For centuries, vampires calling themselves Nefari have secretly ruled the world but their reign may be at an end. Rumors have surfaced of angelic creatures wielding blades made of the sun, their eyes burning with fire, destroying solitary Nefari like the wrath of god. As quickly as they surface, however, the so-called Angeli disappear, leading to a massive investigation by the Nefari to find them. A vampire named Rivel, whose history is steeped in blood and regret, is tasked with infiltrating human society to look for signs of the Angeli.
He eventually meets one of them but finds himself falling in love with her, a feeling he thought had long since died. She reveals the secrets of the Angeli, showing him a life he never thought possible. Rivel must ultimately decide where he stands in the impending war between the Angeli and the Nefari, choosing between the woman he is beginning to love and the life he has always known.
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Regular Edition: Contains print only of Nefarious.
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The Angeli are an unknown factor in the secretive world of the Nefari. Rumors speak of angelic creatures wielding the sun in their hands, their eyes burning hotter than hell, cutting down fringe Nefari like the wrath of god. The stories were disbelieved at first, the missing Nefari thought to have gone renegade, but eventually too many Nefari were unaccounted for and too many survivors had similar stories.
The Angeli’s existence is officially denied by the ruling Nefari councils, though they’re urgently searching for them. The Angeli’s capabilities are unknown; their numbers unknown; their aims unknown. No specimen has ever been captured. What is known, is the Angeli pose a threat like nothing the Nefari have ever seen. And they are desperate to destroy the Angeli before it is too late.
The hosts of Nefari are made of every race, religion, and kind there is, though they are in no way egalitarian. Nefari are inherently selfish, going to any extreme to accomplish their aims. They’re dispersed throughout the world, secretly feeding on humanity and championing policies that will cement their hidden rule.
Their greatest weapon against humans is their secrecy. Humanity would commonly know Nefari as vampires, though Nefari laugh at the term, even if some of the myths are correct. They regularly live to three hundred years old. The ancients and a few others extend their lifetimes far longer.
The Nefari are ruled by councils who enforce their secrecy by death hunters, who capture or kill dissidents, and Sadites, who torture any the council sends to them. In Europe, the Nefari are ruled by the ancients who administer their laws according to whatever tyrannical whims they possess.
With limitless potential, the Nefari have developed unnatural powers: to sense and manipulate emotions to their liking; to project their minds outward as invisible wisps; to develop extreme strength and hardened bodies that can be nigh impossible to kill; to psychically invade minds to read and manipulate thoughts. Though hardly as numerous as humans and weakened by sunlight and garlic, the Nefari are by far the superiors of humanity in every other way.
The world has been a veritable paradise, theirs to feed on so long as the humans remain unaware of their presence. But the delicate balance may be coming to an end as new creatures have appeared, wielding the hated sunlight in their hands. The control for which the Nefari have fought so long to establish may be coming to an end. But they will not lose it without a fight.
Death hunters are Nefari who train for centuries to hunt renegade Nefari for capture or extermination. Bred for loyalty to the councils, their fighting abilities far surpass any common Nefari. A highly secretive group, they typically hunt in packs of three to ensure success but have been known to operate individually to see the council’s will done. Capable of completely hiding their auras from other Nefari, they can only be sensed when they attack, and by then it’s too late.
Unlike most Nefari who believe true strength is in their unnatural abilities, death hunters embrace the use of modern weapons including shock batons capable of dropping an enraged Nefarium, garlic infused bullets to induce paralysis, hollow-point ammunition to cause massive damage, and others. Together with the Sadites, they form the basic power structure of the Nefari councils to maintain their laws and Nefari secrecy.
The ancients are the most powerful Nefari, creatures who’ve lived beyond a thousand years and have overcome the body’s natural tendency to degenerate and require more and more blood. There are only a handful of ancients in the world. Most reside in Europe where they rule as despots. Each is renowned for their unique abilities which far surpass any common Nefari. Their cruelty knows no bounds. They are held in fear and awe wherever they go.
Pictured here is the Defiler, an ancient whose insatiable lust breeds nightmares for humans and Nefari alike. Nothing survives his depravity, least of all the Nefari he takes to pleasure himself. An incredibly powerful gatherer, the Defiler is capable of dominating thousands of Nefarium at once. He can invade the minds of strong-willed Nefari, breaking them apart from the inside and bending their will to obey him. He is accompanied by his retinue of demigods, powerful Nefari who have lived beyond five-hundred years. Their presence is merely a show of force as their protection of the ancient is utterly unnecessary.
Nefari who specialize in telepathically controlling Nefarium are known by many names–gatherers, callers, suckling mothers, faithful daddies among some. Their psychic call can be felt across great distances, whispering promises of blood and ecstasy, which draws the Nefarium to them. Once close, the gatherer dominates the Nefarium’s mind, enslaving them to his or her will.
Gatherers typically have more in common with their Nefarium slaves than rational Nefari, including developing their globular black eyes. Their relationships with Nefarium often becomes depraved, well beyond usual Nefari standards. Gatherers are despised among thinking Nefari, though they serve an important function in maintaining the Nefari’s secrecy by hunting down wild Nefarium.
Every newly turned Nefari is born with an insatiable lust for blood and violence. Feeding on the dregs of humanity, those filled with their own addictions, misery or abuse, will further heighten those traits in a Nefari. Nefari who completely give into their blood lust will become so corrupt they lose all capacity to reason except the ability to hunt. Their bodies become thin, their limbs elongated, all hair and sexual distinctions fall away. The culmination of this change are their large, black, round eyes, an indication of how much hold the Nefaric poison has on its host. Typically this process takes generations to complete though current research shows it can be accomplished much faster. Such creatures are dangerous to rational, thinking Nefari and are hunted down or forced into hibernation. Gatherers who telepathically dominate Nefarium often use them to fight on their behalf.
To avoid becoming Nefarium, a Nefari must struggle against their innate desires and feed on higher quality blood. This comes from the young and innocent, those not given to pessimism or negative emotions. Having a more experienced Nefari mentor will also help the newly turned Nefari remain rational. There are no recorded instances where a full Nefarium has become a thinking Nefari again.
Unknown Angeli wreathed in flames about to destroy Nefarium enthralled by her aura. Little is known about the powers of the Angeli. They remain even more secretive than the Nefari, keeping themselves hidden from both their enemies and humanity. Their overall aims are unknown, though they are a threat to all Nefari and must be exterminated.
Angeli Attack Sketching
Composite sketch by one of the few Nefari survivors of an Angeli attack. According to the Nefari’s report, “[she] came out of nowhere when Jamus and I were feeding on a human. She dropped onto us from the rooftops. It felt like being in daylight but it was night! Nausea raced through me and I tried to shield my eyes but I could feel her power as if it were boiling me alive. The light split Jamus in half, right through his torso.” [subject paused and required additional goading to continue] “I can still hear his screams, see his face turned up at me. I’ve never seen terror in a Nefari. Then there was another flash of light and Jamus was gone, his whole body turned to ash. And that woman where he used to be, a point of light running down her hand like a blade. I ran, fast as I could, and she chased me. I can still remember those eyes, burning with hate, filling me with madness as I ran and ran.” [subject began raving uncontrollably and was later put down to maintain confidentially of Angeli attacks]
A subsequent investigation by death hunters found no assailant but did recover samples of ash. These were later confirmed to contain Nefari DNA, potentially validating the subject’s story.
Sadites are Nefari expertly trained in the art of torturing others of their kind. They’re the monsters other Nefari fear, unwilling to play with humans because they’re considered too delicate. While a Nefari’s sense of pain is duller than a human’s, the Sadites find new ways of practicing physical and psychological torment. They melt portions of their victims with garlic or sunlight, bring them to the brink of starvation only to pull them out again, bury them alive for generations, or administer other forms of torture. Their most hideous creations are abominations, creatures made from the sewn parts of Nefari, animals, and other beasts. The Sadites are continually honing their methods, finding new ways to inflict pain and suffering on levels that rival mythological torture.
Sadites also act as the chief surgeons for Nefari–replacing missing limbs, applying skin grafts to areas damaged by fire or daylight, or reinforcing one’s body to make it stronger. However, visiting a Sadite is not without its risks as many Nefari seeking healing have ended up as part of some new abomination or experiment.
The Sadites are the most despised and feared of the Nefari but are given almost autonomous control so long as they remain loyal to the councils. Together with the death hunters, the Sadites form the basic power structure of the councils to maintain their laws and Nefari secrecy.
Born from the twisted minds of Sadites, abominations are Nefari unlucky enough to be operated on by the masters of torture. Some have been sewn together with animals or combined with other Nefari as a form of torture. Some were experiments or put together solely for the enjoyment of the Sadites. Others were created as enhanced soldiers with reinforced skeleton structures to prevent decapitations and other injuries. One such abomination was fitted with an internal generator attached to circular saw which was capable of cutting through bone and metal. The success of these Sadite warriors is yet to be seen as most abominations simply fall apart during combat. For most Nefari, these creations are kept out of sight and out of mind. Being close to them likely means you’re slated to become part of them.
Most Nefari eschew daylight since the sun’s rays cause severe burns, psychic damage, and nausea. Daywalkers, on the other hand, embrace it. Seen by other Nefari as utterly insane, daywalkers hunt primarily during the light. They dress in protective clothing and specialized creams, often wrapping bandages around their exposed skin to prevent burns. No one exactly knows what goes on in the minds of these Nefari as they hunt during the day, though it’s speculated they live in a perpetual state of madness. They fulfill the wishes of the Nefari councils, tracking down enemies and executing missions when no other Nefari would be willing to.
Mike Lee (http://mikeleeillustration.com): cover art; Angeli fighting three Nefari; hosts of Nefari; death hunters 1; ancients, callers/gatherers; Angeli attack sketching; abominations; daywalker.
Myles Hacock (http://artofsmyles.blogspot.com): death hunters 2; Nefarium; Angeli in flames; Sadites.