"Let us not be foolish here and talk as if to children. It is painful, extremely so. The flesh tears, the blood gushes forth, the pain is like a blow to the head, knocking one senseless. One feels one’s very life is draining away, and with that comes panic and terror. But pain and terror can be weathered and controlled. And what in this world worth having does not come with a price of pain or suffering?"
—Lady Ariette von Carstein.
The manner by which a Vampire turns a mortal into another Vampire is subject to much speculation. Known variously as the Blood Kiss, the Dark Awakening, Turning and the Red Ascension, this process is believed to involve the exchange of blood in some fashion. It was Queen Neferata's blood that gave rise to the first Vampires. The Blood Kiss is a highly secretive and personal affair, possibly unique to each Vampire, and the lords of undeath do not discuss it, not even with others of their kind.
Those who are given the Kiss do have reason to be afraid, for the experience is as terrifying as it is exhilarating. The hot, hunting blood of the Vampire flows into the veins, burning out the weak, mortal blood as it goes. What happens to the life and soul of the Human during this transformation is unknown, and every Vampire that speaks of it has described something different. Some mortal priests suggest that they enter the Garden of Morr but are turned back by the God because they are an abomination to his sight. Scholars and wizards sometimes talk of them moving between the realms, trapped forever between this world and the next.
Whatever the truth, every Vampire awakens with a newly forged spirit. They retain the thoughts and memories of the mortal they once were, but within them now is a dark beast, driving them to hunt and prey, to revel in their every twisted vice, and to glory in all their dark desires. Some see this desire as a separate force—the Beast Within—whilst others believe it is simply the benefit of no longer being burdened with the weight of a soul.
The nature of this change is much debated by those with a mind for such philosophising, for it asks a fundamental question about the nature of man. Such questions are no doubt clouded by the rarefied selection of those who join the ranks of the Vampires.
Although the method of deciding who will receive the gift is individual to each Vampire, each will only choose those who will bring great glory to their bloodline. Such a mortal must be beyond exceptional, a person of great aspect and incredible will. They also typically possess some dark spark, a certain shadow in their soul that their parent-in-darkness can see, coiled and waiting. Although some Vampires are less particular than others, there is no society upon the Old World more fiercely exclusive than the Vampires. Thus the creation of a Vampire is never done lightly or frivolously, but soberly, reverently, passionately, and with fear of reparations should the choice be unwise—for the parent is very often blamed for the sins of the child.
Those who are chosen are inevitably drawn from the admirers and subjects that every Vampire soon enough attracts. The popularity of the Vampire is strong and far-reaching and why not? They are everything mortals aspire to be: physical and mental titans; masters of lands, armies, lore and sorcery; and, freed from the ravages of time, they only increase in stature with each passing year. It is the vast number of adherent mortals who wish to become children of the night that provide another reason for the Vampires to be so careful in their selection—if it was too common a gift, everyone would clamour for it, and their ranks would soon be filled with the weak and stupid.
A few Vampires are so secluded they cannot be as selective as their other brethren. They may give the honour to those Ghouls or necromancers in their retinue who proved themselves worthy enough stewards, students, or lieutenants. Some may grant the gift to apprentices who show truly exceptional talent and a sufficiently consuming obsession with the field. Others are more discerning and have unusual and unique prerequisites in their selections. For example, the Blood Dragons search the world for the greatest warriors, whatever their class or origins. Any that meet their standards—typically that of being able to defend against their attacks—are taken under consideration.
All Vampires, however, maintain a singular prejudice against non-Humans. It is perhaps not impossible for a Dwarf, Elf, or Halfling to be made a Vampire, but it is unheard of for one of the blooded to break their inveterate snobbery towards these races.
Warhammer Fantasy is a high fantasy fictional universe created by Games Workshop and used in many of its games, including the table top wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) pen-and-paper role-playing game, and the MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
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