Yuri cannot forgive himself for what happened in the Crimea. He was a coward at heart. When he left the scene of that unfinished deed, he ran until he faced the ocean. Seventeen years is a long time to forget, to shape a new existence, and he’s done so much since then – ferrying ‘clients’ along the Dybbuk’s Highway to safer lands – but he can’t escape. Something (shame?) has stopped him from crossing the border once and for all, and so he continues to hunch on the edge of the world, living amongst yet apart from the remains of the Porcelain Brigade. He is no longer a coward, he tells himself. He doesn’t fear the Cheka, nor the Punitives who haunt the docks. He fears the Leader, of course, but then (he tells himself) doesn’t everybody, even those who whisper their devotions in the machine-churches?
All it will take is a little push, a shove in the right direction from someone who can truly take him away from this world, and Yuri will take it. Anything that can deliver him away from the face under the mask.