One could call the weres a race, but they are really more of a mutation, rather than a race. Weres do not generally have territory of their own, though the Free City of Saqqara is dominantly comprised of weres, and it is, essentially, the only locale one can find a large number of weres in a single place. Culturally, though, weres are not terribly unified, as each adopts the culture of the region they are in.

History

Some tell tales of how the weres were created on accident, by a man named Sahura, through magical experimentation with the help of the ilim. In the stories, Sahura was cursed by the were virus by the gods, for his sacrilegious ambition, using magic in ways it was not meant to be used, and he is now something of a bogeyman story to humes. Some variations of this tale purport Sahura died, at some point, but he does still live, now ruling the Free City of Saqqara.

Humes believe this, as they no longer remember a time they were not on Azaleon, and Galace did not exist, and in forgetting the truth of the weres' origins, have forgotten their own roots. As the humes expanded across the continent, the ilim, the only native, sentient race, to Azaleon, were pushed further and further north, eventually founding the nation called Galace. The ilim, at the time, were not much for combat, themselves, having lived almost completely passively throughout the history of their species, and, fearing they were close to being destroyed entirely, turned to the hume allies they had for help. Sahura assisted them in researching options, eventually deciding they needed an army, and soon. But the ilim have always been smaller, more frail, than humes, and in physical combat, would lose and fast. Sahura suggested they turn to the forest, where strength was in abundance.

A creature of hume blood, infused with the strength of the forest, half-hume and half-ilim, some may say, was born. The were, capable of changing shape when the moon was full and high in the sky, more physically durable, faster, stronger. The weres, of which Sahura was the first, became the army of Galace, and for a time, indeed held the humes back away from the borders. Macenia eventually later allied with Galace, assisting in keeping the armies of Dalmasca and Jihon far away from Galace's mountains.

Unfortunately, weres were not impervious, nor a particularly permanent solution. Humes are good at learning, and eventually found ways of defeating weres, even ones shifted, and the weres were driven back to Galace. Sahura founded the first western Free City, Saqqara, which soon enough became a were nexus, where a large number of weres eventually gathered together, to help and support one another. There still remain several were bloodlines in Galace, helping defend the forest that gave them strength, but some can be found scattered in odd places across Azaleon, thanks to the overall displacement caused by the slave trades.

Weres will often gravitate to one another, particularly if they are in vicinity of each other.

Biology

As weres are not their own race, this is dependent on a were's actual race. However, weres, during a full moon, involuntarily shift into an animal of some kind, the same one every time, and remain that animal until daybreak. There are a wide range of animals a were can be, everything from large mammals, to marine creatures, rodents, and birds. If it bleeds blood, there can be a were of it.

All weres have an innate natural connection to Sahura. When faced with him, most will find some part of their subconscious instantly relaxes. Many refer to this feeling as a safe feeling. This tends to make disobeying Sahura difficult, but some weres will find they hate him for being the Father of Weres, particularly if they haven't quite accepted what they are and learned to live with it, thereby projecting that anger onto him.

Young weres have a very difficult time retaining their ability to reason while shifted. The more they shift, the easier it becomes, until they remain entirely mentally present. This is due to them taking on the mind of an animal, the one they shift into, and being unaccustomed to controlling themselves with such a mindset. Some learn to manage earlier than typical, and, notably, as dragons are capable of reasoning by default, weredragons do not display this inability to reason even the first time they shift.

Age and Development

As weres are not their own race, this is dependent on a were's actual race, the only difference being weres tend to cease aging at whatever age they were when they became a were. Some will age at random a few years, for no apparent reason, but it is thought to be linked to periods of intense stress. Weres can be born, as it has a percent chance of being passed on like any other trait, depending on the parents. However, most newborn weres will not start shifting into their animal form until they have reached physical maturity, around 16 to 19 years old.

If a were is not born that way, they can be turned into a were after being bitten by one in were form (whichever animal it is, is what the new were will be). However, the ilim still remember the spell used to create them, and thus, they can be made magically, instead, given the resources to do so. (For one's own sake, never sire a new were and leave them to fend for themselves and figure it out on their own; Sahura will find those that do this, and he will kill them.)

Abilities

Weres typically have heightened senses, better able to pick out even the slightest sounds, follow scent trails, and older weres can occasionally sense emotions, presuming these emotions cause a bodily reaction of some kind. Most weres also have better night vision than humes, and are known to be capable of telepathic communication amongst one another. They do need to know and be somewhat familiar with each other in order to communicate telepathically, but the more familiar with each other they are, the further apart they can be without losing the telepathic connection (this is a good deal of what makes the Free City of Saqqara's army so terrifying, as they often move as a cluster and operate akin to a hive mind).

Having higher endurance and durability, weres make excellent hunters and trackers, and it is very difficult to cause lasting harm to one. As weres age, their heightened senses and physical augmentations often become more pronounced, but their daylight vision often wanes in return. Very old weres are also capable of remaining entirely mentally sound, even while shifted into their animal form, and, after a point, learn to shift on purpose independent of the lunar cycle (this usually takes a few hundred years). How old a were must be before they're capable of retaining mental acuity while shifted varies almost wildly among them. Some manage it very early, while for others, it takes a very long time.

Relations with Other Races

Notably, humes are very variant in how they feel about and interact with weres. Some really do not like weres, despite a vast majority of weres having been hume at one point or another. Ilim, on the other hand, very much like weres, and consider them, perhaps, larger brethren, albeit weres are very rarely anything like the ilim from a cultural viewpoint. They do, however, have a much easier time existing in Galacese territory than any other, barring Saqqara, as the Galacese and ilim are never particularly prejudiced toward them.