Dracula: Five hundred years ago, a vampire of unsurpassed power and skill rose to power in Transylvania. His name was Dracula, and by the middle of the 17th Century, he became the Lord of the Vampires, ruthlessly destroying all opposition and wresting power even from the elder vampires of the time. With his rule unquestioned, he led a bloodthirsty army of the undead across Europe, using sword, claw, fang and sorcery to crush anyone who dared to stand in his way with a brutality that earned him the nickname “The Black Death.” However, in the year 1666, as fires raged through the streets of London, his campaign met its end. Dracula retreated, returning to Transylvania and a castle that fell into disrepair, fading from the memory of the living world.
More than two hundred years later, in 1888, he made another, more subtle attempt to invade England. A fictionalized account written by the handful who opposed him was published, but the real story of his second defeat and imprisonment in a tomb in the Tower of London has yet to be told.
Thalia Creswell: Born in 1881 to a Nathan and Katarina Creswell, both professors of literature, Thalia inherited her parents’ love of learning. Growing up with modest means, she devoured books, and after her parents died in 1898, she devoted her life to them, becoming a librarian in London. Despite her bookish nature, however, she was well-liked for her quick-witted, quick-tempered cleverness.
In 1901, she was kidnapped by Varney, who needed a human to bypass the magical wards that kept the undead from removing the stake that pinned Dracula to his coffin. She was meant to do this and then be swiftly killed in order to slake the vampire’s thirst, but something about her stayed his hand. She is now Dracula’s assistant, quite possibly his only ally in his battle with the forces set against him.
Lord Francis Varney: Varney has never liked Dracula.
He didn’t like him when he was the upstart who seized the Throne of Night over older, more powerful vampires like himself. He didn’t like that he relied on a coward’s methods, magic and deception, rather than reveling in the raw power granted to them by their cursed blood. He didn’t like that his little campaign against the humans ended in flame and failure, and he especially didn’t like that he hid in a castle for two entire centuries as his “subjects” grew to resent that their power was in the hands of a recluse.
But though his hatred grew, though he never lent his support, he never once moved against Dracula. There was something lurking in his rival, a brutality that went beyond even his own, something that had earned the loyalty of others during his campaign that even his defeat didn’t shatter. To oppose Dracula at the height of his power was, as several more foolish rivals had discovered, suicide.
But when Dracula was defeated in 1888 and the Throne was left vacant, that was Varney’s chance. He ascended to sovereignty, and with the power of the Lord of Vampires added to his own, he intended to accomplish what Dracula never could: A war against the human race that would leave an ocean of blood in its wake. There were those who opposed him, but if he could prove himself to be worthy of his title, they would follow — and what better way to do that than by bending his former rival to his will? So he sought to awaken Dracula, making his old rival’s will the first conquest in his war.
Unfortunatey for Varney, Dracula remains unconquered.