The Yavmir Bestiary is an ongoing project, where Michael and Radiostorm brainstorm ideas for a slavic-themed fantasy setting. More information can be found at the WoR Wiki.
Zhelezo Zhuk – meaning “iron beetle” and commonly referred to as Zhuk – are giant insects found throughout Vori and the southern areas of The Old Kingdom. Standing over 10 feet tall, 30 ft long, and boasting an enormous horn, Zhelezo Zhuk are an impressive sight to behold.
True omnivores, Zhelezo Zhuk spend a great deal of their lives scrounging for their next meal. Plants, animals, carrion, and even humans are all fair game for these gigantic predators, as their enormous hunger is rarely fully sated. When encountering a potential foe (or meal), Zhelezo Zhuk will quickly attack with a deadly charge – attempting to impale the victim on their enormous horn. Aggressive and stubborn, they rarely back down from combat once engaged and will chase down foes who try to escape.
Although Zhuk generally hunt and feed alone, it is quite common for them to gather in small clusters across particularly verdant areas. They often burrow in soft soil, creating elaborate networks of caverns and tunnels in which they live and raise their young. These underground habitats often work their way into farmer’s fields, giving the Zhelezo Zhuk a bad reputation among the rural citizens of Yavmir.
Despite their great strength and violent temperaments, Zhuk are valued targets for hunters and poachers of Yavmir. Their carapace is made from an incredibly strong yet light chitin, perfectly suited for the construction of armour and shields. Their horns are another prize, highly sought after for supposed medicinal applications.
Some travelers tell tales of druids and rangers who have managed to tame these behemoths, taking them on as companions and mounts. These accounts are unreliable at best, and if domesticated Zhelezo Zhuk exist they are rare in the extreme.
Illustration Credit: Hideyoshi, DeviantArt