Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vampires Part I

I have vampires on the brain. Vampires! Clearly I should see a doctor about that.

Anyway, last night the Abigail and I were reflecting on the preponderance of biblical symbolism in vampire stories, from the White Wolf canons to This is My Blood (which, by the way, looks awesome). In the end, the Abigail gave me a challenge: create an origin for vampires in a modern setting that doesn't involve biblical characters. Here is what I have created:

Vampirism is a taint. It enters the blood through the practice of keeping other humans in bondage through fear and violence. Out-breeding and gaps in the practice that last a generation or two are enough to clear the taint from a line, but if tainted lines hold slaves for generations and breed among themselves, eventually the taint reaches critical mass and explodes into a curse. In life, those who bear the curse of vampirism seem completely normal; after death, however, they rise. For their bloodthirsty ways they are saddled with a hunger for blood. For their practice of dominating others, they are blessed with the need and the power to continue their domination.

Worse, once the taint becomes a curse, innocents can also be made into vampires. Anyone transformed in this way is instinctively obedient to the vampire who made her until that vampire is killed, when she becomes a free agent.

Of course, the largest group of vampires in America are the scions of old Southern families that held Africans in bondage for centuries, though some California farmers who keep undocumented immigrants in near-slavery might be getting close to the change. Older families include a particularly bloodthirsty line that rose in South America and inspired the Aztecs to constant warfare to feed their hunger, several once-noble families in Eastern and Western Europe, and a clan of bloodsuckers in the middle east who claim to be the world's first vampires.

This is a creative prompt, so comment away. What would you do with this concept? Where would you take it? What characters, storylines, and themes jump out and, well...

Bite you?


Scattercat said...

That's actually a lot closer to the original notions of where vampires came from...

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I guess the serfdom of medieval Europe fits that model as well.

Anonymous said...

@ Scattercat: Neat!

@ Amanda: That's where the Eastern and Western European vampires are supposed to come from - they were the feudal lords who held serfs and were gradually transformed into monsters for their trouble.