Mythic Russia playtest: Volk
Backstory: The Witch in the Woods
Once upon a time there was a witch who lived in a small house in the woods. Her house was many miles away from anything that could pass for civilisation, and this suited the witch well, as she had made a great many enemies over the years. While she was not actually evil, she had strong opinions and was always willing to back them up with action, which made it easy for people to dislike her.
The witch shared her woods with a pack of wolves. Over time they built up, if not exactly a friendship, certainly a degree of mutual respect. The witch would sit on her front porch on summer nights and listen to the wolves as they sang to the moon. The wolves in turn dissuaded strangers from entering the woods.
One day, though, a stranger came to the woods with a strength of purpose that overcame any fear of the wolves. He was the priest from a nearby town, who had heard the stories of the evil old woman living on his community's doorstep and had decided to investigate the matter for himself. After a brief but loud confrontation, in which the priest accused the witch of sorcery and worshipping pagan gods -- neither of which she denied -- he stormed back to the village, vowing to gather a group of strong men willing to burn the corruption from their midst.
Too feeble with age to run and fearing for her life, the witch decided that she needed to send for help. The one person she could count on to help was her son, Valvo, who was travelling in the woods of Khant; she hatched a plan to get word to him.
The witch stepped out on her porch and howled as the wolves do. Drawn by curiosity, the wolves drew to her, approaching her house with caution. With only a brief apology, the witch touched the pack leader on the muzzle, and a moment later a surprised looking young man stood before her.
"I am sorry to impose this on you, Volk, but I have need of your help. I have given you the gift of speech so that you may take a message to my son, Valvo. Tell him that mother Olga has need of him and that he must make all speed to her side. You may have your fur, teeth and claws when you return, but for now run as fast as your two legs will take you!"
And with that Volk ran through the woods on unfamiliar legs, accompanied by the rest of his pack. They ran day and night until they found Valvo, and Volk gave his message with fumbling words. By the time they all arrived back at the witch's house, though, it was empty. There was still food on her table, tea in her samovar, and warm ashes in her fireplace, but of the witch herself there was no sign.
Volk now wanders the woods of Siberia in the company of his former pack and Valvo, always listening for word of the witch. He is reluctant to enter towns, but sometimes forces himself to do so when he believes he has heard word of mother Olga, or has need to trade the furs of the rabbits he catches for provisions. He sleeps under the stars and still howls at the moon, filled with the sense of all that he has lost and the longing to get it back.
Volk is a Siberian wolf, turned to human form by the witch Mother Olga. He roams the woods of Khant with Valvo and his former pack, hunting game and selling pelts, always searching for Mother Olga. He sleeps under the stars, distrusting towns and large groups of people. He is a devotee of Wolf and has retained his keen senses and animal cunning. He disdains weapons, preferring to rend with tooth and claw. From Mother Olga's house, he rescued her shawl of stars and her crystal eye. Volk loathes dishonesty, preferring to solve problems through direct confrontation. He still howls at the moon and pines for his wolf love.
- (Played by Scott Dorward)