Before the county of Corvis, there was the Wizard Corvus. Thirteen hundred years ago, a mad powerful wizard had an estate in the area that became the county of Corvis. Over his 800 year span, he created thousands of magikal items of various types and power level, some of which survive to this day.
When someone befriends an animal, s/he obtains the ability to unite their souls together and take on the form of that animal as well as its abilities. S/he also gain some properties of that animal even when they are no keener t transformed, such as resistence to cold or senses. If s/he really wants to s/he can half transforms taking on characteristics of the animal and their normal form