Wilder: (n) One who “Touches” Mother other than the Queen. Witch.
The most dangerous aspect of life outside of cities and villages is not the Beast, nor any other of Mother’s many animals. It is the Wilder. Wilder used their abilities to wreck havoc on trains, farms, settlements, travelers, and on occasion, each other. They needed to eat and would, at times, resort to violent measures to obtain food. The Wilder came to be through a severe lack of communication and gossip.
The Wilder didn’t ask for their power, nor did they seek it out. It was just there. One Wilder told another that they weren’t allowed to use their power because of the sisters. That Wilder passed the information on to another with a slight embellishment. By the time word got around to all, the Wilder all believed that the Kings and Sisters hunted them and killed them just for being who they were. This wasn’t true, but it was the result of constant altering of the story when passing information along to too many ears. The majority of the Wilder would hide and keep their identity secret. The crime was the use of the power, not having it. If they never used it, none would know they possessed it. The fact that the Queen was able to use the power and the Wilder were not created quite a bit of animosity and resentment of the Queen.
This fear of the sisterhood and being killed led to theft. They couldn’t exactly walk into a city and ask for help. So, they would use their powers to rob farms of vegetables, animals, fruit or anything else they could get their hands on. They would raid settlements to obtain canned goods, medicines, clothing or other necessities. Travelers fared no better. There was no law against traveling alone, but it was highly discouraged for that reason. Though the Wilder would also at times steal baubles for the sake of trading with each other, they never took money, as it was useless to them.
There have been incidents when the Wilder was aided by farmers or settlements and even travelers. The Wilder would have success hiding in certain areas. Areas where other families didn’t steal from them and areas that weren’t traveled much by the King’s forces. With the family entrenched, they would become known to merchants, farmers and settlements who would in turn keep their secret and provide them with food or other essentials in exchange for keeping dangerous animals and other Wilder from their farms and settlements. It was a working relationship, but it didn’t keep each faction totally trusting of the other.
Some of the Wilder lived alone, but for the most part they lived in packs that they referred to as “Families”. They would teach each other and develop plans for obtaining food and water that even at times included trains. Most of the family would distract the King’s force that accompanied the train, causing the soldiers to all be on one side of the train, protecting its people, while one or two others would close from the other side and take what they needed. The same plan worked at settlements that weren’t friends with them. Most would keep the occupants penned in one home while one or two raided the others.
Although the Wilder could hurl stones, dirt and anything else they could find underground, the biggest danger came from magma. Nearly every Wilder could and would summon it, to start fires to keep warm or cook, but only some would use it to threaten or harm. Those that wouldn’t felt they had the numbers to get what they wanted without harming anyone and over time had exiled those that used the fire for evil purposes from the families. Although none of the Wilder had ever made the connection, those that used the fire to harm others had a yellow tint to their eyes, while those that didn’t were mostly silver. The Wilder hid themselves well so the only Wilder the King’s forces came into contact with were those that abused their power, which led to yet more gossip and communication issues and over time, it became common belief that all Wilder were evil.
There were two sets of peoples of Mother; the settler or those that were swept and the native, those that were born on Mother. A swept Wilder was the most oppressed and hid in the wild. Those that were born on Mother were taught from an early age the need to hide their abilities, and did so living in the comfort of cities and villages.
At the battle of Packard Rise, Queen Melanie made a startling discovery involving the Wilder, which prompted immediate change.