On this page you can read about my paranormal world behind the Dept 57, Pure Wildfire and STORM paranormal romance series. Vampires, Shape-shifters, Anthros, Sorcerers and other Talents are described, together with their enemies.
Talents are people with enhanced abilities of one kind or another. They can be strong or weak, good or bad, just like anyone else. Being a shapeshifter, for instance, doesn’t mean you are good or extra special, it just means you are different.
Vampires have existed for centuries, but have succeeded in keeping their existence secret. Some of the legends about vampires were created by the vampires themselves, to put self appointed ‘slayers’ off the track, deliberately introducing misleading disinformation through books and other literature. So a vampire can walk in the daylight, can see his own reflection, and reacts to a crucifix the same way everyone else does.
A vampire needs blood. A regular transfusion from a living donor. Bottled blood is not adequate. The vampire draws the blood up from his retractable eye-teeth, straight into his system. Although his throat may work while he is taking the blood, he doesn’t actually drink much of it, only the stray drops that end up in his mouth. The best donors are human and other Talents, but they can use animals, if they are desperate.
Vampires are either born that way, or converted, but to convert a human or another Talent to a vampire means he has to give up his own life. He draws all the blood out of the donor, then the donor goes into a blood frenzy, and bites his sire, in his turn draining him of blood. The original vampire dies, and the donor takes on all his power and his abilities. Consequently, most vampires avoid converting people.
Vampires may communicate telepathically, and they can transport themselves from one place to another by ‘flashing.’ They need to have a picture of where they are going in precise detail in their minds, and ‘flashing’ is a difficult art which needs to be learned. Because they need blood, vampires are immune to most diseases.
In common with other long lived Talents, fertility is infrequent and rare. Enough vampires are born to perpetuate the race, but not many. Most prefer not to use contraception, as they wish to increase the possibility of a child. A vampire can sire a child with a human, but they usually turn out to be human children.
Shape-shifters are long-lived beings who have two forms. They may choose which form they prefer to live in for most of the time, but once a month they must change to the other form, at the time of the new moon. The rest of the time they may transform at will. They can vary their shape, if they want to be smaller or larger.
The only substance that a shapeshifter can use to prevent the monthly transformation is a drug called Cephalox. This is the shapeshifter’s opiate, useful in certain clinical situations (not a good idea to shapeshift on the operating table, for instance!) but dangerous to the health and addictive if taken long term. Cephalox addicts exist.
There are no werewolves, or were-panthers, or were-anything. All shapeshifters are legendary beasts. So dragons, griffins, firebirds, basilisks and the rest exist, but are mainly hidden.
When they breed, the offspring appear in the form in which they were conceived. Their mother may shapeshift in the first trimester, but after that, she has to remain in the form in which the baby was conceived until the child is born.
Shapeshifters attain the ability to transform at puberty, which comes at around age 13. Until then, they remain in their birth form.
A shapeshifter has the ability to convert one human or other Talent to their form. They may even convert another shapeshifter into their form. It is believed that this is how rare shapeshifters mated. But once they have done this once, the ability leaves them. The converted one has no such gift, only the born shapeshifter can do this.
They are immune to most human diseases. They have to strip to transform, unless they want to destroy their clothes, so nudity in the shapeshifter world is not a big deal.
Shapeshifter women usually become infertile after they have borne two offspring to term.
Anthro is short for anthropomorph. A creature that is half and half. Centaurs, merpeople and the like. They spend most of their time in human form, but can transform at will. They are breeds of shapeshifters, and abide by many of the same laws. Cephalox is very dangerous to them, and only used in dire emergencies. They are subject to the phases of the moon.
Sorcerers are humans with human lifestyles, but their Psi abilities surpass any other being. Every human being has Psi abilities, but most develop a shield in their first week of life, one that is difficult or impossible to breach later. The Sorcerer is born without the shield and has to work to develop one.
Therefore Sorcerer children are extremely sensitive, and until they develop their mental shields, are kept apart from the world, in quiet enclaves and large houses, with adults to help them maintain their protection. Otherwise it is too painful for them.
A Sorcerer can teleport, communicate with anyone telepathically, break or penetrate most mental shields, and have telekinetic abilities. They are descended from a Hungarian family called the Nadasdys, which produced kings and murderesses in its time. The genes run true in a few special beings, who have very strong powers, and are almost invincible because of that. However, the special ones have to remain virgin. Losing their virginity means losing their powers. Most can be relearned, but there is no guarantee of this. It is a risk all of the special ones have to take if they fall in love and decide to commit to a relationship with someone else. Some never regain their abilities, some regain very weak powers, and some can regain almost their full strength, but will never be as powerful as their previous, virginal, selves.
Sorcerers tend to have greater than average strength, and live slightly longer lifespans, although never as long as other Talents, who may live for several hundred years, even thousands in a few rare cases. They do have some immunity against disease, but not as completely as other beings. Sorcerers can become vampires, through conversion, or shapeshifters.
Ghosts are as much a construct in my world as any other being. Some ghosts are spirits, something of them remaining after they have passed on. Others are beings, and they remain deliberately, either because there is an unresolved issue from their lives, or because they are malevolent. Under the right circumstances, these ghosts can do harm. They can cause physical damage, or they can eject the spirit in a body and take its place.
The Department is a covert organization, allied to most of the security services in the world, which works on behalf of Talents worldwide, helping them to conceal their existence by providing them with new identities when needed, and protecting them from enemies like the Corporation and the PHR.
In the Department 57 series, the world doesn’t know about the Talents living in their midst. In the STORM series, they know.
STORM – the Society of Talented Officers Resisting Mistreatment was set up to fight for the rights of Talents. Its head is the formidable Ann Reynolds, a human. Her father was a Talent, but not all the children of Talents inherit their gifts. Ann did not, but she has always had a foot in both worlds, human and Talents. A tough, middle-aged woman, she’s spent her life fighting with and for Talents and now her biggest trial is on her.
Sometimes enemies come out of the blue, but in general, three main places are responsible for most of the attacks on Talents.
The society calling itself the Perfect Human Race (the PHR). This is a collection of humans who believe that they are the only possible permutation of the species homo sapiens. Any deviation from the pattern they have set is not desirable. The reasons vary from religious to plain jealousy, but they want to wipe out every Talent from the face of the earth. They only capture Talents in order to lead them to other Talents. Recently they switched from protests and political pressure to direct violence. They have organized themselves into cells, terrorist style, groups of 6 or so people, only one of which has a contact to the rest of the PHR, so if caught, the information they can give is limited. Now the PHR has turned to violence, the CIA is forced to take action, but since it can’t operate within its own borders, only consultants, not agents, can officially take action. Because of recent developments, Cristos has been talking to the FBI, and the Department might actually become that thing so rare, it leads to sharp intakes of breath all over the Pentagon, a combined unit of FBI agents and CIA operatives.
Scientists who discover the existence of Talents are fascinated by the possibilities they seem to offer. Their immunity to disease and their longevity are the biggest draws. Research labs tend to treat Talents like objects, creatures to be examined and experimented on. Talents are funding their own research projects, but without the cruelty. They are suspected to be linked to each other by a shadowy organisation. Research is ongoing.
Occasionally, rogue Talents try to take control, by using their gifts. While individual Talents are high achievers, some try to go further and exploit their fellows for their own good, or occasionally to gain control and power over a country or other entity. Most Talents are against this, as it often means the rogues are using Compulsion. Coexistence is the common goal, not one race dominating others.
An Old Threat Returned
Those of you who rememember the prequel, Season of Storms, will remember a group of Talents who wanted world domination, because they thought it was their right.
There have been rumors recently that they have returned in a new guise. Watch for the Titans, and their renewed threat to humanity. They truly believe that the world would be better if they regained control – it couldn’t be worse. Or could it?
The International Research and Development Clinic is an innocuous sounding name for a sinister organization that features in the STORM series. As well as its legitimate business, it funds research into Talents. Including torture and painful, debilitating experiments on captured Talents.