The Were are an unusual species in that being a Were is transmissible as a disease. The Were appear much like Humans, but as with Changers, they have a second form. The animal form of a Were may be any creature, natural or fantastical, but Were cannot shift of their own will. They change forms only during the full moon. The moon cycle on the Tygris world leads to a three-day full moon, so a Were changes shape at moon-rise on day one and shifts back to “human” form at the dawn after night three. During that time, the Were is only tentatively in control of his actions, and can be very violent.
The Were disease is transmissible through fluids; it is possible to be infected by a bite, but the chances of being bitten deeply enough to get sufficient disease-carrying saliva and surviving are low – an attacking Were is likely to kill any such victim. The disease is most frequently transmitted as an STD, which is why the worldwide Were population is fairly high.
During the necromancer war, the were god, Domik called his children to join the fight, and in doing so, changed their nature. Those were who obeyed the call have become stronger in either form, and in their animal form, they are now larger and fiercer. They have also gained some measure of control over their actions, and can learn to shift at will. Those who locked themselves up, or resisted the call, have become weaker in both forms, and can only change during the full moon, during which they behave as if rabid, with no control.
The were who followed the call have begun referring to themselves as the Chosen, or the Compelled, depending on perspective.
The were who resisted the call have begun calling themselves the Cursed, or the Resistance, again depending upon their perspective.
Different species have different reactions to the disease.
- Humans show no immediate effects, and may not even be aware of what they have become until the next full moon.
- Changers will lose the ability to shift at will within a matter of minutes.
- Lek’re have a very severe reaction. Their shape must alter to appear human, so they will lose their animal features. In a low-morph Lek’re, this is usually not fatal, but in a high-morph, it can be excruciatingly painful, and may lead to death. Those Lek’re who do survive the change are often driven mad.
- Sea People, like Lek’re, must undergo severe physiological changes, and run the same risk of madness if they survive.
- Wing People never survive infection; the loss of their wings kills them.
Female wolf dancer from Milan
Male horse warrior from Dara
Line-works courtesy of Evelyn