Vampires have more than a few powers that leave me green with envy. Speed, because even if I wasn’t so short, I’m pretty sure I’d still be a slow plodder. I make up for it now with my driving, but it’d be cool to move that fast naturally—and legally. And strength, because I’ve yet to find a jar opener worth the space it takes up in my kitchen. Even fangs I bet I could find uses for. Immortality, though, is not something I’d ever want. So when it came to creating my world, I twisted this common part of vampire mythology to give my vamps an out.
First, vampires can be killed. I didn’t want stakes, or garlic, or any other magical weapon/talisman involved. I simply made it gory; vampires pretty much need to suffer a serious wound to the head or heart, or have their throats cleanly slit. Also, females and babies occasionally die in childbirth, and I suppose, although I haven’t worked it out yet, there are likely a few human illnesses/diseases which could also be deadly to vampires.
Returning ceremony – Assuming one survives these and keeps exchanging essence, though, a vampire in my world could technically live forever, but most don’t. At a certain point (far longer than humans could fathom), when one has served his/her coven, raised young, and lived a full life, one can choose to return to the Creator. In their world, this is not suicide. Such ceremonies honor the life of the one returning; they’re dignified and accepted, just as the passing of elders ought to be.
What can I say? Sometimes I get philosophical. To me immortality comes from what we leave behind: the work we do, the love we share, the people whose lives we touch. Beyond that physical immortality seems more of a curse than a gift.
Excerpt from Unveiled:
Rocky stole a page from Alex’s book and flipped Sage the bird without facing him. He wiped his face and flicked his tongue over his knuckles to stop the bleeding. There was no sense in denying Sage’s accusation. Sage had been in his head the previous night. Darian had left to attend the returning ceremony of a widow from an original family who had decided to rejoin her dead mate after two decades of mourning him. Rocky had envied the ease of her escape. After eight or nine centuries, no one blinked an eye at a vampire who chose to end her life. A returning ceremony was one of honor and celebration, a chance to give thanks to the Creator for a life well lived.
It was different at twenty-five, before one had even begun to serve his coven, before contributing to its longevity by providing young. It was shameful, a waste. But that was how half the coven saw his life anyway. Death wouldn’t change anything.
Immortality or longevity, which would you choose?