There once was a tribe of Men who lived in the lands of Varanos, in the days after the fall of the Old Imperium. It is said that they were a vicious, warring tribe who had for decades honed their arts of battle, and were mostly undefeated as such.
One day, their chieftain was visited by the god of beasts and hunting, Nalnir, in the shape of a great, black wolf. Nalnir had been impressed by the tribe's skill in battle, and offered them a gift to make them even stronger than they already were.
The chieftain made no effort to hide his interest, and accepted the gift immediately. Nalnir bit the chieftain and left him for dead, but the chieftain survived the next day; finding his wounds healed.
In the following weeks, the chieftain grew wild and he turned into a wolfbeast. In the end he went on a rampage and bit his fellow tribesmen; dooming them to a life as werewolves in service to Nalnir.
Despite what people might initially believe, Lycanthropes do not only entail the species of Werewolf. There are many kinds of lycants in the world, all depending on the type of animal they have inherently been cursed by. As it stands, lycanthropes are more educationally referred to as shapechangers, since they shapechange into such a varied array of beings. However, their common trait (typically) is that all lycanthropes have previously been something else, such as an elf or human or etc. before they were cursed or bitten by another lycant. Additionally, one lycant can't shapechange into anything else other than the being it has been bound to; meaning that a werewolf can't change into a werebear, or vice versa.
Lycanthropes are most commonly created by having a mortal be bit by another lycant. Though such encounters tend to see the victim mauled and eaten, if the subject survives the attack, he or she is in danger of turning. The time it takes for a person to fully turn into a lycant varies. Typically it takes anywhere between a couple of days to a few weeks. Contrary to popular belief, a full moon does not speed up the process of turning or force the turning to occur. It is simply a myth propagated by gossipers and old wives tales. To the core lycanthrophy is a disease, and curing it either requires some extremely potent healing spells or a way to dissolve the original curse (most commonly achieved by killing the original lycant of that particular strain). If left uncured, the afflicted becomes fully turned.
Lycanthrophy is a savage disease and little by little takes away the "humanity" of its victim, until there is nothing left but the vicious beast within. While there are those who have learned to control their lycant urges to their own benefit, such restraint and power is extremely rare. Most who have turned never return to their former lives, vying to live out the rest of their days in forests and damp caves. Typically when one is bitten by a lycant, the victim suffers a lapse of confusion and amnesia. Most bite-victims don't realize that they are subject to turn before it is too late.
A person turned has been recorded as having a constant urge to seek out their biter; not to kill, but to join them. Despite whatever wishes the turned might have for its former assailant, there appears to be some sort of will that forces the turned to serve the other lycant. Most lycant breeds travel in packs, led by the alpha; the original lycant of that particular pack. While most lycants become these lycants because of bites, the alpha is the pure being of the curse, and as such also the most powerful of any pack. A lycant pack, specifically a werewolf one, typically consists of ten to twenty members, though the largest one has been recorded to being as large as numbering in the hundreds.
Most lycants, as with many beasts created through curses or dark magic, are commonly weak against magic and weapons of silver. As such it is not uncommon for one who specialized in the hunting of lycants to equip himself with a wide array of silver weaponry, such as silver bolts, swords, daggers etc. There is a small belief that lycants are lifted from their curse once they have either been severely injured or killed by silver, though this is, again, a mere myth. As far as anyone knows, the only way to release (alive) a fully turned lycant from his or her curse is by killing the alpha. There are other ways, though their solutions vary in such a way that it is not easy to pin down the correct method of breaking the curse.
Many wish to believe that their loved ones that have turned into lycants will respond to their family or lovers in kind, but this is mostly a theory. There is no evident proof that a lycant won't simply rip apart anything or anyone in their path out of sheer wild instinct. A lycant does not follow its heart, soul or memory; it acts purely by instinct alone. As such, it should be clear now that lycants are extremely dangerous creatures, and any encounter with one should be followed by fleeing or fighting for one's life; much against the greater odds of surviving.