I’m glad to!  It’s not your fault.  I have a tendency to figure out a lot of rules for how my fantasy worlds work but then I try to avoid info-dumping so sometimes I end up erring in the other direction and being too obscure.

Ahaha, assuming that I managed to follow my own logic coherently (which…isn’t guaranteed), then my thinking is that you get turned into a vampire by being brought to the edge of death (most popular with vampires is via exsanguination) and then being fed a vampire’s blood.

A vampire can drink from anybody, and the only results are an anemic human and a well-fed vampire.  What changes things is when the vampire feeds their blood to someone else.  It’s the blood that carries the curse.  So a vampire’s blood gives them power over those they feed it to.

Thus, new vampires typically are subservient to the vampire who created them.  This effect often fades with time, although how much time and how completely it goes away varies from one individual to another.  A strong will can help when trying to resist it, but it’s generally pretty rough to be a young vampire bossed around by your creator for the first couple of decades.

Gabriel never had to deal with this, because he and Jack killed the vampire who would have been his master.  By staking that bastard, Jack set Gabriel free.

To ‘mark’ someone (aka making them a thrall, ghoul, vampire slave, whatever you want to call them–there are lots of terms for it), you take a living person and feed them vampire blood.  Again, this gives the vampire power over the one carrying their blood.  Because of various weird supernatural reasons that aren’t really well understood (by which I mean I didn’t really care to think about it too much), humans have a harder time resisting this bond.

There are various signs visible in a person who has been enthralled by a vampire.  Mostly these are toned-down versions of the marks by which a vampire may be known, including a subdued set of fangs, red eyes (not prominent enough on Jack to be visible most of the time, but someone with good eyes may be able to spot a faint reddish glow in a dark room), and some degree of a vampire’s supernatural strength, speed and durability.  They also sometimes experience personality changes, including possibly bloodlust, increased tendency toward violence, decreased empathy, arrogance or a hot temper.

Jack can get away with this mostly, because 1: he’s always been a bit like that so it’s hard to tell whether his personality has been influenced 2: he’s a vampire hunter himself so he knows exactly what to do to hide his tells and 3: there are so many rumors and overwrought stories about vampires and everything surrounding them that the average person can’t tell what’s true.  Vampire hunters get training in this stuff (although it’s not like there’s a licensed academy, so how good they are really depends a lot on how good their teacher was).

Vampires can learn to exert supernatural command those who carry their blood.  How good a vampire is at this depends on the individual.  How well a thrall can resist also varies depending on the individual.  But in general, even without being directly commanded, a person who has been marked by a vampire exhibits uncommon loyalty to them, maybe even love or obsession.  They are predisposed toward protecting the vampire’s interests, not to mention the vampire’s safety–often even ahead of their own.

Thralls are considered very dangerous because a vampire who knows what they’re doing can go around marking strategic individuals and using them as spies, guards, assassins, etc.  Getting hold of the right person can also give a vampire a lot of leverage on regional affairs, for example by binding an influential citizen to them, gaining insider knowledge from someone who is highly skilled or well-placed, or by taking control of a loved one who then becomes an effective hostage.  And unless you have a vampire hunter who knows what they’re doing, it’s easy to miss until it’s too late and the vampire has what they want.

You might think that the thing to do, then, is to keep a vampire hunter around for insurance.  But the problem with that is that vampire hunters die a lot.  It’s a dangerous line of work.  It’s tricky to fight someone with supernatural abilities and over 100 years of experience at dealing with people exactly like you.  So the mediocre vampire hunters come and go (although to be fair mediocre young vampires also come and go a lot), and the really skilled vampire hunters get specifically targeted by irate vampires.  Another problem is that despite the general fear of them, there aren’t really a LOT of vampires, so 1: not so many people become vampire hunters in the first place and 2: to pay the bills between vampire jobs, hunters often moonlight by hunting other monsters, which also gets a lot of them killed.  Werewolves and revenants may not be blood-sucking fiend-kings of the night, but they can still rip your throat out.

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