On Werewolf Gifting
The werewolf physiology thread describes the virus and the chemical reactions needed to turn a human into a werewolf, but there are other factors at stake in this process. There are multiple practical ways to turn a human into a werewolf, but this write up will cover some extremes in the spectrum.
The first step in gifting is infection, which can happen by an exchange of body fluids (compare to the AIDS virus, as a rule of thumb for transmission). Since the virus is transmitted via bodily fluids, children can be born as carriers. The virus is not activated in utero; rather, the fetus changes with the form of the mother, based on her activated virus, should she be a full werewolf. 'Born' werewolves often have special traditions surrounding their gifting, depending on their pack. Others become infected in a chance encounter - risky behaviors, or a blood transfusion. They may carry the virus for years and never be gifted at all, particularly if no one knows they are a carrier, and then some chance encounter turns them into a werewolf.
Below are a few examples of how the virus might be activated.
A Gifting by Chance Encounter
It was all a little too cliche for him, but it would have to do.
She was sitting in Vesper Gardens, admiring the lily pool with her boyfriend. Tallish, dark hair. He could easily take him, especially now. It was her though, he wanted her.
Moving from tree to tree, he quietly made his way closer to the couple. The man suddenly turned, looking behind them, directly at the sound coming from the forest. The predator waited quietly in the brush. He had all the time in the world. The man turned back around and put his arm around the girl.
Staying low to the ground he approached the bench they were sitting at. The man was trying to get fresh with the girl, but she wouldn't let him. Frustration could be heard in the man's voice and the woman's was getting a little higher pitched in her pleading. If it mattered, he would've felt a little better about doing what he did next - but really he didn't care at all.
The man stood and walked away. Something about 'taking a piss' and the girl looked away in the other direction annoyed. Walking off into the brush, the man never felt it coming, much less his throat being silently torn out.
Pulling the body back into the brush, hiding it for the moment, he crept closer to the girl. She had stood and walked away from the bench and was kneeling down by the pool. She had gloriously curly brown hair, nice and thick. Big brown eyes and a beautiful figure. Yes, she'd do. She noticed him just then and she stood, backing away slowly. Putting her hand out, she tried to ward him away, the other hand going into her purse.
He stalked her for a minute, enjoying her fear. Her eyes were big and luminous in the moonlight. So beautiful as she started to cry. With a forced grin, he was on her, tearing at her clothes. She began to scream and he briefly considered tearing her throat out as well to silence here, but no...that would'nt do. Suddenly he felt something stick him in the arm. Her other hand had produced a knife from her purse. Where was the trust in this city? She slashed him, drawing his blood and leaving a nasty gash.
Finally pinning her down on the ground, he did what he set out to do.
Dr. Boeger walked into her room, pulling his lab coat on and holding her chart in one hand. 'Looks like you had a rough night.'
The woman glared at him.
'I'm sorry ma'am. You seem fine though, it'll heal up just fine. Tell me, is there anything you can remember from the attack?'
The woman shrugged. It had happened all so fast, she said. It was big, whatever it was, she said. And it bit her, not once but four or five times, she said. It was angry but it could've killed her but didn't, she said. But she managed to stab it...she said.
'Well that'll help us find who did this, ma'am.' She corrected him, it wasn't a man, she said.
'There, there, ma'am. You've had a rough night.' Dr. Boeger patted her arm and gave her a brilliant smile. Women loved doctors, especially beautiful ones and she was beautiful. 'I'll check on you in about an hour, ma'am.'
Walking out Dr. Boerger tucked her chart back into the slot on the wall and walked into the day room. Pulling up his sleeve he checked the bandage on his arm where the crazy bitch had stabbed him. Ah well, he thought. He'd be right as rain tomorrow and then at least he'd have time to schmooze the pretty lady.
A Traditional Vyusher R'asa Gifting
Robbie stood anxiously in the middle of the clearing, a little boy of seven wearing nothing but a pair of swimming trunks in spite of the chill in the air. His mom had told him that in the old days even swim trunks were considered unnecessary, but he was glad for them. A lot of people would see him tonight, and he didn't want to be bare assed naked.
Frowning at the mental use of what his mother called a filthyword, he looked up to the stars that were just now beginning to appear. He knew his mom and dad, not to mention aunts and uncles, were not far away. There was a rumor that the Polemarch would be here too. Robbie -definitely- didn't want to be naked in front of the Polemarch.
He had been left in the clearing while it was still light outside, because a boy about to be gifted was old enough to face the night alone. At least that's what his father said; Robbie wasn't so sure. Not that he was scared, of course, but he did feel -awfully- exposed. Sucking in his lower lip and biting down, hard, he continued to gaze upward, where a quarter moon shed its scant light. He thought about what his father had told him; about facing the dark alone, and how all things of great importance should be done in sight of the sky. How what was done as a wolf carried over to the choices one made as a man, and how The Gift was the most sacred thing a father could do for his son.
Then he thought of his mom. His beautiful mother, who still came in to read him bed time stories even though he was practically a man. She had told him not to be afraid, that she knew he could be brave. She told him to be still, and quiet, and that she would be very very close even though he would not be able to see her.
He thought he saw tears in her eyes as they walked away from the clearing, but it might have been that the light was a little funny, because he saw tears in father's eyes too, and that couldn't be right.
It was getting darker now, and finally Robbie looked down again, unable to resist any longer. By his feet the carcass of a large buck lay sprawled out on the ground, his eyes wide and glassy and staring. That scared him worse than the dark; not just the dead thing itself, but also its purpose.
Just in case.
His mother had explained that sometimes the wolf's nature is too strong, and the urge to hunt and rip and tear at flesh took over. Better a deer than sweet little Robbie.
Robbie knew better than to shudder at that thought. His parents were watching even if he couldn't see them, and maybe other people too.
At last Robbie heard movement in the underbrush and knew it had to be time. Sure enough, into the clearing stepped a sleek wolf with narrow shoulders, built for speed and grace.
And suddenly all of his fears went away and his thoughts took a quite different turn.
'Soon I'll be able to run fast like my dad. And I'll hear everyone moving in the trees and know just who they are 'cause I'll smell 'em all out...'
It seemed the wolf (his father) took -forever- to approach. Mom had told him that his daddy would change far away from the clearing so that he would have time to calm down. Robbie had asked a lot of questions at that point - how would his father change? Where would he get the blood? How come we didn't do this at the full moon? Well is he going to tear my arm off anyway? Can you sew an arm back on?
His mother was soon driven to distraction by all these questions, but answered them to Robbie's satisfaction. He felt he knew what was happening, down to the littlest detail, and that made him feel better.
He stood very still, and waited. When his father (the wolf) was close enough, he slowly held out his arm. He had sworn he would watch the whole thing, but of course he closed his eyes, and so he felt the teeth close high around his upper arm rather than saw them. It happened faster than he had expected, and he made a little wailing noise of surprise, but then his father bit down so hard that even that was cut off; he was too shocked with pain to make a sound. He was certain he would faint and shame his entire family but ooooh it hurt and he could feel blood running down his arm, no, -streaming- down his arm, and there was a heavy paw on his chest and he would surely fall over any second...
But then he felt the teeth withdraw. His arm still hurt something fierce, but now a rough tongue was licking at the wound, the one that would turn into a mark he would carry for the rest of his days, and that somehow made it feel a little better. Robbie opened wet eyes just as his family hurried into the clearing and surrounded him, and the hugs and kisses that followed made him feel a whole lot better.
A Traditional Kadzait Gifting
Nayua, the Kadzait miksa, listened to the songs of those around her. She had gone to sleep night after night with wolves' howls filling her dreams, music that to any adlait might have been eerie, but to her was comforting as any lullaby. Tonight though, she wasn't wrapped in her blankets in her parents' home. She was in the den, surrounded by the spirits of those who had come before her, had been there all day and into the night, reflecting on her origins until she'd heard the Pack outside and known it was time.
She looked around at the small cave. From the beginning of time, it seemed, the Kadzait had found ways to build dens, even in cold hostile climes such as this. Nayua brushed her hands over the cool stone wall. Deep rust-colored smudges covered each stone. She could see well enough with the soft glow of the moonlight and the single torch that flooded the den from just outside. She traced the pattern with small fingers.
It was a handprint, and had been here for so long it seemed part of the stone itself. Nayua pressed her own hand up against it and measured; whoever this was had celebrated their Uitayok when they were older than her... or perhaps just bigger. She pulled her own hand away and regarded the brighter red stain superimposed over the handprint. It was big enough to nearly obscure the handprint; perhaps it would have if they hadn't been two different colors. It was a pawprint, pressed exactly over the handprint. The handprint was made of blood; the pawprint, of red ochre.
She returned to where she'd been sitting before. She had no need for blankets, coats, clothing beyond the light things she wore. Kanak was there, as he would always be there, her family's dearest friend, her father's childhood playmate and always her guardian. Tonight he would become her aipa, as well, and for the next year everything they did, they would do together.
Nayua buried her hands deep into Kanak's thick fur, sitting next to him and hugging him as the howling outside reached new heights. Each wolf sounded like several, but each still had a particular, unmistakable quality to his or her voice. If she concentrated she could discern them, but she didn't want to do that. Tonight was for the Pack as a whole, to lift their voices as one, to sing for her.
"I'm ready,"Â? she whispered, feeling the massive, warm body beside her shift as she spoke.
He stood before her then, huge, broad, dark as night without a single speck of gray in his fur, and his tongue lolled out as he wolf-grinned at her. Don't be afraid, the expression clearly said.
Nayua stood and the blanket that had been wrapped around her fell away from her right hip. As it did, Kanak moved in close. He looked up at her once, and then his jaws closed just over her hipbone, sharp teeth puncturing her skin with ease. Nayua didn't cry out, didn't even have time to be scared. It was over as soon as she even registered the pain. She pressed her hand over her hip, feeling the blood well up, feeling it trickle down to her leg.
She made her way to the wall of the cave and clapped her small hand against it, pressing as if that would make it deeper or darker. Kanak was right beside her, nodding with approval, tongue gently cleaning her wounded hip. Nayua looked down as the pattern of punctures emerged, like someone had pressed a piece of red lace over her hip. She would return after her first Change, complete the ceremony, and by then she would truly understand how her life was linked with everything in nature - particularly the moon, but also the sun, everything on the Earth right down to the smallest animal.
For now, she wound her arm around Kanak's neck and leaned on him, shaky with relief and a little bit of nerves, and made her way outside where the Pack was waiting, both Amaroq and Illamar, for their newest Amaroq to emerge, be greeted, then cared for when she felt the effects of the bite and finally celebrated as she learned how to see with her new eyes.