Children of the Moon

Overview of the Species

True lycanthropes of the werewolf variety, the most wide spread, come in two different breeds. Those that are born with lycanthropy prevalent in their bloodline, and those that are turned into a werewolf through surviving the attack of one. Though the chances of a normal human surviving an attack from a werewolf are slim, the incident of it occurring is still statistically better then being born with lycanthropy present in the blood.

The latter requiring at least one parent that has lycanthropy as a dominant or recessive gene. If both parents are lycanthropes of the same variety, the odds become significantly better however. Though the physical characteristics between the two breeds do not vary over much, the social advantages often do. Particularly based on the nature and circumstances of their upbringing. See below for more information on the differences between the breeds

Both varieties can adopt a number of forms, commonly referred to as phases, based on the level of control they have achieved over their more savage natures. The degree of control required is typically gained only with time, practice, and patience. Most newly born or created werewolves will not have the requisite control to adopt the full range of potential phases.

Some in fact never learn the additional phases, preferring to concentrate only on mastering the control it takes to assume one given shape flawlessly and rapidly. All werewolves however will be able to assume the human phase, as it is the state they are born with. Even a naturally occurring lycanthrope can not shape shift into an additional phase until the onset of puberty. Rarely does the first change overtake them before that.

Werewolves are in essence the opposite side of the spectrum from vampires. Both are largely eternal creatures. But while a vampire is eternal through undeath, the werewolf is simply immortal. At the onset of adulthood, somewhere between 18-21 or whenever they are bit and first change, a werewolf simply stops aging. With their vast regenerative abilities factored in as well, they are essentially immortal beings. Though they can die from vast injuries, some say that if exposed to the light of the full moon they will rise once again.

This is only whispered in legends however, and though it is very difficult to accomplish, a werewolf can be killed. Though those familiar with the legends typically burn the body, just to be on the safe side. The nature of their ability to change their shapes does allow them to subconsciously alter their human phase over time. Thus why some truly ancient werewolves tend to look older when they appear as a human being.


The Phases Of The Wolf


The Gifts of the Wolf

Werewolves sometimes carry more then just lycanthropy within their genes. Most of humanity has the capacity for the development of psychic gifts. Often these abilities are never even recognized for what they are. However should those gifts belong to one bit by a werewolf, or simply manifest along with lycanthropy in one born as a werewolf they tend to become more dominant. In much the same manner that such latent gifts often are in vampires.

Werewolves of the Blood tend to learn to control their gifts slower then those of the Bite. However, Blood born werewolves are more prone to display such abilities as well. Werewolves with a latent power that are created through a bite use their gifts with a more instinctual ability, learning them faster, but they are sometimes less controllable as a result. The greater the inherent control over their inner rage, the more likely they are able to control their gifts effectively as well.

All werewolves have a natural empathy with most animals. This empathy allows for a rudimentary communication with many species, in particular and predictably, canines. Initially a werewolf may only initiate this communication with other werewolves and canine species. But over time they are able to learn to use it with other species as well. Particularly predatory species, which are more inclined to tolerate their presence.

This communication is strongest with wolves of all sorts, is actually possible to "speak" with them in all phases. No wolf will ever attack a werewolf, unless provoked. However as time passes the werewolf may learn a diminished ability to communicate with other species on an empathic level. Soothing and calming animals and communicating basic concepts, simple instructions, and intentions. Animals are under no obligation to assist a werewolf however, and will act as their nature would dictate.

Lycanthropy only truly takes root in a human host. However, as a superrnatural virus it may infect other life forms in a diminished manner. If introduced to an animal species, they will not show any of the increased aggression or phasing abilities of the werewolf. However they will become slightly more dureable for their species, have an enhanced healing rate, and stop aging. A single drop of blood is enough to alter an animal in this manner. The connection between the werewolf and animal at that point will allow them to communicate freely from then on.

Werewolves all have supernatural senses, many times greater so in their various wolf phases naturally. They can easily track by scent over extreme distances, seldom losing a trail. Hear sounds over great distance, and into especially high decibel ranges much like normal canines. Unlike most canines they also have color receptors in their eyes, able to see in color and over a far greater range, regardless of the time of day or night.

Even in their human phase, they experience sensory information based on sight and hearing on average roughly 5-6X beyond that of an average humans ranges. Their sense of smell is around 10X better then a human being, allowing them to track some scents and determine things about people that a sense of smell might reveal at reasonably close ranges.

No matter the phase they are in werewolves seem to have an uncanny sixth sense for danger. The degree to which it is developed varies, with older werewolves usually having fine tuned it better. Largely thought an extension of an animals ability to detect danger in the form of natural disasters, the werewolf is also able to apply their human intellect to their animal instincts. Danger that threatens them within around two hundred feet can usually be felt, though typically not pin-pointed precisely. A general direction, and a sense of how great a threat it may be at best.


The Rage Of The Wolf

Werewolves are primal creatures, driven as much by instinct as any rationale thought. This is especially true of the Bite breed, but applies equally to many of the Blood as well. The ease with which they are able to shift phases is linked to their emotional state. Particularly emotions that would cause an increase in adrenalin or blood pressure. Pain, stress, frustration, and most of all anger.

The act of physically phasing from one form to another can be a lengthy and painful one without something to act as a catalyst, compelling them to change. In most instances this is an emotional state, as listed above. Bereft of a motivating emotional trigger the process of phasing can take up to a minute or more, based on which form the werewolf is in, and which they are phasing to. The rational mind trying to think through the changes occurring in the phase slows the process significantly in all but the most experienced werewolves. The recovery from the pain of such a delayed and prolonged phase can take up to another minute as well, particularly for those unaccustomed to it.

However with an emotional stimulus the change becomes more violent, practically explosive. The emotions acting as a barrier to the pain, and the rationale mind. Instinct kicks in, and the werewolf is able to phase through forms in a matter of seconds. Often seeming to explode, or shred right out of their own skin. This comes at a price too however, based on the level of control that the werewolf has achieved over their inherently savage nature. A werewolf phasing from such a negative emotion or response, especially anger or pain, will often attack the closest thing to it until it gains control. Lashing out violently, with no regard to who is nearby. More experienced werewolves are able to control this inner beast better, but even the most experienced can slip.

Often it isn't even a matter of when they regain control. But rather IF they regain it. The inherent rage that is a part of the species can overpower those with weak wills or little experience. Giving rise over the centuries to the legends of full moon's sway over the werewolf. As well as the general belief that they are little more then mindless monsters. These rages are much more common in the Bite breed of werewolves, further giving rise to legends and misinformation surrounding the species.

The presence of a full moon is also a governing factor in the life of a werewolf. The myths that prevailed for centuries about the effects of the full moon on behavior began as a result of those that carried lycanthropy as a recessive train in their genes. These 'lunatics' would show diminished faculties on nights of the full moon, often engaging in wild, uncharacteristic, and inappropriate behavior. The effects of the full moon on a true werewolf of either breed are much more pronounced. They are far faster to experience powerful emotional responses, as well as phase under a full moon. Likewise they fly into rages much easier regardless of their breed, making them that much more lethal.

One of the few things able to overcome the emotional reactions in a werewolf is a powerful alpha. Werewolves seldom travel in large packs, as there is rarely an alpha strong enough to dominate a group of them and cow them into submission. However in the rare instances when this occurs, the alpha shows a sizeable command over the transformations and reactions of those in his or her pack. Able to compel changes and teach others in the pack to achieve phases they might not know. An alpha werewolf even has the rudimentary ability to pass along messages to other werewolves via the mind alone. Simple messages though, as it is more the instinctive portion of the mind that governs the connection. Much like wolves howling to communicate in the wild.


Society


Weaknesses

In addition to the attacks of other supernatural beings and wolfsbane some other situations or weapons can temporarily handicap or hamper or harm a werewolf as well:

Fire is dangerous to a werewolf, though they would need to be incinerated to a nearly skeletal level to truly be killed by it. Otherwise they will heal once the flames have diminished and return as they do from other types of damage.

They can drown in their human phase, though not truly die in that manner. Once in a breathable atmosphere again they will wake up within several hours. This is the only instance in which lethal damage in the human phase will not cause a spontaneous phase to a better suited one. This is because, simply put, no phase of the werewolf comes complete with gills. Though in most of their other phases respiration is not truly required. Their supernatural nature keeps them alive without it. However this comes at the cost of their sense of smell, which is second nature for a werewolf to use.

Decapitation can kill a werewolf, though the attempt is typically fatal for the one trying to inflict the damage. Anything that separates the brain from the heart could kill a werewolf, though the body and brain will actually live for several minutes even separated. If in that time they are reintroduced to one another, the werewolf will begin healing as normal. Full healing from such significant damage will not occur for hours though, leaving the werewolf vulnerable to further attack. Bullets through the brain or heart, will not create the same effect though, and the damage will heal with the supernatural speed which all other damage does.

A werewolf can be maimed, literally lose limbs, and still heal from it. If the limb is reintroduced to the body it will begin healing normally, and be fully functional again within minutes to hours depending on the size of the body part so removed. If the body part is not recovered within a few minutes it will mummify and become dead, and a new limb or body part will begin to grow. This process will always take several hours for even just a hand, up to more then a day for a leg. Even limbs lost before becoming a werewolf will heal in this manner, so long as the person so infected was born with them.


The Others

Werewolves are by far the most common of all the lycanthropes on Earth. But small tribes and packs of various other animal lycanthropes occasionally become known as well:

The great cats are known to have several large prides in Africa and Asia. Those that once resided in India are very nearly extinct, though rumors persist of them slowly rebuilding. Werepanthers, Lions, Tigers, and Cheetahs are known to exist.

South America and the jungles of Central America hide a large population of werebats. The secretive creatures keep largely to themselves, hunting and feeding much like their more mundane brethren in the jungles.

Rumors persist of bears in the far north that stand far taller then even the great polar bears, and are far to strong to be normal animals.

Even stranger legends come from some places in the world. Like the man-sharks of Hawaii, and the giant spiders in the deep south of Australia. The true natures and numbers of lycanthropes in the world remain largely unknown as they stay close to the shadows awaiting the end of the vampire / werewolf wars.


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