The vampires that call themselves the Blood Sycophants due to utter devotion to the vital fluid that sustain their undeath, were once an ancestry of warrior lords descendants of tribal chiefs who struggled violently among each other for centuries before being united as fiefdoms under a single realm by the patriarch of the current Red King of the Vampire Realm.
Notorious for their cruelty even before turning into vampires, a change that has only exacerbated this trait, the Blood Sycophants have continued to worship sadistic gods of war and dominance and to practice slavery until present time, unable to shun off these darker parts of their barbaric past that have become integral parts of their feudal society.
Donning gowned black leathery armors from whose belts hang vicious hooks, twisted blades and the rotting remains of the bodies of their enemies, Blood Sycophants carry in battle bizarrely barbed swords and pole arms whose shapes are distinctive of each vampire fiefdoms.
Impervious to pain and capable of fast regeneration the vampire overlords embellish their bodies with convoluted scars and with self inflicted wounds that they consider aesthetically pleasing body garnishments.
The embedding of hooks, nails and most frequently of viciously thorned metal wires in different body parts, especially the face or the head, is also very common, a practice that only adds to the Blood Sycophants resemblance to horrifically maimed corpses.
Sycophant sorcerers have conceived their manipulation of magical energies around their obsessions, creating spells whose offensive power is directly related to the amount of pain inflicted and blood spilled from innocent victims.
The vampires disdain for ranged combat and their overtly aggressive nature is also reflected by the warship of the Sycophant fleet, built to maximize the effectiveness of boarding action where the lacking of shooting weapons is made even by the use of Blood Magic fueled by the sufferings of slaves and prisoners.
Admiral Ship – The Thorns Cathedral (The Aggressor)
Even in subjugation the fate of a warship oarsman is better than the one of other Red Realm slaves as rowers are considered by their Sycophant masters an essential war assets and as such kept well fed and used as mere food only in desperate situations.
Only the healthiest and strongest slaves are hand-picked to row on an Admiral flagship with the ones destined to lesser vessels considering that fate a privilege.
Thorns Cathedrals are the greatest warship of the Red Realms fleet, massive oared monstrosity build to board even the most powerful of enemy vessels.
These massive vessels are the epitome of vampires aggressive and slaughterous nature, dark and brooding vessels with their entire body covered with vicious barbed spines.
From bow of the Thorn Cathedral protrudes a massive boarding bridge whose heavy spikes can close into a mortal embrace even the biggest enemy ships
On the other side of the warship sits a monumental construction covered with spines from where the fleet Admiral and its coven of Blood Sorcerers command the entire fleet.
A long stair, sustained by thorned branches, descends from its highest place directly to the boarding bridge to allow the officers of the Thorns Cathedral to be the first to board the enemy ship ensnared in its claws.
Also known as ‘The Aggressor’, the main deck of this warship carries a small army of lesser vampire soldiers and flesh eating zombies under their control, ready to storm the bridges of enemy vessels in ferocious boarding actions.
Dense swarms of vampire bats fly incessantly around the Cathedral waiting to join the vampires in their bloody assaults.
The ranged offensive power of the Thorns Cathedral is rounded by side batteries of medium range ballistas that even not as powerful as broadside cannons can seriously damage enemy vessels causing considerable losses to their crew.
Independent Ship – The Tormentor
The huge size of the Thorn Cathedral make it impractical in boarding smaller ships, a role that in the Blood Sycophant fleets is fulfilled by the Tormentors warships that in small engagements may even assume the role of Admiral ships.
These fast triremes attack by ramming into enemy vessels after decimating their crews firing deadly barbed bolts from aft castle mounted ballistas.
Giant rabid rats accompany the host of vampire soldiers aboard swarming through their ranks as they strike in violent boarding actions.
From the top of the aft tower flutters the Shunned Ensign, a magical banner sewn with the skins of tortured prisoners acting as a memento of the ultimate fate that awaits the enemies of the Red Realms.
Independent Ship – The Oppressor
Smaller and faster than the Tormentors, this warship is equipped with a huge harpax, a modified ballista that can shoot a grappling bolt to enemy ships that once hooked can be easily dragged in contact with the Oppressor to be boarded by the vampire warriors on board and by their hideous minions.
Even if devoid of ranged weapons a small cabal of sorcerers hosted on board of the Oppressor can cast offensive Blood Magic spells fueled by the agony of enemy prisoners held into the twisted cage that form the aft castle of the warship.
Somehow similar in shape to a comb or a fat cocoon, the cage is formed by a whirling vortex of thorned branches that seem to emerge from the deep of the ship’s hull.
To reach the top of the cage, where a sacrificial altar surrounded by torture implements awaits to aid them in the casting of their horrific magic, blood sorcerers ritually ascend a curved stair that spirals around it, sustained by the same spiny stalks that form its structure.
Once the sorcerers has reached their casting ground, prisoners are lead from the depth of their prison through trapdoors to their final destination, where once strapped to crude crosses or constrained into cramped enclosures are doomed to spill their blood and lose their souls to the greater glory of the Sycophant victory.
Squadron Ship – The Persecutors
Born from a dense tangle of thorns the Persecutor, too small to host a rowing crew, is moved by a large triangular sail and armed with bow and stern heavy ballistas, enhanced version of this missile weapons that employ steel coils forged by the most skilled slaves and capable of hurling at high speed huge viciously barbed bolts that in some cases may even cause extensive damage to the hull of enemy vessels.
Most frequently one or more squadrons of Persecutors accompany in battle a Thorn Cathedral to strike enemy vessels in anticipation of the slaughtering brought by the close combat assault of the vampire warriors of the admiral vessels.
The crews assaulted by these lethal war ships can only relay in their reaction on the slow recharging rate of the ballistas, hoping that the strain on the winches that charge the metal coils that propel the missiles will finally break the arm of the weapons disabling them for the rest of the battle.