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The werebbubb flashed his pointed teeth, straightening his tiny figure in the saddle.
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- Description, Something Ends, Something Begins

Werebbubbs[N 1] are an old race of short, nimble nonhumans resembling beavers. Despite the name, werebbubbs are not shapeshifters.

Once spread across the highlands between the rivers Sylte and Tango, werebbubbs were almost wiped out. Only a few managed to assimilate and by the 1250s, many retreated to Mahakam or more remote hills and ravines.

Characteristics

Physical description

Slightly taller than a dwarf, werebbubbs are of a tiny figure. Their bodies are covered in thick fur,[2] usually brown or black,[1] gradually turning white or ashen with advanced age. Concealed in the furry face are pointed teeth and two small, glittering eyes.[2] Less efficient sight is compensated by perfect hearing. Sharp claws on werebbubb hands can serve as weapons.[1]

Physically stronger than humans,[5] werebbubbs have metabolism abiding by utterly unique rules. It allows them to endure even the gravest wounds by monstrosities like koshchey, although finding a medic outside their own can prove difficult. Moving with the agility of an ape[2] werebbubbs make excellent trackers and hunters.[1]

Mental traits

Courage is a common characteristic of werebbubbs. They are proud of being different from humans[2] and fond of rocky massifs. They are kindred of dwarves and gnomes in this regard, though unlike the two races they do not extract the earth's riches. Their attempt to stop humans from doing so within werebbubbs' mountain homes was what sparked the conflict that nearly got them exterminated.[6] Overall, werebbubbs are a calm and industrious folk, living off of what nature gives them and repaying her as much as they can.[7]

Culture

Society

Vran bobolak komiks

Werebbubbs engaged in a ritual fight with vrans at a reservation

Suited to life at high altitude, werebbubbs build mountain cities. On the other hand, they lack defensive fortresses of the dwarven or gnomish level, which makes them vulnerable.[8] Elders are traditional leaders. They serve in place of priests too, conducting rites.[7] Aside from claws, werebbubbs fight with standard arms including axes, swords, and spears.[2]

Religion

Werebbubb faith is based on traditions and legends.[3] Albeit much heritage was irretrievably lost,[1] scholars and mages still draw from the rest. Werebbubbs don't worship gods, deifying a plethora of ancestral heroes instead. They believe the great heroes became spirits of the land after death and continue to guide their descendants. Each hero has an annual holiday during which celebrants gather at stone altars to offer sacrifices of items rare in slopes such as grain, fruit, and vegetables.

The opponent of great heroes, the source of all evil, is Lilit. Said perception is thought by scholars and mages to be an echo of past wars between werebbubbs and Wozgors, later amplified by Ithlinne's Prophecy.[7] Werebbubbs initially believed the apocalypse shall happen on her return, heralded by the Black Sun.[3] They dreaded lengthy eclipses in the past and tried to chase them away with loud music, weapon sounds, and belligerent cries.[7]

Zeli, a werebbubb heroine seen as patroness of harvest and fertility honored on Lammas,[7] is considered one of the precursors to Melitele.[3]

History

Beginnings

Bobolak RPG

A werebbubb

Just as the circumstantial evidence suggests, werebbubbs are one of the ancient dwellers of the Continent,[9] their first appearance dating somewhere after the arrival of gnomes to at least 1st millenium BR.[N 2] The myths say herbalist Zeli discovered agriculture and innovative ways to use plants for healing purposes at the dawn of time. She directed fellow werebbubbs and became revered as a great hero.[7] In those days, werebbubbs lived mainly south of the Amell mountains where now lies Nazair, Metinna, and Mag Turga. Relations with dryads weren't amicable, forasmuch werebbubbs treat wood as simple material.

Following the landfall of elves from their white ships, werebbubbs got ruthlessly pushed out of their fatherland. They moved north, principally to Amell and southern Mahakam. Striving for harmonious coexistence with local dwarves and gnomes, werebbubbs helped them repel the Aen Seidhe.[1] This interracial feuds, however, never spiraled into a total war or attempts to eradicate.[9] Moreover, battles between werebbubbs and elves were far from vicious.[8]

Kehl mounted2

Kehl, a bold werebbubb warrior

War of survival

Until the First Landing, werebbubbs had peace. This event brought humans who deemed werebbubb's hairy look bestial.[1] When they halted the construction of mines and shafts, humans launched mass slaughters against the werebbubbs. The majority exterminated,[6] humans closed captives in reservations with vrans.[4] Only a few hundred werebbubbs survived.[8]

Losing a number of uplands to Nordlings, more surviving werebbubbs retreated to Amell, Mahakam[9] and Kestrel Mountains. In the Kestrels they set up cities and rebuilt what was lost. Alas, humans soon reached out with the demand for permission to mine. Thjjn who led the werebbubbs refused and a long battle ensued. He and his people fought bravely but outnumbered and without fortifications, defeat was inevitable.[8]

Populating a mountainous area rich in metal deposits,[10] early Kovirians came into conflict with werebbbubbs. The grandfather of Julian for instance, who by the age of 47 had a collection of werebbubb scalps above his mantle went on to found a prospering diamond business despite having problems to find anything at the start.[11]

The elusive remnants

Nine months before Geralt of Rivia was born,[12] at least 9 werebbubbs were part of Koshchey's Men who terrorized the Klamat Pass area at orders of rogue druid Fregenal. After Fregenal grew overambitious, werebbubb Kehl toppled him. He negotiated with riled peasants of Klucz, Kaczan, and Porog and led his men out for good. A while later, Kehl returned to aid Korin and Visenna against koshchey and died from injuries.[2]

In the 1210s, a werebbubb gang attacked the prince of Caingorn who would have died if not for witcher Eskel. The prince spattered in werebbubb blood offered anything in return. Eskel invoked the Law of Surprise. Unbeknownst to the prince, his daughter, Princess Deidre Ademeyn, had just been born.[13]

Comics fancy bbubb

An integrated individual in Blaviken dressed fashionably.

By the 13th century, the werebbubbs could seldom be seen outside Mahakam. Yet, after all the bloodshed, a handful integrated into human societies,[8] enjoying town life in Blaviken for example.[14] The Mahakam werebbubbs prospered in 1252 enough for Velerad, castellan of Vizima, to say the place teemed with them.[3]

In March 1268, near the end of the Second Northern War, Meve had been approaching Aldersberg to join allies when Scoia'tael shot her scout, Corporal Larkin. The elf tried to talk around it saying it was an accident. Meve, furious, sardonically asked if she should blame werebbubbs then.[15] In a similar quip, Geralt affirmed he was hired to deal with werebbubbs when questioned about an audience with Emperor Emhyr var Emreis in 1272.[16]

Notable werebbubbs

For a complete list of known werebbubbs, see Category:Werebbubbs.

Notes

  • Were- part stands for were, an archaic term for male human. In Polish they're bobołaki, and again the -łak has the elder meaning, coming from the Proto-Slavic lakъ, "skin". Bobołak is just one of numerous variants of similarly called folklore creatures, e.g. Slovak bubulak, Polish bobok, bebok, babok and babuk, Greek baboulas, Mediterranean babau, English bogeyman or bugbear, German Butzemann, Egyptian al-Bu'bu and so forth. Therefore bobołaki can mean bogeyskinned or bogeymen.

Footnotes

  1. The most prevalent English translation of Polish bobołak is "werebbubb", introduced in The World of the Witcher by CD Projekt to replace "bobolak", used in The Witcher, inside CDPR media. Etymologically closest would be "bogeymen" used by Danusia Stok but she didn't stick to it and also used "weretots" in The Last Wish. Michael Kandel and David French went erroneously with "werecats" and "werelynxes" each.
  2. In Blood of Elves, Aen Seidhe are said to have sailed into the Northern Realms "thousand years before" humans, whose own landing occurred "five hundred years ago" in 1267 when the book is set. Expansion for Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni talks of werebbubbs as already present by the time of elven disembarking.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Something Ends, Something Begins
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Last Wish
  4. 4.0 4.1 Zdrada
  5. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sword of Destiny
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 2nd Edition of Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 The Witcher Role-Playing Game
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The World of the Witcher
  10. The Tower of the Swallow
  11. The Witcher
  12. Droga bez powrotu
  13. The Price of Neutrality premium module
  14. Mniejsze zło
  15. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
  16. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
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