“Rezarta was almost a vampire-free zone.”

This picks up where the last excerpt leaves off.

***

You may be now thinking that a horde of vampires came riding into Rezarta and ruined everything, but the problem was exactly the opposite. Magic-handlers, as a group, are good at fending off vampires. It’s the mundanes, as they call us ordinary folk, who are vulnerable. Rezarta was almost a vampire-free zone. The “almost” is important, because Reza was not just ambitious, he was so ballsy as to think he could tame vampires. One of his pet projects was to have his researchers and other lackeys round up an assortment of vampires from around the States and Canada and do experiments on them. As much as this sounds like the prologue to Doomsday, I am aware that they got some interesting results. The idea was that if vampires are set to live under certain conditions for a given period of time, they start acting more like humans again. The curse still holds, they still drink human blood, and they can’t survive exposure to sunlight, but they supposedly become less aggressive, more manageable. More “civilized,” if you will. To Reza’s credit, his “tame” vampires behaved themselves nicely for Daddy for as long as Rezarta was on the map, but I remain unconvinced. It’s one thing for a society of sorcerers to keep a bunch of vampires under control with a steady stream of healthy blood extracted from consenting (or at least not overly harmed) donors, but if they actually cared about keeping their fellow mortals safe from predatory exsanguination, they would have rounded those vamps up and then staked the lot of them.

No, Rezarta’s real problem was with the vampires who stayed outside its reach. The more magic-handlers went to join the new Utopia of Sorcery, the fewer were left in the rest of the country, and the fewer magic-handlers were around to help the mundanes defend themselves and their precious, delicate veins, the more bodies were found drained of blood. While the population of sorcerers grew in Rezarta, the population of vampires actually increased by 23% in the lower 48. It is surprisingly rare for vampires to turn mortals; their food is a fiercely-protected commodity extracted from large mammals that are slow to breed, slow to mature and frustratingly competent at self-preservation, and the last thing vampires need is any more competition. When the American vampire population suddenly started creating more of their own kind like it was going out of style, it wasn’t because mortals had higher birth rates than usual or started growing any faster or getting any bigger. It was because they were losing a major source of protection and were accordingly easier to attack.