The Hini Tel'Mordraug (also seen as Hini tel'Mordraug), or the "Children of Black Wolves," were a community of elves generally outcast from the rest of elven society, back in the days of Divia.
For scores of centuries, certain children have been born among elves with symptoms similar to lycanthropy. Many thought it was a simple disease, or a disorder among very few. However as time went on, the numbers rose exponentially as the elven populace grew. When angered to an extreme, the children would transform into a wolf, or a wolf-elf hybrid; in this state, they would go on a bestial rampage, and were swiftly executed; typically, none were left alive due to the danger they presented.
One child learned the correlation, and began to teach himself how to control this feral magic. Soon, he began to teach others, and slowly, the instances of children killed because of this wild affliction decreased. The children, taking on the moniker "Children of Black Wolves" or Hini tel'Mordraug, remained in secret for as long as they could.
Despite their valiant attempts at keeping their secret from reaching public view, it was not long before the group were discovered. A trial was held, charging the leader of the group, "Lythari," with the application, usage, and teaching of vile magic to the younger kids. These charges did not come to pass, however; the parents of the afflicted stood up for Lythari, saying that he'd saved their children from being slain for having a disease.
Instead of being sentenced to death, Lythari and his group were sent into exile from any sort of civilization. Accepting the judgment, he and his group left, indicating that others afflicted could find them "where the wolves meet."
The wolves' leader guided them into building their own village, far from the rest of civilization. Not only did he continue to discipline them in the ways of their feral magic, he began to teach them other things - swordsmanship, proficiency with axes, and archery, to name a few. These skills were honed in order to ensure the survival of their group, should the need arise to hunt or defend their territory. As time went on, more children with this ability, from all walks of life, arrived in the village and were taken in without judgment. Like a wolf pack, the group formed a cohesive bond by teaching one another and looking out for one another. In this way, they prospered for centuries, honing their skills with magic, and eventually learning how to augment certain of the physical features of their transformations - size, shape, and coloration. The Wolves also learned how to transform in situations where anger was not present, utilizing other emotions, or simply channeling enough magic through the same pathways to achieve a similar effect.
It wasn't until nearly the start of the Divian conflict that peace was interrupted among the Wolves. Lythari refused the assistance of the leader of the Blackbloods, who had approached him voicing an interest in his group. The leader of the wolves told the Blackbloods in no uncertain terms that while outcasts, the Children of Black Wolves were peaceful, and held no grudge against the rest of the elven population. The man was persistent, however, and ruthless to boot - he attempted to sway some of the lower-ranked Wolves into assisting him, and he nearly failed. A man by the name of Nessen, one of Lythari's best students, sided with the Blackbloods. He continued the Bloods' spreading of ill rumors and causing dissent. Lythari confronted him, and exiled him from the village. When Nessen returned some fifty years later, he challenged Lythari to a duel, using dark magics and underhanded tricks. He killed Lythari, and took on his name as a title, setting a bloody precedent of leadership exchange. The new leader immediately aligned himself with the Blackbloods.
At about that same time, a new batch of afflicted arrived with the pack. The new 'Lythari' began to train more aggressively. Gone were the ways of peace; the new children were taught only war. Any who had initially protested the man's reign were killed violently at the center of the village, paving the way for the bloodshed to come. Wielding a new and brutal power over the pack, the man launched an offensive against all that had "wronged" them. Lashing out so unexpectedly and with such unprecedented cruelty, the once-peaceful Children of Black Wolves were nicknamed the Nightmares of Divia.
As the violence escalated, one soul stood to defy the wrongs of their new leader. A woman by the name of Imirisilme was exceptionally hard to break of the old pack's habits. She always found nonviolent ways to resolve conflicts, and she would not even transform into her wolven form unless the situation was dire, or part of a meditative training exercise. Despite these things, he did not want to kill her - instead, he sought to bind her to his will and make an exceptional example out of her. He managed to do so, at least in part. Testing his dominance, he forced her to train in the ways of war and assassination. As a testament to his "absolute" control over her, he sent the outcast wolf-woman to kill "the Red Terror".
Imirisilme had other plans, however. While she did seek out the Red Terror, she merely assessed the threat to the Wolves, which was a valid tactical assessment of the threat. During her assessment of him, the two became friends. She surrendered to his group of warriors, and worked alongside him instead of against him - again, under the guise to her "superiors" to assess his threat, infiltrate the group and gain his trust. Before a major battle, the two became lovers. The battle ended badly - Divia was set to fall into the Void, and Magnus had been slain in battle. Wrought with grief, Imirisilme returned home to report the news to Nessen.
Angry that Imirisilme had not killed Magnus, and had instead lain with him, Nessen made an attempt to force himself on her. Combined with the magics of the Choice, her defiance of his commands broke his bond upon her will, rather painfully for her. Imirisilme transformed into a hellish version of a wolf - halfway between a wolf and elf, and attempted to kill Nessen in a blind, pained rage. He fought back, even going so far as to transform. Even with his dark magic and dirty tricks, the she-elf managed to end Nessen, removing his head and very nearly dismembering him.
As her now-predecessor had done before her, Imirisilme took on the mantle of 'Lythari.' However, she did not refer to herself as such, as she felt inferior to Lythari the First. She told her now-subordinates of the fate of their home, and told them to scatter as ashes to the wind.
Not much is known of the fate of the Hini Tel'Mordraug. Some say they all died when Divia met its end; others believe that they relocated far enough away to escape demise. One thing is certain; should any still exist today, they guard their secrets well.
Growing Up Mordraug
Every child found to be of the Tel'Mordraug goes through various stages of developmental training during their time with the Tel'Mordraug.
Before any magic is taught, discipline is instilled. One of the Tel'Mordraug must be experts at controlling their emotional outbursts. They must be able to maintain composure at all costs through self-discipline. This step is usually the most difficult step, and can take a very long time. Failure to maintain composure will lead to an uncontrolled shift, at the detriment of the one in shift and those around him or her. An uncontrolled shift leaves the child in the back seat, letting instinct and emotion take over.
As the child begins to learn how to maintain composure, they are also taught how to bottle the emotions in tandem. While typically not healthy, storing the emotions as an energy source later on can prove beneficial. When there is a necessity, but not the necessary driving emotion, one of the Tel'Mordraug can pull from this stored emotion to channel into a shift. The act of accessing these wells of strength is taught later.
Only after a child has aptly mastered these two subjects, are the next subjects taught - regardless of the length of time it takes.
The Art of Shifting
Once a child masters the basics, they are then guided in meditation. Before any shifting can be done, they must get to know the Wolf Within - the inner embodiment of their instincts. The Wolves Within, at this stage, are a constant pressure on the children's consciousness, and each child's interaction with their inner wolf is different. When the children are able to converse with their Inner Wolf, while still doing other tasks, the next step begins.
After the meditative phase is over, the children are taught the necessary combination of emotion and magic to initiate the transfer. The Wolves Within guide the children - their form and coloration. This is the second most dangerous step of the Mordraug's training. The children and Inner Wolves are still getting to know one another, and the Inner Wolves have a tendency to wish to run rampant. As a side effect of learning the magic, the children must also learn how to maintain primary sentience - eventually, the children are able to become one with the Inner Wolf, but the time varies. Some are instant, some take centuries, and after the merger, they are not quite the same person as they were before.
Once a child has a mastery over shifting, they are then taught how to modify their shifts - small things, such as coloration at first. Gradually, the children are stepped through changing their shape and maintaining their size, and eventually, how to modify their size as well. Size modification is extremely dangerous, and must be handled with great care - if there is not enough emotion to maintain the size, the shift will collapse, almost assuredly killing the Mordraug in the process.
Toward the end of recorded Mordraug history, combat training was introduced. Basic bow, sword, axe, melee, and magical offense/defense were trained. When Nessen took over, the training intensified, turning men and women who wished to defend themselves into hardened warriors. It is unknown as to whether or not this intense training continues to this day.
Love Among Wolves
As one of the Mordraug, there are varied ways of showing affection, as there are in many other societies. What differs is how one of the Mordraug binds themselves to the one they choose as their husband or wife -- their "life mate," as it is sometimes called within the villages. This binding is referred to as Choosing.
One of the Mordraug may Choose a person to spend their life with. It is a decision made on all levels of consciousness, to devote oneself entirely to another. If the emotion of love is felt strongly enough, an unspoken, unwoven spell is cast upon the Mordraug making the choice, binding them to the one they hold their affections for.
One who has Chosen cannot:
- Betray their life-mate, willingly or otherwise.
- Choose another, or un-Choose.
Attempting either of the above will result in the death of the Mordraug who has Chosen. The spell will simply stop all vital functions.
Falling Out of Love
If the one who the Mordraug has Chosen breaks their heart utterly and completely, the Choice spell can unravel. Those who have had their Choice unravel rarely, if ever, Choose again.