3
$\begingroup$

My story is set in the late 90s, in an alternate reality where elves, dwarves, vampires, werewolves and the like all secretly live amongst the human race. Initially the masquerade trope is played fully straight, but it swiftly becomes apparent that the only reason these secret societies of immortal humanoids have any success at all keeping themselves secret for centuries is because a hive-minded species unknown even to them, called the Veilkeepers, is using its memory-manipulation powers to keep most of humanity in a state of perpetual obliviousness, and plugging up the major secrecy breaches by killing the offenders and erasing them from the memories of everyone on earth (as well as making it so that anyone who comes across proof of their existence will not only ignore it, but actively destroy it without realizing that's what they're doing).

The main character of my story is a vampire-werewolf hybrid who, due to his particular unique mixing of his parent species' genes, happens to be completely immune to mental abilities of any kind, and thus is fully capable of seeing the Veilkeepers and the weird things they compel people to do in order to keep the masquerade. And it becomes painfully apparent that if he ever lets a Veilkeeper realize he's immune to their powers, they will kill him and erase him from existence to maintain their control.

The problem I have is that if they know immunity to their powers is a trait that new species can possess (they've killed people for this before), and if the mere possession of immunity to their powers is something they deem worthy of execution, then why wouldn't they test every new species (new ones periodically pop up either from hybridization or from humans spontaneously undergoing metamorphosis) for this ability and kill the ones that have it?

Why do the Veilkeepers not test new species for immunity to their powers if they're so adamant that anyone immune to their powers cannot be allowed to live?

$\endgroup$
1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This seems to be story based at present, pretty much the perfect example of that as you've already created your world but you need character motivations. VTC. Oh, and the answer you're looking for is, it serves their purposes at that particular time. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2021 at 5:20

3 Answers 3

4
$\begingroup$

Two reasons:

  1. People don't usually test for things they expect to never find.

If nobody has ever been immune to this mind-control before, then there is no reason to test for the immunity.

Consider: we humans have never encountered an object that didn't obey the laws of thermodynamics, so even though such a discovery would be the most stupendous event in all of science history, nobody is bothering to test every object just in case they happen to stumble into one.

  1. Nobody gets notified when a new species is created.

A policy to test "all new species" for immunity is dependent on your ability to know about all the new species. But it's not like there is some central agency that gets a telegram every time a unique combination of animals humps in the jungle. Unless your hero's parents filed a report with their evil overlords or made some kind of announcement when they reproduced, there is no reason to think the evil overlords have any idea your hero even exists, let alone is some new creature that might be unusual in important ways.

And that's not to mention the impracticality of carrying out such a program, which others have already addressed.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Given the rest of the OP's set up, I like 2. If it makes the situation better it could be worth treating the parents themselves as hybrids. Maybe one of them had an elf great grandparent. So "ordinary" Werewolf/Vampires don't get this immunity, but Werewolf/Vampire/Elves do? $\endgroup$
    – Jontia
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 11:04
2
$\begingroup$

Hybrids ain't a species.

There's no reason that crossing werewolves and vampires always has to lead to the same result. Maybe not all vampire/werewolf hybrids have this ability and your protagonist is unusual. You said it yourself: "due to his particular unique mixing of his parent species' genes". Perhaps the first time the Veilkeepers heard of a child being born to a vampire and a werewolf, way back in history, they did investigate to see whether this could be any kind of problem, found that the kid had no especially masquerade-breaking properties and couldn't see them any more than anyone else could, and reported back to their leaders that vampire-werewolf hybrids weren't anything to worry about.

You could, if you liked, establish the idea that no two magical hybrids were alike by mentioning some other small feature that the protagonist had but some other vampire-werewolf hybrids didn't.
If there's another such hybrid in whatever monster enclave he lives in, it might come up that, for instance, one of them was OK with silver and the other wasn't - or maybe was even worse with silver than a pure werewolf.
Or he might have to go to the monster doctor, and complain that the doctor never knows what to do with him, because even two vampire-werewolf hybrids don't necessarily react to things the same way.
That way, your readers will know that whenever a hybrid is born, Mother Nature rolls a bunch of dice, and it hopefully won't need much explaining to them that your protagonist just happened to get really lucky. Or unlucky, depending on your point of view.

Why don't they screen all hybrids just to be sure, then?

That depends a lot on how common they are. If there are thousands born every year, the Veilkeepers might not have time to go and test every one of them. And they might not think it was worth the risk, if the mythical creatures aren't quite as helpless in the face of the Veilkeepers as standard humans are. If their cover was blown in some way, it'd be blown in front of a town full of angry immortals with supernatural powers who wanted to know what they were doing to their kid. I don't know whether your immortals do have any powers that might be a threat to a Veilkeeper; if they do, that's potential plot material.

Or maybe they do test them, but only once, and your protagonist grew into it unusually late and so they missed him. Maybe there have been other hybrids with this power who did get caught and got disappeared. (And if there had been... he wouldn't know.)

Why didn't they catch him, personally?

Well, that comes down to whether he realised the danger he was in before he blurted his discovery all over the Internet. And, at that point, we're well and truly out of worldbuilding and into your plot.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Given the level of power illustrated by the Veilkeepers, I'd have to wonder why the allowed this sort of hybrid problem in the first place. Seems like they'd have the capability to put some big taboos on interbreeding between monster species. $\endgroup$
    – Jontia
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 11:06
0
$\begingroup$

Behave to Live

If they're managing the world, odds are they're doing it via an automated system, which flags oddities for them. If someone has a combination of traits which the system individually flags as "explains abberant behaviour", then having many of them could get the system to mark someone as "within expected tolerances" with greater deviation.

But if they killed everyone who even looked like they might know something was slightly off, there'd soon be nobody left to masquerade. So as long as these people don't abuse their knowledge, it doesn't matter that they know.

Or...


Limited "Man"power

Let's suppose that they have to manually go out and check if a mutant can see them. (UFO abduction?) There are a lot of mutations among billions of people, and who wants to spend all day checking up on nothing? It's impossible to check all of them anyway. Better to "hunt by standing still in the right place."


Both of these concepts rely on the idea that the conspiracy has finite resources, and that they're spread thinly over the population. If you have ten Veilkeepers per other intelligent creature, then there's no plausible reason not to apply a reliable test.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .