Who are 'TVD’s Heretics?

Though I am still devastated by the fact that Season 7 of The Vampire Diaries will be without one Elena Gilbert, I've been unable to hold back my excitement for the show's premiere all week. I've also been unable to hold back the following question: Who are The Vampire Diaries' Heretics? And what do they want with Mystic Falls? While Elena Gilbert has been resting peacefully during her super long nap (jealous), Mystic Falls goes all post-apocalyptic on us and introduces a bevy of new super villains? What gives?

If you need a quick refresher of where we left off, let me fill you in: Elena Gilbert chose to give up her life in order to save her BFF, Bonnie, which is the ultimate #FriendshipGoal in my opinion. Then, after that wooden stake to our non-vampire hearts moment, we were gifted with some enigmatic flashforward to what Mystic Falls looks like post-Heretic take over, and let me just remind you: it didn't look good, people. In fact, it made the world of I Am Legend look kind of tame. I think it's safe to assume then, that these Heretics are the new 'Big Bads' in town, and that they probably aren't going anywhere, anytime soon.

Now that you're all caught up and refreshed, let's get back to the main question at hand. Here's everything you need to know about the Heretics, and what it all might possibly mean for Season 7 of The Vampire Diaries.

1. The Heretics Are Lily's Prison Family...

The Heretics were originally composed of six witches that were then turned Vampires by Lily Salvatore (yes, Damon and Stefan's mother). Up until recently, they've been in prison since 1903.

2. ...Meaning There's Going To Be Lots Of Family Drama

As Lily navigates the world of being a terrible mother, Damon and Stefan will surely not be amused if she chooses loyalty to the Heretics over them. And vice versa. It's going to sibling rivalry at it's finest, times 10, plus "wampires." Which leads to my next point...

3. They Are "Wampires"

"Wampires," aka Witch/Vampire hybrids, are quite the force to be reckoned with. They have the power of a witch, with the bloodlust of a vampire. (Are you terrified yet?)

4. Two Heretics Make Up The Show's First Gay Couple

Finally! A same sex couple on TVD . Despite all the animosity that lies afoot between the Heretics and the OG cast, I'm pretty stoked to see this kind of representation on the show.

5. They Do Something Horrible In The Season 7 Premiere

Paul Wesley told TVLine in September that the Heretics “do something pretty horrible in the season premiere, and it’s like, ‘Really, guys?'” Thankfully — or maybe not, depending on how you look at it — we don't have to wait much longer until this atrocity is unveiled.

5. They Are Responsible For Mystical Fall's Demise

It's safe to conclude then, that the ending scene in Season 6's finale is all thanks to the Heretics and the aforementioned terrible, unforgivable thing they do.

6. There Will Be War

Per this promo, Caroline brings the Heretics an orchid as peace offering. Except that the orchid isn't really an orchid so much as it is a bomb disguised as an orchid. Basically, it's GDFR.

7. The Double Timelines Will Fill You In

Three years worth of drama between the Heretics and the original cast (sans Dobrev, obviously) will happen in Season 7, and if that sounds ridiculous, that's because, well, it might be. Apparently, there are two timelines — one is present day, and the other is a three year flash forward. They will both run simultaneously against each other throughout the season, and I haven't been this confused since I tried to explain The Time Traveler's Wife to my grandmother.

That's a lot to take in, and there's a lot that's about to go down, but if history's any indication, it will be worth the watch.

Images: Bob Mahoney/The CW (2); The CW Television Network/YouTube; The CW Television Network/YouTube; NDT TvClips/YouTube (2)