A Species of Ga'leah
|Habitat: Until angered, a Berserker appears as an average Fae or Human. Although some choose to live apart from humanity, they can be found anywhere in Ga'leah (and possibly make their way to Allutheria through portals.)|
Berserkers were once thought extinct in the world of Ga’leah
, but are in fact an incredibly rare species of shapeshifter that has only begun to make a resurgence recently. Characterized by Humans
who are infected by a bite or scratch from another Berserker, fits of anger cause the individual to shapeshift into a large, very strong, and very destructive bear.
Berserkers have two forms, that of the Human or Fae and that of the bear they assume when enraged. Injuries suffered to the bear form are healed upon reverting to the human form and manifest only as scars on their bear form the next time they change. Human injuries, however, are reflected in their bear form and are not instantaneously healed but take a normal rate of time to repair.
The size of the Berserker’s bear form, as well as the overall appearance, are dependent upon the Berserker’s normal Human or Fae body. Most Berserkers are still larger as a bear than as a man, but not all Berserkers will be the same size. A very large man will become an incredibly large bear, a moderately sized woman will become a large bear.
There are not enough Berserkers in the world at present to constitute much of a culture. During the War with the Fae
, the Berserkers were encouraged to return to their Fae families and friends where rages would cause them to infect more individuals and create an unwilling army for the Huntress
. When the Fae understood what was happening, they became very paranoid about Berserkers in their midst. Some Fae were murdered by their friends or family simply under suspicion of being a Berserker.
Although there are few Berserkers in the world at present, at least some of them, specifically the Dunbroch family, have attempted to remove themselves from humanity and live as isolated an existence as possible until a cure for their condition can be found in the hopes that this will reduce the number of individuals they infect with the condition. The Blight, however, caused such far flung places in Ga’leah to become scarce and rendered this plan nearly impossible to continue to pursue. The Dunbrochs were forced to relocate to a more populated area where they needed to exercise extreme caution to keep their tempers in check and prevent themselves from being discovered.
Berserkers were a weapon of war created by the Huntress during the early stages of the War with the Fae. They began as a single curse placed upon a Fae prisoner of war that caused him to transform into a great bear each time he was enraged. The curse was highly contagious, transmitted through scratch and bite, and would infect any poor soul the Berserker did not kill in their rage on the battlefield. As the Huntress was also the goddess of animals, she was able to control the enslaved Fae when in bear form and used them as disposable infantry in battle. When the War ended and the Fae were banished, the Huntress thought she exterminated all who were infected with her curse. But, one of the Berserkers had evaded her death sentence by entering into a magical hibernation there to remain for nearly two millenia before awakening in a world he did not recognize. Angered and confused by the changes he saw around him, he transformed into his Berserker form and infected a human man who would begin the Berserker curse anew by taking it home to his family and infecting one poor, innocent girl some time later.
Only one Berserker from the War with the Fae evaded extermination. All Berserkers currently present in Ga’leah are the direct result of infection by Mor’du, one of the Dunbrochs, or Goldie Locke.
Berserkers reproduce exclusively through infection. While infected with the Berserker curse, they can only bear children in a natural method if they can avoid any outbursts of anger for the duration of the pregnancy. This has never been known to occur, but it is widely believed that if it did, the Berserker mother would not pass on the curse to her child unless or until she scratched or bit them. It is not a virus but a form of divine magic and is not transmitted through bodily fluids as some might expect, but rather transmitted through the act of scratching or biting.
If someone is scratched or bitten by a Berserker and the claw or tooth breaks the skin, they will become a Berserker. The only way to reverse the infection is to kill the Berserker that infected them. Some believe that the druids can separate the bear form from a Berserker that has not yet transformed for the first time if they reach the druids in time, but no one has yet made it to the druids quickly enough to test this theory.
Berserkers can change form, but they cannot technically do so at will. The transformation is brought on through fits of rage. It is possible for a Berserker to learn to control their temper through meditation to avoid unwelcome transformations if they have strong enough willpower. But, any truly angry outburst by the Berserker will result in transformation.
Berserkers are always aware of what they did during their transformation but are not always able to control themselves during their rages. It is said that some Fae were able to learn to control themselves during their anger through meditation and self control, but these individuals could still be controlled by the Huntress and forced to do terrible things at her command.
Typically, most Berserkers are incredibly strong. It is not uncommon for a Berserker to be two to three times stronger than a Human or Fae who is of their same size or build. Their reflexes when transformed are also extremely advanced, allowing them to block and deflect attacks by others. Although they cannot retain the speed for long distances, Berserkers running at top speed can also outrun someone on horseback for several yards, but no further.
A Berserker has no control over when they will transform. They may be able to meditate to learn to control their tempers to avoid a change, but they cannot bring a change on at will unless they can find a way to make themselves extremely angry.
Human injuries are retained and reflected in their bear forms, which can impede their strength or speed.
Although there is a new god of the Hunt, the curse did not originate with the Huntsman and he cannot control the Berserkers like the army of unwilling infantry that the Huntress commanded. He may not be able to command them, but in time, he may be able to remove their curse if he is amenable to doing so.
Depending upon how much energy a Berserker expends in their rage, they may be required to hibernate for a period of time when they ‘fall out’ of the rage. A Berserker who simply changes and causes a small amount of destruction may only be slightly tired when they revert to their natural form. A Berserker who destroys a village or kills a dozen men will be much more likely to need to sleep for several hours or even several days upon returning to human or Fae form.