The Reign of Winter
Natural Lycanthropes or Lycans refer to themselves as Fenrir. They believe that they were created by Gaia – the mother of all – to safeguard her from her enemies. While it might seems strange that the very spirit of the world could have enemies, the Fenrir know it to be true. They tell stories of the Triat – three spirits called the Wyld the Weaver and the Wyrm that must exist in balance for all to be right in the universe. As many could attest something is deeply wrong with the world, and therefore the Triat is out of balance.
The Fenrir are warriors first and foremost. They were created to be guardians and predators, peerless mergers of the two best hunters Gaia has ever birthed, wolf and man. Every Fenrir is capable of startling brutality, regardless of breeding or training, because every Fenrir carries in his heart the seed of rage. This primal fury is interpreted differently by Lycans. Some of them see it as a tiny sliver of Gaia’s pain that the world is imperfect, some see it as a gift from Fenris, the moon, their patron and spiritual guide. Whatever the truth is the rage drives them in their hunts and allows them to summon their killing fury at will – but under the lambent moon any Fenrir can become lost in his rage.
Not every moment of a Lycans life is spent in combat, however. The Fenrir have a complex shamanistic society. They are divided into six tribes, dispersed throughout Golarion. Some of these tribes are allied, some opposed, and these lines can blur in different regions. Each tribe has its take on the history of the Fenrir, the purpose that they fulfill for Gaia and (especially) how to interact with humanity…
Gaia created the Fenrir as protectors to maintain the balance of life. For a time the Lycans lived in harmony with humans and nature. Then the humans drove great beasts to extinction. They destroyed the wilderness, cutting down forests to build cities. They cleared more woods for cultivation. They domesticated animals, enslaving them to the Weaver. Humans mastered fire fire and forged sharpened weapons to kill predators.
Fenrir saw the humans become a threat to Gaia. The Lycans decided to cull the humans and prevent them from destroying nature. This dark period was the impergium. The Fenrir descended upon human settlements at night slaying them at their whim. While this savagery served to keep the human population steady, it also ensured that humans hated and feared the Fenrir. This fear eventually lead them to find dread allies. The Wyrm readily accepted humans who sought power. The first undead and dark wizards rose to power, they offered humans protection from the monsters that hunted them. In return they demanded worship, and sacrifices of blood or slaves.
The Weaver also gave humans better tools to defend themselves. Walls rose up around cities. She taught them to use fire aggressively to destroy entire wild lands so that humans could live safely. Humans learned to change the course of rivers. They found new spiritual guidance, not from the spirits of the natural world but harsh religions dedicated to the ascent of humanity.
The Impergium changed humans. They no longer wished to live in harmony with nature. They wanted vengeance against it. As the Fenrir began to lose their battle with the humans, they realized what had happened. They had driven humans to the enemies of Gaia. They ended the Impergium, but the damage was done. Fenrir and humans would never live in peace again. Through dark magics and nefarious experimentation on captured Lycans, a powerful Lich named Tar-Baphon created the disease that would decimate the Fenrir population and drive them to the brink of extinction, Lycanthropy.
By lying to their now subservient human thralls, the undead were able to spread the disease and ignite a blood frenzy among not only the humans, but all races of Golarion. The Fenrir were now the prey. Rampaging werewolves roamed the countryside killing anything they could get their tainted maws on. The non affected killed werewolf and Fenrir alike, unable to tell the difference until the bodies reverted to their normal form. The land was covered in the blood of man and beast alike, Gaia wept for her children, and the un-living grew stronger.
There are few Lycan left in Golarion. Any tribes that remain are reclusive and obscure, living their lives in secret. Some solitary Fenrir driven by primal instinct still patrol the forests and untouched wilds. Silent protectors, defending Gaia and her children against the undead scourge.