The following is an article from the Bevelle-based tabloid The Town Crier, originally published Maya (May) 18, 1042 P.W.D. The validity (and canonicity) of any information below is questionable at best. Like all tabloid articles, readers are advised to take this report with a grain of salt.
Transpiriteds: Born in the Wrong Skin?
By Ira Snitch
BEVELLE — We’ve all heard the song and dance somewhere—someone claims that they’re not gay; they’re a woman trapped in a man’s body. They dress like women, act like women…some even turn to magic to permanently change themselves into women. The rest of us just roll our eyes at them or accept that there are just a lot of folks in this world who are just plain weird. But, what if your buddy came up to you one day and insisted he was a minotaur trapped in a human body?
Frighteningly enough, there are those who believe exactly that: right soul, wrong race. They’re called “transpiriteds”…and a minotaur trapped in a human body is the least of your worries.
A Body Two Sizes Too Big
Take, for example, a Bevelle resident that, for the sake of his privacy, we’ll call Eddy. Eddy may look like a typical human guy in his thirties. He has a steady job as a line cook at a downtown restaurant, a loving wife, three normal, healthy kids…and a dark secret. Eddy was born an orc.
“Everyone close to me knows the truth—” Eddy admits to me as his wife serves us coffee in the living room of their comfortable 3-bedroom apartment, “my wife, the kids, my two best friends…but I generally like to keep my past private.”
Eddy was born in the heavily Orcish northern border region of Frostfall. Even though he was born to orc parents in a town with no human residents, however, he still always knew something was off.
“From an early age, I was always very clumsy,” Eddy says. “I had a hard time maneuvering around things and I’d have trouble just remembering the right amount of strength to apply to things…I broke stuff a lot. Some days, it was like I was wearing a full-body costume—like those mascot things—that was two sizes too big, and I couldn’t quite figure out why.”
The poor guy was not just a walking natural disaster, though. Not only was he too clumsy to ever become a proper warrior, but he was also a total pacifist (a big no-no in orcish society) and his lack of coordination made him a poor candidate to be in the metalworking industry. The only respectable career path left open to him was cooking, and he threw his heart into it. Unfortunately, at the end of the day…
“There was still something missing in my life. My mother said I probably needed a wife, but dating was hard. Orcish women don’t like clumsy pacifists who are prone to forget their own strength.”
After one particularly bad date, Eddy found himself wandering into a bar in the mostly human mining town that neighbored his own. After a while, he tells me, something clicked.
“I felt more comfortable around all of those humans than I’d ever felt surrounded by other orcs. That’s also where I fell in love with human cuisine,” he continues with a smile. “That grilled turkey club was the best thing I’d ever tasted…which is odd, because most orcs aren’t overly fond of most human cooking. That’s when I realized it: I had never much liked orcish food. Not even my own mother’s! That’s when I had my breakthrough.”
That was when Eddy came to the uncomfortable realization that he was a human trapped in an orc’s body.
Making the Transition
For Eddy, getting a local sorcerer to brew up a potion to transform him into a human was a painful decision, but one he made with the support of understanding loved ones and a community that was sick and tired of his clumsy ways. “The day I went out to get the potion,” he says, “everyone had a big party to celebrate the increased level of public safety.”
But, for most transpiriteds, the response from their near and dear ones is not nearly as jubilant. Take Carla Andrews, for example. A vampire who lives in a town just a stone’s throw away from Truid City, Carla came into this world as a human. While that isn’t unusual among vampires, the rest of her story often raises eyebrows when she tells it.
Her family, for the past 500 years, has had a running feud with the local vampire lord of her home town. Long ago, an ancestor of hers who was slated to become head of the family and take over the family business ran off and eloped with the vampire lord’s equally vampiric twin sister. Neither family was happy about it and both blamed the other…for centuries. Naturally, this feud has caused the Andrews clan to acquire a certain distaste for vampires as a whole over the years.
“…And then I was born,” Carla says with a bitter laugh as she takes a sip of pop.
From an early age, Carla was different from other kids. Even as a baby, she hated being exposed to the sun—even though it posed no danger to her. Her sleep cycle would also easily shift to sleeping during the day and being up and active at night if no one made sure to wake her early in the morning and not let her take so much as a catnap until her normal bedtime rolled around.
“Then, of course, there was the time a bat flew into my room when I was 9,” Carla sighs. “My mother and sisters were all running and shrieking frantically, trying to either shoo the poor little thing out of the window or kill it…but all I wanted to do was hold it in my hands and stroke its little head. I wasn’t scared at all. In fact, I was happy about the visit, and I cried and cried when my father finally came in and killed the little guy. It took me months before I could finally forgive him for doing that, and it took me years to actually figure out why.”
As Carla grew up, she was required to learn all about vampires in order to know how to identify and avoid them. For her, however, instead of becoming more terrified and paranoid with everything she read, she just became more and more fascinated. She soaked up every bit of vampire lore she could and the more she learned, the more she realized how much she identified with them.
“When I was 18, I finally came to the conclusion that I was really a vampire on the inside,” Carla says. “I was a little scared, but I also knew that living with that knowledge and just denying myself the right to be all of what I am just because of some stupid feud was the worst thing I could possibly do.”
So, she went to her family and told them exactly what was going on and what she planned to do about it. Her father told her to squash it, she didn’t, and she was immediately disowned.
“That was almost 200 years ago,” says Carla. “It was painful, being disowned, but the very first night that I awakened as a vampire…I’ll never forget it. It was like, for the very first time in my life, my body felt like it truly belonged to me and I finally felt whole.”
According to Carla, who claims to have met several other transpiriteds over the years, revulsion and rejection are actually the most common responses when one reveals their condition to their loved ones. The second most common, Carla says, is “Have you tried not being X?” followed closely by “Oh, he/she is just being silly” and “He/she is obviously possessed!”
“I met a guy who was a human with a werewolf’s soul about fifty years back who went through all Seven Hells because his family though he was possessed by a malevolent animal spirit,” Carla recounts to me with a sad smile. “Poor kid ran away from home because he was sick of all of the attempted exorcisms and how his family treated him like he was sick or defective or something. He was in pretty bad shape, really torn up inside. He was torn between his fear of becoming a monster and the pain of being trapped in the wrong body.
“I sent him along to some friends of mine who could help him through it all until he could make a final decision.”
When I asked her whether these “friends” of hers were transpiriteds or werewolves, all she did was wink at me and say, “I’ll leave that up to your imagination.”
So, What Now?
I left Carla’s that night with my head spinning with questions and new information…and a baggie of chocolate chunk cookies in hand (I’d gotten a sudden craving for them just before I left for some reason). How many people like Eddy and Carla are there in this world? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Is there anyone I know, or have known that was harboring this terrible secret? And how many among them are werewolves in human skin?
I’m tempted to dig further, but also afraid to look any deeper. Who knows how many transpiriteds come from powerful and well-connected families that would have me killed off to keep their dark secrets? And then, there’s my boy, Mikel. As it is now, I can’t catch sight of some of his quirkier behaviors and not wonder, “Is he just being a normal teenager? Or, is this a sign that he can’t be normal…until he’s no longer human?”
What a riveting article! Probably a bunch of hooey, but riveting all the same. Well, that does it for this week’s post. Join us next Sunday when we talk about the international laws which allow medieval fantasy-style adventuring to persist in a world which is beginning to, in many ways, resemble our own modern world. Until then, you can find my book, The Rebirth and Awakening of Wolfie Star-Runner, on amazon.com (ebook and print editions) and createspace.com (print edition only). If you’re interested, you can also follow me on Twitter at @DanielleVFreman for updates, promotional offers, and more.
(Psst! Also, if you’re playing the Sims 4 Create a Sim demo [or, if your reading this after the game’s release, if you have Sims 4] you can find and download sim versions of Wolfsbane, Falor, Inferno, and the two new characters slated to join the cast in Wolfie Star-Runner Plays with Hellfire by opening up the gallery and searching “Bendis” in the Community tab! Go ahead. You know you want to…)