Werewolves

Be aware that much of the following is hypothetical in nature, and that further study will be necessary to confirm my suspicions. With the recent Reality-Shift, it is possible that some or all of my data thus far has been rendered invalid.

The Werewolves, or Lupines as our kind have referred to them for as long as any can remember, have always been something of an enigma to us. Are they our fellow predators, our sworn enemies, reluctant allies, or any and all of those? While accounts may vary, I think the only honest truth to emerge from our kind's stories of these beasts is that they are as individual as we are.

Regardless of whatever ideologies the Lupines may choose to follow with regards to our species or any other creatures that share the night with us, there is at least sufficient evidence available to our kind to form a biological definition of a werewolf; i.e. a creature which is for all appearences human, but is capable of transforming itself into one or more variants of a wolf-like form. My own studies have brought me into contact with numerous "supernatural" organisms over the course of my Requiem, and I have always been on the lookout for signs of evolutionary relationships between different cryptid species. An observation which I made some time ago was of the numerous differences between Werewolves and those unfortunate humans who have undergone long-term possession by an extradimensional therianthrope (a Spirit which alters the physical form of its host). A Spirit, when given sufficient time, can alter a human host beyond any semblance of its original form, resulting in a creature whose shape reflects the nature of the possessing entity. Certain forms of Spirit-possessed retain the ability to alternate between their assumed characteristics and the original human shape they inhabit. For reasons unknown to me, it seems that Spirits whose nature is akin to spiders and rats respectively seem to be the most adept at this.

The common breed of werewolf in the Northern hemisphere (Lycanthropus venatus) posses the ability to alternate their shape between four different forms that I have seen personally, though secondary sources have assured me that they can assume a fifth form. To my first-hand knowledge, a werewolf is capable of presenting itself in the form of a human (Homo sapiens), a wolf (Canis lupus), a larger and more ferocious variant similar to a prehistoric dire wolf (Canis dirus) and most famously, the gigantic man-wolf form which stands between 8 and 10 feet in height, and possesses tremendous physical capability. A secondary source has told me that common werewolves are also capable of assuming a man-like form which stands roughly 7 feet tall and possesses increased physical strength and body hair. While I have never encountered this form in person, I cannot discount the possibility of its existence.

A second breed of werewolf that I have only encountered in South America (Lycanthropus lobos) seems to be capable of alternating between only two forms; that of a human and that of a large, aggressive Argentinian Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). I might go so far as to suggest that the South American L. lobos is a more primitive cousin of the northern L. venatus.

So given the evidence available, what can we deduce about the nature of the werewolf? I have been assured by family members of a werewolf of the L. lobos strain, that L. lobos are born into their nature from birth, even though their parents are human. Superstition holds that a "Lobison" (the colloquial term for this species) will be born as the seventh son of a family which suffers its curse. I have thuse far had little opportunity to study the procreation of L. venatus, but in lieu of contradicting evidence I can only assume that the more common breed of werewolf also is born of sexual reproduction. This runs counterpoint to the similarities I suggested earlier with Spirit-possession, since under most circumstances extradimensionals very definitely take over an independant human host, rather than being born into one. In such instances, the possessing entity also subsumes the victim's mind, ultimately using the body as a puppet for its own ends. Werewolves of the L. venatus strain appear to be capable (at least at times) of rational, human-like behaviour that does not fit the usual patterns for spiritually-controlled individuals. Even the more savage L. lobos is in possession of a fundamentally human intellect while it maintains human form.

This more controlled, more temporary alteration of the body of the mind would imply that the human part of the werewolf holds a far greater degree of dominace over the spirit-mind than is usually the case with possession. This has lead me to formulate a hypothesis: that werewolves are the result of an evolutionary alteration in the nature of certain spirits and their interactions with physical beings. It is not difficult for one to compare a possessing spirit to a parasite, using its host to facilitate its own physical existence. The most successful parasites on our planet are viruses, and the retroviruses (those which embed themselves in the genome of the host so that they can never be "cured") have been referred to by some as the "ultimate parasites". Endogenous retroviruses are those which have successfully integrated their genome into the germ (reproductive) line of the host organism, ensuring that when the host reproduces, the viral genes are carried into the offspring along with the host's DNA. The endogenous virus does not replicate, nor does it destroy its host's body cells, and has essentially rendered itself dormant; in return, the virus has ensured that its genes will endure as long as the host species endures. A significant proportion of the human genome is made up of viral sequences which have existed since well before H. sapiens evolved. I would hypothesise that werewolves are the spiritual equivalent of an endogenous retrovirus. They are the result of a spirit of wolf-like nature which at some point in history has possessed a human body, then surrendered much of the control that a spirit would normally have over its host, in order to ensure that the spirit's characteristics are inherited by the host's children. Since spirits are bound by any number of obscure clauses and rules, the "seventh son" superstition of L. lobos could simply be the manifestation of the progenitor spirit's nature. Similarly, the "lycanthropic bite" of western werewolf mythology may also be an evolutionary relic of the spirit which progenated L. venatus, and that those who are infected must received the bite in order to awaken the spirit-part of their being…continues

Excerpt from Alexander Gideon's Treatise on Cryptofauna

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