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"A man who seeks truth and loves it must be reckoned precious to any human society."

- Frederick the Great

Friday 8 July 2011

Birds, Bees, and Werewolves

Perhaps you have been wondering how werewolves reproduce.  Considering all the claws and fangs involved, some of you may think “very carefully”.  Others may recall the sex-scene from The Howling and suppose that we do it “with animal passion”.

My first admonition is never to believe anything Hollywood says about werewolves – it is nearly all rubbish.  In some future post, I will discuss Werewolf Fact and Fiction.  But for now, forget the lycanthropic legends and movie mythology.  Here is the straight story.

We do not reproduce.

I know that sounds frightfully dull, but once you have learned about the males of our species, you will understand why. 

DISCLAIMER: This article frequently mentions “our kind” or “our species”.  Here I am referring exclusively to the Homo lupus europae (Common European Werewolf), which has been indigenous to Europe, North Africa and Asia since about 10,000 B.C.  The characteristics described here may or may not apply to other werewolf species on other continents.

Among European werewolves there are two main “tribes” – for lack of a better word, since only natural wolves form packs – one female and the other male.  Our two tribes have been mortal enemies since time immemorial.  In fact, most werewolf deaths are caused by inter-sex violence.  (At least this is true of all the lycanthropes I have ever encountered, but once again, your experience may vary.)  The males of our kind are vicious, sadistic creatures, and pretty much live up to their popular image.  We females, on the other hand, are usually more spiritually inclined and therefore less violent, though we can be just as dangerous as males, should the situation warrant.  This behavioural difference has nothing to do with gender, however, but is the result of our social organisation and cultural traditions.

We call ourselves the Sisterhood of the Wolf, and our social order originated in the matriarchal culture of South India some nine thousand years ago.  There are no “alphas”.  The elder Sisters each take a younger Companion, and are responsible for every aspect of her upbringing and socialisation.  (Yes, I do mean every aspect.)  Our purpose is to preserve the Natural Order, the balance of life and death.  In a sense, we watch over the world and protect it, in the name of the Divine Mother.

We call the males Apostates, because they do not revere the Divine Mother and instead serve the Egyptian god of chaos, Sutekh (also spelled Set or Seth).  If the Apostates have any other name for themselves, we have not learned it.  Quite frankly, we don’t usually get close enough to learn much about them, since most encounters end fatally for one side or the other. 

What does this have to do with us? you may be thinking.  Why should we humans care about the Sisterhood or the Apostasy?  You lycanthropes all look the same to me anyway.

There are two major reasons why you should care. 

First, the Apostates see humans exclusively as food.  Since most of them are lazy scavengers, however, content to feed upon carrion rather than hunting for themselves, the Apostates often seek to foment war between humans, as this will increase the availability of fresh corpses.  To accomplish this, they generally try to insinuate themselves into high places in human governments, where they can influence policy and ensure that you are kept in perpetual fear of your neighbours, usually by means of political or religious manipulation.  Fear and fanaticism are greater weapons than tooth and claw.

Once they have goaded you into slaughtering each other, the Apostates descend on the battlefields to feed upon the fallen.  In the chaos of war and revolution, their presence is not generally noticed.  When they feast, the Apostates regard the brains as a special delicacy, so you can imagine how much they enjoyed the French Revolution, when their favourite dish was “Heads in a Basket”.

Many of you will now be thinking: Next she’s going to tell us that Hitler was a werewolf.  Sorry to disappoint you: he wasn’t.  Apostates do not have a monopoly on evil.  With few exceptions (Nero for example), they usually don’t take command of human tribes directly, but prefer to remain behind the scenes, pulling the strings.  I’ll leave you to guess which of Hitler’s henchmen might have been Apostates.  And believe me, during the war there were a few in Whitehall, the White House, and the Kremlin as well.

Now here is why you should care about the Sisterhood.  We seek to rectify the chaos caused by the Apostates, to restore and maintain balance.  For a very long time we have stood against them, actively attempting to prevent their wars or at least to mitigate the effects.  Sometimes this has meant taking to the battlefield ourselves, but more often we resort to such tactics as sabotage and espionage, sometimes working within human organisations.  This is why I joined MI6 in 1923.  Obviously, we have not always been successful, but there have been some significant victories.  Take the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, which simply remained a crisis instead of escalating into World War Three.  Or the Sino-Soviet War of 1968.  Never heard of it?  Go figure…

In a very real sense, you are still here because of us.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Sisterhood cares about the welfare of humans.  We do care about the welfare of this planet, and some of you humans are doing a good job of ruining it, even without help from the Apostates.  So we reserve the right to eat you as well, should it prove necessary in order to keep Nature in balance.  I have been known to nibble on the old grey matter myself on occasion.

Kind regards,

P.S.  In a comment to my first post, someone asked about the real cause of the Black Plague.  By now, I’m sure you have guessed that it was started by the Apostates – the first case of biological warfare on record.  And you thought the fleas came from rats.

P.P.S.  Regarding the question posed at the very beginning of this post, the astute reader may ask: if you don’t reproduce, then why haven’t werewolves become extinct?  There are two answers.  One is Transmigration.  More on that later.  The other is Initiation.  More on that later as well.  And no, humans cannot “catch” lycanthropy by being bitten – that’s just Hollywood rubbish.  (Well, mostly rubbish.  Sometime I’ll tell you about a particularly nasty North American species which does bite.)

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