Vampires are preternatural creatures that live on human blood. They are not immortal but can live forever. The oldest known was Mr. Oliver, who was about 1 million years old. The majority of old Vamps are in the range of several centuries old. In order to stay alive for centuries a Vampire must be discreet and ruthless. Vampires are practical so most stay near cities where it is easier to hide bodies, find willing donors, and to conceal new Vamps.
A Brief History of Vampires in Anitaverse

Vampires, along with witches and heretics had long been a particular target for persecution. About two hundred years ago the Church joined forces with the military in Germany, England, and almost every European country except France to rid the world of Vampires all at once. In a single day they burned out every vampire and slaughtered all suspected vampire sympathizers. History books call this the Day of Cleansing, Vampires call it the Inferno. France did not take part, allegedly because the King of France had a vampire mistress. When the French Revolution happened the propaganda was spread that the nobility were all vampires. Although this was not true some historians believe the guillotine was popular because it kills both the living and the undead.

So Vampires learned to hide. They also learned to use their skills to gain wealth and political power. Ruthless Vampires flourished and spread. Eventually their "children" came to the New World. America being America could not let stand centuries of experience in dealing with the dead.  In the 1990's the Supreme Court upheld Addison V. Clarke, a landmark decision that granted legal status and citizenship to Vampires, although they still do not have the right to vote. In the rest of the world they can still be hunted, so Vampires are driving the INS nuts by flocking to the US.

The fastest growing religion in the US is The Church of Eternal Life. They are the only church that can prove their claim of offering life after death. The congregation is made up of Vampires and people who want to be Vampires. They have counselors to help adherents work though the transition. Human members sport their bites proudly as they see them as signs of salvation. Malcolm is the Master Vampire of the St. Louis Church. They don't appear to stress that the Vampire converts will be submissive to the Master who makes them, just like all other Vampires.

Not everyone, human or Vampire is thrilled with this situation. Some Vampires believe if they remain legal Vampires will eventually extinguish humans, there by destroying their food source, and forcing Vampires to take care of the menial tasks that have always been handled by humans. Many humans also see the danger in legal Vampires. HAV, Humans Against Vampires, work within the law to make vampires illegal again. Human's First is fanatics who believe all vampires should be hunted down and killed. They sometimes work outside the law.

When the liberals became upset about the high rate of unsolved preternatural crime the response was to create a showpiece program, the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team. (Pronounced "rip-it".) Poorly funded and with no special training it is a special police task force which handles all supernatural-related crime.  Sometimes called the Spook Squad, most of the officers assigned pissed off some superior. Although they were not expected to actually accomplish anything, the team based in St. Louis has become the premier example in the nation. They actually take the task seriously. Anita Blake is a consultant with them and they now have a cop who is a witch.

Vampire Executioners are people legally licensed to execute vampires. Recently Vampire Executioners have become Federal Marshals. The FBI is establishing its own version of RPIT.
Never forget that they are monsters; no matter how human they look, they aren't. Don't take off your cross, don't let them touch you, and don't stare directly into their eyes.

Circus of the Damned
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Aubrey and Valentine stood away from the wall and bowed. Then they were gone, as if they had vanished. I turned to Nikolaos.
She smiled. "Yes, I clouded your mind, and you did not see them go."

Guilty Pleasures
Vampires

For a person to rise as a Vampire they must die after being bitten at least 3 times by one Vampire feeding over a space of several days. An exception is that a very powerful Master Vampire can turn someone with one bite. No Vampire can bite a person three times within a month without running the risk of killing them and raising them as a vamp.

Three days after death the new Vampire will awake very hungry and must feed. Animals will suffice but if a loved one is near they may become breakfast. When a Vampire victim dies in St Louis, he is brought to the St. Louis City Hospital. Only the morgue is still being utilized since it has a vault, built in the 1900's by Dr. Henry Mulligan who was seeking a cure for Vampirism. The research ended when a vamp ate his face. Now the morgue contains a tank full of animals and a Vampire Counselor is on duty to welcome the newly dead when they rise. Vampire corpses glow in the dark. (Hell of a night light.)

Since Vampires do not age they remain the age they are when turned. A century after turning they may still appear a child or as a senior citizen.

The Master Vampire who brings a person over will have almost absolute power over them. They will be able to completely weaken the lesser Vampire by act of will alone and put them to sleep in their coffins. To stay in a city, all lesser Vampires must ask the permission of the Master of the City.

Vampires live on a diet of blood alone. No food or drink. 

Vampires do not need to kill in order to feed. Killing people can become a habit which may result in the Vampire being hunted. The new dead tend to hunt in a group while an older Vampire is teaching them how to survive. Some rogue Master Vampires may force those they control to hunt in a pack and use a group kill to solidify the pack.

Vampires offer their throat, wrist, or the bend of their elbow to each other as a formal greeting. The lesser vamps offer up their flesh to more powerful Vampires as an acknowledgment of their power.

Only the new dead flash their fangs around, mostly to shock people and show off because they think it is cool. Older vamps consider his déclassé. Elder vamps tend to be technophobic, for instance Anita has never met an older Vampire that drives. (Part of this may be why drive when you can fly)

Vampires, as happens with Damian and Anita, can become obligated to humans. Her necromancy has become what animates him and keeps him alive. He has no choice but to obey her direct orders.
Master Vampires

The entire concept of Vampire Power and being a Master Vampire is complicated: First by the way power works; Second by the lies and politics propagated by the Vampires themselves.

Vampire powers increase with age. However at a certain point powers plateau, and never get any stronger. Damian is at least one thousand years old, yet he will never be any more powerful than he is today. Yvette was at least 1000 years old, but she was not a Master Vampire and she never could be. On the other hand she created Warrick who was a Master Vampire.

The issue is convoluted because their creators frequently dampen their protégé's powers for centuries in order to control them. For centuries Jean-Claude was promised he would be given the power to escape abuse from other Vampires. He simply did not realize he already had the power within him already as a Master Vampire so he stayed a flunky.
  
Becoming Master of the City indicates a Vampire has power since he had to challenge and kill the previous Master. However, like everything else about power it is not that simple. Just being Master of the City oncreases the Vampire's power. Master of the City is the term used for the Master Vampire in charge of the other vampires in a city or area.  The Master of the City has as much control over the Vamps obligated to them as the Vamps that created them.

Master Vampires usually spend two or three centuries kissing ass and being used by their creator before realizing their full powers and setting out on their own.

Masters frequently find a stalking horse. This is another vamp they set up to look in charge, so all the challenges try to kill the patsy. If the pawn is killed, they just find another puppet.
Abilities and Powers

All Vampires have attribute such as increased strength and the ability to heal most damage. Master Vampires possess additional powers above that of the normal vampire. All vampires seem to have to ability to mesmerize humans with their eyes. This is why most should avoid eye contact with vamps. High Level Alpha Lycanthropes and Human Servants are immune. Some vamps can do this to a crowd and some can also shape the perceived reality with their voices.

Master Vampires will have greater abilities to cloud minds. Serephina could create illusions offering beings their heart's desire in order to control them, including Anita a necromancer, Magnus a Fey, and Jean-Claude a Master of a City. This appeared to be a combination of mesmerism and mind reading.  Not all Master Vampires have the same arsenal of gifts to display their power. These additional powers depend in part upon whose line they descend from (see
The Vampire Council). Some possible powers are:

Improved Senses ~ Vampires have a much better sense of smell than humans, but not near as good as shape shifters. Their hearing is very acute so why bother whispering. Vampires cannot freeze to true death and do not even get cold. They only wear coats in the winter to blend in with humans. A Master Vampire can sense his people like a background noise. He can fell their pain and fear unless this is blocked by a more powerful Vampire, such as a Council Member.

Impervious to Water ~
Vampires cannot drown and running water is not a deterrent to them.

Blending in ~ Really old Vampires can hide almost in plain site by blending in with their surroundings. They go supernaturally still and seem to wrap themselves in shadows.

Inflicting damage from a distance ~ Some vampires can wound others that have an aura of power with out touching them. They slash their hand in the air, and a resulting mark is made upon the target. Generally this only works on other Vampires, however, Anita and Larry are exceptions, so apparently it also works anyone
with death magic.

Touching with Laughter ~ Both Asher and Jean-Claude have the ability to touch people at a distance with their laughter. This is perceived as an actual physical sensation.

Sex ~ Some Master Vampires descended from Belle Morte, Beautiful Death, can gain power through sex, feed on lust and use sex to control mortals. At one time they would have been labeled an Incubus or Succubus. It is a rare power. Asher has the ability to give a true orgasm with his bite. This is not a mind game but a true physical sensation. Jean-Claude is stronger then Asher and can feed from sex, which Asher cannot, yet he cannot do that with his bite.

Fear ~ Some vampires can feed off fear as if it were blood. They are called night hags, or moras. Damian's first Master would feed from terror for days before she would take blood.

Spreading Corruption ~ The ability to spread corruption from their bite is a rare talent for Master Vampires. The victim starts to rot while still alive. The only way to heal the afflicted is if another Vampire takes the corruption into him and conquers it, however, if the Vampire is not strong enough, he will rot and die instead.

Day Walkers ~ Although all Vampires die at dawn, some Master Vampires are early risers and can walk around during the day as long as they are sufficiently sheltered.

Animal to Call, and more ~ Some Master Vampires possess the power to call an animal to aid aide them, including Lycanthropes of that animal. They may call wolves, rats, leopards or even insects like butterflies. Serephina was a Master Vampire who could draw ghosts to herself. Not all Master Vampires have an animal to call; Asher does not despite his age.

Lie Detector ~ Many Master Vampires are able to tell if some one is telling the truth. One determining factor in this gift is the Vamp must be basically be a truth teller themselves. Jean Claude and even Gretchen could do this, yet Obsidian Butterfly, a very powerful Master of a City could not; she was lying to herself and no longer could distinguish truth from falsehood.

Rotting Vampires ~ Janos, Bettina, Pallas and Yvette are a type of Vampire who can rot and reform at will. This rotting is not an illusion, but a true form, according to Jean-Claude. Since they rot completely away and reform they are therefore much harder to kill. Even when they are torn to pieces they can restructure their bodies. Fire is the only sure way of killing them. Because Warrick was made by Yvette, he is a rotting vampire. Since he was a pyrokinetic in life he remained one in death although this skill was long masked by Morte d' Amour (Lover of Death) the founder of the line.

Defying Gravity ~ Some Vampires can levitate, Asher and Jean Claude can fly.  Control over this ability varies from vamp to vamp. Some have mastered the ability others simply shoot up into the air like a lightning bolt.
Vampire Vulnerabilities

Vampires are very long lived; one was about a million years old. They can withstand most attacks, however, they can be killed with a wooden stake through the heart or by more modern means like sawing them in half with an Uzi; shooting them with a bullet caped with silver nitrate; or injecting them with a hypodermic needle filled with silver nitrate. Their hearts can also be crushed or destroyed with silver shotgun shot. To be sure they stay dead Vampires should be beheaded, their heart cut out and all 3 parts burned.  Sprinkling the ahes into moving rivers won't hurt.
  
Vampires cannot face holy objects if faith is used to back them up. Not only blessed crosses, but miniature holy books, like the Torah. The Star of David doesn't work because it is an ethnic rather than religious symbol.

When Vampires confront crosses a bright light shines from them, however the object seems to only get hot when it comes in actual contact with a vampire. The light is bright enough to hurt the eyes of all creatures. Crosses don't always glow around vampires. They seem to wait for ones that mean harm, though there are exceptions both ways.

Holy Water burns Vampires like acid and the burns do not heal smoothly but leave disfiguring scars. The skin looks like melted wax. Holy Wafers placed on windows and doors will prevent vampires from entering a building.

Wounds made by silver are potentially fatal. Head and heart shots have a higher lethality. Also the younger the Vampire, the more likely the death can result. Wounds caused by silver will heal almost human slow, however, some Master Vampires are resistant to silver. 

Permanent scars can be created by shoving burning metal into a wound. Fire purifies and stops the healing process. However, some wounds can be reopened and allowed to heal.

Sunlight means deaths to Vampires, all the movies were right. Get a Vamp into the sun and you get crispy critter. Vampires are very combustible. Once they start burning they continue till they are ash unless someone puts them out.
He stood there in his wonderful black shirt, looking elegant and scrumptious, and holding Gretchen with one arm straight up. He walked towards his desk still holding her. He kept his balance effortlessly. Even a lycanthrope couldn't have done it, not like that.

Lunatic Café
The undead make no noise.

Bloody Bones
Silver won't kill a vampire, but it can discourage them. It forces them to heal the wound almost human-slow.

Guilty Pleasures
Physical Characteristics  

Vampires bleed almost like a person. They have an anticoagulant in their saliva that keeps the blood flowing in a bite. When they cry Vampire tears are tinged red with blood. Strong emotions, like fear, lust, or anger make lesser vampires lose their humanity and appear more like monsters. Their skin takes on a translucent, almost glowing quality.

Vampires are unable to enter a residence until they have been invited. However, once invited they can return whenever they wish, until the invitation is revoked. If the Vampire is in the house at the time the invitation is revoked the removal is swift and magical. There is a sound like a low sonic pop, a great roaring fills the room, the door will smash open and a wind will rush in like an invisible river. The Vampire is forcibly removed as if by an invisible hand shoves them through the door which slams shut behind him. The Vampire's invitation can be revoked only by the person who issued it.

When Vampires go to "sleep" for the day it is like they suddenly die at dawn. It is not a gradual process like going to sleep. A look of pain appears in the Vampire's eyes then they suddenly close. After that they do not breathe and have no pulse; they are dead, until they awake. 

Vampires in a closed, hot space have an odor, the smell of vampires. They don't smell like dead bodies, it's more like the smell of snakes and but not the same. Stomach-churning, hair-raising smell, thick, musky, more reptilian than mammal.

It is possible for a male vampire to have a child with a female mortal. However, in order for pregnancy to occur, his body temperature must be raised closer to 98.6 degrees, a hot tub seems to assist in this process. Most vamps over 100 are sterile and the rate of Vlad's Syndrome increases. Vlad's Syndrome is a rare Vampire related birth defect; the child is born as a revenant, an uncontrollable animalistic vampire with little or no intellectual capacity. However, this can be tested for with an amniocentesis. Newly dead female vamps can get pregnant, but the body spontaneously aborts or reabsorbs the baby. A dead body can't produce life.
Food

Vampires sustain themselves on Human Blood.  They can make due for a while on animals, but not for ever. Sabin gave up feeding on humans for the woman he loved; instead he tried drinking cold blood and animal blood. When Anita met him Sabin had crystalline blue eyes and long golden hair, half his face was beautiful. The other half was puss-filled and gangrenous, his hands were incased in gloves that were somewhat squishy when you shook his hand. His flesh was rotting away, like he was infected with virulent leprosy that was spreading throughout his body. Dominic, Sabin's human servant and a powerful Necromancer, believed Sabin's dietary change had been the root of his condition.
A vampire can cloud your mind, and even hurt you, if its control is good enough, and you won't mind.

Bloody Bones
A Pomme de Sang is a sobriquet (an affectionate nickname) given by the Vampire Council to special individuals who are willing food for Vampires, it means "apple of blood".  Vampires are duty obligated to protect their Pomme de Sang. It is against Council rules to kill one and the repercussions can be severe. Lycanthropes make excellent Pomme de Sang as they can give blood repeatedly without dying, recuperate quickly and their blood has an extra energy punch to it.

Vampires can gain extra strength from feeding on beings with preternatural power. Although he was near true death before he fed, Jean Claude appeared giddy after feeding on Anita then Jason - Necromancer with a werewolf chaser. Serephina rewarded with power and might have gained immortality from feeding on Fey, Lycanthrope and Necromancer blood.

Freaks are people that get sexually aroused by Vampire bites. Some Vampires feed at Freak parties because it is willing food. Freaks usually hide their marks unless at one of their hangouts. They are renounced by The Church of Eternal Life, for their wanton and impious attitude toward Vampire bites.

Coffin-bait is a human who allows any Vampire to use them for sex or blood. They are often passed from one Vampire to another. Male or female coffin-bait is the equivalent of a slut in the vernacular of human sexual behavior. It is as much of an insult as it is a descriptive title.

A Reinfield is a human with just a couple of bites who shamelessly does the bidding of his vampire Master. The term Reinfield comes from the character in the Bram Stoker book, Dracula. Before that volume, Jean-Claude says they were called slaves.
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