Zorina grew up as an only child, and lived in a household with parents, an aunt, an uncle and a cousin. The parents were Storozhi, guarding the woods near the coast of the Western Sea. She and her cousin grew up like siblings, he was 2 years older, and was. her hero. They lived relatively remotely from the other lodges, but still near enough for our parents to be able to be called upon swiftly. One day, her parents had to go out to fend off a beast that had appeared. Only one Storozh returned from this quest, having retreated instead of fighting to the end. They had not sent out a large enough party for what they were dealing with. She was just seven years old, and her parents, aunt and uncle were dead. Zorina and her cousin and I were moved into the Storozh lodge. They never felt completely welcome, and were always mistrusted. But the cousin did everything for her, and kept me safe. He taught her to hunt and how to survive on her own. They spent as much time as we could in the forest, away from the rangers. As much as they'd let them, at least... When Zorina turned 13, they stopped letting the children go off on their own. They started sending the cousin on solo missions, and then, they blamed him for the murder of the parents. They locked him away, while they decided whether to send him across the Western Sea to meet his death or to take matters into their own hands. As for Zorina, they told her to leave, and if she ever came back, they promised that she would meet the same fate.
* * *Zorina wandered far to the east for nearly a year. It was then that she met up with a small group of people who had escaped captivity, and were now heading back north and west, in the direction of Zorina's birthplace. It was the first group that she trusted enough to reveal her family secret - that she was in fact a fox shapechanger. Among them was another fox called Kuz'ma (or "Ku"), and a young woman named Galya, who possessed magical talent. But most significantly, she quickly grew a strong bond with a handsome, but conflicted man, Jakob. One might call it love at first sight. I tried to deny our connection at first, but I quickly revealed my true identity to him. He was steadfast in wanting to help save my cousin, but was hurt in a battle against a witch that was ultimately proved to be a prologue to the end of their short story. Several days westward, away from the Udena river, they came upon a fort. Desperate and out of food, they tried to sneak their way in, but were captured by some Kochmak raiders who used it as a base of their operations. Jakob bargained for their lives, and the raiders seemed to consent, but they had evil plans in store for Jakob. After Jakob seemed to have recovered from his wounds, the companions, along with five other riders, were sent out on a raiding mission against a village four days to the north. Zorina was instructed to capture several people, including a priest). Jakob kept pressing her to escape with him instead of leaving on the raid, but she went anyway, as she had promised to help in exchange for them healing him. Several days after she left, he suddenly started to have stomach cramps and quickly became incapacitated. He died suddenly, before they returned. In the resulting confusion, Zorina took the opportunity to slip away, and ride hard to Ladeisk, a large Nor' city a few days to the northeast.
* * *In Ladeisk, Zorina initially found work as a boyar's bodyguard, and through him, she met Zhadan Cheslavovich - the prince's major domo. Zhadan in turn asked if Zorina - a seasoned guide - could escort a group of people he knew on a short trek to the northwest of the city. Thus, through Zhadan, Zorina met the Serpent Slayers. Agreeing to let Yuri's betrothed Svetlana to ride the horse she had taken from the Kochmaki, Zorina was accepted into the group, and a deal was struck. The Serpent Slayers traveled north to the archbishop's estate called Malinka, in order to solicit his aid in dealing with a terrible problem - one of their own - a girl named Agapia - had eaten a cursed egg, and now all manner of unclean and foul beings were drawn to her like moths to a flame. Along the way, the group was attacked by some 'water devils', and then, by a whole army of navii from the village of Sitnitsa, where the egg had come from. Nearby, they had also attracted the attention of a group of wolf shapechangers - relatives of another member of her new band - [Lokan. In the process of fighting the wolves and the navii, the village was burned, and Zorina and others end up captured by the wolves. They manage to escape, but as they get closer to Malinka, they come across an huge oak tree that leads to the realm of Grey Wolf - the Tsar of all wolves. There, they are once again confronted by the pack of Lokan's kin, and Zalyn, Zorina's companion, arrive just in time to help the rest of the Serpent Slayers fight them off. But Agapia leaps into the whole, and the rest of the group is forced to follow them in. Inside, they are confronted by the spirit of Grey Wolf, who tells them that Agapia has brought him a great gift, which will allow him to draw all the wolves and nechist'to him, and to lead a war against the humans who have unjustly taken these lands from them. For the rest of them - it is time to choose - to side with Grey Wolf, or to be scattered like sheep. All but Yuri and Agapia are then released, though Yuri's unconscious body is spat out of the portal soon after. The archbishop's party, traveling north to Ladeisk, soon arrives, and when he learns of the Grey Wolf's threat, he asks Yuri to travel to his estate and warn the people in surrounding villages of the danger. He also tells them of a legend that near the village of Vladykino - Yuri's home village just two days away from Malinka - there is rumored to be a cave where bogatyrs lie sleeping, waiting to be awakened when the land and its people need them. The caves can also provide a good hiding place. Some of the companions leave with the archbishop, and Zorina must track down her horse, which the archbishop's people found wandering aimlessly around, and steal it away before meeting up with most of the rest of the Serpent Slayers in Malinka. The archbishop's estate is subjected to a full-scale wolf assault several days later. Grey Wolf arrives at the head of a wolf army, and Zorina is just able to escape with Svetlana, who was just fighting with Yuri. The two ride to Vladykino, where Svetlana and Yuri are reconciled, and marry in a strange ceremony presided over by Agapia. Wolves, led by Grey Wolf's lieutenant Kolovul test the village's defenses, but he is defeated by Zorina and her companions, and then released. Yuri prevails on the villagers to prepare for the full assault, and to take them to the caves, which he located upon his arrival to Vladykino. After moving the stone blocking access, the Serpent Slayers find themselves before a blank Doomstone, with three paths leading away from it. Following the right path, they are confronted by more wolves, who are beaten back, but here, Yuri finds his bogatyr's horse, and Lokan collects gold and silver dippers suspended from a ceiling near where the den mother nurses her cubs. They then return, and go right, where they find a demonic woman inside a circle of fire. They manage to fight her off, but not before she kisses Lokan, to his death. Finding the entryway blocked, they rest, only to encounter a man named Misha trying to move the stone. Once open, he takes them back to Vladykino, where the wolves had returned, and slaughtered most of the residents, save Slavomir and Mira, who Misha and the rest succeed in saving. Yuri insists that the only way to deal with the wolves is to complete their quest in the cave, so they return, and take the central path, which leads to a huge chamber filled with bones, and a three-headed fire-breathing serpent. Though he comes close to killing Yuri and the others, the serpent is cast down. Zorina is now a Serpent Slayer, too.
* * *Zorina is a young woman of average height, with bright red hair. She usually keeps her true fox nature hidden from everyone until she is sure she can trust them. She is typically tight-lipped, practical, and efficient, especially with her bow, but get her talking, and she will wax eloquent about her imprisoned cousin. Or Jakob. These days, mostly Jakob.