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Evgeni Afanasyev

Journal of Al'meh Noor el Qessir, Chronicler of the Order of the Silver Scale

Subject of Note: Evgeni Afanasyev

  I would be remiss if I did not state at the outset of this notation that I have known its subject for 242 years. My pure objectivity may, therefore, be unacceptably compromised. In the interest of our sworn duty to preserve and protect the integrity of The Record, it will likely prove both prudent and necessary for one of my colleagues to revisit this subject at a later date.  
He will find them. The other way around will prove...challenging.

Physical Description

He is not a fellow of heroic proportions, as drow tend not to be. At 5'8" he is not very tall, but lithe and wiry. The way he carries himself reminds me of a great hunting cat.   I have wondered if subtler builds might be advantageous to assassins: others might be lulled into overlooking them as threats, and it seems it should make hiding or balancing on ledges a bit easier.   So I asked him. He told me to try it myself.   I am 5'3". In retrospect, that was a height joke at my expense.  


He is determined to be the single greatest assassin our world has ever known. It is an unusual goal, considering its implications; but to him it is no different than chasing mastery of any other craft.  


  His devotion to his goal is absolute:  
  • Up three hours before dawn to train.
  • Day's business.
  • Second three-hour training session.
  • Night's business (I attempted to get him to clarify. He is aggravatingly good at distractions.)
  • Four grudging hours of rest if he must.
  He does not believe in days off. I am certain he would not bother with eating or trance if he could avoid it. The pursuit is everything. I have seen him ruminate for days over a single cut that was somehow not up to his standards.   He is also extremely slow to trust. I cannot call it paranoia. In his world, things are seldom as they appear. Identities are readily made and discarded, lies flow freely, and everyone and every thing is hiding something (or several very well-armed someones). Suspicion is a survival strategy, one he has taken to heart.   It can create some awkward social moments; but I must say, if I needed to walk the docks at midnight, there is no one else I would rather have with me.  


Drow, like elvenkind, have long lives; most have many teachers over the course of their years. Evgeni has had three I know to be of note:   The first, of course, were his parents. Thieves and well-established members of Vorota Vostoka's underground, Chasnim and N'daya Afanasyev began as bitter rivals; were forced together as partners; gradually became lovers; and found themselves parents. They loved their son; but the fires of ambition burned brightly in their fiercely-competitive souls, and neither could stomach falling behind in favor of child-rearing. Thus, when Evgeni did see them, it was never both at the same time. He seldom talks about them, but he idolized them both: their high expectations and early lessons set him on his current path.   The legendary ranger Dimitri Sokolov the Half-Elven trained him in the use of knives and scimitars, but the impression he left on Evgeni's character may be his greater legacy. I chanced to meet Master Sokolov some years ago. He was an impossibly stern, exacting man who suffered neither fools nor wastes of his time -- and everything was a waste of his time unless it very quickly proved otherwise (it is a miracle I got an audience at all!). It seems he found a kindred spirit Evgeni, and that permitted a level of connection not-seen in the handful of other students he taught. Evgeni's obsession with technique, precision, detail and execution was surely developed there.   His third master mentored him through his early years as an assassin. Evgeni does not mention Ivor often, either (truly, he rarely discusses himself at all), but his memory is always close at hand: Evgeni's favorite dagger was a gift from Ivor to mark his first solo mission.  


"Is there anything else specific or concrete you're worried about?"   "Enh, 'worried' is strong word."   "Sorry. Any further inquiries you have for me?"   "Plenty, considering my last two jobs have come from mad fey assassin who thinks I am pet, and fancy dwarf sock puppet."
  I have been careful to avoid asking too many specific questions about his work, for obvious reasons.   However, in the last 16 years, he has had a set of very curious experiences that fall far outside his profession.   The first involved the event we call "Rebirth", when our world was viciously attacked by an Outsider called Sumannus. Evgeni was recruited as overwatch (he says "babysitting") for a group that tried to prevent this cataclysm. They came so close; alas, at the last moment, they became trapped in an artifact created as a safe room by a wizard with advance knowledge of what was to come, and spent the next five years imprisoned there. (I could not help laughing when Evgeni told me that; the look he gave me would have withered oaks. The lost time is an extremely sore point for him).   The second involved a dwarven warlord from the city of Kenosha, who desired to establish a settlement in the wilds of the north of Shiva. Evgeni had reconnected with a close ally who chose to answer the call when the warlord sought hands to protect his caravan of migrants and assist with the establishment of this new colony. Evgeni agreed to accompany his friend on the trip, but not due to interest in the settlement. During the previous job, Evgeni had accepted a contract to find and eliminate a fey woman known as The Wind Whisperer, the most dangerous assassin in all of Shiva.   It is important to note that Evgeni is very proud. His professionalism is his religion, and its core tenet is, "always finish the job". Any interference is intolerable; but five years’ worth was a personal affront. He had resumed the hunt with a vengeance; and it just so happened that the trail pointed northward, in the vicinity of where the new town was to be. As is often the case, his stars had other plans. He became entangled with the fate of town they named Sanctuary, somehow becoming its spymaster; one of its defenders; and even serving for a time as one of its envoys to its rival, neighboring city (the latter did not end well).As of now, he and his quarry have crossed paths twice. One, I fear, will not survive their next meeting.   The third job concerns me deeply. To repay a favor granted him last winter, he is returning to the drow city of Ilindith to serve for a time as an instructor at the Academy there. There are no words for me to adequately describe how dangerous a place the Dark is, even for one with his skill. Thus, Alexei and I have decided we will not allow him to face this alone; though even strength of numbers may not be enough to preserve us there.  


The scowl on Evgeni’s face grew darker still. He sat up rod-straight, indignantly folding his arms across his chest. “Noor. Think. What manner of craftsman gets attached to materials? Who has ever heard of carpet maker too fond of spool of wool to make it into rug? Or baker who loves bag of flour too much to make bread?”   Noor covered her mouth to stifle a giggle.   “Everyone would say – correctly – that such person is fool, and failure. I am craftsman as well. Is no different. No one succeeds in this profession if they are going to get attached to others. Never know when you may have to kill them later.”
  Evgeni is a solitary creature. Lord Caputo once described him as "aloof and glowering"; as much as it makes me chuckle, the description is sound. Yet there are a (very) few of us who somehow earned his genuine trust. Aside from having won the rarest of prizes, we are witness to a side of him he would disavow.  
"Ah, little Lyosha, ever the brave monster-hunter. It is no wonder your family was not so eager to have you at court: you would have most of the officials' heads on your wall as trophies by now."
  The youngest son of Vorota Vostoka's Imperial family, Alexei Vasilev was also a student of Master Sokolov’s, but fared far less well than Evgeni did. Evgeni encouraged Alexei and helped him navigate their temperamental teacher’s stormy personality until he could stand on his own. Despite being almost a century younger than Evgeni; and as courtly, noble, and good-natured a fellow as I have met in all my days, the two of them are like brothers. Shared hardship does strange -- but endearing -- allies make.  
"Friend?" Alexei nearly choked on the word. "You have a friend? Do they know this?"   "Shut face. You nearly die with someone enough times, it happens."
  Speaking of the magic of shared hardships, Hudwick Caputo was Evgeni's best friend. I only had a brief opportunity to meet Lord Caputo, but I can see how so strong a bond could have formed between them. The wizard balanced out Evgeni's many sharp edges, and the two of them truly appreciated -- dare I say, understood -- each other. Tragically, in a desperate struggle against his teacher's teacher, who had become a lich, Lord Caputo ended his life to break a spell that made the lich invulnerable. Lord Caputo's sacrifice destroyed the lich, and surely saved his companions. But it devastated Evgeni, who arrived just in time to witness the sudden loss of his closest friend.   We do not speak of it in front of him, but Alexei and I are deeply concerned about how this has affected Evgeni. He has put on a brave face, but something in his silence...I cannot explain; but something is not right.  


I must first make brief mention of a quirk of Shiva Don's. Long ago, a planar anomaly created an area of overlap between the country of Shiva Don, and another world both similar and very different from our own. The people of Shiva Don were always bold; by the time the overlap resolved, they had assimilated so many elements of the other place's culture that their own had changed. To this day, natives of Shiva Don are easily recognized by their unique, rough-sounding language, which they call "Rusky".   The men speak with a very low pitch to their voices. Evgeni is typical in that regard. He speaks a slightly-broken Common with a heavy, rolling accent, but often shifts to Rusky when he's irritated.   He is also fluent in Drow, Thieves' Cant, and Drow Sign.

Appears in
  Vignette 1   Vignette 2   Vignette 3   Vignette 4
Vorota Vostoka, Shiva Don  
Current Residence
Sanctuary, Shiva North  
The grey of stormclouds. Very intense. There is a chilling, predatory quality to his stare.  
Full and white. Worn slightly long. Nice to brush.
Special abilities
He has the natural facility with magic that all drow do. Due to his level of focus, I suspect he may be capable of more; yet I fear that to make even the suggestion would be to create a monster the world is not prepared for.    
Religious Views
Let us simply say that two gods who crossed him were on his list of personal marks, and move on from this particular subject.  
Likes & Dislikes
Then there is the matter of knives. His passion for them is akin to a red dragon's for gold. He tells me each of his own is specifically sharpened for a different purpose, although I certainly can see no difference. Maintenance is an elaborate, painstaking ritual: as he works on each blade, he talks to it with the same hushed awe and adoration a doting parent showers upon a newborn child.   I am sure I should find this far more disturbing than I do. Familiarity is a strange thing.

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26 Jan, 2021 17:01

I love the mood of this article! My once suggestion is that it's a bit long, do you think that there's any information that you could move to the sidebar of take out entirely?

26 Jan, 2021 17:11

First: bless you *eternally* for comment; I am STARVED for feedback 'round here!   Second: hmm...probably. (^ - ^) lol   I'm a-sittin' a 2399 words by the site's count atm. Got a suggested range? :D

26 Jan, 2021 17:58

I personally have never written an article over 1,200 words. I thing that around 1,000 is a good range. Of course you shouldn't delete half your article, this is goods stuff. I would say don't use the prompt, instead just put hearers in the free form prose section at the top. I would put less important stuff (like quirks and religious views) in the sidebar to make stuff easier to read. Also, this video is really great and helps a lot with this kind of stuff:

26 Jan, 2021 18:15

Dig it! I don't always use the prompts; but when I do, stuff like this happens. ^^   I'll toy with it a bit and see what brews up!

28 Jan, 2021 00:51

Wow, nicely done. It’s very well-witten. I love assassins and drow.

28 Jan, 2021 15:59

They're two great tastes that taste great together! I suspect the other classes and species are just jealous because they know they'll never have THAT much swag. ^^ Pleased to meet'cha!   Also, thank you *very* much for both the comment and the compliment. <3 This was entirely too much fun; looking forward to the next challenge!

28 Jan, 2021 17:30

I must say, I do love the way you write! I really enjoyed this article and your way of writing the physical descriptions was great too, I especially liked the "Nice to brush" part about his hair. :) Very nicely done!

28 Jan, 2021 19:00

Aww, thank you!   Hehe, I like writing from the characters' povs; I feel like if I'm gonna step in there, I should step ALL the way in. Ergo, the hair comment is a (very meta) reference to Vignette 3. :D

29 Jan, 2021 11:57

Yeah that makes sense! You can have a lot of fun with writing from a character's pov...something I think I need to do more of! I'll definitely have to go read the Vignette's now!

29 Jan, 2021 14:10

I can't believe you actually did all four! Haha -- thank you!

29 Jan, 2021 15:23

Haha no worries! They were great! Can't wait to read more!

6 Feb, 2021 23:52

'Nice to brush.' *side-eyes Noor*   This is such a great way to do a character article - I love reading about someone from another character's point of view. Also,you have such a beautiful way with words. The language you used really drew me into the article.   Great job. Given your world a follow. :)

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
8 Feb, 2021 03:45

Hehehe -- he'd side-eye her, too. ^^   Whoa, that's *extremely* high praise coming from you: I think the exact same thing while I'm reading your work! It's so velvety! And also the first time the mere mention of spiders didn't freak me the heck out. Anyone who can actually make a place loaded with webs sound both inviting and beautiful is a friggin' wizard -- I still can't believe how much I loved it! :D

8 Feb, 2021 15:39

Awww, thanks <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
16 Feb, 2021 17:31

Definitely a different kind of hero article than we're used to, and also a far different way from telling it. I like the way it flows, the personal touch this narrative brings.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
17 Feb, 2021 00:02

:O   Oh wow -- thank you *so* very much! Not gonna lie, I had the time of my little life writing it; I'm thrilled people are having a good time reading it!