Vargs (Vargar) are giant, magical wolves known for their intelligence and power.
Vargs are extremely large wolves, averaging nearly the size of a horse. Many have slightly squat legs compared to most wolves. Other than their size, the primary difference in appearance between a varg and an ordinary wolf is their eyes, which are extremely bright and come in a much wider variety of magical colors than do ordinary wolves. Some say that vargs' eyes are also solid-colored, lacking in pupils, but it is unknown whether this is true.
Vargs do not have a "culture," per se; however, they are highly intelligent beings capable of speech. Their society is very much like ordinary wolves, though they speak a very literal language as opposed to relying so heavily upon body posture and other behavior. The language of the vargs is very guttural and difficult for creatures such as Men to master, though such a thing is possible. Vargs, on the other hand, have a considerably easier time learning to speak other languages, such as those of Men and Elves. Most vargs choose not to do this, but generally at least one varg in a pack will learn a variety of languages in case speech with other creatures becomes necessary.
Legends and Allegiances
Vargs are known throughout Northrim and are mentioned in numerous legends, occasionally used as mounts by some gods and jotnar. Despite this, most vargs do not take kindly to being used as mounts, and only allow someone whom they deeply trust and respect to ride on their backs. Vargs do not often interact with other creatures and rarely make pacts with anyone, as they are not naturally inclined to favor any particular mortal creature over another. However, it is not unheard of for some varg packs to befriend wood elves, while others may align themselves with some of the Chaos races, such as goblins, though never as mounts.
The greatest of the Vargar include the terrible monster-gods Fenrir, Hati, and Sköll, who according to prophecy will side with the forces of Chaos at the coming of Ragnarok. Because of this, vargs are generally thought of as evil creatures, though not all are inherently so. Odin's wolves Geri and Freki might also be vargs, and they are considered forces of good.
Wolves and Werewolves
Men often group vargs with similar creatures, such as wolves and werewolves. It is unknown how much relation - if any - vargs have to werewolves, or even to wolves, in spite of sharing their general appearance. Men tell stories of how vargs and werewolves are the same thing, often referring to them interchangeably in spite of their apparent differences. Some say that werewolves and vargs are naturally drawn to each other and that vargs can command wolves, but none of this is known for sure. Wolves and vargs generally go their own separate ways and do not live together, and most all varg packs consist exclusively of their own kind. As for varg interactions with werewolves, it is untrue that vargs - like wolves - must answer the call of a more powerful werewolf. Vargs make their own choices concerning whether or not to align themselves with any werewolf, powerful or not, with one exception: like any other wolf-kin, all vargs will immediately answer the call of the Six.
As mentioned, all vargs are highly intelligent and capable of speech, including all the languages of Men, should they learn them. As magical creatures, the exact abilities of vargs is unknown. It is claimed that vargs (as some legends claim of wolves and werewolves) have the ability to temporarily silence a man's voice with a glance. However, it may be true that - like all other intelligent creatures - some vargs are born with the Gift. Otherwise, their abilities vary between individuals, but they are not known to frequently make use of magic or cast flashy spells. The most feared of their abilities is very simple: their sheer power. As one would expect of giant wolves, vargs are immensely strong and agile, and coupled with their cunning equal to or perhaps even surpassing Men, even one varg is a dangerous foe.