“The Ancients are connected to the human world at its uppermost levels. They assume the initiate’s wealth, which helps them insulate themselves and assert their influence across the globe.” - Abraham Setrakian, The Fall
The Ancients are seven original vampires, three of the New World and four of the Old World, that were created (similar to dwarfs in Norse mythology and to Cosmic Man accounts) at sites, scattered throughout the world, where remains of their progenitor, the fallen archangel Ozryel, were strewn.
It is evident that the Ancients are comprised of (to paraphrase Eichhorst) "the white and the worms" infesting their victims, which are not mere pathogens. This invasive characteristic extends their presence and influence outwards from a central host to an indefinite number of victims. On the televised series, hosts of the Ancients are distinguished by possessing a crimson worm signifying their status and essence, as discussed in the Season 3 episode entitled, "Gone But Not Forgotten". As such, they are more like a sentient substance than the body they may be mistaken for when possessing a host. Their vassals are their vessels. (In the Season 2 premiere, "BK, NY", the Master explicitly distinguishes between himself and his host when he instructs his acolyte Eichorst to prepare for the Master's succession because the current body was dying.) This distributed form of existence makes it difficult to contain and eradicate a rogue Ancient. Moreover, their source of vulnerability resides with their sites of origin and thus further decentralized from their presence, lying outside any of the bodies they corrupt.
The Master, the 7th and youngest strigoi, went rogue. The Americas, the New World, is the site where the Master originated (as opposed to the Old World, the Afro-Eurasian super- continent). The Master eventually made his way from the Americas to the Old World to rejoin the rest of the Ancients and when the other three crossed over during the colonization of the New World, he did not accompany on the voyage. Instead,waiting centuries until his takeover plan was ripe. The 7th going rogue is certainly the reason for this "vampire war".While the 7th gives eternal life seemingly indiscriminately when he needs nourishment, the six other Ancients, who wish to remain hidden, will kill immediately after feeding, in order to prevent any spread of their virus. The other Ancients view eternal life as a great gift and only selectively give it. One must have power, access, and be obedient in order for The Ancients, operating as the equivalent of the Illuminati in their world, to consider someone as a candidate for immortality.
The bond between the Ancients can be blocked but can never be broken. Their mind(s) were meant to be one for all eternity until the 7th went rogue. Sharing identity with their progenitor, they even share the same name "Sariel", hence it is stated that The Master has no true name of his own. The final acts of Ephraim Goodweather enabled them to reunite as one entity and be reclaimed by Heaven at the end of the 'The Strain' saga.
- The crimson worm of the Ancients, mentioned on the televised series, makes allusion to the corrupting worm in a crimson bed in William Blake's poem, "The Sick Rose" (also referenced in the Benjamin Britten serenade and in the song "Love's Secret Domain" by the band Coil.)