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"Some learned people say that evil cannot be overcome through violence. I say there is no other way."— Akyev(src)
"There are times when I think you are still that fool boy who first came to the monastery. More beast than man, really...a wild thing with eyes clouded by emotion and intuition and all those other fleeting feelings that change on a whim just as swiftly as the winds. Are you that boy, or are you a monk?"— Akyev to Zhota(src)
Zhota was one of the disciples Akyev taught. He was assigned to teach the boy by the Patriarchs, after Zhota chose Ymil as his patron deity, hoping that Akyev's rigid demenor would temper Zhota's hesitent nature, and vice versa. When he first encountered him, he snapped Zhota's flute in half and tossed it out of the Floating Sky Monastery. They would spar together in the monestary's training grouns, Akyev wielding a scimitar he had forged himself against Zhota's bo. He easily defeated him, cutting into his staff, and commented that Zhota had "too much of the rivers in him," touching on his disdain for Ymil. He would forbid Zhota from ever fixing the blemish, lest he forget the lessons imparted to him. Over the years, Akyev worked feverishly to suppress his pupil's insistence on trusting in himself when presented with difficult situations. Whether or not Zhota' insights were correct didn't matter to Akyev. He believed such reliance on the self would compromise one's ability to obey the Patriarchs' commands and prosecute their divine will. Zhota was eventually annointed as a Monk, but Akyev carried doubts as to whether he was truly ready.
"You know the boy is not a demon."— Zhota and Akyev discuss the latter's actions(src)
""I know what the Patriarch has told me. I do not question him"
"The caravan...You killed those people."
"I did my duty."
A few weeks after Zhota became a Monk, and the day after the sighting of the Fallen Star, Zhota was summoned to Akyev's side in the monastery. Akyev sent Zhota into the Gorgorra, ordering that his disciple examine all travelers within the forest, but remain wary, lest they be tainted by gods of chaos. Those touched by those gods were to be "purified," he ordered, relaying the decree of the Patriarchs. He departed the monestary on his own mission the next day, in order to find a demon wearing the skin of a child. He came across a caravan that had been transporting him and, after they cursed the names of the Patriarchs, slaughtered them all. He even hired bandits to find his quarry. He later encountered Zhota in the forest, finding him alongside Mishka. The child that he'd sought. He commented that Zhota had succeeded where he'd failed, giving his former student praise for the first time. He told Zhota that Mishka was a demon wearing the skin of a child. Mishka called Akyev the demon—lies to hide its true identity, according to Akyev. He recounted Mishka's tale, that he was the son of one of the Patriarchs and his concubine. He'd been born with deformities, but his mother had convinced his father to sequester him in the palace instead of killing him. Mishka had lived in isolation until the coming of the Fallen Star, causing paronoia to sweep Ivgorod. In this climate, Zhota summized that the Patriarch had ordered that Mishka be put to death, lest his purity be called into question. Thus, through the work of his mother and a few loyal servants, he was carried into the Gorgorra.
Akyev was unmoved—these were lies that the demon had told him. Zhota stated that he believed Mishka, causing Akyev to deliver a roundhouse kick into Zhota, winding him. Akyev disgustedly commented that Zhota was still a boy, and gave him a second kick as Zhota claimed that the Patriarch Akyev served was no longer interested in maintaining the balance between order and chaos. He scraped off the circles embodied on Zhota's forehead, stating that Zhota was no Monk. He ordered him to return to the monastery and await judgement. The two engaged in combat, Zhota once again wielding his bo against Akyev's scimitar. Akyev gained the upperhand, and was unmoved by Zhota's accusations of his brutality. For a moment, Akyev seemed to consider that Zhota was correct, that he'd been sent to kill an innocent. But only for a moment, as he swung his sword.
The sword was swung, but Zhota grabbed it, breaking the weapon in two. Zhota used the broken blade to decapitate his master. He then built a pyre to cremate his master's body. He could only hope that the Patriarch wouldn't be able to find another Monk like Akyev—one who could slaughter innocents without hesitation.
Personality and TraitsEdit
"When the ill wind blows, the tree that bends will break."— A mantra often recited by Akyev(src)
By all accounts, Akyev was one of the strictest and unforgiving members of his order. Many initiates have been gravely injured (and, according to rumor, even died), due to his brutal training methods. Zaim was his patron god, and he regards the god Ymil as being capricious and indesciscive. Unlike many of his fellows, he had no love of the arts, such as music. He believed in the concept of a Monk treating a weapon as a natural extension of their body. He never flinched from any task given to him. His fanaticism and willingness to do anything to achieve an objective given to him by the Patriarchs marked him as an oddity amongst the order. Likewise, unlike other teachers, he did not attempt to foster friendships with his students. His beard was black, without any gray.