Firespirit Physiology by Jane Kindred
The celestial races in my House of Arkhangel’sk series (both angel and demon) are ruled by one of the four cardinal elements: air, fire, earth, and water. The pure firespirits are the Cherubim, Seraphim, and Ophanim—angels of the Second Choir—but among the demons, who are the product of interbreeding among angels of different choirs, any one of the four elements might be dominant.
I decided to make my demon thief, Vasily, a firespirit. His outward appearance is much like any other ordinary angel or human—well, except for his flame-red dreadlocks, his scruffy red mutton chops, the fact that he’s built like a Cossack warrior, and the rows of spiked piercings down either side of his neck.
But as a firespirit, Vasily has a number of interesting abilities. He runs “hot,” with a body temperature a few degrees above normal, which is convenient when one is sharing a bed with him in the middle of a sub-arctic Russian winter. He can also light a cigar with his tongue, blow glowing smoke rings to illuminate the dark, and fan the flames of a fire with his breath. Not to mention that other thing he can do with his tongue that doesn’t involve cigars.
And despite a rough, gravelly voice and a lack of formal education, he can give a recitation from memory of Pushkin’s novel in iambic tetrameter, Yevgeniy Onegin, that would make you cry. He also has a unique ability among the celestials to heal a magically-induced wound with his elemental radiance—a glowing red aura visible only in the world of Man; and when in the world of Man, his radiance can manifest as wings of brilliant ruby flame.
I had a lot of fun writing Vasily. He started out as a bitter, hardened demon who’d grown up on the streets, abandoned by a mother he never knew, but I soon found facets of his personality beneath his rugged veneer that I hadn’t expected. Without even trying, he manages to not only melt the heart of a century-old demon more cynical than himself with a look from his seraphic-fire glowing eyes, but also kindles the first flames of desire in a pampered celestial grand duchess from a race of angels derided by demons as having ice water in their veins.
Like most firespirits, Vasily is a man of few words. One of my favorite exchanges between him and another character involves Vasily saying nothing at all:
“And if you want to know the Heavens’ honest truth, Lev and I never really got what he saw in you. You’re sullen and ill-tempered and totally self-absorbed.”
Vasily stared at him, speechless, too stunned to be angry.
“And hot,” Belphagor murmured against his shoulder. “Totally hot.”
Creating the different abilities and character traits associated with the four elements was one of my favorite things about writing this series, particularly coming up with wings for each angelic choir made entirely of those elements, yet still practical for flight. Is there an element you relate to more than the others, and if so, what elemental power would you most like to have?
Thanks for stopping by Jane!
Heaven can go to hell.
Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.
Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.
Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.
The Fallen Queen is available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Pre-order your copy of Book Two in The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, The Midnight Court (Amazon | Barnes & Noble), coming in August 2012.
She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.
You can find Jane on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and on her website.
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