Where Anyone is Possible
(All original Silverhide material provided by Titus Silverhide)
:: An old Chronicle society journal, located in Consequence. Written by Nicholas Dweef, Chronicle society reporter. The date has long since been scrubbed out. ::
Silverhide. A name most of us know very well. A lot of the history of Hellifyno is steeped in the blood of these esteemed warriors.
But our knowledge of these magnificent wolves is seen only in literature and records to which we cannot prove the reliability. Even those who have seen Silverhides in battle or fought alongside them know little of what happens in Halgan or Skyruler fortress.Why have the Silverhides guarded their secrets so closely over the years?
I felt myself very lucky when news reached me that the mighty Silverhide Alpha, Swiftfang had granted me access to Halgan forest. I was to be given 17 months in which to conduct my research and observe what made the Silverhides such a mysterious and powerful race. It was immediately clear that when I arrived in Halgan, the wolves there were very suspicious of me and my intentions. From what I had initially heard about the Silverhides, they were great warriors but little more than brutish savages. They feared change and the outside world, despite rushing to its aid in times of war. How their skill in battle could have been dismissed for savagery still mystifies me to this day. While very tribal in the way they act and live, the Silverhides are far from the savage beasts they have been branded as.
What I discovered in Halgan was a united pack. One entity that was literally born and bred to fight, while still remaining humane in its actions as a whole.
Kharak. The Silverhide word for war. So much of this warrior race revolves around war. It is almost ironic that beings born of Gaia were created for the purpose of ending lives. But the Silverhides take their duty very seriously. I start with the Silverhide art of war in this journal because fighting pretty much defines their culture.
All Silverhides, even those who later become the more mystic seers are initially taught to fight. But Silverhides do not just learn to fight. They learn the art of warfare in general, of battle, individual skill and working together.
Training starts young, with pups being examined at birth for any signs of deformity or weakness or any symptoms of illness. If the pup is not deemed worthy then it is passed off onto another clan. This may seem cruel by our standards but to the Silverhides it is a form of natural selection in which only the strongest survive and are fit to form the core of the Silverhide society. Pups are reared by their parents until they reach but two weeks old. Then the true training begins. Both males and females are put through the same intense training. While males are more plentiful in the Silverhide environment and more females become Seers than Warriors, there seems to be no evident difference between both sexes. Female warriors are just as tough and valued as male warriors.
Living in Halgan for 17 months, I was lucky enough to see the training process over various age groups. Taken to a clearing called Il-Kharak (before-war), groups of 10 pups, all 12 weeks old are trained. These groups are called Khorrn. Khorrn are always composed of ten pups. Training sessions last 4 hours, with 15 minute breaks for food and water. This carries on into late night. The Silverhide elder class (which will be explained in more detail in later volumes) known as Blademasters are the ones responsible for the training of pups. Training takes place Monday to Thursday, with Fridays and Saturdays allocated for learning about Silverhide etiquette, heritage and culture from Seers and warriors. Sunday is another training day and the week then starts afresh. Nothing in this schedule is altered at any time.
Silverhide pups endure this type of training in their Khorrn groups of 10 for a total of 3 months, by which time they have grown into 'children'. Silverhides have a very unique ageing process. Pure-bloods mature more quickly (7 months) and are usually stronger, whereas changeling pups or those not born of Silverhide on Silverhide unions, can take up to 12 months to fully mature. In these 3 months the Silverhide pups have spent five days a week, all day learning to fight. They learn to take pain young and are beaten. They are fed very little to inspire a drive and need to fight for something other than their people. They are given next to nothing in clothing and forced to endure the blistering cold and ice of Halgan forest. The pups train with wooden weapons and shields as well as taking part in extreme fitness training, including long distance runs to the sound of howling and drums, press ups and weight training, wrestling and obstacle courses. I have deduced that no common Hellifyno child would be able to survive these conditions and I have no doubt that when my journal hits the shelves, the Silverhides will be seen as brutal and harsh to their own kind. But this is not so... They are reared and taught to enjoy this manner of living. From a very young age, fear of death is taken away and a love of battle is instilled. Commonly, Silverhide Blademasters have informed me that approximately 7 of every 10 pups in the Khorrn group survive and move on to the next stage of training. Death is not uncommon given the harsh conditions.
The pups, now considered 'children', go through another rigorous training process, another stage in their lives. 2 months are allocated and it is during this time that Silverhide children begin training with real wolfstone weapons .(bows and projectile weapons are not used, considered cowards weapons) The danger of this at such a young age is not to be discounted. In these 2 months, Silverhides stop learning about their culture and heritage and dedicate 7 days a week to heavy training. They spend 3 days learning to master individual skills, then for 4 days they are taught to fight and march as one, as a unit. As they would do in battle. During these gruelling months, the Silverhide children are not allowed to relate, communicate or interact in any way with other members of society other than the Alpha or the Blademasters.
The third and final stage in the training of the young is perhaps the most curious of all. Until this moment, the young Silverhides have been fed by the clan. On meat, even fruits and plants. The healthiest diet possible is needed to create the best soldiers. Unlike most werewolf clans, Silverhide young do not learn to hunt with their mother or the pack. They learn alone, now. Around this time, the Khorrn group which may have lost another 1 or 2 members in training is replenished with the ranks of other broken down Khorrn groups. So once again the groups number 10 Silverhides. The Khorrn groups are then thrown out of Halgan, into the icy mountains and forests even further North. These lands are harsh, freezing cold with rocky terrain and dark forests. Bears and other wolves are common in this rugged terrain. The khorrn group is abandoned for 2 months and left to survive in the wilderness, alone and away from Halgan and the safety of the pack. The Khorrn group must work together, learn to hunt individually and as a pack, survive the rugged terrain and weather and defend themselves against the dangers of the forests. This seems to be period of deep bonding between the Silverhide young. These people have grown up in Khorrn groups of 10. They have trained, fought and suffered together. Watched members of their groups die over the months. It really is ingenious. It prepares the young Silverhides, grooms and readies them for a time when they will fight in battle, where members of their unit will die. This training toughens them and makes them survivors. Warriors.
After 2 months of fending for themselves in the wilderness, the surviving members of the Khorrn are considered ready. Each and every member must pass the final rite. They cannot return to Halgan forest a full Silverhide and warrior unless they each bring back the pelt of a bear, slain at their own hand.
I can only imagine that for a young Silverhide this is an enlightening moment. The culmination of what must feel like years of brutal and strict training. Returning to Halgan with a bears pelt, considered a full Silverhide, an equal.
The surviving members of the Korrn are now ready to join Silverhide society. A few of the group with more of an aptitude toward magicks and lore are separated from the group and taken away to train as Seers. The rest of the Korrn joins the warrior class. From now on, they train and drill with the Silverhide warriors and live among them as equals in Halgan.
Even after becoming full Silverhides, the members of the Korrn still train, every Silverhide fighter spends a part of their day dedicated to training.
Over time, the Silverhide clan has produced a strong and loyal Korrn. The numbers of Silverhides usually range from 3-6 at this point. These wolves have survived a training program designed to prepare them for battle and weed out the weak. They have been taught to fight as one, for the Silverhides. Though these wolves do have personalities, they belong to the clan. To fight is not just to fight for your own glory. You are fighting for every Silverhide out there and for their beliefs.
The members of the Korrn are always kept together and assigned to a unit composed of 20 wolves, made up with other surviving Khorrn groups where possible. What amazes me is that now, the Silverhides have created new units of skilled warriors, all of them having grown up with each other, spending their childhood fighting and surviving together. Couple this fact with the extreme training they have been through, you now have a unit of the best Soldiers around.