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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 about Vassa, A Court of Silver Flames

Vassa is one of the Mortal Queens that live in the Mortal Lands of the Continent, she rules the kingdom of Scythia.

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 Rhysand and his Inner Circle at the Archeron's Estate to negotiate the delivery of the half of the Book of Breathings that the queens have in their possession. 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 but does not say what has happened to her, and warns him not to trust the other queens.[3]

A Court of Wings and Ruin

Through Elain Archeron's new seer abilities Feyre and the rest of her allies learn of Vassa's fate. She sees Vassa and other women kept captive by a "sorcerer" 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. Her curse causes her to turn into a firebird during the day and return to her human form at night. Lucien Vanserra volunteers to go on the quest to find her to see if she can help them in the War with Hybern 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. When Lucien finds her, the queen is already with Feyre's father on her way to Prythian to aid them in the war. Lucien leads them to the site of the battle. During the journey, Vassa develops a bond with Mr. Archeron, who tells her about his daughters, and Vassa and Lucien also form a friendship. Along the journey, they join forces with the legion of Seraphims from Drakon and Miryam heading from Cretea.

Vassa arrives at the final battle and decimates fleets of Hybern's soldiers with her firebird form.

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 favor. Vassa then asks Feyre if she could break her curse, to which Feyre replies that she doesn't know but that she could try.

Vassa has to return to the lake as she was only allowed to leave to go help them but before leaving she offers a place in her court to Jurian who shows to have been on the side of Prythian and mortals all along. Before her departure, Vassa is seen speaking animatedly with Lucien, with whom she has developed a friendship.

A Court of Frost and Starlight

Feyre tries but can't break Vassa's curse so Helion, the High Lord of the Day Court tries to send his power as well but is unable to do so (despite being skilled in the use of cursebreaking magic)

After the end of the war with Hybern, Jurian and Vassa settle in a manor in the Mortal Lands south of Prythian, which they share with Lucien when he is not in the Spring Court or Velaris. The three become very good friends and Lucien serves as a link between mortals and faeries. Together they call themselves the Band of Exiles.

A Court of Silver Flames

Morrigan tells Cassian that he should start going to the Band of Exiles to gather information, because she believes that because Lucien has chosen to live with Jurian and Vassa, not as an emissary but as friends, any information would be skewed in their favor. Cassian believes that for this reason perhaps the reports on Vassa can't be unbiased. Cassian then decides to pay them a visit.

Upon arriving at the Band of Exiles manor Cassian meets Eris Vanserra who informs that some of his soldiers are lost. They talk about the possibility of the queens doing this, Vassa informs them that Briallyn would be able to do this and that the queens can only winnow if they are together. She tells them that the queens sold her to Koschei on his terms for whispers that he sent through the wind to them and that everything he does is for the purpose of freeing himself from the lake. Upon leaving the manor, Cassian finds out that Eris was there to sense Vassa and Jurian and to see if they might know something about Briallyn and Koschei since Beron Vanserra is in league with Briallyn and he wants to have an advantage over his father.

Appearance

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

Her firebird form is described 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." When her time to turn into a firebird comes near, her eyes appear to have flames in them.

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

Personality

Vassa is fiery, untamed, unfaltering and fierce. 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 possesses a strong spirit despite the betrayal by her fellow mortal queens and the torture she has faced during her enslavement to Koschei. Lucien states that Vassa has a foul temper and a fouler mouth.

Powers and 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 helping 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 the queens are together.

Relationships

Lucien Vanserra

Vassa met Lucien when he went on a quest to find her and attain her help for the war against Hybern, and hopefully help break her curse. On the journey, they became friends.

He visits her often enough and soon after chooses to move in with Vassa and Jurian in a manor situated near the human lands. Vassa, Jurian, and Lucien become friends and together they call themselves the Band of Exiles.

Jurian

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

  • Vassa is the short form of Vasilisa or Vasilina, it derives from Greek and means "chief, master, king, lord, patron, kingly, royal".[6]
  • Vassa speaks with a lilting accent of unknown origin.
  • Sarah J. Maas mentioned that she would love to one day retell the Firebird legends or Vasilisa the Beautiful from Russian folklore.[7]
  • Vassa's cursed form is a firebird which in Slavic folklore 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. 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.[8]

References


Characters
Main Characters Feyre Archeron · Rhysand · Nesta Archeron · Cassian · Azriel · Elain Archeron · Tamlin · Lucien Vanserra · Morrigan · Amren · Amarantha · King of Hybern
Supporting Characters Alis · Andras · Beron · Bogge · Bone Carver · Bron · Cerridwen · Clare Beddor · Cresseida · Drakon · Devlon · Emerie · Eris · Graysen · Gwyneth Berdara · Feyre's Father · Hart · Helion · Ianthe · Isaac Hale · Isaac Hale's Wife · Jurian · Kallias · Keir · Koschei · Mercenary · Miryam · Mortal Queens · Mrs. Laurent · Naga · Nuala · Unnamed Summer Court Faerie · Tarquin · Suriel · Thesan · Tomas Mandray · Varian · Vassa · Weaver
Mentioned Characters Aunt Ripleigh · Dark Mother · Feyre's Mother · Mother · Rhysand's Father · Rhysand's Mother · Rhysand's Sister · Nostrus · Queen of the Black Land · See more...
Mortal Queens
Current Briallyn † · Demetra † · Unnamed · Unnamed · Unnamed · Vassa
Past Andromache
Mortal Lands
Characters Feyre Archeron (former) · Nesta Archeron (former) · Elain Archeron (former) · Mr. Archeron † · Mrs. Archeron † · Mrs. Archeron's Mother † · Isaac Hale · Isaac Hale's Wife · Clare Beddor † · Tomas Mandray · Jurian · Nolan · Graysen · Lucien · Andromache † · Vassa · Demetra † · Briallyn † · Briar · Dark-haired Girl † · Ruddy Brown-haired Girl † · Brown-haired Young Man † · Urstin · Mrs. Archeron's Cousin † · Acolyte · Clothier · Cobbler · Mercenary · Creditors · Mrs. Laurent · Mr. Hale · Isaac Hale's Sibling(s) · Mr. Mandray · Mrs. Mandray · Tomas Mandray's Siblings · Andromache's Husband † · Andromache's Children
Locations Archeron's Cottage · Archeron's Estate · Band of Exiles Manor · Barn · Beddor Family Home · Bharat · Feyre's Village · Forest · Greenfield Village · Neva · Nolan's Estate · Post Office · Scythia · Silverspring Creek · Tavern
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