Dark Days in Sion
|Contribution Credit to Era|
Werewolves are both humanoids as well as wolves, afflicted by a curse that infects their being with the energy and personality of an evil wolf. It cohabitates their body, separate yet trapped, always yearning to take control of their host. Over time werewolves take on more and more animal characteristics, although not enough to make them completely inhuman. Werewolves are never free of the the pull of the full moon, and as it gets closer their emotions become stronger and harder to control.
Humanoids with the werewolf Curse of Lycanthropy are not easily identifiable in their regular humanoid form. Some who are hairier than usual are sometimes accused of being werewolves, much to their chagrin, but those with experience hunting werewolves know that there are better indicators than that. Such as eating habits and aggressive behavior, especially close to a full moon.
Werewolves are actually easier to identify in their other forms. The hybrid form is a dead giveaway obviously, but the wolf form is also quite telling, with their eyes sometimes glowing supernaturally red in the dark and their cunning, fearless, bloodthirsty behavior.
Werewolves are legendary, and they alone are the reason men fear the full moon. Not much about them is commonly known, except that anyone could feasibly be cursed and they are somehow vulnerable to silver. The Curse of Lycanthropy is shrouded in mystery. Tales and myths about werewolves go back to the earliest, most primitive days of men in every corner of Sion.
The Curse of Lycanthropy is not limited to men. Other races are also capable of being werewolves, most notably giants, who are by far the most dangerous. Yet despite their strengths, werewolves must live in the shadows, for they are hated as much as they are feared and they would all be hunted down and destroyed if they identified themselves.
Afflicted werewolves, those who were not born cursed, have the hardest time coping with their condition and accepting their fate. There are many stories of those attacked by a werewolf, afflicted by the curse, who either didn’t realize they were cursed or failed to tell anyone out of fear and shame until after it was too late.
Afflicted werewolves are the most wild and unpredictable, capable of killing friends, loved ones and family members without any hesitation. They are the main reason werewolves have such a loathsome reputation. Afflicted often won’t accept what they have become and hide it out of shame, and because they are in denial they fail to learn how to control their impulses which could actually save their life and those of others. Afflicted werewolves usually will not survive for long because they get discovered and put down.
Natural werewolves, those who were born cursed, have the easiest time hiding their nature because they have better control over it and they are more at peace with it.
The oldest and most powerful werewolves are known as Greater Werewolves.
- It is considered taboo to create another werewolf who is physically crippled and incapable of defending themselves or moving about properly.
- It is considered taboo for a werewolf to carry silver, especially silver weapons, for those can be used to an unfair advantage against other werewolves.
Werewolf society is much like their animalistic cousins. For werewolves, there is an Alpha male, and the alpha female, who rule over the pack. They are followed by their second and third, the Beta and the Delta. Sometimes there may also be an Omega, a rival to the alpha, who may be an outsider or a newcomer. Packs range in all sizes from less than a dozen up to a hundred. The Alpha claims territory rights to what he can defend, any that enter the territory are subject to the Alpha’s rule.
Those of higher rank bully those of lesser rank who fail to comply with their orders. Insubordination is a challenge that must be met by them or their leader/protector. Although non-weres have no rank in a pack, those who have impressed a large portion of the pack with a very violent display worthy of a werewolf can be seen as a, ‘respected killer’, with accorded respect equivalent to a Delta.
Pack law is whatever the Alpha says it is. This includes restrictions of where they can go, what they can do, who they can attack and why. The first law is usually that you must keep your werewolf nature a secret, and never to lead non-pack to a pack meeting spot without approval. Pack members who break the alphas laws face harsh punishment, banishment, or death.
Werewolves in trouble should not always expect the pack to come to their aid simply by howling. Werewolves working in their own interests are ultimately responsible for themselves if they get caught. Only sanctioned activities by the pack deserve protection from the pack and/or alpha. Nor should a weak werewolf expect protection from stronger ones, unless they are under the protection of the pack elite.
Protection must be officially given, not just implied/suggested. One can request protection formally from a higher ranked werewolf within the pack by kneeling with your eyes on your toes while offering up one hand, palm up, to the superior werewolf. The superior werewolf will sniff the palm as if considering the proposal, and if he agrees he will lick your palm. If not, he will simply pull away, or worst-case, bite the hand to show his distaste for you.
Climbing up the hierarchy is based on proving your strength and dominance. The lowest rank of werewolf can challenge his way up one rank at a time until reaching that of the pack elite. These challenges need not be kills, but must be accepted by the alpha as sufficient for proving yourself. Challenging the alpha for his position is a fight to the death. The rank given to the Alpha’s mate need not be earned. Those of high rank are greeted warmly and respectfully by all lesser pack members, so that they can stay familiar with each others scent.
|Customs, Kinship and Marriage|
Lycanthropes that happen to be passing through need not meet with the local pack, so long as they don’t hunt or cause problems within their territory. Those of sufficient rank from another pack or in a group larger than three must meet with the Alpha and present an offering in greeting for safe passage. Offerings are usually valuables, or perhaps a captive prisoner for the Alpha to slay at their leisure. Sometimes a little information is all the Alpha asks for. It really depends on the Alpha. Those that fail this tradition can be hunted down, killed or escorted forcibly from the territory.
Customs and greetings within pack have two forms, a public form and a private form. Around non-shifters werewolves have to be careful how they act, and for however long they must do so they will observe typical humanoid customs such as shaking hands or embracing.
Privately, werewolves greet each other much like wolves do, with careful eye contact and non-threatening movements. Werewolves meeting for the first time may circle each other quietly sizing each other up. Those who wish to appear submissive will avoid eye contact and keep their hands in plain sight. Gestures of intimacy and friendship might be sniffing each others hands, or behind the ear when they embrace.
Not all pack members live separate from society, quite often they can live a normal life among non-shifters; as butchers, barkeeps, farmers, etc. Pack members that are too wild to live among non-shifters usually take on duties given by the alpha such as guard duty, the executioner, or the interrogator.
Lunar-Planar: This is a location selected for the pack as a sort of holy ground, a fall-back point, somewhere strangers uninvited are not welcome. The pack typically will gather here during the full moon if they cannot control their change. Other gatherings include pack politics, and challenges between members, executions being among them. It is taboo for any were to bring Silver related items, even if it is a gift.
Although not every pack needs one, some packs may actually declare a second one (which is a fake). The fake usually made use of in the cases where a captured pack member is being forced to bring/reveal the pack to hunters. This fake location can then be used to ambush and remove these threats. The lycan who is under duress is not guaranteed to survive (Survival of the pack takes precedence). After an ambush and if the lycan survives the Alpha would decide his/her fate. It’s rarely a death sentence (for being forced) but likely with their lycan status known they are usually transferred or given other tasks that are away from populated areas.
All pack members must give homage to the alpha, usually in the form of a tithe.