|“||Vampires with witch power, an aberration of nature. They can never be allowed to escape. Imagine Kai with the bloodlust of a vampire. Now imagine six of them.||”|
They were originally six Siphoners, a subsection of witches, all of whom were exiled for their inability to perform magic unless it was siphoned from another source, such as a supernatural being or a magical object. They were considered an abomination by the coven and were ultimately exiled sometime between the mid-late 19th century and early 20th century.
After being rejected by their coven, they were turned by Lillian Salvatore, a vampire and known Ripper, at some point prior to 1903, and, as vampires, they were revealed to have fallen into a loophole in Nature's laws that allowed them to not only retain their ability to siphon magic, but to channel the magic of their own vampirism, which essentially gave them a limitless source of power. This transformation and subsequent discovery proved that Siphoners were the only known beings who could be both witch and vampire.
In 1903, Lily and her den set sail from England to New York, where they intended to find and destroy the Gemini Coven in revenge for exiling them. On the way there, Lily also turned a sick young man she met at the shipyard into a vampire to save his life. Lily left Enzo behind after he died so that she and the Heretics could go after the coven, believing they could return to them afterward when he awakened as a vampire. However, the Geminis found them first and cast a powerful spell on them using an Ascendant, which banished them to a prison world where they were trapped in a snapshot of November 1st, 1903 for over a century.
Lily was eventually found and freed by her son Damon, his girlfriend Elena and their best friend Bonnie, but she was distraught when she learned that Bonnie wasn't strong enough to bring back the Heretics, who had been desiccated for decades due to the lack of blood in their Prison World, with her. Lily, however, managed to feed Malcolm before she left, and Bonnie, who sought to get revenge on Kai Parker for everything he had done to her in the 1994 Prison World, left Kai behind with the Heretics, who fed on his blood to replenish their strength. Kai then helped the Heretics free themselves and return to the living world, where Lily fed him her blood to allow him to turn into a fellow hybrid. Though Kai was eventually killed, the rest of the Heretics were reunited with their leader Lily and settled into Mystic Falls so they could get used to the modern age. However, due to a tense rivalry between Lily and her biological sons, most of the Heretics have died. Valerie is the only one left.
The Heretics were once members of the Gemini Coven, a congregation of witches who bound their entire individual magic to the successful transition from one leader to the next. The basis of this transition was a ritual known as the Merge: twins born to the line of the coven's leaders would perform the ritual on their twenty-second birthday, during which the strongest twin would survive and absorb the magical strength, as well as some personality traits, of the weaker one, killing the latter in the process. This allows them to ascend as the new leader of the coven and be reborn as a new being. As the spirit's of the twins merge into the winner's body, the winner contains aspects of each of the twins personalities, and gains access to enhanced magical powers, as the coven's leader binds both the magic and lives of the Gemini Coven's members into his or herself. As a result, if the leader dies before another leader emerges from a Merge Ceremony, all living members of the coven will die.
All born into the Gemini Coven, the Heretics were unable to generate their own magic. Instead, they could only siphon it from other sources, such as supernatural beings (witches, vampires, werewolves, etc) or enchanted objects. The Geminis considered these traits to be an abomination and denounced them as "heretics" before banishing them from the coven. The six then became known as the Heretics as they made their way to Europe, where they eventually met Lillian Salvatore at some point before 1903. A Ripper vampire, Lily had been massacring several thousand people in Europe in the years after she turned in 1858. After they had met, they all quickly became close friends, and Lily eventually turned them into vampires so they could remain together forever. However, because their unusual Siphoner abilities had not been accounted for during the creation of Nature's laws, the Heretics quickly found that, as vampires, they could not only still siphon magic from other objects and beings, they could also channel the magic that made them immortal and use it as a limitless power source. They even found that their siphoning abilities could allow them to cure themselves of the deadly werewolf venom (which would be fatal to any ordinary vampire who was unable to ingest Klaus' blood as a cure) by siphoning the magical basis of the werewolf venom.
Now in possession of great power, the Heretics returned to America with Lily in the autumn of 1903 to have their revenge on the Gemini Coven. However, the coven got to them first in the New York Harbor and banished them to a prison world, a temporal time loop of the same day in 1903 (October 31/November 1) cast using the power of the Aurora Borealis overhead as a power source for the Ascendant. Lily and the Heretics remained trapped in 1903 for over a century and eventually settled down in the prison world's version of Mystic Falls, Lily's hometown. The prison world was essentially a snapshot of the real world as it was the day it was created, and every single object in existence that day was copied perfectly, creating a double that could be taken between worlds. 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 over a hundred 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 Gilbert and two witches, Bonnie Bennett and Malachai Parker (the current leader of the Gemini Coven), entered the prison world to free Lily. After explaining to her their situation, Lily agreed to leave with them at first, but then changed their mind when they realized that, by leaving Kai behind in punishment for his treatment of Bonnie, they didn't have enough magical power to bring the Heretics back with them. Lily fed Malcolm, one of Heretics, some of their blood supply, trying to bring them along despite Damon's explanations, Damon made it clear that he would leave her behind, and Lily reluctantly left without them, though she made Damon promise they would come back for them later. Once they left, Kai, who was left behind by the group in punishment for his crimes against them, later wandered into the Salvatore Estate to look for food, where he stumbled upon the Malcolm, who ultimately was overcome by bloodlust and presumably fed on him.
In I Never Could Love Like That, Josette Parker, after learning that Kai had been trapped in the 1903 prison world, called her father, Joshua Parker (the former leader of the Gemini Coven), to inform him of Kai's imprisonment. Joshua then became worried and explained to Jo about the real reason why Lily and the Heretics were imprisoned before insisting that the Ascendant must be destroyed before Lily could bring back the Heretics. Jo later tells Elena and Damon the reason for the prison world's creation - the Heretics, after being exiled by the Gemini Coven for being Siphoners, were turned into vampires by Lily and were subsequently turned into true witch-vampire hybrids as a result of their Siphoner nature. Jo told them to think of the Heretics as Kai with vampire bloodlust and insisted that they were too dangerous to be freed into the world.
In I'd Leave My Happy Home For You, Kai was seen in the 1903 prison world making breakfast for himself and the Heretics. It also appeared that they had been feeding on Kai. When Kai rang the bell to call them to breakfast, he smiled and told them that they needed to eat and prepare themselves to finally leave the prison world and return home.
In I'll Wed You in the Golden Summertime, it was heavily suggested that Lily and Kai were working together, with the agreement that if Lily helped Kai with his plans, Kai would free the Heretics from the prison world, along with himself. When Kai and the Heretics escaped, he presumably freed Lily from her cell in the Salvatore Boarding House cellar and gave her the address for the warehouse where her family was being held. However, when Lily got there, she couldn't find them anywhere.
In I'm Thinking Of You All The While, it was revealed by Lily that, in exchange for freeing her family from the prison world so she could reunite with them, Lily fed Kai her blood as part of his plan. He then showed up at his twin sister's wedding to Alaric Saltzman, killed Jo and their unborn twin children to prevent them from stripping him of his coven's leadership, and then killed himself in order to kill the entirety of the Gemini Coven, whose life forces and magic were all tied to his. Since he had Lily's blood in his system, he awakened in transition to become a witch-vampire hybrid, and used his vampirism as a power source so he could telekinetically pull his father Joshua toward him and feed on him to complete his transition. When he was later bitten by the newly-triggered werewolf. Tyler Lockwood, he revealed that Heretics can even overcome werewolf venom, which would be fatal to an average vampire, by siphoning the all of magic in the venom as a power source until it burned up, curing him of its effects. However, Kai was ultimately killed by Damon Salvatore, who was furious at him for casting a stasis spell on Elena, linking her to Bonnie's life, and nearly killing Bonnie. Once Kai had died for good, the cloaking spell hiding the Heretics was broken, and Lily was finally able to reunite with her six Heretic family members. She also invited Lorenzo to join their family as they intended before Lily and the Heretics were imprisoned.
In Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take, all of the Heretics are introduced except for Oscar, who was mentioned to be in New York City on an errand. Because they had spent the last two months since their return to the living world hiding and living on blood rations at Lily's orders to maintain a low profile, many of the Heretics began to get restless. A high teenage boy and his girlfriend accidentally hit Valerie with their car and ultimately left her on the road for dead out of fear that they would get arrested. Valerie, Nora, and Mary Louise were so angry about this behavior that the three of them found the teenage couple; they fed on one of them and magically burned the other to death as punishment.
After finding the bodies, Stefan and Caroline came up with a plan to take out the Heretics that involved Caroline paying a visit with flowers under the guise of welcoming them to the neighborhood while Matt planted a vervain bomb that Stefan had made with Alaric's help and causing a gas leak. Believing Caroline to be a human, Nora and Mary Louise taunt her by compelling her to hand over her jacket to the latter and compliment her on how pretty she looks after Matt appeared and informed her that they needed to go. The moment the Heretics smelled the gas leak, Caroline vamp-sped herself and Matt out of the house, just as the bomb detonated and blew up the house.
Though Stefan, Caroline and Matt believed the Heretics to have been killed, they managed to survive somehow, and the Heretics were so furious afterward that they decided to get their revenge in a big way. All of the Heretics (except for Oscar) went to the Mystic Falls Sheriff's Deputy graduation ceremony in the town square, where they set fires with magic that killed many of the graduates and attendants and began attacking and feeding on the others, killing the new Sheriff and all of the deputies except for Matt. However, Lily eventually arrived and stopped them, lecturing both the Heretics and the Mystic Falls Gang for their behavior.
Knowing that they were heading toward a war that would surely become violent, Stefan ultimately made a truce with his mother, which involved the following deal-- Stefan and Caroline would cover up the graduation massacre by blaming it on a mine explosion that occurred in the tunnels under the town and evacuate the townsfolk, and in return, any human not in the Mystic Falls Gang who stayed in Mystic Falls were considered fair-game and could be fed on by the Heretics. In addition, Stefan would give Lily and the Heretics the Salvatore Boarding House, forcing Stefan and Damon to move out. Though Caroline and Stefan managed to compel the majority of the town to leave and not come back, there were still many who stayed behind who were subsequently attacked, many of whom were homeless people.
Hating the fact that they were allowing evil to roam their town, Bonnie and Damon, having just returned home from Amsterdam, went against Stefan's orders not to mess up their deal and decided to fight back against the Heretics. Bonnie distracted Malcolm near the Mystic Grill by casting a pain infliction spell on him and allowing him to siphon some of her magic, which gave Damon the opportunity to rip Malcolm's heart out, making him the first true Heretic to die, excluding Kai. Later that night, Nora and Mary Louise found Malcolm's body on the street and brought him home, where they showed him to Beau and Valerie. Nora stated that they shouldn't let Lily find out about this, but Lily overheard him and came in to see what happened. When she saw Malcolm's dead and desiccated body, she began to sob over him while the others watched sadly.
In Never Let Me Go, Lily and the rest of the Heretics (Except for Oscar) are present at Malcolm's funeral.
In Best Served Cold,
In Cold as Ice,
- Julie Plec describes them as sociopaths who have killed thousands of people together.
- The Heretics are the first group of witches who have been shown to 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 semi-endless source of power.
- 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.
- It is possible that the Heretics are the only group of witch-vampire hybrids in existence.
- In the Season Seven promo, Caroline describes them as "supernatural terrorists" due to the blatant murders they had committed.
- Valerie is the first vampire-witch hybrid to be created when she killed herself with Lily's blood still in her system.
- Malcolm and Kai are the only members of The Heretics to have been killed by Damon so far.
- Valerie is the only member of The Heretics to have killed another Heretic.
- Nora and Mary Louise voluntarily took their own lives, not wanting to be without one another.
- Nora is cut by Rayna's sword and would have been forced to endlessly run for her life (without Mary Louise), or be captured and sent into the phoenix stone.
- Mary Louise was slowly dying from the poison that was Rayna's blood.
- Although not Heretics themselves, Julian and Lorenzo St. John are vampires close to Lily, still considered part of her "family".
- According to Stefan, they are faster and stronger than any Mystic Falls vampire and their magic protects them.
- As of What Are You?, Valerie and Kai are the only remaining members of The Heretics.
- The heretics are similar to the tomb vampires in many ways.