Grigorios (Grigori) Stephaniou

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 22:58:43 -0500 (CDT)
From: christopher ian lehrich 

         Grigori, like his brother Nikos, is tall and broad-shouldered, with a square jaw. Grigori's slouch (and his indolent habits) have, however, made him pudgy and weak, which all combines to make him seem smaller than his brother. Brown eyes and longish black hair, again like Nikos, but Grigori generally wears a thin Van Dyke-type beard (he wanted a big bushy one, but he kept burning it in lab work...). Grigori moves languidly but gracelessly, always seeming to become physically exhausted between each step but just barely moving on (not that he's actually all that badly out of condition, he's just lazy and physicality makes him terribly bored).

         Grigori's favorite thing in the world is reading. He's perfectly happy to spend vast amounts of time on some abstruse work of mystical thought, even when (as often happens) he thinks that the author's initial principles are utterly worthless. Consequently, Grigori has mastered an art rare in his time -- reading silently. He also has a gift for languages in the first place, and picks them up with startling ease. Insofar as the covenant had a library, Grigori was its librarian. (Bonisagus assigned him this task after he went looking for a book and couldn't find it. Turned out that Grigori had it, and when Bonisagus went to look in his student's bedroom, he found that the floor was knee-deep in books. Rather than have Grigori's bedroom turn into a library annex, Bonisagus just assigned Grigori the task of taking care of the library. Not surprisingly, Grigori took up this problem with an immediate and (for him) perfect solution -- he moved his bed into the library.)

         Grigori was and is a model student insofar as his abilities and mastery of information are concerned. As to his general willingness to focus on what's assigned him, well, he's not so great at that. He has a tendency to wander in his mind on free-ranging flights of intellectual fancy, sometimes forgetting to eat or sleep in the process. He always turns up interesting results from these journeys, but gets very little work done on what he's assigned. The classic example of this was when Bonisagus had him spend a week working on different kinds of rocks and their occult properties. A month later, he was still hard at work, so the master left him alone. Finally, two months after the initial assignment, Bonisagus asked Grigori what he'd come up with. He got an extraordinarily detailed (and quite brilliant) lecture on the Kabbalistic ramifications of circles and lines, and how this textuo-visual structure connected with Porphyry's doctrines of ideal forms (as opposed, of course, to Plato's more simplistic version). Bonisagus asked what in hell this had to do with rocks? Grigori blinked at him and replied, "Rocks? Sort of hard things you find in the ground, you mean? Nothing much. Why?" To this day Grigori is essentially incapable of using Terram magic.

         Grigori used to be assigned duties with respect to apprentices and grogs, but Bonisagus stopped doing that when he noticed that Grigori's attention would sometimes wander; the grogs and apprentices would have a great time picking berries or whatever, while Grigori would sit cross-legged in the middle of some field, contemplating the use of the Atbash temurah system in Jeremiah 25:26. Note that this always pissed off the other great apprentices, but Grigori never seemed to be aware of this.

         Grigori is always interesting to have a conversation with, and Nikos would often send confused apprentices to him for a bit of instruction. Bonisagus, you see, would tend to tell them to hold hot or dangerous things, and they were all terrified of Trianoma, but Grigori, it was generally accepted, wouldn't harm a fly. Besides, once you get him going, he may forget your existence entirely, permitting you to have a nice nap while he scribbles notes frantically.

         Before you get the impression that Grigori is merely confused, it is essential to realize that he is almost frighteningly intelligent, his mind seemingly faster than light. Some young apprentices have found it useful to discuss theoretical issues with him, because he will always take their ideas seriously, and at once develop them into something brilliant, as though that were what you intended. Thus a vague question about Creo might prompt a response like, "So, what you're saying is, that the formal character of the techniques is related to the general standing of Dionysius's Hierarchica Kai Mystika, with respect to the formal presence of mathematical abstractions in the realm of pure form?" This generally will get a blank look from the student, which he will take as an affirmation, leading to: "Hmm. It's a good point, but I'd have to turn back to Al-Kindi's ray-connection issues, and...." Some students, of course, find this extremely annoying.

         The other senior apprentices and students (Trianoma, etc.) generally seem to have thought Grigori mildly insane; Bonisagus, however, once made a cryptic remark to Nikos about Grigori's mind which suggested that Nikos's twin was not just a genius, but genuinely a visionary.

         Outside of covenant life, a few quick things you should know. Grigori has the Gentle Gift (in point of fact, it took a couple of months before Bonisagus realized that Grigori even had the Gift!), he is a marvellous speaker, and he's somehow vaguely unthreatening-looking. The sort of person you feel instantly inclined to trust -- he seems honest, intelligent, and utterly harmless. Of course, these things are mostly true, which helps.

         Grigori is fond of all the apprentices, as well as the more senior students, but he has a nasty tendency to confuse them in his mind if he's not concentrating. Oddly, when he is thinking at really high speed, as when he's just come up with something exceptionally fascinating and brilliant, he is almost preternaturally aware of his surroundings. More than one student has been surprised when the librarian, usually so vague, is working feverishly on some hideously complex new theory, surrounded by books and papers in the library, and without looking up remarks dreamily, "The book you're looking for is one shelf up, Idelle. With the blue binding." This without Idelle mentioning what she's looking for.


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Tue Apr 11 17:00:12 2006