superior, the best possible beings that could be.

After all, they are Cursed.  Damned.  They are willing to do what no one else can to get things done.  To them, that obviously makes them the best suited to rule others.

Dhampyr

The Dhampyr are... they are something Vampyres always both regret and become fascinated by.  Dhampyr are mistakes.  Accidents.

To most who research them, they shouldn't even exist.  Dhampyr are living.  Yet they are somewhat dead too.  The contrast makes no sense.

Worse are those vampyres who give birth to Dhampyrs.  By all logic, vampyres shouldn't be capable of being inpregnated, nor even able to birth them.  These mysteries still have no answer.

Vampyres treat their Dhampyr children in wildly different ways.  Most see them as their heirs, and embrace them once they feel they've proven themselves worthy of their family and its traditions.  Others keep them as favored pets, using blood magick to manipulate and control them.

Dhampyrs either conform to their vampyric parent or strike off on their own.  A few sometimes have no parent, the vampyre parent slain or destroyed prior to their birth.  These Dhampyr are extremely rare, though, and each one is a unique case.

Bludtrial and Duels

Conflicts between vampyres have long involved centuries-long feuds.  Most Vampyre families obey the Concordat, a old series of rules and laws that govern conflicts and duels between them.  No major power in the Maru Sea upholds the Concordat.  In fact, there are many younger Vampyres and Dhampyr in Ith who push for outlawing the practice entirely.

Bludtrials are a form of hearing wherein vampyre elders use blood magick to determine the truth behind a incident.  In Ith, it counts as magical coercion and goes against the rights accorded all Sorcerous Citizens.  But most go into a Bludtrial giving their consent... although some claim blood magick might've motivated that consent.

Duels are a different matter.  Vampyre Duels can take decades to unfold.  Vampyres rarely use combat, instead using politics and manipulation to strike at one another.  These sorts of duels have the effect of making the more powerful vampyres paranoid.  Even the slightest event might be a move in duel begun decades before.