Pyutz

Primary descriptor: Stoic/Berserk

         Pyutz ("mutt" in Russian and Polish) is a magical construct -- a thinking, breathing creature animated by sorcery from dead flesh.

         He is 6'6'' and close to 300 lbs. He is heavily scarred over his entire body, particularly at the joints, and favors clothing which conceals this fact. His skin is swarthy and his hair black and straight; his bangs conceal a particularly gnarled set of scars on his forehead. He moves awkwardly, sometimes to the point of being ponderous, but there is no mistaking the power behind those movements.


ATTRIBUTES through ~1200 AD

Strength: Supernatural (solid)
Tips cars, breaks down doors, etc.
Endurance: Supernatural (solid)
Can run for a full day in heavy pack, go days without water, etc.
Manual dexterity: Below average
Awkward hands.
Willpower: High (stoic)
Intelligence: High (philosophical)
Perception: Average (distant)

SKILLS through ~1200 AD

SCALE: (Below average/average/good/extraordinary)

River Boatsman (Extraordinary - effortless); Forestry (average); Farming (avg); Beekeeping (avg); Stoneworking (avg); Carpentry (blw avg); Shipwright (blw avg); Brewing (avg); Deep sea sailor (avg); Hunting (blw avg); Soldier (avg); Fisherman, deep sea (avg); Trader (avg).

Woodlands Survival (Avg - subsistence); Horseman (blw avg - no empathy).

Area knowledges: Russian and Ukrainian River systems (Extraordinary); Byzantium and Persia (average); Scandinavia (below avg).

Languages: Fluent: Slavic Languages of Ukraine and Russia, Old Norse, Bulgarian and Khazar (both Romani dialects, I think), Persian (Farsi?), Arabic.     Minimal: Polish, Latin (or whatever's spoken in Byzantium at that time), Old German.

Combat skills: Axe (Good - powerful swing); Spear (Avg); Staff (blw avg); Bow (blw avg)


ABILITIES

         Pyutz's high strength and endurance are part of his design; he was intended to perform heavy labor for days at a time. He can go for extended periods without sleep, food or water, and subsist on foods which normal humans find impalatable. His senses are somewhat dimmer than average, but this acts to make him less sensitive to pain and a blow must be truly crippling to slow him down. He is vulnerable to fire, however, burning somewhat more easily than normal flesh and feeling the pain more keenly. When injured, he heals at only the same rate as a normal human, though more completely.

         He is unsure what a truly mortal blow to him would be. He once took a swordblow directly to the head which cracked his skull, though he does not know how severely damaged his brain was and whether he could have recovered from serious brain damage.

         His footspeed is roughly that of an average human, though his awkward stride makes him slow to get up to speed. He is a slow swimmer, both due to mass and awkwardness.

%-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*- \subsection{HISTORY}

         Pyutz ("mutt" in Russian and Polish) was constructed in approximately 700 AD in a remote village in the Carpathians. His creator was a powerful sorceror who had earlier made a contract with the people of the village to protect them from the Avar invasions in return for pledges of tribute and service. Pyutz was created to perform tasks the sorceror had previously ordered the men of the village to perform; as such, he was created strong enough to drag logs from the forest to the fireplace, pull carts of supplies along mountain roads, and to work all day without fatigue or pain. The sorceror, believing himself to be immortal, gave Pyutz the toughness to endure forever so that he would never have to distract himself with the creation of another servant.

         The earliest years of Pyutz's life were spent only half-aware; he was trained like an animal, shown a task and then made to repeat it without understanding its import. Gradually he began to achieve true awareness, however, and when his master was proven mortal Pyutz left the village. He has always seemed reluctant to speak of this stage of his life.

         After leaving the Carpathians, Pyutz travelled northeast until he reached the Dnieper river. There a trader took him on as an oarsman on his boat, and Pyutz began a career as a boatman which lasted for several centuries. His great strength and endurance served him well in his new occupation, and over time he came to know the rivers of Russia and Eastern Europe with almost preternatural skill. He could not remain on one route for too long a time, or people began to wonder about his age, but he found that by switching his route every few decades he could avoid serious inquiry. He further avoided inquiry by hiring himself out most often to foreigners, which gave him less contact with the locals and fewer permanent ties. Occasionally he would disappear inland for several decades at a time, usually working as a farmhand or a woodcutter. Later, he became employed in more diverse (though still menial) occupations, such as carpenter's assistant, stoneworker, and shipwright.

         As the years went on, Pyutz began to take an interest in the world beyond the Russian frontier. The trade routes ran as far as Constantinople, and the boatman spent considerable time in the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East; his longest such sojourn was a 25-year stretch as a stoneworker in Persia. He has also travelled the silk road as a caravan guard, but found China unfathomable and unfriendly to foreigners, so never chose to stay there in his early life. He has also spent some time in Germany, Poland, and Scandanavia, and found them much like his homeland.

         His first experience in the military was his service in the army of Prince Oleg in 972 to sieze Kiev and to drive off the Pechenegs, and the subsequent assault on Constantinople. Here he learned the use of the ``Danish Axe'' from one of Oleg's Danes, and would favor the weapon in later conflicts. His service was not particularly unpleasant, as he was used to perpetual travel, but he had never liked the rages that overcame him in combat and he abandoned the profession as soon as it was allowed. In the chaotic centuries which followed, Pyutz served in the levees of a dozen princes, fighting in their petty wars and fending off barbarian raids on the steppes.

         By the beginning of the thirteenth century, Pyutz was becoming increasingly unsatisfied with his life. He had spent countless lifetimes in menial work and travel, and no longer found any pleasure in them. A Norwegian trader told him of the joy to be had in wars of conquest, and that his own king seemed to be planning such an expedition. The man, too old to fight himself, offered to vouch for Pyutz to lethim enter the service of the king. Against his better judgment, Pyutz accepted the offer and departed from Norway on a longship bound for the Orkney Islands in 1263.

         The raid was an unmitigated disaster. The British forces were waiting for them at Brunanburh, and crushed the invaders with almost contemptible ease. Pyutz found himself aboard a half-burned boat carrying a handful of survivors, none of whom knew the art of deep-water navigation. After three days of almost random drifting, the boat went down in a squall and his crewmates drowned. Pyutz struck out, swimming a day and a night before finally making landfall on an English beach.

         There he lay exhausted, half-drowned, half-starved, and delirious with thirst. He has told his friends this story often, of how he was found and taken in by a group of monks. And how, after regaining his strength he chose to stay with them, working for his keep while learning the language. One of the men, a Brother Christopher, took an interest in the stranger and began teaching him the Roman Catholic faith. Pyutz, who had had little interest in Christianity since his baptism under Vladmir, was at first lukewarm to the idea, but accepted Christopher's lessons in Latin as useful to a traveller in these regions. Then Christopher taught Pyutz to read and gave him access to the monastery's library; Pyutz, long since bored with menial work, suddenly found an entire world opened up to him. He remained at the monastery for forty years, studying all the texts that were available to him and exchanging letters with scholars abroad.

         The golem explained his nature to Brother Christopher, and at the brother's urging confessed it to Father William (the village priest) as well. The two of them agreed that he should keep his nature secret to avoid frightening the people of the village, and on his deathbed the father urged Pyutz to go abroad, but to continue to seek knowledge and remain a good Christian. Since then Pyutz has remained a Christian, though his sect and the extent of his devotion have varied with the times.


PERSONALITY

         Part of Pyutz's philosophical nature is his relatively dim senses, particularly touch and taste. They are simply not as keen as a normal man's, and he tries to enjoy a richer ``life of the mind'' to compensate.

         Despite having lived in such turbulent times, Pyutz is as gentle and kind a creature as only a 300-pound nigh-invulnerable giant can be. He is altruistic enough to intervene where he believes he can help the oppressed, but a long life have taught him the futility of trying to ``fight the good fight'' against a bigotted majority.

         Pyutz is disliked by most animals, and has never become much of a horseman because his mounts are always skittish. Aside from basic farming skills and a knowledge of beekeeping, Pyutz has avoided working with animals on a regular basis.

         Pyutz prefers colder climates to warm, though has been known to visit the tropics when necessary.

 


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Mon Nov 7 11:00:50 2005