What Is a Vrykolakas?

My story, “The Vrykolakas and the Cobbler’s Wife” is scheduled to be released in issue 66 of Cemetery Dance.. So you may find yourself wondering exactly what a vrykolakas is.

Here’s an explanation from Montague Summers’ The Vampire in Europe:

    It must be borne in mind that in actual usage of all Slavonic languages save one, the vrykolakas is the exact equivalent of the English werewolf, and it seems certain that the Greeks originally borrowed the name in this sense, whence it passed by an easy transition to the meaning “vampire,” since there is a general belief among Slavonic peoples that a man who has been a werewolf in his life will be a vampire after death.

A little later, Summers writes:

    Hanush records that he was plainly told by a Greek of Mytilene that there were two species of vrykolakas, the one kind being men already dead, and the other individuals who were yet alive but who were subject to mysterious trances or somnambulism and were seen abroad at night particularly when the moon was at its full.

In essence, this is the explanation I give in my story for a vrykolakas. If you survive a vrykolakas attack, you become a werewolf. If you die from the attack, you become a vampire — or by extension, if you die after becoming a werewolf, you’ll become a vampire.

I didn’t intend “The Vrykolakas and the Cobbler’s Wife” to be part of the Scarlet Order canon when I wrote the story, but on reflection, I think the story actually fits in with the Scarlet Order stories.

In my world, vampires are shapeshifters and some vampires can shift into wolf form. In the story “The Vrykolakas and the Cobbler’s Wife” all the vampire/werewolf action happens “off-camera” — I think it’s scarier that way. In the Scarlet Order world, it seems likely people who saw a shape-shifting vampire would call it a werewolf.

Even if that explanation isn’t completely satisfactory, there’s another point to consider. In my books and stories, vampires were created by a well-meaning alien race that began tampering with humans on a cellular level. I have never directly addressed the issue of lycanthropy in the Scarlet Order stories, but I do have stories that suggest this tampering could have happened more than once. There’s no reason there couldn’t be werewolves in the Scarlet Order universe and no reason that such werewolves couldn’t turn into vampires after the infected human died.

If you’d like to check out “The Vrykolakas and the Cobbler’s Wife,” you can order it at: http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/_cd066

You can pick up a copy of Vampires of the Scarlet Order at: Amazon.com. The book is also available as a Nook Book at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/vampires-of-the-scarlet-order-david-lee-summers/1013538009?ean=9780975453360

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