Archive for spellbind

Case #13 – Jesper: Life Hands You Lemons…

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2009 by vampirony

Finding a sense of humor when you’re in the thick of things either denotes ultimate faith that things will turn out or a complete loss of reality.  I am hoping for the former.  Jesper, the Vampire, is distracted by the lemon, but he still holds me at his whim and Morena, well, she turns out to be very touchy in a crisis.  Of course, maybe this wasn’t a crisis yet.

Jesper speaks, “I know what a lemon is.”

“Well, you asked.”

He growls at me but it’s half-hearted.  He begins to straighten, lets go of my waist but not my arm, his eyes fixated on the lemon in my other hand.

Fascinated by it, he asks, “What is it for?”

“Treatment.”  I straighten so now he is just holding my forearm.

“You can hardly be serious,” he replies.

The fluorescent blue of his eyes starts to fade, his narrow fangs begin to retract.  I’ve never seen a vampire like him.  The fangs in themselves are a first for me, narrow like reeds but long.  They seem to disappear back into his gums above his canines, not as part of them.  Then just those blue-grey eyes, contemplating the fruit in my hand.  The fact that he can’t tear his eyes away from it says it all.  He’s even ignoring the small scrap of blood he left on my forearm.

“You’re sun-starved.  Your..um…friend came to me for help.  It’s a common affliction in older vampires.  The dreams are a symptom, like a bad cough.”

His hand releases the grip on my forearm and slides down to my wrist, now barely holding it.  It makes me shiver.  He glances at me, quizzically.  He sends a very disapproving look at Morena who trembles for a second under it and then he looks back at me.  And I know what he’s about to say from the way he rolls his shoulders back, tilts his head up a an inch. 

“I am Vampire.”

There’s this moment, this strange moment, when my gut tells me: Bullshit!  But I’ve seen the fangs, the eyes, the super speed.  I don’t trust my gut with this vamp.  I can already tell I need a better wall up for any next meeting.  Time to bore him with the details that most vampires hate to hear.

the_four_elements“Life seeks balance in all things, even vampires.  The Classical elements, whether you go Buddhist, Greek, or Chinese, all have the basic four:  Air, Earth, Water, Fire.  Air, you breath, not like mortals but you do breath.  Earth, blood is loaded with earth elements like Carbon and it is, after all, what you’re made of.  Water, you either drink outright or get from the blood you consume.  But Fire, on the other hand.  Well, vampires are extremely sensitive to fire, like the sun.”

“Sensitive?” Jesper the Vampire raises an eyebrow at me and then looks back at the lemon.  “And that helps how?”

I hold it up for him, watch the miniscule flinch it causes him.  “Think of this as the sun in liquid form.”

“And what do you propose I do with it?”

“Suck on it.”

Jesper the Vampire shakes himself, as if repulsed by the very idea.  But he is staring again.

“You want me to suck…a lemon?”

I push a dirty thought aside.  Damn positive vampire…and he’s not actively controlling it either.  “Yes,” I say a little forced before I reign it in.  “I used to use oranges but they’re more subtle and my early patients were able to deny the effects.  Lemons are unmistakable and pack a sufficient punch.”

He drops my wrist and I grab it back, holding it against my chest for a strange sense of comfort.  His eyes fixate on the lemon, widening even.  I can see him thinking.

“This will cure me?” he asks softly.

“Cure is probably not the right word.  Likely not in one shot.”

He tosses me a look.

“If I’d been given a chance to examine you, I might know for sure.  But it will definitely help.”

Morena, who has seemingly faded from the room with all Jesper’s positive juju floating around me, speaks up, “It won’t harm him?”

I turn toward her, glad for the reprieve.  “Not at all.”  I give myself a breath, try to be subtle about it.  But as I turn around, I needn’t have bothered.  He doesn’t even see me any more.  All his focus is on the lemon, as if his gaze could peel it open and unveil its secrets.  I slowly set it down on the coffee table.

“Why don’t I leave this with you?  You can take your time assessing…it, decide what you want to do, whether you’ll let me help you.” I take a step back.  I reach into my pocket and draw out my backup plan.  “Here’s my card and —.”

His eyes change to bright blue for an instant and then, whoosh, he grabs the lemon, and his fangs descend into it, some juice spurting out, as he swallows the rest.  His eyes flash open, glowing gold now, before he shudders and clenches them shut.  He begins to fall, like the fall of a feather, unconscious.  I react immediately, run over, catch him before he hits the floor.  Or rather, he falls on me, as I slide between him and the floor, his head landing in my lap.

I hear the click of Morena’s gun as she readies it, pointing it at me.

“What did you do to him?” she barks.  I might ask myself the same question.

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Vampire Factbook excerpt: Six Degrees of Influence

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2009 by vampirony

While variations have been recorded within the types (see Chapter 1: I am Vampire), there are standard ways vampires effect a human’s behavior.  The ability to influence humans toward the vampire’s wishes can often mark the difference between a long preternatural life and a quick death by stake or burning.  Considering the complex world in which vampire- human relationships exist (prey, partner or predator), vampires often use whatever influence abilities they possess without conscious thought or practice.  Although these abilities can be honed and skillfully applied, vampires lack the tutelage in most respects to excel past the limitations of their own necessitated experiences. 

Overall, influence can be measured by the degree of control over the human and the effort involved which can work to either attract or repel depending on the aims of the vampire.

  • Cloud – Clouding is the simplest and weakest of influences, allowing the vampire to mask his presence and guide the human toward or away from the vampire without the human’s awareness.  Vampires have an inherent polarity that as they mature, they need to gain more control over to meet their needs.  Negative vampires tend to cause general discomfort in surrounding humans, a feeling of ill ease that most humans will move away from.  This serves as a defensive mechanism, especially for younger vampires who are still learning to control their needs and abilities.  Positive vampires tend to attract human attention wherever they go.  Fewer positive vampires survive to maturity because of this but have been observed to develop stronger powers of influencing humans because of this underlying attraction. 
  • Charm – Charm, while mostly associated with attracting humans, can be used either way, however the influence is actively asserted.  Charm can be used to change the attitudes of a human to be more amenable to the vampire. #Charm includes very simple enforcement of the vampire’s will upon the human and, in measured doses, has no lasting effect on the individual human.  It is often used in conjunction with Clouding to influence a human to forget the encounter in which the charm occurred.  For example,  a vampire might charm prey to leave a public place to walk home alone and cloud them to not remember the conversation at all.  Charm almost always involves vocal engagement to activate, unlike Clouding which is an inherent state of the vampire’s being.
  • Persuasion – Persuasion, while more active than charm, greatly depends on the human’s pliability to the request or suggestion.  It often involves influencing the human to some action that might at first seem unpleasant but upon further consideration, seems agreeable as it might make some favorable end.  It’s analogous to changing a person’s opinion on a subject by convincing them they’d always thought that way or that it was their idea.  #Because persuasion involves knowledge of the human’s attitudes, it typically involves more of the vampire’s sensory abilities (see Chapter 2: Nature of the Beast) however still leaves no lasting mark beyond the encounter.
  • Entrance – Entrancing begins a quickly accelerating process of binding a human to a particular vampire.  Entrancing first involves creating a state of deep connection whether mental, emotional, or physical with the human in order to elicit their behavior in exchange for pleasing the vampire.  In other words, the vampire enraptures (syn) the human by making them a willing servant and then giving them some task to do for reinforcement, usually in the form of physical or emotional closeness with the vampire if positive and escape from bodily harm or mental torture if negative.  This two step process is exactly the same as with Spellbinding however, in this case, leaves a transient tie in the human.  Depending on the pliability of the human and the strength at which they have been entranced, this state can last for weeks or months but usually no more than a season.
  • Spellbind – Unlike Entrancing, the effects of Spellbinding a human are permanent unless released by the vampire* but unlike first thought, spellbinding does not produce a completely compliant human.  The increased awareness of most humans under spellbinding can lead to erratic behaviors and agitation as the human tries to show the vampire their devotion.  Vampires have often had human cohorts (see Chapter 3: Favor of the Beast) slain by spellbound followers in fits of jealous rage.  Spellbinding requires vigilance on the part of the vampire to protect both vampire and human from the worst possible fallout of spellbinding, wrecking.  However, a properly managed spellbound companion can prove a highly effective daytime steward for the vampire.  Most adult vampires have a single spellbound companion (aka devotee) while elder vampires and ancients, because of their abilities, can easily manage many devotees.
  • Wreck – Wrecking involves the vampire exerting so much force of will on the human that the human either emotionally or mentally breaks.  This can also happen from circumstances on a devotee when the stress of trying to please escalates into overwhelming need and jealousy.  Wrecked individuals can very rarely be rehabilitated as the tie to the vampire remains intact while their will and/or mind, both necessary for any release, has been broken.   Contrary to popular myth, wrecking humans happens more out of inexperience than intention but some vampires have been observed to prefer this method of trapping humans before feeding, gaining satisfaction from the process.  Whether a learned or inherited,  it is preferred by the most dangerous vampires, the Carpathanians, but occasionally practiced by other types.  Jiang Shi have also been known to prefer wrecking when the life essence of a human prey could not be successfully absorbed.

It is not quite understood whether or not vampires can also be effected by these influences.  Vampires are often born with an existing tie to another vampire, their maker.  Further, the blood tie may in fact usurp any other influence as it shares the vampire’s powers with its offspring.  This may offer continual protection against any other influence being exerted on them by other vampires.  Because vampires tend to live isolated with no organization (unlike werewolves), studying vampire interactions becomes difficult.  It is hard to know how much of the interplay between random vampire encounters evolves from vampire-human influencing versus their own complicated human-into-vampire emotional journeys.

*note: One alleged case of vampire “exorcism” is known but the details are as of yet undocumented as the human died shortly afterwards in childbirth.