Lionia the Red
Lionia (Leonid) is a fox shapeshifter, and an erstwhile companion of Katarina's suitors. He joined the band when informed by Rodion Raskol'nikov about the possibility of finding Trofimovka's treasure in exchange for a 1/4 share, and a vague promise to convince his associates to turn over Vasya Toptygin (the 'Galumphing Oaf') to the party. The relationship was a fruitful one while the party sought the treasure in the warren, but it ended in a betrayal of the group by Lionia, who took shares belonging to others, and vanished without a trace. Physically, Lionia is a a 60-year old man, little on the short side. His most impressive feature is his shockingly orange hair and beard - he may or may not add extra dye to make it stand out. He dresses as a typical peasant, but wears a leather jerkin and straps a sabre to his back when things get hairy. In hybrid form, he is a similarly shocking-orange fox-man, though many of the hairs on his muzzle are gray. Lionia carries himself as a rational and even-tempered dealmaker, and is never seen to lose his cool. He does press his arguments when he senses a weakness in the opposition until he gets what he wants. He sounds a bit snively, but sometimes drops that voice when serious things need to be said. Lionia seems to have deep roots in the area around Lazarevo, though it is unlikely he was born there. He owned a house and a small apiary in the village of Medunitsa, roughly 8 versts northwest of Lazarevo, and was heavily engaged in local petty trade as a purveyor of honey, firewood, charcoal, and other goods, which he transported around in a little wagon. He was also involved in a smuggling scam with Dem'ian Trofimov and his associates Radei Lopukh and other smugglers who hailed from the village of Yelizarovka. Given his opportunistic exploitation of the party's treasure-hunting operation, it is likely that he was involved in other activities as well. The Old Fox was helpful to the party in many ways, and it is unclear whether his double-cross was planned from the start, or a product of circumstance. Lionia was effective at the use of his sabre, and though he preferred to lead from the rear when the party encountered trouble, he accorded himself well with the blade on several occasions. Lionia also gave good, practical advice regarding how to go about looking for the treasure, even if it was frequently self-serving as well. First, he recommended that the party begin to seek the treasure in the place where it was last known to be - Crows' Meadow, and the warren underneath. That turned out to be sound advice. Second, Lionia protested about letting more people in on the enterprise, because it complicated the division of the spoils, and made it more likely to attract additional claimants. Third, when sacks of grain were discovered in the warren, Lionia suggested storing them, and waiting for the famine to drive up the price before selling them. Most importantly, Lionia urged the band to kill Plamnka after they inadvertently woke her, because he thought leaving her alive after she had seen them was too dangerous. He justified doing this by pointing out that she was a villain who was responsible for many captives living beyond the grave as walking dead, and deserved to be judged. He also suggested that the best time to kill her was when Plamen was not around. And he urged persistence when many party members were on the verge of giving up after finding the grain, thinking it was the treasure. His persistence ended up paying off. Lionia was also quite effective at mobilizing the party for action, though it's hard to draw the line between his being encouraging, and conning his partners into doing what he wanted them to do. Lionia got on best with Raskel, probably on account of fox solidarity, but the two frequently agreed about the right course of action. Raskel planned to stay with Lionia at his house, until he found out that the ginger had disappeared. Despite disagreeing strenuously with Plamen about his mother, and the strategy of exploring the warren, he also developed a certain amount of respect for Plamen, and claimed (at the very least) that he wanted to keep the changeling safe so that the mission will succeed. Ultimately, these two were the only ones he did not attack after the treasure had been divided (Dmitri may have escaped attack also, but this was not known). He viewed Chonkorchuk as an impractical fanatic, and objected strenuously to his demands to give away all the silver to Baba Yaga. Lionia turned on his allies shortly after the treasure was taken from the warren. He never explained his act, but it may have happened for several reasons. The most likely explanation is that the amount of money was simply too tempting for him, especially if combined with the money he stole from his smuggler associates at the same time. He lost his house and apiary, which was taken by Yurii Yelizarov, but Lionia may have written it off as an acceptable loss, since the house also covered his debts to Yelizarov. It is also possible that he wanted to make a clean break from the region, and start anew elsewhere. Another possibility is that life among humans had made him age to the point where he began to fear death, so he took his ill-gotten wealth, buried it somewhere, and retreated into the wilderness. He may also have wanted to teach some of his erstwhile companions a lesson about business partnerships, or to pay them back for earlier slights. Whatever the case, Chonkorchuk and Druvvaldis got the worst of Lionia, and lost their share of the treasure. It should be added that Lionia did not kill Druvvaldis when he had the chance. He similarly did not press his advantage against Chonkorchuk, possibly because he did not want to kill him, possibly out of caution. The companions themselves had very different perspectives on Lionia. Raskel generally got on with him, and took his side during party disagreements, even if, as a conman himself, he did not fully trust him. Chonkorchuk butted heads with him on several occasions regarding what to do with the money, and in the end, was completely unsurprised when he learned Lionia had double-crossed them. Druvvaldis always disdained the "ginger", and his materialistic ways. Plamen got on with him at the start, but found Lionia's senseless murder of his mother (and his pet sheep) unfathomable. Lionia was not seen anywhere near his home since the band left the warren with the treasure. Raskel wintered near his old house in fox form, but never saw the Old Fox return. He did, however, reappear in Krinets after Chonkorchuk, Plamen and their new companions came to the city after their sojourn with Baba Yaga. He was unexpectedly encountered in an alley in a poor neighborhood, where the party sought someone to apply a tattoo for Sasha. As soon as he was seen an identified, he fled behind a fence, and vanished, though subsequently, a gang which appeared to be in league with him attacked the Yokels on their way out of the district. Lionia himself hasn't reappeared since then, though the party did receive a dagger at the Prince of Fishes - presumably, a message from him and his gang. His current whereabouts are unknown, though he is presumed to be in Krinets.