Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Hunter's Guide to Monsters - Chapter Two

The sun sets on another day, when those cold monsters that stalk mankind come out to play. These swift predators relish in the darkness, hoping for a taste of that sweet lifeblood. So to celebrate the night, we will discuss the 'VAMPIRE':

Vampire /'vampuyə/ n. (in common belief) 1. The corpse of a person improperly buried, who comes to life again in order to suck the blood of people while they sleep. 2. Someone who preys cruelly on others; extortionist. 3. Also, vampire bat. Any of various South and Central American bats which feed on the blood of animals including humans.


2. Vampires
  by Hunter Jeremiah

The vampire is one of the oldest creatures in this world. Our historians continue to discover legends of these monsters that stalk the night and drink blood going further and further back in time. Some people even believe that there was a vampire in the Garden of Eden; but the past is behind us. What truly matters is that there are vampires around us, yet still.
They are a lot like us and use that to their advantage, but do not be fooled. Their pallid skin; sensitivity to light; sharp, retractable canine teeth & unnatural speed are obvious clues to their true nature. Unfortunately, they're too obvious, as many vampires have recognized these traits, and manage to hide them. But as it is a Hunter's duty to tell man from monster, with time even those hidden creatures will see the light
When darkness falls and they stalk the night, hiding beside you in plain sight, hoping to taste just one quick bite - your ability to tell one of us from one of them needs to be perfect, without a shadow of a doubt.

The first thing you need to know about vampires is that anyone can be one. With a bite, a vampire has the ability to turn any of their victims into another vampire. However, contrary to popular belief, not every vampire bite has transformative properties. The mutation is caused by the vampire's venom, which they inject with their fangs so that it enters the bloodstream and stops the heart; then, the venom mutates the still body before restarting the heart and reinvigorating the body, leading some to refer to them as undead.
Vampires can also procreate through regular intercourse, with the offspring of each referred to amongst vampirekind as bled or bred, respectively. They also age at a decelerated rate, with reports of vampires living centuries without noticeable difference to their appearances. This longevity, paired with their infectious and progenic means of spreading is what makes vampirism such a persistent threat, there will always be more of them.
Vampires subsist on blood, requiring approximately one litre of blood a day in order to survive. However, they require more if they engage in strenuous activities and less if they are young, docile or inactive. In the past, most vampires fed by preying on sleeping victims or by straight-up murdering people, but many vampires in the modern age tend to accumulate human vassals upon which they feed consensually.
If a vampire waits too long between feedings, they will become what Hunters call feral, wherein their hair falls out, their fangs become constantly expose, their skin turns sickly pale and thin & they lose their higher brain functions. At this point, they will react like a rabid animal, attacking and drinking the blood of any living creature they find, even other vampires, until they replenish their supply of blood. If they are unable to find blood, a feral vampire will eventually collapse and start to rot, dying in agony.
Because vampire physiology is designed to subsist on human blood, a related phenomenon occurs if vampires drink the blood of other animals. If a vampire drinks non-human blood, their hair will fall out and their skin will thin and pale as though they were starving, although they retain their brain function and can live a long, healthy life. Vampires such as this are known as nosferatu, and it is a cruel fate, as nosferatu are looked down on by vampirekind and look more monstrous, although they are actually benign.

Contrary to popular belief, vampires are not affected by garlic, this is theorized to be a superstition spread by werewolves. Vampire reflections are visible in mirrors and their images show up on film; this belief is a misunderstanding of the claim that, once turned vampires "never see their old face again". Although unholy, vampires are also not repelled by bibles, holy water or crucifixes, that's just hocus-pocus; crucifixion, however, will most likely kill them.
A wooden stake to the heart will most definitely kill them, as would most impalement to the heart including those inflicted by blades or bullet wounds. Vampires are also incredibly vulnerable to direct sunlight, which causes their skin to spontaneously combust on contact; however as it is their most inconvenient weakness, most vampires have methods of avoiding sunlight, using anything from magic and protective salves to heavy clothing.

The most important thing to know about vampires is that they are incredibly, inhumanly fast and lithe. They are not much stronger than an average person, but their lack of strength is made up for by their speed and flexibility. They can run hundreds of feet in seconds, leap more than three times their own height and kill a man faster than you can blink. They also have the ability to heal faster when injured. It is believed these abilities are due to the vampire's control of their heart rate and their lightweight physique. While these feats require increased blood consumption, they are what make the vampire one of the most dangerous creatures that a Hunter will ever face.

Protection
If you believe yourself to be the victim of a vampire's hunger, or fear that you are being targeted, there are some safety guidelines to keep in mind to stay safe:
  • Don't be a Sucker - If a vampire offers you vampirism, do not accept. Not only is it a dreadful curse, but some vampires offer it for the chance to kill you.
  • Fight the Bite - A strong immune system can fight off the vampire's venom, if someone is bitten, treat for symptoms, endure the pain & keep them awake.
  • Don't Let Them In - Vampires are rarely, if ever, strong enough to break down doors or through walls. A simple locked door can save your life.
  • Thirst is Worse - If you're aware of a vampire that feeds on their friends, do not interfere. Remember: if they feed on them, they don't need to feed on you.
  • Don't Panic - If a vampire has fed on you, remain calm. Clean & bandage any wounds; stay hydrated & eat to replenish lost ironprotein and vitamins.
  • Darkest before Dawn - If you've been threatened by a vampire, be sure not to venture outside unless the sun is visible; it's always safer after dawn.
  • Don't Blink - Your greatest defence against the vampire is your own strength, but you can't fight if you can't see. Never lose sight of an attacking vampire.
  • Bleeders are Feeders - A bleeding vampire seems vulnerable, but keep your distance! They will be thirsty & can become feral if they lose enough blood.
  • Veins are Vital - Vampires prefer to feed from a main artery, such as the femoral, carotid, brachial or subclavian. Keep these protected and you'll be less of a target.
Hunting
In the interests of keeping the peace, vampires are allowed to feed on humans so long as they are not otherwise harmed. If they kill their prey, or in any way harm them (including mental trauma) then we are given free reign to Hunt them down and kill the offending vampire.
However, due to the complicated politics of vampire-human relations, Hunters must be very careful which vampires we kill, how it's done and why we've done it; as any doubt regarding the legitimacy of a vampire's death will result in serious consequences from the vampire society, up to and including the execution of the offending Hunter. So, while there are methods to kill a vampire, it is highly recommended that you avoid killing if at all possible.

Find
As parasitic creatures, vampires live among mankind with little to outwardly differentiate themselves from us. As such, when a vampire commits a crime, although there are ways to find them, many of them are identical to finding a human criminal.
Investigate the victim, to determine time of death; method and/or motive & evidence left by the murderer as standard. Just be sure to investigate any bitemarks for vampire venom on your victim; if victim body has been envenomed, they must be quarantined and restrained as they could be undergoing a vampiric transformation. Although a tragic circumstance, testimony from a recently sired vampire has a tendency to accelerate an investigation.
Your location is generally your crime scene, investigate opportunity; identify those that frequent the place & locate any reports of suspicious activity in the area. In general, vampires prefer urban, well-populated areas, as small towns generally make it harder to blend in and find their prey, so in suburban areas, be sure to question locals about any recent visitors or strangers. In densely populated areas, vampires tend to visit places of debauchery, inebriation, night time entertainment & revelry for an easy feed.
The list of suspects is, unfortunately, every person your victim has ever come into contact with recently. You'll need to judge for yourself who amongst this group is the most suspicious. But keep in mind, vampires need blood to live, so they are repeat offenders. Investigate any suspicious reports in the area or, if in doubt, any reports of murder, assault, rape, or even breaking and entering - vampires know how to cover their tracks, so many victims of vampire attack do not realize they've been fed upon.
In the instance that you are finding it particularly difficult to find a certain vampire, you could always play the part of a victim and let the vampire think they're hunting you.

Capture
Although much more difficult, if you can manage it, you should try to capture a vampire without killing it. Just keep your weapon handy, because you will probably need to kill them anyway. To capture a vampire, You will Need:
"Bait" - This should be you; either way, the best bait is safe bate. I consider wearing chain around your neck & wrists to protect from a vampire's bite (it breaks their fangs when they do); staying alert & keeping your weapon of choice close at hand to be some of the safest steps in protecting your bait.
"Belljar" - This is a battle of attrition. You need to find a secluded, enclosed area that you can not only lure your vampire into, but also lockdown once they enter. You will almost always need to repurpose a building on site, so try not to make a mess. You'll need something small, but not so small as to make your Prey suspicious.
"Bow" - Using your training, you must fight the vampire to weaken it. To do this, you will need a ranged weapon such as  a gun; throwing knives or axes; a crossbow or even a spear. Some Hunters will attack one on one with blade or bludgeon, but puts you at greater risk, as the vampire will be so hard to catch, due to their speed.

Once your vampire is too weak to use their unnatural speed and agility, use your strength to your advantage. They seem strong because they move so quickly and can hit so hard, but due to their singular diet, vampires are a lot more fragile than they appear. As much as they can run away very fast, once you've captured a vampire they are at your mercy. It is best, at this time, to interrogate your vampire and decide upon the best course of action.

Other useful equipment to consider would be a gag of some kind, to stop your captured vampire biting in captivity, although something as simple as a wadded up rag works fine. Handcuffs or cable ties are great for restraining a vampire, and are less conspicuous than dragging them around in chains or rope. If you plan on holding your vampire captive for a long time, it may be prudent to buy live feed, so they don't turn feral on you. There are pet stores or websites that offer rats or mice, etcetera; although if you must, it's better to use a backyard breeder, as there are usually less questions asked.

Kill
Whether or not you've captured your vampire, it might be best to put them to death. If you do so, there are some options at your disposal:
Blood loss will kill a vampire, especially if you puncture their heart, so either a bladed weapon or a gun will kill it easy if you've a steady hand or a good eye. Some Hunters resort to sniper rifles, or will make it close and personal with a shotgun; but I personally find stabbing them in the heart or shooting them to be an inhumane way to kill a vampire, as they suffer so much starving for blood.
Unless you've the ability to use the inherent properties of silver, along with some occult knowledge, to stop their heart dead - I recommend against killing a vampire with a gun.
Burning is another option. If you know how a vampire protects itself from sunlight (if at all), you could remove this protection and let them burn to ash and bones. Or you could use fire, but this is less reliable, as a vampire can walk away from even third degree burns and heal themselves. Also, it's a painful way to die, and completely barbaric in my opinion.
Then of course there's: Suffocation, Detonation, Brain trauma& Dismemberment, but I prefer a clean Beheading. Not only is this easier for me, as I prefer to fight with a sword and therefore have this option at hand, but also with a sharp blade it's quick and leaves the vampire with little time to feel pain or suffer.

Once you've killed your vampire, dispose of the body respectfully. Cremation is the easiest option, but if you do bury the body, dig the grave at least four feet deep and always remember to remove the head (another reason I prefer decapitation). Either destroy the head; bury it separate from the body or rest it between the corpse's legs, as there is a risk that a vampire's venom will still be active even after a vampire's death, resulting in contamination, resurrection or worse.

Final Notes
There are those that believe vampirism seems more like a blessing than a curse. Long life, incomparable agility, rejuvenation, power & a perceived dominance over other humans. Some even seek out vampirism, because they perceive little to no downside to this curse.
Not only is this view incredibly shortsighted, but it also misunderstands the degree of the changes that one undergoes if they become a vampire. Because the mutation requires your heart to stop beating for such a long time, there are many - including myself - that believe vampires are little more than soulless corpses whom retain the memories of their host.
Either way, the vampiric change results in radically different brain chemistry - often resulting in a different personality - a constant thirst for blood that can never be truly quenched & of course, an eternity under the watchful eyes of people like me, ready to Hunt you down at the slightest provocation. Always Remember: Don't be a Sucker.

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