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Village

Life

In the middle ages, superstition and its relationship to the Church’s doctrines were central to village life for a Christian community. To question these happenings amounted to Heresy.

When the villagers discover a creature unlike any they have seen before, they believe it to be a werewolf. The creature is captured and put in a bear pit to await trial at the next full moon, when it is believed it will transform fully into a werewolf. A silver arrow is prepared to kill the creature and other remedies such as putting a stake through its heart and burying it at a crossroads are discussed.

Bear Baiting

Once a year a visiting bear leader would bring his chained animal to the village on a feast day and everyone would bet how many dogs would be killed and how close the bravest would get to the throat of the bear, until the bear leader declared it over.

Witches

"The Lady Abbess was in a brown working gown, her head tied in a scarf, and Ishraq was in her usual black robe covered with a white apron.The two girls had their sleeves rolled up, and were bloodstained to the elbows, standing over the dead body of Sister Augusta, Ishraq wielding a bloodied knife in her hand, disembowelling the dead girl."

When they are discovered carrying out an autopsy on Sister Augusta, Isolde and Ishraq are accused of witchcraft. Changes in the reasons for accusing someone of being a witch occurred over time. In the late Middle Ages, following the Christianisation of the continent, the Church focused on the persecution of heresy as the reason for accusing someone of witchcraft (male or female), in order to maintain unity of doctrine, rather than on the practice of folklore (wise women), which would have been the main reason in the Early Middle Ages.

Herbology

Plants and herbs are used for medicinal and magical purposes in the story.

Poison and Cure: Belladonna, also known as Deadly Nightshade, is administered to induce hallucination and hysteria. Atropine is the chemical extracted from Belladonna. In the Renaissance, women would use diluted juice of the deadly nightshade to artificially dilate their pupils, thus the name Belladonna (beautiful lady). In modern usage atropine is used to enlarge the pupils so that ophthalmologists can see the back of the retina through artificially dilated pupils.

Lavender and arnica are used for their soothing healing properties.

Aconite or wolfsbane is grown to help guard against werewolves.

Werewolves / Lycanthropy

When the villagers discover a creature unlike any they have seen before, they believe it to be a werewolf.

The creature is captured and put in a bear pit to await trial at the next full moon, when it is believed it will transform fully into a werewolf. A silver arrow is prepared to kill the creature and other remedies such as putting a stake through its heart and burying it at a crossroads are discussed.

According to legend, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were raised by wolves and the iconic image of a she-wolf suckling the twins has become the emblem of the city. There are other literary instances of feral children raised by animals. In Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Mowgli is lost in the jungle and raised by wolves.

There are also many alleged examples recorded throughout history, though most of them are not proven to have foundation in fact. However, there are some documents that support the idea that a human child could be adopted and raised by animals. Photographic and filmic evidence of feral children shows a change in their appearance, including increased bodily hair and animal-like gait and behaviour.