As we all know, the Bendis family has been in the business of hunting werewolves for over seven hundred years. But, what were their ancestors like before then? Where did they come from? What did they do? Well, in this week’s article, the proud history of this well-respected family will be revealed!
The origins of the Bendis line can be traced all the way back to the ancient kingdom of Sparta. Sparta was a land well known as a major military power back in The Age of Legend, and every citizen—regardless of gender—began combat training at the age of two and was automatically made a member of the kingdom’s military at age fifteen. Many rumors circulate to this day about the Spartan’s methods of grooming the ancient world’s greatest warriors, such as the vicious rumor that infants who were dubbed at birth as being weak or defective were left on a hillside to die of exposure. However, the truth was that in Sparta, no child’s potential as a military asset was allowed to go to waste. The blind were taught to use their other senses to see, the deaf were taught to read lips and trained as spies, those who were too physically weak or clumsy to handle either weapons or hand-to-hand combat were trained as combat mages or—if their magical talents were also lacking—as artillery spotters, strategists, or weaponsmiths.
In times of war, men between fifteen and fifty were the first ones to be sent to the front, while the women and men fifty and older remained stationed at home. At first, such a policy may seem sexist and ageist, but when one looks at it more closely it makes a lot more sense. It was not a policy of mere male chauvinism—a case of, “We’re the men and we run everything, so you weak little women and worn-out geezers stay here with the kiddies while we fight the real battles!”—it was a solid back-up plan. The women made up around half of the adult population and were just as well trained as their male counterparts, and the elderly may have been a bit worn down from age but were also the most experienced in the ways of war. If the younger men failed to completely hold off the enemy on the frontlines, the cities, towns, and villages would all still be well-protected by even more well-trained young soldiers, backed up by older and more experienced fighters. This strategy kept Sparta a free nation up until well into the War of Destruction.
During the war, Sparta was a member of the Free Beings’ Alliance, the group which fought in favor of the right of werewolves to be allowed to live freely and in peace alongside the other peoples of the world. Many members of the Bendis line fought—and even lost their lives—for that cause. One of the bravest to put his life on the line during that fifteen-year war was a direct ancestor of the current Bendis line—Major General Thunder Gailwind Bendis. Now portrayed as a villain in most histories of the war, to his comrades in arms and the descendants of those he fought to defend, he was and still is known as a great hero.
According to legend, Thunder Bendis was a man of unremarkable stature and build, but he was a brilliant and cunning strategist and used a unique combat style of his own making which utilized two double-bladed broad axes, one in each hand, for maximum power and efficiency. He led his men to victory after victory up until the middle of the war, when he fell at the Battle of Inixx Hill at the hands of the naga swordsman Azmiroth Diamondback. Thunder was survived by his three sons, Ace, Dice, and Jackpot, as well as his wife, Sparrow. Dice lost his life four years later in the Battle of Omhalda Beach, and in the final battle of the war Ace was captured by Templar forces and later publicly hanged as a traitor against humanity and the gods.
Jackpot survived, however, escaping capture and execution. Like many other Spartan refugees, Jackpot Bendis eventually found a new home nation. He settled in the kingdom of Courtessia—which is part of what is now known as Brenton—and joined the King’s army, eventually becoming a high-ranking officer. There, he continued many Spartan traditions, including choosing a strong woman for his wife (Illandra, the Crown Princess’s personal bodyguard who, according to family legend, kicked his ass the first time that he ever smiled at her and told him that he had the most retarded name she’d ever heard in her entire life.), training his children as warriors from the age of two onward, and giving his children thematic names. To him, though Sparta as a nation was lost, her people still endured and would continue to endure so long as the traditions of their ancestors were never forgotten.
The Bendises flourished as career soldiers under the Courtessian crown until the 250’s P.W.D. During this time, a war broke out between Courtessia and the neighboring kingdom of Elsram—which is also now a part of Brenton. The Elsraman army employed a pack of rogue werewolves as mercenaries to aid them in the war effort and it was this pack which wiped out the entire Bendis clan save one member—Riot Nathaniel Bendis. Young Riot, angry and grief-stricken over his loss, decided to go out for revenge against all werewolf kind, and in order to do it did the one thing that he had been taught his entire life would be the ultimate treason against his ancestors and all of the blood and tears that they had shed and the sacrifices they had made during The War of Destruction: He became a member of the International Werewolf Hunters’ Association.
Riot quickly made his way up the ranks and earned himself the nickname “The Man of Ice” for his humorless, cut-and-dry attitude toward following the Werewolf Hunters’ Code. In addition, he was able to amass a small fortune from his work due to the fact that werewolf hunters always receive large bounties for their services. Because the work is so dangerous, the base bounty that an X-1 werewolf hunter can expect from a Level 1 job (a werewolf who is known to exist but has never harmed humans or livestock) is five thousand krowns, with every successive level paying twice the last level’s base bounty. The base pay of any job is multiplied by the hunter’s rank (an X-5 hunter doing a Level 1 job can expect twenty-five grand for his services) and miscellaneous expenses such as food, lodging, equipment costs, and service tax are sometimes tacked on as well. In addition, particularly high-level threats can also have as much as four hundred percent hazard pay attached to the bounty. So, even with the ten percent in dues that the IWHA itself takes out of a hunter’s pay, it is very easy for a highly ranked hunter who specializes in jobs with a level of 3 or greater to become very wealthy over the course of a career…if they can survive that many battles, that is.
Riot did survive many battles and—together with his wife, Nell, a fellow werewolf hunter—built Adalthwait Manor near the small town of Dinrinn. There, they continued the old tradition of training their children for combat, but with a new tradition in mind—that every child born into their family from then on would be a werewolf hunter as well. Over six hundred years ago, for reasons unknown, the family hastily abandoned Adalthwait Manor and built Bendis Manor near the little town of Berrywood.
The area surrounding Berrywood was, and still is, a peaceful place. Not much goes on around there, and the scenery is beautiful and idyllic. The only drawback is Berrywood’s resident family of roustabouts, the Bowsums.
It is a rare member of that clan who is not loud, rude, and totally uncouth, and Jeb Bowsum was no exception. In the summer of 369 P.W.D., Jeb Bowsum got completely hammered down at the local tavern and started making trouble for basically everyone within a ten foot radius of him, picking fights and groping women inappropriately and such. Fed up with his behavior, Quake Bendis made his way over and decked him one good right in the face, knocking him out, and then handed his unconscious carcass over to the town’s police. Jeb spent the night in jail, and the entire incident sparked the infamous Bowsum-Bendis feud, which has lasted for nearly six hundred and seventy years…Mostly because the Bowsums just won’t let it go!
In the 930’s, as the elves began rejoining the rest of the interracial community, elves with many different skill sets began setting up shop in towns and cities across the globe or taking jobs with individuals and companies far and wide. It is at this time that an elvish woman by the name of Elliada Amersbey came to work for the Bendis family. The patriarch at the time, Kitten Bendis (don’t let the name fool you, he was a huge guy with an even huger gun), was skeptical at first. However, once she exhibited her extraordinary cooking, cleaning, and management skills, she was quickly hired on as Head of Housekeeping…on the condition that she would also teach the Bendis children how to use basic magic and how to speak, read, and write fluently in Elvish. Naturally she accepted, and to this day every member of the Bendis household learns at least rudimentary magic whether they ultimately make use of it (like Inferno, Falcon, and River) or not (like Hawk, Flood, Silver, and Wolfsbane), and all speak, read, and write fluent Elvish (thanks to Miss Amersbey’s habit of randomly speaking to them in Elvish only and expecting them to respond in kind, with the price for any word use or grammatical mistakes being two hours conjugating verbs, pronouns, and adjectives).
This brings us through to today. For over seven hundred years, this clan of highly skilled and famously fearless warriors has been in the business of slaying werewolves and, so far, the current young generation—River, Flood, Silver, Wolfsbane, and Inferno—have been the luckiest as far as survival goes. Granted, part of it is because Inferno never became a werewolf hunter and Wolfsbane broke the Code, but still.
Well, that does it for our lesson on the history of the Bendis clan. Join me next week as I interview Wolfsbane’s best friend, Falor. Until then, check out The Rebirth and Awakening of Wolfie Star-Runner on Amazon.com and Createspace.com. Ciao bambinos!