Winter in a remote Russian village must be diligently prepared for and stoically endured. The gods of home and hearth exist alongside that of the Christian deity but so it is that a wise person in these times may only be perceived to serve the singular. The family of Pyotr Vladimirovich live at quite a distance from Moscow but they are not immune to its influences and politics. Pyotr raises his sons and daughters with the help of a wise nurse and domestic staff but becomes aware as his children grow older and more independent that a new wife would be a wise addition to the household.
Pyotr's beloved first wife was only ever on loan; an ethereal creature that never thrived in the harsh conditions and who passed after birthing their daughter Vasilisa. So to Moscow Pyotr must go, to secure a pious new wife and to strengthen his ties to the royal family. There a mysterious stranger encounters Pyotr with a special request that he hold in trust a protective jewel for Vasilisa until she is of age. As the years go on, Pyotr's hold on the wilful Vasilisa becomes more difficult to maintain and there is talk amongst the villagers that Vasilisa and her visions are something to be feared. The winters are becoming harsher, and they are looking for someone to blame.
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