Many think to be always on the move is freedom. In some respects, that notion is true. You are free to be on your own. Free to do pretty much as you please. Free to learn and grow up in the Shifter way of life. Well, that is what I used to think…
Oberon Kavash was born some 38 years ago. Thinking to himself how it seemed much longer as he lived it. He leaned back against the oak tree closing his eyes. Immediately, Oberon was back to those first moments back in his tribe. Hunter – prey was the favorite game amongst the young ones. A sort of hide and seek, but it was where the young Shifters got to try out their traits and learn.
“Yes, those were great times,” Oberon said to himself and then his smile faded and his expression turned stern as he spoke under his breath…”that was before the Purge.”
History the Purge
- The Church of the Silver Flame began its inquisition to destroy Lycanthropes. At first, Shifters were lumped in with Lycanthropes, and quite a few fell in the first years of the crusade.
- The Church recognized Shifters as a separate species untouched by the taint of Lycanthropy.
- The Church decided to offer deals with some Shifters. Any deal would require Shifters to hunt down and reveal the locations of Lycanthropes to the Church.
*this lore from Eberron, but could have possibly happened in Faerun
The Purge took its toll on Lycanthropes and Shifters. It also reinforced any small amount of fear and prejudice other beings had against Lycanthrophy and those like Shifters, the close genetic cousins. However, for the Shifters it did take on another bad quality. Stories came out about some who helped hunt down Lycanthropes. This made other races assume Shifters could not be trusted.
In the case of Oberon, he did not want to be involved. He and his tribe did their best to stay hidden during the time of the Purge. However, fate decided to intervene and plunged the tribe and Oberon into the middle of this event. A group of young Shifters from the tribe were captured by some local officials. The officials of the Silver Flame already knew that Shifters were not the Lycanthropes that were being hunted, but they were needing some “volunteers” to assist in the locating and hunting down of a large cluster of known Lycanthropes in these woods.
Oberon, while reluctant to get involved, was the best tracker and was known for ability to hunt for food and on occasion the “prey” that was to be had during his time in service of a large mercenary group. Oberon made a deal with the local officials in secret to assist them on their hunt for the Lycanthropy cluster in this area. The deal, agreed upon, stated once Oberon’s help in hunting the Lycanthropes down was concluded the young Shifters would be released and returned to the tribe. The agreement also stated the officials would set aside some lands in the forest and allow the Shifters to live out their days in peace. As he signed his mark, Oberon looked at the leader and spoke…
“I will do that which I have pledged, but if you go back on your word or any of my tribe is harmed, even one piece of hair, I will find you and I will end you. Do we have an accord?,” asked Oberon.
“But of course. The church only wishes to deal with this evil. These were-creatures must be found and judged,” said the mercenary leader for the church.
Oberon sits up from where he had been resting against the tree. Thinking back over the past has him less relaxed, but now solemn almost emotionless, aside for the clinching of his jaw and the appearance of one of his large canine teeth peeking out.
“I should have never made that deal,” Oberon mutters to himself as he is now staring into the fire as more memories come rushing back.
The deal indeed, as he ponders the past more. Images of Oberon and the group of mercenaries as they began hunting for the Lycanthropes. The area in which they were searching was much larger than Oberon was led to believe. This task of “helping” the church was taking several months. Day after day of tracking in some of the densest forest Oberon had ever seen. Tracking was not his only job. The reason Shifters were so highly sought after was for their animalistic traits without the uncontrollable savagery of true Lycanthropes.
Oberon, and the other Shifters, he worked with, took the hunting to heart. They kept telling themselves, the quicker we hunt down the Lycans and bring them to justice, the quicker we can get back to our tribes. The group hunted down their first pack of Lycans. It was just as most of the stories were told; the Lycans fought with the same amount of savagery as had been described. This early battle seemingly proved that the Purge was necessary to eliminate this evil. Day by day, hunting down the Lycans seems to take a toll on the mercenary group and the “recruited” Shifters.
The toll was not exactly that of blood, but yet it was very costly. The cost of losing one’s self control is quite steep. It started out as in the heat of battle having to utilize our Shifter traits…extra strength, heightened senses and faster reactions, All those traits are amazing for self defense, but the more familiar one gets with using their traits the easier it gets to use them in more aggressive ways with deadly results.
After many battles and years of fighting, Oberon was able to return to his tribe. The Purge had taken a toll on the land and the people. However with Oberon and fellow Shifters, where do they fit in now? Have the actions shown they are not like their Lycan brethren or did it do just the opposite and show the Shifters as hired savages willing to turn on another race?
For Oberon, the questions were quickly answered. Upon returning, Oberon was greeted and welcomed back, but the welcome was at arms length. Members of the tribe were grateful that Oberon had stepped up to insure the tribe’s safety, but stories from the Purge had reached members of the tribe slowly during the ordeal. As the stories were told amongst the tribe, rumors began to grow and spread faster than a pack of Lycans spreading Lycanthrophy.
“I heard he killed women and children that had not even turned.”
“Some say Oberon, bit the neck of the Lycans and bathed in their blood.”
“Did you hear, Oberon captured the child of the Lycan leader and forced the Lycans to surrender and then he helped slaughter them?”
These are just some of the ramblings and accusations Oberon heard behind his back and in whispers as he walked around the tribal camps. Oberon was not new to those who never set foot upon a battlefield or never in the heat of a war.
“They were fools to think that freedom comes without a cost,” Oberon said under his breath as he sat up fixing the fire.
“Hmm they weren’t the only fools were they Oberon?,” a voice said as it ended with a growl.
“Who’s there? Show yourself!,” shouted Oberon as he jumped up to look around.
As Oberon, armed with his axe, peered into the darkness, a glowing specter stepped out from behind the tree.