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Our Gennisi (Beginning)
Come with me, modern traveler, back to a time that has been shrouded by mystery. Back to an ancient legend that has been mostly forgotten. Or at the very least…
We see remnants of it in our advanced world. What present-day mortal doesn’t know to fear the light of the full moon? To fear the howl of a wolf? The cry of a hawk? To look with caution into the darkest alleys. Not in fear of human predators, but in fear of something else.
Something dark. Dangerous. Something even deadlier than our human counterparts.
But mankind didn’t always hold this fear. Indeed, there was a time once, long ago, when humans were humans and animals were animals.
Until the day of the Allagi. They say the birth of the Were-Hunters, like most great evils, started out with only the best of intentions.
King Lycaon of Arcadia had no idea that when he wed, his precious, beloved queen wasn’t human. His wife held within her a dark secret. She was born to the cursed Apollite race and was destined to die in the heart of her youth… at age twenty-seven.
It wasn’t until her last birthday when Lycaon watched his beloved die horribly of old age that he realized the two sons she had born him would follow her to an early grave.
Grief-stricken, he had sought out his priests who all told him there was nothing he could do. Fate was fate.
But Lycaon refused to heed their wisdom. He was a sorcerer and he was determined that no one would steal his sons away from him. Not even the Fates themselves.
And so he set about using his magick to elongate the lives of his wife’s people. Capturing them, he magically spliced their essence with various animals who were known for their strength: Bears, panthers, leopards, hawks, lions, tigers, jackals, wolves and even dragons.
As he blended the animal with the psychically enhanced Apollites, two creatures were created. One that held a human heart. One that held the animal’s. Each one possessed traits of the other. No longer human, no longer animal, it was a bastard hybrid of the two species.
He spent years perfecting his new race, until at last he was sure he’d found the cure for his sons. Blending them with a dragon and a wolf, the strongest of the animals he had experimented with, he imbued them with more strength and magic than any of the others. In truth, he gave of his own power to them.
In the end, he received more than even he had bargained for. Not only did his sons have longer lives than his wife, they had longer lives than any known species.
With their magical abilities and animal strength, they now lived ten to twelve times longer than any human.
The Fates looked down and saw what the proud king had done. Angry at his interference into their domain, the Fates decreed that he must kill his sons and all like them.
It was then the Fates sought out their own form of punishment for his hubris. His children and all like them were cursed anew.
“There will never be peace among your children,” Clotho, the Fate who spins the threads of life, proclaimed. “They will spend eternity hating and fighting until the day when the last of them breathes no more.”
And so it was. Whenever Lycaon blended an animal with a human, he, in fact, made two beings. One being who held an animal’s heart and one who held a human heart.
Those who walked as men and who held human hearts were termed Arcadians after their Lycaon’s people. Those who held animal hearts were termed Katagaria.
The Katagaria were born as animals and lived as animals, yet once they reached puberty, when the magical powers were unlocked by their hormones, they would be able to become human- at least externally. Their animal hearts would always govern their actions.
Likewise, the Arcadians were born as humans and lived as humans until their puberty brought with it their magic and their ability to shift into animal form.
Two sides of a single coin, the two species should have been at peace. Instead, the goddesses sent Discordia to plant mistrust between them. The Arcadians felt themselves superior to their animal cousins. After all, they were humans with human rationale while the Katagaria were only animals who could take human form.
The Katagaria learned quickly that the Arcadians weren’t honest about their intentions and would say one thing, then do another.
All throughout time, the two groups have preyed upon each other while each side took the moral high ground. The animals believe the Arcadians are the real threat while the Arcadians believe the Katagaria must be controlled or put down.
It is an endless war.
And as with all wars, there has never been a true victor. There have only been casualties who still suffer from the prejudice and unfounded hatred.
~Excerpt taken from the prologue to Night Play
I am Damos Kattalakis, leader of my Drakos patria (clan) of Arcadians. As one of the direct descendants of King Lycaon, I am a Regis for the Omegrion Council which tries to maintain some sort of peace between our two races. Ours is a never ending struggle as we try to enforce some sort of rules onto two warring races who want nothing to do with rules of any sort.
Born half-human, half-Apollite, we were stricken by the ancient gods and cast down out of jealousy. My great-grandfather sought to save us. To preserve us.
Out of his love and magic we, and our cousins, the Katagaria, were created.
Since we are born of two worlds, we walk of two worlds. Time and dimension have no meaning to us. We aren’t bound by the laws of mortal physics. Mystical and mythical, we walk through dimensions and time, and even space itself– Finding our home and peace wherever we can.
We are half animal, half human. Half demon and half saint. At war within ourselves and without.
A race of both wizards and barbarians, we are capable of extreme compassion and utter, cold-blooded ruthlessness.
We have been called many things by those who fear us: demons, witches, warlocks, sorcerers shape-shifters, even vampires and devils.
Pursued by our enemies and even by our own, we are the last great race of warriors.
**Please note that the books listed under series are in their correct reading order even though they don’t have to be read that way. The ones listed under related are books/anthologies that contain characters from this series, but they exist outside of the series time line.