A Short Conversation About Werewolves

“So, does anyone know the difference between a were creature and a shapeshifter?” I asked casually while shuffling the cards. There was a pause and then answers began to drip in.

“No, should I?”

“Nope.”

“Shifters not limited to one creature?”

“A curse isn’t it?” This last from the slightly bookish youngster. I nodded and handed the deck to him for him to split it.

“Shifters tend to only have the one alternate form – though as far as I know there’s still some nods to conservation of mass – no young women turning into sparrows, though I did once encounter a youngster who could turn into a swan.” I looked round the table, clocking the smiles and slow hints of relaxation. “Weres on the other hand tend to be the infusion of an animal spirit into a person, or a person into an animal. The former tend to get locked up in secure wards sooner or later; the latter are more dangerous.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well – tell me which you find scarier; a man who tries to lick his own balls or a doberman that can open doors and balance briefly on its hind legs?” That got laughter, tinged with slightly nervous glances, which I suppose was a start.