Representing the Zehler’s crudest, yet most effective means to bolster their numbers, the Tresmisae are a pestilence so potent that they can destabilize communities and hamlets, sometimes even without conscious effort. Weak alone, but incredibly overwhelming in numbers, the Tresmisae are the first line of any coven’s defense, with their ability to rapidly heal and hearty numbers ensuring that replacements are never lacking. The Tresmisae are easily the most common and infectious bloodline on Aloria, with numbers many times greater than any other bloodline. However, their malleable minds and weakness alone means they are easily dominated by more powerful vampires, especially the Zehler, their creators. A Tresmisae’s animalistic and feral behavior is their defining trait, but this can take on many different shapes, depending on the host. Some Tresmisae look relatively normal and only exhibit social quirks, while others may be hunched, semi-quadrupedal, and utterly mad. The only certainty with Tresmisae is their pack-like mentality and dependency. Rarely is a Tresmisae alone or without some sort of group to retreat to, be it a half-accepting circle of friends made before their infection, a pack of other Tresmisae, or a Zehler’s coven.
The roots of the Tresmisae are both curious and unusual to any who learn of them. Technically, they’re the closest-related bloodline to the Zehler due to their (relative) lack of mutations and differing abilities. However, their strain of the curse is still far more ‘diluted’ than that of the Zehler, which presented several unforeseen side-effects to their creators in their early years, when the bloodline was first created. Indeed, the Tresmisae were a case of the results differing from and surpassing the original goal.
As the Zehler rose to power, the need for a more expendable, subordinate vampire was quickly realized, which resulted in heavy experimentation with kidnapped villagers and townsfolk. Many prolific Zehler came forward in hopes of creating these foot soldiers for the vampiric forces, but all so far had failed. Mathieu Du Jeu, a Zehler relatively respected within his circles, became the first to create a functioning bloodline separate from his own. Originally anticipating a more astute result, Mathieu had named and advertised his creation before it had even come to light. The first Tresmisae was initially a massive disappointment, not only to Mathieu, but also to his invested peers. Needy, crooked, and a little dim, the subject was dismissed and abandoned by all but its creator, who, through either desperation or pride, saw the use in his creation, and began to mutate the bloodline accordingly.
By 65 AC, the Tresmisae bloodline was what it is today. With its mutations reeled back, its infectivity amplified massively and its dominable mind, it was quickly accepted by the Zehler as the perfect minion-to-be. Although it failed to fill every role the Zehler had initially hoped, Mathieu’s methods were shared within the community after his success. This lead to the creation of both the Umredd and the Ombratore, but these techniques have since been lost to time.
Nothing could stop the Tresmisae bloodline from spreading once it was introduced into the vampire roster, and the Zehler had no such intention to in the first place. The Tresmisae spread rapidly, far outpacing their cousins. This sudden boom in population is thought to be what brought vampirism into the public eye for the first time and, consequently, caused the Kingdom of Hedryll’s declaration of war against vampirism as a whole. While the Tresmisae were already spreading wildly within the Kingdom’s borders and destabilizing entire communities, this also marked the occasion that they were first used in actual battles by their masters to a certain degree of success, especially when allowed to swarm.
Eventually, the Kingdom of Hedryll fell and the Tresmisae were allowed to spread viciously, eventually accounting for over half the population of the now vampirically-governed area. This lead to their inevitable use as cannon fodder when Vladimir Kade arrived from Regalia to declare war against the vampires in an event known as the Unspoken War. Though their wild, swarming tactics originally seemed to match the military might of the Regalian force, the timely invention of holy water and Nenya stakes quickly turned the tides against the vampiric forces, leading to a near-extinction event. The Tresmisae in their swollen numbers felt this blow hardest of all. Nearly ninety percent of the bloodline was wiped out in the ensuing push by the Regalian forces, and although this still left a great many, the vampires had lost their main fighting force and populous.
As the Zehler fled to hibernate and lick their wounds, the Tresmisae found similarly little leadership from their vampiric cousins. Lacking morale as a whole and strong numbers, the Tresmisae were overcome with cowardice and fled the falling city the moment the inevitable was realized. Now scattered to the wind -- some even off the continent entirely -- the Tresmisae resumed their normal behavior, quietly infesting sewer systems, poor districts, and shantytowns. Over the years, their numbers naturally began to recuperate, though this was more due to their natural infectivity rather than any sort of effort from the Tresmisae themselves. Lacking the leadership they had been designed to crave, the Tresmisae turned to others to guide them. Some found companionship among their own kind, others simply exploited sympathetic humans. By the time the Zehler returned, they had been entirely forgotten, but nevertheless, the Tresmisae fell to their superior’s ability to dominate their mind and many fell in line like they’d never left in the first place.
The Great Vampiric Convergence was felt by the Tresmisae, but the vast majority of them were unable to follow its message alone, either due to their feebleness alone, madness, or their appearance. Most of the first Tresmisae to arrive in Regalia were simply taken along with their Zehler masters. These first invaders were quickly released into the city’s poor district and sewers, where they set their roots deep and began their plague anew. In modern Regalia, the Tresmisae have, as always, outgrown the numbers of their cousins, and stand as the city’s most numerous vampire subtype. Though skittish when alone or sated, they remain a threat to the city’s lower crust when their thirst takes over.
Many Tresmisae physical quirks can vary from host to host, making them naturally difficult to define physically. Thankfully, several changes are ever present in the infected. Firstly, all Tresmisae exhibit fairly vibrant reddened irises. Rarely will these be dull muted colors. Secondly, an infected Tresmisae will gain an almost supernatural flexibility within a few days of their infection. Tresmisae don’t necessarily get any thinner, but they will suddenly be able to fit into spaces they could never have while uninfected. Climbing also seems to come naturally to them, mostly owed to this flexibility. A Tresmisae can scale a rough surface at the pace of any skilled climber, even with the absence of training, allowing them to reach their high-rising nests and hovels for safety. Additionally, they have sharp but short teeth that allow for an easy extraction to aid a rapid retreat as well as sharpened nails that replace their old ones, thought to be used for defense. These frequently chip and go dull, but are capable of regenerating every few days. Regardless, the Tresmisae are not terribly effective fighters, and these claws struggle to create deep cuts due to their short length. This does work in their favor, thankfully, with most Tresmisae claws being short enough not to inhibit use of the hands. A Tresmisae can even give a handshake without causing harm if they so wish.
Physical quirks and mutations are another semi-common trait of the Tresmisae. Though every Tresmisae is thought to gain some tiny, imperceptible mutation, plenty readily exhibit more extreme changes to their physique. These mutations can apparently change the bone structure, but curiously, still manage to change back upon curing. Some mutations are as minor as hair loss, while others may impact stature, such as lengthening of the arms, widening or slimming of the shoulders or hips, or even a hunchback so extreme the vampire is forced to walk on all fours.
Universal mental changes in the Tresmisae are hard to define. An infected priest might descend into zealotry and lunacy, while an infected barwoman may become exceptionally ditzy. Generally speaking, Tresmisae will lose a lot of their focus and sharpness. They won’t necessarily become stupid or forgetful, but they will begin to have difficulty processing information. The specific nature of a Tresmisae’s lunacy seems to relate to how they lived their life pre-infection, as per the example earlier, but outliers are not uncommon. Regardless of this, a Tresmisae’s mind will become weaker the longer they remain infected, usually worsening by the day. After a month, a Tresmisae is usually at their lowest. Even at the early stages of infection, an infected individual will exhibit a weak willpower, becoming prone to suggestion and temptation. They crave the company of others and often seek out close relationships with their peers to ensure constant close contact (and, usually consequently, the spread of their infection.) At later stages, they may even seek out their own kind. Another variable trait is the weakening of communicative skills. All Tresmisae suffer from this to some degree, but dramaticity varies between individuals. By their fourth week, for example, some Tresmisae will only be capable of grunting. Others may be able to recite the same, lengthy rant, and others still may be able to speak and communicate, but only very simple ideas and suggestions.
Tresmisae, despite their stature in the vampire hierarchy, aren’t terribly big eaters. They can go anywhere between three to five days between meals, any more time after this, and they begin starving. Tresmisae will readily feed from either a bite or from a cut made with their claws, and usually hunt in packs. Recently turned or well-sheltered Tresmisae, however, may simply overpower and subdue frightened friends and family. They have very little in the way of blood preference, especially when sent into a frenzy.
Tresmisae exhibit fairly ordinary traits by vampire standards but naturally suffer from their afflicted minds.
The Tresmisae have no supernatural or spell-like abilities at all, which at a glance, seems to make them exceptionally weak when placed beside their cousins. However, a Tresmisae’s shriek is one of the most damning things to hear for any unwelcome explorers.
Tresmisae are almost exclusively used as cannon fodder and meat-shields within covens, and their abilities certainly reflect it. These abilities are only active when a Tresmisae is within the borders of its own coven.
Curing & Infection
Tresmisae are by far the most infectious bloodline on Aloria, with a fifty percent chance of infection upon being properly bitten. Consuming a small amount of Tresmisae blood is also a near-guaranteed way of gaining the curse. Tresmisae aren’t picky as to who they infect, and most (if not all) are too mentally short-circuited to realize that they’re doing it. Curiously, the Tresmisae is also the only bloodline capable of infecting the Rashaq.
Curing a Tresmisae is perhaps the most familiar vampire-related procedure of any healing house. It can be done either via Light Magic or traditional medicine, but traditional medicine is usually favored to spare the cursed any unnecessary pain. Mutations will revert slowly during the three-day curing process, but the infected’s damaged mind may take up to a week to fully recover.
- When faced with even a small pack of Tresmisae, nearly every vampire hunting order recommends simply backing away and disengaging from the vampires. Those unable to retreat have been known to negotiate with the Tresmisae with limited success, though this largely hinges on how insane the cursed one is.
- Tresmisae who are still capable of speech in the late stages of their infection are almost prized in the vampire community. Those who also show little mutation are sometimes dressed as mocked servants who are made to serve the coven as a whole.
- Some wild Tresmisae tribes are rumored to exist in the countryside of northern states, slumbering in caves during the day and prowling forest paths and merchant roads at night.