|“||I was just a witch, rejected from her coven for being an abomination of Nature because I had no power of my own. The only magic I had was contained in an amulet, to be siphoned in times of need.||”|
Siphoners, or Siphons, are a subsection of witches born without the ability to generate their own magic but do possess a rare power that allows them to siphon magic from other sources and use that magic for their own purposes. They are considered abominations by many witches, specifically the Gemini Coven, despite the fact that siphoners are born with these abilities and may face harsh treatment when discovered. They appear to be rare and few in numbers although they are rather controversial because they have the potential to become witch-vampire hybrids.
Very little is known about siphoners, especially with regards to how or why they came into existence. Their conception and birth appear to be the same as that of ordinary witches, given that many siphoners do not know of their true nature until adolescence. In the case of twins, there seem to be no indication that they both must be either siphoners or regular witches, as evidenced by the existence of three sets of twins from the Gemini Coven—the twins Olivia and Lucas Parker were both born as regular witches, whereas their older twin siblings Josette and Malachai Parker were born a regular witch and a siphoner, respectively, and the twins Lizzie and Josie Saltzman were both born siphoners.
In This Woman's Work, the birth of twin siphoners, Lizzie and Josie Saltzman, was shown for the first time. It was revealed that siphoners begin to siphon magic from inside their mother's uterus, starting with feeding on very small, almost imperceptible amounts of magic at a time that will grow larger and larger as the pregnancy continues. During the final stages of birth, a surge in siphoning may be observed which may put said mother in danger.
Over a course of over a decade in the mid-1800s, a number of siphoners were exiled from the Gemini Coven because of the witches belief that they are abominations. These six individuals, eventually calling themselves Heretics, were befriended by Lillian Salvatore in the late 1800s and she turned them into vampires. As vampires, they discovered that they could siphon the magic holding them alive, becoming witch-vampire hybrids. While on the way to destroy the Gemini Coven, they were imprisoned in a prison world by them.
One of the siphoners, Valerie Tulle, became a nurse at a sanatorium near Mystic Falls, where she befriended one of her patients, Lillian Salvatore, who ultimately died with vampire blood in her system and became a vampire herself. While Lily was learning control over her vampirism, she took Valerie under her wing, forming a trio with herself and lover, Julian. Shortly afterward, their trio grew larger after a fellow exiled Gemini siphoner, Oscar, joined them.
After Valerie was sent to check in on Lily's human son, Stefan Salvatore, in Mystic Falls, she ultimately fell in love and had sex with him, resulting in an inadvertent pregnancy. When Julian learned that Valerie intended to leave their family to start a new family with Stefan, he beat her so severely at the harbor that she miscarried and fell unconscious, allowing Julian to bring her back to Lily and lie to her about what happened, claiming instead that Valerie was mugged and beaten, since he knew that Valerie could not expose him without revealing her relationship with Lily's son.
Distraught as a result of Julian's monstrous acts and her miscarriage, Valerie killed herself by overdosing on laudanum and drowning in the bath, but because Lily had healed her with vampire blood earlier, she awoke in transition and became a vampire with witch power; the first of her kind. Eventually, Lily and Julian turned the remaining siphoners, seeing Valerie's potential upon realizing that she had retained her ability to practice witchcraft and was now able to draw on her own vampirism as a source of power.
In the late 20th century, the Gemini Coven was plagued by the birth of another siphoner, Malachai Parker, the son of Coven leader Joshua Parker and the twin brother of Josette Parker, who had been born a regular witch. Because Josette and Malachai were twins, they were set to inherit the leadership of the coven from Joshua, which Joshua and the rest of the family feared due to Kai's emerging signs of sociopathic nature and his siphoning ability giving him an almost guaranteed "win" in the Merge.
To prevent Kai from usurping the coven's leadership upon Kai and Jo's 22nd birthday, Joshua and his wife decided to continue having as many children as possible until they gave birth to another set of twins, which eventually occurred in 1991 with Olivia and Lucas Parker's birth. In 1994, just shy of his 22nd birthday, Kai realized that his parents intended for the youngest twins, known as Luke and Liv, to inherit the leadership instead of himself and Jo, which caused him to become so furious that he vowed to kill them and ensure that the coven would have no choice but to let Kai and Jo Merge as originally intended.
Kai enacted his plan on May 9, 1994, which involved him killing all of his non-twin siblings before setting his sights on murdering Liv and Luke. Not wanting to watch any of her other siblings die at the hands of her twin, Jo, who had been stabbed in the abdomen and would soon lose her spleen as a result, agreed to perform the Merge with Kai not before insisting that he must spare Liv and Luke, a concession that Kai happily made.
The Merge ceremony then occurred the next day during the solar eclipse, as they needed a celestial event to power the spell to merge them as one. Jo and Kai began the Merge by holding hands, but after a moment, Kai began to sense something had gone wrong when the coven's members began to gather around them. He then realized that he couldn't sense any of Jo's magic, leading to the revelation that Jo had put her magic into an object for safekeeping in order to prevent him from taking it. The coven then used another Ascendant to create a new Prison World, where they sent Kai to live out the same day over and over for eternity in solitude as punishment for his crimes.
In 2013, Bonnie Bennett and Damon Salvatore were magically transported to the 1994 Prison World where Kai Parker had been imprisoned for nearly twenty years as a result of the Other Side, the supernatural purgatory where they had been sent after their deaths, being destroyed. After weeks of living in the Prison World, repeating the same day over and over again while having no idea where they were or why they had been sent there, Damon and Bonnie realized that they were not alone and eventually came upon Kai, who threatened Damon's life in an effort to reactivate Bonnie's witch powers again. He helped them figure out how to portal the three of them back to the living world using magic and the ascendant, and though Damon and Bonnie ultimately found a newspaper that described Kai's slaughter and were so horrified by what he had done that they tried to prevent him from returning to the real world, Kai still managed to find a way back anyway.
Upon his return, Kai immediately sought out his three surviving siblings, Liv, Luke and Jo, who all happened to be at Whitmore College. He then picked up his plan where he previously left off, intending to get back at the Gemini Coven by killing Luke and Liv and forcing Jo to regain her magic so she can perform the Merge with him as originally planned. To increase his chances of success, Kai siphoned the incredible amount of magical power used by the Travelers to cast the Magic Purification Spell over Mystic Falls. Despite his best efforts to use his newly-gained power to fulfill his goal, he came up slightly short when Luke proposed that he and Kai perform the Merge ceremony together, since Kai's stay in the Prison World kept him from aging, making them both the same age in addition to their connection as siblings.
Desperate for his own personal power, Kai ultimately took the bait and "won" the Merge against Luke, causing him to absorb Luke's soul and have it merged with his own, giving Kai his ability to generate his own magic. This also made Kai the leader of the Gemini Coven, a result that devastated the coven's members, particularly Joshua, Liv, and Jo.
Fearing that he would lose his status as the Coven's leader, Kai attacked and killed Jo, and seemingly her unborn twins at Alaric and Jo's wedding, where he took advantage of all of the Gemini Coven members in attendance to attack full-force. When he became surrounded by Geminis chanting a spell around him, he assumed they were trying to send him to a new Prison World and killed himself by stabbing himself in the neck with a piece of broken glass. Due to the coven's connection to their leader, all of the members began to die as a result of Kai's death, which was exactly what he had planned would happen. It was then revealed when he awakened shortly afterward that he had died with Lily's blood in his system, becoming the first new witch-vampire hybrid in over a century.
Several months later, it was revealed that the spell the coven was casting prior to their deaths was actually a powerful spell of the Coven's own creation that would transfer children in utero whose mother was near-death to a new surrogate to ensure the coven's survival. Jo and Alaric's twins were then transferred to the womb of Caroline Forbes, whose semi-immortal nature only increased the children's chances of survival.
In 2014, Beau, Nora Hildegard, Mary Louise, Valerie Tulle, and Bonnie Bennett helped Caroline Forbes give birth to the twins, who had been revealed to be siphoners after they almost killed Caroline on several occasions by siphoning too much of her vampirism. Caroline and the twins all survived the difficult childbirth, and the newborn daughters were named Lizzie and Josie Saltzman by their father, Alaric Saltzman; Josie being named after her biological mother, Josette Laughlin and Lizzie being named after her late surrogate grandmother, Elizabeth Forbes.
In 2017, the three-year-old twins Josie and Lizzie, at Alaric and Caroline's urging, used their abilities to absorb the boundary spell on the Armory, cast earlier by Bonnie Bennett, to find the last shaman to save Bonnie.
Powers and Abilities
- Siphoning: Siphoners possess the rare ability to absorb nearly all forms of magic from external sources in place of their lack of personal power. As a result of this ability, they are able to detect the magic within other beings as well as unravel the most sophisticated of spells. Siphoning can be used to siphon the magic of enchanted objects as well as the magic from supernatural beings such as other witches, vampires, werewolves, doppelgängers, etc. This also extends to a supernatural being's body fluids, such as the blood of a witch, vampire or doppelgänger, or a werewolf's venom.
- Spell Casting: Siphoners, after having absorbed magic from an external source, have the ability to cast spells like any witch. This allows them to change and control events through the use of incantations and more. However, the amount of power they have absorbed is finite and will eventually need to be replenished by siphoning more magic, though the frequency of which depends on the amount and strength of the magic they absorbed.
- Potion Brewing: The power to brew and concoct potions, remedies, and elixirs that have supernatural properties.
- Telekinesis: Siphoners, after having absorbed magic from an external source, have the ability to move objects and people like any witch.
- Pain Infliction: Siphoners, after having absorbed magic from an external source, have the ability to inflict excruciating migraines like any witch.
- Pyrokinesis: Siphoners, after having absorbed magic from an external source, have the ability to generate and manipulate fire like any witch.
- Siphoning: This ability also doubles as a weakness; siphoners, that have siphoned and gained magic from another source, can be siphoned themselves and the magic taken from them. This was proven true in We're Gonna Need A Spotlight when Lizzie siphoned magic from Josie who had siphoned Hope's boundary spell and attempted to create a fireball.
- Distraction: Denying a witch from concentrating or giving full attention to their spells may render it ineffective.
- Herbs: Ingestion of certain herbs can cause a witch to lose consciousness and prevent them from using magic for an undetermined amount of time. The Lobelia flower prevents a witch from being able to focus and concentrate, which is necessary to effectively cast spells, making it a common herb used in the weakening of a witch in the same manner as someone would use vervain to weaken a vampire. There are also other herbs that will temporarily mute or suppress the use of magic, though the length of time the herbs are effective are based on the strength of the witch in question.
- Huntress' Blood: A supernatural huntress' blood can suppress all magic of a witch when consumed, as well as prevent magic from working on said witch, as seen when the Armory could not perform a locator spell on Bonnie Bennett. Prolonged ingestion is toxic and ultimately leads to the death of the witch. Once black scabs start appearing on their body, the infected witches have less than a week of life, similar to how Vampires react to Werewolf Venom. There is no known cure to combat this disease.
- Mortality: Siphoners, like any witch, are still human, and thus share many of the same weaknesses as non-supernatural beings (e.g. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, etc.).
- Magic: Siphoners are just as susceptible to the forces of witchcraft as any other being. This is inclusive of mystical objects such as Papa Tunde's Blade, and Dark Objects.
- Physical Contact: Siphoners need physical contact with their source in order to siphon from them. This can be overcome through the use of magic containing amulets that can be worn with them to be siphoned in defense.
- Staff of Arcadius: An ancient Mesopotamian tuning fork capable of producing a high frequency that has some minor effects on witches and siphoners, giving them painful headaches.
Lizzie and her sister are twin Siphoners born from the union of Josette Laughlin and Alaric Saltzman. They are currently under the care of Caroline Forbes, who became their surrogate mother after Jo's death.
|Josie Saltzman||Josie and her sister are twin Siphoners born from the union of Josette Laughlin and Alaric Saltzman. They are currently under the care of Caroline Forbes, who became their surrogate mother after Jo's death.||Alive|
Valerie Tulle was a young siphoner who was exiled by the Gemini Coven in the 1860s. After joining the self-made family of Lillian Salvatore and lover Julian, she drowned herself in the bath with Lily's blood still in her system, causing her to become the first-known witch-vampire hybrid. She then became known as one of the Heretics, the name given to the six witch-vampire who became part of Lily and Julian's family due to being seen as double abominations by the Gemini Coven.
Malachai was the firstborn son of Joshua Parker, twin brother of Josette Parker. He was born a siphoner before merging with his brother and becoming the leader of the Gemini Coven. Shortly afterward, he purposely killed himself with Lily's blood in his system, turning himself into a witch-vampire hybrid.
- The existence of siphoners seems to be limited to witches born from the Gemini Coven, though this remains unconfirmed.
- Siphoners are the only type of witches who have the potential to be turned into witch-vampire hybrids as they keep their ability to practice magic after being turned into vampires as a result of their siphoning ability.
- As hybrids, they can draw upon their vampirism as a source of power, though completely siphoning their vampirism would result in their deaths.
- Siphoners are capable of healing vampires from werewolf bites by siphoning the magic of the werewolf venom from their bodies.
- Siphoners are able to become full-fledged witches by competing in and "winning" the Merge ritual, as demonstrated by Luke and Kai in a faux Merge. If successfully performed, said siphoner will gain their twin's power of a typical witch while retaining their ability to siphon.
- Siphoners are somehow born with a rare condition that can pass through and across generations, which gives them their ability to absorb magic from any witch, magical object, or supernatural being.
- Josie and Lizzie are the only known pair of twins to both be siphoners.
- It is unknown how previous mothers survive the birth of a single (or multiple) siphoner(s). For Caroline, this is perhaps a special case; due to being a vampire, it nearly killed her as a result. For Caroline's scenario, this was circumvented by using a spell creating a focal point of magic.