Meme: Not all Shapeshifters are Werewolves

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UnoSombrero's avatar
By UnoSombrero

Literature Text

Hello!  It's extremely nice to meet you.  What is your name and gender?

Dr. Istvan Czernin.  And, ah... male.  

That's a great name!  Now, what is your species or race?

Thank you.  My parents were Czech but I know nothing of the language, I inherited a number of unfortunate features, I was born in Hungary, and it's overall more convenient to claim Magyar for the census.  Oh, species?  Human, naturally.  Or I was.  Being dead seems to muddle things.  The technical terminology holds that I'm a sundered spirit, which is what happens when you tear a man's soul to tiny pieces and then recombine it with something suitably awful.  The Great War, in my case.

Ah, I see.  Very interesting…  Now, if you would please describe yourself to our readers…

Ah... male, as I said.  A bit tall in my day, but nothing remarkable now.  Sharp features, awful Mongolian cheekbones, Caucasian, hmm...  I suppose I'm in decent shape for a dead man.  I've black hair and my eyes were hazel but are grey now.  Everything's grey now.  Transparent.  I wasn't alive for the War but I was in the reserve and I do wear the uniform, puttees and all, mostly standard save for the webbing and equipment and some, ah... decorative details.  Feathers.  Buttons.  It would have been blue and red but of course it isn't any more.  I suffered a bit of a mishap in Ethiopia and a my left side is rather... well, flesh and fire is rarely a profitable combination.  Shrapnel.  I have a pair of dueling scars, but it's difficult to pick them out in all the rest.  Oh, and I do tend to cast barbed wire in place of a shadow.  It isn't real, but in bad light it can look it.

Oh, you sound very nice looking!  Why don't you tell me a little about yourself?

Nice?  Ah... thank you.  As it happens, I'm the best surgeon on Earth.  Not the best living--as I am not living--but, indisputably, the best.  A hundred and more years of practice will do that, and I'm the only surgeon I know who can operate without a single cut.  I can keep a man alive through almost anything that hasn't already killed him, and if it has killed him, why, so long as there's a large enough piece left I can bring him back.  Aside from that, I'm the Great War.  I follow wars.  That's where all the fun is, you see.  Lately it's been mostly surgical work and a little policing, but I do like a good war now and again.

Ah, good… good…  So how do your powers work?  Can you shift at will?

Powers... oh, it all stems from what I am, really.  Most ghosts can pass through walls, fly, that sort of thing.  As for shifting at will, yes.  Sometimes it's involuntary, but only when I'm not paying attention.

Good to know.  How many forms do you have?

Oh, just the two.  Myself, and a version of myself that looks as though I've been shot full of holes, flensed to bloody bone, and given a set of skeletal vulture's wings, feathers all tangled in barbed wire.  It comes with a number of other manifestations, as well, ah.... the sight and smell of chlorine, for instance, the sound of artillery, more barbed wire looped across the ground.  Mud.  Blood.  Bullet holes in nearby furniture.  Anything to do with the Great War.  They do call me the Devil's Doctor for a reason!

Interesting.  So then how does it feel when you transform?  Do you enjoy the transformation at all?

Hm.  It doesn't feel like anything, really.  Quite natural.  I think of myself differently, is all, and it happens.  That seems the best explanation.  The change itself does nothing for me, but the reaction... oh, it depends on the person, but I do enjoy the reaction.  The surprise, the fear... ah, negative energy is bit like wine, for me.  Sweet.  Intoxicating.  It's part of the condition.  I can't help it.  Though, it is a useful anaesthetic, at least.  Can't feel pain when someone's feeding on it.

Ah, yes.  I know the feeling…  Do you live with other shape-shifters, like in a pack, or alone?

Do you.  There aren't any others, at any rate none that I've ever met, and I'm not some sort of animal, thank you.  

Oh, right, right.  So then do you have non-shape-shifting friends?  If so, do they know about your ability and how do they feel about it?

All of my friends are quite human.  More or less.  They all know, and while they pretend not to disapprove, I can always tell when I startle someone.  Edmund is rather good about it, despite his phobias.

Completely understandable…  Being a shape-shifter, you must have to keep a lot of secrets.  Does that bother you?  Do you wish the world could know about your kind?

Oh, no, everyone knows and everyone can tell.  My secrets have nothing to do with being a horrific spectral avatar of bloody conflict.  In fact, I'm a bit of a celebrity in some parts of the world.  Europe and Indochina, particularly.

I feel the same way…  What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Really?  I haven't heard of you.  Ah... in my spare time, I rather enjoy conversation, flying, fighting--any sort of fighting, unfortunately--and playing board games or cards, if I must.  Oh, and embroidery.  I'm quite good at embroidery.

Sounds fun!  So how do you put food on the table?  Do you have a job and if so, what is it?

I'm a surgeon.  I'm the best surgeon in the world.  Were you not listening?

Are you in a relationship?  If so, how does he/she feel about your power?

I'm dead, incorporeal, and a horrific spectral avatar of bloody conflict.  I'm really not sure that you were listening.

This may be an odd and embarrassing question, but how do you manage your clothes with you shape-shifting?

They change with me, of course.  I'm a collection of memory and expectation and little else-- it isn't as though what I'm wearing really exists.

All done!  I hope you enjoyed it!  Any last words?

As I recall, I didn't have any.  Electrocution is a nasty business.  Thank you for your interest, however.  I'm flattered that you worked up the courage.
So I ran across this for some reason and realized that, technically, Istvan is a shapeshifter character. Just... not the usual sort.

Stay tuned for Edmund's "No Really I'm Not a Vampire" meme.

Blank is here:

...for some reason I cannot submit to DA's meme category. Bizarre.
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This was awesome. I kept laughing. Clearly, Istvan is settling himself into one of my favorite characters belonging to someone else.