Feeding the Soul

What would a vampire series be without fangs, blood, and feeding? Nothing good, I imagine. Still, there’s always room to re-imagine the mythology that goes along with vampires. Traditional can get old fast. Here’s how blood-sucking works in Bristol:

feeding – The process in which vampires exchange or, in the case of the Vengatti, extract essence. Feeding is more than just drinking blood; by focusing on the other’s goodness, more essence or strength is drawn from the blood.

essence – The substance carried in one’s blood that holds his or her spirit or life energy. Essence encapsulates all that is good about a vampire or person. Without a certain amount of essence one is left conscienceless. Vampires need to draw essence from another to maintain their enhanced strength and speed. The Rectinatti exchange essence with their mates or family members. The Vengatti drain essence from humans. An average vampire can’t live more than four or five weeks without another’s essence.

Writing Reasons:
I couldn’t reconcile the idea of my good vamps gnawing the necks of innocent humans, even if it was ‘necessary.’ Instead I chose to have feeding be a tremendously intimate act. This has proven useful in a few places. It makes what the Vengatti do to humans more horrific because it’s so much more than just a physical attack; it can literally destroy a person’s soul, a fate much worse than death-by-draining. It also adds some complexity to Alex and Markus’s relationship. As a human, Alex can’t provide Markus with the essence he needs, leaving him to have to feed elsewhere. Not the easiest way to start a relationship.

Excerpt from Unforeseen:
“Markus, I know you’ve all explained this before, but why do vampires really need to feed?” She regretted asking the minute the words left her mouth. She knew the answer; she just didn’t understand it. Asking it only made Markus feel guilty, which she knew was unfair. She started to tell him never mind, but he answered anyway.
“It’s okay. I’d rather you understand—not just to make these nights easier, but because it’s crucial to our world. Sage already explained to you how we believe the world is based on balance, right?” Alex nodded. “Feeding is just another part of that. Vampires are stronger, but the Creator made us dependent on one another to staunch our individual power. Our own essence, which affects our strength, weakens after awhile unless we take in the essence of another. That exchange keeps us the stronger species, physically, but having to rely on a partner was supposed to assure our strength never overrode our compassion.”
“But the Vengatti found a way around that,” Alex said disgusted.
“Exactly. Don’t get me wrong: we want to protect the humans. But part of what motivates us is also the fact they’re spitting in the face of the Creator, purposely throwing off the balance, for their own selfish reasons.”
Alex nodded, not feeling so bad about asking now that she had a better understanding. Though she was still thrilled when Markus spoke next. 

“I won’t lie and say it’s not pleasurable. It is. But if I didn’t need it physically, I wouldn’t do it anymore—now that I have other . . . pleasures.”

Today’s question:
Traditional vampires or a twist on the myth, which do you prefer?


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