Therianthropes, Therians, werebeasts, weres, Beast-Kind, Bestials, animal-(wo)men
Mutation on the human gene or a separate species altogether, depending on whom you ask (if they have any idea what you’re talking about). Actually the remains of an era when nature spirits interbred with men.
The non-dominant eye of a member of the Therian race is always, with no exceptions, red in color; the dominant eye is a more “natural” color, making Therian eyes heterochromatic. Most, if not all, Therians take on characteristics or mannerisms of their respective animals even outside of animal form. If wounded, physically or emotionally, too badly for the human mind to handle, they will revert to their halfway form and into an animal mindset.
Each Therian has a different animal they are linked to; they can shapeshift into this animal and this animal only. There are three forms: human, which is a normal human form if but for the red eye; the were or “halfway” form, which is the default for every Therian; and the animal form, which is self-explanatory. There are three types of halfway form, on top of this: Bestial, which is your normal kind of wereanimal, appearing more animal than human (full muzzles, digitigrade legs, no human hair) though it is still erect and can function like a human can; half-human, which is in between Bestial and humanoid, having the fur and whatnot still but with more human features, such as plantigrade legs and retaining mops of human hair, with shortened snouts instead of full muzzles; and, finally, humanoid, which appears human other than animal ears, a tail, wings, or something of the like tacked on. What each Therian’s halfway form appears like depends on the individual — there is a trend of Therians with Bestial halfway forms acting more animal and humanoids acting more human, but this is not the rule. On top of the shapeshifting, some Therians are gifted with extra powers called, appropriately, Gifts. There is the Gift of Strength, which pretty much boils down to extra strength, endurance, agility, and the like; the Gift of Sight, which delves into more psychic things such as prediction of future events based on the actions of others, “danger senses”, etc.; and the Gift of Health, which can be the ability to heal oneself, the ability to heal others, or both.
Therians are not born into their halfway forms to live like that for the majority of their lives. On the contrary, all Therians are born completely human, the only indication of what they are to become being their one red eye. They will grow to puberty completely normal and healthy. But it is around the “tween” age that the changes start to kick in. Around ages nine to fifteen (sometimes later but not usually earlier), they will begin to take on certain mannerisms of their animal. A year or so after, they will start to get random pains in the places their transformation will affect the most — for the majority of Therians, it will be in the hands, the legs (especially the knees), and in the tailbone region, though birds, bats, and winged insects will have pains that center around the back, and may even begin to see bulges growing on their shoulder-blades. Then, one day, about a half-year after they begin to feel the pains, they will go through what is called either the “First Change”, or simply “The Change”. This is usually accounted as the most traumatic experience of a Therian’s life, especially if they do not have an older Therian to guide them through it. The process is as follows: that morning, normally in the very early hours, the pains will begin to get unbearable, to the point that the child will be screaming and crying in agony. They will begin to feel sick to their stomachs, and may even empty the contents of said stomachs (or dry-retch, if there are no contents), and they will begin to feel incredibly hot to the touch, as if they have a very high fever. They will sweat because of this fever. This will go on for a few hours. After this, their bodies will start to actually go through the physical changes. Bones will lengthen and reshape themselves, and organs will rearrange if need be. If they are a winged animal, the wings will either grow from their arms or burst from their backs, the latter being an incredibly bloody ordeal. If their halfway form is not humanoid, then they will start to sprout fur or feathers or scales, which is, thankfully for them, relatively painless. If they have tails, they will grow tails. By the end of it all (and the process can take a single hour or several, or the entire day, depending on the individual), the child will be in their halfway form, finally revealing what animal Mother Nature picked out for them, but will have, subsequently, been through so much pain that their human minds cannot handle the trauma. For the remainder of the day and, normally, through the next day as well, they will be stuck in their animal mindsets, the Therian’s defense against mind-shattering events. Like this, they are completely instinctual, simply doing whatever their respective animals would do in the situation they are in. Once they finally regain their minds, they usually rest for a few days after, and, if in an all or majorly Therian family, will have a small celebration as a sort of rite of passage into adulthood.