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A Werebear (Art from Witcher)

Now finish your soup, or a berserker'll come and swallow ye whole.
An old Norse–Gael saying.

Werebears, also known as Berserkers by the Old Norse, are therianthropes, or Werebeasts, who transform into bears or half-bears. They were said to be among the most powerful of therianthropes, even more so than Werewolves.

Overview

Despite their sheer ferocity and power, Werebears are immensely rare to the point where many hunters around the world either believe they had gone extinct after being hunted down by Witchers or that they never existed in the first place.

However, there was evidence to suggest that Werebears were actually around since archaeologists have discovered bone structure that appeared to mix between a bear and a human during excavations somewhere in the Northern mountains of Scandinavia. The bones and tools of Werebears being found in Scandinavia only further proves that these beasts were in actuality the Berserkers in the Old Norse myths. In Norse history, the Berserkers were a group of warriors who wore bearskins and fought so wildly that they were thought to be werebears.

Pure-blooded Werewolves whom have existed since ancient Rome also confirmed the existence of Werebears. Among them was Miguel, who currently serves the Order of the Silver Cross, recalling the time when the Roman Emperor Trajan was in the midst of his conquest of Dacia in 101–106 AD. Trajan's Roman forces were being overwhelmed by fierce and powerful "bear-like" warriors that no spear or sword could put down, hindering his progress greatly. He requested the aid of Miguel and several other lycanthropes to defend Rome's border regions from these tribal warriors. Miguel personally fought several of these Werebears but with great effort, confirming that their strength was more than enough to challenge an alpha wolf.

Description

Like other kinds of therianthropy, the "arctanthropy" can be acquired either as a result of a curse or inherited from werebear parents. However, it is likely that a bite from a werebear does not result in the victim becoming a werebear as well. That said, on the Icelandic Isles, a supposed "bear cult" called Vildkaarls invented another, "controllable" way of becoming a berserker. After a complicated ritual involving psilocybe mushrooms and what seemed to be allowing wild bears to eat the cultists alive, the fierce warriors used to rise and spill blood in the name of their god.

Much like Werewolves, Werebears only transform at certain times, but unlike the former, Werebears are at first bounded by the cycle of the sun instead of the moon since actual bears prefer to hunt during the daytime. But overtime as they learn to gain more control of their transformation they are no longer bound by the phases of the sun. However, even then, Werebears were known to prefer hunting during certain daytimes since at night they are slightly weaker but are still incredibly dangerous, regardless. They often show signs of extreme tiredness once they return to their human state.

Capabilities

Werebears are noted to be extremely powerful, more so than Werewolves and other Werebeasts, and are tougher, fearless, and more relentless than real bears. Werebears are infamous for their ferocity, resilience, and physical strength as a single Werebear would plow through a Roman legionnaire without any concern for its own wellbeing as the artillery and weapons of the Romans would only serve as a nuisance to the Werebears. Miguel, who is one of the most powerful Werewolves on Earth, admitted that if he were to face against a Werebear once again he would still struggle greatly which is a testament to their strength and power.

The ballads of the Old Norse indicate a berserker transformed in the heat of battle cannot be distinguished from an actual bear. Only minute anatomical details - such as the shape of their tongues and teeth - reveal their secret. Descriptions of their fighting prowess paint them as invulnerable to pain and able to heal any wound received almost at once. Their weakness is unknown but supposedly, like werewolves and lycanthropes, they are particularly vulnerable to silver and oils that harm cursed creatures.

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