One of the things that we learned even before Alex took up Sorrows is that vamps, especially the pretty civilized specimens who live in Palmers Rest, are not the creepiest or most dangerous critters out there by a long shot.
Alex will poke me (OW stop I haven’t even done it yet) if I give out too many spoilers, but if you’ve gotten into the book, you know about poor old Torgil. That’s the guy in the image up there, with the uncomfortable-looking squid-ish arms popping out of his belly. The guys told me that that’s not even all the arms that could pop out. YUCK.
The term we use “ridden” vampires. That critter there is one of nest that infests the vamp, one critter per vamp, via a freaking gateway INSIDE THE VAMPIRE. Vamp physiology I’ll leave to Ian to explain (he’s vivisected several). Then they try to establish a nest in THIS world via egg-laying into other vamps.
Abyssals Are Just Yucky
So, why the heck would Torgil even consider that? Part of the answer is spoiler (sorry)…
BUT, as Tamara the Ancient told us (she’s one of our vamps), even vampires have things that prey on them. And there are places far worse than undead. (Or not-completely-alive, as it happens.) Some of these we just call Abyssal, being as they come from a place pretty freaking alien. Abyssals such as infested Torgil and his nest apparently can grant vampires a bit of immunity to sunlight, not to mention access to a heck of a lot of Necro-essence. They’re very good at converting living tissue into not-living tissue. Vampires, in fact, theorize that they may indeed be a breed of proto-rakshasa that caught an abyssal infection that kind of stuck. Thus, they are sort of undead.
Back to the Abyssals. There are a lot of sorts out there. I can’t even pronounce the proper word for what infested Torgil’s nest. Most vamps are smarter than to even fool with them–they’re considered vamp-parasites. But, we’ve learned from some of the rakshasa we know, there is even an entire society of rakshasa out there that has gone and intentionally fused with a couple of types of these critters. Why, oh why? Well, those guys are apparently incredible heavy-weights in the magick-wielding community, and they got it from that fusion.
Daywalking: Not Quite Dead
But apparently you don’t have to do the nasty with an Abyssal to be able to eat lunch with us outside. Tamara, who is herself a daywalker, is immensely old, but hardly one of the ancestral vamps. We thought that her ability to picnic had to do with being an Ancient. Then we found out (Jimmy did, and had hysterics doing it) that she’s not exactly dead. She has a very slow heartbeat, she can eat some of the time, and generally all the normal functions are just really minimized. I won’t give out a huge spoiler, but a lot of her powers come from what she was BEFORE she was turned, and that was three millennia ago at our best guess.
Just a Teeny Spoiler, OK?
In Book Three, (http://www.nefredman.com/books/) you’ll see how we learned a LOT more about rakshasa. Point of semantics: “demons” covers a lot of beings, from non-corporeal in our worldspace, ever, to those that are actually a sister-branch of human. The latter we took up calling rakshasa. This isn’t the proper Hindu sort of legend/myth, just a name to hang our experiences on. I hope you’ll forgive me this mis-mything. In any case, if you’re a fan of kitsune, hold onto your jeans. You’re gonna love Book Three. Promise.