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Zbigniev Dragutinovich

Zbigniev is Vladykino's (former?) miller. Judging by his accent, he is a foreigner. He is dark-haired, mustached, and has distinctly large, pointy teeth. He appeared in the village 10 years ago at the head of a team of artificers, who built the mill - heretofore, a sight unseen - a verst outside of the village. As it later became clear, the land apparently belonged to the mother of Innokentii Fedorovich (Kesha), who passed the deed down to her son before her death or disapperance. Subsequently, the mill made the village very prosperous, though rumors abounded about Zbigniev's strange character, and the fact that the mill literally produced coins out of thin air.   When Yuri solicited the archbishop's aid on the day after Vladykino had been sacked by Kochmak raiders, the prelate's top concern seems to have been for the fate of the mill, and the miller. Initially, nothing was found in the destroyed village, but a strange beast - a vasilisk - was discovered in the barn of the mill compound. A sacrificed black chicken was also found hanging above the doorway in the miller's house, and a sack of body parts, apparently belonging to the villagers, was discovered in the mill itself. A strange presence in the field outside the compound caused Yuri, Fedor and Kesha to fall asleep. When they awoke, nothing was there, but they discovered two more sacks of body parts nearby.   Subsequently, when the companions return to Vladykino after being asked by the archbishop's people to bring the miller in for questioning, they discover him hissing and chanting inside the mill, and grinding the bones of villagers - into coins! Shocked at being discovered, the miller magically puts Alden, as well as erstwhile companion Zoya, and her cat, to sleep. He then shoots arcane energy at Fedor, and sends him, reeling, onto the floor. Before he is able to get away by jumping out of the window on the top floor of the mill, he is tracked down and charmed by Kesha. When questioned, he admits to grinding the bones into coins, but denies he killed anyone, claiming that the body parts he was using came from people killed by the Kochmaki. He also says that the mill is the lifeblood of Vladykino. When ensorcelled by Kesha to accompany the party to Malinka, he says he would be glad to explain everything to the archbishop.   On the journey back to the archbishop's compound the following day, Zbigniev, who is draped over Fedor's horse, bound, and gagged, breathes fire, destroying his bonds, but not significantly harming himself in the process. He then hisses that all of his captors will burn, and again succeeds in putting most of the companions, except Kesha and Fedor, to sleep. The two together manage to subdue him, after which Kesha succeeds in convincing Fedor to leave the miller alive, though he once again forces the miller to submit to his will, and then has Fedor bind him again.   After the companions succeed in bringing him to Malinka, they report about his evil deeds to Father Oleg, but then overhear Zbigniev complaining about them to Archbishop Nikifor, and accuses them of using sorcery against him, and robbing him. The archbishop later tells the party the story of his coming to Vladykino. He acknowledges the man's usefulness, though he says he will not be allowed to return to the mill. He does not indicate whether he intends to punish the miller in other ways. Nikifor also reveals that the land on which the mill stands was owned by Kesha's mother, but he urges the chud' to abandon his claim for his own good, and instead releases him from his servitude.   The he was seen, the miller remained in the room at the rectory where the archbishop's people had put him. His bonds, however, had been removed. Zbigniev still bore a grudge toward Kesha and the others, and accused them of attacking him unprovoked. He also threatened Kesha that his father would kill him and his friends. Not wanting trouble, Kesha returned his portion of the coins taken from the sacks at the mill.   At present, as far as anyone knows, Zbigniev remains in Malinka.   He appears in Chapters 2, 3 and 5.

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