Category: Ask Andronica!
Andronica Llewellyn — May. 18th 2014
Recently I took a short break from my column and went on holiday for the first time in ages. Through my work at MI6, I travel constantly and visit many exotic locations, but my trips abroad are typically combined with murder and mayhem, so they’re usually not very relaxing. Therefore I decided to make a tour of Tuscany with an ex-almost-girlfriend who was on leave from her CIA post in Cairo (read about Cynthia here, here and here).
I think we were both hoping for a romantic holiday, but the trip was an unmitigated disaster. First of all, although she was initiated into the Sisterhood nearly three years ago, Cynthia still hasn’t got her wolf under control, a problem doubtless caused by her complete lack of mental discipline (she’s from California). Imagine a horny werewolf with Attention Deficit Syndrome and an iPhone. Every time Cynthia saw a particularly attractive ragazza on the street in Florence, she became long in the tooth. Even worse was her utter failure to appreciate the cultural splendour of Renaissance Italy – Cynthia said that she preferred The Venetian casino-hotel in Las Vegas because the room service there had “burgers” on the menu. By the end of our tour, I was beginning to regret that the Apostates hadn’t eaten her back in Libya where we first met.
To be fair, I’m sure that Cynthia was no less irritated by my company, since I was constantly reminiscing about life in the Fifteenth Century and trying to explain to her the stylistic differences between trecento and quattrocentro painting. Cynthia claims that she prefers older women, but our age gap is just too extreme. Finding someone within the werewolf community for a serious relationship is not easy. Anybody out there care to play matchmaker?
Now for this week’s questions.
Dear Lady Andronica,
As a university biology student I am, shall we say, “skeptical” about the reality of your affliction. However, as a fan of Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft, I am also happy to suspend my disbelief in pursuit of some “creature” fiction, especially when the creature in question is presented sympathetically. In order to satisfy both parts of my brain, and as someone who has not yet read your book, I would like to ask about the physiological aspects of your metamorphosis. How long does it take, are you fully conscious during the process, do you benefit from pain- or memory-suppressing hormones? Thank you.
Dear Peter from Nowhere,
In nearly every fictional treatment of lycanthropy, whether in film or print, great emphasis is placed on the “transformation”. Regardless of the result – bipedal or four-footed – there are endless portrayals of bones crunching, hair growing, skin stretching, and fangs tearing through bloody gums. Werewolf films are usually judged by the visual quality of their transformation effects rather than by the literary quality of their screenplays.
The basic assumption of most fiction – and indeed of your question as well – is that lycanthropy is biological in nature. Usually it is represented as a disease transmitted by bite (or unprotected sex, see Ginger Snaps), as if werewolves were suffering from something akin to a severe case of rabies. The Underworld films even promote the absurd idea that vampirism and lycanthropy both resulted from variant strains of the same virus.
With all this emphasis on biology, it is only natural that there should be such an obsession with the physical aspects of the transformation process. Our society craves scientific descriptions and wants to understand how things work. As readers of Memoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf already know, I myself was no exception to this. Following my first transformations in 1748, I too searched for a rational explanation for my condition, and initially believed that I was suffering from some kind of sexual aberration associated with puberty.
I soon learned, however, that lycanthropy is not a natural condition but a supernatural one, in the truest sense of the word. In the long-forgotten Sanctuary of the Sisterhood hidden beneath London’s ancient Roman fortifications, I discovered the truth: our ability to change from one form to the other is a gift from the Wolf Spirit, obtained by initiation and not by infection. Transformation is therefore not a biological process but a spiritual one, an act of will which manifests almost instantaneously in the physical body. Governed by the mind, it can be slowed and even stopped at mid-point, resulting in the bipedal form which some of us prefer because of its enormous capability to deal damage.
Not only is the transformation from human to wolf entirely painless, sometimes it is barely perceptible, since the consciousness of the subject transforms along with her body. During my first lycanthropic episodes, I didn’t even realise that I had changed at all, as the lupine state felt entirely natural. It was only later that I noticed the main physical symptom of the shift: loss of colour-vision as the world faded into monochrome.
Of course, there are some concomitant biological manifestations of lycanthropy, such as increased aural and visual acuity, rapid healing, and our annoying allergy to silver. As a biologist, perhaps you can investigate these phenomena from a scientific perspective, assuming that you can find a werewolf willing to assist in the experiments without eating you first.
Dear Lady Andronica,
You’re a werewolf, a lesbian, and over two centuries old. Which of the three makes you feel the most ostracized from society?
With curiosity and respect,
Kyle H., Los Angeles
Dear Kyle from LA,
Allow me to rephrase your question. Which form of discrimination do I find most degrading: speciesism, ageism, or homophobia? Let’s add sexism to the list too.
I don’t want this to become a rant about discrimination, since I’m sure most of us will agree that it’s a bad thing in any form (except maybe against male werewolves, because of their poor personal hygiene). So I’ll restrict my comments to my own experiences, which have varied over the years as societal attitudes have changed.
Speciesism, of course, affects everyone in the shifter community. Humans generally don’t react well when confronted by large hairy beasts with fangs and claws, especially if they are in the process of being disembowelled. Discrimination against us is therefore commonplace, and usually takes the form of mobs carrying torches and pitchforks. My own family had me burned at the stake in 1648. I got better, obviously, but it was an experience I would not care to repeat, so I learned to stay in the lycanthropic closet. Over the years, most of the humans who discovered my true nature became the main course at dinner – a kind of reverse discrimination in which I took inordinate pleasure.
Ageism has never been a major problem for me, since I don’t look a day over forty. In this respect, being a supernatural creature does have its perks. Some of us do have trouble adapting to changing times, like Livia, who didn’t leave her villa in Rome for nearly two thousand years, but within the Sisterhood she is highly respected and is certainly not looked down upon for her traditionalist views. I myself have always belonged to the progressive faction within the Sisterhood of the Wolf, perhaps because of my fascination with human culture and its ever-changing fashions. You should have seen my wardrobe in the 1960s.
Homophobia is a tricky one, because it manifests itself so differently in different places at different times. My sexuality was an open secret in eighteenth-century London, not officially tolerated (the Princess of Wales was certainly not amused), but the men of the time were so fascinated by the rumours about my bedroom company that this gave me extraordinary power over them. At the court of Frederick the Great, who himself was gay, it was unnecessary to hide my preference for female companionship, and the feeling of personal freedom I enjoyed in Prussia was exhilarating. My experience in nineteenth-century India was exactly the opposite, because the British criminalised homosexuality there in 1860, an unfortunate colonial legacy which continues in South Asia even today. (As an aside, it is worthy of note that nineteenth-century racist attitudes towards Indians were largely fostered by the wives of British officers, rather than by the officers themselves.) In any case, the long-standing public aversion to homosexuality in Britain prevented me from coming out at my workplace until just ten years ago. The leopard can change its spots, however, and today it seems like a minor miracle that same-sex marriage has been approved in all parts of UK except Northern Ireland.
Of all the forms of discrimination, sexism has affected me most through the centuries. It began with the tacit assumption on my father’s part that I would marry an English nobleman for his money, which led in no small part to the rebelliousness of my youth. Sexism in its purest form was the order of the day at the Prussian court, as Frederick the Great was an avowed misogynist. It was only after I saved his life during an assassination attempt in 1753 that he grudgingly acknowledged my worth as a human being (though of course I wasn’t one). Ironically, whilst I find it personally degrading, I have often benefitted professionally from sexism. My career as a spy at the royal courts of eighteenth-century Europe was made possible by the fact that no one believed a woman capable of understanding political or military strategies, so prime-ministers and field-marshals openly discussed their plans in my presence. Even my success as an MI6 operative during the Second World War was due in large part to the arrogance of certain Gestapo officers who didn’t suspect that an attractive Frenchwoman could intercept and decipher their encrypted correspondence.
Many of these topics are addressed in the forthcoming second volume of my autobiography. Stay tuned!
Attention all fans of “Ask Andronica!” Your questions have become few and far between. There are only two submissions remaining, so the next column will be my last unless you send more queries now!
Andronica Llewellyn — Mar. 28th 2014
Although I had intended to start this column with another amusing anecdote from my treasure-trove of lycanthropic lore, time is short this week, since I have been temporarily assigned to an MI6 listening-post in Kiev. Not quite as bad as Kazakhstan (the vodka is better), but still annoying, because it takes me away yet again from my search for Lysandra – just when I had received a fresh lead, this time from New York City of all places. The Big Apple will have to wait, however, as this whole Crimean affair has thrown the agency into a panic, and anyone with past experience dealing with the KGB has been ordered into the field. Почему они не могут оставить меня в покое?
Anyway, despite my excessive consumption of the local beverages, I shall take a stab at your questions.
Dear Lady Andronica,
How do you feel about the portrayal of werewolves in the popular cultures of the 20th and 21st century? Did werewolves themselves have any influence on how they appeared in the stories and films of the early 1900s? Does their current spookshow-cartoony portrayal amuse or annoy you?
Dear Ms or Mr Williams,
How do other minority groups feel about their portrayal in the media? Cutesy cartoon werewolves and furry basketball stars are an insult to the dignity of an entire species. Lycanthropes are victims of racial discrimination, pure and simple. It is a crude ethnic stereotype to portray us all as depraved monsters, howling mindlessly at the moon, and wanting nothing more than to feast upon beautiful young virgins. Wait, that last part could be true…
On the other hand, I suppose we should be pleased by all the attention. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. My personal theory is that most humans secretly want to be werewolves. The idea of having the freedom to kill with impunity (a privilege otherwise reserved for the state) is appealing to many. And the lycanthropic lifestyle projected by the media often portrays us as young and beautiful, well-tanned and with healthy muscle tone (Bitten, Twilight, Blood and Chocolate, etc.). Good recruiting propaganda!
The truth is much more like Josh and Nora in Being Human (Canadian/US version). It takes a long time to come to terms with what we are. Some never do, and some only fool themselves. As I pointed out in my last column, being a werewolf is more like being human than you might think – which is one reason I like that particular show, because it hits the nail on the head more often than not (except for the full moon bit, and that the werewolves look like naked bears).
Which brings me to our appearance in movies and television. The special-effects people are generally unconcerned with reality. One reason may be that they’ve never seen a real werewolf and lived to make a sketch of her. To my knowledge, no genuine lycanthrope has ever served as a technical advisor in Hollywood. I’d love to give that a try, though, so producers should note my e-mail address.
That having been said, some films do get closer to the mark than others. Portraying our four-footed form is easy, since there isn’t much to distinguish it from natural wolves except size. Bitten does a pretty good job of this, even if they do get everything else wrong. The hybrid wolf-woman is harder to visualise, since that state is achieved by stopping the human-to-wolf transformation somewhere in the middle. Because the resulting appearance depends on when the shift is halted, there is actually no single “right” answer. The Howling and Dog Soldiers come very close to things I have seen in the wild. What I am waiting for is a cinematic attempt at portraying a truly sexy glamour werewolf. Imagine Monica Bellucci in fur. Aaaaaaaooooooo!
P.S. Some time ago, I wrote an essay on the topic of discrimination against lycanthropes; see Werewolves of the world unite! Regarding Hollywood portrayals, read here for some Werewolf Fact and Fiction.
Hi Lady Andronica!
Are vampires real too? If they are, is the rivalry between races (or species?) a real thing, or was it made up like the full moon and silver bullets thing? If they aren’t, have you encountered any other supernatural creatures? Thank you!
São Paulo, Brazil
Dear Anna Maria,
Asking if vampires are real is like asking if there is a God. Just because I have never seen either of them (or any other supernatural creature) doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t exist. What I can say for certain is that the idea of a vampire-werewolf rivalry (à la Twilight or Underworld) is nonsense. If there were vampires, we would kick their sparkly asses so hard that they would have to crawl all the way back to Transylvania. (Aside: I do like Jason McKinney’s fictional but amusing idea of vampires as cockroaches feeding on werewolves’ table-leavings, expounded in his novel “Dog World”).
When I lived back in the eighteenth century, lots of people (i.e. humans) did believe in vampires. It became a big scare after about 1740, with many reports coming from the eastern parts of the Austrian Empire. There was the famous case of Eleonore von Schwarzenberg, the so-called Vampire Princess of Bohemia, who allegedly drank wolfs-milk (!) to conceive a child. I’m not sure how that worked, but they did bury poor Eleonore under a heavy stone slab specifically to keep her undead body from rising again.
The Empress Maria Theresia became so alarmed by reports of vampires that she commissioned her personal physician, Gerard van Swieten, to undertake a “scientific enquiry” in those areas supposedly infested by them. Swieten’s expedition departed for Moravia on 27 January 1755 and returned to Vienna four months later, having found absolutely no evidence of vampires. Gerard van Swieten later became the model for Bram Stoker’s vampire-hunter Abraham van Helsing.
What the history books don’t say is the real reason for Swieten’s expedition. I know because I was there. (It will all be described in the forthcoming volume two of Memoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf.) In fact, peasants really were being killed by the dozens as they slept in their beds. But in their confused testimony, the benighted villagers got their supernatural beings mixed up. The culprits were actually werewolves – those unpleasant Apostates I have mentioned before. And since Swieten also happened to be one of them, he did everything possible to cover up the whole sordid business. The word “Werwolf” therefore does not appear even once in his final report to the Empress.
So to bring the discussion full-circle: because Swieten did not mention us, does it mean that werewolves are not real?
P.S. You mention silver bullets as being “made up”. In fact, our sensitivity to silver is one of the few legends which is really true. See the above-mentioned article Werewolf Fact and Fiction.
The next instalment of “Ask Andronica!” will appear on 14 April 2014. Send in your questions now!
Andronica Llewellyn — Mar. 14th 2014
Today is the 333rd birthday of the composer Georg Philipp Telemann. Last week was the 300th birthday of his godson Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. When you’re as old as I am, you normally don’t count years, but round birthdays – especially of humans we once knew – are grounds for grateful remembrance.
Those of you who have read my blog know that werewolves can live a long time. Unless we are killed by silver, fire, or the tooth and claw of another lycanthrope, we are practically immortal. At least this applies to my species, the Common European Werewolf (Homo lupus europae) – your mileage may vary.
Even if something untoward does happen, we usually reincarnate. My present lifetime began in 1835, and has been one of the longest so far, as I’ve been more careful than usual this time around. Fortunately we stop ageing around forty, so from the physical standpoint it’s not so bad being old. Some lycanthropes only maintain social relationships within their own Order, and for them the years can pass by almost unnoticed. Others become attached to various humans along the way, and saying goodbye can be painful for us. This is one of the reasons such relationships are officially discouraged within the Sisterhood of the Wolf (regarding Orders, see my answer to the first question below).
I have never paid too much attention to the Sisterhood’s proscriptions and have always cared deeply for my human friends. In the eighteenth century, when I spent much of my life as a professional harpsichordist, my closest relationships were with composers (Händel, Telemann, C.Ph.E. Bach, J.C. Bach, Mozart) and the monarchs who employed them (Frederick the Great, Maria Theresia, Marie Antoinette).
Sometimes I even learned more from the humans than I did from my own kind. The most important influence on my last lifetime was my composition teacher, Händel, who always seemed to have a wise word for any situation, artistic or personal. Without realising it, Händel even gave me good advice on how to live with lycanthropy, as he himself knew very well what it was like to be “different” from others. The story may be found in my latest blog post.
Now on to today’s questions.
Dear Lady Andronica,
For years I’ve been interested in becoming a werewolf. But as I grow out of being a teenager and into adulthood, I’m starting to realize that getting something that you really want can end in disappointment. If you want something with all your heart for a long time, and then suddenly it’s given to you, there’s an emptiness that comes with it, like “okay, what next?”. If I do become a werewolf, will life just… keep going on? I’m worried that I’ve romanticized the idea into an endless chase after happiness.
Fur Aspirer Chasing After Dream Existence
A wise Vulcan once said, “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” So much for philosophy. The fact is, being a werewolf can be very, very cool. It can also be a nightmare. Everything depends on what you make of it. Life as a werewolf actually has many similarities to life as a human: you can be happy or sad, successful or a failure, bored stiff or excited by everything.
Yes, life does just go on (except that of your victims, of course). What is different is that things are experienced more intensely, both the good and the bad. Depending on how strong your animal nature becomes, you will find that the intellect doesn’t get in the way of your emotions as much as before. You live life much more directly.
An important influence on your lycanthropic experience is the company you keep. Life as a lone wolf is generally difficult, and most random killings are committed by loners who have not learned to control their animal instincts. These werewolves usually end up being hunted down by villagers with pitchforks. If this isn’t your idea of fun, I strongly recommend that you consider membership in one of the Orders, since these provide community and support. Which one you choose depends largely on your own personality and lifestyle preferences.
If you are female and aspire to be a glamour werewolf (see below), then I heartily recommend my own Order, the Sisterhood of the Wolf. We are Indo-European in origin, and therefore trendy spiritual-chic; the Initiation rite has a 33% chance of failure, however, in which case the candidate is eaten. The Afro-Eurasian male Order is the Apostasy, which tends to be power/pleasure orientated, if you are into that sort of thing; their Initiation rite is always successful but involves cannibalism, which some might find distasteful (especially considering the parts involved). The main Order in North America are the Wendigo, which accept both males and females. A very nasty lot, the Wendigo propagate by biting, but since they usually don’t know when to stop, your chance of survival is minimal.
To find out what is best for you, please consult your local chapter of the IAWSF (International Association of Weres, Shifters, and Furries), which can provide contact information for the various Orders and the many local independent organisations.
Hoping that your expectations remain realistic,
Dear lady Andronica,
What is a “Glamour Werewolf”? Do you really think it’s possible to be a shaggy wolf beast and also look elegant and “put-together” at the same time??? Nothing against the idea, I just don’t understand how it would work. When you turn into a monster wouldn’t you just want to be a monster, and forget about looking nice until you’re human again? Thank you very much!
Glamour is first and foremost a state of mind – it’s an attitude rather than a particular physical appearance. How you appear to others reflects and depends upon your own self-perception. (Of course, good hygiene is also important, as I advised a reader last month.) Generally speaking, if you think of yourself as a shaggy beast or a monster, then the humans will perceive you as such and run fast when they see you coming. It’s hard to catch a meal that way. On the other hand, if you are poised and self-confident, then you won’t need to spend hours with post-transformation grooming to become a sleek and beautiful wolf. Nor will you have to chase your prey – they will come up and try to pet you. “Nice wolfie.” Chomp.
So how do you develop a “glamour mind-set”? For me it was easy, because I grew up in the eighteenth century, when everything was elegant (except for peasants, but they don’t count). It’s important to understand that elegance and glamour are not the same thing. Glamour is the next step; it adds the exceptional to the elegant. Glamour is what turns heads. Glamour says, “Look at me. I’ve got something you want but can never have.”
I didn’t start out with glamour. It did not come automatically with my title (which didn’t mean much anyway, since my family, like most of the Welsh nobility, had been expropriated by the English over the centuries). For me, glamour was the result of a conscious decision in a life-and-death situation – a survival skill, so to speak.
It was the end of June 1754. Lysandra and I had just arrived in Vienna, there was a price on my head, and the Apostates were in control of the city. I had to find a way to achieve public prominence quickly, since I figured that being in the limelight would afford a certain degree of protection, especially if I gained the attention of the Empress Maria Theresia. So I bought some clothes. Not an elegant French grand habit de cour, but a man’s suit. It was of the finest silk velvet, all in black and embroidered with gold thread (not silver, for obvious reasons). Coat, waistcoat, breeches, and a black shirt with black lace ruffles. Matching gold-trimmed tricorne, adorned with black ostrich plumes. Everything tailored to fit my figure. It was stunning.
I wore this all-black outfit for my first public appearance as a musician in Vienna, a soirée at the Palais Esterházy. Everybody who was anybody at the Austrian court was present. As you can imagine, the scandal was enormous. They called me die schwarze Waliserin, and I was an overnight sensation. Maria Theresia called my apparel “a ridiculous costume”, but my concert schedule was booked solid for months, and the Apostates did not dare touch me. This was the beginning of my career as a glamour werewolf, and it carried over into every aspect of my life. Even the Graf von Kaunitz – the notorious Apostate mastermind – was soon sniffing at my tail, having forgotten all about his plans to skin me alive.
My point is this. Don’t content yourself with being a conventional lycanthrope. Dare to be different. Make a bold statement. However you think of yourself in human form will affect your wolf state and give you the kind of animal magnetism you would never have thought possible.
Wishing you every confidence and success,
The next instalment of “Ask Andronica!” will appear on 28 March 2014. Send in your questions now!
P.S. This coming Sunday (16 March, 19:00-20:00 GMT = 3-4 p.m. EDT) I will perform a harpsichord recital at my château inSecond Life, with music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and will be wearing my black suit for the occasion. Everyone is welcome. Here are the SL landing coordinates. See you there!
The story of Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz, Maria Theresia, and “die schwarze Waliserin” will appear in Lysandra, volume two ofMemoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf, coming soon. Volume one, Night Music, is available now.
Andronica Llewellyn — Feb. 28th 2014
After my first column was published two weeks ago, it didn’t take more than an hour before I received an angry phone call from Livia in New York. The Sisterhood of the Wolf had tolerated my publishing activities so far, she said, because everyone would assume that it was all fiction. If I now began answering questions from the public, however, then verification of my existence would be possible – at least by those who submit questions to the column.
That Livia would not be amused didn’t come as a surprise, as this is not the first time I have ruffled her fur. She wasn’t too happy having to retrieve me from that Mexican hotel either, after drug lords had shot me full of silver bullets. “Ask Andronica!” is simply the latest in my long history of irresponsible actions. They don’t call me the black wolf of the family for nothing.
Criticism from the Sisterhood will not stop this column from continuing. The overwhelmingly positive response so far is proof that werewolves need a place to turn with their problems, just as humans do. We may be horrible monsters (at least on bad hair days), but inside every lethal lycanthrope is a glamour werewolf just waiting for my next fashion tip.
Now on to this week’s questions.
I am a weredog who is in love with a werewolf. The cultural chasm is often a big problem. Whenever we go out we often argue because she wants to kill everyone in the place.
The other night we were at a very nice restaurant and just before the entrees arrived she leaned toward me and said, “I must kill the waiter.” I, of course, told her no, that she could not. This led to a major fight. But, of course, the make-up sex was amazing. Thank Dog for our accelerated recuperative powers.
I know that it is taboo for me to be involved with a werewolf. But it feels so good to taste of the dark side.
Your e-mail doesn’t really ask a question, but I am assuming that you would like advice on your relationship. First of all, we know that most dogs are wannabe wolves. It’s in your genes. Blame the humans for breeding out the noble beast and turning you into Poodles and Chihuahuas. So it’s only natural that, in an effort to recapture your lupine heritage, you would be attracted to a she-wolf, especially since your girlfriend sounds really hot (phone number, please).
From the photo included in your e-mail, I can see that you’re not one of the wimpier dog breeds, so it’s even possible that the attraction is mutual, at least for now. But consider what will happen down the road. She obviously cannot control her instincts, and it would be unfair to expect this of her. Sooner or later your cultural differences will lead to unpleasant consequences. Imagine, for example, if you were to get married, and she eats all the wedding guests. Viewed positively, this would mean no problems with in-laws, but very likely you will regret if your buddies are served up as the main course at the banquet. How about raising kids? Will they become man’s best friend or live at the top of the food chain?
As I see it, you have three possible alternatives: 1) enjoy the sex while you can, until she bites once too often in the wrong place, 2) consider therapy to bring out your own inner wolf, then chow down on the waiter together, or 3) break up with your girlfriend, find a nice female weredog, have lots of werepuppies, and dream of past and future lives howling at the full moon.
Good luck finding the right choice for you,
Dear Lady Andronica,
I’m in a very dark place right now. A little over a year ago, I was coerced into being turned by a colleague of mine who I learned was not from Minneapolis, as he had claimed, but was actually a werewolf and also former boyar of the minor Russian duchy of Pskov back in the 15th century.
The first few months weren’t that bad. The things I thought would be the most difficult (faking my own death, learning to appreciate the sweet taste of living blood, shaving…) turned out to not be a big deal at all. But I can’t get over all the killing. Whenever my instinctual appetite for violence and flesh takes over, I feel terribly guilty when I come around and realize that I killed somebody. It’s not so bad when it’s just deer or livestock, but humanity may just be a recent enough memory for me that I still feel some sympathy for them.
Does it ever get easier?
Thanks in advance,
Someone Always Dies
You ask the toughest question a werewolf ever has to face, and each of us must find his or her own answer to this most difficult dilemma. I can only speak to you from my own experience in lycanthropy, which began in the year 1748 at the age of thirteen, for reasons which were unknown to me at the time (I was not “turned”). My first victim was my beloved cousin Bronwyn, followed by several townspeople from my village in Wales. After realising what I had done, the guilt was so overwhelming that I contemplated suicide, and even had some silver bullets made for the purpose. At the last possible moment, my hand was stayed when a letter arrived – depicted on its seal was the She-Wolf of Rome – explaining that I was part of something much bigger than my own small predicament, and that I had a destiny to fulfil. The letter also suggested techniques which could be employed to control my transformations.
After being sent to live in London with my notorious Aunt Margaret, I learned about my true heritage in the Sisterhood of the Wolf and began practicing the control exercises. At first I was not able to keep the beast in check, and killed nine men in a single evening (described in my last column). Nevertheless, I came to realise that I was only following my instincts, and that these were now part of my lycanthropic nature. For a while, I was able to keep the wolf-woman under control and led a “normal” life. I even fell in love for the first time, and I was happier than ever before. Then, on my fifteenth birthday, Sophie insisted that I sleep with her, to which I foolishly agreed, though I had been warned never to lie with a human woman. The result was a tragedy which I have regretted every day of my life.
In my crushing guilt after Sophie’s murder, I once again called everything into question, including my own right to live when she had died such a gruesome and senseless death. It was only through the intervention and counsel of my music teacher, the famous composer Handel, that I learned to accept myself as I am. Of course, Handel knew nothing of my lycanthropy, but he confessed his own secret attraction for men, and taught me that unconditional self-acceptance was the most important step towards leading a life of dignity and self-respect.
I took Handel’s advice and accepted my true nature. The regret remained, but at least I was absolved of guilt. However, I also recognised that my nature is to kill, and, without denying or condemning the beast within, I vowed to keep her under control. She is part of me, and I am responsible for her actions. More than two hundred and sixty years have passed since Sophie’s death, and I have killed many times since then, but always out of choice, when the situation required. I remember every single face and regret the necessity which forces me to kill – just as a soldier regrets the necessity of taking life in wartime (if he or she still has a conscience) – but I bear no guilt.
I give you the same advice which was given to me centuries ago. Accept yourself and accept your nature. If your own moral core abhors the killing of humans, then take every possible step to prevent this from happening. But should you fail, despite your best efforts, then do not think badly of yourself.
Wishing you courage and wisdom,
P.S. It sounds like your Russian colleague might be an Apostate. If you send me his vital statistics, the Sisterhood will ensure that he disappears without a trace.
How I came to terms with the moral dilemmas of lycanthropy in my early years, and the role played by the Sisterhood of the Wolf, are among the central themes in Night Music, the first volume of Memoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf, now available from Amazon.
The next instalment of “Ask Andronica!” will appear on 14 March 2014. Send in your questions now!
Andronica Llewellyn — Feb. 14th 2014
Happy Valentine’s Day and welcome to my first column here on Werewolf-News.com! In the time-honoured tradition of ‘Dear Abby’, both humans and werewolves alike can seek advice on dealing with the common problems of everyday lycanthropic living. Whether it’s about relationships (safe sex with werewolves), etiquette (table manners when eating humans), or even medical problems (premature transformation), many centuries of experience in lycanthropy have given me insights on nearly every topic. No question is too tough, so ask away! Submit your queries in care of Werewolf-News.com.
I’ve chosen Valentine’s Day to start my column, because it’s a very special holiday for me. This year marks the 265th anniversary of the infamous St Valentine’s Day Massacre in London, which I committed on this date in 1749. In case you’re not familiar with it, here’s the original newspaper clipping from the London Evening Post:
On the night of Tuesday, the Fourteenth of February, there took place in a Publick-House near-by to Ludgate a most frightful Murder, in which nine Persons were brutally massacred and dismembered. Due to the horrific Nature of this Crime, the Magistrate of Westminster, the Honourable Henry Fielding, has stated his intention to conduct an Investigation personally.
Attention was called to the Incident by a Customer of the aforesaid Establishment, who upon waking from his Drunkenness, discover’d the Head of the Tavern-Keeper upon the floor. Following a Trail of Blood to the rear of the House and into the Cellar, he came upon the Corpses of his Fellowes, rent entirely asunder. Additionally, he reported that the Private Parts of these unfortunate Men had been piled in the centre of the Cellar-floor ‘like so many Sausages in a Butcher’s shop’.
The Magistrate’s office have declined to comment on Details of the Incident, saying only that most of the Victims were indeed found in the Cellar, and that their Injuries appear to have been inflicted by an Animal, the Nature and Whereabouts of which can not be ascertained at present.
Should readers be interested in further particulars on this matter, and indeed regarding how I began this life of mayhem centuries ago, you are invited to read the first volume of my autobiography, now available as an ebook from Amazon: Night Music, part one in the series Memoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf. (Compatible with Kindle, Android, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone).
Now on to the first readers’ questions.
Dear Lady Andronica,
I’m pretty new to werewolf life and I have an embarrassing problem! On nights when I know I’m going to change, I go to a nearby regional park forest. Before it gets dark, I walk a mile off-trail into the trees, hide my clothes in a plastic bag under some bushes, and do my thing. In the morning, when it’s time to go from wolf-lady back to human-lady, I can never find where I hid my clothes! All the bushes look the same, and I can’t find my stuff by smell because after a night doing werewolf stuff, my nose is tired and EVERYTHING smells like me, or like what I ate. If it wasn’t for the spare car key in my wheel well I would have some long cold naked walks back home. Do you have any tips on the best way to stash your clothes and then find them again?
Newbie’s Underpants Disappearance Emergency
Spokane Valley, WA
Every werewolf has been in a similar situation at one time or another – I myself was once caught au naturale by the King of Prussia – so you’re in good company. There is no cause for embarrassment, however, since this ridiculous obsession with wearing clothes is a human hang-up. You need to liberate yourself from their petty puritanical practices! I can already hear readers’ objections that walking around naked is illegal in most jurisdictions, but so is eating people. If anyone ogles your textile-free state, just bite his head off. Problem solved.
That having been said, I do sympathise with your plight. Old inhibitions die hard, especially when you are new to lycanthropy. It must be tough on your budget as well, having to buy a new wardrobe every time you change. There is an obvious solution, however. Since you seem to find your car well enough, just keep an extra set of clothes under the seat. Alternatively, you could pick a more suitable venue when you go for a run. A nude beach, for example, where you’ll blend right in with the crowd. As an added bonus, if you get hungry, you can just chomp the nearest sunbather without having to worry about getting those pesky scraps of clothing stuck between your teeth.
Good luck learning to strut your stuff,
I’ve heard that you don’t think very highly of male werewolves like myself. It is true that when transformed we can be a bit… uncouth… but I feel that you unfairly paint us all with the same brush. However, in my human life I have recently joined a recovery program, and that has made me more receptive to the possibility of self-improvement in general. What, in your esteemed opinion, are three things that any conscientious male werewolf could do to improve the overall perception of our gender?
Male Requesting Advice
Dear clueless but well-meaning MRA,
In my experience, it’s highly unusual for male lycanthropes to acknowledge their abysmally low couth-quotient. Under normal circumstances, my advice would be to follow these three easy steps:
- Use mouthwash
- Have gender-reassignment surgery
- Hire a make-over stylist
In your case, however, there seems to be a genuine recognition that low standards of hygiene, aesthetically unappealing body-parts, and excessively long nose-hairs can be a real turn-off. I would therefore recommend the following (more effort but less radical than the steps outlined above):
- Watch your diet. Lycanthropic halitosis can be avoided by eating only fresh humans (no grave-robbing or ghoul-parties!), and by limiting yourself to those who themselves follow a garlic-free diet. Whenever possible, also avoid humans who have just consumed legumes. Nobody likes a flatulent werewolf.
- Keep your privates private. Most of us really don’t want to see your junk swinging in the wind, and sometimes we are even provoked into biting off the offending appendages (see newspaper clipping above). To avoid losing your effects in this manner, consider wearing a thong – with fur appliqués if necessary, in case you’re embarrassed. That rare female who finds you attractive will have fun removing it with her teeth.
- Pay attention to grooming. Too many male werewolves look like the Wild Man of Borneo. I’m not asking you to carry a hair-brush in your purse, but there are some effective techniques that can make all the difference. Keep your hair and nails neatly trimmed when in human form; then they won’t be so unruly after the change. If you are an excessively hairy human, consider electrolysis or Brazilian wax (ouch!) to thin out the follicles. Use dandruff shampoo on your whole body to keep the mange under control, and apply the strongest deodorant you can find to minimise that ‘wet dog’ bouquet.
None of this will turn you into a Glamour Werewolf. For that you have to hope that your next incarnation will be female. But at least you’ll be practising.
Best wishes for improved couthness,
The next instalment of Ask Andronica! will appear on 27 February 2014. Send in your questions now!