Ever since mortals first peered into the dark voids beyond the world, there have been those who have longed to serve the baleful powers that brood and hunger Outside. The first Vampires arose among the Moraenarth, the Thirteen Elvish heretics who first contacted the will of the Void and laid the foundations of Necromancy. Since that fateful time, there have been others who have sought out the forgotten secrets of the Thirteen and forged pacts of their own with the Hungering Dark. There are also grim legends, still whispered among the Sons of Men, that mortals with black souls who renounce the Gods and commit hideous draw the notice of the Void, whether they wish to or not. The Dark takes root in them the very moment their mortal body dies, transforming them into Vampires without any necromantic pacts or rituals. However they are created, Vampires have one goal: to call forth the Darkness to Aerynth, where it shall quench all lights and be the death of all that draws breath.
Through the last two ages of the world, there have never been more than a handful of Vampires, lurking in ruined wastelands far from civilization. With the beginning of the Dark Crusades, however, the number of Vampires that walk the lands of Aerynth has grown at a terrifying pace. Where once they were content to scheme and plot in their remote fortresses, now they walk openly among the other peoples of Aerynth, spreading terror and mayhem, drinking blood, leading Shroud Cults, and proclaiming for all to hear that the final Doom of Aerynth is at hand.
Most Vampires renounce any or all ties of kinship with their birth race. The Dark has given them great power and a new birth, and their past lives are not even faintly remembered. Vampires feel a great affinity with Shades, whom they regard as lesser versions of themselves, worthy servants of their ambitions. For their part, Shades who have embraced the darker sides of their nature venerate Vampires as near Gods, the emissaries of the Darkness beyond the Shroud. Vampires are completely at ease with undead of any kind, and often marshal great hordes of spirits and moldering corpses to unleash upon the living. The Nightborn are divided in their opinions of "the Cattle" (as they call all living things); most feel nothing but disgust for all who still breathe, and despise the fact that they must depend upon the blood of lesser beings to survive. Others find the living to be convenient tools and slaves, and enthrall them with their strong wills or the promise of dark power.