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“ He looked down at them like insects that dared to dirty his boots. Mere cattle. Blood with legs.” – Where Blood Runs author unknown.

The above is taken from a great work detailing vampires, their habits, their lifestyles, and the nature of their so-called covens.

It’s an interesting thing that vampires and witches both call their clans or ‘families’ covens. Witches tend to be hereditary rather than wizards which are taken on as apprentices. Witches can be wizards of course, but a wizard cannot be a witch.

And, here I go getting off topic again. I almost feel sorry for my students.

Before we really get into vampires though, it’s important to know that there are many vampiric creatures, but in this case, I speak of those who are most often given the singular title of ‘vampire.’

Yes, those creatures who appear human, and feed upon us.

And, make no mistake about that. Werewolves may not pay us much notice, but vampires prey upon us. For that reason, cities and towns are where you’ll find vampires. Or, at least somewhere nearby.

Have you ever come across an incredibly charming person? Perhaps a woman who stole your heart with a single glance? Or a man you couldn’t refuse? No matter what he asked…

These creatures are predators. Their charm is thought to be supernatural in nature, but perhaps it comes from centuries of experience in getting people to do what they want.

Either way, vampires are charming, personable creatures. They excel at concealing their emotions and can fit into any social circle in moments. A number have even infiltrated vampire hunting groups.

Even among the vampire we speak of here, it’s important to remember there are a few different kinds. But, the difference has more to do with strength and ability than anything else.

Not all take on the vampiric curse so well. Some become little more than ravenous beasts and are often killed by their own kind due to prevent areas from being depopulated. And, judging by a few other sources, the disgust they cause.

These creatures make up the lowest of the low within a vampire’s social circles. Worth less than humans in many cases. And, keep in mind, they see us the way we see cattle.

Then, come various levels of vampire. Their power grows as they age, but some have great power instantly on creation.

Vampires are unable to breed, and must infect other humans to carry on. Their ‘families’ consist of those who sired others and they resemble human families in many ways. Some are said to be loving and friendly place. But, most see covens only as power to be wielded. As such, they can be rather scary, treacherous places to live. Even for vampires.

Unlike werewolves, vampires must spread their curse in a more ritual fashion. They must bite the one they intend to change and drink their blood until the human is on the brink of death. Then, the human must drink the vampire’s blood.

There are also some murky myths relating to alternative methods of spreading the curse, but they lack supporting evidence.

But, well above the vampires we’ve discussed. Above even those of supreme age and natural tendencies toward strength are vampire lords.

Each vampire lord is… incredibly powerful. No doubt you’ve seen testaments to their power in the history books. Whole armies have gone against them and lost.

Vampire lords are everything lesser vampires are and so much more. Little is known about the full extent of their powers, or how they come into being as all of that seems to be a closely guarded secret in vampire society.

Even our unknown author didn’t know or chose not to share it. Some believe the author was, in fact, a vampire. Why a vampire would share all that they did though… I can’t imagine.

But, just remember that vampire lords are powerful enough for entire covens to fear a single vampire lord. A few vampire lords also have covens, but others are said to be fairly solitary. Regardless, they are not to be underestimated.

And, on that note, I feel I should add a warning. Do not seek to provoke a vampire lord. In Lestria such an act is punishable by death. Nobody wants a war with such powerful creatures. There is little to be gained from such an action, and much to be lost.

I often say do not seek out the creatures in this compendium, and vampire lords are on another level. For the most part, they seem to leave us alone, and thus we leave them alone. Yes, there’s no doubt that they feast upon us, but the difference is a few lives a year compared to tens of thousands in an instant.

Vampire lords are also thought to practice magic. We’ve dealt with the results of powerful, evil wizards. Now imagine those who have had thousands of years to practice.

No, a war with a vampire lord is to be avoided as much as possible. They are costly affairs.

There are vampire hunters of course, but even they avoid vampire lords. Or, they die even earlier than normal.

Vampires are undead and do not age. Their skin is warm, however, and blood still pulses through their veins. No doubt so they can fit in better with human society. All the better to prey upon us.

There are many myths surrounding vampires, but hopefully I can set things straight for you here. Please keep in mind that I don’t know if any of this applies to vampire lords.

Vampires are supernaturally strong, and fast. So fast and strong, that even wizards can die at the hands of a vampire. After all, what good are your spells if they don’t hit your target?

Vampires must drink blood. It’s unknown what the exact amount they must consume or over what period of time, but they have to. They can subsist on animal blood, but humans are their chosen prey.

You may balk at the thought and wonder why they don’t simply target animals? Why harm humans if they don’t even have to?

To that, a vampire might respond with why we eat meat when it is possible, although difficult, to subsist without it.

Human blood seems to be the healthier choice for them, and as they view us as cattle… they aren’t inclined to bother changing.

We are their prey, and there’s not much to be done about that. Unless you fancy becoming a vampire hunter that is.

Some vampires, even those who are not lords, practice magic. This can make an already deadly, and tricky foe even more dangerous.

But, vampires are not without weaknesses.

First, to dispel the foolish notion that silver is harmful to vampires. It means nothing to vampires. The idea that it does comes from werewolves. Against a vampire, a silver weapon is no more useful than any other metal.

There are other misconceptions, but by far the most common is the idea of silver being lethal. So, now to discuss methods that actually do something.

Holy water. Now this is a tricky one because it can be dangerous for vampires. But, it has to be specifically made by infusing water with divine power. Or magical power in some cases. The water itself has to be infused with the spell.

This process is incredibly wasteful as much of the power in the spell is lost. There are far more dangerous and effective spells, so this fell out of favor a very long time ago. If someone offers to sell you ‘holy water’ it’s quite likely to just be water.

A wooden stake through the heart. This, like holy water, is effective in a way. But, it doesn’t kill the vampire. Putting a wooden stake through a vampire’s heart merely renders it comatose. It might appear to be dead, but remove the stake, and you’ll find out that it’s very much alive. And, quite likely, annoyed.

Honestly, if you’re in a position to put a stake through a vampire’s heart, you might as well do something to kill it instead. Unless not doing so is your goal for some reason. Though, some hunters prefer to render a vampire comatose and then finish it with a killing blow afterward.

But, the heart isn’t an easy target to hit, and more than a few would be hunters were fooled by a vampire playing to be comatose.

Sunlight is another tricky one. Vampires are significantly weakened during the day. This effect is greatly enhanced when they’re in direct sunlight. The harsher the sun is, the more it saps their strength. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t spontaneously combust or something, but powerful enough sunlight will render them utterly helpless.

This is why most hunters do their hunting during the day. It greatly negates a vampire’s strength and speed even if they’re not in it. But, should the fight take place outside… the vampire will find themselves at a greater disadvantage with each passing second.

That being said, vampires tend to take extreme precautions to deal with this. There are even mythical magical items spoken of within vampire circles that are supposed to grant immunity to sunlight and all its effects.

But, so far we haven’t discussed how to actually kill a vampire. Is it even possible?

Yes. It’s difficult though. As should be clear by everything I’ve said thus far.

Vampires are able to regenerate from almost any wound, much like werewolves. However, after a certain point they will fall into a comatose state and take a while to fully recover.

Cutting off a vampire’s head is something it cannot recover from, however.

But, keep in mind that the flesh of these creatures is supernaturally tough, so decapitating one is akin to trying to chop down a tree with a blunt axe. Not the easiest thing to be sure. Enchanted items are a necessity.

Fire can also kill a vampire, as can anything else that would reduce them to ash or less. But, keep in mind the fire has to be hot enough to actually incinerate them. Vampires can recover even when reduced to what seems to be a charred corpse. Decapitate them or utterly destroy them.

That’s about it.

Any spells that would do the above will, of course, kill a vampire, which makes wizards or extremely prepared warriors with lots of enchanted equipment the bane of a vampire’s existence.

But, of course, vampires can wield enchanted items themselves, and more than a few practice magic.

So, it is a rare thing indeed for a vampire to be killed.

What is to be done then I hear you asking. Should we just allow these creatures to prey upon us?

It’s either that or risk your life as a vampire hunter, I’m afraid. Beyond that… I have no answers.

- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University

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