|Niche||Vampire scholars and skeletal Mage-liches|
The Zikiel Bloodline is an elusive Bloodline of Vampires that is rarely seen in Regalia, or indeed anywhere in the world. The Zikiel are seekers of arcane and dark arts magics, learners of the hidden lores and knowledge of old, and collectors of ancient tomes and vast libraries. What the Cratos are to technology, the Zikiel are to the written word and wisdom, scouring long lost temples and places of learning for any scraps from the ancient sages. Zikiel, commonly also called Liches, are almost an anomaly of themselves in the Vampire community because they seem at a first glance so far removed from the other Vampires in appearance and behavior. The origin of the Zikiel Vampires is commonly referred to in "The Tale of Zeer-Kahel the Graverobber".
The Tale of Zeer-Kahel the Graverobber
The origins of the Zikiel do not start with a Dorkarth Prince, but rather with one of the far-removed blood cattle having turned Vampire. Zeer-Kahel was a bottom-feeder Qadir who lived in the Qadir city of Marjataïr in Al-Alus, and was a street-urchin having turned peddler who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After having served as blood cattle for his cruel captor, he escaped, though only by drinking the blood of his captor and using his Vampire strengths to flee. Once properly attuned to his new Vampiric life, Zeer-Kahel discovered that his affliction gave him extra boons to escape authorities or consequence for his rampant gambling problem as he engaged in theft and grave robbery to always stay ahead of his debtors, but he was still a bottom feeder, as for all the Vampiric power gave him, he still lacked the wisdom to use it. One day, he stumbled onto the ruins of Zarq-Fatinh Aslaqqa, a massive library that was buried deep in the sands, holding many secrets of the Sariyd Empire that had long been swallowed by the deserts. He stumbled into the library that was half-submerged in sand, following a clue from a local merchant that he had overheard talking to another grave robber in an alley. Unfortunately, due to his bad preparation, Zeer-Kahel's rope snapped and he fell thirty feet, straight onto a broken table with shards of wood impaling his legs.
As Zeer-Kahel lay dying, blood caking the sand, and the light from the hole from where he came slowly dying as the cold of night started setting in, he cursed his own incompetence. To make matters worse, the ruins of Zarq-Fatinh Aslaqqa had long been looted empty, there was no shine of gold, no old artifacts to loot and sell. And yet, he refused to accept death in this moment, even if his life had been a miserable disaster from one to another, he would at least go out on his own terms. In agony, he tried to crawl to find a way out, dragging his impaled useless legs around. In his delerium, he had not even noticed the young porcelain-white Altalar girl that was following him slowly, a curious face peering down at this young man's tragedy with curiosity and perhaps a hint of pity. He turned at a certain point, not believing the Elf-ling was real, presuming it was a hallucination of his blood-loss. The Elf-ling asked him if he would bargain for his life, which he decided to muse as he had given in to his presumed end, and chose to go out with some amusement. Much to his surprise however, the Elf-ling rapidly changed into a massive maw with twisted jaws and rows upon rows of teeth, tendrils extending, as if seeking things to consume. The hungering creature started consuming him, but instead of actually eating him, it ate his flesh off his bones, leaving his bones intact. As his flesh left him, he did not feel pain, but rather just cold, coldness all around him.
Just as quickly as the Elf-ling changed, did she disappear again. For a moment Zeer-Kahel tried to inspect himself, no longer in pain, and in full skeletal being, but before he could properly register what had happened, he too felt a hunger. It was like his mind would suddenly snap, no longer capable of higher reason or thought, he became as stupid as a hungry beast that only knew how to eat, and he started trying to eat the books around him, the dusty tomes in languages that he could not understand. He consumed their crumbling pages, almost as if driven by some higher power, fragments of pages, book covers, sometimes even just dust and ashes left behind from rotten papyrus. And with each book he consumed, he could feel his sanity returning to him. Days of consuming turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, months to years, and before long, he had been endlessly consuming books for nearly 50 years, until he heard a scream of another unfortunate traveler, one that had fallen from the same hole he had once descended, and comically, fallen onto the same broken table he had. He wandered closer, skittish at first, but curious after, as the terrified visitor yelled at the creature to go away. Zeer-Kahel could not understand him, for he spoke in a funny language, but as his blood seeped into the sand beneath him, Zeer-Kahel felt a different hunger that he could not understand. He jumped on the stranger, baring his Vampiric teeth, and he drank his fill until there was nothing left of the poor outsider.
When he rose again, his sanity had been fully restored, and there was a newfound wisdom and knowledge in him. He could recall the last fifty years, the years in which he had lived like an ever-hungering and consuming creature. The blood he had consumed had brought order to chaos in his mind, and suddenly the words of what he consumed shifted back in order, the texts started making sense, and he was learning all that he had consumed, fifty years of eating tomes and crumbled books worth of knowledge all with the most brilliant clarity, all at once. The old Zeer-Kahel died there, if there was even anything left of him, and Zikiel, Emperor of the Sages was born. He donned the robes of the dead man at his skeletal feet, and the Arcane winds heeded his summons, years of Sorcery and Magic learned from consuming the pages as he defied gravity itself and rose to the exit, ready to venture into the world. His hunger had never left him, that never-ending hunger to know more and to feed on the blood of others, that sacred liquid that contained their knowledge. But now he could control it, and as Zikiel set the first steps towards the rising sun, his parched white bones reflecting the orange light that filled the sand dunes, in his wake, a terrible blizzard followed, the same cold that he had felt in his bones, he would unleash on the world.
The accuracy of this tale is not widely confirmed, however Zarq-Fatinh Aslaqqa did indeed exist, and a skeleton was found at the base of a table, and the whole library, larger than the Regalian Palace but underground, was completely empty. Not a single book on any of the shelves, and not a single particle of rotten papyrus was left in any of the sand-filled halls. Zikiel himself became a figure of legend, however all Zikiel Vampires still revere his name as the Emperor of the Sages, while some Altalar even dare to call him an Archmage, as his power rivals that of the most powerful Archmages of the Allorn Empire, supposedly. Zikiel has also supposedly been sighted various times across the world, so the scholarly community has largely accepted that he does indeed exist, but some claim that the myths and legends of his power may be slightly exaggerated.
Zikiel Vampires are voracious in their apatite, and they have an apatite to compete with. Their hunger for learning and knowledge and blood are high, and to some degree, causing them to lose composure at times when exposed to an exquisite banquet of blood, or a particularly juicy piece of information, rare tome, or knowledge that has been lost for aeons. The Zikiel are usually solitary, and while they will tolerate the presence of other Zikiel, it is extremely common for them to establish constantly shifting hierarchies based in bickering as to who knows the most, or who is the most intelligent. To the Zikiel, blood isn't only a feast, it is something near-holy, they believe that the collected knowledge of a person's learning and life is stored in their blood, and that it is only a shame that the act of learning from the blood hasn't quite been discovered yet. While other Vampires might revel in blood feasts and baths, Zikiel abhor the idea of blood spilling, violence, and fighting, and find the very act of blood being spilled without it being consumed by them to be an affront to their self-identity. Zikiel are soft-spoken, though can be loud if they wish. They are certainly well-spoken, but can have manic episodes if deprived of blood for too long, as blood brings order to the thousands of pages of text that are all imprinted in their memory. The Zikiel are masters at manipulation and control, as such, they are often found as Coven leaders. Even as supporting members of a Coven, a Zikiel should never be left to their devices for too long, as they will always be plotting to take over the Coven, and re-direct its efforts to securing more knowledge (if that is not its goal already). Zikiel frequently also ignore Covens altogether, wandering the world alone in search for ancient knowledge. Their ability to mingle with non-Vampires due to their less-obvious visual traits gives them more freedom to move around and interact with others, albeit while trying to hide their Vampiric teeth.
The Zikiel are at a base knowledge styled Vampires, that always seek to learn more. They are anti-combat scholars and arcanists, sages with a magical twist and with many capacities to disengage and utility. Every one of their mutations is geared to social interactions just as much as it is to enhancing the mage-lich aesthetic. Zikiel have a complex personality, ranging from unpredictable, to outright arbitrary or bipolar, yet with a veneer of class and poise when they are not in their manic state of singular obsession. The Zikiel do not look down or respect the other Vampires, they consider themselves apart from their kind in a way, elevated beyond the base needs and simple squabbles of the Vampires, though they can at times appreciate their company and unique perspectives of things. Zikiel understand that their work is made easier if they cooperate with others, even if just for the time being, and on periods where their blood-lust and knowledge-lust is sated, they happily seek out the company of others to boast about the things they have learned, or to let others bask in their excellence of knowledge. A Zikiel is vain, vain in the knowledge they have acquired, and vain in the fact that others might seek them out to learn a sliver of what they know.
Zikiel Common Abilities
Common Abilities are mechanics that all Zikiel Vampires have access to, meaning they are implied and it is not necessary to record them on a Character Application, though you may for posterity sake. Important instructions for Character Apps are included in the Vampire Form table row at the bottom.
|Standard Ability||Ability Category||Range||Description (Standard Mutations are free but Mandatory, All Zikiel Vampire have them, and they can use these Abilites while in their non-Vampiric Form and Vampiric Form (Lich Form))|
|Blood Collaring||Soul Curse||Emote Distance||The Vampire can Target either a willing or restrained non-Vampire person to attach a Blood-Collar to their neck, colored in crimson blood yet solid and shaped like brambles with thorns. While the Vampire is in Emote Distance, any command issued must be followed, else the collar will dig its spikes into the neck and cause bleeding. While within range, any number of commands can be issued, but only the last command will remain active when leaving Emote Distance. Blood Collared individuals cannot be infected with Vampirism, and the Collar can only be removed by any type of Exorcism-Like Ability that removes Possessions. Any Vampire can only have one person Collared at any time.|
|Immortal Aging||Constant Passive||Self||The Vampire does not age from the moment of infection. Their aging ceases visually, and they can sustain themselves beyond their natural undeath. This is not true undeath, but a state of suspended unlife. If a Vampire is cured when they have lived a number of years as a Vampire, they will proceed to age rapidly over a period of 2 weeks. Becoming re-infected during these two weeks will restore the Vampire back to the age they were when cured. If they cannot be re-infected before the end of the 2 week period, the aging is permanent, and re-infection causes the character to freeze at the new age. If a character has aged far beyond their natural lifespan, if they are not re-infected before the end of the 2 week period, they will die. (It is not allowed to perma-imprison a character to prevent infection to their death during these two weeks) Vampires require an Backstory Special Permission in order to be older than 100 years old. Vampires who are turned through active roleplay can be older than 100 years without a Backstory Special Permission (Though in all cases, a character older than 150 requires a Backstory Special Permission)|
|Lore of Old||Toggle Passive||Emote Distance||Zikiel Vampires can, both and out of Vampiric Form, use telepathy on books and pages from books. They can “rip” pages from books up to Emote Distance away, and move them around in the air around them. This is mostly for aesthetic purposes, making books and pages levitate, however Zikiel Vampires can also use these loose pages to “intercept” mundane projectiles (such as arrows or crossbow bolts) when they are shot at the Vampire. Zikiel Vampires are effectively immune to mundane ranged weapons, as any and all projectiles shot at them will be automatically intercepted by a speeding book page that rips the projectile out of the air. The number of books or pages has no upper limit, and a veritable page-storm can be summoned, though all forms of telekinesis must always only be aesthetic or for the purpose of fetching books, besides the mundane projectile immunity.|
|Lore of the Gods||Constant Passive||Self||Zikiel Vampires do not need to choose their Mutations. Instead, Zikiel Vampires gain access to all Form Mutations at all times. Form Mutations can also be used outside of Vampiric Form, though some may have some mechanics that only work while in Vampiric Form.|
|Lich Feeding||Vampire Spell||Touch||The Vampire, when sinking their teeth into the neck of their victim causes a partial paralysis that makes it impossible for the victim to struggle out of their grip or fight back, but still aware enough to know what is happening, be able to see, hear, and speak. The Vampire can consume as much blood as they want, but can drink no longer than 10 minutes which is their upper fill. Upon releasing their teeth from the victim’s neck, the effect is instantly canceled, but the victim is too weak to immediately turn back and fight for at least half a minute. This Ability may not be used to tie someone up at the same time, and the Vampire cannot fight or use Abilities while drinking.|
|Lich Body||Constant Passive||Self||
|Lich Power||Constant Passive||Self||
|Lich Form||Mythic Shift||Self||The Vampire can activate their Lich Form, which is a Mythic Shift that turns them into a so-called Vampiric Form. Vampiric Forms are alternate appearance versions of the Vampire’s normal form that give creative liberty to the player in terms of design, with some noted limitations. All Vampiric Forms (per bloodline) have some basic rules so that a Bloodline can easily be read from their appearance, however beyond that, many different aesthetic aspects can be modified at will. It is required to produce a “Vampiric Form” section on the Character Application, detailing in a Paragraph what your character’s Vampiric Form looks like. Having a separate skin for Vampiric Form is not required, strongly recommended for immersion. The following rules apply to the Lich Form for this Bloodline:
Zikiel Form Mutations
Form Mutations can be used inside and outside of Lich Form, as specified. Because of their Common Mutation, Zikiel have access to all mutations, which must be recorded on a Character Application. Abilities may not be used before the Application is approved. Abilities may only be changed once, repeated changing of Abilities will result in a Character App being revoked.
|Form Mutation||Ability Category||Range||Description (Zikiel Vampires have all of these mutations, and can use them in or out of Vampiric Form (Lich Form), as described.)|
|Lich Mastery||Constant Passive||Self||Zikiel Vampires can purchase Sorcery Spells at a cost of 3 Proficiency Points per spell. Additionally, they can purchase a total of 5 Sorcery Levels instead of the normal 4. Additionally, Zikiel Vampires can purchase spells from as many schools as they like, however they are blocked from purchasing Exist-based Sorcery Spells from the thematic categories of Nature, Lightness, Order and Spirit, and as such must purchase from Elemental, Darkness, Chaos, Arcane, or Whimsy. If no Sorcery spells are purchased at all, the Vampire may choose 1 free Sorcery Level from any of these allowed categories with no Proficiency cost. Zikiel Vampires cannot become acolytes, and do not get Mage Empowerment. If the Vampire had Sorcery Levels before becoming infected, they are all refunded and can be re-spent, and if they are cured, the original set (or no Sorcery) is restored. With this Mutation, a Zikiel Vampire can also be a Mage. It is possible for a Mage to willingly become a Zikiel Vampire with this Mutation already unlocked through the Void Zikiel Ritual, however this is irreversible, and the Mage can no longer be cured.|
|Lich Mindward||Constant Passive||Self||The Vampire becomes completely immune to all forms of Target Illusions, Object Illusions and Target Curses, as well as any form of Control Power or Ability that would puppet the actions of the Zikiel. This Mutation is active both in Vampire Form and outside of it. Additionally, Lich Mindward allows Zikiel Vampires while in Vampiric Form to torment others by aesthetically moving or animating their tattoos from within 5 Blocks Range. These changes are not permanent however, as these aesthetic effects are merely a Target Illusion, and cease when the Zikiel wills it, or leaves 5 Blocks Range.|
|Lich Spiderweb||Toggle Passive||5 Blocks Range||The Vampire, while conversing with any other person, is able to connect relations between that person, and any other person they have met before, by focusing on their connection, but only if they have already met the person in question. For example, while meeting someone for the first time after meeting their brother, if they focus on their brother (who they do not know if their brother), they will magically learn that the two are brothers. This can be used to detect hidden relations between two people the Zikiel has met. This Ability can be used as many times as the Zikiel likes, and is not detectable. Additionally, the Zikiel Vampire may project a spiderweb of relations of that person in front of them, with the names (if they know their names, if not, their pseudonyms are used), connecting other names and pseudonyms and identifying their relations to one another so that the web can be shown to others. This can only show one person deep, meaning the target and their immediate relations, not their relations’ relations. In the case of the Zikiel testing two personas of the same person(via disguise/Shapeshifting Abilities), the relationship web will show neutral relationships between the personas.|
|Lich Frostwall||Vampire Spell||Emote Distance||The Vampire sends forward a rapidly moving shard of ice, that when hitting a person, causes their legs to be encased in ice up to their waist. This entrapment cannot be removed through any means, even Abilities that would usually end it, by the person who is trapped themselves without help from a third party. This Ability cannot miss, and if the target has some form of immunity to entrapment or snaring, they instead Stagger, breaking any Channel Ability or ongoing charge to attack. This Ability breaks automatically after 3 minutes, and can only be used on one person at a time. This Ability cannot be used on the same person more than once every 10 minutes. If someone is already rooted by this Mutation in Emote distance (Even by another Zikiel), this Mutation cannot be used for the duration of that root. Additionally, Zikiel Vampires can toggle an aesthetic effect that leaves behind small frost-crystals whatever they touch with their skeletal hands while in Vampiric Form.|
|Lich Horrorwall||Vampire Spell||2 Block Range||The Vampire is able to make a Lich-Ward, which functions exactly the same as Mage-Wards, except that they simply cannot be broken through any mechanic or Ability. This Horrorwall can only cover an area of 5 blocks wide by 5 blocks tall. Unlike other Mage-Wards however, this magical wall hard-expires within 2 hours of being set up, and the Vampire cannot make a new one until 24 hours later. It takes merely an arm gesture to bring up the wall, but it must be summoned within 2 blocks of the Vampire. Additionally. This Horrorwall can manifest the face of the Vampiric Form of the Zikiel Vampire if they channel their conscience to it from anywhere in Regalia, allowing them to speak to whoever stands in front of it, however they cannot see from the Horrorwall.|
|Lich Deathstorm||Linked Channel||Emote Distance||The Vampire can summon a Deathstorm which requires them to constantly Channel this Ability without interruption (it can only be interrupted by Mage Spell and Sorcery Spell counters, or physically knocking them over). While the Deathstorm is active, a vast maelstrom of red smoke and ghostly apparitions rapidly circle around the Vampire, the Vampire acting as the eye of the storm. Anyone caught in the storm cannot communicate unless they yell, and become very slow, unable to run or engage in acrobatics due to the piercing winds. This storm remains active in Emote Distance around the Vampire, until they are attacked or drop the Deathstorm to use another Ability. The Vampire can still move around while using this Channel Ability.|
|Lich Reachwall||Toggle Passive||Emote Distance||Anytime anyone that has any type of Ability that can teleport, leap, jump or otherwise rapidly close the gap between the Vampire and themselves uses said Ability on the Vampire, the Vampire becomes aware of it before it happens, raises their hand in a stopping gesture, and the person’s gap-closer is instead reverted/canceled/countered, and the person who performed it is knocked off their feet.|
|Lich Faithwall||Toggle Passive||5 Blocks Range||Zikiel Vampires are immune to all effects of the Archan Ailor Union Blessings, as well as all Altalar Racial Abilities that would target them or impart some sort of effect on them. Additionally, they can wave their hands at religious effigies that belong to any religion not part of Void Worship within 5 blocks range of them, and corrupt them. For example: Regalian Unionist eye banners will become red with Void-Script on it, statues of Herons will become more demonic with horns and scowls, stained glass windows will change their depiction to horrors, and other religious symbols are profaned.|
|Lich Speechwill||Toggle Passive||Self||Zikiel Vampires can perfectly imitate anyone’s voice they have heard before, and can also self-modulate their own voice, including superimposing two different voices, of different ages or genders or cadence, or giving their voice an echo. Additionally, all Zikiel speak melodically, if they so choose, with a melodic voice at the quality of 10 Vocal Singing (but this Proficiency effect does not grant them the ability to compose music or play instruments, it purely affects their voice).|
|Lich Wordwill||Toggle Passive||Self||Zikiel Vampires can near-instantly absorb the content of books into their memory, and can near-perfectly recall every piece of writing they have ever read, while they were infected with Vampirism. This is telegraphed by the Vampire putting their hand on the book’s cover, after which a siphon of red mist will flow from the book’s pages to the Zikiel’s face which will light up slightly, over the period of roughly 10 seconds. Additionally, Zikiel Vampires can spell out writing in glowing red letters in the air in front of them, or anywhere near in Emote Distance.|
- The being that came before Zikiel and turned him into the first Zikiel Vampire is often claimed to be Djjwa Ifirti, however the Thousand Eye God has directly refuted this according to those who have spoken to Djjwa Ifirti, who has been seen dozens of times more than Zikiel supposedly has. The running theory is that the being that approached Zikiel was in fact the Arken of Knowledge, which puts the Zikiel in the strange position of having been created by an Exist Arken, despite being Void Vampires.
- Zikiel are notoriously frail. It is a common misconception that when in Vampiric Form they do not receive any harm, however damage transfers between Vampiric Form and normal Form for them, and the Zikiel have exceptionally weak defenses to those who achieve the momentous task to actually get up close to them.
- Zikiel have a difficult relationship with the Cratos, and by extension Clockwork. Some think this is some sort of nascent effect from Zikiel's hate for the Clockwork moguls of Al-Alus, but few Zikiel will ever accept usage of Clockwork machines unless absolutely necessary, and they sneer at Cratos for relying so much on mechanical constructs instead of bulk knowledge.
- When a group of Zikiel come together to form a Coven, or just for discussion, it is colloquially called a "Bookstorm" amongst other Vampires, due to the high number of floating pages, and obscure facts and figures spoken of.