Ambrose Maurlias - Modern Incarnation.
As has been an unfortunate recent trend over the past semester, we have been pretty much taking a hiatus from formal roleplaying. Victorian Legends and the Ravenloft game had been put on hold. As I have been a rather obsessive gamer for the past 10 or so years, I've been using other things to fill in my "fix" ^_~ - one being RP'ng over the forums of Gaiaonline. Another being talking out with Kamiki a modern Alternate Universe version of Ambrose/Angelina that has been really interesting and developing in its own right. Many of the ideas/themes you will read are quite similar - as it is supposed to be a modern reflection on the characters, though it branches differently and has a different werewolf mythos. As roleplaying, for me, has always been more about interaction and storytelling than dice rolling, I have been enjoying it muchly.
Update - the game is once more rolling - albeit only a couple hours at a time every week or two. But I still like the storyline that we came up with for the Modern version.
So - for artistic purposes and whatnot - here is a synopsis and description of the alternate, Modern version of Ambrose (and Angelina.)
Advance-warning - I'm long-winded ^^;. Also, further story-development of any of these is more than welcome :3.
much Modern day
Ambrose Maurlias - is 16/17, with blue eyes and stylishly cut blonde hair, is the 2nd child of a family of very recent French decent. His family is very well-to-do, and quite concerned with image - picture the wealthy, yuppie image-obsessed suburbanite family and you've probably got a good idea. If the city "The Woodlands" means anything to you then you probably have a better idea.
Thusly, Ambrose has been pretty much weaned into the prep lifestyle - Abercrombie clothes, decent car at his 16th birthday (though not as nice as the one his older brother got ^~), and high expectations/pressure. However, he has always been in the shadow of his older brother Dreu. Dreu has always had the primary attention and adoration of his parents - he's who they brag about to their friends - and in their eyes he can do no wrong - and Dreu puts up a good enough of a facade to convince both them and Ambrose (who for most of his life couldn't envision that the brother whom he is vying for attention with isn't the shining example he puts forward, and despite Ambrose's actual good intentions -and- actions, that the "best man" wouldn't actually win this battle.) Dreu is a Junior in HS while Ambrose is a Freshman , and in actuality maintains a pristine facade, but is less than honorable. He maintains a "trophy" girlfriend - conservative virginal Christian, while frequently two-timing with freshman girls who don't know any better and are dazzled by a rich senior hitting on them. He attends parties, drinks, etc - but all the while being careful not to let any of this out.
While not nearly as bad as the historical version of forced moderation and repression, Ambrose is still rather naive and repressed, though not quite in the same sense. While creative and passionate by nature, he has been shoved into the carbon copy mold of the "popular" cliques in Highschool, despite his internal boredom with the shallow conversation and unimportant, materialistic goals. Also, while he has "gone out" with a few girls, he hadn't had an actual relationship yet with someone whom he really felt a connection with. Ambrose still deals with his problems and emotions primarily through bottling them up, however. Finally, his creative outlet, like the historical version, is through physical activity - fencing ^_~. He's very dedicated to this "acceptable" passion of his - it feels right for him, he can be himself on the strip, and thus is very active in the fencing team at school, and secretly what he really wants is to become an Olympic fencer, despite parents' laid out plans of law or medical school.
Angelina - Also 16/17, has blue eyes, a thin frame, and shoulder-length dark brown hair. She is one of the students that despite living in a lower income neighborhood, was just within the drawn limits to get into the same high school; mostly populated with the children of upper-middle class suburbanite kids. Translating from the historical setting, Angelina lives with her single mother who she barely sees due to her "career" as an exotic dancer. While it puts food on the table, it does very little to assist Angelina's horrible reputation by association, and despite Angelina trying to maintain higher standards, having goals, and getting past it, she is stereotyped as the "easy" girl, while in truth though she -has- been with a few guys, it is nowhere near as bad as her reputation that she is trying to escape. Mainly the few situations have arisen through pressure from older boys due to her perceived reputation, or one incident through alcohol-induced lack of judgment and then an assumed consent if it happened once already. She has goals, however, and tries her best in school as a scholarship is the only real potential she has to go to college, and really wants to escape the lifestyle that her mother lives. While she wants to escape the reputation she has, in other regards she cares less about what people think of her - and thus is interested in some of the fringe groups - a mild gamer and anime fan for example.
See also the webpage that has been established for Modern Angelina
Ambrose and Angelina met through a "forced" interaction in biology lab the beginning of their freshman year in HS when they were paired as partners for the year. Both of them rather hesitant - Angelina assuming Ambrose was the stereotypical conservative bigot, and Ambrose nervous about her reputation... however, with enough interaction with anyone you start to learn about each other. Casual conversation turned to opinions on things, and Ambrose actually started to find himself enjoying speaking with her candidly about some of his real opinions on things - someone who wouldn't care about his more independent thoughts and curiosities. He also heard her side of the story as far as her reputation, and his opinion started to lean towards a much more sympathetic one. Ambrose's eyes were opened one day, however, when he was turning a corner in the hallway after school to find his brother, Dreu, pressuring Angelina - pushing his affections on her, and she pushing him away, to meet Dreu's unabashed derision. Ambrose had never imagined Dreu to be anything but the sterling image he projected, and this really opened his eyes. When he spoke to Angelina about it she was surprised that he didn't know - his brother and his clique had a second reputation among very few about being quite predatory when it came to underclassmen girls. Ambrose's confidence in his "friends' also began to wane, as the droll conversations at lunch and after school didn't live up to the interesting conversations with Angelina... and when confronted, his "friend" Avery knew about Dreu's actions and was surprised Ambrose had not. They started to spend a bit more time together - studying together before school, etc... but, when push really started to come to shove, Ambrose was scared. He was trying hard to impress his parents, they never seemed to praise - looking over A's to criticize the B's - and always a "you can do better". He was scared to make the leap that he honestly wanted to.
Angelina was pissed, and understandably so, when he balked at the choice to spend more time with her... shoving the feelings that he began to develop deep down. She was upset, feeling the cold bite for the first real time of how her reputation was getting in the way of something that she really wanted, and felt was right. She hated it previously, but most of the time she could ignore it and pursue the interests that she enjoyed, but now she was torn up - for something that wasn't even within her control. They didn't speak much for several months, and it tore both of them up inside. Then, in a measure that took a lot of courage on her part, and out of frustrated desperation with her situation and wanting to prove that -she- wasn't the responsible one (or deserving) one for her reputation, and with an ironic twist to get Ambrose's attention and appreciation - she, in a way, solved both of their problems. Knowing Dreu's interest in her and his willingness to press her to get what he wanted (and that he had just turned 18 nearing the end of his Jr year), she set up a situation where he was caught on film doing just that. She then sued Dreu for statutory rape, exposing Dreu's hidden side to his parents, Dreu's girlfriend (who thought that Dreu was a good man for "waiting") and the community. While the case was settled out of court - with a settlement that came out of the money that had been set aside for Dreu's graduation gift of a promised new car (He was told it was that or his college fund, and wasn't really given as a question.) (And now Angelina has funding for eventual college.) Ambrose now experienced for the first time actually getting the attention of his parents before Dreu - who was now seriously in the dog house with them. Ambrose was secretly happy that Dreu was exposed, but surprised that Angelina would go to that extent to do this... and questioned whether she had to endure that for him or for her own liberation (though of course nothing is total.) Though this came as a double-edged sword. While his parents knew that Dreu was the one at fault, needless to say kind sentiments were not felt towards Angelina. However, now in the light, Ambrose apologized to Angelina, and began a relationship with her that summer, albeit hidden from his parents. (Though physically moved rather slowly due to limited meetings and Ambrose's inexperience and slight repression).
~And now things start to take an interesting turn ^_~. One night, about midway through the next school year, they go to sit and talk at a park near Angelina's when a very large, black "stray dog" approached the couple, snarling, and undeterred by their shoo-ing words and motions. Ambrose interposed himself between it and Angelina, grabbing a branch for defense, and started to slowly walk back towards Angelina's when it sprung to attack him. He got a good whack at its side, chasing it off, but not before it had gotten a good bite on his left arm - really tearing open a nasty wound. Ambrose headed quickly to the hospital, phoning his parents (Angelina stayed behind). He got stitches, and a rabies shot, and by the end of the evening it was at least not feeling -too- horrible, and the primary thought on his mind was that he was glad it wasn't his fencing arm.
Over the next couple weeks, however, Ambrose felt a bit strange (though did not draw any association). His appetite increased dramatically - the school lunches no longer satisfying him, and found himself sometimes even buying two. He started having strange dreams that faded quickly when he woke he began also to feel unjustifiably restless - with a lot of pent up energy and frustration - he was quicker to snap at people, and would spend longer and longer at fencing practice - people on the team starting to complain about his aggression and not letting up in a match when a point or hold was called, though he performed quite well at the fencing tournament that weekend. He would also frequently feel "off" during this time - bordering on running a fever, though feeling good at the same time.
THE FIRST CHANGE
The next full moon Ambrose was home studying for a test and began to feel -really- restless, finding it harder and harder to focus on the material in the book - feeling stifled and slightly claustrophobic. He opened a window and then found himself pacing. But the sensation only seemed to be building, pressuring.... and then... he started to feel quite strange... a bad strange... His fingers started to hurt, and looking down he saw his nails extending to sharp points, and hair spreading on the backs of his arms and hands. The feeling intensified, doubling him over, his mind and heart racing in terror as the pain increased, his body stretching and popping and cracking and swelling to a new shape, the seams in his clothes straining and ripping. He saw what was happening, but his mind just couldn't wrap around the impossible, and swimming in the pain of the transformation. When the pain finally subsided after he wasn't sure how long, he quakingly looked down at four paws and gray, cream and tawny fur... a whimper escaped his throat, and he was shaking, terrified and about to have a nervous breakdown when he heard his parent's voices (quite clearly) down the hall, asking Dreu if he heard a dog, and then footsteps approaching his room. His fear peaked anew and without thinking how, his legs carried him to the open window, and up and over the windowsill. He was terrified, out alone on the streets, feeling quite naked, and hearing everything so clearly - smells filling his nose, everything seeming so overpowering. He started running blindly in a direction, trying to escape the feeling and the noises and sensation, though the very act of running on all fours terrifying him all the more. He refused to believe what was happening, but at the same time he couldn't get away from it. Not paying attention to where he was going, he found himself halfway across town, and traveling in the vague direction of Angelina's house.... his mind racing, he figured that that was his best bet. As he approached her house nervously, he hung to the bushes, scared to approach... though her dog announced his presence for him - barking and growling from where she was chained up outside.
Angelina opened the window to see what all the barking was about to see a large canine shape slinking nearby. At first she was scared - she remembered the large dog from the park and assumed it to be the same one, and nearly called animal control, but upon seeing Angelina he stepped out, whining and looking quite scared... and she realized that the color was different. Putting down the phone she hesitantly came to the door, thinking that maybe it had been attacked. The "dog" was terrified, and the more she looked, the more it looked more like a wolf than a dog - and strangely it seemed to get even more nervous when she spoke this aloud. It was shaking and whimpering, its movements clumsy, though when she opened the door it darted quickly into the house despite her protests, though it did not bite or try to bite her. When she searched it for injuries the only thing she found was an old, mostly healed wound on its front leg... besides that it seemed to be in perfect health - shiny fur, well fed, and white teeth. But it was still acting very strange, and when she tried to pick up the phone again to call someone about it it ripped the phone cord from the wall. Giving up, and seeing as it hadn't tried to bite, and seemed to be a bit better in her presence, though refused to go back outside with Lady, her other dog. In fact, when she tried to go into her room for something, it pushed in afterwards. It was a huge dog, too - around 200lbs if she had to guess, and not easy to manhandle where she wanted. But its anxiety did not decline, it paced, and, it seemed to have an uncanny level of understanding of her words, creepily so - shaking its head when asked if it was hurt....
Ambrose's mind... meanwhile was frantically racing - terrified still yet happy to be with Angelina, and almost scared to let her know what was happening - even if he could figure out how. Finally, spying the computer in the corner, he walked over, jumped in the chair, and pawed at the keyboard and whined at her.... Amazed and curious, she opened word disbelieving what she was even theorizing... he started pawing at the keyboard - trying to use his claws to hit specific keys and missing horribly at first - enough that Angelina shook her head and turned away... when he was finally able to type out.... "help me". When she turned around she stared in shock at the monitor. Disjointed questions sprung to her lips, and she searched him once again for injuries, talking at it now with the bewildered knowledge that it could understand - She asked what was wrong and He typed "body". She searched him for injuries again but he shook his head, his body still quivering as his decision was made, and he started to peck out the letters of his name... to which Angelina stood... and stared at the screen, opening and closing her mouth in incredulity. Looking back at him (who was looking at her with scared, and almost guilty eyes) she stuttered out the question... if -he- was Ambrose? When a hesitant nod was the reply things seemed to suddenly link together. Her eyes immediately went out the window... confirming the thought.... "there's a full moon out" She trailed off... and Ambrose's eyes went wide as his mind finally made the connection. Angelina turned back to him, looking again at the wound on his leg "The bite! That wasn't a dog - you're a......." he shook his head quickly again, denial, not wanting to hear the word, but she completed the sentence: "werewolf...." She went to him, hugging him, and trying to comfort him, amazed and flabbergasted herself with the concept... the impossible happening... though she admittedly was a bit more receptive to the idea than he - given her more esoteric interests. His stomach growled, and he realized the ravenous hunger he felt, and she fed him most of the rest of the meat and food from the house before he settled down. That night she let him sleep next to her, trying to comfort him, though most of the night he was up quivering, both from fear and shock, and a strange energy and awareness that he felt that refused to let him sleep. It was only an hour or so before dawn that he finally drifted off to sleep.
The next morning he slowly awoke, the first thought was of the strange, incredibly realistic dream he had... until the surroundings sunk in, and he looked down at his nude form and the bits of shed fur around him and he started quivering again reality smacking him upside the head. Angelina was just as startled when she woke with his movements, and they discussed what had happened... She ran out and bought him some cheap Wal-Mart clothes, and he went through the rest of the day, only staying in school long enough to take the test. He gave his parents a call - making up a story about going for a walk in the park and falling asleep.\
ADJUSTING AND LEARNING
Ambrose went to Angelina's house after class the next day - talking with her, though wasn't prepared for that evening when he started to change again - not realizing that the full moon lasts for 3 days. This time, however, he shifted to a hybrid form (anthropomorphic) - one one hand, happy that he could talk, stand, and had hands, but feeling more a monster as the severity of the situation sunk in deeper. Angelina decided that the best way to try to help him would be to get him drunk. And, admittedly, it did help greatly - after several shots of tequila that she snuck out of her mother's room (who was luckily gone most nights at... 'work') Ambrose wasn't caring much about what he looked like. Slowly, nervously, and with a lot of assistance from Angelina, that night and the next he spent in her close company. Something about the change keeping him from being able to merely sleep through it - and they coined the phrase "movie nights" - as he spent the next day, and the next full moon days the next month (he would sneak out of the house or make an excuse of going to a friend's house), by her side and generally eating and watching films, talking with her and getting to know each other better as they were housebound. He learned how to be able to shift between the hybrid and full wolf form on the full moons - and didn't like being in a form he couldn't speak in, despite the unnaturalness of his hybrid form (he startled himself seeing himself in the mirror the first time when going to use her restroom). He was also very careful never to bite or claw Angelina, scared that he would pass the "curse' to her. The increased appetite stayed with him, however, all the time - even when it was far from a full moon, and his performance in fencing seemed to be improving dramatically, and provided an outlet for the pent-up energy and aggression that seemed to be bigger and harder to keep under wraps. Additionally, his eyebrows began to grow thicker, connecting at the middle, and his hair harder to tame - every morning he would pluck the bridge of his nose, and every night it would grow back as he slept. He also inadvertently discovered a very real vulnerability to silver when shopping for a gift for Angelina... looking at a pretty heart locket he burned himself as he touched it.
The nagging worry also developed - that the only thing he knew of werewolves was from film - and most of them characterized a bloodthirsty monster. He was scared of if it would develop more - if it would "get worse", and he had no idea what to turn to for answers. Angelina lent him any books she had on the subject (anything from Roleplaying games to occult books) and he checked out several from the library - but each one spoke of a different mythos, he also read up on wolves in general - books and discovery channel films. Finally, the idea dawned on him that he would have to find the one that turned him - the black wolf from the park that night.
The next full moon he went out in wolf-form to the park where he was bitten, sniffing around... but it had been far too long since he was here... and he was by no means accustomed to actually using the heightened senses he was acquiring. Frustrated, he paced around, hoping the answer would come... but nothing showed, and he became increasingly aware of people out strolling and giving him wary looks - a huge "dog" out without a collar. Then, something dawned on him - an embarrassing thought, but... he was pretty sure it would work, and he was desperate for information. Looking around quickly he quickly urinated near the bench where he had been sitting before dashing back to Angelina's.
Embarrassed, he told her what had happened and he had done, and brought up the issue of the collar.... again, QUITE embarrassed and nervous. The next day, a weekend, he regretted bringing it up as she decided to fix that problem - and asked him if he was able to shift forms not during the full moon. The idea had never struck him before, and he concentrated, picturing the shift and himself as a wolf, though just when he was about to retort that it wasn't going to work, he felt the change sweep over him. She took him to get a collar, and actually to a veterinarian - legally getting him a rabies tag (much to Ambrose's severe annoyance and humiliation as he got a canine check-up) - though he had to admit it was probably a good idea if the worst case happened and someone came across him by himself....
That next night he returned to the park. His blood ran cold when he picked up another scent - very strong - near the bench that led quickly out to the wooded area near the edge of town (Angelina lived near the edge of town so it wasn't that far..). He followed the scent quickly to the woods. There, wandered, following the meandering scent, and all the while feeling very out of place in the woods, and feeling watched. Then, he caught a glimpse of a dark shape running in a direction, and he quickly gave chase. It led him all around the woods, always out of reach - and speeding up if he ever got close - only glimpses of the dark wolf at first, and sometimes seeming to get around him when he tried to head it off. It ignored his pleading whines to stop - that he had questions he needed answers to. Finally, it seemed to appear right by his side and spoke to him in a language of growls and whines - yet he understood - "I hope that you were paying attention to the way you came in" And then she was gone. Ambrose, in fact, had not been paying attention, and only managed to, after several hours, pick his way back by following his own meandering and winding scent. Coming back to Angelina's, defeated and dirty.
THE STORY OF THE CURSE
The next night he headed out again, determined. This time, however, she was waiting for him. She walked proudly, and haughtily, and Ambrose pleaded for answers, fear settling in again at how little he really knew. And she told him - speaking cryptically at times, but she spoke of the curse. Ages ago his ancestor had been a French nobleman who had placed a high bounty on all the wolves in his vast territory. Wolves by the hundreds were mercilessly slaughtered, none of which had ever harmed a human, and the sheep that they had killed were few compared to other causes such as disease. However, wolves were scapegoats at the time, and the money motivated the peasants and brought him good standing with the people. Her kind was hunted nearly to extinction in the area, and pleaded to whatever deity or spirit was listening for retribution. Their wish was granted, and a select wolf was imbued with magic - to bring the curse of on the nobleman that he would become what he hated so, and enough magic for her to be able to evade hunters' weapons, unable to be caged or contained, and enough intelligence to carry it out and a lengthened lifespan to do so. However that intelligence and lifespan separated her from the surviving pack mates.... She brought the curse on the nobleman with her bite, and the next full moon (when the magic of the earth was relatively high) he became a wolf himself. Unfortunately, the nobleman did not live long to fully taste the curse - he ended his own life. However, the curse was ongoing, and could be transmitted with a bite to his descendants by her or her descendents - those with a stronger tie to him were the ones selected by her and her descendants. Ambrose was a descendant of this nobleman - and carried his blood quite strongly - a reincarnation, she spoke with conviction, that the last one cursed like him had been his great grandfather - whom she had also been the one to deliver the curse- who had also ended his life early. Ambrose felt a weight on his shoulders - he had not done anything to deserve this - but she would hear none of it- that it was his role to carry the curse, and hers to deliver it. At least, he realized as he listened and she confirmed - that his own bite would not "spread" it. When he asked, nervous, if it would get worse or if anything else might cause him to transform - she merely smirked coyly (as much as a wolf can) and said that he'd find out. When asked if there was a way to remove the curse, she said she did not know. Beyond that, she refused to answer questions - or taunted him with confusing and puzzling responses, and eventually left him again.
This opened a plethora of new questions, but at least he had some answers...
Ambrose did some investigation into the story of his great grandfather... When he asked his father about him (under the guise of research for a class), he was met with reluctance and embarrassment. He was told that his great grandfather had committed suicide when his son was only a boy of seven years. That he had been spending a lot of time away from his wife, that she believed that he was not being faithful to her. He grew strange to her and it was not long after that they found him dead. It was an embarrassment to the family, and something that was not frequently spoken of.
MORE SURPRISES AND THE OTHER HALF OF THE CURSE
When he woke up the morning after the 3rd night of the full moon, he had another surprise - his canines were rather longer and sharper than they had been previously, and he couldn't change those back. His parents noticed when he returned, and assumed that he had gotten involved with the wrong crowd - and were upset - sending him to a dentist's. However, the dentist recognized them for real teeth, and told his parents, whose anger turned to confusion, and worry... They asked if he had been taking drugs - when it had happened - Ambrose tried to dodge the questions and say as much ignorance as they did....
About this time, Ambrose was spending more and more time with Angelina - someone he could talk to candidly, who shared his secret, and was interesting conversation, or spent his time fencing and going to tournaments (which he was doing quite well with - even doing well at the state-level). He grew more distant from his old friends at school - and it became more and more obvious to people whom he was seeing. Dreu in particular, and he was NOT pleased - as this was the woman who had, in his mind, screwed him over, and he confronted Ambrose on it - feigning concern that she would use him as well. Ambrose, of course knew this for Dreu's jealousy. Later that day Matt, one of Dreu's friends and another guy who had been accused by Angelina, accosted Ambrose, trying to start a fight. Ambrose's temper had been harder to control since the lycanthropy, and it didn't take many insults on his "whore of a girlfriends" before Ambrose snapped and threw a punch. It might have gotten a lot worse and further if Ambrose hadn't been cognizant enough to feel a familiar shiver pass over him, and looked down to see hair starting to grow on the back of his hand. He immediately stopped and ran to the mens' room, facing the mirror, where his eyes had started to shift to yellow, his eyebrows had grown back, and his ears had small tips to them. He forced himself to calm down, seeing the features retreat (except the eyebrows), but they had left their warning... Matt, fortunately, had not noticed.
For the rest of the semester, Ambrose was more careful, and spent "movie nights" at Angelina's, making excuses to get out, or sometimes just plain snuck out. However.... mid December, after finals were through, he was in for another worrisome discovery. He had spent the night at Angelina's and woke up smelling a scent quite strongly from outside - something quite arousing... he discovered shortly after that it was left by the she-wolf.... and she was in heat. He barricaded himself in Angelina's, and took full advantage of vapo-rub and other strong scents to mask it - mentally feeling absolutely revolted at the very thought, and terrified about what was happening. He stayed in all evening, and that night he could hear her howls calling to him, begging to him. He tried to shut it out as best he could, staying with Angelina, the thoughts that went through his mind when he caught a whiff through the masking scents made him shudder. Her howls begged him, promised him answers if he would come, and so forth. It was the most torturous couple days of his life. However, before it was over, Angelina had run to the store to restock on food and vapor rub, she appeared there - the windows still locked, in a hybrid form much like the one that he could take - he had never seen her like this before. She snarled at him, saying that no human cages could keep her in -or out (though she had been avoiding the presence of humans). She begged him again, and the scent was overwhelming. She told him that this was -her- side of the curse - the payment for the curse they put on his family. That they would only find companionship by the sides of his family, the very people that they despised, and that they could not take it but it must be given willingly, and that her line must be propagated by his - and they could not be released to death until they mothered a cub to continue their line. This had been the last straw for his great grandfather, the reason why he had killed himself, though he had not fathered the cub, and she had been alive and alone since then. She also taunted him that his great grandfather had only been able to hold out a few days. But Ambrose was able to hold her off just long enough - he heard a door open and Angelina's voice, and then she was gone. Finally, the howls subsided and the scents dissipated, but Ambrose was not that comforted, knowing that eventually it would return...
A about a week later Ambrose was in store for yet another surprise. December 21st, Ambrose woke up at home in his bed in wolf-form, and couldn't shift back to human form, only Hybrid.... scared at first, he called Angelina, and she drove by, opening the door for him (after he jumped out the window in wolf form.) After speaking a bit, they realized that it was the winter solstice - and that if the full moons were "a time of high magic" it made sense for the solstices and equinoxes to be as well. He effectively spent the whole day stuck in his form, till midnight the next night.
THE NEXT SEMESTER
The next semester left Ambrose feeling at the same time more confident and more anxious by the changes that have been occurring to him. He found a safe house in Angelina - both in her understanding of him and his confidence in himself. She also allowed him to explore some things that he had never gotten the chance to before - other interests that most people in his crowd scoffed at - but he actually found interesting - gaming, anime, and the like. He got to let some more of his creative side free, feeling more comfortable with himself as a person. He also reveled in the fact that he was still in his parents' spotlight - motivating him to do well in school and prove to them that he was worth their attention. Dreu, however, stewed - bitter at the shift of attention. That he was no longer held in as high regard as his "baby" brother, and the knowledge of just whom Ambrose was spending his time with. The issue of the she-wolf also plagued him: she was intelligent - like a human, but feral; wild. Her presence still left him feeling distinctly uncomfortable, and he still thought of her as more of an animal than a person- despite his discovery that she, like him, could shift to a hybrid form. He also feared for the day that she would approach him again - thinking bitterly that "her" half of the curse was as much of one for him. The time he had hid from her the first time also brought feelings and desires to the surface - feelings for her, that he was not comfortable at all with. That compounded with the guilt of not being faithful to Angelina if he did give in.
She did approach him again, this time with a warning - that it would not stop until he gave into her, and that her heat would come again soon. Teasing him that he was developing faster than most of the others in the past - perhaps a good sign she said. Ambrose begged her again for information, tried to learn more about this - she his only font of knowledge on what was happening to him - still worried about what would happen to him - if it would get worse. He was still unsettled by his new, sharp teeth. She replied that she would tell him anything he wanted if he gave her a cub. That she could not be released until her part was fulfilled. She emphasized again her distaste in the concept - that it was her kind that hated his line for what he had done to the wolves, that because of this she could never be with a normal wolf pack - that she lived too long and thought too differently from them. She was bound to following his line, and forced to desire him until she could pass it on to a daughter. Ambrose almost felt sorry for her, guilty, but cynical all the same. He asked her her name - to which she could give no good reply. Finally, he gave her one - Nix, in reference to the blackness of her fur, and her ties to the night. She actually paused at that, a hesitance and a thankfulness...
He went to Angelina after his talk, expressing his concern and his worry that he wouldn't be able to hold her back forever. She was angry at first - frustrated. Her gut reaction was remembering the two-timing boyfriends she had been with - who promised her the world one minute, only to not want to keep things exclusive the next. He apologized - and started rambling - and she realized just what he was going through, reminding herself of how he had been that weekend. She saw the power she had over him, and how much the thought of not being faithful to her was hurting him. She sighed, and her frustrations redirected towards Nix, and she comforted him, understanding. Ambrose felt very relieved at her understanding - not wanting anything to mess up the connection that he felt they had.
Eventually... she did approach him again. He tried his hardest to resist... holing himself up again - this time at his own house. But that night he woke up to a presence beside him - it was her - he didn't know how he knew, but he did - and she was human - with wild dark hair, yellow eyes, a curvy, but muscled (nude) figure and an intense presence. He was stunned, babbling something about not knowing that she could shift to a human form - to which she responded that she had never tried- and proceeded to attempt to seduce him - her smell not helping his resistance. Long story short, he couldn't hold out forever. He was only able to convince her to not do it there - being in the same house as his parents. She changed into a wolf - changing him as well (to which he discovered the power that she had over him) and followed her out to the woods. She let go her hold of him and became a human again - asking coyly if it would be easier for him if she were like that. He guiltily, barely able to hold himself back - asked that they mate in hybrid form - the human form being far too personal, and the thought of going at it like two animals unsettled him. She did keep her end of the bargain, however, but the information that he asked and she gave was very little. He had made the most progress in acceptance of what was happening to him than any of his ancestors - moving much faster. She could only speculate that that was a good thing, and perhaps indicitave of a cure. She couldn't tell him it it would get "worse" or not, only that his perceptions of negativity with more wolf-like might mean that it would get "worse." That he wasn't fully human any longer, really. When he asked if it would change him mentally - she pointed out that he already had become different since he changed. That his perceptions might change, become more in tune with the wolf in him - but that he should not lose his intelligence.
PROBLEMS WITH DREU
After it was over, he felt conflicted - on one hand it felt like a weight had been lifted, and yet still feeling so guilty - even after having spoken to Angelina. He went to her again, confiding in her. She was... very quiet for it. Nodding and not saying much. Ambrose could see the pain in her eyes, but she resolutely tried to say nothing... At about this point his features get a bit worse - pointed nails in particular; clipping them became part of his new morning routine - and slight points to the tips of his ears.
The weeks went by and things gradually knitted between Ambrose and Angelina, though Ambrose was still feeling a bit on edge. He used fencing and tournaments as an outlet still, and was doing well, and his confidence was increasing as his parents actually started to occasionally praise him at that. However, the longer this went, the more strained things got between him and Dreu, and he still hadn't told his parents about his relationship with Angelina.
Finally, near the end of the semester, the frustration at having his position revoked, compounded with the fact that Dreu was soon going to be going to college - without the new car, and watching Ambrose making eyes at the girl who was responsible for taking it away from him got to him. One day after school, Dreu and a couple of his friends approached Ambrose, all but picking a fight. Dreu started slinging words - angry and frustrated - calling Angelina a whore - rubbing his face in the fact that it took her to get him where he was now, and what was stopping her from backstabbing him for money too. He laid into his sneaking out, threatening to tell the parents - gloating over the fact that he had information on him that. Ambrose yelled back, and things got heated - and finally - a fist was thrown when Ambrose shot back that his parents finally saw Dreu for the rat that he was. It wasn't long before blood was boiling and Ambrose was letting out years of bottled frustration at his brother and the friends who tried to back him up at first. While drew was bigger than he, and normally stronger, he had the advantage at first - until Ambrose started to slip his teeth grew, as did his nails; a growl rose in his throat, fur bristled in a few more subtle places (arms, hair down his cheeks), and his eyes turned a furious yellow. By the time the teachers broke up the fight and Ambrose came to his senses, he was wiping away blood from his mouth that wasn't his own, and Dreu had several deep claw gashes and bites, and was staring at him in disgust. The slipped features (that by now had mostly retracted) were minor enough and brief enough for most people to overlook (though there was talk for some time afterwards of how much of an animal he became in the fight given his 'tactics'). They were brought to the nurse's office, their parents called, and their wounds cleaned - though Drew required a few stitches, all the wile saying nothing, just looking at Ambrose. Ambrose tried to speak, apologize, but tripped over his words - worried at what Drew might have seen. They were both given a couple weeks of suspension.
Needless to say, their parents were furious - and disappointed with their actions. They were grounded, and not allowed to leave the house, which already had Ambrose on edge, as it was less than a week till the next full moon, to make matters worse Dreu had hardly said a word to him, and he still didn't know exactly what he saw. Ambrose was bummed, and tried to apologize, and spoke a bit to his parents - apologizing for his outburst, that he had been under a lot of stress, etc. His mother really wanted him to open up, knowing that there was something on his mind that he wasn't speaking... but he couldn't. Though felt at least a bit more comfortable with them - having one of the first real conversations with them in a very long time.
Then he went upstairs. A creeping cold went down his spine as he opened his door to see Dreu standing in his room, the books on werewolves that had been stashed under his bead pulled out, the closet door open, and various things in disarray. Dreu was looking back at Ambrose with a ... worried, and slightly scared look. Dreu had first checked under his bed - and found the occult books - books on werewolves... and it wasn't long before things started to pile up - the dog collar in his backpack, a huge dog sweater that hung in his closet ((a joke gift Angelina had given him over Christmas), a decent amount of shed fur around the bed and floor ... and 3 particular nights circled every month on the calendar that hung on his wall. Ambrose tried to brush off Dreu's hesitant queries first - research projects, Angelina's dog's collar, unofficial fencing meets... but the questions are coming fast, and when Dreu asks "So, what - am I going to turn into some sort of freak now, too?" Ambrose slips, and says "no! It shouldn't work like that!"
Then Dreu had him - caught him in his lie. He knew, at the very least, Ambrose believed that he was a werewolf, and Dreu had seen some pretty strange things near the end of the fight. He confronted him, threatening to tell his parents what was going on - unless he proved it - or threatened to try to beat it out of him (seeing as he had started to change during the fight). Eventually, Ambrose acquiesced - hoping that by explaining to him what he was going through that his brother would actually take sympathy on him. He first explained that he wasn't dangerous - that it wasn't like the movies - that it was a "family thing" that skips generations. And then... as his brother got impatient, shifted to full wolf form before his eyes. the reaction was, to put it lightly, not what Ambrose had hoped for. His brother freaked out - not really believing honestly what the clues and his brother's belief pointed to. He was scared of the visible power that his brother had displayed, knowing their tenuous relationship, and very simply - was scared of what was different - that he didn't understand. Ambrose tried to assume the most non-threatening position he could, but it wasn't any good, Dreu ran from the room and started yelling for his parents, and Ambrose was forced to change back as quickly as he could to cover up what happened. Dreu wasn't stupid enough to say what he thought then and there - but said that his brother was crazy- he told them about the occult books that he found under the bed and of Ambrose's relationship with Angelina.
As if the lectures and talks of "disappointment" that he got from his parents, and hearing them blame Angelina for his recent changes after that wasn't bad enough, for the next couple days his brother made his life hell. First, when Ambrose tried to go speak with him, he was VERY upset/confrontational. He only went up to him to pretend to talk in order to test the "silver" myth (touching his skin with a silver chain - which did indeed burn. He slept with silver close by him. HE also convinced his parents to set up a fancy dinner, pulling out the nice silverware. Ambrose feigned illness at dinner - claiming not to have an appetite, while glaring daggers at Dreu over the table (And snuck down after most of them had gone to bed to eat the leftovers). The next night at dinner, Dreu suggested to their parents that they go out and do a "family night" that Friday (the first night of the full moon) - since they had been grounded and not allowed to leave the house - in order to do things together and some other bullshit excuses that his parents ate up. Ambrose began to get very nervous. He tried to say he didn't want to go, but they first dismissed it - lauding praise on what a good idea Dreu had. Nervous and guilty feeling - hating the fact that he had to hide such a MASSIVE secret from his family. That he had to sneak around and sneak out on the full moons, and earn the suspicion of the very people he wanted to make proud of him. So, under all the pressure, he finally burst out that he couldn't go because that night he would turn into a "great, bloody wolf".
His parents first thought it was some very... strange excuse. But Ambrose's anxiety and nervousness made them soon realize that there was more to it than that. Dreu also looked like the cat who ate the canary - and chipped in that he had gone crazy during their fight - egging Ambrose on - saying to let him hit him a few times and they'd see how crazy he was. Ambrose protested, tried to explain that he wasn't crazy - that he could show them, but things were quickly getting out of hand. His parents were very concerned, and, instead, took him to the hospital.
Once there, Ambrose clammed up, bitter at how things had developed and feeling even more on the spot. When questioned again he denied having said that he was a werewolf - that his brother was blowing things out of proportion - that he was the crazy one for some of the things that he had done. Of course this didn't match what his parents also said, so Ambrose finally said that he had said those things because he was really trying to avoid going out that Friday... People were skeptical of his answers, but Ambrose tried to play it down as much as he could - scared of how out of hand things had gotten. They took a few basic samples and a blood sample to run some tests on, suggested family counseling, and released them home.
Ambrose kept quiet for most of the next few days, though it was evident to his family, especially his mother, that something was deeply troubling him. They also still had every intention of making him go out Friday night.
Friday night was fast approaching and, finally, Ambrose couldn't deal with the stress building up, and that evening, before they planned on going out, Ambrose snuck out, changed to wolf-form, and high-tailed it for Angelina's. She was happy to see him - having only spoken with him via AIM over the past week or so. He apologized for troubling her and explained what had been happening. She agreed to give him a place to stay, and hoped that things would get better for him. His parents were furious when he finally came back (and worried - they felt like they were rapidly losing touch with their son - that he wasn't talking with them and making excuses. Dreu was eating it up. ....
It was about then that they got a call back from the Hospital with issues about Ambrose's bloodwork.
COMPLICATIONS AND... VACATION
The hospital reported that there were some very strange abnormalities in the blood work that they had run. There was no sign of drugs, but there were signs of some unidentifiable compounds, and when a karyotype was run some very strange results came in - namely the fact that Ambrose possessed about 16 extra pairs of chromosomes than a normal person should. But, they said, there must have been some sort of contamination with the sample - because if that were true than he shouldn't even be alive. They requested that he come back, allow them to take a few more samples for processing, as well as a few from his immediate family.
So, Ambrose reluctantly relented - and they took some more blood samples from him and his family... and a small biopsy from his arm. His parents' anger turned to concern - especially with some of the other strange things that had been happening - the teeth, and his questions about his great grandfather.. his disappearances. It would take some time for the new tests to come back with the results, however.
Given his parents' change in attitude, Ambrose was in a decent position for a request - he and Angelina had been talking for some time about the possibilities of attending a Furry con for entertainment - somewhere he could stretch his legs and move about in another form other than the Angelina's small house or the woods outside of town. They agreed to let him go to the convention (their justification being almost sort of an apology if he really is sick – and sympathy (what if he’ll be hospitalized when he returns..)) - though Ambrose gave few details of its specific subject matter.
For fun, Angelina made him a costume for his
"costume". Ambrose had been being more imaginative, and had
always loved swashbuckler movies - and went as an anthro
wolf musketeer ((yeah, I couldn't resist tying that in.)) She made a theriomorphic unicorn costume (think Acacya's
unicorn-ish design - but with more skimpy/trendy
clothing). In sum, they both had a good time - Ambrose got a
BACK HOME - TO PROBLEMS
When Ambrose finally does return home from his trip, he finds his parents very worried. The test results came back while he was away that confirmed the extra chromosomes – with a surprise that indicated a possibility of strange regenerative properties. The hospital pressed to allow Ambrose to be kept in observation for a full month – for “his safety and health”. While no one verbalized as much, the hospital particularly wanted to keep him there for the duration of the next full moon because of the initial reason Ambrose was brought in. They didn’t believe that he was actually a literal werewolf, but they gathered that Ambrose himself had some level of belief in it, and that alone was worth observation. Besides, with such a strange medical condition, it would be possible that there could be a physiological cycle that he experienced that might be on a monthly rotation; many myths have some sort of basis in fact and if they did uncover something surprising (even an increased aggression or body hair once a month) then it could be a major medical finding.
Ambrose didn’t want to go, but he didn’t have much choice in the matter. He was put into a room under strict observation, complete with monitering camera. He was allowed visitors during visiting hours, but was very much kept like a prisoner – a well fed, well taken care of prisoner, but a prisoner. They came periodically to check his vitals and hormone levels, monitored what he ate, and so forth. And as the days got closer and closer to the full moon, Ambrose grew increasingly anxious. He couldn’t stay there for that. It was one thing to have attempted to tell his parents, a complete different one to be observed by doctors. Visions danced in his head of being kept under observation like this for the rest of his life, subjected to tests, questions… etc…
The day of the full moon, Angelina came to visit with a strangely familiar black-haired woman. She looked anxious, and the woman doubly so. She seemed uncomfortable in her clothing – as if she didn’t belong, or belong at all in the building. It didn’t take Ambrose long to figure out who it was – he had only seen Nix in a fully human form once before – and it was dark and he wasn’t exactly thinking straight. She was strangely beautiful – and yet carried the full wild in her demeanor.
Angelina seems to have made an uneasy bargain – went to the she-wolf for help. Together, they help Ambrose escape. Angelina covers the cameras while Nix forces him to wolf-form and opens an avenue of escape – the she-wolf possesses a strong magic in times of need as a part of her side of the “curse” – preventing man from ever capturing her to ensure that the line of the curse doesn’t die off. The next thing Ambrose knows is he’s outside and running, chasing after Nix. She tries to convince him to stay with her in the woods. Ambrose declined her offer, but thanked her, hoping that she had finally gotten what she had wanted from him on that night that he tried to not dwell upon, and met up with Angelina at her house.
He remained in wolf form, as the full moon was upon him that night anyway, and stayed with Angelina in her bedroom. However, it was not long before his parents came looking for him, frantically worried and angry. They came inside (without exactly an invitation) and searched. And although Ambrose was right there in wolf form, staring them in the face, they refused to even consider that as a possibility. They left, leaving Ambrose feeling guilty.
The next afternoon, Dreu came, furious and pushed his way into the house. He knew what was going on. And he was going to try to force things to go his way. He pushed into the bedroom and faced off against Ambrose, furious at being made the fool in the whole situation – Ambrose getting the attention, the sympathy, and getting away with it by hiding. He was a freak, and Dreu couldn’t stand to have a thing like him as a brother. As they argued, Ambrose changed to hybrid form to speak better and intimidate Dreu – something Dreu had’t seen before. Dreu panicked at this – calling him a REAL monster, and he reached behind his back to grab something, and the hair on the back of Ambrose’s neck raised. He seized his arm and reached for it... to find a gun. Ambrose seized it from him, shocked at the implications. But while Ambrose paused, Drew pulled his backup – a knife from the silverware set and stabbed Ambrose with it. It may not have been the most vital of places, but Ambrose howled in pain as it seared into his flesh where it stabbed. About this time, Angelina came back and managed to wrest Dreu away – who was partially in shock himself. Angelina tended to his injury and they debated about what to do.
Late the next afternoon, Ambrose showed up back home. He knew he couldn’t just run away, and if he didn’t do something, then it was going to get worse with Dreu. To Ambrose’s surprise, his parents were relieved to see him, feeling guilty for making him stay at the hospital, and promised to not make him go back. Ambrose felt the weight of a near anxiety attack as he sat down to dinner that night, prepared to finally be honest with his parents. All of the secrecy, the lies, the hiding had been driving him crazy. A large part of him still wanted so much approval from his parents – something he was so close to having after Dreu was discredited in their eyes. And even if they couldn’t approve… at least he didn’t want to keep living a lie to them. He started a difficult speech as he could feel the impending change of the third full moon at dinner. He could feel Dreu’s eyes on him like daggers – trying again to explain that he wasn’t crazy. He told them the truth that he had tried to tell them but couldn’t find the courage before – that he really was a werewolf. He told them about the family curse, about Angelina having helped him through everything. It was about that time that he couldn’t hold off the changes any more, only speaking more than he promised that he wasn’t dangerous and wouldn’t hurt them, and let them roll over him before his parents had chance to speak or try to take him back to the hospital.
Ambrose’s parents were, predictably, shocked. Ambrose as soon as the pain from the changes ceased made himself low to the ground, nonthreatening as he could as he summoned the effort to transform his voice box. His parents were stunned; it seemed unreal… but, after everything, they accepted him. While not precisely comfortable, at least not for quite some time, at that point they didn’t have a lot of other choice. He was their son.
After that point, things progressed comparatively smoothly. There were snags with Dreu – but at least Ambrose didn’t have to fear him as a wedge between him and his parents – Ambrose and he had little contact with each other, and as soon as he graduated that year, he was gone. His parents kept his secret (after all, things would be so much worse for them if it were to get out…) and although they seemed to accept it, there was always a bit of a rigidity when it came with having to deal with the subject – they would prefer to ignore the elephant in the room given any chance.
There were other complications the rest of the high school year – dealing with trigger situations, Nix, Angelina and his parents, and most importantly, the fact that the only way to “cure” the curse was to accept it. The opportunity presented itself later, when Nix knew that he had reached the threshold of his ‘infection’. When Ambrose was faced with the decision to cure it or keep it. Ambrose chose correctly – to reject the “cure”. Being a werewolf made him who he was, and had become a part of his identity, of his life, and made him special. The incorrect choice, to “cure” it would have only rendered him a mundane wolf for the rest of his life.
From that point, Ambrose had more control over his changes – not falling to it in times of stress, and able to hold back the changes for longer periods of time on the full moons.
Eventually, Ambrose and Angelina graduated, and headed off to College together… Ambrose had become stronger and more independent in his life and his decisions from his experiences – happy to have his parents’ acceptance, but not needing their approval… not afraid to guide his own life.
As to the result of Nix’s side of the curse when Ambrose was cured, whether or not that meant a cure for Ambrose’s whole line or just him, and the results of the time together she and Ambrose had shared…. That is a story for a different time.
Appendix: Breakdown of this Werewolf Mythos
- curse on the family line - but not directly hereditary. Contracted by a bite by the current living wolf who is the descendant of the one who started the curse.
- Triggers for transformation: full moon, solstices and equinoxes and other "high magic" times/places, stress, and extreme emotion.
- has 2 specific other forms - a full wolf, though a very large one, and a hybrid form (think an anthro-wolf.) On the full moons, he can take either of these forms.
- weakness: silver - burns on contact like acid. On full moons has too much energy to sleep, increased metabolism - needs like 2-3x's as much food, especially protein, as a normal person; has a taste preference towards meat.
- abilities (other than transformation) - these develop slowly as time passes.
- human form: slightly heightened senses, see in the dark, stronger and faster, regeneration (slow and almost unnoticeable at first, gets more efficient and faster the more the lycanthropy takes hold), can speak with canines (but has to be speaking like a canine - dogs won't understand English,) can digest raw meat,
- werewolf form: everything above, but also: even stronger and more dexterous, stronger senses, can jump quite high, and climb very well.
- Has extra chromosomes - he has 39 pairs (like a dog/wolf) instead of 23 like a person! For Meiosis, it's a different process -First, when the chromosomes usually duplicate, the extra pairs do not, only the base 23. Then, when they split into the diploid daughter cells, all the extra chromosomes that did not split go into one cell, along with the original set of chromosomes along with both of the x chromosomes (the original and the duplicate). the normal set of 23 chromosomes that duplicated goes into the 2nd, but contains both of the y chromosomes instead of the x and y. From there, meiosis proceeds as normal as both cells divide again to form haploid cells. Thus, if he has a child with a normal human woman, it will always be male, but otherwise be perfectly normal. The x cells will not fertilize as they are too different genetically. Why yes, I apparently have too much time on my hands, why do you ask?