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Homo sapiens sanguinis, colloquially referred to as vampires, are a cannibalistic sub-species of humans created by the ThoughtForm Hel in A54, during the First Arcana War. Despite their genetic similarity, their physiology differs greatly from those of humans, notably the presence of a split lower mandible which can be hinged outwards to assist in exsanguination of victims and a secondary vascular system dedicated to regeneration of tissues. Originally, the appearance of vampires also differed from the general populace, but over the centuries, this was eventually phased out via artificial selection.

Due to the Long Hibernation taking place after the Third Arcana War, and the subsequent hunts for vampires and werewolves, the vampire population plummeted significantly towards the end of the Mystic Age, and any survivors were either those of a diluted bloodline or in hiding, or had degraded into feral Dhampirs.

By the 26th century, the original strain of Homo sapiens sanguinis DNA had mutated through selection, removing the visible physical changes in order to favour vampires blending into the human population. The Stateship had also signed and enforced Charter 147 of the Galactic Constitution, establishing vampires as a protected race under its jurisdiction.

Lycanthropes are the natural enemies of vampires.

History

Creation

During the First Arcana War, the ThoughtForm Hel and the Infernal Triumvirate sought to create supersoldiers in order to turn the tide of the war against the Pantheon. She surmised that such a creature would need to possess the ability to turn the enemies' resources against them, and using her abilities of paraphysical manipulation, brought to life the first of the vampires from ordinary citizens of the Infernal Cityscape.

These progenitor vampires possessed extremely fast metabolisms and an allergy to silver, both of which were designed as weaknesses in order to keep them under control, should the creatures rebel against their masters. The striking physiological feature of these creatures were that they could repurpose consumed biological material at a rapid rate to repair their own bodies. Additionally, they were visually different from ordinary humans, and were considered to be monstrous by the general populace of both sides of the war.

The Pantheon developed lycanthropes to counter vampires on the battlefield, designing their biology to be toxic to vampires upon consumption (containing silver to exploit the vampires' main weakness).

Degradation

After the Third Arcana War, Hel was among the ThoughtForms to be banished to the wormhole that would later become known by the Human Empire as V616 Mon, and the ability to create progenitor vampires was lost.

Vampires were considered abominations by the surviving human population, and were systematically hunted to the brink of extinction by 20000 BC. What remaining descendants were driven into the while, where they became Dhampirs, or disappeared into society in the form of half-bloods.

Over the years, the existence of vampires faded from the memories of human until all that remained of them were myths and stories, and their existence influenced human culture in a myriad of ways. Their perceived weakness to sunlight, for example, was a result of their tendency to perform nighttime operations.

Before long, the vampire genes inherited from the progenitor vampires were rendered dormant, with the exception of very few covens, primarily on their homeworld of Trisonius, A54.

Resurgence

When the ThoughtForm Horus awoke from his Long Hibernation on Trisonius in 12 BC, his paraphysical influence drew out what vampires were left in hiding, and with his help, the survivors were elevated to a new form, enabling them to retain human appearances over generations and mitigating some of their weaknesses, mainly by slowing their metabolism. This, however, also reduced their rate of tissue regeneration. The alternative ability to reproduce through ichor transfusion was also added. In spite of segregation between the human and vampire populations on Trisonius, they eventually were regarded as full-functioning members of society.

Horus used vampires trained in military tactics as a secret police to control the populace. They were also employed to fight the Pariah and his Resistance forces in 2310, being able to operate weaponry like snap-rifles and tanks.

After Horus' death at the hands of the Pariah, vampires were subsequently screened by the Stateship, and Charter 147 of the Galactic Consitution was created to protect them from discrimination. The surviving vampires were then scattered across the Human Empire, in most cases discreetly in order to avoid race conflicts. The Register Lamiarum was established in order to record vampire identities and activities.

By the mid-26th century, there were over four billion registered vampires in the Human Empire.

Physiology

Different types of vampires have varying degrees of differentiation from human physiology. While there is debate over whether Dhampirs classify as vampires, they are in biologically considered a different species due to inability to create fertile offspring with half- or full-blooded vampires.

Progenitor Vampires

Created by Hel as supersoldiers for the First Arcana War. Possess pale skin with highly visible veins, ridged scales on their dorsal side and a mandible that can be split into two fanged sections in order to clamp around a victim's neck to drain their blood; a secondary vascular system branches from a differentiated stomach containing cells for somatic regeneration. Strongly allergic to silver, which disrupts their physiological processes and leads to death. Extremely fast metabolism, requiring three feedings a day to prevent starvation.

Full-Blooded Vampires

A combination of progenitor physiology with human, and modified by Horus. Completely human external appearance; does not possess scales like progenitors. Mandible capable of hinging, and possesses same secondary vascular system and regeneration capabilities as progenitors. Stomach is surrounded by thick bone plates to prevent damage. Much slower metabolism, requiring feeding only once a week maximum. Lessened vulnerability to silver, to the extent that it merely impeded somatic regeneration. Ichor in the place of blood, and transfusion can transform humans into full- or half-blooded vampires, depending on amount.

Half-Blooded Vampires

Either the offspring of a full-blooded vampire and a human, or an incomplete transformation following ichor transfusion into a human. Can possess varying traits of full-blooded vampires, dependent on extent of inherited vampire genes from parents or transfusion. Always possess hinged mandible, secondary vascular system and somatic regeneration capabilities; rate of metabolism and regeneration are usually be inferior to full-bloods.

Half-blooded vampires created from the ichor of the same full-blooded vampires are referred to as blood-siblings (i.e. blood-brother or blood-sister).