Just as Vampires were believed to be the work of fiction and then proven by CLEA’s Occult Branch, the legends of Werewolves were also investigated and found to also have truth. Though largely secretive, the appearance of human/animal hybrids have allowed them to surface more, pretending to be hybrids.
“True” Werewolves all have the following traits:-
- Increased strength
- Increased senses.
- Any human, bitten and not killed will turn them into a Werewolf
- Transformation is a magical process.
- Negative emotions can trigger a more feral “rage” transformation.
- Weakened in proximity to silver ( a trait they share with Vampires).
Human/wolf animal hybrids are different from True Werewolves by the following means
- Retain hair in their human form
- Typically have less feral animal forms.
- Unaffected by Silver
Werewolves have one distinct advantage over their Vampire counterparts in that their curse can be broken
Unlike Vampires which were the creation of the Demon Y’Creft and are bound by a contract, Werewolves are the product of Dark Magic. Slightly younger than the Vampire race, the origin can be traced to the beginning of the 18th Century France, the village of Bourgues and a woman called Mariette Charpentier.
Mariette had lived in the village all her life. She had a natural flair with Magic and chosen to practice as a White Witch. Aware of how witches were persecuted whether good or evil, she found ways of using it to help others without revealing her secret. Then the village was hit by a terrible plague and the only way to cure everyone was by using magic in public. Whilst many were grateful for saving them, Mariette did not know her husband was having an affair and his lover, Jeanne, decided to use Mariette’s “cure” as a means to dispose of her rival. Since the village did not have its own magistrate, Jeanne had to travel to the neighbouring town. As the only claimant, the judge refused to act so she bribed him.
The authorities were alerted and when they arrived, the other villagers were forced into backing up the claims of Mariette being a witch and performing dark rituals and being in league with the Devil. Most people acted out of fear, believing that if they did agree with the charges then they might be accused of being her cohorts and meet a similar fate
Sentenced to death, on the night before her execution, Mariette turned to Dark Magic as a means to punish those that had abandoned her. Likening the villagers to nothing more than a pack of wolves, she cursed them to become human-wolves. At the heart of her incantation was specific references to how she had been maligned and relevant punishment:-
- Remembrance – You killed me on the night of a full moon, so will spend the same night as the creature you are on the inside.
- Blood – I was innocent but you spilt my blood, so you will have blood on your hands by having to consume blood to restore your humanity
- Family – I saved your family from the plague yet you took me away from mine. Your family will remember what you did by carrying the curse
- Guilt – You had no guilt for when you condemned me, but you will learn to fee guilt, for every time you bite another human as the creature you will make them like you and have to live with the consequences.
- Love – You will not know companionship without guilt so if you copulate with another they will receive the curse.
- Fear and Anger – You condemned me out of either fear or anger, so when you feel those emotions you shall become the creature.
- Silver – All it took was coins of silver to end my life so then it shall be silver that will forfeit your life.
She was burned at the stake the next day which activated the spell. Dark Magic at the expense of an innocent life made the spell practically unbreakable. That night it was a full moon, the people of the village starting transforming into humanoid wolf creatures. The people that were not affected were the ones that had tried to defend Mariette. The creatures rampaged through the night killing animals and people alike.
Ironically, considering that the villagers had killed a witch to become cursed, the afflicted families actually consulted with witches as means to lift the curse. Most of those approached refused to help. Some felt it was a trick to see them get killed and so pretended to know nothing of witchcraft. Others felt that the village had received its deserved fate and refused to help. The ones that remained, who took pity on the villagers, tried their best. However an incantation set in motion through death made for extremely powerful magic that was hard to undo.
The only solution was to modify the curse by bridging the psyche of the human and creature, so that when transformed they would retain some of the higher reasoning functions. This gave the afflicted some control of the creature which with the right techniques actually allowed them to transform at will and not limited to the full moon or negative emotions trigger.
However in merging the creature and humans psyches, it meant in their human guises the afflicted “gained” some of the creature instincts and senses, such as increased senses and more prone to aggression. In some it manifested itself in uncontrollable desires to hunt and kill.
Being quick to anger meant the afflicted were at greater risk to the negative emotion triggers. In such events need to lash out and attack or even kill would be so powerful that until the rage subsided they would be stuck as the creature even if dawn arrived or they consumed blood. However once calmed down enough the individual would be free to transform back. Apart from rage transformations the only period an individual would expect to spend any length of time as the creature was on the nights of the full moon.
Though the merging of the human and creature psyches was a compromise, the villagers accepted this and over time started to learn how to cope with the curse. They developed mental disciplines and some even learned to use the transformations to their advantage. Successive generations of those afflicted would discover that the curse only became active following the first full moon after the child’s sixteenth birthday. Young adults tended to lack mental discipline which often forced them to lock up their children until he or she learned gained some control over creature.
By isolating themselves the people of Bourgues thought they had everything under control but eventually the curse escaped its confinement when a traveller was bitten by a werewolf on night following a “rage” transformation. Not knowing exactly what happened, and not having the benefit of knowing how to control the creature, when he transformed for the first time during a full moon, he attacked others.
From then on the curse spread like a disease and the authorities became alerted. They killed those afflicted and in tracing the problem back to the source came upon the village and decided to wipe it out. A few people though escaped the purge.
In order to prevent the authorities from finding them they decided to remain in small groups and scatter, thus forming the first “Packs”. The small groups allowed for mutual protection and support without drawing too much attention. At first the leader of each pack was normally someone with a high social status, but as humans became good at hunting them, the emphasis for leadership changed from social status, to whoever was the best able to protect them, namely the strongest and most powerful.
Werewolf Social Structure
Vampires for a long time considered humans as prey and originally feared nothing. This allowed them to form a large society in secret which over time gives them access to a great deal of resources. Werewolves, conversely, despite predatory instincts and power have tended to avoid humans. Though in a one to one confrontation they would almost certainly win, history had taught werewolves than men would return in greater numbers.
Originally as a means to survive they formed small groups and living in a “Pack” has become a more or less permanent way of life for the majority of Werewolves. Having learned to large extent to control most of their primal urges, few Werewolves are accidentally created by being bitten. Accidents are move likely to happen through uncontrolled sex with an outsider. The only other way for werewolves to be “created” is those with ancestors from Bougues but few of the blood lines remain.
As with their equivalents in the animal world, the wolf, the leader of a werewolf pack has to be able to defend the other members of the group, which means he or she must be the strongest and best to fulfil such a duty.
Leaders are decided through fighting in their animal form, with the victor claiming the title. At any time another pack member can issue a challenge if he or she believes they are more capable of fulfilling the role. Such a challenge though is not without risk for the loser can sometimes be ejected from the Pack and forced live as a loner.
All other members of a Pack then normally form a hierarchy based on loyalty to the leader rather than strength and power. Since Packs are quite small it is usually the members that do not get along with the leader that are the lowest ranking.
One important aspect of a Pack is to protect and teach its younger members. Since they have the least control over their animal side they have to have their freedom restricted or else risk being allowed to rampage and draw attention to the pack.
Each werewolf pack maintains a territory which they defend from rival groups. However since most packs CLEA have identified are 100s if not 1000 miles apart this is not usually a problem. The act of setting up a territory is probably more down to instinctive behaviour than an necessity.
At the heart of the territory the Pack establishes a Lair where all its members live. In human terms a Werewolf lair is a commune and not a place where many outsiders are welcomed. Had it not been for this CLEA would never have learned about Werewolves because some Pack Leaders got noticed through excessive use of violence in guarding the lair from threats.
Young members of the Pack are normally contained at the Lair until they can gain control over their animal side, because if allowed to hunt they would not know when to stop killing. Such powerful urges are normally brought under control after their first few full moon transformations.
Unlike Vampires who cannot consume “normal” human food, Werewolves are not affected by that limitation. In their creature form they are perfectly capable of consuming raw flesh but usually exhibit enough control not to hunt. Killing animals and ripping them apart would draw attention to a Lair and so not encouraged. There are those individuals who embrace their dark nature and seek the thrill in taking and killing live food, albeit it is often small animals that are targetted. It is not unknown for humans to be killed by werewolves but that is quite rare and normally happens when an individual suffers a rage transformation.
To protect the Pack from individuals that hunt for sport, one precaution most Pack leaders take is to ensure their Lair is located in a region where animal attacks are known, that way it allows the authorities to inadvertently jump to the wrong conclusion if they stray upon a carcass torn apart.
About the one main problem Werewolves have is that following the full moon transformation the curse keeps them in their creature form until dawn following day. This could be problematic to some individuals in a Pack who are unable to resist the feral desires, increased through being an the creature form.
Most Lairs therefore have a stock of fresh blood so that it can be consumed by those who could be considered a risk to other members of the Pack or the security of the group. Drinking the blood would thuse reverse the transformation.
In emergency situations the stored blood can be used to break a rage transformation but capturing an individual in such a condition and taking them back to the Lair is extremely difficult.
Using Magic to Control the Curse
Whereas Vampires are bound to their curse, since it was a Witch’s magic that created the first Werewolves, the curse can be broken or suspended through the usage of Light Magic. Over the centuries special magic artefacts have been created which when worn around the neck can be used to control the transformation. For instance the “Dawn Collar” recreates the effect of dawn on the wearers body, thus preventing a Werewolf from transforming into the creature altogether whether by will power or an involuntary act.
Just as Magic can be used for good and evil purposes, there is an artefact which is the polar opposite to the Dawn Collar. Known as the Moon Collar it recreates the effects of a full moon. Once placed on a Werewolf they will assume their creature form and be trapped in it. Powered by dark magic, the Moon Collar allow whomever places the collar to control the wearer. As such it is used by people who wish to use a werewolf for evil intent.
Witches and other magic users can sometimes create spells that can do the equivalents of the collars, although unlike a worn artefact, for each transformation a Witch would need to repeat the process. Such is the power of the curse, nobody has ever managed to remove it altogether.