Therianthropy is an incurable medical condition which causes those infected to undergo bestial transformation. It is one of a few magia morbii, or magical diseases, which modern science has struggled to cure. A weredragon, also known as a therianthrope, is a pendragon who is afflicted with the disease, therianthropy.
This disease, when inactive, has no physical or mental manifestations. During periods of inactivity, carriers can function normally as they would prior to infection. Often times, carriers aren't even aware of their affliction until it manifests itself under the spell of a full moon or sometimes in times of great emotional excitement. When this happens, the pendragon will seem to revert to basic instincts, and will usually communicate in a series of growls and grunts. Physical metamorphosis within the common pendragon usually ranges from minor to mediocre, suggesting pendragons have developed a historical resistance; however, some subspecies, notably the Anubi and Takula, are particularly susceptible to extreme transformation. Warning signs of this can be detected in the eyes, which usually change colour when the pendragon in question is transformed or on the brink of.
When a weredragon transforms into the feral state, they often lose the mental capacity for logic, communication, and overall 'common sense'. However, this is compensated for by an increase in stamina, strength, and often times, more powerful spells in the transformed state. A weredragon is almost always extremely dangerous when transformed; do not attempt to subdue the said dragon. Doing so will only cause it to struggle harder, reverting into the feral state even deeper.
Transformations can happen for a number of reasons. Most pendragons only transform at certain times, such as when the moon is full. However, a few will only be triggered by severe emotional distress, such as watching ones love die. These are the worst type to encounter. Often times, these are the ones who have their alter-egos created by a traumatizing event, releasing hate, rage, and sorrow in a massive burst.
The metamorphosis itself is described in a number of different ways, ranging from painful to pleasurable, but as a general most individuals express some discomfort as a result of enlarging musculature, growing and shortening bone, and so forth. The length of the process varies, again, but generally as one gains control of their disease, they also gain control of the speed of their transformations. This time is also affected by extent of change individuals undergo.
As previously stated, the common pendragon, Draco sapiens, usually expresses minor to mediocre physical change when transformed. However, some subspecies like the Takula and the Anubi are especially prone to extreme physical transformation. It is postulated this is due to the subspecies either restricted genetic heritage.
The causes of therianthropy are very diverse. Sometimes a normal pendragon is born with the alter-ego, which manifests into therianthropy. Others become infected through a curse, while others develop it after a very traumatic event. Very rarely, the virus can be transferred through blood and, even more rare, sexual intercourse with a transformed individual.
Prevention and Treatment
Because the virus is so flexible, with multiple ways of transmission and development, it is poorly understood by today's modern science like so many magia morbus. While patients with manageable or mild therianthropy can undergo psychiatric treatment, many severe individuals remain detained by the state's mental health centres.
Currently, there is no cure for therianthropy. However, it has been successfully treated and controlled in some individuals through a combination of psychological training and depressants.