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Werewolves: the dangerous side of truth or dare

werewolves - their origin and explanation

Transmission & Vectors

The agent of the transmission is transferred when someone swims in certain lakes in full-moon nights. It's a specific bacteria in the water that gets more active and if touched by anything  - even fish - in full-moon nights would cause transformation that lasts differently depending on the species that touched it. For a fish - it causes somewhat of an allergic reaction that causes it to become cannibalistic and switches the scales for hair. In this case by the morning the condition is gone. For something the size of a house dog or a cat the bacteria would take half of the fur off, pull the skin around their eyes  - which causes the eyes to seem bigger - and, again - causes aggression and light forms of cannibalism. For a cat or dog the effect can last for about a month - until the next full-moon.  With humans it reacts far more violently and causes bigger change as they are larger and dumb enough to stay in the water longer than the 30 seconds it takes the bacteria to sink in through the skin.

Causes

It's a natural bacteria that was transported to some of Rockdoors mountain's lakes from Forice - where it originates as it's produced by a type of toad from the swamps which uses said bacteria's effects as a mating thing - on full-moon nights the males of those toads take a dip, get hairy and go eating any opponents for their lady. In the morning the winning male mates with all the females. 

From the swamps, through an infected animal that went in a portal the bacteria got shaken off in one lake and then infected beings carried it around with their bodily fluids.

The reason why it's just in a couple of the lakes is that the local forest spirits noticed what's going on and put magical barriers around the lakes that cannot be broken through by most creatures - humans included

Symptoms

The condition would not manifest immediately for humans - like mentioned before they are too large and stay in for longer so they get extra-soaked in the infested, brimming with bacteria, water. 

When the next fullmoon comes specialists who have studied the condition say: 

"First the infected will feel immense pressure in their head and mainly in the area of the temples and the jaw-line. Then they will start claiming they are thirsty but no matter how much water we'd give them they will not be satisfied. The next stage is the reformation of the facial shape which includes the elongation and angulating of both upper and lower jaw upon which the resemblance to a classical snout starts to show. Only after that process is complete the body's transformation starts. With the help of emotion-to-text sensors we've received "What's going on? Help me! What's happening? It hurts!" which generally translates to strong confusion and physical discomfort. They however disappear completely upon the rapid upward twist of the spine and the growth of the arms into double their original size and are replaced with anger and even stronger thirst. When the hips shorten and get rounder only to drop down and be pushed forward by the lengthening feet until the heel comes right behind the knee the major part of the transformation is complete and what we are looking at is an almost-wolf looking being, covered in very stretched human skin and looking for something to satisfy its thirst with. The finer details - the skin around the eyes pulling away to the point of veins being visible, nails growing fast and the teeth getting sharp and pointy as well as eyesight adjusting to adapt to a nocturnal setting, ears enlarging to allow for better hearing and the undoubtedly painful forward-stretching of the neck happen fairly quickly after the last stage. In its entirety the transformation is quite traumatizing to witness and the affected stays in this form until sunrise. If they are not withheld from going out on the streets they can kill and attempt to consume up to 15 human beings in a night. Upon coming to their senses in the sunlight the transformed would remember a blurry of red and screaming - or, if kept locked in their room - they might remember tearing everything to shreds."                                          - dr. Seravann Ledeorry; specialist in                                                  lycanthropic history and medical mutations
For the longest time the only solution to that happening was to lock the infected in a room with tearable items and no windows until they change back. Many attempts have been done  - with the help of the forest spirits - to find a cure for the condition but until April of 2020 nothing worked.

Treatment

On April 16th 2020 a group of hikers who asked for permission to go in a generally forbidden area of the forest were allowed to enter as they were regular visitors and were known to the forest-folk with their good manners and useful gifts of silver-coated bandages, glass bottles and recyclable nets for putting around tree trunks. They went into a cave and took a couple of bottles of the cave water with the initial idea to drink it as they believed cave water is the coldest and cleanest of the mountainous resources. Before actually drinking it though they sent it to be checked in a laboratory where by accident a trainee mixed a vial of the cave water with a vial containing the blood of infected werewolf. When the main doctor came back and - without being told about the accident - checked the vial with the supposedly infected blood it turned out to be clean human blood. Something in the cave water had beat the bacteria from the lake water. Here's what he said in an interview for "RDSTV" after some further experiments and testing: 

"A virus in the cave water that doesn't make it harmful for drinking but still exists in it cancels out the effect of the lakes' bacteria. After multiple testing and dividing the components inside the water we discovered that the component that stops the bacteria is the urine of a specific species of bat that happens to live in the cave and sleeps right above the lake. The bat is a known species from the Covidea family and is better known as Crown-nosed bat. We will use the water from the lake with the permission of the forest-folk to create a vaccine that heals the infected werewolves. We truly hope teenagers stop daring each other to go past the moon scouts and take a dip in the lakes for their own sake and safety".

Prognosis

Upon the vaccine being used on the infected they would spend a couple of hard days [up to a week] of vomiting, splitting headaches and temporary paralysis but when the next full-moon comes they do not transform and have no urges to consume human meat. 

However - if it's left untreated - and the infected decides to proceed and reproduce while in the condition it's been proven that the child that gets born is also affected by the bacteria as it was transferred by the sexual fluids of the infected  parent and it's harder to heal a child that was born with the condition.

Affected Groups

Anyone can get affected. And the resulting form most of the time will be called a werewolf because of the resemblance to a wolf. However - in some cases - they can be were-cats or even houndhorses [the centaur version]. The most dangerous remain the dracoss as if getting affected they would change into their dracoss form and not think before burning down the entire city of Rockdoors. Fortunately no dracoss is stupid enough to go past the moon scouts for whatever reason.

Prevention

In order to protect oneself from getting infected a simple following of the "No skinny dipping in those few lakes on full-moon" rule. Most of the people who get infected are between the ages 14 and 27 and admit to have been dared in a game of "Truth or Dare" to do the sneaking past the moon scouts and jumping in the water. Because "It's fun and forbidden". Hence a bit more thinking before acting towards accepting a "Dare" would always be a way of prevention.

Epidemiology

As the bacteria is spreadable by droplets of bodily liquid - if the infected wears a heavy-duty mask and gets the vaccine before the next full-moon they will not be creating more werewolves that endanger the town.

History

In Forice anyone knows not to go close to the swamps because of the toads and because of many dangerous creatures that live in them so the only ones who were ever infected were the toads themselves.

This is a rough-draft article for SummerCamp; will add images and polish it at a later point.
Type
Supernatural
Origin
Magical
Cycle
Chronic, Acquired & Congenital
Rarity
Rare

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