The Mythmatched Vampires’ World
When I was first brainstorming about a series to follow up the first Mythmatched trilogy (Fae Out of Water: Cutie and the Beast, The Druid Next Door, and Bad Boy’s Bard), I started with a comment my editor made to me. She said that we had a springboard for expanding the story universe beyond the fae, since a couple of the characters who’d gotten the most positive reader response were two of Alun’s clients from Cutie: Benjy, the little dragon shifter prince who hadn’t learned to hoard, and Kristof, the vampire who’d developed a blood aversion.
So I decided that the new series, Supernatural Selection, would explore the shifter and vampire worlds a bit more, and to do that, I needed to come up with the basic underpinnings of the vampire world. Here’s what I came up with.
- The cradle of vampire origins is in Eastern Europe, specifically Transylvania (Vlad the Impaler and Dracula FTW!)
- Eastern European vampires were very feudal and territorial—they stuck to (and defended) their turf.
- Because they were so long-lived, they amassed great wealth and property (another reason they liked to stick to their turf—they had a lot of it!)
- World War I fucked that all to hell.
The reality of the war as it was occurring would have been a problem for the vampire aristocracy to begin with. Romania opposed and then later was occupied by the Central Powers, with battles fought in Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains. The vampires, with their highly unmovable assets—castles, anyone?—would have been at a considerable disadvantage.
But it was after the war that things got really tricky, with borders redrawn and entire countries distributed essentially as spoils of war. As if that weren’t bad enough, the Spanish Flu epidemic and the subsequent typhus outbreak prompted the League of Nations to get up in the business of global health and disease prevention. There were mass examinations, de-lousing and bathing, quarantines. The vampires’ little empires would have been invaded by the worst sort of humans: reformers.
So in the Mythmatched story universe, the vampires, led by Kristof, brokered a deal with the fae to evacuate the vampires to America through Faerie. Unfortunately, vampires couldn’t pass the Faerie threshold without druid magic, and neither the fae nor the druids were willing to help without exacting a price.
In order for the vampires to survive, they had to agree to two rules:
- A strict no-kill policy
- No new vampires
Not all chose to comply, and perished in the aftermath of the war and the onset of the next one. So when Vampire With Benefits begins, the entire world vampire population (which isn’t large) is located in North America—and their numbers are dwindling.
So…this next part is going to be a little grim, but you know, vampires. So I hope you’ll bear with me.
What happened once the vampires arrived in America? Did they docilely submit to the rules imposed on them by their rescuers?
Well, as you might imagine . . . not so much. Here’s what I decided happened.
At the center of the Mythmatched universe is the Secrecy Pact. This pact was entered into by each of the supernatural races: under no circumstances could any of them expose the existence of supe society to humans in a way that jeopardized the safety of all.
Of course, some of the supe races had ways to mitigate exposure: the fae have glamourie, the vampires have mesmer, the ‘cubi have thrall. But when and why did the Secrecy Pact go into effect?
Well, it was the vampires’ fault. But I needed to find a good reason for it to be their fault, so I looked up unsolved murders that had two qualities:
- If you looked at the evidence the right way, it could be proof of vampire involvement.
- The perpetrators needed to be arrogantly indiscreet.
In 1918 and 1919, New Orleans was terrorized by a killer calling himself the Axeman. He attacked twelve people (not all of whom died from their injuries), using . . . well . . . an ax. The attacks were bloody and violent enough, but the Axeman didn’t stop there. A letter purporting to be from him was printed in a local paper. It began like this:
Hell, March 13, 1919
Esteemed Mortal of New Orleans:
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
He goes on to warn Orleanians that he’ll kill again on March 15th, but promises to, er, spare any home with a jazz band playing.
In my story world, the Axeman is a vampire. He betrayed the hospitality of his new country by not only killing for no reason, but for announcing to the world that he wasn’t human. Not only that (I posited), but he made a fledgling.
The Axeman wasn’t heard from again after that letter—no attacks occurred on the 15th. In my story world, the fae “took care of him” and the Secrecy Pact was put into effect.
But one vampire still chafed at the restrictions. This one made a fledgling in 1926, which got him put under close scrutiny by the vampire council, although they didn’t take extreme measures until 1947, when the gruesomely spectacular “Black Dahlia” murder occurred in Los Angeles. When the mutilated body of would-be actress Elizabeth Short was discovered, there was no blood at the scene. Later, the killer sent the contents of her purse an LA paper.
An unsolved murder, missing blood, and interaction with the press: obviously another vampire on an indiscreet rampage. And since all of these things would violate the terms of the vampires’ evacuation agreement with the fae and druids, that vampire got staked by the council for his crimes.
Casimir Moreau, the co-hero in Vampire With Benefits, is the youngest vampire and one of only two American-made vamps. The other, Henryk Skalding, has been Cas’s death-long nemesis. Henryk’s sire (the vampire who made him) is the Axeman.
Cas’s sire is the Black Dahlia’s killer.