By J.C. Clark and Mortimer Promelion
Vampires: once considered beasts of legend (and still considered such by the general public), these enigmatic monsters seemed to capture the imagination of humans the world round. On almost every continent you can find folklore about some creature that disguises itself as human to feast on human blood. We now know that, despite these myths fantastic qualities, there is a basis in fact to the vampire, as well as a wide family tree of these dastardly bloodsuckers. While almost all known types of vampire are actually human victims afflicted with a virus, there is one species the living vampire, if you will that is actually a subgroup of our own species, whose blood is the root of the plague. The origins of this species go even higher, into planes of reality we have only started to comprehend. This essay will briefly summarize the origin of vampires as well as the various types of them that have been recorded by the various agents here at Area 51. As this is pertinent to the super soldier project, this essay shall remain classified until further notice.
Ethereal Beings is a filler term used to describe a group of intangible and seemingly sentient forces that, from time to time, have appeared on our planet. These creatures are mysterious to say the least, and what little is known about them is not fully understood. They can apparently travel through more than four dimensions, being unlimited by time and space. In their natural state they have no physical shape, instead being made of a strange sort of energy. Then can take on a physical form, often taking shapes that seem to actively spit at the laws of physics. They are important to this summary because they are necessary to create Langsuir or, more specifically, the host species from which the virus comes.
The various ethereal beings found throughout the cosmos can spawn with humans when they take physical form. In addition to being incredibly rare, these couplings are made somewhat miraculous by the fact that the intercourse will result in a hybrid offspring offspring capable of sexually reproducing at that. These beings, a subspecies of human, have been termed Homo sapiens moroi, or moroi for short (Moroi means living vampire). This is an appropriate moniker as Moroi are not truly undead, although they are the source of the original strains of the Langsuir virus.
While Moroi are little different from normal humans when exposed to sunlight, when out of the suns rays they exhibit many powers of a supernatural nature (note: I have qualms with calling these powers supernatural, as it lacks a scientific connotation. However, since we have not been able to fully explain these powers yet, it is so far the best term to describe them). A moroi will be roughly twenty times as strong as a human of the same size and shape. They are also innately more intelligent, with long and refined memories. Moroi exhibit an advanced healing factor: they can heal injuries almost instantly, including most complex structures (the notable exception being their hearts, which are vulnerable yet able to heal at an incredibly slow pace). This healing factor also allows moroi to live incredibly long lives (at least several centuries, and there are even scattered reports of moroi living for millennia) by keeping them in a state of endless youth, with most moroi looking like 20-30 year old men and women. A more gruesome feature involves the morois feeding face. Their teeth can switch from a normal humans dental array to something more akin to a box full of upright nails; this is the result of both a biological and psychological trigger, generally having to do with the thought of blood or feelings or anger. Their shape changing ability is not restricted to their faces, either. Moroi can shift their form (and, with some work, other matter around them) at will, although they cannot exceed the original mass and number of atoms in their new forms. Any unused mass or atoms will continue to exist as a thick green mist that follows the moroi.
All of these powers and enhanced abilities stem from a high amount of what we have termed as ethereal energy: the energy that the ethereal beings are made of (this energy is likewise the source of the supernatural powers of the undead vampires that descend from moroi). While it has been found that all organisms produce small amounts of this energy, moroi produce vast amounts of it, which allows them to reshape matter much like the ethereal beings that helped spawn them. It is the use of this energy that allows moroi to exhibit the shape-shifting and levitation powers of the vampires of legend.
This all comes with drawbacks, of course. The production of ethereal energy consumes vast amounts of iron and carbon far more than a normal human body can produce on its own. To counter this, Moroi have developed a quick way to gain iron from prey: blood drinking. As blood is high in hemoglobin (and thus high in iron), the consumption of vast amounts of blood allows Moroi to support their otherwise iron deficient body. This is why Moroi have an instinctual and physical need to drink blood. The blood must be mammalian; human blood is particularly nutritious, although it has an odd side effect on the vampires system that is similar to alcohols effect on a humans thought process. A moroi that drinks human blood will lose its inhibitions and often degenerate into a homicidal rage and bloodlust.
Moroi can only be killed a few ways: decapitation, the impalement of a silver stake (or any pointy object made of silver) through the heart, or cremation. Decapitation works because it separates the Morois head from its heart, where the ethereal energy is produced (without the energy the head cannot regenerate and will thus die). Silver absorbs ethereal energy, thus cutting off the vampires supply and keeping it from healing. Additionally, any wound made by a silver object to a vampire will take quite a while to heal, as the affected area will reflect any energy that tries to heal it. Note: any blow to the heart will generally incapacitate a Moroi, sometimes knocking it into a coma for weeks or months. They will not be fatal, however, unless the wounding object was made of silver OR the wound was followed by cremation. This includes wooden stakes, even though they are perhaps the most famous implements of destroying a vampire.
Moroi also seem to universally dislike the smell and taste of garlic, although it does them no harm. Sunlight does not kill moroi; instead it simply removes most of the powers that set them apart from humans, although they still can only be killed by the aforementioned methods. The reason for this is unclear. Some believe that sunlight cancels out most of a vampires ethereal energy, though this remains to be proven.
Objects of faith cannot damage Moroi physically, but can be a good psychological attack if the Moroi in question is religious, since the Morois need to drink blood and urge to prey on its kin often leaves them with a pessimistic outlook on themselves. Many Moroi tend to believe that all the things they view as morally just be it a higher power or simply other people unanimously hate them for what they are (many also revel in this belief one specimen was so enamored of his low opinion of himself that he reacted violently whenever he was complimented). It is unknown if this is an inherited mindset or one caused by their upbringing. Since their ability to change shape is controlled by their conscious mind, this unconscious fear of righteousness can occasionally make them physically hurt themselves in the presence of religious objects if the vampires in question are religious, occasionally to the point of suicide.
It should be known that most, if not all moroi are mentally unstable individuals, many of whom exhibit psychotic and sociopathic tendencies. While there are scattered reports of benevolent moroi, none are very reliable, and as such it seems that the moroi genes are linked to several psychological abnormalities.
Moroi do not show up in mirrors. This is not because they lack souls, but rather because the ethereal energy they produce creates an aura that keeps their light waves from being reflected. Why humans and animals can see them is up to debate, although it is possible that even the small amount of ethereal energy produced by normal animals is enough to see penetrate the aura generated by moroi.
There is a telepathic bond between a moroi and every vampire spawned by it, directly or otherwise. For example, any strigoi made by a moroi is psychically connected to it. If that strigoi creates a vampire of its own, that new vamp is both telepathically connected to the strigoi and to the moroi. A moroi can always find its spawn and, whats worse, control them if it deems it necessary, able to override its offsprings own will.
Non-vampire Moroi Offspring: Dhampirs and Varcolacs
When two moroi mate they have a 50% chance of producing another moroi vampire. They have a 25% chance of making a human, which is known as a dhampir. Dhampirs produce higher amounts of ethereal energy than normal humans (though far less than a Moroi), giving them lesser forms of the enhanced strength and long lives their parents enjoy. Dhampirs are also noted for having a vampire sense: they can instinctually tell the difference between a normal human, a moroi, and the various species of undead vampires. In the past many dhampirs became vampire hunters, partly because they were damn good at it and partly because they generally had rocky relationships with their psychologically unstable parents.
The last quarter of probability would result in the creation of a new ethereal being, with the powerful creature being born in its physical form. These creatures, called Varcolacs (a term which also refers to a particularly vicious breed of werewolf, as well as the name of several goblin kings) tend to be gigantic, vicious, and destructive monsters whose mere presence creates a black cloud that eclipses the sun for miles. Thankfully, moroi are very rare creatures, and as such few varcolacs have come into existence.
The infectious nature of a morois blood is made all the more nightmarish by its adaptability. Langsuir, the virus that results from the mixing of vampire and human bodily fluids (generally blood), has several different strains. The main strain follows a steady path: a moroi sires a strigoi, a strigoi sires a vrykolakas, which in turn sires a ghoul that will eventually produce a revenant (flesh eating zombie), who can only sire other revenants. However, different strains of the virus can be produced if conditions are altered.
The most common strain of Langsuir made by a moroi creates a strigoi. This strain is the base upon which almost all other forms of Langsuir mutate. As such, almost all vampires in the world owe their existence to a strigoi.
To create a strigoi, a vampire baptism must occur, in which a moroi feeds a human its blood before killing them (most strains of Langsuir remain dormant until the death of the victim). As the vampires blood is digested by its victim, a virus that lies dormant in the Morois blood cells is released into the humans bloodstream via the small intestine: the Langsuir Alpha Strain. It is important that the moroi only feeds the human once before killing them, as repeatedly giving a human its blood may result in a mutation of the strain, creating a new virus and different vampire as a result. A strigoi can do several variations of this same ritual in turn, each one producing a different strain. The most complicated version of this ritual, in which a strigoi feeds a human its blood every night for roughly an entire year, will actually result in it creating another strigoi, making it one of only a few vampires that can create new members of its own strain.
Strigoi tend to be roughly half as powerful as the moroi that made them. They are only 10 times as strong as a human being their size and shape, produce half as much ethereal energy (which is still quite a lot), and are not quite as intelligent. Their healing powers are just as strong as their moroi ancestors, but they also have the same limitations. They can change shape with just as much malleability as a moroi, unlike most other undead vampires.
Sunlight, as with moroi, saps the magic powers from strigoi, turning them into what they would be without Langsuir: corpses, albeit corpses that do not rot. Like moroi, this does not change how one must destroy them in the slightest (the same methods used to kill moroi can be used to deal with strigoi). Strigoi almost exclusively prey on human beings, as it stabilizes them far better than animal blood, drinking the later only when no human is available.
There is a bizarre subspecies of strigoi in west Africa called the Obayifo. Almost identical to a normal strigoi, it is notably different because its armpits and anus have phosphorescent bioluminescent patches, making those areas glow in the dark. While this may seem rather goofy for a dreaded blood sucker, obayifos have slightly stronger offspring than normal strigoi.
If a moroi feeds a human its blood on more than one occasion before killing them, a different strain of Langsuir will be the result. This will create a strzyga, which is both superior and inferior to a strigoi, depending on how one looks at it.
Like strigoi, strzygas are roughly half as strong as their moroi sires. They have 10 times the strength of a proportionally equal human, heightened intelligence, and the half the ethereal energy output of their moroi creators. In addition, they had two rows of teeth in each jaw, much like a shark, which distinguishes them from all other vampires. However, their greatest strength is the fact that their hearts share the near-instantaneous healing factor the rest of their body sports. Although the myth that they have two hearts is a fallacy, they are nonetheless immune to the most famous of vampire disposal techniques: the impalement of the heart. Thus they can only be killed by decapitation and immolation.
This comes with a drawback, of course. Strzygas have a tendency to rot, requiring a lot more human blood to sustain them than their contemporaries. They also cannot infect others with Langsuir, leading several to christen them the sterile vampires.
When a strigoi performs a normal vampire baptism (i.e. feeding its victim its blood once), the result is a vrykolakas. Vrykolakas, like strigoi, turn into corpses when in daylight. Unlike strigoi, they rot in this form, and cannot turn into living people. They instead turn into demonic, troll-like monsters with gargantuan fangs, although its still an improvement from a lifeless cadaver. They can alter this shape to some extent, although they will always come off as a brutish caricature of whatever they were trying to imitate.
Vrykolakas have five times the strength of a human their size and shape (although one with their ape-ish would be hard to find), advanced healing, half the ethereal energy output of the strigoi that made them, and slightly above average human intelligence. The same methods used to dispatch a strigoi can be used to kill a vrykolakas.
A subspecies of vrykolakas is found in west Africa, produced when the strigoi sire was an obayifo. Nearly identical to the normal species, this vrykolakas, called an Asanbasam, has bones, teeth, and claws made of iron, making it slightly stronger and sturdier than the normal breed. They are generally found living in trees.
If a strigoi mixes cow blood with its own and feeds it to a woman three times before draining her of her blood, the resulting vampire will be a churel. They are similar to vrykolakas in power, except they take the form of a human instead of a rotting corpse during the day. Appearance-wise, they look like an attractive woman with one major difference: their feet are backwards, with the heels pointing forward. There are no male churels. Also, while a churel is not sterile like a stryzyga, it can only infect humans with the churel strain of Langsuir, unlike other vampires who generate a new strain.
If a strigoi feeds a female victim twice, drains it of its own blood, and skins the dead body before it reanimates, the resulting vampire will be a soucouyant. This vampire takes the form of an elderly woman in the daytime. At night she sheds her skin and transforms into a bat-like creature that is surrounded by fire, giving her the appearance of a flying fireball. This is advantageous, as fire will do her no damage in this form, forcing a would-be vampire slayer to use the more hands-on attack methods. It also makes decapitation tricky as the neck is well protected. Luckily, this does come with a drawback, as a soucouyant must put its human skin back on before the sun rises, or else her own fire will consume her. Soucouyants have no other powers.
Like churels and soucouyants, mananannggals are strictly female vampires. A strigoi must feed and feed on a woman every night for two complete lunar cycles to create one, draining the victim on the last night immediately after tearing her in half horizontally (with one half having two arms and the other having two legs).
By day mananannggals look like normal, beautiful and mature women. At night, however, they separate at the same area they were torn in half, leaving their legs and pelvis to suck blood. Mananannggals are half as strong as the strigoi that sired them, intelligent, and possess an amazing healing factor. They can survive decapitation, although a heart impalement or fire can still do them in.
In addition, if a mananannggal is separated from its lower half come daybreak, it will die. This is because its separated form is inherently unstable, being loosely held together by its ethereal energy. Like most vampires (ghouls and their spawn being the sole exception), sunlight severely weakens the mananannggals ethereal energy generator, destroying it completely should the vampire not be in one piece when struck. Like vrykolakas, mananannggals can create a new strain of Langsuir, although all its offspring strains share the same flaw.
If a vrykolakas performs a vampire baptism, regardless of how it is performed, the end result is always a creature called a ghoul. Ghouls, regardless of gender, stand between eight and ten feet tall. Unlike other vampires, the ghoul strain of Langsuir (and all strains derived from it) does not wait for its host to die. It actually instigates the expiration of its host, first with flu-like symptoms and ending with a violent seizure. When the victim reaches the final stage of the pre-mortem illness he or she will tear off his or her own face, as well as all external organs related to reproduction and the rearing of children. The victims skin rots off as he or she expires from these wounds. Mid-expiration the victims ribs and pelvises grow in size and prominence, giving the monster a false emaciated appearance. A strange, moss-like fungus-y substance will grow in the skins place, giving ghouls green, flakey skin. In the final moments of the transformation, which can last several hours or even days, the ghouls lower jaw will grow tremendously, giving it a horrific overbite. The ghouls jaws will bristle with fangs, with some in the lower jaw getting over a foot in length.
The intelligence of ghouls is up to debate. They tend to be rather brutish, existing only to devour flesh, living or otherwise, and preferably human. They are often easily outsmarted, yet can be fiendishly clever on occasion. However, a ghouls hunger is its main driving force, and as such they can always be misled by the promise food.
Killing a ghoul is simple. Ghouls are only powered by their brains, as their transformations reduce their hearts and other vital organs to a thick black acid used to digest their victims. The destruction of a ghouls brain, then, is the only way to kill it, and can be achieved by any weapon. Fire is also effective, as it paralyzes ghouls while it consumes their bodies, eventually working its way to their brains. Decapitation will kill a ghouls body, although the head will still be alive so long as its brain is intact.
Ghouls cannot change their shape like other vampires, although they can go through a metamorphosis of sorts. While ghouls can live alone easily, they must have a leader if they are to live in large groups. Generally this leader is the vrykolakas that sired them, which they will follow until it dies. Should that happen, the ghouls will fight bitterly with each other until only two remain in one piece. These two will then wrestle, each taking care not to gravely injure the other. The victor will devour two thirds of the slain ghouls, with the loser eating the other third. These two survivors will then mutate. The loser ghoul will gain two to four feet in height, and his body will grow to make him proportionally equal. His talons will grow larger as well, and its jaw will further mutate into an even more gruesome overbite. The mossy skin over its sternum will fall off, as will the sternum itself, and his ribs will grow to fill in the gap. In short, this ghoul will become a Grendel.
The victorious ghoul will grow even larger, becoming elephantine in size. Its overbite will dwarf even the grendels in size and grotesqueness as its head become disproportionately larger. The ghouls arms and legs will not grow as much as the rest of it, turning into stunted appendages that are mere shells of their former selves. Its ribcage will open and release a mass of thick, green tentacles from its chest, turning the ghoul into a Grendel Matriarch. The matriarch will find a nest site while the grendel hunts for prey, bringing some of its kills back to its mother. The two can both create new ghouls on their own, as well as produce two species of lesser vampires.
Sired by mananannggals, pennanggalans are nearly identical to their sires. Both are strictly female, take human form during the day, heal quickly, and leave parts of their bodies behind at night. However, while mananannggals stalk with complete upper torsos, a hunting pennanggalan hovers with only its head, lungs, heart, and digestive tract. While this may seem a poor survival strategy, a pennanggalan is immune to decapitation and heart impalement. Its organs can also move on their own, with its intestines catching and strangling victims before its head makes the kill.
Like mananannggals, pennanggalans need to reunite all pieces of their bodies before daylight. This is hard, as their organs tend to bloat when they feed. A smart vampire hunter can slay one simply by hiding its body. Fire is also effective at slaying them.
Also known as draugrs, nachszehrers, the walking dead, and incorrectly as zombies, revenants are vampiric organisms that can be sired by ghouls, Grendels, Grendel Matriarchs, and even other revenants. Unlike most other vampires, a vampire baptism isnt necessary; it only takes one bite, as one drop of revenant (or ghoul, or grendel, or grendel matriarch) saliva contains enough of the revenant Langsuir strain to infect an entire human.
Revenants are essentially shambling corpses. They have all the physical strength of the human they were, and it decreases over time as they rot. Rigor mortis makes their joints rather stiff: revenants can only shamble and have poor motor skills. They cannot change their shape in any way, or even mutate like the ghouls that came before them. A revenant is a corpse from its conception and will be so until it rots to nothing. They have little to no thinking power; to them, the world is made merely of food (living flesh, preferably human) and obstacles (anything else, even other revenants), with them trying to get the former and ignore or avoid the latter. They cannot reason, and are incredibly stupid.
Like ghouls, the only way to kill a revenant is to destroy its brain. Again, any weapon or method will work as long as the brain control of its body parts (including the head it resides in) is ended. Fire should be reserved for disposing of dead revenants, as a living revenant will continue to move after being set on fire until its brain burns away, becoming a shambling torch in the process.
Considering the facts, revenants often seem like a small threat. It is this attitude that gives them power, as underestimating a revenant can lead to careless behavior. Revenants have a highly effective and infectious strain of Langsuir and should be treated with the same care and precision as any other plague bearing species.
Revenants are generally called zombies in modern society. However, true zombies those made by a voodoo curse, are quite a different matter. They are actually just brain damaged individuals (the damage coming from the various chemicals and powders used in the curse) and are much less destructive that revenants. In fact, they are often rather mild mannered individuals. Nonetheless, the term zombie has become synonymous with revenant, as has ghoul, and the three creatures are thus often confused with one another. This misconception has led to many deaths, and will probably lead to more in the future.
Hollow Chest Man
Sired by either a grendel or grendel matriarch, a hollow chest man looks roughly like a ten foot tall mummified corpse that has been slit from its neck to the end of its belly. The creature has no lower jaw. Instead, the creatures razor sharp teeth grow from either side of its slit save for the section that crosses the rib cage. The ribs break through the skin in the teeths place, making the creatures entire torso its mouth. It has no vital organs within its body, as they have all rotted away. Newly formed internal glands secrete various digestive fluids as the fiendish beast searches for prey. These creatures are made exclusively by Grendels and Grendel Matriarchs. Whether a Grendel or G.M. makes a Hollow Chest Man, Ghoul, or Revenant depends on the mood of the creature when it infects a victim; H.C.M.s occur when the infecting creature feels depressed, while ghouls and revenants occur when it is angry or pleased (respectively). They are frail creatures and can be easily beaten into submission, though the only way to truly kill one is to burn it from the inside out.
Sired by a pennanggalan, a nukenubi takes the form of a normal human during the day (unlike its sire, it can be of any gender). At night its head alone separates from its body to drink blood and generally wreak havoc. Like its predecessors, a nukenubi can be killed by being separated from its body at sunrise or by being burned alive.
Crossbreeds: Jiang Shi and Wendigos
There are two hybrids of Langsuir and the werewolf virus, Lycanfenrir. One uses the strigoi strain of Langsuir, resulting in a beast known as a jiang shi. These undead creatures look like a cross of wolf, ape, bat, and human, possessing horrific talons and gruesome fangs. They tend to have white fur, although if the strigoi strain was obtained from an obayifo strigoi vampire the jiang shi will have glowing green fur instead.
The second hybrid uses the vrykolakas strain. The resulting monster, called a wendigo, looks very similar to a sasquatch (a large North American ape), although it possesses the talons of a vrykolakas and a fang filled mouth. These creatures have blood red eyes and an insatiable blood lust.
Both hybrids periodically turn into humans like their werewolf relatives, although this change is not controlled by the lunar cycle. Wendigos retain their urge to eat people even in human form, though jiang shi tend to exhibit more self-control. Both species can be defeated by any of the methods used to kill a vrykolakas or strigoi. However, like werewolves, both species can always return to life if their corpses are hit by the rays of a full moon, making them truly immortal.