The origin of vampirism

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Title: The Origin of Vampires

The Origin of Vampires
by Nonesirmi of Dusk

Porphyric Hemophiliam is a curious case among Tamrielic disease in that it is a contumely creation, biased against an uncertain something, and often thought to be the disabstracted sum of nature that is the lifecycle of a mortal. Mundane life, as created by the dismissed sums of our ancestors, suffers from the maladies of hunger, thirst, and tiredness; wavering in strength in age, it eventually succumbs to death. Vampirism embodies an obversion, as it raises only one living, if not dead, body and knows only one kind of hunger; it gains strength in age and will last until forcibly ended.

To ascertain the meaning of its contumely nature, it is necessary to start at the beginning of this particular circle. Unfortunately, most legends are variations of each other or wholly manufactured, as they were established or invented by the vampire elders furthermore manufactured during the open warfare between the Mages Guild and the Order of the Worm. Unfortunately, this conflict created a generation of intelligent undead with no inherited knowledge of their condition or history, as it was one acceptable method of warfare for the Worm Cult to engage isolated Mages Guild cells and forcibly murder half of them into vampirism with profane magic.

These vampiric thralls were then set upon, first by the rest of their cell mates and then other Mages Guild members, to the uproaring laughter of the Worm Cultists. As the old Order of the Worm fell apart after Vanus Galerion's sacrifice, these vampires were left abandoned and ignorant, as they had been little more than beasts for a particular brand of Wormite bloodsport and never proper minions. As they grew in age, they did not grow in knowledge, and many vampire clans and legends are as such based on ignorant accounts of beings who were too preoccupied with the gaining of power than that of gaining knowledge.

There are however three surviving legends, transcribed in the same age as each other, each in turn assuring their listeners that vampirism is wholly created by a variable Daedric foe. The most encountered legend, believed and permanently entomed in the Empire by western Nordo-Colovians, is the saga of a Nordic or Nedic woman, most commonly named Mola or Lamae Baelfag or Balefire. Raped and killed by Molag Bal out of a spiteful attempt to create limited life himself, she rose from the dead to devour and kill a tribe of Nedes in turn. Certain Khajiit, Argonian, and Bosmer sages recall the legend of Fahjarr, a Pahmar-Raht huntress who wanted to stalk the jungles of Pelletine forever, venturing forth into the Great Darkness and returning as an empty-eyed skin draped over a swarm of steel mosquitoes who drank her family dry before being driven off. Bretons, eastern Altmer, and several Orc tribes recall a nameless Direnni, who was nearing the end of her life yet surrounded by adoring students lacking in knowledge and unsatisified with her own lack of wisdom. ((Unchanged, but highlighted because it bugs me grammatically and I can't figure out how to fix it.)) In return for the blood of her students, a Daedroth of wisdom (sources disagree on which one in particular; of the three, Sheogorath is the least likely) granted her all the time in the world to study.

Notably, all legends agree on the first vampire being female, the only non-temporal constant they share. Out of the three, two actively sought their fate by fulfilling a pact with a Daedric Prince, who are undisputedly known to make deals with vampires.

Finding no answer in legends alone, the quill of the circle of inquiry must move onward to the involvement of the Daedric Princes and their natures. As for Lamae Balefire, Molag Bal alternatively makes use of his obscure Eastern title "Father of Vampires" to terrorize or entice unwary Dunmer, but is otherwise quite clear that he holds no less disdain for them. The vampirirical hunger, which is a coinhabitual mental state less than a physical sensation, is not something he could tolerate, as it would mean that a vampire will never not take consideration to something which is not Molag Bal. Vampires then must be a useful toy to terrorize lessers with, but nothing else.

As for Fahjarr, Namira is either unwilling or unable to confirm her involvement, as her cacophonical laughter was too unintelligible and only served to sway the witch covens who attempted to inquire towards other Daedric Princes. As for the expunged Direnni, Hermaeus Mora is little more likely to be involved than Sheogorath, as these Princes' fecund wisdoms require different trappings than the ones unliving mortal servants would bring. Clavicus Vile is as willing to make deal with vampires as with all limited beings, with vampirism a possible, but not often asked, reward. While a good sign of the status of a vampire's soul, this further removes certainity from a possible conclusion.

Finding no answer in the nature of the Daedric Princes of legend, the quill of the circle of inquiry must slip and reapproach the problem sideways. Vampirism takes uncountable forms, all subtly or obviously different. It is no mistake to say that every vampire has its own strain of the vampiric plague, Porphyric Hemophilia. Sufficiently powerful individuals seem to be able to suppress the sicknessness' unpredictability. If they are politically capable enough, a vampire clan forms that way.

There are several constants across all incarnations of Porphyric Hemophilia. First, the vampiric body is dead. The most common incarnation is that of a diseased person dying and waking up three days later in a crypt, while the second most common is that of a diseased person waking up dead after three days of contamination. It should be noted that despite being dead, some vampires can emulate life via Daedric Pact.

Second, the vampiric mind shifts instantly to incorporate instincts of a hunter-predator, allowing its survival in spite of former cultural identity. The most common response to this is a feeling of variable dread until acceptance can be attained, sometimes elation, rarely madness or mindlessness. All as-proclaimed "feral" vampires fall under the latter category, with the mortal mind in catatonia and the body shed of anything but a desire for satiation, whereas for those sufficiently detached from their baser nature, the new instincts are merely suggestive irritants and the conscious mind is always in control.

Third, parts of a living body are needed to stave off a form of hunger, with the overwhelmingly common form a craving for blood. It is, however, a factual emulation; that is, the vampiric body does not experience actual hunger or thirst, cannot die of it, nor does the hunger increase past a certain point. At no point is a vampire unable to act or think due to its perceived starvation, with insanity occuring only due to an apprenticed state to a predispositional maldjustment. ((You can put this back in. My confusion was with other parts of the sentence.))

Fourth, unfiltered Aetherial matter damages the vampiric body and mind, often in a combustive reaction. This is reduced in some vampiric incarnations that have recently filled themselves with parts of the living as their diet dictates, but never actually abates. The tiny boltholes of the night sky are insufficient to cause more than subtle harm, but the glaring wound that is the sun will invariably damage vampiric tissue.

There are known causes for the spread of Porphyric Hemophilia, all of which include another carrier.

There are known mutabilities of vampirism. Several Daedric Princes are capable of transforming the disease.

There are obscure cures for vampirism, which I have been asked not to recall. Notable is that the two incidents, involving Daedric Princes, resulted in an individual which could not be reinfected with Porphyric Hemophilia, lending plausibility to the idea that the disease was merely silenced instead of removed. ((These paragraphs need more transition from one to the other. Would also suggest re-arranging or re-writing them to pull them together into one paragraph.))

It is then time to look at the Daedra who show the most aversion to vampires.  Hircine consigns vampires to a more enjoyable prey role, comparatively tireless. If there is any other involvement in vampirism by this Daedric Prince, it is neither implied nor stated. Azura is in many ways the opposite of Molag Bal, but her reaction has the same origin. A vampire would always have their endless hunger as one of their masters, something neither the King of Rape nor the Mistress of Dawn and Dusk can accept. The Other Light is a more interesting Prince in this regard, as she is both a returned child of Magnus as well as associated with living energy, perhaps due to her fierce opposition to all undeath. Taken together with the obvious mockery of the mortal life cycle, this makes clear that the Daedric Princes find vampirism either a useful tool or, in one case, an aberration to be extinguished. Taken the origin of the latter Prince, it is clear that the mere presence of vampires is anathematic to the unset sum of Aetherius; that is, stasis in joy.

Taken in greater context, our ancestors shed their lives when creating Mundus ((is this needed? syntax makes meaning of this fragment unclear)) in a form not intended. Lorkhan's original goal was never realized as the children of Magnus fled his trap, but we know what it was like before the Earthbones set themselves. The mundane world was a shifting, timeless, hopeless, and violent place, created with unsharp edges to mock all Anu encompassed. Given this, vampires might have been the intended inhabitants of the Arenal trap and a mockery of our ancestors: undying predators that live ((variably "who live", though "that" implies that they are not personifiable beings, which might be a nice touch)) in an ever-shifting environment, consumed by their one base desire, eternally trapped in conflict, forever lesser than those that died to create them, killing and killing and killing to the endless laughter of a mad god.

(("But now..."?)) And now Lorkhan is dead.

Comments

"At no point is a vampire

Kevaar's picture

"At no point is a vampire unable to act or think due to its perceived starvation." -- not entirely true. Bloodfiends are thought to be vampires who went too long without feeding and/or could not control their hunger, and are considered little more than beasts intelligence-wise. 

I'm trying to figure out whether it is player lore or official--but bloodfiends are also thought to have white souls rather than black, which is why they are incurable, because part of the soul (and mind) has been lost. 

I would let this pass on the

Rats's picture

I would let this pass on the grounds of the in-game author being fallible.

Also bloodfiend kinda has "bland ESO lore" written all over it.

There are lorebooks that

Kevaar's picture

There are lorebooks that heavily suggest the instinct can overtake their rationality. I would think that the common folk not understanding vampires would tend to assume they are mindlessly bloodthirsty rather than the other way around, unless, possibly, their experience is with the Cyrodiil Vampyrum.
http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Vampires_of_the_Iliac_Bay,_Chapter_I
http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:The_Locked_Room

ESO just gives the animal-like ones a name, albeit a really bland edgelord name. I'm still trying to figure out where the soul thing comes from.

Both Morrowind and Oblivion

Atrayonis's picture

Both Morrowind and Oblivion have vampires who sat around in their little cave-ins for a good long while without going insane (the father of the Grey Duke and someone I can't look up because UESP is down). Ravenously hungry yes, but they were still capable of speech before attacking.
The point here however is that they were still in control and not in torpor or unrecoverably unthinking beasts.

Black and white souls don't exist. It's a misunderstanding that became canon during Skyrim (and ESO later retconned the origin of Black Soul Gems).

Morrowind-era books specify that using souls of sapient beings is a cultural, not a magical taboo. That you couldn't trap their souls was most likely an engine limitation or someone being uneasy with it.

Arkay the Enemy states that

 Arkay's Blessing prevents the souls of men, beastmen, and elves from being used without consent. Arkay's Law prevents those buried with the proper rituals from being raised to serve my children's will. As you know, my children, Arkay's Blessing is flexible to those with daring, but Arkay's Law is unwavering.
Which is where Black Soul Gems come in (after they were created by Mannimarco's apotheosis after Daggerfall) - they allow someone to completely ignore Arkay's Blessing.

As per the Discord discussion

Atrayonis's picture

As per the Discord discussion, a rewrite (not in the text yet).

Second, the vampiric mind shifts instantly to incorporate instincts of a hunter-predator, allowing its survival in spite of former cultural identity. The most common response to this is a feeling of variable dread until acceptance can be attained, sometimes elation, rarely madness or mindlessness. All as-proclaimed "feral" vampires fall under the latter category, with the mortal mind in catatonia and the body shed of anything but a desire for satiation, whereas the new instincts are merely irritants and the conscious mind is always in control for those sufficiently detached from their baser nature.

Third, parts of the living body are needed to stave off a form of hunger. The overwhelmingly common hunger is that for blood. It is however a factual emulation, that is, the vampiric body does not experience actual hunger or thirst, cannot die of it, nor does the hunger increase past a certain point. At no point is a vampire unable to act or think due to its perceived starvation, with insanity occuring only as an apprenticed state.