Innokentii Fedorovich (Kesha)
Kesha was a half-chud' leatherworker and bookbinder who possessed obvious magical talent. He grew up among the chudy in the tunnels beneath the Svora mountains, and was trained as a miner and worker of leather. His mother was not of the fair folk, and as he grew older, Kesha began to wonder whether his prodigious magical skill was in fact derived from her side of the family rather than his father's. Kesha was a short, slight man in his early 20s, with blond hair and unnervingly blank, pupil-less eyes. His subterranean origin made him unusually sensitive to sunlight, but he also kept a bandage over his eyes in order to conceal his 'heavy gaze' which could have profound effects on people he stared at. When his mother died, she bequeathed to him a scroll that stipulated that she owned land in a human village called Vladykino, hundreds of versts to the west. Kesha then left his mountain fastness to learn more about her side of the family, and to take possession of what seemed to be his inheritance. When he got to Vladykino, instead of being awarded any land, Kesha was enslaved to pay off her 'financial and moral debt' to the Ladeisk Eparchy. He was put to work at the Sts. Vasilii and Feodor monastery scriptorium, making leather covers for the tomes that the bookbinders were assembling there. Kesha was not mistreated by his new masters, and his work kept him out of the light, so took his bondage stoically, thinking that eventually, the reason for his travails would become clear. He toiled away at the scriptorium until the Kochmak raid on the village, which nearly killed him as well. The fire started by the Kochmaki trapped Kesha in the cellar where he toiled, and he would not have escaped if Yuri Barolov had not heard him, and released him. Kesha searched the village to see if he could find documents supporting his claim, but found the building where records were kept destroyed. At this point, Kesha inadvertently joined the party, and accompanied the archishop's riders to the outskirts of the village, to inspect the mill - the chief object of their interest. Here, he discovered a vasilisk in a barn, which Yuri and Fedor - another of the archbishop's people - helped him subdue. Subsequently, a mysterious presence in the field outside the mill put him to sleep. When he awakes, he discovers sacks with villager body parts nearby. The following day, Kesha decided to accompany the archbishop's riders back to the summer estate of Malinka. He wanted to speak to his master, and learn more of his parentage and property, and he promises his savior Yuri, who galloped off to track down the raiders, to recruit more help for his mission. Along the way, he encountered a chud' elder from his home under the mountains. The elder told him that the age of his enslavement is now at an end, and that he should pursue his destiny. Though Fedor witnessed this interaction, the elder makes him forget it. At Malinka, Kesha and Fedor convinced the archbishop's people to allow them to recruit volunteers for Yuri's cause. They were able to enlist another person-at-arms named Alden Gravenitch, and a wanderer named Zoya. The archbishop had no taste for ordering his men into a fight they are sure to lose, but he was interested in the whereabouts of the miller, and said that he would like the companions to return him to Malinka. Kesha also turned the book he was working on at the scriptorium over to Father Oleg, one of the archbishop's attendant priests. Along with Zoya, Alden and Fedor, Kesha then returned to Vladykino. At the mill, Zbigniev Dragutinovich ensorcelled two of his companions and gravely wounded Fedor, but Kesha was able to use heavy gaze to keep the miller from escaping, and dominated him into accompanying the party back to the archbishop's estate. The miller subsequently admitted that he was grinding bones into coins, though he denied having killed anyone. Kesha took a share of Zbigniev's ill-gotten wealth from the mill. The next day, Kesha returned to Malinka with the captive Zbigniev, and the rest of the companions. At one point, Zbigniev breathed fire out his mouth onto his bonds, and attempted to kill his captors, and escape. Kesha again subdued Zbigniev. Fedor recommended that the monster be killed, but Kesha insisted on getting him to Malinka in one piece. Shortly before getting back, Yuri rejoined the companions, having decided not to engage all the Kochmaki. At Malinka, Kesha spied on the archbishop's conversation with Zbigniev, who accused the companions of attacking him without provocation. The archbishop made clear that Zbigniev would not be punished, and that he had too few people to attack the raiders. Kesha then spoke to Archbishop Nikifor privately, and showed him his mother's letter. Father Oled confirmed that the letter is a deed to the land on which Zbigniev's mill stands. However, he averred that the deed gives no ownership right to the mill itself, that his mother's debt outweighed the value of the land, and recommended that Kesha cease any efforts to recover it, as it will be more trouble than it's worth. Nikifor then granted Kesha freedom from bondage, and suggested that he accompany Yuri on his mission instead of worrying about the past. Over the next several days, while Yuri was recruiting companions for his mission, Kesha set his affairs in order. He tried to set matters right with Zbigniev by returning his share of the coins taken from Zbigniev's mill, though the miller still seemed to bear him a grudge, demanded the rest of the money, and threatened that his father would kill him. As Kesha was leaving Malinka to join Yuri's expedition, he heard the ostler's son yelling for him. Outside the estate gates, he saw a dying man, who was thrown into a tree by a huge volot who had pledged himself to Yuri's cause. Kesha resuscitated the man - a vagabond named Lokan, who had come to Malinka to learn about the raid, the mill, and the miller. The volot was chagrined - he had merely attempted to answer Lokan's joke. But the grateful Lokan now agreed to join the expedition, and accompanied the party back to Vladykino. Along the way, they encounter a swarm of mosquitoes, and experience more of the volot Bjorg's ineptitude and poor judgment. After hitting party members with trees and rocks in an effort to subdue the swarm, the big man finally succeeded in crushing all the bugs. After Lokan drove two pigs away from the mill to get the companions some food, Alden and Fedor rejoined the party. The pigs were roasted in turn, though Yuri grew despondent over falling behind the Kochmaki. After the first pig was done, he led Lokan, Fedor and Alden away, leaving Kesha to attend to the second pig, most of which would be consumed by the gluttonous volot. After finding a magical draught buried beneath the house of a known witch, Kesha left with his oversized companion. But rain, unfamiliarity with the surroundings, and poor eyesight made it difficult for the pair to catch up to their mounted companions. The became lost in the woods, tried to parlay with some foreign-looking residents of a small hamlet, and were driven away. Finally, after Bjorg succeeded in bringing down a deer with a rock to the head, the pair were attacked by wolves, and likely devoured. Kesha has not been seen by Yuri, Lokan, Fedor or Alden since the Vladykino pig roast. He appears in Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7.