One of the least understood and most feared conditions throughout Zihæt, lycanthropy can strike anyone. Those with this condition undergo a transformation, often unwilling, into a dangerous beast. During the day the individual may be completely unaware of the transformation. When transformed at night, the beast may show no ability to recall its original identity. Identifying a lycanthrope in its animal form may be tricky. Only the slight glimmer of additional consciousness or intelligence may give it away. In its human form, strange unexplained injuries or markings may begin to appear that link the wounded beast with the unchanged human.
Transmission & Vectors
It is believed that blood or saliva may be a transmission vector, but this remains unproven. The more likely candidate is the bloodline (genetics) of the individual.
Old lore maintains that there was a pathogen (and associated sickness) that occured amongst the northern peoples that was the underlying cause of the mutations that gave rise to the condition now passed through the bloodlines. It is unclear if this is true, or simply a fantasy constructed to explain the origin of the condition. If true, it's possible this pathogen still exists and could cause further cases outside of known bloodlines.
The condition begins with the afflicted individual dreaming of being transformed into an animal. The animal is usually some form of dangerous beast or preditor in the region. As the dreams continue, the individual can develop paranoia as they fear that they are falling victim to delusions and losing their mind. After time, usually in late adolescence, the individual begins to transform. In the day they remain their original self. In the late night they change shape involuntarily and become the beast of their dreams.
There is no known cure for the condition once it manifests. Over time, as the individual reconciles their self-image of their previous lives with the lycanthropic dreams they gain more control over the transformation. More importantly they retain their consciousness and identity after the transformation and have more control over their actions.
The course can take three different paths, with varying outcomes: 1) The individual rejects the dreams. At this point the individual maintains two lives. The life during the day as a normal individual, and the life of the beast at night. 2) The individual embraces the dreams. At this point the persons daytime identity begins to take on more and more of the beastial characteristics. The individual will eventually become aware of the transformations. As he or she does so, the behaviors, characteristics and morals of the creature of the night come to dominate his or her daytime behavior. In the rarest of occasions, the individuals give up their humanoid identity and become fully lost to the beast. 3) The individual accepts the dreams, but rejects that they can control him or her. At this point the individual becomes aware of the transformations, and retains a loose hold on his or her daytime consciousness during the transformations. With time and practice the individual can physically transform at will, but maintains full cognative control.
The individual who rejects the dreams are most at risk of ongoing mental illnesses, as the separation of the two lives cannot be maintained forever. Paranoia and other issues become common comorbidities.
The Chronis Family family has a long history of recurring Lycanthropy.
Hosts & Carriers
The condition can remain dormant in a bloodline for several generations. Interbreeding between two lines with the condition almost always causes the condition to reappear in the offspring.
No known means of prevention.
The particular bestial form of the transformation varies by bloodline. There has been much discussion as to whether this is an environmental factor, psychological factor, or genetic factor.
The history of the condition goes back to well before the arrival of the Younger Races on Zihæt.