danilo: (The Past: Disbelieving)
Danilo is the eldest of five children born to an aristocratic family in Venice. Even as a human, he was heavily involved in local politics. While his twin brother, Gregorio, entered the priesthood, he concerned himself with affairs of state and the running of his family's home and shipping business when their father unexpectedly died. By the time he was in his thirties, his ships transported untold riches and knowledge from the east to the bustling port of Venice. It was during this time he met a sorcerer from Constantinople, and began to learn magic.

In 1025, he convinced a disillusioned Gregorio to leave the Church and join him in Venice. Gregorio threw himself into the study of magic and the two of them made a pilgrimage, along with twenty others, to Constantinople the next year, to summon power beyond their wildest dreams. Without the knowledge of the others, Danilo changed his part in the ritual. Instead of the minor demon they were prepared for, a far more powerful demon was summoned and it overwhelmed them. They all left Constantinople the next night, and by then each knew that something was wrong with them. They were ravenous but they couldn't eat, the food sickened them. They were parched with thirst, but water acted as poison, and more than one of the twenty-two were helpless in the hands of their servants as they made their way back to their homes in Europe and the east. Christian, and to a lesser degree Jewish and Muslim symbols burned their skin. The sun burned them in seconds. As sick and weak as they were, they didn't die, but just grew more and more wizened, like living mummies. And their blood relatives were affected as well.

By the time Danilo and Gregorio made it back to Venice, they were very weak and depended wholly on their servants to bring them back to their home and hide them from the sun and the curious. Both of them poured over Danilo's collection of books, looking for a solution to the curse, and it was Danilo who came up with the demon they set out to summon. Their servants were sacrificed to satisfy the demon's hunger, and in exchange for their souls, each of the cursed were given new strength. Fangs, in order to hunt blood to satisfy their hunger. Increased speed and strength. Greatly increased stamina. Immortality. Their bodies would heal any wound, save for a stake through the heart (which disrupted the pact), decapitation, fire, the sun, and severe water poisoning. They were still subject to the Curse, and they had to learn to control their blood hunger or one vampire could easily drain an entire village and not slake his thirst.

Most of the original vampires and their families were highly territorial and seldom traveled for any reason, except for Council meetings, held in Venice, a central location for all of them. As the family claiming Venice, the D'Ambrosio family has long taken a neutral stance in the Council, looking ahead to the good of all vampires, rather than their own advancement. While his brother studied magic and science, attempting to rid them of the Curse, Danilo continued dabbling in politics. He's played a role in the government of Venice, overtly or in the shadows, for a thousand years.

In modern times, Danilo D'Ambrosio is a member of the City Committee, serving directly under the mayor of Venice. He is married to an American, Kelly Woods D'Ambrosio, and they have three children together. He also has a grown son living in Canada and another living in London.

The family has a summer house in Belluno and often move between the two homes in order to escape the notice of the normal populace. As senior members of the Council, Gregorio and Danilo often quietly investigate matters that the Council deems too dangerous or sensitive for the Sanguinarium, the Council's volunteer force, to investigate.

The Ambrosius Group is what happened to Danilo's shipping business. The company no longer produces or ships goods of its own, but instead is a holding company. It owns controlling interests in many other companies, including Alberici Group, the pharmaceutical company where Gregorio runs his tests on the vampiric condition.
danilo: (Default)
So far, I've been handwaving magic use, saying that the vampires in his world can use magic but not saying how. I would still like to give myself a little leeway to refine the system but I do need to spell it out, at least a bit, if only to have a resource to keep myself straight.

Vampires in this canon have some innate magical talent, but it isn't anything they can use without training and practice. Most purebloods learn magic from their parents. The turned vampires who study magic do so by everything from actual training to getting lucky and picking up the right book at Barnes & Noble.

Vampires excel at ritual magic. Some, such as Adrien, practice a form of Technomancy. Their magic is channeled through or involves technology in some way. Others, like Gregorio, prefer blood and alchemy based magic, but dabble in other areas as needs arise.

Most who study magic are capable of some simple and common spells. 

1. First is a ward spell. It's not so much to keep things out as it is to notify the caster that it's been breached. Very often these take the form of statues or architecture in some of the more traditional areas of Europe, but can be as simple as trees or even spray paint under a bridge. Anything that can be inscribed with a symbol for the caster. As long as the symbol stays intact, it notifies the caster when other vampires or sorcerers of sufficient skill breach the perimeter. Most vampires use them around their own property. Some place a second perimeter around the town they live in. The wards give very basic warning, whether the intruder is human, vampire, or something else, approximate age or power, gender, and approximate location while inside the protected area.

2. Some basic forms of telepathy are taught. This type of telepathy reads surface thoughts only, the "internal monologue" of the victim. Direct eye contact and concentration are required. There is no way to control what is received from the victim. Languages and jumbled thoughts are not translated for the caster.

3. Some vampires, such as Adrien, are able to conjure fire without the use of a full ritual or the usual types of ignition. It requires concentration and knowledge of a weak point in the material being set ablaze. Faulty parts in electrical equipment, fuel stored improperly, dry brush too near a heat source, Faulty container, etc. Nothing that would not usually burn can be set ablaze, and investigations usually conclude fire causes to be accidental. Due to their high heat and usual state of repair, computer and other advanced electrical equipment is particularly vulnerable.

Other magic performed by vampires or sorcerers in canon requires ritual, concentration, and time and is not something most would turn to in a fight. 

Most also do not immediately sense another of their own kind. There are clues, such as slower heartbeat, eye color of the purebloods, aversion to daylight or bright light, but no magical "sense" that warns others of their own kind if they manage to avoid the perimeter wards. Purebloods are very territorial and generally do not travel far or to areas they don't control, as a rule, but turned vampires often get mistaken for humans when in areas the vampires' superior senses can't be fully utilized.

Magic specific for Danilo: 

There are a few things that Danilo has developed past typical competency.
  1. Mind control: Goes hand-in-hand with telepathy and is subject to the same restrictions and weaknesses. A compulsion or a simple command can be given telepathically, as long as he maintains eye contact and concentration. Commands must be comprehensible to the subject, and so must be given in a language the subject understands. Compulsions are more emotional in nature and do not have that requirement. Both can be resisted, especially by other vampires or supernatural entities. More complicated commands, such as commanding a subject to forget an event or to remember something else instead can be given, but the chance to resist is higher.
  2. Sunlight resistance: He can't walk through direct sunlight, but can manage the indirect sunlight of a windowed building, heavily shadowed overhang, or a well-tinted car as long as he feeds more. As such, throughout the centuries, he has managed to play a direct role in the politics of his native Venice.
  3. Weather influence: He can subtly influence the weather around him, creating a storm, fog, etc. He can't go against the climate of the region, so snow storms in the summer are out, as are rain storms in a dry climate.
  4. Demonic taint: Danilo is the one who brought the curse down upon the vampires originally and he's the one who accepted the demonic pact that turned them into vampires later. As such, he finds it harder to be around holy items and holy ground. This includes items that other vampires have some tolerance to, such as holy water. Holy water, crosses, and other holy items can burn his skin. Holy ground makes him uncomfortable and weak. He has not shared knowledge of this weakness with other vampires, including his twin brother, Gregorio. Note: Danilo's blood carries this greater taint. His children and vampires he creates have a lesser degree of this weakness.
danilo: (Default)

The D’Ambrosio twins rule jointly over their family’s territory and their seat on the council. They are two of only three surviving original vampires, and they claim Venice and the surrounding area as their hunting grounds.

Danilo D’Ambrosio is the hotter tempered of the two. He believes very strongly in vampire supremacy and their policy of keeping humans in the dark. He’s deeply involved in human politics and has been subtly influencing political races for centuries. What his money can’t buy, his magic can tip in his favor. Oddly enough, the volcanic temper drops away at home, and Danilo is a dedicated family man, helping his wife, Kelly, with Antonio and the twins.

Gregorio D’Ambrosio is the quieter of the two brothers. Cold and logical, he’s been accused of being as unfeeling as some of the machines he favors. Gregorio is a former priest who turned to the dark arts and now heads a team of vampires who use a blend of sorcery and technology to try to isolate and remove the weaknesses in the vampire condition. Most of the household, their staff, and the assorted hangers-on and lab assistants assume Gregorio is married to his work, but he and Dylan Woods have been sneaking out for long walks with Priest…

Kelly D’Ambrosio is Danilo’s wife. She’s been a vampire for five years now. In addition to her thriving sculpture business, she also has three children under the age of six. Given the difficulty that vampire women have with pregnancy, balancing her work, her health, and her family life is an immense source of pride for her.

Antonio, Cecilia, and Salvatore D’Ambrosio are Kelly and Danilo’s young children. Antonio is the oldest and so far wants nothing more than to learn to be a knight. His father indulges him with sword practice. Cecilia and Salvatore are twin babies at the moment. Salvatore spends a lot of his time in and out of his uncle’s lab, being treated for all manner of childhood illnesses.

Dylan Woods, a human musician. He doesn’t know about vampires and assumes Gregorio is an entirely ordinary overworked research doctor living with his politician brother and his family. Dylan is an American, a cousin of Kelly’s, and is using music studies in Venice as an excuse to keep an eye on Danilo for Kelly’s family. Dylan and Danilo do not get along, but Gregorio has so far managed to smooth over all of their fights.

Priest is the family’s greyhound. The dog is especially fond of Gregorio, and they’re a common sight along the canals at night.

Leonzio D’Ambrosio is one of Danilo’s grown children. He was born before they were cursed, and though he’s second generation, he’s far older than a lot of the vampires sitting on the council. Leonzio lives in Canada and rarely keeps in contact with the rest of his family. He and his father do not get along.

Frediano D’Ambrosio is another of Danilo’s grown children. He’s almost three hundred years old and is the former head of the Sanguinarium, the Council’s police. He still works with the group and is living in London at the moment.
danilo: (Default)
While most of the made vampires are nomadic, not often staying in any one territory for more than a few years, born vampires have very strong territorial urges and blunted empathy, guilt, and other emotions, which make relations with other vampires difficult at best. In order to avoid conflict amongst themselves, the vampire families established a council to provide law and order for their kind, as well as settle disputes civilly, without need for bloodshed.

This council, for born vampires and consisting entirely of born vampires, was dubbed the Order of the Red Serpent by the early Church, and from early times has been the target of numerous unsuccessful hunts. The name was taken up by the vampires, and the name has enjoyed more success among the vampires than in the Church, where it has fallen into obscurity. Many of the older members of the council have ruby pins, rings, or other jewelry in the shape of serpents.

Membership in the council is established by a vampire's birth into one of the twenty-one original vampire families. For most families, the father would hand down his membership to his oldest son, in the event of his death. For some vampire familes, whose original vampire ancestor was female, that membership is instead handed down to the oldest daughter. Two families still possess their original vampire ancestors, and those ancestors still man the council. Sixteen of the other seats still remain active. The other seats belong to vampire families whose members have all been lost or are missing.

The Order of the Red Serpent passes laws to regulate vampire society as well as settles disputes between rival families and even disputes among made vampires. These laws are enforced by a police force consisting of lesser members of the major vampire families. Membership in the force is a status symbol as well as a matter of pride, and the council usually has plenty of vampires to enforce its wishes. This police force also deals with security threats from normal humans, such as someone trying to go public with proof of their existence, and even the ocassional hunter.

The Core Laws of the Order of the Red Serpent:

1. Respect the territory of thy equals and thy betters.
2. Thou shalt take care to keep thy blood away from mortals.
3. Thou shalt not create more than one vampire from a mortal every ten years.
4. Thou shalt never allow thy nature to become knowledge of a mortal.
5. Mortal hunters are to be killed, lest thou art to be counted among them.
6. Thou shalt never raise arms towards thy ally.
7. Thou shalt never leave evidence of thy feeding.

Other laws are added and dropped as needed, but the core laws have remained the same since the council first convened.

The Order of the Red Serpent has had its headquarters in Venice since 1347, and the council has maintained a strong presence in the city. The two oldest members of the council maintain their households in Venice. Other members of the council have their main residences scattered around Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
danilo: (Default)
Vampires are descended from a loose society of witches, sorcerers, and conjurers in 11th century Europe. Information and rituals were shared amongst the group, and after one such ritual was circulated, members began to notice a strange affliction that slowly started to make their lives miserable. After several months, desperate for a cure, they met in Venice to attempt to cure the affliction. They all participated in a particularly difficult demonic summoning. While the demon could not undo the curse that had been placed upon them, it could ease the symptoms, allowing them to sate their hunger and thirst with the blood of humans, and giving them the strength and lasting health to enact the revenge that they wanted for their predicament, in exchange for their souls, and the souls of all of the children they might have. They agreed, and the first vampires were created.

A vampire's curse can be transmitted two ways, by birth and by blood. All of a vampire's children will be vampires themselves, regardless of the status of their second parent. It takes only one drop of of a vampire's blood entering the body in order for a normal human body to begin the transition to vampire (the exception being a human mother and vampire child).

Physically, there is little difference between the two types of vampires.

1. Physical Strength: Both are strong enough to bend a metal pipe or jump to the top of a two story building.
2. Speed: Vampires have reflexes twice as fast as humans, and are able to move at speeds up to seventy miles an hour.
3. Longevity: Most born vampires stop aging between the ages of 20-30, as the body completes the gradual change to vampire.
4. Healing: A vampire's body heals injury twice as fast as a human. Save fire, the sun, and decapitation, most injuries will not kill a vampire, though they can and do slow them down or even put them into a torpor-like state. When in a torpor, the vampire's metabolism slows down, preserving the blood in the body to be used for healing and sating hunger. Still, most of the time, a vampire will wake up from a torpor ravenous.
5. Most possess a natural aptitude for magic, though knowledge of magic is not innate and must be taught. Personal belief can affect this, with those who do not believe in magic showing little to no sensitivity.
6. Most vampires possess hunting and killing instincts to aid in getting the blood they need.
7. Senses: Eyesight, especially night sight, is considerably increased. Hearing is sensitive enough to hear their prey's heartbeat in a quiet room. Sense of smell is slightly more sensitive, to the degree of an exceptional human.

The weaknesses each type of vampire possesses vary based on how they were made. Vampires by birth show different weaknesses than those made by blood.

1. Vampires typically do not begin to change until they reach puberty. They do not reach their full strength and resilience until their mid-to-late 20s. Before the change, they are subject to all the same injuries, diseases, and aging as normal humanity.
2. Vampires by birth usually have red eyes, and even as children are often photosensitive.
3. As children, vampires tend to sunburn easily. Once they've gone through the change, vampires by birth are the group most affected by the sun. They cannot stand even indirect sunlight or they will burst into flame.
4. The perpetual hunger and thirst that afflicts most vampires does not usually affect a vampire's children until they begin puberty, but can under rare circumstances manifest in younger children. Younger children affected by this hunger are unable to eat or drink normally, and are required to drink blood, as their elders do. Vampires by birth are usually more affected by this hunger and thirst than those made by blood. While a vampire made by blood can be sated, a born vampire very often is not. Control is learned early in life, as vampire children are attracted to blood at an early age, before the hunger and thirst take hold.
5. Born vampires are born with the same instincts their elders use for hunting. They also usually are born less able to empathize with others and with a strong possessive instinct. All born vampires are extremely territorial, and it is not uncommon to find families returning year after year to the same ancestral home. 

In contrast, vampires made with blood show other traits.

1. They are frozen at the age in which they were given blood, regardless of age. The change, for this group, takes typically two years, in which the fledgling vampire will be more ravenous than at any other point later in life.
2. Their eyes usually do not change color, and remain the same color they were in life. They are usually not as photosensitive as born vampires.
3. Once fully changed, they are not as sensitive to sunlight as born vampires. They can stand indirect sunlight for minutes at a time with blisters and peeling to show for it.
4. Though they feel the same hunger and thirst as born vampires, it is not quite as overwhelming, and can be sated by feeding regularly. Control is not quite as important to learn, for this group, and many do not show the same restraint as born vampires when in the presence of blood.
5. Though they acquire the same hunting and killing instincts as born vampires, they are still subject to the same emotions they had as humans. While born vampires rarely feel love, empathy, or guilt, made vampires often do.
6. Most made vampires do not feel the same territorial instincts as born vampires, and they often wander. 

Both groups are subject to some of the same weaknesses.

1. Food: Holds no nutritional value for vampires who have completed the change. It tastes disgusting to them, and most find even the smell nausiating.
2. Water: Pure water is a poison when ingested, accidentally or otherwise. Depending on degree of ingestion, symptoms range from vomiting, dizziness, weakness, to torpor or death.
3. Hunger: Vampires are perpetually hungry and thirsty and must drink human blood to satisfy those cravings. Born vampires typically require more blood than made vampires.
4. Sunlight: No vampire can stand in direct sunlight and live. Direct sunlight ignites vampiric flesh upon contact. Indirect sunlight causes severe burns on made vampires, and it can ignite born vampires.
5. Fire: Both types of vampire are equally combustible, and avoid fire. Their flesh burns readily and is difficult to put out, once it's alight.
6. Wooden stakes: A wooden stake through the heart will disrupt the demonic pact, taking the vampire's strength and health. It will make it impossible for a vampire to feed while leaving the hunger and thirst. While it will not kill a vampire, the vampire will very quickly waste away into a living mummy, remaining unable to move and feed until the stake is removed.
7. Decapitation: A vampire will die when its head is removed.
8. Crosses: A blessed cross will burn a vampire's skin. Most crosses and crucifixes will make as vampire feel weak and sickened.
9. Mirrors: A vampire's reflection doesn't show in a mirror.
10. Conception: Vampires have a hard time conceiving, as the body usually rejects the fertilized egg, and it typically takes many years before a child comes to term


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Danilo D'Ambrosio

July 2015

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