Vasya Toptygin (The Galumphing Oaf)
Vasya is a sometime servitor of Baba Yaga, adversary and companion of Yaga's Yokels, and member of Radei Lopukh's smuggler. He is a bear shapechanger. In human form, Vasya is a hefty man in his late twenties, over six-and-a-half feet tall, and nearly 300 pounds, with the broad face of a simpleton. His appearance is deceptive, as Vasya can be crafty and deceptive when he feels that his freedom is threatened, or if he simply dislikes someone enough to thwart their plans. He is particularly averse to preachy fanaticism and miserliness, both of which he finds to be personified by Chonkorchuk, and can use his acerbic wit to great effect in putting such people down. As a brown bear, Vasya is of even larger size. In both forms, he is missing his left hand (paw). Though usually quite lazy, Vasya can be determined, and seems to have chewed off his paw in order to escape from Baba Yaga. Vasya was originally born in Lazarevo, and spent his first 13 years in the village, as a human. As related to the party by Irina Aleksandrovna, he vanished after accompanying some older children to an initiation ceremony in the woods. He was apparently kidnapped by Baba Yaga, who, according to Irina, often steals children. In any event, the crone claimed that he was her servitor, and Chonkorchuk later recalled that Vasya did indeed perform manual labor for the Grandmother when he himself attended her. Chonkorchuk and his companions later discovered a dugout not far from Chonkorchuk's hermitage where Vasya was kept chained up. He escaped from this prison, and proceeded to join Radei Lopukh and his smugglers - a life he claimed to find preferable than service to the crone. Baba Yaga assigned the capture and return of Vasya as the second task that had to be fulfilled by the Yokels if she was to give them admittance to her realm. It is not clear how long Vasya spent with the smugglers. With the aid of Chonkorchuk's fefila and various animals conversed with by Plamen, the party discovered Vasya at the smuggler's compound. After they had recovered Baba Yaga's treasure from the warren, they descended upon the hut, along with Druvvaldis and Annar. When Chonkorchuk demanded that Vasya accompany them back to his mistress, Radei told them to make the offer to Vasya directly, but the bear-man laughed at them, saying he had a good life there, and insulted Chonkorchuk, calling him a miser. The hermit could not broach this offense, and a fight broke out, in which the smugglers were defeated, and Vasya - captured (though Vasya nearly killed Chonkorchuk in the process). The Yokels then turned him over to Baba Yaga, though he whined the whole way to the meeting, and tried to bribe the party to release him. The party next encountered Vasya after having entered the Otherworld. He was chained at a heathen shrine, apparently waiting for them, along with Baba Yaga's treasure. Vasya begged to be released, and though Chonkorchuk initially resisted the idea, with Plamen's aid, he managed to break his bonds. He then led the party to Baba Yaga's domain, though quite incompetently. He soon managed to get himself captured by the Knights of Ritterheim along with most of the rest of the group, and though he subsequently escaped, he slept through a watch, and got himself captured again, along with all but Chonkorchuk. After the Knights had crossed the river of fire, and were confronted with the Yokels' pursuit, Vasya initially fought on the Knights' side, but then stopped helping them when the fight swung against them. He was subsequently returned to Baba Yaga, and was not seen again during the group's sojourn there. To the best of all knowledge, there he remains.