In The Shadows – Behind The Scenes: Werewolves

Welcome to the second post in what I hope will be an ongoing series in which I will be spotlighting certain “family trees” that are in Forgotten and will appear throughout my “In The Shadows” series. To avoid spoilers I won’t be mentioning any characters by name but you can look forward to posts about werewolves, witches, soulreapers, shadowshifters and fey folk.

Throughout the ITS series you will come across both born and made werewolves. Below is what abilities my werewolves possess. Please Note: I have been influenced by certain aspects of werewolf lore, but not others. I understand that some people are attached to how they picture a werewolf, but this is what I imagine for my books and I hope everyone will respect that my ideals may be different to their own. Thank you.

Family Tree – Species


Born Werewolves

Born werewolves up to the age of ten are known as pups but even though they will still show some of the abilities that adult werewolves have, pups don’t have the ability to transform into a physical wolf form until the age of twelve.

Unlike darklings and dusklings (mentioned in a previous vampire family tree blog post), pups and werewolves don’t need to go to any special schools and can mix freely with others, only tending to avoid others near a full moon due to overt aggression. In some cases, younger teenage wolves, such as boisterous males or females that are menstruating, will need to be either chained or locked up during the whole gibbous lunar cycle (which includes the full moon). This isolation can last between seven to twelve days.

The pelts of born werewolves come in a range of colours that vary to be anything from blonde to red to black and all the colours in-between.


A human can only become a werewolf if they are bitten by a born werewolf or a rogue werewolf.

Once bitten, depending on the age of the victim, the transformation will take between three to fourteen days. The nearer to being twelve years old the quicker the whole process will take (example: a sixteen-year-old will go through the transformation in around four days from being bitten).

The process of the transformation takes three stages over the days I mentioned above.

Stage One

Within a couple of hours of being bitten, the victim will feel dizzy and nauseous due to their inner ear changing to accommodate the increased sense of hearing. At the same time they will experience vision problems (depending on age, they may become blind temporarily) as their sight adjusts. A sensitivity to light will occur until they have an equilibrium between both day and night vision (this also happens to a made vampire but to a lesser degree). Their sense of smell, taste and touch will also increase during this time.

Stage one lasts from one to seven days.

Stage Two

The second stage can be sometimes misinterpreted as a vampire transformation due to the fact that their canines grow to form fangs and their fingernails lengthen and harden to be more claw-like. It is in this stage that the werewolf victim will be at their most vulnerable from death due to the transformation process itself or from attack by others. They will also feel the most pain as their bones break, then reshapen to make the full transformation. This bone breaking phase normally only lasts around twelve hours in teenage victims and up to several days for adult werewolf victims.

Stage Three

The last stage is when the actual transformation into a wolf occurs. It begins with a hunger for blood and internal organs (mainly the heart) that grips the victim, starting with severe stomach cramps that can last hours if not satisfied. Following on from that, the claws, fangs and eyes change colour to amber (the eyes changing colour lasts for a few hours the first time the transformation happens, but for all subsequent times the wolf’s eyes turn amber only when upset, angry or in pain) before changing back to their normal colour. After the eyes and the other senses heighten, the pelt will start to grow and will match the colour of the victim’s natural hair colour. In the case of dyed hair, the hair will just blend into the pelt with only a brief glimmer of colour it was dyed to – This is the same for all werewolf types.

Finally, the victim will go into a cycle of shifting into a wolf then human before reshifting back into a wolf. This cycle will happen around three times and can last hours or days depending on the victim’s age.

Once the whole transformation is complete the victim is now a werewolf with all the abilities that a werewolf has.

The most important ability all my werewolves have is that they retain the use of speech when in wolf form. This is due to the fact that their larynx (commonly known as the voice box) is pushed a little further down the throat and in the same position where you would find the larynx in a common wolf. This means speech is possible, but due to being in wolf form this normally comes with the normal vocals of a wolf such as growling, howling, snarling and occasionally barking.

Rogue Werewolves

Any werewolf, whether born or made, can become a rogue but becoming one can be rather complex. The first likely example is through blood magic where the werewolf in question will be bound by a witch into losing control, acting erratically and overall being unstable. Some werewolves can and do become “normal” werewolves again but that is rare, and for a werewolf to do that is quite extraordinary. In these cases the werewolf will probably have been protected previously (normally with blood magic) by a powerful witch. A second way for a werewolf to go rogue occurs when a pup has no parental guidance. Due to either neglect or by becoming an orphan, if they are left to their own devices, in theses cases, the pups will take on feral characteristics and will lose a part of their humanity (or soul, if you prefer). The main difference between rogue werewolves and their unrogue counterparts, other than their abnormal aggression, is that they are physically larger. The reason for this is due to and linked to their off-the-charts level of testosterone and this is also why werewolves (any types) tend to favour the liver when they feed.

Elder Werewolves

The last type of werewolves is the rarest and is not as well known – these werewolves are known as elder werewolves and can reach into their hundreds. The only other way that a werewolf can live this long is by going into a blood pact with a vampire. The consequence of this is that the werewolf will have all the normal abilities that they may normally possess, but they will not age so they can’t ever become an elder but they can be a rogue werewolf.

Werewolves that have not taken a blood pact, and that can be considered true Elders, are more wily and their appearance is quite striking as in their human guise they can have the appearance that they’re in their forties but actually be well over 200 years old.

Most Elders are either the matriarch or patriarch of their pack (family), but not all packs will have an Elder. Once every 25 years, all Elders from each pack (or a representative from packs that don’t have an elder) will congregate and have what is called a “howling”. A “howling” is a secret meeting, where elders come to discuss various policies for peace between different packs, and also they have a census to determine the population of rogues and whether they need to be culled for the overall safety and longevity of all the packs.

I hope you liked my little behind the scenes look at the werewolves of the “In The Shadows” series.

I welcome any questions you may have if you would like me to expand further on parts of the post.

* Important note: This blog post will at some point in the future (date yet to be determined) will be likely featured in the “In The Shadows – Companion Guide”.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I just wanted to also wish everyone (who celebrates it) a very Happy Halloween. 🙂



  2. Happy (belated) Halloween to you too, Catherine!

    Just wanted to leave a message to say that I enjoyed your post about werewolves as much as I liked the one about vampires. It’s great to get a bit more of an insight behind their abilities and how they act. I’m looking forward to what behind the scenes post you’ll do next. 🙂

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