Baba Yaga is a creature from Slavic folklore, depicted in this game as an Ogress, and a powerful witch. The Baron attempted to remove her from his valley by force, and so she cursed him and his family. Her hut is found in the north-west of the map, and is surrounded by a wooden wall, adorned with skulls. The largest skull makes a deal with you, he's jealous of his fellow skulls' glowing eyes. Find him a glowing gem for his own eyes, and you can meet with Baba Yaga.
Finding the gem requires making another deal: deals within deals! There's an giant to the east, Brauggi. Through alliterative rhyming he lets you know he's looking for fruit, and in large quantities. For making booze of course, to see him through the winter. Fifty apples from the centaur at the market later, and a glowing gem is yours!
Our fence-mounted friend is very pleased with the gift, and he even tells you a rhyme, and important one for getting the hut to sit down. Necessary, because the hut is on chicken legs. Once seated, the door opens and you may enter. On your first encounter with Baba Yaga, she freezes you to the spot and threatens to have you for dinner. To save your skin, you can assist her in getting some Mandrake Root, a powerful spell reagent which she apparently just wants to cook with.
The Mandrake grows in the graveyard, and must be picked precisely at midnight. Of course nothing is quite that simple, and visiting the graveyard at night is not recommended. The spirits there don't take kindly to the living trespassing on their resting place, and will suck the life right out of you. The healer sells a little something to protect you, for quite a price, but you can't put a price on your life, can you? Once the uprooting is complete, the mandrake must be taken quickly back to Baba Yaga before sunrise. Her reward is quite appropriate, the root for your life. Upon leaving, I thought to myself: I'll have to get her back for that, and once your other questing is done, your revenge can be served.
|The haunted graveyard|
Your second meeting with Baba Yaga can result in your death, if you don't play your cards right. So long as you've been to the Brigand Fortress you should be okay, but remember to hold that mirror at the right time! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a little animation? I made a little GIF of my curse-countering of the Ogress below.
And with that, I have become a hero! I was the hero from the east, I freed the man from in the beast, I took the child from in the band and drove the evil from the land! Truly a momentous achievement, I'm sure you'll agree. Of course the greater one was my completion of gaining maximum skills, which will come in handy when I get around to playing through the sequel.
One of the many people you help when you breach the brigand fortress is the merchant Abdullah Doo, who happens to be in possession of a magic flying carpet! He, and his friends the Katta (Cat people) Shema and Shameen, offer to take you to the land of Shapeir. It turns out that they are in need of a hero too, and a hero must go where he is most needed!