naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
As you have probably guessed from the last entry, this week's Thing I Made Thursday is my dead fairy gaff.

If you have not read the story, please go do so! In all its beautiful, digressive glory, it's as much a part of the thing as the shriveled organs and tattered wings!

First, thanks go to Jenna at Shadow Manor for the awesome dead fairy doom-it-yourself prop tutorial! Much of this came from there, and the rest came from reading about people customizing larger skeletons for Halloween. Googling stuff like Halloween, Bucky, skeleton, how-to, latex, etc., will get you to any number of really good tutorials. Make sure you put in "Bucky," BTW. That's just what everyone calls cheap skeleton reproductions. A Bucky.

Anyway.

I actually made this a little over a year ago, but it has proven damnably hard to photograph, and, too, I have only just received the final story from our favorite retrocognitive psychometrist detailing its origin. The weasel was VERY late. Ahem.

How she managed to avoid making a "handy shandy" joke is anyone's guess.

It took me about a week and a half of fiddling with it for a while every evening to do this. I tore everything up and started over after about three days, by the way. The wings were done over two evenings, since I let the transparencies dry overnight.

Dead Fairy 06

Let me tell you, he was a lot of work! I learned a lot making him, and expect my second effort will be much better.

If you want to see more of this gruesome little gaff, please click below the cut!

More pics! LOTS more pics, including info about the wings. )

Dear lord, this was a lot of work. *pant pant pant*

I hope you enjoyed! If you have other questions, I will try to answer them!
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
As you have probably guessed from the last entry, this week's Thing I Made Thursday is my dead fairy gaff.

If you have not read the story, please go do so! In all its beautiful, digressive glory, it's as much a part of the thing as the shriveled organs and tattered wings!

First, thanks go to Jenna at Shadow Manor for the awesome dead fairy doom-it-yourself prop tutorial! Much of this came from there, and the rest came from reading about people customizing larger skeletons for Halloween. Googling stuff like Halloween, Bucky, skeleton, how-to, latex, etc., will get you to any number of really good tutorials. Make sure you put in "Bucky," BTW. That's just what everyone calls cheap skeleton reproductions. A Bucky.

Anyway.

I actually made this a little over a year ago, but it has proven damnably hard to photograph, and, too, I have only just received the final story from our favorite retrocognitive psychometrist detailing its origin. The weasel was VERY late. Ahem.

How she managed to avoid making a "handy shandy" joke is anyone's guess.

It took me about a week and a half of fiddling with it for a while every evening to do this. I tore everything up and started over after about three days, by the way. The wings were done over two evenings, since I let the transparencies dry overnight.

Dead Fairy 06

Let me tell you, he was a lot of work! I learned a lot making him, and expect my second effort will be much better.

If you want to see more of this gruesome little gaff, please click below the cut!

More pics! LOTS more pics, including info about the wings. )

Dear lord, this was a lot of work. *pant pant pant*

I hope you enjoyed! If you have other questions, I will try to answer them!
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.
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.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Enochian Keyboard)
Greetings, gentle readers!

For my first few forays into the fantastic – oh, dear, that was unintentional and I apologize – I have agreed to share the history of a few select objects currently owned by our kind hostess.

Part of my work, when I am not documenting the collections here in the cloistered halls of the Salem Institute Northwest, is sorting through records of sales in an effort to identify and reclaim articles erroneously identified as "spurious" yet which are, in fact, genuine.

The following glass jar of bones is one such item, and I can attest that it is as genuine as it comes.

Curiously yours,

Lorelei Knightley-Someday

***

Thuringian werewolf knuckles
H. lycanthropus hercynus
Our Lady of the Snows Shrine
Northanger Abbey
Thüringer Wald
Collected in 1887 by Harlock Winter

Wolf Knuckles 03

These small bones were taken from the shrine of Our Lady of the Snows just outside Northanger Abbey* in Thuringia. This shrine's strange history begins in 1563 on the hill of Tierschatten.

Sudden snows delayed a young man as he traveled through the Thüringer Wald. Caught in the growing storm, he tried to take shelter in a nearby cave only to run afoul of the group of bandits already camped there. After beating the traveler soundly, they threw him into the snow, where he swiftly lost consciousness.

Two weeks later, the melting snows exposed the cave mouth as well as the bodies of the bandits, scattered across the hillside.

The traveler was found unharmed within the cave, neither starving nor dehydrated, his wounds completely healed. He was delerious, however, and in his ravings he claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared and led him to the cave where she nursed him in turns with an enormous white she-wolf. These claims were dismissed as febrile ramblings, though no other theory was put forth to explain not only his unlikely survival but his apparent excellent health. He eventually denied any memory of his time in the cave, but not before the story had spread widely.

The Baroness Karza Vormera, at the baronial seat of Nagelfar, was a pious woman. She interviewed the traveler extensively in private, after which she caused a shrine to be raised on the hillside near the cave, believing it to have been the site of a holy visitation. Others witnessed the Virgin's appearance, always in winter. She was said to favor orphans, the lost, the indigent, and the starving.

In time, an abbey followed. Due to its remote and forbidding location deep within the Thüringer Wald, Tierschatten Abbey became a popular destination for the "undesirable" daughters of noble lines – those prey to congenital madnesses, those who had dishonored themselves or their families, those whose passions had spiraled out of control, or those who were simply unwanted.

As time passed the Vormera line daughtered out and the abbey lost much of its support, falling into further disfavor due to its unsavory associations with madness and tragedy. The half-abandoned buildings and derelict shrine acquired a sinister reputation.

Some chance merging of climate, diet, and company worked strange changes upon the abbey's residents. Those who could be retrieved were often much changed in their appearance and behavior upon their retrieval, and not often for the better. Girls sent to the abbey could not always be identified after a few winters, if they could be found at all.

Eventually, the shunned abbey fell into total disrepair.

With the arrival of the powerful Northanger family to the valley and the re-establishment of Nagelfar as a seat of power, the abbey prospered anew. Restored and rededicated as Northanger Abbey, it received a steady stream of foreign girls seeking asylum, and for several generations enjoyed a renaissance as a site of pilgrimage and sanctuary.

After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Thuringia turned upon itself in a self-destructive frenzy. During this time of terror and bloodshed the valley remained dark and serene, and none who entered with malicious intent remained. Troublemakers were lured from the path and found days later, dead of terrible wounds, or strangling, or apparent fear. All were buried in Northanger Abbey's lichyard, and those travelers brave enough or desperate enough to dare the abbey's hospitality reported that a pack of monstrous, milk-white wolves haunted the graves, perhaps denning in the surrounding rocky hills.

Some chance of the wind in the eaves and across the chimney-tops caused the most unearthly screaming and howling to echo through the wing formerly reserved for madwomen, which acquired a reputation for being haunted. Others pointed to the well-maintained bars on the windows and reinforced doors, and speculated that, though closed to travelers, it might still be in use.

In truth, those who stayed at the abbey rarely had cause to complain about the hospitality. It was inhabited solely by women devoted to the service of God, who ministered to all travelers with gentleness and kindness. Where the abbey acquired the funds to stay in such good repair was a mystery.

The shrine remained in the hills, protecting its secret, and was relatively undisturbed until Ansgard Northanger, a distant scion of the Northanger line, returned to Nagelfar and the historical seat of the Northanger line after the death of Baron Waltraud Northangar.

Hearing the rumors about the abbey, the new baron decided to investigate, and dug a bit too far. Ansgard found that the abbey, long a seat of worship and good duties, had been turned into the most depraved sort of brothel. In the abbey's superstition-haunted cloisters, the inbred descendants of long-forgotten noble families entertained travelers for a fee. Some who visited did not return, and the valley was still noted for its mysterious disappearances.

Repelled by what he had found and convinced that the whores were hiding evidence of muder in the abbey's depths, Ansgard enlisted the aid of supernaturalist and witch hunter Harlock Winter, airship-born man of no country, who was at that time searching in Thuringia for the flying ancestral castle of his line.

Winter infiltrated the abbey and discovered layer on layer of depravity. The prostitutes were a sacred order of heretic nuns who dedicated their carnal delights to their holy wolf-virgin. Idolatrous, they worshipped the white wolf of legend who had succored that traveler long ago. They also revered and fed the wolves, which went out into the woods at their command to destroy any who had earned their wrath – those who threatened the valley and its people. Without Northanger rule, they had become self-appointed protectors of the valley.

Partway through Winter's investigation, a captain under Ansgard Northanger's command attempted violence on one of the whores. He was summarily cast out of the abbey and onto the dark road, where he and his men were attacked by wolves. Their bodies would never have been found, their fate never known, but Winter himself interrupted them at their feast and drove them off.

In the wake of this horror, and against the advice of Winter, Ansgard ordered the abbey closed and imprisoned all of the whores. The whores escaped in the night, leaving no sign of their passing. A wolf hunt provoked the outrage of the local wolf pack, and retribution was swift and terrible, coming in one night of fire and thunder and flashing jaws. Ansgard himself was savagely bitten and left raving in a fever. His household was scattered, those who remained to fight were slaughtered.

Harlock Winter, having rightly divined the wolves' true nature as a pack of lycanthropes, shot and wounded the pack leader, and followed the fleeing pack to the lich-yard. Winter broke into the abandoned abbey and found his way down to the cave that had sheltered that nameless traveler, and to the original shrine, built on and built over for hundreds of years.

What he found in the shrine defied explanation or description. An ossuary, comprised of the bones of women and of beasts laid alongside one another. Some of the human forms were twisted with the most disturbing degenerations. The bones of the wolves were unusually large.

Injured, furious, the pack leader confronted Winter in the shrine. After a long standoff, an angry mob arrived to burn the abbey down. Winter refused to take advantage of the distraction and passed up the shot that would have ended the she-wolf's life. He put his gun down and allowed her to escape.

Believing – rightly so – that the wolf pack would not return to the ravaged abbey, Winter took a few of the bones as proof of his story and left before the flames caused the collapse of the abbey buildings and sealed the entrance to the shrine forever.

These bones – to all appearances ordinary wolf knucklebones – along with many other artifacts were passed on to Winter's traveling companion, Alastor Fell, upon Winter's death in 1824. Fell's collection of oddities, including these bones, was recently placed with the Salem Institute of Metaphysical and Esoteric Studies Northwest by William Fell and the Miracle Island Historical Trust.

My gratitude goes to Mordred Fell, who donated documents out of his own private library, giving ironclad proof of provenance. In the wake of this generosity, my psychometric assessment is presented as a formality only.

* Not to be confused with Jane Austen's fictional Northanger Abbey. -- Ed.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Enochian Keyboard)
Greetings, gentle readers!

For my first few forays into the fantastic – oh, dear, that was unintentional and I apologize – I have agreed to share the history of a few select objects currently owned by our kind hostess.

Part of my work, when I am not documenting the collections here in the cloistered halls of the Salem Institute Northwest, is sorting through records of sales in an effort to identify and reclaim articles erroneously identified as "spurious" yet which are, in fact, genuine.

The following glass jar of bones is one such item, and I can attest that it is as genuine as it comes.

Curiously yours,

Lorelei Knightley-Someday

***

Thuringian werewolf knuckles
H. lycanthropus hercynus
Our Lady of the Snows Shrine
Northanger Abbey
Thüringer Wald
Collected in 1887 by Harlock Winter

Wolf Knuckles 03

These small bones were taken from the shrine of Our Lady of the Snows just outside Northanger Abbey* in Thuringia. This shrine's strange history begins in 1563 on the hill of Tierschatten.

Sudden snows delayed a young man as he traveled through the Thüringer Wald. Caught in the growing storm, he tried to take shelter in a nearby cave only to run afoul of the group of bandits already camped there. After beating the traveler soundly, they threw him into the snow, where he swiftly lost consciousness.

Two weeks later, the melting snows exposed the cave mouth as well as the bodies of the bandits, scattered across the hillside.

The traveler was found unharmed within the cave, neither starving nor dehydrated, his wounds completely healed. He was delerious, however, and in his ravings he claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared and led him to the cave where she nursed him in turns with an enormous white she-wolf. These claims were dismissed as febrile ramblings, though no other theory was put forth to explain not only his unlikely survival but his apparent excellent health. He eventually denied any memory of his time in the cave, but not before the story had spread widely.

The Baroness Karza Vormera, at the baronial seat of Nagelfar, was a pious woman. She interviewed the traveler extensively in private, after which she caused a shrine to be raised on the hillside near the cave, believing it to have been the site of a holy visitation. Others witnessed the Virgin's appearance, always in winter. She was said to favor orphans, the lost, the indigent, and the starving.

In time, an abbey followed. Due to its remote and forbidding location deep within the Thüringer Wald, Tierschatten Abbey became a popular destination for the "undesirable" daughters of noble lines – those prey to congenital madnesses, those who had dishonored themselves or their families, those whose passions had spiraled out of control, or those who were simply unwanted.

As time passed the Vormera line daughtered out and the abbey lost much of its support, falling into further disfavor due to its unsavory associations with madness and tragedy. The half-abandoned buildings and derelict shrine acquired a sinister reputation.

Some chance merging of climate, diet, and company worked strange changes upon the abbey's residents. Those who could be retrieved were often much changed in their appearance and behavior upon their retrieval, and not often for the better. Girls sent to the abbey could not always be identified after a few winters, if they could be found at all.

Eventually, the shunned abbey fell into total disrepair.

With the arrival of the powerful Northanger family to the valley and the re-establishment of Nagelfar as a seat of power, the abbey prospered anew. Restored and rededicated as Northanger Abbey, it received a steady stream of foreign girls seeking asylum, and for several generations enjoyed a renaissance as a site of pilgrimage and sanctuary.

After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Thuringia turned upon itself in a self-destructive frenzy. During this time of terror and bloodshed the valley remained dark and serene, and none who entered with malicious intent remained. Troublemakers were lured from the path and found days later, dead of terrible wounds, or strangling, or apparent fear. All were buried in Northanger Abbey's lichyard, and those travelers brave enough or desperate enough to dare the abbey's hospitality reported that a pack of monstrous, milk-white wolves haunted the graves, perhaps denning in the surrounding rocky hills.

Some chance of the wind in the eaves and across the chimney-tops caused the most unearthly screaming and howling to echo through the wing formerly reserved for madwomen, which acquired a reputation for being haunted. Others pointed to the well-maintained bars on the windows and reinforced doors, and speculated that, though closed to travelers, it might still be in use.

In truth, those who stayed at the abbey rarely had cause to complain about the hospitality. It was inhabited solely by women devoted to the service of God, who ministered to all travelers with gentleness and kindness. Where the abbey acquired the funds to stay in such good repair was a mystery.

The shrine remained in the hills, protecting its secret, and was relatively undisturbed until Ansgard Northanger, a distant scion of the Northanger line, returned to Nagelfar and the historical seat of the Northanger line after the death of Baron Waltraud Northangar.

Hearing the rumors about the abbey, the new baron decided to investigate, and dug a bit too far. Ansgard found that the abbey, long a seat of worship and good duties, had been turned into the most depraved sort of brothel. In the abbey's superstition-haunted cloisters, the inbred descendants of long-forgotten noble families entertained travelers for a fee. Some who visited did not return, and the valley was still noted for its mysterious disappearances.

Repelled by what he had found and convinced that the whores were hiding evidence of muder in the abbey's depths, Ansgard enlisted the aid of supernaturalist and witch hunter Harlock Winter, airship-born man of no country, who was at that time searching in Thuringia for the flying ancestral castle of his line.

Winter infiltrated the abbey and discovered layer on layer of depravity. The prostitutes were a sacred order of heretic nuns who dedicated their carnal delights to their holy wolf-virgin. Idolatrous, they worshipped the white wolf of legend who had succored that traveler long ago. They also revered and fed the wolves, which went out into the woods at their command to destroy any who had earned their wrath – those who threatened the valley and its people. Without Northanger rule, they had become self-appointed protectors of the valley.

Partway through Winter's investigation, a captain under Ansgard Northanger's command attempted violence on one of the whores. He was summarily cast out of the abbey and onto the dark road, where he and his men were attacked by wolves. Their bodies would never have been found, their fate never known, but Winter himself interrupted them at their feast and drove them off.

In the wake of this horror, and against the advice of Winter, Ansgard ordered the abbey closed and imprisoned all of the whores. The whores escaped in the night, leaving no sign of their passing. A wolf hunt provoked the outrage of the local wolf pack, and retribution was swift and terrible, coming in one night of fire and thunder and flashing jaws. Ansgard himself was savagely bitten and left raving in a fever. His household was scattered, those who remained to fight were slaughtered.

Harlock Winter, having rightly divined the wolves' true nature as a pack of lycanthropes, shot and wounded the pack leader, and followed the fleeing pack to the lich-yard. Winter broke into the abandoned abbey and found his way down to the cave that had sheltered that nameless traveler, and to the original shrine, built on and built over for hundreds of years.

What he found in the shrine defied explanation or description. An ossuary, comprised of the bones of women and of beasts laid alongside one another. Some of the human forms were twisted with the most disturbing degenerations. The bones of the wolves were unusually large.

Injured, furious, the pack leader confronted Winter in the shrine. After a long standoff, an angry mob arrived to burn the abbey down. Winter refused to take advantage of the distraction and passed up the shot that would have ended the she-wolf's life. He put his gun down and allowed her to escape.

Believing – rightly so – that the wolf pack would not return to the ravaged abbey, Winter took a few of the bones as proof of his story and left before the flames caused the collapse of the abbey buildings and sealed the entrance to the shrine forever.

These bones – to all appearances ordinary wolf knucklebones – along with many other artifacts were passed on to Winter's traveling companion, Alastor Fell, upon Winter's death in 1824. Fell's collection of oddities, including these bones, was recently placed with the Salem Institute of Metaphysical and Esoteric Studies Northwest by William Fell and the Miracle Island Historical Trust.

My gratitude goes to Mordred Fell, who donated documents out of his own private library, giving ironclad proof of provenance. In the wake of this generosity, my psychometric assessment is presented as a formality only.

* Not to be confused with Jane Austen's fictional Northanger Abbey. -- Ed.

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