Manual V is for Vampyre

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A person may become a vampire in a variety of ways, the most common of which is to be bitten by a vampire.

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Some people believed that babies born with teeth or on Christmas or between Christmas and Epiphany were predisposed to becoming vampires. While vampires usually do not die of disease or other normal human afflictions , and they are indeed often said to have faster-than-normal healing capabilities, there are various methods for their destruction. The most popular of those include a wooden stake through the heart , fire, decapitation , and exposure to sunlight.

Vampires are often depicted as being repelled by garlic, running water, or Christian implements such as crucifixes and holy water. In some stories vampires may enter a home only if they have been invited, and in others they may be distracted by the scattering of objects such as seeds or grains that they are compelled to count, thereby enabling potential victims to escape.

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Creatures with vampiric characteristics have appeared at least as far back as ancient Greece , where stories were told of creatures that attacked people in their sleep and drained their bodily fluids. Tales of walking corpses that drank the blood of the living and spread plague flourished in medieval Europe in times of disease, and people lacking a modern understanding of infectious disease came to believe that those who became vampires preyed first upon their own families. Research from the 20th and 21st centuries has posited that characteristics associated with vampires can be traced back to certain diseases such as porphyria , which makes one sensitive to sunlight; tuberculosis , which causes wasting; pellagra , a disease that thins the skin; and rabies , which causes biting and general sensitivities that could lead to repulsion by light or garlic.

Vampire myths were especially popular in eastern Europe, and the word vampire most likely originates from that region. Digging up the bodies of suspected vampires was practiced in many cultures throughout Europe, and it is thought that the natural characteristics of decomposition—such as receding gums and the appearance of growing hair and fingernails—reinforced the belief that corpses were in fact continuing some manner of life after death.

Also possibly contributing to this belief was the pronouncement of death for people who were not dead. Belief in vampires led to such rituals as staking corpses through the heart before they were buried. In some cultures the dead were buried facedown to prevent them from finding their way out of their graves.

The modern incarnation of vampire myth seems to have stemmed largely from Gothic European literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, about the time vampire hysteria was peaking in Europe. Those works and others inspired subsequent material for the stage.


Dracula is arguably the most important work of vampire fiction. The tale of the Transylvanian count who uses supernatural abilities, including mind control and shape-shifting, to prey upon innocent victims inspired countless works thereafter. Many popular vampire characteristics—such as methods of survival and destruction, vampires as aristocracy , and even vampires being of eastern European origin—were solidified in this popular novel and especially through its film adaptation starring Hungarian-born actor Bela Lugosi.

Dracula in turn inspired the film Nosferatu , in which a vampire was first depicted as being vulnerable to sunlight.

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For several decades the vast majority of vampire fiction, whether on page or stage or screen, showed the influence of Dracula. In the 20th century vampires began to turn from being depicted as predominantly animalistic creatures and instead displayed a broader range of human characteristics. The popular American television soap opera Dark Shadows —71 featured a lovelorn vampire, Barnabas Collins. Vampire fiction entered a new era, however, with the sympathetic portrayal by Anne Rice in her novel Interview with the Vampire Interview with the Vampire was highly popular and sparked a revival of vampire fiction that lasted into the 21st century, and subsequent vampire stories continued to use characteristics established by Rice.

Rice herself wrote several more books in what subsequently became known as the Vampire Chronicles, some of which were later adapted for film. The vampire as a misunderstood romantic hero picked up steam in the later part of the 20th century, particularly in the United States. In Chelsea Quinn Yarbro began publishing her series of Count Saint-Germain books, the main character of which is a vampire of moral character whose bite is an erotic experience. In many tales vampires are characterized as promiscuous, their appetite for human blood paralleling their sexual appetite.

It is recorded that after the ordeal, Molag Bal shed a droplet of blood on her brow and left her to die. During the night she died, but as her funeral pyre was still burning she emerged as the first pure-blood vampire. Molag Bal has since been known to confer Pure Vampirism to other individuals directly via a ritual that granted them great power over "lesser" vampires.

One such case was Lord Harkon , who claims to have slaughtered a thousand innocents in order to gain this power, though this might be an exaggeration due to contradictory evidence.

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Females seeking to gain the pure-blood vampirism are required to undergo a ritual with Molag Bal. Such confluences are called Daughters of Coldharbour. A tradition developed among Molag Bal worshiping cults which dictated that females be offered to him on his summoning day.

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Few survive the ordeal and those who do emerge as pure-blooded vampires. Being selected as an offering was considered to be an honor that is not rejected lightly. Due to their predatory nature, vampires are widely viewed as evil and violent creatures. Citizens and Hold Guards consider vampires open threats and attack anyone who reveals themselves to be a vampire or if it can obviously be seen. In some cases, vampires are actively hunted down and destroyed by certain people, namely the Vigilants of Stendarr and the Dawnguard.

The vampires who inhabit the wilds of Skyrim are largely considered to stem from the powerful Volkihar Clan that began with Harkon. These vampires are not considered to be of pure blood like Harkon and his family, as their vampirism was contracted from other lesser vampires. As such they are often looked down upon by members of Harkon's court.

They are said to live under haunted, frozen lakes and only leave their dens to feed, however more often than not they are encountered in remote caves and ruins. It's unknown if any Volkihar Vampires possess the ability to reach through the ice of frozen lakes as described in books, or if it's just folklore. In addition, the Volkihar share many of the same traits as their Cyrodilic counterparts.

A few are known to be more cultured and civilized than the vampires of other provinces and as such can seamlessly blend into society. Many also prefer to feed on victims while they are asleep and unaware.

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One difference, however, is they do not burn in direct sunlight, rather they are just weakened by it. In the Dawnguard plug-in , the Volkihar Clan becomes a joinable faction. An example of the facial distortions in Dawnguard. Vampires can be of any race but the majority of them are easily distinguishable from uninfected persons. As a result of the hemophiliac virus, Sanguinare Vampiris , the infected slowly grow a pallid complexion.

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Fangs protrude from their gums, allowing for easier feeding and eye color changes from the spectrum of average hues to red. Bosmer and Dunmer , which typically already possess red eyes, may pass unnoticed as vampires. When infected, the fur of the Khajiit alters as the skin of a human or elf would. Long-toothed by nature, the incisors of the Khajiit grow exceptionally long, so that they protrude below the lip. However, their pupils become thinner and more blade-like. But that was all to change. Expecting to meet his wife-to-be at the annual harvest festival, Aremis has no idea that the evening would bring forth an evil far beyond his comprehension.

Nursed back to health by his sister Temperance, the terrifying truth begin to unfold and he is forced to leave his home in the hopes of finding answers within the city of London. There on the shadowy back streets of the cities east end, he finds himself at the heart of an ancient curse. Drawn into playing a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a beautiful female stranger, he quickly discovers that she may be the only one who can explain the strange events which have besieged him.