Yuri read as many books as he could borrow since he was a young boy, which worried his parents in that he would not gain money for them. Sometime later, they sent him to live with his uncle in Novokribirsk to work on the dry docks for sandskiffs. When not working, he often read in the nearby church and lost himself to the texts. Many of the men who worked on the ports mocked Yuri for his wheezing and his fogged-up glasses, and his uncle physically abused him and mocked him for not working as well as others. Tired of this, Yuri prayed to the gods to free him from his uncle and others' cruelty and devote his life to study.
One day, having drifted to sleep while reading in the church, he awoke to shadows moving around his feet. He ran back to his uncle's house, who beat him mercilessly for not putting dinner on the table on time. He was unable to rise from bed the next day from the pain, making his uncle promise to beat him if he did not come to work on the docks. Yuri forced himself to get up, eat breakfast, and leave for work. Making it to the town square, he laid by the fountain when a voice told him not to go to the docks. He tried to go still, knowing he was weak enough to where his uncle would kill him with a second beating, but the voice told him to not go.
King of Scars
Yuri is now the leader of the cult to the Darkling, and has gathered a small following. His goal is to make the Darkling a Saint recognized by the church; for this, he requested audiences with Nikolai Lantsov.
Yuri told Zoya Nazyalensky and Nikolai tales of an ancient ritual, obisbaya, that was once used to remove monsters from men. Later on, they journey together into the Fold, seeking the place where the Darkling died.
En route to the Fold, their convoy is attacked by Shu soldiers using jurda parem. Nikolai unleashes his monster; Yuri is awed by the obvious manifestation of the Darkling's power. Nikolai points out that Saints have to be martyred, and so long as that power still exists, the Darkling cannot be a Saint. Yuri then promised to help Nikolai get rid of the monster as a result.
When they arrived at their destination, Nikolai, Zoya, and Yuri are taken captive by three monstrous creatures; a dragon, a woman surrounded by bees, and a creature that keeps changing its form. These are revealed to be three of Ravka's reborn Saints; Sankta Lizabeta, Sankt Grigori, and Sankt Juris. They claimed to have been trapped in the Fold since its creation by the Darkling 400 years ago. They asked Nikolai to complete the ritual to excise the demon and destroy the last of the Darkling's power, the act of which will finally free them from the Fold and allow them to live out mortal lives.
When Nikolai finally undergoes the ritual, Lizabeta betrays him, revealing that she had secretly saved the Darkling's body from its funeral pyre and intends not to destroy him, but to bring him back to life. Yuri had been secretly helping Lizabeta as she had saved the Darkling's body and was planning to bring him back to life. Yuri deliberately betrayed Nikolai. However, Zoya was able to destroy the Darkling's body, kill Lizabeta with her own thorns, and save Nikolai. Having lost all track of time, they head back to the capital with Yuri in bonds.
Although at first, it seemed like the ritual to bring the Darkling back to life was unsuccessful. Nikolai and Zoya realize that the Darkling returned somewhat successfully, as he was now alive inside the body of Yuri. Yuri's consciousness was presumed dead.
Rule of Wolves
Despite his resurrection, the Darkling did not manage to bring his powers with him, nor could he be rid of Yuri—the boy was still present, sharing body and mind with the Darkling. The Darkling, in Yuri's body, was kept captive at the old zoo at the palace, where Sun Summoners kept watch over him. After some time, Zoya and Nikolai went to see him in hopes of finding information on where to find thorn wood, a supposedly extinct key ingredient for them to attempt the obisbaya ritual again.
The Darkling told them he knew the seeds were preserved by the Order of Sankt Feliks, and would tell them how to find them in exchange for seeing Alina Starkov. Zoya and Nikolai reluctantly agreed, and Zoya set up a meeting between Alina and the Darkling.
They met at an abandoned sanatorium. Alina, Mal Oretsev, Misha, the Darkling, Zoya, and the Sun Summoners were present. At the meeting, the Darkling suddenly jumped between Mal and Alina who had been holding hands at that moment. Yuri tried to warn them, in a rare moment in which he was able to take hold of his body again completely. However, he lost hold and the Darkling drove a piece of thorn wood he had kept hidden in his clothes through Mal and Alina's hands. He needed the blood of the person who had killed him and a person who was related to him by blood in order to gain his powers back. He then managed to escape Zoya and the Sun Summoners.
He then planned to rally the followers of the Starless Saint. He found a settlement of them near the Fold and started to manipulate them into getting supplies and weapons to join the war. Brother Azarov grew suspicious of him, so the Darkling killed him. Yuri was horrified by the Darkling's actions in these moments but was unable to stop him.
At the battle for Os Kervo, the Darkling saved Nikolai's life by helping power the demon. After Zoya's appearance as the dragon, he was the first to kneel and name her "Sankta Zoya".
After the battle, Nikolai, Zoya, Genya, and a group of other Grisha went to find the Order of Sankt Feliks in hopes of finding thorn wood and perform the obisbaya ritual which they thought could be the answer to stopping the blight. They found the mystical order, which consisted of Fabrikators of several nationalities. The old monastery had a big and ancient thorn wood tree. One of the members of the Order explained that the obisbaya could not stop the blight. The Shadow Fold was a tear in the fabric of the universe, also known as "the making at the heart of the world". Before the making, there was nothing, only void; that void was seeping into the world through the tear, known to them as the blight.
There was no way to close the tear. Someone had to hold it closed standing at the doorway between the void and creation for eternity. The member of the Order explained that the person doing this would suffer so much that death would be kindness. With this information, Nikolai and Zoya debated who should sacrifice themselves until the Darkling volunteered himself, saying he was the only one who was truly immortal and more powerful than Zoya. The only thing he asked of them was that they built him an altar so that he could be remembered in the books as a saint, the Starless One.
They agreed, and the Darkling's heart was pierced by the thorn, his screaming body was swallowed by the thorn wood tree. Yuri was still alive, but powerless inside his body, now trapped with the Darkling standing between the void and creation.
Personality and traits
Yuri is often very nervous, jittery, and rambles at length about his devotion to the Darkling.
Yuri is tall and thin, like "the handle of a mop" or a willow switch. He has messy black hair, green eyes, and wears glasses.
Skills and abilities
- The Lives of Saints, The Starless Saint