The Cursemute was a powerful wave of spells cast by the archangel Avacyn to transform the werewolves of Innistrad who wished to be free of their curse into the wolfir.
Gatstaf vs. the WerewolvesEdit
The village of Gatstaf is located on the lip of a deep crevasse, surrounded by rocky wheat fields and shot through with chasms and caverns. Gatstaf is well-known for its thorny but hearty grains, its coal mining, and its skilled leatherworkers. The town serves as a pilgrim's stopover for many routes through Kessig and is the site of a renowned subterranean natural spring and altar to Avacyn. Denizens of Gatstaf are pious but belligerent, and have been known to assemble mobs to attack homes or families believed to harbor werewolves, led by the town elder Kolman. Gatstaf is also known for a nearby religious landmark; a crossway runs down from Gatstaf through the canyon below to Gatstaf Grotto, where a famous natural spring and Avacynian altar reside.
Kolman is a bitter and cruel man who vowed to rid his parish of werewolves. Some close to him suspect he might actually be a werewolf himself, and is using his showy antagonism to mask his own shame. Many lone werewolves live in secret among the Kessigers, too afraid of retribution to reveal themselves, but too attached to their families and Kessig roots to leave. Suspicion and speculation run rampant among Kessig's commoners, fueled by frightened exaggeration and misremembered anecdotes. Kessigers hold conflicting views about how to detect, hunt, or cure werewolves; how many exist; what keeps them at bay; and what it all means for humanity.
After Avacyn disappeared, Gatstaf's interactions with werewolves became more vicious and desperate. Kolman, the town elder, successfully uncovered a small group of families giving refuge to some suspected werewolves. Before a large crowd, he had four people executed who were believed to be werewolves. The act was done while they were in their human forms, so it was not possible to verify their curse, but the evidence seemed strong. Many cheered the punishments, but later it became clear that one of the executed was an uncursed human. Some in Gatstaf felt they were taking on the same savagery as the monsters they feared.
Great Werewolf PurgeEdit
When the Helvault opened, Kolman began a great purge of werewolves. He led inquisitors and cathars throughout Kessig, whose faith-derived powers were restored by Avacyn's return. Under his command, they hunted down and slew many werewolves in a great inquisition. Some of the larger howlpacks lost a fifth of their number in a matter of days. Still others, especially those who exulted in their wild nature, fought back with brutal and brazen attacks. Most of the more infamous and destructive werewolves were hunted, captured, and put to death with holy fire.
Even after Avacyn returned to Innistrad and it became safer to hunt werewolves, the mood of the citizens of Gatstaf was uncertain. Howlpacks of werewolves targeted the town, stealing victims and even turning a few citizens to the curse, but the horror of the inquisition haunted the minds of the populace. Then Kolman announced a final offensive on the wilderness surrounding Gatstaf. All the cathars and priests from the area were called to scour the forests in an attempt to destroy the howlpacks once and for all, and in a wave of fresh anger, the slayers formed a mob. Kolman dubbed it the Gatstaf Hunt and praised all who gathered to track and kill.
Guided by their reinvigorated folk magic, the hunters found their quarry quickly, and the two sides squared off: humanity and werewolf. Even under the presence of a strong, clear moon, many of the werewolves began to revert to their human forms. The concentration of Avacyn's magic reflowing through the shrines, inhabiting the blessed weapons allowed many of the werewolves to control their wolf natures and overcome the change. One by one, the werewolves regressed to their human forms, and some of the assembled slayers saw their loved ones among the monsters.
The Gatstaf Hunt yielded not a single kill. The fight became a reunion and a pilgrimage. The slayers and the lycanthropes came together and walked through the woods to the Gatstaf Grotto, site of an ancient Avacynian shrine. They bathed in the waters of the natural spring and basked in the divine power of the altar.
Then together, just before daybreak, they appealed to Avacyn for aid in breaking the lycanthropic curse. And Avacyn appeared to them right there in Gatstaf Grotto.
Casting the CursemuteEdit
Avacyn's message was short and simple. She could not break the curse of lycanthropy, she said. The curse mingles the human spirit with the spirit of the wild, and the wild spirit could not be destroyed without also destroying the werewolf 's humanity. So those afflicted with the curse would forever have it. However, Avacyn offered the Gatstaf werewolves a special place at her side.
If they promised to serve as guardians of humanity, she would transform their curse, fusing the two warring aspects into a single noble creature, and allowing them to dwell in the light of her blessing. The lycanthropes at the Grotto that day cried for joy and accepted her offer, and she transformed them into the wolfir. In a powerful wave of spells that would become known as the cursemute, Avacyn's magic spread through the plane, transforming not just many werewolves but many of the world's foul curses. The wolfir emerged as a new race of great wolf-creatures dedicated to the principles of the Church of Avacyn.
It is not known whether any werewolves still exist on Innistrad, but some, perhaps many, might have escaped destruction by slayers and rejected Avacyn's eldritch transformation into wolfir. It was theorized that other lands beyond the great seas harbored exotic species of lycanthropes, and it has been speculated that some werewolves of the known world have fled for those far regions.
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