The Master, also known as Sariel, is a main character and an antagonist. the youngest of the seven original vampires called the Ancients. He is responsible for the strain of vampirism that spreads in New York City. He serves as the main antagonist of the series.
By the time of his arrival in New York, he was inhabiting the body of Jusef Sardu, a Polish nobleman from the 19th century afflicted with gigantism, which explains his intimidating physique and height.
Apart from his stature, he retains the traits found in lesser Strigoi. From the six-foot-long apparatus used to transfer the disease as well as to swallow, the lack of a nose, clawed fingers, and completely hairless skin.
The graphic novel version of 'The Night Eternal' depicts the earliest date of the Master manifesting among humans as the 28th century BCE, which would place him around 3500 years old, possibly older. He was first documented as Thrax, a 15-year-old Roman slave, then a short, but strong legionnaire named Tacitus, and a tall, pale iron-worker. These are the Master's hosts mentioned in the trilogy, although, throughout his millennia of walking the earth, he has undoubtedly assumed many more forms, including various indigenous peoples from the Americas in antiquity, whence he gave rise to wendigo lore before crossing over into the Old World to join the other Ancients.
There are several powers that are hinted to be reserved for only the original vampires. One of which, hinted at by Setrakian, is that they have the ability to see through the eyes of all lesser Strigoi. Another is their amazing strength. While many of the infected retain the physique they had in their former lives, the original vampires have the ability to effortlessly snap a neck or smash in a grown man's skull. It's also been shown that they can, for lack of a better term, "blink" through the shadows. Appearing from seemingly nowhere and just as easily disappearing, it's impossible to physically track them. Consistent with the Season 1 finale, "The Master," the Master has demonstrated that he is somewhat resistant to the sun's deadly effects since he was able to survive much longer in the sunlight than a typical Strigoi could.
Setrakian himself stated that he did not know the Master was capable of surviving extended exposure to sunlight, leading to his dreaded acceptance at the end of Book 1 of the trilogy that the Master was not of this earth. Setrakian did not understand the otherworldly nature of the Ancients, and so treated the Master as an earthly creature - even if an aberration - mistaking the host body the Master inhabited for his actual body and essence. It became clear that more powerful and occult methods would be needed to defeat the Master.
Throughout the series, The Master gains followers to assist him, offering promises that only he can fulfill, such as immortality. One of his closest lieutenants, Thomas Eichhorst, is generally the physical manifestation responsible for carrying out many of his orders. It is through him he recruits his other helpers.
In promising Eldritch Palmer, a successful billionaire, immortality, he has gained virtually limitless wealth and resources for his "New Order." Through his contacts and infrastructure, he is able to gain the help of other mortals.
Kelly Goodweather is one of the few strigoi, to be given sentient access to her memories after being turned. She becomes one of his greatest assets, by using her bond with her son Zach to track him and by doing so also finding his father Ephraim, the Master's nemesis Abraham Setrakian and his Group.
After the death of his mother, Zach has been willingly helping the master and attempts to gain information on nuclear bomb's whereabouts from his father as part of a subterfuge mission given to him by The Master.
Ever since the solar eclipse, the Master and his minions have tightened their grip on the City of New York, as it allowed them to move freely during the day, without fear of the sun for a time. This is only Step One in the Master's plan for global domination. There is not one thing in these machinations that does not involve forethought and calculation, as evidenced when the Master had a school of blind children turned into "Feelers" in the hunt for Zack, as all of their senses would be unusually heightened and superior to any normal Strigoi, due to their lack of one sense. The primary, taken steps in the Master's plan go as follows:
1) Catastrophic failure of the Public Internet.
2) Transport of his casket to midtown Manhattan, crossroads of the world.
3) Alliance to Eldritch Palmer.
4) Attempted acquisition of the Occido Lumen.
5) Transfer of his consciousness to the host, Bolivar.
6) Mass Murder of city's high-level financial executives, which led to the run on the banks and the hoarding of precious metals (especially silver, the bane of vampires).
7) Build-out of the massive processing plants for the extraction of human blood.
The only reason that the Master succeeded so far is due to the fact that he is able to prey on human weaknesses, such as vanity and greed. If he can appease those weaknesses in a person, such as Eldritch Palmer (his thirst for immortality and power), he can convince them to do his bidding, even if only for a time.
Abraham Setrakian: Oh God, please help me.
The Master: Where is he? Where is your God? I don't see him. There is no one to help you, wood carver.The Master and Setrakian
Have you come to destroy me? The old professor has a new pupil to fail as he failed. I have taken everything from him, and I will take everything from you. Your wife. Your son. I am a drinker of men.The Master to Ephraim Goodweather
The deranged Renfield is known for declaring Dracula as "Master" in Hollywood renditions of the classic story. (See further trivia parallels with Renfield under the "Eldritch Palmer" page.)