The Flame of Time
Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.
Varúlfr or Úlfhéðnar is a man with the professed ability or power of a human being to undergo Therianthropy; transformation into a werewolf, or to gain wolf-like characteristics. Berserks were warriors who were reported in the old literature to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the word berserk. Berserkers are attested in numerous old Manland sources. Most historians believe that berserkers worked themselves into a rage before battle, but some think that they might have consumed drugged foods. Some believe them to be men related to the Varúlfr but took the form of bears as opposed to wolves.
There are two main types of werewolves. The Pure Ones who claim to have been visited by a wolf in their dreams granting them the gift, the wolf being an emissary of Al’handra or sometimes purportedly Al’handra herself. The Pure Ones possess superior abilities, they maintain control in their bestial form and can change at will and perhaps most impressively the Ice Breath. The other breed of werewolf, called The Unclean by the Pure Ones are basically men who turn into wolves the night before, during, and the night after a full moon. These men have no control over the gift and are often ravenous and destructive during their transformation, giving rise to the stigma and lore that surrounds werewolves.
Though there are many characteristics that offer dimorphism between the two; it is widely accepted that both absorb a certain energy from the moon, much like a plant feeds upon sunlight. The light is metabolized into energy; a werewolf needs food, drink and moonlight equally. Lack of any of the three results in the same effect, for this reason many werewolves are nomadic. Many lycans travel; seemingly following a certain proclivity to relocate, described as a craving or a hunger. This feeling is in fact an actual need to follow the moon and its cycle as it becomes more or less visible or harvestable during the year. The more north a werewolf goes, the more moonlight he will find and the times she is in the sky is greatly increased. Many werewolves have relocated to northern cities and islands, Rienland being a main focus.
The Hounds are an elite group above all werewolves. They are said to be blessed of Al’handra and are chosen for a specific purpose. There have been only four known and identified Hounds; the first and third are lost to the annals of history, but the second is said to be the famous Barbarian-KingVinter Skyrunner and the most recent, being Leomourn Stalkingwolf, descendant of Vinter, being the fourth and final(to this date) Hound.
The Kingdom of Giliforde was once known for their Wolf-Kings, a line of men who could turn into wolfmen. The line of Skyrunner who became Stalkingwolf, until Vilkas Stalkingwolf the son of Vinter Skyrunner. Vilkas was king of Giliforde until he was killed by his own guards. Vilkas was a varúlfr and some say weak of spirit for he repeatedly would awake in the blood of his people. It started when Vilkas woke in the mornings tired and sick, as if he had not slept a wink. Some days he would drink too much and awake exhausted and not ready for the day’s chores as king. He consulted witches and medicine men and they convinced him that either he was being ridden by a hag during the witching hour or he was possessed by a second soul and it was going out in the night and causing the tiredness of the King. Evidence of the King’s nocturnal escapades were solidified by nameless women of ill repute who had claimed to be visited by the King and ravished by him, not in an unwanted way. Vilkas was repeatedly found in the blood of his people after a night’s run about town, and the king’s council tried to cover up his folly, but soon the whole of the Kingdom was chanting for his death. Vilkas was beheaded with a silver ax and his son assumed the throne. His son was thought to be lame and unable to assume the bestial form, thus ridding Giliforde of the wolf-curse, until…
Since the reign of Vilkas, the wolf-gift has been a stigma and thought to be a curse. Every king since has either not been able to take the moon-form or has hidden the gift. The wolf-curse had been thought to have been bred out of the line of kings though they took great pride in the lineage and name of Stalkingwolf. Until Haradon Stalkingwolf was to assume the throne. When Hod; father of Haradon the eldest and Tyric the fair, died a valiant death it was upon Haradon’s shoulders the weight of the Kingdom fell. Haradon was going to assume the throne when one month from his coronation, his wife Lunaria ran from him into the night. He followed her and found her running through the chill night forest skyclad in the moonlight and before his eyes she took the form of a white she-wolf. Haradon was saddened not for her curse but for the stigma upon it. He told his brother of the event and they agreed that Tyric would assume the throne and say that Haradon had fled the land in hopes to find a cure for a sickness from which he was suffering. Lunaria had actually in truth been the descendant of the Stalkingwolf clan even though her husband Haradon had held the name. Lunaria and Haradon bore a son, Leomourn a true Stalkingwolf, deprived of his throne.