There are long nights in the North, and no family knows this better than the Volkovs. Originating in small villages in western Russia, the Volkovs first bloodied their knives patrolling the borders for the witches and monsters who lurked after dark. From Likhoradka to zmey to strzyga to the Baba Yaga herself, the Volkovs know well that the old tales have real teeth.
At first, the family was intensely insular—outsiders rarely had the best interests of the community in mind; worse, a stranger could just as easily be another monster once the sun set. The Volkovs kept their techniques secret and gradually developed an attitude of ruthless practicality: sympathy for the devil gets you nowhere, and it’s better us than them. Whenever a new generation married out, they would carry their skills to another village; in this way the family slowly but surely expanded. Gender was no barrier to this all-important Volkov education: a woman might be expected to stay home with the children, but she had better know how to defend that home with a pair of knives.
As the west developed, opportunities for travel emerged even for the lower classes, and the Volkovs gradually began dispersing. They established new households, and eventually full extended families, of hunters in other countries. Like many immigrants, they’ve often found that the largest difference between their new and old homes is the resources they’ve left behind, but the Volkovs also learned that there were just as many monsters to fight in New York as Moscow. They often found work as soldiers and security forces, a trend that continues to this day—though many Volkovs instead maintain family businesses that are passed from parent to child.
Despite their reputation as hard and aggressive, like the wolves they’re named for the Volkovs are devoted to their own: they will always be stronger together than alone, and their hard-earned experience only has meaning with people and community to defend.