*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, 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 strength in age, and eventually succumbs to death. Vampirism embodies an obversion, as it raises only one living, if not dead body, knows only one kind of hunger, 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 manufactured during the open warfare between the Mages Guild and the Order of the Worm.
Unfortunately, the 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 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 blood sport and never proper minions. As they grew in age, they did not grow in knowledge, and many vampire clans and legens are as such based on ignorant accounts of beings which were too preoccupied with gaining power instead of gaining knowledge.
There are however three surviving legends, transcribed during 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 Nede 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 Pahma-raht huntress who wanted to stalk the jungles of
Pelletine forever, ventured forth into the Great Darkness and returned 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. 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 nature.
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 witches 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 their fecund wisdoms require different trappings than the one 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 rewards. 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 sicknesses' 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, 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 by Daedric Pact.
Second, 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.
Third, the vampiric mind shifts instantly to incorporate instincts of a hunter-predator. The most common response to this is a feeling of variable dread until acceptance can be attained, sometimes elation, rarely madness or mindlesness. All "feral" vampires fall under the latter category, as the new instincts are merely irritants and the conscious mind is always in control.
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.
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, 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 nore the Mistress of Dawn and Dusk can accept.
The Other Light is a more interesting Prince in that 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 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, a mockery of our ancestors: undying predators living 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.
And now Lorkhan is dead.