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Chonkorchuk's Hermitage

This was a glorified lean-two, made of logs, branches, sticks, and other materials (straw, pitch, mud, etc.) over the years. It had a roof that keeps out heavy precipitation, a fire-pit, and a smoke hole in the middle of the roof. Chonkorchuk lived here for nearly three decades after his return from his first stint as Baba Yaga's servant in the Otherworld.   The ostensibly function of this dwelling was to keep Chonkorchuk near the portal to Baba Yaga's Realm, though the hermit could never actually find it (until he completed all the tasks the crone set for him). According to Baba Yaga, Chonkorchuk guarded the approaches to the hole in the ground that led to her realm.   At the same time, the hermitage was a sanctuary for Chonkorchkuk himself. It was mostly built before he moved into it, and covered with mystical signs and writing (which Chonkorchuk himself could not read). This writing apparently kept him safe from attacks, and from being found for many years. Once, wolves surrounded the lean-to, but were unable to enter it for some reason (though they were convinced by Plamen to take the carcass of a deer caught earlier in exchange for leaving the occupants alone).   Toward the end of his sojourn, Chonkorchuk learned that Hegumen Yaakov was the previous resident of the hermitage, and both the writing and the ancient symbols were executed in the same hand - his. The reason was unclear - Chonkorchuk always considered the Hegumen an enemy who drove him out of Lazarevo because he followed the old ways. Since some of the symbols were associated with Baba Yaga, it seemed to imply that the Hegumen himself had been a follower before he turned to the True Confession. The hegumen later saved Chonkorchuk from being killed by Zhitko, for reasons that are still unclear.   Ultimately, the hermitage was destroyed by members Lionia's smuggling band after they learned that he had defrauded them. The smugglers apparently thought that Lionia was in league with the party, though they later learned that he had defrauded Chonkorchuk and the others also.   The hermitage was located about 6 versts northeast from Lazarevo, in the middle of the woods. It was less than two versts south or southeast of the portal (after it was discovered, and slightly more south of the line where broadleaf trees ended (which Chonkorchuk considered the beginning of Baba Yaga's Realm). It has not been seen since Chonkorchuk left for the Otherworld, and is presumably no longer extant.

Purpose / Function

To keep the resident safe, and to guard the approach to the Otherworld portal

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