naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
This is Luna. She's a mountain lion.*

Luna 01

She's an early birthday present.

Lots more pics. )

Mountain lions are strongly sexually dimorphic; there's a big difference in size between males and females. In this case, females are smaller. She's big, noticeably above average for a female, but not into the territory of unusually large.

This is a size comparison between her and an average housecat.

Luna's 7.3" x 5.3" (185 mm x 137 mm).

The cat is 3.4" x 2.4" (87 mm x 63 mm).

I'll spare you the math, but those proportions are almost identical. The mountain lion skull looks so very much like a domestic cat skull, just scaled up and made a bit more robust around the snout and broader between the eyes.

Luna Comparison 02

See what I mean?

This isn't surprising considering they are the largest of the small cats, and aren't really "big cats" at all. They cannot roar, because they don't have a bony hyoid. Instead, they scream like unholy terrors. They also make some really silly chirping and whistling sounds. The babies make incredibly cute little noises.

Link time!

Here's a range of sounds, including the scream of a mountain lion in heat. The sixth one down is a bubbly cougar purr!

An adult whistling/chirping.

More chirping.

You gotta watch this one! Lots of big cat noises, including some really goofy cougar noises, and a cougar purr! And at 2:50, lolarious serval bworbling. And friendly tiger chuffs!

And just for fun, a video showing what kind of toys BIG cats like to play with.

Fun, yes?

Obligatory disclaimer: mountain lions are one of the more popular large cats to keep in captivity as "pets" because they are cute as hell when they're babies, and still look cuddly as adults. This is, like, a really bad idea. Don't do it unless you have a hardcore mauling fetish.

Anyway, thanks for looking, and I hope you had fun! I always do. I'm cataloging my skull collection, an ongoing project. I'm really eager to get to the part where I take pictures of everything, because there are so many I've never showed you. I got a cast of a liger skull, and I have to say, it is terrifying. It is the scariest skull I have ever seen.

Until next time!

More pics of my animal bones.

For the new, a note about bones and ethics.

* Puma, cougar, etc. I use the words interchangeably, but favor mountain lion. Whatever, it's all the same animal: Puma concolor.
naamah_darling: The incisors and canines of the skull of a gray wolf. (Bones)
Not late! Wow!

So, I finished an inked coyote skull yesterday and was going to post pictures, but then I realized that I don't think I've ever posted pictures of the last one. So you get a bonus! Two for one. First, pictures of the new one, and second, pictures of the last one.

Both of these skulls are sold. At least, I'm assuming on the one I just did. If that falls through, believe me, you will hear about it!

BUT WAIT! There's more!

In the first set of pictures, you can also see the awesome box that [livejournal.com profile] songblaze sent me over the holidays. I added a padded satin lining to it, and put in some little ribbon thingies to keep the box from flopping open, which stresses the hinges. They are, in retrospect, a tiny bit short, but for a first try, they look great and work just fine. Anyway, as you can see, I LOVE this box. And when I am through with it, it too will make another appearance here. Just need to add a specimen tag for the future contents.

So, here we have lots of pictures. As usual, I'm dumping them all here. Flickr serves as my repository for all my finished, edited photographs, including boring detail shots. Which I still think are awesome.

Painted Coyote Skull II 1

The first skull, which is actually the second. )

And the second one! This one (below) I did with the intention of inking it, so the design is very fluid and complex, sometimes crossing suture lines and so forth. I penciled the design on the one above thinking I would engrave it, so I did it differently; less complex, more aligned with the natural bone structure, as engraving over sutures is not any fun for me or the skull.

Anyway, I think they are both beautiful.

Painted Coyote Skull I Full Top View

The second skull, which is, in fact, the first. )

Got one more 'yote skull I can ink or carve before I need to hit Moscow Hide and Fur. I also have a fisher and a skunk that are almost finished that I will be listing this weekend or next week.

Been kinda busy.
naamah_darling: The incisors and canines of the skull of a gray wolf. (Bones)
Not late! Wow!

So, I finished an inked coyote skull yesterday and was going to post pictures, but then I realized that I don't think I've ever posted pictures of the last one. So you get a bonus! Two for one. First, pictures of the new one, and second, pictures of the last one.

Both of these skulls are sold. At least, I'm assuming on the one I just did. If that falls through, believe me, you will hear about it!

BUT WAIT! There's more!

In the first set of pictures, you can also see the awesome box that [livejournal.com profile] songblaze sent me over the holidays. I added a padded satin lining to it, and put in some little ribbon thingies to keep the box from flopping open, which stresses the hinges. They are, in retrospect, a tiny bit short, but for a first try, they look great and work just fine. Anyway, as you can see, I LOVE this box. And when I am through with it, it too will make another appearance here. Just need to add a specimen tag for the future contents.

So, here we have lots of pictures. As usual, I'm dumping them all here. Flickr serves as my repository for all my finished, edited photographs, including boring detail shots. Which I still think are awesome.

Painted Coyote Skull II 1

The first skull, which is actually the second. )

And the second one! This one (below) I did with the intention of inking it, so the design is very fluid and complex, sometimes crossing suture lines and so forth. I penciled the design on the one above thinking I would engrave it, so I did it differently; less complex, more aligned with the natural bone structure, as engraving over sutures is not any fun for me or the skull.

Anyway, I think they are both beautiful.

Painted Coyote Skull I Full Top View

The second skull, which is, in fact, the first. )

Got one more 'yote skull I can ink or carve before I need to hit Moscow Hide and Fur. I also have a fisher and a skunk that are almost finished that I will be listing this weekend or next week.

Been kinda busy.
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
I've been working a lot and listing a lot of stuff over at my Etsy page.

In time for Halloween, I bring you a special surprise: prop magic wands! These are seriously cool. Click the pics to go to the sale page.

Bone-Hilted Femur Wand I 1

Bone-Hilted Femur Wand I 3

Those two are of my favorite, lovingly sculpted from the femur of a garden gnome. (Okay, it's really polyclay over wood, but don't tell anyone!)

Thinking about listing the re-titled book as well. (The blue one, not the leather one, which is not for sale!) I found a tutorial for these and thought The Fine Art of Poisoning would be the perfect title for a book about deadly decoctions, as well as being an homage to an album I really like. I want to age it some more, though.

Short Bone-Hilted Wand I 1

Long Bone-Hilted Wand I 3

One for smaller hands and one for larger hands! Both are quite comfortable to hold.

The leatherbound book is an antique photo album, a gorgeous thing I picked up for a scandalously (so I believe, anyway) low price at a huge flea market. It looks for all the world like a spellbook.

The skull is a Reeve's muntjac, which are adorable as meat-creatures, but look kind of sinister as skulls. I love this little guy.

I also listed a few of these:

Woodburned Eye of Horus Box I 1

Woodburned Skull Box I 2

Tiny little boxes with woodburned designs on the lid. Great for holding small, loose curiosities or spell components.

I will be listing some actual painted trinket boxes soon, just as a heads up for those of you who have been wanting to buy one.

I hope you all don't mind. There's going to be a lot of art posts coming up along with corresponding sales, because I've been making a lot of stuff, I want y'all to see it, and I also want to sell it. I'm still trying to decide how to go about it (several items once a week vs. one item several times a week).
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
I've been working a lot and listing a lot of stuff over at my Etsy page.

In time for Halloween, I bring you a special surprise: prop magic wands! These are seriously cool. Click the pics to go to the sale page.

Bone-Hilted Femur Wand I 1

Bone-Hilted Femur Wand I 3

Those two are of my favorite, lovingly sculpted from the femur of a garden gnome. (Okay, it's really polyclay over wood, but don't tell anyone!)

Thinking about listing the re-titled book as well. (The blue one, not the leather one, which is not for sale!) I found a tutorial for these and thought The Fine Art of Poisoning would be the perfect title for a book about deadly decoctions, as well as being an homage to an album I really like. I want to age it some more, though.

Short Bone-Hilted Wand I 1

Long Bone-Hilted Wand I 3

One for smaller hands and one for larger hands! Both are quite comfortable to hold.

The leatherbound book is an antique photo album, a gorgeous thing I picked up for a scandalously (so I believe, anyway) low price at a huge flea market. It looks for all the world like a spellbook.

The skull is a Reeve's muntjac, which are adorable as meat-creatures, but look kind of sinister as skulls. I love this little guy.

I also listed a few of these:

Woodburned Eye of Horus Box I 1

Woodburned Skull Box I 2

Tiny little boxes with woodburned designs on the lid. Great for holding small, loose curiosities or spell components.

I will be listing some actual painted trinket boxes soon, just as a heads up for those of you who have been wanting to buy one.

I hope you all don't mind. There's going to be a lot of art posts coming up along with corresponding sales, because I've been making a lot of stuff, I want y'all to see it, and I also want to sell it. I'm still trying to decide how to go about it (several items once a week vs. one item several times a week).
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Thane)
I'm getting ready to start a big push to list a bunch of higher-dollar items on my Etsy page, and I am starting with the carved skulls I did a while back, and have never showed you guys. This is the first one.

It's a domestic dog skull supplied by the folks at Skulls Unlimited, so it's a fine specimen. Dog skulls are a lot more expensive than you'd think, by the way.

Engraved Dog Skull 1 Top

The carving was done using a Dremel 400 with diamond engraving bits. I pencil the design out before I carve. There's a wolf skull I'm getting ready to start on, and I will be taking progress pics so that you can see the process. It's really cool.

More pics down here! )

Best of all, it's for sale!

A big thank you to [livejournal.com profile] bat_cheva, who lent me the backdrop cloth which made these pictures look so sharp.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Thane)
I'm getting ready to start a big push to list a bunch of higher-dollar items on my Etsy page, and I am starting with the carved skulls I did a while back, and have never showed you guys. This is the first one.

It's a domestic dog skull supplied by the folks at Skulls Unlimited, so it's a fine specimen. Dog skulls are a lot more expensive than you'd think, by the way.

Engraved Dog Skull 1 Top

The carving was done using a Dremel 400 with diamond engraving bits. I pencil the design out before I carve. There's a wolf skull I'm getting ready to start on, and I will be taking progress pics so that you can see the process. It's really cool.

More pics down here! )

Best of all, it's for sale!

A big thank you to [livejournal.com profile] bat_cheva, who lent me the backdrop cloth which made these pictures look so sharp.
naamah_darling: The incisors and canines of the skull of a gray wolf. (Bones)
This guy is awesome. He's in the preliminary stage of getting engraved. The pencil lines are on him. These were obviously taken before that.

Bonebiter 01
He's sound with good bone structure and a nice, heavy sagittal crest. One of the better-quality skulls I have, in fact.

We will see more of what makes him unique on the tour.

This way! )

Someone always asks, so: No, I don't know what killed him. Considering he's a leftover from the fur trade, he was probably shot. It's not pretty to contemplate, but at least I will be treating him with respect.

I will be taking progress photos of the engraving as it goes along! I'm pretty excited.

He is unnamed, though I've been referring to him informally as Bonebiter. He obviously liked to chew a lot. He will be joining Thane, Arya, Brand, Grond (Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] crows_warning and [livejournal.com profile] tripleransom!) and Grendel (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] foxipher), as well as one unnamed skull, so throw your names at me in comments!

For the new, a note about bones and ethics.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Thane)
This guy is awesome. He's in the preliminary stage of getting engraved. The pencil lines are on him. These were obviously taken before that.

Bonebiter 01
He's sound with good bone structure and a nice, heavy sagittal crest. One of the better-quality skulls I have, in fact.

We will see more of what makes him unique on the tour.

This way! )

Someone always asks, so: No, I don't know what killed him. Considering he's a leftover from the fur trade, he was probably shot. It's not pretty to contemplate, but at least I will be treating him with respect.

I will be taking progress photos of the engraving as it goes along! I'm pretty excited.

He is unnamed, though I've been referring to him informally as Bonebiter. He obviously liked to chew a lot. He will be joining Thane, Arya, Brand, Grond (Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] crows_warning and [livejournal.com profile] tripleransom!) and Grendel (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] foxipher), as well as one unnamed skull, so throw your names at me in comments!

For the new, a note about bones and ethics.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Blood Oath)
I haven't done one of these in a while, and I have had this most of the way written up for a long time now. So here. Have some pictures of pretty pretty bones.

This guy is gorgeous. He's yellowed quite a bit since I took these pictures, but is still beautiful and just impressive as hell.

Handsome 01
This is the skull that, for lack of a better name, I've been calling Handsome. He was young, very young, but absolutely enormous. We'll get to that in a moment. For now, note the prominent sutures in the nasal bones and around the eyesockets, characteristic of a young animal.

More pics! Including wallpapers! )

Anyway. He doesn't have a name. While I am kind of digging Bran/Brand/Valbrand, I'm still taking suggestions! You all helped me name Grond (Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] crows_warning and [livejournal.com profile] tripleransom!) and Grendel (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] foxipher).

So, because I think it's really fun, I appeal to you: young, large, and handsome. What'll it be? He'll be joining Thane, Arya, Grond, Grendel, Diana, and two other unnamed skulls that I will surely be asking you for opinions about.

For the new, a note about bones and ethics.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
I haven't done one of these in a while, and I have had this most of the way written up for a long time now. So here. Have some pictures of pretty pretty bones.

This guy is gorgeous. He's yellowed quite a bit since I took these pictures, but is still beautiful and just impressive as hell.

Handsome 01
This is the skull that, for lack of a better name, I've been calling Handsome. He was young, very young, but absolutely enormous. We'll get to that in a moment. For now, note the prominent sutures in the nasal bones and around the eyesockets, characteristic of a young animal.

More pics! Including wallpapers! )

Anyway. He doesn't have a name. While I am kind of digging Bran/Brand/Valbrand, I'm still taking suggestions! You all helped me name Grond (Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] crows_warning and [livejournal.com profile] tripleransom!) and Grendel (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] foxipher).

So, because I think it's really fun, I appeal to you: young, large, and handsome. What'll it be? He'll be joining Thane, Arya, Grond, Grendel, Diana, and two other unnamed skulls that I will surely be asking you for opinions about.

For the new, a note about bones and ethics.
naamah_darling: The incisors and canines of the skull of a gray wolf. (Bones)
So I told you guys I would get pics of the awesome Christmas presents [livejournal.com profile] sargon999 got me. Here's one of them. A full-size cast from a Smilodon fatalis skull, complete with tarpit finish.

It's my favorite present I've gotten in a long, long time. Thank you, darling.

sabertooth 01

I'm also making you look at this picture, because it's pretty much the most excellent picture of Tazendra ever taken. Do yourself a favor and go look at it full-size. I cannot stop laughing about it. Every time I see it I go off again.

Dey Had Teef Like Dif

When asked to list her breed on paperwork, I put "lolcat."

Captions welcome.

Lots more skull and pretty kitty pics under here! )

There are lots more pictures of Tazendra at my Flickr account, so you can just click through and scroll back or forth to see those. These are the best pictures of her I've ever been able to take.

Bone Clones sells many different replicas, and while I don't think resin is much of a stand-in for the various wonderful tactile qualites of real bone, the casts of extinct beasties and endangered beasties are certainly of high enough quality to justify the price. The level of detail on this thing is astounding, down to the sinus cavities and sutures. The only reason I can tell it's a replica is because I'm really, really used to looking at real skulls. From more than a few feet away, you can't tell at all.

Anyway, that's the awesome. Hope you enjoyed!
naamah_darling: The incisors and canines of the skull of a gray wolf. (Bones)
So I told you guys I would get pics of the awesome Christmas presents [livejournal.com profile] sargon999 got me. Here's one of them. A full-size cast from a Smilodon fatalis skull, complete with tarpit finish.

It's my favorite present I've gotten in a long, long time. Thank you, darling.

sabertooth 01

I'm also making you look at this picture, because it's pretty much the most excellent picture of Tazendra ever taken. Do yourself a favor and go look at it full-size. I cannot stop laughing about it. Every time I see it I go off again.

Dey Had Teef Like Dif

When asked to list her breed on paperwork, I put "lolcat."

Captions welcome.

Lots more skull and pretty kitty pics under here! )

There are lots more pictures of Tazendra at my Flickr account, so you can just click through and scroll back or forth to see those. These are the best pictures of her I've ever been able to take.

Bone Clones sells many different replicas, and while I don't think resin is much of a stand-in for the various wonderful tactile qualites of real bone, the casts of extinct beasties and endangered beasties are certainly of high enough quality to justify the price. The level of detail on this thing is astounding, down to the sinus cavities and sutures. The only reason I can tell it's a replica is because I'm really, really used to looking at real skulls. From more than a few feet away, you can't tell at all.

Anyway, that's the awesome. Hope you enjoyed!
naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
I don't think I've posted these. I think they just made it onto Flickr, but I got busy moving and forgot to share. My bad. I'm still working on the Etsy update, but in the meantime, here, have some bones.

This is the skull of a good-sized adult male wolverine.

Wolverine Skull 04
All business, every millimeter. I am grateful, looking at this picture, that wolverines are not really all that big. If something the size of a bear had jaws like that . . . I am pretty sure I would die of awesome, actually, before it could bite my arms off.

Moving on to the rest of the skull. )

This skull was prepared by Martin, who prepared several of my wolf skulls including Thane, Grendel, and Diana.
naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
I don't think I've posted these. I think they just made it onto Flickr, but I got busy moving and forgot to share. My bad. I'm still working on the Etsy update, but in the meantime, here, have some bones.

This is the skull of a good-sized adult male wolverine.

Wolverine Skull 04
All business, every millimeter. I am grateful, looking at this picture, that wolverines are not really all that big. If something the size of a bear had jaws like that . . . I am pretty sure I would die of awesome, actually, before it could bite my arms off.

Moving on to the rest of the skull. )

This skull was prepared by Martin, who prepared several of my wolf skulls including Thane, Grendel, and Diana.
naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
Note for fellow bone enthusiasts and monster artists (I am looking at you, [livejournal.com profile] missmonstermel; these teeth remind me of your monstery fangs, only not quite as big and scary):

Over on [livejournal.com profile] furhideandbone, [livejournal.com profile] beetlecat makes an awesome post containing pictures of juvenile coyote and cat skulls, with all their baby teeth. It is truly freaky-looking and amazing.



It reminds me of the unevenly-set teeth on the monster T-Rexes in Peter Jackson's Kong. I would love to see more people playing with creative yet plausible bone structure and dentition. And drawing awesome monsters.

Animal dentition is something, like wings, that a lot of otherwise really fabulous artists can't seem to wrap their heads around. Sometimes I think that's why I take so many pictures and post them here or on Flickr. "Look, a resource! Use it!" If you ever need a specific shot of something you know I have, freaking ask me. I will be more than happy to take a picture for you.

And on that note, I have loads and loads of bone pics of my own waiting to be posted. I really need to get off my butt and do that. I just don't want to overwhelm you all with fangs.
naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
Note for fellow bone enthusiasts and monster artists (I am looking at you, [livejournal.com profile] missmonstermel; these teeth remind me of your monstery fangs, only not quite as big and scary):

Over on [livejournal.com profile] furhideandbone, [livejournal.com profile] beetlecat makes an awesome post containing pictures of juvenile coyote and cat skulls, with all their baby teeth. It is truly freaky-looking and amazing.



It reminds me of the unevenly-set teeth on the monster T-Rexes in Peter Jackson's Kong. I would love to see more people playing with creative yet plausible bone structure and dentition. And drawing awesome monsters.

Animal dentition is something, like wings, that a lot of otherwise really fabulous artists can't seem to wrap their heads around. Sometimes I think that's why I take so many pictures and post them here or on Flickr. "Look, a resource! Use it!" If you ever need a specific shot of something you know I have, freaking ask me. I will be more than happy to take a picture for you.

And on that note, I have loads and loads of bone pics of my own waiting to be posted. I really need to get off my butt and do that. I just don't want to overwhelm you all with fangs.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Enochian Keyboard)
Gentle readers!

I apologize for monopolizing your time yet again, but there is a postscript to the story of Lucien and Severin St. Noir which, after submitting my initial account, I felt warranted attention.

It is not, perhaps, accurate or fair to say that we know nothing of why Lucien hesitated long enough to be shot, and it is not fair to imply that Lucien and Severin were the only players in the story, even if they were at the forefront of their own familial drama. There was another.

The belief that the Beast of Gévaudan was female is, in fact, well-established in the region, and has always been part of la Bête's mythology. The astute reader has probably already thought to wonder whether Severin's memoirs or the impressions derived from the artefact itself have provided any insight into this rumor.

They have, and it was remiss of me not to address it.

The first Beast, the one killed and taken to Versaille by François Antoine, had left behind a mate. One boy even saw her peering in through his cottage window, bloody-jowled, with rows of 'buttons' down her breast that the hunters surely should have recognized as nipples. This was the female Beast, rumored, feared, but never caught.

Lucien initally presented himself as a naturalist and assisted the King's hunter in tracking the marauding wolf. He sought to conquer his own monster by destroying the Beast, and for a time he succeeded. There was a gap in the killings after the first beast was killed, yet Lucien was there, roaming those desolate and beautiful hills. He would, perhaps, have effected a recovery – most melancholic lycanthropes, if provided with room enough and time enough, eventually do – but for one detail: the she-wolf.

Lucien, of course, encountered her and loved her. In due course she became pregnant. With his love of the she-wolf he forsook his human shape entirely, forgot his former humanity.

An animal may be forgiven for killing men. A wolf cannot choose to be moral or cruel, its actions cannot condemn or redeem it. It exists beyond the scope of human morality. Not so for the melancholic lycanthrope. However horrifying the affliction, however disabling the transformations, however maddening the pain, the melancholic werewolf is, at his heart, a human being capable of overcoming the misfortune of the curse set upon him. It is not easy, but it is possible.

Lucien became a wolf, and in doing the things that wolves do in innocence he damned himself to lose that which had once made him human . . . yet that does not mean that he became a monster. There is much that wolves and men share, and among the many ferocious impressions I derived from the artefact was woven a single strong thread of care. He cared for his wolf-wife, cared for his family, cared for his wolf-children. And he feared for them. It was love, or as close as an animal can come to it.

He knew that Severin was aware of his presence in the valley, and was equally aware that Severin would not allow the hunters to leave until they had finished their task . Lucien delighted in toying with the hunters but the longer they remained, the greater the risk to his family.

We can't know what he thought in his last hours with whatever semblance of human reason was left to him. It is, however, my belief that he made a noble choice, a sacrifice of sorts. The hunters took him, and they left.

But what of the female who had hunted and killed alongside him? Why did she stop her murdering? Where did she go, and what became of her young? Was she an ordinary but monstrously large she-wolf? Was she a lycanthrope, and if so, was she from Gévaudan itself or was she an exile, like Lucien? Who was she, in her human identity? Ultimately, that is perhaps the most disturbing thing about this episode. Lucien did not know these things, so neither can we.

Again, it is my opinion that she was something more than a wolf. If not a human in a wolf's shape, perhaps the offpsring of a union between werewolf and human. A true animal would not have abandoned established territory but would have remained. She had ceased preying upon humans with the death of her first mate, true, but had resumed when Lucien became her mate and, himself, spiraled into inhuman bloodthirst.

Wolves are intelligent enough not to hunt prey the pack is not strong enough to take, but they will resume once they have become strong enough again, even if only one wolf has ever hunted that game. Alone she would not have risked hunting humans, but it is likely that she would have resumed once her offspring, very nearly adults at the time of Lucien's death, had grown. History does not record continued attacks in Gévaudan, however.

I have spoken to an expert on lycanthropy, Tasha Voiescu, herself a melancholic lycanthrope, and she agrees that my theory is plausible: Lucien's death likely woke in his mate some slumbering spark of humanity. Understanding Lucien's death for the sacrifice it was, she took her family and ventured away. Not because she cared for humans or believed what she had done to be wrong, but because she understood, as Lucien had, that she could not safely remain in Gévaudan. She left the Margeride Mountains and lived out her fierce life somewhere else.

I also wish to make note of the artefact's label, which clearly depicts an empizzled werewolf in a half-bestial form, yet which declares the specimen to be H. lycanthropus gallicus, the greater Gallic werewolf. While both melancholic and hereditary lycanthropes have bacula when in lupine form, almost all hereditary werewolves lack the ability to assume a half-bestial shape. Lucien St. Noir was a melancholic werewolf, and it is the melancholic werewolf that most often assumes a semi-human form.

It is this historian's opinion that the bottle, while colorfully embellished, was improperly labeled in an attempt to direct suspicion away from his family. For all that werewolves are people too, very few ordinary humans would be likely to ask after the human identity of a hereditary lycanthrope. Popular prejudice declares that hereditary werewolves were never people to begin with – a bigoted view that I do not and never shall share, and which I trust that my gentle readers also eschew.

The public perception of melancholic lycanthropia being what it is, had the bottle been properly labeled, the question of the werewolf's human identity would have been raised, and Severin St. Noir would doubtless have been pressed to answer questions to which he would rather not reveal the answer.

I hope this satisfies any questions that may have arisen.

Curiously yours,

Lorelei Knightley-Someday
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Enochian Keyboard)
Gentle readers!

I apologize for monopolizing your time yet again, but there is a postscript to the story of Lucien and Severin St. Noir which, after submitting my initial account, I felt warranted attention.

It is not, perhaps, accurate or fair to say that we know nothing of why Lucien hesitated long enough to be shot, and it is not fair to imply that Lucien and Severin were the only players in the story, even if they were at the forefront of their own familial drama. There was another.

The belief that the Beast of Gévaudan was female is, in fact, well-established in the region, and has always been part of la Bête's mythology. The astute reader has probably already thought to wonder whether Severin's memoirs or the impressions derived from the artefact itself have provided any insight into this rumor.

They have, and it was remiss of me not to address it.

The first Beast, the one killed and taken to Versaille by François Antoine, had left behind a mate. One boy even saw her peering in through his cottage window, bloody-jowled, with rows of 'buttons' down her breast that the hunters surely should have recognized as nipples. This was the female Beast, rumored, feared, but never caught.

Lucien initally presented himself as a naturalist and assisted the King's hunter in tracking the marauding wolf. He sought to conquer his own monster by destroying the Beast, and for a time he succeeded. There was a gap in the killings after the first beast was killed, yet Lucien was there, roaming those desolate and beautiful hills. He would, perhaps, have effected a recovery – most melancholic lycanthropes, if provided with room enough and time enough, eventually do – but for one detail: the she-wolf.

Lucien, of course, encountered her and loved her. In due course she became pregnant. With his love of the she-wolf he forsook his human shape entirely, forgot his former humanity.

An animal may be forgiven for killing men. A wolf cannot choose to be moral or cruel, its actions cannot condemn or redeem it. It exists beyond the scope of human morality. Not so for the melancholic lycanthrope. However horrifying the affliction, however disabling the transformations, however maddening the pain, the melancholic werewolf is, at his heart, a human being capable of overcoming the misfortune of the curse set upon him. It is not easy, but it is possible.

Lucien became a wolf, and in doing the things that wolves do in innocence he damned himself to lose that which had once made him human . . . yet that does not mean that he became a monster. There is much that wolves and men share, and among the many ferocious impressions I derived from the artefact was woven a single strong thread of care. He cared for his wolf-wife, cared for his family, cared for his wolf-children. And he feared for them. It was love, or as close as an animal can come to it.

He knew that Severin was aware of his presence in the valley, and was equally aware that Severin would not allow the hunters to leave until they had finished their task . Lucien delighted in toying with the hunters but the longer they remained, the greater the risk to his family.

We can't know what he thought in his last hours with whatever semblance of human reason was left to him. It is, however, my belief that he made a noble choice, a sacrifice of sorts. The hunters took him, and they left.

But what of the female who had hunted and killed alongside him? Why did she stop her murdering? Where did she go, and what became of her young? Was she an ordinary but monstrously large she-wolf? Was she a lycanthrope, and if so, was she from Gévaudan itself or was she an exile, like Lucien? Who was she, in her human identity? Ultimately, that is perhaps the most disturbing thing about this episode. Lucien did not know these things, so neither can we.

Again, it is my opinion that she was something more than a wolf. If not a human in a wolf's shape, perhaps the offpsring of a union between werewolf and human. A true animal would not have abandoned established territory but would have remained. She had ceased preying upon humans with the death of her first mate, true, but had resumed when Lucien became her mate and, himself, spiraled into inhuman bloodthirst.

Wolves are intelligent enough not to hunt prey the pack is not strong enough to take, but they will resume once they have become strong enough again, even if only one wolf has ever hunted that game. Alone she would not have risked hunting humans, but it is likely that she would have resumed once her offspring, very nearly adults at the time of Lucien's death, had grown. History does not record continued attacks in Gévaudan, however.

I have spoken to an expert on lycanthropy, Tasha Voiescu, herself a melancholic lycanthrope, and she agrees that my theory is plausible: Lucien's death likely woke in his mate some slumbering spark of humanity. Understanding Lucien's death for the sacrifice it was, she took her family and ventured away. Not because she cared for humans or believed what she had done to be wrong, but because she understood, as Lucien had, that she could not safely remain in Gévaudan. She left the Margeride Mountains and lived out her fierce life somewhere else.

I also wish to make note of the artefact's label, which clearly depicts an empizzled werewolf in a half-bestial form, yet which declares the specimen to be H. lycanthropus gallicus, the greater Gallic werewolf. While both melancholic and hereditary lycanthropes have bacula when in lupine form, almost all hereditary werewolves lack the ability to assume a half-bestial shape. Lucien St. Noir was a melancholic werewolf, and it is the melancholic werewolf that most often assumes a semi-human form.

It is this historian's opinion that the bottle, while colorfully embellished, was improperly labeled in an attempt to direct suspicion away from his family. For all that werewolves are people too, very few ordinary humans would be likely to ask after the human identity of a hereditary lycanthrope. Popular prejudice declares that hereditary werewolves were never people to begin with – a bigoted view that I do not and never shall share, and which I trust that my gentle readers also eschew.

The public perception of melancholic lycanthropia being what it is, had the bottle been properly labeled, the question of the werewolf's human identity would have been raised, and Severin St. Noir would doubtless have been pressed to answer questions to which he would rather not reveal the answer.

I hope this satisfies any questions that may have arisen.

Curiously yours,

Lorelei Knightley-Someday
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Enochian Keyboard)
Greetings, gentle readers!

The mystery of la Bête du Gévaudan has remained unsolved for centuries, the truth held captive in the keepsakes and writings of Severin St. Noir, a key player unknown to popular history but now in part revealed to you through this item. The tale it tells is one of pathos and sorrow and terrible wildness, a tale at once repugnant to the human soul and deeply tragic.

When I examined it in a retrocognitive trance this artefact divulged a number of surprising secrets, some of which I cannot in good conscience share. The heiress of the St. Noir legacy is unavailable for comment, and her offspring are too far below the age of majority to offer any moral guidance. I therefore have confined my enquiry to events surrounding this particular trophy and have omitted the more personal details until such time as an adult member of the family can speak for them. I trust my gentle readers will forgive my circumspection. Given the unbearably intimate and deeply disturbing nature of the impressions, reproducing them for public titillation would only be ghoulish, anyway.

There will come a time when I, or the St. Noir family, shall step forward and tell the rest of Severin's story, but for now we must be content to hear a tale that began in 1764, high in the Margeride Mountains. . . .

Curiously yours,

Lorelei Knightley-Someday

***

Werewolf baculum
Gévaudan, France
Collected in 1767 by Severin St. Noir

Werewolf Baculum 01

Many innocent wolves were slain in the hunt for the Beasts of Gévaudan. The King dispatched his Lieutenant of the Hunt, François Antoine, to destroy the beast before the panic could spread. Lucien St. Noir, a mysterious 'naturalist' who came to Gévaudan in the spring of 1765, offered his assistance to Antoine, and in September of 1765 the two men spearheaded a massive hunt that ended with the death of an enormous wolf. It was identified by its scars as the Beast.

Antoine returned to Versailles with the corpse and received a rich reward. Lucien St. Noir remained in the province to make a study of the wildlife, but vanished in November while riding back to town in the early twilight.

Despite the destruction of the first Beast, killings began again in December and continued unabated for two years, casting a pall of terror over the beautiful province. In the summer of 1767, the bloodshed reached its peak. A hunter working under the obvious nom du chasse 'Pierre Louvart' arrived and announced his intention to track down and kill the marauding Beast. He was a louvretiere, a hunter who specialized in the destruction of wolves, and he offered his services to the stricken province.

As Lucien St. Noir had befriended François Antoine, Louvart befriended a local hunter named Jean Chastel. The two of them tracked the Beast for weeks. It remained always one step ahead, possessed of a preturnatural intelligence and an apparent enjoyment of human suffering. Despite widespread fear and superstition, despite the uncanny circumstances of many of the deaths, despite the fact that the Beast seemed to have a very human lust for vengeance, Louvart insisted that the Beast was merely an animal and that the reports of it walking upon two legs were but fantasies born of quite-understandable fear.

The deaths continued, the tide of blood unstanchable. Over a hundred died, most children and women. Chastel and Louvart redoubled their efforts. Still the Beast ravened and slew. It bypassed animal carcasses in favor of human prey. It ignored bait and poison, but would lay in wait for the hunters who would inevitably return to the traps. It tore the heads from its victims. It outran every pack of hounds set against it, and dogs eventually refused to track it at all.

On the nineteeth of June, 1767, the Beast caught Jean Chastel's hunting party off-guard, before the battue had commenced. Jean Chastel was kneeling, reading from the Bible. The Beast emerged from the trees and stood staring as Chastel calmly finished his prayer, raised his rifle, and shot it dead with a silver bullet.

Dead, the Beast proved - to nobody's surprise - to be a wolf of monstrous size. When its stomach was opened, human remains were found inside.

Chastel was celebrated as a hero. 'Pierre Louvart' vanished, taking his story – and certain trophies – with him. The predations ceased.

It was not until the Salem Institute came into possession of a certain memoir that Pierre Louvart was discovered to be Severin St. Noir, the brother of Lucien St. Noir.

Severin's memoir told a dire tale. The two louvretieres were attacked by a mad wolf while baiting a trap, and Lucien contracted that mystical contagion known as melancholic lycanthropia. The lust for human flesh this kindled in him was too much for the injured man to resist, and in the grip of lycanthropic fugue Lucien slaughtered the St. Noir family and left Severin for dead.

Having heard of the Beast, Lucien traveled to Gevaudan hoping that his own continuing misdeeds would be blamed upon the beast and that he, himself, might go unremarked and unpunished. And, indeed, Lucien's ruse worked – for a time.

Severin had survived the attack, and Lucien could not long escape his attention. Horrified, Severin vowed to destroy his brother.

The final hunt ended on that June morning with Jean Chastel kneeling in the leaves, a prayer on his lips. Severin, behind Chastel, stood as the Beast approached and revealed himself to his brother. The Beast froze for one moment too long.

What caused the Beast to hesitate? Why, after so long, did it allow itself to be slain so easily?

Despite what popular literature will tell you, the psychic energy released upon death does not create more vivid psychometric impressions. On the contrary, it washes out images or feelings, and seldom is there much for the retrocognitive to examine. Attempting to do so is quite unpleasant, in point of fact. Retrieving impressions from animal remains is chancy as well, and by the end Lucien was more animal than man.

The last few hours, even days, of Lucien's life are lost to us. We do not know what he may have thought, felt, feared, discovered, decided. He was shot. The hunters left. The killings ceased. That is all we know.

Severin's memoir describes the Beast's murders in horrific detail, but does not reveal his thoughts on the Beast's death. We do not know if he felt sorrow or relief, whether he mourned his brother, or had already grieved him, along with his destroyed family. We can only guess at the anger which led Severin to strip the corpse of trophies - of which, ironically, only this baculum now remains. It disturbs our modern sensibilities to think that he carried about these pieces of his own brother, but Severin was a brutal man doing a brutal job in a very different time, a man driven by rage and sorrow and his own inner demons. We must not judge him too harshly.

Severin St. Noir went on to become a great hunter of rogue beasts, werewolves in particular, and later wrote La chasse au loup-garou, still considered by louvretiers to be the foremost treatise on werewolf hunting.

It is to be noted that Severin never traveled without a certain silver flask from which he took regular draughts. While one cannot blame a man with so disturbing a past for developing a taste for liquor, it is known that Severin drank only from his own flask and eschewed all other alcohol entirely.

When questioned by a close acquaintance he once claimed that it was an herbal preparation meant to keep the pain of old wounds at bay.

For his sake, we may hope that it did.

The St. Noir papers entered the archives here at the Salem Institute Northwest through the Miracle Island Historical Trust. The donor, Mr. John Donovan, graciously confirmed that the artefact – which should never have been sold – was, indeed, the very one that had come into his possession when he assumed custody of Sibylla St. Noir's personal effects on the occasion of her disappearance into the caves beneath Medmenham Abbey.

We are indebted to Master Donovan, and to his minor wards, Saturnalia and Samhain, who provided this historian with much delight on the afternoon of March the twenty-third.

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