This book has resulted from the convergence of two distinct lines of inquiry. One was undertaken with the purpose of educating the citizenry of the Sidhe Empire as to their history. The other originated in a desire to give the young the tools they might need to identify the beings they may meet in their journeys.
It is, by no means, a comprehensive history of Hel’s prodigy or all which they have rought in service to the Crown. It is our hope it may give those who read it some understanding into the great events of our collective past and inspire them to learn more.
We give special thanks to Lord Kataktitis Athanatos Vrykolakas, Order of the Garter and Royal Watcher of Revai VIII, who opened his archives to our endeavor and was most generous with his time and memories. This book is dedicated to him.
[signed] Abraham “Bram” Stoker, London in England, Old Earth, 1901
Table of Contents
- The Children of Hel, a history
- The Twice-Born, how they came to be
- The Tragedy of the Draugr
- Conclusion and Review
The Children of Hel
(Born to the Blood)
Those “born to the blood” are ancient, children of Hel, the ruler of the realm of Niflheim. The goddess Hel was the child of Loki (the trickster god) and the giantess, Angrboda. In appearance, it is told Hel was both beautiful and grotesque, her face and body said to be those of an exquisite living female, while her thighs and legs were those of a corpse, mottled and moldering. Other descriptions say she is half-white and half-black, like the harlequin’s mask. It it likely Hel’s physical description was a metaphor for the duality that exists in the world: life and death in harmony.
When Odin, the king of the Aesir (more generally known in our modern age as the dead gods) gave Hel dominion over Niflheim, he charged her with caring for the souls of people who had died from sickness or old age, and for the souls of any other people whose deaths had not occurred through violence or in battle. She took her responsibility, that of judging souls, quite seriously and after judgement had been made, would grant the type of existence within her realm she felt they deserved; this might have been anything from a beautiful paradise to the horrors of eternal punishment.
Over the millennia, Hel took consorts and bore children. And they were beautiful, powerful creatures having many strange powers: they could appear as mist, or shift into the forms of giant wolves or massive bats; they could mesmerize the weak-willed; had tremendous physical strength and were long lived (being effectively immortal as long as they remained in their mother’s realm).
Together, Hel and her children lived in the misty city of with the human souls under their care. This dark abode of the dead was located on the lowest level of the (Norse) universe.
While the gods ruled, Hel’s children would, on occasion visit the other realms but they favored Midgard, often delivering messages to the living children of the dead who they had befriended in Helheim. However, if they were too long away from Niflheim, they weakened. In extremity, they might renew themselves through the life-force of the living; for this reason, the living deemed it unlucky to invite them into their homes (and being honorable creatures, they would only enter a home if invited).
When Ragnarok (the great war of the gods) occurred, Hel lead her army of children, and those human dead who would fight at their side, into the fray. The battle occurred in our realm of Midgard and many were destroyed, though it is told Hel survived and withdrew to Nifheim once her brothers and father were killed. However, some of her children remained, for they had grown to love the bright growing world of the humans.
When the Sidhe queen discovered a way for the supernaturals to remain in Midgard, these waywards of Hel’s children flocked to her side. But once the bridges between the worlds collapsed completely, they were changed …where once they had only a passing need for the life-force of the living, now they began to crave it.
For their loyalty, they were given places of honor in the new Sidhe court. And, they fought bravely during the Sidhe Civil war. When the empire opened portals to other worlds, those of Hel’s children who survived were given planets to rule. The most well-known being Revai VIII, the prison-planet of the Sidhe Empire.
In this later age, only a handful of Hel’s children remain, most have perished in the endless wars, while others have gone rogue with blood-madness, draining hundreds before they were destroyed or put to the soul-cage. As for procreation, those of Hel’s children who stayed in Midgard found they could only breed with each other, and this occurred rarely (if at all).
Despairing in their loneliness, their childlessness led them to experiment. And this brings us to the creation of the Twice-Born, or those “turned by the blood”.
The Twice-Born (Turned by the Blood)
Cut off from their home realm and desiring offspring, the Children of Hel discovered their blood had certain properties which, when administered to a dying human, might revive them.
But that human would be forever changed …all the weaknesses of Hel’s children were true disabilities to the twice-born. Where their makers might dislike and avoid sunlight …the twice-born were burned by it. Where their makers might enjoy the drinking of living blood as we enjoy fine wines or spirits, even crave it like a powerful addiction …the twice-born needed the blood of the living to maintain their beauty. Only the most powerful of the supernaturals can destroy or imprison a Child of Hel. However, the twice-born are more easily dispatched, by decapitation or the removal of their hearts. They are strong (like their makers) and have the ability to memorize, but they lack the shape-shifting skills which make Hel’s children such formidable warriors.
The twice-born are tied to their makers. They are always hungry; for blood, for sex, for all the pleasures of the flesh. But, the only substance which truly satiates them is the blood of their maker. For this reason, those born-to-the-blood have learned to be careful of those they choose to ‘bless,’ for none wish to suffer the fate of Grettir, who in his madness made thousands in his image and was, eventually, consumed by them.
The Draugr (Destroyed by the Blood)
It it known the twice-born can turn a human, but at great cost for the volume of blood they would need to share might destroy them. And, while the blood of the Children of Hel has never been known to fail, sometimes the creature made by a twice-born is a monster. These are the Draugr …animated corpses. Draugar possess superhuman strength, can increase their size at will, and carry the unmistakable stench of decay.
So, in the Sidhe Empire we have three kinds of vampires:
- the children of Hel (those born-to-the-blood),
- the twice-born (those made by her children,
- and the draugr (ghoulish monsters).