|“||Vampires with witch powers; an aberration of nature — they can never be allowed to escape. Imagine Kai with the bloodlust of a vampire. Now imagine six of them.||”|
The Heretics, were a powerful coven of witch-vampire hybrids originating from the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Originally members of the Gemini Coven, the Heretics were feared among the witch community as they retained their ability to practice magic despite having been turned into vampires.
The original six members, before becoming vampires, were known as siphoners, a subsection of witches without the ability to practice magic unless it was first siphoned from another source of magic. Due to this unique ability, they were considered an 'abomination' by the Gemini Coven and ultimately exiled between the mid-late 19th century and early 20th century. Exiled into the world without a leader, the Heretics fell under the guide of Lillian Salvatore, a vampire and prominent ripper. At some point during 1903, Lily turned the Heretics into vampires, thus becoming the first witch-vampire coven in the world. As vampires, the Heretics had fallen into one of Nature's loopholes which allowed them to not only retain their ability to practice magic, but be provided with power source to siphon from. This transformation and subsequent discovery meant that siphoners were the only known beings who could be both witch and vampire.
In late 1903, shortly after being turned, under the guide of Lily, the den set sail from England to New York with the plan to take down the Gemini Coven in revenge for exiling them. During the trip, Lily took pity on a sick young man suffering from consumption. Lily turned the young man but left the man behind to continue their goal to destroy the Gemini Coven, believing she would return for him after accomplishing this. However, the Gemini Coven and its powerful members found the Heretics first, banishing them and Lily in a snapshot of November 1, 1903 using an ascendant.
Lily was eventually freed a century later by Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert and powerful witch Bonnie Bennett. Lily was however, distraught to learn that although a Bennett witch, Bonnie was unable to bring back the Heretics with them to modern-day. Lily however, managed to feed a desiccated Malcolm her blood before leaving. Although former Gemini member Malachai Parker had helped Bonnie get to the Prison World, Bonnie left him behind out of anger. With their leader gone, the six Heretics fed on the blood of Kai to replenish their strength before returning to Mystic Falls and settling in with their leader. However, due to a tense rivalry between Lily and her biological sons, five of the six Heretics died. Valerie being the only survivor as of One Way or Another.
- Josette: "Before the 1900s, your mother fell in with a group of witches that were cast out of the Gemini Coven. They were known as Heretics, Siphoners like Kai, but not just that. Lily turned them, resulting in creatures that are both witch and vampire."
- Elena: "But, that's not possible. Vampires can't be witches."
- Josette: "These are witches that have magic only when they siphon power from another source. As vampires..."
- Damon: "They have a constant source. They can siphon off of themselves!"
- Josette: "They were on their way to destroy the Gemini, but the coven got to them first. Put them in exile."
- — Josette explaining the Heretics
Before their exile, the Heretics were once members of the powerful Gemini Coven, a congregation of interlinked witches who had bound their entire individual magic to the successful transition from one leader to the next. The basis of this transition between leaders was a ritual known as the Merge: the twin offspring of the current leader would perform the ritual on their twenty-second birthday, during which, the strongest twin would survive and absorb the magical strength and personality traits of the weaker twin, killing the latter during the merge. The successful twin would then emerge and become leader of the Gemini Coven, disregarding the current. As the spirit of the twins had merged during into the winner's body during the process, the winner contained aspects of both twin's personalities and would gain access to enhanced magical powers due to the fact that the leader binds both the magic and lives of the coven to himself or herself. As a result, if the leader were to die before the emergent of a new leader, so too would the entire coven.
All born into the Gemini coven before Joshua Parker became leader, the Heretics were born without the ability to generate individual magic. Instead, they could only siphon magic from other magical sources, such as supernatural beings (witches, vampires, werewolves etc) or enchanted objects (such as Valerie's pendant). The members of the Gemini considered these traits to be an abomination and denounced them "heretics" before exiling them from the coven. Exiled and powerless, the six made their way to Europe, where they eventually met and fell under the guise of Lillian Salvatore sometime prior to 1903. Known for being a ripper, Lily had been massacring several thousand people in Europe post her turning in 1858. After they met, they became close friends and were all eventually turned by Lily in 1903 to remain together forever as a family. However, due to their unusual ability to siphon magic – and due to the fact that these abilities had not been accounted for during the creation of Nature's laws – the Heretics quickly learned that they, as vampires, could not only siphon magic from beings and magic, they could also siphon the magic keeping them alive as vampires, thus, creating a near endless source of power. This ability led to the discovery that using their siphoner abilities, they could cure themselves of a deadly werewolf bite by siphoning away the magical basis of the werewolf venom, creating an alternate cure to werewolf venom – previously, only Niklaus Mikaelson's blood could cure a werewolf bite.
Now in possession of great power, the Heretics returned to Northwest America, home of the Gemini Coven, with Lily in the autumn of 1903 to exact revenge on the coven. However, the coven anticipated their efforts to seek revenge and upon meeting on the New York Harbor, banished the Heretics and Lily to a prison world – a temporal time loop of October 31, 1903. They achieved this by channeling the power of the Aurora Borealis overhead to power the ascendant, a powerful device capable of traveling between realities. Lily and the Heretics remained trapped in the prison world for over a century, eventually settling into what became the prison world's version of modern day Mystic Falls, Lily's hometown. The prison world was exactly like the real world, a snapshot of the real world as it was the day the spell was cast, copying every single object in existence perfectly.
However, the metaphysical rules of prison worlds exclude living beings as objects that were copied, which meant that the only blood the Heretics could consume to survive was animal blood found in butcher shops and slaughterhouses, making their food sources extremely limited. This obstacle was made even worse by the fact that, since most people still traveled by horse in this era, the transportation necessary to search for more blood was scarce, forcing them to have to ration the small amount of blood they did have. The Heretics eventually refused to feed and gave Lily their rations, which forced her to control her blood lust by reducing her consumption to ensure that there would be enough blood to wake them in the case they were ever able to return to the living world. While Lily remained alive, the six Heretics suffered such intense starvation that they desiccated to the point of mummification, remaining that way for an unknown amount of years while Lily lived on two drops of blood a week and looked for a way to return home.
Throughout The Vampire Diaries Series
In A Bird in a Gilded Cage, Lily's son Damon, his girlfriend Elena and two witches, best friend Bonnie Bennett and current leader of the Gemini, Malachai Parker, entered the prison world in an effort to free Lily – whom Stefan and Damon had thought died of consumption in 1864. After explaining their situation, Lily agreed to leave with them, explaining the importance of taking her family too, the Heretics. However, Damon explained that in leaving behind Kai, as punishment for is treatment of Bonnie, meant that they did not have enough power to take the Heretics with them. Lily, however, was adiment about taking them with her, she explained that they helped her supress her ripper side and brought out the best in her. Damon, desperate to return home, explained that they would leave Lily behind if she did not leave behind the Heretics. Lily agreed to leave on the premise that Damon would return at a later date for her family. Feeding Malcolm, one of the six Heretics, some of the blood supply, Lily left the prison world. Left behind for his treatment of Bonnie, Kai stumbled upon the Salvatore Estate, where he was fed on by hungry Heretic Malcolm. In I Never Could Love Like That, upon learning that Kai was trapped in the 1903 prison world, Josette Laughlin called her father, Joshua Parker, who also happened to be the leader of the Gemini coven, to inform him of Kai's imprisonment. Joshua became worried and explained to Josette the real reason that Lily and the Heretics were imprisoned — they had killed thousands of people since being turned by Lily. Joshua insisted that Jo destroy the Ascendant before Lily could use it to bring back the Heretics. Jo later explained the reason for the Heretics trapping in the prison world and that they must destroy the Ascendant at once.
In I'd Leave My Happy Home For You, Kai appeared in the 1903 prison world making breakfast for himself and the Heretics. It appeared that the Heretics had been feeding on him — rejuvenating their strength. Upon finishing making breakfast, Kai rang the bell to call the Heretics to eat, smiling, he insisted that the Heretics should eat and recoup their strength ready to return to Mystic Falls and reunite with Lily.
In I'll Wed You in the Golden Summertime, it was heavily implied that Lily and Kai had made some sort of deal and were working with each other. It was suggested that the agreement surrounded the freeing of the Heretics from the Prison World in return for something from Lily, however, nothing was confirmed. It was presumably Kai who freed Lily from her capture in the Salvatore basement and handed her the address for the warehouse in which Lily would find her family. However, upon arrival, Lily could find no such warehouse containing her family.
In I'm Thinking Of You All The While, Lily revealed that, in exchange for freeing her family from the Prison World, she fed Kai her blood. Kai later showed up at his sisters wedding with Alaric Saltzman to secure his reign over the Gemini coven. To do so, Kai stabbed and killed Josette and her two unborn children to prevent them rising as leader of the coven. Kai proceeded to kill himself to kill the entirety of the Gemini coven — whom were bound to hislifeforce. Since drinking Lily's blood, Kai awoke in transition to become a witch-vampire hybrid with siphoner abilities. Using his new found magical abilities, he telekinetically pulled his father, Joshua Parker, towards him to feed on him and complete his transition. When later being bitten by newly-triggered werewolf Tyler Lockwood, Kai revealed that siphoners can overcome werewolf venom by siphoning the magical properties of the venom. However, Kai was later decapitated and killed by Damon Salvatore, who was furious at him for casting a stasis spell on Elena and linking her to Bonnie's life. With Kai dead, the warehouse containing Lily's family — which had been hidden with a spell — was broken and Lily was able to reunite with her family. Lily also invited Lorenzo St. John — the man she had abandoned in 1903 — to join her family as she had planned before being imprisoned.
In Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take, the Heretics — except for Oscar, who is said to be running an errand in New York — are introduced. The Heretics had, by Lily's order, been living from blood rations and hiding from the world to maintain a low profile, this made them restless. Valerie ventured out and, on her travels, was hit by a car being driven by a high teenage boy and his girlfriend, they left her in the middle of the road in fear of getting arrested in fear of murdering her, however, she healed. Later, Valerie, Nora and Mary Louise were so angry at this display of behavior that the three found the couple, feeding on one of them and igniting on fire the other.After finding the bodies of the two dead teenagers, Stefan and Caroline planned to take out the Heretics by blowing them up. Caroline paid a visit to the Heretics residence under the guise of a human flower girl welcoming them to the neighbourhood while Matt planted a vervain bomb that Alaric had made earlier. Believing Caroline to be human, Nora and Mary Louise taunt her by compelling her to hand over her jacket to Mary Louise and compliment her on how good she looks. After Matt arrives informing Caroline that they must leave, the Heretics noticed the smell of a gas leak started earlier. Caroline used her enhanced speed to run herself and Matt out of the house before the bomb exploded and blew up the house.
Later — although thought dead by the Mystic Falls gang — the Heretics show up at the Sherrif's Deputy graduation ceremony to get revenge. The Heretics begin chanting to what ultimately turns on the water sprinkler, which they then ignite with pyrokinesis. They begin to attack the deputies and the public when a fight breaks out between the Heretics, Caroline and Stefan. Lily arrives moments later and stops the fight, lecturing both the Heretics and Mystic Falls gang for their behavior.
Knowing that they were engaging in a war that could not be won, Stefan made a deal with Lily. Stefan and Caroline were to cover up the massacre, blaming it on a mine explosion and evacuate the townspeople — any human left in Mystic Falls afterwards was food for the Heretics. In addition, Stefan would surrender the Salvatore Boarding House to Lily and the Heretics, moving to another location.
Although a deal had been made, Damon and Bonnie set out to get their town back. Bonnie found and distracted Heretic Malcolm, casting a pain infliction spell, allowing him to siphon her magic which gave Damon the oppurtunity to rip out Malcolm's heart, making him the first Heretic to die. Later that same night, Malcolm's body is found by Nora and Mary Louise who brought him home to Beau and Valerie. Nora stated that they must not let Lily find out about this, however, she was overheard by Lily, who was grief-stricken and begin to cry.
In Never Let Me Go, Stefan is attacked by Lily and Beau while driving through Mystic Falls. Lily, upset after the previous nights events, questions Stefan that she was under the impression that they had a deal, and now would have to take revenge for the death of Malcolm.
At the Salvatore Boarding House, Caroline is seen held captive by Lily, in revenge for the murder.
- "Lily: "Malcolm was a vital part of this family. He meant something to each of us."
- Mary Louise: "He found me on the streets. He was kind to me, something I hadn't felt in years. He's the one who convinced me to meet with Lily."
- Nora: "My family wanted me dead. Malcolm made sure they didn't succeed."
- Valerie: "I hadn't seen Beau in a decade. Malcolm reunited us.
- Lily: "He was my sounding board, my confidante, my eldest son. Ironic that you took him from me.""
- — Lily to Damon Salvatore
She is taunted by Enzo, whom she manages to get to free her, however, she is caught at the door. Elsewhere, Lily and the Heretics attend the Salvatore crypt, where Damon had been storing Elena's casket; they steal the casket as collateral, to which Lily adds "she can spend the next sixty years of her life under water." When Damon arrives, visibly angry, Lily compares the time that he broke a vase, noting that Malcolm was not a vase and did not deserve to die at their hands. The Heretics explain to Damon what Malcolm meant to each one of them, including that he found Mary Louise on the streets.
In Best Served Cold,
In Cold as Ice,In This Woman's Work,
- Julie Plec describes them as sociopaths who have killed thousands of people together.
- Kai was able to siphon the magic of vampire blood out of Liz's body, preventing her from becoming a vampire upon her death.
- It was also shown that siphoner witches can siphon the magic of vampires to the point of death, as Caroline nearly died due to her pregnancy, though Valerie was able to reverse the desiccation in Postcards from the Edge.
- Kai, as a hybrid, siphon Damon's vampirism completely, killing him in the process in It's Been a Hell of a Ride.
- It is wrongly assumed by fans that all witch-vampires are heretics. The heretics are witch-vampires, but not all witch-vampires are heretics — this is the reason Malachai Parker is not listed as a member of the heretics. This is further shown in this image.