It was not uncommon for hemonyxes to have many offspring, and it was much less rare of an event for hemonyxes to give birth to twins than it is for human beings. However, for vampires to have twin children is almost unheard of. Though every recorded instance of a vampire mother giving birth to twins results in her death, she would easily accept death in exchange for the greatness and prestige her children could expect during their lifetimes. To non-vampires, one’s life would not seem a reasonable exchange, let alone a bargain, for one’s conceiving twin children, but vampires have a great interest in twins.
A phenomenon occurs with vampire twins, the nature of which is never seen in other immortal beings. Twin vampires express the most powerful and rugged physiologies of any other variety of vampire. They are highly resistant to the maladies that afflict vampires. The skin scoffs at the damage that light wreaks upon it. Lost limbs and extremities may re-grow entirely. I cannot explain this occurrence other than with haggard theories involving the twins’ toll on the mother’s health while in the womb, or the possible dilution of certain “weak” traits during development, but the facts of the matter are unclear. Because of their physiological superiority, twins are considered one of the greatest blessings that a cult can hope for. They almost always are groomed for leadership from birth, and they marry often in order to increase the odds of producing a successive pair of twins. Human beings who are born as a twin cannot reap the same benefits, physiological or social, if they become vampires, but should they marry into a cult, and their children with a vampire partner are twins, their children will develop the great strengths vampires believe are the purest possible bodily link to their hemonyx ancestors.
The Black Coat Society had its eyes on Lucia Vasquez from the moment her conception was public knowledge. Gabriel Vasquez, during this time, crafted many a specialty sword or piece of jewelry for vampire dignitaries and his standing with immortals was one of esteem and fame. Gabriel, however, was uncomfortable with the vampires’ fascination with the unexpected arrival of his daughters, who were identical twins and natural gemseekers—an impossible combination for vampire children, because, unlike humans, no immortal beings pass on to their progeny anything comparable to the gemseeker traits.
There was much excitement in the cult’s ranks, but not until he was approached in private by a vampire noble, who was prepared to pay a fortune for a contract of marriage to either of the girls, did Gabriel sever his ties to the Society. During labor, Gabriel’s soon-to-be wife, Justine Scott, passed away, and the second twin, whom her mother had named Maria with her dying breath, was lost just before she entered the world. Lucia, the firstborn, was passed off to Samuel Bishop, a horse breeder whom Gabriel had met so recently that he was certain there was no chance the Society would have known of him.
When I left London for the last time, I borrowed the original transcripts that I had been commissioned to translate, interpret and catalog into the Royal Library. I knew I wouldn’t be returning, and … well, my work, being incomplete, was unlikely to be finished by another scholar. I am the only expert on half-human histories, languages and cultures in the scientific world, and it was my professional responsibility to keep the documents safe and intact. I did not receive official consent to procure the transcripts for my use but … My point is to say that recently I uncovered some incomplete hemonyx histories in my personal archives, and I pieced together details of Corvessa’s past that, until now, were tossed in the rubbish bin of knowledge labeled, “mysteries.”
When Corvessa was born, she did not leave the womb alone. She was one half of a pair of identical twin sisters.
The hemonyxes who knew of the twins’ birth knew not what to think of the children, for they were neither human nor hemonyx. The girls, descendants of Jas and Liryne, were the first vampires to ever walk the earth, or, to be precise, Corvessa was the first to walk the earth, for her sister did not live to take her first steps. Before their parents fled the village, Corvessa’s sister was seized by the elders and sacrificed in good faith to the gods of the night. The hemonyx elders in the village decided that the girls’ unique vampire traits were terrible omens as was their ominous time of birth, on the second to last day of the year, two years before the new century. That is to say, on the eve of the year 10,400 BC.
July 5, 1833