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A queen by night, and firebird by day, sold by her fellow human queens to a sorcerer-lord who had enchanted her. Damned her into transforming each dawn into a bird of fire and ash.

Cassian thinking about Vassa, A Court of Silver Flames

Vassa is one of the six mortal queens that rule the Mortal Lands, the ruler of Scythia and a member of the Band of Exiles.

History

The King of Hybern sent Jurian to the mortal queens to inform them of the Cauldron and gain them as allies. Vassa saw through Jurian's lies and warned her fellow queens against allying with Hybern, stating that Jurian's resurrection was a bad sign and they should raise their armies. She didn't notice how envious the other queens, excluding Demetra, had become once they heard of the Cauldron's powers.

Wanting her gone but unable to kill her due to the fact that her successor was far more willful, the queens sold Vassa to a death-lord who cursed and enslaved her with a spell that turned her into a firebird by day, and a woman by night. He bounded her to a lake in the continent where he keeps other women enslaved as well. They then spread the lie that she had been sick for the past months.[1]

A Court of Mist and Fury

Vassa is absent from the meeting between the five remaining mortal queens and the Night Court, the queens lie saying she is unwell and thus unable to make the journey to attend.[2] Demetra later on leaves a note for Rhysand telling him that Vassa is not ill and warns him not to trust the other queens.[3]

A Court of Wings and Ruin

Through Elain Archeron's new clairvoyant abilities Feyre and the rest of her allies learn of Vassa's fate. She sees Vassa and other women kept captive by Koschei at a lake within the continent, hidden amongst mountains and ancient forests. Elain mentions that the other women have feathers white as snow and they glide across the water while Vassa rages through the skies above the lake. Lucien Vanserra volunteers to go on the quest to find her and hopefully break her curse.[4]

Having already uncovered the queens' treachery months before, Feyre's father bargains with Koschei for a temporary release from Vassa’s enslavement. Vassa then leads his army to Prythian, guided by Lucien. During the journey, Vassa develops a bond with Mr. Archeron, who tells her about his daughters. Vassa and Lucien also form a strong friendship along the journey.

Vassa arrives at the battle and decimates fleets of Hybern's soldiers with her firebird form. Feyre describes her as “fast as a shooting star, red and gold and white— vibrant as molten metal, trailing sparks and embers across the waves. Burning as hot and furious as the heart of a forge.” After the war, Lucien is seen speaking in admiration and support of Vassa. When Feyre teases Lucien about sounding like an acolyte, he blushes.

Before the post-war meeting, Vassa approaches Feyre and Nesta and introduces herself, offering her condolences for their father's death as well as expressing her respect for him. She also says that he was a better father to her than her own. Nesta only stares coldly at her and Vassa returns the favour. Vassa then asks Feyre if she could break her curse, to which Feyre replies that she could try. Vassa asks Feyre to think of ways to help her and takes her leave. After the meeting, she spends the little time she has before turning into a firebird, by talking animatedly to a relaxed, chuckling and interested Lucien.

A Court of Frost and Starlight

Feyre recalls how she tried to send her power over Vassa and Helion had tried hunting for any possible threads to unbind the curse but they found none. It was as if the curse was woven into her very blood. Lucien visits Vassa often enough and soon after decides to move in with her and Jurian into a manor near the human lands. The three choose to name their friend group the Band of Exiles. When Lucien visits Feyre during Solstice, his lips twitch and there’s a spark in his eye when the conversation steers towards Vassa. He also explains that Vassa and Jurian's vision for the future of the human lands is similar, but their methods on how to attain the vision are quite different from each other.

A Court of Silver Flames

Mor and Cassian muse that Lucien cannot be unbiased in reporting to them on Vassa and that any of his reports would be skewed in her favour. Cassian goes to their manor to gain insight from Vassa about the other mortal queens. Seeing flames in Vassa's eyes and realising that her time to go back to the lake is nearing, Lucien's face shows his pain. When Vassa talks about her enslavement, Lucien stares outside the window setting Koschei as his target for all the pain and trauma she went through because of him. When Koschei uses Eris to lure Cassian and Azriel, he asks them to tell Vassa that he's waiting for her.

Appearance

Vassa is described as a beautiful woman with freckled golden-brown skin and silky, smooth reddish-gold hair. She has stunning, large and up-tilted cerulean blue eyes which are framed by thick eyelashes and dark eyebrows.

Her firebird form is described as red, gold and white, vibrant as molten metal. It trails sparks and embers across the waves and burns hot and furious as the heart of a forge.

In A Court of Silver Flames, Cassian notices that she has cut her long hair to shoulder length.

Personality

But Vassa is too brash, too young.

Jurian about Vassa, A Court of Wings and Ruin

Vassa is fiery, untamed, unfaltering and fierce despite her curse. She is smart and perceptive, as she saw through Jurian's lies and warned her fellow queens to not ally with Hybern and to rally their armies. She has a queenly presence and upholds herself to that standard. She possesses a strong spirit despite the betrayal by her fellow mortal queens and the torture she faced during her enslavement to Koschei. She is headstrong and determined; focused on getting rid of her curse, getting revenge on Koschei as well as the mortal queens and regaining her kingdom and freedom. Vassa speaks with a lilting accent of unknown origin. Lucien states that Vassa has a foul temper and a fouler mouth.

Powers & Abilities

Due to her curse, Vassa has the ability to turn into a firebird during the day. Using her power, Vassa decimated Hybern's armies, thus leading to Prythian's victory. The spell work of the curse is such that it is woven into her very blood. She also has the ability to winnow, but only when several of the queens winnow together.[citation needed] Cassian also notices flames rippling across Vassa's eyes.

Relationships

Lucien Vanserra

Lucien & Vassa by jemlin c.jpg
A bird of flame... and a lord of fire. I wondered if they'd found each other yet.

Feyre thinking about Vassa and Lucien, A Court of Wings and Ruin

Vassa met Lucien when he went on a quest to find her and attain her help for the war against Hybern. On the journey, they became friends. When Lucien speaks about Vassa, Feyre teases him that he sounds like an acolyte, to which he is seen blushing. At the meeting after winning the war, Vassa is seen spending the little time she has before turning into a firebird, by talking animatedly to a relaxed and chuckling Lucien. Feyre is surprised to see his body language so at ease around her. Lucien actively tries to find any loopholes in the bargain struck with Koschei to extend Vassa's stay, so that she doesn't have to go back to the lake. He visits her often enough and soon after chooses to move in with Vassa and Jurian in a manor situated near the human lands. Having found friendship with each other, the three live together, and name their friend group the Band of Exiles. When Lucien talks to Feyre about Vassa on Winter Solstice, his lips twitch with amusement and there's a spark in his eye. Mor and Cassian believe that Lucien wouldn't be unbiased in reporting about Vassa and that any reports from him would be in her favour. When Cassian sees flames in Vassa's eyes and realises that her time to go back to the lake is nearing, he notices that Lucien is staring at her, his face pained. When Vassa talks about her enslavement, Lucien stares outside the window setting Koschei as his target for all the pain and trauma he made her go through.

Jurian

Vassa and Jurian are two sides of the same coin.

Lucien to Feyre, A Court of Frost and Starlight

Jurian and Vassa first met when the King of Hybern sent Jurian to the mortal queens to inform them of the Cauldron and gain them as allies. Jurian explains that Vassa saw through his lies from the beginning and warned the other queens that if he had been reborn they should gather their armies.

After the war, Vassa offers him a place within her court, and he accepts. According to Lucien, their vision for the future of the human territories is mostly aligned. Lucien, Vassa and Jurian grow close together and call themselves "The Band of Exiles".

Jurian often teases Vassa and viceversa, as on the winter solstice when Lucien is asked by Nesta how Jurian and Vassa are doing, he replies by saying that they are both "at each other's throats, as they like to be."[5]

Trivia

  • Derived from the Russian name Vasilisa, which means queenly or empress, Vassa means royalty.[6] It is of Greek origin.[7] The name comes from the Russian fairy tales of a princess who is called Vasilisa the Brave, Vasilisa the Beautiful or Vasilisa the Wise.[8]
  • Vassa's cursed form is a firebird which is a magical bird considered to be a blessing and a harbinger of doom to its captor. There are various firebird fairytales, from Iranian story tales to Russian folklores. The Firebird is a popular Russian ballet where the firebird is half-woman, half-bird.[9] She is captured by Prince Ivan, but when he sets her free she gives him a feather, which he uses to defeat Kaschei the Immortal.[10]
  • Sarah mentioned during a Q&A session that she would love to one day retell the Firebird legends and Vasilisa the Brave and Beautiful from Russian folklore.[11]

Quotes

A Court of Wings and Ruin

  • “Soaring over the water, fast as a shooting star. Red and gold and white, vibrant as molten metal. Trailing sparks and embers across the waves. A firebird, burning as hot and furious as the heart of a forge. Vassa, the lost queen.”
  • “She stormed over the threshold, breathless and unfaltering, and paused only a foot away. Her unbound hair was a reddish gold, thick dark lashes and brows framing the most stunningly blue eyes I'd ever seen. Beautiful, her freckled skin golden-brown and gleaming. Fierce and untamed, despite her curse.”

References


Main characters
Amarantha · Amren · Azriel · Cassian · Elain Archeron · Feyre Archeron · King of Hybern · Koschei · Lucien · Morrigan · Nesta Archeron · Rhysand · Tamlin · Vassa
Minor and supporting characters
Alis · Andras · Beron · Bron · Cerridwen · Clare Beddor · Cresseida · Devlon · Eris · Graysen · Feyre's father · Hart · Helion · Ianthe · Isaac Hale · Isaac Hale's wife · Jurian · Kallias · Keir · Mercenary · Miryam · Mortal Queens · Mrs. Laurent · Naga · Nuala · Unnamed Summer Court Faerie · Tarquin · The Bogge · The Bone Carver · The Suriel · Thesan · Tomas Mandray · Varian · Weaver
Mentioned characters
Aunt Ripleigh · Dark Mother · Drakon · Feyre's mother · Ianthe's father · Ianthe's mother · Ianthe's sisters · Miryam's father · Miryam's mother · Mother · Rhysand's father · Rhysand's mother · Rhysand's sister · Nostrus · Queen of the Black Land · Tamlin's mother · Tamlin's father
Mortal Queens
Current Vassa · Unnamed · Unnamed · Unnamed
Former Andromache · Demetra · Briallyn
Mortal Lands
Characters Vassa · Lucien Vanserra · Jurian · Feyre Archeron (former) · Nesta Archeron (former) · Elain Archeron (former) · Demetra † · Briallyn † · Andromache † · Unnamed Queen · Unnamed Queen · Unnamed Queen · Mr. ArcheronMrs. Archeron † · Graysen · Nolan · Isaac Hale · Tomas Mandray · Clare Beddor
Locations Scythia · Mortal Queens Palace · Feyre's Village · The Archeron's estate · Band of Exiles Manor · Neva
Continent
Characters Vassa · Demetra † · Briallyn † · Andromache † · Unnamed Queen · Unnamed Queen · Unnamed Queen · Queen of Vallahan · King of Vallahan · Ianthe
Locations Scythia · Mortal Queens Palace · Vallahan · Montesere · Rask · Neva
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