Zhitko is a smith, who either has (or can) transform into a fire serpent. He arrived in the village of Lazarevo as a guest of Boris Grigorievich, the local blacksmith, sometime in the fall of the Era of the World year 6831. Zhitko came to the village with a mission: to locate the fabled artifact called the Alatyr Stone - the first stone of Creation, and the anvil of the Divine Smith Svarog. He then set in motion a plan to draw three users of magic - Rodion Raskolnikov, Chonkorchuk, and Plamen - all with tenuous links to the village - to him, because the figured allying with them was the best way to locate the stone. He was able to convince Boris' daughter Katarina to invite all three as prospective suitors to the Feast of Stepanidki, where Katarina was to promise to marry the one who could recover the stone. It is not known why Zhitko chose Lazarevo, but he soon learned that one of the suitors - Chonkorchuk - knew of a portal to the Otherworld, where the stone was likely hidden. Physically, Zhitko's human form is that an imposing and powerful individual. He has a shaved head with a grey-black forelock, a long grey-black mustache, and intense, hazel eyes. He often neglects to cover his upper body, even in relatively cold weather - possibly because he is usually in his smithy. In his serpent form, he is a 15-foot long, glowing and flying serpent who can exhale fire. He is mysterious, alternating his speech between whispers, and bouts of bluster and yelling, and often prefers to storm out of uncomfortable conversations than to find ways to work out disagreements. In the initial interaction with the suitors, he refused to commit himself to taking part in the mission to find the stone, but instead, promised to support the operation from behind the scenes. Why he did so was unclear, but it was learned that he was often working in the smithy he established on the opposite bank of the Vydra River. Later, when the suitors informed Zhitko that accessing the portal to the Otherworld would likely require giving Katarina over as a servitor to Baba Yaga, Zhitko stormed off, apparently insulted. Later, Zhitko was convinced to allow Chonkorchuk to initiate Katarina as the crone's servitor at a village bathhouse, but when, transformed by the ritual, she attempted to flee naked toward the portal, Zhitko changed into a serpent and tried to stop her, or possibly kill her, along with Chonkorchuk. He was only driven off by Hegumen Yaakov, who appeared at an opportune moment, and brandished his cross at the serpent. The precise character of his relationship with Katarina was never discovered, but he seems to have had some sort of hold over her family. Ever since the suitors, their companions, and Katarina fled into the Otherworld, they have not seen Zhitko, and his current whereabouts are unknown.