Vampires

Vampirism has been around as long as humanity itself, and some vampires are a few thousand years old. They are not evil, or at least not any more so than they were as ordinary humans before being turned. Their most important law, truthfully perhaps their only law, is that no human is ever turned without his or her willing consent. There have been renegades who disregarded this law, but they are hunted and destroyed by other vampires when discovered.

Like normals, vampires socialize according to personal preference; some prefer solitude and sometimes make their own fledglings believe that being alone is inherent to the vampiric state. Others enjoy close ties with others of their kind and some with humans as well. The strongest bond, and one that is usually unbreakable, is between sire and fledgling. Part of that is due to ties usually developed before the fledgling is turned and part from the mental ties between them.

Vampires do have a variety of powers including the ability to read a human's mind if they concentrate on it and to mesmerize a human and also to cause him or her to forget something that happened, either completely or faded to a dream. Mental communication between vampires is as easy as verbal speech if neither party is shielding himself. While they don't have the ability to turn into bats or wolves--and curse Bram Stoker for his dramatization of them!--they can turn to mist. Or rather, they can thin themselves to near transparency, more to the point of seeming to be mist, or still more until their very molecules are so diffuse that they can pass through solid objects. All of these powers are inherent to the vampire and grow as they age and become more powerful, so an older vampire is usually going to be stronger in all of his abilities than a younger; however, the stronger the sire, the stronger the fledgling as well, so some new vampires, if their makers were old and/or powerful, are as strong as or stronger than others centuries old who had younger, weaker makers.

While they are sensitive to sunlight, it does not incinerate them. A new vampire can be seriously burned by exposure to direct sunlight, but as with their other abilities, their tolerance for sunlight increases relative to their age and strength. Older vampires can easily lie out on a sunny beach and tan, without humans' worries about skin cancer, as can fledglings created after they reached that state. The initial sensitivity does make most of them prefer the night, at least at first, but vampires can function quite well during the day. They require very little rest and usually make do with catnaps, preferably with their mate if they're lucky enough to have one.

Their saliva contains a powerful healing agent, so after feeding on an unaware human, a few licks completely heal the bite marks, leaving no trace. It can also heal other wounds and bruising, giving vampires a true healing touch. They are completely immune to all human diseases, including those of the blood, though a healthy human tastes better to them.

While they can subsist for long periods of time without feeding, especially when older, or on another vampire's blood, they do require at least occasional human blood and will enjoy it even daily if it's freely available. They can consume ordinary food and drink, which still tastes the same to them, though not in excess; however, they gain no nutrition from it.

Religious objects have no effect whatsoever on vampires, aside from possible reverence if they happen to be symbols of the specific vampire's own beliefs. Admittedly, some vampires, particularly those sired in the last century, believe otherwise, but that is a result of not being properly taught about their new state by their sires. Older vampires try to correct the situation whenever they run into one of these uninformed youngsters, but if the young vampire is a danger to humans, they will regretfully destroy him.

Vampire sexuality is much freer than that of most humans. They are as accepting of same-sex partnerships and permanent trios or more, as of heterosexual couples. Obviously, the preferences a vampire had before being turned carry over, but even the most rigid heterosexual has been known to become more open over time.

For the most part, vampires are very like the humans they once were, with the added wisdom of years or even millennia of experience and the pleasures of a perpetually youthful body.