ILIYA THE KNIGHT OF MUROM
The character of Iliya the Knight of Murom is based on historic sources and epics. Iliya was born with a congenital illness, he could not walk until he turned 33. He was miraculously healed by visiting Elders. He then devoted his life to Kniaz Vladimir Monomakh.
First of all Iliya is a warrior in his noblest. His bravery, fighting fame and faithfulness are absolute. He is virtuous, modest, merciful, always sincere and intolerant to even a minor lie. Iliya comes to fulfill his high aims – to protect his homeland, his faith and his nation. This is what is implemented in his deeds, and later – on the highest level – in his serving to God.
The character of Monomakh was written based upon a real historic document. The Testament to his children states
essential principles adopted by Kniaz Vladimir and entrusted to his offspring. The text testifies that Kniaz never showed any arrogance, was always generous to everyone and did his best to live by Christian Orthodox moral principles that he passed onto his descendants.
Just like Iliya, Monomakh has his own high aim, relevant to his status in the state. The aim is to consolidate Russian lands, put an end to internecine wars, and protect the borders against outer enemies.
Ilya’s wife was brought up by Monomakh’s wife, the English Princess Gita. Olena’s parents were murdered by Polovtsians. Since her early childhood, Olena was under the guardianship of the Kniaz’s family.
Olena is a modest, meek, and loving spouse. But when it comes to situations when her dearest are endangered, Olena acts confidently and strong with unshakable faithfulness and her true ability to love and sacrifice.
Dubovyaz is a former robber who overcomes his troubled past to become Iliya’s best friend in the battlefield and in personal life. Unlike the others, Dubovyaz is a humorous and an unpretentious guy. Becoming a robber resulted from a terrible mistake made in his past. Dubovyaz’ story is an example that it is never too late to repent one’s sins.
Impressed by the true faith of Iliya and Monomakh, Duboviaz decides to become a Christian. Olexa, his new name after the baptism, symbolizes the beginning of a new life. Olexa will be there next to Iliya until his last day.
A noble house boyar who supports an image of a man taking sincere care of Russia as a whole and therefore becomes Monomakh’s favorite. But in reality Voislav is a betrayer moved by his lust for power. «The ends justifies the means» – this is Voislav’s attitude. Lies, deception, intrigues are his instruments of success.
History can provide many examples of moral decay of people moved by such motives. Always the power for the sake of power is a horrible illusion that brings only death and devastation to the people around.
PRINCESS GITA (wife of Vladimir Monomakh)
Gita, the daughter of the Anglo-Saxon King Harald II, is one of the most beloved personalities in Russia during the reign of Monomakh. The highly cultured noble lady was a true partner to Monomakh and shared his long travels and hunting crusades. She was his first wife and became mother to five sons.
Being highly educated, Gita was providing education to the «female half» of the palace. Her wisdom and her devotion to Monomakh are crucial for both Iliya and Kniaz Vladimir during times of loss and betrayal. Gita dies from an incurable sickness but leaves an indelible mark in people’s hearts.
SOLOVEY THE ROBBER
Solovey is a Viking originally by the name Isleyv, coming from the far North. He is the head of the most fearful squad of robbers living from theft and kidnappings. Solovey is cruel, violent and completely merciless, many think of him as insane.
The rumors around his character empower him with some superhuman abilities, where even his own forest squad members fear him to death. Solovey brings to his pagan gods excessive sacrifice as payment for his military prowess and wealth. The robber thinks that his gods are as bloodthirsty as he is and often sacrifices humans...