The Skull & the Eye Character Profile: Olya Tchotchke

By Rebekah

Olya is the fifth child of Ludmilla Tchotchke, an orc junk peddler, and her second surviving child. Six years younger than her brother, Jurek, she spent of her childhood in the city of Krolevi on the Komes Isles. On her first birthday, she was named Olya, blessed by the spirits. For eight years she grew in happiness on warm beach sands retrieving shells for her mother to sell and going to the docks with Jurek where they watched the whales breach.

Olya Tchotchke, as illustrated by Anipii

However, it was in Olya’s eighth year that her mother grew ill with the pox. Her brother, desperate to save her, would run with the Krolevi Kretins, a local gang, in order to drum up enough money to send Ludmilla to the main land for a cure. Just before Olya’s ninth birthday, her mother left with the Clerics of Metzik and Olya has not seen her since.

It was that year that Jurek decided to pay and have Olya sent to a school for the magically gifted. Olya had no desire to leave her brother, but by the time she knew her fate he had been taken aboard a vessel as an indentured oarsman and shipped off. She was subsequently taken to Svhellheimr.

The Academy of Wizardry did not greet Olya with any kindness. She was a strange, islander peasant with an odd accent and funny elven ears who claimed to be half-orc. As a result, she was tormented mercilessly by another student of high birth, Ona Kulakov. Ona and her gang would often find ways to insure Olya’s time at the Academy was an unpleasant one, from tossing her clothing out into the snow while she bathed, stealing her boots to be destroyed, and leaving rotted food in her cot.

Even with Ona’s torment, Olya found a sort of peace at the Academy chapel where a cleric would sneak her treats. One professor, Lumir Stepan, was another saving grace. He helped Olya to begin to hone her magic, which drew its strength from her emotions. Professor Stepan told Olya that if she could control her emotions through prayer and meditation, then she would always have the upper hand on her abilities.

Alas, Ona and her lackies’ ceaseless torture on Olya proved to be the final straw. They cornered Olya one day in the alchemy labs, pulling her hair and trying to force her to drink some vile concoction. It was this moment that Olya’s true spark ignited. In her fear and anger, she engulfed herself in an inferno and set fire to the eastern wing of Svhellheimr. She left Ona and the others with sever burns, returning to the bunkhouse to steal as much as she could and flee south back to the Komes Isles.

Two years later, she purchased her brother from a ship captain after setting fire to the docks. The captain had no choice but to sell those indentured to him on the cheap after losing his ship. Reunited with her brother, she reopened their mother’s business and vowed never again to lose sight of him.

Though one day, a dwarf, from a land far away, approached the siblings with an offer they could not ignore…

Rebekah’s Commentary: Olya is a half-elf Phoenix Sorcerer. She is more human of physical build with deep brown skin that hosts almost a reddish cast. She was formally trained with magic at Svhellheimr for six years. However, due to the nature of sorcerer magic coming from within one’s own aptitude, she was often seen as an outlier unable to be trained like her more wizardly peers. The sorcerer suits Olya and her innate, burning rage, which began due to her treatment at the academy. She sees her brother as a bastion of safety, able to help her contain the inferno that smolders within her. Having spent time on the mainland, she knows of the general opinion of orcs and their nature, though she doesn’t wholly agree with it. She will defend her mother and brother’s honor vehemently as well as call herself a half-orc over a half-elf.