Celestialwolf's Werewolf Definition
1. What is a werewolf?
2. How are they created?
2.1 The Bite
3 Anatomy, characteristics, attributes
3.1 Human Form
3.2 Gestalt (True Werewolf) form
3.3 Wolf Form
3.4 All three forms
4 The Shifting Process
5 World and Society
7 Werewolf Encyclopedia
8 Other interesting werewolf definitions
What is a werewolf?
A Werewolf is a human capable of assuming the form of a wolf or a combination of wolf and human (gestalt) at will while enjoying greater physical abilities than normal humans ever could. Over the centuries, people such as myself have been fascinated by them and desired to become one, while others have invented stories portraying them as evil, bloodthirsty killers that hide in the forests or among humans to ruthlessly kill those they encounter. They've existed to an extent in all major civilizations throughout time and all over the world, but their origin is shrouded in the mists of legend.
They go to great lengths to avoid being seen and are extremely difficult to detect. Although it's nearly impossible to sneak up on a werewolf, from time to time, people come across one by accident while hiking or lost in the mountains. If you do spot one, especially if it's in the middle of a shift, chances are you're about to get bitten. If you survive the bite, you'll become a werewolf yourself! This is done to to protect their identity and prevent the outbreak of werewolf sighting rumors. Otherwise, if someone were to discover their secret, it would take a long time to cover up and could compromise the security or even the lives of many werewolves.
How are they made?
There are two known ways to produce a werewolf. They can either be bitten by an existing werewolf, or be born with the genetics already in place, which is rare. Those born with the werewolf DNA have the advantage in experience, but those who are bitten can become just as familiar with their abilities once they get used to their new forms.
Not every werewolf bite will pass on lycanthropy; they have control over the ability to change their victims. Should that be their goal, the sharp fangs inject a virus-like substance secreted by a gland in the mouth into the host's bloodstream, The Bite permanently altering their DNA to allow for at will shape-shifting (or simply "shifting" for short). There is no known way to reverse this process once it's completed.
Shortly after being bitten, the host will enter an almost comatose state for around 12 hours as their genetic code is re-written. If the the host survives the process and the bite is successful, they'll go through an initial forced shift; this is so the werewolf knows the bite was successful, so the host knows what they've become, and also indicates that the body has come full circle and is now capable of form change from then on.
The body is also healed of most former physical imperfections such as cancer, crooked teeth, baldness, lack of limbs, etc. Having completed its work, the virus then dies and is gradually broken down by the body leaving no traceable evidence in the blood.
For the first few days, the newly bitten person is tired, weak, and ravenously hungry, usually feeling a bit sick as the body takes in the change. In due course though, they adjust and begin to learn about their new capabilities, traditionally mentored and taught by the werewolf who originally bit them.
For a lot of people, being bitten is the greatest thing that has ever happened to them. A whole new world of freedom and strength has opened up to them, and they love everything about being a werewolf, regardless of the difficulties! Some, however, consider their lycanthropy a curse and are appalled at what they've become (regardless of all the benefits). They may go through an identity crisis, lose sight of reality, or suffer other mental breakdowns. Sometimes these people resort to just never shifting which always fails with time (werewolves need to shift several times a year at minimum or a forced shift will eventually take place, usually during an emotionally-charged moment).
Being born a werewolf is very rare. Generally, the two parents have to already be werewolves for this to happen, but there have been a few times when that wasn't the case. Imagine the surprise they'd go through during their baby's first shift! Either way, as the child grows, they gradually discover their ability to shift and learn to control it at an early age. They soon realize they're different-stronger and more athletic-than their friends, and love to be outdoors and compete in sports. Their wolf bodies grow with their human ones- from baby and cub to youth and so on until they're adults and become full-fledged werewolves.
Anatomy, characteristics, and attributes
For the most part, to the untrained eye, it's hard to tell a regular person from a werewolf. They look just like they did before they were bitten except for a few physical modifications borrowed from the wolf form. Everyone is unique and experiences different levels of change and improvement, but anyone that knew them before would have a hard time missing their sudden, seemingly overnight increase in endurance and flexibility, as well an exponential growth in their running, jumping, climbing, and lifting abilities (which is great for things like Parkour!). Their movements, mannerisms, reflexes, instincts, and mental abilities are also more precise and alert. Basically, they go from their former, normal selves into possibly world-class athletes able to hold their own; several sports stars have actually been werewolves. Their senses of hearing and smell are improved, as well as enhanced night vision. Their metabolism speeds up, and a slightly increased desire for meat--sometimes raw--is also part of the package.
Werewolves have a certain presence about them; a way of being that is strangely attractive and appealing. Their eyes have a slightly golden, light-reflective tint to them; they can make inhuman howls, growls, and whines. If they were overweight prior to the bite, that soon changes due to the amount of calories that are burned during a shift. The base muscle size (the original size of the muscle without any exercise beyond everyday tasks) is larger than that of a human; their muscles also retain their size for longer periods of time. Because of this, most werewolves appear at least well-toned, and a large number are just plain ripped.
Gestalt (True Werewolf) Form
The most graceful and powerful of the three forms, the true werewolf (or gestalt) form is a perfect blend of human logic and reasoning combined with the wolf's instincts, power, speed, and endurance. The whole is better than the sum of the two parts could ever be alone. Standing between one-and-a-half to 3 feet taller than they normally would in human form, the true werewolf is equally comfortable in the quadruped (4 legged) or bipedal (2 legged) stance, usually choosing the latter on digitigrade (wolf-like) legs with the aid of a tail. All four limbs are rock solid with muscle to quickly move the huge body and are armed with tough, razor sharp claws. The head, which is heavily influenced by the wolven half of the hybrid, has pointed ears; intelligent, golden eyes; and jaws of steel built to sever limbs that can even produce human words (albeit limitedly), and the whole body is covered in thick, beautiful fur.
This form can leap nearly 50 feet, bench press three times more than they could when in their already enhanced human form, climb trees like a big cat, outrun a horse when sprinting, and is also an incredibly powerful swimmer capable of holding their breath under water for up to ten minutes.
When they don't want to be found, they can cause their tracks and scent to fade so as to avoid being followed. The claws make great weapons in a fight and can tear through metal in some cases. If they decide to hunt game in this form it's almost too easy. When confronted with the possibility, some consider themselves fortunate and get bitten on purpose for the amazing potential of personal fulfillment or gain that can come with owning this body.
Basically a timber wolf on the bigger side. It has all the traits one would normally expect to find in a wolf such as high endurance, superb sense of smell and hearing, great hunting abilities, etc. (more info on my wolf page). Normal wolves will associate with them, and will often accept them into their local pack if one is present. This form can sometimes be used as a disguise when they don't want to be seen or need to get information around smooth skins (humans) who might confuse them for their domesticated relatives. As wolves, they know they are still part human and can reason to a degree, but the canine mind and instincts are more prevalent. Some people choose to let their wolf mind take over and go on autopilot for a time to relieve stress or simplify their thoughts so they don't have to worry or make decisions.
All Three Forms
They have enhanced physical attributes and retain their human intelligence in all forms. Their fur comes in natural colors from black to white and everything in between, usually mirroring their hair color and somewhat patterned after the distinctive features of their human form. Werewolf Anatomy The true werewolf form is very expressive and capable of showing the full range of human emotions in addition to those of a wolf. Werewolves are almost immune to almost any disease specific to all three forms; poisons must be administered in huge doses to have any effect. Werewolves are omnivores (can eat either plants or meat), but prefer meat and take the carnivore route as wolves.
Werewolves can survive almost anything and their ability to heal is legendary. Broken bones set within a few hours; deep wounds, including gunshot wounds, close and heal in a day, and even lost limbs can be regenerated with time and multiple shifts. They can go for about a week without food or water and are not adversely affected by extreme cold. In fact, the only things that can cause lasting damage are flame, severe trauma to the head or spine, or prolonged exposure to silver, their biggest weakness (especially in the full werewolf form).
Injuries caused by silver take considerably longer to heal and are the most lethal killer, though silver-caused injuries will knit normally if dealt with in a skilled and timely manner. The main danger with silver is that when in contact with the wound, it causes injuries to heal at the rate it would with a normal human. If left in contact with it for long periods of time internally, they can die or suffer irreversible damage. For that reason silver bullets (especially ones that fragment on impact) are very dangerous. Fortunately, silver can be felt when nearby, thus giving plenty of advance warning. When directly touching the skin (not fur), it causes a painful rash within a few minutes, but doesn't do more than that if removed quickly. Some werewolves choose to slowly build up a silver immunity over time, though the process can be difficult and painful.
Mating is possible in all forms; werewolves tend to marry with others of their kind or may bite their spouse (if they consent) to share the ability and at the same time avoid future marital problems. They are monogamous and like wolves, marry for life. The gestation period takes 9 months but it's hard to detect a pregnancy by sight; werewolf fetuses form completely at a small size and then grow to full size during the final weeks. Assuming the baby will be a werewolf, when the mother shifts, the fetus shifts as well, and the baby will be born in whatever form the mother is in while giving birth. Young werewolves may shift to protect themselves if they go through a traumatic experience, but otherwise start shifting voluntarily at about age eight.
For the most, the werewolf lifespan is a good 15-20 years longer than that of humans. When they do eventually die, they always revert back to their human form no matter which form they were in at the time of death.
Werewolves do not shed; the length and thickness of their fur depends on the climate. Their body senses the temperature and environment so that when they decide to shift, the fur is the right length. The fur length can change between shifts; for example a werewolf will have long, thick fur in the snow, but if they decide to fly to Hawaii that same day, they will have shorter and thus cooler fur when they shift again.
Surprisingly, they only need the same 8 hours of sleep that a normal human does; the exception is if they've had to shift a lot during a short amount of time in which case they'll need more sleep to regain their energy.
Werewolves tend to be deep, reflective thinkers that enjoy solitude from time to time and keep the constant barrage of worldly noise and media to a minimum. Due to their sensitive hearing, they usually try to avoid a lot of the noise anyway. This allows them to meditate and develop a strong spiritual side.
The Shifting Process
Shape shifting, or just shifting for short, is the action in which a werewolf changes from one of its forms to another. This is done by focusing the mind on the form they want to assume and willing themselves to change. Werewolves are conscious before, during, and after shifting in and out of any form. They can shift whenever they want to, and have total control if and when they do. Not even the full moon, though it can be felt and causes subtle wolfish desires doesn't actually force a shift. Emotions are felt more strongly though, and intense fear or anger can sometimes trigger transformations or cause the inner wolf to come closer to the surface.
Shifting happens at a fairly even pace, the extremities morphing first. (i.e. hands, feet, tail, ears), and then the torso, muscles, major bones, face, and lastly the eyes change with fur growing at a constant rate during the whole process. The body will make noises as the muscles change in length and stretch, the bones re-arrange themselves, and the organs adjust to the new frame. Even though it looks like the shifter should be in agony as the body re-arranges itself for the next several seconds, no pain is felt during the transition. In fact, those that get over the initial shock of seeing someone shift are amazed at the fluid beauty of it all. Shifting times will vary depending on their experience level; some can completely shift in just 3-4 seconds, while others choose to lengthen the process to a minute or two. Average shifting time for all werewolves is about 20 seconds.
Obviously, clothing and other items on the werewolf do not shift with the body; clothes are torn off and shredded into ribbons, shoes burst at the seam, and other items break and fall off as the werewolf increases in size. Though it looks pretty cool, shifting like this can get pretty expensive when you constantly have to re-stock your wardrobe. Also, and it's not fun to find yourself without clothes after you switch back to human; most generally strip down before getting furry and hide their clothing in creative ways.
There is a limit to how tight or solid an object can be during shifting. For example, while clothing and even things like handcuffs will tear and break free, thicker metal or stone objects or confinements are generally restrictive and can prevent shifting (unless the werewolf wants to receive severe injury, which is sometimes worth it with their healing abilities). If necessary, walls and other confinements can be destroyed with their massive strength before shifting.
When the transformation to wolf or werewolf form is complete, a sense of euphoria and power is felt as a whole world of highly increased senses, strength, and agility burst into existence. There is no time limit on how long a werewolf can stay in any one form, but over time their energy decreases compelling them to either seek nourishment or shift back to human form to re-gain their strength. They can shift directly to any form, no matter what form they're currently in. Those with a lot of skill and experience can even shift specific body parts or pause mid-shift if, for example, they want to walk around in human form with a big, furry wolf tail for Halloween or use their claws to slit the plastic on those annoying, hard to open CD cases!
World and Society
Since in their human form they pretty much look just like anyone else, they blend in to whatever culture and ethnic group with whom they choose to dwell and enjoy their abilities while lying low and keeping their true identity safely guarded. They only fight against other people if they are attacked first or threatened by the risk of exposure.
Wolves and humans are both very social and naturally like to be with others of their kind. Though they can easily recognize another werewolf and do what they can to look out for each other, there usually aren't enough werewolves to form any kind of specific society. Sometimes there may already be a werewolf pack in the area, in which case new werewolves are welcomed in and looked out for. They may even gather from time to time in werewolf form to discuss pack business, keep tabs on fellow packmates, and welcome or change new members. Though it doesn't happen very often, humans that actually want to become werewolves of their own free will might get bitten during some sort of initiation ceremony at one of the pack meetings. If they don't want to wait that long, another werewolf will just bite them wherever they happen to be.
Different groups will have their own specific rules, but all will generally follow the basic pack structure of regular wolves, though every member is important and treated well. Werewolves can communicate regardless of language barriers by using universally understood wolfish body language and sounds when they meet. When the occasion permits, they enjoy hunting or just taking a run in the wild as a wolf to make them happy and relieve stress; if there aren't any packs in the area, they may join up with local wolves for company or simply start their own.
Werewolves have long been the substance of legend, and have become a household word due to popular media, Halloween, and various other causes. Are they real? If so, what does that mean to us? I've spent a lot of time and thought on this information, and even though it's still a work in progress, I hope you've found this information useful and entertaining whether you're here out of curiosity, have a school paper to write, or like me is a hard-core werewolf fan.
For definitions of Words that might be new to you, please see the dictionary:
Anthromorphising - The application of human characteristics to animals.
Anthro - Short for Anthromorph, refers to (1) people who are interested an anthromorphic animals, and (2) the actual depictions of half human/half animal blends (generally, these anthros behave more like people than animals, wearing clothing and doing human things).
Biped - One who walks on two legs only.
Digitigrade- Refers to the way a canine foot is shaped; they walk on their toes instead of flat on their feet.
Lycanthrope - Another word for someone who is a werewolf.
Furry - One who is interested in anthromorphic animals such as werewolves (part human, part wolf).
Morph - See shape shift.
Plantigrade - The way humans walk: flat on their feet.
Quadruped - One who walks on four legs.
Shape shift - To "shift your shape" or change one's body into another form.
Shift - Short for "shape shift." A word commonly used in the werewolf communty.
Transmogrification - See shape shift.
True Werewolf Form - Also, the name of the half wolf, half human blend form. Synonym: Gestalt Form
Werewolf - A human capable of form shift; Can assume either the form of a wolf, or that of a half human/half wolf blend. See above for more info.
Other People's interesting werewolf definitions:
A. Goldewolfen's Kierrn
B. The Pack Message board: What should a werewolf be?
C. Sugarpoultry's Werewolves 101
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