PROJEKT ' IRON SONG '
In the Empire of Tyvertsia, there are many strange and often hostile beasts—bears, mountain lions, sirin, bauk and the like—living among the wildlife of the thick Western forests, where the soft decidious trees and rolling hillocks give way to tall, noble, hardy conifers and frigid steppes. The Westernmost reaches of the Empire are a testament to Humanity's resilience—or perhaps it's foolhardiness—and form the Western border of known human civilization, with only scarce roaming barbarians living further West, where the conifer woods are even thicker and they are in great number...
This question is specifically related to the most enigmatic of the beasts in the West; the Lešovyk. They are strange and respected denziens of the Western woods, and aside from their apparent ability to disappear and reappear wherever they please, propensity to guide those lost in the woods (especially children), and their even stranger gift loops they are in with some villages, they are most well-known for their extremely vigilant protection of the forests. They are known to attack and viciously murder any who attempt to cut down trees in the woods they roam, and watch hunters intently, that they do not take more than their share.
The question is, how do the people of Tyvertsia get wood? I've already decided that most of the major cities in the Empire import their wood either from the few small places in the Eastern reaches of the Empire where Lešovyk do not roam, or from the bordering kingdoms to the East, but as for the smaller villages further West that cannot afford these expensive imports, how do they source the wood they need to build their houses? Traditional Tyvertsian buildings use almost solely wood, some buildings not even using so much as iron nails, and outside of cities and forts stone is rarely used, along with the difficulty of carrying quarried stone through thick, uneven forest terrain.
In the past, one community famously became very well-acquainted with the Lešovyk, living in an old fort that did not offend them (Lešovyk refuse to get near anything made of wood, and even get near anyone who has recently been in a wood building) and leaving consistent gifts, mostly of bones and other excess food and trash of animals they did not need. They eventually misinterpreted the goodwill they fostered, and attempted to cut down a tree. Every last adult in the fort was killed, and the children led to a nearby village. So trying to cut down trees within their good graces is out of the question.
More on the Lešovyk, since they're the main reason wood is hard to get in the West and they're also just really cool: They are shapeshifters, to a degree; their forms vary wildly but often take the form of vaguely humanoid masses of roots and sticks decorated with bones and even occasionally random pieces of flesh. They are repulsed by metals (especially silver), running water, and cut wood. They only ever exit the shade of the forest canopy if they absolutely have to. They attack wood cutters and poachers, and are extremely suspicious of anyone with a woodcutters axe in their forests. They have been known to steal said axes. Some that wish to earn their grace will leave offerings at the edge of the forest, which is replaced by an equal gift from the Lešovyk. Lešovyk gifts often take the form of strange trinkets, such as a lock of braided fur or an animal bone, but occasionally are charms that grant protection to one while they travel through the forest—but only them, and only so long as they do not offend the Lešovyk. They are known to be especially fond of children, often guiding them home if they get lost in the forest and sending them back to humanity with a gift—almost always a charm. They also frequently watch children intently as they pass through forests on their own, preventing other woodland beasts from attacking them. They have also been known to, on some occasions, guide lost travellers back to safety—even on one occasion a whole village, in which the people guided by the Lešovyk often note that they covered a great distance in moments. Lešovyk have a kind of supernatural authority over every beast in the forest, except for humans and the bauk.
Any help is appreciated! I also understand that this is a particularly complicated issue, so if you have any question or need more clarification on something, please feel free to ask. ^^