This article or section contains spoilers for 2021 novel Rafael.
Proceed with caution.
Vampires are reanimated human corpses which feed on living blood and emotions to sustain themselves. Vampires can turn humans into vampires through unspecified means, presumably by feeding off them three times on three subsequent nights. In rare cases the turned person hasn't been human, or completely human.
Sometimes the term is expanded to cover all supernatural bloodsuckers, or even people and creatures who don't drink blood but are so-called 'psychic vampires', i.e. possess psychic powers that require feeding from other people. The ardeur can be considered to be one such power.
- 1 Powers & Abilities
- 2 Vampire Feeding & Conversion
- 3 Cure
- 4 Limitations & Weaknesses
- 5 Mental Abilities
- 6 Master Vampires
- 7 Bloodlines
- 8 Vampire Society
- 9 Vampire Terminology
- 10 History
- 11 Other Types of Vampire
- 12 Also See
- 13 References
Powers & Abilities
The magical forces that sustain them also endow them with many supernatural abilities.
- Superhuman Strength - Upon their reanimation, new vampires experience a dramatic increase in physical strength; able to lift cars with ease. This superhuman strength is a valuable tool to vampires as it enables them to achieve such feats as snapping handcuffs, overpowering their prey, and fighting off any human opponent. Their strength increases further with age.
- Immortality - Unless killed, they can live forever as they do not age nor decay.
- Healing Factor - Wounds from most objects, even bullets, heal in seconds without causing them any seeming discomfort.
- Superhuman Speed - They move with incredible celerity and can run up to a hundred miles per hour, switching from complete stillness to blurring speed. They can cover short distances, making it appear to ordinary humans that they vanish at will. Combined with their mind powers, they can seemingly appear and disappear at will.
- Superhuman Senses - Their senses are dramatically enhanced to an unknown degree, to the point where they can tell a human's emotional state from their scent, hear whispered comments from some distance away and granting them superior night vision, able to see in total darkness.
In addition to these abilities that all vampires share, some bloodlines and powerful individual have more specified powers, such as ability to fly or feed on fear.
Vampire Feeding & Conversion
- Vampires can drink human, lycanthrope, or even animal blood for sustenance and to maintain their spiritual power. They cannot eat physical food, though they can experience the taste of food through human servants. Animal blood is not a sufficient diet. A vampire can survive for extended periods without human or lycanthrope blood, but may be driven insane by the experience. One such vampire, Sabin, began to rot from the inside out after trying to go off blood "cold turkey" at the request of his lycanthrope lover Cassandra.
- Vampires are capable of turning humans into vampires by draining their blood; as a result, many vampires do not drain a human more than three times a month. A sufficiently powerful vampire, however, is capable of turning a human with a single bite. In Laurell K. Hamilton's short story, The Girl Who Was Infatuated With Death, Anita explains to a client, "It has to be three bites within a very short space of time or the body fights off the infection, or whatever the hell it is."
- In modern times, it is impossible for a lycanthrope to contract vampirism (or a vampire to contract lycanthropy). This, and the fact that lycanthrope blood seems to more sustaining than regular human blood, is the reason why vampires prefer lycanthropes as blood donors. One theory is that in pre-historic times the vampiric blood was weaker than it is now so human beings could be infected with vampirism and lycanthropy simultaneously, resulting in incredibly powerful hybrids. The Mother of All Darkness seems to be the oldest and most powerful example of such a hybrid. Others include her "children" and certain members of the Harlequin. Another theory is that because the Mother of All Darkness was a different type of vampire, as were her "children", the rules of compatibility with lycanthropy differ.
- Some non-human or part-human beings can also be turned into vampires, although it doesn't happen very often. The wild magic of the fey for one actively interferes with the process, and although successful conversion is possible (as evidenced by e.g. Xavier), it might require a very powerful vampire to do the turning, and even then it's far more likely that the thrice-bitten body simply fails to rise as a vampire.
- When a vampire first rises, it may be confused or dangerous. As a result, persons who might rise as a vampire are stored in a locked morgue, and attended by a vampire counselor who supplies the newly risen dead with an animal to feed on and helps them adjust to their new status.
- If a human is killed during a group feeding and then rises (a very rare occurrence), he or she will rise as an "animalistic vampire". Such creatures have little or no cognitive ability but are extremely strong and resistant to pain, and can only be controlled by the master that made them, and even then only if he or she is powerful enough.
There is no cure for vampirism. It's a blood-borne contagion that can be removed by blood transfusion, but as the vampirism is what animates the otherwise dead body, that is only a more complicated way of producing a dead vampire.
Limitations & Weaknesses
- Sunlight - Vampires are burned by the touch of direct sunlight. If exposed for prolonged periods, they will combust and be reduced to ash.
Garlic - Vampires dislike the smell and touch of garlic and will weaken if they come into physical contact with it, they will try to avoid it as much as possible.(Editor's note: this line has been on this list for a very long time, but I don't recall it from the series. Citation needed.)
- Invitations - They cannot enter a person's home without an invitation. When Anita revoked her invitation to Jean-Claude, he was pushed out of her home by an unseen force. Vampires can enter any building they had access to as humans, though the owner can revoke the invitation. However, Vampires cannot be barred from the houses they lived in as humans.
- Master Vampires - They (regardless of their age) are subject to the will of their masters, even ones younger than themselves. The 500-550 year old Aubrey was subject to the will of the 200-300+ year old master, Jean-Claude. It is unknown if Aubrey could have overpowered Jean-Claude.
- Silver - Silver generally causes wounds that heal with approximately the same speed as humans and will leave scars and burns, and thus head or heart shots with silver bullets or blades may be fatal. Unlike lycanthropes, vampires can touch silver without injury, though injecting them with silver nitrate will kill them.
- Stakes - A stake through their hearts will kill most vampires, as will destroying the heart via other means (e.g. with a shotgun blast, sufficiently large caliber ammo, or shooting the heart repeatedly), although with really powerful ones it's safest to also behead the vampire or otherwise destroy its brain. In extreme cases the body should then be burned and the ashes scattered into three different bodies of water. Stake and hammer -approach isn't very safe unless the vampire is already chained down or dead to the world during the day.
- Holy Water - Holy water in like acid to their flesh.
- Religious Iconography - Religious symbols of any faith can repel and even physically harm vampires providing the person carrying such a symbol is a true believer. A Jew carrying a cross or a Christian wielding a mezzuzah would have no effect.
Fang Removal- Pulling out their fangs kills them or robs them of the lion’s share of their abilities. including their immortality, until they grow back.(Editor's note: this line has been on this list for a very long time, but I don't recall it from the series. Citation needed.)
Vampires have a variety of mental powers, most of which depend on eye contact:
- Rolling: Vampires can "roll" victims by making eye contact. "Rolling" typically refers to a temporary hypnotic state that vampires can use to conceal their movements (giving them the illusion of instantaneous movement), to give commands to the victim, or to reduce the pain of a vampire's bite. Victims with supernatural power, such as other vampires, animators, human servants, and lycanthropes, display varying amounts of resistance to this technique, but most people avoid the technique by not looking vampires directly in the eyes.
- Deep Rolling: Given time, a sufficiently powerful vampire can put a victim into an effectively permanent hypnotic state. In Guilty Pleasures, Aubrey uses this technique on Anita's friend Catherine in order to blackmail Anita -- Anita knows that once deeply rolled, Catherine is Aubrey's to command unless Anita meets his demands. Vampires sometimes pretend to release a rolled human to appease the police, but if they have been "deep rolled" they can still recall them.
- Mass Hypnosis: Some vampires are able to exert a hypnotic effect over an entire crowd. For example, one of the vampire comedians at The Laughing Corpse used mass hypnosis to convince his audiences that he was funny. Mass hypnosis does not have the same permanent effects as "deep rolling". Mass hypnosis is not a widely known vampire power, and has its limits. For example, in Bloody Bones, Anita doubts that any vampire could hold three murder victims simultaneously hypnotized while killing them. This form of "mind control" is the only one currently considered legal.
- Vampire's Bite: A vampire's bite can (but apparently does not always) provide the vampire with mental control over the victim. In Guilty Pleasures, Nikolaos bites Anita and states that after a few bites, her control over Anita will be absolute. Anita is able to remove the effect of the bite by disinfecting the wound with holy water. In Circus of the Damned, Anita states that a vampire must enter a victim's mind during a bite to gain control over the victim. A vampire's bite can be intimate, loving, and sexual.
- Empathy: Vampires refer to being able to "smell" emotions such as fear and lust, and some vampires are able to detect lies. It is not clear precisely how much of this ability involves literal scent and how much involves mental powers. However, mental powers are clearly a significant component; once Jean-Claude makes Anita his human servant, he is unable to read her emotions, which suggests that the technique is not purely physical.
Powerful and psychically disciplined individuals can resist or even completely block some or all of these powers, depending on the individual and the state of their mental shielding.
- Main article: Master Vampire
After a few centuries, some vampires reach "master vampire" status. Other vampires will never become master vampires, although their abilities continue to increase with age to a certain limit. For example, although Damian is more than twice Jean-Claude's age and more powerful than most non-masters in the series, he is still weaker than most masters and was unlikely to grow any stronger without magical assistance. A sourdre de sang appears able to mask and suppress the development of master vampire status in his or her followers; Warrick, for example, had his powers grow and master status develop during an extended absence from Morte D'Amour's presence.
Master vampires are more powerful than typical vampires with regard to the general abilities discussed above, have the ability to control lesser vampires, and may also develop additional powers. Some of the abilities that master vampires may display include the following:
Some masters have one or more animals to call. Mr Oliver had the ability to call snakes, Belle Morte can call felines, and the Padma can call nearly every animal. This ability also allows them to summon and command animals and lycanthropes of that species. A sufficiently powerful lycanthrope can interfere with and resist this call, however. For example, Nikolaos had the ability to call rats and wererats but Rafael temporarily blocked her call, preventing her from calling the wererats of his Rodere against their will. Some masters can call non-animals: Samuel, for example, can call mermaids and mermen.
The eldest of vampire masters, such as Nikolaos, Mr. Oliver, and Warrick, are able to wake, move, and use their powers during daylight, as long as they remain in shadows. It is unknown, however, how far Warrick's power extended. Aubrey, although not a master, was capable of at least reflexive motion during daylight if threatened. Damian, Anita's vampire servant, was able to move and survive in the sun after receiving another mark from Anita. It is unknown, though possible, if this master power evolves into the ability to withstand the sun completely.
Empathic Voice Manipulation
Jean-Claude and Mr. Oliver have the ability to form an emotional or hypnotic connection with their voices. Anita characterizes Jean-Claude's voice as having an almost physical sensation, and typically describes his voice as "silk against skin" or "fur against skin". Asher also has this power, but while Jean-Claude is able to portray joy and pleasure better, Asher is able to portray sadness and bitterness better. It is somewhat unclear whether this difference is inherent in the power, or simply due to the individual vampire's personality. Padma didn't have this ability until he gained a portion of Marmee Noir's power.
Human Servant Creation
Human servants are bound to a master vampire by a magic called marks. There are four types of mark needed, and when the servant is bound by the fourth (final) mark, he/she becomes immortal. The human servant can only die when the vampire they are bound to dies. Most human servants die as the vampire they are bound to dies, but in the third book Anita lives on as she kills the vampire she is bound to. Also, if the human servant is killed, either by blade or bullet (they cannot be poisoned or catch a disease), sometimes the vampire they are tied to dies too. It's possible that all master vampires are capable of taking a human servant, but most of them never do.
Animal Servant Creation
A vampire with the ability to call animals may also form a vampire-servant relationship with one animal or lycanthrope subject to the vampire's call. The series does not provide many details about animal servants, but the process and relationship appears similar to that of a human servant. The nature of a triumvirate, however, implies that the two are different enough that a vampire can have both at the same time.
When a vampire binds a human servant and a lycanthrope who is also their animal to call, within a sufficiently short period of time, the three may form a triangular relationship called a triumvirate. This relationship forms a virtuous circle that magnifies and shares the abilities of all participants. It also seems possible for Anita to create a second triumvirate with her animal servant, Nathaniel, and her vampire servant, Damian. In the case of a triumvirate, the one who binds the animal servant and the other servant, whether vampire or human, uses their energy to keep the others alive and be able to have mind-to-mind communications. For Anita's case, if she does not eat, or feed one of her many other hungers, she will begin to feed off of Damian and then Nathaniel until her hungers are sufficiently satisfied. As Damian isn't a master vampire, he also depends on his master's power to maintain his own, so Anita shielding too tightly can revert Damian to a weakened, skeletal, and mindless revenant.
Some vampires are not hurt as badly by silver and some are not affected at all. It depends on how much power the vampire has and how old the vampire is, though age rarely has that effect. The Regional Preternatural Investigation Team often uses silver to slay vampires.
Draw Blood From a Distance
This ability allows a vampire to cut or skin an opponent, but only if that opponent has a magical aura.
In Bloody Bones, Seraphina says she usually accomplishes this by using a vampire's own 'aura of power' against itself, and that humans normally lack the aura and therefore cannot be harmed this way. As necromancers, Anita and Larry each have an aura of power, which enables Serephina, for the first time, to cut humans from a distance just as she does vampires.
Jean-Claude admits to being unable to do this, though he does hold the knowledge of how it is done. It was demonstrated in The Killing Dance by Sabin, aimed at Anita, though Sabin claimed it was an accident.
Anita has inherited this vampiric ability to cut a vampire's aura. Anita first demonstrated the ability in Burnt Offerings, when she accidentally cut Yvette, out of anger. Later, in Incubus Dreams, Jean-Claude helps her control the ability as they were trying to control Primo.
A master is capable of drawing all of the power from vampires that he has personally sired, reducing them to a weakened, near-skeletal state. (Examples: Jean Claude; Belle Morte;). Obisidian Butterfly has a different version of this ability, and can reduce any victim to a living mummy, as well as return their life force to them. Anita learns this power from her.
Kiss of Life
The opposite of draining power, a master vampire can share power with the vampires they have created personally. This can be done through a kiss, although it's unclear whether it's only Belle Morte's line who do it like that.
Some master vampires can call shadows, cloaking an area in darkness. Serephina conceals her orchard this way in Bloody Bones.
Some vampires have a minor level of pyrokinesis (the ability to create and control fire with the mind), but major pyrokinesis is almost unheard of among vampires because flame is an element of purity, with the exception of Warrick who believed it to be a gift from God in Burnt Offerings.
Some vampires have a mind reading power but they only can read peoples minds from a distance away.
Each sourdre de sang is capable of supporting a bloodline - a group of vampires who draw power from that vampire either by direct descent or by blood oath. Some powers are only seen in master vampires of a given bloodline. If a sourdre de sang is killed, usually all vampires of that line die with them.
Morte D'Amour - The Lover of Death
- Rotting Vampires
Rotting vampires, such as Janos, have the ability to allow their body to rot into a decaying corpse or even fall apart without suffering damage. As a result, they are almost impossible to kill without fire (or, presumably, sunlight). This ability appears to be limited to selected members of Morte d'Amour's bloodline.
Morte d'Amour and selected members of his bloodline are able to cause "corruption" with their bite -- unless the victim is sufficiently powerful to resist, even a single bite can cause a victim to decay and die. This ability appears to be significantly more rare in Morte d'Amour's bloodline than the ability to rot and reform.
Belle Morte - Beautiful Death
The greatest of the powers in Belle Morte's line is the ardeur. Belle Morte, Jean-Claude, and Anita are the only people known to possess this power fully. The most basic aspect of the ardeur inspires intense sexual passion in all it touches. Those under its thrall are gripped with an intense desire to have sexual intercourse with the user of the ardeur, or else the nearest person.
The ardeur drains the energies of those it feeds on and can potentially drain a person to the point of death. Thus those who possess the ardeur must have several lovers if they wish to properly feed the ardeur without killing anyone.
All those in Belle Morte's line that possess the ardeur are called "incubi" (if male) or "succubi" (if female). It should be noted that some vampires automatically assume that all belonging to Belle Morte's line are incubi and succubi, although this is not true.
- Feeding from Distance
At least Belle Morte herself and Jean-Claude have the ability to trigger lust and feed on it even without physical contact. This is why Jean-Claude was running a strip club for Nikolaos.
- Other Related Abilities
Several master vampires in Belle's line have powers related to the ardeur.
- Asher's powers seem to revolve around intimacy and seduction. He is unusually strong at "rolling" his victims mentally, and has a power to "fascinate" others. Asher's bite is literally orgasmic, and his victims often are addicted to the experience and/or experience "flashbacks" of the orgasms received from his bites. Although Asher does not appear to draw strength from lust itself, he can draw power directly from Anita, or, presumably, from anyone else he has seduced as deeply as he has her.
- Augustine has the ability to make others love him. As with the other powers in Belle's line, unless he is extremely careful, the power also works in reverse, forcing him to love his victim.
- London's power is that he is exceptionally good "food" for the ardeur itself. Using the ardeur on him generates additional power, and he is capable of satisfying the ardeur much more often than anyone else.
- Requiem can inflame physical lust in his victims (and, of course, in himself).
He is now, as of Cerulean Sins, a Sourdre de Sang, which means that he is completely independent of Belle Morte and any other bloodlines now. It also means that every vampire in his territory that swears a blood oath to him will receive their animating power from him solely. It also gives him other abilities, mainly that he is now the leader of a new bloodline and all of the powers that come from that position. As he started out in Belle Morte's line, however, the powers of his line are very similar.
Also called mora, Nighthags are vampires who have the ability to feed on and create fear in those around them. This ability works similarly to the ardeur in that the vampire who feeds using fear can go longer without blood, though not forever. Damian's former Master, Morvoren, is a very powerful night hag and is possibly the sourdre de sang for the bloodline. Night hags cannot completely turn this power "off"; everywhere they go there is a small feeling of dread, no matter what they do. It is a master vampire power.
An almost entirely extinct bloodline, that was to battle what Belle Morte is to sex. Wicked and Truth the only remaining members of it after they killed their sourdre de sang who had gone mad. In Skin Trade Truth recovers some of the bloodline's powers, including the ability to move faster than even a lycanthrope. Vampires of this bloodline could also pass for human even to witches.
In general, vampires are organized in a strictly hierarchical structure, both as a matter of social organization and as a matter of the magical power that animates them.
- With the exception of rogues and, initially, members of Malcolm's Church of Eternal Life, all vampires are bound to a master. In most cases, that master will have his or her own master, resulting in a hierarchy of control. Although a sufficiently powerful master appears to have some ability to control subject vampires through purely magical power, there are numerous vampires in the novels who demonstrate an ability and willingness to disobey their master. The brothers Wicked and Truth managed to kill their master and were basically free agents, even though a vampire usually doesn't live through the death of their master.
- Each area large enough to support a social group of vampires is controlled by a single Master of the City. Assuming this position increases a vampire's magical as well as social power, as the master draws a share of power from all the vampires under its control. This position is typically transferred only by the death of the existing master. A vampire traveling to a new area must have the permission of that area's master, and when masters of different cities visit one another, they often engage in detailed negotiations of terms.
- All of the individual masters of the various cities in turn owe allegiance to the Vampire Council. The Vampire Council is based in Europe and is composed of several extremely powerful vampires. Normally, a vampire assumes a position on the council by killing an existing member. Later in the series Jean-Claude becomes the head and initially the only member of the new, American Vampire Council, and as such the king of all vampires within the country.
- Other than obedience to their masters, the rules among vampires vary. For centuries, the Council required vampires to act with discretion, going so far as to kill Vlad Tepes for drawing unnecessary attention. After the United States began recognizing legal rights for vampires, the Council has supported limited cooperation with legal authorities. Vampires living in the U.S. are forbidden to commit crimes, and many city masters engage in vigilante activities to control vampire crime, often delivering criminal vampires to authorities, frequently in pieces.
- First, vampires gather power directly by feeding, primarily on blood, although some master vampires can also draw power through fear, lust, or directly from their human or animal servants. Vampires also appear to draw power from their subjects.
- In return, a vampire receives its animating force from its master, who in turn receives his or her own animating force from his or her own master. A vampire at the head of a bloodline is known as a Sourdre de Sang and need not draw its animating force from any "upstream" master.
- Vampires interact with humans in a variety of ways.
- Vampires may mentally dominate humans, forcing them do their bidding. Vampires refer to these humans as Renfields or more simply slaves. Another term for this ability is "overshadowing".
- Vampires also take blood from willing humans. Some vampires are in romantic relationships with humans who willingly donate blood. Others take blood from humans who have a psychological need to supply blood. These latter humans are known as vampire junkies and attend freak parties where they meet vampires.
- Kiss. What a group of vampires call themselves. There is only one kiss to a human city.
- Master of a City. A Master vampire who is strong enough to control other vampires in a territory. Lesser masters have to ask permission to stay in the city. This vampire is answerable to the Vampire Council, or later the American Council.
- Master Vampire. A vampire with enough inner or personal power to be able to rise from the day death by his/her own will/strength.
- Pomme de Sang. A pomme de sang, or "apple of blood," refers to a person who has agreed to feed a vampire regularly. In vampire society, the pomme de sang is a submissive but valued position, similar to a "kept man or woman" among humans. Pommes de sang are protected from interference by other vampires, and are typically given gifts and otherwise treated as a human might treat a lover.
- Sourdre de Sang. A sourdre de sang, or "fountain of blood", is a vampire capable of supporting his or her own bloodline. A sourdre de sang generates his or her own animating power, and also provides animating power for all vampires that share a bloodline or have taken blood oaths to members of the sourdre's bloodline. A sourdre de sang is owed a duty of fealty by all vampires that draw power from its bloodline.
- Stalking Horse. A vampire who acts as a front for another more powerful vampire, drawing challenges to that vampire's power base.
- Témoin. A Master of the City's second-in-command.
The origin of the vampire race is unknown, although they have existed for as long as humanity has existed. Though increasingly powerful the older they get, human hunters and internecine struggles seem to have kept their numbers down, and there seem to be few vampires more than 100 years old.
Other Types of Vampire
Vampire-like creatures who are born, not made, and only start hungering for blood at puberty. Marmee Noir might have been one, or some similar supernatural bloodsucker. The elders of the rodere still remember the difference between tlahuelpuchi and a regular vampire but younger rats rarely do, which might indicate that there aren't any around anymore, or that their numbers are few, or simply that they live far enough that the difference hasn't been relevant during the younger rats' lifetimes. Anita learns about tlahuelpuchi in Rafael
Humans or other creatures who feed on some emotion or power like a vampire does on blood. Some vampires can also be classified as psychic vampires, like Jean-Claude with his ability to feed on lust. Cannibal (Skin Trade) is an example of a human psychic vampire.
- Danse Macabre, chapter 53