An Ash Child has the same phyical characteristics as a normal human in regards to weight, and height. They often exhibit lighter complexions than the average member of their ethnic race, and there is always a red corona around the pupil of the eye that bleeds out into the iris. Close inspection is required to see this feature.
An Ash Child is considered an inauspicious creature, one forever damned from the company of the living, and shunned by the company of the undead. The nature of the relationship is often antagonistic. The birth of an Ash Child requires that one of it's parents be infested with the stolen blood of a vampire. Being dead, a true vampire cannot sire anything other than mockeries of itself in the form of lesser vampires.
The tainted embryo then continues to mature, and is born generally after 10 months and almost all Ash Children are a pale gray color when born and many have cauls. In superstitious regions (the sort that often have vampires) these children are correctly regarded as special. After puberty, all Ash Children begin to exhibit some symptoms of the vampiric condition; aversion to light though it doesnt harm or hinder them, exceptional resilience, and a variety of other abilities that seem to change from Ash Child toAsh Child. some have powers of precognisance, other manifest the power of using the evil eye. Like the vampires, no two Ash Children are the same.
The true power of the Ash Child is that they are immune to the mystical powers of the undead. Not only vampires, but the life draining powers of ghosts, and the tainted caress of a cannibal ghoul cause an Ash Child no harm. The powers of dominance and mesmerism evinced by the lord of the undead, the vampire, have no effect over an Ash child. Hence the reason that vampires fear them, and would never intentionally create one.
But the powers of an Ash Child are a double-edged sword. They bear the markings of the grave. Each has some curse that stands it apart from the mass of humanity. It could be a palpable supernatural aura, the smell of the grave, or they simply have the cold nature of a predator. No matter how it manifests, there is an easy well, an almost instictive way that humans can tell an Ash Child is not one of them.
The Old Way
In the old days, vampires made themselves dark lords, ruling over vast hoary demenses with their cold taloned fists. The mortal populace cowered in fear of their master's bouts of ennui and often bloody whimsey. They fought among each other, but presented a united front against the minions of the Trinitine church. Thus the bleak land of Tresserhorn was left in their cold hands. Only in remoate regions, well away from their fortress keeps could small monastaries and chapels spring up.
Most Ash Children that survived took up monastic vows, internalizing the conflict between base desire fostered by their tainted essence and iron bound codes of morality. Others tried to live mortal lives, but are brought to ruin as they age at a quarter of the rate humans do after they reach maturity. Loved ones grow old and die, children untainted by vampire blood sicken and age as normal mortals. The most famous - you guessed it - became vampire hunters, seeking to destroy the monsters of the night that created them.
The Blood Crusade
Being gregarious by nature, humans will gather together. The Ash Children are no different and have discovered that the mating of two of their own kind will create another Ash Child rather than a normal, mortal child. These clans have formed homes and halls away from common man, masquerading as monastaries or other insular institutions. The worthy young are taught by the elders how to hunt and destroy vampires, and to bring back their blood to ensure the continuation of their kind.
It was during this time that the numbers of Ash Children began to grow. Some were created in special rituals of blood and impregnation, while others were fostered by the creation of Ash houses, dynastic families that carry the blood of the undead within their veins. Many of these Ash Children would take up the crusade against the night, and after nearly 200 years of skirmishes and outright frontal assaults, the vampire lords found themselves on the loosing end of the campaign.
The Blood Crusade marked one of the most violent periods of Tresserhorn's history, with the kingdom almost reaching the brink of destruction before the might of the Vampires was broken. The Vampire still exist, but their haven fortresses have been thrown down, and their massive power bases have been eroded away. The weary populace eagerly supported the Ash Children in the war against the undead.
But the war had an unexpected side effect, or one that had been overlooked. Without vampires, there can be no Ash Children, and it was discovered that the powers of the Blood faded from generation to generation, no matter how carefull the bloodlines were maintained.
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? Responses (8)
Updated: I've had this in the Works Hidden section for a while now. It is a generic take on vampires and uses elements of my home campaign. I must admit that the text wanders about and to me lacks cohesion. Tired of working on it and it's time to toss it out to see it if floats or sinks.
Its a cool idea, but I would have taken a more evil take on them. In your presentation its assumed that all ash children tend towards fighting the vampires. It would seem to me that with those abilities, in that environment, they would be the lesser evil, and would come to rule the human populations.
What happens to the person who drinks the vampire blood to sire an ash child? What happens if both parents imbibe the blood? Why would the ash children population dwindle if there were a large number of ash children, couldn't they breed and create a sustainable population?
What happens if Ash children imbibe vampire blood when mating, do you get yet stronger ash children, and how powerful could such a being theoretically become?
theoretically an Ash Child could never become stronger than a regular vampire. They at the very most can only be half-vampire, as there has to be a balance between the human and undead sides of their essence. Adding blood of a vampire to an existant Ash Child would not make them any stronger, other than the usually ghouling powers of the blood. This wouldnt be passed on.
Why wound't they breed a large population? Because the basic power of the blood looses potency every generation, and even with the most careful of tending the blood will thin to the point where it is non-existant. Ash Children also have several enemies to limit their powers.
Vampires hate them and will kill them if it all possible. Why shouldn't they, the ash children are immune to their powers. They must also fight their bestial urges, to lair in the dark and feed on blood. They succumb to the dark taint in their blood and become monsters and cannibals to be put down by their vampire hunting brethern or by other powers that be.
This I like-a place where Vampires used to rule but were forced out.
And this submission has reminded me of the Character Secrets scroll. It would be diffilcut, but some of them could try to pass as 'normals'.
Aside, if they need some vampires to survive to preserve their great powers (not to speak of the lifespan) in their children, wouldn't some of the Ash Children try to... allow a few vampires to live? Just for a while, maybe? Would it be self-preservation, or getting together with the enemy? Most mortals would instantly know.
But anyway, I think that sooner or later (sooner if the vampires become no threat) the common people will turn on the Ash Children.
Well thought out, well executed. These psuedo-vampiri (living creatures with vampiric (energy absorbing) elements) are consistent in their abilities. I like that.
You should create two countries or regions, one for this land before the Blood Crusades, then another after. The Ash People (scroll) might list all their various clans and organizations. This is a plethoria of inspiration.
An Element of Plot:
There may be a magic ritual that will allow these children to cross over upon their death. (Found in some obscure ancient text that the vampires are always hunting for and fighting over.) This would make them extremely powerful vampires (powers on top of their existing powers). Nobody wants an Ash Child to 'cross over', the humans to avoid such a powerful monster, the vampires because such a powerful vampire would disrupt their political order, and the Ash Children will want to stop this at all costs because they would a) become the monsters they are assumed to be, thus everyone will hate them, b) it goes against their vows and codes. (Of course the existance of such an Uber-Ash Child, would allow them to extend their bloodlines, as the blood of the uber-ash would never fade their powers.... )
A nice simple, yet complex in the layers, plot.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Dhampir:
I like these kind of submissions! Well done Scrasamax!