To my knowledge, England, the British Isles and Scandinavia have been home to werewolves for longer than any other region of the world. I believe their ancestors migrated south from arctic regions. I once thought, their country of origin lay somewhere in Eastern Europe, but it is possible they migrated to mainland Europe just as the first vampires moved north and east from the Mediterranean in the opposite fashion. The oldest clans of werewolves exist in the northernmost expanses of the British Isles today, but a multitude of werewolves have always called London home. Perhaps, being the large city it is and the heart of an empire, it attracted werewolves just as it has drawn cultures from the most distant locations known to modern maps. Like a small spore, the clans were swept up by the winds of English exploration and brought to London—by force or fate.
Traditionally, clans and cults have been rival species. Both depended upon mutual relationships with mortal man for survival ever since coming into existence thousands of years ago. Their conflicts are almost always incited by territorial offenses, which always become more violent when the world experiences broad-ranging hardship. Simple differences sometimes complicate when a particular clan or cult will promote “superior species” attitudes among werewolf or vampire youths. This kind of irresponsible teaching has led only to the formation of radical clans and cults over time. As mortal man’s empires grow, clan and cult territories shrink, and tensions rise.
In recent years the clans of London have become sparse, far outnumbered by vampire cults. The clans were not as easily assimilated to urban societal expectations, and many simply chose to live in the north, where their rurally adept traditions and methods were best suited. Before long, the cult population flourished, and the clan population shrank to a handful of individuals. English citizens were not disturbed, for the vampires were a quiet addition to London’s culture. They were out of sight and far from mind. They attracted livestock owners to the city, because it was easier to sell to vampires than to sell to market.
The reader may argue, “But vampires feed on the blood of man!” There is truth in this, and there is some truth yet to be explained. Ancient tribes of vampires fed on human blood, yes. But that was in a time when subsistence farming kept man from growing thin and impoverishing his body and his pockets. When man was still an animal, in the sense that he was strong and wild, his blood was rich and full of vitality. Time, however, changed man and his body. These times are times of poverty and thinning, and thus man has become thin, his blood no longer savory and as nutritious as it had been in his ancestors. He is still healthy, yes, but his body is far displaced from the original design. He has a city body. A business body.
Modern vampires turn to livestock for their bodily needs. I refer to them as experiencing a rather mysterious state of existence—a condition referred to as “anecrosis.” The body is self-sufficient and without age, but the blood beneath is ephemeral and requires replacement. Blood is not taken for sustenance in such a way that you or I would eat bread. Rather, the vampire must obtain new blood using a specially adapted, hollow and pointed set of teeth that lie hidden over top of their human teeth, in order to maintain the body. The teeth are similar to the retractable claws of a cat, in that they appear only when forced to extend by muscle contraction.
The vampire’s body differs from the werewolf’s in other ways as well. The vampire’s skin is exeedingly elastic upon transformation. They can will their skin to stretch and form working wings in order to take flight. People say the wings look like rigid black curtains when spread open. Their skin is also adapted to blend in against very dark colors, making them formidable creatures of the night. Like werewolves, the vampire “curse” is an infectious entity. It is spread to a human body through a bite, causing the infected to develop vampire qualities and abilities if they are not killed by the rapid infection, as nearly two of every three are.
Vampires, like the werewolves, experience a physical immortality, and exactly like the werewolves, they experience it at a cost. It is my belief that their appetite is far greater than that of humans because their bodies so frequently demand the resource with which to maintiain the body, and that resoure—blood—is their one and only resource. Their bodies are volatile in the direct light of the day when they are transformed. Perhaps the supernatural upkeep of the inner body sacrifices the invulnerability of the bare external flesh. This is a matter of great debate among my colleagues and me.
Vampires are often described as “the damned” in traditional folklore and religious texts. Damned because they, in truth, own no blood of their own? Because they cannot claim ownership of life in its precious flowing form? Or damned because, like the werewolf, their greatest strength is an open aperture into their subtopic mortality? One of my colleagues once asked me, “Are these that we call monsters, not eerily human?”
April 20, 1833