Dear readers, tonight with us is a werewolf, stalking the streets of 16th century Prague. He is here to tell us about witches and sorcerers, and about a world that denies its pagan roots.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
My youth, or my first life as I like to think of it, is not easily recalled. I have flashes of memory since I emerged from the forest. The potions and spells that gave me the wolf life in the forest wiped away my clear recollection of childhood. Or perhaps the ageless decades that I spent in wolf form gradually consumed memories of my early years.
Now that you know better my troubles, I can say that I came to live with my mother on the outskirts of Prague as a young lad. My mother was a midwife and much disparaged by some quarters of society although relied upon by a trusting clientele. Our life on the fringe of society made me an outcast.
I think that motivated me to seek out my father for he could work the magic that would take me away from the human world. He gave me potion and chanted over me in a secret forest grove.
I became a wolf and lived wild in the forest. Always was I an alpha. I knew mates and sired pups. When the wolves of Central Europe howl, I hear my kin.
All of those years are precious to me. Part of me will always be the beast of the woods.
Do you have any important possessions?
I must admit that my wolf hide is precious to me. When my mother cast the spell of werewolf making, it drew me out of the wolf body and left me as a man. But the magic wolf fur remained at my side. When I recite the spell written on the skin, I become the werewolf.
Aside from my fur that I carry with me always, I do love my two pistols. The first one I won in a game of cards from a Bohemian Captain. His rage at that loss caused much misery for the Gypsies whose company I was keeping at the time, which I regret. My second pistol I obtained from a gunsmith in Prague.
Why did your mother cast a spell that made you a werewolf?
The werewolf spell was her last desperate act before witch hunters caught her. They burned her at the stake, but her magic summoned me to avenge her. Her magic compelled me to do some terrible things, but she had her justice in the end.
The folk now call me the Butcher of Prague for what I did.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
I’ve reunited with my father, Sarputeen. He gave me shelter after I fled Prague. We’ve decided to make war, such as we can, against an old rival of his. He is a perilous sorcerer named Tekax, who empowered the Ottoman armies.
When Tekax learned that I had returned to the world of men as a werewolf, he wanted to strike a blow against my father. And so Tekax sent assassins to kill me. He worked dark magic to make a creature called a fext. This fext began as a man, a skilled warrior, but now…he cannot be killed.
His body expels bullets and heals. If he is cut, his skin closes and makes the flesh whole again. We hope to defeat him by cutting him into pieces and burning them.
What did you first think when your father said that you should make more werewolves?
The thought staggered me. It would be a great burden to put that thing on other people. My bite would force them to obey me. I would be their werelord, but they would not be like me.
I can chant my spell and shift into wolf form at will, but the moon would control their transformation.
Those I would make would always change three days in every cycle when the moon is fattest. They would have trouble hiding their monstrous power from humans. Their risk of persecution would be high.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
When first I battled the fext, I believed that I could tear him apart. My jaws tore out his guts, but that put his blood in my mouth. His blood was pure poison that disabled me. There is savagery at my core that makes me stalwart in battle, but poison…it was deeply terrifying to feel my strength undermined from within. If it was not for the aid of my father, I would not have survived.
What is the worst thing about being a werewolf?
Besides knowing that I can never truly be accepted by humanity, I dislike the planning that goes into shifting my body. I need to take my clothes off. I can’t ruin them every time I shift and always be in search of new clothes. And there are my armor and weapons. These things must be attended to and available to me when I return to my man’s body. I often rely on my friends to handle these details.
What is the best thing about being a werewolf?
I really value my strong connection with Nature. When I’m in the forest, I feel the land. I feel complete. I retain this connection even when I walk the world as a man. This makes me captivating to people. They sense that there’s something different about me, but they play hide and seek with the truth because they don’t want to listen to what their instincts tell them. Mostly, people like me, and I enjoy their company.
Tell us a little about your friends.
I met Regis, Raphael, and Carlo in my early days as a werewolf. They are musicians from Venice, and they were touring Bohemia when our paths crossed. We took up traveling together. I provided them with security on dangerous roads. Regis even wrote a song about when bandits attacked us. For their part, they helped me sneak my way through society as some ruffian in the company of entertainers.
Any romantic involvement?
I noticed quickly after leaving the forest that women like me. I found them quite unsettling because it seemed unfair to entangle them in a relationship with a supernatural being. Of course, I ignored my own advice when I met Altea Kardas. She was the stepdaughter of the magistrate who condemned my mother to the stake. You would think that would be awkward, but she had known my mother and shared fully in my grief over her execution.
My attraction to Altea was undeniable. She returned my affection and suffered for it, of course. At least I was able to save her although my guilt for her ill treatment will always trouble me.
We have married, and now she notices how women like me.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
That Jesuit, Brother Vito. He was such a wicked hypocrite. He came to Prague on a witch hunting mission. His campaign spread fear and attracted people to his authority. Although he declared people like me works of the Devil, he had under his thrall a monk named Rainer. Vito twisted that poor soul into a slave with religion. I came to learn that Rainer was a werewolf too, but not as powerful as me. Vito would set him loose on mad rampages of violence to whip up hysteria. I tried very hard to redeem Rainer.
What’s your favourite drink and relaxing pastime?
I’ve taken up playing primero. That’s the card game that I won my first pistol in. I can usually manage a win because people are transparent to me, at least concerning their feelings over a hand of cards. I do enjoy most beers. That’s one thing about being a man that is better than a wild animal. You get to drink beer. I’ve had some stronger spirits too and enjoyed those. I’m no drunkard though.
What does the future hold for you?
I’ve managed to secure my territory, but I do not intend to stay hidden in my mountain stronghold forever. Others like me face persecution, and I want to defend them. My werewolf pack and I will devote ourselves to counteracting the hostile forces that torture and burn those they judge according to their narrow and hateful beliefs.
Tracy Falbe was among the first wave of indie authors who ignored gatekeepers and reached readers with ebooks. She started publishing her novels in 2006, and thousands of readers around the world have enjoyed her epic fantasies The Rys Chronicles and Rys Rising series. Werewolves in the Renaissance is her most recent fantasy series. Her musical tastes encompass everything from heavy metal to rap. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Chico, and currently resides in her native state of Michigan. Falbe is part of the gig economy and works as a freelance writer and voice over talent.
You can find Thal on the pages of Werelord Thal.
Join us next week to meet the Lord Sorcerer of Regency England. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.