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In the autumn, when
the leaves were turning
from green into gold,
Hilla and Randie finally
made contact with
These were not just
ordinary werewolves, though --
they called themselves
the Grandmothers Moon
and they represented
the wisdom of their kind.
They came from all around
the world, thirteen old women
who held the knowledge of
what it meant to be werewolves.
It was Kayah Hogan, a Hopi woman
from Arizona, who came to speak
with Hilla and Randie and the rest.
Kayah was short and stocky with
a round face framed in wavy black hair
threaded with silver here and there.
In wolf form she was brindled
fawn and cream and gray that
had probably been black once,
and she was perfectly calm.
"What do you want to know?"
Kayah asked them.
"How can we learn to stay calm
when we're wolves?" Hilla asked.
"Your control is amazing."
"You practice," said Kayah.
"Some find that prayer helps.
Others prefer meditation instead.
There are many ways you can try."
Hilla, who was used to trying
all manner of techniques for
controlling chronic pain, was
much encouraged by this.
"Are the hunters real?"
Randie wanted to know.
"The hunters are very real,
and occasionally dangerous, but
they tend to be foolish young men,
so a prudent woman can avoid them,"
Kayah said. "Do not worry too much."
"Can we have children of our own?"
Felice said, twisting her hands.
"That depends on whether you are
a bornwolf or a changewolf," said Kayah.
"Bornwolves have natural control over
their shifting, so they can bear children
in either form -- those carried as human
will be humans, and those carried as wolf
will be bornwolves. Changewolves must
learn control, and can only carry in wolf form,
so all their children will be bornwolves.
It is a difficult skill, and not everyone
who attempts it can master it."
"I'm a changewolf," Felice said.
"My control is --" She wavered a hand
in the air. "-- not very good yet."
"You banked eggs before
you changed," Hilla pointed out.
"You could still hire a surrogate."
"Or perhaps your control will
improve, and then you may conceive
your cubs on your own," said Kayah.
"Do you know any werecats?"
Lucille said, leaning forward.
"I've been looking and looking,
but with no luck so far."
Kayah threw back her head
and gave a long, yelping laugh.
"I know of some cats," she said.
"There are cougars and bobcats here,
then jaguars farther south. Africa has
black panthers and lions; Asia has tigers.
The lynxes are French, I believe."
"Suddenly I'm spoiled for choice,"
said Lucille, blinking with the shock.
"Can you tell me how to reach them?"
"I am a wolf, not a cat," Kayah said
and shook her head. "I will ask Olidia,
though -- I think she knows some of
the black panthers in Africa."
"What do you think about what
we're doing?" Hill said quietly.
"Randie and I didn't get to choose,
but the rest of our friends wanted this,
and we want to keep offering it
to people who need options."
"When my daughter was pregnant,
I was diagnosed with gastric cancer,"
said Kayah. "They told me that I had
less than three months to live, but I was
determined to see my first grandchild.
So I followed rumors -- you know how
that goes -- and I found someone
willing to change me. That was
over ten years ago, now."
"So you're not planning throw stones
from your glass house," Hilla said.
"That's great, but what about others?"
"The Grandmothers Moon are not
quite unanimous in our support,
but we will not stand in your way,"
said Kayah. "It is your choice,
and each pack of werewolves
must find their own way."
"We're not a pack," Hilla protested.
"Yes," said Kayah, "you are."
* * *
Grandmothers provide both practical and social benefits. They guide families and society.
These are the Grandmothers Moon.
Kayah Hogan is 60 years old. This is Kayah's wolf form.
Endometriosis can cause infertility, hence Felice's concern about reproducing as a werewolf.