The Children of Semira
Jacquéline  Roth
The Books
Elyssa Edwards
The Jewels
of Ursus
The World
Excerpt from the original text of Plato’s Critias, censored by
agreement of the Master’s Concave, 347 BC.

English translation by Grand Master Lawrence Ryder.

During the days of human infancy, when we huddled in caves
close to our fires for protection from the fears of the night, they
came. From the world of shadows and terrors they came
through their portals to claim our world as their own, bringing
with them powers and magics beyond our understanding.
Monsters and magicians, some chose to befriend humanity and
some chose to prey upon us.

Explorers all, they came seeking a new world to conquer or
simply to colonize. All manner of strange creatures arrived in our
world through their hidden portals, those who sustain
themselves on our blood, those who use us to feed their need
for heightened emotions such as fear and terror, those who
would use us as instruments of propagation or amusement and
those who ignored humanity entirely. Through the doorways to
that other world came the vampire, the succubus and incubus,
the demons and the shifters.

But there also came those whose true forms were similar to our
ancestors. They were the guardians of their world, the ones who
protected its inhabitants from the very monsters that had now
threatened us. These visitors came to help us, to protect
humanity from their brethren. They joined with us and taught us
to protect ourselves. They shared their magic with us, selecting
the best among the humans upon which to bestow their gifts.
When they had prepared us, teaching us to use the elements
and powers of our world against the terrors of the night they
slipped back through the portals. They left us with the masters,
those who formed the great concaves and called the power of
both light and darkness, to ensure that the interlopers did not
destroy us. These masters of air, earth, fire and water were to
act as guardians of the entire human race. To these gifted
humans they and we, have entrusted our survival.

But the story to be told is the one of Atlantis. The Jewel of the
Sea sat untouched by humanity, the home of the shifters who
had come to our dimension without the intention of mixing with
humans. Scholars and explorers they ignored man believing him
of little interest and lived in isolation from the native sentient
creature of their new home. The peaceful nature of their society,
the achievements of their scientists, poets and artists were
beyond what the human mind can comprehend. In non-violent
cooperation the shifters lived, never revealing their true selves to
outsiders, never harming the world they had come to love or the
creatures that dwelt there.

But the true story of Atlantis is one of darkness that eclipses
light. It is a story of a people whose desire to remain a part of
our world changed them forever from the peaceful race they
once were to the warriors, the conquerors they have become.
Because they came from a place whose energies were alien to
our world, to stay they required a great power source, a power
source they had brought with them. The massive crystals
hummed for centuries allowing the shifters to remain in phase
with their new world. But they had chosen a young planet, one
that was still suffering the pangs of growth. As the gods warred
for dominion over man and all the world, great Zeus cast down a
thunderbolt so powerful that its sharp prick caused mighty Atlas
to shrug his great shoulders. And there came a trembling of the
earth as beyond what even they had thought possible. It laid
waste to almost all that the shifters had created. Many of our
kind died as the caves and rocks they lived in collapsed around
them. The shifters survived. But their power source did not.

A large crack appeared in the main crystal orb. The wisest men
and women of their kind argued over what it all meant. Some
spoke of minor inconveniences, others foretold of doom and
destruction. The day the main orb went dark they were forced to
face the facts. The smaller crystals couldn’t give them the power
they needed to stay in this world. Their life energies were not in
alignment with those of this new home. The shifters could not
hold the form demanded of them by this world on their own and
without the power of the crystals they reverted to their natural
state, a state that could not exist in our world. There was no
choice, many said but to go home.

But there were those who found a way to stay here. Some
among them discovered that if they tied their life forces to those
of indigenous creatures they became grounded. The shifters
remained themselves but the energies aligned with the native
life form.

So the shifters tied their life forces to the more powerful
creatures of our world. They avoided humans. Some say
because of the magical gifts we had been given by their
kinsmen, other say they avoided us because they recognized us
as self-aware. But the shifters linked their lives to the other great
creatures creating a new type of monster. One we call the Were.
They joined with the great cats, the lions, cougars, tigers and
leopards. They joined with the creatures of the forest, the wolf
and the bear. To the creatures of sea and sky they linked
themselves, to the dolphin, the orca, the falcon and the eagle.
And so the struggle for our world began. Forced to leave the
protection of Atlantis to seek the homes of the creatures to
whom they had tied themselves the Weres were thrust into
direct competition with humans. And even more, into a battle for
survival that has transformed them into a powerful race whose
contempt for humanity grows with each passing day. If not for
the protection of the gifted among us, they would destroy us all.

                                            * * * * *

Excerpt of a speech given before the Were Council, Year of
Our Diaspora 3,097, by Damian Santiago on behalf of the
Floridian Cougars.

As I look at the faces of this council I wonder to what degree I
am wasting my time and my breath. I come with no expectation
that you will be eager or even willing to hear what I have to say
but with the determination and resolve that you will hear and that
this time the council will have no choice but to act. We are
brothers all, all thirteen races who fill these seats.

For millennia this august body has sat by on its haunches and
done nothing to address the plight of those of our people who
live their lives in fear of annihilation. Instead it has mouthed
useless platitudes about cooperation and negotiation with the
humans for that which by right of superiority, by right of first
conquest, by the right of a people to survive, should be ours. As
the centuries have passed this council has sat here ineffective
and neutered by its fear of the gifted humans, by its fear of their
magic. But I am here to serve notice to this council that the
Florida Cougar will not sit quietly while you allow the greedy,
grabbing humans to force us into extinction.

When we were forced to leave our first home in this world our
ancestors sought out the Western hemisphere and the powerful
cougar that ruled it. To that mighty beast we have joined our
lives. We claimed the Western continents and we flourished and
thrived despite your contempt for us, your silent punishments for
our refusal to pacify the humans by relinquishing our birthright,
our magic.

Along with our animal counterpart our numbers grew and our
territory spread to cover almost all that is now North America.
We lived at peace with the humans who followed us to this rich
and bountiful land. The Iroquois, the Seminole, the Apache, the
Sioux, all of their human tribes lived at peace with us. Some saw
us as spirits, some saw us as gods but all dwelt in cooperation
with us sharing the gifts of the Earth. Even the gifted among
these humans respected our right to live. Then came the
European humans. Those who had behind them a long history of
persecuting the Were, of forcing us into hiding. Their
superstitions, their quest for power had already brought to heel
and hiding even those whose Domini, whose leaders sat at the
head of this council.

They came and they claimed the land we lived in. As they drove
the Cougars from their homes along with our animal friends, we
appealed to this council. Your assurances proved meaningless
as you turned a blind eye to what happened to us. Instead of
banding together as brothers facing a common enemy you
turned against your Cougar brothers. You demanded that like
you, we relinquish the only protection we had from the humans,
our magic. We refused, as we have always refused and all of
you, all of our brothers turned from us in our need. You stood by
silent while they hunted us and took our land, forbidding us to
fight back.

Now I stand before you as evidence of what your cooperation,
your subservience to the humans, has cost us. The Cougars are
now small in numbers and decreasing every day and don’t think
I mean only our animal brothers. The entire Eastern portion of
North America has been cleared of our kind. In the West, we
exist in hiding, every day watching as the humans encroach
further upon our land.

But the real horror, the real slap in the face that must awaken
this council is what is happening in Florida. The animal known
as the Florida panther, an entire sub-species of our cougar
brothers has been reduced to less than thirty individuals as even
their last bastion of retreat, the Everglades, is whittled down to
almost nothing.

Does the council forget that we are tied irrevocably to our
animal cousins? Among my people, the Cougars of Florida,
there are less than thirty families left. We have no more room to
hide, we have no more measure to give. Make no mistake,
when the gifted humans have used the unknowing normals
among them to drive us from our last Eastern stronghold, they
will move West. If this council does not act today to check the
spreading menace of humanity it will be responsible for the
extinction not only of a species of large cat but of an entire
branch of Weres. The Cougar seat on this council will be empty,
my people—our people, extinct and the fault will lie squarely in
your hands.
Eight shall rise to form a new circle
Of Were and of Man they will come
Through trust and cooperation
They shall defeat the greatest of
Or through lack, fall in final defeat.

For it is only through their bond
That we are lifted
Beyond our hate and fear
To the dawn of a new day
For all the Children of Semira

Two heroes shall blend worlds
The first shall serve the Cat and the
Forging a new world and a new way
Opening the door for those to come
Opening the eyes of one by whom
we shall stand or fall

The second is challenged to heal
the wounds
Inflicted by centuries of guilt and
For until the blood and the curse
become one
The wolf’s howl will be a lonely cry
Lost in the moonless night

    -The Prophecy of the End Days
    Stanza’s I through IV,
    C. Ryder, Oracle
Be Advised- The Grand Masters'
Council has approved only
stanzas 1-4 of this prophecy for
release to non-Masters
January 17, 2008
-Cerridwen Press
February 8, 2008
-Ellora's Cave
Coming Nov. 19, 2008
-Ellora's Cave
July 9, 2008
-Ellora's Cave
February 19, 2009
-Cerridwen Press