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Volot

Written by KoshcheiBessmertnyi

The name "volot" means "mighty" - a reference to mighty beings of old, giants or titans who walked the earth, and were said to be equals of the gods. Alternatively, the name originated with a famed king of these creatures, Volot Volotovich, who was involved in a battle or disputation with the Scriptural Tsar Machau. From Volot Volotovich stems a line of northern giants that settled in what became known as the land of Nor'. Among the latter were such legendary heroes as Svyatogor and Mikula Selianinovich, from whom the line of Noriki bogatyrs derives. Some also say that the Noriki people themselves are descended from volots, though this is little spoken of today out of respect of religious sensibilities.   But Svyatogor and Mikula heralded the end of the great volots of the north, or perhaps even the earth itself. The volots, it is said, were the original elect people, but because they disobeyed God (or the gods), they were cursed, and the rulership of the world was given to humans. After the Flood, the volots slowly began to dwindle in stature and knowledge. Some sages hold that originally, the volots and the chudy were one people, and cite the latter's small height, and the decline of the volots as proof. But others say that the chudy continued to walk in Pravda, and retained the magical powers of yore .But volots sank more and more into violence and depravity, and as they fell, they were driven from their lands, and fled to desolate areas - mountain tops, caverns, dark, impassable woods, or remote islands. Slowly, their lifespan shrunk along with their height. Many simply turned to stone. And several centuries after the conversion of the Noriki, it was widely believed that the volots had all vanished from the land, and died off. But in recent times, a few have come down from their fastnesses, causing sages to wonder what purpose these creatures still have in the world.   Though legends tell of volots who were as tall as the tallest trees, which they could uproot with their hands, today, nearly all of them are between eight and nine feet in height. They usually dress in skins, or, in certain cases, even go naked. So distant are they from other beings, that social conventions such as dress have become lost on them, and they rarely care what smaller creatures think of them.   Volots frequently live alone, because they have either killed close kin in a conflict, because their family has died off or turned to stone, or simply because they have ceased to need companionship of any kind, and prefer to be alone. Those who retreat to the mountains often say that the flat earth can no longer bear them.   In some cases, small family units do survive, and take up residence in a cave, log hut, or tower. While solitary volots tend to be male, families tend to be matriarchal, as female volots are every bit as strong as their men, and much more headstrong, such that the men do not wish to cross them. When volot husbands or sons fall to human hands, their ferocity can take truly frightful forms.   Though they were once looked up to as ideal heroes, in later times, volots have acquired a rather foul reputation. They are regarded as boorish, greedy, and stupid. Though in some cases, such reputations may be fully deserved, they may also be the result of the rarity of these creatures, and the general human ignorance of the volot language.   Volots do speak little to outsiders, and sometimes, say nothing to anyone, preferring to communicate by emitting non-committal grunts. However, their lack of desire to speak often has other causes. Many volots are aware that they are disappearing from the world, and prefer to focus their efforts on meaningful activities, such as work in their quarries, herding, or tending to their trees, rather than idle chatter. Other volots are deep in thought about the fate of the world, and of their kind, and are trying to work out a solution to their predicament (so far, with little apparent success). Still others are not dumb so much as they are sleepy. Volots are not subject to physical decrepitude as they approach their deaths, but live increasingly in the dream world that they will inhabit after their earthly life ends. Their thoughts may in fact be devoted to preparing for their rest state. Some believe, however, that all the volots will reawaken from their slumber, so they may be working on committing what they learned in their lifetime to memory, so that they may recall it after the Great Awakening.   A few volots are convinced that the time of the Great Awakening has come. They seek to leave their lives of isolation behind, and to pave the way for the return of volot greatness. Some begin simply by seeking recognition for themselves, and hire themselves out as farmers, woodsmen, builders, or guards. Given their great size and strength, people often ask them to perform more dangerous feats: staving off raiders, knocking some sense into local bandits preying on the populace, and occasionally, confronting a monster. Given their rarity and stature, fame of their exploits travels fast, though volots, unused to life among humans and to popularity, are not always prepared for its consequences: jealousies, enemies, and worst of all, the growth of their own hubris.   Bjorg Jorgensen, a volot from the Land of Birma, briefly joined the party as a companion in Chapters 5 and 6.

Basic Information

Ecology and Habitats

Generally live on hilltops, mountaintops, and caves, away from civilized life.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Solitary or small family groups

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

As they are loath to speak, especially to outsiders, volots almost never use their tongue in the presence of outsiders. Yet it is known that they regard their language as the most ancient tongue on earth, and claim that it was used by their titanic forebears to speak the universe into being (and not, as other kinds insist, taught to them by the gods). The volot language may be related to that of the chudy, but if they have common roots, the two are no longer mutually comprehehsible.   As they almost never use their tongue in the presence of strangers, it is hard to know what sort of names they are given upon birth. They usually adopt descriptive names that resonate in the local human tongues. In the land of Nor', many are called Buria ("The Storm"), Dubynia, Vernidub or Dubynich ('The Oak'), Gorynia, Gorynich, Vernigor, or Vertigor ('The Mountain'), or Usynia, Usynych, Usynka, Vertius ('The Mustache'). In Kuz' or Kochmak areas, Kalga, Kochmak, and Zhogzha are popular names. Some volots prefer the names of their heroes, or even human champions with reputed volot roots - Volot, Svyatogor, Mikula, Ilya, Dobrynia.   Female volots use names like Dubynia as well (they work for either gender). Sometimes they use the feminine patronymic, or put the word *baba* ('woman') in front of their name. Baba Alatyrka (after the First Stone) and Baba Gorynka are especially popular. Some female volots even claim that Baba Yaga is one of their kind, and use her name, or imply descent from her by calling themselves Yagishna.

Origin/Ancestry
Antediluvian kind
Lifespan
100 - 150 years
Conservation Status
The kind is approaching extinction
Average Height
8+ ft. tall
Average Weight
400 - 500 lbs.

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