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Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is, first and foremost, Chonkorchuk's patron. He was her servitor in adolescence, and was then sent back to the Visible World to guard the portal leading to her Realm (though Chonkorchuk did not remember its location, or much of his life with her). Subsequently, he and his companions came into contact with her again when Zhitko charged them to seek the Alatyr Stone. Baba Yaga promised to reveal the location of the portal to them in exchange for a return of treasure taken by Plamen's mother Plamenka, her bear servitor Vasya Toptygin, and Katarina (as a new maidservant).   When the party accomplished all these tasks, it was able to enter the Otherworld, and then, though various misadventures, were able to find her compound on the other side of the River of Fire. They then spent about 10 days staying in her hut, performing various services. Baba Yaga then sent them on an expedition to spy on the Shadow Tsardom in the far north.   Physically, Baba Yaga appears as a wizened crone. She has a long nose, and if watched carefully, also has a noticeable limp (which does not however slow her down). From certain angles, she also has large, tusk-like teeth, and long claws. She also carries a sheathed sabre on her back from time to time.   She is also frequently accompanied by animals. In her first few appearances, she had a lynx with her. It later transpired that she also had a bear shapechanger guard (Vasya). Outside her hut, she also has a chained dog (actually, dire wolf) named Ball, and a cat (actually, giant lynx) named Grumbler-Rumbler. Baba Yaga keeps a herd of horses somewhere near her hut. The horses are highly desirable as steeds, but anyone who fails to keep an eye on the herd loses the crone's wager, and is eaten as a punishment (or so she contends). She also has vegetative servitors: a walking maple-tree guards the approach to her hut, and she hands out golden apples with reputed therapeutic effects. She is also rumored to kidnap children: she seems to have taken Vasya from Lazarevo at a young age, and the Feast of Sretenie in fact reenacts such kidnappings as part of public celebration.   Her hut is a small log structure on chicken legs, which are capable of running very fast. The hut also has secret sections accessible through portals under the rug, Baba Yaga's sleeping bench, the rafters, and her stove. The main part of the hut is quite messy - the crone seems to be a bit of a hoarder. The hut is surrounded by an enclosure made of bones, and some bone spikes crowned with skulls that can fly and shoot fire out of their mouth and eyes. The hut is nearly unapproachable.   Baba Yaga does not usually travel in the hut - she seems to use it when she is delivering people to different spots in various Realms. When she is by herself, she travels in a wooden mortar, which she pilots with a wooden pestle. She also keeps a broom in the mortar, though its function is unclear. Typically, she leaves her hut in the morning, and flies around various Realms, only to return in the evening. Thus, she does keep to a regular regimen. However, it seems that time in the Otherworld flows much more slowly than in the Visible World of Yav'. How that impacts the crone's comings and goings is unclear, though there is a suspicion that it may have an adverse effect on people who stay with her.   The crone is notoriously hard to find. Usually, when people look for her, and she wants to be found, she appears to them - in her hut, in her mortar, traveling through the woods, or sitting on a tree branch, and looking down on them.   Baba Yaga's true nature is mysterious. She is clearly one of the most powerful beings in the world, and is widely known. Chonkorchuk regards her as the queen of the Old Gods, with command over elements as disparate as fate, beasts, and the earth. She herself has contended that she is the mediator of the gods' squabbles, and is preparing them to return to Yav' when the time is right. She seems less than sanguine about their abilities to govern the world. She seems to be doing her best to ensure that other Powers don't claim complete control of the world. To this end, she has (or had) control of Koshchei's death. She did seem concerned with Khursid's scroll of summoning the Dread Lord.   At the same time, there is a strong suspicion that Baba Yaga is multiple beings. Druvvaldis had apparently met her in his home village, when she directed him east to find Crows' Meadow Warren. When he later met her, she acted like she knew him, but she looked different. Additionally, she implied that she has two older sisters (both also named Baba Yaga), who were more knowledgeable about arcane things than she was. For instance, Baba Yaga had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the Alatyr Stone, but she said that her older sister may.   In her character, Baba Yaga is somewhat hard to pin down. She has a sense of humor, which she uses to rib her servants or dependents. She can become wrathful very quickly, especially if someone hurts one of her animals (as she did when Plamen and Raskel hurt her cat - she then threatened to kill Plamen until he healed him). She seems not to be above cannibalism - she seems to have eaten Khurshid ibn Ali for failing to tend to her horses (unless that was an elaborate practical joke she played on Chonkorchuk, Sasha and Vasilisa). Her treatment of servitors sometimes appears to be harsh - Vasya clearly did not want to return to her service. She also likes people to perform tasks for her, even if it later turns out that the purpose of the task was merely to test her servitors, who become the main beneficiaries of the completed tasks. The coins that the party recovered from Plamenka were later returned to those that turned it over to the crone. Whatever the case, Baba Yaga likes to keep her associates on her toes.   Her current whereabouts are unknown. Presumably, she still returns to her hut in the Otherworld every evening.

Gray, scraggly
Somewhat over five feet
100 lbs. (possibly less)

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