The massive warrior stood, hunched over the bargaining table of the cutthroat that had hoped to hire him, and spoke slowly and haltingly in the accented dialect of the Hill People. “You think Vorodon big, and Vorodon simple, so make Vorodon do you will. You lie to Vorodon; you lie to self, and now you die!”
A Big Fellow, Indeed
A huge, heavily muscled hulk, Vorodon easily weighs over 24 stone and looms nearly eight feet tall. If he ever straightened from his stooping, shambling posture, he might be even taller, but years of trying to fit into chambers sized for mere humans has left him habitually bent over.
At a glance, anyone can see that Vorodon is not human. His skin is a pale grey, shot with purplish varicosities and discolorations. His eyes are a striking golden hue, but few notice that, as his jagged teeth and protruding fangs invariably catch the eye first. He habitually wears his unruly mop of lank black hair gathered into a clumsy pony tail.
Those who have traveled the wild extensively will promptly recognize these features, for Vorodon bears the blood of the Volgotoi people in his veins. Those less familiar with the wild lands on the edges of civilization may very well still recognize these features, but only by the name the city folk use for those bearing the mark of the Volgotoi: “Half-Ogres”.
Scion of the Ogre
Vorodon is a rare creature indeed. He hails originally from the village of Cottar’s Bale, a small hamlet hidden in the rugged badlands well beyond the borders of the civilized kingdoms. The people of this isolated settlement make a meager living harvesting the stunted trees of the river valleys and mining the surrounding hills. There is little there to interest outsiders and they prefer it that way. They make their own rules and care little for niceties.
Many years before, the villagers suffered from the depredations of bandits, relentless killers that infested the nearby hills. In a devil’s bargain, the village’s headman made alliance with Gorye, a renowned warrior of the notorious Volgotoi. He agreed to annihilate the predatory brigands that preyed on the villagers.
Part of the price demanded by the gigantic warrior was a wife from the village folk. An ill-favored maiden was selected for this dubious honor and went with the massive creature to dwell with him. In the fullness of time, she bore him a son, Vorodon. Although the folk of the region pitied her, she was not really unhappy once she grew accustomed to the alien ways of her mate; she may never have grown to love her strange husband, but in that harsh land, love was a luxury that few could afford. She raised her half-human son as best she could, and that was enough for her.
Gorye taught his son the arts of battle, pushing him to master the warrior ways of his lineage. The Volgotoi are not a wise people, and have no pretensions of being such. They value simple ways and that is what Vorodon was taught. He was not bright, but he learned to sense deceit and to despise it. Above all, he learned to keep his word, but to offer it seldom.
Heirlooms of a Warrior Line
Vorodon’s sire gave him several ancient pieces of equipment when he set out to make his name in the hostile lands of men; legacies of his father’s line, these antiques have been handed down though several generations of bloodthirsty ancestors.
The most valuable item was an antique harness that’s cumbersome even on Vorodon’s massive frame. Once worn by a Volgotoi ancestor of unusually small stature, this armor is made of numerous browned iron plates joined together by riveted links of soft iron, similar to the construction of a Persian mirror armor harness. The browned plates are each engraved with decorative patterns of fighting earth serpents, decorated with flaking fragments of enamel in gold and green.
His face is obscured by a solid helm of similar construction, a battered relic with two ram’s horns hanging down along each side and a gilt plume holder at the brow. A tube in his pack holds several rare plumes of poisonous green, as the helm’s plumes tend to break and dangle awkwardly in only a few minutes of use.
The harness is completed by a pair of browned-iron greaves and vambraces, apparently shaped by the same artisan.
At his hip, a quiver holds the heavy darts that Vorodon prefers as weapons: 3’ long shafts, tipped with bright steel, that he hurls with deadly force. Each of the darts is fletched with dark leather, painted with runes of doom and despair.
A battered war axe is slung alongside the darts, the wear of long hours of practice showing on its chipped and weathered grip.
Dealing With Vorodon
Vorodon may appear to be just another big, dumb warrior. Anyone who tries to take advantage of his apparent stupidity, however, will discover that he has an uncanny ability to tell when he is being lied to. He’s not very smart, and he knows that others will often try to take advantage of him because of that. He is not very patient with that sort of person.
Vorodon is obsessively honorable, but his code of honor is a warped amalgam of human and Volgotoi honor. For instance, Vorodon hates to lie: He was raised with the idea that only women deceive others. When he’s in one of the human kingdoms, he will follow the laws there, not because he values those laws at all, but because he’s afraid he would be forced to lie if he were questioned. He keeps his word and expects those around him to keep theirs as well; conversely, he expects women to habitually lie and trusts nothing they say. He doesn’t resent them for this; to him, that is just the way females think.
Vorodon sees nothing wrong with cooking and eating a downed enemy, but he knows that such is sternly forbidden in the kingdoms of men. He is likely to take portions of his fallen foes and salt them down so that they will keep until he is again in the wilds, where he can contentedly honor them by consuming their remains.