Feb 8, 2012

Vampires in the Dawnlands

All true vampires come from a single origin: The soulforges of High Kaddish. They were criminals and outcasts, the light smelted out of their souls as part of an experiment to test methods of ascending to godhood for use on the kings of High Kaddish. The day became anathema to them, and most perished when they were first released. But a few escaped to mountain caves, or into the hidden tunnels beneath Kaddish, and plotted and waited for the time of High Kaddish to end. The experiment was declared a failure, and the creation of vampires ceased in High Kaddish.

During the revolution, the vampires, their progeny and their mortal cultists swarmed forth to support it, and in exchange for undead assassins, drug-crazed fanatical warriors and the sorcerous might of the godlings, the leaders of the revolution agreed. Since then, vampires and vampire cultists may live freely, if uneasily, amongst the Kaddish.

A young vampire craves flesh and blood. An old vampire drinks the spirit of living things. The oldest vampires can be satisfied with nothing but the souls of the divine heroes themselves. To this end, every vampire strives to become one of the gods: to rise into the sky higher than the sun's bane and feed on the slumbering souls of the stars. They feed off their cults, drinking the blood and souls of their followers, transforming the most promising into servile vampire-spawn, and using the rich and talented to gather the precious materials for the rituals they need to attain godhood.

In all the countless centuries they have been striving after this, only three have reached the threshold, and all were slain or imprisoned before they could ascend completely. The three are:

Tegon, who slain by Kakarna in single combat and whose parts were scattered across the earth. His cultists know him as the Maimed Lord and the Limbless Master and even now search for his body parts, for if they can be reassembled and bathed in the blood of a hecatomb held atop Kakarna's mountain, he will be reborn. It is said they already have his head, through which he commands the cult once more.

Herunaxos, who was chained beneath the earth in a great pit under a secret mountain by a mighty shaman. He is a demigod, but a helpless one so long as he is chained. His followers know him as the Chained Lord and the Shadow of Secrets. They search for his prison in the hopes of freeing him. His followers are a feared assassin cult, known for hunting down daimon-touched persons out of hatred for the shaman who imprisoned him.

Kelotik, who was frozen under a ziggurat of ice in the hyperborean lands of the hobgoblins. He is known as the Frostbitten Lord and the Herald of Winter's Night by his followers. It is said that Kartak-Who-Blinds, the lord of winter, keeps Kelotik imprisoned until the end of time, when he will release him to blot out the sun and freeze the earth.

Dozens, if not hundreds, more lurk and wait, learning from the mistakes of those who have gone before, and preparing for the time when they shall rise to feed off the gods themselves.