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Hegumen Yaakov

Written by KoshcheiBessmertnyi

The hegumen is the head of the Lazar and Liudmila monastery, which is located on a small island in the confluence of the Rys' and Vydra River, just offshore from the village of Lazarevo. Ever since the village was willed to the Church by the dying Taras Trofimov, the monastery has bee the owner of the village, which makes Yaakov its de facto ruler.   Yaakov was born to a woman who is described as the sole survivor of the Kochmak raid on Lazarevo forty years ago (though there is some confusion on the matter). His father was one of the raiders, and Yaakov's physical features strongly point to his Kochmak ancestry. The boy's childhood is shrouded in mystery - his mother likely lived in one of the other nearby villages (possibly Yelizarovo) while the boy was still small. She died while the boy was still very young.   At some point (perhaps in adolescence), the orphan became a hermit in the woods. Whether this was the result of a forced flight, a religious experience, or something else, is unknown. It is known that Yaakov was a resident in the hermitage that was later inhabited by Chonkorchuk, and covered its walls in mystic symbols of the Old Faith, but also passages from the Sacred Writ. Whether Yaakov experienced a conversion to the New Faith while living at the hermitage, or whether he espoused both religions at that time is not known. The symbols did seemingly have some power, and kept both of the known inhabitants safe (until the hermitage was destroyed by Radei's smugglers). It is not clear how long the interval between Yaakov's and Chonkorchuk's residence was.   At some point, the young Yaakov left the hermitage, and came to the great city of Krinets to study at a local seminary. It was at this point that he first encountered Rodion Raskolnikov, who tried to magically con Yaakov out of his money by summoning forth what he said was the voice of God. The seminarian was not fooled, and complained to the Archbishop, which forced Rodion to flee town in a casket. As for Yaakov, he completed the seminary, and returned to what would now be called Lazarevo as the hegumen of a new monastery.   He has governed both the monastery and the village for roughly two decades, and despite his checkered past, has apparently recommended himself as a shrewd and tough administrator. He managed to attract many of old Trofimka’s refugees, and other local peasants to Lazarevo, and presided over the village's growth to around 500 people. It has recovered its status as a node on the Vydra trade route, and now features two taverns and a Yam waystation. In addition, Yaakov also developed a reputation as a great healer, and drew in supplicants from far and wide. Yaakov has also seen to at least the nominal conversion of most of the local Kuz' population. Holdouts (such as Chonkorchuk) were expelled from the village (though Chonkorchuk's subsequent discovery of and residence in Yaakov's old hermitage is a curious, or at least, ironic, twist of fate). Yaakov also had some interaction with Plamen, who, after his clients had largely abandoned him for the monk, went to the hegumen to ask him to move into the monastery. Yaakov told the young man that this was impossible while he still espoused the Old Beliefs, and acquired his powers from the Cunning One.   For most of their time in Lazarevo, Yaakov appeared to be the party's nemesis. Given his restrictions, they typically had to sneak into Lazarevo in disguise whenever they had business there. They also objected to the fact that Yaakov seemed to be using the famine by bringing the villagers ever more tightly under the monastery's control by forcing those who had insufficient food to become the monastery's peons. There was also the suggestion that Yaakov may have been corrupt - Lionia, upon meeting the party, told Rodion that the hegumen was very pragmatic and easy to work with.   Yet, Yaakov was occasionally helpful to the Yokels. When Annar was sent to the village to negotiate with him, the hegumen received the volot kindly, and allowed him to spend the night at the monastery. He also agreed to allow Katarina to accompany the party to the Otherworld, so long as the giant agreed to deliver the grain the party discovered in the poleviks' warren, and as long as Annar pledged to ensure that no harm would come to her. Later, after Katarina had been initiated into Baba Yaga's service, and serpent Zhitko blocked her way to Baba Yaga's realm and attempted to roast the Yokels, Yaakov appeared on the frozen river, forcefully displayed the cross, causing the serpent to flee, and thereby, allowed the party to escape. Though Chonkorchuk has continued to distrust Yaakov in the wake of that incident, Plamen was impressed, and considered returning to seek the hegumen's aid in curing Chonkorchuk from lockjaw (until he realized he could do it himself).   Yaakov has not been seen since the confrontation with Zhitko, but to the best of anyone's knowledge, he remains the hegumen of the Lazar and Liudmila Monastery to this day.

Current Location
Circumstances of Birth
Born to sole survivor of the Kochmak raid on Lazarevo, roughly four decades ago
Long graying hair and beard
Skin Tone

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