Agapia Vladimirovna Anfisova
Agapia is a young girl of 14. She is a ward in the monastery of the Holy Veil in the Nart Quarter of Udyn, where the hegumen happens to be her uncle, Mitrofan. Many people who know Agapia regard her as simple, but it might be more accurate to call her unconventional. She marches to her own drummer, and sometimes has incredible insights into things that other people overlook. She is also blessed with incredible luck, and appears to be gifted with uncanny magical abilities by whatever powers have granted her protection. That said, Agapia is easily excited, especially by colorful and shiny things, as well as cute animals, and she is also easily distracted and forgetful. She carries a colored cube which she casts before her to determine her destiny. Unlike most people, she takes delight in the world she lives in, and lives to explore aspects that others take for granted. Agapia is short (though still growing), with bright blue eyes and long, matted auburn hair that seems to be woven, like a dreadlock cap, into more hair under her clothing. Agapia grew up in the woods, with her mother. A scion of a priestly clan from Udyn, her mother heard the call more loudly than most, and left her city to establish a hermitage in a place where the forest met open fields. She bore her child - Agapia - to a stranger, who only visited periodically. Shortly after Agapia began to change from girl to woman, her mother died, but before passing, she told her that she had family in the city of Udyn, and that they would care for Agapia. The maiden found the city, and her uncle Mitrofan, and she has been living at the Holy Veil monastery ever since. Given her peculiarities and her young age, Agapia has no official job, nor is she pressured to marry. She does engage in some cleaning and cooking around the monastery. She also helps to deliver beer, which the monks brew, into the main city, where it is consumed by eager Bahite drinkers in illicit taverns. The rest of the time, Agapia spends wandering around, hunting after pretty things, and playing with other servitors around the monastery (like her friend Khariton). Occasionally, she gets into trouble because of her unconventional views, but her status as one touched by God, and her uncle's protection, is able to get her out of most messes she creates. One day, Agapia saw some strangers standing around near the Norik bathhouse that is located close to her monastery. They were watching livestock, and waiting to go in. Intrigued, she followed one of the strangers, who was almost as hairy as she was, inside. To the consternation of the mean grandmother inside, who said they had to go to separate rooms to steam, she followed the stranger into a private room. The stranger, who called himself Lokan, asked her who she was, and she answered each of his questions by tossing her magical cube, and telling him different stories, depending on what facet landed up. She also helped him wash his muddy clothes. When she exited the bathhouse with Lokan, she espied her friend Khariton talking to the other strangers who arrived with Lokan. Khariton introduced her as a great fortune teller, and directed her to a tough-looking older man (Fedor), who said that he was about to leave Udyn to return to his home. After the strangers have all had their bath, Agapia magically dries their wet clothes, and then accompanies them to a local tavern for bread and soup. There, she tosses her die, and tells Fedor his fortune - that he will return home, experience amazing adventures, and then die a hero's death. Shortly after, her uncle Mitrofan arrived, and purchased a cow from one of the other strangers. He then invited the lot of them back to the monastery, and closeted himself with one of them. After coming out, he asked Agapia to take the strangers to the tavern operated by a man named Kesha that she delivers beer to, though he warns her to stay out of trouble. Agapia led Lokan, and another tough-looking man named Yuri through the gates, and on to the main souk. Once there, she took them into the tavern. Lokan attempted to talk to another tough named Berke Bolat, who soon invited Lokan to step outside. There, they communicated using strange words and hand gestures, but when Berke switched to the Kochmak tongue, Agapia translated for the strangers. In the end, the strangers paid Berke some money, and he told them about captives who were being held on Slave Island, some young women who had been rowed across the river, and a Noriki envoy who had recently arrived in the Nart Quarter. Agapia then returned home with the two strangers. When they came back, they told her they accepted a job of guarding the cemetery at the large Irii Church from her uncle. That seemed interesting, so Agapia accompanied them. According to the cemetery guard who they met on the way in, some nezhit' had taken to crawling up out of the ground, and terrorizing everyone around - they had even paralyzed a dog! If they were to be defending the place against nezhit', Agapia sensibly decided to fill her waterskin, and her favorite cauldron, that she took everywhere, with water from the holy spring that she knew was in the graveyard. In the meantime, her new companions stretched wire and rope around the holy font, to trip the fiends up. Finally, two of them appeared, out of the ground, as they were described as doing, and headed straight for Agapia and her new friends, shrieking and groaning. Yuri and Lokan seemed to have become frightened, and retreated, but Agapia stood her ground, and squirted holy water at them. At this, one of the fiends just laughed, dipped its hand in the font, and then grabbed Agapia's cauldron. Her friends returned then, but one clawed at Yuri, and paralyzed him. Except it wasn't a claw, but a knife he used. Agapia threw a dagger Lokan gave her at it, and it disappeared into its rags. Then the creatures fled, with Agapia's dagger and her cauldron! Yuri still couldn't move, so Agapia and Lokan try to give chase. They go down the stairs into a crypt, and then find themselves in total darkness. Agapia briefly saw a pair of yellow eyes, and later Lokan took her by the hand and led her back out onto the surface, telling her the creatures were fast, and got away. The next day, she led Lokan and Yuri to the Nikonov mansion, where a Norik envoy named Zinovii Surikov was staying. He was sick, and being treated with leaches by an interesting turbaned doctor who wore an attractive yellow ribbon on his arm, which would have gone well with her own blue ribbon she wore when she went into the main city. Yuri told the sick man about his life, and then asked him for protection, but he told them to figure out what happened to the captives first. Then he fed everyone. That whole day, Agapia had been thinking about her cauldron, so after talking to Zinovii, she went to the local market, and picked up the nicest cauldron she could see. The people there became upset, grabbed her by the arm, and took her to her uncle, who locked her up. The next day, she managed to open a window and slipped out. Wandering around, she saw an intact clay jar in an alley, so she picked it up, and uttered secret words to clean it, and make it like new. Then, as luck would have it, she was back at the Nikonov mansion, and there were her new friends, standing around and talking. But then, her uncle came, took her away, and locked her up once more. Agapia managed to escape again the next day by causing the bar on her window to fall out, and then climbing out into the courtyard. A brother saw her, and fetched her uncle, but she hid in a barrel, and then sneaked out the gate while the monks were at supper. She was met by Lokan and Alden in an alley behind the local tavern, and accompanied them to the cemetery to hold the group's nightly vigil. There, they were unexpectedly joined by Yaakov, and spend the night telling stories. Agapia revealed that her mother lived in the woods for many years, where she gave birth, and they died, before Agapia returned to join her uncle. As Agapia was interested in Yaakov's yellow ribbon, Lokan asked her to join the physician in meeting them at the docks the following day. She accompanied Yaakov to his house in Udyn the following day. Yaakov's sister-in-law Chaya was initially not very happy to see her there, but when Agapia explained why she was there, Chaya had a younger woman give her three colorful ribbons. Agapia then accompanied Yaakov to the docks, but Lokan and Alden never showed up. Agapia made the best of things by taking Yaakov to one of her favorite haunts - a nearby antiquities shop. The proprietor offered Yaakov a tonic, but the physician chose not to purchase it. He left the establishment together with Agapia, but she soon vanished out of his sight, resuming her hunt for a new cauldron in side alleys. However, she soon encountered a veiled lady with kind eyes, whose picture she thinks she has seen in the monastery where she lives, and other places besides. The lady was carrying a snow-white lamb, and invited Agapia to pet it and feed it in a barn they happened to be passing. While Agapia was thus occupied, the lady encouraged her to aid her new friends, and to give her uncle a break from taking care of her, at least until she learned the magic word to stopping the magic pot from making more porridge mess (whatever that meant). She told her that the ribbons she acquired from Yaakov's relatives had special powers, and even her blue ribbon that marked her as a Gaalite could give her eternal life. She then told her that a new friend of hers was in trouble, and that she would take her to him. The companion turned out to be Yuri, who it turned out was being chased by some soldiers. Agapia nearly ran into the pursuers, and then confused them, while Yuri successfully hid. Agapia, but not the soldiers, soon found him, and together, they stalked away. After telling one another what had happened over the last few days - Yuri's imprisonment and escape, Agapia's confinement by her uncle, escape, and trip to the docks, she attended to Yuri's wounds over by the West Gate. Then, they decided to look in on Yaakov, as he lived nearby, might have news of the others. As it turned out, he was not home, but his compound was guarded by a pair of soldiers. After being asked about her companion, one of the soldiers accompanied Agapia to the East Gate, as she decided to return to the woods after what the mysterious lady had said. Near the gate, Yuri, also dressed as a soldier, relieved the other soldier of duty, and then took Agapia to Kesha's tavern, to talk to Berke. Agapia told Berke that Zinovii and his entourage had gone to Shatkal (the fishing village upstream), and then Berke told her to deliver her shipment to the basement, where she was put in a barrel. Then, the barrel was closed up, and she was loaded onto a cart, and then probably a boat. It's a bit uncomfortable, but Agapia was told, in no uncertain terms, that she should stay quiet. After what seemed like forever, she was released and set on shore by people who she vaguely recognized as Berke's henchmen. They pointed her in the direction of a nearby village on the riverbank. After arriving in the village, she found Zinovii and his servant Yushko, along with Lokan, Alden and Yuri already present. Anatoly had been watching the village from the woods outside, to make sure no one left to report on their presence. After being out all day, Anatoly had not returned by nightfall, and Agapia went with Lokan to look for him. They found that he had been taken captive by some Kochmak riders, who were camping out nearby. After returning to the village, the informed Zinovii what had happened, and he decided to flee immediately, fearing that the Kochmaki would be coming for them soon. In a rowboat (exchanged for two horses), they crossed the Udena, and camped halfway up the embankment to avoid detection. The following day, along with Lokan and Yuri, Agapia went to find Yaqub's lair. They discovered an abandoned, burnt-out village on a hilltop, but it soon turned out that it was inhabited by humanoids called the Chwee. After nearly killing Lokan, they were intimidated into a parlay by Yuri. In exchange for some of Lokan's trinkets, they told the group about Yaqub's size, his servants, his children, and his treasure. Agapia and her companions returned to camp, where they met a foreigner named Augusta de Urbino - a priestess. Though Zinovii was very suspicious of her, Agapia thought she looked like Kivi, and accepted her as a vessel for divine power. After resting, the whole group decided to move on to the next hill, where Yaqub supposedly lived. Lokan and Alden tried to sneak in, but were beset by the vizier's soldiers, who were blocking their access. The soldiers nearly killed Alden, and it took all of Agapia's speed and fortune to save his life. Lokan chased the rest away. The party then stripped the one fallen soldier of his belongings. After Agapia questioned the reasons for entering the layer and killing Yaqub, it was decided that the party should pull back, to draw the soldiers out, so as to find an opening to sneak in. The plan worked, as six riders tried to overwhelm the party, but they were driven back by Alden's howling. One soldier was taken captive, and through Agapia's translation, he revealed that they were preventing the party from getting in, but did not know or want to get in themselves, and were actually planning to leave before dark, when the serpent was due to return. After watching the soldiers sailing back toward the city on a raft, the group advanced to Yaqub's hill, and soon discovered a cave, hidden by an illusion that made the entryway look like the hillside. However, they were themselves discovered by slitherings - fat, fiery snakes that crawled out of the cave and gave chase. These were cut down, and then, the party entered the cave, and slew a few more slitherings. After Agapia made a makeshift torch, the party discovered a burnt spot covering an inscription. It contained a riddle that Yuri figured out, and he asked Agapia to hold a torch to the verse, and the stone moved to reveal a spiral staircase in the back of the cave. The party descended to find a long regular passageway that ended in a door, but when Alden moved to inspect the door, he set off a pendular scythe trap, and an alarm system. Subsequently, Agapia ran past the scythe into the main part of the lair, where the party was confronted by Yaqub's dogheaded guards. Agapia assisted the fighters, and succeeded in saving Yuri's life after he was shot, but was subsequently cut down by the dogheads' commander, and nearly bled out. When she came to, she and the rest of the group were resting in a comfortable library. A tolling bell occasionally interrupted the party's rest, and somehow, Agapia was the only one to connect its ringing with the statue in the triangular room nearby. Augusta had earlier related a tale about artifices called clocks from her own land, yet no one paid attention to the story - including Augusta herself - but Agapia. A search of one of the volumes in the library confirmed Agapia's hunch - the room was indeed part of a rotating clock, in which different statues depicted different sins. Subsequently, Lokan discovered a panel in the back of the library, and he and Agapia played a game of chess with the set located there, until one move caused the panel to open, revealing a staircase. Subsequently, a tiny reptiloid creature appeared, and bit Lokan, injecting him with poison, while two dogheads that had apparently recovered from the previous night's fight attacked the group form the hallway. After they were dealt with, and after Agapia helped resuscitate Lokan, the two of them descended the stairs toward what smelled like a kitchen. At the bottom of the stairs, they surprised a servant boy who dropped his tray and called for the cook. The cook tried to use magic to freeze Agapia, and took Lokan for a doghead guardian, but objected to his presence in this part of the lair. He escorted the pair back up to the library, and seeing it occupied with enemies, decided to breathe fire on them, and then to fireball them. Though he killed himself in the process, he also nearly burned up Lokan, Alden and Augusta, as well as the library itself. Once Agapia saved her scorched companions, the group settled in to rest up before attempting another foray. After Agapia woke up in the library, she decided that the Godbearer assigned a religious ministry to her (though she has yet to exercise her new capacity). She also acquired the power to speak with the voice of authority, which she used to project her voice as Yaqub's, which caused his son Nuri to open the doors to the common room, where captives from Vladykino were discovered. She also channeled her power to cause Yuri's betrothed, Svetlana, who was one of the captives, to briefly remember her past life before she was enchanted by Yaqub's magic. Later, she took part in battling Nuri and a bannik in the bath, helping Lokan find magical salve to soothe burns in the kitchen, and vanquish Yaqub in the fountain room. Later, she attempted to use her authoritative voice in order to goad the serpent-wife into returning to the lair after she flew off toward Udyn, but to no avail. Agapia spent the next night stuck inside the clock, where she hoped to discover its secret. Instead, she discovered that it opens into a tunnel on the other side, that leads to a space above the bannik's pool, After her companions defeated the creature and bargained with it to reveal the secret of Yaqub's curse (which involved throwing his treasure into it), Agapia dived into the pool, and swam out, unharmed. When the vizier and his soldiers showed up at the lair to claim it after the serpent wife had burnt the city of Udyn (and been killed), Agapia worked with her friends to trap the men inside the organ room so as to incapacitate them with poison gas. The vizier then made a deal which involved allowing the party and the prisoners to return to Ladeisk in his ships. After a two-week journey upstream, Agapia and the rest were received by Prince Trofim Andreevich, who took a liking to her, and allowed her to roam freely about his citadel, making friends and looking for magic words. She then heard a story about a magic chicken that had laid a golden egg in a nearby village, and went off with her companions to investigate. She took an instant liking to the chicken, which she sensed was no usual bird, but a herald of both Good and Evil. When the party met a local wise woman named Cherniava to tell them more about the egg, the woman gave Agapia a rat named Stinker for a pet. She is currently in the village of Sitnitsa. She appears in Chapters 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23.