"See, life is like trying to play a game of chess with a really bad loser called Fate. Just as you're about to capture the very last piece on the board, he just flips the damn table and you have to start again. At some point you're going to realise that carrying on is just plain fatuous. So then, why bother playing the game altogether? What the actual hell is the purpose of playing the damn game if you already know the outcome – if you know that the conceptual rock is just going to slide out of your grip and roll all the way down the hill and stop at the bottom? Every time. Without fail."
~ Drak summarises his view of life.
Drakolich, often shortened to just Drak and nicknamed 'Hound of Trotskaya', is a Chthonian hypersoldier in the service of the Final Thirteen as the most dangerous of its agents. Frequently likened to a walking dead-hand weapon by his contemporaries, he is notoriously apathetic toward human misery and incredibly ruthless, perhaps even more so than Elena Trotskaya herself, content to slaughter his way through scores of innocents if it means that he will achieve his objective. Only ever called upon by the sole woman that he considers to be his better as a last resort, Drakolich voluntarily houses himself as a prisoner in the Vorkuta Mining Gulag until he is to be 'activated', commonly working alongside fellow assassin Vyacheslav Drago and his student Ippolyta in such a scenario.
Drakolich has the notable capability to split his arms in two to form a pair of additional limbs. This suits his ranged combat style well - he normally makes use of two PP-1S plasma pistols, but can arm himself with a third (all three pistols are affectionately named after the Gorgons Stheno, Euryale and Medusa). He also possesses four monomolecular buzzsaw blades built into his arms that he can deploy in the stead of all four of his hands. When he deploys all of his sawblades at once, Drakolich's melee combat capabilities increase dramatically, coming close to rivalling even Trotskaya's fighting strength. In addition, he possesses a prototype quantum blink displacer built into his cybernetic frame, allowing him to teleport surprising distances at will.
Drakolich's most fearsome weapon by far, however, is his towering intellect, matched if not exceeded only by the Mecharussian Armed Forces' master strategist Anzhela Sokolova and (in the Altcanon) Imperial Judicatrix Serena Romana. He is a phenomenally-competent schemer and brilliant tactician who can account for almost every possible outcome in a near-instant, and keep his enemies second-guessing his plans for many days. The most commonly-used analogy for him, as coined by Spetsnaz captain Grigor Grankin, is "if the Chthonians are a body, with a sword, a shield, a pair of hands, an armour suit and jetpack, a pair of legs, a big fucking gun and the gab to go along with it, then the Hound's gotta be the smarts behind the whole operation".
Life as a hypersoldier
Drakolich's original Chthonic name was 'Sizif', a Russian translation of Sisyphus. He was enrolled into the brotherhood when he was found on the streets of Sverdlovsk by Medusa, one of the oldest and strongest of the Chthonians. Seeing potential in the bitter, misanthropic and radiation-poisoned survivor as a powerful hypersoldier, she took him in and had him trained, augmented and shown the Song of Experience. He chose for himself the title of Sizif, for he saw life only as a repetitive, fruitless endeavour, an endless cycle that only the weak and foolish should try and break. While being trained, he acquainted himself with her other students, Aristey and Neley. Sizif would come to respect Medusa as the only true friend that he ever had, with not even his direct fellows coming close: although he and Aristey shared a friendly rivalry and even the same penchant for gallows-humour, he would later view him as a pathetic, decadent weakling whose constant hedonistic pursuits would only bring about his eventual ruination.
Like the other Chthonians, Sizif was deployed to fight in the Salvagings with Medusa and her cadre. It was during the hunt for Erika Drago that he would get to know the First Chthonian, Elena Trotskaya, in person. This meeting would be another turning-point in his life, as he would personally bear witness to the brutal slaughter of an entire village on the Stony Tunguska riverbanks. Utterly horrified by the spectacle, Sizif would approach Trotskaya in desperation for her to stop – in turn, Trotskaya taught him a lesson he has not since forgotten: "there are no 'innocents', only allies and enemies. This is the reality of war – innocence, not truth, is the first casualty of it".
It was also during the Salvagings that Sizif happened upon Ippolyta, a broken (in more than one sense) rape victim captured earlier in the war, in a seemingly-routine slave market clear-out. The Chthonian saw great potential in her to learn the lessons that he had from his hypersoldier life, and – just as Medusa had back in Sverdlovsk – extended his mercy to her and took her under his wing.
Medusa would meet her end at Sapporo during the Hokkaido Campaign. She bought him and Ippolyta, the sole survivors of her cadre (Neley died in the Charge over the Grosser Priel and Aristey was captured), time to escape a then-unidentified Frenkish hypersoldier-killer and prepared to dispatch the attacker herself, only to be easily subdued, blood-eagled and hung from a lamppost. It was after finding her mangled body after the battle that Sizif developed an extreme fascination with the warrior whom he later discovered was Fred Harrigan – he wanted to know what could drive a man to murder someone so noble as her with such brutality. While imprisoned at Vorkuta after the Campaign, he would pay close attention to radio news broadcasts about the so-called 'Green Death', and he would use his top-level access to classified intelligence to study the Black Project and its most famous product in particular. It was Harrigan's story that inspired Sizif to completely abandon his Chthonic title, believing it to be an acceptance of defeat and weakness, and change it to Drakolich.
With his willingness to murder and even rape solely to make a point, along with his dark and oftentimes cruel sense of humour, Drakolich comes across as a thoroughly evil creature who revels in being the cause of human misery. However, he is not so much immoral as he is amoral – more specifically, his morals have been completely obliterated. He does not necessarily enjoy making people suffer – from his point of view, human suffering is simply meaningless. This is reflective of his extremely casual attitude to life: he is not interested in higher purpose, only in completing the task that he has been assigned. He can be described as a somewhat dystopian portrayal of the end goal for the entire Machine Race: to eschew the shackles of humanity and become something more.
Drakolich, however, stops just short of being a mindless drone in two respects. First, while he does not hold any particular love interests or friendships, he has a profound respect for his fellow hypersoldiers, typical of the sense of brotherhood that forms the Final Thirteen. Another thing he has in common with the other hypersoldiers is his stolidity. He is shown to carry an atmosphere of refinement about himself, never leaving without his crimson fedora and three-piece suit, always being respectful, even to his most hated enemies (unless putting on an act), and never, ever succumbing to negative emotion. However, his calm and almost smug demeanour hide from public view a terrible, boiling blood-rage waiting to be released upon his enemies at the perfect moment. When such fury takes physical manifest, there are few more terrifying opponents to face in battle than the hyper-intelligent, blindingly-fast and utterly ruthless Hound of Trotskaya.
- Drakolich is the main antagonist of Red Planet, supervising Blackhand along with Ippolyta as he oversees the final stages of the Emancipation Plot.
- Drakolich's first appearance is in A Blood Debt, where he takes over Trotskaya's position as intelligence chief during her second pregnancy.
- He appears again in its sequel, Flight of the Polunochnaya, taking the lead role in the secondary arc.
- Drakolich borrows heavily from Solf J. Kimblee in the Fullmetal Alchemist anime/manga, not just in personality but appearance as well (although Kimblee wears a white suit and hat, whereas Drak's are crimson). He is also more loosely inspired by Halko, a character created by Imperium Sidhicum.
- He is named after the dracolich, a creature from the fantasy table-top game Dungeons and Dragons that combines the power of a lich and a dragon.
- He is one of only two Chthonians to not be named in the narrative after a figure in ancient Greek mythology, the other being Trotskaya.
- His nickname 'Hound of Trotskaya' is a reference to Mael Radec in Killzone 2, who goes by the title 'Hound of Visari'.