The volun are the originating species of the Legacy of Delor, as well as its largest member race.
The volun are an iron-based species from the plant Forjar, which is the moon of the gas giant Malque. They are asexual, with each one possessing a set of internal organs capable of producing a clone of the parent. Despite their genderless biology, they tend to be referred to by masculine pronouns. They are stocky, lumbering, durable creatures, with adults measuring between five and seven feet tall, depending on age, and weigh between 700 and 1500 pounds. Gestation lasts approximately fourteen months, during which time the father passes on approximately the latest two decade's worth of memories genetically to the child.
They possess two arms, hands with three fingers, two legs, bulky feet with three wide toes, and thick steel-like armored skin. Their fingers are blunt and lack nails, as do their toes. They have two pairs of eyes that see in the visible spectrum and parts of the ultraviolet, giving them a 240 degree field of view, and a large pair of nostrils. Volun have two horns, one that is about a foot long and protrudes from between their forehead and nose, and another that is approximately four inches and extends from their chin. They have large front teeth, which are visible even when their mouths are closed. A hump protrudes from their back, which houses the majority of their breathing system. Their noses are tuned towards identifying metallic compounds, leaving them unable to distinguish between what most species consider "pleasant" and "foul".
Rather than the commonly-used respiration, volun rely on combustion instead, which functions by taking in atmospheric oxidizers. Their organs analagous to a respiratory system are combined with their digestive system, as the two rely on each other, doubling as both lungs and digestive systems. Although their lungs are insulated from the rest of their body, a volun is still relatively hot to the touch for most species. They can survive in extreme heat and cold, and can resist drowning or suffocating underwater or in a vacuum for nearly an hour. They use water as a solvent, similar to carbon-based lifeforms, but have a lower body concentration, typically obtaining what they need from the atmosphere.
As they are iron-based, volun are susceptible to illnesses and toxins made using their own form of biochemistry, while unaffected by diseases and chemical compounds that affect carbon-based life. Volun bodies are extremely durable, and due to their homeworld frequently passing through a Van Allen belt, they can endure environments with severe long-term radiation conditions. When a volun's skin is punctured, they exhibit a phenomenon akin to scarring in humans, where it rapidly clots in order to prevent bleedout, but it is more comprable to fast rusting. This small film quickly forms and keeps the volun's blood from escaping, but is much weaker than the armored skin that it replaces. Their armor can repair itself from most wounds, but larger lacerations typically require the painful surgical procedure of welding new material onto the location of the injury. These plates are kept in place for months or even years, being replaced as the volun grows, until the armor underneath has finally healed. Volun do not have an adrenaline response. Instead, to deal with injuries, a volun can temporarily disable his pain receptors, at the expense of his scent and hearing. If a volun is near-fatally wounded, his body will cannibalize his reproductive system in an effort to recover, leaving him sterile and sending him into the Patriarch stage early.
A volun never stops growing, and becomes larger until he dies from old age. Certain physical traits become more or less pronounced during the aging process, resulting in physically distinct appearances. These tend to be broken down into four stages of a volun's life.
- The earliest years of a volun's life is spent in the initiate stage. This stage is short and rotund, with his upper body nearly as wide and deep as it is tall. As he grows into further stages, he will become more humanoid in shape. His hump dominates his upper body and protrudes nearly a full foot above his head, giving a heavily hunchbacked appearance. His teeth are short and contained in his mouth, his chin horn is only a short stub while his forehead horn is only a few inches short of adult length, and his shoulders are partially sunk into his hump.
- The adept stage is the second stage, when a volun has finally developed the majority of identifying traits. His primary horn has reached adult length, a medium-length chin horn has developed, his fangs are large enough to always be visible, his shoulders are now mostly emerged from his hump, and their bodies are more vertical. A volun is usually around thirteen years of age and four and a half feet in height by this stage. He will spend the next two decades slowly growing larger and taller as he matures into adulthood.
- The third stage, known as the apex stage or patron stage, is the main phase of a volun's life. His upper torso no longer hunches forward, and his head now protrudes above his hump. At this age, a volun's internal reproductive organs have fully grown, allowing him to begin growing a child. He is generally around 33 years old and five and a half feet tall when he enters this stage, and will be in it for approximately five decades.
- The final stage is the patriarch stage, which begins when a volun's reproductive organs cease to function. At this point, his body's systems will focus on survival as it can no longer reproduce. His body focuses on gaining more mass than height, which is usually around six feet at this point, and approaches six and a half as he ages. Additionally, his body cannibalizes his reproductive organs and repurposes them. As a result, he gains mass at a faster rate than before, and his physical capabilities increase. His head now protrudes well above his hump, while his shoulders become increasingly broad and the blades are more pronounced. This stage lasts approximately forty years on average, and ends with the volun's death. As he ages, his heart ultimately becomes incapable of supporting his weight.