This deleted interlude from Charming dealt with why some traditional forms of vampire slaying actually work. I moved some of the info around to other chapters.
A Chapter Called Interlude
THE RITE STUFF
If you’re starting to get a better understanding of the Pax Arcana, here’s one more piece of the puzzle. A big piece. All magic functions on a highly symbolic level.
Let me give you some practical examples of how this works in my world. I mentioned previously that a lot of vampires have a phobia about showers and baths. This is because immersing a vampire completely in running water will destroy it, and vampires won’t cross rivers or oceans without a very big bridge or a very big boat with lots of life rafts. Most people have forgotten this little nugget of vampire lore, but it’s true. And just to be clear, the immersion or submersion into water has to be complete, making contact with the vampire’s body at every point from every side, and the water has to be part of a moving current, but if those conditions are met, the water will wash the vampire’s flesh and bones away as surely as sunlight will wither it.
The reason immersion has this effect is because water, like fire, is an ancient universal symbol. Water represents purity and life while moving water represents change, things to which vampires are the antithesis. Complete immersion in water is like floating in a womb, which is a powerful symbol of life. It is also like the Christian ceremony of baptism, a powerful symbol of re-birth. This matters because, unlike most magic, Necromancy (or death magic) works against nature, and it was necromancy which created the first vampires. Working against nature takes a lot of energy and is hard to maintain, and this is why potent life symbols can cause the unnatural magic binding vampires to this earth to unravel. This is also why vampires have to spend half their existence avoiding the sun, the most powerful life symbol there is.
Have you ever wondered why impaling a vampire with a stake will kill it but stabbing it with a knife will not? The planting of wood in a vampires’ heart is also highly symbolic. A tree is planted in soil so that it can branch into a network of roots, and the roots transport life giving liquid throughout its body. A heart also branches into a network of roots that transport life giving liquid throughout its body although we call these roots veins. Planting wood into a heart is a fusion of two very primal life symbols. Every time someone stakes a vampire, they are performing a crude but powerful magic ceremony.
Of course, the real question is, why does magic work on a symbolic level?