Art by Viktor Korolkov
Since I released the first book of The Fire Salamander Chronicles, the Urban Fantasy series, I’ve received quite a few questions from my readers about the World of the Fire Salamander, Slavic mythology and fairy tales, and the real-world places used in both series.
By any means, I am not a specialist in Slavic lore or history, and what I write in my novels cannot be taken as gospel truth as most of my stories have imaginative elements added to the lore. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll have fun reading this blog, which will give you a glimpse into the complicated world of Slavic mythology, their entangled pantheon, fascinating fairy tales, as well as some details about real historical events and mysteries I used in my Urban Fantasy novels.
Getting immersed in Slavic lore, mythology and fairy tales can be an adventure in itself. I must say, ancient Slavs had unlimited and wild imaginations. Nothing ever is what it seems to be. Nothing ever is simply black or white, good or evil. Take Baba Yaga, for example. In one fairy tale, Baba Yaga is an evil witch who eats children for dinner. In another fairy tale, she is a kind and wise woman who helps dobri molodets (your knight in shining armor) to save his love.
But let’s return to Baba Yaga in one of my later blogs. In this blog, let’s talk about the Aspid. If you read the fifth book of The Fire Salamander Chronicles or the third book of The Shadow Enforcer series, you had already met this representative of the large family of Slavic magical Zmeys (serpents).
So, what is the Aspid?
In Slavic mythology, an Aspid is a giant, winged serpent, but unlike a regular snake, it’s gifted with all sorts of magical qualities. It looks like a snake, but it has the beak of a bird, two mighty paws, and two trunks. Its scales are as black as night, but they can change color depending on the surrounding light, and its wings sparkle like precious stones.
Despite its shiny appearance, it’s one of the evilest and deadliest creatures of Slavic lore, which takes pleasure in killing people and animals by burning them with its fire. Even its very name in Old Russian means “villain”.
According to Slavic lore, Aspids can never land on the ground because Mother-Earth rejects them, so they move around by landing on rocks. And this is the reason, Aspids like to live on mountains, favoring their cold and unfriendly climate. It’s impossible to kill an Aspid with a sword or an arrow, or even with a modern-day gun. While they do fear the sound of horns and the wrath of Mother-Earth, the only way to kill it, however, is by fire.
Which bears a question…
If the Aspid breathes fire, why is fire so deadly to it?
Read The Burns Enigma, book five of the Fire Salamander series, to see if Zane Burns and his friends will survive the meeting with an Aspid. If you're following the adventures of Damian Blake, The Shadow Enforcer series, you can meet an Aspid in the third book of the series, The Shadow Paradox, and see how Damian faired fighting against it.