Coat of Arms
Blood-red, a bladed scepter
"We Bring Darkness and Terror"
Beyond the Wall
Calthrax Haeron,the Darkener
Age of Heroes
The Ulvogin are a people who live beyond the Wall within the dangerous mountain passes of the Frostfangs overlooking the Haunted Forest and within the depths of their caverns. A kingdom of sorcerers, the Ulvogin were banished beyond the wall for practicing black magic to fight off the White Walkers during the Long Night. Thousands of years later, at the present age, the Ulvogin are an arcanely skilled people and seek to exact a terrible retribution for their exile.
The people who would come to be the Ulvogin came to Westeros along with the First Men during ca.-12,000 and participated in the war against the Children of the Forest. The Ulvogin first gained an interest in magic during this time, particularly after witnessing the Children shatter the land-bridge that the men had come across. When the Pact was signed and peace reigned, the Ulvogin sought the tutelage of the Children in the mystic arts. The Children granted their request and for two thousand years, they educated the Ulvogin in ancient arcane lore.
The Long Night
The peace that both the men and the Children enjoyed eventually came to an end with coming of a long winter and the invasion of the Others. The Children and the First Men rose to fight them, but were steadily driven back. The Ulvogin unleashed their arcane powers upon the otherworldly creatures and were able to battle them admirably, but the Others proved to be a stubborn foe and they soon found themselves cut off from the rest of the men. Unable to escape, and with the Others steadily closing in around them, the Ulvogin became desperate. In their desperation, they turned to the dark arts, unholy magicks that the Children had declared forbidden. Through the use of these tabooed arts, the Ulvogin managed to halt the Others and slowly began to push them back.
Finally, the Others were driven back by the forces of the Children and Men under the leadership of Azor Ahai, the now mythical hero of Westerosi lore. Once the last of the Others had been purged from the lands, the great fortification that would become the Wall began to take shape. The Ulvogin, having finally rejoined with their kin, offered their services in the construction of the wall. However, word of their use of dark magic had reached the Children and Men, and the Ulvogin were subsequently declared abominations, perversions of man who were no better than the Others. The Ulvogin were commanded to leave the lands of Westeross and to go to the far reaches of the North that lay beyond the Wall. Too few to resist this order, the Ulvogin had no choice but to accept their banishment.
For a long time, the Ulvogin knew only misery. While winter may end for the rest of Westeros, the merciless cold of the North never abated for the Ulvogin; each day was a struggle to survive, for it was not only the elements the Ulvogin had to contend with. The Others harassed them regularly, killing and raising the dead in their wake or stealing newborns from their parent's arms for whatever purposes they had, and wildling raiders were a constant plague. Food was scarce, and cannibalism became distressingly common. Only the Ulvogin's mastery of the arcane allowed them to continue to live. These hardships caused the Ulvogin to develop a corrosive hatred for the people of Westeros. Desperate times had demanded equally desperate measures; why should they be faulted for that? The Others had been without any sense of morals, so the Ulvogin had no choice but to match their tactics. The alternative had been death and slavery as a living corpse.
The Dread ProphetRoughly five hundred years into their exile, a single Ulvogin, who is remembered only as the Dread Prophet, announced that he had received visions from a being that called itself C'rathul, more commonly known throughout the rest of the world as the Great Other, the eternal nemesis of R'hllor, the Lord of Light. He claimed that C'rathul had noticed the Ulvogin and was impressed by their tenacity and mastery of the arcane. As such, the god had decided to cast his favor upon them; the Ulvogin would be his chosen people and where once they suffered, they would come to reign supreme over all Westeros.
The Ulvogin, having weathered the harshness of the endless cold of the North, found this idea very appealing. Under the direction of the Dread Prophet, they retreated within the Haunted Forest and up the Frostfangs, the treacherous mountains that overlooked them. It was here that they began to form the foundation of their own personal kingdom. Using their sorcerous powers, the Ulvogin molded stone and metal ore, shaping them into walls and buildings. A hundred years later, the first city of the Ulvogin had been built. They named it Magul Ghoma, the Dread City, and it would eventually become their capital.
Forging a Kingdom
Over the course of the centuries, the Ulvogin began to consolidate their holdings. Where once they had shivered in the dark cold of the North, trying to scratch out a living in the snow, they now dwelled in buildings of metal and stone. When the peaks of the Frostfangs could house no more, the Ulvogin carved their way down into the fathomless depths within the caverns of the mountains, molding it as they went with their arcane might. Thus, the Ulvogin undercities were founded. No longer hindered by the biting cold, the Ulvogin delved deeper into their occult knowledge and their sorcerous powers grew stronger and more refined with each passing year.
Roughly two hundred and sixty years after the coming of the Dread Prophet, the Ulvogin chose their first leader as a unified people. Before, they had been governed by a council consisting of the most powerful sorcerers, but they often bickered with each other on actions to take; a single man or woman was needed to take up the mantle of leadership and keep their fledgling nation from imploding. Thus, the council made a new law: one of their number would be elected to rule the Ulvogin, granted the title of Witch-King (or Queen). The first of these rulers was Calthrax the Darkener, whose popularity with the people and the council allowed him to be voted unanimously to the position.
For thousands of years, the people of Westeros lived in ignorance of the Ulvogin. It was not until the early age of the Targaryen Dynasty that they were revealed to the rest of Westeros. During the reign of Jaehaerys I Targaryen, the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch sent word that strange people had been sighted. They stood a head taller than any man and wore armor blacker than a winter's night. What caught the king's attention, though, were the reports of these people wielding vast arcane powers; one eyewitness described how he had seen them make a man rot away with a mere touch. Most of the king's court dismissed these claims as nothing more than superstitions brought on by long years of guarding the Wall.Jaehaerys, however, was not so dismissive. He sent a force of a thousand men to go beyond the Wall, guided by the best rangers of the Night's Watch, to find out if these sorcerous people were real. For months, there was no word; then, almost a year after the king had sent the force, a scant dozen men returned, terrified beyond words. They brought tales of horrors the mind should never be faced with; monstrous creatures leaping from the shadows to tear men to pieces, a man's own shadow strangling him to death in front of his comrades, scores of soldiers falling before a single of these mysterious people.
The Ulvogin social structure is almost entirely different from that of the rest of Westeros. For one, there is no gender bias; the years before they had a kingdom forced all of them to function as best they could in order to survive and the notions of men being better than women were cast aside. A woman can do anything a man can do, whether it be military service or scholarly pursuits. Positions of leadership are awarded based on merit, another social element that came during their battle to survive in the North. An Ulvogin has to prove that he or she is capable of handling the responsibility to the one who has been tasked with evaluating them. This is done with careful consideration, for should the one appointed end up failing in their duties, then the one who vouched for them will earn a stigma for elevating someone who wasn't ready. Though they have a single leader, the title of Witch-King/Queen is not hereditary. To receive this position, he or she must be elected from the Council of Grandmasters by the people.
Family is considered very important to the Ulvogin; children are expected to honor their parents, who are expected to cherish them in turn. Marriage is serious matter for them as well. Ulvogin marry out of love and political alliances brought about by arranged marriages are prohibited. Adultery is considered a serious offense and those who commit bear the stigma of having broken their vows.The long centuries of isolation and hardships have shaped the Ulvogin into a very inward-looking people. As such, they care only about themselves and their people; all others are just a means to an end. The countless raids by wildlings and White Walkers have also given them a militiristic mentality; all Ulvogin are trained to fight as part of their education and is considered almost as essential as learning to use magic. When an Ulvogin comes of age, he or she must forge their own suit of armor. Though they may take inspiration from another's, no two suits will be the exactly same.
Despite their harsh nature, there are a number of taboos in Ulvogin culture. Keeping one's word is something that is taken very seriously; breaking a promise is something reserved for the barbaric wildlings and the backstabbers of the Seven Kingdoms. To be labeled an oathbreaker is to be an outcast amongst the Ulvogin. Rape is an absolutely unacceptable act, even to prisoners, as is killing a child; the penalty for either action is death.
The Ulvogin pay homage to C'rathul, who stands in opposition to R'hllor. He is known by numerous titles, including the Dread Lord, the Dark One, the Black God and many others. The Ulvogin believe that only those who serve him are afforded an afterlife; all others are simply consigned to a realm of cold darkness, or damned to an eternity of torment if they offended the Void Lord. C'rathul is believed to hold dominion over creatures normally associated with evil; therefore, spiders, bats, ravens and snakes are considered sacred to the Ulvogin and are often kept as familiars.
As servants of C'rathul, the Ulvogin directly oppose those who worship R'hllor. As far as they are concerned, the Lord of Light is nothing more than a thief who stole his power from the Dread Lord and a petty tyrant who needs his subjects to be utterly dependant on him for everything. The Ulvogin despise those who give praise to the Lord of Light, regarding them as weaklings begging for scraps of power and help with the most trivial of things from their patron god.
It would be a much simpler task of listing those that the Ulvogin don't hate. Their hatred of almost all others is perhaps their most defining trait.
If one were to ask what the Ulvogin hate the most, he would be given the same answer: the Others. The Ulvogin consider them to be their greatest of enemies; given a choice to kill a wildling or a White Walker, an Ulvogin would choose the latter every time.
"Why do we fear them more than the White Walkers? Because they have something those pale ghouls don't have: imagination. The most a walker will do is kill you and raise your corpse. Ulvogin, though, they'll do far worse; nothing is darker than the mind of man, especially when he's had years to ruminate."
- -Mance Rayder
Wildlings are the second-most hated enemies of the Ulvogin. They regard the Free Folk as nothing more than parasites, stealing whatever they can from their betters, or as cattle to be harvested at their whim. As such, the many wildling tribes and clans are often the victims of raids by the Ulvogin, where they take men as subjects for horrific experiments while the women are used to breed the Dreadspawn, the Ulvogin's monstrous soldiers and slaves. In turn, the wildlings have developed a powerful fear of them; some would say that it eclipses their fear of the Others.
Though The Ulvogin despise all those who dwell behind the Wall, they hold a particular animosity towards House Stark. Before the Long Night, the two had been very close, but when it was revealed that the Ulvogin had resorted to black magic to combat the Others, it was the Starks who called most virulently for their banishment. When the Ulvogin pleaded that they had been left with no choice if they were to survive, Bran the Builder himself said, "Better you had all died then sully yourselves so." For the Starks, there was no gray area, only black and white; the Ulvogin were guilty of practicing dark arts, and so were now no better than the Others. Since then, the Ulvogin have vowed to destroy House Stark, root and stem.
CharacteristicsIn appearance, the Ulvogin are invariably tall, with men easily reaching seven feet or more and women being well over six, and pale, for sunlight rarely filters through the clouds that loom over all that exists beyond the Wall. Their hair is generally black in color, though some bear auburn locks and is typically worn long. Blonde hair is all but nonexistent within the Ulvogin. Their clothing is comprised almost entirely of dark and dull colors, including gray, black, and deep red. Men do not grow out their facial hair, regarding beards and other such features as marks of primitive savages.
As a result of their continuous studies of the occult, Ulvogin have been granted a number of enhanced physical traits. They are also very long-lived, with the average lifespan reaching up to 700 years and often even longer. Priests of the Black God have the greatest longevity of all Ulvogin, each one having lived well beyond a millennium. The oldest of these was Zarovun Naelex, who was recorded to have reached two thousand years.
Each Ulvogin will invariably be skilled in the mystic arts, and even the weakest sorcerer will be a potent enemy. Some may choose to specialize in one or two fields and perfect them, while others may choose to be a jack of all trades, balancing out numerous different fields.
While magic has atrophied throughout much of the world and is mostly practiced by simple performers and dabblers with delusions of granduer, the Ulvogin remain the forerunners of occult practices, delving beyond what any others have dreamed or even dared. Not even ancient Valyria, where magic was commonplace, could rival the Ulvogin's mystical powers. Thousands of years of study and experimentation in the mystic fields have given the Ulvogin vast reserves of power. Indeed, it is doubtful that any outsider could ever hope attain the levels of esoteric knowledge that they possess. For the Ulvogin, magic is a tool, no different from a shovel or a pickaxe, and so even what others would consider to be the blackest and most unholy magicks are openly utilized.
The Ulvogin became intimately familiar with this field of magic during their many battles with the Others during the Long Night. Any slain who were not burned would rise up as their thralls, bolstering the forces of the Others. Rather than simply burn their dead before the Others could raise them as wights, the Ulvogin instead did it themselves, allowing them to field their own army of undead. The Children of the Forest considered this field to be among the most terrible forms of magic and practicing it the most grievous sin against nature that one could commit; this was the main reason for the Ulvogin's banishment. Today, they are not limited to simply raising the dead. An Ulvogin sorcerer can use Necromancy to make the flesh rot away from a foe's bones, drain the very life from a man, or even conjure a plague to infect a village.
Blood is the key to life, and to master this power is to master life itself. At its most benign, blood magic can be used to cure disease and heal the gravest of injuries, even restoring a man back to life if done quickly enough. The Ulvogin, as with their other arts, have twisted it to serve much fouler purposes as well. With a gesture, an Ulvogin can make the blood boil and burst from the veins of a victim, or create a weapon out of crystallized ichor. A truly skilled practitioner of blood magic can even mold flesh and bone in their hands as though it were clay, turning a subject into a grotesque mockery of its former self.
Though the disciples of the Lord of Light may claim that the shadows serve him, all darkness truly belongs to the Void Lord C'rathul and thus true mastery over them is possessed by the Ulvogin, his chosen people. It is in this field that the Ulvogin are perhaps the most skilled; they can do virtually anything with this power, from making a person's own shadow strangle him to death, or meld with ambient darkness to strike from anywhere. It is also considered to be a holy art, for the Lord of the Abyss revels in all that is dark; his priests are among the most proficient masters of this art, unparalleled even amongst their brethren. From ambient shadows, they can create weapons of pure darkness or even living creatures to tear their foes apart.
In the past, members of the Alchemists' Guild boasted power enough to transmute metals and even create living creatures of fire. Like much of the other arcane arts, such power has long since withered away to a shadow of its former self throughout Westeros. Not so with the Ulvogin. They too can transmute metals as they see fit; worthless elements can be remade into valuable ones, such as lead becoming gold. They can also brew potions of incredible potency, often to enhance their powers. It is through the craft of alchemy that the Ulvogin created voidsteel, a metal so black that looking at it is like staring into a void. This magical alloy is used to make the weapons and armor of the Ulvogin and rivals Valyrian steel in strength, weight and quality.