|“||Immortality, beauty and youth, for the three of us... if only we served our new Lord and master. We feast on the flesh to keep us beautiful, and he collects the souls of the wicked. In hell.||”|
— Sybil about the creation of Sirens.
Sirens (also known as Mermaid Monsters and Messengers of the Devil) were a supernatural species of quasi-cannibal psychics, bestowed immortality that depended on the feasting of human flesh to remain young and beautiful. They were the original servants of Hades, tasked with harvesting the souls of the wicked. They were one of the oldest supernatural races and there were only three known in existence.
The exact origins of sirens are currently unknown, except that they were created by Hades by striking a deal with him, even though the exact details on how it was done remains elusive. Seline mentions that in order to serve Hades one has to meet certain criteria: his missionaries must be supernatural and must serve him of their own free will.
They predate the vampire species by approximately two millennia, making them one of the oldest supernatural species in existence.
Several decades prior to 750 B.C., in a little Mediterranean village that worshipped the Olympian god Achelous, there lived a man named Arcadius, the son of the village's chief. He was gifted with the ability to see into the minds of others as the world's very first psychic. He used his powers to charm and bed many women, becoming a well know heartbreaker amidst his community. Arcadius eventually became romantically involved with two beautiful, young married women, until another nearby tribe invaded their lands. To avert war, Arcadius was married to the daughter of the opposing village’s chief, leaving his newly pregnant lovers alone. If it had become known that the Arcadius had slept with these women and impregnated them, all three would have been cast out, so Arcadius‘ lovers concealed their pregnancies from him, claiming their respective husbands to be their children’s fathers. Within the year, Arcadius and his new wife had a daughter named Sofia, while Arcadius’ lovers both had daughters from him as well, named Seline and Sybil respectively.
As the three girls came of age, they began to manifest psychic abilities, a trait that had been perceived as an affront to the Olympian gods. Seline was the first to be banished from the village and thrown into the sea, where she washed ashore a nearby deserted island. Sybil was soon cast out as well and met Seline on this island, and they both discovered that they shared the same psychic abilities. Seline, the more resourceful of the two girls and more experienced in her powers, taught Sybil to use her voice in conjunction with her psychic abilities to lure ships to the island in hopes of finding safe passage off the island. However, the ships always crashed into the rocky coast of the island and it's passengers were killed, albeit their provisions washed ashore. Seline comforted the guilt-ridden Sybil with the fact that the passengers aboard those ships were the same men from their village who banished them to the island to die. Sybil, horrified at Seline's willingness to let others suffer as such, made Seline promise to not lure anymore ship, but Seline secretly continued to lure ships to the island for their provisions. Unfortunately, without Sybil's aid, Seline could not safely guide ships towards the island, and most of the ship's provisions were lost at sea. Seline instead butchered the bodies of those sailors who survived the shipwrecks and washed ashore, passing of their mutilated flesh as animal meat she hunted, causing the two to become cannibals: one willingly, and one unknowingly in order to avoid starvation.
Afterwards, Sofia was banished from the village as well after her parent's respective tribes turned on each other and overthrew her family. Discovering her own latent mental powers, Sofia quickky bonded with Seline and Sybil; Seline went on to secretly feed human flesh to Sofia as well. None of them knew at the time that they all shared Arcadius as their biological father and was the reason for their shared psychic powers, however the three considered themselves "sisters by choice." Eventually, Sofia discovered that Seline had been feeding them human flesh and, while at first disgusted, was convinced by Seline to help lure and kill sailors to stay alive.
Years later, Sybil found the truth and confronted her half-sisters about the vile deeds of which they had committed all along while tricking Sybil into participating. Sybil, desperate to cleanse her soul of the horrors she had unknowingly caused, jumped off and nearby cliff in hopes of killing herself. Seline and Sofia found her dying in the rocks and were so distraught by the impending death of their sister (and the role they both played in her suicide) that they, along with a repentant Sybil, plead with the Olympian gods to save her.
However, instead of any of the patron Olympian gods appearing before them, it was Hades, who offered Seline, Sofia and Sybil immortality and eternal youth in exchange for their servitude. Seline wholeheartedly agreed on behalf of them all, and Satan, who knew Sybil had died, read her soul and considered Sybil's desire to survive as consent to be transformed. From then on, Seline, Sybil and Sofia became the first (and, as far as it is known, only) sirens, Lucifer’s servants, who he had granted continued access to their psychic abilities (which were further enhanced by their voices) in addition to eternal life, youth, and accelerated healing. Unfortunately, this gift came at a price: the siren sisters would now be forced to feast on the flesh of evil doers in order to maintain their youth and life. The sirens eventually became known in human folklore with the story varying on information.
At some point in the 11th century, Sofia crossed paths with a true monster and it consumed her. She was sent to a place of total isolation and utter damnation; Purgatory, meaning she could not service Hades and all memory of her was wiped from the minds of all those in the Earth Dimension who knew her, including her sisters. There, she wandered, lost and alone, until she was given a chance to win her freedom in the 21st century.
The Capture of the Sirens
In the late sixteenth century, Seline and Sybil were traveling the American region looking for souls to feed to Lucifer, and a local coven in an area that would come to be known as Mystic Falls took exception. On June 21st, 1790, the sirens were all lured through the underground tunnel system of (the not yet founded) Mystic Falls, by Beatrice Bennett and Ethan Maxwell into the Amory's Vault after their successful plan to destroy the local coven. There, Beatrice entrapped them with a spell.
The Release of Seline
Nearly a hundred years later, Dalton St. John released Seline and Sofia from the Armory's Vault, presumably by accident, when the vault was re-opened by him and his team in 1883. Sybil, vengeful over her imprisonment, chose to enthrall Dalton and forced him to kill his colleagues. However, before Sybil could rendezvous with her sister, a member of the Armory, who are was also a Bennett witch, used magic to re-seal Sybil and Dalton back inside the Vault. Sybil killed Dalton and waited for her sister to rescue her, but when Seline never showed up to save her, Sybil became embittered.
On December 21th, 1917 Seline witnessed a vampire named Stefan Salvatore massacre an entire work camp. Lucifer, aware of the evil deeds this vampire committed, instructed Seline to kill Stefan because of this transgression. However, after overpowering him and looking into his mind, she saw a decent person who became a monster to survive. To spare him the guilt of what he'd done, Seline erased Stefan's memories of that moment and left.
The Release of Sybil
Bonnie Bennett broke her cousin's spell that sealed the Armory's Vault when forced by Alexandria St. John. Quickly thereafter, all Armory members were killed by Sybil, though Bonnie re-sealed the Armory to prevent the evil presence from being released. Though in order for Damon to get to the last member of the Eight Everlastings and save Bonnie, the siphoner twins, Lizzie and Josie, removed Bonnie's spell. Sybil therein used Elena's voice to lure Damon further into the vault and eventually subdues him with her mind control. Enzo entered the vault soon after and Sybil psychically attacked Enzo, enthralling him and forced him to serve her alongside Damon. Sybil and the two vampires managed to find a way out of the Vault, and she forced her new vampiric slaves to her bring her victims to feast upon. About three months later, Sybil finally consumed enough people to have recovered enough of her strength and is rejuvenated, regaining her beauty.
The End of the Sirens
Sybil had become frustrated at both Damon and Enzo for their resistance to her and sought to remove whatever they were holding onto. In Damon's case, she replaced his memory of Elena Gilbert and Bonnie with her. With Enzo, she sought to kill Bonnie and succeeded in killing Sarah Nelson.
Sybil later managed to gain Damon's full loyalty and attempted to "kill" Enzo for escaping her. Sybil later schemes with Damon, who has taken charge to make an alternate deal with Lucifer after being reunited with Seline, and listening to their plan, which involved offering Alaric's twins to Hades. Sybil and Damon's plan was to instead offer himself and his brother as replacements. Sybil later tells Seline that in revenge for what the latter did, Sybil made a side deal to keep her powers and to cut Seline from it altogether, but ominously tells her that her plan is not done yet.
Following Seline being abdicated from Hades' service, both Sybil and Seline begun looking for the pieces of the Mystic Falls Founders Bell. While Sybil apparently wished to collect the pieces in an effort to ascertain the only weapon capable of killing her, Seline wanted the bell in the hopes of using it to kill Sybil. With aid from Dorian Williams and Matt Donovan, Seline managed to assemble the bell and, with Stefan's assistance, nearly succeeded in releasing hellfire, thereby killing Sybil and all those in Mystic Falls. Ultimately failing in her plan, Seline and Sybil meet, in hopes of reconciliation. After failing to make amends, Hades reveals himself and informs them that while the bell did not release hellfire, it was rung enough for him to pay a visit to Earth. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Hades destroys Seline and Sybil with hellfire.
Powers and Abilities
- Immortality: Sirens cannot die due to the deal they made with Hades, and can preserve their immortality so long as they continue to feast on the flesh of the "wicked". When cannibalizing someone's corpse, a siren gained their victim's memories and experiences. Even if they die, their spirits are sent to Hades' Hell Dimension, and Hades can send their spirits back into their bodies, effectively reviving them under various circumstances.
- Accelerated Healing: When they have fed, sirens can withstand most forms of conventional injury (e.g. knife wounds) without pain and are able to rapidly regenerate from damage sustained on their bodies. Sybil was shown to heal near instantaneously from a snapped neck, however, she was unable to rapidly heal wounds sustained from being forced through a windshield and had to wait for a passing car, signifying that a siren's healing is dependent on feeding.
- Enhanced Strength: As per their arrangement, Lucifer channeled a portion of Hell's infernal energies into his disciples so as to augment their physical attributes. This consequently enhanced the strength of the sirens to superhuman levels. Under optimal conditions, sirens have superhuman strength, enabling them to lift (press) about 1500 pounds under optimal conditions.
- Enhanced Reflexes: Sirens, seemingly from their inherent psychic heritage, have exhibited superhuman reflexes that allow them to act with vastly heightened speed and agility. Sybil, even at a dessicated state, was fast enough to evade her Armory captors and, after she lured him into the Vault, she moved faster than Damon's eyes could follow. She further showcased her enhanced speed when she dragged Enzo into the darkness. According to Damon, Sybil's reflexes are said to be "faster than a cat on an adrenaline burst."
- Empathic Telepathy: Sirens can telepathically enter into the minds of others to read their thoughts, access their memories, and sense their emotions. This was initially done using their voice as a focus for their mental powers, but has since been refined into singing. While sirens appear to have considerable psychic reach, as Damon was contacted by Sybil from within the Armory while he was driving at an unknown distance away, tactical contact allows them to search the deepest recesses of a person's mind. The siren sisters often use a telepathic link with one another, which makes communication between them easier and practically untraceable. They also have some natural psychic affinity for communicating with birds.
- Mind Control: Sirens can take over the minds of their victims, even to the point of shutting them down. The victims are conscious of this interaction as it creates a psychic rapport between siren and servant. This allows a siren to maintain a constant presence from within such that servants straying too far from them will be struck with psychic pain and suffer hemorrhages until they return to them. By using their "siren song," mind control can be used en masse and has even be used via cellphone service to access and reestablish their psychic connection. However, certain strong-willed or mentally anomalous individuals can resist a siren's influence. They can also use their mind control to directly affect the brain's pleasure centers, making people pleasantly dazed and suggestible. Sirens can also emotionally soothe others by humming.
- Memory Manipulation: Sirens possess the ability to manipulate and change the memories of the victims under their control. Sybil has shown the ability to manipulate Damon Salvatore's memory and alter one key recollection; of his first meeting with Elena, where she inserted herself and erased Elena. Subsequently, she had to alter individual, "key" memories to continue to change their personality. Seline has also been showing erasing Stefan Salvatore's memory, altering his subconscious enough that he forgot the time when he massacred an entire village in Monterey on Christmas Eve.
- Psychic Pain Infliction: Sirens are able to induce extreme amount of pain through their telepathic abilities. Sybil was able use this technique on Enzo, which was strong enough to manifest physical symptoms, such as coughing up blood and nose bleeds, while being separated great distances and maintaining normal appearances.
- Psychic Illusions: Derived from their mind control, sirens can project false imagery into people's minds, forcing their victims to perceive what they want. However, this skill requires effort and Seline's illusion was broken after Lizzie siphoned from Sybil, breaking her concentration.
- Psychic Senses: Sirens can feel and detect the mind of others, as when Seline detected Bonnie and Enzo's presence. Sirens can also psychically "see," as seen when Sybil, despite her eyeballs rotting away over centuries locked in the Vault, was still intimately aware of her surroundings.
- Eidetic Memory: As a byproduct of their psychic abilities, sirens can recall images from memory after only seeing it once, with high precision for a brief time after exposure, without using a mnemonic device. Sybil referred to her mind as a "vault" in which she stored all information permanently.
- Voice Manipulation: Sirens have a hybrid of a larynx and syrinx at the base of the trachea. Due to their uniquely developed voice box, a siren's voice is capable of producing sonic frequency beyond the range of human capability as well as creating multiple sounds or voices at once. They are able to manipulate their voice to lure their victims as fabled. Sybil has shown to use her voice to captivate others through singing and mimic the voices of others (e.g. Yvette St. John and Elena Gilbert). Their control is so fine that they are able to generate sound waves to match the resonant frequency of glass in order to break it. Sybil demonstrated this when she used it to break the glass and free herself from the Armory.
- Claws: Sirens possess sharp claws that are strong enough to rend through substances as durable as bone. Their claws have only manifested when severely deprived of food or when their power had been siphoned, and it is unknown if they can manifest them willingly.
- Aquatic Respiration: Sirens appear to have some form of underwater adaptation. Sybil spent many months submerged, suggesting that she is able to breathe underwater.
- Hades: As the creator of the sirens and the one who gave them their immortality, he has the power to take away their immortality and kill them with his own hellfire. Their speed of recovery from an otherwise fatal attack is also dependent on him, as Sybil's revival was delayed once as Hades held a conversation with her, prior to her soul being sent back to her body. He could also manipulate how much power he granted his servants, thereby fluctuating their level of superhuman strength.
- Hunger: Sirens have to periodically feast on the flesh and feed on the "darkness" of others in order to maintain their immortality and strength. Abstaining from such for prolonged periods causes them to deteriorate to some degree, as seen with Sybil's hands after being released from the vault. Sybil also claimed that her eyeballs had rotted away over time whereas Damon mentioned that Sybil's face rotted off. Apparently, the more "wicked" their victim was in life, the more sustenance a Siren gains from eating their flesh.
- Magic: Sirens appear to be susceptible to the powers of witchcraft seeing as the Bennett witches were able to imprison them with various spells. This is inclusive of mystical objects such as the Gilbert Device, Papa Tunde's Blade, and Dark Objects. It has been confirmed that a Siphoner can siphon the magic from Sirens.
- Mystic Falls Founders Bell: An indestructible bell that amplifies the effects of the Staff of Hades, an ancient Mesopotamian tuning fork, when combined with the Maxwell Striker. When struck, it produces an unknown frequency that disrupts and neutralizes psychic activity, thereby stunning Sirens in the process. Other than Arcadius, this bell is the only known weapon capable of killing sirens. This, however, is dependent on the release of hellfire when rung 12 times by someone from the Maxwell bloodline.
- Seline: She was the de facto leader of the sirens and the eldest of her "sisters." Originally exiled onto an island for being a psychic, she resorted to cannibalizing nearby sailors until she made a deal with Hades in order to keep her, and Sybil and Sofia alive, which turned them into sirens.
- Sybil: One of the only three known sirens. She was originally an exiled psychic whose siren powers were forced upon her by her older "sister", Seline. Ever since then she became very cold and uses her power to lure people and feed on their flesh. She is the middle siren sister, and has been described as the truly devilish one.
- Sofia: She was the only legitimate child of Arcadius, who secretly father her, and Seline and Sybil. Exiled to the same island as Seline and Sybil after her village turned against her family, she helped Seline in deceiving Sybil into partaking in cannibalism after discovering Seline had been feeding them all human flesh yo avoid starvation.