The Sisterhood of the Wolf, alternatively known as the Chapel of the Wolf, is a Christian monastic order which was founded before The Cataclysm in Mondwargh, and which predominantly has followers among the Werewolf-clans of Degoland.
Thanks to surviving scriptures by the White Fang historian Vince White Fang, much is known about the origins of the Sisterhood of the Wolf. It appears to have its origins in the Christian beliefs held by some of the White Fang's human slaves, most of which were former inhabitants of the city of Roccasone which fell to the advancing Dark Legion forces in 2440 AaH; however this group also appears to have included at least one Battle Nun who was captured during the siege of Doorniik.
Despite being slaves to a faction of the Dark Legion, it appears these slaves were allowed by the White Fang to exercise their own religion. One story by Vince White Fang describes a Christmas celebration which might have taken place as early as the winter of 2440, and which also describes some of the tensions which existed between the more moderate Werewolves allowing their Human slaves to exercise their religion, and a hard-line group which saw no place for the Human religion among the Werewolf clan.
Precursors of the SisterhoodEdit
Mention is made in writings by Vince White Fang, in his description of the Howling Keep in 2441, of a cave or small stone alcove within the human enclave of the settlement, which harboured a statue of Saint Valeria, which might have originated from the city of Roccasone, and which was used for worshipping services by a part of the human populace of Howls. While the description itself does not give a clear image of the dimensions of this building, it does mention that the 'chapel' and its statue was kept by a nun called Sister Ghisilda, who is described in Vince's writings as a former Sister of the Chapter of Nersan of the Order of Saint Creöle. Little is known about the members of the Chapter of Nersan, as its monastery was sacked and burnt during the initial phase of the Dark Legion's push into Sargos-Degoland, with most of its Battle Nuns being killed or captured by the Dark Legion in the days before the Battle of Kardel Woods. However, Vince's writings record that Sister Ghisilda, a young woman described as having been born in Roccasone, was left blind as a result of injuries she sustained during this battle, which probably accounts for the fact that she merely captured rather than executed after the Order's defeat.
After this early description, little is said on the subject of Christianity among the human population of the Howling Keep, although a brief scripture by Vince White Fang dating from 2443 describes a marriage between two Human slaves, named only as Archon and Maia, and held according to Christian rites in front of the aforementioned Sister Ghisilda, and in the presence of the pack's Alpha Pumori of the White Fang. The description contains mention of how one other (unnamed) Human appears to assist Sister Ghisilda during this ceremony by reading passages from a Bible.
The lack of other early descriptions of Christian rituals in the Howling Keep and the early incarnation of the city of Howls has led to many debates among scholars, and in turn has fed many theories about the status of Christian rituals in these early years among the Humans slaves of the White Fang. It is known that the White Fang held close contacts with other Dark Legion groups, such as the Billiboncean Ozcura Orcs; and the Silver Moon Werewolf pack. Howls was also a Demon trade post, with close trade links to Skallgard. While few written descriptions survive from sources other than those by Vince White Fang, a passing mention appears in a story by a certain Bob the Bard of a reading school in the human enclave of Howls. Some believe that this building might have been the chapel which was described by Vince in his scriptures, showing that despite being allowed to exercise their own religion, the Howls human enclave did hide their religion from outsiders.
Founding of the Sisterhood of the WolfEdit
Between 2443 and 2447, no detailed mentions seem to exist of Christian rituals among the Humans of the Howling keep, except to some oblique remarks about winter solstice (Christmas?) celebrations. However, in 2447, as the construction of the first recorded wooden palisade around the newly founded settlement of Howls was under way, a long description is written by Vince White Fang about the building of a deep well by a combined force of humans, elves and werewolves, 'to provide fresh water to both the population of new city of Howls, as well as for the production of beer under the supervision of a select group of supervisors'. This event seems to mark the actual foundation of the monastery of the Sisterhood of the Wolf, as the present-day Sisterhood still has a tradition of brewing a number of select beers.
While Vince's description seems to carefully omit any overt references to the brewery being a religious institution, it does mention that the 'select group of supervisors' included at least two female Werewolves including one from the Silver Moon pack; a Billiboncean Ozcura; and four humans, including "a blind female slave well-versed in the art of brewing beers and ale", a description which seems to fit Sister Ghisilda, and "three female slaves, once owned by Lord Ks'nbosh of Skallgard". However, it appears that by this time, the early incarnation of the sisterhood appears to have adopted a number of White Fang rituals, quite likely to hide its Christian origins to outsiders of the pack.
The earliest description of the Order by members of the Order itself dates from 2455 A.a.H., and is part of a diary written by Sister Tabitha, who in her writings reveals herself to have been another former Battle Nun of the chapter of Nersan. While her diary is incomplete, it indicates that a number of early nuns of the Order were either survivors of the Nersan order who had been slaves under Queen Laisha or Lord Ks'nbosh in Skallgard, or nuns from the order of Doorniik who had accompanied the retreating Demon forces at the end of the Campaign of Sargos in fear of reprisals by the Inquisitors for their willingness to cooperate with the Demonic rulers of Doorniik.
Sister Tabitha's diary is interesting in many aspects, as it clearly shows the turmoil of a devout woman questioning her long-held religious beliefs: having been taught to consider all demons as evil, and having endured the hardships of slavery under the Demons after her capture, the former Battle Nun had seen the worst of Demons; yet she suddenly found herself living among these same Demons about who she had long believed that they represented nothing but evil, yet experiencing they had a 'good' side too. Her writings show her wonder at how some of the Ozcuras and Werewolves, over time, adopted some the beliefs she and her sisters held, but as a result she was also troubled by some of the actions she and her sisters did in the past in the name of their religion.
Differences to a "traditional" monastic orderEdit
The need for secrecy, as well as the need to adapt to a different kind of society meant, that over time the Sisterhood of the Wolf developed a lot of differences compared to traditional Christian monastic orders. Both the descriptions by Vince White Fang and Sister Tabitha show, that by 2460 A.a.H. the order seemed to have given up the concepts of "modesty" and "chastity". According to Vince's descriptions, the Sisters would often wear as little as other White Fang werewolves would.
Originally, the main icon of the Sisterhood was the image of Saint Valeria. However, the use of Christian iconography was considered unwise in the early years of the existance of the Sisterhood: instead, the Sisterhood adopted a sign of two intertwined wolves, which in later years, after it finally became an openly Christian monastry and was recognised as such, was changed into a Christian cross flanked by intertwined wolves either sides.
Several figures from Polforian and Degoland history were involved with, or followed the teachings of the Sisterhood of the Wolf. The following list is by no means complete:
- Kan White Fang: First openly Christian Alpha of the White Fang.
- Yanis Fang: Guitarist of the Delgican Highland Savage band Chained Wolves. Devout follower of the teachings of the Sisterhood. She also made the icons of the Sisterhood widely famous, as she had one tattoo on her arm of the early intertwined wolves icon; during performances, she would also often wear a small version of the Sisterhood's cross on her collar or attached to her piercings, leading many of her fans to adopt the icon as well.