Just like anyone who lives in the early 21st century of human history on Earth, it’s easy to feel like life is devouring you. Bill collectors, asshole bosses, politicians… with everyone trying to get a piece of you, it’s easy to feel picked apart.
For the people of the Earth behind Door Τ (36), that feeling became a gory reality in 2012 after the rise of a global pandemic that turned three-quarters of the world’s population in mindless, shambling flesh eaters.
But this is also a world where magical creatures exist. Vampires, werewolves, nyads, dryads, nymphs, elfs, trolls, and other beings out of myth and legend exist side-by-side with humanity.
And like the humans of your own world, the modern peoples of Tau Prime remained blissfully unaware of the strange magical nature of their world.
But now it is more accurate to say they used to exist. Before the apocalypse, many of these creatures were already fading from the earth; it was the tipping point for extinction for these creatures as it was for many common animals.
Of all the mythical creatures, the vampires were most directly threatened by the zombie apocalypse: they need human blood to survive. If all the humans were to die then the vampires would die along with them.
The Vampire Illuminati
Ironically, it was also they who had a part in creating the apocalypse in the first place.
The vampire illuminati around the world had spent thousands of years cultivating the human race in order to ensure the largest population of humans as possible. When humans experienced famine, so did the vampires. When humans experienced widespread disease, so too did the vampires.
Working from the shadows, our secret masters, they created and nurtured civilization, art, science, and religion. Their goal was to ensure an unlimited supply of human blood, and they helped to create the basic tools humanity needed to ensure it too may someday achieve immortality.
But as time wore on, the humans stripped the lands bare and their population swelled to ever-greater numbers, and many of the creatures of myth and legend died out and faded away. As the edges of human understanding of the world around them advanced, the magical things faded. As the humans extended their control over the wilderness, the wild things died.
Nobody is really sure who or what created the first zombies that caused the pandemic. These days it’s commonly accepted that it was the witches. They long had the power to brew potions that reanimated the dead. But even among them it was a shunned art. Perhaps it was the dying gasp of their kind; the last deed of the last mad witch.
In the very first days of the outbreak, many of the vampires believed it would pose a serious threat — they had grown efficient at controlling large outbreaks among the human populations.
In reality, they had grown lazy — fat off their efforts and confident in their ability to tackle any problem. At that moment, they were much more focused on global warming, and the effect it would have on their human livestock populations.
By the end of the first 30 days, however, they realized they were quickly facing down their own extinction. It’s believed now the outbreak originated in Egypt; it’s also believed it had help spreading. While the first reports came from there, others around the globe came quickly after.
After the first week, the heads of the different illuminati agreed to come together to discuss the problem. They believed they would have time to discuss and argue and vote — they were wrong, though. By the time they had created the first draft of a proposal for their long-term strategy two weeks later, one-third of all humanity had been converted into those shambling monsters or destroyed.
Humans, vampires, and many other creatures and animals died off in numbers difficult to comprehend. As of now, only 5% of the human race around the planet has survived the apocalypse — 140 million people.
We don’t really know how many vampires there were in the world before the apocalypse, but in then end it didn’t matter as the families turned on each other, then on their own members. It is said far more vampires were destroyed from the war than those who were torn apart by zombies, starved, or committed suicide. There seems to be only a couple thousand of them left of them now, but it’s still hard to tell with them.
And the apocalypse is technically still happening, so who knows if any of us will survive?
In the first years, the years when my grandfather was a young man, there were no human settlements left. Most people wandered in the wildernesses around the world, shell-shocked and broken. Foraging in towns and cities when needed, and doing whatever they could to survive.
A New World Order
A new group of vampire families emerged from the fighting, ones that stepped out of the shadows to live alongside the humans. Humans from around the world were gathered into enclaves, where they would live and breed to ensure their vampire masters would live.
The most forward-thinking of the vampires had already created compounds in the far northern areas of the world, though they were designed to wait out a long-term nuclear disaster. These bunkers were capable of housing enough humans to keep the vampires fed for centuries.
All but one or two didn’t last five years. All humans become prey to the disease at their death, and it only took one unattended human to infect all the others. In such closed and confined quarters, the disease spread rapidly and mercilessly. I shudder when I think of the horror of being trapped in a giant underground cell with zombies roaming the hallways.
The Gnomes of Zurich are the most successful of the vampire families, and their ranks make up the bulk of the vampires in the world since the disaster; they’re the oldest surviving family from the days before the disaster. They were also the first to reveal themselves to humanity.
A week after the initial reports of the outbreak, they completely cordoned off Switzerland, killing and destroying any human attempting to enter their borders and instituting martial law. Apparently they already controlled the Swiss government.
However, after three months, seeing the complete destruction wrought on the human population and the war between the vampire families, they made a bold choice.
They revealed themselves to the human population. They gave the humans one choice: submit to slavery or be ejected out into the wider world. The humans responded by revolting and attempting to kill the vampires during the daytime.
The vampires realized that fighting would only doom them all, so they brokered a compromise with the humans: consent to becoming part of our social system by being a blood slave, or live as outsiders with no social or legal protections.
Their society was relegated into three class: the underclass of humans forced into austerity by refusing to give their blood, humans who enjoyed civic protection in return for their slavery, and the vampire masters. The masters made blood slavery as attractive as possible not only in ensuring their humans were cared for and managed, but also by allowing upward mobility to the brightest and most ambitious humans.
Because of the nature of the geography and this stable social structure, they are currently the largest and most advanced society left on the planet earth. They regard themselves as being both humanity’s and vampire’s last hope.
However, their society isn’t perfect. There are still those in the underclass that regard the vampires as tyrants and monsters, and there are both blood-slave humans and vampires who regard each other with mistrust and secretly plot to further their own agendas.
And of course, there are the billions of shambling dead outside their borders always threatening to get inside and destroy everything.