A brief summary of their story:
In this land there is a god, the Old One-Eyed Wanderer, a Lord of Wolves who dwells over the Northern wind, the woods, and the steppes.
One day the Lord of Wolves roamed alone along the snowfields of a land far to the North, a land home to fair-skinned tribes of woodsmen and warriors. The god had stopped to take a drink from the river that ran in the valley below where one of the Kings of the Northmen kept his Great Hall. Not knowing that he dealt with a greater power than mere beast, the King, fearful for the safety of both his cattle and folk alike, sent a band of riders from his hall to drive the Wolf from the valley.
The riders met the beast at the edge of the water below, and brandished spears against the god; one spear let loose by a fearful rider pierced the Wolf-God's great paw, drawing blood. Outraged at this hubris, the Wanderer let loose a howl that froze the Northmen in their tracks, and with a bearing of fangs and tumultuous uproar, the Wolf ate the lot whole, rider and mount alike. The fickle old god then spilled a single drop of his blood into the river, cursing all the waters and wellsprings of the Northern woods, so that whichever man drank from the water would know how it must feel to have a Wolf's essence running through his veins.
Sure enough, on the very next night, every man, woman, and child for miles around--stretching even beyond the King's Hall and into even vaster reaches of the tribes of Northmen--who had drank water from either spring, brook, or river, was savagely transformed into a grey-furred and sharp-toothed beast that was neither fully wolf, nor fully man: werwulfs.
Some of the wolf-men were consumed with the minds of ravenous beasts, and with an unsatiable hunger, they tore across the countryside devouring livestock, men, and even others like themselves. The King himself became the leader of this ruthless pack; a black terror dwelling in the shadowy depths of the forest, he is cursed with an immortal thirst for the demise of the living.
Other distant tribes, not knowing of the King's foolish actions (or his doomed fate,) and having long paid tribute to the wise old Wolf-God through rune and poem, maintained the full capacity of their wits and senses (though they could not escape being touched by wolfish faculties of instinct.) Upon seeing that they had not become hapless monsters, panicked mobs began to calm. The Northerners soon took to the change as a blessing from the Lord of Wolves himself, and swore to become protectors of the Northwoods in his name. These stoic packs of berserkers now hold dominion with a kind of noble ferocity from their former halls, warmly welcoming friends and swiftly destroying foes as they had always done; though with a great deal of wolfish delight, and thus more wildly and wantonly than ever before. The sight of a great hall filled with mead-drunken werwulfs, baying song tales of war glory and wolf howls alike, is a sight to behold indeed.
Yet others, lowlanders no longer able to be herdsmen and having no wealth of arms, were quickly driven to wander south; these wolf-folk became lonely explorers and adventurers, moving softly from steppe to plain and hiding under the veil of night.
Wolf-folk are scarcely known beyond the lands of the North, though many of them have pressed into lands far and wide as wanderlust takes them. Mistrusted and viewed as beasts, or monsters worse, even a horse-riding wolf-knight of glimmering steel, banner streaming in the wind, could be attacked at mere sight by the unknowing good folk of the land. Yet with a ferocious bite, keen nose, and swift stature, the werwulfs make strong and loyal companions on weathered roads, if one is valiant enough to earn their faith.
Note that this backstory is far from complete. There's a lot more to it that will be included in the full setting text.
Thoughts or suggestions?
- Blue-eyes in the dark
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paws covered in blood, running
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