A blood-starved herald.
A herald's body is but shell -- a puppet. Her true essence is a shadow of a shadow, which must feed upon the spirits of the living to tether herself to this world. When blood-starved, the Herald is locked within her vessel and begins a slow, irreversible descent into the innermost realms of Being.
Far outside the boundaries of The City
there are those who speak of rituals that may "revive" the spirit and restore her flesh, but fate of these heretical lands tell the tale: those who descend into the innermost realms do not return unchanged. Was it the madness within that brought them to this realm? Perhaps the so-called Heralds are not true heralds at all, but mere leaves, scattering before a still greater power.
Heretical beings that feed on the blood of the living -- enemy of the Templar
and menace to all life. If a sister should be bitten, a dark seed may be planted within her, robbing her of the White Witch's protection. From there, it is a slow descent into madness and eternal hunger. After a bite is confirmed, it is the duty of every sister to destroy the seed and carry out the rites that will send the soul of the fallen to the White Witch
's side. Should rites be unavailable, they must behead her, strip her, destroy the seed, and burn the remaining flesh. Better an eternity in Limbo
than an eternity of madness and hunger.
Heralds, Fallen, Awakened, and others
To date, the Children of the Garden
have encountered three -- possibly four different varieties of Vampire: Heralds, Fallen, Awakened, and The White Bat -- an especially powerful vampire that behaves differently from all others vampires previously encountered.
could be called "True Vampires" -- typically seven to eight feet tall, a wingspan of up to thirty feet, fantastic speed and strength on both land and air, and fearful of the sun. Their bite spawns a dark seed within the vessels of most sisters, breaking the White Witch's protection. Additionally, they heal rapidly from all forms of physical damage. Destroying a Herald with conventional weapons is nearly impossible. Even massive physical burst damage (for example, total incineration in one of the City
's blast chambers or destruction of the flesh by molten iron) will only temporarily immobilize the Herald. By the next dual moon the herald will have moved her spirit to a new vessel, every bit as deadly as the last. To truly exterminate a herald it is the spirit, not the body, that must be destroyed. After a herald is immobilized she must be beheaded, shot in the heart with a holy bullet
, doused in holy water, stripped of her flesh, and then have her bones broken so the marrow may be exposed to the all-cleansing sun. When the light has broken the bones down into a fine, white sand, the Herald is finished. Her spirit's grip on this realm shall be broken and the herald shall be cast back into the darkness forever.
Heralds are rarely seen except during the Festival of the Night
, when they descend from the lost cities of the north to gorge themselves on the blood of the living. The City and the remaining satellite cities
have developed many special countermeasures to survive this period of heightened danger, but The Festival is remains a harrowing experience for even the most hardened of sisters.
are sisters who have been been tilled and sewn by a Herald. Just what remains of a sister after "blossoming" is unclear. It is notable that the fallen do not drain blood, but actually consume their victims. A few Templar sisters have been unfortunate enough to observe the brief moments of clarity a Fallen exhibits after achieving satiation. Some Fallen weep or plead for forgiveness in their sick, broken tongue. Others simply attempt to destroy themselves... but without their link to the White Witch, they lack the power to do so.
In any case, a Fallen is a wild branch and must be pruned. Between sewing and blossoming, a fallen sister can be killed by normal means.1
It is even possible (given sufficient time for rites and the availability of the necessary materials) to send the sister's soul to the White Witch's side. However, once the seed has blossomed, a sister is beyond saving. Though the blossomed Fallen do display some regenerative powers and are highly resistant to physical attacks, massive cumulative damage (repeated destruction of the flesh by conventional weapons, hacking off limbs and beheading, etc.) will be sufficient to immobilize them and temporarily halt regeneration. From there, direct sunlight, ritual prayers, holy water, or piercing a vital organ with a holy weapon
causes instant destruction, reducing the fallen to ashes.
It is unclear what becomes of a sister's soul after blossoming and after destruction, especially since multiple flowers are known to arise from the same dark seed. Is the soul lost? Divided or stretched across vessels? On the field, Templar who pray for their fallen sisters wonder if they are heard.
are blood-starved Heralds whose spirits have returned from the innermost depths of Being. Touched by a strange power, they once walked the outermost realms, far beyond the sight of The City
. That much is known to the Templar, but much remains obscure. Perhaps that is best, for all who have investigated the nature of The Awakened have walked the same path to destruction. Knowledge is, after all, not a light, but a dream in the darkness.
The White Bat
has only appeared twice over the last three hundred Festivals
, but every appearance has brought untold devastation to surface dwellers -- in fact, the mass turning of the lost races of the north were the initial trigger for the Templar Guardianship's preemptive extermination campaigns
. Said to appear as a massive white bat, impervious to both holy and conventional weapons, fantastic strength, and a bite so potent that even a Guardian may be turned. Seems to fear the sun. Possibly susceptible to the power of the Red Witches
, but the bat has not appeared since their inception. The blades of Enos
may also be efffective (they seem to pass easily though the hides of Heralds, demons, and all normal matter), but they have yet to be tested against the bat. The White Bat's origin, true nature, and current location remain a mystery. It must be destroyed.
1 A warning to sisters: the seed may still survive within. By the White Witch's command, let the bad fruit be plucked and made open to the sun.