A new season of "The Vampire Diaries" returns on Thursday with the episode "Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take", and it will introduce viewers to the new villains in town, the Heretics.

Kai, along with Lily Salvatore -- Damon and Stefan's mom -- brought the Heretics back to Mystic Falls in the season 6 finale. And it looks like the new residents aren't getting along with Damon and his friends.

The season 6 finale already gave fans a glimpse into the destruction the Heretics have caused in Mystic Falls, and the premiere episode will see Stefan, Caroline and Matt trying to reclaim their hometown from the Heretics.

Here's where we'll see the characters when season 7 returns on Thursday.

Stefan-Caroline: The last we saw Stefan and Caroline, he had promised to wait for her till she decided on what to do with their relationship. And as he waits for Caroline to deal with her emotions, the youngest Salvatore brother will take an active interest in protecting Mystic Falls from his mother and her friends.

It won't be an easy task, as the Heretics have been away from civilisation for over a century, and do not know the rules that govern supernatural creatures in the modern world.

Therefore, it is safe to assume that a lot of innocent human lives will be lost as the Heretics try to make a place for themselves in Mystic Falls. And one vampire whose life is going to be put in danger is Caroline.

According to the synopsis of the third episode of season 7, certain events in the first couple of episodes will lead to the Heretics taking Caroline as a hostage, and Stefan isn't going to be pleased.

Matt: Like Stefan and Caroline, Matt isn't pleased that the Heretics have taken over Mystic Falls. He has completed his deputy training program, and he "teams up with Stefan and Caroline to put a stop to the Heretics," teases the synopsis of the premiere episode.

Enzo: Damon's best friend isn't sure where his loyalties lie. It was Lily who turned him into a vampire, and he feels a certain connection with her. But the time he has spent with Damon and gang in Mystic Falls have made him loyal to them as well.

In the premiere episode, we'll see Enzo struggling "to find his place in Lily's new life, and is quickly forced to decide where his true loyalties lie."

Damon-Bonnie-Alaric: The season opener will see the trio away from Mystic Falls downing their sorrow in a lot of booze. Damon is sad that Elena is in a long slumber, from which she will awake only after Bonnie dies, and the Bennett witch is unhappy that she's the cause of Damon's problems.
Alaric, in the meantime, is dealing with the loss of his family -- Jo and his unborn twins.

"The Vampire Diaries" season 7 episode 1 will be aired on Thursday at 8 pm. Viewers can watch the season premiere online via the CW app. The vampire drama stars Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley in lead roles.