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lycanthropy

The Huntsman Prince

Author: 
Hanu of the Zainab

Tribe Huntsman of the Princes. Father of Manbeasts. The Hungry Cat. Hircine has many names, but all relate to his one known sphere; the hunt. The Daedric Prince is obsessed with the chase, the capture, the kill; whether the prey be mer, man, or beast.

Hircine is a favored subject of worship in Tamriel, although it is not out of line to question this popularity. None would go so far as to call him a deity of benevolence. In fact, Hircine has never seemed to actively want worship or reverence. He simply seeks out, tests, and rewards hunters he finds worthy.

Perhaps that's the appeal of such an idol. There's an odd purity to his savagery. Unlike many other Daedric Princes, his boons are generally found to be more or less fair. All his followers must do is prove themselves to him. Do so, and they are promised an afterlife of endless hunts within his Hunting Grounds.

The Hunting Grounds

Followers of Hircine are promised one thing; an afterlife within the Prince's realm of Oblivion, known as the Hunting Grounds. An endless forest where endless hunts are held. A land of savagery and violence, where an eternal cycle of death and rebirth take place.

Hunting lodges dot the landscape, home to the souls which haunt this realm. Powerful beasts lurk within the forests, allowing Hircine's followers to indulge in spectacular hunts. A true paradise for those who have dedicated their life to the Huntsman Prince.

The Great Hunt

Though a rare occurrence, Hircine does allow the living to enter his realm. This event is known as the Great Hunt, a deadly competition held for the Huntsman Prince's amusement. This contest of skill and cunning has only one goal in mind; capture the Hare and present it to Hircine. Only then will you earn his favor.

Many die during this bid for Hircine's boon. It's not uncommon for competitors to turn against one another, or to be killed by one of the many natural dangers the realm presents. And the Hare itself, of course, never goes down without a fight.

Lycanthropy

Hircine's title Father of Manbeasts is a well earned one. He's believed to be the creator of lycanthropy, the ability for mer and man to transform into beastial creatures. The most well known of these lycanthropes are werewolves.

Those infected with lycanthropy, whether by birth or infection, are cursed with an aggressive madness that compels them to bloodlust. Upon their death, they are sent to spend their afterlife within the Hunting Grounds. This is regardless of their allegiance to Hircine.

There's no known documentation of a soul escaping the Hunting Grounds, but there is one possibility. If a competitor of the Great Hunt would ask for a soul's freedom as their boon, Hircine will be compelled to free that individual's soul. And that is exactly what I must do if I ever wish for my father to be free of that savage realm.

The Pack of Archon's Grove

Author: 
Gerrodroth of the Thornfang Pack

Many questioned our den mother's choice to move to this island. After all, who would see Summerset as a safe haven for our kind? But I've begun to see the wisdom in her decision.

Simply put, the High Elves don't know how to handle werewolves. I suppose it's just not much of an issue on this island, given its isolation. As long as we play it smart, we should be able to keep out of the public eye for quite some time.

There's also the lack of competition. Packs are notoriously territorial, after all. We've lost so many to past conflicts. But I suspect there are few other werewolves here, much less an entire pack. We're more likely to gain numbers than lose them.

Speaking of gaining numbers, I'm glad our den mother is finally listening to reason. We need to strengthen our pack, and the only way to do that is through force. There are few here who would freely accept our blessing. Capturing and turning travelers may be risky, but we must fortify our numbers in case of attack.

Our newest acquisition should do nicely. It's a shame her Wood Elf companion didn't make it, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

An Accounting of Warewolves Questions

Author: 
Sage Svari of Fallowstone Hall

June 6th, 2014

Much is known about how both lycanthropy and vampirism spread, but the tales surrounding Molag Bal's creation of the first vampires are as gruesome and horrid as the God of Schemes himself. Yet my scales run dry with aggravation for never having found any legends surrounding the original creation of werewolves. So I ask you, do you have arcane lore or ancient legend to divulge on the matter of Hircine's creation of the first werewolves? -Rasheel of Moonmarch, scholar, explorer, adventurer

Svari says, “My researches into the subject continue, but to date I have discovered no definitive account of the origin of werewolves, though no one doubts that Lord Hircine was involved, if not instrumental. This lacuna is not really surprising, as the curse (or, some say, gift) of lycanthropy has been known in Tamriel since the early Merethic Era. No written accounts date from that time, as it was before Ysgramor brought writing to humankind, but I hold out hope of finding a later recording of an oral tradition.”

In Noxiphilic Sanguivoria, it was stated that "One of the more wild theories is that it is the result of some sort of Daedric backroom deal between Hircine and Molag Bal that has given sufferers of Noxiphilic Sanguivoria a werewolf-like love of moonlight." This is very interesting, could you expand upon the origin of this theory? – Dylan Barnes

Svari says, “Despite his name, Cinna Scholasticus, author of the book in question, is regarded by most serious scholars as a self-aggrandizing sensationalist. That said, the work is not entirely without merit, as most of it is cribbed from Doctor Zoorophim’s ‘Comprehensive Index of Cursed Afflictions,’ especially his chapter on Infectious Banes. However, the idea of an infernal bargain between Hircine and Molag Bal first appeared in a work of fiction, the notorious ‘Seventeen Tastes of Infamy’ by the Porphyry Caryatid, and must therefore be regarded as irresponsible speculation.”

What is the difference between Sanies Lupinus and Canis Hysteria? Canis Hysteria was mentioned in the Emperor's Guide from the ESO Collector's Edition: "[Glenmoril Witches] hold the secrets of Porphyric Hemophilia and Canis Hysteria in their jealous grasps." If they were referring to C. Hysteria as a species, then why would they pair that next to the vampire disease? Wouldn't Canis Hysteria also be disease too? – Kinetiks

Svari says: “The terms ‘Sanies Lupinus’ and ‘Canis Hysteria’ can be used interchangeably, though the former is more common, at least here in Skyrim.”

 

A Werewolf Hunter's Advice

Author: 
Anonymous

Son, If you want to go to Hircine's Haunt, I can't stop you. But take my advice—werewolves never hunt alone. If you confront a lone werewolf, do not make the mistake of engaging it by yourself. The individual is never far from the pack, and the pack is always hungry.

Werewolves, for all their bloodlust and brute strength, are crafty creatures. Their howl can not only summon other werewolves, but also calls forth regular wolves. In some rare cases, the howl can even call bears into the fray. It is incredibly easy to be outnumbered by a lone werewolf.

The best advice this seasoned werewolf hunter can give you is this. Cut the beast's throat before it can howl and call others to its side.

Yours in love,

Mother

 

An Accounting of Werewolves

Author: 
Sage Svari of Fallowstone Hall

As a skald among the Companions, I learned to recite the Songs of Return. But now, as Sage of Fallowstone Hall, I must do more than memorize. It falls to me to record the deeds and glories of the Companions, preserve our names, and call on Ysgramor’s wisdom to guide those new to our ranks.

It surprised me to discover a few areas where our tomes of knowledge were scant or outdated, and I will do my best to fill in gaps as my first honorable task. I wish to begin by expanding An Accounting of Enemies, a reference to threats commonly faced by Companions compiled by Sage Tirora, my predecessor.

We’ve recently taken on more contracts involving werewolves than I’ve ever seen, and our recorded knowledge of them is sparse. I’ve spoken to Nords from Windhelm to Ivarstead, and everyone agrees that cults of Hircine (and thus werewolves, who are his children) are on the rise across Skyrim. I’ve even heard reports that some madmen have been actively seeking out the curse of lycanthropy!

I do not think I should need to remind anyone, especially any Nord, of the evil of the Daedric Princes—even of one who claims the joy of hunting as his realm. There may be some draw to the wild power of werewolves, but you’d better remember that you’ll never see the halls of Sovngarde when Hircine claims your soul. Lycanthropes spend eternity in Hircine’s Hunting Grounds, slaves to his unending thirst for blood and the chase, instead of drinking mead and brawling with the heroes of legend.

Ysgramor taught us to know our enemy through blood on our hands, and to scrawl our runes of conquest on the corpses in our wake. Our warriors have faced many werewolves, and while I don’t have any corpses handy at the moment (and because they would pollute the rather pleasant library we have), I will preserve their knowledge here:

Thonarcal Ice-Fist recalls his revulsion: “I saw one of them turn right before my eyes, and my blood ran cold. He got the jump on me, so stunned was I at the grotesque display. Be wary if your target is not already in its fearsome beast-form.”

Irmgarde the Bootbarren knows a secret of the beast: “Always keep a poisoned blade or arrow-tips handy when you hunt them. Even poisons that aren’t all that strong seem to ravage the monsters.”

Hallveig God-Hater has read the tale of their hides: “It seems to me that their pelts say something about them. The ones with darker fur use fast strikes and ragged claws to tear into you. Every now and then I’ve glimpsed a white one. They’re usually surrounded by a pack, howling and driving them into a frenzy in combat.”

Agdis Bearblood prays to the Divines: “Don’t get bitten or cut up by them. If you do, you’d better get yourself to a priest right away. The disease can be cured, but don’t risk letting it get into your blood.”

Dealing with Werewolves

Author: 
Venustinius Perquitienus

Whether you're stationed at a garrison at Camlorn or suffering Nord inhospitality in Skyrim, an Imperial subject must know the signs of the terrible affliction of Lycanthropy. With attacks by creatures infected with Sanies Lupinus on the rise, it is your duty to learn the following and behave accordingly.

Is there an overabundance of canis root in casks and market stalls? Have you witnessed the locals rubbing this root on neighboring trees and fences? Have you followed strange animal tracks, only to find them disappear? Do the village temples house beggars with vivid nightmares or with deep claw wounds to their faces or bodies? Does the wolf howl when there are none to be found? Then werewolves (or worse still, werebears) may be active in your jurisdiction.

Werewolves are sturdy hybrids with powerful jaws and claws on both hands and feet. They stand three hands taller than an Orc and exhibit severe bloodlust. If you encounter one, attempt to flee at all costs unless you feel supremely confident in your arms and armor. If possible, thrust the indigenous population into the path of the lycanthrope, so it sates its appetite on them while you retreat to cover or your mount.

If you must fight a werewolf, arm yourself with any silver weapon, as these have proven extremely effective. However, prepare for severe gash wounds and the possibility of becoming infected. Should this occur, report to your superior for final rites to Arkay and immediate execution.

A Werewolf's Confession

Author: 
Captain Philmont of the Oldgate Lancers, Daggerfall Covenant Army

The prisoner called for me today, and I had the dubious privilege of listening to his confession. Separated from him by narrow iron bars that I knew would be insufficient to protect me, I took down his words with a trembling hand.

What follows is my best rendering, although he was so soft-spoken that at times I had to guess at the precise words. Nevertheless, I am confident that what follows accurately represents the substance of our conversation:
"I accepted this curse at a young age. I was impressionable. My packleader was a family friend and elder in our village. I wanted to be strong, and I relished the strength the curse gave me. I would not have called it a curse, then.

"But with youth comes recklessness, and I was not good at disguising what I was. Eventually they discovered my true nature, and I was driven from the village.

"My packleader failed me. He did not protect me. He cared too much about his own status to risk it for my sake. I was alone.

"Everywhere I went I heard the shouts of crowds, saw the bright torches of the angry mob. I never lingered long in one place before my secret was discovered.

"I came to hate them. The superstitious villagers. I came to resent what I couldn't have. I blamed them for my own recklessness. It was not the curse that plagued me, but the narrow-mindedness of these provincial men and women.

"I was afraid to hunt, so I was always hungry, and the hunger turned me feral. It was in this state that I came across them. A family of innocent farmers, just like the innocent farmers that had hounded me from village after village. My vision turned red and I flew into a fury.

"At last my hunger was satisfied.

"But when the rage subsided and I looked on what I'd done, my stomach turned. This was what all those villagers were afraid of, when they tormented me with their torches and sickles.

"That's when I acknowledged my curse for what it was. I have hunted many years since, afraid to turn myself in, but disgusted with my base impulses.

"You don't realize what a great favor you have done, capturing me."

And then having told his story, the creature, looking very much like a man, begged me to put him out of his misery.

Our Curse and Our Glory

Author: 
Querbolus Primus

When first I was taken by the Change I was terrified, and furious, and most of all terrified of my fury. I hid my transformed self in a woodshed where I tore the bark from the lumber, bewailed my fate, and cursed the rest of the world.

For a season thereafter I sought a means to control my affliction, purchasing ill-smelling nostrums from alchemists, mystic talismans from arcanists, and blessings from priests of gods, demigods, even daemons. To no avail. Despite all my would-be benefactors' assurances, the Change still came upon me when it would—and seemed, indeed, stronger every time.

Finally it was too strong: I killed, and killed again. Unworthy to abide among decent people, I fled, putting civilization behind me. I plunged into the forests, forded rivers and climbed mountains, until I was far from any innocents I might injure. There, with naught but brute beasts for companions, I gave in to the urge to hunt, and to slay, and to feed.

But I found to my sorrow that, though the beasts had neither minds nor souls, still they had hearts. They felt fear, pain, loss, sadness, and to slaughter them out of hand was no less a sin than to slaughter Man or Mer.

Thereafter I lived upon nuts, fruits, buds, roots, and animals freshly dead. And this I could easily do for, when the Change was upon me, my senses were so acute that I could always detect food of all sorts.

More than that: with my hunger assuaged, I found that when in beast-form I could see things, hear things, smell things I was never aware of when in my "natural" body. I could sense every living creature in the mountain hollow where I'd made my home, hear every sound they made blend with the songs of the flowing streams and the music of the wind in the trees, until all combined into a glorious and never-ending choral symphony. I would stand in a glade, enraptured, intoxicated, sometimes for days at a time.

When I returned to my ordinary mortal form, I would try to write of what I had experienced as a Beast of Mundus, but human words could never capture it. It could only be shared by others who could sense what I sensed, who might learn how to tame the lusts of the Change as I had. And I knew then that I had a sacred mission to share what I had found, to find others who had been stricken by this curse and bring them to my hollow, where I could teach them the truth, that their curse was, in fact, their glory. This change we fear so much at first is not an affliction, but a gift.

This sacred mission has been my purpose ever since, a purpose I hope someday to see passed on to future generations. Here, right here, in my little vale of Querbol's Hollow.

The Werewolf's Hide

Author: 
an Unknown Packleader

Some will tell you that our greatest strength is our hunger, or our numbers, or our rage, or our claws, or our fangs. These are fools. The gift of Hircine is not simply about weapons, but about defense.

To hunt in the great hunting grounds of our master, we must be impervious to pain, masters of our own bodies.
Many a werewolf hunter will seek your hide for this reason. They will try to wear it, or else burn it. Either way, it is your greatest prize and you should take care not to let it fall to filth and disrepair.

A wolf's coat is the marker of his status. It bears his scars and protects his body against harm. Treat it as a nobleman treats his finery, for you are a servant of Hircine.

Too often have I encountered feral wolves with mangy coats. You are not wild dogs! You are not senseless wolves with no choice but to wander the woods as animals! You are kings among hunters!

When you are beset by enemies, when the mob comes for you, and you transform into your true self to face sword and sickle, pitchfork and pike, you will thank me. Your coat will gleam and terrify, and no blow will harm you.

Living with Lycanthropy

Author: 
Anonymous

Throughout the ages, whenever one heard the word "werewolf," it was a cry of fear and revulsion. This need not be the case any longer. We shall prove to Tamriel that it is indeed possible to live a productive, peaceful life while afflicted with Sanies Lupinus.

Our Rule: Resist the Urge to Commit Violence

By withdrawing from society, one can learn how to apply this simple rule to everyday life. Do not give in to a feral desire to retaliate against those who cannot understand our plight. We are not meant to destroy others simply for sport. Hircine blessed us with the ability to fight well, with strength beyond that of an ordinary person. We must not take advantage of this blessing to hurt anyone, but rather use it in ways that benefit others like ourselves. Hunting can be a rewarding pastime, and a way of worshiping our patron. It should not be a way to torment others, whether man or beast.

This blessing, for it is a blessing and not a curse, allows us to carry heavy loads, and to cover vast distances without tiring. We make excellent traveling merchants for this reason, as well as laborers of all kinds. By showing continued restraint, by not lifting our hand against others, by proving that hunger does not drive us to kill, we honor ourselves and our families.

It is our duty to demonstrate that werewolves can be peaceful through our continued faith in Hircine's blessings.